The Polished Geek Blog

Optimizing Your Business’ WordPress Website – Content, Speed and SEO

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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.

 

Optimizing Speed

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.

 

Optimizing Content

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.

 

Has Your eCommerce Store Hit the Dreaded Plateau?

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Maybe this year you’ve been forced to sell products and services solely online, like many businesses. Yet somehow, you're not seeing the big increase in online sales being reported in the news.

Maybe, despite your best efforts and an overall increase in online consumer spending, your small business has been unable to grow beyond its sales plateau.

So you're ready to do what it takes to keep your brand growing. It’s time to look outside the walls of your store to make it happen.

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Seven Ways to Maximize Your Shopify Store

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Have you grown your business through a Shopify eCommerce store? If you had the foresight to build an ability to sell online, you’re likely doing much better this year than if you hadn’t. Ecommerce allows many customers to reach you and purchase goods no matter the (social) distance between you.

So if you have a Shopify store, are you gaining new business at the rate you projected? Perhaps you haven’t maximized its potential. How do you maximize the potential of your Shopify eCommerce store?

Glad you asked. Here are seven Shopify maximization tips to support your Shopify marketing strategy.

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Why Monthly Marketing Retainers Lead to Better Client Relationships [Special Guest Podcast]

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There are many schools of thought surrounding monthly agency retainers and whether they're better for client relationships than pay-as-you-go hourly or project-based services. We dig into these topics when Deb Cinkus joins as a special guest on the Outsourcing Oasis Podcast (episode 4, April 2020).

Find out why we believe monthly retainer services are the best way to keep a strong focus on the growth and profitability of a client's business and provide us flexibility to deliver outstanding services as an agency.

Listen to the podcast now and read the full transcript below.

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Watchful Hot Air Podcast Episode 6 [Special Guest Podcast]

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Polished Geek Founder & CEO Deb Cinkus was honored to be invited as a special guest on the Watchful Hot Air Podcast (episode 6, March 2020).

Deb joins hosts Steve Burge and Victor Drover for an engaging episode that talks about "the geeky side of marketing," along with many changes that have happened at Polished Geek as an agency since our founding in 2009, plus marketing automation in the era of privacy, and lots more.

Listen to the podcast now and read the full transcript below.

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Introduction to the Benefits of Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) [Special Guest Podcast]

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Polished Geek Founder & CEO Deb Cinkus was honored to be invited as a special guest expert on the Fix The Convince marketing podcast (episode 4, February 2020).

Deb joins host Paul Mosenson of NuSpark Consulting to talk about Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) for your website: What CRO is, why it matters, and how to get started if you are new to CRO.

Listen to the podcast now and read the full transcript below.

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Getting Started With Website Personalization? Here's a Handy Step-by-Step.

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Website personalization is increasingly vital in eCommerce marketing if you want your website (and by extension, your products and services) to be taken seriously.

Fully 84% of today's customers expect some level of personalized treatment when they engage with your company online. Online users are also 2.1 times more likely to respond to a personalized offer than a generic one.

If you're just getting started with website personalization, you're making the move just in time. Maybe you've been hesitant up till now because personalized marketing sounds complicated, and you already have so much on your plate.

Personalization is the Key to Winning BusinessSource Salesforce - https://www.salesforce.com/research/customer-expectations/We won't lie: It's not always simple.

But you can start small and then build as you go. As you see the inevitable increases in customer engagement and higher conversions, you'll be encouraged to widen and deepen your personalization strategy.

Let's look at the beginning process, step by step.

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How Many B2B Homepages Do You Need?

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Website personalization has become a serious game changer in both B2C and B2B eCommerce. It all started with those first few recommendations on Amazon some 20 years ago — "You bought this, so take a look, you might also like this!"

Personalized product recommendations are now standard in B2C eCommerce. But how does website personalization affect the B2B world, where purchases are often only made after lengthy consideration, rather than on impulse?

It's time to look at the B2B homepage.

The goal of your homepage is to encourage visitors to click through to discover more on your site. To get that response, your visitors need to see something that intrigues them, or answers a question they already have.

By providing personalized content on your homepage, you send the message that you're the right company to solve your visitors' problem. It's natural for them to click deeper into your site once they see that.

So how do you decide what to personalize your homepage?

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B2B Personalization That Fuels Customer Engagement

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In the B2C world, consumers have embraced personalized websites in a big way, demanding that businesses cater to their specific needs.

And customers respond with their wallets when companies follow through.

B2B companies, however, have been a little slower to leap onto the personalization bandwagon.

Increasingly, though, the employees at B2B companies, having become accustomed to personalized treatment when doing their own browsing and shopping online, want to see similar personalization on the job.

Why should they respond to a generic sales pitch from one vendor when a different vendor has taken the time and interest to better meet their specific needs?

As you consider the value of website personalization for your own company, it's smart to look at the B2B best practices that are currently fueling customer engagement.

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What Difference Does Website Personalization Make?

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We've all had the experience of walking the aisles of a supermarket looking for that one unusual item.

Where, we wonder, could they possibly be hiding the mango chutney?

In our search, we walk right past the rice and the chips and the tomatoes that are also on our shopping list. Then... sigh... we have to double back to find them as well.

Frustrating, right?

All too often, that's the experience of navigating an eCommerce website.

What if, instead, you walked into the supermarket and found most items on your regular shopping list easily, just waiting for you, right next to the shopping carts?

And when you mentioned mango chutney, someone went racing to find it, dropping it right into your cart for you.

Wouldn't you shop at that supermarket forever ?

That's the experience your consumers enjoy when you take the time to personalize your website.

Let's look at how your website can provide connection, instead of frustration.

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Get Practical: Targeted Ways to Segment Your B2B Audience for Personalization

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As a B2B enterprise, you want to bring prospective clients and customers to your website.

But it does you absolutely no good if users click through to your site — and then click away within seconds. You need to attract (and keep) their interest.

That's the whole point of website personalization. When your visitors see a website that speaks to their unique needs, they tend to stick around.

They explore. Sometimes they convert.

As a B2B business, if you're not personalizing your customer experience, you're losing potential customers and harming the brand loyalty of existing ones.

But let's assume you already know that.

You're onboard with personalizing your landing pages. The next question: How exactly do you do that?

How do you segment your B2B audience effectively to attract and retain the customers you want? Let's take a look at a few approaches.

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