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Why You Need a CDN for Your Website

Why You Need a CDN for Your Website

Why You Need a CDN for Your Website

 

Why You Need a CDN for Your Website

 

 

Caching your website is a crucial process for keeping your website fast. It relieves stress on the host and helps report information back to the browser. Great, right? We can do better. Shamrck uses world-class cloud hosting to make sure you have a reliable, speedy hosting service, but today, we’re going to talk more about WordPress content delivery networks, or CDN. 

 

You only have a few seconds to make a first impression on a site visitor, so slow page speeds set you back immediately. Website caching and image compression are excellent ways to maintain fast load times, so why do we need a CDN? Physical hosting sites help “store” your host on a server. The server location affects load times regardless of your compression settings or caching. This effect is called latency. Naturally, when information has farther to go, it will take longer to get there. CDNs help reduce latency.

 

 

 

What is a CDN?

 

Content delivery networks, or CDNs, are a way to speed up your website. They are a network of servers built to store static content. By storing static page information in an easy-to-access location, your site can retrieve page information and deliver it to a browser blazingly fast. 

 

 

 

How Does a CDN Work?

 

CDNs operate as a large network of servers meaning information can be stored anywhere in the world and relayed back to your website. Visitors anywhere can view your website faster. Your information is stored on a “host” server. As we mentioned earlier, the further away your visitor is, the longer the load times. This latency is due to “hops.” Hops refer to how often information needs to jump from server to server before being delivered to the visitor. The more hops, the longer the load time. Choosing the location for your host server is important because it will play a major role in your page load times.

 

By serving as a storage resource, CDNs automatically pull information from your website as information like HTML or JavaScript code for future use. Your server can then rewrite links to those pieces of information to make sure it’s pulled from the CDN moving forward.

 

 

 

CDN Benefits

 

A CDN can help your website perform better in every way, including sales. Visitors are more likely to have a better user experience when a site loads quickly and easily navigates from page to page. When you’re trying to convert leads to sales with website content, an engaging website is vital.

 

CDNs also employ a caching system much like your server. Site information moves from your server to the CDN freeing up bandwidth. On that note, a CDN is exactly that, a content delivery network. Utilizing the network helps handle large spikes in traffic since it can spread information over several servers. 

 

Most importantly, CDNs are scalable. Your website will see user ebbs and flows, but ultimately, the goal is to grow your visits. When that happens, your server needs to be ready to handle the new traffic. Content delivery networks are a ready-made solution to make sure you don’t run into any kinks.

 

 

 

CDN Speeds

 

CDNs are becoming more and more popular for their versatility and speed enhancements. Just like with caching, a CDN reduces latency and load times. We know slow page speeds can kill your traffic and SEO. Every additional second of load time costs you potential sales and crucial visitors. Since the CDN stores much of the site’s information, page speeds go up exponentially. 

 

One issue websites run into is a slow TTFB, or time to first byte. Without going too far into the weeds, this refers to how long it takes for your website to retrieve data for the browser request. Depending on the server and the data, your TTFB could have a negative impact on site performance. CDNs dramatically increase TTFB just by moving bits of information away from your server and onto the network. Shamrck’s website health check helps test for your time to first byte. 

 

 

 

Shamrck and DigitalOcean Spaces CDN

 

Shamrck hosts on a cloud server and uses DigitalOcean Spaces CDN to speed up websites even more. DigitalOcean is a cloud infrastructure with data centers all over the world. Spaces is an S3-compatible object storage service that lets you store and serve large amounts of data. By working with the power of DigitalOcean’s CDN, Shamrck is free to provide excellent hosting and website performance. 

 

 

 

Why a CDN is Right for Your Website

 

Working in tandem with your host, a CDN speeds up your site and boosts performance. It’s that simple. We walked through how CDNs work and some specific benefits, but everything leads back to enhancing load times, user experience, and other vital aspects of running a website. Utilizing a network of servers to store information and free up bandwidth on your host server is invaluable, and the results speak for themselves. 

 

 

 

We’d love to help you get started on your website improvements. Reach out today and we’ll do a full website health check!

 

 

 

Enter Caching.

