I find myself saying “Just because you CAN build your own website doesn’t mean you SHOULD” a lot lately! This doesn’t just apply to business owners. It seems that anyone who can download WordPress and fill in the blanks can put themselves out to the public as a web designer. It drives me crazy! I spent 256 hours getting a webmaster certificate 12 years ago. I’ve spent the last 12 years continuously learning new technologies and marketing techniques to help businesses grow their sales by using their website as a marketing tool and not just a pretty picture.
I was recently asked to help a company with search engine optimization on their brand new site, which had just been developed in WordPress. The developer had not done any optimization whatsover, which for WordPress simply means uploading a good SEO plugin and filling in the metatags for each page. In fact the WordPress settings indicated to “ask search engines NOT to show pages in their index! What?????? Couple this with the fact that the company is in a very competitive industry, and you have a website that can’t be found anywhere in the search engines. Well maybe they were on page 28 – I didn’t check that far. No one ever does! (90% of all searches don’t go past page 2.)
When the person who developed the website was asked about the search engine optimization, they offered to do it, for a price. To me, you might as well not develop a website at all if you’re not going to optimize it. I include that in my price. In fact, now days I also include coding so that the website is mobile-ready. Call me crazy.
Even worse, the old pages were not redirected to the new pages, so if any of the old pages WERE indexed in the search engines, the links would be broken. When that happens, Google downgrades your website in the search results.
I’m finding that it takes almost as long to develop a website in WordPress as it did to create a custom website using HTML. Maybe that’s because I don’t slap it up on the Internet doing as little work as possible. Besides customizing the design, I do the following:
- create redirects for all the old pages
- upload the most effective SEO plugin and fill in the metatags for every page and post
- create a Google sitemap
- Use “alt” tags on all images
These are just the basics that will give the business owner a chance of competing for space on the first page of Google and other search engines.
All this is done after we talk about using keywords in the page content, dividing services and products into different pages so they can be optimized properly, and how to use local geographic terms in the content and metatags. I also make sure that my clients are indexed in Google Places and help them with that if they need it.
Going back to the above-mentioned client, within a week of optimizing their site properly, they were on page 2 in a Google search for one of their top keyword phrases! What do you know, it really works! 🙂
If you are a business owner reading this article, please consider hiring a professional to create or update your website, even if you know how to use WordPress. Use the time it would have taken you, and do the things in your business that you do better than anyone else, and that will grow your income.