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A complete website optimization roadmap to get users to your page (and keep them there)
You’ve dedicated months, maybe even years, to creating a product or website that exceeds your users’ needs and expectations. But if your audience isn’t finding your website, all that time spent will have been in vain. What's worse is that potential customers might land on your site and leave seconds later because it takes too long to load or the UX design is outdated.
Last updated18 May 2022
Website optimization is the answer to attracting users to your page and enticing them to stick around—but without a plan of action, it can seem overwhelming. By creating the right website optimization roadmap, you’ll streamline the process and get the knowledge you need to optimize your website for users and search engines alike.
Use our practical tips to design an effective website optimization roadmap tailored to your user—and business—needs.
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What is website optimization and why does it matter?
Website optimization is the use of tools and strategies to improve your website’s performance, both with users and search engines. Optimizing a website requires focusing on all of its facets, including technical performance, SEO, content, and UX design.
To optimize your website, you’ll engage in activities like identifying a website’s weak points, A/B testing to determine which strategies work (or don’t), and collecting and implementing user feedback.
On the flip side, a website that isn’t optimized will fall behind in important metrics like traffic, time-on-page, user satisfaction, and conversions. Low performance in these areas translates into lower revenue, which is why you should always make web optimization a priority.
6 proven steps to creating a website optimization roadmap
A website optimization roadmap gives you the structure you need to go about improving your website efficiently. With the right roadmap, you get right to the weak points of your site so you can start improving the aspects that need the most attention, without wasting time addressing elements that don’t require immediate improvement. A misdirected approach means lost time, wasted resources, and lower returns.
Website optimization roadmaps give dev, creative, product, and UX teams the structure they need to design an optimization process while leaving room to adapt to new developments.
Follow these six steps to build a clear roadmap for website optimization so you can draw traffic to your page and give users a valuable experience:
1. Have a clear understanding of your business goals and capabilities
Before you set out to create your website optimization roadmap, you need to know what you want to achieve and be realistic about what your limits are.
First, clearly define your primary business goals and KPIs that you can use to measure your progress.
Some strong KPIs for the website optimization process include:
Number of marketing qualified leads (MQLs)
Monthly website traffic
Call to action (CTA) conversion rate
Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)
You should also set a realistic budget and take into account the size of your team so you know whether you have the capacity to optimize your website in-house or need to outsource an external agency or freelancer.
2. Create hypotheses based on your website’s performance
Once you understand what you want to achieve (and what you reasonably can achieve), it’s time to hypothesize about what may be bringing down your website’s overall performance. There are several questions to ask when optimizing your website.
Consider which are most important: are you not getting enough traffic to your page? Are people visiting your website but not converting? Various factors could be behind these issues, including:
Lack of a clearly defined target audience/ideal customer profile (ICP)
Insufficient knowledge of users and page visitors
Misdirected content such as weak CTAs
Poor SEO strategy like focusing on the wrong keywords
Website bugs and broken links
Bad UI/UX or website design, which makes it difficult for visitors to navigate your page
Once you’re clear on what could be causing your primary issues, it’s time to utilize strategic tools to test what’s really causing the problem.
3. Use strategic tools to discover the weak aspects of your website
Now you’ve reached the fun part. Once you’ve brainstormed ideas, use strategic tools to determine what’s going awry when someone visits your page or searches for one of your keywords.
Here are some tools you can use to pinpoint where you should focus when optimizing your website:
Google Search Console to track the performance of your keywords and check for crawling and speed errors
Semrush to do a site-wide SEO audit
PageSpeed Insights to test if your website speed is lagging on desktop or mobile
Screaming Frog to find broken links and analyze page titles/meta descriptions
WAVE to identify accessibility issues that make your content inaccessible to screen readers
Once you’ve used these advanced tools to figure out what’s going wrong with your website, it’s time to take action and fix the major problem areas.
4. Prioritize fixes for user pain points
Tools can help you identify user pain points and streamline the process of finding solutions to optimize your site.
One of the best ways to address and correct the weak points of your website is with A/B testing. Use Google Optimize, which is conveniently integrated with Google Analytics, to carry out A/B testing and learn what works best for your users.
When it comes to SEO, use tools like Clearscope or Ahrefs to ensure that your content has the right keywords. If you discover your page is loading way too slowly, try tools like NitroPack, which offers caching and image optimization capabilities, as well as a built-in global content delivery network (CDN).
Once you’ve prioritized the optimization actions you need to take and laid them out in your roadmap, you can also go back and manually make small fixes on broken links, bugs, and other issues you identified during the previous stage. For example, using Hotjar Observe tools like Heatmaps, you see that the CTAs on your landing pages aren’t doing their job—now is the time to go back in, make some adjustments, and see how users respond.
5. Collect and implement continual customer feedback
While A/B testing is a great tool, valuable insights from your users are crucial to constantly improving your page (which is what website optimization is all about).
Hotjar Surveys and Feedback tools let you obtain accurate data from visitors in real-time. After all, you’re optimizing your website for your users, so getting their feedback while they’re on your site is one of the best ways to discover its weak and strong points.
Ask users to share their opinions about everything from UX design and content relevancy to page speed and usability across devices. Learning directly from your users what’s blocking them on your page is the first step to addressing those issues and improving website performance.
Heden Kim, a UX designer at Baotris, underlines the importance of UX and product teams harnessing user feedback to overcome their own biases when working to optimize their website:
"This is where user feedback, usability tests, and observing user behavior with tools like Hotjar becomes critical. These actions help us identify what problems to prioritize as we work to optimize the user experience."
6. Adapt your roadmap and website as your product and brand evolve
The final step in any website optimization roadmap is to keep optimizing. Your product and brand aren’t stagnant, so your website shouldn’t be either. As you adapt your product strategy to your customer’s desires, be sure that that’s reflected in your website roadmap.
It’s important to stay up to date on industry trends to keep your website relevant. Let’s say you’re an ecommerce company and sustainability efforts are a huge push in your industry. If your product reflects that, your web content should as well. Produce blog posts about your eco-friendly approach and be sure that the keywords you use are relevant and up-to-date on this topic.
At the end of the day, your product is for your customers and users, and your website should be too. A big part of website optimization is ensuring your digital platform reflects the key values of your product and brand, and helps users meet their needs.
“Combine data with a creative mindset to prepare and plan, but be willing to pivot your approach to be more reactive to opportunities too”.
Start your journey toward an optimized website
With the right planning, website optimization doesn’t have to be an overwhelming task. By creating a website optimization roadmap, you can ensure you have a strategic framework that allows you to optimize your website continuously and easily.
Use your website optimization roadmap to keep improving your website, bringing in more traffic to your page and creating loyal, satisfied customers.
Are you ready to optimize your website with Hotjar?
Use tools like Heatmaps and Recordings to discover what works (and what doesn’t) on your website so you can make adjustments and keep users on your page.