Will Your Studio Website Get Lost in 2019? These 3 Changes are Essential.
Happy New Year!
Is your website ready for 2019? Things change so fast online that it can be hard to keep up.
Today’s post contains the 3 things you must do to be sure your website is 2019-ready. These changes are absolutely essential if you want your website to continue to work well for you.
Everything on this list can be checked quickly, so let’s dive in and bring your website up to speed for the new year.
1. Make Your Website Secure
Google takes website security very seriously. So seriously, in fact, that Google Chrome now alerts you when you visit a website that’s not secure. It looks like this:
If this appears on your website, it means that you website visitor’s information may be viewed by another party when they share information on that website - such as in a lesson inquiry form.
Definitely not what you want on your website.
To fix this, you need an SSL certificate on your website.
If you have a fairly basic website (most of us probably do), you can get a free SSL certificate from Let’s Enrypt. If you have a larger, more complex website, this article will guide you through purchasing and installing one.
If you’re a Squarespace user, it’s super easy to be sure your site is secure. Go to “settings” → “security and SSL” → check both “secure (preferred)” and “HSTS secure.”
If you’ve recently built your website on Squarespace, you don’t have to do a thing; Squarespace has automatically made your website secure.
Have I mentioned recently how much I love Squarespace for music studio websites??
Here’s how your secure website URL will look:
The “https” part of your URL indicates that your website is now secure.
2. Make Your Website Mobile-Responsive
Google is making a huge priority of mobile-responsiveness in 2019.
You can’t afford to NOT have a mobile-responsive website anymore. It will hurt your search rankings, regardless of how much work you’ve put into your SEO.
Not sure if your website is mobile-friendly? Use Google’s quick, handy test.
Hopefully you’ll see something like this:
If not, you’ll want to immediately make your website mobile-responsive. This article by HostGator provides a thorough guide for doing that.
Another shameless plug for Squarespace: all of their templates are mobile-responsive, and it’s super easy to see how your website will look on a phone (or tablet) as you are building or editing.
3. Bring Your Website Up to Speed (literally)
We’ve preached a loud message about having great photos on your website. Images are everything when helping a parent imagine their child in your studio.
However, photos can drag your website loading speed down to a crawl - which ensures that parents are likely to never see them. We are fairly impatient with website loading times these days, and will usually leave a website if it hasn’t loaded within the first few seconds.
Here’s the inside scoop on how we build a fast website:
1. When preparing photos for a studio website, we reduce all image sizes to 1500 pixels wide and export them from our photo editing program as a .jpg file.
2. We run the photos through a brilliant little tool called JPEG Mini.
This tool quickly reduces the file size while maintaining the integrity of your image. It’s one of our favorite secret weapons for ensuring fast website load times.
Be careful about videos, as well. They are space hogs and will drag down the speed of your load time. While a gallery of 10 student performance videos may showcase your student talent nicely, it will create a hugely negative impact on the speed of your website.
It’s better to showcase just one student performance and create a YouTube channel for the rest (which you can link to your website, of course).
Your website is ready to represent your studio in 2019! Congratulations; you look like a website pro.