Stepping into 2019 without a plan on how to improve your website means missing out on lots of opportunities. Why not make a New Year’s resolution and help your online project become a roaring success?
There are things that are often overlooked, but the impact they have on website performance and how much traffic it generates is enormous. Now that 2018 is history, it is time to audit your pages and introduce new features that will contribute to further project development.
#1. Boost website performance
Are you sure your website is fast enough to hold your visitors’ attention and does not take ages to load? According to Kissmetrics, as many as 40% of internet users agree to wait for no more than three seconds – if a page takes more time to load than that, they go search elsewhere. Speed is one of the factors that are crucial to SEO and general success of your business. Not only does slow loading put your prospective clients’ patience to the test, but it also affects your rankings as compiled by Google. Crawling your pages, Google assesses their s performance, scans content, evaluates the structure and is able to determine if it is good enough to ensure smooth user experience.
Website optimization is key to making a website fast. But the error-free code is not the only factor shaping UX. Your hosting is responsible for the lion’s share of problems that may lead to slow loading. If you are not sure whether your website can boast great response times, make it a habit to monitor its performance. Instead of pressing F5 all the time to see if it’s there, install a plugin or special software to monitor website availability and speed (like Pingdom, for instance). Should you find the results of your research into it unsatisfactory, try to identify and fix all the problems with the website itself (poorly coded pages, content issues, etc.). If there are none, think about moving your website and delegating it to a better hosting provider. Do some research and find ones that have recently been characterized by great performance. There are online services with rankings based not on reviews (which can be paid) but on statistics. One of such services available free of charge is Hrank, for instance.
#2. Update your content roadmap
Your website content is the backbone of your online project. No web design, however gorgeous it may be, can compensate for low-quality articles and other things your visitors come for.
Let us be honest: there are thousands of websites full of articles churned out for the sake of cramming as many keywords in a square inch as possible. Yes, many SEO goals call for identifying and using words that are more likely to help your audience find your pages. But it is content quality that matters and how useful it can be to a visitor. It is not robots whom you want to reach out to, so the first thing to do is to ask yourself: is my website content really useful? Does it help solve problems? Is there anything that breaks the mold and goes beyond the usual bunch of keywords wrapped in the waffle?
If you have a content roadmap, it is time to update it. Drop everything that does not help you engage the audience and make your website a place where anyone can find an answer to a question pertaining to the field you specialize in. Think about how you can diversify content, embrace more topics, and deliver new services. Perhaps, it is high time you got rid of the features that hinder the process of browsing your page. Do you really need all those auto-play and floating videos? Is the way articles are displayed convenient for users? Audit your website and improve its user-friendliness.
#3. Learn to listen to your audience
This one is closely connected to the previous point, but it puts the issue into a wider context. Do you ever receive any feedback? Having a form to be filled in on the About us page is not enough. If you want your website content to hit the right note with your audience, find out more about who they are and what they think about your project.
Among the options to receive feedback are surveys, having accounts in social networks, holding contests (why not?), and communicating with clients (including prospective ones) in creative ways. Be professional without turning into robotic managers many websites are inhabited by. Let your audience know you care about them – and really do so.
New Year’s resolutions are a great opportunity to hone your skills in communicating with others and make your project better. Working on it is beneficial regardless of season, but the feeling that something new is just around the corner can inspire both you and your clients – and who knows, perhaps 2019 will be the year for your website to be taken to the next level.