How Can You Make Your Amazing Web Content Accessible P

How Can You Make Your Amazing Web Content Accessible P

How do the Guidelines Require Accessibility for All

 

Increased scrutiny has made Web Accessibility a hot issue around the globe.  In the United States, law firms are aggressively suing businesses and institutions.  These claims say that their websites fail to satisfy both Title III of the American Disabilities Act and Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act.  

WCAG 2.0 had provided guidelines, rather than laws or regulations.  In the United States, Congress failed to enact any meaningful legislation to provide firm directions on how to proceed.  In the European Union they acted and passed the General Data Protection Regulations.  The GDPR provides strong rules and regulations and tells exactly how individuals data must be handled.

 

What Does Web Accessibility Mean to the Disabled?

 

Most of us are familiar with how Accessibility applies to physical business places.  However, little thought has been given to how Accessibility applies to the Internet.  Accessibility on the World Wide Web demands that we break down barriers and open a clear path for everyone.  

This means that web pages must be designed so that those with Visual, Hearing, Motor and Cognitive disabilities have an equal opportunity to navigate and access every web page.

 

What Does WCAG 2.0 Tell Us is Important for Accessibility

 

Published in 2008, WCAG 2.0 consists of twelve guidelines that are organized under four principles.  The four WCAG principles, frequently called P.O.U.R., require that all websites must be perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust.    

Each guideline also has testable success criteria.  To help web designers meet WCAG 2.0 guidelines a group of techniques were developed.  These techniques come with their own criteria to measure success. 

 

 

How do the Four Principles Make Your Content Accessible?

 

In the following sections we will take a closer look at each of the four WCAG 2.0 principles.  We will discuss how the four P.O.U.R. principles, perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust must be rooted in every aspect of our website design.

A study conducted by the University of Utah analyzed over 1,000,000,000 website home pages for web accessibility.  Their findings were a mixed bag of results, with 97.8% of home pages having WCAG 2.0 conformance failures.  The good news is that WCAG many WCAG conformance failures can be easily remedied.

Let’s take a look at each of the WCAG 2.0 principles and the guidelines reccomended for each principle.

 

Perceivable Principle

 

Your web information and user interface components must be presented to users in ways that they can perceive.

  • Guideline 1.1: Provide text alternatives for any non-text content so that it can be changed into other forms people need, such as large print, braille, speech, symbols or simpler language.
  • Guideline 1.2: Time-based media: Provide alternatives for time-based media.
  • Guideline 1.3: Create content that can be presented in different ways (for example simpler layout) without losing information or structure.
  • Guideline 1.4: Make it easier for users to see and hear content including separating foreground from background.

 

 

Operable Principle

 

Your web user interface components and navigation must be operable by your visitors.

  • Guideline 2.1: Make all functionality available from a keyboard.
  • Guideline 2.2: Provide users enough time to read and use content.
  • Guideline 2.3: Do not design content in a way that is known to cause seizures.
  • Guideline 2.4: Provide ways to help users navigate, find content, and determine where they are.

 

 

Understandable Principle

 

Your visitors must find your information and the operation of user your interface to be understandable.

 

 

Robust Principle

 

Your web content must be robust enough that visitors can interpret it reliably using a wide variety of user agents and assistive technologies.

  • Guideline 4.1.: Maximize compatibility with current and future user agents, including assistive technologies.

 

 

 

You Should Act Immediately to Make Your Content Accessible

 

Place a Strong Accessibility Statement on Your Website

 

What you definitely should do first is place a strong Accessibility Statement on your website.  Then audit your site to check it’s accessibility and discover it’s shortcomings.  Next you need to decide if it’s time to redesign your site to address what you discovered during your audit.

Does your site need to be completely redesigned to embrace accessibility. If it does, find a web developer with the web accessibility knowledge required.  Then begin the redesign process.

If your site has been built using WordPress there are many options available to help you acheive web accessibility.  Look for themes or plug-ins designed to help make your site accessible.  

I chose the DIVI theme which has a robust approach to helping you make your site accessible for all.

