The websites we run across in our day-to-day operations cover a wide range of quality. Some websites are quite polished and look like they have well-honed purposes. Other websites look like they need a lot of work to get to the point of being a good business asset.
In most cases, there are a few easy things that can be done to turn a website around if it’s struggling to perform. Some of these items may require various amounts of time investment and expertise. I’m going to cover some general ideas here to get the ideas flowing.
The most important thing is to look at your website from the perspective of your target visitors.
Let’s say you run a local business that relies on phone leads to get people to set appointments between 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Put yourself in a potential customer’s shoes.
Search Engine Presentation
Hop onto your search engine of choice and search for the topics that would bring customers to your business. How does your website look in the search results? Does your website show up in the Google business listings? Does the title and description for your website in the search listings encourage you to click through to set an appointment? If not, there’s your first thing to work on:
- Adjust your page titles and descriptions for your pages so that your listings in the search results are like calls to action.
- Claim your Google business listings and input accurate information about your business.
Now that you’ve cleaned up how your website is presented in the search engines, it’s time to look at how a user will interface with your website itself.
Landing on Your Website
Put yourself back in the potential customer’s shoes. Click through your search listings and see what page you land on. The landing page that is capturing search traffic might not always be your home page. From a user standpoint, is there a call to action on this site? How easy is it to perform the action or become a customer?
Let’s go back to the phone lead goal. If I’m landing on your website as a potential phone lead, I’ll want to easily find your phone number. And since there is a good chance I’m looking at your website from a mobile phone, it would be nice if I could tap on the phone number to call. This might seem basic, but it’s surprising how many websites make it difficult to find contact information or don’t have a phone number that can be tapped on to make an easy phone call from a mobile phone. So there are a couple more things to work on:
- Make sure your landing pages have clear calls to action and tell the visitor exactly what you want them to do.
- Make sure the contact info is interactive for desktop and mobile users, meaning users should be able to tap the phone number to make a call, submit a form easily or find the email address and tap to email.
Monitoring and Opportunities
Another easy thing to do is to rely on third-party tools to monitor your website and make suggestions for website optimizations. Two excellent free tools are Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics, which in combination can give you a lot of good info to work with.
Google will tell you if they have trouble crawling your site pages, or if they suspect your site has malware, for example. Using Analytics you will see metrics to give you an idea of how people are using your pages. If people are bouncing from important pages quickly and not completing any goals you have set up for them, it will be easy to see, and you then have the opportunity to re-evaluate your pages and try to improve their ability to capture leads and business.
Here’s what you should work on if you aren’t using something like Webmaster Tools/Analytics:
- Create a Google Account and sign up for Webmaster Tools/Analytics.
- Verify your site, submit a sitemap and install tracking codes.
- Wait for data to start gathering for a few days and then start looking for warnings or opportunities and act accordingly.
Performance and Speed
The next thing is website speed. This item can get more technical to deal with. The main idea is that faster websites are better.
While you are browsing your website pages and landing on various pages from search engine listings, how long is it taking for pages to load? Are you becoming frustrated waiting for the pages to load? If so, your users are feeling the same way. If you notice performance issues, it’s time to optimize the website for speed.
This is probably one of the more technical suggestions and may require the assistance of a developer or your hosting company.
There are many ways to optimize a website for speed. Some of the bigger things to look at are image size, database calls and performance of the web server. Here’s a few things to work on if you have a content management system or are comfortable digging into code:
- Optimize all your images and media. Make sure images and videos are compressed and sized appropriately for web use.
- Install caching systems for your content management system (CMS). For WordPress, for example, we like to use W3 Total Cache to keep the websites from querying the database each time a page loads, which can greatly improve page load speeds.
- Ask a developer to optimize your code for speed. There’s always opportunities for code improvement, somebody just needs to take the time to do the work.
We have experience helping our clients with all of these website quality methods, plus many more. If you would like us to help improve your web presence, give us a call at 701-478-1111 and ask to speak with a marketing advisor or visit absolutemg.com/contact.