Your business’ website should be a constant work in progress, continually evolving to add value to your customers. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to overhaul it. Sometimes all it takes is a slight tweak to better optimize it to the user experience.
Here we provide a rundown of 40 different ideas for your website from the pros:
1. Update Your Website to Support Voice Search
Aaron Norris, Vice President, The Norris Group
S2 stands for spring cleaning and security. In preparation for artificial intelligence (Siri, Alexa, Cortana, M, and Watson)—scraping your site and deciding if it should deliver your content to the consumer via voice search—it’s time to clean house. Do so by taking extra care to simplify page hierarchy, use fewer words and more pictures, install everything you need to lock down security, and, of course, make it mobile-friendly (including AMP protocols). Always ask yourself: Is this the best customer experience? Clean and secure your site and then make sure you are optimized on all social media pointing to your site. Voice search is here.
Marc Prosser, Co-Founder, Fit Small Business
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3. Include a Professional-Quality Video to Increase Conversion
Mark Aselstine, Founder, Uncorked Ventures
A while back, I had a professional-quality video produced, and it literally tripled my conversion rate almost overnight. Plus, if people spend even thirty seconds watching the thing, they almost always convert. It’s like magic. So, if I were to improve an existing website, I’d absolutely add a high-quality video that shows the people behind the business.
4. Display Social Proof to Win Over New Clients
Ben Johnson, Content Marketing Strategist, Proof
Social proof has influenced human behavior throughout history. It’s the psychological concept that our own behavior is influenced by other people—e.g., a long line indicates something is good, your friend’s new purchase makes you want to buy the same item, you don’t want to be the only one at a party.
With new software now available, you’re able to tap into this psychological underwiring and create FOMO. By displaying recent conversions, activities, and behavior on your site, you can increase the conversion rate on your pages. It’s a non-intrusive way to encourage visitors to take an action your site, and it builds trust by showing that others have already taken an action.
5. Incorporate Micro-Animations
Camila Garcia Castillo, Designer, TINYpulse
Designing a website is always a challenge. Not only do you need to deliver a delightful user experience, but you also need to make it as effortless as possible. Incorporating micro-animations will definitely help to achieve it. They are extremely useful to give visual feedback to the users and, if applied correctly, can create a memorable visitor experience that can lead to a future purchase. So think about adding transitions in the information; hovering to reveal more details and transforming a thumbnail into a Lightbox are great ways to create flawless interactions that will help engage the user. In addition, make the loading states more interactive to retain the users’ attention. The sky’s the limit when it comes to micro-animations, but remember that they can be as damaging if not used wisely.
6. Improve Your Site Speed
Matt Sutherland, Communications Director, Click & Pledge
7. Add a Forum to Your Website
Ulysis Cababan, Content Strategist, RapidVisa Philippines
I think aside from a blog, another website idea that’s a good source of information and keyword-rich, and where you can bring good inbound traffic, is a forum (or message board). Forums could give huge benefits, especially if it already has good traffic. It can also be a good source of information and keywords that your target market will be interested in and that are related to your business.
8. Test Your Website for 404 Errors
David Erickson, VP of Online Marketing, Karwoski & Courage
Conduct a site crawl using a tool such as Screaming Frog to identify any pages on the site that are creating user errors. Page Not Found (otherwise known as 404) errors are the most common type encountered by website users. This is usually a result of an existing page that has been deleted. 404 errors can be a negative factor for your search visibility. They could also have been linked to from another site, in which case you would be losing the traffic from that site.
Once you’ve identified the 404 errors, fix them by either restoring the content for that particular URL or by redirecting that URL to another page on your site using a 301 redirect, which is a technical implementation that automatically redirects visitors to another page and also tells search engines where to find the new page.
9. Keep Your Website Clean and Simple
Tina Rivera, Creative Director, Tina & Company
You want to ensure your website is clean and minimalist, but straight to the point. Stick to colors and graphics that are cohesive with your brand identity to build brand confidence. Include intentional content and calls to action that support what your end goals are, so that your end user is guided in the process. Too much content or sales-type messages are unattractive and will disengage your audience.
