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My Website Optimization Journey - Part 1

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Recently I had decided that if I was going to make something of this business I had better get at it. The site had basically been sitting idle since the birth of my youngest daughter in January of 2014.

Taking care of my children all day is a wonderful thing but between keeping them alive and making sure the mess didn't swallow us up, I needed to concentrate on completing my client's work and my website fell by the wayside.

It really hit home one day when I googled "website design green bay wi" and I was nowhere to be found in the results (I used to be on the first page). So with that revelation, I brushed the dust of the ole' computer and turned it on to begin working on my site.

I intend to share this journey from neglect to resurgence through a series of articles to share my accomplishments and challenges so that maybe we can all learn something.

So getting back into the swing of things I looked at my own site to find the error of my ways and noticed a few glaring issues:

  • There was no home page to speak of
  • Page titles and meta tags were incomplete or missing
  • Page assets were left unfinished
  • Content needs to be refreshed and updated
  • Site goals need to be reigned in

My first order of business was to deal with some unfinished parts of my site. Mainly the portfolio and the home page. Gotta start somewhere right?

Portfolio

My portfolio was nothing more than a bunch of logos. I had intended them to be linked to detailed information about each project but it was a feature I never got around to and it looked bad from a customer perspective. If I can't show my own work why would anyone trust me to design and build their internet presence?

 Old portfolio page before optimization

I did have some information locked away in a database that could prove useful so I scrapped the page entirely to create something a little more accurate to my capabilities.

Most of my work these days is to make sites work on mobile devices and there was nothing there that represented that. So I created some screen representation of websites running on different devices to show how they work and added some text to describe either the website, company or the work I did.

At this point, I'm not concerned about having exactly the right words because I'm going to go over the entirety of the website's content at a later date.

As I was working on the page I realized that not all of my client's sites are mobile compatible. Some are old and some clients have not embraced responsive web design for various reasons. For simplicity sake and just to get something done, I have removed those examples from the page for the time being to return to them in the near future. I think you can agree that it looks and feels much better than just some logos.

Revamped portfolio

Home Page

There was no home page. Like most things for my site, I had grand ideas that because of time constraints and other obligations didn't blossom. So rather than have visitors come to a blank page I redirected the home page to the blog so at least there was something.

Turns out some of my issues with search ranking could have been for this shortcut I chose to take. Redirecting your landing page can have consequences for several reasons.

Since I am for the most part a one man show. I feel like people need to get to know me before they hire me. One of the ways I intend to do that is to market myself as well as my skills. There is now a very brief introduction to me on the home page and descriptions of two bodies of my work that are most popular.

revamped home page

As I mentioned before I'm not too concerned with having the perfect words right now, just a good base to build upon when I return to it in the future. If I was being penalized by Google for a redirect on my home page that issue should now be resolved.

That's about all the time I had before I needed some sleep before the minions woke up. I think it's a good start to correcting the neglect of recent years but there is still a long way to go, even on the pages I just created to get things back where they need to be.

In the next article, I'll tackle the meta tags! Riveting stuff!

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