Don’t Let your Website Drive away Traffic

I’m making SEO (Search Engine Optimization) changes to the Bedient website. These are minor adjustments, like adding alt tags to photos and entering meta data. Monkey work aside, I’m noticing things on other websites. Here’s a short list.

Data Mining too Soon

I have encountered websites (usually for a small company launched on WordPress) with screens asking for my e-mail information before I see any content. I leave these right away. On a subtle level, it tells me they only care about what I can do for them and that is probably reflected in their service. On a more practical level, those pop-ups might prevent me from getting to their content. This seems to happen most often to me on Twitter. I rarely check Twitter on anything but my phone (iPhone 5). My phone does not allow me to change the size of these pop-up screens. I have gone so far as to contact the companies and explain the problem. One changed their website in response, one did not. The latter lost my business immediately.

Incompatibility Across Platforms

We could have avoided the situation above simply by looking at the website on different devices. If you post links to your site in social media, your site needs to be compatible with mobile devices. If you are a small business owner, throw a party where friends bring their mobile devices (phones and tablets). Make a game out of finding the bug in your website. You can even give a small gift to the people with the hardest devices to interface. Take notes and make changes. Check the site for useability on Mac, Windows, and Linux (if you have a tech site). Check it in Safari, Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox, and even Opera. You will lose your audience if people cannot access content, or your forms don’t work. Treat your website like a resource for your clients. Flashy scripts are only cool if they don’t interfere with your web traffic.

Regular Maintenance

If you publish prices on your site, update them when they change. Make sure your links still work. If you write a blog, keep writing as regularly as you are able. Your website is a resource. Many people (myself included) will check a website before they walk into a store or call a company. If the information is outdated, or the site looks like it was created in 1998, I will assume the service or product is substandard. It doesn’t matter if that’s fair, it’s simply the nature of business. Getting back to SEO, regular maintenance tells search engines that this is a current site. That raises your rating in search results.

Fill in all the Content

A friend sent me a message a while back. She had been looking for leads and stumbled on a website for a marketing company. In the About Us section it read, “Lorem ipsum…” This was a marketing company that hadn’t bothered to replace the default text in at least one of their sections. Unfortunately, that is an advertisement. It clearly states the company doesn’t finish projects and has no eye for detail. The average person doesn’t care about back story. They won’t assume you had a huge client with a looming deadline. They care that you chose not to do something very simple with your own website.

Simple strategies work the best. Beautiful photos and well-written content always win me over. Useful information that I can find in one or two clicks is king. I’ll gladly send you my e-mail address if you offer something I can use. But make it an option at the bottom of your engaging content, don’t make my data the price of admission.

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