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5 Website Fails and How to Avoid Them

5 WordPress Website Tasks You Cannot Fail At

Not only do I monitor a lot of websites, but I also enjoy reviewing and keeping up with what works and what doesn't from as many different angles as possible. In addition, of course, included in the technology end of the deal, such as servers, hosting, and code.

Then throw in a little SEO, writing skills (aff), design, and layout, and I have a pretty rounded view of what makes a good website. And what is required for website proprietors to “work it.”

This allows me to spot trends that are not based on assumptions but that I see in action. Today I'm going to cover the 5 fails that I observe on a pretty regular basis. While you can avoid each of these fails, that can only happen with ongoing effort. And therein lies the rub.

If you read any of my posts, you know I am a hard-core-reality-girl about what is required to enjoy any level of online success. While some tools, software, and platforms can make things easier, without the right effort in the right areas — it is fantasy to think results will happen anyway.

They won't. That's not being hard-core, it is the reality, and I'm just the messenger. While I understand that technology can be overwhelming and even sometimes downright frustrating as heck, it is what it is. I can't change that, nor can you.

If website proprietors embrace these 5 fails and abandon resisting doing what is necessary, they will most likely be thrilled with the results.

How does your website rate with these fails?

1. Tracking keywords we are not ranking for.

Search engine rankings will not happen by osmosis. If we aren't ranking, there are reasons why.

Primarily, none of your website pages are viewed as being “the best” for those terms. Add to that, site speed, site authority, site trust, combined with the value of your content, are the primary areas where folks fall short.

Brochureware is nowhere. Brochureware is a website with a handful of pages. Home, About, Contact, Services, and maybe a Blog. And if there is a blog, it isn't being used properly, rarely posted to, and is sorely outdated.

You need content — lots of quality, useful, unique content for your website to rank and for visitors to be impressed that you are what/who you say you are. Prove it.

But content isn't just for rankings. What most site owners fail to realize is your blog is your venue to show your expertise. To show you know your stuff and can be trusted. And for site visitors to get to know you.

HOW TO AVOID THIS FAIL:

  1. To Get Found Put on Your Customer SEO Hat: What they search for may not be terms you are using or tracking
  2. My 5 Favorite Free Keyword Research Tools: Research the keyphrases (aff) you want to be found for then…
  3. Integrate target keyphrases properly within your content.

2. Site performance is subpar.

Google's new core “page experience update” has started to roll out slowly. If you don't meet the stated performance metrics, you won't rank. But even the zippiest sie won't rank without quality original content.

If everything is equal (and rarely is), the zippier site with the higher quality content will rank above the others. Here's a great article based on Google's Advice on Improving Your Site's Ranking. This article pretty much reiterates what I've been writing about for years.

HOW TO AVOID THIS FAIL:

  1. Run your site through GTMetrix.com to see what needs to be addressed, then address those variables.
  2. WordPress How To: Website Image Tips: One of the top reasons for degraded performance is images.

3. Look and feel of your site isn't polished.

Most sites are a reflection of the site owner's vision. I understand that — it is your site. Some who are more hands-on start adding and modifying their sites without considering layout, visuals, and the overall impression your tweaks will make.

Unfortunately, in most cases, these changes make the site look more home-brewed. By that, I mean the overall impression loses some of its polish and professionalism.

You also want to review your site from the potential customer's point of view. What would a customer want to see? Do we prioritize that information on our home page, header and footer menus, about page? Is our F.A.Q. up to date?

Does our About page instill confidence and allow visitors to know who you are and why you do what you do? Does it sound like some corporation wrote your about page? Or worse, only a sentence or two of marketing speak that could apply to any website out there.

HOW TO AVOID THIS FAIL:

  1. How does your theme layout and look compared to the theme's original demo? Demos reflect images in the correct sizes and layouts that ensure a professional impression. Be honest — do your modification do the same?
  2. Mark your calendar to do a site review every quarter. Customize to prioritize visitor inquiries and make sure your core pages (About, Policies, FAQ) is updated.
  3. Technology changes at a rapid pace. It would be best if you kept up. Plan on implementing a new look every 12-18 months, so you don't appear to be dated.

Have you checked and repaired your broken links lately? All sites have them from time to time. The longer you don't address broken links, the more there are to address.

Links that do not land where expectations are set are a huge user experience fail. Off-site links change and go offline all the time when you delete a page or post. This causes a 404 Page Not Found error.

HOW TO AVOID THIS FAIL:

  1. Add a reminder to your calendar to do a link check once a month. It's easy enough to keep on top of broken links.
  2. When you deleted a page or post, redirect that permalink to the most relevant page or still active post.

5. Security not a priority.

Hacking is at an all-time high. You hear about “ransom” hacks in the news almost every day. While your WordPress website may be small potatoes for these types of hacks, keeping your site secure avoids nefarious entities from using your site resources and possibly ruining your reputation and rankings along with it.

Don't update your plugins, theme and keep WordPress current, and you are asking for trouble. Instead, do a thorough backup first, then update when notified.

Daily security checks, and backups, are essential so when this does happen to your website, you know immediately and can have a pain-free recovery. You may think those “hosting backups” are sufficient. In my experience, they are not.

Some hosts now charge for daily backups. Others don't offer them at all. Check your web host's backup schedule and make sure it meets your needs. But what if those backups get compromised or deleted? You are S.O.L.

HOW TO AVOID THIS FAIL:

  1. Arrange for regular backups off-server. A great plugin that can do this for you and back up to your off-server storage account is UpDraftPlus. Depending on how often you add content to your site, you want to time those backups to cover your updates. For example, if you post daily, you want daily backups. This way, if your website or hosting provider is compromised, and believe me, it does happen, you have your off-site backup ready to be used to restore your compromised site files.
  2. Update your plugins, themes, and WordPress when required. Don't wait; don't put it off. When a plugin, theme, or WordPress updates, you update.

5 Things that Add Up

There are so many variables that add up to a great website that converts and meets your goals. These 5 issues, however, without concentrating on and owning them, no matter what else you do, won't matter.

At your service,

Judith: WordPress Consultant and Business Coach