Website optimisation is an area of digital marketing often overlooked and underestimated. In this guide we will go over the importance and best practices for website optimisation. This guide is designed as a beginners introduction to set the foundation for your website optimisation project or foundational learn objectives.
What is Website Optimisation?
Website optimisation is the process involving advanced strategies, industry tools and experimental testing to overall improve the performance of a website. The objective is to drive more traffic, increasing conversion rates and overall revenue.
A large proportion of website optimisation involves Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). We recommend reading our SEO Basics blog if you are unsure of the fundamentals. In short, SEO provides your website and specific web pages to rank higher in SERPs (search engine results pages) allowing your target audience to find your website as easily as possible. But the other critical aspect is on-page optimisation, ensuring the on-page content is relevant to the user search intent and provides a positive user experience.
By optimising your website you are tapping into a target market in the most efficient and effective way. Turning on the tap to more conversions and revenue. All of this without having to pay for advertisement.
Although SEO is a large part of website optimisation, be sure not to get caught up on this alone. It’s important to ensure your website is designed and optimised with the target audience in mind.
A holistic approach to website optimisation encompasses a variety of techniques. These include;
- UX Design (Frontend)
- Web Development (Backend)
- CRO/Landing page Optimisation
All of the above should be working together in harmony to reach a websites full potential.
Why Is Website Optimisation Important?
In 2020 global eCommerce sales grew 27.6% compared to the previous year, this amounted to $4.280 trillion in sales .
The internet today is a powerful place for users to make a buying decision and purchase products or services. In fact, there were 2.5 billion online shoppers in 2020 and this is expected to grow to 2.14 billion by the end of 2021 .
The internet has become the best destination to find information about local services providers, in fact, 46% of Google searches have local intent  and 78% of mobile searches convert to offline purchases.
This said it won’t matter how many people search for keywords relevant to your business if you don’t optimise your website and on-page content, your website won’t get any traffic.
By fine-tuning your SEO, you will guarantee high intent search traffic specific to your websites.
But it’s not enough to just optimise for search. Growing the volume of traffic to your site doesn’t guarantee conversions, if your website content and user experience doesn’t appeal you will have a high bounce rate. To maximise your website traffic you must ensure your traffic converts.
Mastering Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO), will maximise the number of leads from both paid and organic sources into conversions. We will dive into some key CRO tactics a little later on.
How Does Website Optimisation Work?
The objective of website optimisation is to create a website that is appealing to both search engines and real people. But how should you get started?
We always recommend undertaking a series of tests to identify the issues your site currently has. Running these tests to identify issues with SEO, Page Speed, Mobile Usability and more, is a great way to identify areas of your website that need optimisation and back any findings with data.
There are a number of website optimisation tools that will help you with this process, but we always recommend getting an agency onboard like Clear Click to help as this can be a complicated process to implement improvements.
Hereunder we have put together a list of key website optimisation areas, tools and benchmark standards to aim for.
The results of the website optimisation testing will provide a roadmap of how you should start to improve the overall website optimisation process. The next step is to delegate and initiate tasks with your team.
Content writers to improve website content, website developers to improve the site structure and on-page SEO issues and a user experience (UX) designer to improve the look and feel of the website. It sounds like quite a lot of work that’s why it’s often smarter to hire a digital marketing agency to create and execute the roadmap.
Key Website Optimisation Strategies
There are a number of ways to improve your website. A simple google search for “Website Optimisation Strategies” brings up 1.25 billion results. So where are you meant to get started?
Hereunder, we have put together 6 basic website optimisation strategies that are key for kicking off your website optimisation process.
1. Optimise for Mobile Experience
Since 2015, Google made mobile-friendliness a key ranking signal for websites . It’s not enough to have just a great performing website on desktop, it must also be optimised for mobile.
Today mobile accounts for approximately half of the web traffic worldwide and this growth is continuously increasing . In Q4 of 2019, 61% of google searches took place on mobile . As a result, Google has switched to mobile-first indexing.
So the first thing you want to ensure is that your website is 100% mobile-friendly. Run the standard, “Mobile-Friendly Test” provided by Google and this will tell you immediately what your status is.
Fix any issues this test reveals and ensure to test this on all your popular phone models. It’s so important to fix all issues as this will have a big impact on your domain ranking and user experience.
Make sure of the following;
- You don’t have any pop ups showing up on mobile.
- The website loads quickly & correctly.
- Text is easy to read.
- All content is visible.
- Any scaled-down images are still readable.
- The site is easy to navigate.
Covering the basic mobile-friendly test will give your website a favourable advantage when it comes to search engine ranking.
2. Improved Page Speed
How many times have you left a website because it’s just taking too long to load? People are not patient and don’t like to wait, so ensuring your website loads quickly is one of the best things you can do to minimise your website bounce rates.
