Ask any marketer the benefits of building a professional business website, and they’ll be able to give you hundreds of them.
Customers may not realize it, but websites play a very significant part in their journey towards interacting with a business. The first thing most customers do is browse through a company’s website upon discovering it. Your business website should be a complete and clear reflection of what your business is all about. When a customer’s curious about your business’ services, vision, contact information, etc., your website should be where they can easily access all of this information.
Despite the size of your business, attracting a stable audience and reaching your target customers through your business website is crucial to the growth of your business. You shouldn’t assume that a professional website is unnecessary simply because your business is too small. The large percentage of small business owners who do make this assumption end up losing out on capturing a huge segment of their customer base.
Building a business website alone isn’t enough, though. In order for it to be effective, you have to make sure it performs well at all times. Let’s investigate what that really means.
Factors that Influence Website Performance
Try to put yourself in a customer’s shoes and picture yourself navigating through your own business website. What are some things that would cause you to close the tab and opt out? The factors that just came to your mind are also the ones that’ll be affecting your website performance as a whole. The most important ones are listed below.
1. Loading Speed
Customers don’t like to sit and wait for a webpage to load, no matter how interested they might be in the product/service they’re looking into. Studies have actually shown that the large majority of users leave unattractive webpages within 10-20 seconds of opening them. The loading speed of a webpage itself, as well as that of the images, text or content, widgets, and plugins on that webpage directly determines how well that webpage performs. Longer speeds drive away customers almost instantly.
2. Web Hosting
Your business website can’t exist unless it’s being hosted by a web host. There are alarming differences in the results good and bad web hosting services yield for your website’s performance. A ‘good’ web hosting plan is one that has high availability of servers. It’s much better equipped to host your website and ensure its good performance. A good web hosting plan will also directly impact the loading speed of the different webpages on your site.
3. Size of Files/Images
High-quality images inherently have big sizes, in most cases. When you put these heavy files and images on your business website, they quite literally drag your website’s performance down. Images of big sizes take much longer to load, which automatically drives customers away. If the images take too long to load, the webpage often just gives up on them, too. This leads to broken images being scattered throughout your website, effectively driving away visitors.
4. Plugins and Widgets
Many web hosts enable their customers to add a large number of plugins and widgets to their websites. Plugins and widgets do enhance the capabilities and functionalities of a website, but too many of them can have the opposite effect. The number of plugins and widgets directly impact the processing and loading speed of a webpage. The higher the number, the slower the loading speed.
5. Data Storage
Every website stores data in order to cater to its customers more closely and effectively. The amount of data being stored on your website through cookies and caches also significantly affects the speed. Since data storage is often necessary and difficult to reduce, website designers opt for a different approach to optimizing data storage. This is where a content delivery network (CDN) comes in.
A CDN is basically a network of connected proxy servers and data centers spanning and distributed across various geographical regions. The global CDN market is valued at over $24.7 billion, making it one of the most important services in the web development industry. Having your website be a part of a CDN increases the delivery of content on different webpages. As a result, website speed also increases.
Ways to Improve Website Performance
Now that you have a basic understanding of the factors that impact your website’s performance, let’s discuss how to optimize them. The following ways can help increase the amount of traffic your website gets, and subsequently lead to effective business growth.
1. Get a Good Web Hosting Plan
Firstly, you need to invest in a good web hosting plan for your professional website. It’s natural to lean towards a cheaper option, but that might not always be the smartest decision. Most low-priced web hosting plans aren’t sustainable in the long-run. They might function well in the beginning, i.e. yield good website performance results, but they’ll eventually fall behind. The most effective web hosts know the value of the quality services they offer, which is why they’re often priced a lot higher. Consult a digital marketer or web designer to figure out which web hosting plan will work the best for you.
2. Increase the Loading Speed
All of the different factors discussed here ultimately impact the loading speed of your website. Regardless, this factor needs to be individually assessed since it’s so important. There are a lot of measures you can take to increase the loading speed of your website, and the main one is simply decluttering it.
Always remember that the more ‘stuff’ there is on your website, the more likely it is to lag. Your website should indeed be a complete package and serve as the main source for all the necessary information customers need about your business. However, that doesn’t require you to clutter every webpage with too much content, images, and plugins. You can remove these things to increase the loading speed.
