15 Useful Ways to Optimize Your Website: Tips & Tricks
15 Useful Ways to Optimize Your Website: Tips & Tricks with Jenna Redfield of Twin Cities Collective
Hey, what’s up, guys? Welcome back to the Twin Cities collective podcast. I’m your host genera right field and today’s episode I actually got some suggestions on my Instagram story. You can follow us @TwinCitiesCollective on Instagram but one person reached out and said I really loved to do an episode on making your website optimized. And I thought hmm I don’t think I’ve done an episode about websites by myself before at least like how to set them up how to make them work better. So I thought I’d do that for you. Another idea how it was like just content creation. So I’ll try to kind of incorporate that in to this episode. Okay, So you have a business or you have ah, Blogging. You need to actually start a website obviously.
So one of the things we’re going to do is you’re going to choose a platform to host and what I’ve learned over the past couple of years is there’s a lot of differences between the platforms. The four main platforms I would choose between is WordPress, squarespace, shopify and showit. Now, the reasons I picked these is they’re all kind of set for different types of businesses. I was thinking about this this morning. Squarespace is definitely more for the small businesses that don’t update their websites too often it’s the ones that want something really easy to change, and it’s just needs kind of the basic website. Where’d press is definitely more for bloggers that want to make a lot of money on you know, those faces. But are the Google ads They want to have a lot more customization with the Blogging? Ah, and where press is nothing more for really, really custom websites. Um, Shopify is definitely more if you want e commerce. So if you’re really just focused on selling products, I would say Shopify would definitely be a really good option and then finally show it is another one that I’ve heard about I have never used. But a lot of big names use it like Jenna culture and just some really bigger, mostly like wedding photographers. I feel like you show it. I just tend to see a lot more of them on that platform. I’ve been using Squarespace since 2015. I was originally on WordPress free one, and then I transferred to the paid version of WordPress. Then I switched finally over two square space, and I’ve helped other people move from word presses, square spaces. Well, just cause I find, especially if you’re a beginner on websites. It’s a much easier platform to understand. However, WordPress is a great option, and they do have some newer things that are coming out that help with making it easier to change things. But basically it’s up to you to pick a platform. But once you pick one, you should really stick with it because it’s kind of a hassle.
Then change it over so that the next thing you are gonna do is you are gonna have a website framework. So you’re gonna figure out what is your website gonna look like? Ah, you’re going to figure out what kind of pages you want. Ah, what are the things that your website’s going to focus on? The things I recommend doing are about page, a services or products page, maybe a portfolio page and a contact page. Those are, the at least the minimum pages that you need on your website, and I think everyone should have it in that order as well. About services portfolio contact. It should be from left to right that it should how you should set up your Web site. People like to know where they’re looking because they’re used to seeing that on most websites. So one of the things a lot of people do as they are setting up their website.
2. About Page
So the first thing they’re going to do is set up in about page and one of the things I recommend with an about pages, is it’s not about you, It’s not a bio. It’s about your business and what you can offer to your audience. It’s about your values. It’s about what they can expect from you. So don’t make it just about you and no one really cares. That’s what I learned at least through a lot of podcasts episodes and blog posts I’ve read about about pages, and so that’s the second thing you’re going to create.
3. Services Page
Then the next thing you’re going to do is you are going to create a services page, so that’s going to be probably the meat of your website. You’re gonna have to make it really convert. You’re going to want to make sure that people understand what you offer. You might have several services pages if you have different services that you offer or again, if you’re on online retailer, you definitely gonna have a lot of different products that you’re selling, so you’ve got to figure out a way to organize them by categories. Another option you can have instead of a services pages create a landing page. There’s sites like leadpages and such that you could actually get people to sign up for webinar or a free download or something. That’s another option for your website, but creating a services pages so, so, so important because we need to know what you offer as a business.
