Just as with anything new, having a new website doesn’t mean it will stay new forever – it requires regular TLC, and most importantly, ensuring you are not actually doing damage to it with your digital activity.
Here at Spindogs we’re dedicated to helping our clients not only build their sites, but to continue looking after them. We’ve picked the brains of our specialist teams and put together a list of things that people typically do which may harm their website performance or conversion. Read on to make sure you’re not damaging yours:
NOT UPDATING YOUR CONTENT REGULARLY
Having a dedicated blog section, for instance, loses its gumption if the content on it is not updated frequently – if your latest post is over a month old, this not only makes your entire site seem out of date, but also affects your ranking on search engines, as they are more likely to favour more current content.
REMOVING CONTENT FROM THE SITE OR CHANGING URLS WITHOUT A PLAN IN PLACE
Drastic actions like removing whole pages or sections of your website could do serious harm, especially if they are not properly redirecting to an alternative landing page, as losing large volumes of content inevitably results in a big search ranking drop.
NOT PLANNING THE UX
An essential part of any website development is the user journey. This should be reinforced through all of your content, both in terms of page layout and including relevant calls to action: ideally, the end goal of everything you publish needs to be to ‘continue the user journey’ by making sure that once the user has digested the content on a particular page, their next activity has been signposted/encouraged by a relevant CTA. Not having an effective call to action often means that even though you are getting people to your site, once they’ve consumed the content on a particular page their user journey ends.
Another common pitfall of many websites is that very often they set themselves up to fail – e.g. if you were to include a ‘Sign up to newsletter’ button, you should take care to send out frequent email communications. The same principle goes for promoting your social media channels on your site without actually dedicating time to posting content to them on regular basis.
TINKERING WITH THE SITE STRUCTURE
Unless you have an in-house team of developers, who are familiar with the way your site functions, you should avoid making any drastic changes such as adding miscellaneous plugins (this is a common issue with WordPress sites) or trying to force pages or page templates to perform functions they were not designed to do (e.g. forcing forms or images on pages that don’t have dedicated areas) as this can not only create a poor user experience, but may also cause the site to break.
DAMAGING YOUR SITE’S VISUALS
It’s generally considered good practice to ensure that all your website activity is consistent and fits in with your brand and the original site design. Adding off-brand images, for instance, breaks up the continuity of the website’s appearance, while uploading the incorrectly sized image also impairs the experience visitors get – if the image is too large, it will affect the load speed, and if it’s too small, the poor fuzzy quality can be perceived as lack of attention to detail.
Staying on brand is equally as important for written content – you should try and stick to you brand guidelines in terms of font and messaging – massive fonts, inconsistent colours and adding too much content to pages using ‘what you see is what you get’ (commonly known as WYSIWYG) content editors can have a negative effect on how your site is viewed by users.
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE
If you are using material that you don’t own on your site – such as editing a video using a popular song – make sure that you abide by copyright rules. There isn’t a single sure-fire way to tackle the issue – in some instances it is considered sufficient to include a disclaimer that you don’t own the content, or credit the authors, while other pieces you won’t be allowed to reproduce at all. When in doubt, it is better not to use the content than have your site flagged for piracy and your work or even your site taken down.
AVOID SEO PITFALLS
As well as being familiar with the best SEO practices that help boost the performance of your site in the digital world, there are also a few ‘black hat’ techniques you should steer clear of to make sure your site doesn’t get penalised. Lacking substance in your content, or over-‘stuffing’ your copy with key words you want to be found for are some of the more obvious things to avoid, along with other veiled SEO tricks such as using colours or design to ‘cloak’ words you want your pages to be found for, or purchasing a large number of spammy backlinks to increase ranking.
We find that this SEO periodic table is a very useful point of reference you can consult with when you are putting together an SEO strategy for your website.
If you would like to make use of our expertise to identify whether there are any areas of your site activity that need improvement, you can request your free digital audit from Spindogs today and our team of experts will love to help your website reach its full potential!