Your website is the brick-and-mortar storefront in the online world. Having an online presence today is vital to drive engagement, attract audiences and turn them into customers. 

 

According to Forbes, the average website conversion rate in the United States is 2.63%. This means that around 97.37% of potential leads are slipping through your fingers. 

An illustration of website optimization

As visitors land on a website, it should offer a seamless experience for them to complete a goal. Something like signing up or making a purchase. 
But what should you do when your website attracts ideal visitors but doesn't convert? 
Try website optimization. 
Website optimization helps you transform your website into a self-sufficient source of revenue. It will help you scan your website and optimize it to suit the need of your visitors/audience. 
 

What is website optimization?

Website optimization, also known as Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO), is the process of making incremental improvements to the website in promoting the website to meet your business goals. By doing so, you can improve the website ranking, acquire more visitors and improve conversions. 
When you optimize your website, you not only increase the visibility of your website but also bring in traffic that converts. 

G2, a business software review site built an enriching knowledge hub to attract users to their site. Once they had 25000 users, they wanted to experiment with their CTA on a page, “Retrieving a forgotten Instagram password”. After a series of trials, G2 observed that using the word “FREE” in their CTAs increased conversions up by 1100 and click-throughs by 500.

The fundamentals of almost all website optimization processes are similar, it begins by factoring:

  • What brings people to the website
  • What is their goal and where do they interact on the website
  • What are the bottlenecks that prevent them from achieving the goals
  • Are there easier ways to help people achieve their goals
A process flowchart of how to optimize your website

How do you optimize a website? 

There is no definitive guide to optimizing a website. Much success is down to significant website optimization testing. After you find out what brings visitors and analyze how they engage, you can narrow down your focus into four key areas.

  • Content: Does the content on your website solve the problem of your intended audience?
  • SEO: Can people find your website using search engines?
  • UX: Is your website easy to navigate and use?
  • CTA placement: Do your calls-to-action capture visitors’ attention and increase click-throughs?

Importance of website optimization

Website optimization requires effort from multiple teams and their stakeholders. For this, you need to demonstrate that website optimization and revenue growth are intrinsically linked.

How does website optimization impact a business?

Increased digital adoption over the last few decades means more people are online than ever before. In fact, there were 4.66 billion internet users as of May 2021.

You can turn a website with no visitors into one with regular and predictable traffic.
Not only does your business benefit from brand awareness, lead generation, and revenue growth, it also allows you to identify trends and favorable areas of your website. 
For example, If you operate a rental business, you may have dedicated pages for different types of rentals. If your pickup truck sales page is getting more hits than your minivan rental page, you know where demand is. Your sales will start growing in this area—but that’s not all. As you know how often a page is viewed, clicked, and converted, you can plan for increasing stock so you have more to sell. 

As you improve your rankings, your reach increases and your website will attract more visitors. When you attract visitors and maximize conversions, every area of your business grows.
 

Focus areas that need to be optimized

Even the highest converting pages need periodic updates to maximum/push conversions and impact your bottom line. When planning your website optimization checklist, these are the core areas that need attention:

Path to purchase

A path to purchase takes visitors directly to your conversion points. So, make sure your buyer’s journey is best optimized for the end goal you have in mind. This might be booking a call, downloading a brochure, or making a purchase.

Matching your visitor intent is crucial. If you try to rush a buyer down the path to purchase, they are likely to bounce off your website. When you understand what your buyer is looking for at each stage of their journey, you can direct them accordingly.

Why optimize?

If your goal is to increase conversions, the path that leads to the sales page or checkout should be quick and easy. A survey by GoodFirms reveals that 61.5% of designers agree that poor navigation causes visitors to leave your website. If visitors can’t navigate to the page or are redirected elsewhere, you lose a potential lead or sale.

Landing pages

At the end of most paths to purchase is a landing page. This is where you showcase your products and services. 

This is the stage where your potential buyers are at. The goal of most landing pages is to entice the visitor into becoming either a freemium or paying customer.

Your landing page should be powerful enough to convince visitors and sell. Ensure the page contains 

  • Powerful and concise copy

  • Showcases the benefits

  • Includes social proof and personalized CTAs

These elements offer a better user experience and drive prospects to take the desired action (convert).

Why optimize? 

At this point, your visitor has likely entered your website via a blog post or social media and has chosen to learn more about your product or service. The intent is clear; your content has convinced them so far. Optimizing your landing pages keeps a visitor engaged and encourages them to convert.

On-page technical SEO

Optimizing your paths to purchase and landing pages is essential only if you have visitors reaching your site. 

With search engine optimization, you increase the chances of your page ranking high on Google, Bing, DuckDuckGo, etc. Google alone receives 3.8 million searches per minute.  

Taking care of on-page technical SEO means you are sending search engines the right signals to get recognized for your desired terms. For example, internal linking from posts to pages on your website passes authority from one part of your site to another. 

Another example is including long-tail keywords, phrases, and keywords related to the primary keyword in your website content. Improving your site’s structure and using image tags improves page accessibility and in turn its ranking.

Why optimize? 

More often than not, search engines reward the most comprehensive content. But they can only do so if you help your content get on their radar. 

