Top Tips for Website Optimisation
We are often asked about optimising websites. It's useful to first understand what it means to optimise a website and then explore the two main ways you do this; optimising traffic to your website (SEO - Search Engine Optimisation) and optimising your users experience once they are on your site (CRO or Conversion Rate Optimisation).
What is Optimisation?
Online optimisation refers to activities which help you get the most out of your online presence, i.e. helping the maximum amount of people find you online and make contact or a sale from your website. This therefore covers both how your website is perceived on the web (SEO) and how your customers experience your website (CRO) . Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) refers to techniques used to increase the amount of visitors to a website by obtaining a high-ranking placement in the search results. This can be on Google, Bing, Yahoo or other search engines.
Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) is then interested in the experience that your users are having once they reach your website. Is your service offering clear? Can they find what they are looking for? Are they making contact with you once they reach you?
Here are some common methods for each type of optimisation (amongst others!)
- SEO and Tags
- Responsive Website and Mobile First Indexing
- Social Media and Guest Blogging
- Pay Attention to Analytics
Conversion Rate Optimisation
- Good Website Design
- Speed up your Website
- Internal Linking, Fixing Broken Links and 404 Pages
- Internal Search
Search Engine Optimisation
What does this measure?
One simple measure of how well you are optimising your website to be found, can be your website traffic. Traffic to a website is the number of visitors and views that a website receives.
This is a fairly crude measure of SEO as your website traffic does not guarantee the quality of the website viewer or their relevance to your business. Other SEO measures such as SEOptimiser and SEMrush can also help you.
Optimise your website for search engines so that it ranks higher. The higher your website ranks on search engines, the more traffic you generate. Most people will not even view the second page of Google search results so it is important to make sure that you're at least on the first page. "A sample of over 8 million clicks shows that over 94% of users clicked on a first-page result and less than 6% actually clicking to the second page and selecting a result displayed there." - Gravitate Online
There are so many different ways that you can optimise your website from the quality of your content, the user experience, site speed, Internal linking, Keywords, User Generated Content and more. It'd probably be a good idea to talk to someone who's an expert on SEO before trying to optimise your website yourself.
Including a Meta description and title tags are also very important when optimising your content. A meta description is a 160 character tag in HTML that summarises the content on the page, while it is not important for search engine rankings, it is extremely important in gaining user click-throughs. The meta description is shown as a small paragraph under your link on search engines that searchers will use to determine if the information on your page is what they're looking for.
A Title Tag is an HTML element that specifies the title of a web page. Title tags are shown on search engines as the clickable headline and are also shown on the tab of the browser that is used to view your page. These tags are very important for SEO, social sharing and for user usability. Title Tags should be under 60 characters long and should be unique on every page.
On the 1st of November 2016, Statcounter released some stats from their research where they monitored and tracked 2.5 million websites, For the first time ever, there were more people browsing on mobile than on desktop. 51.3% of the websites were loaded on mobile and 48.7% of the websites were loaded on a desktop. With so many people using mobile, It is important to make sure that your website will look good and work well on the smaller screens.
'Responsive design' refers to how the appearance of a website responds to the device or browser size it is shown on. The goal of responsive design is to build web pages that detect the viewer's screen size and orientation, and change the layout viewed accordingly in order to deliver the best user experience across the website. Read more about how iPages 'do' responsive.
Google are also making changes to their search listing by using a new 'mobile-first index'. This means that the rankings of websites on the listings will be based primarily on the mobile version of their content. The new index will change the listings that are shown to both mobile and desktop users. Google wants their search index and results to show content that is most useful for the majority of users and most searches are now being performed on mobile devices. This new search index means that it is very important to start investing in a responsive website. Find out more about the Mobile First Index.
Having a strong social media presence is very helpful for increasing traffic to your website. Mastering social media isn't an easy task but iPages have written some helpful guides for marketing with Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Google Plus and Instagram that will give you some tips. With a strong social media presence, you will be able to increase your brand awareness, reach more potential customers for your eCommerce business and regularly posting links to your website will almost definitely increase your website traffic.
Writing guest blogs has so many benefits for both you, and the people that you guest blog for. Writing guest blogs for other websites gives you the opportunity to build backlinks to your website and gives you access a wider audience. Having access to this audience gives you a platform where you can communicate with more potential website visitors and customers. Guest blogging also helps to grow your social media presence by linking your social media on your blog or the people you guest blog for promoting you on their social media.
You should pay attention to your analytics as they will give you lots of important information on how your website is performing. When you try something new to try to increase your traffic, you can use analytics to see if it is working or not. You can also see information about the visitors of your website, about the device, operating system and browser that they visit your website from, where in the world they are, how they found your website, the pages that they viewed, the page that they bounced from and more. This information is very helpful for increasing your traffic and ∫Reducing your bounce rate. If there are a lot of people coming to your website from Google ads, but not so many from your social media, It would be smart to invest less in social media and more on Google ads.
With iPages, we integrate all of our websites with PIWIK. This adds the important analytic data to your dashboard in a quick and visual format that is easy to understand. read our support page on PIWIK stats for a more in-depth explanation.