Gavin Graham, Editor, Fit Small Business
In addition to writing great engaging content, you also need to analyze how it’s performing and keep adjusting it over time to get the results you want. Freshmarketer is an all-in-one conversion optimization tool that provides A/B testing, form optimization, heat maps, and session replays so you can see how viewers interact with your website. Best of all, it’s free for up to 10,000 monthly visitors (approximately 70,000 page views). Click here to try Freshmarketer.
11. Dig Deeply into Your Website’s Analytics Data
Bryan Bridges, Senior Director for Digital Strategy, Lumentus
I often see clients who don’t understand how customers are finding their website online and what’s leading them to covert. Many times, clients don’t have their analytics configured properly; and even when they do, they are only looking at broad metrics such as page views and bounce rates, rather than understand user journeys.
Every business should be paying attention to how prospective customers are finding the website. What search terms clients are using? What sites are referring them? And then fine-tune the content and improve user experience based on a better understanding of your users’ interests and needs.
12. Include Social Media Icons That Link to Your Social Media Pages
Nick Davaine, CEO & Creative Director, N.Davaine Studio
One of the biggest and often overlooked areas of a small business website is social media icons! I can’t tell you the number of clients and businesses that I have seen with the social media icons on the very top of their website. I know the concept is to drive traffic to their social media profile, but this is the exact opposite approach a small business should take. Small business owners should try to use social media to drive traffic to their own website. Facebook has enough traffic already—no need to help them out! The key is moving these icons to the bottom of your site, or placing them in an inconspicuous location. Business owners pay thousands of dollars for their website—don’t spend your money to help Twitter build a following!
13. Include a Link to Your Blog in Your Main Navigation Menu
Patti Podnar, Owner, Podnar Content Marketing
Don’t hide your blog. I once wrote blog posts (as part of a team of freelancers) for a well-known retailer. The blog never seemed to gain traction. The reason seemed obvious to me: The only link to the blog was in the fine print of their footer. No one would ever find it if they weren’t specifically looking for it, but no one was looking for it because they didn’t know it was there.
Takeaway: Include a link to your blog in your main navigation menu. If you think it’s not worth including in your navigation menu, it’s probably not worth having at all.
14. Add a Click-Tracking Feature
Ellen Perelman, VP of Marketing, GoodHire
My tip to improve and optimize a website is to add click-tracking capability. Tools like Crazy Egg allow you to see how visitors to your site are interacting with content and pages. Once you see where they’re navigating, and where they might be getting stuck, you can use the data to make adjustments and design changes. I would also add an A/B testing tool, such as Optimizely. Once you gain insights from Crazy Egg, you can then test your changes via A/B testing to determine whether they’re having a positive impact on conversion.
Maggie Aland, Editor, Fit Small Business
Whether your website will be a blog, affiliate site, or online store, it will need to be visually appealing to pique site visitors’ interests. In order to create a website fully customized to your liking without any coding knowledge, you’ll need a website builder like Weebly. Weebly has easy-to-use drag & drop software to help you quickly build a quality website and even optimizes your site for SEO, to help search engines easily discover it. It even provides easy-to-read analytics and has a mobile app so that you can manage your site on the go. Click here to get started for free.
16. Include an “In the News” Banner to Add Trust to Your Site
Jonas Sickler, Reputation Strategy Advisor, Reputationmanagement.com
Customers are expensive to acquire and have a short attention span. So when they find your website, you’ll only have a few seconds to earn their trust. Here’s how:
If your business is getting positive press, include an “in the news” banner on your homepage with logos of all the media outlets mentioning you. Seeing familiar logos like ABC News or Forbes adds trust and enhances social proof of your expertise. You can take this a step further by building a press page featuring quotes, article snippets, a press kit and your media contact’s email or phone number.
17. Simplify the Look and Content of Your Website
Jorge Sheffy, Head Designer, Your Local Business Online
One of the most important things you can do for any business website is to simplify the content and look so your message is clear. A visitor should be able to glance at your website for less than three seconds and understand what it is your business does. If you can’t communicate your core message in less than three seconds, then your website isn’t going to be effective at its goal. Not only does your message need to be clear, but what someone needs to do on your website should be immediately clear also. Do you want them to call you, fill out a form, order a product?
On every page and every part of your website, you need to put yourself in the shoes of visitors and ask yourself: Is this page clear and is it easy to accomplish the page’s goal?
