It’s true. Research now shows that 53% of website visitors will click away if it takes more than 3 seconds for your website to load. Google actually prefers it be less than 2 seconds – and for an E-commerce site, Google wants to see it load in less than half a second.
Those are pretty high standards for most non-profit organizations and small businesses to reach, but it isn’t impossible. Bringing more users to your website is important, but so is keeping them there. Since the website business is changing all the time, I wanted to update my readers with the most current best practices.
Ideas To Improve Your Business Website
Mobile, mobile, mobile. Worldwide, more than 52% of all website traffic in 2018 was generated on mobile devices like phones and tablets, according to statistic.com. That number was a mere 0.7% back in 2009, just 10 years ago. Google’s search index is evolving so that mobile versions of a website will be returned first, before your desktop version.
To be sure that your website is mobile friendly, there are a few things you can do. First, keep in mind that the screen size is much smaller and narrower. That will affect your design. If you are using themes, be sure it is a responsive theme. That means it will show up properly on mobile devices.
Google offers a free tool that will let you check how fast your page is loading. If it takes 10 seconds or more to load, it will negatively affect your search ranking factor on Google, so this is an important item to measure.
If the website is loading too slowly, you can improve it by reducing the size of your photos, using fewer widgets on a page, and minimizing “bells and whistles” on the page that slow it down.
Engage The Website User And Keep Them Around
Once you have the user on your website, you want to keep them around. Making it easy for them to navigate the website is the first step you can take to encourage them to visit other pages. One of the first things to do when designing a site is to determine what the structure – or architecture – will be. Map it out on paper or a white board. Be sure to group pages together that are similar in content and importance. Each of your top-level pages, like Services, Products, Contact Us, etc., will likely have a page or two underneath it. For example, About Us might have pages for the board of directors, the executive staff, or the company history that all fall under that category.
Be sure to have Call To Action (CTA) somewhere on every page. It can be a different CTA depending on the page, anything from downloading a free E-book to signing up for a newsletter.
Add internal links from one page to others on your site will also encourage users to move around and spend a longer time on your website. Minimize the amount of clutter on a page and make sure you have lots of white space. Add subheads with tags (H1, H2, etc.) to break up the copy, and add multiple photos – with alt tags – to each page.
Pay Attention to SEO
Search engine optimization (SEO) is important for getting your website noticed by Google. With more than 93% of all searches being done on Google worldwide, you want it to find and be able to crawl your site to help you show up on the search. Without being an expert in SEO, there are a few things you can do to help your SEO.
When you are naming your pages, the name you choose will show up as part of the URL so be sure it reflects what’s on the page. This is not the time to get creative! If it is an About Us page, then use that phrase. Users know what that means and they know what to expect.
Think through what your keywords are, and use them. What words or phrases will people be using to look for companies like yours? Those keywords and phrases should be spread throughout the site, using a particular word/phrase for each page. Don’t overdo that, or you could be penalized by Google.
Plan to post at least 250 to 300 words per page, except on the home page, which should have 2 or 3 times that much. Add meta titles and descriptions for each page and be sure they are unique. Add header tags to headlines and alt tags to every photo. That helps visually impaired people, as well as Google, know what is on the page.
Your site will rank better in searches if it is a secure site – one that starts with https, not http. In fact, Google could even penalize you at some point if your site is not secure.
Lastly, routinely check your website and update it. Change out copy and photos on the home page, add blog posts, delete old articles that are no longer relevant, and make sure all of your links are still working. Google rewards sites that keep their content fresh and interesting.
Content is King
Of course you know this. What you write and post on the website needs to be of interest to users, or they won’t have any reason to visit. You also want to draw them in and encourage them to purchase your product or service, or make a donation, or whatever it is you want them to do. Great copy can do that, especially when it is paired with an interesting headline and related photos.
For many companies and non-profits, the website is a front door to the business. Visitors will see your online footprint long before they ever visit your brick-and-mortar location. Making sure they can find you through search is an important first step to converting them into leads and customers or donors.
Need help sprucing up your website? Contact me.