The Most Common Small Business Web Site Traffic Killers

A prospective client asked me to view his web site and give him some advice on how to make the site better. Unfortunately, his site was such a mess it became the inspiration for this article.

One of the primary reasons to have a web site is to attract and educate visitors. However, this obvious concept seems to be lost on many web designers. The way your site is designed, what's there and what's not there, including what's in the unseen HTML code, can have a great impact on how much traffic your site will generate.

Here's my list of the most common web site design sins and traffic killers. Use this list as you design your own site or show it to your web designer. If your web designer doesn't understand these points or dismisses them as unimportant. . .move on!

One word of warning, we are going to look under that hood of that shiny web page and see some of what makes it run from the search engine view. ? This is not always for the squeamish.

No title tag or meaningless title tags. ? Title tags are part of the HTML structure of every web page. Think of them as the informal name of the page. See for yourself. Go to http://www.ducttapemarketing.com. Look up there at the top of browser window and you will see the words - Small Business Marketing Ideas and Strategies ? that's the title of that page. Now right click your mouse in the page and hit "view source or view page source." When you do this, you are looking at the HTML code for this page. Now, see that [title]Small Business Marketing Ideas and Strategies[/title] Every page has got them and they are one of the most important aspects of your web site. . .yet most people don't even use them. NOTE: While you are looking at this source code realize that this is what the search engines see. No matter what your page looks like it won't be found if this code doesn't help you get found. More on that.

Your title tags can be a great tool for getting you search engine traffic if they are combined with good page content. Notice that my title tag is not Duct Tape Marketing or the often used Welcome to My Site. My tag is Small Business Marketing Ideas and Strategies. Now, think about this for a minute. Not too many people search for Duct Tape Marketing and nobody searches for Welcome to My Site, but small business marketing, now that's another story. Most small business owners waste the effectiveness of their title tags with something like: The name of their business or our products. Use title tags and make them part of your site content. Think about what people search for in your industry and name your pages based on that.

Flash Intro pages ? Don't get me started on this one. You know those pages that do all this really cool animated motion graphics and then present you with an entry or splash screen. I'll admit, these are works of art and I couldn't design one if I had to, but visit http://www.superclubs.com/home.asp and do that "View Source" trick again and tell me if you think a search engine could tell what that page was about. Remember, search engine spiders can't see pictures or hear sounds!

Cleverness ? There are lots of little things that designers like to do because they can. The question is what's it costing your site. One of my favorites is that date thing. You've likely been to a site that publishes today's date. Perhaps there is a good reason for that but go on back to view source on one these pages and you will see the price of that little trick. This date trick adds 300-400 lines of JavaScript code at the beginning of your page. All of this makes it hard for those search engines to find your real content. Think long and hard about adding stuff that gets in the way.

No Anchor Text Hyperlinks ? Web site designs like to make little buttons and badges for navigation links. Now, this can be okay but this is also a place where less is more. Text with a hyperlink is easily understood by search engines. Remember, they can't see images. Help them understand what your page is all about. Even if you have images navigation, put text links at the bottom of your page with all of your navigation.

Referral Marketing - This is a text link

Contact info hidden ? There are some web site owners out there that don't want to be easy to contact but I'm guessing that's not you. Put your address and contact information on every page and make them text. More and more people are turning to their web browser like a phone book. Lots of local address and content links can make it easier to find you in your own town.

Most important content out of order ? Search engines read your source code in the order they come on it. Some engines only read a small portion so you should make sure that your most important content is early on your page. Left side navigation columns, commonly found on web sites, appear at the top of the source code and could be hindering your site from receiving proper credit for the content it contains.

No use of Heading tags ? HTML uses a series of H or heading tags to help structure a page like an outline. H1 for the most important headings h2 for subheads and so on. Each of your pages will do well to contain a keyword rich headline, much like an ad for the page, and h1,/h1 mark-up in the code to let the search engines know that this is a really important part of the page. Then, do the same with sub sections with h2,/h2 tags. I know that most designers understand these tags when it comes to styling a page but few get the important role they play in the search engine game.

Look, there is plenty more to learn about this subject and certain aspects will change from week to week but now that you have a better understanding of how search engines view your site you can go out there and make pages that get found.

Copyright 2005 John Jantsch

John Jantsch is a marketing consultant based in Kansas City, Mo. He writes frequently on real world small business marketing tactics and is the creator of "Duct Tape Marketing" a turn-key small business marketing system. Check out his blog at http://www.DuctTapeMarketing.com/weblog.php

In The News:


AL.com

Hurricane Irma: post-evacuation traffic building in Mobile
AL.com
Seen from the ninth floor of Mobile's Government Plaza, eastbound traffic on I-10 moves slowly but steadily toward the Wallace Tunnel on the morning of Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017. Authorities attributed the high volume to the passage of Hurricane Irma, ...


