Is your website foundationally a house of cards? Between massive changes in data privacy, website accessibility, and Google’s Core Vitals update, your website page speed just became a fundamental piece of your marketing strategy (if it wasn’t already). Craig Branstad, G5 Solutions Engineer, joined clients Danielle Vance and Meg Harper of Jaybird Senior Living for a deep-dive into on-page experience and website foundation to get the confidence you need to build a fast, high-performance website that creates an amazing experience for every researcher. We are big believers in sharing information, both in-person and digitally, aka the mega-hyped hybrid format, so we’re recapping the session to make sure you don’t miss out on their all-star expertise. 

Website Foundations Built for Performance

This blog will focus on the big three website foundations that keep performance central to their mission: accessibility, speed, and privacy. Why do we think these are foundations? Simple, they’re built, or coded, into the very bones of the website. They aren’t afterthoughts. Just as you need a house to be well constructed from the foundation to the rafters, you need a website that is built with function in mind. 

If you’re trying to figure out if your website is built with accessibility, speed, and privacy in mind, here are three questions to ask yourself about your website: 

  • Accessibility: Does your website welcome people of all abilities by being digitally inclusive?
  • Speed: Does your website stop visitors from bouncing by loading pages fast and smoothly?
  • Privacy: Does your website adhere to today’s always-changing privacy standards?

Alert to the skimmers! We’ll break each area into three quick-hitting ideas: why it matters, how to impact this immediately, and the long-term landscape.


Why It Matters

The short answer: to reach a wider audience. Did you know that an estimated 20% of internet and mobile app users live with some type of disability? This number is even higher for seniors and aging populations. So, if you’re not focused on accessibility, you’re essentially leaving up to 20% of your potential residents or researching families out of the conversation, and creating a frustrating experience for folks who might be in the grey area of needing more accessibility. Let’s be clear, a frustrated customer is not a happy customer, and this isn’t good for your community’s reputation. To reach a wider audience online, your website needs to be accessible. 

How to Impact This NOW

The short answer: talk to your website provider or watch this webinar. If you’ve never heard of website accessibility OR need a quick refresher on the legal aspects of website accessibility, our twentyish minute webinar will spell out what you need to know. Then, once you have a little more information in your toolkit, go talk to your website provider. Ask them questions to ensure that your website supports screen readers and other tools. If it doesn’t, or if it meets an older website accessibility standard, then it’s a good idea to get the budgeting and planning gears turning to make website accessibility a priority. 

The Long-Term Landscape

The short answer: shifting. It’s not enough to be compliant for just the day your website launches. WCAG standards change, technology changes, and websites are updated. (P.S. As a refresher, we’ve talked about this in other blogs, so go read those real quick if you want more background.) It’s vital that you have a system in place, or rely on a website provider who has a system in place to keep a continued focus on website accessibility. 

What does this “continued focus on website accessibility,” look like in the marketing wild? At G5, our Customer Care team works with our clients to make sure the updates they’re requesting align with the need to keep websites accessible (like adding alt text on all images so when a screen reader says what they are out loud, it makes sense!). It’s also why we offer services for ongoing website accessibility scans and website updates to meet changing standards along the way. No matter how a website visitor accesses your website — a desktop computer, a laptop, a cell phone, a screen reader or other assistive technology — you have the peace of mind knowing that they’re able to access the information they need in order to choose your senior living community as the right place for them, or their loved one. We didn’t mention legal risk because we’d prefer to focus on “doing the right thing” for your customers, but let’s be frank. Legal risk is real and more companies are being served demand letters and having to devote time and money to these issues. Having an ongoing focus helps mitigate this risk for your company. Just ask your legal team.


Why It Matters

The short answer: attention spans are shrinking. We believe that website speed is central to user experience, but we also believe that it’s a trade off. The truth is, not all websites can be Craigslist. What do we mean by that? Simple. Craigslist is a barebones-speed-focused deal-sleuthers-welcome kind of website. Is Craigslist aesthetically beautiful? Well, no offense, but not so much. So, if you need more photos and aesthetics on your website, you’re trading off putting your best branding foot forward, while sacrificing a nano-second or two in the process. The goal of a community’s website is to convey your brand, deliver a positive experience to the website visitor, and ultimately drive conversions. If your website loads slowly, it’s the digital equivalent to snail-paced customer service. Speedy digital service, while delivering an aesthetically pleasing brand experience, is a balancing act and your website provider needs to know how to navigate this with you. 

How to Impact This NOW

The short answer: if you have 40 videos on your homepage…it’s a good idea to re-consider how this website design choice affects the user experience. Kidding aside, there are a few simple things you can do to get started with this today: 

  • Make sure the images on your website (particularly on the mobile version) are sized for digital devices and not for print. 
  • If you’re making big changes to your website, benchmark your speed before and after these changes to determine if these were really the right changes to make. 
  • Load the top of your website (what is in view) first, and then load this rest after. This is called lazy loading, and provides website visitors with access to your website NOW, and then in the background makes sure their experience isn’t interrupted as content continues to load. 

The Long-Term Landscape 

The short answer: we haven’t reached max velocity. With 5G LTE rolling out, and fiber becoming a common home-internet speed, websites and our expectations for website speed will only increase. We keep repeating this phrase because it’s true: tech adoption is a one-way street. Website speed is no exception. Google’s algorithm changes prioritize an excellent user experience, so stay up-to-date with Google’s changes in order to make sure you continue to evaluate speed in relation to the experience you provide and make thoughtful tradeoffs. 


Why It Matters

Short answer: Ch-ch-ch-ch-changing FAST. Laws and public opinion are changing rapidly and companies need to evolve their privacy practices. In the beginning of digital marketing, many marketers were trying ALL THE THINGS, and then trying to figure out what was working. Those days are gone. Now, marketers use data-insights to make informed decisions about what is working. And, as marketers became a bit more savvy, so did consumers. They want more digital privacy, and this is a paradigm shift for digital marketing. Instead of wanting all the data, marketers are going to need to use the data that consumers have consented to give them. 

How to Impact This NOW

Short answer: your legal counsel is your MVP here. Stay up-to-date with the latest shifts in data privacy including the legal side. Don’t know where to start? Watch this webinar to get your feet under you. Then, talk to your website provider to understand how your websites are adhering to the latest data privacy regulations. A few things that you might need help with, or might need updating include: 

  • Keep your website privacy policy updated, and informing your audience that you use cookies to provide a better website experience. 
  • Knowing the kinds of information you track on your website, and move toward tracking only first-party data. (Pro tip: Need to know about these data parties you weren’t invited to? Check out this data privacy blog.) 
  • Investigating if, and how, you are requesting and storing information, particularly sensitive information such as health information. 
  • Seeking your legal counsel’s advice to ensure you’re complying with data privacy regulations. 

The Long-Term Landscape

Short answer: much like our first answer, this is a moving target. So, stay up-to-date, stay informed, and don’t think of this as a set-it-and-forget-it marketing priority. The good news is this: marketers are good at being adaptable and flexible. This is just one more area to exercise that skill set. 

Long Story Short

Accessibility: Ensure audiences can use your website with screen readers and other tools.

Speed: Evaluate your website speed and consider which tradeoffs you want to make.

Privacy: Laws and public opinion are changing rapidly and companies need to evolve their privacy practices.

Websites need to be built from the code up with accessibility, speed, and privacy in mind. There is no magic wand or silver bullet. But, that doesn’t mean a head-in-the-sand approach is the way to go. Learn more about the G5 approach to marketing and check out this Radiant Senior Living website redesign case study.