You might think that once you’ve gotten people to your website the battle is already won. Well think again. Web audiences seek immediate gratification when they visit sites; rarely will they just casually stumble upon your site. They’re looking for something distinct: information, inspiration, or an experience; and unfortunately, you have a very short window of time to deliver these needs. According to Hubspot, 55% of visitors spend fewer than 15 seconds on websites. Yes, today’s web audiences are experts at sifting through information and site hierarchy at lighting-fast speeds; they don’t have the time to spend even ten minutes pouring over every page of a website. In just a few moments they can determine with almost certainty whether your site can deliver their needs, and if they presume it can’t, they’ll move on to your competitors without second thought. But rather than waving a white flag, or simply, hoping for the best when traffic comes through, there are specific updates you can make to turn a quick site surveillance into a long-term conversion.
15 seconds: that’s all the time you might get to convince and convert a potential customer. And if five of those seconds are allotted to website load time, you’re further diminishing your site’s chances of winning visitors over. Because of this tight timeframe it’s crucial for your site to load at an optimal speed, and is arguably one of the most important components to optimize your site. If you’re unsure as to how quickly your website loads across desktop and mobile environments, you can use Google’s PageSpeedTool, which will give your site device-based scores.
Often, one of the biggest culprits behind slow site load times are images. Unfortunately, you can’t expect to run a thriving site in 2017 without implementing interesting photography to engage visitors. But there are things you can do to optimize your images. Moz recommends compressing and reducing image size which, contrary to firth thought, will not diminish image quality.
While your overall site’s performance is imperative across all environments, it’s especially crucial for your mobile site to load as quickly as possible. DoubleClick by Google reported that 53% of mobile visits are abandoned if a site takes longer than 3 seconds to load on a mobile device. Mobile users, even more so than desktop searchers, are looking for immediacy and if you want to remain competitive you must deliver on that. To help you get your mobile site up to speed, you should look for third-party authorities in responsive web building, like Duda. In addition to being renowned for building high performing sites, Duda has now made 100/100 Google PageSpeed ranking goals it’s company-wide mission.
Here are some of the key takeaways Duda learned with site speed that can be implemented into your own websites:
- CSS Rendering. The CSS part was is trickier. The browser needs CSS definition in order to show the styling of the page elements. If they were to move all the CSS to the bottom of the page, the initial rendering of the page would look ugly, as elements would be rendered without styling, and only after a second or so, styling would be added. Instead, they found a way, when publishing a site, to identify which CSS rules are critical to the initial rendering and placed them at the head of the page. The rest of the CSS was pushed to the end of the body, as it is not required for the initial rendering.
- Image Compression. They also worked hard to optimize image compression and resizing (they create several sizes of every image and upload to Duda). They also started using the most recommended lossy image compression to significantly reduce image size while keeping image quality very high.
- Asynchronous (i.e., it runs in the background and allows you to keep working). This is key so that publish time won’t take longer than what is acceptable. Typically, sites are optimized for PageSpeed within 30 seconds after publishing is complete.
- Expert Tip. If you want to know if your site was optimized, you can take a look at the HTML source of your homepage. If it contains a chunk of style code called “criticalCss”, it means that the site was successfully optimized.
To further convince you of site speed’s importance, Google has announced that mobile page load speed will be incorporated as a ranking factor. So if your mobile site is performing under par, not only will your existing audience grow tired of the slow load times, but you’ll also risk visibility among potential audiences.
Quality and consistent lead generation on a website cannot exist without landing pages. Sure, you may have spent a large chunk of money designing an aesthetically pleasing, highly responsible homepage to welcome your new visitors to your website. But that’s not enough. You cannot always direct new site visitors to your homepage and expect them to linger; you must create landing pages that efficiently tell your story and incentivize new visitors to not only stick around, but offer up their contact information. A first-time visitor won’t necessarily feel enticed to provide their name and email addresses if they don’t know why they’re providing them in the first place or what they can expect to get out of it. Wordstream recommends using scannable copy and short forms, so that site visitors don’t feel like they have to put a lot of work in. Additionally, your messaging should be consistent with the ads or content pieces driving visitors to your site in the first place. For example, if a potential customer clicks on PPC ad touting a new product upgrade and is led to a standard homepage with no mention of said upgrade, they’re reaction will likely be either confusion or frustration. Additionally, you’ll also want your landing pages to immediately capture customer information, and simultaneously, incentivize customers to want to offer up their personal details. The more unique landing pages you create, the more relevant and engaging first encounters customers will experience on your site.
Calls To Action
If you’ve convinced a visitor to move beyond the landing page and browse your site, then you’ve likely already done a few things right but your job isn’t over. Calls-to-action are essential components of converting a visitor into a customer. First and foremost, don’t be afraid of including call-to-action buttons. Sure, we’ve all been on websites with overly obtrusive calls-to-action, and subsequently, have not been back to those sites. But, customers today expect to see CTA prompts. Kissmetrics recently delved into the psychology of the human reaction to a CTA; and although customers subconsciously expect these carrot sticks across sites, they’re only effective if they’re both logical and obvious. The shape and color of the CTA button needs to pop off the page, and they must be placed at natural content breaks to avoid interruption. It’s also recommended to take advantage of human’s natural curiosities. Using the phrase “Learn More” within a CTA is often more effective than just submit, because “Learn More” indicates that their participation will offer something in return and humans will naturally want to see what that is. Color, shape, and placement play significant roles in successfully incentivizing visitors.
Your website can easily become your company’s highest performing sales contributor, but it requires a commitment to site analysis and optimization.