Your business website is an extension of your sales team. It should capture leads, convert traffic and provide the information that the user is looking for. Here are the first 9 website mistakes you may be making and what you need to do to fix them:
No Mobile Responsive Design: Website Mistake #1
If your site does not already adjust to any device that the user may visit your site on, then you are missing an opportunity to provide a great user experience! Mobile websites are ideal because they give the web master control over where each element on the page is placed and structured when presented to the user. The problem with mobile websites are that the business would need to assign a page style or page layout for each device that is out there. With so many possibilities of screen sizes on mobile devices, tablets and smart phones, unless you have an expert programmer on staff, mobile websites can become a headache to create and manage.
A wonderful alternative to mobile website designs are responsive website designs. Responsive websites will automatically adjust to the screen size on the device that the user is on when they visit your site. If your website is not already responsive you may be losing leads everyday.
Site Title & Sub Title: Website Mistake #2
If your website was built on WordPress then you can review and adjust your site title to include your best set of keywords. To do this log into your WP Dashboard and under the “Appearance” drop down menu select “Customize.” There is a limit to the characters that you will want to use. According to SEO Moz, if your character count on your site title remains under 55, then your site title will likely display w/o any unexpected edits. Search Engine bots cannot see what the site does, so they depend heavily on the words used throughout the website and copy, that starts with your website title… It’s the first thing the bots read!
Since your business really wants to get found by people that are searching on Google, Yahoo and Bing, it is wise to review what your site title is and if it needs to be adjusted. Just a hint… Welcome to my WordPress site or Just another WordPress site is not a good website title for your business, neither is your business name.
Think in terms of your best selling products and services.
Page Title Tags: Website Mistake #3
Your Page Title tells the search engines what the page or post is all about.
Much like the site title, your page or post title should include the keywords that you are optimizing the page for. Don’t shoot yourself in the foot! Be sure and try to keep it under 55 characters and do your keyword research. For local geo targeted businesses, each page title should include the city name that they are optimizing for in the keyword phrase that you choose. To see what your page title or site title is, simply open that page in a new window or tab and hover the mouse over the tab.
Your Site Has A Slider on the Home Page: Website Mistake #4
Everyone in the world loves to look at a very beautiful and dynamic website designs. Sliders came into the web design world to make that possible. But, after several years of testing, research has shown that sliders actually hurt the second level CTR (click through rate) from the home page on virtually any website in just about any niche.
Many websites have wonderful looking sliders on the home page, most often these are just images, without a call-to-action. Sliders may look great but they may be doing your website a disservice. They can also slow down the loading speed of your website, something that’s kind of critical for mobile users when visiting your site. Of course, if you’re not concerned about visitors on their smart phones, then this is a non-issue.
Your Page Url’s Are Not Keyword Rich: Website Mistake #5
Each website page or post is given a url extension or what is described in WordPress as a “Permalink.” Your site url’s should include your keywords or keyword phrases. If you are using WordPress, your page or post titles will automatically become your permalink. For those that are not familiar with what a permalink is, the permalink will be the text found after the .com/your-perma-link-here. If you have a site created by a programmer or you have build your site using HTML via software like Adobe Dreamweaver, you will need to plan what these permalinks will become by naming the files properly before you upload them into the server.
Web Design Tip: Remove the slug words from the permalink using WordPress with the SEO Yoast Plugin
Slug words are connector words that have no weight or bearing with the search engines. Words like:
Web Page Headings – Website Mistake #6
Web page headings or header tags (h1 – h6) help the search engines determine how relevant the content on your page is when ranking for the desired keyword phrase. This is one of the many things that so many websites overlook. Too often web masters use the heading tags to break up the article in sections, so that it is easy to read and in a format the user can digest. Somehow it seems many overlook the fact that they did not use their keyword terms throughout the heading tags.
When using WordPress your heading tags can be set by highlighting the text and selecting one of the attributes from the drop down menu in the back end “kitchen sink” menu. If you are coding your website using HTML then your heading tags can be set by surrounding the text that you want to use as a heading with these simple lines of code:
<h1>Your Heading Placement</h1>
Your H1 or Heading 1 carries the most weight on the page. As you work your way down the page you may continue to use the remaining heading tags h2, h3, h4, h5, and h6. Your Heading 6 tag carries the least amount of weight in the bunch.
Your Site Is Not Optimized for Speed: Website Mistake #7
Image sizes and the load-bearing from the content sourced on your site will heavily affect the website load time and site speed. Each image can be optimized for the web using Photoshop’s “Save for Web & Devices” feature. This function is found under the “file” tab when you have an image opened inside Adobe Photoshop.
Your Site Images Are Not Optimized Properly: Website Mistake #8
Here is a big issue that I see quite often…
If you are like most businesses then you probably buy stock images from sites like: iStock, ThinkStock, Getty Images, DepositPhotos, Dreamstime, etc.
There is nothing wrong with buying photographs from these websites.
The two problems that I see most often are:
- You did not optimize the image file name with your keywords
- You left the meta data that the photo seller used in the image
The meta data or meta description used inside your photographs was put there by the stock image seller, so that the image will be found when searching for the type of picture on the stock photo sites.
We have all at one time or another went over to a photo bank and purchased an image. When we began searching for the image, like: business person smiling or family at the beach, the reason that those sites know which images have the content that we are looking for is because the person selling the images has loaded the photo’s meta description with terms that best describe the image.
By not changing those meta descriptions in the photo meta data before you publish them on your own website, essentially you are shooting your site down in the rankings. Google, Yahoo & Bing robots will read the meta data that was written to optimize the image to get found on the stock sites and assume that these are the types of keywords that the post or page publishing the image was actually about.
Not ideal if you are an attorney and your file name of the image on your home page reads: iStock_0918263. Also not ideal if the image meta data keywords, author title and description read, smiling family, happy life, beach photography, etc.
Always be sure to take the time to replace the meta data of an image before loading it onto your site and rename the file with your keywords.
You Don’t Use SEO Yoast: Website Mistake #9
Big sites or small personal sites should always be using SEO Yoast as the SEO plugin for their site. If you are not using SEO Yoast because you either didn’t know about it or do not have a WordPress website, then your site is at a huge disadvantage to your business and you should consider hiring a web design company like The Sherwood Group to redesign your website with a Custom WordPress website.
SEO Yoast Plugin allows you to suggest to the search engines what you would like your link title and your meta description to be when it is indexed by Google, Yahoo & Bing.
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This article is published by Will Sherwood | The Sherwood Group |Website Design | Graphic Design | Marketing Communications: The Sherwood Group has over 30 years of experience working with all sorts of companies, small and large. Our clients range from entrepreneurs to Fortune 500 firms, in nearly every business sector, from across the street to around the world (and yes, even Europe, China, and South America). Our goal is to create advertising, graphic design, website design, and marketing communication that still looks fresh and relevant 10-15 years later. Our mission is to stir your imagination and leave your competition shaken and wondering, Now what do we do?” We are located in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
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