The goal of any website is to get your brand in front of as many online visitors as possible and to turn those visitors into regular customers. This really encompasses the heart of web performance. Sometimes, we think of performance solely in technical terms as optimizing images, caching, and adjusting style sheets. These are elements that help to improve your performance but they don’t constitute performance itself. One article has well summarized website performance as comprising 4 main goals: 1) Increased conversions 2) More prominent placement in Google search results 3) Greater repeat visits and customer retention and 4) Ultimately greater sales and brand exposure.
In other words, true website performance is more than mechanics. Performance is a holistic endeavor and encompasses a range of strategies that help to attract visitors to your website and convert them into followers, leads, and customers . . . ALL while giving them an unforgettable customer experience. So let’s outline here 7 quick tips to keep in mind to make your website performance as optimal as it can be.
1. Keep things fast!
Research shows a clear relationship between web load speed and customer conversions. The faster a page loads the more likely customers will be to visit and do business on your site. The inverse is also true. The slower a page the less likely customers will be willing to wait around and engage with your brand. While this seems fairly straightforward, it’s surprising how few business owners really get the importance of website performance and the role it plays in their business strategy. It might be nice to have a trendy looking website, but if it takes 10 seconds to load visitors won’t hang around long enough to appreciate all the bells and whistles anyway.
2. Make your central message crystal clear
From the moment visitors hit your page you want to give them a clear reason for why they should stick around. To do this you need to deliver your central message as quickly, clearly, and convincingly as possible. Don’t make your home page so convoluted that folks don’t know what action to take. Use large font, go generous on the content, and create clear pathways to the channels they need to purchase your product . . . period, end of story.
3. Give visitors a reason to return
So you’ve gotten some visitors, now what? Well, that’s only half the battle. Studies show that most will not purchase on the first visit. So you need to give visitors a solid reason to return to your website. Do this by providing them with something useful, something they can’t refuse. Provide practical articles, a regularly updated blog, a newsfeed, or other user-generated content . . . anything that will engage your visitors and provide them with something of value.
4. Design your website for Mobile First quality and speed
Forrester reported last year that it expected mobile commerce transactions in the United States to total $114 billion in 2014. $76 billion will be from tablets, while the remainder will be from smartphones. Given the prominence (and dominance!) of M-commerce, it’s critical to ensure that your website is mobile first. The paradigm of making desktop sites responsive for mobile devices must now be switched. The strategy should be to code for mobile users first and then progressively enhance the experience for tablets and desktops. Doing so will help reduce the number of unnecessary dependencies.
5. Use web analytics and gather metrics
To some this sounds like a well-worn cliché by now, but it needs to be drilled in more and more. If you’re not tracking the behavior of your visitors with metrics then you’re leaving money on the table. Use the many available web analytics on the market to learn as much as you can about your customer’s online behaviors. The ability to track a single customer across your site and across multiple devices will ensure that you can tailor your brand to their needs. For instance, you want to learn more about when and where they’re visiting from, what devices they’re using, what are their online activities, and other key demographics such as age. Gaining these insights will help your organization better understand what’s important to your visitors and how to personalize their experience.
6. Take it easy on design ‘best practices’
Increasing the size of your website’s size, images, third-party scripts, and style sheets come with a heavy price and can adversely affect performance. This is especially true in the world of mobile. Over 50% of all time consumers spend on retails site is on mobile devices, and more than 50% of consumers multiscreen during the purchasing. According to this piece, some of the worst practices are web pages that are initially blank and then populate, pages where CTA is the last thing to render, popups that block the rest of the page, and designing and testing in an ivory tower (or leaving the user out of the equation).
7. Adopt cloud-based website monitoring
There are significant advantages to offloading your website monitoring to a cloud based host – cost, scalability, efficiency, to name a few. Not to mention, this frees you up to focus on growing your business, which matters the most anyway.
If you’d like to get onboard with the latest in cloud based monitoring then you should try a 24/7 monitoring service like Paid Monitor. With its first-class global service, Paid Monitor allows organizations to monitor their network anytime and from anywhere. For instance, with Paid Monitor you can tell when your hosting service goes down, accompanied by timely notifications (via everything from live phone messages, to texts, to email and Twitter). Or you can load test your website to determine at what point it starts creating traffic issues.