 

Caching is the quick and (sometimes) easy way to speed everything up. At a server-level, caching can be broken down into very technical terms, but for the average end-user, plugins like WP Rocket help take care of the work for you. Here are some ways to speed up your website with caching.

 

 

What is Cache?

 

 

A cache is a collection of items of the same type stored in a hidden or inaccessible place. In the software world, we refer to it all the time. Traditionally, when someone clicks into a web page, the site has to request information from the server, which sends the data back to the browser, and users see the end result. Caching speeds up your website by not requiring it to request page information every time someone visits. 

 

Since most webpages contain headers, bodies, and footers, continually having to piece together every bit of information after each click is, understandably, time-consuming. The process slows down page load times since the server is processing so many requests at once. 

 

 

Why is caching important for websites?

 

 

Caching saves much of the website’s information for a server, so it doesn’t have to handle requests for every part of a web page anymore. The cache stores files to a disk or RAM, making it easier to duplicate the information when requested. This process limits the amount of work going into loading and reloading webpages, making them load faster.

 

Since these repeat files are stored, caching reduces the stress on your server. A fast server equals faster page load times, which has a substantial impact on your SEO. But more on that in a minute. This process also speeds up the time to first byte (TTFB). Essentially, the TTFB is the time it takes for a browser to start to receive information from the server. A low TTFB is crucial to fast load times.

 

 

Server-level caching with a good host.

 

 

A good host will handle caching for you. There are generally four types of caching done at the server-level: Bytecode, Page, Object, and CDN. We can break these down one at a time to understand why each is essential and why utilizing a speedy server with a good host is vital.

 

  • Bytecode: Bytecode cache deals with PHP code. PHP codes must be compiled into what’s known as a readable “opcode.” Once the opcode is in place, the server no longer needs to sift through the PHP to return browser requests. 

 

 

  • Page: Page caching refers to storing the entirety of the HTML from a webpage, so WordPress does not need to generate the page over and over. Most pages are static and evergreen, meaning they don’t change much. The server does not need to build the page for every click continually. 

 

 

  • Object: Object caching refers to storing database query information. Querying a database can be arduous and time-consuming for a server. Caching bits of data produced by a search means speeding up the page load times since there’s no need to query an entire database every time.

 

 

  • CDN: CDN stands for Content Delivery Network. CDN caching stores website files like javascript, CSS, and media. CDN caching is a more complicated process because it involves storing information away from the server on a, you guessed it, separate network. CDNs can deliver the website information instead of the server, reducing the stress on the server and speeding up load times.

 

Server-level caching is crucial because a good host does all of this behind the scenes. Since page load times are vital to your website’s SEO, caching as much information as possible is paramount.

 

 

WordPress Caching with WP Rocket.

 

 

Sometimes we need to go further than our server-level caching. WordPress has mechanisms in place to replace or supplement caching strategies. You can use plugins to perform caching functions if you are self-hosting or using a shared host. There are dozens of plugins to choose from, but we recommend WP Rocket. 

 

WP Rocket is exceptionally robust but simple to use. Developers will love the ability to play around inside the plugin, but we love that it is excellent for beginners who might feel overwhelmed quickly. The WP Rocket dashboard and settings are easy to set up and understand. The plugin also seamlessly works with eCommerce sites to make sure page load times are blazingly fast.

 

WP Rocket is a premium plugin offering different pricing plans, but given the usability and depth of the software, we recommend at least trying out the free trial.

 

 

How caching affects SEO

 

 

One of the largest hurdles websites face when trying to rank on Google is page load times. The Google search algorithms weigh load times heavily when ranking sites. This factor makes caching a must-have. Without caching, your server load speeds will deteriorate as your pages become more dynamic, and the servers have to request and report every line of code/image/etc. for every click. 

 

The stress will be too much for your server, and page load times will be slow. Not only will that affect your SEO, but you’ll lose traffic almost immediately. No one wants to wait more than five to seven seconds on a website to load. For every second it takes until TTFB, your site slips slightly further in the rankings and becomes more invisible in searches.

 

 

Caching is crucial

 

 

Websites today are dynamic, loaded with images, and interactive modal windows. Ecommerce sites have tons of media, links, and walls of text. The sheer amount of data on each page is enough to strain any server. This is why caching is so vital. Without caching, servers can be spread too thin, and page load speeds can drop dramatically. The consequences can be disastrous. 

