Estimated reading time: 7 minutes
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What is Website Optimization?
Website Optimization is the combined effort of improving website speed, images, creating quality content, using relevant internal links, keyword research, and more to improve website ranking.
Sound like a lot?
It is! Site analysis, optimization, tracking, and testing aren’t easy! This is why many suggest optimizing gradually and focus on one or two areas that need improvement. Then, once you successfully improve something, move on to the next thing. Ultimately, narrowing your focus makes it easier to track progress, changes, make slight adjustments to your optimization plan if necessary, etc.
Staying up to date
Now, if you’re keeping up-to-date on social network improvements, search engine updates, and new tools and technology, then your website ranking goals should become more comfortable over time. Why? Because when new products are being rolled out or changes happen to a search engine algorithm, announcements occur in advance. Knowing what is changing can help you to prepare your site better before the changes occur.
So if you’re stuck on where to start with website optimization and need some reference points, you’re in luck! This post covers three different things:
- What is website optimization?
- Where to begin?
- 6 key areas to start improving today
Six areas of optimization to help improve website ranking
1. Website Speed
If your site is loading super slow (more than 2 seconds), it needs to be optimized!
Start by reducing the image’s file size with a compression tool (suggestions below).
For example, scalable images may display 800×800 on your website, BUT if the original image has a dimension of 2560×1920, it can cause the site to load slower. However, if the actual size were closer to 800×800, the file would take up less space on your site. With multiple pictures per page, that can add up!
When it comes to image compression, you have a couple of different options. You can manually reduce the file size before uploading them to your media library or use a tool.
Looking for a tool to help?
Gimp GNU Image Manipulation Program can export the images into a JPEG format with a compression option. If you choose this route, remember to edit the file name once you resize and save the image. Rename it to something that makes sense for the page/post. (Using part of your focus keyword in the file name is one idea.)
On a side note, if you decide to use the above tool, try setting the quality (in settings) to “90.” It seems to work well at minimizing quality loss and reducing file size (at the same time). Feel free to adjust that number accordingly because images can look different depending on your device.
Another option: Use a plugin if you use WordPress
The other option is to use a plugin. Smush Image Compression and Optimization by WPMU DEV! It can compress up to 50 images AT ONCE! Another great thing about it, it has a 1 MB max file size (per image). The maximum file size limit helps you to flag the images that need to get resized manually.
Another great way to improve website speed is to use a CDN (Content Delivery Network.) The CDN we recommend is *StackPath (formerly MaxCDN). Their customer service is impeccable, and the dashboard is easy to use. Another great alternative is Cloudflare.
Note: if you are looking for additional services for your business, check out our affiliate services/tool finder.
PDF files and videos that need to be streamed or downloaded from your site can impact its loading time too. Either use Google Drive or Youtube to help take the stress off of your website.
What if you could make those lovely pictures on your site more SEO-friendly to help improve your website ranking? In the previous section, you compressed them. Now, remember to name the file something a bit more descriptive than the default.
Example: If you have an image of a blue cat riding on a Roomba, name it Blue-Cat-Roomba.jpg vs. 0324171246.jpg. Next, fill out the alt text section. It’s for those of us who need or prefer to use screen readers. Search engines also appreciate it because it helps them to categorize images better. Captions also contribute because they can emphasize important info within a photo!
3. Quality Content
Don’t skip this one! Quality content is one reason why people visit a website and keep coming back. So, what constitutes quality content? In a nutshell, it’s content that’s engaging, interactive, and readable, yet easy to understand and shareable! Phew! For example, when creating a blog or social media post, write it like you’re talking to someone. It makes it easier to relate to and understand.
Pssst: To help bridge the quality content and SEO gap, use a WordPress plugin like Yoast SEO. To help with things like copyediting and checking for plagiarism, check out Grammarly. P.S. Grammarly is a lifesaver, and they continually add new features like sentence structure suggestions! They are so much more than a spellchecker.
4. Internal Linking
Linking helps keep visitors on your site for more extended periods of time (if done right). Internal Linking is about making the user experience better by getting the information they’re looking for fast. Please don’t overdo it, though. If you add a link to an external site, ensure that it opens in a new tab. If you don’t, it’ll direct visitors FROM your site!
5. Meta Descriptions
What is a Meta Description? It is a short snippet (160 words max) on what the page/post/image is about. In other words, leaving it blank doesn’t help search engines to find you nor help with website ranking!
Queue, keyword research! Search engines will sometimes skip over your meta description if it doesn’t describe the page’s contents well enough. Just make sure to have enough content on your page and that the meta description closely resembles your content.
6. Social Media Profile Links
Remember to include links on your site that lead to your social media profiles and vice versa! Use a social links widget or plugin on WordPress and add them to the header/footer/sidebar or wherever looks best.
Using social media to drive more traffic to your website is an important tactic that helps your audience learn more about your business! However, it’s surprisingly underutilized!
Until Next Time
There you have it, a quick rundown on website optimization and what to start focusing on to improve your visitor’s experience and website ranking! If you’d like more website or social media optimization tips, check out these posts on why you shouldn’t buy followers and backlinks (and what to do instead) and five tips to improve website speed.
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Disclosure: Some of the above links are affiliate links, which means, at no additional cost to you, UGH! Media earns a commission if you click through one of them and make a purchase. Any affiliate link above is noted with an asterisk (*).