With the growth of off-the-shelf websites and easier access to web design in recent years, making sure a site is WC3 compliant has tended to take a back seat for many businesses and organisations.
While you may not think it’s important, employing good practice and working within the current web guidelines is as vital for your online presence as it is within the daily operation of your sector or industry.
What is WC3 Compliance?
The World Wide Web Consortium sets WC3 standards and relates to various factors of web design that should be included in any site.
Web standards were set up when the internet began to take off some thirty years ago and have been an integral part of site development ever since. Most large organisations have an inherent connection to this aspect of web design and have had departments and staff in place to ensure the integrity of their sites for many years.
Even if you are a small to medium size business, however, following the rules is essential. The truth is that today, many companies could not say whether they are WC3 compliant or not. Some don’t even know what it is.
Is it worth it? The answer is almost definitely yes. Not only is web compliance the right thing to do it also improves your site performance in vital areas like search engine rankings – in other words, but it also makes your website more profitable in the long run.
The First Step
The first thing you need to do is check whether your site is WC3 compliant. Fortunately, this is easy and free to do. Simply go to the main WC3 site and use their online validator by putting in your URL.
Even with some of the biggest and well-known sites in the world, it’s likely that the validator tool will come up with many suggestions for changes to reach compliance. Some of it can be quite confusing, especially if you have little in the way of web design and coding knowledge.
What Are Your Options?
A lot will depend on what you are trying to achieve. If you are in the process of developing a site to start your business, it’s a good idea to take a step back and have a closer look at what WC3 compliance means. Building this in from the start can certainly put you ahead of the game and make future changes easier to achieve.
For those who already have a web presence, and there are compliance issues, you can either:
a) build a new website from scratch,
b) work through your existing site and make it complaint page by page.
The first choice can be expensive and time-consuming, depending on the size and complexity of your site. Working through your existing website can also be hard work, but it is generally the best option if everything you have in place is reasonably well structured and does the job you want. Compliance here requires you to put together a strategy of attack, perhaps focusing on your most popular pages first and then working systematically through the whole site.
Picking those pages where most traffic enters your site is an excellent place to start. While many marketers will say that the whole site has to be WC3 compliant, if you have limited resources, focusing on these pages with high visitor numbers makes the most sense.
In actual fact, 100% compliance is not that easy thing to achieve anyway. That doesn’t mean lousy code is okay, but a few errors here and there are not going to damage your online performance severely.
The truth is that most business owners and entrepreneurs are not qualified or experienced web designers and coders, and they don’t have the time to work through their pages. That’s why it’s essential to bring in third-party expertise if you discover your site isn’t WC3 compliant.