7 mistakes that could lose you website traffic

Do you have a website to promote your sales or service business online?

Is it getting enough traffic and generating enquiries?

Most website owners know that if your website doesn't rank highly in the search results then it's not going to get many visitors. The exception may be is that you're paying for advertising to get them there.

Of course advertising with PPC (Pay Per Click) can work out rather expensive and most service businesses tend to rely on their web designer or SEO manager to get good rankings in the natural 'organic' search results. The problem is, many people who rely on their knowledge of SEO are still using outdated techniques such as keyword stuffing and exchanging links with other website owners which can often turn out to have a negative effect.

When a search engine such as Google updates it's algorithms in an effort to improve it's search results, it can often have a dramatic effect on rankings, but we cannot just blame everything on these updates. It's more likely that there are other reasons that your site is not performing well and getting enough traffic because you're a victim of committing some of the following SEO mistakes.

1. Not getting your site optimised for unique keywords

If for example you run a carpet cleaning business and are based in the Greater London area, simply optimising your homepage for the keywords 'carpet cleaning' will be highly unlikely to get your website lots of visitors. The chances of getting your site on the first page for those keywords are extremely remote. Even by some amazing luck your website did show up on the first page it may not be relevant to people who are looking for a carpet cleaning service in Brighton for example. You have a much better chance of reaching potential customers with a more targeted keyword phrase such as 'carpet cleaning service Twickenham' because there will be much less competition.

The fact is... the most basic general keywords don’t fetch enough traffic!

You need to be more location specific. And yet it’s amazing to see just how many local business websites are not optimised for these type of keywords.

2. Not staying up to date with Google updates

It's important to remember that the main aim of Google and other major search engines is to provide quality content in the SERPS (Search Engine Results Pages) Users of a search engine like Google expect to get good search results and if they don't provide a good search experience then those visitors may decide to look elsewhere or change to a different search engine.

Search engines rely on visitors to survive, otherwise they would go out of business.  This inevitably means that Google needs to regularly maintain good search results by continuously assessing websites and ranking the ones with the best and most relevant content on the first and second page. If your website doesn't appear on the first or second page for the most important search term to your business and you have have sparse or poorly written content on your website, or duplicated content from another website, you might get penalized and quickly lose your rankings. It's therefore important that you stay informed of any changes that Google makes to it's algorithms and the way it assesses websites. SearchEngineLand.com is a good website to keep up to date with any changes.

3. Not updating content regularly

Whatever type of website you have, if you don't keep it up to date and add new content regularly, you are missing out on opportunities to build more traffic. Worst case scenario is can also lose traffic and rankings that might have been hard fought to achieve. No matter whether you're operating an e-commerce website, information or service based website,  you should always make sure that new pages, as well as old pages, are correctly optimised to reflect the page content. The more web pages you have, the more opportunity there is to link them and build more traffic.

The inclusion of a blog on your website is extremely useful for building additional content. Google rewards websites that are active and blogs are by their very nature should be regularly updated if used properly. There is no point in having a blog if it doesn't get utilised. It’s surprising how many webmasters add a few posts on their blog and then just forget about it. If you want to let Google know that your website is active, you need to keep adding new and fresh content.

4. Not using social media

To gain website traffic you need to consider all possible ways to get visitors to your website. There are many ways to do this, but taking advantage of social media is one of the most effective. Yes it can be time consuming, or you can outsource this aspect of your business. But social media is becoming increasingly important to businesses, not only to drive traffic, but increase customer engagement.

Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, Google+ are all major sources of traffic, along with many other community orientated websites such as topic related forums and niche blogs relevant to your business. Don't rely on search engines alone. One major update could see your website traffic drop considerably, but you can protect yourself from loss in traffic by building a network of gateways and backlinks from social media. And one of the great things about it is that it's totally free!

5. Not using effective internal linking

Ok, so your home page is the most likely page to get ranked in the search results. But that doesn't mean you can't take advantage of the traffic that you can generate from any other page on your website, as long as it's effectively optimised.

A good way to get additional pages ranked is to create internal links to pages of prime importance and relevance to your business. Getting extra traffic to pages with specific content that people are looking for can give your website a major boost in the search results and at the same time reduce page abandonment. People want to get direct to the source. This also builds trust in your website and company.

Internal linking can help you achieve this. An easy to navigate website is essential to keep visitors on your website and avoid frustration. Add important and relevant internal links to any pages that are already receiving a good deal of traffic so that the new pages will get found quickly. Use external linking too from good quality sites only. The quality of backlinks is now far more important than the quality of backlinks. Poor quality backlinks will have a negative effect on your website, so avoid these or suffer the consequences.

6. Not using effective SEO 

Search Engine Optimisation is a major component of your website. If not done correctly, your website has little or no chance of getting ranked well, or never found at all.

