There’s more to a great website than simply the act of building it. Like Rome, no stellar web design can truly be achieved in a day; you should constantly be looking out for ways to make tweaks and perform tests. In this blog post, we’ll outline 7 painless ways to optimize your website without the need for a total overhaul in order to drive traffic, improve conversions, and keep your visitors coming back time and again.
Run Some Tests
Yes, quantitative analytics can help you to build a better website, and yes, you can run some tests right now. There are dozens of online site analysis tools available, and more often than not, trying them out is only a free trial away. Here are some of our favourites:
- Piwik: Site Analytics and web optimizers have a reputation for being sneaky enterprises, scraping out every cent and detail they can from you. Piwik is different. Piwik is an independent, open source PHP MySQL analytics platform that works much the same way as Google Analytics, but with the added benefit of providing users with complete ownership over the data collected. Piwik comes with plenty of integrations, making it rather enticing for the savvier designers among you to customize your own plugins. It’s 100% free, and can be used across multiple sites.
- Google Analytics Experiments: Understanding the paths users take through your site is crucial to making improvements, but you need some basis for comparison – usually through A/B multivariate tests. Google Analytics’ Experiments goes a step further, offering “A/B/N tests”, which will compare a full 10 different versions of your website simultaneously to find out which performs best. Like everything Google, these experiments are totally free.
- ClickTale: If you’ve ever looked into site analytics, chances are you’ve come across heatmaps and click tracking. ClickTale are leaders in both, offering visualizations of where your users are clicking, how far they’re scrolling, and where they lose attention. ClickTale comes with plenty of features, including visitor recording, which lets you watch a visitor move through your site. Clicktale isn’t free, but does offer a 30-day free trial to play around with, and competitive rates thereafter.
Update Your Links
When was the last time you went through your social media channels (all of them), and updated your profile information? If your SEO appears to be lacking on your site, it may be a question of making sure that important links are heading to your current site, not to your student-days blog. Updating your profile information on social media will drive traffic, and make your site more visible in search queries.
Re-Think Your Typography
Take a good, hard look at the fonts you’re using on your website. If you’re still using Arial or Times New Roman, it might be time to upgrade. IM Creator has plenty of Google Web Fonts to try out for free, ensuring that you’re site will get an instant design boost. For each font, check out GWF’s pairings to help you choose which fonts will look best together.
Get Rid of Dead Weight
Every website has it: A corner of a page, a link, or piece of copy that just doesn’t get any attention. Using Google Analytics (or any of the three site analytics tools we’ve provided above), look for spots on your website that aren’t really necessary and consider removing them. Even if they seem important to you, they may not be for your viewers. Dead weight can come in multiple forms, but pay especially close attention to superfluous images (stock images, you know who you are), and excess marketing copy.
Make Some Space
The point of removing dead weight from your site is, of course, to free up some whitespace. Whitespace helps draw attention to the elements on your site that need it the most, while ensuring that your visitors don’t feel overwhelmed as they navigate your website. While removing excess information or needless images is one way to create whitespace, simply creating room around different elements is often the easiest way to smooth the visual path of your users.
Revamp Your Copy
Updating your copy provides returning visitors with a reason to linger a little longer, while helping to address the needs of new ones. When you’re reviewing your copy, take the time to read each sentence and phrase aloud to yourself, paying special attention to headlines. Is there a way to say something in 5 words instead of 15? Are you using jargon or marketing words when you could be explained in plain language? The key to copy is to think simply and succinctly. Visitors will only spend a few second scanning for the right keywords before they make decisions, so make sure that you’re addressing what they need. For more ideas on how to write killer copy, check out this blog post over at website-builder.com
Change Your Window Display
It’s easy to forget that users often approach a website much the way they would a gallery or a shop; even the loveliest of window displays need a change once in a while. If you’re noticing your bounce rates of returning visitors going up, try simply changing your cover image. Better yet, use Google Analytics’ Experiments to test different cover images, and see what your visitors appreciate most.