Every year, expectations for your business website change as users find new features they like and old ones that don’t and search algorithms change to improve how they rank content to accommodate these taste preferences. This year, the big change is Core Web Vitals, which privileges site speed and usability in where your content shows up in search queries related to your keywords. You must constantly optimize your website to ensure you keep up with changing demands.
Optimize your website
Of course, the first digital interaction a prospective customer is likely to have with your business is via your website. Your website is like your company’s online calling card, and if it doesn’t hit all of the right notes, potential customers are left with a very poor impression of your business and don’t trust your brand. In fact, according to Google, 64% of all shopping begins online.
That’s why it’s critical to optimize your website to current UX (user experience) expectations and SEO (search engine optimization) algorithms.
The good news is, it is relatively easy to optimize your website so that it meets 2022 standards and helps you to convert as many visitors as possible.
Faster, better, more visual
That’s the key focus when you try to optimize your website for today’s users (and search engines). Core Web Vitals is an attempt to both help you improve your site’s speed (by providing insights) and reward those firms that master this key element with a higher rank in search, which translates into more traffic and more sales.
In a world with a ton of options, we find users have little patience waiting for a web page to load, especially on a mobile device. Where users once were content to wait 7 seconds for a page to load, they’re now willing to wait 2-3 seconds for a page to load, at most.
Visitors expect a great experience when they visit your website, which means design is critical for your success. Not only do they want clean, inviting pages, but they also want intuitive navigation and a slick process that takes them through the conversion funnel with a minimum of clicks.
Users, especially millennials and GenZ are more visual than prior generations. They want a more visual experience filled with great images and video. Below, find some more specifics on how to optimize your website to today’s standards.
Improve the navigation process
If you do only one thing suggested here, make it this. Why? Because the easier it is for potential customers to find what they want on your website, add it to their cart and ultimately buy it, the more likely they are to actually complete a transaction rather than move on to the next website option.
Some businesses go for fancy website designs that look great but make it difficult to find and select products. So sit down with your web team, work out what is necessary and what is not and simplify, simplify, simplify. Working knowledge of web design really is one of the most important skills for entrepreneurs for this very reason!
But more than design skills, you need to think like the visitors on your site. Which products do they want? How do they want to see results filtered? What should the conversion funnel look like on your website? The better you handle their needs, the more conversion you get.
For instance, send visitors to the landing pages they’re most interested in based on their cookies. Yes, 3rd party cookies are being phased out but use them while you can and certainly use your first-party cookies to know what repeat visitors find interesting.
A process that requires visitors to search through a large number of results is a recipe for failure. Instead, allow them to filter based on what’s most important to their decision so they only have 3-7 options remaining. Otherwise, you face decision paralysis that favors another website making the sale.
Ensure it’s mobile-optimized
It’s amazing that, in 2022, so many business websites are still not optimized for mobile users. Data shows that 61% of internet browsing is through a mobile device. Offering sites that conform to the screen size (responsive design) is the standard (and has been for years) versus offering mobile and desktop versions of a website. This is a major SEO ranking factor and a key component of Core Web Vitals.
The current advice recommends doing a mobile-first design, where you first create a site that looks and works great on a variety of mobile devices rather than starting with a desktop design and adapting it for mobile devices.
A lot of people are under the mistaken assumption that quality content is not as important as content that is expertly optimized using the latest search engine optimization techniques, but that isn’t true. In fact, heavily-weighted ranking factors focus on social proof supporting the value of the content, such as backlinks, social media engagement, and repeat visits.
If you want your website to look as professional as possible, attract as much traffic as possible, and convert as many customers as possible, you need to focus on creating valuable content (in the eyes of your target market), then optimize it for search rather than the other way around.
With that in mind, periodically go through your content and perform an audit. Is it well written? Does it answer customer questions? Is it clear and precise? Is it entertaining? Does it match current thinking on the topic or is it obsolete?
After completing the audit, get rid of old posts that just don’t work anymore (for instance, I went through and removed all my posts related to Google+ once they shut down the social platform). If the post is salvageable, rewrite it to increase the value (informational or entertainment) to your current target market needs.
Include a call to action
Calls to action ICTA) are really important for your business website, so if you don’t include a call to action in your content, you may want to consider adding one. Why?
Because your business website is there for a reason; to help you reach your goals. Without a CTA, you don’t let visitors know what actions you expect from them and don’t provide an easy way for them to complete the action.
If your website does not include testimonials or reviews of your products written by past customers, then you need to add some. Why? Because many people are reluctant to buy anything online without seeing reviews from customers who already bought the product. Basically, testimonials and reviews offer important social proof that nudges visitors into becoming customers.
Oh, and you probably would never consider doing this, but make sure that your reviews are honest and come from customers. You should refrain from making up reviews or hosting reviews that only support your product because it’s a lot easier for prospective customers to spot these fakes than you might think. When visitors find a fake review, the damage to your reputation is likely permanent and devastating. Not only will your brand drop from the visitor’s consideration, but they’ll spread the word about your dishonesty far and wide.
Offer more payment options
You might think that offering a couple of payment options is enough but in 2022, that really isn’t the case. These days, customers want to use a range of payment methods from Klarna to Bitcoin and if they are not easily able to do so, they may go elsewhere.
Offering a variety of payment options removes one more obstacle that could prevent customers from choosing your store to make a purchase, and it’s actually pretty simple to add more payment options, so what are you waiting for?
Many big brands, like Amazon, PayPal, Starbuck, and AT&T now offer Bitcoin options. Using PayPal or another 3rd party payment portal helps make buyers feel safer since they don’t have to supply personal banking information that might be stolen.
Keep it fresh
Last but not least, once you made these changes, do not think you can simply rest on your laurels! Keep updating your website, refreshing your content, and doing whatever you need to do to ensure that your website always looks good, and more importantly, functions easily for your customers. Things change very quickly online and you need to monitor changes and implement them on your website quickly.
As you can see, it’s actually pretty easy to optimize your website to offer the best customer experience possible. If you make these changes in the coming days and weeks, you ensure your business makes a great first impression online and your conversions will increase significantly.
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