Page Speed, Content Optimization, & Mobile Performance
For too many small business owners in Syracuse and around the country, digital marketing for their company basically begins and ends with the company’s website. But once you install a website analytics tool such as Google Analytics and look at the visitor traffic coming to your website, it becomes all too obvious that it takes more than a simple “build it and they will come” approach to making the company website do what it was intended to do, namely drive visitors and sales leads to the company.
At present, it is estimated that there are nearly 880 million websites online, so your competition to get noticed is quite fierce. If you want your website to stand out from the crowd it will take a mix of performance factors and website optimization.
Web Design Performance Considerations
Website performance optimization is a critical step when it comes to attracting people to your site. If your website doesn’t load quickly, it is like the kiss of death to your online marketing efforts. A recent research study reported that every 1 second delay in page load time can and will decreases customer satisfaction by more than 16 percent and conversion rates by as much as 7 percent.
You may be asking, how do you optimize your website for performance? It starts with the website hosting company (shameless plug) hat you select. It is very important to make sure your website is hosted with a reputable website hosting company with lots of bandwidth and fast web servers. Something that you or your webmaster can also do is be particularly careful about the size of the pictures and images you upload to your website. Pictures and images, whether they be JPG, PNG, GIF or some other format) need to be optimized so they load quickly. There are a number of really good image compression tools available, both free and paid, that are worth your consideration. A couple of years ago, Mashable posted an article on image compression tools that is worth the read.
Responsive Website Design
The digital age we live in has people now do their computing and information seeking on the go. If your website design hasn’t taken mobile friendliness into consideration, you are probably loosing at least half of your audience. Research shows that over 30 percent of mobile users will abandon a website if it is not mobile friendly, even if they like the business itself. A site optimized for mobile needs to load quickly, look good on a variety of devices from Desktop to Tablet to Smartphone, with easy navigation on even the smallest screen. Making mobile-friendly website design all the more important is that Google is (once again) indicating that if your website isn’t mobile friendly, according to Google’s standards, you can and probably will loose visibility in Google’s search results rankings.
Search Engine Optimization
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, and it’s one of those things you must do on a regular basis to keep your website at the top of the search engine results pages when a potential customer is look for what you do. SEO is what gets your website noticed by search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo, and others. Lets say you have a website that sells “widgets.” How well do you think your widgets based website will rank in Google searches? Page one, how about page two, if your site isn’t optimized your probably going much, much further down the search results list. All websites should be built with SEO in mind with the ability to be continually tweaked and updated as time goes on.
SEO doesn’t just refer to the structure of your website, although this is important. The idea is to provide value and start building trust as an authority in your particular field. You can accomplish this by posting relevant articles and blog content on your website that is unique, interesting, engaging, and that answers questions your visitors have.
When it comes to website performance considerations, most business owners don’t consider website security at all until their site disappears and hundreds of hours of work along with it. Customer information can be lost or compromised, credit card and banking information put at risk, and much, much more. As small business owners, we all need to really need to think about actively, and it’s a good idea to test the security of your web site before you get into trouble. It is also critical that you (not your hosting company) keep regular backups of your website. Even if you don’t change much on your website, a monthly backup can save you a lot of frustration, lost sleep, and headaches from customers, your sales department, and perhaps even your financial institution of choice. More importantly, it is important that whoever is tasked with keeping the website up to date looks at it on at least a bi-weekly or monthly basis (at a minimum) and makes sure all the updates and security patches have been applied and kept current.
Your website is, by and large, the first thing potential customers see and by which they judge you. There are a host of considerations to be taken into account when designing a company website that performs well technically and is visually appealing and customer friendly. By taking time to get the “under the hood” aspects right – page load time, mobile optimization, SEO, security and more – you can help your website to rise above the competition, and you will start to see increased visitor traffic and conversions. All of which adds up to sleeping better at night.