 

Imagine your website is a store on the main street, but you start to open later in the day than other stores. So, the city moves your store to 3rd street. Search engines are no different. Search algorithms look for the “stores” that open early. Websites with fast speeds will outrank the slower ones, so make sure your site is as quick as possible. Don’t lose your place in the market because you didn’t apply some simple methods to make your website faster.

 

Shamrck knows website caching is crucial to a site’s success. We’d love to talk to you about your website’s performance and how some simple caching techniques can help immediately.

 

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How Cheap Hosting Hurts Your Website

How Cheap Hosting Hurts Your Website

How Cheap Hosting Hurts Your Website

Cheap does not always equal value. Cheap shoes fall apart, and a low-cost computer crashes three days after you buy it. Cheap sunscreen gives you a sunburn so bad you painfully regret not buying better sunscreen. When it comes to web hosting, a cheap host can hurt your website in many ways. A bad host can cause a lot of damage from weak cyber-security to slow page speeds and everything in between.

Don’t get us wrong. Saving money is good. Opting for a more inexpensive hosting service is a plausible solution if you weigh all of the pros and cons. The problem is understanding the impact of certain inequities. Some disadvantages will severely outweigh the advantages, and your site will suffer. The best weapon you have is research. Luckily, there are some tools and resources out there to help (like this post!).

So, how does cheap hosting hurt?

 

Upkeep

A good host maintains a stable website status. That means minimal downtime for repairs or bug fixes. Websites need periodic updates to function correctly since plugins and systems are continually updating. A cheap host can lapse on essential updates that affect (possibly crashing) your website.

Worse, cheap hosts are known for terrible customer service. Your website is the face of the business. Imagine that someone locks you out of your storefront, and you have to wait three days for a locksmith. Imagine the business you’d lose! Think of poor customer service as the slow locksmith. You need your website up and running correctly. A cheap web hosting service won’t take the importance of upkeep very seriously.

Slow Page Speeds

When most people think of SEO, thoughts of keywords, and blog posts come to mind. While those are both essential aspects of optimization, page speed is one of the most crucial. The search engine algorithms look through hundreds of site attributes to rank the results, but some traits are more heavily weighted than others. Page speed clocks in as one of the most important because it shows your website is performing well. Google and the other engines will prioritize sites based on load times.

Why is that important for hosting?

A cheap hosting service may not scale well with your business. That means the more traffic you get, the slower the site loads. Slow page load times can kill your website performance. More than have of mobile users give you approximately three seconds before they leave, and the number drops every second after that. Don’t let your website take a tumble in the search results because your hosting service can’t keep up.

 

Cyber-Security

Cyber-security isn’t just a buzz-word, and your website can’t live without it. Cheap hosting services put security on the backburner because security protocols can require additional resources and bandwidth. Start with a straightforward question. Does your host offer a secure socket layer (SSL) certificate?

An SSL certificate is literally the bare minimum you can accept from a host. Malware attacks millions of sites each year, and cheap hosting services that skimp on cyber-security leave you vulnerable. Be sure to do your research because these hosts will put the security onus on you and make sure you are liable instead of them.

There are cyber-security steps you can take on your own to try to secure your website, but ideally, you’d like to work in tandem with a host that emphasizes security as well.

Less Control

Many cheap hosting services offer low price points because they limit what you can do with your site. You lose the ability to create custom coding to fit your needs because the host won’t let you make substantial-scale changes on their server. By limiting bandwidth and disk space, servers can run with less effort and cost, but you end up suffering through a mediocre website.

An excellent hosting service works with you to make sure your site, videos, animations, images, and all, work seamlessly all day every day. Limiting what you can do to build a custom site leaves you with nothing more than a template to type some words.

Hosting is worth the investment.

You can find hosting services in every corner of the internet. Some host on cloud-based servers with data centers all over the world. Some hosts are on a physical server in the back room of a dingy office building. Regardless of a hosting services’ claim of what they do and don’t offer, do your research. Ask questions about security protocols and bandwidth limitations. Learn more about their customer service team and how they handle updates.

