In the digital age, a website is one of the most important assets a budding business can use in order to meet their business goals. But no ordinary website will do. If it’s clunky, slow, and obscure, then visitors will click off in annoyance, if they can even find it. If your website’s not working for you, then you should look into website optimization.
What is Website Optimization?
The meaning of website optimization differs slightly depending on who you ask. Some define it simply as improving your website’s performance using optimization tools, strategies, and rigorous testing so that it runs faster and engages with visitors more. On the other hand, some define it as conversion rate optimization, which is similar, but with the intention to increase sales. Since they are similar and often have the same end product, let’s combine these definitions. So, what do we have?
Website optimization is the use of different tools and strategies to make one’s website more appealing to visitors, thus turning them into potential clients. It involves reducing the rate at which visitors leave your website without meaningful interaction, increasing user interaction, and prolonging the time in which visitors stay on your webpage.
There are many ways to optimize your site, including search engine optimization (SEO). Perhaps this is the most important website optimization strategy, but it’s in everyone’s best interest to be SEO-compliant even if they’re not planning to optimize their site. And perhaps another strategy will replace it soon.
So how else can you optimize your site?
5 Key Website Optimization Strategies
We’ve listed five website optimization tips that are among the most important to use, why you need to use them, and how to implement them. We’ve also provided you with some optimization tools that you can use to implement these strategies.
1. Make it mobile-friendly.
Website optimization involves making the mobile user experience as smooth as possible. This is because most people use mobile phones to surf the web and make purchases. Mobile search inquiries accounted for a whopping 63% of Google US’ organic search traffic in 2019, according to a compilation of Google Search statistics by Oberlo. You can expect this percentage to rise as mobile phones become more prevalent as a cheap and convenient way to access the Internet.
Oberlo has also compiled statistics that will convince you to optimize your mobile web pages. The most important of these to know are:
- More than half of internet users prefer searching for product information on mobile phones over talking to an in-store employee.
- More than half of users make online purchases on mobile phones.
- Around 60% of shoppers consider mobile shopping an important factor in choosing a brand to buy.
If that doesn’t sway you, then this fact will: Google will fully adopt mobile-first indexing by the end of March 2021. Google will look only at the mobile version of websites to determine their relevance to a search query; desktop-only websites will not rank in the search results.
Google has a guide on how to prepare for mobile-first indexing on their blog, but here are some quick tips to ensure your mobile site is as user-friendly as possible:
Check if your web pages are mobile-friendly using tools such as Google Search Console’s Mobile-Friendly Test.
It will inform you of major problems with your mobile site and show you a snapshot of your mobile web page. Use their report as a starting point in problem-solving or optimization. You can also use Google Chrome’s Developer Tools to check mobile web pages on different phone models and screen sizes.
Moreover, you can see how photos and text look on your mobile site with the above tools. Ensure that your content is legible when scaled down or fitted for a mobile screen.
Make it concise.
Incredibly long content won’t win you as many clicks as you think. If your website is filled with unnecessary fluff, then users are more likely to leave.
Ensure your content is the same regardless of where your users view it.
Don’t shorten your desktop content for mobile; you’ll risk leaving out important information, confusing your readers and making them doubt your credibility.
It’s better to create content that works for both mobile and desktop web pages. With mobile-first indexing on the horizon, it’s time to learn how to create content fitted for mobile anyway.
Ensure that content the users see in the search results is the same as what they’ll see when viewing your web page. Tailoring content to look different to search engines and users is called cloaking, and users don’t appreciate it. Users don’t like being presented different content depending on their browsers either.
Don’t add annoying, inconvenient pop-ups.
Mobile phones have smaller screens, so make that screen space count. If your web page has a floating header, it’s unwise to add a big pop-up ad on the bottom of the screen.
Another example is the interstitial page. These are pages displayed before or after the page the user expects. For example, don’t show users an ad for “Product A” before going to “Product B’s” page. You might lose potential customers or viewers this way, as they could click off of your site in annoyance.
2. Ensure it loads quickly.
Page speed is another factor in website optimization. If your pages take too long to load, it’s easy for the user to leave your site, especially if your content or product is common. After all, there’ are many other sites they can visit. In fact, five seconds is already pushing it. According to Website Builder Expert, 25% of users exit a web page that takes over four seconds to load. The longer a web page loads, the higher its bounce rate becomes. We can infer from this statistic that less than four seconds is the ideal page loading speed (so around two to three).
Google also considers page speed as a ranking factor, so if you want to rank well in the search results, you must optimize your web pages to load quickly and efficiently.
Test your page load speed with a third-party tool. Pingdom’s Website Speed Test is a free tool that shows you where your web page falls flat when it comes to page speed and how you can fix these major issues. Another free tool is Google’s PageSpeed Insights, which works similarly to Pingdom’s.
One overlooked problem is large file sizes on your web page. Images in particular can cause a page to load much slower than necessary. Compress your images. There are tools you can use, but a free one is Gzip. Kraken.io, Cloudinary, and ImageKit are paid tools, but the latter two have free plans that might be enough for your needs.
3. Write a convincing copy.
Having a fast and mobile-friendly site is not enough. Your copy is your most powerful tool to turn visitors into customers or long-term users; you have to convince your page visitors that the information, product, or service you offer is best for them.
This is also the quickest way to ensure website optimization, but it’s certainly not easy. You must think how to tweak your copy to lead customers to act on your call-to-action. Of course, you should keep your copy truthful. You only need to write it in a way that your copy will leave a lasting impression on your visitors.
