Sounds cliche? :) But what does being online truly mean?
- Is it sufficient to build a website that has a great look with all information about your business and then sit and wait for clients to find us?
- Do we need to do marketing of our products and services as well?
- Do we go further and do some marketing of our website, to market our product and services?
All sounds like a vicious cycle?
This need not be the case. A website should and will work as one of the best marketing tools for most if not any businesses today, provided, that it is healthy and well structured.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
The key element in ensuring that your website has the maximum number of visitors per day is search engine optimization. Most website designers and developers resort to the basic search engine optimization techniques that are predominantly recommended across the web like meta tags, videos, social networking, etc. Although, these techniques have proven to be useful and have boosted up website traffic they can also backfire and become detrimental.
In the process of using all these recommended techniques for generating traffic, one of the common mistakes that web developers and businesses make is that they introduce all kinds of errors and issues into the website that impact the website performance in terms of speed and its ability to rank well to generate traffic. Sometimes these techniques can even block search engines from indexing them.
Typical website errors/issues :
- A website changes to wordpress or updates to a newer version where when moving information from staging to live, we fail to remove privacy and the robots.txt is configured to block indexing.
- Introducing links into a page and then later changing the URL of the linked page for better SEO, leading to broken internal links.
- Performance issues due to heavy images, videos that are not optimized.
- 404 or connection timeout errors as we failed to redirect URLs during domain change, etc.
- Canonical links – again failing to redirect.
A website that is error free and has better load speed and performance with the right amount of content, images, meta data and social networking, would by far rank and generate better traffic on search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing in comparison to websites that have a large amount of content, meta data and social networking with a large number of errors and issues behind it.
What do you need to find out in your website health check?
Some of the information that needs to be collected in order to diagnose a website include:
- Broken Links
- Canonical Links
- Connection timeouts
- Warnings on meta tags, page length, image optimization
- Meta keywords, descriptions, headings, image alts, etc for page optimization.
- Global Traffic Ranking
- Local Traffic Ranking
- Page Speed Rating
- Back links
- Visits per day
- Average Time on site per visit
- Bounce Rate
- Social media usage
- Configuration with other devices (tablets, mobile, etc)
- Call to action buttons, Opt in forms
There are many tools out there to test your website and evaluate it. While some are free, others (the good ones) can be expensive, especially if website development is not your primary service it becomes an added burden.
One of the biggest challenges I have faced with these tools (and I have worked with many) is that the figures vary between them. Every tool has its own aspect that it is mainly reporting to us, some of it could be showing the traffic frequency differences and the major hot spots in your website, while others are targeting the keywords and pages that need to be optimized to drive traffic and there are tools that report the number of errors and issues and recommend fixing them to improve traffic. Unless you identify the right way to use and interpret the information provided by these tools, optimizing your website can become very challenging.