The Importance of Web Optimization During COVID-19

Challenges arising from the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) have rapidly accelerated the use of new and existing technologies. As consumers continue to lockdown and rely on digital connectivity, it is vital that businesses make the most of out of the sour situation by optimizing the digital tools they have.
by 
Hannah Svendor

Challenges arising from the spread of the coronavirus(COVID-19) have rapidly accelerated the use of new and existing technologies. While it’s been a catalyst for consumer technology adoption, rippling effects on businesses have taken shape in the form of tighter budgets and reduced staff. As consumers continue to lockdown and rely on digital connectivity, it is vital that businesses make the most of out of the sour situation by optimizing revenue-generating activities online and the digital tools they have.

What is Optimization?

Optimization is the process of making incremental and targeted changes based on different strategies and experiments to improve the performance of your website or internal tools. Optimizations are meant to below impact efforts that will drive high impact results, not time-consuming or lengthy projects. You should be confident that it is easy to implement and has a higher potential of improving performance.

There are two different audiences to consider when thinking about optimization: internal business users (employees using digital tools) and your customers. While they have different goals, both can benefit from optimization.

What are the Benefits to Optimization?

Optimizing tools, processes, or an experience ultimately helps your business achieve its goals. Depending on the audience and goal for optimization, your team can realize benefits including:

  • Increased conversions (leads, form submissions, sign ups, purchases, etc)
  • Greater internal adoption of tools (reduced technical debt/greater ROI)
  • More qualified traffic directed to your site
  • Stronger processes and workflow efficiencies
  • Higher rankings on search engine result pages
  • Increased credibility and keyword equity

How Do I Choose What to Optimize?

Every business is unique, so your goals for optimization may differ than another organization. Ultimately, optimizations stem from two things:

  1. What are your business goals and your customer’s goals? In other words, how do you want your website to contribute to overall business growth? What are users coming to your website to accomplish? List out and prioritize the most profitable optimizations.
  2. What does the process or experience for each look like? Let your user and business goals fuel your optimizations. Let this lead you to identifying what is standing in the way of achieving those quicker, better, and more efficiently.

What Should I Consider Optimizing?

From content, SEO and design, to code, site speed, and tool adoption, optimizations have no restraints. Here are some common areas to focus on:

Content: Stay at home orders have led to almost 60% increase in content consumption, and in some cases, potentially more. Review existing content or use content intelligence tools to understand how your content supports users through their customer journey. This can help identify gaps that may need additional content to support your customers in deciding to do business with you.

 

User Experience: Remember, every visitor comes to your website hoping to find an answer, a solution to their problem, or complete a task. Focus on optimizations that make it easier for site visitors to accomplish these goals. Review landing pages with low conversion rates and visual analytics of user behavior to understand where best to experiment and optimize.

Technical Performance: Unresponsive and slow websites typically result in page abandonment and negative search engine rankings. Use tools like Google Page Speed Insights to understand how quickly your site loads for mobile and desktop users. Based on your score and recommendations, you can optimize your code, images, and other assets to positively affect page speed and ultimately conversions.

Digital Adoption: Strong internal adoption of software and digital tools often has a huge ripple effect on business goals.  With teams increasingly moving to remote work, business leaders need to ensure their teams know how to use their tools properly. Identify how each tool is used and any hiccups in workflows or processes. This is an opportunity to reduce, condense or use what you currently have better while also increasing internal productivity.

These are just a few examples where optimization can prove to be immediately valuable, but it is best practice to look at your team and website performance through a dual lens of your site visitor goals and business goals.  

Where Do I Start?

Review your analytics and interview stakeholders and identify areas that are performing poorly, such as landing pages with high exit rates or low conversion rates or inefficiencies in internal processes. After you build a list of potential optimizations, put them in priority order. For each specific problem, you can begin to structure small experiments with A/B testing and other strategies to identify the best solution.

Remember, optimization is not a one and done project. It is a cyclical process of isolating a problem, hypothesizing improvements, making and testing iterative solutions, and then validating those improvements.

With the current climate, organizations are starting to double down on their digital platforms, maximize their technological investments, and find new ways to optimize what they have. If you’re shorthanded, it may make sense to explore potential outsourcing or retainer-based website maintenance and optimization services, like Continuous Support and Optimization.

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