Improve The Performance of Your Website – 9 Places To Look

looking_under_the_hood2Have you ever given your blog or website a checkup? I’m talking about a good look under the hood – making sure you’ve got all the right tools in place, and that you’ve set yourself up for success – kind of look.

This is something I’ve been working on lately and it’s been incredibly helpful in dialing in on the things I want to do and where I want the site to go.

I’ve done a lot of work making over my blog, and I’m far from done. I’ve moved it off of my business site, and have restarted and rebranded it so that I can get it focused in on what I want to achieve with it.

Taking a closer look can give you a ton of great actionable, and easy-to-implement measures to improve how your website is performing.

One of the big things that I’m working through is doing a site audit on my own site to see how I’m doing in various areas. I’ve still got a lot of work to do, but there has been a lot of progress.

So I thought I’d share my notes on the criteria that I’ve been using to evaluate my blog. Here are nine things you can do to check your site’s effectiveness.

  1. Design Aesthetics – Your site has to look professional. If it’s using a stock theme that ships with your CMS (like Twenty Ten for WordPress, or Garland for Drupal) that numerous other sites are using your credibility will suffer. Have your site custom-built, or invest the money to get a quality theme, like Studiopress (affiliate) and a quality logo. Nothing less will suffice. The bottom line is you need to look like you take your web presence seriously and want to present yourself as professional, and not like everyone else.
  2. Page-Load Times – Google’s standard is under 2 seconds, and could actually be around 1 second. How fast is your site? Part of this is having a great hosting service. The other part of this is being diligent about what you use on your website. If you’re bloated by a ton of extensions and plugins you could be hurting your site more than you know. Site load times also weigh in your site’s ability to rank well in search engines.
  3. Content Analysis – is your content high-quality? Could you see any of your posts being featured as a guest post on any of the big blogs in your market? I’m completely changing and working on improving how I create content these days. The podcast is getting a makeover, my writing strategy is getting a makeover, and my publishing frequency is getting a makeover – all in attempt to really ramp up the quality of what I produce.
  4. On-Page SEO – Are you using proper on-page SEO in your content? I cringe at how poorly I’ve done this in the past. Each post and page need to be carefully crafted with your visitor in mind first, while not neglecting how search engines crawl your site. There are basic things you can do to make sure you’re addressing both.
  5. Off-Page SEO – How well is your site ranking in your market? How are people finding you? Backlinks are still a big deal and quality back links from other related quality sites are essential.
  6. Calls to Action – It’s a given that you want people to read your content, but then what? Are you using clear, compelling calls to your visitor to take the next step? This is another area where I still have work to be done.
  7. Conversion Rates – A key component to your calls to action are conversion rate goals. Do you have conversion goals? Do you know what a coversion rate is? This is something I’m spending a lot of time on right now with this site, as well as my niche sites. Don’t overlook this.
  8. Social Media Connecting & Sharing – there are two distinctive things that you want visitors to do when it comes to social media on your webdsite – connect and share. You need to make sure that it’s easy to do both.
  9. Mobile Responsive – Without a doubt you have to be mobile responsive. You just can’t neglect this any longer – I know I waited far too long to do this myself. Your site needs to look great on smart phones, tablets, and desktops – one and all. No exceptions.

I’m using this process on all my sites to make sure I’ve got them firing on all cylinders, and it’s a process that we’re using with our design clients at Orracle Media, though that one is a little more involved. I’m looking at a bunch of numbers, and setting some SMART goals for my websites.

What do you need to look at to make improvements on your site?

image by ATOMIC Hot Links

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