We take a holistic view when it comes to optimisation and most cases it complements our software development.
Here is a brief overview of some of the things we do:
Primarily, our focus is centred on optimising the overall experience by improving the ease of discovery, usability and quality of content.
With our development, we follow best coding practices to ensure your website is visible to search engines. This includes responsive design with mobile and tablet friendly viewports, along with Semantic HTML and other common meta data (e.g. Open Graph).
We encourage quality content creation through well crafted CMSs and back office, and go to lengths to make as much content as possible editable by the client.
If you have a pre-existing online presence we take great care in preserving your ranking. This includes the basics like 301 redirects of old pages to new equivalent URLs along with porting of historical content and assets.
Our preference is generally to focus on organic traffic but at times, we do utilise Search Engine Marketing.
The first is to simply generate traffic to an already successful product or service offering. The idea being that the metrics are in place and calculations can be made to understand the ROI of paying for a user or customer.
The second tests products or services. We create landing pages with alternate messaging, price points and offerings and generate traffic using paid marketing to attract smaller cohorts of customers. We can analyse the response to understand what is most compelling for customers.
This can also be used as part of the customer driven methodologies to find early adopters.
Website performance is becoming an increasingly important metric in search engine ranking, as it can have a large impact on a users experience. We strive to deliver optimised and well architected software that is capable of scaling well past the initial deployment.
Depending on the needs of the project, we can take further steps to decrease response and overall page load times. There are many techniques that can be used to optimise software, and often there are some relatively simple optimisations that can make a large difference in performance.
Common improvements including adding layers of caching to the output (reducing the work to be done by the server, and in many cases allowing pages to be served from disk without additional processing), deploying CDNs (Content Delivery Network) for asset delivery (using geolocation to provide the nearest server to the end user), cutting down page size by inlining or using spritesheets for images, optimising the server and database stack, and much much more.
Testing is crucial to delivering high levels of conversion, this is especially important for e-commerce. In A/B testing (also known as split-testing), experiments are formulated to test assumptions, this can be something simple like “using the color green for the call-to-action will encourage visitors to buy our product”. Two versions of the call-to-action button are then created, and randomly selected when a visitor lands on the website. With enough traffic flowing, patterns begin to emerge, and by matching these patterns with the experiment used, we can decide whether or not the experiment is successful (i.e. did the change result in more conversions?), and the winner becomes the new baseline.
Heat mapping can be used to show the areas of a page where the user is looking, or placing their cursor, giving an indication of what the user finds interesting. Cursor based heat mapping data can be collected easily from regular users, while gaze based heat mapping is usually done as part of explicit user testing (where offered).
Performance testing and profiling can happen in many different places in the stack, this starts at the server and network layer, flowing through the application layer (database, application backend), and finally through to the end user (frontend and browser performance). We have many widely used tools at our disposal.