The three pillars of website optimization
Written by Binh An Nguyen
The term optimisation is used so often in the web services industry that it can be hard to keep all the variations straight. Think about it: search engine optimisation, conversation rate optimisation, landing page optimisation, performance optimisation.
So why all this hype around optimisation? Simply put, optimising your website is about making your site work as efficiently and effectively as possible. Everything else is just the ‘icing on the cake’, so to speak.
So what does this look like? What parts of your website can (or should) you optimise? Website optimisation can mean improving any or all of the following:
- Website speed
- Search engine ranking factors
- Conversion rates
- Organic or paid-search landing pages
- Reliability of your website
- The navigation and structure of your website
- The quality of your content, images and videos
Not surprisingly, many of these factors are interrelated. According to Marc Ostrofsky, author of “Get Rich Click”, there is much overlap when it comes to website optimisation:
“Good website practice and optimising for conversion usually makes for good search engine optimisation. These work together to ensure you drive quality traffic and can persuade that traffic to help you meet your business goals.”
Optimising your website means making sure it’s useful, organised and relevant; and when it comes down to it, it’s ultimately about making sure it’s achieving its intended goals. Are your website visitors able to find the information they need? Is the site technically sound and reliable? Are the people who are searching for your content finding it? Is your website ultimately generating leads or sales?
In order to make your website as efficient and robust as possible, it’s important that you build and optimise your site and your content on the foundations of these three pillars.
The first pillar: Web performance optimisation
This type of optimisation is essentially about speed and reliability. A slow site, or one that experiences frequent performance errors can leave your website visitors frustrated at best, and fleeing your site, at worst. In fact, according to KISSmetrics, a one second delay in page response time can result in a seven percent reduction in conversions.
This, along with the fact that for years search engines have been telling us of the importance of load speed as a ranking factor for SEO, should underline the importance of website performance.
Factors that may affect your website’s performance include:
- Image sizes
- Quality of HTML and CSS
- Hosting performance
- Page speed and load times
- The overall size of your landing page
The second pillar: Search engine optimisation
Search engine optimisation is a term the vast majority of business owners are very familiar with. However in light of the huge shift in ranking factors over the past year, knowing what’s still important (and what’s not) can be difficult.
SEO for 2014 will mean creating fresh, unique content that’s of value to one’s target market, leading to increased sharing and improved social signals. It will continue to mean having an organised, technically sound website that’s accessible both by users and by the search engines. It’s about letting go of ‘manipulative link building strategies’, and focusing instead on providing excellent content that will inevitably generate organic links.
The third pillar: Conversation rate optimisation
Conversation rate optimisation, or CRO, is about optimising your website to achieve the highest number of conversions possible. The definition of a ‘conversion’ may vary depending on the page of your site. For instance, the goal of your homepage may be to collect emails, whereas the goal of a particular blog post may be to increase your Facebook fan base.
In any case, CRO is about measuring how well your website is achieving conversions, and then coming up with a systematic strategy to improve these rates.
When it comes down to it, website optimisation is simply the processing of ensuring your website does what it’s supposed to do. Having a fully optimised website means:
- It loads quickly
- It’s easy to navigate
- It gets found by the people who are looking for it and
- It achieves its intended purpose.
Although there are other types of optimisation I could have included in this list such as content optimisation and landing page optimisation, virtually everything you could possibly do to improve your website fits under one of these three categories.
By building and optimising your website with these three pillars in mind, your site will not only appeal to your visitors and to search engines, but it will ultimately help you accomplish your business’s overall goals.
About the author
Binh An Nguyen is the founder and CEO of Market Ease Business Promotions, a digital marketing agency dedicated to helping companies in Australia grow by leveraging the power of the internet. In the past 6+ years, Binh has helped several multi-million dollar companies in Australia establish themselves as the market leaders in their fields, and sell millions of dollars worth of products and services online. You can find out more about Binh and his company at http://www.marketease.com.au
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