5 Things High-Performance Websites Always Do
Here are five common characteristics of high-performing websites along with some tips on how to make your site work harder to deliver the goods. While a variety of techniques can be employed to achieve results, almost without exception, successful sites all do the following:
- They consistently attract qualified traffic — With consumers doing the bulk of their preliminary research online, it’s more important than ever to make sure you’re in the game right from the start. That means doing whatever you can to improve your SEO. Content is king (creative and fresh, thank you) and keywords are still the key. You’ve got to know your audience and the terms and phrases they’re most likely to use when they search. Make sure those keywords and phrases are strategically and naturally integrated in your copy to avoid the wrath of Google, whose algorithms can spot stuffed keywords, reproduced or cloaked content and other content malfeasance from a mile away and will penalize you for it. Incorporate images with descriptive Alt Text describing each one. Optimize and host videos directly on your website when possible. Include relevant keywords in meta titles, descriptions, headings, sub headings and Alt tags. A big contributor to search rankings is external linking. Focus on genuine, authoritative links from industry-related websites, blogs, press releases, PR events, social media contests and news.
- They create an interactive and user-friendly experience — Clean design, intuitive and simple navigation, engaging copy, dynamic images—these components form the core of a great user experience. Manufacturers spend huge dollars on their sites, so look for ways to emulate their approach to create continuity and consistency on your site. Keep it simple, be genuine and avoid deal-breakers. For instance, if you have a “specials” button prominently displayed on your home page, make sure you’ve got inventory to show when a visitor clicks it.
- They identify clear conversion paths — Make sure your CTAs are prominently and strategically placed throughout your site. As Alec Baldwin’s character in Glengarry Glen Ross so eloquently articulated, “A-B-C — always be closing” — and you should be. Give your visitors plenty of opportunities to connect, ask questions, locate a specific vehicle, get a quote, etc., and make sure those paths are easy to see, continuously monitored and promptly responded to.
- They contain compelling, regularly updated content — Keeping content fresh and relevant is an ongoing task that simply can’t be ignored (See #1) Buying habits and trends change with the seasons. Incentives, promos and offers are always changing, new models, new inventory and service specials constantly come and go. Your visitors expect a “real time” experience. Give it to them and they’ll respond favorably.
- They have mobile friendly and responsive design — A big (and growing) percentage of your potential customers are using mobile devices for part or all of their research and shopping. Google’s algorithm gives the advantage to responsive design. Add the fact that shoppers are using these tools in real time — even at the dealership as they shop — and you have a compelling case for making absolutely certain your site conforms to best practices when it comes to mobile device friendliness.