Whether you need a simple website refresh or a complete redesign, these tips can boost your ROI
You already know a strong website and digital strategy is essential to growing your business, but how well is your website actually performing? How does it rank against your competitors? What improvements should be made to help you market and grow better?
CHECK OUT THESE top ten tips to BOOST Your website PERFORMANCE and increase your digital ROI:
1. Make it fast and easy to load and view pages on your site.
2. Make sure your website design is centered around your ideal user's goals.
3. Ensure your value proposition is crystal clear.
4. Capture the "wow" factor.
5. Make functionality a priority.
6. Use directional cues.
7. Keep it simple, and obey the rule of one.
8. Make sure your content is interesting - and easily digestible.
9. Plan your site's reputation management.
10. Use software to measure results and performance.
TIP #1 MAKE IT FAST AND EASY TO LOAD AND VIEW
In 2014, Kissmetrics reported that 47 percent of visitors expect a website to load in under 2 seconds, with 40 percent of visitors saying they would leave if the loading process takes more than 3 seconds. Fast forward to today and it’s closer to a 2 second limit before that visitor goes elsewhere. And it’s not just that one visit. 46% of users won’t re-visit poorly performing websites (Loadstorm, 2020)
Visitors don’t want to wait, period. You could have stunning visuals and great articles, but what’s the point if no one waits around to see them?
If that’s not reason enough, consider this: search engines don’t like slow pages, either. If they send a visitor to your page and that visitor has a bad experience, you’re likely to see your ranking slip.
Important update - in June 2021 Google rolled out the Core Web Vitals (CWV) update, which puts greater weight on your page load speed as it critically reviews your website performance.
Bottom Line: Do everything possible to speed up those load times and make sure your pages are both quick and responsive on every platform. If you need help understanding how to fix the problems, or accessing your Core Web Vitals in your Google Analytics give us a jingle or drop us a line; our team can help you out.
TIP #2 MAKE SURE YOUR WEBSITE DESIGN IS CENTERED AROUND YOUR IDEAL USER’S GOALS
Empathy is the name of the game. It’s important to put yourself in your ideal customer’s shoes through every step of the buyer’s journey.
(If you haven’t yet built out a buyer persona for your business, maybe hit save on this article and take a detour here: Why you need a buyer persona)
One mistake made far too often is separating your web design from your overall marketing strategy. Marketers put full-force energy into ad dollars meant to bring new visitors to their website, but often don’t do enough to nurture that ideal visitor once they get there.
Do your web designers fully understand your ideal customer? Work with them to ensure your website is helpfully guiding your visitors along, solving their problems, and answering their questions.
Your ideal user needs a clear path to follow that also offers a great experience. Get hyper-critical as you analyze this process and make whatever changes necessary to better guide your visitor along the buyer’s journey.
TIP #3 MAKE SURE YOUR VALUE PROPOSITION IS CRYSTAL CLEAR
You know what makes you great, but are you sure your website visitors do?
If someone spends time on your site and can’t figure out within a few minutes what you do best, what sets you apart from your competitors, and how you can help solve their issues, you’re far less likely to gain their trust or earn their business.
Ensure clear, consistent messaging across your site that speaks to your strengths and connects with your target audience.
TIP #4 FIRST IMPRESSIONS MATTER - EVERYONE IS DRAWN TO GOOD LOOKS
Your website should be visually appealing; nice aesthetics make people want to keep looking, whereas anything that’s difficult to view will send visitors away before they even engage with your content.
Consider the “wow” factor to capture interest. How are you going to really grab attention and stand out from everyone else in your field?
Your website’s first impression is usually the home page, so focus on making it draw the visitor in to make a strong and lasting impression.
TIP #5… BUT LOOKS AREN’T EVERYTHING. FUNCTIONALITY IS JUST AS IMPORTANT.
If your website has stunning visuals but confusing navigation, your visitors are going nowhere fast.
When planning or reviewing your website’s navigation, look at the entire sitemap and how you can help your visitors easily get from point A to point B.
Is your menu clearly laid out? Are there too many links (or not enough)? How many clicks does it take the visitor to get where they want to go? Is your most popular content buried within sub-pages within sub-pages within sub-pages?
Not every page is going to be important enough to include in your website’s main menu; however, you need to have a plan for how a visitor is going to get to each piece of content. If, for example, you have a website with a vast number of pages, you may want to include breadcrumbs to help them more easily navigate back towards the main pages.
