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Checklist for Success: How to Improve Your Website in 2016

Checklist for Success: How to Improve Your Website in 2016
Mar 30 2016

Marketing is in a constant state of evolution. Are you keeping up on your most important marketing asset, your website?

 

To help focus your optimization efforts this year, focus on the following areas and consider making improvements where you feel your website might be falling short.

 

Top Areas for Website Improvement

 

Mobile-Friendliness

 

With Google’s algorithm changes forcing your hand, you need to ensure your website is mobile-friendly or your site will suffer the search ranking consequences.

 

Not only will a mobile-friendly website rank better in mobile search results, but as noted in our 2016 Marketing Predictions blog post, mobile access to the internet has now surpassed desktop access. More importantly, as HubSpot points out, if a user is frustrated by your site on their mobile device or can’t find what they are looking for, there is a 61% chance that they will quickly leave to go to another site. However, if users have a positive experience, they are 67% more likely to make a purchase or use a service on your website.

 

Gone are the days of mobile as an afterthought. It’s undeniably time to focus on creating a positive user experience on mobile to keep your visitors happily engaging on your site from the device they love most.

 

Quickly test your website to see if it meets Google’s mobile-friendliness requirements and see how your website looks on various devices with Google Design’s new Resizer tool.

 

User-Friendly Navigation

 

Clean up confusing and overly complicated website navigation to improve user experience and reduce frustrations that often cause visitors to abandon your site. According to Forrester Research, half of potential sales are lost because users are unable to find the information that they want on a website, and 40% of users will never return to a site if their first experience is not a positive one.

 

Focus on limiting the number of top level menu options. Ensure the navigation is consistent across all pages on your site. Feature navigation items “above the fold,” meaning, near the top of the website in the portion that is visible without scrolling.

 

Calls-to-Action (CTAs)

 

Critical to lead generation, CTAs provide the user with a way to take an action and should be featured on every page of your site. Think strategically and creatively about what you want to achieve through your CTAs to ensure they meet your website objectives.

 

Continue to test various CTA elements—placement, color, text, size—to ensure you are working towards a highly optimized CTA for your audience. From lead generation to event promotion, there are many different types of CTAs to employ to achieve your website’s goals.

 

Optimize Content for Readability

 

In only five years, the average human attention span has deteriorated. In 2000, we had an attention span of 12 seconds. Today our attention span lasts just 8 seconds. Goldfish are believed to have an attention span of nine seconds. Ouch!

 

Structure your web content with readability in mind. Ensure that you are getting your message across and capturing your visitor’s attention before… squirrel! Tactics like using simple words, short sentences, font adjustments, bullets, content hierarchies, and images can positively impact your site’s readability. Not only will this help your readers digest your website’s content more easily, it can also have positive benefits for the next item on the checklist, Search Engine Optimization.

 

Search engines do take content readability scores into account in their ranking, and human behavior is worked into the algorithm. Because the algorithms see user behavior—such as time on page, exit rate, bounce rate, etc.—as an indication of strength of content, if you improve readability your visitors will be more likely to stay on your site longer, thus positively influencing your search ranking.

 

In fact, Google just made a rare announcement illuminating their top ranking factors and it highlights the importance of content. Content includes: keywords, structure and formatting, imagery, user friendliness (which includes readability and content quality), and more.

 

Search Engine Optimization

 

Going hand-in-hand with optimizing content for search, technical SEO positively influences your site in many ways and should be top of mind when creating or optimizing your site’s content. While there are many aspects that make up SEO, easy wins for your site include addressing metadata such as meta descriptions and title tags, and incorporating relevant keywords in your content and URLs.

 

When your site is technically set up to serve what search engines (and human searchers) are looking for, your site wins. Additionally, SEO can have a positive influence on your bottom line. According to Search Engine Land, SEO leads have a 14.6% close rate, while outbound leads (such as direct mail or print advertising) have a 1.7% close rate.

 

Keep up on the latest in SEO on Mambo’s blog.

 

Website Design

 

When was the last time you redesigned your website? If your answer is longer than a few years ago, it’s time to prioritize website design to legitimize your business online and build trust in your brand. First impressions matters. Nothing sends potential leads running like an unprofessional-looking website.

 

Nonprofits, I’m particularly looking at you! It is possible to balance attractive web design that inspires donor confidence while also sending the message that you’re good stewards of your donor’s dollars.

 

Blogging

 

Now is when you should start that blog you’ve been mulling over, or breathe new life into your languishing blog. Search engines love the type of new content that blogs provide which will feed your inbound content marketing needs. Frequency matters too. If you aren’t blogging at least once a month you’re missing out on leads.

Blogging freq

Put simply, companies that blog reap the rewards. According to HubSpot, the average company that blogs generates 55% more website visitors, 97% more inbound links, and 434% more indexed pages. Now’s the time to commit to a regular blog schedule and stick to it!

 

With this website checklist we hope that you now have a clearer path to see even more ROI from your website in 2016 and beyond. If you’re interested in having your website assessed for alignment to these and more modern marketing best practices, get in touch with Mambo to conduct an in-depth website audit to receive detailed and actionable steps to optimizing your website for even greater success.

 

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