18. Rewrite or Add a Call to Action
Nathan Saunders, Owner, Metropolis Marketing
The number one way to optimize a website is to rewrite or add a call to action. What is a call to action? This is where you ask your website visitor to perform some action. The action could be to enter his or her email, fill out a form, follow your social media account, or something else. The biggest issue with your website is that you may not have a call to action button on your website. As a result, you will see fewer sales than you might otherwise receive with the same number of visitors. Another issue that I commonly see is many websites have calls to action with poor text.
The button may say “Sign Up” when it should say “Learn More.” If you are not specifically asking the lead to sign up for your service immediately, change the text so that he or she feels comfortable with the level of commitment you are asking for. The call to action is one of the most underused and undervalued ways to optimize your website for the most important metric—sales.
19. Create User Personas When Making Changes to Your Website
McCall Robison, Content Marketing Strategist, Best Company
The customer is always right fits well when it comes to your website. Your site is made to cater to your readers and to give them the best user experience possible. Neglecting user personas and only focusing on what you *think* they want is most likely going to negatively affect your site, and people aren’t going to come back.
Your user personas should include your readers’ various age demographics, their goals, their preferred channels, bios, etc. Understanding your user personas is ultimately understanding what your readers want. Once you know this, you can optimize around their needs.
20. Make Sure Your Website Has a Great Logo and Branding
Neva Paule, Supervising Editor, Fit Small Business
The digital space is filled with billions of websites all vying for attention from consumers. In order to stand out, use online branding tools like Tailor Brands to help you build a memorable presence online with a memorable logo that’s able to represent your business’ passion and mission effectively to your target market. Visit Tailor Brands and start automating your branding strategy today.
21. Be an Online Merchant with an Ecommerce Website
Krista Fabregas, Editor, Fit Small Business
There are available sites, such as Amazon, Etsy, and Rakuten, where you can list your products for sale. However, it is best to have a dedicated online store for your products and services, where you can provide more details about your items, offer great customer support, and a tailored user experience that reflects your brand’s unique personality. In this article, Krista explains how to turn your WordPress website into a selling machine.
22. Make Your Site ADA-Compliant
Keri Lindenmuth, Marketing Manager, The Kyle David Group, LLC
One way a business can optimize/improve their existing site is by ensuring it is ADA-compliant. This is required for schools and government entities, but it is good practice for businesses to ensure their site is accessible for users as well. Make sure images are captioned with an alt tag for blind users who use a screen reader. Make sure videos have closed captioning for deaf users. Try not to use bright colors or flashing images that can harm users who are prone to seizures. Making sure your site is ADA-compliant opens you up to a wider base of customers because your product and services are now accessible to a new audience.
23. Improve Mobile Optimization of Your Website
Sara Desmond, Director of Operations, Page 1 Solutions, LLC
Businesses in every industry need to start optimizing for mobile search right now. Just because you have good rankings in desktop SERPs doesn’t mean you’ll see the same results for users on smartphones and tablets. Today, Google looks at your website’s mobile performance first. They have made it clear that one of the most important criteria for mobile-first optimization is site speed. If your website loads faster on mobile than the sites of your competitors, you will improve your chances of ranking for search terms.
24. Make Sure Your Content Headline Builds Authority
Varun Kumar, Founder, Pashmina.com
The one element which plays the most critical role and is mostly left out or not used adequately is content. Content is the Heart of the Website—one needs to have self-explanatory, in-depth, written content throughout the website. Once the customer reaches a homepage, for example, and they scroll down and read or even scan these content-based titles, quotes, etc., it organically and naturally builds authority, trust and interest towards your brand. People say graphics are self-explanatory, but a graphic without the right words is a body without a soul.
25. Make Your Website Interactive by Adding a Chat Feature
Jillian Ilao, Review Editor, Fit Small Business
User experience is valued more than ever by consumers, so what better way to provide what your online target market wants than by adding a chat feature to your website. Freshchat lets you provide real-time support to your website visitors, while its Bot feature keeps your customers engaged during non-business hours. Start using Freshchat today for free.
26. Be Strategic When Placing Your Target Keywords
Stephen Hockman, President and Founder, TrustyJoe.com
My tip for optimizing a website is to use your target keyword within the first 100 words of your post. Studies have shown that this one small tweak can help boost your rankings, since it gives the search engines a clearer signal of what your page is about. If you don’t mention your target keyword until later in the post, then the search engines may not really know what you’re trying to rank for.
