By Lou Amico
Your website represents your company and brand. For many, it’s the customer’s first impression of your business. Jimmie Johnson doesn’t win NASCAR races without a superior high performance race car and your company won’t win business without a high performance website. Here are some tips to create a website that outperforms your competition.
Start with a search engine friendly content management system platform.
Build or move your site to a full-service, content management system (CMS) platform. There are many open source content management platforms, including WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, and more. A search engine friendly CMS allows for easy content updates to keep the website current and relevant. A good CMS also allows users without programming knowledge to write search engine relevant title and Meta tags. These tags are HTML codes that are inserted into the header on a web page. The Meta description tag and the Meta keywords tag are not seen by users. Instead, these tags main purpose is providing document data to search engines.
Using keyword rich URL’s, title tags, descriptions, and image alt text will allow search engines to easily follow the content on your site and index it for future online searches for your product or service.
Improve your bounce rate.
When we redesign a website and move it to a better performing platform, we experience a dramatic (up to 50 percent) reduction in our bounce rate even when the content remains basically the same. A bounce occurs when a website visitor only views a single page on your website and doesn’t go deeper into the site – they go to your site and bounce away to a new site.
Bounce rate, average time spent on website, and pages per visit statistics are important because they provide you with a means to measure the effectiveness of your website marketing. A high bounce rate can signify poor search engine optimization (SEO) or paid search engine marketing (SEM) that brings the wrong audience to your website. The navigation on the website may be confusing with no clear messaging of what your product or service is. If your website load time is too long, visitors may move on. Study your website analytics (Google Analytics is a free and popular tool) and look for ways to improve your site if your bounce rate is more than 40 percent.
Improve your website speed.
Search engines consider website speed when determining website rankings, so improving your website speed is not only critical for creating a great user experience for visitors, but also beneficial by allowing your website to be found in online searches for your product or service.
How do you do this?
Limit your use of Flash. Flash is a great tool for incorporating multimedia in your site, but it slows page loading and is not recognized by search engines.
Include short concise content. Reduce your content into shorter pages. Less is more when you get to the point on what you do and what you offer.
Compress your images. Decreasing your image file sizes will allow for faster downloads.
Add only relevant widgets to your site. Let your content be the focus and use add-ons sparingly. Staying simple is best for a well optimized website.
If you want a website that outperforms your competition, you need a smart and clean design, frequent content updates, consistent branding, clear messaging, enhanced site speed to ensure quick page loads, and better search engine indexing. Frequently monitor your website analytics, conduct test online searches to see where you show up, and make changes as necessary to ensure your website is a high performance engine for your company.
Lou Amico is founder and president of L.A. Management Company, a website development, online marketing and video production firm. He can be reached at 704-560-6274 or visit www.lamanagementco.com for more information.