BY: Derrick Markotter, IdealMedia Marketing
If you’ve had a website for a while, and things don’t seem to be happening as fast as you want, it might be time to take an objective look at the way your site is performing.
This will help you to uncover some of the hidden challenges that may be sabotaging your results and keeping your website hidden from your customers.
There are five key factors which have an impact on your site’s overall performance:
1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO is really just a way to get visitors to your website from the search engines. There are a number of fairly simple technical issues which need to be correctly set up. For example, open your website and look at the way it shows up in the tab above the browser window. Is it like this?
What you’re seeing there is perhaps the most important search engine ranking factor – the Page Title. The search engines use it to get an idea of what the page is about. If all it says is “Home”, it’s basically being wasted.
The Title should accurately describe the contents of the page, and it should generally be between 30 and 65 characters long. Anything much longer will be truncated when it appears in the search engine results.
Wosa.co.za could at least use “Wines Of South Africa” as their title tag. My recommendation would be to use the primary keyword for the page, something like this: “Wine Education | Wines of South Africa”.
That’s one SEO factor out of more than 200 – but it’s one of the most important ones.
It’s a fact of life that more people will see your website on a mobile device than on a desktop computer. So it makes sense to make sure that your site is designed to look good on mobile devices.
Usability is all about making your site “User Friendly”. There are certain conventions that good web design takes advantage of – menus at the top of the page, underlined links, standard icons. Changing these without good reason makes your visitors frustrated.
People these days are in a hurry. It’s vital that you monitor the page load speed of your site, and do whatever is necessary to get it as fast as possible.
QUOTE: “How fast your website loads is critical but often a completely ignored element in any online business and that includes search marketing and search engine optimisation. And that includes page load times on mobile devices: The average time it takes to fully load a mobile landing page is 22 seconds, according to a new analysis. Yet 53% of visits are abandoned if a mobile site takes longer than three seconds to load. That’s a big problem.” Google
Factors which affect your load speed include unoptimized images, inexpensive shared hosting, incorrect browser cache settings and whether GZIP compression is used or not.
Many small and medium-sized businesses are using social networks like Facebook to build an audience of people who are interested in what they’re doing. But many other businesses have all but given up on social media.
Like it or loathe it, a strong social media presence is something you need to have – particularly if your competitors are using it effectively. Fortunately, it’s not that expensive to create a thriving network on the more prominent social media platforms. And once you have a following of a few thousand fans, you can advertise directly to them. Not the scatter-shot advertising you get from print media or outdoor media – truly targeted advertising to people who’ve already indicated that they like what you’re doing.
With more than 37,000 websites getting hacked every day, website security is something all small business owners need to take very seriously. With the looming POPI Act, and strong moves on web security from major players like Google, it’s vital that your website is set up to deflect hackers and malware.
And security is an on-going issue – you need to make sure that regular backups are made, that the software that runs your site is kept up-to-date, and that your site hasn’t been compromised.
If you’d like to find out how well (or how poorly) your website performs in these five critical areas, you can get a free audit from our website audit tool, which you’ll find here: https://idealmedia.co.za/audit