27. Write a Blog Without Trying to Sell
Aileen Saldana, PR & Digital Marketing Strategist, XO Creatives
Including a blog on a website can significantly increase your SEO, but the trick is to not write about your product or try to sell it through the blog. For example, if you are a company that sells workout equipment and whose target audience is busy moms, you have to think of what they are searching for online. Your blog can include: Quick workouts for busy moms, How to incorporate your kids in a workout, How to get the whole family in shape. Having a blog is also great to reach out to your existing customer base, maintain relationships, and form new ones.
When I was doing marketing for a Dancewear Company, whose target was young girls (moms and dance studios were the buyers), we would reach out to existing customers as well as new customers to do an interview about the dancer or studio owner. They were all really excited to participate and it enticed them to remain as a loyal customer or make their first purchase from a trustworthy business. Get creative with your blog, and remember providing value is providing trust as a business, which is the first step for retaining customers.
28. Add Meta Descriptions to Increase Organic Traffic
Scott Perry, PMP-certified Project Manager and Sports Blogger, Catchers Home
I think one of the most important things website owners can do for existing sites, specifically as it relates to SEO, is to ensure you have keyword-optimized meta descriptions for each post and page you want to draw visitors to. This can be a helpful method for attracting organic traffic through search engines like Google and Bing. I use a plug-in called Yoast SEO, which allows me to add and customize meta descriptions for all of my pages and posts. I make my meta descriptions to be attention-getting, yet descriptive, and (hopefully) leaving people with an appetite to want to learn more based on what the meta description tells them, thus enticing them to click.
This is an easy step that anyone (even non-tech people) can implement that should yield some results!
29. Identify an In-Depth Goal for Your Website
Amber Phillips, Owner and Designer, Amber Phillips Design
There’s so much I could say as a website designer but I think one of the most important things is actually one of the most simple. Have a goal for your website! This should be a fairly in-depth goal, not just “to make more sales.” Ideally, it’d be a SMART goal (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic and Timely) and ideally, it would feed in to your sale funnel.
An example would be “to book 10 discovery calls per month.” It’s a SMART goal and it is something that leads to sales for a lot of businesses, myself included. With this goal, you could focus on booking discovery calls. It makes it so much easier to create and optimize your website when you have a goal in mind.
30. Help People Find Credible Information by Including a Resource List
Saïd Radhouani, Ph.D., Co-Founder, Nextal
I’d launch a website that covers the Top 50 or 100 Blogs in a specific niche or industry. The added value: helping users to get the best of the best from all these blogs, without spending a lot of time researching.
The provided content on your website is selected and curated from the top blogs. In a few months, you will be the expert in your field. You become a sort of a hub or aggregator of great and fresh curated content.
31. Add Buyer’s Guides to Help People Make Sound Purchase Decisions
Grant van der Harst, Managing Director, Anglo Liners
Buyer’s guides are excellent ideas for websites, as pretty much every consumer could benefit from one. It doesn’t matter whether you’re buying a new mobile phone or a speedboat, you will want to know as much as you can and compare as many products as possible before making a purchase. Choose your niche (such as televisions, computers, cars, etc.) and go from there. Blog content consistently, covering new releases in your industry, product comparisons and “what to do before purchasing”-style articles. It also has the potential to be highly profitable, with companies in your selected industry wishing to advertise on your website, knowing that potential customers will be visiting it.
32. Share Your Opinions and Personal Experiences
Danyal Effendi, Digital Marketing Specialist, DanyalEffendi.com
One of the best and most profitable website ideas is a product review on your website. Start reviewing your favorite products—apparel, clothing, gadgets, etc.—and rate them on different factors. You will never run out of content, as there are millions of products. These reviews will gain high traffic if you optimize your website for SEO and social marketing. After building some authority, companies will hopefully approach you to review their products, and you can ask them for sample products or gifts or charge a fee for each review.
33. Install an Automatic Callback Service
Karl Norman, Business Development Director, Lead Connect
One easy way to improve the customer conversion among web site visitors, as well to significantly improve the efficiency of the sales reps, is to install an automatic callback service on the existing web site. Installation takes just a few minutes, and the advantages are several.
