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Top 5 mistakes websites make and how to turn your 'lame' website into a money-making machine

I'm going to tell you something really shocking about your website.

Actually, what is most shocking is that most of what is holding your website back is easily fixable.

That means many online business owners are leaving money on the table simply because they don't know how to analyse the basics of their website.

The shocking news is that your website could rank higher in the search engines simply by tweaking a few things behind the scenes.

Before you do anything else, you need to make sure your site is working as hard as it can in terms of bringing you natural search engine traffic.

So what do I mean by that?

Well, we are partly talking about optimising the technical side of your website, and partly about on-page optimisation.

When I say the technical side of the website, I'm referring to things such as how quickly your site loads to a visitor. When I'm talking on-page optimisation, I mean your actual written content.

I'm guessing you are now wondering what issues your site has, how you can check for problems, and how you can fix them.

And that's great because it means you care about your online business.

So let's first look at five key reasons why your website may not be ranking, to give you a better understanding of what needs to be done.

1. Cover The Basics!

Before you even start looking at the more technical side of things, sort out the basics which can make you fall at the first hurdle:

  • Do you have a sitemap?
  • Do you have a robots txt file?
  • Are your URLs descriptive and SEO friendly?
  • Does your site pass a W3C validity test?
  • Do you have titles and descriptions on your pages?
  • Do your images have Alt tag descriptions?

2. How Quickly Does Your Website Load For Visitors?

You may not think much of this, because when you visit your own site it seems to load fine.

But you need to consider it from the point of view a first time visitor, from anywhere around the world.

Basically, if your website takes just four seconds to load, 25% of your visitors will already be clicking away. Add another second, and it can sometimes hit three quarters of visitors, depending on how much of the page has actually loaded to captivate them at that point.

These statistics should shock you and make you really want to take a look at this topic, to make sure you're not haemorrhaging visitors.

To address this, you need to look at optimising all the factors which can really affect page load times:

  • Not using inline CSS styles
  • Using asynchronous CSS and JavaScript loading
  • Minifying CSS and JavaScript files
  • Optimising images for fast loading
  • Leverage browser caching
  • Always using gzip compression
  • If you use WordPress, using a caching plugin
  • Using a content delivery network (CDN)
  • Consider using a cloud solution, such as Cloudflare

As you can see, that's quite a list. However, most of these are quite easy to fix, when you know how.

3. Make Sure You Properly Use header Tags

Quite simply, this means making sure each page has a properly formatted title and meta description.

In terms of the title and the meta description, creating them so that they are the optimal length in characters will make sure your listing displays well in search engine results.

Although meta description is not useful for search engine ranking, often it is used as the descriptive text under the page title within search results. So make it compelling to encourage clicks.

4. Make Your Website Universally Device Friendly

A lot of websites are still primarily designed to display properly on large screen desktop computers.

This is five years behind the curve.

Already, half of all Internet traffic is digested through devices such as tablets and mobile phones.

As well as a rapid change in the device types being used to consume Internet data, people are consuming information on the move more than ever before.

So your website should be designed to be device responsive nowadays. Whatever device you're using, it should display perfectly, resizing and reformatting itself automatically to best effect, even on relatively slow data connections.

5. Really Polish Your Content Structure

You may think you have good content, but do you really?

Your Text-to-HTML ratio should be greater than 15%. What this means in non-techie talk, is that more than 15% of the total characters Google finds in your underlying website source code should be site content rather than code used to build the site.

If you have less than 15% text then your site could be seen as webspam.

E-commerce sites often struggle with this 15% minimum value. This is because they require a lot of code to run them, while not requiring tons of content to be presented to the site visitor to sell to them.

The other thing to really look at is if your content is properly structured to maximise its relevance, through good use of keywords in titles, subtitles, meta descriptions and strategically within the text.

You should also look that your internal linking as it builds great context while strengthening your sites ability to rank for groups of related keywords. So when you check your content, make sure that you link to other relevant content on your site.

I hope this has been useful.

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