Ways to Optimize Your Website to Increase Traffic – Part 01

If you have a product you’re really proud of, it should speak for itself. But when it comes down to it, you still need to get customers on your website in the first place.

businessman hand points to business strategy as concept

Here’s a few tips that might help you to do so:

Implement Schema Micro Data

  • Implementing schema (or another micro data format) won’t necessarily increase traffic to your website on its own, but it will make it easier for search engine bots to find and index your pages.
  • Another benefit of using schema for SEO is that it can result in better rich site snippets, which can improve click-through rates.

Link Internally

  • The strength of your link profile isn’t solely determined by how many sites link back to you – it can also be affected by your internal linking structure. When creating and publishing content, be sure to keep an eye out for opportunities for internal links. Focus on contextual linking within a posts main content.
  • Hot linking increases traffic/page views. At the same time hotlinking may actually be bad for you if you do not take into consideration other SEO techniques as explained here: Google Product Central Help Forum
  • A few of things to note:
    1. Don’t try to stuff your keywords in the anchor text
    2. Use the article title, or random phrases
    3. Using keyword targeted anchor text is still OK some of the time, just use it a low percentage of the time
    4. Don’t overdo internal linking as this just annoys people
    5. Have the link open in a new window or tab so that users can easily go back to the original article
    6. Internal links pass SEO value to your linked pages and provides an obvious way for search spiders to crawl your site
    7. Link to your deep, inner pages, not your top level content
    8. If a link is natural and contextual, you aren’t going to be linking from one article back to the homepage. Rather, you’ll be linking to another article that is somehow related to the first one.
    9. Use dofollow links (you want that juice flowing smoothly)

Make Sure Your Site is Responsive & Fast

  • Ensure that your website is accessible and comfortably viewable across a range of devices, including smaller smartphones.
  • Make sure that your pages are as technically optimized as much possible. Here is a very useful infographic from Kissmetrics on how speed affects your bottom line. The most alarming statistic: A 1-second delay can result in a 7% decrease in conversions!
  • Make your nav bar sticky: This one is basic, but important. Because it keeps your most important pages readily available at all times.
  • Improve your site navigation: Having proper site navigation is one of the most important factors in increasing user engagement.
  • Here are several ways to improve:
    1. Use descriptive titles for your navigation (don’t get cute with your link names)
    2. Main categories should be clearly separated from subcategories
    3. Navigation should be in the same place throughout your site
    4. Use analytics to test what content is most popular and make sure it is easily accessible
    5. You could create a separate “Getting Started” page that highlights your most popular posts
  • Here’s a few more things to increase page speed:
    1. Cache your pages
    2. Use gzip compression
    3. Use Keep-Alive
    4. Implement a content delivery network
    5. Try to lower the amount of redirects
    6. Reduce your JavaScript
    7. Ensure you don’t have bad requests
    8. Decrease the number of DNS lookups
    9. Serve page elements from the same domain
    10. Input image sizes
    11. Optimize your images – WordPress does this a little bit when you upload an image. Beside using services like Optimizely could come handy.
    12. Upgrade your hosting – Upgrading your hosting of course costs money, but you gain increased server memory and processor power in return which is a fair tradeoff in my opinion.
    13. You can also use Google’s own speed testing tool, PageSpeed . You can either use it online to analyze your site, or use can install it on your server for monitoring.
    14. Use a CDN

Examine Your Analytics Data

  • Google Analytics focuses on telling how people use your website. This includes things like referral pages and keywords, entry and exit pages, page views, and click patterns. Google Analytics tells you about the page views
  • Quantcast focuses on telling you the nature of your audience. This includes things like the users’ demographics and psychographics, other sites your users tend to visits, what businesses and industries they represent, and cross platform (online, mobile, and app) engagement and retention. Quantcast tells you about the page viewers (also referred to as your website’s audience)

 Split test everything

  • Here are some of the things to test:
    1. Different versions of your navigation to see if pages get more or less clicks
    2. Different locations for your sharing and follow buttons
    3. Your color scheme, text sizes, and font style
    4. Headline text
    5. Everything about your call to action
    6. The images you use
    7. The location of your signup form
    8. Anything else you can think of for your particular business
  • Here are some general guidelines to split testing:
    1. Always test both versions of your site at the same time
    2. If you test one version for a day and the other version a different day, your results could be off.
    3. People behave differently depending on the time of day and day of week
    4. Make sure to let your test run for long enough to gather a sufficient amount of data
    5. You should segment your users so that only new users see the test
    6. If you have regular visitors, you don’t want their experience to change every time they load your site
    7. Ensure that once a visitor sees a variation, they see that same variation throughout the test
    8. The tool you choose should have this as an option
    9. Once you find a clear improvement, implement it. Then, rinse and repeat. Continual improvement.
    10. When choosing a tool to conduct your split tests, there are many options to go through. One that I like to use is Google Website Optimizer. This is Google’s free split testing tool, and it is fully integrated into Analytics!
  • Reference article of some cool stuff to get started with: Things to A/B Test
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