The dream of every website owner is to rank among the top ten websites in their niche. Everyone desires to grow their online business to the point where it begins to yield results and all the hard work and stress becomes worth it. To reach this point takes determination, patience, hard work and a good dose of luck. However, there are certain common mistakes you’ll make that can throw a monkey wrench into your plans.
If you’re looking at building a website that will stand the test of time, grow to be profitable and become an authority in its niche, then you should try as much as possible to avoid these six mistakes.
Complicated design style
One quick way to chase away visitors and render your website useless is by opting for a complex design style. Visitors are looking for a website where they can go for the information, tools and products they need, without having to work too hard for it. This means a design that allows for easy navigation, clear readability and great user experience. A complicated website that’s choked up with web elements, unimportant details and garish colours will only discourage people from visiting. Today’s web design best practices involve using ample clear white spaces in your design to emphasise the important elements and convey your message. Let your website feature only the most essential elements, so that it looks clean and uncluttered. This is the best design for great user experience.
Not too long ago, it was acceptable to stuff your content with keywords that were relevant to your site’s content; that was until Google rolled out its algorithm update which frowned upon such practices. The practice of keyword stuffing means that a user searching with a particular keyword will be exposed to content of poor quality. This goes against Google’s policy of providing only the most appropriate search results to users. Therefore, if you still engage in the practice of keyword stuffing, you’re doing your website more harm than good. Google’s search algorithm has become much smarter and they now penalise websites that stuff keywords and rank them lower in SERPs. Should you engage in too much of this, your site will completely disappear from search engines.
Too many plugins
Every website owner wants their website to be the best on the internet in their particular niche. In a bid to achieve this aim, they typically install as many plugins and extensions as possible, so that they can extend the functionality of their website to make it do more than the competition. Installing plugins and extensions is acceptable, but too much of this can be counterproductive.
When you have too many plugins running on your website, this can affect its speed, which is bad for the health of your SEO. Speed aids user experience and is an important factor for page ranking. Website visitors now have an average expectation of four seconds for page load speed; if your website takes more than this to load, it can seriously affect your bounce rate. So, ensure that you only install plugins that are essential to your website and delete others that aren’t.
Too many ads and pop-ups
For many bloggers, monetisation is the flame that drives their passion. Even people who own information websites are rapidly waking up to the idea that they can make money from their website. There is nothing wrong with this; in fact, when you make money from your site, you’ll be encouraged to put in more effort and provide better quality content. However, in the drive to make money, many bloggers tend to overdo things.
Having too many ads on your website will not speed up the money-making process; rather, it will only serve to distract, frustrate and chase away your visitors. Additionally, image ads can reduce the time it takes your website to load. It’s no wonder then that Ethan Zukerman, the man who invented pop-up ads, says he regrets doing so. If you must monetise, ensure that it doesn’t affect the quality of your website.
Using blackhat SEO
Blackhat SEO comprises techniques some website owners employ to rank higher in Google SERPs. These practices are increasingly frowned upon by Google, who bring out regular algorithm updates to track down guilty websites and penalise them accordingly. Websites found guilty of using blackhat SEO stand the risk of losing their page rankings and being removed from Google search engines. Furthermore, if they are hosted on Google servers, they can be deleted altogether. Many website owners try to use blackhat techniques on the sly, because they actually seem to yield results. However, the truth is that in the long run, the costs far outweigh the gains. Common blackhat practices include keyword stuffing (as covered in the point above), buying backlinks, publishing spun articles, mass posting, and so on.
Creating a backup of your site is a practice that website owners must observe stringently. What happens in the event of a server failure or website breach when all the content on your site is lost? How do you explain to your users that all their details are gone forever? According to Brendan Wilde, Hosting Expert at Domain Names 4 Less, regular backups put the website owner in the best position to face anything that happens. Even if you want to move to another web host and don’t have access to your files, you can do a lot with the local backup you have on your system.
Of course, reliable web hosting providers offer regular backups as part of their package. However, if you’re serious about your business, you’ll have your own backups stored locally on your system.
For websites built on the WordPress platform, there are a variety of plugins you can choose from to help with your backup; for non WordPress users, you’ll need to take the long route and backup using cPanel.
As you can see, there are various mistakes you can make that can thwart your best efforts. Thankfully, now you can recognise some of them. Avoiding these mistakes will help you grow a website that will last long, last well and one day begin to pay you in monetary terms.