Implementing basic SEO into your website is not that hard. There are numerous articles and videos online that can help you do this. There are also some excellent tools available that can simplify the process and help you understand which parts of SEO are important and will work best for your website. Wordpress users can take advantage of useful plugins that can provide this. Yoast is one of those plugins that have good user reviews and is a good addition to your arsenal in the fight to rise to the top.

I've also used plugins that are even simpler to use than Yoast, with very good results. The most important elements of SEO are correctly formatted title tags, description tags, image tags, plus headline and sub headline tags, as well as a good article which incorporates the main keywords you want your web page to be found for. Articles with at least 300 words will fare the best.

7. Using ranking as a parameter to evaluate success

For most website owners, getting a first page ranking is the ultimate goal.

Yes, first page is a great position to be in if it's for your main keyword focus. But is it getting results?

Even if you are near the top of the search results page, and people are visiting your website but conversion rates are poor, then is your website really doing it's job properly? Ideally, your website will bring you new business, as well as returning customers. This is one of the main reasons you paid to have a website built isn't it? There could be other reasons of course, but getting good conversions should be one of your prime goals if you expect it to bring in new business.

A good way to track how your visitors use your website is by using Google Analytics.

Analyzing user behavior when they arrive on your website can help you identify weak points, such as if the visitor immediately leaves your site, or whether there are poorly converting product pages. This information can be extremely useful in order to help you improve your website and user experience.

 

Own your own domain name

As a website designer I often advise business owners who want a website and a domain name for their business to always register it themself.

Registering a domain name using your own account and being listed as the registered owner and administrative contact is extremely important to ensure that you always have control over your own company domain name.

If, for some reason, you have a website design company or some other person register a domain name on your behalf, it can cause unforeseen problems in the future. If for example, they can no longer be contacted for some reason, whether it's due to poor health, moving away, or going out of business etc., then you could find it very difficult to control what happens to your domain name, especially without some form of proof of ownership. Even then the process of taking control of the domain name can be fraught with difficulties.

Worse case scenario is that if your domain name expires without you realising or being notified, after a short suspension period the domain name could be purchased by someone else before you get a chance to renew it.

For this reason it's always been my advice to register the business domain name yourself. It's also important to set the renewal of your domain name to 'Auto Renew' within the control panel of your registrar to ensure the domain name does not expire without you being aware of it. You can always change the setting if you do decide you no longer want to retain and renew the domain name.

Two of the registration agents I normally recommend are www.lcn.com and www.123-reg.co.uk

Motorhome hire website

This website proved to be a bit different from the normal sites I usually do and required specific plugins to meet certain requirements. It took over 30 hours to complete the site so it took longer than usual to set everything up.

A calendar was included to view dates available and is easily configured by the website owner in the back office.

* Update - As from September 2017 the business was closed, so this website is no longer 'live'

If you operate a motorhome or campervan hire service and you would like to have a company website to promote your business online then why not give us a call, we can quote you a price depending on how many pages you require and advise you on which pages you would need.

Tel: 07789 021420 or call our landline 01423 421143

Motorhome hire website

New website for carpet cleaning company

AG Cleaning, operated by Andy Griffiths decided a new website was required to promote their business online. After Andy called and provided some brief details about the business and the services they offered I asked Andy for some further information and advised him on how to get a domain name and what options he had available to him.

After purchasing and registering the domain name www.carpetcleaninginstevenage.co.uk I quickly arranged to update the nameservers and set up the hosting account. Within 5 days the basic layout and design of the website went 'live' and a few tweaks were made to complete the design work,

I prefer to work quickly and get everything up and running within a week where possible. Once the website is online the client can then let me know if they wish to have any changes made and this is usually carried out while also setting up the necessary SEO required to ensure the search engines understand what the main content of the website is, and what each page is all about.

New web design for Window Cleaning Magazine

The Window Cleaning Magazine website has recently been given a makeover.

The old website which I designed for Lee Burbidge, the founder of Window Cleaning Magazine, was originally set up in 2011 and was starting to show it's age. It was no longer suitable for mobile users accessing the site via mobile phones.

The new site is better organised and easier to navigate and is ready for expansion for any new features that may be introduced in the future.

There were a few complications changing the blog section of the site which was already WordPress based in a sub directory, but this had to be moved over to the root directory, but those problems were overcome with the help of our technical service consultants.

The new site has been designed to make it much easier for Lee (the editor) to add new content himself, such as videos from the WCM YouTube channel, plus any new articles he wishes to place in the articles section. Back issues and new issues of the Window Cleaning Magazine have also been moved to a new page so that visitors can still download the old pdf files or open a selected magazine in page flip format.

* Update - The WCM website has been updated again and the layout design work is now controlled by a different partner. However, the original website during the formation of the magazine and the first 12 issues of the digital magazine were designed by Studio Arts and are still available to download and read from the current Window Cleaning Magazine website