One thing we love doing here at Embryo is designing and developing fully functioning websites that are chock-full of responsive design, encouraging touch points and content that is too good to miss. In this post, we look at 6 things that we know all websites need to be successful, and that we always take into account when planning our own. We also provide tips to help you integrate these into your strategy.
1) Website Speed
How fast your server is and how fast your HTML loads is important, especially because people will only spend an average of 2 seconds waiting for a page to load before deciding to leave the website altogether. You may be thinking bullshit, but research from Pingdom found that a page’s load time directly impacts a website’s bounce rate. Using a sample of e-commerce websites, they found that whereas a 2 second load time results in a 6% bounce rate, simply doubling the seconds quadruples the bounce rate. As outlined in the table below, as the load time increases, so does the bounce rate.
This is echoed by Daily Egg, who claim that a 1 second delay in page load time results in:
- 11% fewer page views.
- A 16% decrease in customer satisfaction.
- A 7% loss in conversions.
How You Can Speed Up Your Website:
Luckily, there are many things you can do to increase your website’s speed, including:
- Minimize HTTP requests by removing any unnecessary files.
- Reduce server response time by switching DNS (domain name system) to speed up the process of locating your website after a user searches for it online.
- If you’re finding that traffic levels are slowing your website down, it may be time to switch hosting, giving you more space and control over your website.
- Enable compression with Gzip, which according to Yahoo can reduce download time by approximately 70%.
Other great tips include enabling browser caching, reducing image sizes and the number of redirects, as well as monitoring your site speed to see improvements.
We also recommend using Google Analytics to check the pages visitors are leaving your website from, to determine ways to better them.
2) Website Content
Google may like content that is fresh and authoritative, but it loves quality long-form content best. Website pages and blog posts that are in excess of 2000 words have the following benefits:
- Most blog posts and articles published are 500 words in length at most. However, longer articles tend to generate greater business leads because they attract more backlinks and organic traffic from Google over time.
- The more detailed and in-depth your posts are, the more knowledgeable and authoritative you come across. Readers also won’t have to visit 5 other websites to find all the information they need, meaning they’ll appreciate the help your post gives them.
- Higher search engine rankings, as shown by SerpIQ. They ran a study chronicling the top 10 results in search results by content length and found that the first result had, on average 2,416 words per page, and the 10th, 2,032. As not one of these results falls below 2000 words, it’s clear it’s important.
- Long form content also gains more social shares on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. In fact, Neil Patel (Quicksprout) ran a study comparing the shares he earned from content he wrote that were both longer and shorter than 1500 words. He found that his longer posts received on average 68.1% more engagement on Twitter and 22.6% more engagement on Facebook than his shorter posts.
How You Can Give Your Content A Boost:
- Update popular pages or posts with fresh insights, conflicting viewpoints and most importantly, new keywords and phrases that ensure they are optimised.
- Add fresh pages that talk about things your audience are interested in. A detailed FAQ is always a good shout.
- Add comment sections on blog pages and ensure all posts are easily shareable. This will drive more website to your traffic and create a community around your brand’s brilliance.
3) External Links
Links from other authoritative and market-related websites work in combination with great content to boost a website’s search engine rankings, resulting in greater traffic to your website. Google uses high-quality backlinks to determine how credible and trustworthy a website is, and has penalties in place for those websites who try to buy links or use other black hat tactics. Therefore, honest link-building strategies are best.
How You Can Build Links Effectively:
As outlined in our previous post, ‘BUILDING BACKLINKS IN THE FUTURE’ you could:
- Guest Post: Create valuable content that a related website would want to publish, therefore giving your business great exposure and a beneficial link back to your website.
- Answer Q&As: Are there forums that discuss your product offering? Are there online magazines that debate your industry’s services? Identity relevant outlets and answer your customers most burning questions.
- Reviews: Influencers, especially those with a large social media following can help promote your product or service through all of their channels.
- Use Ahrefs: Ahrefs finds your unlinked mentions in articles and blogs, allowing you to contact authors to link to your website. You can also set up keyword alerts to find posts that relate to your market.
- Updated Competitor Content: See what guides, eBooks or posts are already ranking well for your competitors and update them with your own expertise and spin. Then promote these to websites that would appreciate a fresh perspective.
4) Website Architecture
How well your website is built, how easy it is to travel around your website and how easily Google’s spiders can crawl each page to fully understand what they’re all about is especially important. Otherwise, pages won’t be indexed correctly, and potential visitors won’t be able to find your website. Not only that, but if users who find your website can’t navigate it properly, then the customer journey may be cut short.
Therefore, You Should Implement The Following Actions To Improve Your Website’s Architecture:
- Look at your website’s hierarchy and determine if pages are located in logical places. Make pages easy to find by using clear categories and subcategories, which will also help Google figure out what your website is about and the search terms your pages should be showing up for in the SERP.
- Use internal linking to aid the user journey.
- Make your URLs descriptive, incorporating the words that you’d want to be seen within the domain name to help improve your rankings.
5) Make It Mobile-First
As you may be aware, Google released its ‘Mobile-First Indexing’ algorithm in April, meaning that its bots prefer to crawl a mobile version of a website rather than the desktop. Therefore, ensuring your website is user-friendly, fast and relatable on mobile is imperative to success. In fact, a website that isn’t mobile-first may struggle to rank on any format.
To Make Your Website Mobile-First, We Recommend:
- Keep navigation as simple as possible.
- Prioritise responsive design.
- Include a viewport meta tag to ensure your website fits to the various screens it will be viewed on. For example:
- Make text and buttons readable. For your font, never go smaller than 12px. With buttons, the bigger the better. For example, Apple’s design guidelines suggest button sizes be at least 44px by 44px.
We’d also recommend using the same content on your mobile website as your desktop version, as this ensures it’s being crawled and indexed effectively. By all means, play with the menu for ease of navigation, but if you want users to return to your website, it’s best to ensure they’re getting the full picture.
6) Don’t Bloat
Websites that are code-heavy, have large image file sizes and third-party scripts can really bloat websites, hindering their search engine rankings. We’ve already outlined the importance of minification, but image optimisation is worthwhile too. The fewer bytes the browser has to download to display your website’s images means the faster the website will run as a whole.
To Optimise Images, You Could:
- Create keyword-rich names and alt tags. This also helps with crawling.
- Compress images, which removes hidden data such as extra colour profiles and geolocation information.
We’ve provided you with lots of useful tips to make your website successful. If you’d like help with anything mentioned above, or are looking to create a successful website yourself, please call us today on 0161 327 2635.