Have you optimized your website for better results recently? Do you even know where to start? If you answered “no” to either of these questions, then we want to help.

In this article we are going to outline the top 10 ways to improve a website for better lead / sales conversions. We will show you where to focus your efforts to make the biggest, quickest impacts on your website’s performance.

Website Optimization

What is Website Optimization?

Before we jump into our top 10 checklist, let’s make sure you understand what website optimization is and why it’s important.

Website Optimization not only improves how search engines crawl, index and rank a website, but it also improves the experience for each visitor. Better user experiences lead to more conversions.

Optimization includes everything from search engine optimization to usability testing and should be performed on a regular basis to keep your website fine tuned. It is extremely important to the success of your website as the only ways to really improve it are to regularly test and track different elements to see what ultimately works best.

What is Needed to Improve a Website?

Unless you plan to hire an agency to optimize your website for you (we recommend this…naturally), then you are going to need some skills and tools to perform the 10 tips we will outline below. Here’s what you, or whomever is going to do this work, will need:

  • FTP access to your website
  • Administrative access to your website (i.e. Control Panel login)
  • Website analytics data and access (eg. Google Analytics reports)
  • Familiarity / experience with coding / programming your website
  • Use of a Mac and a PC (for testing)
  • Use of all popular browsers (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Safari)

If you either don’t know what half of these things are or don’t feel comfortable playing around with them, then you’re far better off consulting a conversion rate optimization professional. Your website is more than just your business card, it is the first impression you make to your prospects, so make sure to treat it with that level of importance.

We would love to take the heavy lifting out of your hands. Before doing so, we will even provide you with a free, no obligation website analysis so that you can understand where your website needs help.

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Effective Websites

Ways to Improve a Website

We should preface this list with a note that these are simply recommendations based on our experience across thousands of websites we have worked on. Results are going to vary from site to site. The best thing you can do is test each change, track the results and then make a decision if it should be a permanent one or not.

Without further ado, here are our Top 10 Ways to Improve a Website:

Switch to WordPress

[ADVANCED]
There’s no hiding that we love WordPress.org. Our website is built on it and the majority of our clients’ sites are built on it as well. There are many reasons for this, but to keep things concise we have found that WordPress simply works. Google seems to love WordPress sites just as much as we enjoy building and working with them. The ease of use, customization options and huge community of developers and enthusiasts that support the system make WordPress our go to choice for website platforms. If you are ready to make the switch make sure to use our website migration checklist to avoid losing any current value your website may have.

Replace flash with jQuery

[ADVANCED]
Let’s keep this simple – flash is awful in our opinion. It cannot be viewed on most mobile devices and it can take way too long to load for many impatient visitors. Get rid of it. jQuery can offer many of the same benefits of flash animations and it is much lighter, more user-friendly and can be viewed on all mobile devices.

Clean up your code

[ADVANCED]
Before you can clean up your code you need to know what’s wrong with it. Three of our favorite tools to use are Firebug for Firefox, the GT Metrix Performance Tools and good old Google Webmaster Tools. These tools will point out errors and recommend adjustments (like fixing 404 pages and minifying your CSS) to improve the performance of your website.

Upgrade your hosting

[INTERMEDIATE]
If your website is image or video heavy and you have a national, or even international, audience then it would be in your best interest to consider using a CDN (content delivery network) like CloudFlare to speed up the load time and experience for your users. If your website targets a local, regional area then it would  help to host your website as close to that area as possible. These two things can drastically improve the experience for your users, and thus, lead to more conversions.

Customize your title tags

[BEGINNER]
One of the quickest, and easiest, ways to help your website improve its organic rankings is title tag optimization. Proper title tags help the search engines know what each page is about. They also can increase click throughs on your organic results, which ultimately will create more opportunities for leads / sales from your organic search traffic.

Optimize your existing content

[BEGINNER]
Before you stress yourself out trying to create new content for your website it’s always a good idea to optimize what you already have first. Go through your existing content and implement some simple on-page optimization. This can include anchor text linking web pages to one another, using header tags where applicable, adding alt and title tags to your images and writing custom meta descriptions for each page. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at the impact that these simple elements can make.

Consolidate your navigation

[INTERMEDIATE]
The more options you give visitors the less likely they are to convert. Simplify your navigation by consolidating options that don’t necessarily need their own main navigation button / link. Use CSS drop downs to neatly structure and organize any pages that should live under a parent page. Use a spreadsheet to record your current sitemap and your new sitemap. You will need this for possible redirects and tracking in the future.

Showcase one main call to action

[ADVANCED]
Decide exactly what you want your visitors to do when they hit your website. Once you know what this is then focus everything around that and prominently display this one call to action throughout your website. Visitors will be naturally guided through your lead / sales funnel and you will experience a higher, more consistent conversion rate. Don’t stop here though, test different variations of that call to action to see which verbiage, color, graphic converts the best.

Provide your contact information

[BEGINNER]
There’s nothing more frustrating, besides all flash websites or restaurant websites that use .pdf menus, than a website that requires a detective to find the company’s contact information. Sometimes people just want to pick up the phone, visit you in person or send an email to you as opposed to filling out a form and providing their credit card information on a website. Make it easy for these people to get a hold of you. Properly displaying your business contact information can even be beneficial for local search marketing purposes as well.

Upgrade your design

[ADVANCED]
You have 3-5 seconds (if not less) to impress a visitor enough to keep them on your website. If your website is slow, ugly, weak in content or just not resourceful, then visitors will leave. Worse yet, they may never come back. Make sure that you are capitalizing on each opportunity by using a clean, professional website that properly represents your business. If you’re not a designer, then this is where you will most definitely want to consult or hire a professional web design company.


Successful Websites Start Here

There you have it – 10 actionable things you, or your web company, can get started on now to improve your website. Some of this may seem overwhelming, but if you tackle these items one by one – making sure to track and test throughout the whole process – then you will have an optimized website before you know it. If we completely lost you, but you know your website needs help, then we encourage you to take advantage of our FREE, NO OBLIGATION Website Analysis offer.

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Vinny La Barbera

I’ve been working in online marketing since 2000 and have helped thousands of companies improve their online presence and grow their business through better web / mobile design, development and online marketing. Learn more about me or follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ or LinkedIn.