How to test and optimize your website

website mockup design

With over a billion websites in the world, are you doing what is required to separate your site from the pack? Online success is entirely possible, but it doesn’t happen overnight. In order to draw new and returning customers to your website, you must implement the proper functions and test those attributes to ensure their efficiency.

As technology like eye tracking advances, you will have to do more to retain customers, but you don’t want to forget about the basics. Below, we cover the crucial components your site should have, as well as how to protect and test these features.

Optimize your website

To draw and retain more customers to your online business, you must have a website that is clear, concise, helpful, and easy to use. Luckily, you can help your company come to the forefront with search engine optimization strategies.

When you have informative and well thought out content along with productive links that lead to and from your website, you can get more attention from search engines and from your target consumers. In fact, experts have proven that well-placed links can help lead websites to the top 10 listings on search engines.

You can gain much of the organic traffic you desire with backlinks from authoritative sites, that when clicked, will bring potential customers right to your doorstep. The more quality backlinks you have, the better. Try to create relationships with other top-quality vendors so you can link to each other and help both of your businesses.

Your website should also have top-of-the-line content on easy-to-read pages that mix in video, photos, and infographics. The search engine algorithms search for the best websites, and those are often featured at the top of search result pages on popular sites like Google and Bing.

Just about every part of your website can be optimized for better customer experience, including your menus and navigation buttons, which should be added to an easily viewable area of all landing pages. Eye-catching page headers should be relatively simple with your logo and contact information. A footer should have your business information and important links, including how to contact you.

The footer can be easily overlooked, but some studies show that consumers start scrolling as soon as the website loads, and companies that have taken advantage of that fact have seen increases in conversion rates by 50 percent.

One of the easiest sections to forget about is also one of the most important: the user forms. You need to make forms simple and easy to use by substituting the need to type with buttons and sliders, avoiding repeat fields, and making clear distinctions between required and optional sections. You can further entice users to complete these fields by offering rewards, including an informational tool or coupon.

Then Test It

Even though you might spend hundreds of hours on your website and review the content repeatedly, you can never catch every issue, so user testing is necessary. This process quite literally involves individuals, most likely in your target demographic, using your website while performing a list of tasks and tests that you create. You want them to try everything, from filling out all applicable forms to clicking all links and navigation buttons. When complete, you will get a summary, usually written or via video that will give you feedback and any follow-up questions.

When you are ready for user testing, you have two options, on-site or remote. While having users come to your office can be helpful to monitor the testers first hand, since you are creating a website that will be used from home, remote testing will give you a better idea of how the site performs as the user’s test in their familiar environment. A major bonus of remote testing is that you can use testers from anywhere in the world, which could be helpful if you want to ensure that your site works on a global scale.

In addition to testing the major buttons and links on your site, you also want the users to look at your content. Is it free of spelling errors, and do the colors on your website allow your content to be easily readable? Check browser capability. Does your site look how you want it to on every internet browser that your customers might use?

If you have a mobile app, have them test that too. Verify that all necessary content can be seen on this smaller display, ensure that the app can be installed on all necessary devices, and test all buttons and functions. User testing should be completed before your product is deployed, as well as after any major upgrades.

Protect your investment

To get to the top of the search engine listings and ensure a positive response to your website and products, you need to show you are an authoritative source for your particular industry, and one way to do that is to ensure that your content is not stolen or reproduced elsewhere. To that end, you must be aware of threats and protect what is yours. Start by creating Google alerts for specific phrases or keywords, and you will be sent an email if your unique content is seen on another site, authorized or not.

If you find that information has been stolen, whether it is images, text, or other valuable data, then you should respond immediately. If you are fine with the other site using some of your content, then you can reach out, ask for proper credit, and have them create a backlink that could bring more traffic to your site. If you do not want them using your material, then contact the administrator and ask for the content to be removed. If you do not get a suitable response, then file a DMCA complaint (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) and make the complaint official. A non-compliant site could be taken down permanently.

Regardless of if your business is strictly online or you have a brick and mortar component, you will want to keep your interests secure with proper online business insurance. There are different types of insurances available based on common threats, including data breach coverage and general liability. If your business falls victim to a data breach, the inevitable loss of customers may be too great to come back from, so get the coverage you need to keep your business, website, and employees protected.

The internet is a busy place, so you need to do everything you can to ensure you stand out from the crowd and make your website easy to use when the customers come around. Heed these tips, and your business website will be a notch above the completion.

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