 

How to Engage Your Visitors using Great Blog Post Topics P

How to Engage Your Visitors using Great Blog Post Topics P

Select a Blog Topic That Will Interest Your Readers

 

My first step in writing a blog post is pretty logical.  I select a topic which I feel will engage and inform my readers.  I presently write three blogs to cover my areas of interest.  The Better Business Alliance is my main blog.  However I also write blogs to address two topics that are very important to me, Accessibility and Sustainability.

My Better Business Alliance blog is focused on helping business owners develop a Digital Marketing Strategy to help them grow their business.  This blog is written and the topics chosen to give small business owners bites of snack-able information that will help you grow their business.  

This is done for a specific reason.  Overloading your visitors with too much information can be overwhelming.   For small business owners, it’s important to break these topics down into snack-able pieces of Digital Marketing that you can absorb and master.  Breaking down your Digital Marketing makes it easier to understand and conquer.  My goal is to make Digital Marketing understandable for everyone.

Digital Marketing is a broad topic which covers many different segments of marketing in the digital age.  If my reader’s take the correct approach they can break down the task of digital marketing into a number of related steps that are much more manageable.

 

Your Successful Digital Marketing Components are Important

 

Digital Marketing is the sum of it’s many parts.  Social media marketing, content marketing, search engine optimization and many more digital marketing segments are critical if you want to be successful.  Together they may seem formidable, but when you view just one facet at a time they become much more manageable.

The topics I choose to blog about in each post are either points that are of particular interest to me, or need to be discussed because of their importance for all of us.  My blogs teach people how to do things or about something that matters to them.  

 

I Select Topics That Will Help My Audience Succeed

 

The majority of my posts are “how to” content.  If you have a different style of blog, you may follow a different path for developing your post topics.

My other blogs are Accessibility International and Sustainability International.  These are written to address two topics which matter to me and that should matter to all of us.  

The topics of Accessibility and Sustainability are important to many and they affect all of our lives.  Embracing Accessibility for all, and choosing Sustainability and green practices make everyone’s lives better.

 

A Blog is the Core of Your Digital Marketing Strategy

 

Whatever your business, a blog is critical to and enhances your Digital Marketing Strategies success.  A Blog helps others find your business by telling your story to the world.

When it comes to selecting blog post topics, you have endless choices that will engage others with your content.  You can choose any topic about anything having a connection to your business.  Writing your blog posts is about telling your story and starting a conversation using topics which interest you and your visitors.  Happy blogging.

 

How to Build Digital Relationships in the Social Media Age P

How to Build Digital Relationships in the Social Media Age P

A Sales Relationship Used to Begin With a Smile and Handshake

Two components of reliable relationship building in sales used to be a smile and a handshake.  Things have certainly changed in the digital world. So many of today’s interactions take place without any actual human interaction.

In the digital age we seldom have the luxury of yesterday’s face-to-face meetings.  Is there any way to recreate that sense of closeness and familiarity?  This provides a unique dilemma for small- to mid-sized business owners (SMBs).  And, the stakes and risks for business owners have never been higher.

 

Why Sophisticated Prospecting is Critical to Your SMB’s Survival

 

Your audience has to picture you as a trusted and responsive partner.  This is one of the main advantages that an SMB must build upon when compared to a larger business competitor.  

Developing strong business relationships yields upsells, cross-sells, and referrals.  All of which help lead to strong growth for a business.  The first challenge is the most important hurdle to defeat.  If your business doesn’t make the best first impression, how can you hope to build trust in your business?

Today the vast majority of decision makers say they never respond to cold outreach.  How can you warm up your introductions as a vital aspect of your sales prospecting?  Spammy prospecting has poor results and is damaging to your SMB’s reputation.  Word quickly spreads if your business is guilty of filling inboxes with irrelevant product messaging.

It’s preferable and much more productive if you use a warm introduction.  Doing this has the potential for a positive response rate in the 15-18% range.  However, the big question remains.  How can you effectively pursue this objective?

How can you in the “post-handshake era” build the types of meaningful relationships that grow your business?   Let’s take a look at three of my favorite techniques.

 

Embrace 3 Techniques for Successful B2B Prospecting

 

Salespeople are wise to position themselves by following the social contract, developing emotional connections, and creating constructive tension.  Let’s examine each of these three relationship-building tenets more closely.

