15 Reasons to Perform a Website Audit 

reasons to perform website audit

It’s important to perform a website audit on a regular basis, particularly before a major website redesign. Evaluating your website can help determine if it's optimized to meet your goals, and for you to find ways to improve your website's performance.

If this is your first time or if it's been a long time since you've done website evaluation, seek out the help of a professional (an individual or a team) who has the technical know-how to execute this process effectively.

What are the benefits?

One of the main benefits of a site audit is achieving increased website performance. Generally, this is the ultimate goal for both technical and content aspects. A website evaluation allows you to check the strength of your site's technical framework, asses if it is search-engine-friendly and can be easily navigated by visitors.

An audit also allows you to enhance your SEO by identifying overlooked SEO opportunities, remedying poorly executed SEO practices throughout your site's content, and re-focusing your SEO strategy to put your site visitors first before the search engines. This protects your site by minimizing the impact of the constantly changing search engine algorithm.

Also consider reassessing your site's lead generation and conversion rates during evaluation. This will help you to identify overlooked opportunities to convert site visitors into leads. Remember to include relevant call to action statements and pinpoint deficiencies in landing pages to improve conversions.

Why do you need a website audit?

Below are 15 reasons why auditing your website is important.

(1) The internet is ever-evolving and, so are the standards.

(2) Change in best practices, software, device compatibility occur quickly online. Your site should be able to handle and adapt to these changes.

(3) It can help you find the probable cause as to why your site is not converting visitors into customers.

(4) You can derive insights from analysis reports with regards to how well the graphics are optimized.  You can also get insights into consumer behavior that could affect your strategic plan.

(5) Analysis reports provide insight on your website traffic rank (i.e. increase or decrease of site visitors), search percentages, and bounce rates, showing the popularity of content on your site.

(6) You have a basis for modifying your site's components that impede performance.

(7) Using the traffic report that your site audit has generated, check where your traffic is coming from and which keywords are being used by visitors to land on your site.

(8) You'll be able to identify and repair broken links which are affecting your site's functionality.

(9) HTML errors, that present website pages incorrectly on browsers, can be identified and fixed.

(10) The analysis can provide a review of how/why your site is too slow.

(11) Erroneous page output is often caused by incorrect character setting and this can be identified and fixed during the audit.

(12) Ensuring that your site contains 'link juice' is another reason for performing site evaluation. It checks link juice flow to pages which helps in achieving optimum search engine ranking.

(13) Download time is often impacted by the size of your website, so an audit is necessary to also achieve optimized bandwidth usage.

(14) You can also check if website security has been compromised via security audit. This requires the use of a server and security testing software.

(15) Human error such as duplicate input of page titles and metadescriptions can be checked and fixed during an audit.

There are still many other reasons to perform a site audit to ensure that yours is secure, safe to users, and compliant to all the applicable standards. However, as mentioned, you will need the expertise of a professional company that offers this type of service.

Fast Track has been performing website audits for our customers for years, and we'd love to provide the same service to you. Contact us today and let's get started.

View User Profile for Crista McCandless Crista is a self-proclaimed geek who loves fiction, data analysis, growth hacking and everything Tolkien. At Fast Track, she helps businesses identify areas to improve and grow online with her ninja moves. She manages the digital strategy, including online marketing and search engine optimization. Follow her musings about world domination in Twitter as @crista_mcc.
Posted by Crista McCandless Monday, April 27, 2015 12:10:00 PM Categories: B2B B2C Google Analytics SEO small business tips SMB web trends website

7 Qualities to Look for When Hiring a Web Support Team 

web support team

Hiring a remote team of web developers and designers is the norm. Many small to medium online businesses go this route because of two major reasons: cost and efficiency.

Let's face it, not every business owner knows how to develop a website from the ground up. Many of them are just starting to realize the benefits of having an online presence even with a brick-and-mortar store. There are those who are just learning how to use the internet for their businesses –that’s why it’s the perfect opportunity for outsourced web support teams to provide their expert services.

One of the best solutions is to use one or a few of the numerous tools and apps available that allow remote teams to work cohesively.

