In the past, marketers have been limited to more traditional methods such as print, television, and radio to reach their target audiences. However, with the advent of the internet, there are now a multitude of channels that marketers can utilize to interact and engage with customers from just about every corner of the globe. Whether it be through social media, PPC ads, or hosting a website, marketers are spoiled for choice.
With that said, there is one aspect of digital marketing that is often overlooked, and that’s web accessibility. Unfortunately, most marketers are busy monitoring metrics such as conversion rates, website traffic, and click-through rates, while too few are aware of the importance of web accessibility, and even fewer know how to make their websites more accessible.
In light of this, we have put together a list of three benefits digital marketers can enjoy by making their websites accessible to everyone.
What is web accessibility?
In a nutshell, web accessibility refers to the practice of making websites accessible to people with disabilities, such as those who are blind or have low vision, who are deaf or hard of hearing, or who have motor or cognitive disabilities.
In order to make a website accessible, designers and developers must ensure that it can be used by people with disabilities in a way that is comparable to the way non-disabled users interact with the website. This generally involves following a set of internationally-accepted accessibility guidelines, such as the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1.
According to the WCAG, there are a number of ways in which you can make your website more accessible, with common methods including adding alt text to images, providing transcripts for videos, and using clear and concise language throughout the site.
If you want to check how your website stands up against the various accessibility standards, you can use accessScan, from web accessibility leader accessiBe, to get a free site-wide audit that will highlight where you stand according to WCAG regulations, and if there are any accessibility errors which need to be fixed. Within minutes, you’ll be able to understand what’s been created correctly, and where the website is falling short. Simply download your report and share with your team.
Reach a wider audience
One of the most surprising benefits of improving website accessibility is that you can reach a much wider audience. Over a billion people worldwide (14.6 million from the UK), hare currently living with some form of disability, and by ensuring that your site can be used by them, you’re opening up your business to a whole new group of potential customers. Furthermore, this is a hugely untapped market and one that could result in a significant increase in conversion rates for digital marketers.
Additionally, a more accessible site benefits all users. For example, if your site is optimized for screen readers (a type of software used by people who are blind or have low vision to read the text on a website aloud), it will also be easier for users who don’t have any visual impairments to scan and navigate your site. In turn, this can lead to improved user experience and engagement for all users, both of which are crucial for any digital marketing campaign.
Boost SEO rankings
Another great benefit of making your website more accessible is that it can actually help improve SEO rankings. This may seem counterintuitive, as most digital marketers focus on keyword placements and other such technicalities when it comes to SEO. However, there are a number of ways in which accessibility and SEO cross over.
For instance, adding alt text to images ensures that Google can index and understand them, which can help you to rank higher in image search results. In addition, providing transcripts for videos helps Google to index the audio content, making it more likely to show up in search results. In fact, most of the WCAG 2.1 guidelines overlap with SEO best practices, making web accessibility a win-win for digital marketers.
Remember, the main job of a search engine is to provide users with the most relevant and useful results for their query. As such, by making your site more accessible and user-friendly, you will stand a much higher chance of fulfilling the ranking criteria and appearing higher up in the SERPs.
Increase customer loyalty
Since accessibility generally leads to improved user experience, it’s likely that those who do convert will be more satisfied with their experience on your site. In turn, this could lead to improved customer loyalty and repeat business, as well as positive customer reviews and word-of-mouth marketing.
Finally, a more accessible site is beneficial for all users, not just those with disabilities. As such, it’s likely that your conversion rates will increase across the board, as users find it easier to navigate your site and find the product and services that you offer.
Web accessibility is a crucial part of any digital marketing campaign and one that should not be ignored. By making your site more accessible, you can open up your business to a whole new group of potential customers, as well as improve the experience for all users. In turn, this can lead to improved SEO rankings, increased conversion rates, and positive customer reviews. All of which are essential for any successful digital marketing campaign.
by Jeff Broth