 

You Have to Give Before You Get a Return

 

Receiving an introduction through a mutual connection is the most effective way to initiate a conversation with someone you don’t personally know.  Doing this gives both parties a sense of recognition and credibility.  It’s important to remember that asking for an introduction is asking for a favor.

You have to look at it from the referrer’s perspective.  That favor may affect their reputation which we all work hard to maintain.  They have to feel confident that your interaction with the contacting question will be a positive one.  You should also consider positive ways that you can assist that referrer in return for their assistance.

The transactional principle of this type of social contract is present in so many things that happen in our lives.  It applies to everything from back-scratches to business.  As we go through life we have to build trust with others before we see it returned to us. 

After contacting a new prospect, it’s important for you to deliver value upfront.  Here again you are asking for a favor.  Even if you are simply asking someone to take the time to listen to you.  Begin by pointing them toward something of value.  This might be custom content or a valuable third-party resource they might find helpful. This promotes your new relationship as a helpful partner, rather than a pushy salesperson.

 

You Have to Make an Emotional Connection First

 

I think that most people understand the big role emotions play in our life choices.  We make our decisions emotionally and justify them rationally.  Surprisingly, emotions also play a major role in our B2B purchasing decisions.

It’s important to consider the role emotions play in decision making and act accordingly.  You have to use your personality and tap into your feelings as well as the feelings of your sales targets.  One could argue that in business, emotions matter even more.

Your have to use stories and conversations that cause your audience to react genuinely.  Go beyond the dry facts and numbers to create a deep connection.  But you need to do so authentically.  Highlight shared experiences and interests that connect you with others.

This doesn’t mean that you should just add drama or humor into your approach.  You have to be focused and authentic.  What are your prospects real interests?  You need to understand how their failures and successes have affected them.  Why have they succeeded?  What are the failures that they fear?

You have to become the advocate with understanding in these particular areas of interest to them.  Understanding and advocating about how these align with your business is particularly important.

 

How Strong Constructive Tension Cements Your B2B Relationship

 

What is the most difficult part of driving your sales dialogue to a successful conclusion?  It’s motivating your prospect to make a decision positive to your business goals.  How do you move someone from “I’ll think about it” to “I’ll act on it” without coming across as pestering?  How can you promote your goals without forcing a false sense of urgency?  The answer often lies in developing constructive tension.

One technique is to build an empathetic narrative driven by and anchored in numbers.  This gives you the opportunity to illustrate the risks and negative impact if they fail to take action.  While backing up your point with objective data.  Doing this can strike an effective balance between emotion and logic.  Your prospect feels the weight of their possible loss while understanding how to resolve their problem.

Even if you don’t sway your potential buyer using this approach, don’t view it as a total loss.  It is often advantageous making a good impression and leaving things on a positive note.  Perhaps this individual can refer you to another opportunity.  Or they’ll remember you first once their problem elevates to a need. This is why developing healthy business relationships is everything.

 

The New Era of Digital Sales Requires New Solutions

 

You may have heard the old expression that says, “The handshake of the host affects the taste of the roast.”  In other words, that first interaction sets the tone for everything that follows. Correctly done, your warm and informed initial outreach can become the digital equivalent of a firm and hearty handshake. 

By providing value upfront to all parties, developing emotional connections, and creating constructive tension to move things forward, you’ll place yourself firmly on the path to lasting relationships with long-term rewards.

 

4 mobile app trends business owners need during COVID P

4 mobile app trends business owners need during COVID P

It’s no secret — we live in a mobile app world. Since 2016, mobile use has trended upwards. Mobile has surpassed desktop usage and proved itself as an almost limitless means of connecting with others, conducting research and making purchases anytime, anywhere. As such, mobile app trends are on the minds of many entrepreneurs.

But, how has COVID-19 impacted consumer mobile engagement?

Well, in short, smartphone usage has increased across the globe since the start of the pandemic.

The pandemic has highlighted the value of mobile devices in the digital age, creating an interesting mix of emerging mobile app trends.

If you’re a small business owner looking to offer more value to your existing customers while attracting new audiences in the age of COVID-19, here are the mobile app trends you need to know about.

Related: Take your small business online — A step-by-step guide

Immersive mobile experiences

First in our rundown of essential COVID-10 mobile app trends, we look at the steady rise of immersive mobile experience since the start of the pandemic.

