The Need for Web Accessibility to Grow Small, Local Businesses

Small local businesses can prioritize web accessibility. In doing so, they can make sure all website visitors can enjoy extraordinary experiences. Plus, they can provide seamless access to information.

A clear understanding of web accessibility is a must for small local businesses. Now, let’s answer some of the biggest questions surrounding web accessibility and how it can help small local businesses grow and thrive.

Why Is Web Accessibility Important for Small, Local Businesses?

Many business websites do not offer accessible features or accessible design. This can hamper the user experience. It can also cause a business to miss out on opportunities to increase its web traffic.

By prioritizing web accessibility, small local businesses can lay the groundwork for a high-performing SEO strategy. These businesses can add images, alt tags, and other optimizations that make their site content easy to access and view. They can even use these additions for further keyword targeting in an effort to increase rankings and get more visitors to their site.

Web accessibility can help businesses improve their rankings in search results for industry-related terms and phrases. For instance, a company can focus on improving on-page signals for a web page. This can help the business boost its local search rankings. Over time, local visitors can check out the page regularly. In doing so, they can help the page rank ahead of those of the business’s rivals.

In addition, a business can use web accessibility to improve lead quality. A business can improve its website content and choose the right keywords. This can drive prospects to visit the company’s site and learn more about what it has to offer. Meanwhile, these prospects can easily reach out to the business on its highly accessible site. This can help the company get high-quality leads more frequently.     

How Can Small, Local Businesses Make Their Websites Accessible?

There are several ways you can start improving the accessibility of your website, including:

1. Select the Right Content Management System (CMS)

Look at several content management systems. Consider how functional and easy to use each CMS is. Choose a CMS that makes it simple to add or update your website’s content.

WordPress, Joomla, and WooCommerce are three of the top-rated content management systems. Each has its pros and cons. It helps to test out these and other content management systems. Then, you can find one that meets the needs of your business and its target audience.

Confirm that a CMS supports accessible content. For example, a CMS should allow you to add closed captioning for videos and edit toolbars for headings and accessible tables. Your CMS’s administration options should also be accessible.

2. Organize Your Web Content

Use headings to organize your web content. Follow the correct order of headings (H1, H2, and so on) and do not skip heading levels.

With web content, choose short blocks of text over long ones whenever possible. This can help improve the accessibility of your web content on desktop computers and mobile devices.

3. Add Alt Text for Images

Incorporate alt text into images across your website. Alt text helps a reader understand the message behind a web image.

If you use a bright or bold image solely for decoration, there is no need to include alt text for it. In this instance, leave the alt text empty. That way, the reader won’t be distracted by alt text.

4. Add Descriptions for Your Website Links

Include descriptive links in your website content. Include context behind the links so a reader knows what to expect if he or she clicks on them.

It may be tempting to hyperlink “Click here” if you want a reader to go to a different page of your website. However, this is not descriptive and does not give the reader a reason to click on the link.

Instead, add a few details about why you want a reader to click on a link. A brief explanation can make a world of difference in terms of website accessibility. The explanation gives the reader a reason to explore more of your site and engage with it. It can also help boost your site’s page views and improve its bounce rate.

5. Use the Right Mix of Colors and Visual Cues

Include a wide range of colors to make your website stand out to readers. At the same time, integrate visual indicators like asterisks and question marks across your site. These help distinguish different blocks of content.

Evaluate your website’s color contrast. This allows you to make your site accessible to readers dealing with low vision or color blindness.

6. Make Your Website Forms Accessible

Establish accessible website form templates. Each form should have a descriptive label that indicates the field a user needs to fill in. Also, a user should be able to tab through the form and complete each section along the way.

If a user is required to complete a certain section of a website form, the field should be labeled accordingly. The label can be marked with an asterisk or other visual indicator.

Furthermore, CAPTCHA is inaccessible and should not be used to validate website form submissions. There are alternatives to CAPTCHA that are both accessible and allow users to securely submit online forms.

7. Add a Live Chat System

Set up a live chat system that helps visitors navigate your website. Live chat lets a user engage with a member of your team 24/7. The chat enables you to help a user make the most of their experience on your site. It can lead to a better user experience, along with high search rankings.

It generally won’t take long to add live chat to your website. Regardless, you must ensure your live chat is accessible.

Test your live chat and verify that users can ask questions and get real-time responses with it. Collect user feedback regarding your live chat and use this information to continuously enhance it.

8. Conduct Ongoing Website Accessibility Assessments

Periodically assess how accessible your site is. Use these evaluations to look for ways to improve. If you identify any improvement areas, address them right away.

Conduct questionnaires and surveys with online visitors to learn how they feel about your site. Encourage visitors to come forward with any accessibility concerns or questions. Use visitor insights to make your site more accessible, both now and in the future.

What Does the Future Hold for Website Accessibility for Small Local Businesses?

If you operate a small local business, you must make your site accessible. Otherwise, you risk falling behind industry rivals in a fierce marketplace.

You can build an accessible website and maintain it going forward. With this site in place, you can engage with prospects and customers with precision and care.

Website visitors can access and view an accessible business web page without delay or interference. They can learn about a business and connect with the company at any time. This can help the business grow and thrive.

Make your small local business website accessible. From here, you can expand your customer base and take your business to the next level.