Having an attractive and functional website has become the minimum requirement for almost any business. It serves as an online storefront where you can further promote your products and services, as well as attend to a bigger customer base. That’s why you have to look at ways to constantly improve your website.
If you haven’t made a real effort on your business website yet, take the inspiration that a new year brings and get to work. You don’t want to be left behind in 2021. To get you started, here are our tips to help you improve your website in the following aspects:
As we move to a much faster and more digital lifestyle, new customer demands need to be served. One of those is a speedy website that is mobile responsive (aka designed to be displayed on a mobile screen).
1. Mobile Responsive (aka Mobile-Friendly)
Mobile now accounts for approximately half of web traffic worldwide. If your website still isn’t mobile responsive, make that your priority. Even if it currently doesn’t seem to matter much in your industry, you leave money on the table when potential customers come to your website and don’t get a good experience.
Popular website builders like WordPress and Shopify allow you to create websites that are automatically optimised for mobile. Consider getting help from a web developer if you’d like to move your current website to any of those platforms. Alternatively, you can always start fresh on a builder you’re comfortable with.
2. Optimise Site Images
The usual culprits for long page loading times are website images that haven’t been optimised for web. Page load time is one factor to keep an eye on, not only because it impacts search engine rankings, but also can cause you to lose customers between pages if they take too long to load.
To fix this problem, make sure your images are optimised in terms of size. Format also matters — Google introduced a new image format called WebP, which produces image files 25% to 34% smaller than JPEG. If your content permits, using low-width images will greatly speed up your page load time.
A great image compression tool we like to use is ShortPixel, which not only allows you to compress images but also runs an optimisation test on any images you currently have on your site.
3. Find and Fix 404 Errors
A 404 error is a code that indicates a requested page cannot be found. These dead ends on your website need to be discovered and removed as it can negatively impact your SEO, as well as harm your brand. To improve your website, you’ll need to minimise the frequency these errors show up.
If you’re not sure how to figure out if your current website has 404s, you can sign up for a free website audit or run one on your own using a tool like SEMRush or Dead Link Checker. If you discover any 404, here are 3 ways you can deal with them:
1. Redirect the error to another page that’s relevant;
2. Edit the page link to point to an active URL;
3. Create a custom 404 page with a list of other pages website visitors can redirect themselves to.
4. Fix Tech Issues
Tech issues can bog down your website and can signal Google to not rank it for any queries due to poor maintenance. These errors are usually easy to neglect as they don’t come with warnings. A website audit can help you spot these issues so you can immediately take action and boost up your website.
Some of the common technical issues sites have include:
- No HTTPS security;
- Site isn’t indexed correctly;
- Missing XML sitemaps;
- Missing or incorrect robots.txt;
- Missing or non-optimised meta descriptions;
- Slow load times.
Content encompasses not just your blog, but also the copy and media being used all over your website.
The most crucial part in creating content is knowing exactly who you want to reach. You may have a topnotch writer on your team, but without clear customer targeting, your audience won’t find your content relevant.
If you’ve already built a customer base, take a look at your current clientele and create personas based on your most loyal customers. Understand their pain points, needs, and language, and use that knowledge to craft all sorts of content for your website.
If you’re just starting out with defining a clear target audience, begin by thinking of your niche in the market. What areas are not being served yet and how do people in that market behave and think? You may start with a rough idea, but that’s better than selling without a goal. With more interactions with real customers, you can always fine-tune your targeting as you go.
2. Implement Calls-to-Action (CTAs)
To improve your website, it should be set up for nurturing potential customers into conversion. One way to do this is to strategically position calls-to-action (CTAs) on your website. Coupled with relevant content, clear CTAs will guide site visitors to areas on your website that will help nurture them to conversion.
A useful rule of thumb is to place your CTAs at the top right of your navigation and at the bottom of your website pages. However, be careful not to inundate customers with the same CTAs all over your site. The key here is to make it easy for potential customers to find what they’re looking for.
