A website is a business’ home base, the headquarters of the operation where most customers will first encounter your brand.
A lot of planning goes into website design but even the smallest tweak to a page can make a difference. Whether you are making a site from scratch or updating your current site, these tips can help boost performance and ROI.
5 Tips Website Updates to…
1. Improve Ranking And Visibility
Before you worry about the viewer’s impression of your site, you need to bring in viewers. To be more visible in organic search, you must improve your SERP ranking. On average, websites in the #1 position on Google’s SERP got 34.2% of the traffic, while the second and third only got 17.1% and 11.4% respectively. The 10th ranking site, the last site listed on the first results page, received only 2.6%!
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the best strategy to improve your ranking and thus improve visibility, and you don’t need a developer or coding experience to do it!
You can begin to optimize today by including specific short and long-tail keywords in all of your titles, URLs, and meta descriptions. Search engines will detect these keywords in a user’s query and rank higher the websites containing those keywords.
Make use of pillar pages and topic clusters to improve your site’s ranking. This SEO strategy links relevant blogs and pages to a common pillar page in order to improve the SEO of all pages related to a topic. Pillar pages and cluster content are a relatively new way to think about SEO but they can be very powerful and are worth taking the time to implement.
Meta descriptions are often forgotten but can have a big impact on improving ranking and increasing traffic. A meta description is an HTML element that describes a piece of content that would otherwise be ignored by search engines. By optimizing meta descriptions on all pages you can include important keywords that will improve your ranking while also give the viewer a preview of the content of the page.
If you use a host like WordPress, you can use plugins like Yoast which will simplify the optimization process even further and show you where you can improve your site.
2. Increase Page Speed
You have only a few seconds to engage with your target audience once they reach your site. No really, you literally have seconds. Sites that loaded in 2 seconds saw a 6% bounce rate but sites that took 5 seconds had a 38% bounce rate, meaning strong site performance should be a priority.
Large images or animations can cause long delays in loading, but images can also be optimized. First, avoid using TIFF or BMP files and instead opt for more web-safe files like PNG and JPEG.
Image resolution also slows down sites when set too high. Avoid uploading photos with resolution any higher than necessary, as the only real difference will be a slower page speed.
The recommended image size will depend on how you are using the photo- hero images are 2880x1500px; portraits are 900x1200px; and landscape is 1200x900px. Other smaller images can have a much lower resolution and will load fastest.
3. Establish a Website Brand Identity
A unique, cohesive brand identity can tell consumers what type of company you are, what you provide, and how you are different from the competition. A well-designed homepage is the key to captivating your viewer’s attention, and original branding will engage with your customer much more than a dull and forgettable site.
Color is one of the most recognizable aspects of a brand, so choose a palette that emphasizes one color, and then include complementary colors. Use these colors selectively, as whitespace is still needed to avoid overwhelming or confusing the viewer.
If you already have a logo, use those colors and emulate the style of the logo. If you don’t have a logo, consider hiring a designer or making your own. Logos are usually the most recognizable part of a brand and are very versatile. Include this logo throughout your site and on all of your content to strengthen your identity.
Your brand is more than just how things look; use your branding to communicate your values and goals to your target audience. Every choice in font, colors, logos, and imagery will impact how your audience experiences your business.
4. Improve UX And Navigation
User Experience (UX) will determine how far your visitor chooses to explore your site. A website must be designed with the customer in mind, so first you must understand your target audience. Think of what your ideal customer is most interested in on the site and what other paths they could be lead down during the buyer’s journey.
Straightforward headers will help the viewer find the information they want, so include descriptive headers that are within the viewer’s line of sight when first entering the site.
Menu navigation is also one of the key aspects of UX and should be convenient and readily available. Having a menu that disappears once you leave the homepage can make user navigation much more complicated and frustrating, meaning you want to include some type of menu on every page to help the viewer move around the site.
Many users, 15%, are now using mobile exclusively to surf the internet, and they expect to have access to mobile-responsive versions of desktop sites. Optimizing your site to resize content, adjust spacing, and condense navigation will save you from losing these leads.
5. Convert Leads
Ultimately, you hope your website will connect you with paying customers. Once you’ve attracted viewers, you want to guide them in the right direction down the buyer’s journey towards a purchase.
When linking to your site on other platforms, you want to direct leads toward landing pages that will take viewers to the next step of their journey. If you were to link directly to your homepage, your viewer would have to start from the beginning to find the information they had been interested in when first clicking the link.
Calls-to-Action (CTA) are strategically placed throughout websites to encourage the user to take a specific action at just the right time. For example, if I were promoting a new product and wanted to offer a special to Facebook followers, I would first create a post on the business’ page promoting the new product and special deal.
The link included in this post would lead the viewer to a landing page featuring the new product. I would also include a CTA, “Get 10% off now!” maybe, that works as a button to apply the coupon to the customer’s cart. The customer is now more likely to look through the shop now that they have been conveniently guided to a deal on a new product.
Making small changes or additions to your website can mean your viewers find you more easily, and are more likely to convert when they arrive on your home base. If you’re looking to improve your site’s SEO and visibility, start out with some of these surprisingly simple tips!
Thanks for reading,
Editor’s note: This blog was originally published in March 2019 and has been edited and updated in December 2021.