There are qualities to some cheap hosting services, mostly, the price, but choosing who hosts your website is critical. The choice can make or break the success of your site and possibly your business. No, that’s not being too dramatic, either. A malware attack leaking customer information can land you in court, ruining your company. Slipping to the second, third, or fourth page of Google can make you invisible compared to the competition all because your pages load slowly.

Investing in a development team to build your website is a wise decision. Investing in a top-class hosting service is just good business. Don’t get sucked in by low price points and wild promises that are too good to be true. Pick a host that you can trust, even if it’s not the cheapest.

At Shamrck, we believe in value above everything else. A hosting service can be inexpensive and still have a customer-first mindset. We’d love to chat a little more with you about trusting your site to an excellent host. Reach out today, and let’s get started!

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How to Move From Wix to WordPress

How to Move From Wix to WordPress

How to Move From Wix to WordPress

Wix is one of many simple website creation tools businesses turn to have an online presence. The builder is easy to use. Users pick a template and use a straightforward drag and drop creation to construct a basic website. Wix isn’t complicated. It also isn’t versatile. That’s why users look to move from Wix.

WordPress blows Wix away when it comes to customization and flexibility. Users leave Wix once they realize they’re not building the website they want. Instead, users have to develop inside a box. Unfortunately, Wix doesn’t make a move to WordPress very easy, but we can still do it.

 

Why is WordPress Better?

WordPress is an explosion of options and possibilities. WordPress has everything someone needs to build the perfect website from premade templates and plugins to the ability to create intricate customizations. Wix starts as an attractive option because the interface is user friendly, and the templates are enticing, but as the saying goes, you get what you pay for. 

As your business grows and your needs grow, Wix’s limitations become more and more evident. The Wix app store sports a paltry 250+ plugins to improve functionality. WordPress features more than 50,000, ready-made plugins affecting every part of your site. Wix limits the ability to build and add the custom code you may need too. More than anything, WordPress has shown to be more SEO friendly than Wix sites. As users get more and more frustrated with their Wix site, they quickly migrate to WordPress.

And here is how.

 

Import Content to WordPress

Wix is closed-source software, meaning there are no direct ways to migrate your content. You won’t have to recreate your content from scratch or copy and paste page after page. However, you’ll need to do a little work to grab your RSS feed and import it into WordPress. 

  1. Bring up your RSS feed by going to your domain and adding /feed.xml to the end.
  2. You’ll navigate to a page loaded with code. Right-click on the page and select Save As, so you’ll have a downloaded version of your XML file to upload.
  3. Go to your WordPress website and into the Tools -> Import section.
  4. Find the RSS area and click “Install Now.”
  5. After a second, you’ll be prompted to run the importer tool.
  6. Choose the file you want to import. You’ll be importing the RSS feed you recently downloaded and hit the Upload and Import File.
  7. You’ll be notified as soon as your import is finished!

Your content pages will show up, but unfortunately, not your images. Importing images from Wix requires a different process.

 

Import Images to WordPress

Like with the content, the move from Wix doesn’t allow a direct way to migrate images to the new website. Still, there is a simple way to upload your images with a little legwork. In this case, you’ll want to start by installing the Auto Upload Images plugin. The plugin helps you reupload all the images without having to do them one by one.

  1. Install the Auto Upload Images plugin.
  2. Re-save all of your posts in Wix that have images.
  3. Go to the All-Posts page and click on the Screen Options button.
  4. Make sure to update the items per page blank to 999 to include all of your pages.
  5. Select all posts and choose Edit from the drop-down.
  6. Click Apply. You’ll see an edit box come up, but just hit Update, and the plugin will update your posts.

 

Point Domain to New WordPress Install.

First, you can only redirect traffic to your WordPress website if you have a custom domain. If you have a custom domain, the move from Wix is a little more straightforward than some of our other steps. 

  1. Sign in to your account and go to Subscriptions.
  2. Click the Domains drop-down.
  3. Choose the domain you want.
  4. Click on the “Advanced” tab
  5. Choose Transfer away from Wix and then Send Code.

You’ll receive an authorization email from Wix, allowing you to transfer your domain. 

