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Waiting to Update Your Website Until 2019 Could Have Costly Consequences

Undermining the matter of digital accessibility can cost you!

In fact, not many businesses know this, but since operating online has become more of a necessity for every business, the US government is actually on the verge of carving its laws accordingly. The worst part is that a lot of small businesses are unaware and are prone to penalties set in this regard.

It was only recently that the Department of Justice which was supposed to carve these rules, delayed its rulemaking. The DOJ had planned to write down a list of guidelines, specifically concerning the Americans with Disabilities Act. These guidelines were supposed to come out last year in April. The date got delayed to 2017, and following the same route, it has now been postponed until 2018.

Digital Accessibility

This has been a raging matter for quite some time now. It wasn’t long ago when DOJ began threatening businesses who had allegedly put up an inaccessible desktop and mobile website design, especially if the website was a public accommodation. In that case, the businesses will come under the ADA which means they have to become ADA compliant.

This is where the ambiguity lies. Businesses that fall under ADA have to make their mobile and desktop website accessible to the disabled. But which businesses are on the list?

In addition to that matter, another thing that remains unsettled is the definition of an accessible website. Even if your business lies under the ADA and you are willing to become ADA compliant, there is no well-defined way on how you can do that. As of now, the W3C voluntary guidelines are being followed on the matter.

The Unfortunate Matter

The reason why this is alarming for businesses is that although you may want to make your websites accessible and follow the ADA laws, you cannot right now, since there is yet no clear guideline. On the other hand, the DOJ continues to enforce businesses to become ADA compliant. Unfortunately, online retailers have become their prime target for now. According to the Department of Justice, such businesses will not only have to impose requirements on their websites, but also have to develop accessibility policy, and train website developers.

The Consequences

It is more than obvious that businesses don’t have the option to wait until next year for regulations to come out. Lawyers working against these businesses have aggressively been following online retailers. Companies are being forced to follow the “agreed plan”—something which does not exist. The result is that these businesses end up paying attorney’s fees in addition to the damages that apparently need to be settled.

In other words, digital accessibility is, as of the moment, a concept private litigants are using for exploitation.

In a Nutshell

The things have been unraveling, it is just way too costly to wait for 2018 for a proper set of regulations to come out. If you want to keep yourself from the undue pressures and costly measures, it is best that you make your web design accessible right now.

What is The Difference Between Inaccessible and Accessible Websites?

Research suggests that, almost, 20% of Americans face challenges when it comes to web experience. Considering the tough ADA compliance standards introduced in 2013, it’s important for websites to understand the subtle differences between accessible and inaccessible websites.

No Text Equivalents for Images
People with impaired vision, or blindness, often take the aid of technology for digital accessibility. Two, such, commonly known technologies are Braille displays and screen readers. A Braille display translates the text on a website into Braille characters, which can be read by touch. Screen readers, on the other hand, are programs that read the text on the screen, out loud, starting from the top-left corner.

Both these technologies, though wonderful, are limited in their use. For example, if the website has been designed such that it contains images, then both these technologies will be unable to provide interpretation. So, a blind person visiting the website will be unable to tell if the image is a picture, map, infographic or a blank page.

To bypass this problem, and make the website ADA compliant, text equivalents to every image need to be included in the website design.

2. Documents Are Not In Text Based Formats

Documents are often posted, on websites, in Portable Document Format (PDF). PDF formats are, at times, inaccessible to people with impaired visions for they may contain images and images, as I said earlier, cannot be interpreted by screen readers and Braille displays.

In order for websites to be ADA compliant, it is important to always provide documents in alternative text-based formats such as RTF or HTML.

3. Set In Stone Color and Font Settings

It’s understandable for website designers to have certain aesthetic preferences in mind when designing websites. For example, a website design might include text that is in a small font and colored yellow. But doing this will might make the website non-ADA compliant, for the website designer missed an important detail: he assumed that all people view websites in the same way.

Users with impaired visions need to be able to change the color schemes on the web pages. For example, people with weak visions need high contrast settings, which might not be common for websites. So, it’s important for the website design to be such that it can be viewed with the color and font sizes set in the users’ web browser preferences. Not will this provide maximum accessibility to those with weak visions, but also make your website ADA compliant.

4. Videos Are Inaccessible

It’s common for websites, nowadays, to carry multiple videos on web pages. However, it needs to be ensured that the videos can be accessed by everyone. For example, a blind person can only access the video through audio while a deaf person can access it through sight, only.

To ensure digital accessibility, provide complete audio descriptions of the images and, at the same time, provide text captions or subtitles so that videos can be accessed by, both, the blind and the deaf.

Website designers, nowadays, need to ensure digital accessibility for people belonging to all kinds of disabilities falling under the ADA. When you consider the fact that failure to comply can result into lawsuits, it seems imperative for designers to pay heed to how their website designs go with the ADA compliance laws.

Come on Cat! Your website is ugly.

Funny Cat .mp4 from Steven Brown on Vimeo.

We all need to update our website every 5 years, especially if your website design is ugly. It amazes me how many ugly websites I see on a daily basis. An ugly website design can hurt your brand image, you will loose sales and people tend not to trust your brand. For example, check out these ugly websites:

Website Design Firm:
https://www.midwestwebs.com/

Midwest webs sell website design service but look like it is stuck in the 1990’s. If you wanted to update your website wouldn’t you want to have your website design work with a company with a better website? I am not trying to knock this company, but come on! Update your website!