Yes, all pages will get indexed by Google if you ask them. Search engine optimization helps search engines scan your page better and speeds up the process.

Page speed

Visitors who visit your site do not like waiting around for something to load. For example, 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less. 40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load. 

Faster website loading time is pivotal to a great user experience. It eliminates any impediments that prevent visitors from exploring your website and engaging further. Compressing your images, enabling browser caching, and minimizing HTTP requests are a few ways to increase your page speed. 

Why optimize? 

Having a slow page is okay if you’ve got patient prospects on your site. But search engines know that people don’t like to wait around. As such, schemes like Google Core Web Vitals are designed to reward those sites with faster page speeds as they provide better experiences for end-users.

Mobile-friendliness

Smartphones have redefined the way we access information. In March 2021, mobile devices excluding tablets accounted for over 54% of web page views worldwide. 

As mobile usage continues to surpass desktop and laptop usage, marketers need to be wary of the intricacies associated with the mobile experience. In the most basic form, your website looks different on mobile than on a computer. Having an optimized mobile version of your website ensures that mobile users get an experience that’s on par with desktop users.

Why optimize? 

Like page speed, search engines are more likely to reward your page if it’s appealing to mobile users. Google has been using a mobile-first indexing approach by default since 2019. Fast to load and easy to navigate websites play a key part in improving SERP (Search Engine Results Page) ranking and mobile traffic growth.

Tools to help you in your website optimization project 

When you’re optimizing your website, having the right tools can help you go a long way. They help you identify trends and patterns, automate your research, and give you more time to elevate your website. Here's a list of tools that reduce the effort and gives you a chance to explore smarter ways to increase conversion and delight visitors.

An illustration of website optimization tools
Google search console

Google search console is a free tool that gives you an overview of how your content is performing. You can track your site's:

  • SERP Position

  • Clicks

  • Impression

  • Search appearance keywords

  • Click-through rate

  • Ranking search queries

The click-through rate tells you if the content is powerful enough to persuade visitors to click the primary CTA button. These insights from the Google search console helps you identify potential keyword opportunities that you can optimize for. 

Page Speed Insights

Another free tool from Google, Page Speed Insights lets you evaluate the speed of your website. Once you enter your website URL and click the Analyze button, Page Speed Insights audits your page and generates a report.

The report contains an overall page speed score (1-100) for your site. It tells you how fast your page loads when a visitor clicks your website URL on a desktop or a mobile device. The page speed Insights report is exhaustive and technical. You need a technical website developer to review the report and work on the recommendations. For an overview of how your page gets its score and best website practices, you can refer to Google's documentation.

Heatmaps from Freshmarketer

Observing how your visitors engage with your website gives you a lot of cues about what works on your website and what doesn't. Heatmaps help you capture behavior analytics that help you understand how visitors interact with your website. With Freshmarketer's heatmaps, discover:

  • What captures your audiences' attention
  • Visitor activities like clicks and scrolls
  • Engagement on pop-ups and drop-down menus
  • The most engaging and least engaging part of your website

Freshmarketer’s heatmaps help you visualize the interaction spread across your website. It helps you identify if there is any friction preventing users from completing the desired action, if a content section should be tweaked, or positioned at a different place to maximize engagement.

A/B tester from Freshmarketer

After identifying areas of improvement, you should begin working on an optimized version of your website. The optimized version cannot immediately replace the existing website. You will have to measure the impact that the optimized version can bring.

With an A/B testing tool, you can measure the impact of the changes you make without taking risks. Imagine changing the content of your website based on insights from Google Search Console. You can find out by exposing your optimized website to a fraction of your visitors and analyzing their reactions to it. Once you feel that the optimized version performs well, you can take a call on replacing the new version with your old website.

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What’s next after optimizing your website? 

When you’re tracking the changes made to your website (manually or in website optimization tools), you can start to measure success.
Your north star metric is going to be leads and revenue but will start more granular to begin with.
Lead and revenue can only increase if individual metrics get better.

Make sure you’re tracking:

Number of visitors

When you start to attract more visitors, note where the increase is from. Google Analytics helps you find the source from which your visitors enter from and Search Console shows you the search terms used to find your website. Use this information to continue optimizing in the right places.

Session time

As a rule of thumb, the more time a visitor spends on your website, the more interested they are in your topic or product. The higher the chance of a conversion.

Bounce rate

A lower bounce rate indicates that visitors are staying on your website for a longer time. This increases the possibility of visitors visiting more pages and learning about your offering. When the bounce rate is lower, this improves the chance of a conversion.

Clicks on page

Tracking where your visitors click helps you identify the areas of a website that’s more engaging. This also helps you narrow down on areas that are least performing and reduces the opportunity for conversion. As visitors navigate to different sections, the actions leave behind a train of insights that lets you improve page structure, content, and personalize your call to action buttons.

Website optimization when done well can bring the right audience and convert them. So, getting it right is paramount. Website optimization or Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is one of the most valuable processes you can start with your blog, landing pages, or any commercial areas on your site.
When you identify blockers and optimize your website, you create a seamless experience for your website visitors and increase conversions in one shot. With website optimization tools, you can simplify the process and cut down the long experimental phases.