By Jason Chow
If you’re reading this, then chances are you already have created a website for your online business. What you might not know is that, your work doesn’t end after you hit the publish button. The fact is, if you want your website to grow, there is still plenty of work ahead that needs to be done.
Improving a website is an on-going process. It’s not a one-off task. Often, you’ll have to revisit your website and improve from time to time.
In this post, I will highlight some of the powerful ways you can improve your website over the next year and beyond. When you improve your website, you can serve your audience better, increase website conversion, rank higher on SERPs, and most importantly, outrank your competitors.
1. Improve Your Website Speed
Speed is important to the success of your website. Here’s the thing, your audience is more likely to abandon your site if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. Not only that, it sends a negative signal to Google when your website response time is under 200ms.
Examining your web server performance is often the first step you need to do. Consider using free tools such as WebPageTest, Pingdom, Bitcatcha and Google Lighthouse when you want to check your website speed. You can access Google Lighthouse from your browser. Just right click on your page -> Inspect -> Audits.
When it comes to improving speed, consider moving your website to another host if your hosting is bad. Of course, you’ll need to do a little bit of your own research to find the best website hosting options before making your next decision. Another tip is to consider using a CDN for your website as it’s proven to increase your website speed for your audience.
2. Slim Down Your Website
Your page is overweight. It needs to go on a diet! In many cases, it’s not the web host that is hindering the performance of your website. Rather, it’s the content you have on your website that’s causing the problems. I recommend checking your website waterfall graph using WebPageTest to identify which elements are taking more bandwidth.
Another method to slim down your website is to use Gzip compression. A Gzip compression is a method that you can use to make your file smaller, allowing for faster network transfers. You can enable it via web server configuration or use plugins if you’re using a WordPress website.
A good website navigation layout will help to make your user experience a whole lot better. A well thought out website navigation can lead your users to look for the important information on your website within few clicks. On the other hand, with bad navigation, you’ll make your visitors feel lost, frustrated and eventually leave your site for competitors.
Some of the more common site navigation designs that you can use are single-bar navigation, sidebar navigation, breadcrumb navigation and drop-down navigation. Generally, these navigations help visitors to navigate your website with ease.
There is an unofficial three-click-rule where your visitors need to be able to find the information they are looking for in less than 3 clicks. So, revisit your website and apply this on your website. The rule of thumb here is to put your important pages closer at your homepage.
4. Start Collecting Email Addresses
One of the many ways to stay connected with your target audience is through email. It’s different from the social media channels where your post may get pushed down by the algorithm before your audience gets to see it.
Email remains the best way to initiate a private conversation between you and your audience. DMA research shows that 99% of us check our emails everyday. For some of us, it’s as many as 20 times a day. If you have a specific post or product offer, it’s best to let your audience know using email.
MailChimp, Constant Contact and GetResponse are some of the tool that can help you collect and stay organized with email marketing. Here’s a reminder, with GDPR, you’ll need to get consent from your visitors before collecting their email address.
5. Collect Website Data
Data is crucial to a website and the best way to get it is from Google Analytics. For most website owners, Google Analytics is the tool that can help you to collect the data you need. With this data, you will be able to figure out which types of content that resonate your audience best, which channels drive you the most traffic and many more.
At first glance, the reports you get from Google Analytics can be overwhelming. With so many unfamiliar numbers, it might be hard for those who are beginners to digest. However, all you need to do is focus on certain metrics such as traffic channels / referrals, sessions, bounce rate and average time on page. Most of the terms are self-explanatory and you shouldn’t spend too much time digging through the reports.
Since Google Analytics is a free tool, you can register using a Gmail account and put the tracking code on your website. For WordPress user, you can get help from plugins if you don’t know how to do it manually.
I’ve barely touched the surface of all the tips and tricks for improving a website. Keep in mind, whether you are improving or revamping a website, always put your audience interest first. If your audience finds that your website serving them well, then you will get what you are looking for in return.