Websites become outdated quickly which is why you need to consider how to optimize your WordPress website to meet the evolving customer journey.

The way customers interact with your website has changed over the last 5 years thanks to search engines, voice assistants, maps, apps, and directories. The homepage is no longer the first landing page that customers see. In fact, some may never see your homepage at all.

This is why you may have noticed that traffic to your homepage is on the decline. The customer funnel now takes a customer from the search engine to a transactional landing page, like a location page, menu page, or product page, skipping the homepage entirely.

This is not necessarily a bad thing – and, instead, should be seen as a great opportunity to optimize your WordPress website to harness this new customer journey.

The evolving customer journey

It’s likely your customers will begin their journey on a third-party website like Google or Yelp with a search for “restaurants near me,” which brings the user to a list of results and then directly to a landing page where they can take action, such as a menu with the ability to order online or to a “click to call” button.

This is how customers often bypass the company homepage altogether and go straight to the landing page that allows them to take action. That one less click can make a huge difference to people’s ever-increasingly busy lives.

Sometimes your customers will completely bypass your website and, instead, place an order through a third-party service. It really depends on your industry.

The implications of Google Featured Snippets

The shift in customer journey has been heavily influenced by Google’s Featured Snippets introduced in 2015. This is the box at the top of a results page directly responding to a user’s question with the short answer that Google thinks will be most useful.

People now use third-party services to take direct action rather than necessary engaging with a brand through its own homepage – something many business owners don’t consider when updating and maintaining their website.

It’s likely that your WordPress website is still built for the traditional customer acquisition funnel – designed to move customers from the homepage to a transaction.

How to optimise your WordPress website to maximise sales

To maximise opportunities through third-party sites, you need to invest time in the following:

1. Overhaul of your landing pages

A well-structured landing page will “explain” the details of your business to search engines, maps, voice assistants, and other AI services. You, therefore, need to make sure each page provides all the details about your business – such as its location, menu, event, or the contact information— that a customer might want to know.

When those details are structured using Schema markup (the code that enables search engines to read and understand website content), AI is able to differentiate between the information featured on your page and deliver it to the consumer.

2. Embrace third-party sites and services

Although it can be difficult to measure the success you have on third party sites, it’s vital to see them as of equal importance to your own website. Aside from making sure they have the correct basic information – such as your contact details – you need to think like a customer and provide all the information a real person might want. For example, is your B&B wheelchair friendly? Does your restaurant have any vegan options?

The more information available have about your business, the more information those services have to meet increasingly specific queries.

3. Don’t leave the basics behind

Although the customer acquisition funnel has changed, it doesn’t mean that you should abandon your website entirely. Instead, take the opportunity to optimize your WordPress website so that when the customer lands there, they are ready to take action.

As search experiences continue to evolve, there will be new ways for consumers to find and interact with your business. Implementing scalable strategies for managing structured data and controlling the information available about your business will ensure that you can adapt to changing customer journeys.

Your site should load quickly, be easy to navigate, and secure at an absolute minimum to future-proof your site. Strategies that worked from the early days of the internet up through a few years ago are now outdated but the foundations of a fast, reliable, and safe site are here to stay.

Regular optimization of your WordPress website should be a key aspect of your business development strategy. It’s something that can easily be forgotten but it’s important to regularly do it. We’re all about proactive, preventative WordPress Support, and help many business owners to provide the best web experience to their customers.

Take a look at our monthly plans to see how we can improve your customer journey and keep your business moving forward.