However, it is the selection process that poses a lot of challenges. If you’re having this dilemma, here are seven qualities that every business owner should look for in an outsourced web support team.

(1) Expertise

In your quest for accelerated business success, it is important to find and partner with a web support team that is backed with years of experience. Since web development, design and optimization are crucial in meeting your business goals, this team should possess professionalism, expert knowledge, and skills. Teams are also expected to be up-to-date and in line with the latest web development and design trends.

(2) Fast turnaround time

Look for outsourced web support teams with short work cycles. This gives both parties the opportunity to take a peak of the website in action. Web support companies usually have outsourced people in different corners of the globe, making it possible to complete web projects in the shortest amount of time.

(3) Range of quality services

Typically for outsourced web development and design teams provide a wide range of skills and expertise. You’ll l find quality web services that include development, design, hosting, quality assurance and testing, site maintenance and audit, support, software design, and business analysis, just to name a few.

(4) Cost-effective rates

A combination of flexible rates and packaged fees are predominant among web support companies. This allows clients from various industries with varying budgets to avail of the services they can afford. If you belong to the small to medium businesses group, there will always be a type of service package that's suitable for your budget.

(5) Flexible options

Another quality that benefits online businesses is the flexibility of web support providers. They offer several options with regards to payment schedule, and team assignment. You can even request for a specific team or individuals to consistently work for you.

(6) Effective communication

Communication is a top priority among remote web support teams since it fosters trust, credibility, and coordination among team members and their respective clients. Good teams utilize all communication channels to support both internal and external needs of clients and their projects. Among the best practices involve proper documentation and relay of information such as project status, time spent, issues and resolutions, among others.

(7) Great customer service

Of course, any company - whether online or offline - should always aim for great customer service. Those handling this department should be able to address both technical and non-technical inquiries of clients, as well as deliver accurate and swift information from web support to client.

Are you looking for a web support team to help drive your online business ahead of the competition?

Fast Track offers a wide range of web services to Fortune 50 companies since 1999. Get in touch with us and let's begin this journey.

View User Profile for Shirish Sharma Shirish Sharma is a Project and Account Manager for Fast Track, Seattle, handling multiple Microsoft accounts. Shirish is a proactive, energetic, detail-oriented and versatile technical project manager with more than ten years' experience. He has successfully delivered high-quality Microsoft projects and has vast experience in software development life cycle. He holds a B.E. in Computer Technology from Nagpur University in Nagpur, India and a PG Diploma in Advanced Computing from the CDAC (Infoway Technologies) in Pune, India. Follow Shirish on Twitter as @ShirishTweets.

6 Key Factors to Look for in Small Business Website Solution 

small business website solution

If you are thinking of taking your small business or company to the next level, it's best to have a website where people in various places can find you.  But there's always this fear of spending a lot of money on website development and design which deters many starting businesses to do so.

Aside from understanding the process that go with website development, a small business owner always has low-cost options to choose from. By searching the web for small business website solutions, you'll be able to see a myriad of sites offering this service.

To help you discern which company will best fit your needs, here's a list of factors to look for:

(1) Has great, experienced web designers on-board

Many of today's web solution providers have outsourced remote teams of web designers who are not just skilled, but also have years of experience and extensive portfolio. Don't be surprised if you'll find web designers who have worked with various companies on and off the internet. Many small website solutions also employ the expertise of freelancers and remote professionals because of their flexibility, cost-effectiveness, and experience to working with clients in various industries.

(2) Uses the best open source tools

One of the reasons why open source tools are more widely used today is the flexibility they provide to both the providers and their clients. These tools are also often supported by a robust community of engineers, designers and developers.

It’s easier to customize a website, or a portion of it, without being tied to a very strict, and sometimes limited, platform. You have total control over your website when using open source tools. It also allows providers to lower their costs, making their web design and development services more attractive to clients and more lucrative for them.

