Once a website goes live, the job is far from finished. The next goal is to optimize for search engines (SEO) and refine the user experience (UX).
These two tasks are extremely important for increasing website traffic and conversion rates, and it's crucial to focus on them in order to flourish online.
SEO / Marketing
Links that direct people to your website are called "backlinks." These are highly influential in Google rankings. Specifically, Google looks at:
- Number of backlinks
- Link Authority
- Link Diversity
Generating backlinks shouldn't be cheated - Google is getting better and better at determining the true value of each backlink. Shady SEO companies simply throw your link on thousands of fake websites, but this doesn't work anymore. The best way to get linked is to create amazing content and network with people in the same field.
According to Andrey Lipattsev, a Search Quality Senior Strategist at Google (this guy is worth listening to), content is one of the most important Google ranking factors. When indexing websites, Google looks for high-quality information with semantic relevance that's easy for people to digest. Not only does content marketing help you brown-nose search engines, it's also super valuable to real-life people. In turn, you have more traffic, lower bounce rates, more shares, and increased conversions. It's like a win-win-win-win. Remember: content is king. If you provide great content, great search results will follow.
According to SEMrush, direct website traffic (not from search results) helps to drastically improve search rankings. Having your business connected via Twitter, Facebook, Yelp, and other social services drives more traffic and strengthens customer engagement. Social media engagement is becoming more and more important, and we highly recommend it for improving your online presence.
A key ingredient for website growth lies within the paths people take to reach your website. By digging through sources of traffic, you can see which marketing strategies are most effective (organic search, paid ads, social media links, etc.) and you can see your audience demographics. Trends about the people visiting your website are useful for enhancing the design and user experience.
Once people make it to your website, what do they do? What pages turn people off? What aspects of the page lead to the most conversions? These patterns can be studied through conversion paths. By monitoring page position and history, you can draw conclusions about these questions and know exactly how to improve your conversions.
There are a wealth of resources on design psychology and user experience, but they're far from comprehensive. Every website serves a different purpose and has a unique audience. The best way to test most conversion-focused designs is to conduct A/B testing. In a nutshell, A/B testing means having two nearly-identitcal websites with one element being unique to each. When a visitor lands on the website, they have a 50/50 chance of getting the A or the B version. Once enough data is collected, a winner will emerge. This process is very effective for increasing conversion rates, and it's a great investment for every online business.
Based on the data collected earlier (traffic sources & conversion paths), we can make educated decisions on which design elements work better than others. As websites grow and change, it's important to continue to tailor the design for the target audience. Additionally, as time goes by, styles change. Visitors can instantly tell how outdated a website is from its design patterns; by constantly staying up-to-date, you can stay relevant and continue to cultivate growth.