Essential Website Accessibility Tips for Nonprofit Success

Essential Website Accessibility Tips for Nonprofit Success

Essential Website Accessibility Tips for Nonprofit Success

This is an additional resource for Digital Marketing Therapy Podcast episode 257 with Max Ivey.

As a website owner, you want everyone to access your content. This includes individuals with disabilities who may face barriers when navigating websites that aren’t designed with accessibility in mind. This is where website accessibility tips come into play. Implementing these website accessibility tips can lead to a better user experience for all visitors. It also helps you comply with accessibility standards and guidelines.

Table of Contents:

What Does Website Accessibility Mean?

Website accessibility refers to the practice of designing and developing websites everyone can use, including people with disabilities. This means ensuring your website can be navigated and understood regardless of a person’s physical limitations or disabilities. There are four key principles that form the foundation of website accessibility: Perceivable, Operable, Understandable and Robust (POUR).

The Four Principles of Accessibility

Perceivable

Information and user interface components must be presentable to users in ways they can perceive. This means avoiding elements that exclude some of your users. For example, a person with a visual impairment might utilize a screen reader to access and navigate your website. If your website relies heavily on visual elements without text alternatives, those users would be excluded from accessing the content.

Operable

This principle centers around functionality. It ensures users with disabilities can interact with all elements on the page. Additionally, all functionality should be available from a keyboard.

Understandable

Making content easy to understand is vital to an accessible website. To achieve this, avoid ambiguous language. You should also ensure consistency in your navigation, provide clear instructions, and use headers to distinguish page structure.

Robust

Content must be robust enough that various user agents, including assistive technologies, can interpret it reliably. A variety of assistive technology devices, such as screen readers, are used to access and navigate websites.

Website Accessibility Tips

Now that you understand the importance of incorporating website accessibility best practices into your design process let’s explore some specific website accessibility tips. These tips will improve the overall user experience on your site for individuals with disabilities.

1. Include Alt Text for Images

Imagine not fully experiencing the visuals that make websites appealing. For people with visual impairments, this is a daily reality. That’s where alt text, a cornerstone of web accessibility, comes in.

Alt text involves adding a concise, descriptive text alternative to every image on your site. This text alternative isn’t visible to regular visitors. However, screen readers used by people who are blind or have low vision read it aloud. Image alt text should be simple and descriptive. If the image is only decorative, you can leave it blank.

2. Provide Captions and Transcripts for Videos and Audio Content

Creating an inclusive website isn’t just about visual accessibility; it also includes the audio component of user experience. If your site features videos or audio content, such as podcasts or webinars, accompany them with accurate captions and transcripts.

Adding captions to videos makes it easier for viewers to follow spoken content. This is especially helpful if they are in a noisy environment, have a slow internet connection, or are unfamiliar with the video’s language. Closed captions (CC) are captions that viewers can turn on and off.

In many cases, such as live broadcasts or user-generated content, closed captions aren’t available right away. If available, it is computer-generated and might contain inaccuracies. Open Captions, on the other hand, cannot be turned off because they are part of the video.

Think about watching a TED Talk. You might be surprised that captions are vital for many viewers to absorb and enjoy such content. Captions are non-negotiable for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to access information. This makes your content inclusive to a wider audience.

3. Ensure Your Website Has a Logical and Consistent Structure

Imagine navigating a library with no signage or an airport with scrambled departure boards. This chaotic and confusing experience is similar to what users who use assistive technologies experience when websites lack logical structure and predictable navigation flow.

A well-structured website isn’t just visually pleasing—it’s crucial for accessibility. Use a logical hierarchy for headings and subheadings (H1-H6) to break up your content into digestible chunks, providing context to assistive technologies about page structure.

You want to create an easy-to-follow path for all your visitors, guiding them smoothly through your content, regardless of their abilities. Stick to familiar layout conventions, like having the main navigation bar prominently placed at the top and keeping consistent placement for essential elements. For larger websites, a sitemap can be significant for all users.

This is crucial for visually impaired users, who may find it more difficult to grasp a website’s layout. A sitemap improves overall usability, regardless of whether a visitor requires assistive technology or not.

