I should preface this list with a note that these are simply recommendations based on my experience across hundredths of websites I have worked on. Results are going to vary from site to site. The best thing you can do is test each change, track the results and then make a decision if it should be a permanent one or not.
Without further ado, here are my Top 11 Ways to Improve a Website:
Switch to WordPress
There’s no hiding that I love WordPress. This website is built on it and the majority of my clients sites are built on it as well. There are many reasons for this, but to keep things concise we have found that WordPress simply works. Google seems to love WordPress sites just as much as we enjoy building and working with them. The ease of use, customization options and huge community of developers and enthusiasts that support the system make WordPress our go to choice for website platforms. If you are ready to make the switch make sure to use our website migration checklist to avoid losing any current value your website may have.
Replace flash with jQuery or Vanilla JS
Let’s keep this simple – flash is awful in my opinion. Yes, earlier years it was incredible, it made WOW impact on internet market, but now days it is not supported very well and it makes it very bad to implement. It cannot be viewed on most mobile devices and it can take way too long to load for many impatient visitors. Get rid of it. Now.
jQuery can offer many of the same benefits of flash animations and it is much lighter, more user-friendly and can be viewed on all mobile devices.
Clean up your code
Before you can clean up your code you need to know what’s wrong with it. Three of our favorite tools to use are Firebug for Firefox, the GT Metrix Performance Tools and good old Google Webmaster Tools, also very important Google Page Insights. These tools will point out errors and recommend adjustments (like fixing 404 pages and minifying your CSS, optimizing images and more) to improve the performance of your website.
Upgrade your hosting
If your website is image or video heavy and you have a national, or even international, audience then it would be in your best interest to consider using a CDN (content delivery network) like CloudFlare to speed up the load time and experience for your users. If your website targets a local, regional area then it would help to host your website as close to that area as possible. These two things can drastically improve the experience for your users, and thus, lead to more conversions.
Customize your title tags
One of the quickest, and easiest, ways to help your website improve its organic rankings is title tag optimization. Proper title tags help the search engines know what each page is about. They also can increase click troughs on your organic results, which ultimately will create more opportunities for leads / sales from your organic search traffic.
Optimize your existing content
Before you stress yourself out trying to create new content for your website it’s always a good idea to optimize what you already have first. Go through your existing content and implement some simple optimization. This can include anchor text linking web pages to one another, using header tags where applicable, adding alt and title tags to your images and writing custom meta descriptions for each page. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at the impact that these simple elements can make.
Consolidate your navigation
The more options you give visitors the less likely they are to convert. Simplify your navigation by consolidating options that don’t necessarily need their own main navigation button / link. Use CSS drop downs to neatly structure and organize any pages that should live under a parent page. Use a spreadsheet to record your current sitemap and your new sitemap. You will need this for possible redirects and tracking in the future.
Showcase one main call to action
Decide exactly what you want your visitors to do when they hit your website. Once you know what this is then focus everything around that and prominently display one call to action throughout your website. Visitors will be naturally guided through your lead / sales funnel and you will experience a higher, more consistent conversion rate. Don’t stop here though, test different variations of that call to action to see which verbiage, color, graphic converts the best.
Provide your contact information
There’s nothing more frustrating, besides all flash websites or restaurant websites that use .pdf menus, than a website that requires a Sherlock Holmes to find the company’s contact information. Sometimes people just want to pick up the phone, visit you in person or send an email to you as opposed to filling out a form and providing their credit card information on a website. Make it easy for these people to get a hold of you. Properly displaying your business contact information can even be beneficial for local search marketing purposes as well. Here, I made it the simplest I could, please copy from me.
Upgrade your design
You have 3-5 seconds (if not less) to impress a visitor enough to keep them on your website. If your website is slow, ugly, weak in content or just not resourceful, then visitors will leave. Worse yet, they may never come back. Make sure that you are capitalizing on each opportunity by using a clean, professional website that properly represents your business. If you’re not a designer, then this is where you will most definitely want to consult or hire a professional web design company.
Make it simple
You need to understand that your visitors are in most cases not the people you want to be, but you can also get nice conversions from them. Now days people are lazy on the internet. Choose the most important content or actions from your website and put it on the first screen in first 700 pixels of the page and clean a mess around it so it will look simple and catchy.
Successful Websites Start Here
There you have it – 11 actionable things you, or your web company, can get started on now to improve your website. Some of this may seem overwhelming, but if you tackle these items one by one – making sure to track and test throughout the whole process – then you will have an optimized website before you know it. If I completely lost you, but you know your website needs help, then I can encourage you to take advantage of my FREE, NO OBLIGATION Website Analysis offer.
Are you ready to get your website reviewed by an expert?