Website performance is often confused with how a website looks. Although user experience and responsive design are important the key objective of a website is overlooked. Not too long ago, developing websites and making them 'live' on the world wide web was a capability that was available only to web programmers. Today, with the phenomenal Content Management Systems, (joomla, drupla) and more specifically the 'programming-challenged' CMS (gotta love Wordpress) availability, many business professionals mistake the ease of making a website live, with it's effectiveness.
So what exactly is required to ensure optimal website performance:
1) A Plan: All the technology and software in the world won't replace a good, innovative and hard working 'plan'. A website is the first impression of any business so it must resonate with the intended target audience. It also must have a clear set objectives and strategies. The definition of success for any website can only be determined if there is a measuring point. What does the website need to do? What is its core function and what are the delivery expectations in terms of sales leads, traffic numbers and contact point? Once these questions have been answered website performance can be more easily assessed.
2) Content Strategy and Structure: What does the website have to do? Does it have to inform? Showcase the business as an expert? Be a go-to for actual sales? Is there going to be an online store? Does the site need to generate leads? Most websites have a combination of many of the list just mentioned. Providing users with good, easy to read content in a structured and user friendly environment are key elements for optimizing your website performance.
3) Connection Points: It's important for any website to have more than one point of connection. Weaving connection points throughout the site to prompt viewers to take action and connect is critical - especially if generating leads is key for the website's performance. Connection points need to be closely integrated to content strategy and structure. Consider providing a forum where viewers can download white papers, eBooks or register for a webinar.
4) Be Responsive: Responsive design is easier to achieve now. CMS platforms have coded their web themes to provide optimized adaptation to many devices. That's high-tech responsiveness. But web performance means that it's not only necessary for sites to be responsive on mobile and perform visually on any device, it's also important to be responsive to queries from viewers who are potential clients.
5) Search Engine Optimization: The importance of analyzing and developing a keyword strategy can't be stated enough. Website performance is dependent on a critical and well laid out SEO strategy. No site in today's world wide web would be complete or be able to compete without it.
Getting a website up, live and looking good without taking into consideration the core components that optimize a website's performance doesn't make business sense. Are there any other considerations that should be included to this list? Please share them here.