The PCI digital team offers a list of 8 “must-haves” for an optimized, effective website. Tips by Ugur Ozkardesler and Oz Coruhlu.
Hey, you. Yes, YOU. Have you taken a look at your website lately? Maybe it’s only a few years old. Maybe it was recently “updated” with new content or keyword tagging. Maybe it has been laying dormant for the past 6 months or so. Whatever the case, when is the last time you took an honest look at how your website is performing? Are your visitors doing what you want them to do? Is anyone even finding your website to begin with?
Let’s cut to the chase — it is entirely possible that your website (*gasp!*) sucks. Click To Tweet We know that’s hard to hear, but don’t despair. Discovering your website’s weaknesses brings countless opportunities to make it better, stronger and more effective than ever before. And the PCI digital team is here to help you figure things out.
Here are 8 things to look for to start optimizing your website today:
Is your website easy to navigate? Do your users know where to go once they land on your page? If the answer is in any way unclear, a website re-design should be in your immediate future. You want to make sure that your user interface is simple, responsive and easy to use. If you've had a hand in developing the information architecture, have someone unfamiliar with the site take it for a test drive. A little third-party perspective may uncover weaknesses in the organization.
With more than half of search inquiries coming from mobile devices (a growing trend that’s only going to increase in the coming years), mobile optimization for your website is no longer an option — it’s crucial. So how do you know if your website is optimized for mobile? Start by taking Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test tool for a spin. It’ll give you an instant evaluation on the mobile-friendliness of your site, with an option to download a full mobile usability report.
Let’s face it — attention spans are short these days. If your website takes too long to load, visitors will lose interest and your bounce rates will skyrocket. Website speed also affects your search ranking. Try testing your site out with tools like Pingdom or GTMetrix to test site speed and diagnose bottlenecks, and make sure to optimize your photos, videos, and content so your pages load quickly. Which brings us to…
Is your website consistently updated with new, fresh content that people actually want to read, watch or look at? Are you posting recent updates and publishing blog posts regularly to boost SEO and drive site traffic? If not, get on it. Sites like Hubspot have great tools (editorial calendars, social media planners) to get you started.
SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION (SEO)
Speaking of SEO, check that too — are users able to find your website when they type search terms into Google? Consistently publishing fresh, strong content will help, as will creating alt tags and tagging your metadata. Track and measure the success of your SEO strategy to see how it can be improved.
Related tip: keep in mind that, with new websites (or recently re-designed websites) it takes time for Google bots to crawl your page content and start serving it up in search results. Stay patient in those first few months and keep checking your analytics to see what queries start driving traffic to your site.
Not sure how to check your SEO? Contact us for a free audit.
Content is important, and so is your users’ ability to read it easily. Following the basic principles of typography not only makes your website look better, but helps your users quickly grasp your message. Break up text blocks and offer visual shortcuts to make it easier for your users to scan information and find what they’re looking for. Check out these typography tips from PCI’s Linda Lam for further guidance.
Whether personal or professional, your brand needs to have consistency across all communication platforms — print or digital — including your website. Is your font usage, color scheme, and voice harmonious throughout your site? The first step to creating brand consistency is to make sure your brand guidelines and personality are formally documented. Here are some tips for developing your brand’s style guide.
CALLS TO ACTION
Great! New users have landed on your website. So what do you want them to do from there? Create calls to action to prompt users to interact with your content, contact you, create an account, sign up for your newsletter, or any other goal that you want to reach (see more examples of great calls to action here). Make sure to set up and monitor goal conversions in your analytics to see what tactics work the best for your site.