Most marketers think that improving website performance is a technical thing. And it is, but only to a certain extent. There are many areas where a skilled marketer can make a difference, and turn the company website into a real business performer.
Despite the phrase “never judge a book by its cover”, that’s exactly what most website visitors do. Serve them an unresponsive, slow and ugly website, and they will go and buy somewhere else. In fact, it takes just 50 milliseconds for users to form an opinion about your website, according to some behavioral studies. So, improving the user experience of your website and delivering the right content quickly can be crucial for the success of your business. Here are six ways how you can make a difference as a marketer, and help improve the performance of your company’s website.
Improve the Page Loading Speed
Saving your website visitors a few seconds on page loading can have a massive impact on your business’ ability to engage and retain prospects, and ultimately make conversions and sales. It reflects not only through the improved user experience, but also relates to your SEO efforts and the battle to gain more organic traffic, as a key type of user traffic coming to your website. And this is just one of many website KPIs you need to keep a close eye on.
Naturally, there are many things webmasters can do to drive down site loading speeds, such as eliminating technical errors, minimizing HTTP requests and script processing, reducing redirects, and optimizing files. But the potential areas of improvement are not limited to technology. Marketers can also help in improving page loading speeds by being mindful when they bring new elements to the site. For example, having a lot of large images, rotating carousels or high-res videos can look effective, but is not helping the site’s performance.
There are certain technical workarounds to this, such as using innovative image formats, optimized for web use, or content delivery networks (CDNs), which cache content on servers closer to users. But not even the best web developers can help your site to perform better and rank higher on Google if you continuously upload too large images or other unoptimized website assets. Marketers can help the technical efforts by using fewer image or video assets, resizing images to make smaller files, and designing the whole website with a slim, mobile-first experience in mind.
Optimize the Website Structure
Marketers can work with dev teams to optimize the structure and organization of the website, ending up in reducing the number of clicks visitors need to make to complete an action, i.e. purchase an item. You can do this by eliminating unnecessary webpages and simplifying layouts of individual pages. This enables desktop and mobile users alike to get the information they need much easier and faster, instead of being forced to search through multiple pages and menus.
Optimizing the website structure may require you to re-categorize information and display it across fewer pages. For example, you might decide to highlight particular product features, rather than presenting everything in a single page. Or pick a couple of your most effective customer stories with short descriptions, instead of showing dozens of similar items to your visitors, making it hard for them to consume the information or select the most appropriate one.
When it comes to optimizing your website structure, it’s worth tracking and analyzing a typical visitor’s journey. You can see what route the users are normally taking, and take steps to funnel them through to conversion in a logical manner. The conversion can be an email newsletter signup, downloading a gated case study, requesting a demo, or eventually a sale of a product or service.
Improve the Quality of Your Content
Even though you’ve invested a lot of time and effort into creating it, you might need to optimize your website’s content to make it easier for visitors to digest. You should aim for quality and ‘do more with less’. This could mean using succinct copywriting to cut down text volumes and complexity, but it could equally mean replacing written information with a video, animation or infographic.
In addition, with so many users accessing business websites through their mobile devices, the use of good web signage is more important than ever. Headlines, summaries, body text and CTAs all need to be relevant and concise. This goes for product pages as well as blog posts and other sections of the site.
One additional thing you need to take special care of is interlinking. Adding hyperlinks to related and relevant content on your website, whether it’s blog posts or product pages, doesn’t take too much time, but can bring large returns. Not only that this improves the user experience and discovery of relevant information by the visitor, it also largely affects SEO in a very positive way.
Optimize UX Throughout the Website
A huge area for improvement is the user experience (UX). A good UX really comes down to giving the customer what they want, at the position where they expect it. Indicators that your website is not working for your visitors include a high bounce rate and low conversion rates. You can set and monitor these KPIs in all popular web analytics tools, and analyze them all in the Adverity platform.
Websites that have a good UX move users seamlessly from one section to another, funneling them through to a conversion. Pages that are easier to scroll down, with clear and relevant information and strong visual indicators, can be highly successful in attracting and retaining customers.
Fast page loading, the helpful use of contrast and color, mobile interface optimization, and a simple navigation can all enhance the UX. And so can simple, clear, uncluttered designs which don’t confuse visitors with multiple images, slides or CTAs. These are all elements that marketers can tailor to improve the business performance of the website.
Aside from reducing page loading time and improving your content and UX, there are other ways of reducing friction for website visitors. Again, webmasters and tech teams can do a lot to reduce friction, through enabling auto-fill in forms, offering multiple payment options, triggering follow-up emails on abandoned cart items, and allowing visitors to sign up and log in through their social media accounts.
But marketers can also help, for example by ensuring an eCommerce website features testimonials and results from external review platforms, which increases the user trust and improves conversion rates. And by analyzing search intent data, you can see the top queries visitors use to search for information or products, and understand what drives traffic to these pages and consequently drives sales.
Have Clear CTAs
Lastly, you can improve the business performance of your company’s website by having clear and simple CTAs. Naturally, you want your visitors to engage with your website and come to the wanted conversion event; carefully built CTAs can largely help with this process. Your CTA might be an image or text that invites the user to carry out an action: leave personal information in a form, read more on a subject of interest, watch a video, join a newsletter list, download a PDF, share on social, or buy something.
Measuring the performance of your CTAs lets you know how successful your site is. As with other elements, such as images, text and videos, you should aim to do less with more: using a small number of clear CTAs that lead the visitor to a measurable conversion at the end of their journey.
Switch to Data-driven Marketing
Yes, this is a 7th thing listed in the text titled "6 Things...", but maybe the most important one. As you’ve seen, there are many things marketers can do to improve the business performance of the company website. These depend partly on marketing best practices, such as good copy writing and clear CTAs, but also on experimentation and monitoring the results. Armed with the right data, marketers can continually work on improving the website and delivering the best experience for the customers, while driving sales and growth of the company.
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