Websites have become an integral part of businesses and individuals who want to expand their reach. A website creates brand awareness. It helps to establish your image by letting people know about you and what you represent.
People tend to search on Google when they hear about you and your products/services for the first time. This is exactly when you want to ensure that they get adequate, relevant, and up-to-date information about the same.
The website can help you reach your target audience, showcase your work and possibly help in generating leads for your business.
At a very macro level, we can categorize the websites into 3 categories:-
- Website developed using CMS. For example-: WordPress.
- A custom-made website that does not involve any CMS.
- A hybrid website in which some parts are custom made and other sections like the blog, news, etc. are developed using a CMS.
One of the primary objectives of the website is to communicate the information to the users.
There are certain aspects of the websites that are often overlooked and it can have a negative impact on the outcomes that you may be expecting from the website.
Let us discuss the aspects of the websites that you should not overlook while developing the website.
URL structure contains file extensions
This often happens on custom-made websites. We see “.html” or “.php” extensions at the end of the URL.
Search engines index the URLs on your website regularly.
If in the future, you decide to use different technology or a CMS, the extensions of all the URLs will also change.
As search engines have already indexed your previous URLs with extensions, you will start getting errors in Search Console. When people visit the website, they will see a 404 – page not found – error.
In such a case, you’ll have to find some solutions to inform the search engines about the new location of those pages and also add auto-redirections to send users to the new locations.
To avoid this, make sure your pages do not have any extensions.
URLs are generated using GET parameters
Try to avoid GET request parameters in the URL of the top-level pages of your website. The main purpose of the GET parameters is to track certain data or add some dynamic parameters to the page. But, if the page is a unique destination on your website for the end-user, the page URL or page path should not be built using GET parameters.
E.g. Instead of https://ww.example.com?service=painting, you should use https://www.example.com/service/painting
URLs contain underscores and special characters
Instead of underscore( _ ), you should use hyphens( – ). Google treats a hyphen as a word separator which also helps Google understand the URL structure. Unfortunately, underscores are not treated that way. So, always replace spaces with hyphens.
Web browsers convert special characters in URLs like &, !, etc. into ASCII characters. Hence, you should try to avoid these in URLs.
SEO tags are missing or the same tags are used on all the pages
Each page should have a separate and unique title and meta description tags in the <head> section of the HTML code. There should also be a separate structured snippet on each page.
Often we see that all the pages on the website have the same titles and meta descriptions. The structured snippets are also missing in the source code.
Page title, meta description and structured snippets are important for SEO and hence, you should take care of this from the beginning.
Browser Caching not enabled
All the websites use certain resources that are repeated throughout the website.
If the browser caching is not enabled, the end user’s web browsers download those resources every time they visit a page on the website.
Enabling browser caching will not only reduce the website loading time but will also save the bandwidth of your hosting server.
Missing or not maintained sitemap.xml file
Many businesses don’t add or maintain the sitemap.xml file on the server. This file is used by search engines to understand the URL structure of the website.
Generate and upload the sitemap.xml file on the server, submit it to Google, and keep it up to date.
Errors in the robots.txt file
Often overlooked, the robots.txt file contains the rules that tell the search engine crawlers about how they can crawl/access/index your website.
Any error in the rules added in the robots.txt file can cause serious damage to your search engine rankings.
“noindex” and “nofollow” tags are not removed even after deploying the website.
When the website is under development, it is advised to add these tags on all the pages of the website so it is not crawled by search engines, but many times developers forget to remove these tags. Search engines don’t crawl the index pages that have these tags.
Remove the nofollow and noindex tags from all those pages that you want to be indexed by search engines.
Not adding a valid SSL certificate on the website
All the web browser’s URL bar turns red when we start entering any information on the websites that don’t have a valid SSL certificate.
Many people don’t fill out the contact form when they see the “Not Secure” message while entering the form. Install a valid SSL on your website today and keep updating it whenever it expires.
If you are a website owner, ask your developer to check these aspects and rectify them as early as possible.