I started coding websites for businesses alongside some great programmers and friends over 20 years ago, and it is amazing how little has changed.
Over this time, we have discovered that most people frequently make the same 99% of mistakes. Just like in the fashion or energy industry, every few years there is trend, and not necessarily one that is a brilliant idea.
Someone who is known says something is brilliant and within weeks, months, years - millions of people buy into the same idea. It's not until a few years on that they realise shell suits and flashing trainers are actually a bit of a stupid idea.
Well, this also happens all over the web. Believe it or not, some of the things that were developed 10 or 20 years ago still work brilliantly today, and run rings around modern technology.
Did you run out and buy Beta, VHS, DVD, HD or Blue-ray and then just end up watching stuff on Sky or Netflix? Or maybe you appreciate that CD or vinyl is still better than MP3 or digital.
These principles are very similar for websites. The same things that make a high quality website that we learned 10 or 20 years ago are now more relevant than they were then.
To start with, I will focus on three of the most common mistakes.
1. Back to basics.
Are you using a generic, regular or online system to edit your website? CMS's with Plugins may be fun, they may be free and they may be easy to use. However more than often the code they present to search engines resembles a horror story.
Unfortunately, over 90% of people are still misguided and continue to follow the latest trends. Ironically some SEO plugins create even further clutter.
2. Page Names.
Or more to the point, page url names, recently referred to as ‘long-tail url’s’. Before I wrote this section I took a few minutes to look-up a handful of competitor’s sites.
Whilst most had some very beautiful looking sites (some far better looking than ours might I add), I was shocked to find most were using ‘generic’ website systems, and they had not taken the time to update the name of their actual pages URL, which is probably why they are not on the first page, even for their immediate location.
The majority of actual page names (or URL’s), were default names such as 'about-us' or 'contact-us'. Even 'about-willies-websites' would have given them better kudos.
3. Have you forgotten about the Meta?
In short Meta tags are lines of text in the code of your website, providing snippets of rich information about your website. Although you may hear rumours some are not used these days, people tend to forget there are many Meta tags. Again, these are things to which common systems do not easily allow proper access. Scarily this also applies to many other common tags that can make a huge difference to the way search engines view your website.
I hope this article has been helpful and if you have any questions or would like some pointers, please drop me a line.