Google's research uncovered that there is a 32% chance of a bounce if your website takes 3 seconds to load and a 90% chance if it takes 5 seconds to load . Having an ultra-quick website is a contributing factor to a great user experience.
Website speed is also a Google ranking signal and will have a direct correlation and impact on your SEO.
Use Page Speed Insights as the foundation tool and Pingdom & GTmetrics to provide two comparative sources of reliable insights to improve your overall score on Page Speed Insights. You need to aim for a score of 90 or more in Page Speed Insights, on both mobile and desktop.
Page speed optimisation can be a time-consuming and expensive task, but it’s well worth the effort to have a website working at lightning speed, every millisecond counts.
3. Search Engine Optimisation
Optimising your website for search is one of the most effective marketing strategies you can implement to increase organic search traffic to your website. In fact 70% of marketers prefer SEO over PPC to increase sales in the long term .
SEO is not just an effective method to drive high intent traffic to your website but people also trust results that rank high on Google’s search engine results page (SERP’s). Google validates that you have relevant and high-quality content to answer the search query entered.
The first thing you must ensure for SEO to start taking any effect at all is correctly indexing your website with Google. This essentially means your website can be crawled by search bots and pages can be found correctly.
You will want to register your website with Google Search Console, run a check to take action on any issues detected with your site indexing.
Once you have set up this basic foundation, you will want to use a 3rd party tool like SEMrush, Moz or Ahrefs to start tackling the more technical SEO issues and optimise your websites overall SEO.
4. Tweak Website Copy to Drive Conversions
The words on your website have a big influence on the messaging you are delivering to your visitors. Website design, images, usability and page speed are all contributing factors, but the words you use control the message.
One case study showed how a simple text change in the Call To Action (CTA) had a 139% increase in a product demo conversion . The power of words and messaging is something not to be underestimated.
It’s important not to rush into our website text, have a thought out and methodical approach to your on-page text. Put yourself in your ideal customer position. Identify your target audience's problems, desires and doubts they might have. From there put together a user journey to guide them to the desired action you would like them to take action on.
Analysing your website visitors journey with heatmaps will provide insight into your customer journey, and how you can optimise it. Another great tactic is to ask existing customers what made them convert.
Once key areas of weakness are identified in your on-page text, you can then ideate and test different variations to work towards the best performing copy!
5. A/B Testing
Identifying a problematic area of your website is one thing, but how do you fix it with the best solution? This is where A/B testing is introduced, it’s the best way to provide a solution backed by statistical data, an analytical method of decision making.
Let’s say you have a landing page that is not getting a high conversion rate, you can test alternative text, headlines and CTA’s to determine the right combination that provides the best results. If one element you are testing like the headline text gets a statistically higher conversion than the original headline text, you know that this is the best headline to use.
You should only A/B test one element (headline text, body text, CTA, design) at a time. You can still test multiple variations of that element known as “multivariate testing”. If you involve more than one test element at a time you won’t know what resulted in the change.
A/B testing needs to be done methodically and can take multiple tests to find the best performing result. We recommend multivariate testing if possible to speed up the process and collect as much data as possible. The more data you have the better informed your decision will be. It’s also important to give your A/B tests enough time to populate sufficient data.
You will often find that A/B testing results can be applied to multiple pages on your website, so it’s definitely a worthwhile process to optimise your websites overall.
6. Optimise for User Experience (UX)
Business owners often spend a lot of time focussing on SEO and CRO, but overlook one technique that influences both of these and that is the user experience of a website.
In fact, research has shown that every $1 invested in UX brings $100 in return. That's a massive RIO of 9,900% .
Creating a friendly, intuitive and smooth user experience will help retain visitors. They are more likely to come back to your website and naturally follow the flow of your conversion funnel. Not to mention SEO is also going to thank you too, decreasing the dwell time (the time Google Search bots spend on your website before returning).
To improve your UX analyse your user session behaviour with heatmaps, session recordings and exit pages. These will help identify UX issues where solutions can be ideated into a roadmap of improvements. Once you have created a new website page, benchmark it against the original by A/B testing or doing a usability test with a group of test users. This will quickly highlight what UX is performing best, backed by statistical data.
How can Clear Click help?
We often find that clients are motivated to drive traffic to their website to increase conversion. But often underestimate their websites ability to convert, as the website is going to be the main mechanism for conversion. If your website does not convert your traffic then what's the point in the traffic in the first place.
We often find that before we initiate any inbound marketing it is essential ensure a website's performance is optimised. Our website optimisation team will run tests and provide an audit of your website to create a structured strategy moving forward into execution.
If you are interested in having one of our specialists audit your website, book a free consultation with us to get a deep understanding of websites growth potential.
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