Copyright 2005 John Jantsch
A prospective client asked me to view his web site and give him some advice on how to make site better. Unfortunately, his site was such a mess it became inspiration for this article.
One of primary reasons to have a web site is to attract and educate visitors. However, this obvious concept seems to be lost on many web designers. The way your site is designed, what’s there and what’s not there, including what's in unseen HTML code, can have a great impact on how much traffic your site will generate.
Here’s my list of most common web site design sins and traffic killers. Use this list as you design your own site or show it to your web designer. If your web designer doesn’t understand these points or dismisses them as unimportant. . .move on!
One word of warning, we are going to look under that hood of that shiny web page and see some of what makes it run from search engine view. – This is not always for squeamish.
No title tag or meaningless title tags. – Title tags are part of HTML structure of every web page. Think of them as informal name of page. See for yourself. Go to http://www.ducttapemarketing.com . Look up there at top of browser window and you will see words - Small Business Marketing Ideas and Strategies – that’s title of that page. Now right click your mouse in page and hit “view source or view page source.” When you do this, you are looking at HTML code for this page. Now, see that [title]Small Business Marketing Ideas and Strategies[/title] Every page has got them and they are one of most important aspects of your web site. . .yet most people don’t even use them. NOTE: While you are looking at this source code realize that this is what search engines see. No matter what your page looks like it won’t be found if this code doesn’t help you get found. More on that.
Your title tags can be a great tool for getting you search engine traffic if they are combined with good page content. Notice that my title tag is not Duct Tape Marketing or often used Welcome to My Site. My tag is Small Business Marketing Ideas and Strategies. Now, think about this for a minute. Not too many people search for Duct Tape Marketing and nobody searches for Welcome to My Site, but small business marketing, now that’s another story. Most small business owners waste effectiveness of their title tags with something like: The name of their business or our products. Use title tags and make them part of your site content. Think about what people search for in your industry and name your pages based on that.
Flash Intro pages – Don’t get me started on this one. You know those pages that do all this really cool animated motion graphics and then present you with an entry or splash screen. I’ll admit, these are works of art and I couldn’t design one if I had to, but visit http://www.superclubs.com/home.asp and do that “View Source” trick again and tell me if you think a search engine could tell what that page was about. Remember, search engine spiders can't see pictures or hear sounds!