Having a good website for your business is essential to win. Target buyers use it to research your product and to see how your company comes across.
“Your website is your second most important product, and it’s the face of the company,” said Kyle Lacy, chief marketing officer at Jellyfish. “It must perform (faster page load time, testing functionality, and an easy-to-use UX) for you to WIN in your role.”
Website optimization starts with the launch of a new website but also is an ongoing project through keyword targeting, content marketing, and other growth marketing strategies. This article can help you turn your website into one of your best sales channels.
Andy Crestodina, co-founder of web design firm Orbit Media Studios, says that good websites:
- drive awareness of the company to target buyers who don’t know about the website, yet
- engage the target audience to stay connected
- convert business
And, Andy said, to achieve that every website really combines the:
- brand and its promise
- usability and flow for the consumer
“At the end of the day, every page needs to satisfy the consumer’s needs,” Andy said. “Websites are critical to marketing.”
With that in mind, in this article, I cover the following:
- The importance of website optimization
- Critical elements of website optimization
- How to get started and keep going
The Importance of Website Optimization for Business Growth
A website can be a buyer’s first impression of your brand. That could be through a Google search, a link from your newsletter, or perhaps even a word-of-mouth referral. No matter the use case, you don’t have much time to make that first impression.
Digital marketer Rajat Chauhan said you have three seconds. 3 seconds! So that’s not very much time.
“If you fail to captivate their attention within this fleeting window of opportunity, they’ll swiftly depart from your website, never to return,” he said.
And once you have that attention, how is that converted into leads? Andy calls that a “mouse trap.” Where are the conversion points where target buyers download valuable content, reach out to talk more about a product or service, or make a direct purchase?
People are looking for a company like yours… and are they landing on your website?
– Andy Crestodina, Orbit Media Studios
Understanding the Key Elements of Effective Website Optimization
The critical elements of a website come down to the functionality, look, and conversion path for the target buyer. All these come back to the content, the technical setup, and the keywords the site ranks for.
Rajat offers three tips to follow:
- Craft a benefit-oriented headline
- Inject curiosity to entice them to keep looking at your website
- Unleash uniqueness
John Weiler, who wrote “Instant Credibility Online: 25 tactics to win website visitors’ trust,” mentioned that everything from good grammar, highlighting the right details, and even having a good URL matters to stand out with your website.
“A lot of businesses are already experts, but they don’t know how to communicate that on their website,” he said on “The Business Storytelling Show.” One good way to communicate expertise is by using numbers:
- 50 years in business
- 4,232 clients served
- 12,452 projects completed
Back up that you are good at whatever it is you are selling. Add awards, social proof in the form of reviews, and everything else that helps highlight your expertise and competency.
“Traffic times conversions equals leads, and that’s growth,” Andy said. “When search optimization and conversion optimization work well together, companies grow.”
Follow best practices as you get started, but then see what works for your audience, Andy explained.
“You don’t need best practices if you have your own data,” he said.
To truly rock website optimization to drive business growth, table stakes include speed and performance of the website. Those can typically be accomplished by using:
- A good hosting platform. Choose an established provider that offers what you need, and that helps you have a good foundation to drive traffic.
- The right Content Management System (CMS). There’s a variety of CMS options available. Consider ease of use, integration with your demand generation tracking, and overall brand perception.
- Optimization of all media types. Users now expect video, audio, and images. Make sure they are optimized correctly so they look good but also don’t slow down the website.
This part of website optimization is mostly technical, but it matters because it when these basic foundational things are not met, it can negatively impact performance.
Enhancing User Experience through Responsive Design and Navigation
Also, table stakes, the user experience of the website must be excellent on all devices. Good web developers will design and develop a site that works on all screen sizes.
Easy navigation that makes sense to the user is also highly important. Start with the best practices and include the necessary navigational items, which include:
- Your services
- More about the company
- How you can help target buyers
- An easy way to contact you
Calls to action
Calls to action (CTA) have to show a benefit to the user, Andy explained, as people won’t click on anything if they don’t see the benefit to them.
“Any CTA has to be a promise,” Andy said. “You can improve click-through rates by making the benefit seem high, or the cost seem low.”
Don’t use weak verbs:
But something more specific works better:
- Connect with a growth strategist to ramp up your revenue
- Schedule a free call with Jenn
- Let’s check your analytics setup
- Try it free
“Think of every CTA button having a mini ROI calculation in the minds of the people that see it,” Andy said.
Implementing SEO Best Practices to Increase Online Visibility
Another part of website optimization includes SEO best practices. Some of that also starts with the technical. In short, ensure the website follows all technical SEO best practices when it’s set up.
A common technical mistake is to develop a website with a no robots.txt file active, which discourages Google from indexing it. Then when the site goes live, people forget to remove the file.
Then there’s an aspect of ongoing content creation and strategy.
Marketing expert Shane Barker said that the ongoing creation of relevant content helps boost website traffic, raises awareness with new customers, and drives leads to increase the bottom line.
To do that, it’s essential to understand who the target buyer is, what their pain points are and then keep creating content that engages them.
Consider the different types of keywords to rank for, Andy explained:
Informational intent keywords
These are the kind of keywords where people search for things like how to do one thing or another. For example, a person searching for “how to change my car’s oil” likely isn’t looking for a car mechanic but is interested in changing the oil themselves. Now, if they struggle with actually getting that task done, they might turn to a commercial intent keyword.
Informational intent keywords get searched eight times as much as commercial intent keywords, so it’s important to rank for these, Andy said.
Andy explained that these mostly get targeted through blog post content but that these keywords also help commercial Intent keywords rank higher.
Commercial intent keywords
Staying with the above example, they may search for: “oil changes near me.” In other words, they are specifically looking for somebody to change the oil for them.
It can be hard for new businesses or companies in a crowded category to rank, but as Andy said, there’s almost always an opportunity.
Andy explained that these can also be targeted on service pages.
Visitors who have commerical intent are like 50 times more likely to become a lead.
– Andy Crestodina, Orbit Media Studios
Understanding your audience
To truly optimize your website, you have to understand your audience. There are several ways to do that, including:
- Customer interviews
- Usability testing
- Heat mapping
- Gap analysis
Getting started and keep going
To get started, ensure you hit the key points that we discussed when it comes to website optimization. Then set up conversion tracking correctly in Google Analytics so you can see what’s working and what could be improved, Andy said.
- Click-throughs from calls to action
- Form views
- Submissions of forms
And remember that a website isn’t a one-and-done project. There are things to learn along the way, and pages and copy can continuously be optimized as you learn more about what buyers do on your site.
“If our brand voice is concise and we don’t give away everything, we will see if that works in the analytics,” Andy said. “Or if our visitors are hungry for details, and if that works, we see that in the analytics. No website is ever finished. So whatever you are trying, check your conversion rate. That’s the scoreboard for the game.”