4. Ensure Your Website is Keyboard-Friendly

In a world increasingly driven by mouse clicks and touchscreens, we take for granted the keyboard’s essential role in making the web universally accessible. Not every user can easily operate a mouse, particularly those with mobility impairments.

Ensuring your website is navigable using only a keyboard isn’t an extra feature—it’s imperative for accessibility. Put yourself in the shoes of someone using a mouth stick, voice-controlled software, or a switch device to navigate the internet.

A website accessibility tip every website owner can implement is to test their website’s navigation using only their keyboard. Go through pages and forms, noticing if any element isn’t accessible with a simple tab keystroke. Pay special attention to interactive elements like drop-down menus, buttons, and links. Confirm they receive a visible focus indicator (usually a highlight or border) when selected using the tab key. If a visitor can do something with a mouse, they should also do it using their keyboard.

5. Write Descriptive and Informative Link Text

Think of link text as signposts that tell you where you’ll go next on your digital journey. However, for visually impaired users, those signposts can feel more like dead ends without clear and informative anchor text.

Avoid generic phrases like “Click here” or “read more.” Instead, use text that clearly conveys the link’s purpose. This specificity provides valuable context to your users—especially those relying on screen readers. For example, instead of:

To view our current services, click here.

You would write:

Learn more about our services.

6. Avoid Using Color as the Sole Method of Conveying Information

You probably enjoy using vibrant hues in your website design. But colors alone can’t tell the full story, especially when catering to users with disabilities. While strategic color use is integral to design, it’s crucial to recognize that color perception varies greatly among individuals. Those with low vision or color blindness might perceive or distinguish certain colors differently. Relying solely on color cues can inadvertently create barriers, particularly with interactive elements.

Website accessibility best practices aren’t about draining the vibrancy out of your designs; they’re about fostering inclusion for everyone. Consider complementing your color choices with alternative visual cues whenever possible. If you’re using color to highlight required form fields, reinforce it by placing an asterisk next to the label.

7. Avoid Automatic Media and Animations

Auto-playing media and animations might seem like they’re adding flair to your site. However, to users with disabilities, such as cognitive differences or vestibular disorders, they can be more disruptive than delightful. For some users, motion can trigger dizziness, nausea, or even seizures. Website accessibility tips we haven’t even considered are crucial in such cases.

A website accessibility tip that any site owner can incorporate today is to always provide controls to stop, pause, or adjust the volume for any animations. You can include an option to turn off animations completely if a user desires.

Conclusion

These website accessibility tips should be combined with thorough testing, seeking feedback from users with disabilities, and continuously staying informed about evolving best practices for accessibility on websites. By implementing these website accessibility tips, you contribute to a more welcoming and accessible web for everyone. After all, an inclusive online world benefits everybody.

Boost Your SEO with a Winning Keyword Strategy

Boost Your SEO with a Winning Keyword Strategy

Boost Your SEO with a Winning Keyword Strategy

This is an additional resource for Digital Marketing Therapy Podcast episode 250 with John Gumas

I’m guessing you’re here because you’re ready to uncover the secrets of a winning SEO keyword strategy. As an SEO veteran who’s been in the game for years, I can tell you that a well-crafted keyword plan is the difference between online success and being lost in the digital abyss.

But here’s the thing: it’s not just about stuffing your content with random keywords and hoping for the best. Nope, a winning SEO keyword strategy is all about understanding your audience, knowing your niche, and picking the right keywords that’ll get you in front of the right people at the right time.

Buckle up, because we’re about to take your SEO strategy to new heights and send your traffic through the roof. Are you ready?

Table of Contents:

Crafting Your SEO Keyword Strategy: A Beginner’s Guide

If you want to get found online, you need to know what your audience is searching for. That’s where keyword research comes in. But it’s not just about stuffing your content with popular keywords. You need a solid keyword strategy that aligns with your audience’s search intent.

Understanding Search Intent and Its Importance

Search intent is the why behind the query. Are people looking to buy, learn, or find a specific website? Understanding search intent is crucial for SEO success. If your content doesn’t match what users are looking for, it won’t rank well – no matter how many keywords you use. For example, let’s say you sell organic dog food. You might think “dog food” is a great keyword to target. But if someone searches for “homemade dog food recipes,” they’re not looking to buy from you (at least not yet). They want information, not products. On the flip side, a keyword like “buy organic dog food” shows clear commercial intent. Targeting that keyword with a product page could lead to more conversions.

