Maybe your website has been up a while and it used to get traffic but you're just not seeing the same traffic or you want to improve on the traffic you're already getting. Here are some ways to improve a website and some useful website improvement ideas to consider.
Probably the first thing to do to improve your website is to make sure all the content is up to date. That's just the basics and maybe this hasn't been done for a while. How you improve website content is to look at every page on the website and read over the content. Make edits as you go. We have more tips in point #4 below.
You can maybe skip updating every blog post but look through the topics covered on your WordPress blog and if anything is out of date or just irrelevant, then consider deleting that content. You really just want the best information on your website at all times. You'll want to set up a redirect to your home page from the page you deleted to make sure you don't end up with a lot of 404 errors on your website.
A nice way to freshen up your website is to change images and content on your home page. If your home page has a slide show or hero image at the top, look for new images to use instead. Maybe your logo has changed or maybe there are new sections that can be added because you've added new products or services at your company. Get your content current and change things up a bit.
Your home page needs to state what you do. So many websites today don't even have this part. When a website visitor arrives at your page, you need to give them the who, what, where, when and why so they know they've ended up in the right place. Without this, you'll have a higher bounce rate as they move on to the next result in the list and this moves your website down in rankings. Be clear about what you do and how it will help the website visitor (your customer). This has to be done right away - meaning, at the top of the page without scrolling.
The home page also needs to have enough text. Today, a short paragraph of 400 words won't do it. Think about shooting for at least 3 times that amount of content. Make sure it's original content that's not found anywhere else on the Web - not even content from other parts of your website. Hire a copywriter if you need to - yes, it's that important.
In order to get more conversions (leads, sales, etc.) you have to ask people to take action. Some websites don't do this well enough. They just assume people will seek out the Contact Us page but they never ask. You get more when you ask... that's just a fact.
When you craft you call to action statements, think about different degrees of "asks." One ask might be for them to follow you on social media. That one's a smaller ask. A bigger ask would be to sign up for your e-newsletter. Bigger yet would be for them to contact you through a form. A big ask would be to have them call you or place an order online. See how that works?
Plan out which ones you want to use - yes, use more than one, and then plan where to have each of your call to action statements on each page. Put your strongest one at the top.
Next, dig into your stats. If you have Google Analytics running and Google Search Console set up, pour through that data and find out where people are going and how they're getting to your website. You may make some pretty amazing discoveries when you spend quality time in your stats.
These stats should help you see which content is working and you should, in turn, either add to that content (improve it) or add more articles/pages that support that content (link to it).
When you improve content, there is a lot you can do:
In this case, if it's ain't broke, do fix it - expand on it. You know what is working, so do more of it!
Maybe you have great content and a great site but your competition's website loads much faster, giving them the edge. Don't ever discount the technical part of SEO (search engine optimization). Having a website that loads fast, has no errors, is coded correctly, and has content in the right place can make a huge difference in your rankings.
Making your website load faster is a way to improve the user experience on your website and that is one major thing Google looks at when they decide how well your website should rank.
There are ways to make your website load faster and improve a website's performance. We can help with this because it's pretty technical but one easy way is to optimize the images on your website. Do this by bringing down the image size using Optimizilla or another image optimizing tool. Replace your larger images with these shrunk down images to help each page load faster.
You probably get a good amount of traffic from Google since they're the top search engine, right? It only makes sense to keep Google happy. You do this by going into your Google Search Console account and investigating the errors there. See what needs to be fixed, then fix those items. Once they're fixed, you can report them fixed and Google will re-crawl your website.
A website without errors is a website that is being maintained and cared for and, in Google's eyes, those are the kinds of results they want to give to people searching on their website.
Analyzing and optimizing your crawl budget is a bit technical and it's something we can help you with. You first need to find out how many pages Google is indexing, then look at how many pages your website actually has. From there, you'll set some pages as pages not to index (yes, there probably are a number of these pages). Google will then re-crawl your website.
Optimizing a crawl budget, like I said, takes some research and technical know-how but the results can be dramatic. It's definitely worth doing for most websites. Take advantage of every possible opportunity you can to get your website ranking higher.
If a website has been around a while, it might have junk on it. What is junk? Well, junk can be a number of things.
Junk can be banners or links that don't need to be on every page. It can be files or folders sitting on the server that are maybe being indexed. We've even found entire old versions of websites on existing/current websites and Google/other search engines were still finding those pages. If a website upgrade isn't done cleanly, you can be left with lots of junk and it happens more than you think.
The more junk files you have on your website, it's also more files that can be hacked - so lots of junk around is actually a security issue in many cases.
As mentioned before, junk can be old content but I've touched on that already.
There can even be junk code on pages or active plugins that aren't being used anymore.