Bonus Tip: Go beyond button colours — the most effective CTAs use action words that a specific target customer base understands. In most cases, people are looking for specific wording, also called trigger words. Like many aspects of running a business, nailing this requires researching your audience and understanding what makes them tick.
3. Add Social Proof
People who are unsure of what to do will look to responses from others to guide their next action. This is why adding social proof — such as positive reviews or testimonials — can do wonders for your business.
There are a couple of ways to present social proof on your website. Let’s explore 3 popular ways of doing that:
Customer Reviews. For product and service offerings, adding customer reviews can influence potential customers to convert. This year, improve your website by adding a customer review plugin or an area where you showcase the best positive reviews you’ve received.
User-Generated Content. Did you know that 77% of consumers believe photos from customers affect their decision to purchase more than professional photos from brands? If you’ve had customers sharing photos of your products on social media, incorporating those to your website helps build trust, spark product discovery, and encourage purchase. For starters, you can explore tools like Walls.io or Mediatoolkit.
Case Studies. Usually done by B2B or service-oriented businesses, publishing case studies of successful client work can also help you build trust towards potential clients looking at your website. To write one, simply take some of the best work you’ve done and highlight key performance indicators (KPIs) you’ve achieved for that job. Think of it like a resume, only with more storytelling.
4. Implement Social Sharing
Nowadays, almost everyone is on social media and we frequently use it to discover new products and get more information on them. To improve your website, aim to reach new and bigger audiences this year. A great way to do this is by enabling social sharing for all the content you churn out.
On your blog, simply implement a social sharing widget to allow your readers to quickly forward your content on their social media feeds. Every post you publish needs a boost on social media.
However, if your readership is still low, you might want to temporarily avoid showing how many shares and likes your articles have received. This may defeat the purpose of encouraging your readers to share your content. Keep it simple with buttons and reserve the numbers for when your content starts to perform well.
5. Add Video Content
Videos are fast and convenient and do a great job of keeping people longer on your website. Videos that engage people can be an incredibly effective way of demonstrating your products or services.
No video editing experience? No problem. Online tools like Canva provide an extremely user-friendly platform for quickly generating videos you can use on a website. When creating your own videos, remember to keep it short and direct, and definitely stick to your brand when deciding on imagery, copy, and music.
If you require something more specific, our team can work with you to create animated and/or live-action videos specially designed for your website.
With websites, first impressions matter. Improve your website by developing your brand identity and sticking to it in all design decisions.
1. Develop a Brand Identity
Your brand identity is a crucial tool for establishing who you are and how your customers relate to you. The look and feel of your business branding — from your logo and typography to customer experience style you choose — can both attract and influence potential customers and clients.
If you’re unsure where to start, take inspiration from these 12 brand archetypes developed by psychologist, Carl Jung. Think about the values you want to embody as a brand, find your archetype, and build it up from there.
2. Web Design
A solid brand identity will allow you to be clear on how to design your website. Several factors such as consistency, colours, typography, imagery, simplicity and functionality all contribute to good design. Your brand identity will dictate not just how your website looks, but also how it will feel to customers.
A well-designed website can help build trust and guide visitors to take action. Creating a great user experience involves making sure your website design is optimised for usability (form and aesthetics) and how simple it is to use (functionality).
If you’re not sure how your current website stacks up against usability and functionality standards, book a free website audit with us to identify any critical issues and improvement points.
3. Add Imagery
We are all visual creatures and we can process visual information almost instantly. Imagery can be a powerful way to capture your audience, as well as differentiate your product from the competition. If your current website is all text or has low-quality imagery, it can cause site visitors to leave immediately.
Unique, compelling images that engage your audience and improve their experience need to be relevant. You don’t want to confuse your users with an image that doesn’t explain what you’re trying to get across. You also don’t want to add an image just for the sake of taking up space if it’s not relevant to the content on that page. It’s important to always ask yourself if the image you’ve chosen supports or furthers the content. Again, images have to be used sparingly to keep your site loading times fast.