4. Start a Blog
I mean, I forgot to mention this one, but a lot of people also have blogs. So not every website needs a Blog, but a lot of people have either a blog or a podcast or youtube channel to create content. So the next thing you’re going to do is you’re going to create a blog and make sure that when you start it, you kind of know what the purpose behind the blog is. Now, most people these days are either bloggers or they’re not. A blogger to me is someone who only writes blogs like that’s the reason that they created their website is to write blog post. Most people nowadays, I would say, are a business that have a blog That’s what I would consider myself. I wouldn’t consider myself a blogger, but I do have a Blog. It’s kind of a weird thing. But what I recommend doing is that when you write a blog post, make sure that people will click on it. Make sure that people are searching for it. So this is something I took me a long time to learn. Um, and I actually we’ll talk about this a little bit about the search console, but you’re gonna want to create something that is going to have a long evergreen, which basically means that last a long time. Content what on my most red Blogging post of all time is about the Mall of America. Funny enough, and I actually realized it. I get a lot of pins on Pinterest through it. I get people searching for it on Google, and my blog post about the Mall of America just does really well, and it’s been around since 2015 that blog post and I’ve moved it from multiple websites that I’ve changed domains and everything. But when the reasons is because it’s so searchable, people are looking for that kind of content, even though I don’t I don’t really do anything with the Mall America. I just kept it cause it’s bringing me a lot of great, you know, traffic to my website. So making sure that you have a great blog post title. There’s a lot of websites like Co-Schedule has a headline planner. You can figure out what you should call your blog post, but you wanted to be something that people are searching for because that’s how they’re going to find it. Another thing you’re definitely gonna want to have is images. Never, ever write a black post without a single image. You have to have at least one that’s is pitiable, I would say, create at least a square version and even create one that’s a little bit longer. That’s perfect for Pinterest. Um, the reason you do this is because you want people to pin it from your sight. You could pin it yourself, but you also want people to actually save it and pin it themselves from when they actually find your Maybe they stumble upon it on Google and they want to save that information. They can pin the image to Pinterest cause Pinterest by far is one of the best ways to get traffic to your Blogging. Another thing you’re going to want to do is you’re going to want to add at least three calls to action in each blog post. The reason you’re doing this is you’re going to try to keep them on your website. A lot of people stumble upon blog’s through different ways, whether it’s social media through Google Pinterest, and they may have never heard of you before most of times. And so by actually doing things in that blog post to get them to stay on your website, they’ll become more invested in you as a person and as a brand. So you’re going to want to either tell them to check out other Blogging posts, tell them to sign up for your email list all of those things. You’re definitely going to want to try to get them to do one of those. So when you’re writing a Blogging, think about it strategically, you’re gonna want to try to get people to read it, but also engaged with you as as a business or a blog. So that’s another thing you also want to do that throughout your website.
5. Creating links
Making and creating links that also go to other pages on your site makes it easier for people to stay longer. That helps your bounce rate that helps people just stay on your website longer and potentially find something that they didn’t know they were looking for. So you’ve got your blog, your about page, services page.
6. Contact Page
Then you’re going to also create a contact page. This is really important if you want people to actually reach out to you. There are a lot of ways to create a contact page, and I’ll talk about this down the road, but you can actually have a scheduler as well to actually have people book a call with you and we’ll talk about some of the platforms you can use with that, but you definitely wanna have their name their email, so that you can actually contact them back, as well as the title of the message and the message itself. Most website platforms offer a contact page form that you can embed into your into your website. That’s probably the easiest way. One thing I don’t recommend doing is actually just leaving your Email on your Web site. The reason is is because you can get a lot more spam that way. People actually just search Web sites all day long, looking for e-mails so you might get a lot more spam. If you just leave a link to your email, that’s just something I’ve heard before. So you definitely want to make sure you have, like, a form instead of an email.
7. Add Alt Tags to Photos
Another thing that you’re going to want to do to optimize your website, and this is something I’m really bad at. And it’s something that I’m really working on, and that is adding descriptions to each of your photos. Now photos two. Google are just pieces of content. They don’t know what they are because Google is not smart enough to look at the picture and say, Oh, that’s picture of a dog. So you’ve got to tell Google what that picture is, and it’s something that searchable so you could say golden retriever dog. That would be the description you’ll add that to that photos all to tag. That’s something you should do for every single photo on your website, no matter what. I think it’s really, really important especially for Blogging images, because when they click that Pinterest pennant button, whatever you’ve written for the all tag is going to be that description that they’re going to pin right away. So if it’s just like image two, three, four, that’s what here is going to show up on Pinterest and you don’t want that. So you definitely want to make sure that each of your photos has a tag at all today. And you can Google how to change those. Every platform does it, either in their media library or on each photo. You can, say, add alternative text. This is also great for people who are, you know, maybe our blind or using some sort of disability platform where they can actually have it read to them. So that’s really helpful for those types of people as well.
