Monthly Archives: April 2014

How Accessible is Your Website?

For those of us blessed with sight, we sometimes forget that is a significant portion part of the population that have limited or no ability to see the elements on a page. Screen readers help to make websites accessible, but only if web developers follow best practices.

Making Images Accessible

Turning text into graphics can be a bad idea for multiple reasons. For one, search engines can’t read images. So if your headings are images, that hurts search engine optimization (aka SEO).

Similarly, screen readers cannot read or describe images either. So if your call to action is embedded in an image, people using screen readers to explore your website are missing the call and won’t respond.

The alt Property

However, there is a solution that makes things easier. The img tag (used for images) has an “alt” property that allows you to put a small amount of text describing the image. For example:

<img src="myfabulousimage.jpg" alt="Photo of me saving the world">

Now people using screen readers know what the image is about.

Use Web Fonts rather than Images for text

If you want to do something funky with a bit of text to give it some character, there are thousands of web fonts (many of them free) that will allow you to do it in a screen-reader-friendly way. This also helps SEO. Check out Google Fonts and Squirrel Fonts for their selections.

Use Sufficient Contrast for People Who are Color Blind

A significant portion of the population (as much as 10% by some estimates) is born with a form of color blindness, limiting the range of colors they can see.  When pages lack sufficient contrast between foreground color (like text) and background color, then the resulting content can be unreadable to those who are color blind.

One way to check to see if your website lacks sufficient contrast is to take a screenshot of your site, open it up in Photoshop or some other image manipulation software and convert it to grayscale. If the text is unreadable, then you may need to increase the contrast by making foreground or background darker (or lighter).

Resources for a More Accessible Website

These are just a few of the issues and solutions regarding the accessibility of websites. Check out WordPress.org’s Accessibility page which provides a number of plugins and other tools to keep your website as accessible as possible.

Need More Help?

If you liked this article, be sure to sign up for your FREE subscription to the Nickel's Worth of Free Advice newsletter where we send helpful articles every Tuesday and Friday. You can either fill out the form on the right side of this page or visit the Nickel's Worth of Free Advice signup page.

We're also happy to provide assistance directly. Just send an email to dharma@zenpunkwebworks.com.

Improve Long Term Sales By Being Memorable

Most of the time when potential customers meet you, they are not yet ready to buy. Maybe don’t have the money. Maybe they just don’t have a need right now. Or maybe they’re just too busy at the moment. The key to making the sale is being on their mind when they are ready.

Being Authentic => Being Memorable

A few years ago, I realized that people tended to remember who I am after meeting me only briefly. Most of the time, I’m dressed out in my biker gear with a Buff on my head to hide my helmet hair. I’m kinda stocky and butch, so I don’t blend in with the more feminine crowd. I also have a unique name. In short, I make an impression.

Being memorable wasn’t deliberate. It was just a beneficial side effect of being authentic. A long time ago, I reached a point in my life that I didn’t give a shit what anyone else thought of me. So I live in a way that feels most right to me and allows me to best channel my uniqueness.

Of course, if you’re going to be a business owner who doesn’t carry what people think of you, you damn well better be able to deliver the goods and have some really likeable qualities. Otherwise, you just drive everyone away including potential customers.

For me, being my authentic self means I drive away people who don’t get me even as I attract the people that do. Haters, cheats and bullies don’t find me all that attractive. After all, I’m a transgender lesbian biker chick whose not afraid to speak her mind on issues of standing up for the oppressed. But open-minded people find my honesty, forthright attitude and compassion a reason to join with me. They know I can be trusted to do the right thing.

Tips on Being Memorable

Take Up A Cool Hobby

You know that bucket list? Pick one item on the list and turn it into a hobby. Learn to fly a glider. Learn to cook Thai food. Take up backpacking or riding a motorcycle. Start a band at the age of 50. Discover a new passion and pursue it.

Become an Extraordinary Giver

Be the first person you know to donate a kidney to a stranger (yes, you can do that). Volunteer at food bank (and not just during the holidays). Find a cool campaign on Kickstarter or Indie-Go-Go and go above and beyond to make it successful.

Take a Genuine Interest in Other People

It’s counterintuitive, but engaging people in conversation and keeping the topic on things they are passionate about creates strong positive memories in their mind about you.

Their brains create a connection between the positive feelings associated with their passion and the conversation they had with you. Bottom line, you become memorable. Weird, huh?

Don’t Always Run with the Pack

If you’re a business owner, you can only run with the pack so long. You have to find ways to make yourself stand out and be noticed over your competition. Be the best person you can be and let your light shine.

So when a potential customer finally realizes they need what you’re selling, they will remember you and give your their business.

As they told me in Alcoholics Anonymous, “What other people think of you is none of your business.” Just don’t be a dirtbag!

Need More Help?

If you liked this article, be sure to sign up for your FREE subscription to the Nickel's Worth of Free Advice newsletter where we send helpful articles every Tuesday and Friday. You can either fill out the form on the right side of this page or visit the Nickel's Worth of Free Advice signup page.

We're also happy to provide assistance directly. Just send an email to dharma@zenpunkwebworks.com.