What Makes A Great Website?

Read the 7 ingredients required for a great website

What Makes A Great Website?
The 7 ingredients required for a great website

1. Appearance

The first thing is appearance. A website needs to look good to engage the customer. It also needs to look good across
the different range of browsers (Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Opera). It needs to look good across different devices (Laptops, Tablets / Ipads & Mobile Phones). In fact, Google announced starting from late 2016 that if you are to search on Google through your mobile phone it would show you results of websites that are optimised for a mobile phone first and then the ones that are desktop optimised.

2. Logo / Image Design

When you think of a brand it usually is their logo that you think of. It is important to have a logo that looks good & is easy to remember. Most logos that you can think of are simple & elegant designs such as Nike, Apple & Google. It is important to have a high-resolution vector image of your logo. A vector image will allow you to make it as large as you like without losing any quality.

Images on your website need to be all high quality. For photos, you should use JPEG and for graphics, you should use PNG.

3. Relevant Information

The information on the website needs to be relevant. How many times have you searched on Google looking for information, click on a website and find that it is not the one you are after, or you have to scroll down the page to find the information that you are after? How good would it be if, for example, you searched for Some Ideas for BackLinks and you were taken to the right section on the page talking about Some Ideas for BackLinks click here for an example.

4. Simplicity

A simple design is easier to use. Easier to update and if anything were to go wrong easier to fix. 

For example

  1. A website that is not too busy with information, it is important that you have clear headings and white space to allow users to skim through your website.
  2. Most people want information that they can understand in simple words.
  3. A menu that is easy to follow, with direct links to the most popular pages on your website.
  4. Avoid annoying popup adverts that cover the whole screen.

5. Google Preferences

Google constantly evolves and updates their search algorithms and will prefer websites that are up to date with their new requirements. For example, Google prefers all websites to be secure with https protocol. Another is for the website to be mobile phone friendly so the website can easily be viewed on a mobile phone.

6. Advertising

What is the point of a Great Website if no-one knows of it?

Every business can do with some advertising. There are many forms such as

  • Radio
  • TV
  • Billboard
  • Google Advertising
  • Word of mouth

How much do you spend on Advertising? The answer is not a simple one, because you will have to spend some money on marketing as well to come up with a catchy advert.

I would start with setting up free advertising with Google My Business Page, then progress to Google Ads. 

For a small business, I would start with an allocated monthly budget of $300, perhaps target local areas near your business as they may be more likely to purchase your product or services. Once the first month is up, you can analyse to see what adverts worked and which didn’t, then you adjust your adverts and your website to focus on the advertising that gets the most response. Increase or decrease your budget in line with your conversion rates.

7. Up To Date

Everything on the website needs to be up to date. From the content on the website to the WordPress version, WordPress plugins, to the backend software such as Apache server, PHP / MYSQL and Linux Kernel with their latest security updates and the updated hardware.

How To Pick A Good Australian Domain Name

Some ideas when considering to register an Australian domain name

How To Pick A Good
Australian Domain Name
Some ideas when considering to register an Australian domain name

Brand Awareness

Google favours brand awareness in search rankings, this means that the domain name should be the same as your business name or brand name. 

Avoid Using .com Domain Name For Australian Businesses

As we are located in Australia it should end with .com.au as it will help users automatically associate the website as Australian. Com domain names are associated with American websites.

Domain Age

The domain age (How long the domain name has been registered for) does not matter to Google, but multiple domains with the same content will impact negatively.

What If The Domain I Want Is Already Registered By Someone Else?

Depending on your budget you can always contact the existing registered owner of the domain name and ask them if they are willing to sell it. From my experience, the sale would not be cheap.

Avoid Using net.au Domain Name

If the domain name, for example, microbite.com.au is taken, I would avoid trying to register microbite.net.au in its place, mainly because most internet users would first click the website microbite.com.au instead of microbite.net.au.

I would prefer using an adjective with the domain name and if the adjective is a keyword then it is a bonus. For example, for microbite.com.au, I would register microbitewebsites.com.au

If microbitewebsites.com.au is not available I would then consider microbite.net.au.

If none of the domain names is available I would seriously consider changing the business name to something that has a domain name available.

Avoid Hyphens In Domain Names

Even though Microbite-Websites.com.au is easier to read than MicrobiteWebsites.com.au, it is actually harder to spell and remember. For those reasons, I would avoid using hyphens.

