My list of 7 things that you should think about as worst practices that can adversely affect your website’s success:
Myth 1: Repeating your content as many times as possible is a good way to gain ranking.
Truth: Duplicate Content is never a good idea – your site should be full of unique and keyterm rich content that will easily identify your products and/or services, and quickly assist your customer’s to make the purchase decision. A well thought out SEO strategy is more important than a particular keyword showing 8 times one page. Know your audiences and how THEY would search. Your content should reflect that.
Truth: Avoid Link Farming: You need a relevant link strategy for your site – link farming is another form of spam that won’t get you anywhere. Volume of links is definitely important, but quality of links is equally if not more important. Read more about link farming.
Myth 3: If I put hidden keywords on my page 100 times repeatedly the search engines will find me.
Truth: Invisible Text is a No-No: It used to be that developers would fill up a page full of keywords by placing white text on white background making it basically invisible to the users – but not to the search engines – this practice will get you banned from sites like Google.
Myth 4: Once I build my site I don’t ever have to do anything with it… it will just be a magic selling machine!
Truth: No! Don’t just let your site sit stagnant: You can build the best web site in the world, but if you are not constantly working it – it will go nowhere. Think of new ways to beef up content – consider FAQs based on what your customers are asking, look for ways to improve usability and content – always be working it. Read: Define Your Website with Content – This is not the Field of Dreams People!
Truth: Please don’t spam your email subscribers: Now-a-days people are becoming more reluctant to opt-in to an email list because they are afraid of the spam they’ll get. If your users are providing their email to you – respect it and send emails that include relevant content at relevant intervals. Monthly newsletters are a great idea with featured promotions. In some situations, depending on the frequency of updates and changes to content – weekly newsletters may be a good idea – but don’t just send email because you can – send them because they offer value. (Check out this post on email fatigue for some additional insight.)
Myth 6: My customers have all day to browse my site and eventually will find what they are looking for…
Truth: Don’t make your products hard to find: Users want to find what they are looking for as quickly as possible – it’s why they are on the internet doing their research. Use the “3 click” rule to allow your users to find what they are looking for in 3 clicks or less! If your site uses things like Flash and other interactive features – be sure it does not affect the ease at which users can find the products you sell. In fact, do your best to optimize your product pages so that they get direct ranking on search engines so your user lands directly on the product pages.
Myth 7: I have a niche product and my customers are not online
Truth: That’s a bunch of bologna! You may very well have a niche product that appeals to only one audience or has a very particular use – OR – you may sell a very large ticket item that generally speaking someone is not going to just drop on their credit card. But the odds are that the folks looking for these items ARE in fact researching them online – especially the more expensive items. In the case of niche items, users generally look for price and value online knowing they can search out the best deal for the best product, and get great recommendations. I guarantee – your customers are online – get with a solid internet marketer who will help develop a tactical plan to promote your site and your products to your niche audience.
There are many practices in internet marketing that can hurt your site traffic and success, but these are just my top 7. Small business owners – beware – get yourself aligned with a reputable internet marketing firm who can give you references to call on – ask the right questions to the references to ensure that the group you are hiring to market your small business website has the tools and knowledge to do it effectively and to follow the ever changing best practices!