 

Recreate Your Template With Divi

Wix takes pride in offering a slew of crafted templates for their customers. Many users sign up mainly for a template they liked. That’s understandable. Some of these templates are chic, original, and beautifully done. However, there’s nothing done in Wix that you can’t do in WordPress. We completely understand wanting to bring your template when you move from Wix, but unfortunately, that’s not an option. 

Instead, you can recreate the template with the Divi page builder, except now, you can create and make changes as you see fit. No template is one-size-fits-all. Moving to WordPress means opening up options for everything, including web design. You don’t need to be a graphic designer to build a beautiful website when you have the right tools. 

 

Configure Permalinks

Finally, the last step is making sure your page links line up with the Wix links. Wix tends to follow a basic .com/blog-name link pattern. Since this recipe is one of the best for SEO and the easiest to manipulate, we recommend the same. 

  1. Open the WordPress dashboard and scroll over Settings on the left side.
  2. Click Permalinks to open the options.
  3. Click the Post Name radio button. 
  4. Save changes.

You’ll want to make sure any imported posts have this link style. You can visit the posts by going to the All Posts section under the Posts menu. All of your new pages will follow the same link style.

 

Making the Move from Wix

Making the move from Wix is inevitable for many users. As your business grows, you need more space. You need more functionality. You just need…more. WordPress is the answer, and partnering up with a premium development and hosting firm like WPClover maximizes the experience. Otherwise, you’re wasting the many tools and resources at your disposal. 

Your website is the face of your company. It’s the first impression your potential clients have. Take advantage of the possibilities WordPress offers by building the perfect site. Why settle for less?

 

We’d love to take some time to talk with you more about where you see your brand. Our team of experts is here to help you make the move from Wix, so reach out and get started.

 

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How to Move From Squarespace to WordPress

How to Move From Squarespace to WordPress

How to Move From Squarespace to WordPress

Squarespace provides an easy-to-use website builder. There are some templates and drag and drop functions, but Squarespace isn’t anything special at the end of the day. Sooner or later, many users see the limitations and conclude that they’re better off moving away. If you’re looking to move from Squarespace, there are some essential things to consider. The move tends to be over to the more flexible WordPress.

 

Why is WordPress Better Than Squarespace?

WordPress is much more dynamic. Squarespace puts you in a box, and all sites are basically the same. With WordPress, the possibilities are endless. Using the right developer, you can create the perfect website designed to your specific standards instead of someone else’s. The intricate capabilities of WordPress are invaluable to a company trying to define an online presence. Squarespace limits your options to the point you can become frustrated over what should be simple features. 

The move from Squarespace to WordPress opens up a vast array of opportunities to improve your brand and increase your traffic. The only question is, why haven’t you already moved over?

 

Export Content

Of course, you already have content on Squarespace, and starting from scratch is not an option. The good news is that you can export much of your information automatically. You can easily export your blog posts and pages. Unfortunately, you can’t export everything so easily. 

Squarespace won’t let you export:

-Album pages, indexes, product, or events
-Blocks like audio or product
-Custom CSS
-Style changes
-Squarespace template

Even so, the bulk of your content can be uploaded onto your new site reasonably smoothly. Luckily, the aspects of the information you can’t bring from Squarespace is replicable in WordPress, and again, working with a design and development team will help a lot. 

To Export

  1. Log in to Squarespace and go to the “Settings” option on the left-hand side of the screen for whichever site you want to export (if you have multiple sites).
  2. Scroll down to “Advanced,” and from there, select “Export.” You’ll be asked for the export site, so be sure to choose WordPress if there are multiple options.
  3. Wait for a pop-up letting you download the information. *If you have multiple blog pages, you’ll need to choose which one to export before proceeding. 

 

Point Domain to New WordPress Install

If you purchased a domain, you’ll probably want to carry it over to your new WordPress site. The task isn’t difficult. You’ll need to change your domain’s nameservers to point to WordPress instead of Squarespace. 

The only word of caution may be to make sure you’re ready to make the switch ultimately. You can work with your WordPress host to set up a WordPress staging site. This way, you can handle any Squarespace traffic while waiting on the work to be finished for your full website. 

Remember to go to your domain registrar to change the settings too. Once you have your site built and domain pointed to WordPress, you’ll ultimately be ready to move from Squarespace.

