One person with one pair of hands but a todo list of three (four? five?).
But sometimes, you just can’t make yourself do anything.
Tired, unmotivated or intimidated by another big task, you’d rather do dishes, walk the dog or even take out the garbage than touch another thing on your website.
Wait! Don’t open your favorite social media site just yet! Do this instead.
Here is a collection of my 10 favorite ways to improve your website under 15 minutes that you can do when you don’t feel like doing anything else.
10 Ways to Improve Your Website in 15 Minutes or Less
#1. Improve title & meta description of a post with a low click-through rate
Benefit: Potentially increases organic traffic
Do you have a post with many impressions but way too few clicks? It means, although it ranks in search, your title and meta description suck are not enticing enough.
If you can get more people to click on your link in the search results, it will improve your click-through rate for this post. And this, in turn, may improve the rankings of your post.
To find a worthy candidate for the improvements:
- Navigate to your website’s entry in Google Search Console (former Webmaster Tools)
- Click Search Traffic -> Search Analytics
- Check the boxes “Clicks”, “Impressions” and “CTR”.
- Select radio button “Pages”
- Sort the table by position
- Identify a page with a high position but a poor click-through rate.
- Open the page and improve its title and meta description.
Enjoy an increase in organic traffic after Google reindexes the post.
#2. Add an internal link from a page with higher authority
Benefit: Potentially increases organic traffic
Another quick way to boost your organic traffic is by giving a post that already ranks well (for example, on top of page #2, which you can see from Google Search Console, as described above) additional push.
One of the ways to do that is to link to this post internally from a high authority page on your website. You know, to pass along the “SEO juice”.
- Navigate to Open Site Explorer and enter your domain URL.
- From the menu on the left-hand side, select “Top Pages”.
- Find a page or a post with the highest page authority (PA) from which linking to your post will make sense.
- Add an internal link from that page to a post which ranking you’d like to improve.
Tip: Internal links with the anchor text that contains keywords surrounded by the relevant text will have a stronger impact that links from a footer or a navigation menu.
#3. Add a testimonial
Benefit: Increases trust and credibility
Testimonials, especially the ones with headshots, are the most effective social proof.
If you have a testimonial sitting in your inbox that you’ve already cleared with your client, take 10 minutes to put in on your website.
Otherwise, write a couple of lines to your happy clients asking for one.
Keep in mind that effective testimonials either show improvement (using numbers, if possible) or address and eliminate a potential fear.
Tip: Use testimonials on your sales pages, next to the claims you want to back up, as testimonials are the most powerful in context. Unless you are sure your audience expects to see it on your website, you can remove the Testimonials page.
#4. Optimize your images
Benefit: Increases your page load speed, i.e. potentially decreases bounce rate and increases organic traffic
Check one of your posts that uses many images with Google PageSpeed Insights and see if the load speed of the page can be improved by optimizing the images (don’t read much into other things this tool will tell you though, as it’s not the most accurate ).
If your speed scores are below 65 (poor), check if one of the suggestions is “Optimize images”.
If it is, download the folder with the optimized images right from that page (yep, Google already did the work for you) and exchange the images in your post.
Download the folder and replace the images on your website with their optimized version.
If you have more time on your hands, make your whole website load faster by following this guide: How to Make Your WordPress Site Load Faster (without Breaking It or Going Crazy).
#5. Start using/organize your UTM parameters*
Benefit: Gives you great insights on what content promotion strategy works and what doesn’t
UTM parameters are an army of your personal spies. You send them out in the world together with the links to your website, and they report back to you telling whether that link was clicked. And not only what website it was (for example, Twitter) but also what particular share.
They are indispensable if you want to find out which promotion tactics are worth the effort.
Here’s a view in my Google Analytics that I owe to these cute little fellows:
What are UTM parameters?
UTM parameters are extras that get added after your main link storing the information that you specified based on where you will be sharing that link. An URL with UTM parameters looks like this:
You don’t need to append them manually, of course. A Chrome plugin will do it for you.
Here’s an introduction to UTM parameters plus a great example that will help you get started within 10 minutes.
Once you start using UTM parameters, you won’t be able to imagine your life (and your website’s progress) without them.
Fun things you can do with UTM parameters:
- See what social share performed better for a particular post on a particular social network: Plain text, image 1, image 2, link+image, particular time of the day; public share or share in the community, etc.
- Track clicks from links in your lead magnets.
- Track clicks from links from your video tutorials.
- Track clicks from links in your social profiles.
- Track clicks from links in email newsletters to differentiate between a link in the text and a link in the “latest posts” section for example.
- Track clicks from links in your email signature, etc.
When you don’t feel like writing, look into / organize your UTM parameters and schedule social shares using them.
* – Ok, technically, this is not a website improvement. But the insights that you’ll gain by using UTM parameters may help you increase traffic, increase your social following, make your lead magnets more effective in building a relationship with your audience, and do other great stuff for your online business. So I’d say they qualify.
#6. Proofread one of your older posts
Benefit: Decreases embarrassment Increases trust and credibility; potentially increases engagement
I have a theory that if you leave only one typo in your post, it (the typo) will procreate and produce more typos.
