Let’s start with a quote from the book “Landing Page Optimization: The Definitive Guide to Testing and Tuning for Conversions”:
The Rules of Web Awareness:
– If the visitor can’t find something easily, it does not exist.
– If you emphasise too many items, all of them lose importance.
– Any delay increases frustration.
Publishing a website is relatively simple these days, there are loads of ways to get your business online and make it visible to lots of people — however, there is little point in having the most beautiful website in your area of business if it doesn’t:
- Meet the established goals of your business
- Interest, engage, or retain your audience
- Allow your audience to use it easily
If your website isn’t doing any of these things it’s time to think about doing a bit of optimisation and tweaking, but before the tweaks can begin there are a few questions you need to know the answers to:
Who is your audience?
What does the ideal person you’d like to visit your website look like? Where do they live? What sort of age are they?
Think of a friend or acquaintance who best matches your ideal audience and what would make them want to visit your website.
What do you want your website to do? What are its goals?
Are you looking to generate leads? Are you trying to sell products online? Do you want people to sign up for a service? Does your website match the brand values of your company?
Ideally, these goals should match up with the person you believe to be your ideal visitor.
How good is your content?
Does the copy sound like it’s geared towards your ideal audience? Would it be easy for them to understand it? Does it match the verbal identity of your company or brand? Does it clearly convey your goals?
Content is king, both in terms of search engine visibility and engaging with your visitors.
How easy is it for people to use your website?
Does your website load quickly? Does it work well for people who use gadgets like tablets and mobile phones to browse the internet? Are the navigation menus working well for visitors?
Good usability is critical to the success of your website. Poor usability not only has a terrible effect on the overall ability of your website to convert sales or leads, it also affects search engine visibility.
Which parts of your website work well, and which don’t?
At what point do most people leave your website? How many visitors leave immediately without doing anything? How long do people spend on your site? Which pages currently meet your goals? Which pages don’t achieve anything?
Knowing what works and what doesn’t allows you to focus your optimisation appropriately, ultimately improving the overall usability of your website for its visitors. If you have no way of monitoring the traffic visiting your website, now would be a good time to set up Google Analytics.
Don’t know all the answers? There are tools available to help…
- Google Analytics is a great place to start, it has a bit of a learning curve, though.
- Crazyegg creates heat maps that allow you to see how users click and scroll through your website.
- Google PageSpeed Tools shows you ways to make your site faster and more mobile-friendly.
- Google Mobile-Friendly Test lets you see how easily a visitor can use your page on a mobile device.
The bottom line
You’ve invested time and money in your website and it needs to work for your users before it can work for you — so answer the questions above, find the failings and then do something about them.