The internet never stops to rest, so monitoring the continued performance of your website and digital marketing efforts is vital in order to achieve ongoing success.
The internet never stops to rest, so monitoring the continued performance of your website and digital marketing efforts is vital in order to achieve ongoing success. If you feel like your website should be bringing in more enquiries, there are a few common factors that could be affecting your website health:
- Your website content may be too cluttered for users to find what they’re looking for
- Your site may not have responsive layouts for mobile phone or tablet devices
- You could be missing potential customers in certain segments, e.g. social media
- You may not be updating your content regularly, or using appropriate search keywords
- Changes to search engine algorithms could put your site at a disadvantage
- Your competitors may be implementing their own campaigns, attracting your audience
At Bam Creative, we can’t stand to see a website that isn’t living to its full potential, so we have devised a 15-point checklist that assesses the most important aspects of a website’s performance.
We look at:
- Mobile and tablet support
- Ease of use
- Search engine optimisation
- Social media integration
- Page content
- Behind-the-scenes optimisation
- Page load speed
- And various other factors
Unsurprisingly, we notice that the older a website is, the less well equipped it is in general to compete in today’s internet landscape. This highlights the rapid pace that digital technology has moved forward in recent years – particularly with regards to user behaviour in a smartphone-centric society.
Mobile and Tablet Support
One of the most common issues an older website has is that it pre-dates the smartphone revolution that transformed the way modern websites are constructed. If your website isn’t responsive, it more than likely poses great user interface challenges for your users. Touch targets may be spaced too closely together, or rely too much on hover as an input. The frustration experienced trying to navigate a website by zooming and panning around quickly leads to a bounce (user hits the back button) from which they will likely never return.
Ease of Use
Another by-product of the smartphone age is greatly simplified website layouts. We hear this so often – business owners feel their websites are too cluttered, and users simply can’t find what they’re looking for. Having a greater number of options does not necessarily mean better engagement; instead, careful content planning and layout design helps all visitors find what they’re looking for, across all devices.
Search Engine Optimisation
Poorly optimised website content can cause sites to be missed by customers, even when performing web searches directly related to their services. We found this issue particularly common with older websites.
As users are seeking highly specific information in increasingly shorter periods of time, it is imperative that your website pages perform competitively in the search engines.
Social Media Integration
Also, as would be expected, many client websites were missing proper social media integration on their website. Additionally, many clients were yet to embark on creating a dedicated social media presence for their brand. Aside from missing an opportunity to present your brand and connect with your audience, you risk having automatically generated listings created on your business’s behalf. These pages may not be accurate (or even spelled correctly!), and could attract activity that you either don’t see or don’t have an ability to respond to.
How can you improve your website's health?
Optimise your page content
One of the most important sources of traffic is from search engines such as Google. Not only can this bring in a large number of visits to your website, these visitors are the ones most interested in the products and services you provide, and most likely to purchase what you are selling.
The best way to test how your website performs is to make a list of search phrases you expect users would type into Google to find your site. Keep each phrase brief, ideally between three and five words. Include searches that don’t have your company name, in case a potential customer hasn’t heard about you yet. And try to include the full range of services your website offers. Next, go to Google and try each of these searches yourself. For each one make a note of whether or not your website appears on the first page.
If your website isn’t appearing as high in the search engine results as you’d like, it probably means Google isn’t finding the right keywords on your pages. If you have access to your webpage’s content through a Content Management System (CMS), you can work towards improving your organic search ranking yourself. For each major page of your website, determine the search phrase that represents this page the best, and make sure you are integrating this phrase in the sentences that make up your page content. The most crucial places to put it are the page’s Title meta tag (if you have access to edit this) and the main heading (Heading 1) that should be present at the top of each page.
Ensure page Titles and Headings are unique between pages, and don’t try to stuff too many keywords into each page. Use variations on the search phrase you have chosen and ensure it reads naturally to your customers and answers their needs. If possible, publish new stories to additional pages (for example to a Blog or Latest News section) instead of trying to cram too much into your existing pages.
Explore social media
Another important marketing opportunity that you can maintain yourself is your company’s presence on social media. This includes services such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Google Plus. Not every business needs to be across each of these social platforms. Spend some time looking at each one and observe how other businesses are presenting themselves. If you don’t feel a given service is a good match for your company, don’t spend the resources trying to make headway.
If you do want to sign up to promote your business on a social media service, just be mindful that users on these services are going to quickly un-follow you if you continuously post content that doesn’t engage them. Posts which put a human face to your organisation, or have a strong local or social focus will tend to generate more positive conversation and audience retention than a never-ending string of sales-focused messages. By presenting yourself well on social media, people in your community can gain a better understanding and appreciation of your business which will influence their decision when they are ready to choose between you or one of your competitors.
Some things are more difficult to fix
Other performance issues may be out of your control to fix. If your website does not yet support mobile phone and tablet browsers, you are going to lose a lot of potential customers who give up using your site out of frustration. What’s more, Google factors mobile usability into its search algorithms, so competitors with a ‘responsive’ website will gain an automatic advantage over you.
Likewise, if your website has significant useability issues, you might be getting a lot of traffic that exits before finding what they were looking for. Research shows that once a user has had a frustrating experience on a website, they are extremely unlikely to return to it.
Luckily, Bam Creative is here to help. If you could use a bit of help from the experts, get in touch for your own 15-point website health analysis and a list of recommendations to get your online presence back into shape.