(3) Offers customizable web solutions

A customized website is necessary to meet your business' needs, so you'll be able to build your brand and attract potential customers. However, a good-looking website and great products or services are not always enough to generate sales. You'll need the help of small business website solutions provider to help you deal with the other aspects such as marketing and all other technical tasks at the back end.

(4) Offers cost-effective web solutions

Web services that offer social media marketing, content management, search engine optimization, hosting, and support are very valuable for small businesses. Often times you'll find owners who do not know where to begin when it comes to these web solutions.

Providers offering such services at reasonable prices tends to get more small-to-medium businesses as clients since they know what their clients need and can afford. You may also encounter pricing structures based on your budget, making it easier and faster for you to take your business one step further.

(5) Has proper communication channels

Coordination and communication are essential in developing your website. There should be a clear indication that this is present within the provider's side and with yours.

A cluttered team of developers, designers and marketers are not the ideal people to work with and it's possible that their communication channels are also problematic. You'd want a small business website solution that's delivered to you seamlessly. It can only be done if communication is constantly smooth within their team and with you.

Having an interactive customer chat box is just one way to initiate a possible exchange. An actual contact page for sending email messages right away is another direct communication channel with customer and provider. And of course, there are details about their office numbers, physical address, and email address.

(6) Provides great customer support

Great customer support is essential for any business. With regards to web solution providers, their customer support team should be able to provide the much-needed information that customers need from the moment they touch down on their homepage. During the course of a website development or other on-going services, their customer service representatives should be able to address any customer inquiry in a short amount of time. Much better if the support is given on a real-time basis or at least within 24 hours.

Do you need small business website solution? Talk to us and we'll help you take your business onto the next step and beyond.

View User Profile for Power Site Power Site is subsidiary of Fast Track. It's a robust, customizable website solution package especially developed to help small businesses how to leverage their website as a marketing tool. Follow Power Site on Twitter as @FTPowerSite.
Posted by Power Site Friday, March 27, 2015 10:16:00 AM Categories: B2B B2C small business tips SMB web trends website

6 eCommerce Website Design Trends to Watch Out For 

ecommerce flat design

The predominant use of mobile devices is one of the factors that drive mobile-friendly eCommerce web design to become a necessity, rather than just a 'fringe' benefit to online sellers and users. With the prominence of mobile devices and users, it is easy to assume that the latest eCommerce web design trends are based on this premise.

Here's a list of eCommerce website design trends we've seen so far:

(1) Responsive design for both mobile device and large screens

While mobile devices may have a direct impact on responsive web design, it's important to design for larger screens as well. This allows further flexibility and more visual impact, particularly for users of widescreen devices such as smart TVs and desktop computers.

Responsive design also enables eCommerce sites to showcase more visually appealing products and use compelling layouts to optimize the design for better user experience and, possibly, higher conversions.

(2)  Hidden menus

Hidden menus are the norm, particularly for mobile devices. This de-clutters the user's view especially when browsing a site using a smaller screen. For eCommerce sites, a hidden menu is essential for showcasing visually appealing products. Whether you're site is optimized for mobile or widescreen computers, using a hidden menu can provide ease and clutter-free navigation for your customers.

(3) Large images

The main goal of eCommerce websites is to sell products. The best products should be presented well and this can only be done by using high-quality images that will catch the attention of customers.

Today, we see a rise in the use of large images, ranging from product photos to site headers and backgrounds. It's more than just a 'wow' factor to use large images in various pages of a website. Visually striking images can cause a stir in a positive way, especially for online sellers of colorful goods. This also means having great product photos to use in order for the images to pop and capture full attention of customers; thus, helping to sell more.  

Don't be surprised to find features and enhancement for image on product pages such as tilting capabilities and 360-degree rotation tools. While the use of 'zoom' feature is still predominant, it actually takes a bit of time for the user to do so; whereas large images are ready for viewing with ease.

(4) Large, flexible typography

Along with large images is large, flexible typography which works very well with responsive design. Many eCommerce sites are now using large typography for added visual impact and customer engagement. Going big and bold with typography is on the rise, but it should also be done with respect to responsiveness to ensure the flow of text works well for both small and large screens.

