Let’s get something out of the way right off the bat. There’s no “easy button” you
can press when it comes to getting the most out of your home on the web.
Making your website work harder — well, that’s going to take a little bit of work
from you on the front end. You’ll have to take some steps yourself to get things
rolling. You’ll have to grease the wheels, so to speak.
But when you do, your website will reap the dividends.
Below, we’ve covered some of the most important things you can do to help your website grow more quickly and perform more consistently. Take these steps, and your website will offer a much better experience to those who visit. And when people have great experiences? They’ll want to have them again.
Make adding content easy
Your website is nothing without a library of content that your visitors find useful. Adding content to your website should be your number one priority, so you should find a way to do it quickly. That said, your best bet is to build your website on top of a content management system. And for the time being, there’s no better choice on that front than WordPress.
WordPress is one of the most popular content management systems around, and is used by everyone from solo bloggers to huge multinationals. It’s free, simple to use, and makes adding content easy. Of course, there are other CMSs that you can use and that might suit your personal preference more, so shop around a little and make use of some free trials.
Make SEO a priority
Great content provides a learning opportunity to the reader. It helps solve a problem. But that content might as well not exist if people can’t find it. Which is why it’s so important that you make search engine optimisation a priority for every piece of content you create.
Search engine optimisation, or SEO, makes your content more visible to search engines, and helps your content show up more often in related searches. And when that happens, more potential visitors are able to find it.
The more you show up in search, the more visitors your website will get. Just a few SEO tweaks can mean the difference between a few visitors and a lot of visitors, so take the time to optimise your content.
Use media to grab a visitor’s attention
Engaging, informative articles are great. But there are some subjects that are better explained through other means. If you find that a certain piece of content could be easier to comprehend in another way, take a look at images or videos as a solution. Consider creating some infographics to put data into a more digestible format, for instance. Or try out a video when a topic gets too meaty and you can better explain it via that format.
Keep your website quick
You’re reading this on the internet, which means you’ve likely browsed your fair share of websites. So you’ll likely agree -- there’s nothing more frustrating than a slow website, especially if you feel like that website has the answers you’re looking for.
The very last thing you want to do is disappoint a website visitor. Slow speeds will do that, so it’s in your best interest to correct any deficiencies and get your website loading as quickly as possible. Look at ways you can shrink large image files. Check to see if plugins on your site are contributing to slowdown. And by all means, pay for a better host if you feel that speed is an issue on your current one — WPEngine is good for WordPress sites.
Encourage visitors to stay connected
Your website can act as a portal to every other place you appear online, and by the way, if you’re not in other places, you should be. Social networks like Twitter and Facebook have showed no signs of slowing down, and your website is the perfect way to point visitors to these other channels.
What’s the benefit? Social networks help keep you connected with your visitors. They’re a sort of tap on the shoulder, so even if someone isn’t currently on your website, there’s still a possibility they can see the content you’re sharing and make their way back. And the only thing better than a brand-new visitor is a returning visitor.
But it’s not just the new kids on the block like Facebook that your customers need to stay connected. The humble email is still a heavy-hitter for marketers in 2018, so it’s important that make use of it. There are many tactics for building up your email list, but simply implementing a pop-up box at suitable places throughout your website is can often suffice.
And if you invest in some email marketing software, most providers offer website integration options to easily sync up with your site’s data. In this way, you can make your website work harder for your email marketing by providing consumer data that can help you segment your emails for higher engagement and conversion rates.
Make your content easy to share
Have you ever been introduced to something by a friend? Perhaps it was a new musical artist you fell in love with, or a movie that wasn’t on your radar that you wound up enjoying. It sometimes happens that way -- we’re not actively looking for something, but when it pops up in front of us, we’re grateful.
That happens with content online, too. Which is why it’s important that you make it as easy as possible for others to share the content you’re creating. Buttons for sharing your blog posts or website pages on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn can get your stuff in front of people who otherwise would’ve never known about your website at all. And they could become fans themselves.
They might not have been looking for your content. But someone else showed it to them, and they liked it. And there’s a good chance they could keep the cycle going and share some of it themselves.
Keep your design clean
We spoke earlier about how unenjoyable it is to browse a slow website. It saps the satisfaction out of the experience and turns the process into a chore. That same exact thing can happen with a poorly designed website, when content is hard to find, or things don’t work as a visitor is expecting.
The last thing in the world you want to do is offer a poor website experience. So look at some website best practices employed by other successful sites online and start to apply them to your own. Look at the ways you can improve your website navigation. Examine layouts and figure out how you can display your content in the most friendly way possible. And look at new trends to determine how well they’d work for you.
You can have the exact same content on two different sites -- one with bad design, and one with great design. The better-designed site will outperform the other every single time -- which means it’s working harder. And that’s the whole point.
Your website is the hub of your business, blog, or passion project. As a result, it behooves you to wring as much value out of it as you possibly can. Follow the tips above to ensure your website works harder for you, and you’ll soon reap the rewards.
Patrick Foster loves delving into the ins and outs of online commerce. He is currently heading up content at Ecommerce Tips where our mission is to demystify ecommerce and make it easy for everyone to understand. Check us out on Twitter @myecommercetips
Contact us at Grizzly to learn how we can help you with your website.