 

Import Content to WordPress

Now that you have your .xml file, it’s time to import. 

  1. Head over to your WordPress dashboard and find the Tools menu. 
  2. When you click on Tools, you’ll see the import option below.
  3. Click import next and find WordPress at the bottom of the list, and then click Install Now.
  4. The link will change from Install Now to Run Importer.
  5. From here, choose the .xml file to import, and click the upload file and import. This step will get the upload process started. 
  6. The next page you come to will offer to create a new user for this upload, but your best bet is to select a current user from the dropdown list.
  7.  Check the import attachments box and submit!

 

The last step is to make sure your content is uploaded correctly. Check your pages and posts to ensure everything is where it’s supposed to be, and it looks good. If not, you may need to make changes page by page, or you can start the process over to try again.

 

Import Images to WordPress

We discussed at the beginning that not everything shares over flawlessly. You’ll notice some or all of your images when you move from Squarespace did not load. You have a couple of options to add them back in. First, you can go one page at a time and upload each image one by one. That method can be a little tedious, though. Luckily, there are plugins available to help with the task. 

Plugins like Auto Upload Images will find URLs in your post and automatically upload the image files to your WordPress media database. Rather than going page by page, the plugin will let you mass select posts and pages and then do a bulk action to update all of your pages. 

  1. Go to your “Posts” page in WordPress
  2. Select all of the posts you need to update
  3. Use the bulk action dropdown and click Edit and then apply
  4. A new window will appear, but you won’t need to make changes. Just click Update.
  5. All the images from your Squarespace pages should now be showing up on your WordPress pages.

 

Configure Permalinks

Permalinks are how traffic finds your website. When you posted something on Squarespace, you received a permalink resembling something like https://example.com/blog-post-title. WordPress can mimic that or other types of dynamic permalinks through a quick setting change.

  1. Go to the Settings in your WordPress dashboard.
  2. Click Permalinks to open the menu
  3. Select the Date and Name option since it’s the most commonly used.
  4. Use the custom structure to recreate something close to the Squarespace link. Since theirs is usually a date-page-post, you can create a custom structure using a dynamic link. For example .com/%year%/%month%/%day%/blog/%post%
  5. Hit save changes to lock everything in place.

 

Recreate the Template in Divi

You can’t take your Squarespace template with you, and most people don’t particularly want to. However, if you’re in love with the look, you’ll be able to recreate it with Divi. Divi’s page builder option gives you a vast amount of possibilities to effortlessly insert rows, sections, columns, text, blocks, etc. Creating the look and feel flows smoothly, and Divi offers excellent customer experience to help. 

The Divi builder makes it easy to take your current content and build it into the same type of template you had or if you prefer, a brand new look. You have options like custom CSS, responsive editing, and simple drag and drop tools, among others. If you’re not ready to build from scratch, Divi also has an immense library of pre-created options. 

 

Leaving Squarespace

The move from Squarespace is inevitable for a lot of people. The system can be clunky, limiting, and expensive for what you actually get. WordPress provides a much better opportunity to make something with more flexibility that better represents your brand and lets you grow. The change can be difficult, though. Despite the step-by-step instructions above, your site and user experience can get lost in the shuffle. 

Professional firms like WPClover are here specifically to help you make your WordPress site precisely the way you want it instead of how someone else wants it. We’d love to talk more with you about how working with us can save you time and money, not to mention all of the perks that go along with a WordPress website. Reach out, and let’s get started!

 

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How to Make Your Website Disability Friendly

How to Make Your Website Disability Friendly

How to Make Your Website Disability Friendly

 

How to Make Your Website Disability Friendly

Millions of internet users have some sort of disability. Making websites more accessible for traffic with special needs isn’t a difficult task, but it starts with understanding the challenge. There are many impairments to consider. Things like visual and hearing impairments require multiple approaches. Another all-too-common disability is photosensitive epilepsy. Websites and plugins take pride in ultra-dynamic animations and video clips, but the high-intensity sites can cause seizures for some users. Website accessibility is all about inclusion.

The list of impairments and disabilities is long. Finding ways to make your website accessible to everyone is a never-ending process. As the web evolves and you learn about more unique needs, you’ll realize your website needs to change as well continually. Fortunately, you can find guidance from several sources.

