Updated: Feb 18, 2020
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If you want a complete list of how to optimize the look & functionality of your website, then you will LOVE this guide!
I’ve personally implemented all 53 of these simple tactics on dozens of websites.
Feel free to filter through the content & do the easy ones first.
If you run into any issues implementing on one of them - let me know!
First Things First
1. Pick a Purpose
What is the purpose of your website?
Take however long it takes to answer this question BEFORE moving on.
It will affect everything you do on your site!
2. Understand Your CMS
CMS - Content Management System.
Think Wordpress, Wix, Squarespace, etc. Wherever the content of your website is managed.
Take some time & understand the capabilities of your CMS so you can work effectively on the design of your site.
(if you’re not sure, you can check your CMS here - www.whatcms.org)
3. Double Check Your Domain
You owe it to yourself to check out the new, awesome options out there!
I couldn’t get InvictaEnterprises.com (owner didn’t want to sell!). So instead I was able to get Invicta.Enterprises.
Have some fun exploring the possibilities here - www.namecheap.com.
4. Your Header
Potentially your most valuable real estate - so don’t let it go to waste!
This is a perfect spot for a stunning image & a call to action.
Check out this example from Backlink.io:
Right away you know what the site is about (PURPOSE - see #1:) & there’s an easy call to action.
5. Consider a Lightbox
A lightbox is technically a pop-up that activates either once someone lands on your page, when they scroll to a certain point, or when they move to click away.
If the PURPOSE of your site is subscriptions or lead gen, a lightbox can make a HUGE difference (up to 1375% according to one study!).
OptinMonster.com does it right as you can see here:
6. Or Something More Subtle
If a lightbox is too “in your face” for your taste, you can try a more subtle option - the edge pop-up.
Instead of taking up the whole page, this pop-up appears in a corner or along the top or bottom of a page and follows the viewer as they scroll.
Often they look something like this:
7. Make It Universal
Since you established the PURPOSE of your site in #1, you should have a clear idea of what you want people to do on your site.
Make sure that your header reflects this purpose & is consistent throughout your site.
8. Feature Your Best Offer
If someone is going to bounce from your site, you have about 2 seconds to capture their attention.
Use your header to give away your best stuff or offer the best deal right up front!
A Marvelous Menu
9. Be Brief
Giving people too many options on a menu is overwhelming and works against you.
As a rule of thumb - no more than 6 items on a menu.
10. Need More Than 6 Menu Items? Try This
If you need more than 6, cut the clutter and create a sub-menu like you see at Cabelas.com:
11. Make Sure to Have These Pages
This will vary depending on the PURPOSE of your site. But some basic pages to include would be:
Services and/or Products
(Or some variation of those:)
12. Throw in a CTA in Your Menu
We mentioned before offering your best stuff right up front.
One great place to do that is in your menu.
Instead of just the normal menu pages, try an exciting, prominent call to action right in your menu (a different color will help it stand out).
13. Make Sure It’s Easy to Read
Seems like a no brainer, but a lot of times the menu gets forgotten and ends up being a bad color, too small, or a hard to read font.
14. Make Sure It’s Mobile
If the PURPOSE of your site is the most important, it is quickly followed by making your site MOBILE…
(since nearly 50% of traffic is currently (2020) mobile & projects to be upwards of 75% in just a few years!)
So make sure your menu will load beautifully on a mobile device.
15. Understand HTTP vs. HTTPS
This is basic stuff but can be a bit tricky to understand.
This video does a fantastic job of quickly explaining it in an easy way to understand.
16. Understand the Importance of a SSL Certification
A SSL Certification tells visitors your site is safe, reputable, and increases confidence (especially if you are asking them to input any data!).
17. Get Your SSL Certification
CMSs like Wix or Squarespace have easy options for making sure your site has an SSL Certification.
It’s free, quick, & easy.
If you don’t have an SSL Certification, check out this article from GeekFlare.com.
Once you have it, you’ll see the padlock symbol & “https” in the address bar.
The Importance of Headings
18. Understand “Skim” Culture
Very few people really READ when they’re online. Therefore, make it easy to skim with plenty of headlines throughout your content.
19. Grab Attention with Interesting Headings
(NOTE: this applies to your menu too!)
How many sites have you seen with boring headings like “About Us” or “Services”?