Cleaning out junk can increase speed and make things look better - both to Google and to people coming to your website. Many website owners are blind to what might appear junky, so ask people who have never been to your website to take a look at it and tell you what they think.
Does your website's blog get a lot of good comments? If so, remember those are real people asking questions and make sure you pay attention to them. If people come to a website and see comments with no replies, they'll think the website is dead and nobody is paying attention to it. That's a bad first impression you're leaving, so get on that. This is considered daily website maintenance which needs to be done.
Google and other search engines also like websites that are active. think about people posting comments as people creating your content for you. A long list of comments is a great way to get lots of content on a page. A great way to get a lot of comments on a blog post is to write it in such a way where it's somewhat controversial and where there can be many opinions or posting on a trending/hot topic is another way.
Speaking of website maintenance, have you been keeping up with software upgrades? Most websites today run on software and there are updates/upgrades that come out - not only to the core software but to the design/theme and plugins/extensions.
Keeping the website's software updated helps ensure it runs quickly/smoothly and it absolutely helps to ensure your website doesn't get hacked, which can bring your website down or give your domain name a bad reputation.
Doing maintenance like this is just a part of owning a website. It must be done.
Another piece of software your website uses is the web browsers people use to view your website. This is software like Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Microsoft Edge. This software gets upgrades, too. Sometimes those upgrades cause your website to not work properly and you must change code on your website to fix it.
To find out if this is an issue, you must have your website checked in each of these browsers. Don't just look at the page but click on links, fill out forms and use it. Make sure it works like it should.
Your website developer doesn't know what changes are going to made with web browser software in the future. This means your website should have been checked with the latest versions of each browser at launch to make sure it's compatible but that's not the last time you do this. It should be done every 6-12 months at the least - maybe even more often, depending on how critical your website is to your company.
And, of course, the website should be mobile compatible, which means it should use responsive design. If you haven't somehow done this upgrade/redesign, then you should absolutely do this immediately... without a doubt.
We've been talking about this a lot, but make sure all pages load securely. This is a "must do" thing for sure. All new websites launched today have every page secure.
Google and website browsers are making a bigger deal about any website page that isn't secure and you don't want the negativity associated with your website. This is now the norm, so do it.
Here's another one we've been talking about but going to the latest version of PHP 7 increases speed (pretty dramatically) and increases security. You'll have to do this eventually because previous versions of PHP will soon not be supported, so why not take advantage of it now?
This upgrade usually takes more than just a setting on a server. Since the core PHP code has changed quite a bit, some older code might not work. Any website going to PHP 7 must be tested thoroughly. We've done a lot of this work and we're very often setting up a staging site to test all functionality. This process does take time but the speed increase is well worth it. Do it once and you benefit going forward.
When you tag certain content on your website as microdata, you're letting search engines do more with it. This includes voice search engines like Siri and Alexa. If you want to be a result for voice search, you need microdata added to your website.
Since more and more people are using voice search, doing this only makes sense. All websites we launch have microdata encoded in them to give that website every advantage possible.
Another way to "think like Google" and give Google what they want is to structure your website in a clean and organized way so that the content's structure makes sense.
The best way to explain this is to give some examples, so let's say your website is structured like this:
You then want to make sure that pages that relate to other pages are structured that way. So let's add those pages to our structure:
We're not just talking about the navigation here - we're talking structure. This is mainly done with the use of breadcrumbs and the site map. For example if someone lands on the "Product C" page, the breadcrumbs on the page should look like this:
Home > Products > Product C
In this example, both "Home" and "Products" should link to those respective pages.
It should not be like this:
Home > Product C
Making sure pages work like this takes more than just good navigation.
This is a simple example but it shows you a little about how website structure should be. This is done with breadcrumbs on each page, the site map pages and with other techniques.
Of course, since Webstix does website design, we have to mention website design since it's a great way to improve a website. It's not only the design but we can code it with the latest techniques to make it load quickly, have great structure and all the other things that Google wants.
We have a 144 point checklist we go through whenever we launch a website and that checklist keeps growing as it contains great things we've learned since we started doing website design in 2001. Every website we design and launch gets this experience and expertise built-in and that's a great reason to go with Webstix.
There you go, 16 ways to improve your company website. Each website is different and might need different kinds of optimization but these general tips can help you get more traffic to your website and increase conversions to get you more revenue. It can take some work but remember, you do this work once and it keeps paying for itself into the future.
If you need help with any of these tasks of how to improve a website, please contact Webstix today and let's get your website evaluated. We can give you a proposal and a website improvement plan that we believe will help your website deliver more. You can choose what you want to do. We have some clients choose to do some work now and some work later. We will prioritize that list so you know what will get you the best bang for your buck!