3 Tips to Improve Website Performance this Summer

Is your website ready for summer?

It's HOT outside!

Summer has landed across the US. As heat indexes rise, consumers take refuge in air-conditioned spaces like malls, restaurants, and movie theaters. 

Retail marketers plan strategies to capitalize on increased traffic due to summer heat. But what about online marketing? Do you have a summer strategy?

Websites can learn a lot from retail.

Retail marketers know they face fierce competition to grab consumers' attention. And the web is no different. Online consumers can choose from over 181 million active websites. What attracts them to your website—and keeps them coming back? 

Here are three tips to make your site more competitive this summer:

1. A fresh look

One of the most important retail strategies is placing new, brightly-colored merchandise right inside the front door. People are naturally curious. We're attracted to things that are new, colorful, and different.

Ask yourself this question:  

   • If a theater showed only one movie, or a restaurant served only one dish, would you keep going back? 

Probably not. So why would visitors come back to your website if the view never changes? 

Your website's home page is the "front door" of your online business. Just like retail, your website has to grab attention at the front door and give visitors a great reason to go further and learn more. Customer engagement with your website content builds brand loyalty and improves your search rank, leading to more customer leads. But engagement doesn't happen without engaging content.

Google rewards timely, relevant content that benefits site visitors. Increase engagement and give Google good reasons to boost your search rank this summer by adding or updating content that features new products and services. Add information about upcoming releases or events. Fresh, relevant content and images give site visitors great reasons to engage with your content and follow your Calls to Action (CTAs). .

2. Clear out the junk.

Retailers use big discounts to get rid of merchandise that hasn't sold and is taking up valuable shelf space.

Think about your website's "shelf space." Does your site display outdated images or product information? Outdated price lists can be a fast way to send customers straight to your competitors! Get this kind of junk off of your online "shelves."

Does your website have staff profiles? Websites often contain profiles of long-gone employees. Staff pictures and information are often outdated, and new staff profiles may be missing. Personal connections with you and your staff build brand confidence, but only if the information is current and correct. Check your staff profiles. Clear out the junk and add current information.  

Broken links are another kind of "junk." Broken links to images or pages and broken backlinks create errors that can damage your site's search rank. Use a free link checker like AtomSEO to discover errors, make corrections, and clear this "junk"  off your virtual shelves. 

3. Rearrange the store

A couple years ago, my local Walmart rearranged the whole store. For a while, it was really frustrating. I couldn't find anything, and even the employees didn't know where items were shelved. I don't know what motivated the rearrangement, but I have noticed a result: I've been buying some new products I'd never noticed before. Those products had been on the shelves, but I hadn't seen them. 

Maybe Walmart realized that consumers just weren't finding some salable products. Apparently, rearranging worked—with me anyway—because I seem to be spending more money at Walmart. 

Sometimes, you need to rearrange your website (but with clear links to avoid the frustration). The way to find out is to check your site's performance on Google Analytics. (If you're not monitoring Google Analytics, now is a great time to start.) 

Analytics provides a wealth of useful data about your website's performance. For our purpose right now, we're going to focus on what consumers might be missing on your website's "shelves." We're going to look at which pages in your site are actually being seen by visitors—and which ones aren't.

  • Scroll down the menu on the left side of your Analytics page and click Behavior.

  • Click Site Content. Then click Content Drilldown.

  • Choose a date range in the upper right corner. (Start with one month; then select different date ranges to look for patterns.)

  • Analytics will produce a chart showing the number of Pageviews, Unique Pageviews, the Average Time on Page, and the Bounce Rate for each page in your site that visitors have explored.

  • The chart gives you an overview, showing cumulative results for each top-level page and its subpages. Top-level pages appear as links. Clicking a link displays statistics for each subpage.

This information might be surprising! 

Obviously, your top-level pages should have the most visitors. But you may discover that some very important pages and/or subpages have been visited only once or twice—or not at all! These pages are invisible products on your website's "shelves."

If visitors aren't finding or linking to important content on your website, you may need to "rearrange your shelves." Think about what customers are looking for that should take them to a given page. Re-think links, keywords, SEO, and page placement to make important content more accessible. Make sure customers are finding and engaging with your Call to Action (CTA) pages.

Need help?

Your website may need just a few tweaks, or it may need a full makeover. If you need help, we're listening. We provide estimates for all sorts of Drupal website projects and features—from small and straightforward to complex and custom. We'll help you think through your web project and your web needs. Email us at hello@covenantdesign.com or give us a call at (515) 868-6860. We're here to help.

And from all of us at Covenant Design,

Have a great summer!

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