In today’s highly competitive online space, having a website is only half the battle. Getting people to your site is the other half. And in many ways, it is a much more difficult battle to wage. To gain a competitive edge, you will need to focus on optimizing your website.
What is Website Optimization?
Website optimization is the process of systematically improving your site’s overall performance. It is also about improving your user experience to ensure that your site’s visitors are more likely to convert. So, whether your goal is to get more sales, leads, or reduce customer service phone calls, you can achieve it via website optimization.
Why is Website Optimization So Important?
Website optimization is important because it allows you to provide a positive experience to your visitors. Each visitor visits your website hoping to find a solution to their problem, answer a question, or complete a task of one kind or another. When your website is optimized, it becomes easier for them to accomplish those tasks. Apart from this, your website also becomes more beneficial for your business when you optimize it. When your website is optimized, it is more effective and hence, it can help increase revenue for your business through new leads or sales, as well as reduce costs by minimizing customer support needs via better information for visitors with questions and through better conversion rates on existing marketing spend.
How Do I Optimize My Website?
Website optimization is an ongoing process that makes your website more valuable and effective for you over time. Before you proceed to optimize your website, it is recommended that you pinpoint your site’s performance issues. If you know where your website is bottlenecking or slowing down, you can re-adjust your priorities.
Test Your Website Speed
It is recommended that you use a website speed and performance testing tool to analyze your website. There are many tools that can help you do that. Some recommended tools include GTmetrix, PageSpeed Insights, WebPageTest, etc.
Load Test Your Website
After measuring your site’s overall speed via the above-listed tools, you should load test your website to see the potential causes of bottlenecking. Some recommended tools that can help you do this include BlazeMeter, Loader.io, Load Impact, CyberFlood, etc. If you are running a WordPress site, then it is recommended that you install P3 plugin to identify the plugins that are slowing down your website.
Now that you have analyzed the speed and performance of your website, you can proceed to optimize your website. Following are some key optimization aspects you should focus on:
Proper image optimization is crucial to ensure that you save a lot of bandwidth on daily basis as well as improve your site’s load times. The good news is, you don’t need to be a Photoshop expert to optimize your images. There are many tools and web services available that can help you with image optimization. Some recommendations include Smush.it, JPEG & PNG Stripper, and SuperGIF. Apart from this, it is also recommended that you use alt tags to further improve your website’s SEO performance.
Redirects are performance killers as they generate additional round trip times and slow down the process of loading assets. So, you should avoid them whenever possible. Avoid Redirects is a recommended tool by Google Code that you can use to minimize redirects and hence, increase serving speed.
Enable Gzip Compression
Whenever a HTTP request is made, content travels from server side to client side and vice versa. You can significantly reduce the time needed to process each request by compressing the content. Enabling Gzip compression is one of the best ways to do this.
Optimize the Mobile Experience
Having a website that looks and works great on desktop computers and laptops is no longer enough. To gain a competitive edge, you need to focus on the mobile experience of your site as well. It is recommended that you use the Mobile-Friendly Test Tool by Google to analyze your site and then correct any evident problems that the test turns up.
Last but not least, don’t ignore database optimization. Whether it is creating indexes for faster access or cleaning out old, unused tables, there are many things that you can do to optimize your site’s database.
The Bottom Line
In conclusion, it is simply not enough to have a website nowadays. You have to optimize it considering your ideal customers, search engines, and other factors. After reading this guide, you should be able to get started with website optimization. Make sure to follow the above-listed tips as well as use the list of recommended tools so that you can speed up the optimization process and ensure optimal results.