 

What Is Website Accessibility?

Website accessibility is the idea of making your website available for all traffic. Internet visitors are a broad mix of people, some with various disabilities. Standard websites may not account for those. However, taking the time and effort to make your website accessible for all users is beneficial for everyone. 

Accessibility means finding tools and resources to continue to improve your site. Keep in mind that some disabilities and challenges are temporary. Broken arms and temporary blindness (lost glasses or medical work) can make using the computer much more difficult. Some problems develop over time. Think of gradually aging into poor eyesight or hearing. Website accessibility is an understanding of how to reach everyone everywhere.

 

Why Is Accessibility Important?

Designing your website to be more accessible is essential simply to be inclusive. The internet is for everyone. Shouldn’t your website be available too? Not only is being inclusive imperative from the human level, excluding traffic can take a significant toll on your site. Thousands of people can skip over your website due to a lack of something pretty simple, like adding alt-text to images. 

Traffic is important. Your website dies without visitors. However, the growing threat is litigation. The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 helps to make sure accommodations are available for people with disabilities. Websites are now being referred to as places of public accommodation, given the increasing use of sites for everything. 

Title III of the Act states: “Public accommodations must comply with basic nondiscrimination requirements that prohibit exclusion, segregation, and unequal treatment. They also must comply with specific requirements related to architectural standards for new and altered buildings; reasonable modifications to policies, practices, and procedures; effective communication with people with hearing, vision, or speech disabilities; and other access requirements. Additionally, public accommodations must remove barriers in existing buildings where it is easy to do so without much difficulty or expense, given the public accommodation’s resources.”

The rapidly growing number of lawsuits regarding website accessibility is a direct tribute to internet services’ necessity. Your website is no exception. Some countries already have laws in place to govern accessibility, so be sure to take the required steps. 

While the threat of landing in court is intimidating, making your site more accessible has other positive outcomes. By changing specific ways to navigate and updating designs, you can create a more enjoyable experience for all visitors. Customer interface and accessibility go hand in hand, so focusing on accessibility helps all aspects of your website. 

 

How can you make your website more accessible?

At the beginning of this article, we mentioned that making your site more accessible is not a difficult task. As the ADA states, your responsibility is to make changes that are without much difficulty and reasonable expense. There’s no need to redesign your entire site. Here are just a few ways to make your website more accessible.

-Keyboard Friendly: What do we mean by that? Make sure your visitors can navigate your website without a mouse. Many assistive technologies can’t use a mouse, and so, by not making your site keyboard friendly, you immediately exclude anyone needing to use an adapted keyboard. Check out WebAIM for an excellent guide to creating a more keyboard friendly site. 

-Color Scheme: Colorblindness is an all-to-often overlooked disability that substantially impacts whether or not someone can see your content. Be careful about choosing your color scheme. Ideally, you want a heavy contrast between text and background, preferably a dark background. Also, try to avoid similar colors in your design. Most colorblind people don’t only see black and white. They see colors on different spectrums. This effect makes carefully designing your color scheme even more essential.

-Don’t use automatic media: Pages that immediately launch into some kind of video can be annoying for everyone. Imagine not being able to turn it off. Visitors using a screen reader will have exceptional difficulty trying to turn off a video. Others may get confused about where the noise is coming from and immediately leave. Either way, add media wisely.

These examples are some of the bare minimum things you can do to make your site more accessible. Other steps like limiting table use and enabling resizable text aren’t challenging either. Take the time to learn ways you can incorporate some of these features into your website. The payoff will be worth the work.

 

The Internet Is For Everyone

Always remember the internet is for everyone, regardless of if you suffer from a disability or not. Our job as website owners is to be as inclusive as possible. We need to understand these difficulties affect millions of people. Taking even the most basic steps to be more accessible is the least we can do. Along with the business sense of reaching out to as many people as possible, neglecting accessibility requirements can be a threat to your business. In summary, do some research and learn more about how disabilities can affect how internet traffic browses. 

 

If you’re not sure about how your website stacks up, WPClover offers a free website health check, including a WCAG 2.1 report to check accessibility. We’d love to talk with you a little more about your site and what potential steps you can take to improve.

 

 

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