Albers Contracting:

http://alberscontracting.com/

Let’s look at Albers Contracting. It is not mobile optimized, the pictures are pixelated and it does not have any call to actions. Wouldn’t you rather give your business to a construction company that has a better online presence? Check this one out completed by Socialthisagency.com this: https://www.westsidedistributor.com/

5 Reasons Why Your Website Does Not Generate Leads

The sole purpose of having a business website is to attract more visitors to your business, so a website that fails to do that is pretty useless. When it comes to a website that just can’t generate leads, the problem can be a single factor or a combination of many factors, from the website design, SEO or the call-to-action that’s ineffective. Here we are going to take a look at the five reasons your website isn’t generating any leads.

1. Poor Website Design

There’s so much competition nowadays that having a business website that’s anything less than perfect could result to less traffic being attracted to your business. A poorly designed website is any site that has not been designed keeping the clients’ preferences in mind. For instance, websites that sport loud colors and bright images can make it hard for your audience to concentrate on what really matters – the information. On average, visitors stay on a website for less than a minute, this means you have a small window to capture their attention, or lose them forever. Stay safe, and stay away from a website design that looks unprofessional and tacky.

 2. No Clear and Concise Information

Your business website may contain a couple of pages, or dozens. It’s up to you to ensure that all of the pages have been marked properly, are easy to find by your audience, and more importantly, provides them with useful information. Even the call to action you use should be short and to the point.

3. Not Visible to the Search Engines

You may have gone with a cool website design, but making it visible for the search engine is what will bring in the leads. Hire an SEO (search engine optimization) professional who can cover the SEO part of your website, so its indexed properly on the SERPs.

4. No Proper Off-Page SEO

Off page SEO is pretty straightforward. It involves positive signals from your interactions online, such as brand mentions, positive reviews and backlinks on other websites to your business website. It is important to acknowledge any person or business whose working in your favor, posting a positive review, re-tweeting your posts or backlinking to your business page.

5. Make Use of Social Media

This is a great way of building trust with your customers. Make sure you’re active on social media and have a Google+ business page. Service businesses such as restaurants, bar etc., should have their own Yelp business pages and have a presence on social outlets. 

A business website has tremendous potential to generate leads, but only if it’s used effectively. Focusing on the aforementioned tips should get you off to a good start in generating massive amounts of new business.

10 Reasons Why Your Business Needs an Updated Website

Businesses nowadays bank a lot on their website. In fact, it would not be wrong to say that those businesses that do not take their website seriously are leaving a serious amount of money on the table. While many businesses turn to social media advertising for the bulk of their sales, the truth is that it is their business website that actually ends up sealing the deal when it comes to a customer’s purchase decision. The following are some reasons why every business should update their website from time to time.

  1. Mobile Friendly

According to Smart Insights, 80% of internet users own a smartphone. More importantly, 48% of consumers start their research on a mobile device. So, it’s easy to see that ignoring the importance of having a mobile friendly website can be a serious mistake for your business.

2. It is expected

Today’s digitally savvy customers are attracted towards brands that stay up to date with the latest trends. Those business websites that haven’t been updated for a long time, in terms of design and in content, may come across as stale and drive users away.

3. User Friendly

Your business website should not take more than two seconds to load, no matter what you sell.

4. Social Media Shares

It is important to pay attention to social media shares. Your social media shares should always look great.

5. Use an Easy-on-the-Eyes Design

Stay clear from a visual bombardment. Your website should look flawless, while still being readable.

6. Improve Your Numbers

Another sign that your business website is in need of a revamp is if you are not seeing the business results you expect in sales. Having an outdated website is often times the culprit.

7. Make It Interesting

If you find that visitors to your website soon leave without making a purchase or reading the content, it’s time for a change in your website’s design. Nothing that an affordable website design can’t get you.

8. Your Website in the SERPs

If you can’t find your site on the search engine page, it’s time for tweaking the SEO of your page to make it more searchable.

9. Become an Authority

If you want to be viewed as an authority in your business niche in Minneapolis and St Paul in Minnesota, then why not hire the best website design service in the Twin Cities Socialthis.net.

10. All Your Competitors are doing it!

 

6 Indicators You Should Invest In Facebook Marketing

Marketing is one of the most important aspects of generating revenue for any business. Without it, there is no doubt that your company will struggle, and the ability to make a consistent profit will be drastically more difficult. However, there is a way to improve your company’s ability to market to prospective clients. One way to do this is via the internet, specifically, social media. Social media is a great way to showcase your brand and message to all prospective client’s because so many people from all over your town, city, and even the world can access you, allowing you to not only reach your current clients better but expand your client base and generate more revenue.

Below are 6 indicators you should invest in Facebook.

1. You need more customers

Reaching people on Facebook allows your brand to reach targeted demographic groups. Literally, you can target people who are 35 years old, like Justin Bieber, loved Obama, own a home, make over $50,000 a year and married…. It can be that specific. Do you know your target market?

2. Your Facebook Page Engagements Are Low

In the context of marketing, “engagement” refers to how many people are interacting with your brand, noticing your brand and care about your brand. Increase engagements over time can have a huge impact on not only your social engagement but on your sales funnel.

3. You’re not adding 50 new Facebook pages likes each month. 

Facebook friends are a good indicator of just how much attention your company is getting. If likes are low, consider bumping it up, or boosting posts. The more Facebook friends you have, the cheaper it is to advertise organically on Facebook. Think of it like having a huge email database, but the difference is, people who care about your brand, will interact with it.

5. Your Launching a New Marketing Campaign

If you launch a new marketing campaign, it would be a good idea to consider Facebook marketing to reach people. Facebook has captive users v.s TV or radio users who are not captive at all. For all you know they could be cooking while your ad is running. With Facebook, they are actually watching your promotional video or interacting directly with your brand.

6. You Want To Be Successful In Business

It sounds obvious, but if you haven’t realized that you need Facebook at this point, you’re missing the mark! Invest in Facebook marketing A.S.A.P., and give your business the online presence it needs to be successful in this digital world.

By Steven Brown

CEO of SocialThis! LLC