4 steps to website performance optimization (updated)

4 steps to website performance optimization (updated)

Many people think that they have succeeded when they have managed to carve out their web presence online.  Once you realize that the only people that are visiting your shiny new website are the family and friends that you directed there, it becomes clear that more work needs to be done to reach your intended audience.

According to Internet live stats, there are currently nearly 1.5 billion million websites online, so your competition to get noticed is fierce.  What it takes to stand out from the crowd is a mix of performance factors and website optimization.  Let’s take a look at why most websites are failing and what can be done to reach the top of the heap:

Performance Optimization

Website performance optimization is critical when it comes to getting people to visit your site and stay there. If your website doesn’t load quickly, consider it the kiss of death in your online marketing efforts.  A recent portent research study reported that every 1-second delay in page load decreases customer satisfaction by 16 percent and conversion rates by 7 percent.

How do you optimize your website for performance?  It starts with the web host that you select.  Be sure that you have your website hosted with a reputable hosting company.  You can also recognize speed gains by optimizing images, making use of a Content Delivery Network (CDN), and having a well-organized site.

Mobile Optimization

We live in a digital age and many people now do their computing and information-seeking on the go.  If your website isn’t optimized for mobile, you are ignoring a large portion of your audience.  Research shows that 30 percent of mobile users will abandon a purchase transaction if the shopping cart isn’t optimized for mobile.   A site optimized for mobile should load quickly, not use flash or pop-ups, and be easy to navigate.

SEO

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, and this aspect of your website design cannot be ignored.  SEO is what gets you noticed by the search engines (Google) and what will result in your “Virgin Olive Oil” website showing up on Page One when someone searches for “best olive oil.” All websites should be built with SEO in mind but can be tweaked after the fact as well.  Your site should be structured with proper, and relevant, URLs, headers, and content.  There are online tools for evaluating the SEO-soundness of a website, or you can have a consultant do this for you.

SEO doesn’t just refer to the structure of your website, although this is important.  The idea is to provide value and start building trust as an authority in your particular field.  You can accomplish this by publishing relevant content on your website that is unique, interesting, engaging, and that answers your visitors questions.  As you create this content, be sure to cite credible sources and link to them when appropriate.

Security

Most people don’t consider website security at all until their site disappears and hundreds, if not thousands, of hours of work along with it.  Customer histories can be lost, order information erased, sensitive credit card data compromised, and more.  Website security is important, and it’s a good idea to test the security of your site before you get into trouble.  It is possible to have a security report generated that informs you of any vulnerabilities, such as potential malware or intrusion points.  There are resources online to get this accomplished quite easily.

Having a website is a great start, but it will never be enough to get noticed and to engage customers.  An effective website takes many factors into account that make it high performing and appealing.  By concentrating on optimization to improve page load time, mobile optimization to reach the broadest customer base, SEO, and security, your website will rise above the competition, and you will start to achieve more visits and conversions.

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