Is your website not bringing in the traffic you had hoped? Are those who are coming to your site bouncing away and not converting into leads and customers? Well, the good news is there are changes you can make to improve your site experience and rank more favorably with search engines. Here are 10 high-impact web updates you can start tackling today:
1. Optimize Your Conversion Opportunities
There’s more to laying out an effective website than covering all the details. Wise site designers are always thinking about how a page guides the visitor toward taking the ultimate action – whether that’s booking a consultation, purchasing a product, or scheduling a service. Take the time to outline the journey your site visitors will take, make sure each page has a clear call-to-action that moves them down the funnel, and build your pages in a way that makes that action easy to take. Here are a few best practices:
- Limit form fields to necessary information only.
- Don’t over do it with copy – use only what you need to get your message across.
- Make sure each page has at least one button that stands out on your page and takes visitors to the next step.
- Make sure key information and value statements appear before the fold.
2. Make Sure Your Site is Mobile Responsive
According to Statista, 59% of all web traffic comes from mobile devices, and that’s a percentage that’s always on the rise. It’s more important than ever to ensure your website is designed responsively and optimized for mobile users.
Though there are some tactics a layperson can implement, like making sure buttons/text display as a clickable/readable size, but mostly you’ll need a developer’s knowledge to make sure viewports, breakpoints, and typography display correctly on mobile devices.
3. Unify Your Look
Whether your band has a set in stone brand book or style guide or if you’re running footloose and fancy free, it’s important to understand exactly how your brand represents itself. Your colors aren’t just “teal” and “yellow”, they are hex codes #4bf9af and #fdfd66. Run through your site with a fine-toothed comb to identify any off-brand elements in use such as logos, fonts, photos, etc.
4. Step Away from the Stock Photos
We get it, stock photos are ridiculously convenient. Plus, they’re great quality and significantly cheaper than putting together an entire photoshoot. But, they can also serve as a major pitfall for your site.
Especially in saturated industries, stock photos can become extremely prolific and your audience may even see the same photos or models over and over again out in the wild. Hopping on that bandwagon can discredit your company, as your imagery comes across as “fake”. Not to mention, though they are great resolution, some of these stock photos
feel too robotic or distant from real life, further distancing site visitors.
5. Spark Conversations with a Chat Bot
Chat bots are great additions to almost any site, they can reduce workload for service teams by fielding customer questions, they can make scheduling and lead generation a breeze for sales teams, and they can even help prevent a user from bouncing away from your site by getting them the information they need and encouraging them to convert.
Implementing a chat bot not only benefits your team, it can create a more helpful and human user experience for visitors. See if your web host or CMS supports chat bots. If not, there are tons of integration vendors out there – just don’t hesitate to get in touch with a developer in case you need assistance.
6. Flesh Out Those FAQs
Not only are FAQs great for user experience, they have incredible SEO value. Search engines want to serve queries results that will most likely meet the user’s goal. To do this, search engine engineers develop algorithms that try to match keywords to the search query. So, when your site lists out your most common FAQs, you’re more likely to
appear in searches for those questions since your site matches them.
7. Check for Compliance
Just because we think a site is incredible, doesn’t mean the choices we’ve made accommodate everyone. Think about how those with visual or hearing impairments might interact with your site. Hard to see colors, fonts and forms that are difficult to interpret, and images without alt text can make your site inaccessible and even puts you at a legal risk. Thankfully, there are dozens of free sites that will audit your code and provide you a list of to-dos to help you regain compliance.
8. Redirect or Remove Any Broken Links
We’ve all seen that scene in movies. You know the one, a hero is making a speedy getaway and the only path is over a rickety bridge delicately suspended over a rocky gorge. As soon as he sets down a foot, a board snaps and falls to the depths. For search engine bots, crawling your website to help the engines understand how to serve your content, broken links, 404s, are a rickety rope bridge and can hurt your rankings.
But there is a better way, you can provide crawler bots a safer route by setting up redirects from 404 links to the correct pages. If a page doesn’t make sense to redirect at all, simply remove it from your site map. There are a myriad of online tools that can audit your site, showing you exactly how many 404 errors you’re working with and where they are.
9. Pay Attention to Metadata
In the midst of building or updating our sites, especially if we’re going the DIY route, it can be easy to overlook small items like headers, alt text, meta descriptions. However taking the time to get these right from the get-go can prevent a lot of SEO optimizing later on. Here are some things to look for.
- Make sure all images have a name and descriptive alt text that includes keywords if possible.
- Make sure each page has one (and only one) H1 tag. You also want to make sure this includes keywords so crawlers can match your page to the queries you want it to show up for. You should also try sticking to 50-60 characters to avoid truncation.
- Meta descriptions are the little bits of text that show up on a search engine result page and give browsers a little more information about the page they would end up clicking through to. Meta descriptions offer opportunities from two angles. 1) You can utilize this language to illustrate the value of the page’s content and
encourage click through and 2) You can use keywords in this text to help search engines know what your page is about.
10. Maximize Speed and Security
A fast and secure site is not only important for user experience, it’s a key metric search engines will consider when deciding where your site should rank.Here’s two things to improve how your site operates (and sound like a web dev wiz):
- Utilizing a CDN (Content Delivery Network) allows bringing your content closer to your user by tapping into a network of servers spread all across the globe, speeding up how fast your site can deliver content to users.
- When it comes to security, it’s easy to purchase and install an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate. An SSL is a digital token that authenticates your site’s identity and allows you to make safe, encrypted
11. Be Human
As we mentioned, successful marketing, sales, and service interactions are based on positive, human interactions. Your website visitors are savvy and keen to turn away when you come off as disingenuous or too sales-y. Our last piece of advice, and the most critical, is to keep it natural when speaking to visitors. This will create a more
positive site experience and build trust and customer loyalty.
Whew, yeah there’s lots of ways to make website optimizations. In fact, since search engine algorithms and web browsing behaviors are always changing,your website will never be perfect. But, aligning with a partner who can help you get more from your site. At Plan Then Execute we have the tools and experience to build and maintain a site that meets your business goals. Get in touch to see how we can improve your site today.