Search engine algorithms, website design, and our buying habits are constantly changing. For internet consumers this is good news as it makes browsing easier and faster, but ecommerce businesses can struggle to keep up. Over time, your website may become slow and outdated if you do not make the time to carry out regular improvements and optimizations. Every website and every business is different, but there are some general improvements, which will almost always boost traffic to a website, and will possibly lead to a higher conversion rate. It may take time to see the benefits, but here are nine ways to improve your company website.
1. Carry out a content audit
The content on your website is one of the most important factors in its success. To ensure that your content is relevant, up to date, and as effective as it can be, you need to carry out a content audit. This involves going over every page to decide which are worth keeping (even if they need improving) and which can be lost. This will be time consuming but having the best possible blogs and articles on your site (which cover appropriate and commercially relevant search terms) is vital to your online visibility. If you delete pages, remember to redirect traffic to the home page or another relevant page.
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2. Revisit your content strategy
You should conduct keyword research to ensure that your content is targeting the best possible keywords for your business. The way people search changes over time, and search engines such as Google are now much better at interpreting related searches and long-tail keywords. It is also vital to look at your competitors’ websites to see if you have content gaps or are being beaten in the rankings for key terms.
To help visitors and Google to understand and navigate your website, you need to ensure that it is structured in a simple and logical way.
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3. Invest in successful content
When you know which pages you are keeping and will be investing in, you need to look into their performance in detail using SEO tools such as Google Analytics and Search Console. This will tell you which pages are attracting the most visitors and where the traffic is coming from. Statistics will tell you which pages are worth investing in.
There are lots of ways to improve your content, including adding more images, embedding videos, expanding on the content, adding internal links between pages, adding graphs, diagrams, and case studies, and making the content easy to read by breaking it up with headings, lists, and bold text. Content that is visually appealing and easy to scan is often the most successful, so consider expanding your image library and managing it with image tagging software.
4. Refresh your home page
Your home page is your digital shopfront, and as such it needs to invite people inside. If your home page is outdated and clunky or does not make it clear what you do, it may put people off venturing any further. This will increase your bounce rate, which can impact your search rankings. Make sure that your home page reflects your current brand, products, services, and that it is easy for visitors to find what they need without needing to search through your menu. The home page should be visual, but it also needs at least 1,000 words of content which is engaging but also covers the relevant keywords.
5. Improve and increase calls-to-action
A calls-to-action (CTA) asks visitors to take a specific action, not just to get in touch or place an enquiry. Your website needs to be explicit about what you are offering people, e.g., “Buy your X now,” “Get a quote,” “Share this article,” or “Sign up” for a newsletter. Your website should include a variety of CTAs and should be placed strategically.
6. Focus on load speed
One of the most important features of a website is its loading speed. Slow websites not only affect user experience and increase the likelihood that visitors will leave your site, but they also affect your search rankings. The faster a website loads, the higher in the rankings it will appear. There are several steps you can take to optimize your website speed, but one of the simplest is to ensure that your images are not too big.
7. Tidy up errors
If your website has lots of errors, broken or unnecessary links, and irrelevant pages which do not bring in traffic, it is time to tidy up. Using Google Search Console, you can find out what Google perceives to be an error on your website. When you have fixed the errors, you can report them, and Google will crawl the website again.
In addition, you should get rid of pages that are not helping your business by optimizing your crawl budget. Discover how many pages are being indexed by Google, compare this to the actual number of pages your website has, and identify the pages which do not need to be indexed. Cutting the unnecessary pages from Google’s index and focusing instead on the useful pages will make the whole website appear more useful to Google.
8. Upgrade your plug-ins and software
If you have been postponing software updates, it is time to get them done. Each update improves not only the functionality of the plug-in or software but also its security against cybercriminals. It is also vital that you check your website’s compatibility with browsers such as Google Chrome, Safari, Bing, Microsoft Edge, and Firefox. When the software has been updated and upgraded, your website may not work with the latest version so be sure to check every time a new version is released.
All websites should also be mobile friendly to ensure that they can be viewed easily on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, as a lot of online activity now happens on mobile devices.
9. Make your website secure
It is essential that your website is secure, i.e., that it has an SSL certificate, that the software is updated regularly, and that it is protected by a web application firewall (WAF). An SSL certificate protects data collected by your website (email addresses, payment information) as it is transferred from your site to a server. This tells customers that using your website is safe and secure and shows search engines that you are a reputable company. A WAF will stop automated cybercriminal attacks that often target smaller websites looking for vulnerabilities to exploit, or launching DDoS attacks.
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