If your website isn’t generating results for your business, it’s time to optimize your website. Depending on your goals, you may only need to make a few simple tweaks in order to see results. Or, perhaps your situation calls for a complete overhaul. Either way, I’m here to help.
In this post, we’ll first consider why your website isn’t currently working for you as it should; we’ll need to diagnose the problem before we treat it. Then, I’ll share my top 10 website optimization tips that you can start implementing right away in order to ensure your website is set up to help you reach your business goals.
P.S. Scroll to the bottom for a handy infographic.
Why do you need to optimize your website?
Before we talk about how to optimize your website, let’s first get clear on why your website needs improvement. You need a website for your business because you need it to solve some kind of problem (or problems). What are the primary objectives of your website?
Here are a few different ways an optimized website can support your business:
- A polished, professional website helps legitimize your brand (yes, looks matter!)
- A website that effectively shares your brand’s values and messaging helps attract leads or customers within your target market.
- An engaging, conversion-optimized website helps convert those interested leads into subscribers, buyers, partners, or clients.
- An SEO-optimized website helps boost organic traffic to your website, virtually on autopilot.
- A website with informative, free content helps build brand loyalty among your audience. Loyalty leads to repeat customers and referrals.
In more tangible terms, most businesses need a website in order to grow their audience, make sales, or both. If your website isn’t doing either of those things for your business, it’s time to make some changes.
Top 10 website optimization tips
Optimizing your website can mean different things in different contexts. For instance, there are technical optimizations, like speed and mobile responsiveness. Then there are content optimizations that can improve SEO and conversion. In this post, we’ll take a holistic approach to optimizing your website. For simplification purposes, I’ve distilled it down to the top 10 website optimization tips that are applicable to most, if not all, types of business websites.
1. Improve page loading speed
One of the most common issues for websites these days is speed. People are busy. We have short attention spans. If your website takes too long to load, you’re losing a lot of potential customers. Either they won’t wait around long enough for the page to load (guilty), or they’ll be frustrated by the poor user experience. In essence, businesses are leaving a lot of money on the table if their website is slow.
How do you speed up a slow website? First, do a quick diagnosis to find out what’s slowing down your site. Test out your site using some or all of the following free services:
After running the tests, these services will tell you the exact causes that are slowing down your site. If your site is on WordPress, there are a number of plugins that can quickly speed up your site with a few clicks. My favorite is WP Rocket. With the aid of this plugin, I recently improved a client’s website score on GTmetrix from an F to an A–in a matter of minutes.
If you’re not on WordPress, or a plugin just won’t cut it, your best bet is to hire a developer to speed up your site.
2. Optimize your website for mobile
Did you know that mobile web traffic accounts for just over half of all web traffic? That percentage has been slowly climbing over recent years. At this point, it’s practically mandatory for websites to have an optimized mobile browsing experience. And yet, not every website does. Does yours?
Optimizing a website for mobile devices is easier than ever these days with the aid of popular website builders and themes. Depending on how your website is built, the process of improving mobile optimization could range from simple to complex. If your website is on Squarespace, the bulk of the mobile optimization work is done for you by default. But if you want to tweak anything to make it better, you’ll need some custom code.
As a WordPress specialist, my theme of choice for website development is Divi. One of Divi’s strengths is the ease with which you can control how the website looks and functions across desktop, tablet, and mobile devices. Click here to learn more about Divi and play around with the free Divi builder demo.
P.S. Like the sound of Divi but not prepared (mentally or financially) to build a new website from scratch? Check out my collection of pre-made Divi website templates for small businesses.
Related post: Why I use the Divi theme to build websites
3. Research keywords
Did you research relevant keywords before creating content for your website? If not, keyword research is a great and relatively easy step you can take to optimize your website. Using strategic keywords in your website copy and blog posts will help boost your website’s visibility in search engine results. In other words, your website will get more organic traffic.
There are a number of free tools at your disposal for keyword research. My favorite is Ubersuggest, a platform created by SEO guru Neil Patel. With Ubersuggest, you can find out if your website is currently ranking for any keywords and discover new keyword and content ideas to boost your overall SEO score.
Another free tool you can use to research keywords is Google’s Keyword Planner. I like to go back and forth between Ubersuggest and Keyword Planner when doing keyword research, but find Ubersuggest more intuitive to use. Other tools for keyword research that are worth looking into are Ahrefs and SEMrush.
4. Write long-form content
Another way to optimize your website that’s also good for SEO is writing long-form content. As the name implies, long-form content is essentially content, typically a blog post, that covers a particular topic in depth.
Unlike short-form content, long-form content is meant to be read, not skimmed. Writing quality long-form content requires research and critical thinking. The content should provide enough value to be worth the time it takes to read it.
Just how long does long-form content need to be? It can vary, but a good benchmark is around 2,000 words. In order to break up the text and make the content more engaging, you can add images, infographics, and even videos. And of course, you should utilize one or two keywords for SEO per content piece. Long-form content tends to rank higher in search engine results than short-form content because the search engine interprets the larger word count as providing more value.
Related post: The benefits of blogging for your business
5. Optimize SEO
We already covered how keyword research and writing long-form content can improve SEO. In fact, those are probably two of the most important things you can do to boost your website’s search rankings. Are there other ways to optimize your website for SEO?
Although content is queen when it comes to SEO, it’s just one (big) piece of the puzzle. Here are a few other techniques you should implement in order to improve SEO:
- Optimize title and description tags
- Improve bounce rate and dwell time (i.e. how long people are staying on your site)
- Create proper hierarchy with heading tags (h1, h2, h3, etc.)
