I have been designing and building websites since 1998, and as the languages, platforms and technicalities change, it’s more important than ever to be sure your site has been built correctly, so it’s working hard to bring in those new customers/clients.
Here are the top 10 mistakes I’ve seen and if any of these are within your site, you know you’ve got some updating to do.
Website Mistakes: Talking Design, Functionality & SEO Performance
Web Mistake #1: Text embedded within an image. If the text on your page isn’t real text, but embedded in an image, the browsers cannot read it. It may look interesting but it isn’t doing anything for you and isn’t seo friendly. The browser will read “alt text” which is an alternate textual name you give the image so if someone cannot see your image for some reason it shows the text in place of it.
Web Mistake #2: Having a site/pages with no title tag, description or keywords. If your page is called “Home” or “Services” as the title of the page, this is the generic title that would match your page link name, but it doesn’t distinguish your company or services at all. This is especially important for websites that are mostly galleries, such as, artists, architects, etc… Usually those types of sites have a lot of imagery in their galleries and are short on text (about/bio page). If not properly tagged, they will most likely never be found.
Web Mistake #3: Not having links to social media on your site. Today more people search on Facebook than Google and with Twitter’s users skyrocketing as well, social media has become a tremendous source for finding companies to follow or colleagues to connect with. I also belong to many groups on LinkedIn and it’s a great way to participate in discussions or post announcements or queries. You can reach thousands of people at once so these social media sites are quite powerful.
Web Mistake #4: Naming pages and images wrong. Whether your site is built manually using html/php/asp or you’re using WordPress or another blogging platform, you must name your pages and images properly if you expect the search engines to read them and show them when searched on the subject. Page titles and images should be as specific as possible with the words separated by underscores or hyphens. NO EMPTY SPACES, PLEASE! For example: use this, Frog_Toad.html or Frog-Toad.html, or Frog-Toad.jpg. DO NOT USE: Frog Toad.html or your page name will become Frog%20Toad.html. (same for images)
Web Mistake #5: Not designing your website, blog, social media and even print materials so they all match! If you want visitors to remember your brand, you must be consistant… if they go from your website to your blog and not only is the blog name something different but the design is also, you’re watering down your business. Make them all match and you will build a strong business and brand look. Try to make your email the same as your website name, to simplify so customers remember.
Web Mistake #6: Send a clear message about helping them! When someone arrives on your site the first thing they want to know is what you’re going to do for them and why you’re the best person to hire, or why they should buy your product. Don’t open the site telling them about why you’re so great, they really don’t care. Make sure it’s directed at the visitor, so they click through to find out more about your products and/or services.
Web Mistake #7: Don’t clutter up your homepage or any page. When someone comes to your site, don’t confuse them with too many different options, different calls to action, too much copy, etc… clean, simple and direct.
Web Mistake #8: Navigation, yes clear, easy navigation! The navigation on your website should work beautifully all the way through, around and back and forth, even using breadcrumbs. If a site is built properly, no one should ever need to use the browser’s back button. You might even put in a sitemap page to help people find exactly what they want easily. Google loves sitemaps! When it comes to e-commerce make sure this is an easy check-out and not confusing, with a thank you page so they know the purchase went through.
Web Mistake #9: Don’t make something look like a link that isn’t. Web users are pretty savvy and get used to way things work. Many times I’ve seen people underline words and a user will automatically think it’s a link, when it isn’t. Try instead jusy bolding the words, or changing the color.
Web Mistake #10: Please check for broken links and cross platform design and peformance. I see this on websites, and also on email blasts. Either a photo isn’t there or wasn’t coded properly, or someone deleted a page and forgot there was a link to that page someplace else. Check your website’s links and pages once a month to be sure everything clicks through, all images are there, and especially look at your site on both mac and pc platforms to be sure it looks right to all!
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