The Art of Choosing the Right Keywords

So how do you choose the right SEO keywords for your content? Start by putting yourself in your target audience’s shoes. What words or phrases would they use to find what you offer? Don’t just go for the most popular keywords. Long-tail keywords – longer, more specific phrases – can be incredibly valuable. They might have lower search volume, but they attract more qualified traffic. For instance, “best organic dog food for puppies” will bring in fewer searches than “dog food.” But the people searching for it are much more likely to be in buying mode. Plus, long-tail keywords are usually less competitive, so it’s easier to rank for them. Bottom line? Choose keywords that strike a balance between search volume, competition, and relevance to your business. Focus on search intent, and prioritize keywords that will bring in targeted traffic that’s likely to convert.

Leveraging Tools for SEO Success

You don’t have to go it alone when it comes to keyword research. There are tons of tools out there to help you find the best keywords for your SEO strategy. Two of my favorites? Google Keyword Planner and Rank Math.

Mastering Google Keyword Planner

If you’re running Google Ads, you already have access to this powerful tool. But even if you’re not, you can use it for organic keyword research. Just set up an Ads account (you don’t have to actually run any ads). What I love about Keyword Planner is the wealth of data it provides. You can see average monthly searches, competition level, and even suggested bid prices for keywords. It’s a great way to gauge the popularity and competitiveness of different keywords. For example, let’s plug in “organic dog food.” Keyword Planner shows us it gets 10K-100K monthly searches on average, with high competition. That tells us it’s a popular keyword, but it might be tough to rank for. Now let’s try “best organic dog food for puppies.” 100-1K monthly searches, low competition. Bingo. That long-tail keyword could be a great target for our content.

The Role of Rank Math in Keyword Optimization

Once you’ve settled on a keyword, Rank Math can help you optimize your content around it. It’s a WordPress plugin that gives you real-time feedback on your pages and posts. Rank Math analyzes your content’s readability, SEO-friendliness, and how well it’s optimized for your chosen focus keyphrase. It offers suggestions for improvement, like using your keyphrase in headings, alt text, and meta descriptions. With the paid version you can even unlock a whole lot of AI tools. Pro tip: Use Rank Math in tandem with Google Search Console. Search Console shows you which queries are bringing users to your site.

Advanced Keyword Strategies for Competitive Edge

Ready to level up your keyword strategy? Let’s talk about two advanced tactics: targeting long-tail keywords and optimizing for voice search.

The Power of Long-Tail Keywords in Niche Targeting

We touched on this earlier, but it bears repeating: long-tail keywords are your secret weapon for attracting qualified traffic. These longer, more specific phrases might not have the search volume of head terms, but they convert like crazy. Think about it. Someone searching for “shoes” could be looking for anything from stilettos to sneakers. But someone searching for “best trail running shoes for women” knows exactly what they want. If you sell trail running shoes and optimize for that keyword, you’re going to get highly targeted traffic that’s ready to buy. Long-tail keywords are also less competitive than shorter, more general terms. So even if you’re a small fish in a big pond, you can still rank for relevant long-tail searches.

Optimizing for Voice Search

With the rise of Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant, more and more people are using voice search. And the way we talk is different from the way we type. Voice searches tend to be longer, more conversational, and phrased as questions. For example, someone might type “best dog food for puppies.” But if they’re using voice search, they’re more likely to say something like “What’s the best dog food for puppies?” or “What should I feed my puppy?” To optimize for voice search, focus on long-tail keywords phrased as questions. Use natural, conversational language in your content. And aim to provide concise, direct answers to common questions related to your keywords. Pro tip: Featured snippets often get read aloud in voice search results. So optimizing for featured snippets can help you capture voice search traffic too.

Measuring Success and Adjusting Your Strategy

Congrats, you’ve implemented your keyword strategy. But the work doesn’t stop there. To really succeed with SEO, you need to continuously track your performance and tweak your approach.

