Discussed in the episode:
00:55 – Owning your racecourse
02:02 – Where to start your makeover
03:02 – An auditing guideline
04:32 – More than just good looks
06:16 – Dashes vs. underscores
06:47 – Should you go responsive?
08:17 – Let them share
09:09 – Which stats should you look at?
10:02 – Need any help?
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Hey, James Schramko here, welcome to SuperFastBusiness.com. In this podcast audio, I’m going to talk about how to redesign your website the smart way, and make sure that you do it, and still get all that great SEO value, that’s search engine optimization.
Now I’ve been teaching OwnTheRacecourse for quite some time, and it really does emphasize the importance of having your own website as the launching pad and flagship for your own campaigns. It’s your official site, it’s your online presence, that is your asset that you control. And you want to generate as much traffic and conversions as you want, and you want it to be nice and good-looking, of course, and technically well-made, but also SEO-friendly.
So what if your website’s not perfect? Well, online marketers often liken such a website to a great-looking car with a machine that’s shot. If people cannot easily find your website through popular search engines, or they cannot work through your site’s architecture and find the information they need, it serves no advantage to your business. So you really need to get all the bits right so you have the total package.
Redesigning your website can really improve things. It’s one of the recommended strategies improving rankings in popular search engines. Strategically, change onsite elements, and automatically witness a big difference to your traffic and conversions.
Where to start
So how do you go about it? Well, it’s a good idea to involve an SEO team at the beginning. If you haven’t ever had your website checked, get a website check. It’ll cost you 20 US dollars. We’ll have a look at your site, and we’ll tell you what’s broken with it. We’ll certainly be looking for things like page titles, page names, image attributes, and of course how many links are pointing to your site.
But if you can get this logical step done, you’ll be able to boost your SEO when you redesign the website, because you’ll know what’s broken, and the input will provide your project with a good foundation to build upon, and can prevent costly mistakes or duplicate efforts. There is actually an amazing amount of Web developers out there who have no idea about SEO. Even simple things like the permalink structure or how you should name your pages. Some of them are still putting P=123456 etc. instead of names, and that’s not going to help you.
What to look at
So do an audit of your existing site, and consider some of the following metrics as a guideline.
Have a look at the monthly traffic average that you’re getting to your site. Look at the visitor bounce rate across the most popular pages, and look at the best-performing keywords or anchor text in terms of lead generation, rank and traffic.
Now if you’re not tracking conversions for your lead generation, you should be doing that in Google analytics. Have a look at the total number of pages indexed in Google, and you can do that by typing site: and then your website into the Google search bar. It’ll show you how many indexed pages are showing in Google. Have a look at the total number of pages that actually receive traffic on your site, and look at the number of inbound linking domains. You can see that in Google Webmaster Tools.
From the results of your audit, establish what works and what doesn’t, and which marketing strategies and website features should be maintained, tweaked or completely disposed of. If you want to go an extra step, install Crazy Egg on your website, and that will show you a heat map of where people are clicking, and if you’ve got navigation items where nobody’s clicking, you might want to get rid of those.
Keep your users internal with links. Links are basically a way of people to access information between your website from page to page or post to post. When they need to go to Next, it can lead them to act towards the next page in your business. So hyperlink relevant content within your site, do it naturally, and maintain a balance of site architecture and aesthetic components. So don’t make it all techy, and don’t make it all beautiful. You have to have a combination.
Looks plus functionality
I believe you can have a beautiful site that is technically well-designed. And though many are inclined to think that how a page looks has no large impact on SEO, this isn’t the case at all. Since Internet activities are mainly visual, it’s still imperative to appeal to the aesthetic requirements of users, and design elements like color, font and images do just that. I know there’s a big crowd online who talk about ugly websites sell, but pretty websites can also sell a lot, and if you have a look at some of the biggest and brightest tech startups, all of those sites are really nice-looking.
Make sure you optimize your images. That means, number one, the alt text. Number two, using the right file size, nice and small so that it loads quickly. Number three, adding captions. This will help people if they hover on the image, to see what it is, or if they’re visually impaired. And using a descriptive file name, so that the image will get ranked in Google image search, just by itself.
