When people find out I am a web developer, one of the first things website owners will ask me is if I have some time to look at their site and see if it's any good. My follow up question to them is usually, "What do you mean?".
Most of the time when someone asks me to look at their site it's because it's not performing as well as they had hoped, for one reason or another and are trying to find a solution.
Looks comes up a lot. But the way a site looks really has nothing to do with how it performs. I have seen some rather poorly designed and unsavory sites do great things for their owners. I have also seen some really well designed sites perform very poorly.
There are some factors that determine whether a website is "good" or not. Let's go over them.
For some web developers, keywords are the very last thing to be considered after the website is completed. This is kind of backwards. The keywords, terms you'd like to be found in search results for, should be the first thing considered when creating a new website. It will determine everything else that follows including layout, content, and marketing.
Be the searcher. Look for yourself on your favorite search engine and see if your website comes up. If not you may be writing content for the wrong keywords.
Meta tags are HTML codes that are inserted into the header on a web page that are not seen by users. These tags are read by search engines when they crawl your site to find out what the page is about.
There are two that are important to search engines. They are the title tag and the description tag. It should be noted that the keywords tag is largely ignored by search engines so it's better to spend time on the other two.
Meta title and description tags are also what usually displays in search results for any given page on your website as seen below. It should be noted however that search engines can change your title and description in search results if they want to.
I often see these tags overlooked completely or having wrong information in them. This can have detrimental effects on having your site found for your chosen keywords.
Meta tags can be changed using a simple text editor or any HTML editing software. They look like the following and should be at the top of the document. If you are using HTML editing software you will want to be in "code view". They look like the following.
Your title tag is the most important tag of your website. It tells search engines what content the page contains. It should be a maximum of 70 characters long, including spaces. If you're a small business and your company name is not well known (e.g. Google) you should place it at the end of the tag. Don't put keywords in your title tag that are not included in the page. Lastly don't repeat title tags. Each one should be unique.
Your Description is exactly that. It should describe the content on the page. It should not repeat what is already in the title tag, but you can use relevant keywords to describe the page.
Are Things Easy To Find
When a visitor comes to your website are things easy to find. This is where a good UI (user interface) comes into play. In the very least you should have a menu of the major portions of your website. For larger sites you may want to break your content up into silos to group like sections together.
Your site should also have calls to action. For a blog you might ask your visitors a question at the end of the article to get feedback and start a conversation. For ecommerce sites you want the buy now or add to cart buttons displayed prominently near the item. If you sell a service make it easy for people to contact you.
Search engines love text. Now that you have your keywords from the first step you want to take a look at your content. Do you use your keywords in your website copy? Is the content relevant to the page? If not try to rewrite your content to include the terms you'd like to be found in search engines into your website text. This not only increases the likelihood of the page being found in search engines it also ensures that when someone comes to the site they will find what they are looking for quickly and easily.
There are many ways to improve how your website is found on the Internet. The ones I've mentioned above are just a few examples that you can possibly do yourself rather easily if you have access to your website source code (i.e. you update your own site).
If you do not have access to your source code, or all this seems too daunting a task I'd be happy to take a look at it for you. Just contact me with your web address and I'll get back to you pronto on my findings.