WPXI Pittsburgh

Street opens to traffic after building collapse closed it for more than ...
WPXI Pittsburgh
A major roadway in Washington has just reopened more than two months after a building collapse shut it down.

and more »

WIRED

'Freeways' Is a Mobile Game That Lets You Play Traffic Engineer ...
WIRED
The air sings with four-letter words. The iPad sits stoic as fingers poke, jab, and prod at its screen. Traffic engineering, it turns out, is a difficult job, even when ...
This Game Simulates the Absurdity of Designing Freeway ...Motherboard en_us

all 2 news articles »

amNY

Traffic light near UN building in midtown collapses onto street during ...
amNY
The fallen light stretched across half of Second Avenue's crosswalk.

and more »

The San Diego Union-Tribune

San Diego keeps building despite density, traffic concerns
The San Diego Union-Tribune
Lucky for me — except that the times I can visit my families in North County and La Mesa are strictly limited, due to traffic, of course. It takes more than an hour to get from UC San Diego to my Clairemont neighborhood during the 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m ...


Curbed LA

Redondo Beach is extending its mixed-use building ban—for nearly a year
Curbed LA
The Redondo Beach City Council voted unanimously on Tuesday to extend the city's moratorium on mixed-use developments for 10.5 months, the Los Angeles Times reports. The votes comes amid resident concerns over a scourge of traffic, and extends a ...


Wicked Local Belmont

New retail building approved for 344 Pleasant St. in Belmont
Wicked Local Belmont
He believes the improvements they are making to the site will make traffic issues better. Planning Board member Charles Clark assured Leo a traffic study could be done if it is determined the new building has a negative impact on traffic in that area ...


Los Angeles Times

Redondo Beach halts mixed-use developments after residents raise concerns about traffic
Los Angeles Times
But with vacant land increasingly rare in coastal counties, often the only opportunity to increase the supply of housing is to build denser development — an unappealing prospect for many residents in areas already clogged with traffic. Redondo Beach ...


Dothan Eagle

Dothan traffic: There are no easy fixes
Dothan Eagle
Soon, crews will begin work on building cul de sacs on Moore Road, which will essentially split the road and continue to allow access for residents who live on the road, but prevent motorists from using the road as a cut-through to Southside WalMart ...


Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal

Contour confident in bid to remain Tupelo's air carrier
Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal
“We only began service 17 months ago and to still see traffic building is fantastic ... We want to continue that momentum.” The other airlines with bids are Air Choice One, Boutique Air, Sky Value Airways, Southern Airways Express and Via Air. They're ...

Google News

Free Tips To Increase The Number Of Visitors To Your Website

If you are looking to increase the number of visitors... Read More

Winning The Hit Exchange Game

"How do I get more traffic to your site?" That's... Read More

How to Get Free High Traffic Links to Your Website

Today I would like to talk about an easy way... Read More

Web Site Marketing: Give Away Softwares And Generate Traffic And Sales

If you want to get something from others, the fastest... Read More

Common Website Mistakes

It used to be that simply having a website meant... Read More

Proven Traffic Generating Techniques

What good is a website without traffic? A website without... Read More

My Top 12 Web Site Marketing Strategies - Part 2

Part 27. Ezine Ads - create an ad for your... Read More

Thinking of Buying Hits To Your Website? Think Again!

Online marketing is an area where you can find a... Read More

Traffic Building - Understanding the Basics

So, you've spent hundreds of thousands on a state-of-the-art website.... Read More

How To Find Relevant Web Sites For Link Exchanges

If you've been on the internet very long at all,... Read More

Link Exchanges

Should link exchanges be used? What are link exchanges? Do... Read More

Build Links, Build Business

Increasing your online business hinges on your ability to optimize... Read More

Skyrocket Website Traffic With OPT

If you are looking for an immediate increase in your... Read More

Free Traffic Course - Day 1

Isn't online a magical invention? Surely it is, just imagine... Read More

Get More Visitors to your Website using Free Traffic Exchanges

Trying to get traffic to your new website or to... Read More

How To Build Trust and Sell More Products!

If the headline is what gets them there, then it's... Read More

How To Increase Your Website Traffic With Zero Cost

How to increase your website traffic with zero cost'. It's... Read More

Wacky Test Marketing: Part 3

Once again I used my wacky test marketing strategy to... Read More

What is all the Buzz about LinkedIn and Does It Work?

Have you received invitations to join an online networking website?... Read More

Web Site Marketing: 10 Volcanic Ways To Erupt Your Website Sales

Do you want to pump up sales at your website?If... Read More

5 Little Known Ways To Generate Free Traffic

Most people have the notion that generating traffic is a... Read More

Turn Content Into Traffic

As the saying goes in the business world "The Customer... Read More

Your Traffic Building Checklist: 15 Ways to Get More Visitors Who Are Ready to Buy (Part 2)

>When many of my clients first come to me for... Read More

Step Into My Parlour? Easy Ways To Entice The Right People To Your Website

Though traditional marketing methods cannot be ignored, having a website... Read More

The Rewards Of Being A Good Consumer

Start building an interstate highway to your website. You're going... Read More