5 Things Every Website Should Do… But Most Don’t

1 – Load Quickly

When did you last check the speed of your website? According to Google’s guide for webmasters, a good ecommerce website should load fully in under 2 seconds – much longer than that and users become impatient, and you risk them leaving your site before they’ve even seen it – This particularly important for websites that have lots of mobile visitors. If you’re not happy with the loading speed of your website, there are lots of things you can do to improve it. These are just a few ideas to get you started:

  • Check your hosting – ensure your host offers a good speed and space for your needs
  • Optimise images – reduce the file size of your images without losing quality using a compression plugin
  • Reduce your redirects – make sure your site automatically loads the correct version of every page without redirecting or broken links
  • Prioritise content ‘above the fold’ – the part of the page that the user sees first without scrolling should load quickly and be engaging and compelling. Ensure your website code loads this content first before sidebars, menus and non-essential images.

Google make it easy to check your websites load speed using Googles own speed test tool – Simply add your URL and Google will tell you how well your website loads and highlights issues that need to be corrected https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/

2 – Have Unique Meta Data For Every Page

Meta data is used to describe what each page on your website contains, helping search engines decide whether the page is relevant enough to be displayed for particular search results. Your page title and page description meta tags are also what will show to users in their search results, and therefore have an influence on whether or not a user decides to click through and view your website – Here is an example of good meta data.

When writing your meta tags, you should make sure they are unique, optimised for keywords, and that your title and description read well, highlighting your key selling points and including a call to action for the user.

3 – Provide Clear User Instruction

Take a look at your site from the point of view of someone who has never seen it before, doesn’t know your business, and possibly is unfamiliar or inexperienced with browsing online. What’s obvious to you may not be so clear to somebody else!

Is it easy for your website visitors to find the information they need, place an order or navigate around your site? A website that doesn’t offer a good user experience will not convert well.

If you’re not sure whether the user experience on your site is good or not, you could conduct some tests or surveys with volunteers, and take action based on the results you get.

4 – Have HTML and XML Sitemaps

A sitemap is basically a list of all the pages on your website. An HTML sitemap is for human site users, while an XML sitemap is for search engines. It’s important to include both types in your website, as they can ensure that search engines index all pages and content on your site, even those that are buried deep within. A sitemap minimises the number of clicks it takes to go from one page to another, and helps people who are looking for something specific to find the content they need.

Here is an example of a good HTML sitemap, it clearly shows all of the links in the website http://www.apple.com/uk/sitemap/

If you don’t currently have a sitemap, it’s very easy to create either manually or using an automatic generator; doing so will definitely have an impact on your rankings.

5 – Earn New External Links

Linking out to other websites encourages participation and contribution, and promotes engagement with your site. Providing the sites you link to are of good quality and are relevant for your users, you can turn your website into a valuable resource, and you may find you get other sites linking back to you in return. Outgoing links can also have a positive impact on your SEO – search engines have algorithms that consider the authority of the sites your site is associated with, and can boost your rankings accordingly.

Warning! – There are lots of websites like Fiverr & People Per Hour offering cheap links. These links are seldom worth having and deliver very little SEO value – Avoid them!

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