Just kidding, of course. But this is how I often feel when I come back to older posts. Where do all these typos come from?!
Reading older posts also has other benefits:
- You discover not only typos, but better ways to phrase things.
- If you’ve learned something new in those weeks, you can improve the post by adding new info to it.
- Re-reading a post you are proud of when you feel like you suck can’t get anything done will lift your spirits and prove to you that it’s just a phase, and you are actually awesome.
#7. Improve readability of a post
Benefit: Potentially increases time on page and amount of shares
While you are at it, you can improve readability of your post by adding all the little (but important) things you had no energy to do the first time:
- add (sub)headings
- add bullet points
- use shorter paragraphs
- use shorter sentences
Basically, make sure you avoid any formatting mistakes, as they will ruin even the best content.
#8. (Finally) organize your categories
Benefit: Potentially decreases bounce rate and increases organic traffic
Is your category side widget 5 miles long? The more entries you have there, the less is the chance that your visitors will click on anything (hello, decision fatigue!)
You should aim for 7 or fewer entries, as 7 is the maximum we can hold in our short-term memory.
Also, when you create a new category or a tag, you are changing a structure of your website, because a new page gets created.
No wonder messy categories and tags can also affect your SEO!
This very details post by SEO Yoast explains nicely how to keep your site structure clean and what the best ways to use categories and tags are.
- Categories are like table of contents. They can have subcategories.
- Tags are like index. They have no hierarchy.
- Categories should be of equal size. If you have a category that is twice as large, divide it in half.
- Don’t assign too many categories or tags to one post.
- If you use a tag or a category just once or twice, you don’t actually need it.
#9. Embed a Tweet or a Facebook share in your post
Benefit: Increases trust and credibility, potentially increases engagememt and number of followers on social
If you have a tweet or a Facebook share of your post that got some traction, embed it in that post. Like this:
Designing a home page? Include 7 elements:
1️⃣ Your photo
2️⃣ Social proof
3️⃣ A clear “call to action”
4️⃣ Who you are, what you do
5️⃣ How you benefit your clients
6️⃣ Clear navigation
7️⃣ Helpful footer
For more #HomePage tips, read https://t.co/Lxtb7DRLev via @StoriesWithGill pic.twitter.com/Emvb6YOwlE
— SEMrush (@semrush) February 6, 2020
It’s a 3 minutes effort, but it will add credibility to your post and encourage people to like and reshare it.
#10. Add a survey to a popular post
Benefit: Gets you additional info about your audience
Take a post that drives a lot of traffic and embed a 1-question survey into it. Like this (that’s a real survey, by the way):
What are your main struggles with your website?
This article explains how you can embed a survey into your newsletter or post using Google Forms (free tool from Google).
To sum it up
Don’t feel like doing anything big on your website? That’s ok. Your creative brain also needs a break.
Here’s a quick summary of 10 tasks under 15 minutes that need little creativity but that will help you improve your website (and make you feel good, because you didn’t end up procrastinating):
- Improve the title & the meta description of a post with a low click-through rate.
- Add an internal link from a page with higher authority to a post that almost ranks.
- Add a testimonial.
- Optimize your images.
- Start using/organize your UTM parameters.
- Proofread one of your older posts.
- Improve readability of a post.
- (Finally) organize your categories.
- Embed a Tweet or a Facebook share in your post.
- Add a survey to a popular post.
Adopt these tasks as mini habits and do them regularly whenever you have a chance. You will be surprised how much you can get done in a week without even noticing.
4 thoughts on “10 Ways to Improve Your Website in 15 Minutes or Less”
Hi Gill. I like your writing style.
Thanks for sharing the excellent advice, especially #1, 2 and 10. Like you said, my to-do list is a mile long and I don’t generally have too much of an issue with procrastination. I definitely want to put some time into improving my CTR. I followed your instructions for #1 and I have a few pages and posts that rank very well, have some impression but no clicks. They’re probably good candidates for improvement.
Thanks for the advice and I’ll be back.
Hi Wayne. Thank you so much for the kind words. Glad to hear you could apply some tips on the spot. 🙂
Re improving the CTR: How ironic is it, that even after your content ranks well you still have to do things? It’s easy to forget to optimize your meta titles and descriptions for clicks, simply because we automatically think getting that post to rank is the end goal.
Wishing you better CTRs and a nice day. Thanks for stopping by!
Love these tips. Sometimes, I do some of these, but you’ve added a whole bunch I hadn’t thought of…and/or I have but haven’t actually done yet. I think I need to see if I can carve out 1 hr each week to do this…maybe do 4 items per week in that hour. Thank you. (I found you on VCB)
Hi Debbie. Thank you… and happy to hear you found these tips useful 🙂
Re carving time for them: If you can do that, great. But it also works if you remember these tips and do them whenever you don’t feel like doing anything else, without prior planning.
This works best for me, because I often seem to be not in the mood of doing things that I’ve planned. This way I trick myself into being productive 😀
Thanks for stopping by!