Here are 3 more low-cost ways to improve your website on a budget: updating and editing your content, making your site mobile-friendly, and installing Google Analytics.
In an earlier post How to Improve Your Website on a Budget I mention PDS.
That’s ‘Painter and Decorator Syndrome’. In other words, your own site is last in the queue. As mine is.
I’m on a mission to reform! Here are the first 3 steps I’ve taken to springclean my site.
Quality and regularly-updated content helps make a site findable. And ‘sticky’. So it’s important to carve out time to work on your site’s content.
First there’s new material. You don’t want 2014 to be the last year you updated your site.
PDS means I’m behind in writing posts and ‘evergreen’ articles. Not to mention other forms of content such as infographics and videos. But you needn’t be.
Then there’s updating existing material. When did you last check your ‘About’ section? Are your FAQs still relevant?
If you have a large, sprawling site you may need to undertake a ‘content audit’. That’s a topic for a future post.
TIP – When posting new content, fill in your page title tags, meta description etc at the same time – easy if you use a WordPress plugin such as YoastSEO. Don’t put them off until later.
Mobiles and Tablets
Next comes checking how your site appears on mobiles and tablets.
Why’s a mobile/tablet-friendly site important? Dip into Mobile Marketing Statistics from Smart Insights. Mobile/tablet search has officially overtaken desktop. The trend is set to continue.
There’s another reason. Google’s 2015 mobile algorithm update penalises mobile searches for websites that aren’t mobile-friendly.
Google Webmasters Tools has a neat Mobile-friendly Test. It looks like this.
Tap in your URL and after a few seconds the verdict will flash up on screen. Awesome! My page is mobile-friendly.
However, automated tools need to go hand in hand with a dose of common sense.
The first tip Google Webmasters give on making a site mobile-friendly is to make it easy for visitors to complete their goal.
My page might have passed Google’s mobile-friendly test. However, it falls at the first hurdle in making life easier for visitors. It’s missing a crucial piece of information.
Note: or rather it was at the time of writing. Since rectified.
That’s right, a phone number. A clickable one. It increases conversion rates as well as enhancing your visitors’ experience. Here’s a post on how to add click-to-call to a WordPress site.
My current display puts a barrier to viewers achieving their goal of telephoning me.
So combine your automated test with a manual one.
Finally, even if your page is passed by Google, it might still be in need of improvement. Head over to W3C’s mobileOKchecker.
Tap in your URL and W3C will produce a daunting series of detailed suggested amendments. Ask your website developer to cherry-pick the most important. That is, if he or she is still standing! W3C has that effect.
You might also check your site’s mobile traffic through your Google Analytics account. You’ll pick up some useful information about the specific devices used. (If you haven’t set a GA account up yet, promise me you’ll make this a priority! Trust me on this.)
I used to be terrified of Google Analytics until I borrowed a friend’s training notes.
Of course there’re always advanced features you or I may not be ready for but the basic reports are intuitive and easy to access.
This screenshot to the right is for those of you who don’t yet have a Google Analytics account. As you can see it’s user-friendly.
Click on ‘Mobile’ in the Audience section, and you’ll find two reports, ‘Overview’ and ‘Devices’.
The first report shows you the proportion of desktop vs mobile (including tablet) users.
Drill down to the Devices report, and you’ll get the percentage of users by the specific brand of mobile.
Audience >Mobile >Devices
Be alert to pronounced variations in visitor behaviour, such as the bounce rate. It may mean that your site isn’t displaying properly on a particular model.
While you’re at GA you might also check out your Landing Page Report. This is to be found under: Behaviour>Site Content>Landing Pages. (NB This is a separate category ‘Behaviour’ below ‘Acquisition’, not the sub-section ‘Behaviour’ above.)
This report flags up the bounce rates and other information for your top ten pages. Start with your worst page performers and see what you can do to improve their visitor appeal.
We all have our work cut out. Until later.