In today’s market, the need for a solid, efficient business website is more important than ever. In the cut-throat, international field of ecommerce very small changes to one’s website can have profound effects. Many businesses understand the need for an effective online presence and website, but few are sure what this necessarily entails. At Fringe Digital Marketing Agency, we run into a lot of websites that started off with the greatest intentions, but failed in the execution. There are numerous ways that businesses can unknowingly turn off potential customers and destroy their potential for online revenue. Here are five of the most common ways businesses can sabotage their websites:
1. Improper or non-existent Meta tags – We talk about this one a lot simply because it is so important, and it is very simple to fix. Try this: navigate to your business’ homepage and right-click anywhere on the page. Once you right-click, select “view page source” from the options. This will pull up the code for your website. Within this code there should be something that looks like this:Business Website Home. This is the title tag for your website.
A good website title tag will have the name of the business as well as an important keyword relating to that business (i.e. Health Stop | Natural Health Supplements). This is very important because Google will assess your title tag first when deciding whether or not your site is relevant to a particular search query.
If your title tag has the keyword that someone typed in their query (i.e. Natural Health Supplements), then not only will Google rank your site higher, but they will put the keyword in bold which will help it to stand out and attract more traffic. Just having your business name (i.e. Health Stop) is often irrelevant to search results, and you will lose traffic because of it.
There is also a section in your code called the Meta description. This should say meta name and description within the code. Though Google does not use this description to raise your search rankings, this section is still very important as it is the next thing people see on a search results page below your site’s title. Having a weak or non-existent Meta description will limit the amount of helpful information that you can disseminate to potential customers.
If your title tag was just “Health Stop” and you had no Meta description, then it becomes very difficult to tell exactly what product or service your site is offering.
2. Using a Flash Site – This is something that thankfully has died down in recent years, but we still run into it occasionally. The use of flash can be appealing to some people. You can include fancy animations and moving vector graphics within your pages for a full-on interactive experience, so what could possibly be wrong?
Well, for starters, sites built with Adobe Flash are pretty much useless in Google’s eyes. Within a flash site, there is no HTML code that Google and other search engines can easily scan through to decide on search rank and relevance, so the chance of getting to the top of Google search with a flash page is almost impossible.
Don’t be lured by all the fancy bells and whistles, stick to a functional, efficient website that Google can easily scan and find what it’s looking for. Trying to raise your search ranking and attract more online traffic is difficult enough without you adding in unnecessary roadblocks.
Not to mention that many people don’t even have the required plugins to allow flash sites to play, so you would be missing out on a portion of potential clients even if they somehow managed to find your flashy site. Which brings me to…
3. DO NOT USE AUTOPLAY FOR VIDEOS OR MUSIC ON YOUR SITE! – This is by far the most common and most annoying mistake that new websites make. Many website owners have this vision of a potential customer coming to their site and suddenly, out of nowhere the perfect song starts playing, and the visitor is automatically enthralled and forced to purchase by some deep seeded, rhythmic force.
Unfortunately, this is not the case. Auto play videos and music almost always, no I take that back, ALWAYS become a nuisance and distraction to at least a portion if not all of your viewers. You may think you have the greatest taste in music ever and people would be lucky to hear your selections, but that is simply not the case.
Give people the option to play your music or watch your videos, but do not force visitors to do anything. Many people search for sites at work and do not want your booming techno pop mix to alert everyone in their office that they have strayed from their daily tasks. Also, many people listen to music while searching the Internet and do not want a mash up of melodies every time they visit your site.
Do yourself a favor and turn your auto play OFF. Offering the option there is great; forcing the option is rude.
4. Allowing Malicious Links to Your Site – If your site is popular enough, it will attract many shady links. These links can lessen the reputability of your site and damage your site’s overall search ranking.
There are many tools online that allow sites to check every link that is associated with their site. If you spot any malicious links to your site, Google has come out with a Disavow Tool to break all associations with these links.
I wrote a long post on the disavow tool on Fringe Digital Marketing’s Blog. Read through it to answer any questions you may have on malicious links.
5. Using Duplicate Content – We see this happen all the time. Companies will write some content (blog post, article etc.), and they will be so excited about this content that they decide not only to post it on their site, but on their friend’s site, and the local news site. Keep in mind, they are not using a link to the main article on their site, there are completely uploading the article to each site as if it was the first time this material was posted.
When this happens, Google gets confused as to which site was the creator of this content, and consequently Google does not apply it to anyone’s search rank or authority. We also see this happen when companies create a new website. Many companies when they create a new website will just cut and paste the content from their old site onto their new site without thinking twice, but this creates the same confusion with Google and can be detrimental to that business’s ranking.
Make sure any content you post on the Internet is original. Once you create this content, decide on the best single outlet for the content and post it there. Then link to it on any other site that you market to. This will help Google see that you were the one who created the content, and it will gain you many backlinks to your site which Google also looks favorably upon.
With the competition in today’s marketplace, it is vital for businesses to use every best practice they can when creating their websites. These five factors can be the difference between a visitor becoming a customer, and a visitor angrily leaving your site, never to return. Always shoot for the former.
Do you have any other tips or tricks for effective Website implementation? If so, please list them below. Fringe Digital Marketing Agency is always looking for new ideas.