12 Most Common Website Sicknesses
At Oakes Writing, we treat websites like we treat our yard. We take pride in our yard because it is well-landscaped and appealing to the eye. It is like this because we rely on a professional landscaper to maintain and care for each plant.
We believe a website should be a source of pride for a company the same as a yard is a source of pride for a homeowner.
And, just as plants can become sick, a website can develop sicknesses over time. Now that we are entering what can only be termed Web 3.0, many websites remain stuck in versions one and two. This means they are not only dated, but often very ill and in need of TLC.
Why is this a problem?
Many people spend money on advertising to drive traffic to their websites, but if the website is not the best it can be, the impression people get is less than positive. It would be like having a sickly looking yard and telling folks to come check it out. Image matters more today than ever before and a sickly website can send the message that you own a sickly company.
So, what are the most common website sicknesses we come across at Oakes Writing? More importantly, what can you do to have a healthy website?
12 Most Common Website Sicknesses
- Outdated Design - Many business websites were built years ago. In fact, unless a website was built in the last two years, it most likely has an outdated appearance. An outdated website sends the same message as an outdated personal appearance - either you do not care or you are stuck in the past. Either way, the message for prospective customers is not positive.
- Slow Loading Time - Gone are the days of dial-up, so a website should load reasonably fast. If it does not, most people will leave before it finishes loading. If they got there using pay-per-click ads, you have just wasted your money.
- Lack of Quality Content - Content is what drives website traffic via search engines. When a website lacks quality content, the search crawlers will either not index it or index it so low no one will find it. Content consists of written information, images, audio, and video. It must be of high quality to qualify for position in the search results pages known in the industry as SERPs.
- Lack of Images/Original Images - Often, websites either use the same stock photos everyone else is using or fail to include their own original photos. Either way, this is a sickness which is easily overcome.
- Lack of Image Alt Text - Alt Text serves two purposes. It tells visually-impaired readers what is shown and also permits the search crawlers to "see" what is there. Without this feature in place, certain humans and the search engines cannot see what everyone else sees. This hurts search rankings and results.
- Clutter - Some website owners have tried many things over the years to get results, trying this bit of advice, adding something here and there, and generally turning their website into a mess. Think of that old lady down the block who just keeps adding plants in pots to her yard in what appears a haphazard way. Eventually, all we see is clutter. A website can look just as unsightly and many do.
- Poor Navigation - When we enter a shopping mall for the first time, many of us look for the directory. This helps us find our way around. A website must have an easy way for people to navigate to what is important to them. Most do not.
- Hidden (Blackhat) SEO - Some website owners hired Blackhat SEO developers in the past only to find their tactics either worked for a time or failed entirely. Yet, they did not have anyone come behind and clear out the hidden code many inserted into the site. This is a sickness on a par with tree cancer. Left alone, a website will eventually die and have to be completely replaced.
- Lacking Clear Contact Info/CTAs - We print our phone numbers and email addresses on business cards and give them to anyone who asks, yet we often make it hard to contact us using our website. If we do not give people an easy way to reach us or fail to tell them what to do, they will never do what we want them to. A CTA or Call-To-Action is vital on a website.
- Not Optimized for Local Search - Did you know that Google gives preferential treatment to local businesses? They do IF they can tell the website is owned by a local company. But unless we make that clear to the search crawlers, they will never know.
- No Security Certificate - Encryption of websites is a vital element to ranking in search results today. Without an SSL certificate, the website may as well not even exist.
- Not Well-Connected - Links are the lifeblood of the Internet and the better a website is linked, the better it will perform. A healthy website has links from one page to another, links to other websites, and links back to it from other sources, especially social media. The more interconnected a website, the healthier it will be.
What Can You Do to Have a Healthy Website?
A healthy website is not as complicated as some would have you believe. Just as we can research how to have a healthy yard, we can research how to have a healthy website. Likewise, we can hire a professional to grow our website same as we would a professional landscaper.
How can you find someone who knows how to grow a healthy website?
First, understand that anyone can build a website. But not anyone provides content marketing. Content marketing, Inbound Marketing, or Attraction Marketing are the most common terms used today to refer to what was formerly called SEM.
SEM is a term which was popular for a short time after the end of the SEO period. To better understand this period, we recommend reading SEO is DEAD...How?
Content marketers understand that there is more to a website than simply code. A website is a marketing tool. And the first customer of this marketing machine is the search engine. A website must appeal to the search engines if it has any chance of performing as it should.
Next, the website must appeal to people. If people like it, they will link to it, like it, and share it. All this interest is called engagement. The more engaged people are with a website, the more the search engines will recommend it to others.
This creates a perpetuating cycle which grows and grows. Adding more content further grows the site, which draws in more people, who share more content, which further interests the search engines, which further grows the website.
In this way, a website will, over time, cost less to operate and provide more and better results than any other kind of marketing tool.
Here is one key way to know someone is NOT a Content Marketer...They use the term SEO.
SEO, or Search Engine Optimization died in 2016 with the official end of Google's Page Rank. Any agency or person who continues to tell you your website can Rank on Page 1 of Google or that they are SEO experts is clearly stuck in Web 2.0. They cannot help you.
That said, there are things which can be done to improve a website and get more traffic. It is even possible to improve individual pages to rise higher ON AVERAGE in the search results. BUT NO PAGE can ever be in the top postion for EVERY search conducted which is related to the topic. That is impossible.
Because the Google Search Algorithm seeks to provide the best possible answer to every query made of it. Because not all people will use exactly the same terms each time they search for similar or even identical products or services, not every search will match exactly to what you have written. Some may match better to another article.
That was the reason Google eliminated the old Page Rank system - as the number of websites grew worldwide and the number of sites became optimized according to the former system, providing the "best" results became untenable.
So, if anyone tells you they can guarantee top position every time for every page or for your website as a whole, they are feeding you a bill of goods. Be warned.
SEO Gone - SEM is Here
SEO may be gone, but SEM or Content Marketing is very sound. We are content marketing experts, which means that we well-understand the diseases which can aflict a website.
If you believe your website is sick, contact Oakes Writing at 337.660.4774.
We will be happy to take a look and advise you on how best to fix the issues.
Or, if you prefer, send us a message using the form below or email firstname.lastname@example.org.