(5) Tiled navigation

Tiled navigation with great imagery is more appealing to customers, and it’s becoming more and more popular among eCommerce websites.

Tiled navigation offers a preview of each product listed on a single page - making it easier for customers to see more of what you're selling without navigating away from a page. Think of window shopping done online and in a matter of minutes. Higher customer engagement and click throughs are more feasible, especially with the use of high-quality product images and well-written descriptions.

(6) Video content

Video content involves the use of popular platforms such as Vevo and YouTube embedded onto product pages to demonstrate or discuss specific items to customers. Such video platforms are also used for marketing purposes to attract more customers.

PayPal's homepage is a good example of using video content as background. There's a bit of text that mentions the benefits of using PayPal, but we see real people at work or doing business which depicts the typical PayPal user.

The elements of a proper eCommerce website design can help you to sell more, especially if done right and with the future in mind. If your eCommerce site is lagging behind in terms of design and usability, maybe it's time to update it to meet the demands of your customers.

We can help you make an eCommerce website that's both trendy and ready. Get in touch with us today!

View User Profile for
Posted by Tuesday, March 10, 2015 6:28:00 PM Categories: B2B B2C SMB web design web trends

Website Custom Development: Why Businesses Need It and What Benefits Do They Have 

website custom development

Today's business owners understand the need for an online presence. Whether online or brick-and-mortar, it’s important to connect to its target audience in order to attract more customers.

In order for a business to have online presence, it’s important to have a website that's strategically built in terms of what it offers to consumers. Some small businesses will only have a Facebook Page and/or Twitter account. They don't have real .COM websites, but blogs hosted by either WordPress or BlogSpot.

If you haven't been able to put up a website, now is the time it. But, it should be a customized site to better represent your business. Here are some of the main reasons why your business needs a full .COM site:

  • A customized website gives your business a unique look and the design represents your brand. This may consist of a custom-made logo, color scheme, features and user-friendly interface in which a website custom development provider can do for you.
  • With your target customers in mind, you and your design/development provider can create a simple and easy to understand site structure.
  • A fast turnaround time is always possible with an outsourced web development provider. They are able to provide a dedicated team to build your site within a specific time frame, so you can provide the web pages your target customers are searching for.
  • It's less likely that you'll see a similar or duplicate site design. This allows you to give a good impression and unique experience to your site visitors.
  • You can always add and update your site's features as your business grows.
  • You can also save on costs since most web development companies operate online - which means you don't need to call them often via phone, no commuting or gas expenses, and their overhead costs are fairly low. The key is proper communication, so the development team knows exactly what you need and what they have to do, based on your requirements.

Among the major reasons why businesses fail to have a .COM website is the cost. However, in this day and age, it's important to have a site that caters to both the needs of the business and its customers. That's why a website custom development is the best solution to meet these needs and to make a mark in a specific industry.
The competitive nature of being found online is reason enough to delve into outsourced web development. The cost of having a great website is no longer too expensive even for a small business because there are many providers such as Fast Track who are offering competitive prices based on the type of work required.

In your search for website custom development provider, you'll find that there are a lot of solutions that have great features that can benefit small to medium businesses. When you’re looking for a solutions provider, look for the following:

  1. A customized website comes with custom features and design. Based on your agreement, the developer/designer will be able to match your specific needs and vision for the site.
  2. Free services included when you work with a website custom development team. These vary per provider, so make sure to ask if anything for free is included in your agreed package.
  3. A cost-effective customized website because you pay for the services rendered and not for tools - which they already have.
  4. Support services. These are likened to after-sales services which you can avail of especially in time of need.
  5. A developer that can help you meet the requirements of your business.
  6. You work together with a tenured team or individual who knows how to implement your ideas and goals for the website. This happens when there's constant communication, proper planning, and coordination.

Outsourced web development and design is the beginning of your business's online journey. Providers such as Fast Track can help to give you a better understanding of where and when to begin, and how this project can take your business to the next level. Consider these benefits and your needs when speaking to the web development team in order to achieve a smooth process throughout the project.

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