8. Add social media links & instagram blocks
Another thing a lot of people don’t add, and I find this odd is they don’t add their social media links to their website. Sometimes I have to search really far to even find, like a link to their Instagram to their Twitter facebook have that on every single page. So maybe put it in the footer, Um, and also If you have a good Instagram, maybe get a plug in or add your Instagram. With squarespace, you can an Instagram block and on WordPress, you could download different plug ins that allow you to show and display your Instagram on your home page or across your footer. I do this for our footer because and it shows up on every single page. And then when they click on one of those pictures, it sends them straight to our Instagram. This is a really easy way to add some pictures to your website very easily oh, that’s another thing is making sure that they can find your social media from the home page as well as every page that they’re on, because if they want to remember you and they’re on your website, make it easy for them to follow you on social.
9. Add an email opt-in or call to action
Okay, this is the one that most people forget to do, but it’s like the most important one that’s adding an email. Opt in. So even if you don’t do email marketing right now, you still want to start collecting emails? Um, you could do this in multiple ways. I would recommend offering a free download or a lead magnet, but you can even just say sign up for a newsletter. I mean, even if you don’t send one out on occasion, just adding that to your Web site allows people to you get their emails. That’s really one of the most important things you can get. You can use emails in many ways, but just adding something to get people’s emails is something. If you don’t have it, put it up there right now and there’s so many easier ways to do that. There’s platforms that allow you to embed an email capture, but most websites have an option to do it internally with their own platform system.
10. Add additional ways to book you (acuity, dubsado, pure chat)
Okay, I mentioned this earlier, but there’s some other additional tools that you can actually use to have people reach out to you. I use three of them. Um, actually, two of them. I used to use one of them, but I don’t use it anymore. That’s acuity, dubsado and pure chat. So acuity is something that I recommend if you aren’t using a serum. But you still want to book clients, you can embed an acuity scheduler into your website. And what this does is allows people to schedule a time to either talk with you. Um, work with you. It just basically allows people to instantly No, when you’re available and can set it up so that you’re both on the same page. You have a time a location, a date to talk. It could be a phone call could be in person. It’s, however, you set up acuity, scheduling the nice thing about acuity and square spaces that you can get acuity pro for free if you’re on squarespace. So a lot of people have used acuity. The other reason why used acuity was Instagram now has a booking button with acuity scheduling so you could actually send people straight to your acuity from your Instagram. So if you’re not on something like dubsado, I highly recommend acuity because they’re super, super easy to use. Okay, I used upside when I mentioned this before, but they’ve recently added some features that I love even today. As I’m recording this, they just added a new feature where you can see where your leads are coming from by asking a question, and it categorizes that. And for me, that’s super helpful, because I never know when people come to me. I’m like, Where did they hear about me? I have no idea. Asking those questions is so important to know where your leads are coming from. So Dubsado, what I used upside of four is I I use it. Instead of having a regular contact thing. I actually embedded dubsado lead form, then it adds it to my CRM or my customer relationship manager. This allows me to track them. I can send them farms. I can send them invoices, schedulers, all of those things that I need to keep in touch with my clients. You can embed dubsado, and now you can actually embed proposals, which was like like business changing for me, because people can pay their invoice straight through the Web sight, which is so awesome, So just setting up all of these different things allows it so much easier for you to not have to chase people down through e mails. The other one that I use is called pure chat, and there’s a lot of chat apse where you can install them. And then if people are on your website and they want to chat with you, basically, it sends you a message in their app that somebody is on your website and they’re wanting to chat. I like your chat because it’s free and there’s not a lot of ones that are free, and I only get maybe one chat a month. It’s really not something a lot people use, but when they do, I can be on it and I can respond to them like a text message. It’s super super helpful. So those are the additional things I’ve used in the past that allow me to connect and communicate with my audience.
