Every visitor to your site needs to have a positive experience with your business, and by every visitor I mean people who may have disabilities or come from Norfolk. Here are 6 ways to make your website more accessible to all visitors…

1. Tagging your photos

Google is pretty smart, but not quite smart enough to be able to decipher pictures into screen readers (watch this space…) so always add Alt text to your images. The Alt tag add a description to your images to help people who use screen readers know what’s on there. The Americans with Disabilities Act dictates that all images must have an alt tag. You can also stuff your alt text with spammy keywords if you like. Or do it properly and describe the image in detail – n.b. some of that description could include a keyword for SEO purposes 😉

2. Speed your site up by putting it on a diet

Smaller files and images help your website to load faster. The faster your website loads, the more chance you are of having people with the attention span of around 0.3 seconds (also known as Teenagers)  waiting to see whats on there. Also, search engines actively rank fast loading site higher up in their results. I always triple process my images, because I’m like that, with:

  1. Save the image from Photoshop using Save for Web
  2. Process the image with ImageOptim on the desktop
  3. Process all images loaded to my (WordPress) site with either Smush or Robin Image Optimiser.

I also try not to load images to my site larger than 800px wide, unless they are for full width background images.

3. Standardise your downloadable files.

PDF files are universally readable, WordPerfect or PPX files are not. In fact there is evidence to suggest that the Dead Sea Scrolls were PDFs. Use files everyone can read and you’ll be ok.

4. Accessible Navigation

Make your website straightforward and simple so people can follow it, not get confused and frustrated because it’s not obvious where they can go on your site. Personally I hate those big mega menus that are a web page in themselves with 21,000 links with images, forms and maps on them. KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) and stick to only what you need to help people get around your site.

5. Label your form elements

Add a label to your form elements, not just placeholder, to make it easier to see what is supposed to go in each field. I don’t do this on my sites and I know I should, but my site, my rules, ok?

6. Give a Clear Call to Action

Make it obvious to visitors what your intended action for them is. A nice big button with ‘BUY NOW’ or “BOOK YOUR FREE TRIAL” puts visitors in the mindset that they are going to do something on your site. Clearly and simply defined and signposted goals make conversions a breeze and usually a site with no clear direction is a site with very poor conversions.

And there you have it folks – follow these steps and you will have a website that’s not only more accessible to every visitor, but more likely to bring you more leads and customers too!

5 Ways to make your website accessible