Last week we covered what sort of marketing campaigns you should start to prepare and posed some frequently asked questions to our Paid Marketing Manager - Brian. Wondering whether it’s time to start up your PPC again? Read more here.

Continuing the theme of sharing our knowledge, this week the turn of Bliss’s CEO, Jon Stutfield.

Jon recently presented in a webinar on how to improve a website's lead generation by boosting its performance, with his presentation - DIY CRO FTW! (AKA do it yourself conversion rate optimisation for the win... FYI) (...)

This article is part of our Content Hub on how businesses can proceed with marketing during this Coronavirus period. Bliss is pooling our 10 years of industry experience to create these free and informative guides to help you, with weekly updates.

I’m going to teach you how to easily and cheaply invest in your website so you can come out of the period in a stronger position than when you entered it.

- Jon Stufield, Bliss CEO

Before we get going on the five steps to CRO success, there are a few prerequisites you should make sure are working:

✅ That your website is responsive
✅ You have website analytics software set up (such as Google Analytics) so you can measure whether any changes you make have a positive financial impact
✅ You are happy to do this in house. This isn’t a list for digital marketing experts! This is more suited to the entrepreneurs, business owners and marketing managers who want to improve their websites themselves. 

If you think you are particularly lacking in one of these categories though, give Bliss a bell! Our guides are designed to help you get going, but hiring the experts is the easiest way to ensure substantial performance boosts.

5 steps to improve your website:

  1. Performance
  2. Design & brand 
  3. Visibility
  4. CRO
  5. Security

1. Speed up your site

Why is performance important

The speed at which your website loads is critical to its overall performance. People have a terrible attention span online and would rather take the time to leave a slow-loading website and find a better alternative, than wait for every page they visit to load.

TOP TIP: Google recommends aiming for a 3-second or less load time for webpages

One of our customers had a 30% increase in revenue last year and Bliss associates the majority of that to the speed optimisations we made.

How to improve website speed and some free tools 🛠️to help:

  • Conduct a technical audit to highlight where improvements can be made. 🛠️Lighthouse 
  • Use a CDN (Content Delivery Network) to speed up response times. These store a static image of your website, which can load really quickly 🛠️Cloudflare
  • Research hosting providers to find one which is good quality. It’s definitely worth spending a little more on!
  • Optimise your pictures and videos. 🛠️ Shrink Me! will do this for images
  • Remove any unnecessary apps or javascript widgets

Is your website still taking its time to load? You may need a pro for these improvements but they can make all the difference too.

  • Add caching to your CMS (Content Management System)/application
  • Reduce render blocking

2. Create an eye-catching brand

Why branding and design are important

Having a great looking website and brand can really elevate your website above your competitors’. Plus, it can help visitors really understand and interact with your business! So make sure your website looks the part to reflect the target audience’s expectations so that they come back time and time again.

How to improve brand and design and some free tools 🛠️to help:

  • Clearly display your value proposition (the information which tells customers that your products are right for them) on the homepage
  • Improve your brand communications by getting that proposition right 🛠️Value Proposition Canvas
  • Use great photography or illustration 🛠️Unsplash / Pexels / Canva / Pixabay are all great free stock imagery sites
  • Consolidate content and functionality by taking an assessment of what you already have and consolidating out-of-date/unnecessary content
  • Use an appropriate and consistent tone of voice 🛠️Online Communication Guide

Our recommendation to really step up the appearance of your website? Hire in a photographer/illustrator to capture your products in the best possible light. The best photos can also be used effectively on social media too! 

3. Make sure you’re visible to the right audience

More visibility equals more conversions

This one may seem pretty simple, but surprisingly easy to overlook. You could have the most perfect website in the world, but if you aren’t actively driving people towards it, you’re doing it a disservice. Getting it seen by the right people can seem easier said than done, but there are basic SEO tactics which will improve any dormant site.

How to improve visibility and some free tools 🛠️to help:

  • Identify useful topics your customers will be interested in and write about them
  • Do keyword research for these useful topics to bear in mind when writing 🛠️Moz*

TOP TIP: It can be difficult to find the right balance between writing for audiences and search engines, but as Bliss has discussed previously - they are both so important.

  • Make it easy for people to share your content
  • Audit your existing content for a thorough spring clean 🛠️Screaming Frog
  • Check for issues and errors to fix for a quick boost 🛠️ Google Search Console
  • Research into different SEO programs and tools to find relevant ones for your website 🛠️Full list of SEO tools

*They have a free version, but we think it’s worth signing up for the 30-day free trial of the full version and spend that month really improving your website

4. Turn your website visitors into customers

Conversion Rate Optimisation is important

You can always spend a little more time to make sure your website performs better for users. From trying new strategies to testing every possible scenario with how people interact with the site (because someone inevitably will), an investment into CRO will increase your sales! Whether you pay for a program or do-it-yourself with the below tips.

How to improve CRO and some free tools 🛠️to help

  • Create great CTAs (Call to Actions) with clear commands (get, download, click etc), in complementary colours and ideally one per section
  • Test improvements and measure whether they’ve worked 🛠️ Google Optimize
  • Demonstrate social proof to show your trustworthiness from the reviews and experiences other customers have had on your website 🛠️ Popkit*
  • Improve your forms with as few fields to fill in as possible in order to make it easy for customers to get in contact with you 

TOP TIP: People particularly hate giving out their mobile numbers and ages!

  • Test your site on real people - preferably your actual customers 🛠️usertesting **

You should look at hiring professionals if you want to do any drastic testing. Agencies can create website design prototypes which can gauge the opinions of people, without testing it on the live website. Or if you want really deep insight as to what works or doesn’t on your website, look for agencies which can provide user-testing insight.

*$59 for life and one of Bliss's top recommendations
**14 day free trial period

5. Ensure the tightest security

Why security is important for CRO

Your website simply has to be secure, full stop. If not, the damage of a hack or data breach could be incredibly costly - financially and in terms of your business and online reputations. 

Google WILL demote your website for having poor security

Fortunately, there are easy steps and free tools 🛠️ you can use to keep your website safe

  • Renew admin passwords
  • Run security audits to find flaws and fix them 🛠️Google Safe Browsing Tool
  • Enforce the use of complex passwords or (even better) passphrases 
  • Implement 2 Factor Authentication whenever possible
  • Use a password manager 🛠️LastPass
  • Use a CDN with a firewall as a first line of defence
  • Your website should have an SSL certificate 🛠️ Let’s Encrypt
  • Stay vigilant for phishing emails. Even if it seems like it’s coming from someone you know, if their phrasing is a bit off, it could be a phishing email using their name. It’s more embarrassing to fall for a phishing scam than ask a colleague/friend if it’s really them.

In summary:

  • Increase speed to increase conversion
  • Make sure your brand is well communicated and your customers have a great online experience
  • Strengthen the visibility of your site by creating content and fixing any errors Google can see
  • Increase your conversion rate by improving forms and CTAs (test those on real people)
  • Keep your customers’ trust by securing your website
  • Initialisms and acronyms are the true keys to really understanding digital marketing

- Jon Stutfield, Bliss CEO

Popular related articles:

GUIDE: How to give your website the ultimate spring clean

FREE TOOLS to kickstart your SEO

GUIDE: How to communicate online clearly, confidently and consistently

Check out our full Content Hub for advice, best practice and ideas on how businesses can proceed with digital marketing during the Coronavirus period.

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