Even if you have a really good looking site that’s hitting all of your goals and getting your business leads or sales, it’s still should never be your “final” site. Websites aren’t a set-it-and-forget-it tool and there are almost always opportunities for optimization.
Now you’re probably saying: “But WHY?! I’ve already spent all of this money and time on a brand new website that I love.” Easy. You want that site to keep working for you and performing better (and better and better) over time. As time passes, trends change, new user data is collected, Google looks at your site differently, and web technology changes. Regardless of your industry, it’s not best practice to let your business’ site stay stagnant in the ever-changing world of the internet. Website optimization is a process we recommend for our ecommerce clients, B2B clients, and use ourselves. Now let’s dive a little deeper into why website optimization is important for you.
Web design trends have changed immensely throughout the years. Have you ever taken a deep dive of your favorite site on the Wayback Machine web archive? You can see how sites have adapted over the years as new styles have become popular. Now, this isn’t to say that you should do an entire redesign of your website every year to match the trend, but if your site is using ancient stock photography or, dare I say… clipart, it might be time for a refresh.
There are also trends in your industry that you want to keep up with. Not keeping up with a trend that users come to expect when visiting a site can put you at a disadvantage. For example, personalization is booming within the ecommerce industry. 74% of shoppers admit to being frustrated when they aren’t offered a personalized experience, and over half of all online shoppers will offer personal information for an experience that’ll benefit them. By not following this trend, you can be missing out on valuable customers by not meeting their expectations.
Learn more about personalizing the customer experience.
For starters, your website should at least have Google Analytics installed. If you’re missing out on this tool, I give you permission to stop reading and set GA up, ASAP.
All set? Good. Google Analytics collects all of the data you need to begin site optimization. It allows you to track when people visit your site, how they get there, what pages they view, in what order they view those pages, how long they stay, basic demographics and locations of users, the list goes on. It’s a pretty amazing tool and your first step in collecting data to start optimizing your site.
Other data we like to collect are “heatmaps.” These are images that show how far users scroll on each page and where they click. While these are essential for a campaign’s landing page and the homepage, it definitely doesn’t hurt to collect this data on all of the main pages of your site to find room for improvement.
Using this valuable data to optimize your website can do wonders for user experience and, in turn, increase conversions and purchases. If users aren’t moving through your site in a way that efficiently brings them to make a purchase, if they aren’t getting to information that is essential to the buyer journey, or if they aren’t making it to the bottom of your homepage that has your contact form – these are all situations where website optimization can help. And you would not know these situations are occurring and creating obstacles in the buyer journey without collecting and analyzing data.
Performing in Search
If you want your site to be found organically through search engines, you’ll want a good search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. While SEO needs to be onboarded to your website, it also needs to be maintained quite often, we recommend maintenance on a monthly basis.
There are many factors that need to be considered for maintaining SEO, which is why just onboarding is not enough for a successful SEO strategy. Google and other top search engines are constantly updating their algorithms for better search performance, and a strategy you might be using on your site could become outdated and no longer beneficial. For example, backlinks used to be a “hack” to getting a good web ranking on Google. The algorithm improved to not allow websites to get ahead with just any backlinks, especially ones acquired through black-hat strategies. And more recently, link attributes affect how Google looks at backlinks (i.e. nofollow, dofollow, sponsored, etc.)
Maintaining SEO is also essential to keep up with your competitors and your customers. Questions that you should be asking yourself are: What is my competition showing up in search for? What questions or products are my customers searching for? Once you’ve answered these questions, you can develop and SEO content strategy that will help your site’s content get found in search. And because the answers to those questions might change based on seasonality and trends, this is something that needs to be evaluated for your site often.
Changes in Web Technology
Just like design trends, this factor isn’t as commonly looked upon as SEO or data. But, it’s good to keep up with your industry to better understand what your customers are expecting and how you can make their experience with your business that much better. Chatbot technology, for example, is becoming more common on websites offering services because customers want to schedule appointments or get answers to their questions without having to pick up the phone.
A technology trend within the restaurant industry are mobile apps with rewards programs or on-the-go ordering functionality. Therefore, businesses like Starbucks are transitioning to progressive web apps for a much-improved customer experience that’s effective for both desktop and mobile usage.
Without maintenance, your website will not reach its true potential. Take these tips to develop a maintenance strategy for your website and to even start thinking about what might be in store for your “version 2.” Not sure where to begin? Contact us to learn more about how we have helped businesses stay ahead of their competitors and their industries by maintaining their website.