Your business’ website brings the world to your virtual door. Millions of small businesses use WordPress as their chosen platform - those business owners with the most successful WordPress websites know the key to success: optimization.
A website with optimized content, speed, and search engine optimization (SEO) performs well for Google and the other search engines as well as for your site visitors. Before you begin to adjust your site, know where it performs poorly by running a speed test on your URL and collecting analytics through online tools. Based on your weak areas, make adjustments to your site for overall improved performance.
Slow loading speed makes visitors impatient. If you want to keep them on the site, speed it up. Your page loading goal should be under two seconds with a maximum acceptable length of under seven seconds. Several factors can impact loading speed enough to keep your visitors on the site. To avoid a slow loading site, take steps to improve website speed optimization.
First, choose a quality host for your website. It will help you get to that two second mark. Some hosts run WordPress optimized servers, making them a top choice. A good example of a WordPress host is WP Engine. If you’re not on a WP optimized server, you’ll likely want to make the switch to a new host.
Quality hosting provides increased security, a bonus for everyone. You’ll get speed and security improvements with a host that has a CDN, which will house copies of your website on servers all around the world. Look for around-the-clock service from your chosen host.
Some hosts have built-in caching, another bonus. If a site has cached or stored versions of your files, it can access those files more quickly than it can retrieve and load a page. If your host doesn’t have caching, try the WP Total Cache plugin to improve speed.
Are your images optimized? They should be. If your images are large, they’ll slow your loading time. Use WordPress plugin WP Smush It to compress those large images on the site or, for new images, size them to match the measurements your site accepts.
Take a look at your site. Is it clean or overwhelmed with old, obsolete files? It’s time to clean house of unwanted databases, themes, and plugins. The easiest way to accomplish these tasks is, once again, with plugins. For your databases, WP-DBManager or WP-Optimize will help.
For themes and plugins on your site that are no longer used, posing a security threat to your site and making it slower, try Media Cleaner. With Media Cleaner, you’ll get the option to decide whether or not you want to delete unused themes and plugins it finds. Complete your clean-up and use these tips on optimizing for speed, then retest your URL to check for improvement.
Implementing these suggestions takes time. If you don’t have the time to do it yourself and don’t have in-house expertise, outsource to an expert.
Do you use a marketing consultant? If so, they’ll tell you that high quality content that is useful to your audience attracts visitors. Include excellent written content on topics relating to your brand. Add images that connect to the topic and that are consistent with your brand. Whether it’s your home page, about us page, a landing page or a blog post, high quality content performs much better than pieces with poor information, bad writing, and oversized images for both Google search and for your audience.
Written content provides just one of many ways to reach your audience. Create videos, start a podcast or become a guest on other podcasts, write an ebook, develop an infographic, share a presentation, and post to social media regularly. On your site, link to this content to make it valuable. Keep everything on-brand and strive to help your audience to solve an issue or to learn something needed. If visitors like your content and know that you post regularly, they’ll keep coming back to the site.
Keep your content posts regular and up to date. Remove outdated information as it frustrates visitors. Make sure all links work. They may work on day one, but not work well in three months, so have a regular schedule to check and fix broken or outdated links.
Experts in eCommerce marketing recommend a call to action (CTA) in your posts. This isn’t a heavy sell, but inserting a sentence that asks the customer to complete an action, such as:
- Check out our video on YouTube.
- Head to our Instagram to see additional product photos.
- Call an agent today to schedule an appointment.
Include links in your sentences as needed to move the customer to the next step. If you don’t have the skills or time to manage the content, consider hiring a digital marketing pro to help you with optimizing your content.
Optimizing for SEO
When your website was created, was it designed to be optimized for SEO? Search engines look for the features of SEO, including meta-tags, meta-titles, meta-descriptions and short- and long-tail keywords. Yoast SEO, a WordPress SEO plugin enables a convenient method of entering SEO elements on the page. These can be of great help, but for in depth search engine optimization, we recommend consulting with an agency that specializes in SEO, as optimizing your page can be a full-time job itself.
For images, the search engine spiders crawl to find images with alt text, which describes the image. The search engine can determine if it’s quality content or not. In addition, alt text on images improves the accessibility of your site and is a requirement of the ADA.
Google’s algorithm for finding and indexing websites favors SEO optimized sites. It’s a tricky process to manage because Google constantly alters this algorithm. Google’s changes require a review of the data analytics collected through Google Analytics and other programs. If the data posts to less-than-stellar results, It’s time to review your SEO and make the necessary changes.
Since the process is so complex and dynamic, it requires knowledge, experience, and time. Marketing consultants and specialized SEO agencies offer SEO packages that cover all of these bases for you. When conversions are on the line, go with the pros and reap the rewards.
The Fully Optimized Site
Let’s go back to the data. Have you implemented all the recommendations? Have your results improved? Is your page load time faster? Are you getting more visitors? Is it affecting sales positively?
It’s an ongoing process to iterate on improvements you’ve made and continue to tweak your site.
A site that works well today may perform poorly in a few months. You’re trying to improve your business performance, so don’t let inertia keep you from continually participating in the site optimization process.
Plan to conduct WordPress performance tuning on your website, now and on a regular basis.
It’s cost-effective to outsource marketing and website optimization so you can focus on your business and don’t have to hire full-time employees on your payroll.
Focus on your company's strengths and know when to partner with outside experts. Be proud of what you offer your customers and allow your website to communicate that to everyone who sees it.