Take Pride: 8 steps to an LGBTQ+ inclusive website

Whatever product or service you’re selling – your website should be inclusive of your whole audience.

It’s easy to write or design something with your own personal experiences in mind, but in order to be truly inclusive to the LGBTQ+ community, we all need to understand our unconscious biases a little better, and work towards making our websites more diverse and inclusive for everyone who visits them.

Here are a few steps you can take to make sure your website is LGBTQ+ friendly.

  1. Incorporate gender-neutral terms into your copy

A great place to start is by looking at the language used across your website.

Are there any places where you refer to your audience as “ladies”, “gents”, “husbands”, or “girlfriends”? An easy fix would be to replace some of these gender-specific terms with more gender-neutral options such as “folks”, “people”, and “partners”.

There are plenty of alternatives you can use that sound good and convey your message properly, but don’t assume anything about your audience, and don’t make anyone feel unwelcome or alienated from your website.

Being mindful of your language in general across your website is extremely important. A great way to really make sure you’re not using any outdated words, or language that might be deemed as inappropriate or offensive, is to hire LGBTQ+ people to write or edit it in the first place.

  1. Include LGBTQ+ imagery seamlessly

Updating your visual assets across your website can be a great way to create a more LGBTQ+ inclusive space.

Whether its videos, images, illustrations, or animations – including gay or lesbian couples, transgender, and non-binary individuals is really important to showcase some of the different people who may be browsing your site.

Representation is a huge issue in the LGBTQ+ community, so being able to seamlessly incorporate this kind of imagery onto your website will help to set the tone for your brand’s inclusivity, while ensuring the public are aware of what you stand for.

  1. Showcase LGBTQ+ products

If you run an eCommerce website, you should consider supporting LGBTQ+ creators and suppliers by stocking their products.

Another way to be more inclusive is to create non-gendered product pages. Rather than “gifts for her” or traditional “men” and “women” sections, why not add a gender-neutral option as well?

You don’t need to wait until Pride Month to show your support for the community, either. Stocking their products and understanding their requirements all year round will go a long way to providing an inclusive website experience.

  1. Give users more options

In 2021, we should be trying to remove questions about gender from the conversation where they don’t really belong. Does your newsletter sign up form really need to know if the user is a man or woman?

If it’s really important for you to collect that data, make sure you’re including plenty of options for people who identify outside of the “male” and “female” boxes. In fact, it might be better to leave a blank space so users can share whatever they feel comfortable with.

  1. Protect LGBTQ+ users

Creating an inclusive space for LGBTQ+ users is incredibly important in this day and age, but equally, you need to protect them from harm while using it too.

If your website has a comment section, forum, or some other space open to public contribution – it’s your responsibility to protect your users from any hateful remarks, harassment or discrimination they could experience on it.

Monitoring comments, providing user guidelines, and ensuring there is an option to report anything that doesn’t align with your values are all vital strategies for protecting your LGBTQ+ audience members.

Remember that it’s not good enough to let anonymous people spout hate and do nothing about it. You should consider this very seriously when deciding if a comment section (or similar) is necessary for your site.

  1. Support a good cause

To be a truly supportive business, you could consider supporting an LGBTQ+ charity with some of your profits, and sharing your partnership on your website. There are hundreds of charities that provide direct support to the community, delivering advice, information or financial support services where needed most.

Even in 2021, LGBTQ+ people are fighting a constant battle, and these charities help to make sure they’re not alone in doing so. Showing your support to these charities helps to cement your inclusivity and ensure you are practicing what you preach.

  1. Optimise for LGBTQ+ search terms

When searching for a new gym, hair salon, or even car garage, members of the LGBTQ+ community may be consciously looking for a space that is inclusive and supportive of them.

If your business really is LGBTQ+ friendly, then you should consider mentioning this within your website’s metadata to help members of the community find you when searching online.

This shouldn’t just be a desperate attempt to drive more traffic to your website, but rather a meaningful way for make your site easily found, used and enjoyed by LGBTQ+ people.

  1. Remember the other 11 months of the year

Finally, a very important one: Never slap a rainbow logo on your website during the month of June if you are not committed to supporting LGBTQ+ people during the rest of the year.

Your inclusivity should not be reserved for Pride Month; it should be something that is considered in your business strategy every single day.

If you are really committed to supporting the LGBTQ+ community, you will of course be able to utilise Pride Month to showcase everything you’re doing, but it should never be used as a meaningless marketing strategy.

A great way to keep the community up to date on your efforts is by utilising a blog or news section to provide relevant updates throughout the year.

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