Think of it this way: your website navigation should act like a virtual guide, helpfully directing your visitor towards the information they want. The better you make the user experience, the more time they’ll spend engaging with your content (and therefore moving further down the funnel).
TIP #6 EMPLOY DIRECTIONAL CUES TO POINT PEOPLE WHERE YOU WANT THEM TO GO.
Guiding your visitor along doesn’t rely solely on navigation; adding directional cues to help them focus on the best content is another great tactic that improves the user experience.
Directional cues are created by employing the use of graphic and text layout to draw the eye where you want it to go. A few simple design tips can provide great improvement.
Whether you’ve noticed it before or not, you’ve been influenced by directional cues for years; consider these examples:
Implicit Directional Cues:
- The “eye gaze” of a subject in a picture can help direct the viewer’s attention: if the subject is “looking” at the text next to it, the viewer is more likely to look there, too.
- A subject pointing or gesturing towards a CTA button or an important piece of text can also help draw your attention.
- Design composition can subliminally guide the eye towards content in the way it’s styled or framed.
Explicit Directional Cues:
- Arrows can literally point out key information and can be styled to fit in nicely with the overall design.
- The Human brain likes to follow lines; linear directional cues can be used in a number of ways to pull the eye along a set course.
TIP #7: KEEP IT SIMPLE, AND OBEY THE “RULE OF ONE”
Make sure each page on your site has one primary objective. Too much content or too many separate objectives can overwhelm a visitor and make them give up.
Remember, visitors who find you via search may land on a specific piece of content on your site before even hitting the homepage. You have to make each page communicate clearly.
People like simplicity. Multiple studies have shown different benefits of simplicity on human behavior; as it relates to websites, a Google study that showed that simple websites were more appealing. (You might notice that Google’s page is both the most visited and possibly the simplest page in the world.)
Treat each page like a landing page. Have a clear headline, a demonstrated value proposition, and a call to action on every page.
TIP #8 MAKE YOUR CONTENT INTERESTING AND EASILY DIGESTIBLE
The way your content is displayed on a web page can matter almost as much as the content itself.
First, absolutely make your content interesting and engaging (this is a huge component of your website, and we have other articles you can check out, starting with this content article and this content strategy blog, if you need more direction on the quality of your content).
Then, make sure it’s easy to read.
Consider how it’s laid out and broken up. Write for the skimmers – use headlines, sub-headlines, bullet-points, graphics, directional cues, etc. Write so that the most easily-distracted people will still get the message.
More and more people skim rather than thoroughly reading, so dividing it up and making it as easy to skim as possible will keep the reader more engaged.
Use the classic F-pattern and remember that readers generally read across the headline, then down to check the primary sub-headers and bullet-points, and then they revisit the chunks of content that stand out and appear most interesting.
Finally, remember how important white space can be to give the eyes a break. Long chunks of written word broken up with clean white space makes it much easier to take it all in.
TIP #9: MANAGE YOUR ONLINE REPUTATION
This one isn’t necessarily about improvements to your site, but it can certainly increase your perceived authority and enhance site traffic.
Start by making sure your online information in directories and search engines is consistent and correct. Then, make a plan to combat bad reviews across social media and review sites. Responding to customer feedback online shows other potential customers that you truly care – and sometimes bad reviewers will remove a bad review after you reach out and acknowledge their concerns.
By the way, if you’re not already doing so, share testimonials and reviews on your own site to help boost your credibility to new visitors.
TIP #10: USE MARKETING SOFTWARE TO MEASURE PERFORMANCE
If you’re not tracking data, you won’t have a good handle on what’s working - or what’s not. With countless platforms out there, find one that makes sense for your business and helps you streamline your workload by addressing multiple marketing needs in one spot.
We’ve worked with several platforms and have a strong preference for HubSpot – check it out and see if it might be right for you, or give us a call for more information!
ONE LAST BONUS TIP – track your results and continue testing different options to see what works better for your ideal audience. Measuring results and honing in on best practices will make your website perform better and make your life easier in the long run. If you’re not sure where to begin or don’t have the time to dive into analytics yourself, reach out to a digital marketing firm that can take on the heavy lifting here.
Want a more in-depth guide to great website design and tips to make your digital marketing perform at its best?