First impressions are important; you meet someone for the first time and they rub you the wrong way, you likely won’t enjoy meeting them for a second time. The same principle works when it comes to a business’ website. If a customer tries to visit your website for the first time and stumble across a loading error or an uninviting homepage, the likelihood of them coming back, much less buying something, significantly drops. Here are six tips to improve your business’ website.
Have a Plan
Don’t just start adding or removing lines of code or installing widgets without a clear objective. Simply aiming to “improve your website” is too vague a goal to accomplish. You will want to specify what parts you want to improve, such as page load times, cosmetics, or maintenance costs. You’ll want to plan around your site visitor’s journey, which starts from the first time they browse your website up to the point when they become a paying customer. Figure out what pages they visit most, what content they read, and what offers are going to make them pull the trigger.
Remove Unnecessary Elements on Your Website
Some elements on your website are going to pull focus away from your brand’s value proposition and the message you want to convey. Convoluted animations, unnecessary drag-and-drop menus, multiple pop-ups, and content that’s long and drawn-out are some common issues that many business websites have. Not only do these take away from your brand’s message, but it also affects how fast you can deliver content to your visitors.
Make Sharing Your Content Effortless
You want your site visitors to become your brand ambassadors over time. If they like one of your blog posts or marketing videos, they should be able to save, share, or like the content in a couple of mouse clicks. If it takes more than two steps to share your content on social media, your customers are less likely to do so. And just like that, you lose out on free advertising for your business.
Tailor Your Media Content
How big a file size and how many images and videos your website has to load when someone visits it will have a tremendous impact on page load times. In addition, what media content you display on your website represents your business’ values and culture. So, make sure to use the right professional images instead of just grabbing stock photos on the internet. Add a layer of depth and complexity to videos by using third-party tools that can speed up a video online.
Sitemaps are essentially a file that contains data regarding your pages and the content embedded on those pages. Search engines, such as Google, use these sitemaps to index your site pages in a more intelligent and systematic manner. In addition, it benefits your site visitors by presenting them with the data they request in a logical progression. Sitemaps are recommended for business websites that are extensive, are new and have few external URLs on its pages, and have a ton of rich media content i.e. videos and images.
Increase Page Load Times
Page load times have been repeated a couple of times in this article and for good reason. If your page loads too slow, even by just a couple of seconds, you risk losing a visitor who could have been converted into a paying customer. In most cases, high load times are usually accompanied by a high bounce rates, a metric used to represent the percentage of website visitors who go to the site only to leave without exploring any of its pages further or making any purchases. Here are a few ways to streamline your page load times: compress your audio and video files, clean out your codebase by removing unnecessary spaces and characters, reducing page redirects, and using CDNs to distribute the workload of content delivery.
If you have the budget for it, consider hiring a professional to maintain your website for you. This effectively transfers the vital responsibilities of updating content, keeping third-party tools and dependencies up to date, and making sure your website is free of any malware to the professional. Improving your business website is an ongoing and routine task. As you add new content and software extensions to your website, you’ll have to recheck its health and performance.