Congrats! You have a new website. After your new website has been born, there are things you need to do. (Don’t worry, it’s not as hard as caring for a new baby or puppy).
I’ve set you up for success, and keeping the momentum going isn’t complicated, but it may require developing some new habits from the get-go. Please do these four things in order to keep your website (and me, and Google) happy.
Add alt text to every new image
Every single time you add a new image to your website, add alt text. As soon as you upload the image, WordPress will show an Alt Text field. The alt text should describe the purpose of the image to someone who is visually impaired or using a screen reader. If somebody could not see this image, what would you say about it in a short sentence? It might be: “Illustration of a pencil” or “Picture of Jill developing a website.” Keywords are nice as long as it’s actually describing the image. If it’s a purely decorative image, a border or divider—something that gives no content to somebody who couldn’t see—you can leave it blank. Adding alt text is good for accessibility and SEO!
Use headings in the right order
Headings are great! I love headings. But they need to be used in the right sequence. H1 should be the title of the page or the post. There should only be one H1 per page. This means if you’re creating a page, you will start with an H2 heading for the page’s content. Then you can use H3, H4, H5 and H6. If you start a new section on the page, you can go back to H2. Then H3. Then H4., etc. Don’t use these headings based on style; use them structurally. Do not skip around. If you don’t like the style of your headings when used in order, have your developer update them in a way that works for you aesthetically. If you go from H6, to H2, to H4, it will make me cry—but also, it can hurt your SEO and accessibility. We want all sites to be accessible, and when somebody with visual impairment is using assisted technology, they rely on the headings to be in the right order. If you skip around, it will mess with how consumable the content is.
Resize your images before you upload them
When it comes to file size (not resolution), you want your images to be as small as possible so you can optimize your WordPress website for page speed. Most of the time, you don’t need the 3MB extra large image! Being conscious of image size ensures that your site will continue to load quickly for your viewers. If this freaks you out, make sure you’re using an image optimization plugin like ShortPixel and Imagify. They will do it for you.
Keep your website up to date. WordPress and all your plugins need to stay current or you could face security issues or have the website stop functioning properly down the road. While it doesn’t have to be me doing your quarterly website maintenance, it has to be somebody! (Preferably somebody who is informed about WordPress, the latest web regulations and ADA standards.)
Why do all of this? Because I said so. 🙂 And because it will keep your website healthy, ensure continued accessibility, and make Google happy.