In recent years, virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) have changed from far-fetched sci-fi movie features to a living, breathing part of our everyday existence. And it was immersive mobile experiences like IKEA Place that showcased the value of everyday AR or VR to a wider audience.

During COVID-19, the value of VR-driven innovation has increased as consumers the world over have started to search for new ways of connecting with friends, families or businesses in isolation.

Man Using VR Headset And Remote

Instagram’s launch of Spark AR, for instance, presents new ways of presenting immersive mobile experiences to the public — a clear indication that in the not so distant future, mobile apps will become the main vessel for AR- or VR-based innovations.

Immersive dressing rooms, virtual tours, interactive collaborative platforms and in-depth mobile-based tutorials are just a handful of ways that in-app VR and AR are shifting the landscape as we know it.

If you’re looking for new ways to stand out in your niche and connect with your target audience on a level that will encourage long-term commitment, it’s wise to invest in AR or VR mobile app features.

Community-driven mobile app trends

One of the most striking mobile app trends we’ve seen during the pandemic has to be the uptick in community-driven platforms.

From face mask fulfillment and contactless care package drop-offs to frontline worker support, many brands have put their focus on serving the people in their respective locales during the pandemic.

Brands are using mobile communications to deliver important messaging and offer helpful services during the pandemic.

In addition, dating app adoption has reached record levels — as have instant messaging apps — as communities have rallied together to keep in touch and share vital information during times of social distance or isolation.

COVID-19 has demonstrated the community-building value of mobile technology.

By regularly communicating with your local or regional customers through mobile and setting up groups, forums or notification boards, you will spark engagement while meeting your customers’ needs head-on as the pandemic endures.

Editor’s note: Our COVID-19 community support section will give you the ideas and inspiration to get started.

Mobile-based push marketing

The sheer magnitude of the pandemic has placed enormous value on real-time mobile interactions and information.

A study from customer engagement specialist Airship showed that mobile app download and notification open rates skyrocketed.

Expanding on our previous point about the rise in local- and community-driven apps, more businesses than ever are using push marketing communications to reach their customers at times where they’re likely to be most engaged.

Person Holding Phone On Table

Say you’re a running shoe retailer. You might choose to deliver in-app push notifications to your customers when the weather is pleasant in their locale, offering them some tips, advice and inspiration to increase engagement. Or, you could create a push notification about a new product at the time you know your customers are most likely to interact with your app.

There are countless ways to take advantage of mobile push marketing — and in a time when engagement, as well as open rates, are so high, you should.

In-app transactions

As far as COVID-19 mobile app trends go, this is arguably the most valuable as it’s a concept that incorporates all of the ideas above, and more.

As we migrate toward a world that’s even more mobile, an increasing number of people are making day-to-day in-app transactions including managing finances, making purchases, dating, connecting with peers or staying up to date with news or trends.

Related: 7 mobile SEO best practices to boost Google search ranking

Cash in on the trend toward mobile apps

Now the average U.S. mobile user alone spends around three hours and 47 minutes each day interacting with apps, which translates to 88% of all mobile traffic.

By focusing on building a mobile app experience that seamlessly connects all of your business’s platforms and touchpoints, and offers personal value, you will boost your chances of encouraging more positive transactions while growing your audience now and as the pandemic starts to slow down.

Invest in the mobile strategies you know will offer your audience real value and boost your business prospects.

In addition to focusing on the mobile app trends above, you should:

  • Use the consumer-based data you have to create personalized mobile experiences for your customers.
  • Create a sense of customer loyalty, offering exclusive deals and content to those who download and interact with your app.
  • Leverage AI technology like chatbots to improve the user experience you offer your customers.
  • Make it as easy as possible for your customers to make transactions or purchases in your mobile app without being too salesy or pushy. Personable, quirky content and clean call-to-action buttons will help.

“As people self-isolate to flatten the curve, social apps have become essential tools for keeping users up to date and informed.” — Think With Google.

We hope these mobile app trends have inspired you to get out there and reach more customers.

If you’re looking to improve your website and reach more mobile-hungry customers, check out GoDaddy’s Websites + Marketing for an effective and easy to manage website and built-in marketing solutions.

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