- Include both inbound and outbound links
- Optimize URLs (keep them short and include your keywords, i.e. yourdomain.com/main-keyword)
- Improve page loading speed (see tip #1)
If you’re writing high quality, long-form content that incorporates keywords, and have a good handle on the above techniques, you’re in a great place to optimize your website for SEO.
6. Use strategic calls to action (CTAs)
Let’s say your website is currently generating a decent amount of traffic, but your conversion rate is very low. Although you might be tempted to do something to generate even more traffic (i.e. ads), it’s worth taking a pause to determine why your website isn’t currently converting.
When it comes to website conversion, there are a few different metrics that come to mind, such as subscribers and sales. For many service-based businesses, mine included, the first step in working with a client is hopping on a sales call. Therefore, the primary objective of the business’ website is converting visitors into leads by booking calls.
To determine your current conversion rate, simply divide the average number of calls booked through your website per month by the average number of monthly visitors your website gets (check Google Analytics if you’re not sure). If you want to assess your sales or subscriber conversion rate, you can use the same formula. The average conversion rate varies by industry but generally floats around 3%. However, highly optimized landing pages may convert as high as 10%. If you’re at 3% or lower, there’s probably some room for improvement.
One way to improve conversion rates is to use strategic CTAs on each page. A CTA is an invitation to take the next step after landing on your page. In our example, the primary CTA is to book a call. Every page on your website should have at least one strong CTA. This is especially important for sales pages, landing pages, your homepage, and whichever pages are currently bringing your website the most traffic.
7. Update old content
Do you have two or more years’ worth of content on your website? If so, are those older pieces of content still relevant and serving your business in the best way possible? Small businesses can grow, evolve, and pivot very quickly. In the process, it’s all too easy to forget about your old content and forge ahead with new, fresh content.
Although fresh content is fantastic, don’t leave your old content in the dust! I recommend doing quarterly audits to make sure older content on your website is still relevant. If your business has done a complete 180, it might be best to remove outdated content in order to avoid confusing anyone who happens to stumble across it. But in most cases, you can and should take the time to update that old content to keep it fresh and relevant.
I recently went through this process myself, and it can be pretty time consuming if you have a lot of content to wade through. Therefore, I recommend prioritizing the content that is generating the most value for your business. For instance, are there any old blog posts that are consistently bringing you traffic or leads? Start with those. How can you make the content even better? Can you expand on the topic, add fresh graphics, or write a stronger CTA? Once you’ve gone through the top priority content, you can spend less time on the rest of your old content by making sure the CTA’s are still relevant and that there aren’t any broken links. Search engines love fresh content, so give your old content some love now and then!
8. Build backlinks
Any technique that will help your brand build authority is a great way to optimize your website. One way to build authority is to get quality backlinks from other reputable websites. A backlink is simply a link from another website to your website. The more quality backlinks your website has, the better your SEO score. It’s kind of like networking–the more connections you have, the greater your chances of getting your dream job.
Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do to your own website in order to build backlinks, other than creating top-quality content and hoping other websites will link to it. In fact, building backlinks often requires outreach. One of the best things you can do to build backlinks is to write a guest post for another website. This way, you’ll not only get a quality backlink, you’ll also put yourself in front of a new, potentially sizable audience filled with your ideal clients.
There’s one important caveat to keep in mind regarding backlinks: quality matters! One quality backlink (think sites like Forbes and Entrepreneur) will serve you much better than multiple low-quality backlinks from small websites. In other words, don’t waste your time pitching guest posts to websites that don’t have a significantly higher SEO score than yours.
9. Simplify your copy
In tip #6 we talked about how to optimize your website by improving your conversion rate. Aside from CTAs, what’s another way to improve conversion? Simplifying your copy, or website content.
The copy on your website needs to be clear, concise, and simple in order to drive your message home. No one wants to browse a website that reads like a textbook. The only place for wordy content on your website is in long-form blog posts, and even then, it’s best to use a low reading level.
If you wrote your own website content, you might be too close to home to be able to tell whether your copy is simple enough. If that’s the case, ask a friend who’s not in your industry to read it. Is it clear to them what your brand offers and why it’s valuable? If so, your copy is probably simple enough for your ideal clients to understand. If not, try to simplify your language or hire a copywriter to edit it for you. It’s a worthwhile investment.
10. Focus on outcomes
Last but not least, my final tip on website optimization is to focus your content on outcomes. Your ideal clients don’t just need to know what you offer and how it works; they need to know what kind of results to expect if they invest in your business. Along with using CTAs and simplifying your copy, this tip can help improve your conversion rates.
One way to approach this tip is to read through your website content and note how many times your content refers to your own brand vs. your ideal clients. Are you calling out their pain points and struggles? Do you use empathetic language to make them feel understood? Are you sharing the amazing transformations they’ll experience with your help? Testimonials are excellent for speaking to outcomes.
The more laser focused you are on who you’re speaking to, the easier it is to write results-oriented content that resonates with your audience. If you’re not clear on who you’re speaking to and how to find your niche, sign up for my free mini branding course. Over the course of 5 days, you’ll learn how to build a solid foundation for your brand, starting with your mission, niche, and target market.
Get hands-on support for your website
The process of building and maintaining a strategic website has a lot of moving parts, which can be frustrating and time-consuming to deal with. As a business owner, you have too many other important things on your plate to worry about your website. Fortunately, you don’t have to do it all on your own. Here are a couple different ways I can help you optimize your website:
- Book a day rate. Have a handful of small tasks that you need to get done for your website? Or maybe one or two larger tasks, like SEO research or building a new page? Book me for a day, and we’ll get it done.
- Create a new, strategic website. If there’s a lot of room for improvement, it’s often best to start fresh with a clean slate. I’ll support you with the strategy and professional design your website needs in order to generate results for your business.
Not sure what you need help with? Book a free discovery call.
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