A tip to help you improve your copy is determining which type of framing is best for your copy. Framing is the way you present your information, and it can be positive or negative. Positive framing is presenting your information in a way that makes the reader feel like they’ll benefit if they act accordingly. Negative framing presents information to make the reader fear that they’ll miss out if they don’t act on your call-to-action. Sometimes fear is a stronger driving force; other times it appears unbelievable.
Don’t overlook the little things. What’s written on your web page’s buttons can totally change how users interact with them. If the outcome of a button press isn’t immediately obvious, then users might hesitate to interact. Sometimes, the words don’t jump out enough, making the user miss them entirely.
But to learn how to write a great copy, you must understand your target market. This includes learning their habits, demographics, and goals.
4. Improve user experience (UX).
While the above tips certainly help to optimize your site, if your web pages are clunky and unintuitive, your visitors may leave your site in frustration.
It’s not just preventing frustration either. There’s a higher chance of visitors returning to your website if it is clear and if it makes sense. Website optimization calls for investing in a good user experience is always worth it not only for potentially increased sales but also other benefits such as increased savings and productivity, as detailed by Miklos Philips.
First, analyze user behavior to figure out how they’re interacting with your web page. A free tool you can use is Google Analytics, but there are many tools you can use, such as the ones on Leadfeeder’s list.
After analyzing user behavior, you can then identify any problems your site has regarding user experience and any points for improvement. Maybe your visitors are having difficulty locating your check out button, or a button leads them to an unexpected web page, or your content is ordered in a way that makes little sense to them. These are example problems that come up when analyzing your site’s UX.
It sounds simple, but improving the user experience takes time and money to do; it’s not a one-and-done process. You must ensure that the changes you implement improve your site’s user experience.
5. Implement split testing.
Making changes blindly may make web pages less optimized. Blindly implementing changes also won’t give you a clear picture of which changes improved your site’s interaction and performance.
This is where split testing (or A/B testing) comes into play. Split testing is simply testing different versions of an element against one another. With split testing, you’ll find out which copy convinces visitors to buy your product or which web page version provides a better user experience.
Make a new version of your page, but keep the old one. Then hire people to participate in your tests. Alternatively, hire a company that can run the tests for you.
It’s recommended to test one variable when split testing so you’re 100% sure about what factor improved (or worsened) your web page’s performance. For example, you can change a red button with the text “Buy Now” (“A”) to a blue button with the text “Add to Cart” (“B”). If you see increased user interaction with “B”, then which factor made the difference? Was it the color or the copy that improved user interaction?
Multivariate testing (testing for multiple variables) is also an option if you have the resources to do so.
Don’t forget to back up your web pages before making changes, even if it’s not for split testing. Without a backup, you might increase your workload unnecessarily, wasting time and money that you could spend elsewhere.
Top 5 Website Optimization Companies
Now that you know these five essential strategies to optimize your site, maybe you’re interested in some companies that can deal with the nitty-gritty details of website optimization. We’ve listed the top five companies that can help you optimize your site.
Don’t be fooled by their name; Thrive also offers top-notch website optimization services. The team at Thrive believes strongly in the importance of responsive website design that makes a good first impression and is SEO-friendly. They also offer rigorous split testing and in-depth analytics with their CRO services. You can check out their case studies for an idea of how they can help you and your website.
If you still doubt their work, they have the awards to prove their expertise. They’ve also been featured on respected sites such as Forbes and The Huffington Post.
HQ Address: 4600 Park Springs Blvd, Suite 100, Arlington, TX 76017
Main Phone: (817) 642-9686
While more known for their work in advertising, they offer website optimization services such as UI and UX design, split testing (mostly for copy or ad-related changes) and general web design that reduces bounce rate and increases visitors’ time spent on the site.
Address: 1212 Broadway Plaza, Walnut Creek, CA 94596
Phone: (925) 289-8879
E-mail: [email protected]
This California-based company has many website redesigns under their belt. They focus on providing beautiful and intuitive websites that give a great user experience and increase your conversion rate.
They can optimize your website no matter what industry you are in, and you can also hire them to write your content.
If you’re a budding business, then there’s good news for you. You can get in touch with them to check your eligibility for their special pricing program through their email, [email protected].
Address: 1195 Saranap Ave, Walnut Creek, CA 94595, United States
Phone: +1 925-395-1000
Leadhub provides its clients with breathtaking websites that work well on any device, including mobile. They take pride in their knowledge not only of user preferences but also of search engine preferences, so that every site they optimize is user-friendly and SEO-compliant.
They also have other services that may align with your business goals such as SEO, pay per click advertising, and social media marketing.
Address: 238 N Loop 1604 E Suite 107, San Antonio, TX 78232
Phone: (210) 888-9530
APC Digital Media offers a “kaleidoscope” of services including optimized web design, SEO, and lead generation. They can work with Wix sites, WordPress sites, and custom websites and can ensure that they are all SEO-friendly. They will even help you decide on a domain name if you’re starting from scratch.
Address: 2244 Oak Grove Road, Walnut Creek, California 94598, United States
Phone: (925) 233-7000
Find the perfect website optimization partner and more on ArchList
If the companies we listed don’t interest you, or if you’d like to explore your options, then don’t worry. ArchList has you covered. Browse our listings for web design services and find the perfect company to help you with your website optimization tasks today!