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- You want to get the most visitors to your website;
- you don’t want to be excluded from Google searches on smartphones;
- you don’t want visitors to see warning messages that might drive visitors away from your website.
If these three sentences resonate with you in any way, you may want to give a look at these two smart steps to improve your website’s performance.
1) Equip your website with a Responsive Design
Responsive Design makes sure that browsing works fluidly across all screen sizes from desktop, laptop, tablet and smartphone. This is done by building your website in a manner that presents differently to different screen sizes, so the website visitor has a very positive experience no matter what size screen they are looking at.
2) Get HTTPS, setting up a SSL to secure data on your website
Adding the S for “Secure” to your web address will both improve your ranking and avoid warnings such as “this site may not be safe” when visitors arrive. Adding the “S” requires a Secure Socket Layer that encrypts data transferring to and from your site from visitors and adds authentication to your website that says it is safe for visitors.
Need help to set up a Responsive Design or SSL on your website?
The rise of the mobile-first design approach
You may now be wondering how did we get here.
From 1996 to 2014, it was all about growing businesses into deciding that they should have a web presence. Some did it just to be there (in case they might miss something). Then, as time went by, more and more businesses took to a web presence and grew their effort to maximise its effectiveness.
Finally, with the rise of mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, more and more people shifted towards them, moving away from desktop computers.
Amazon, Ebay, Netflix, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and other social networks and services have been strong drivers of bringing more and more users online as everyone now can connect to the web reaching out their device in their pocket.
The role of Search Engines
Search Engines such as Google, as their algorithms grow more and more sophisticated, want to provide their users the best possible experience when searching for something through their service.
Aware of the rise of mobile browsing, this means that a website has to:
- be easy to browse from any device;
- keep their users privacy safe.
Mobile-first design approach
On April 21, 2015, The rise of mobile devices in the online browsing market, led Google to roll out the so called “Mobilegeddon” algorithm update. This update gives priority – in mobile Search Engine Results Page – to websites that display correctly on mobile devices.
The list goes on.
Safety through HTTPS encryption\SSL certificate
HTTPS encryption has been declared to be a ranking factor since August 2014, although people are getting more aware of it only just lately, when major web browsers started to clearly show in their URL bar whether a website has such encryption in place or not.
On Chrome browser, for example, you will now see to the left of the web address:
Info or Not secure
Not secure or Dangerous
For website owners this can be a big negative. Someone is just about to visit your website and they are now being warned away, because “you are HTTP and not HTTPS!”.
Again, the focus here is on the visitor first and the website owner second.
For websites that are just information – this appears at first to be a bit strong but adding the “S” to HTTP adds a Secure Socket Layer to ensure data is encrypted and therefore protects the website visitor. This matters whether they are simply browsing your website or entering personal details and other sensitive information such as credit card details, etc.
Now, the bottom line is that if you do not have a HTTPS on your website – visitors are likely to reduce due to warnings and lower rankings.
If you do add HTTPS (using a Secure Socket Layer) then you are seen to respect your potential website visitors and you are rewarded by Google and the browsers by not having warnings showing to visitors.