A website is a crucial tool for any business, looking to convert online searchers and speculative visitors into real customers. Those real customers will contribute real cash to your company’s coffers, which is why the best websites are optimised with conversion in mind.
It’s a sad fact that most websites could be made much more effective with just a few quick fixes. Business owners have a lot on their plates and aren’t generally experts in web development, so website design and usability can often fall by the wayside. Sites often become clumsy and cluttered, or simply outdated.
If you think your site may have fallen foul of these issues, the following tips on how to streamline your website can help you turn it into a lean, mean conversion machine…
Many site owners get distracted by focusing simply on attracting ever-more visitors to their site. They forget that what they really want is for visitors to do something once they arrive, namely to buy a product, sign up to an email list, or download a PDF, for example.
The site’s navigation must make it easy to move around and complete actions. The main navigation menu shouldn’t be overburdened with links; visitors are less likely to give more than seven options much attention. Dropdown menus for each link should also be kept as short as possible. You want a minimal number of alternatives with short and concise titles to simplify navigation, even for visitors who are scanning your pages and not fully concentrating. Also make sure your site has a search feature, helping to keep hold of visitors who don’t have the time or patience to navigate through menus.
Whiter than white
It’s important that written copy also keeps your site’s main purpose in your mind. Always ask yourself if your copy helps fulfil that purpose – if it doesn’t, you can do without it.
You don’t have to serve every single piece of information about your company to a visitor. It’s better to be concise and to the point, especially on your main pages. More informative, longer-form content is great for SEO, but save it for blog posts or downloadable white papers. Keeping concision in mind helps make your content more digestible for readers. It can also help to streamline your website in terms of design. Having shorter content enables you to include more white (or negative) space, giving out a more professional air, and making any features or CTAs (calls to action) stand out better.
Improving page loading times
When you streamline your website, you’re looking to improve the user experience, and page loading times are critical in this regard. It’s a well-known fact that pages which take a long time to load are often abandoned by site visitors since patience isn’t a virtue of many internet users.
To make sure you’re not losing visitors, keep page load times as low as possible. There are a few quick and easy ways to speed up load times and keep your site running smoothly. Start with images, which are often the biggest culprits in slowing down web pages. To limit their impact, keep them as small as possible. JPEGs are a better format for this than PNGs or BMPs, and all images ought to be compressed.
HTTP requests also make a big difference to page load times. They’re the requests which have to be sent to a server to load the page on a visitor’s browser. The more requests that are involved, the slower page loading becomes. To limit request numbers, streamline website elements by reducing scripts, combining style sheets and utilising CSS.