Now how you organize your pages contributes to the overall experience of users on your site. If they can easily find what they need, the more frequent and thorough their visits will be. I do recommend you put a search box on your website, because the search is actually going to give you great data on what people search for, and it will help people find what they want, which means they’re going to stay on your site longer and view more pages, which is also going to help your SEO.
Improve your URL structure, because search engines prefer URLs that automatically reveal what the page content is about. That’s what we were talking about before with the names versus numbers. Also in improving URLs, take note of the following tips. Underscores in between words are treated by search engines as mere connectors, whereas dashes are separators, and using them more increases the likelihood of your website pages getting discovered. So use dashes instead of underscores.
Keep your design simple and clean, even if you don’t go for a responsive design. But I do recommend you get a responsive design. Responsive simple means that your website is going to change depending on the screen size that’s viewing it. Simple and clean remains to be mobile-friendly and loads easily on all gadgets.
It’s still better to use a responsive design because it’s going to really improve your user’s experience and effectively reach a bigger audience. And Google have said that they will reward responsive design websites. According to Google, this improvement in crawling efficiency of a responsive design can indirectly help Google index more of the site’s contents and keep it appropriately fresh.
The other thing about responsive is you’ve only got one website instead of effectively a desktop site plus a mobile site, which was sort of the old way of doing it, and that’s now not the best way.
Twenty-seven percent of people around the globe use their smartphones and mobile Web connecting gadgets for more than half of their Internet activities. And I know from previous research that the bulk of people, that’s more than half, will use a phone and a desktop or a tablet and a desktop in the same day, something over 80%, from memory. So you need your mobile-friendly website for sure. But make sure that it’s responsive.
Lower middle-class members of society mostly use their smartphones for Internet usage. So just consider who your market is.
Making it shareable
Now in an age where it’s easy to share content, it’s very important that you put social media sharing icons right near your premium content so that people can easily click on the widget and share it. Position them right near the best content. So if you have a video or an audio, put it right where you want people to share stuff.
And if it has a little social icon that shows how many people shared it, and you get a lot of shares, that can also help a post be shared more. Some of the infographics I have get shared 300-plus times, and it just builds social proof when other people see that it’s being shared. Test all the changes that you’ve implemented, and compare them to the performance of your old website. Don’t assume that your new website is any better than the old one. You have to look at the stats.
Things to measure
Determine how you’ll measure the site’s performance, and here are some of the useful metrics that you might look at. Have a look at email list sign ups. If that’s one of your most wanted calls to action, then an email list sign up number is a good one to check. Have a look at new followers of your site as well as social media accounts who are following your site.
Have a look at the number of likes for your content. Look at your conversions for sales. That’s an important one, of course. And check the bounce rates, because that can indicate if your site’s relevant or not.
A simple way to measure your site’s performance is to make an annotation in Google analytics, which you can easily do. You just click below the chart, where it shows you the line graph, and you can actually expand it and write notes, so that you can keep a note of when you changed something, and then you can go back and check it.
So if you do all of this, you should end up with a better website. If you need help with your website, with either the SEO or with the website building itself, you’ll want to have a look at our website services. In particular, we make mobile-responsive websites that you can buy from just $299, and we’ll install it for you, we’ll help you fit it over a current WordPress site if you’ve already got one, we’ll help you put a logo into it if you’ve got a logo, and we’ll also help you embed your opt-in if you’ve got an email system that you use so that you can collect email addresses.
And that should all be up and running in about a day. So we can help you with that. If you’ve got a terrible website right now, at least get started with that. I’ll also recommend that you get good, fast, hosting. That is a missing piece of the puzzle for many people. Once you’ve got a great website you need to get good, fast hosting, and we’ve got a nice little article about WPEngine. If you’re just running WordPress then I recommend you check that out.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this short podcast on how to redesign your website the smart way. I’m James Schramko, thank you for listening.
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