Having a successful online presence requires a whole lot of moving parts to be working together in harmony. SEO, Social Media, Paid Advertising and Email Marketing to name but a few.
But at the center of it all sits your website. If you get that bit wrong then it’s going to take a lot of effort to get the results you want.
So the question you need to ask yourself is whether your website is up to it or is it asleep on the job?
So here are five of the most common website mistakes. Do you recognize any of them?
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1. Not Mobile Friendly
We’re past the point where mobile Internet use has overtaken desktop and laptop browsing. The direction of travel is clear mobile is the future.
Despite this, many businesses still don’t have a mobile-friendly website. But if the numbers don’t help you make your mind up then you need to consider that Google has clearly stated that mobile friendliness is one of its search ranking factors. Google knows that the future belongs to mobile so it’s worth taking note.
And this doesn’t just apply to big brands and media savvy businesses. If you’re a local business then the chances are that your clients are searching for local services via their mobile devices whether that’s mobile phones or tablets. So what can you do? The first thing is to check if your website is mobile friendly. If it isn’t then you have a few options open to you.
The best long term option is to switch to Responsive Website Design (RWD). RWD is a way of allowing one web design to be compatible with any type of browser screen, whether it be a desktop, laptop, mobile phone or tablet. It just responds to the type of screen and presents it accordingly.
If a complete redesign is out of the question then maybe you should consider getting a ready made Responsive WordPress Theme (if you are using WordPress as a Content Management System). This is a lower cost option as it shouldn’t be too difficult or expensive to find a WordPress designer who can help you.
The final option is to use a Mobile Website Builder and create a basic, side by side version of your website. The results will be basic but at least it puts a tick in the mobile friendly box.
2. Thin Content
Recent research has shown that best in breed websites had over twice as much content (104 pages vs. 48 pages) as their ‘average’ lower ranking competitors.
One way that any business can increase the number of pages that they have is by expanding their services pages. Let me explain what I mean. Most businesses will have a services page that lists the services they provide. The problem is that they are spreading themselves too thinly for both the search engines and for prospective clients.
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If you’re a plumber and you offer an emergency call out, bathroom installation and central heating installation then create a page for each one. Don’t hide these services on a generic "Services" page. That way you are not only spreading your search net wider by giving Google keyword specific content, you’re also directing visitors to a page that provides them with exactly what they are searching for.
Start by creating a list of the services you offer and make sure you have a page for every service. But don’t just think you need to create some extra pages and add a few lines of content in there. For each page add between 500 to 1,000 words of content. If that sounds like a lot then just run through any Frequently Asked Questions on that service. You’ve probably got most of this content written down somewhere on your hard drive or in your outbox.
Or just mentally run through a typical sales call with a prospective client. It’s all there you just need to get it out there on your services pages.
3. Poorly Optimized Pages
Another point that stands out in the above B2B research was that the top ranking websites had better-optimized pages. Just the basic stuff like including a Page Title that included both the industry and the location (e.g. Printer Birmingham). The best websites used the industry and location on average 61 percent of the time whereas low-ranking websites used them in 21 percent of cases.
The main things you need to pay attention to on every single page of your website are to include keywords in the Page Title Element and the Headings especially the H1 Headings.
If you’re adding extra pages (see above) then also consider giving them keyword rich URLs. For example, if you are a printer in Birmingham then call your pages something like www.yourbusinessname/printer-birmingham
Also, pay attention to internal linking and make sure you link between the different pages of your website from the text on each page. Use keywords as the anchor text that links your pages together.
4. Slow Load Speed
Website Load speed is a basic measure of how fast a website loads. It is important for three main reasons. Firstly, users just prefer faster websites. It’s as simple as that. Whilst there is evidence that a short delay can result in lost sales, this probably relates more to huge E-commerce businesses than it does to smaller businesses.
But the second reason definitely relates to smaller businesses and that’s because of mobile users. As we mentioned in point one above, mobile browsing has overtaken desktop and mobile browsing and that trend will only increase. If your website is slow on a desktop then it’s going to be excruciating for mobile visitors.
Finally, Google includes load speed as one of its ranking factors. Having a faster website will give you a slight advantage over slower competitors. You can measure your website’s load speed and if it’s found wanting then there are a number of options for you. Of course, there are dozens of factors that affect website load speed and many of them involve optimizing the code of the site to make it more efficient. This would involve a skilled developer and will cost time and money to get some returns.
Most smaller businesses can’t justify that level of investment so if that includes you then there is a cheaper and quicker way to turbocharge your website and that is to switch to SSD Hosting. SSD hosting uses Solid State Drives (SSD) which are hundreds of times faster than traditional spinning disks like 7.2K SATA or 10K SAS Drives.
5. No Content Strategy
Do you have a blog? If so, how often do you create content? And are you promoting your content? Even if your answer to question one is ‘yes’, the chances are the answers to questions two and three will be ‘not very often’ and ‘no’. But having a content strategy is a really smart move on your part. It’s going to take time to invest in creating and promoting your content but it will pay off handsomely long into the future.
Why? Simply because all of the available evidence shows that businesses that consistently create content on an ongoing basis will outrank their competitors. If you’re scratching your head in terms of exactly what is content marketing then initially just focus on your blog. Think of you blog as being the center of your content universe and around it everything else gravitates Link Building, Social Media, Lead Generation and even paid search.
First up, consider who your audience is. If you’re a local B2B supplier say a printer or an accountant then your audiences are local businesses. If you’re a local restaurant then you have a consumer audience. Now you need to think about your blog’s message. For the accountant that could be to help business owners understand the financial and tax implications of running a business.
For a restaurant, it will be to help people understand and appreciate fine food and wine. Don’t sweat too much on getting this all right straight off the bat. The important point is to get started - you can always change direction once you see what works.
You’ll need to commit to a publishing schedule. If you can do one post a week then that’s fine. Just stick to it. Try to aim for 500 words minimum, if you can do 1,000 words then even better. Can you include other media like video? If so, even better. Use YouTube and embed your videos in your blog posts and transcribe the text. No need for really long videos a few minutes is fine.
If you’re in a boring industry then you just need to think around the subject. What are your audience and potential clients trying to achieve by using our services? Think about their issues and provide answers for them. Also, use successful and proven content frameworks. Things like Definitive Guides, How To Guides, Cheatsheets, List Based Content, Expert Roundups, Buyer’s Guides, Local "What’s On" Guides, Product Comparisons, Infographics and Case Studies.
Be absolutely sure to optimize all of your blog content so that you get maximum SEO benefit from them. That means keywords, meta tags, headings, URLs and internal linking to other content on your blog for starters. Also use your favorite social media tools to promote your content and ideally keep promoting it long after the publish date. Remember that content has a long afterlife.
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Don’t leave your online marketing to chance. Take control of your website so that it works for your business, not against it. Having a fast, mobile-friendly website is the basic price of entry these days. Your content is also crucial. Start with some easy wins like expanding your service pages and then you can look at developing a long-term content strategy for your business.
And remember that any content you create must always be optimized. So do you recognize any of these mistakes? Are you using Content Marketing? Let us know what’s working for you in the comments.