What Does Website Optimization Mean?
Website optimization refers to refining Webflow websites for increased availability, usability, and performance to boost online traffic and sales. It fine-tunes either one or all of the code, content, design, or structure of the website to deliver a seamless browsing experience to the users.
For instance, suppose you're researching your options for your pet's grooming. You take out your mobile and go to Google to search and type in something like - "pet grooming salons near me," and multiple options appear in search results. So you pick up the first few results - and visit their website, one by one.
You come across a Webflow website that loads quickly and has all the required information in front of your eyes. You don't have to think hard about how to find the needed information, like contact details.
Another option loads slower, and you can't navigate it easily. You can't dismiss that annoying pop-up that covers your entire screen, which you don't need, anyway.
So, you ended up picking the former option.
And, it goes without saying your online experience with the service provider, i.e., the time you spent interacting with their website, determined which option was worthy of your time and money. Not to forget your furry friend's time.
The former website was optimized for mobile devices. Hence you could see essential information on your screen, which loaded quickly and smoothly.
Interestingly- Mobile devices dominated search usage at 60.2%, followed by desktops with 37.81%, and tablets with 2% in 2022. This is why website optimization for mobile is vital to engaging website visitors.
This is not an isolated example. It happens all the time. Everyone searches online during different stages of the buying cycle. If you have an optimized website, you are likely to create a positive impression and engage the visitor to consider buying from you in the near future or right away.
Why Do You Need Website Optimization?
Website optimization has been quite a buzzword in the recent past. However, the push towards online shopping after the pandemic has essentially changed the role of websites.
Earlier, the website's purpose was to host basic information about the business. But, we entered a pandemic and witnessed an uprising in commercial activities. So, the buying and selling specific to e-commerce websites are now done on all types of websites for businesses of all sizes.
All businesses want to present themselves as a brand and their website as their online storefront. With this being said, delivering an exceptional customer experience to online web visitors is as vital as doing so to an offline visitor visiting a nearby store.
Nearly 81% of shopping journeys involve an online search. Thus, it's essential to hook these visitors, engage them and convince them to buy.
But, what all it takes to transform a visitor into a buyer, and even a repeat buyer? You need to begin by answering these questions.
- Is your website discoverable?
The number of websites has exploded from only one in 1991 to 1,167,715,133 websites as of January 2022. Add it to the fact that less than 10% of these websites manage to get any organic traffic.
You need to SEO-optimize your website to be discoverable and get organic traffic. Additionally, you also need to refine the site structure navigation and performance. You must optimize your website for search engines on several fronts so that it can appear in search results and attract interested buyers.
- Is your website available and secure?
According to a study, there is a cybercrime every 39 seconds. Cyber attacks hurt the brand reputation and credibility of companies. When under attack, a website is unavailable, halting business and causing revenue loss. Moreover, they lead to data breaches resulting in a loss of sensitive and confidential business or personal data.
Unfortunately, about 60% of small businesses that undergo a cyber attack, shut down within a year. So, In order to maintain your brand reputation and sustain your business, you need to ensure the security of your website.
- Is your website functional?
The websites that load within 1 second convert 3X better than those that load within 3 seconds. The page load speed and overall User experience in terms of the usability of your website determine your conversion rates.
According to Neil Patel, 79% of buyers with negative User experience on a website are less likely to buy from that website. Therefore, a beautiful-looking website that doesn't meet users' expectations and standards is useless.
A performant website can make the visitor stay longer, leading to greater page sessions which imply greater engagement. This engagement rate helps to propel the visitor further into the sales funnel.
- Is your website accessible?
As per WHO, a whopping 1.3 billion people today face a disability. Your website must cater to the special needs of these users as part of the moral code and compliance. You need to ensure that your website is easy to interact with regardless of devices, screen resolutions, and network used.
Furthermore, because a large population faces disabilities and an optimized website can ensure you reach a wider set of audience.
A website attracting more traffic that stays on the website longer will naturally lead to increased revenue. All this is doable with an optimized website.
So, how do you get an optimized website? Here's a rundown of essential website optimizations to keep you ahead in the game in 2023.
Essential Website optimizations in 2023
Website optimization is the umbrella term that comprises 4 focus areas: SEO, performance, uptime and security, and accessibility. A website is said to be optimized if it fulfills specific criteria about each area.
Additionally, certain parameters belong to more than one area. For instance, page load speed is considered to assess performance as well as a crucial ranking factor in SEO.
Website optimization strategy for all website owners remains the same as far as the 4 focus areas are concerned. However, website type, industry, size, etc., affect what kind and how much optimization is needed to consider the website to be sufficiently optimized.
For example, e-commerce websites generally need more frequent optimization compared to a musician's portfolio website. Even the exact optimization factors will differ from one website to another.
Moreover, website optimization is an ongoing process. As we continue to make design or content updates, we need to monitor our website to continually take stock of website health. And continue making changes to keep up with a preset benchmark.
