LEARN THE SEVEN STEPS YOU NEED TO TAKE TO DELIVER AN AWESOME ONLINE EXPERIENCE
Have you ever asked yourself: Is my business website any good?
Computer use increased a lot during the pandemic. People read more, watched more videos, and did more business online. Websites had to change a lot to keep up with evolving needs and usage patterns.
At the same time, Google was changing its search engine optimization (SEO) rules to keep up with evolving user expectations.
That’s left a lot of businesses questioning the quality of their digital properties.
Here, we’ll reveal the seven steps to take to optimize your website for today.
1. ENSURE YOUR WEBSITE MEETS — AND EXCEEDS — VISITOR EXPECTATIONS AND HAS A CLEAR REASON FOR BEING
Ask yourself: Does your website deliver the experience your clients and prospects expect, or is it built around what your business wants to present to the world?
It’s critical that you find the right balance.
The old school website rule, build it and they will come, is no longer true.
People have choices, and in most business categories, a lot of them.
That’s why you have to create a digital experience focused on your end users. It has to have a clear mission and set of goals that align with customer and prospect needs — and deliver on them.
Even if your website was developed with a specific purpose in mind, changes forced by the pandemic, and to respond to Google search rules, could have turned it into an undefined mess.
If your visitor engagement numbers in Google Analytics are weak (high bounce rates, low time on page, too few clicks, low number of pages visited), it’s a sign that your site isn’t delivering on its promise to visitors and you need to improve it.
SEO may seem like a complicated thing, but in the end, it’s really pretty simple. It’s all about providing website visitors with a great user experience.
2. TURN YOUR WEBSITE INTO A TECHNICAL SUPERSTAR
Ask yourself: Does your website load at super fast speeds?
People today are more impatient about page load times than ever before.
Doing more research and business online — and accessing more entertainment — over the last few years has gotten people used to interacting with top-performing websites. They have little or no patience for mediocre ones, even those of local companies and mom-and-pop operations. The old three to five-second load time benchmark that was acceptable in the past is not good enough today.
If your website is taking too long to load, reduce the size of your imagery, optimize your page structure, streamline your site’s design, eliminate unnecessary elements or move it to a more current platform to get it moving faster.
3. GET PEOPLE — AND GOOGLE — TO TRUST YOUR WEBSITE
Ask yourself: Is your website sending the right signals to get visitors to trust it?
Most people have been the victim of a cybercrime. At the least, the crime experience was inconvenient, forcing them to respond to text messages from their bank, making phone calls to check on possible financial losses, or having to read long legal letters explaining possible threats to their personal information. At worst, a hack cost them a lot financially or harmed their reputation.
That’s one of the reasons people are becoming more cautious about the websites they visit, and Google is more selective about the ones it recommends.
This is why it’s critical for you to take steps to ensure your site is safe and secure. That should include your actual online experiences and all back end systems, such as your appointment, payment, and fulfillment software. Make certain that connections between your systems and software solutions are secure, as well.
Ensuring your total online experience is safe can be hard to do on your own. Cybercriminals are becoming savvier all the time. It could be smart to invest in professional online security support, especially when you think about the considerable financial and reputational harm that could be done to your business if any part of your digital experience is ever compromised.
4. ENSURE YOUR WEBSITE DELIVERS A GREAT USER EXPERIENCE
Ask yourself: How does your online experience compare to those of your competitors?
Online competition is more fierce than ever. Even if you offer great products or services, you likely have competitors that offer comparable ones.
Often, the choice of which website Google serves up, or the one prospective customers or clients decide to engage with and buy from, comes down to which delivers the best end-to-end user experience. That includes load times, the ability to scan pages, site navigation, making appointments contacting the company, and completing transactions. Any glitch in your system will cause you to lose customers and potential traffic from Google.
Use Google Analytics data to figure out where your online experience is losing people or performing poorly. A website visitor monitoring and tracking tool like Mouseflow can help you identify issues, as well. You may even want to test out your user experience with actual customers or clients to get their direct feedback.
In the end, your goal must be to deliver an overall online experience that crushes those of your competitors.
5. PUBLISH THE BEST CONTENT
Ask yourself: Does the content on your site provide real value to the people who visit it?
If you’re not sure, it could be time to do a content audit. Review all your website content through the eyes of the people in your customer base and target audience. Think through whether it will actually help them live their lives — or do their jobs — better. If it doesn’t, remove the content or fix it.
Tip: High bounce rates or low time on page numbers are a sign that the content on a page may not be resonating with people in your target demographic. Make these pages a priority when it comes time to fix your content.
6. MAKE YOUR SITE MOBILE-FIRST
Ask yourself: Do your digital properties deliver on mobile devices?
Mobile-friendly isn’t good enough anymore. Mobile-first must be your motto.
Depending on your type of site, it’s more likely that your visitors are coming to it from a smartphone or tablet rather than a laptop or computer. Your Google Analytics data can let you know for certain. You might be surprised if you haven’t checked lately.
If you have not updated or rebuilt your site to be completely optimized for mobile visitors, it’s time. People don’t have the patience to deal with suboptimal mobile experiences, and they’ll move on to competitors that deliver better ones.
Did you know: Google considers mobile-friendliness in its rankings? A small investment in mobile optimization could pay off in a big increase in website traffic.
7. MAKE SURE YOUR WEBSITE COMMUNICATES WITH SEARCH ENGINES
Ask yourself: Does Google really “get” your site?
Google can’t recommend your website if it doesn’t understand it. That’s why it’s important to use headlines, subheaders, photo descriptions, and all the tools you have available to you to explain to Google what your site, and every page on it, is. After all, you don’t want to create the best site for your consumers, with the ultimate content that performs efficiently and delivers a great user experience only for Google not to know it.
Use these tips directly from Google to ensure it’s able to scan and understand your site, so it recommends it to people who could benefit from visiting.
SO WHAT MAKES A WEBSITE GOOD RIGHT NOW?
It might seem like it takes a lot to get your website right, but if you follow our seven proven steps, it doesn’t have to be as difficult as you think. Just take it one step at a time until you are able to deliver an online experience your visitors will find awesome.