The service automatically establishes a phone call between the potential customer and a sales rep, usually within 30 seconds. This quickness means that the call is established when the prospect it available and interested in the product, which is the ideal time for sales, and the result is an increase in conversion of up to 400 percent. The sales force also gets much more efficient, since there is no need to hunt down the prospect later with endless call attempts.
34. Improve Your Internal Search Queries
Antonella Pisani, Founder, FACT Goods
One suggestion on how to optimize your website is to review internal search queries separately by device, rather than looking at them in the aggregate. User intent tends to be quite different on mobile and desktop, and by reviewing data separately you can help inform your navigation and merchandising strategy to increase conversion on both devices.
At one company, we noticed that searchers on mobile were using high-level category names (such as bags) as opposed to more specific queries, and as a result we modified mobile navigation and the homepage structure. While this may not have surfaced as a top search result when reviewing data in the aggregate, it allowed us to improve the user experience and conversion by better meeting our mobile users’ needs.
35. Add High-Quality Backlinks
Paul Bies, President, Mystique Brand Communications
High-quality backlinks are basically SEO currency: the more you have, the better your site will rank. Understand that when I say “links,” I’m referring to Linking Root Domains—other sites that refer back to yours via a hyperlink. For example, if I write a blog on cars and mention Jaguar and add a link to their website, that’s a linking root domain. Google likes this. It adds credibility, authority, and it’s relevant content.
There are typically two types of links: page links and domain links. A link to the home page is a domain link. A link to a specific web page is a page link, and is usually worth more because they’re tougher to obtain and the reference is more specific. Keep in mind that the more credible the referring site is, the higher your link value is.
36. Incorporate OpenGraph and Twitter Meta Tags
Stephan Roussan, President and Creative Director, ICVM Group
One very important website upgrade tip is the inclusion of proper OpenGraph and Twitter meta tags. If you’ve ever seen a post on social media that contains a really attractive embedded image and headline that is nicely boxed out and more tempting to click on than the typical text-only post, chances are you’re seeing OpenGraph meta tags at work. Added to the header area in the HTML of each web page, these tags provide headline, description and image information to social media platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn. Whenever any user, anywhere, includes a link to your web page, the social media site will automatically connect to your page, pick up this information, and construct a stylized embedded call-out within the person’s post.
This bigger and more attractive display of the link makes a BIG difference in the number of people who will notice and click on it. Twitter has their own set of summary card tags, which are similar to OpenGraph but specific to Twitter. Include them in the headers of your pages as well to achieve the same effect on Twitter.
37. Display Your Brand Statement on Your Homepage
Simon Trask, Branding and Design Specialist, SimonTrask
One of the most overlooked pieces for a small business is a brand statement on the homepage, above the fold. If a brand doesn’t have the cache or marketplace equity of a household name, then it’s vitally important to feature one prominent sentence high up on the homepage that describes who you are, what you do and ideally why that’s important. You want to overcome the visitor’s biggest hurdle the first time they visit the site: Am I in the right place?
38. Reach More Customers with Your Own Company/Brand Website
Jeremy Marsan, Author, Fit Small Business
With the numerous tools available now, creating your own professional business website is cheaper and easier than ever. And yes, it is imperative that your company has a website. Do you know that 81 percent of shoppers research online before making a purchase? When you have your own page, you can control the information your potential customers gather about your brand and organization. A website creates credibility, and it makes it easier for people to reach you and vice versa. This article details how to create a small business website in four simple steps.
Individuals naturally enjoy answering questions about themselves—hence the popularity of online personality tests. Online quizzes also help people gauge their skill in certain subjects, such as grammar, spelling, science, and history. A quiz site has great potential in garnering a good amount of traffic and revenue. This article explains why people love quizzes.
This type of website can present the population’s stand on certain issues. It can also provide interesting information about members of a community. If you choose the right topics and questions, a polls and surveys website can generate a lot of traffic and attention. You can also partner with companies and charge a premium when you gather answers to their questions through your website. So why create online surveys? This page lists 10 advantages.
Over to You
Every day, new websites are launched and it never fails to amaze me how creative people can be when coming up with their own unique ideas. So what is that fantastic website idea brewing inside your mind? Share it in the comments below!