I’ve just been doing some work for a client who wanted a little web consultancy to help tidy up their existing website, which is hosted on one of the site builder applications that are advertised heavily in magazines and on some TV channels. These are provided by website hosts and try to provide a simple, templated solution for small businesses to create their own website at a low monthly cost – “no web developer required”.
Now, I’m all up for using technology that gives you the most bang for you buck, and I understand that many small businesses can’t afford a costly full custom web design – but please, PLEASE, PLEASE don’t go for one of these site builders!
Using the package we found:
- Practically no attention to any Search Engine Optimisation fields or settings we’d want – the site will struggle to rank well
- It was almost impossible to do things consistently across pages – so the site looks, well, inconsistent
- Poor/very limited design control – the site looks cheap
- An editor that had a mind of its own – slow to add content
- A very slow process to go through to add and edit content – a barrier to building content, a key component of SEO
For not a lot more money you can get a cheap WordPress website put together for you using an off the shelf design tweaked to your brand. That will give you an SEO friendly website that can grow with you as your business grows. Bottom line – I’d highly recommend that you don’t use website builders – because your business is worth more than that! Or maybe that’s just because I’m a professional web developer who cares about Search Engine Optimisation?
Help and advice on SEO in Huntingdon, Cambridge & Peterborough from WebSanity Internet Marketing.
Many people, after first getting into SEO, hare off and rename their key pages (that’s the page web address or URL) to contain better key words.
For example, renaming
Some words of advice:
- Perform some keyword research first to determine the most popular keyword you want to target
- Separate works with hyphens
- Drop ‘stopwords’ that Google tends to ignore,
drop the ‘in’
- Keep things calm,
might be identified as a spammy url by Google. Keep limited to three hyphens, two if possible
- Add a structure if it is appropriate,
- Keep levels under control – anything beyond 4 levels will be looked upon dimly by Google (if at all)
- Make sure you redirect the old name to the new name otherwise you’re doing more harm than good! A half decent CMS should do this for you, but a BIG word of warning here for WordPress users. WordPress does this redirect for you but using ‘temporary redirect’ codes which don’t pass the credibility of the old url onto the new url. Use a free plugin such as ‘Redirection‘ (just install it and do no more) to handle this properly for you.
In conclusion, renaming pages is often a starting point in SEO, just make sure that you take the above into account before you set off to avoid doing more harm than good!
Trying to improve the conversion rate of your website (the number of people who contact you about a service, or who buy from you online) is an often forgotten part of marketing your business online. You might have put a lot of effort into getting people to your website for phrases such as web design in Huntingdon (just pulling a random example out of the air!) but unless you focus on Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) then your website Search Engine Optimisation efforts might be wasted to some extent.
There are all sorts of things you can do to improve the customer experience just by looking at your website, especially if you can get an independent website review, but sometimes there’s nothing like a rigorous experiment.
In the old days there was a horribly complicated, but effective tool from Google to help you compare the performance of two versions of the same web page, but now – if you’re lucky enough to have a WordPress website – you can get free plugins to do this in a much simpler fashion. These show two different versions of the content on a page in sequence to different visitors and then let you compare the results to see which is more effective.
So you might try different coloured buttons, different text etc. and see which is most effective. Over time the differences can really add up. The big guys like Amazon test things like this to the nth degree, after all, a 0.1% difference due to a different button colour in their web design is worth a of money at the volumes of visitors that they get!
For you the more important things are the lessons learned which you can then apply across the rest of your website – just remember to only change one or two things at a time, otherwise you’ll learn far less!
We have recently seen a large increase in the number of website hacking attempts. We have even see one host add an extra level of security to stop the sites it hosts from being attacked on behalf of its users.
Basically what happens is that hackers guess the admin login page for your website (it’s probably www.xyz.com/admin, or for WordPress websites www.xyz.com/wp-admin.)
A lot of developers accept the default login offered by the website system (in the case of WordPress admin).
So, that means that hackers can quite easily guess the login address and the user name, now all they have to do is set off a program that automatically guesses common passwords, such as “password” etc. and very quickly they’ve broken into you site and caused all sorts of chaos. WordPress, by default, conveniently tells the hacker whether the user name or the password is wrong on login (an act of programming madness which we prevent on all our installs). approach This is called a brute force attack.
- Don’t use an obvious user name, and never use admin
- Use a secure password that can’t be guessed or picked out of a dictionary
- If a login fails just say it fails, don’t say which element is wrong (user name or password) [DEVELOPER]
- Consider adding .htaccess protection to admin areas [DEVELOPER]
- Consider adding IP address blocking to admin areas [DEVELOPER]
- Add a security plug-in that detects too many attempts at logging in (and failing) and which then blocks users from that specific location [WordPress]
Hacking attacks are getting more common – take some some of the simple steps above to protect yourself… and always have a third party backup independent of your web host.
Help and advice on SEO in Huntingdon or Peterborough from WebSanity Internet Marketing.