Avoid Multiple Domain Names

I wouldn’t register multiple domain names for the one business, for example

  • Microbite.com.au
  • MicrobiteWebsites.com.au
  • Microbite.net.au
  • Microbite.com
  • Microbite.net

Instead, I would register the best-fit domain name Microbite.com.au and only focus on that.

When To Use Acronyms

Most 2 and 3 letter premium .com.au domain names are already taken. If you do find a premium .com.au that fits your business name I would take it as it is a very valuable asset.

Apart from that, the only time I would consider an acronym is if you have a long business name and want to keep it for email use only. For example, info@vlbn.com.au would be a lot easier to say over the phone than info@verylongbusinessname.com.au, I would also set up a 301 moved permanently redirect from vlbn.com.au to verylongbusinessname.com.au which would be the main website.

Meta Tags That Google Understands

There are five major types of meta tags worth knowing about that Google Understands. We will discuss then in this article.

Meta Tags
<title>Title Meta Tag</title>
<meta name=”description” content=”Description Meta Tag”>
<meta name='robots' content='noindex,follow' />
<meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0"/>
<meta charset="UTF-8">
Meta Tags
<title>Title Meta Tag</title>

Title Meta Tag

<title>Title Meta Tag</title>

The title meta tag is very important, it is usually shown whenever that page appears in search engine results. It needs to be relevant to the content on your webpage. 

The length of the title should be around 50 – 70 characters long. To find a good title I start to type the title into Google Search and see what the automatic predictions appear. I adjust the title to fit. 

The title should have your catchphrase which includes at least 1 keyword, followed by your business name Eg: Meta Tags That Google Understands – Microbite

Sometimes Google will not use your title if it does not think it matches your content.

Description Meta Tag

<meta name=”description” content=”Description Meta Tag”>

I recommend that you use the description meta tag if you have a clear understanding of your webpage and want to summarise it in different words. Google may choose to use your description meta tag or will automatically generate one for you. Generally, it is 160 characters long.

 

Robots Meta Tag

<meta name='robots' content='noindex,follow' />

If you want Google to not index a page, set meta robots to “noindex,follow.” If you do this then you need to also be consistent in your robots.txt and not include it your sitemap.xml. There are some pages that you do not want to appear on the internet. Eg You haven’t finished publishing the webpage, or the webpage contains personal information that you do not what to appear on the internet via search results or information about Cheddy because you don’t want the internet know that this polar teddy bear exists.

Viewport Meta Tag

<meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0"/>

Without a viewport meta tag, mobile devices render pages at typical desktop screen widths. This meta tag solves the issue for responsive websites only as it uses the device’s screen width to fit the webpage content.

Charset Meta Tag

<meta charset="UTF-8">

Charset UTF-8 is a universal character set  capable of displaying all languages, it is an important meta tag without it your webpage may have missing foreign language characters Eg: Бзиа will display as ????

A website built using WordPress will automatically include most of the meta tags with an option to include others. 

Other meta tags are now redundant in 2019 and do not offer much help when it comes to Google Search Engine Optimisation.

What Causes a Web Page To Load Slowly?

In this artcle, we look at what can cause a web page to load slowly and some ideas on how to improve the loading speed.

Web Page Loading ...
20 %

What Causes a Web Page To Load Slowly?

Most web surfers are either on a 4G mobile network, NBN or ADSL. Most of the time their internet speed is blazing fast and is not be the reason why a website is slow to load.  Below we look at some other reasons that cause web pages to load slowly.

Hosting Provider & Location

Cheap hosting providers are slow. They are usually located outside of Australia, and they share the web server with hundreds of other websites. My recommendation is to use a Melbourne or Australian based hosting provider. Most hosting providers in Australia offer high-quality web hosting.

Size of Your Web Page

The average total web page on the internet in 2018 is 3.1MB. There is nothing wrong if your web page size is bigger as long as you have tried to reduce the size by compressing images and other files.

External Hosting for Videos & Images

It makes sense to host a video on Youtube, this way you save a lot of bandwidth and resources on your website. If you have very large size images you may also consider to host them on a dedicated image hosting website such as Imgur. This can work in your benefit if your resources are limited and to your disadvantage if the external hosting website is down or running slow. 

Internal Hosting for Javascript & Fonts

Every time you reference an external website you need to do a DNS lookup which takes a bit of time. If you have a few external website requests such as javascript and fonts your load time will be slower. It is good to host javascript on your own web server for a couple of other reasons.

  1. If the external website is slow or even down, it may render your own website as non-functional
  2. If the external website is hacked then your own website is compromised.

