Are you trying to create a website that converts your visitors into customers and helps you to expand your business? Of course, you do!
Unfortunately, as the web has become more and more competitive it has also become harder and harder to truly stand out. Today, it takes more than captivating content to stand out and you can no longer purely focus on your users, you now need to consider how search engines perceive your website, a little insight, they perceive your website in an entirely different way to what you would.
Yes, your website speed is vital to your website's performance, it directly correlates with your bounce rates and your search engine rankings. Hence, the faster your website becomes the lower your bounce rate becomes and the higher your ranking will be. What if you are going to drive traffic to your website through ads? Even if you don't intend on ranking highly on search engines, when you are running ads your bounce rate is going to greatly impact your ROI. On slower sites, it is normal to see bounce rates of greater than 50%, whilst on faster websites, you will see bounce rates of less than 5%.
Whilst you will probably not go out of your way to make your website slower does it really matter if you chuck a few too many animations on your website to make it more engaging? Surely have these engaging animations is worth it? Well... Unfortunately not, all the statistics suggest that you are almost always better off prioritising your website speed over fancy animations.
There are a few factors that can lead to a website being slow from the quality of the code, the size of images, the hosting used or the technologies used to build a website. If you are not an expert don't worry there are still some things you can do to increase your page speed. There are simple things like making sure your images are optimised and the right size, for example, if you have 200px of space to fill with an image does not upload a 1200 pixel wide image, downsize the images to fit that window so you don't slow your website downloading unnecessary quality. You can also ensure that you have an appropriate hosting plan for your needs, make sure that the host you are using has a good reputation. Ensure that when you are using videos they are included because they add real value. You will also want to ensure that your host is located as close as possible to the market you are targeting, for example, if you are a business based in Melbourne Australia, you will likely want to opt for a hosting service that has servers within Australia.
Hence, some basics steps you can take to improve website speed are:
SEO is a long game, it can take time to rank on Google even if you are doing absolutely everything right. However, if it has been a while and you still cannot find your website on search engines at all something might not be right. Here are a few things to check off before you lose all hope:
These are the very basics, the next factors you may wish to check are all factors relating to usability, speed and security.
SEO relates to your ranking across search engines, the more your website is search engine optimised the higher it will rank. In some industries you can get away with doing nothing and dominate the search engines, however, it is more likely that you will need to do every little thing to be competitive today. Given a large majority of online experiences begin at a search engine, you also need to consider how your website is displayed on search engines in addition to where you are ranked on the internet. Hence, make sure that you pay close attention to your meta titles and meta descriptions. Some more considerations to make:
A bounce rate is the % of visitors who leave your website after viewing just a single page. A high bounce rate is bad for a few reasons, firstly it sends a negative message to search engines, secondly, a high bounce rate means you are losing out on a high number of potential conversions. Is a high bounce rate always bad? Bounce rates are a very interesting statistic because on different websites that can mean different things and in different industries different bounce rates are expected. For instance, if you have a webpage where a customer will land and convert on a single page, then you might expect high bounce rates.
If customers need to visit more than one page before they are likely to convert then you will probably want a low bounce rate. There are of course a few things you can do to lower your bounce rates, some of these tips relate to organic and paid traffic whilst others will relate more to paid search.
How to decrease bounce rate overall:
Decrease the bounce rate for paid visitors:
Whilst for organic traffic customers will be presented with relevant pages, with paid traffic your manually choose which pages to promote, hence, make sure you are prompting pages that relate to the keywords you are bidding on.
There are two goals to your website, the first is to engage users to digest your content, the second is to use this engagement to encourage users to convert. If you can keep users engaged for a longer period then they are more likely to convert and remember your brand. Your first goal should be to keep users engaged for 30 seconds or more. From here you can begin to evaluate what pages your users exit on. The hard part is working out why? Here are some keep aspects you might want to use to guide your investigation:
Whilst it can feel impossible to know what people are thinking and work out why they are leaving, however, with enough effort and attention you will be able to work out what the main cause is and over time this will help you boost your conversion rate significantly.
Let's quickly define what a CTA is, essentially a call to action or CTA is a button or link that helps guiders through your website. CTAs commonly include phrases such as "Learn More", "Enquire", "Contact", "Shop Now" or "Buy Now".
So why and when should you use CTAs?
CTAs are there to help make your site easier to navigate, your CTA should draw attention and help guide your visitors to the next step on your website to convert. They save users from having to scroll back up to the top, or search for a contact page and make your website more usable. The aim of the game is to make converting as easy as possible. Having said that, your CTAs need to relate to the content they accompany. For example, you may wish to provide learn more buttons on the homepage to link to relevant content to help visitors learn more about certain aspects of your product or service. From those more detailed pages, you may decide to use your final CTAs as the last step to conversion. hence, instead of pushing customers to convert, you gently guide them through a journey, answer all their questions and give them the confidence to finally convert.
Some tips to follow when creating a CTA:
There are hundreds of different analytical programs out there, some easier to use than others. If you don't intend on running ads then you can get away with using only Google Search Console. However, for extra information and to really drill into your statistics you will want to set up Google Analytics.
Depending on the age of your business, your budget and your goals there is a range of technologies you might want to consider. The technology you ultimately go with will be based on a combination of these factors. If you are creating an e-commerce store, we believe there is only really one option you have to go with, and that is Shopify a platform designed from the ground up for e-commerce, ready to scale with your businesses. If you want to take your e-commerce store to the next level you might want to use Shopify as a headless CMS with a React.JS or Gatsby.JS website. In essence, the best CMS for e-commerce is Shopify, it has the most support, the best apps and a large number of quality paid and free themes.
If you are building an information-based website you have a few more options. We believe that if you are building your own website you are best going with a friendly builder such as WIX. When choosing the right theme for your business pay attention to page speed scores and useability. Finally, if you are paying a developer to create your website do not settle for anything that isn't based on React.JS. These means do not use WordPress, this is because WordPress is quickly becoming obsolete, if you create a WordPress website today, you will already be looking to re-platform your website within a year.
Our platform of choice for information-based websites is Gatsby JS which enables you to create fast, attractive websites that are incredibly easy to manage. Unlike WordPress, where the technology advancement is slowing and reaching its final form, Gatsby JS is a new and exciting technology that is beginning to take over, the developments being made every week are incredible and the community is ever-growing.
Whilst anything is possible on the web, every feature you add will also add to the cost of your website. Hence, go into your first meeting knowing your budget and be honest with your web developers. From here they will be able to guide you on what is realistic within your budget and which aspects are likely to blow out your budget. If you go in without a budget in mind, you might end up with a project that is way out of budget, or a project that is way below your budget but does not meet your needs.
If you are interested in creating a custom-designed website for your business start by getting in touch and sending us through some of your favourite websites and we can create a custom design to fit your needs.
Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org