Advertising your website is arguably the most effective way to increase your traffic. You can advertise your website in so many different ways. There are Text Ads, Banner Ads, Native Ads, Google Ads, Advertising on social media, Retargeting Ads and more. All the different advertising techniques have their advantages and disadvantages but Google is easily the biggest and would be a good place to start. Using Google Adwords can help you to attract more people to your website. You can use Adwords to advertise to certain audiences and to reach the right people at the right time. Businesses make an average £2 of revenue for every £1 spent on Adwords and, with over 1 million websites taking part in the Google Ad Display Network, it is easy to see that Google can provide significant marketing reach for any business. Google Adwords and it has become one of the key online marketing channels. However, it can be a challenge to get to grips with the Google Adwords tool. If you are thinking about using Google Adwords to grow your business then using a Certified Specialist is essential to making the most of your investment. Khoo Systems recently compleated and passed all of the Adwords specialism exams in the following areas;
- Adwords Search certified
- Adwords Mobile certified
- Adwords Video certified
- Adwords Display certified
- Adwords Shopping certified
Different specialisms will be relevant for helping different businesses. However, Khoo Systems are now well positioned to give guidance and support for each target market. So please, don't hesitate to get in touch if you'd like to venture into the realm of advertising on Google as we'd be happy to support you.
Conversion Rate Optimisation
Conversion Rate optimisation is best measured through looking at what you mean by 'convert'. For some businesses, this may be a customer submitting a contact form, or for eCommerce businesses this would be a sale. Measuring these conversions, against your overall website traffic, will give your conversion rate. The goal of Conversion Rate Optimisation is to increase the number of conversions, for a given amount of traffic.
There are a number ways you can do this:
The first thing to tackle is your Bounce Rate. The bounce rate is the percentage of visitors to a website who navigate away from the website after only viewing one page. People will often click away from your website if it looks unprofessional/is poorly made. Especially for eCommerce businesses, a well-designed website is almost vital, but it's not just the visual designs and high-quality images that you should think about. Other factors like the consistent branding, font, navigation, call-to-actions and making sure that it all works responsively are all really important too.
Avoid using pop-ups on your website. Research from AddThis shows that 70% if users say that they find irrelevant pop-ups to be annoying. The use of Pop-ups is a very debated topic as although they work pretty well, pop-ups can annoy your users and disrupt their reading, taking their attention away from your content and leading to an increased bounce rate.
Including clear call-to-action buttons is also very important for reducing your bounce rate. research from Small Business Trends shows that 70% of small business B2B websites lack a call-to-action which one of the main reasons for their high bounce rates and low conversion rates. Your CTA's should be designed to evoke interest, persuading your users to click. When optimising a CTA, every element matters, from the size, colour and even the content of the text. When a user clicks on your CTA, they'll be taken to a different page on your website, reducing your bounce rate, so it's important to get them right.
Make sure that your navigation is clear and easy to use. When a user lands on your website, if they are unable to navigate to a different page, they'll have no option but to bounce. With a clear navigation, you can direct your users to the information that is relevant to them, making their experience better and reducing your bounce rate. There are many different designs for website navigation and it's important that it looks good and works on different devices.
The Page load speeds for your website is a very important feature. If the users of your website can't browse quickly, their experience will be hindered and it could encourage them to click off leading to a high bounce rate."47% of consumers expect a website to load in 2 seconds or less" - Kissmetrics.
Site speed also has a direct impact on your SEO, Google includes site speed as a new signal in their search ranking algorithms. Check out our blog post on Why Google Site Speed Matters for more information on how iPages can help you to increase your load speeds.
Internal linking keeps visitors on your website. If someone clicks an internal link on your homepage, they'll be taken to a different page on your website, reducing your bounce rate. Creating an internal link using iPages is really easy, using the WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editor, you simply need to highlight the text that you want to link, click the Insert/edit link button and paste in the link that you want to redirect to, it's that easy! We even made a support page that walks you through the process step by step with pictures.
Broken links that lead to a dead end can encourage users to give up browsing your website and click off. Broken links can be caused from links being put in incorrectly or the page that it re-directs to no longer being available. There are multiple ways to fix these broken links but it can be a pain to find them. On iPages, there is a tool that finds broken links automatically for you, check out this support page to see how the tool works.
There will always be times when there are broken links that you haven't had time to fix or haven't even noticed are broken, and that is where a 404 page comes to save you. A 404 page helps to stop visitors to your website from immediately bouncing away. "A good custom 404 page will help people find the information they're looking for, as well as providing other helpful content and encouraging them to explore your site further." - Google Support document
When a user uses your search to find something on your website, they will be taken to the page with the information that they're looking for, reducing your bounce rate. But that's not the only use for search. There are a lot of things to think about when you add an internal search to your website; results, appearance, autocomplete and more. Read our blog post about The Perfect Search for your eCommerce Website to learn more about the best way to add search.
One of the best benefits, when you include an internal search, is all of the valuable information that you can gain from the users of your website. You can find out what products and pages have the most interest and what your users are looking for. This information is helpful to know so that you can push the popular products and pages and keep the less popular content out of the way. This not only reduces your bounce rate but can seriously boost your eCommerce sales.
Can we help you optimise your website?
If you're interested in learning more about our search or have any questions, please feel free to contact us.