11. Set up Google Analytics, Search Console & heat map
Okay, moving on to the next one, setting up Google Analytics, Search Console and heat maps. So these airways that you contract your website. So while this episode’s about optimizing, this is really the best way to optimize your website. If you have a website you need to track who’s going on your website, how long are they staying, where they come from? How all that stuff could be set up in Google analytics. Now Google Analytics is free. You just have to embed some code into the header of your website. You can Google how to do that. It’s really not as difficult as it used to be. And they’ve made it really, really easy for every platform to do it. You have to have a Google accounts. I would set it up with the one that you’re using. If you have a Google email, um, and what you can do, you should take about 24 hours to get going. But what it does is it tracks everything. It tracks the rial time of who’s on your website right now. How long they stay on your website? Which pages they look at This is so helpful to you to see. Okay, well, what’s working and what’s not on my website. More recently, I’ve rediscovered search console. I never really used it before, but oh my gosh, Is this help for helpful for creating content that I can see which terms people are searching for and which which pages on my website they find by searching those terms. So for me, one of the things I did was I actually looked up. Okay, what are people searching for when it comes to Instagram in Minneapolis and I’ll be honest and say a lot of people are looking for Instagram worthy things. So last week I decided to start a Siri’s where I talk about Instagram worthy places, restaurants, coffee shops, because I know people are searching for that. And when people search for Instagram worthy things, I want Twin Cities collective to pop up in the top ten on those search results. I’m just honest like I want that traffic, because Instagram is by far my my topic. I wanted to be the Instagram hub of Minneapolis. That’s just like one of my goals. And so, by using search Console, I could actually kind of hack what people are looking for and really have those specific he terms that people are searching for in Google and be one of the top ones that people are doing. So that’s just why I decided to do those specific post, because I think that it will help me. It will help my audience. I think people are looking for that, And so, by being able to provide it, it’s something that I probably would normally wouldn’t write about. I feel like it’s a great way to get new audience to our site and also help our current audience find out about new places in the Twin Cities. Another thing that you might want to set up also, to see how people are using your website is a heat map. Now heat maps usually costs money, and I I’ve tried to find them in the past for free, but usually they only have a limited amount of time that you can use them. But basically what this is is it shows where people are looking and putting their mouths on your website. Now, why this is important is it really helps, you know. Okay, Well, what parts of my website are people really attracted to? There’s their steps. They’re clicking on there, Really? You know, looking at sometimes I realize that people are clicking on something that’s not actually a link, but they think it’s a link, so add a link to it. So that’s stuff like that. You have no idea what people are actually looking at on your website. So that’s a really, really great way. So those three things are all usually free. I’m not sure about the heat maps. Depends on which one you use. Sometimes they’re included in different software, but really setting up Google Analytics, Search console and heat maps allow you to really analyze what are people doing on your website?
12. Create a mobile instagram only version
Okay, this one is another thing that I’ve actually created a video on. So if you had over to our Facebook page, I actually teach people how to create an Instagram version of their website. There’s things on Instagram called LinkinBio and Link.tree that people can actually click on, and it’s kind of like a different version of their website. But you can actually read do that in square space or WordPress by having a bunch of buttons to a Instagram version on ly of your website. Now I have the whole video on there, so I’m not going to explain it. But basically you’re doing this by actually sending people to your website, not to some other persons website, and it just allows people on mobile version to quickly get to where they need to go. And that’s why the other Web sites exist. So that’s something that I recommend doing is having a separate page on your website that’s specifically for Instagram. My eyes www.twincitiescollective.com/instagram-click-me and that’s a separate page that has just buttons with. I think there’s like ten buttons of different things that can get to quickly on mobile, so that’s just an option. Also, make sure, and most platforms these days are automatically mobile friendly. Make sure your website his mobile friendly you’ll really get docked by Google. If you don’t have a mobile friendly website, seo as long as you’ve made your website in 2019, or at least in the last two to three years, it most likely will be Instagram and ah, sorry, mobile friendly, but you definitely want to make sure that it is okay.
