I work with a number of small businesses and it’s clear to see that many are realising the long-term benefits of investing in website optimisation including:
- A higher search engine ranking
- More visits to your website pages and posts
- An increase in sales and enquiries for goods and services
Getting found by your ideal clients is what everyone wants but it’s not quite as simple as building it and they will come. The internet is vast. For every type of business, you’ll find thousands of search results. Each one vying for the coveted first page of Google.
However, you can boost your chances of being discovered with a well-optimised website and here are 4 ways to do just that.
Get a baseline
Before you can start optimising your website you need to review the current situation. Getting a baseline for where you are will help you see what’s going well and where improvements are required.
There is a variety of free tools and resources available to help review your website, including:
- GTMetrix and Pingdom
- Google PageSpeed Insights
- Hubspot Website Grader
- MOZ Local
- Google Search Console
- Google Analytics
If the thought of reviewing your website sends you running for the hills or you just don’t know where to begin, you can check out my ‘Audit & Optimise’ package. I do it for you and give you a plan for the next steps to improve your website.
1 // Review & Optimise Your Titles and Descriptions
One thing I often see underutilised on websites is page titles and descriptions. Page titles and descriptions play a role in getting traffic to your page.
If you aren’t sure what they are – it’s what is shown on the tab on your browser and on Google’s search results page. Its job is to tell people what your page is about and whether your website is what they need.
By default, the title will be something like ‘About – Your business name’. This tells us nothing about what the page is, so its unlikely to entice any clicks.
Ideally, you need to include a keyword/phrase within the title and description. This doesn’t mean you fill it full of random words. Titles and descriptions are written for humans, it has to make sense.
Example, let’s say you’re a family photographer…
Instead of having your default title as ‘Family Photography – Your Business Name’, you could change it to ‘Specialising in Relaxed & Fun Family Photography in Glasgow’.
You can see from the example above that in the edited title, I’ve included the style of photography (relaxed & fun), the type (family photography) and the where (Glasgow).
Another example would be if you are a jewellery maker…
You could have ‘Bespoke Handmade Jewellery Design & Crafted in Scotland’ rather than ‘Jewellery – Your Business Name’. The amended title is more appealing to the person searching and as it contains keywords you are much more likely to appear on results.
2 // Lighting fast, baby!
One of the big factors for optimising your website in 2018 is speed. Page load speed has always been something to consider (who remembers the 7-second rule?), these days you gotta be lighting fast.
With the uptake of high-speed internet connections, no one wants to wait around for your website to load, even for a measly 7 seconds. Google research shows that load times of 1 to 6 seconds increases the chance of a visitor bouncing off your site by 106% that jumps to a 123% probability when it’s up to 10 seconds.
Google has been pushing website owners to optimise for speed for years but has really upped the ante by making it a factor when ranking your website. They even have a whole campaign to ‘make the web faster’.
How can you make your website faster?
- Choose a better host – I cannot stress enough how vital a good host is for shaving off seconds from your load time.Example: I recently worked to optimise a website with a 6 second load time. After we made a number of website changes, we still couldn’t get the load time below 5 seconds. Moving the website to another host improved the speed to 1.9 seconds. Recommendation: SiteGround*
- Reduce the size of your images – Images can be deceptively large. An image-heavy page can add MBs to the size of your page. The bigger the page size the longer it takes to load. Use an image optimiser to reduce the size before uploading. Recommendation: TinyPNG
- Let go of plugins you no longer use – Every plugin you have installed has scripts that make them function. This means that when someone visits your site, the server has to access each script. The more scripts, the longer it takes to fully load the page.
3 // Craft your design & content to give visitors what they want
Does your website make people wanna stick around? Do you present your content in a way that gives people want they need?
What do your ideal clients need to see on your website to make them want to stay and not click the back button? Getting people to stay on your website longer, signals to Google that your website is a worthwhile resource for searchers of a particular word or phrase.
Tips for design and content
- Clean and simple always wins – the design should be uncomplicated and add value
- Structured navigation – keep your menus clear (no one wants to read a manual to navigate your website)
- Don’t just add it because it looks cool – animations, sliders, flashy things might look funky but probably are necessary and can distract from your message.
- Craft your text to speak to your audience – people are looking for something when they visit your website whether it’s a service or a product. They have a problem and need a solution – write copy that solves the problem.
Further reading: 5 Tips To Design A Better Website For Your Small Business
4 // Check for errors
No one wants to see an error message on a website. It’s frustrating for the visitor – costing you a sale if they decide to leave your website. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to prevent errors happening. I wish I could tell you that servers don’t go down or that things never go wrong but I’d be fibbing. Errors occur, pages get deleted, URLs get changed.
It’s not all doom and gloom though, you can monitor and fix errors quickly before they cause any major issues. And here is a few free tools to help you:
- Google Search Console – signup for an account and Google will inform you of any malware and errors it finds on your website.
- Uptime Robot – a free service that checks your website every 5 minutes to see if it’s down and emails you if it is.
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If you’d like help with website updates so you don’t have to worry about them, get in touch to ask about my maintenance packages. Or check out my ‘Audit & Optimise‘ package that aims to enhance and improve your current website.