Updating a website is no longer as simple as hopping onto WordPress and making occasional text changes.

In this world of SEO, structured data and website security, even WordPress websites that once were very user-friendly have gotten more complicated. These complications are for good reason, though, and there are things you can — should — do now to protect your website investment.

Boost your speed. There are a number of things you can do behind the scenes to make your small business website faster for your users, and many of them are just a matter of making simple tweaks. Run a speed test of your site using a service like GTMetrix, which will grade your site and offer suggestions for improving speed.

Run a mobile-friendly test. Mobile is where it’s at these days. So far this year, more than half of website visits worldwide have been done via mobile devices. Does your small business website function well on mobile? Google has a simple test for that. After putting your site through its paces, Google will offer some mobile optimization advice for improving your site’s mobile experience — important for the tech-savvy folks in Whatcom County.

Add an SSL certificate for site security. There’s never been a reason NOT to do this, to be honest, but nowadays it’s becoming more of a necessity. Internet browsers such as Google Chrome, Internet Explorer and Safari show warnings for sites that are not secure, and visitors might steer clear of your site if they’re afraid their connection is not safe. Most website hosting providers offer a free basic SSL certificate, which is all that most websites will need.

Add structured data. Follow these guidelines from Google to add structured data to your site to help search engines make more sense of what’s on your page. If your website is on WordPress, plugins are available to make these tasks easier, including the Jobs for WordPress plugin, which will allow Google to find your open jobs and list them in its job search page. Using structured data is basically like holding a search engine’s hand and making it easier to digest the information on your website. That’s a good thing.

Add a blog to an HTML site. Did you know that you can use WordPress to add a fully featured blog page to an existing HTML site? PRC recently did that for Bellingham Cold Storage. Their site is built in HTML, with the exception of the News page, which is — now — entirely hosted in WordPress. Adding a blog page to an HTML site is a wonderful way of capitalizing on the SEO benefits of regular blogging — and they are many! — without having to re-create your entire site.

If you need help with any of these steps, remember that PR Consulting in Bellingham, WA is here to help. Reach out to us for website tech support at 360-305-3720, ext. 2, or matthew@pattirowlson.com.

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