13. add products to your site to sell
So if you are a product based company or you want to sell digital products, that’s another option. You can add a product’s page so most platforms have options for you to sell products. But you definitely want to make sure you’re setting up stripe papal all of those online platforms, maybe even square to actually be able to get paid. That’s another topic we could probably talk about with somebody who sells products. But if you are selling products, make sure it’s set up correctly. Be descriptive about the product and make sure that it’s easy for them to click and add to cart and buy it. Squarespace has a product option, so that’s something I’ve used for, um, our mugs and for my stock photos that I sell. So that’s something that’s really easy for you to set up.
14. Test your website speed and shrink images
Um, okay, there There’s some final tips I have about optimizing like really optimizing, and that’s testing your website speed and shrinking your images. So if you want to make sure that your website is working, make sure to test how fast it loads. If it’s being slow, it means that people might not stay on your website long because there they people’s attention spans are very short these days. So if your websites taking 10-15 seconds load, trust me, they’re not going to stick around, so you might want to figure out what’s causing it to slow down. Usually, most of the platforms are pretty fast. It’s usually something that you’ve added that has slowed it down, and it’s almost ninety five percent of time an image. So there are Web sites that you can actually go to to shrink all of your images. Some of your images might be multiple, multiple megabytes, and you you want to know that. Oh my gosh, that is what’s going to slow it down. So just googling shrinking images, you’ll find some websites where you can just upload a bunch of images and shrink the file size down so that it does it make your website slow. There are also plug ins that you’ve probably installed that are slowing it down. But a lot of those speed test websites allow you to know exactly what it is. I’m slowing it down.
15. Add videos-embed gifs & videos into your website
Okay, The final thing you can add to your website are, ah, fun things like videos, um, gifts and other such content pieces. I love adding videos to my website because it doesn’t take up any rial like sizing, especially if you embed it from Wistia, youtube, vimeo. I wouldn’t actually host the video on your website because that will take up a lot of space, so definitely try to embed it when you can. But what you can do is you can actually create promotional videos, tutorial videos, things that are interesting, whether it’s an event that you had video from, that I also love that squarespace allows you to embed gifts so I can create my own gifts. I use easy dash gift dot com, or you can just go to Giphy.com and download some fun ones as well. I think adding some fundings to your website is just a great way to get people interested. So that was a lot of information. I want to tell you guys a little bit about more, but what we can do to help you with your website? I actually do a lot of coaching, so if you need help with your website, I can do an audit of your website for you. I also do ah Instagram coaching, and if you head to our Web site, Twincitiescollective.com/instagram-coaching, you can learn more about. We do this now three month program where I can actually help you upset by step to do your Instagram. And while we’re doing that, I can also help you a little bit with your website because basically the reason you’re trying to grow your Instagram is to send people to your website. So if you don’t have a website that’s fully optimized, and it has all the content that you need your audience to know, a lot of your Instagram stuff is going to be not as much worth it because you really do want to make sure that you’re capturing the person on Instagram and sending them off of Instagram onto your website. So if you want to go to TwinCities collective.com/instagram-coaching. You could learn more about that or send me a GM on Instagram and we can chat. I can send you some information. I just want to let you know about that because, ah, lot of people get it here, overwhelmed by Instagram and by their websites. But honestly, it’s really once you get it, it makes a lot of sense. You just kind of got to get a second set of eyes to look at it and point out what a potential viewer of your website is thinking when they’re looking at it. So I hope you guys enjoyed today’s episode. We have some events coming up. Make sure to go to our website to see about those again. This air this episode might not be listen to until after the events are over. So just the smile that, you know, we’re always coming out with new events always coming up with new Podcasting episodes. And we’ve just launched our brand new online travel show called Logging Out. So if you haven’t checked out that on our Web site, make sure to check out logging out as well. Thanks, guys. So much for listening this episode, and we’ll be back with another interview next week!
Jenna Redfield is the leader of the Twin Cities Collective, the largest resource in the Twin Cities for bloggers, small business, entrepreneurs & creatives.
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