A common mistake is the misuse of vector images for a business website trying to establish a professional brand identity. Vectors are best suited for brands that want to evoke fun and approachability. If the nature of your business requires building trust and authority, stick to professional images and use vectors sparingly to add texture or accent.
Ads are undoubtedly powerful, but working on your SEO can make a more lasting impact on digital businesses.
1. Find Your Keywords
SEO has long stopped being about repeating keywords in an article, but keywords still have a huge impact on how well pages and articles rank on search engine results pages (SERPs). To improve your website rank and be more discoverable this year, perform keyword research and create content based on them.
If you’re not sure how to perform keyword research, Wow Ventures offers content strategy development that starts out with a look at the best performing keywords in your industry. Alternatively, you can use a tool like SEMRush, Moz, or Ahrefs to determine what keywords your competitors use, as well as the difficulty in competing for each.
2. Publish Content
If you’re not already regularly publishing content, start writing this year. Publishing content gives Google more factors to rank you for and your content can dictate the rest of your online marketing efforts.
The key to publishing content that works? Be genuine. Don’t write a blog post just for the sake of incorporating some search terms into your site. Try to establish your blog as a credible resource that your audience can go to when they need help. Some examples of helpful content are guides, product reviews, and insights on updates in your industry.
3. Link Building (aka Backlinks)
The more links that point to your website, the higher your website’s authority will be. Backlinks show Google that other sites trust the content you put out so they give you a higher probability of appearing on the first page of a search engine for certain search queries. This year, seek out opportunities to build backlinks through email outreach.
Not all backlinks are created equal, and you play a big part in making sure the ones you receive are as high-quality as the content you’re producing. Let’s discuss what makes good backlinks.
Come from a relevant website in your industry. A restaurant linking to a home appliances store won’t improve the latter’s ranking. Aim for backlinks from players in your industry, specifically those in the same size range as your business.
Come from sites that already have authority. The more authoritative the external website, the more powerful the link. Moz offers a free domain authority checker called LinkExplorer, which is a great tool for deciding whether to request a backlink from a site or not.
Be listed as dofollow (vs nofollow). If a link is marked as nofollow, this signals to Google that this particular website should not be counted in the influence of your ranking. An example of a nofollow link is a blog comment or social media post.
Allow technology to make running your business easier. Integrating website tools can give you more time to focus on more essential aspects and can differentiate you from the competition.
1. Implement an Automation
It’s always a good idea to automate processes in the customer journey. Whether it’s shortening the time it takes customers to make a purchase or making it incredibly easy to book an appointment. Simplifying a step-through automation is a plus in customer experience.
Think about the steps involved in your own customer journey and find tools to automate some of them. For example, if your goal is to get customers on the phone, consider implementing an appointment scheduling tool on your website. It can cut the back and forth emails involved in trying to set a meeting schedule and instantly gives you a great opportunity to seal a deal with a prospect.
2. Add a Chatbot
Chatbots are a great way to provide your site visitors with the information and help they need without having to hire a customer support team. You can use a chatbot to instantly answer customer inquiries or manage inquiry traffic if you regularly receive a lot of support requests.
3. Setup Analytics
Analytics is a must-have for any marketer who aims to constantly improve. Analytics help you track the performance of your website along with all your digital marketing campaigns.
With analytics setup for your website, you’ll be able to learn more about your audience and use data to decide on your next move, whether it be about blog topics or product features.
Google has a helpful guide for integrating Google Analytics into your website. It covers not only the setup but also key terminologies to know before analysing your website data.
Act Now and have a Prosperous 2021
Hopefully, this gives you the tools you need to make some changes to your site that will improve it’s overall performance and conversion rates.
However, if you’re a bit stuck or just time poor, I highly recommend that you talk to a web developer. Any decent agency will be able to do an audit of your website to show you everything that needs to be fixed. From there you should get a price breakdown so you can stagger the improvements if it’s necessary for your cashflow,