What is Website Optimisation?
Once upon a time, website optimisation predominately meant A/B testing to experiment with variations of pages on your website. From there you could determine which changes lead to more conversions centred around your User Interface/Experience design. Today, website optimisation is an umbrella term for a variety of different optimisations. For example, it could mean A/B testing for click through optimisation linked to UI/UX, it could mean Search Engine Optimisation (‘SEO’) or it could mean Website Speed Optimisation (‘WSO’) amongst other things. Arguably in today’s world website optimisation is a combination of all these factors. Each separable and distinct from the other in definition, knowledge and skills required to excel in.
What are some website optimisation goals?
The goals of a website will vary depending upon the type of business, the business’ target customers, and the desired action of that audience: a purchase, filling out a form, or reading an article. The desired action of a website visitor could be conversions, number of blog views, providing accurate and up-to-date content or provide users access to features via a web application. There are many many objectives depending on your organisations objectives.
Different organisations will have different objectives. Let’s take an eCommerce website, you’d want to figure out how to increase purchases and average order values (AOV) as a goal. To do this, a website owner will conduct quantitative and qualitative research on key pages of the website that affect the ultimate goal of the site. For instance, the homepage is often a valuable area to conduct A/B tests, since much of the website’s traffic arrives on this page first. It is important that visitors quickly understand what the company offers, and that they can find their way to the second step (a click). This commonly referred to in the industry as Click Rate Optimisation (‘CRO’) or Click Through Optimisation (‘CTO’). Ideally, you’ll want experts with a mix of analytics, UX/UI and software development domain experience to implement this.
Another type of Website Optimisation is website speed. One of your objectives may be to speed up landing page load times so your current and potential customers don’t bounce or leave without knowing what you’re offering. It’s statistically proven that reduced webpage load times influence bounce rates and user experience (more on this later). There are many technical factors involved in Website Speed Optimisation including but not limited to factors such as the configuration/s of your tech stack, your hosting location and provider, your database and database size, your code (front-end and back-end) and dependancies.
This means website speed optimisation a heavy weight developer team job requiring the potential rewrite of front-end and back-end code and the clean-out or migration of the database and/or server. Having a strong developer ops team can help in this situation.
Another type of Optimisation is Search Engine Optimisation (‘SEO’) which refers to optimising your website pages for SERP (‘Search Engine Ranking Position’). Some SEO goals relate to ranking your site pages on the first page of Google Search under certain keywords. To excel in the Search Domain you’re looking for Search Experts whom should have a combination of skills in domains such as research, analytics, software development and industry knowledge specific to SEO.
Why Does Optimisation Matter?
Google recently released a speed update in January 2018 that revealed that people really care about the speed of a webpage. That was the catalyst for speed to enter Google’s algorithm as a ranking factor on mobile search. 79% of online shoppers say they won’t go back to a website if they’ve had trouble with load speed. It’s not only a turn-off for visitors but it’ll mean they will bounce before they even get a chance to buy or click through. In 2019 and beyond speed is increasingly becoming a website optimisation category of its own.
SEO is a category that everyone in the digital world is aware of and then for the general public mostly unaware of. There are more than 2.3 million Google searches conducted per minute. So if you’re trying to be found online then it’s important to take some time to rank your website in the search results. If you’re selling online it’s even more critical to be found because you actually depend on people to get to your via your online store. Forrester Data estimates that 53% of all purchase decisions are digitally influenced. So Search really does matter for your online store.
User Interface / Experience Optimisation is a further final category. If you don’t think UI/UX is important then just look at the biggest products of your time. In 2007 Apple took user interface & experience design to a revolutionary level by introducing a touch screen interface for mobile which was also connected to the internet. The fundamental design change here was that you could have a different app interface for each new app on a touch screen phone as opposed to being stuck in a plastic keyboard interface. Your UI/UX goals are likely to come from A/B tests of site pages but the impact could be relatively significant for your business.
Website optimisations can offer many measurable business benefits. Fast load times can reduce bounce rates, better user interfaces can increase the number of products purchased on-site and better search can help customers find your digital assets.
Some Free Online Tools To Measure Your Optimisations
Some free and paid online tools that can help you identify some of your biggest optimisation pain points across all three areas are the following:
PageSpeed Insights – A free tool provided by Google to diagnose speed issues
- Google Search Console – A free tool for monitoring your sites presence in search results.
- Google Keyword Planner – A free tool for exploring keywords relevant to your niche.
- Ahrefs – A paid tool for SEO.
- Mangools – A free and paid tool for SEO.
- Google Analytics – A free tool for analytics and user experience/design.
Crazy Egg – A paid tool for understanding user experience/design.
Once you’ve identified some optimisation issues you’ll be better equiped to come up with a plan to resolve them. Knowing what’s wrong will help your seek right specialists for the job and in turn help you get more up to speed with the issues that we encounter and diagnose in the industry. If you’d like to get in contact with us to discuss any of these site issues you can contact us here.