You need to adopt website optimization techniques in each focus area to nail your website's optimization. The next section gives a brief overview of each focus area and the recommended actions that contribute to overall website optimization.
Website Optimization for SEO
SEO works on site structure, content, backlinks, etc., to promise high rankings in search engine result pages. When your website appears on page one of Google, users are more likely to visit it, boosting brand recognition and recall.
According to a study, the top three results on page one account for 54.4% of all clicks on that search page. This implies that ranking high on search pages must be your priority to attract organic traffic.
You need to adopt the following best practices for SEO optimization.
- Publish original and helpful content that caters to search intent.
- Optimize your title tags, H1, meta titles, and meta descriptions with appropriate keywords.
- Optimize Page load speed which is another critical ranking factor.
- Use relevant internal and high-authority external links within your content.
- Use alt tags for images. Make your content as interactive as possible with videos, gifs, and quizzes.
Website optimization for Security
Website security refers to the measures taken to protect a website and its users from cyber attacks and threats such as malware, phishing, and hacking. Ensuring website security is essential because a website that has been compromised can be used to steal sensitive information from users, deface the website, or spread malware to other users who visit the site. Plus, it negatively impacts brand perception and leads to financial losses.
According to research, cybercriminals can access 93% of company networks, wherein these companies operate in various sectors like retail, energy, finance, IT, etc. Small businesses with fewer resources are no exception.
Here are five best practices for ensuring website security:
- Use strong, unique passwords for all accounts related to the website, and enable two-factor authentication when possible.
- Keep all software and frameworks up to date with the latest security patches.
- Implement a web application firewall (WAF) to protect against common web-based attacks.
- Regularly scan the website for vulnerabilities and fix any that are found.
- Implement secure protocols such as HTTPS and TLS to encrypt communication between the website and users.
Website optimization for Performance
Website performance refers to website load speed and responsiveness to user interactions. Website performance can be evaluated based on Core Web Vitals, Google page speed insights, and best practices to deliver a seamless browsing experience to the users.
An optimally performing website enhances user experience and boosts conversion rates and brand loyalty. More so, website performance affects your rankings on SERPs as well.
Here are five best practices for ensuring website performance:
- Optimize images by compressing them and using appropriate file formats.
- Choose a suitable hosting plan for better speed and uptime.
- Minimize the number of redirects and requests made to the server.
- Use a content delivery network (CDN).
- Implement prefetching based on proper UX insights.
Website Optimization for Accessibility
Website accessibility refers to making websites usable by people who have auditory, visual, or mobility impairments. It is essential to ensure website accessibility because it allows more people to access and use the website and is required by law in many countries.
Here are five best practices for ensuring website accessibility:
- Use semantic HTML tags to clearly define the structure and meaning of content on the page.
- Provide alt text for images to describe their content for users who are unable to see them.
- Use headings and lists to organize content logically and hierarchically.
- Use sufficient color contrast to ensure that text and other elements are visible to low-vision users.
- Provide captions or transcriptions for audio and video content to make it accessible to users who are deaf or hard of hearing.
Interestingly, there are around 200 parameters for accessibility. You can get the complete checklist to make your website accessible.
Tools for Website Optimization
As discussed earlier, website optimization is an ongoing process to ensure website parameters cater to a benchmark. Such repetitive and predictable processes can be streamlined and automated with the help of online tools available aplenty in the market today.
Let's have a look at the ideal characteristics of such a website optimization tool.
- The tool must be easy to configure and use.
- It must analyze and help optimize all 4 focus areas of website optimization, including SEO, performance, security, and accessibility.
- It must be able to integrate with other existing tools like Google Analytics and Google Search Console.
- It must act as a single source of truth with an interactive dashboard.
- It must assess websites collectively and page-wise too.
- It must provide team collaboration features.
- It must enable tiered-access permissions for different users.
- It must generate reports periodically for a comprehensive overview.
- It must cater to the needs of all use cases, website owners, developers, marketers, and agency users.
- It must support unlimited scanning and website monitoring instead of slot-based monitoring.
- Users must be able to enable/disable alerts and set benchmarks manually.
- It must support automated alerts for critical incidents like domain expiry.
- It must offer recommendations on how to fix an issue it has raised after an audit.
- It must offer insights into what audits that website has passed.
- It must offer value for money.
Several tools offer one or several of these ideal characteristics. But, Optomate is one tool that offers all these desirable features and much more.
Optomate will make website optimization a breeze. Once you choose your plan and configure your website, you will receive an analysis and report based on 24*7 monitoring. As a result, you don't need to rely on dozens of tools with scattered insights. Instead, you can depend on a single dashboard from Optomate and guarantee that your website is in the best shape.
Website optimization is critical to well-performing and functional websites that are secure, discoverable, and accessible. In a nutshell, website optimization is the differential factor in whether a website serves its purpose.
It's 2023, and it only makes sense to optimize your website to stand a chance with your competition and make the most of your investment.