Utilizing Google Search Console for Insights

Google Search Console is a free tool that shows you how your site is performing in search results. You can see which queries are driving traffic to your pages, what your average rankings are, and even how many clicks and impressions you’re getting. This data is gold for refining your keyword strategy. Look for queries you’re ranking well for, and consider targeting them more aggressively. See which pages are underperforming, and try optimizing them for different keywords. Search Console can also alert you to technical issues that might be hurting your SEO, like crawl errors or mobile usability problems. So it’s a must-have tool for any website owner.

Analyzing Conversion Rates to Fine-Tune Your Strategy

Traffic is great, but if it’s not converting, what’s the point? That’s why it’s crucial to track not just your rankings and clicks, but your conversion rates too. Use Google Analytics to see which pages and keywords are driving the most conversions. Those are the ones you want to focus on. If a page is getting tons of traffic but no conversions, that’s a red flag. It could mean you’re targeting the wrong keywords, or your content isn’t meeting users’ needs. On the flip side, a page with high conversions but low traffic is an opportunity. Try optimizing it for higher-volume keywords, or promoting it more heavily in your other marketing channels. Pro tip: Set up goal tracking in Google Analytics to measure conversions. That could be form submissions, phone calls, online orders, or whatever else matters to your business.

Engaging Your Audience Beyond Keywords

At the end of the day, SEO is about more than just keywords. It’s about creating content that resonates with your target audience and meets their needs. That’s what Google’s helpful content update is all about.

Crafting Content That Speaks to Your Audience

To create truly helpful content, you need to know your audience inside and out. What are their pain points? Their goals? Their interests? Use that knowledge to inform your content strategy. Let’s say you’re targeting the keyword “how to potty train a puppy.” Don’t just churn out a generic list of tips. Think about what your specific audience needs. Are they first-time puppy owners? Apartment dwellers? People with busy schedules? Tailor your content to their unique challenges and lifestyles. Maybe that means including a section on potty training in small spaces, or recommending products for when they can’t be home all day. The more specific and relevant you can be, the better.

The Role of Social Media in Amplifying Your SEO Efforts

Finally, don’t underestimate the power of social media for SEO. While social signals don’t directly impact rankings, they can indirectly boost your SEO efforts. How? By amplifying your content’s reach and generating more backlinks. The more people share your content on social media, the more likely it is to get in front of new audiences – and potential linkers. So make sure every piece of content you create has social sharing buttons. Encourage your followers to share with their networks. And don’t be afraid to promote your content multiple times, with different angles and calls-to-action. You can also use social media to engage directly with your audience. Ask for their feedback, answer their questions, and share their user-generated content. The more you can build a community around your brand, the more likely people are to link to and share your content. Pro tip: Use social listening tools to monitor mentions of your brand and keywords on social media. You might uncover valuable insights or opportunities to engage with potential customers.

Key Takeaway: 

To nail your SEO, know what folks are searching for and why. Choose keywords that match their intent, balancing popularity and competition. Don’t overlook long-tail keywords; they’re gold for targeted traffic. Use tools like Google Keyword Planner and Yoast SEO to find and optimize these gems.

FAQs in Relation to SEO Keyword Strategy

How do I optimize keywords for SEO?

Pick words your audience searches for. Use them in titles, headers, and throughout your content. Keep it natural.

How do I plan SEO keywords?

Analyze what competitors rank for. Then, identify gaps you can fill. Focus on long-tail keywords too.

What is a good keyword for SEO?

A solid choice has high search volume but low competition. It should match user intent closely.

What is keyword strategy for on-page SEO?

It involves using relevant keywords in the right places: title tags, meta descriptions, headings, and naturally within text.

Conclusion

Phew, we covered a lot of ground today! You now have the tools and know-how to create an SEO keyword strategy that’ll make your competitors green with envy. Remember, it’s all about understanding your audience, researching the right keywords, and weaving them naturally into your content.

But don’t just take my word for it – put these tips into action and watch your search rankings climb. And hey, if you ever feel stuck or need a little extra guidance, you know where to find me.

Now that you’re a keyword wizard, it’s time to take the search engines by storm. I have total faith in your ability to rise to the top. Onward and upward!

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