Tackling Your Website’s ADA Compliance Checklist

Making your website ADA compliant is a tricky and complicated task that’s recently become a hotly debated issue, but we here at IT Decisions are ready to help you get started and up to code!

What exactly is ADA Compliance and why do websites need it?

In a nutshell, ADA (the Americans with Disabilities Act) compliance is working through a general checklist of tasks and guidelines to make sure your website can be easily and freely accessed by visitors who are differently-abled, such as blind users who use audio narration software to read websites to them or deaf users who need closed captions because they can’t hear the embedded audio in videos. The goal is to ensure that anyone who comes to your site won’t be blocked from accessing any of the content or information by means of good, thoughtful design or alternative methods of accessing the content.

Do all websites have to be ADA compliant?

While the ADA guidelines are vague when it comes to website accessibility it’s become a “better safe than sorry” situation that every site owner should consider, especially if your site is for a government organization or a public service. If a lawsuit is filed that your website is not accessible, you can be accused of discrimination and held liable to the tune of thousands of dollars in damages and legal fees.

Don’t let the threat of a lawsuit make you think accessibility isn’t important on its own! An open and accessible internet for everyone is something all site owners and developers should strive for. When we build a site we make sure that many of these items are cleared right out of the box, like making sure that all images have alt text and every page has a clear heading.

ADA Compliant design is good design!

One of the best things about making your site ADA compliant is that it also results in a clean, usable site for everyone. It can even help boost your SEO rankings! Many of the tasks required to make a site ADA compliant overlap with the ones to make a site user and SEO-friendly, like adding helpful alt text to every important image and using headings to make your site more readable. Getting your site compliant with ADA would work hand in hand with a larger SEO strategy designed to make your site more usable and visible to Google and other search engines.

ITD Interactive has the tools needed to make your site ADA compliant

If your site is a little older it wouldn’t hurt to have it scanned to see what needs to be improved to make your site ADA compliant. Many of the guidelines are common to newer sites, like including closed captions in videos, but if your site was built before video content was common then that’s just one thing that will likely need to be addressed.

ITD Interactive specializes in making websites ADA compliant and we can help make sure your site is both safe from litigation but more importantly accessible to anyone who wants to check out your content.

We’re a local business in Johnson City, Tennessee, but we can scan and improve sites anywhere around the country since these guidelines are so universal.

Contact ITD Interactive today if you’d like us to look at your site to see what it would take to make your website fully ADA compliant.

 

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Online Reviews – Why They’re Important and How to Get Them

Any business owner knows good word-of-mouth reviews from happy customers are the key to organically building a great reputation that will result in more sales. But did you know getting good reviews online can also help make your website easier to find?

Reviews Boost Your Local SEO

Online Reviews Boost Local SEOGetting to the number one spot of Google is a real accomplishment but if you’re a local business with a brick and mortar location it isn’t going to do you much good for someone thousands of miles away to see your site first. That’s where local SEO comes in – increasing your site’s visibility specifically for your location so your site gets seen by real potential customers. You can boost your local SEO by keeping your social media pages up to date, customizing your content to include local keywords, claiming your business listing on Google, but most importantly for this topic is getting and featuring reviews of your business.

There are many places you can get online reviews depending on the kind of business you have: Yelp, Foursquare, UrbanSpoon, TripAdvisor, and many other review-centric sites. Two of the most important places to get reviews as a business owner in 2018 are Facebook and Google My Business.

Collecting reviews on your Google My Business is a crucial part of building local SEO. Google is the most used way of finding a local business and with proper maintenance and curation your Google My Business profile will appear right in the search results. A profile with complete, accurate information and a great review score will really make you stand out.

Facebook is another good spot to encourage reviews and discussion with your customers. It’s still the most widely-used social network and most people have become accustomed to searching for local businesses on it to look for photos, reviews and customer comments. Being active on your page will create an easy way for potential customers to find you and ask questions that might make them more likely to walk through the doors.

Feature Your Positive Reviews

If you get an especially glowing review that’s worth featuring, you should consider setting up a Testimonials page on your website. You can collect the most positive reviews you think accurately reflect your business to further boost your on-site SEO. Remember to include a link back to the review itself so your users can see the rest of the reviews as well!

Reward Satisfied Customers for Leaving Reviews

Strategies to Boost Online ReviewsWhile you can’t outright buy positive Google reviews without getting punished if/when Google finds out about it (and they will), you can absolutely encourage your satisfied customers to consider leaving you a review with a reward system. One method you can use is to stock up on gift cards for Starbucks and tell your customers that you’ll be drawing a random winner every week from your new reviews to decide who wins one. Sometimes all it takes is a cup of coffee to convince someone to share their positive experience with others!

Resist the Urge to Fight Back

There’s nothing more discouraging and frustrating than a negative review that’s right out in the open for all to see. As mean and nasty as an anonymous reviewer may be, always be the bigger person and don’t take the bait to get into a war of words. These scuffles can quickly get out of control and as Barbara Streisand can tell you, trying to hide something on the internet tends to make matters worse. Engage with your negative reviewers in a positive, helpful way and show potential customers that you’re willing to own mistakes and make them right. While this might not have a direct effect on SEO, it’s a good practice to keep in mind.

If you’re interested in learning more about local SEO, set up a consultation with ITD Interactive today! We’ll discuss your business model with you and find the best way to increase your bottom line.

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