3. Compress and Optimize Images
As discussed earlier, high-quality images will naturally be big in size, too. Despite knowing this, you might not want to remove images from your website simply because visual content makes your site much more attractive to customers. Visual content like images, videos, and GIFs also help visitors recall your website more vividly, even if they’ve only visited it once.
So, if you can’t get rid of images but you can’t upload images with big sizes either, what do you do? The simplest solution is to compress your images down to smaller sizes. There are tools available on the internet that enable you to compress image sizes without reducing their quality at all. Smaller sized images load much faster, require less processing data, and subsequently increase the loading speed of your website.
4. Remove Unnecessary Plugins
Plugins give you better capabilities, but only if they’re optimized. Removing unnecessary plugins from your website is just like removing clutter from your bedroom. Doing so leaves your website looking a lot more organized and well-designed. The optimal amount of plugins on your website also helps increase the loading speed since fewer features on the respective webpage need to be loaded.
5. Enable Cookies and Caching
Many customers don’t feel comfortable agreeing to cookies on a website, but as a web designer and business owner, they’re highly useful to you. Enabling cookies on your website allows you to track and study your customers’ behavior on the internet. In doing so, you’ll be able to retain certain information about a user that you can then use to tailor their experience on your site. For example, if a user has been searching for services related to your business on the internet, you can access that information and use it to target your customer more closely.
Caching is also a very important tool in building and optimizing websites. It’s essentially a technology that enables you to keep copies of information that a user might’ve input on your website. This allows you to access this information at a later time, whenever that particular user returns to your website. Having cache copies will help you instantly access customer details without needing to process and store them all over again. Simply recalling the stored caches significantly reduces the loading speed of your website, too.
How to Increase Website Reach
There’s no point in working on improving the performance of your website if you’re making no efforts to increase its reach, too. Your target customers should be able to see your website to interact with it. To make this happen, you can extend efforts towards increasing the digital presence, visibility, and reach of your website. Here are some of the most effective ways to do so.
1. Social Media Marketing
Social media is the single most powerful tool for marketing in the modern digital age. More than 4 billion people across the globe currently actively use social media. This audience is simply too big for any marketer or web designer to ignore.
To increase your website’s digital reach and improve its performance, you need to invest in social media marketing. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn are leading the charge in building digital business communities. Marketing on these platforms is much simpler than you might think. Most of these applications have built-in advertising tools that let you run ad campaigns. You can advertise your website, services, products, and other apps through tools like Facebook Ads, Instagram Ads, etc.
2. Search Engine Optimization
The most traffic your website gets is likely from search engines like Google. There’s a common belief in the digital marketing world that alludes to the fact that no customers ever visit the second page of Google. As a web designer, it’s important to know just how true this belief is. The first few results on a search engine results page (SERP) get a large majority of the user clicks. This tells you that your business website needs to be among the top few SERP links to attract a good number of daily visitors. This is only possible if you invest in search engine optimization (SEO).
3. Content Marketing
Another very important tool of digital marketing is content marketing. There are so many types of content you can write and publish on your website, including short-form content, long-form content, optimized SEO content, blogs, articles, brochures, etc. The content you choose to put on your website should be optimized to include the trendiest keywords in that relevant frame of time. To do this, keyword research is a necessary task to complete. You can also create a separate blog section on your website and publish all of your content there. This will attract more visitors to your site through your relevant blogs.
If you can’t find the time to generate content on your own, you can always hire web content writers and blog post writers to help you out.
Improving your website’s performance isn’t easy. It requires a lot of dedicated effort, time, and investment from you and any web designers or digital marketers you choose to hire. However, once you do manage to effectively improve your website’s performance through tools like digital marketing, you’ll witness a sharp increase in your business growth. You’ll be able to strengthen your key performance indicators (KPIs) much more effectively, as well. Just don’t give up!
Let Us Help Your Business Grow!
Here at A&L Creative Marketing, we understand the struggle of attempting to establish a digital presence for your business. You don’t have to do it all alone because our team is here to help you!
We have a team of marketers, strategists, and programmers who have gained an extensive set of skills through years of experience in the field. We offer curated marketing services that cater to your specific business needs. Whether you’re looking for social media marketing services, website content writing services, or website design services Santa Cruz we’ve got you covered.