For almost every modern company, the website is the face of the brand. It may often be the first encounter a customer has with the business — and in many cases, it will be one of the main channels people will use to buy products or interact with the company.

If a website’s design is ineffective or hard to use, it can easily put off potential customers. However, even a perfectly functional design can be a missed opportunity.

These six site improvements can yield big returns on investment and help make your website easier to use and more engaging. Best of all, many of them won’t be hard to implement — and may require no additional tech or minimal changes to existing code.

1. Upgraded SEO for Voice Search

Voice search isn’t the preferred option for mobile searches just yet, but it is widely used.

Around 33% of adults reported that they conducted voice searches at least once monthly in 2019, up from 25% in late 2018.

Voice search is likely to become an essential SEO consideration within the next few years — or even sooner. By using simple changes to optimize your site for voice search, you may be able to effectively futureproof your SEO strategy.

2. Configurators and Product Visualization Tools

Configurators and product visualization tools are interactive elements that allow customers to see what a product will look like in real life. Users have access to all the options they can order and are allowed to adjust the product to their liking. They then get immediate visual feedback on how these changes will affect the final product’s visual appearance.

TF Draper, a Portland-based garage door service company, provides a “Door Imagination System” that allows customers to visualize how options will look in real life. Because a new garage door is a major investment, this tool is a great way to help customers research and understand the options they have available before making a major financial commitment.

Online retailers can use similar tools to help customers customize products on an online storefront. Service providers may use the same tech to help their clients generate a quote based on the kind of services a particular customer needs.

3. Simplified Navigation

The easier it is for customers to navigate your site, the less likely they are to get frustrated and bounce away. Simplified navigation can go a long way in making your site more usable.

This navigation header from Elemental Beverage Co. shows how less can really be more. There are just four text options and two icons, as well as a logo that links back to the main page.

Essential company information — who the brand is, what it sells, why its products are different — is available with just one click. This is helpful a first-time customer has questions about the brand or is trying to find where they can buy Elemental Beverage’s products.

4. Live Customer Support Chat

Adding a live chat widget to your site can make it much easier for your customers to get in touch.

Pepco, a public utility company based in Washington, D.C., offers a live chat tool that provides a direct line of communication to support staff. It also provides preprogrammed options that can help customers solve common problems.

Similar tech will be useful for just about any business that wants to speed up customer query response time.

5. Content Pillars and Organized Content

Content pillars are pages that group together links to blog posts, resources and other on-site content that’s related to a single topic. These pages act as a hub and make it easy for visitors to find related resources.

Mailshake, a developer of sales and marketing automation software, is an example of a pillar page in practice. Each of the blue headers links to a different resource with related info, creating a specialized catalog that helps users browse the site’s content library.

Resource pillars, a similar kind of page, link primarily to external content. They can also provide some value to your customers.

6. Improved Page Load Speed

Long page load speeds can turn off potential customers — encouraging them to navigate away while the site is loading. Fortunately, there’s a few different tweaks you can make to cut down on page loading time.

Compressing images, for example, can help cut down on load times. Minifying code, reducing unnecessary script from your site and taking advantage of browser caching features can also help you ensure the fastest possible page loads.

If things are still too slow after making these changes, you can also upgrade your hosting plan or switch providers.

Boost Your Web Presence With These Site Upgrades

These site upgrades can be extraordinarily simple to implement. Voice SEO, page load speed improvements and content pillars may just require some slight adjustments to existing code or content.

All these changes can make a big difference when it comes to site usability — meaning they can improve customer experience and even encourage future sales. Be sure to implement some or all of them to get the most out of your website. At the same time, you’ll also boost user experience.

When planning your web strategy for next year, these site improvements are must-haves that should be at the top of your to-do list.