Multiple Files That Can Be Combined

Every time you request a new file from the web server there is a bit of a delay for the web server to find the file, then to handshake with your computer to establish communication to send the file across. If you have multiple CSS or Javascript files then there are multiple file searches and handshakes, if you can combine these into 1 file then you can save on a few resources.

Program and Script Code Errors

Most programs and script codes have some type of error. The bigger the script or program the more things that can go wrong. It is unavoidable. Some themes or plugins that you purchase may have such severe errors that they crash your website. You will need the technical experience to be able to look into the error log of your web server to start the debugging process. Also if you are running on shared hosting who is to say your neighbour’s website is not riddled with errors that slow down the web server for everyone.

Compatability Errors

Now we get into the more complex. Even if your program and script code work fine, once you combine it with another program or script, you may get a compatibility error. These are even harder to diagnose. It could be a wrong version of PHP or MYSQL, it could be an incompatibility between a theme and a plugin, or maybe 2 different plugins. The more programs & scripts running the greater chance of something breaking.

Not Using a Caching Server

A caching server is a must-have feature on any modern website that deals with database queries. Every time you search the database for some information you are using CPU, RAM and Drive resources. Some queries, if they are complicated, take a few seconds to complete. By using a caching server you save those few seconds on a repeat query requests.

SEO Mistakes

#1. You can’t outsmart Google when it comes to SEO

SEO Mistakes
#1. You can't outsmart Google when it comes to SEO

SEO Mistakes

When the Internet was young in the late 90s, I remember web pages would put hundreds of keywords on the webpage on the bottom and they would make the font very small and the same colour as the background. This would rank the webpage high on the search engine. If you were to do the same thing today, Google would definitely mark your website as SPAM and put it in the ignore list.

There is no Formula

If there is a formula then no-one knows of it. There are a lot of guidelines to do this and do that but there is not one universal formula that will apply to everyone. Yoast may analyse your page and say there are not enough keywords or may say there are too many keywords. This is only a guide and you should definitely not start adding or removing Keywords just because Yoast recommends.

Other SEO websites may say every page needs to have a mission statement to perform well on Google’s Search Results. Their formula is “Our (company) is where (audience) finds (content) for (benefit)”.

Eg; Microbite, where (customers) find (website information) to (help them make informed decisions).

Maybe i misinterpreted the formula? It may apply for some website but it definitely will not apply to most.

Avoid “Guaranteed SEO Results”

When you want to outsource SEO to another company, avoid the ones that guarantee your website on the first page of Google, because no-one can do that, I don’t even think Google can do that. Why? Because the most important thing is to write content that is engaging, informative & unique. Most of the time the person that knows the most about your business and product is you. You may need some guidance on what to focus on when you describe your business but otherwise, you will know what makes you better than the competition. Anyone on the internet that says otherwise I would be cautious of.

Publishing Unoriginal Content

You research on the internet about a topic you would like to put on your website, you see an excellent article that explains exactly what you are trying to say. You think to yourself “Great I will copy and paste this onto my webpage”.  Only do this if you reference the website you are referring to, otherwise, your best option is to summarise what you understood in your own words.

Content That is Automatically Created - Shadow Domains

I remember in the early 2000s I would search for a topic and Google’s search results would bring a list of websites that seemed of a perfect fit, after clicking and taking me to the website I would find out that this was just a computer generated content with articulate words that didn’t make sense. I would try to leave this webpage and popups of advertising would continue to appear. It was a very frustrating experience. You don’t see any of this today, it is mainly because Google has removed these websites from the search results.

Affiliate Content

Usually, this applies to resellers of a product or service. As an example, let us say I sell a new special diet pill that I call Super Kilos Diet, Guaranteed to Gain 2 Kilos a Week. I have my website with information on my product and I offer affiliates to sell for me for a very handsome commission. I have the website marketing all set up, all the affiliates need to do is copy and paste to their own website, they also have the option to change the name from Super Kilos Diet to their own name Diet. 

Google would see these websites as the same and it may come across as spammy. The best way to avoid this is to create unique content that the other affiliate websites do not have.

Keyword Domains - Doorway Pages

I was reading on the internet forums on how others managed to get #1 ranking search results. An interesting idea that sounded plausible was that they would register multiple domains with their service and suburb. For example. They owned a carpet cleaning business then they would register carpetcleaningmelbourne.com.au, carpetcleaningtoorak.com.au, carpetcleaningcaulfield.com.au. They would all link to the same carpet cleaning company. This is a bad idea. However, it may work if you set up only one keyword domain as your business. As soon as Google discovers they link to the same business, either by having the same phone number or email your search rankings will suffer.