Review The SEO and Design Of A New Site... Thoughts?

by Chris Roberts 9 replies
Hi Warriors. I'm a long time lurker, first time poster. I'm looking forward to sharing advice, tips and successes in the future . . . but for now I am looking for advice to improve my first website.

My primary goal is to maximize the amount of organic traffic I can generate (and also attract visitors from social media).

Recently I have been working on my first website that covers my hometown of Chester in the UK -

I thank you in advance for your expert thoughts, tips, advice and reviews.

I have self taught html and css (no javascript yet) and I'm currently learning php (self taught and attending monthly CodeUp drop in sessions) with the view to make the site dynamic. Over the last week I have used bootstrap to make the site mobile responsive (so there is javascript there, but it is a black box to me). I'm aware a lot of the advice is to start with wordpress, however I like complete creative control, and broadening my web development skill set is a secondary goal of the project.

I guess I am still at the point of throwing loads at the wall and seeing what sticks. I understand the importance of honing in on a niche, but I am trying to cater to both Chester locals (News, Weather, Jobs, What's On etc) as well as tourists (Attractions, Hotels etc). Once I analyse what is working I will do more of that (and cull what is failing).

I am thoroughly enjoying the learning experience. I used to go fishing, and I see this as throwing out the ground bait. Once I have attracted enough hungry fish I will start seriously looking into monitising. There is no rush, I'm not looking for a get rich quick scheme, cash from this venture is not the main objective. It is more of an exercise in creating as much buzz and traffic from nothing.

With that said I am doing this on a shoe string, other than the domain name already purchased I am not looking to really spend much more money. I am happy to sink plenty of time into it, but not paid for traffic or adverts.

In April I started a Twitter account and have just over 3,000 followers. For this I follow various RSS feeds on Chester, then for 30 min on a Sunday evening I re-write the best content into short posts with an image and links, and schedule 2 - 4 tweets a day for the next week. I hash tag and use the follow un-follow strategy.

I bought the domain name and made my homepage live at the beginning of June. I have submitted xml sitemaps to both Google and Bing.

I have Google Analytics integrated so I can monitor traffic.

For SEO I have made sure my URL's contain keywords identified from my research using Google's keyword planner. I have internal links and have started to network offline with others in the Chester community, and so have just got my first back link's from another Chester site.

Feel free to view the sites source code. You will see I have added meta data for Google, open graph meta data for Facebook and meta data for Twitter cards.

I have embedded social media sharing buttons on every page, tried to minimise image file sizes as much as possible and included alt tags with keywords.

I have also integrated Tynt on every page, so I can capture email addresses and start building a list (but haven't had much success with sign ups).

The Twitter account seems to have taken off. The Facebook page isn't really doing much. My friends in Chester liked the page in the first week, and since then it has only gained a hand full of likes (tbf I don't really post specifically to Facebook, it is just reposting the tweets - I read that you should focus on one thing at a time, but I figured if I am spending the time with Twitter, I'd kill two birds with one stone by automatically reposting to Facebook).

Pinterest is generating some traffic, but not really gaining any followers. I recently started Instagram and so I am just experimenting with that at the moment.

The website has a lot of widgets and iframes embedded for fresh new content (News, Jobs, Weather etc) for repeat visitors and I am aware that this does nothing to help with SEO.

My next step is to add a lot more unique text content on things like attractions. I have plenty of word files of information that needs re-writing and posting.

Thanks for reading . . . I apologize for the length of the post, but I noticed a trend of Warriors hating vague posts and questions.

Any and all tips and suggestions for helping me rank in search engines, generating more traffic or optimizing the site and marketing strategy will be greatly appreciated.

Chris -
#search engine optimization #attract #fish #groundbait #hungry #thoughts #website
Avatar of Unregistered
  • Profile picture of the author markhimeb
    Hi Chris.
    First off, Congrats for what you did till now and they way you are working on your project. I usually discourage ppl seeking for ways to build their sites on free traffic, but this is not the case with you. I like the fact that you are enjoying this whole process and you are using it as means to learn things, which --in my opinion-- is the only way to succeed in internet marketing.

    The one thing I would do different is I would start with a WP premium theme and customize it according to my needs. However, as a way to broaden your web development skills this seems acceptable, too.

    The only thing I would suggest you to check is your site loading time. No one is going to wait over 3-4 seconds for a page to load and your home page makes a lot more than that.

    Just a couple of thoughts...

    PS. If your posts have the quality of writing of this thread then you have nothing to worry about.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[11174331].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author Chris Roberts
      Thanks markhimeb. I take on board your point about a wordpress premium theme. I would probably offer the exact same advice to somebody who was focusing on content and internet marketing, who wasn't interested in getting involved in the techie coding side of things. For a relatively small price you can get a completely polished platform to showcase your content. In my case though getting my hands dirty in the code is a major part of the fun. Hopefully as my skills develop the site will evolve into a more professional look.

      One of the options I am playing with in the future is offering my web design skills to Chester businesses. If they want a small site where they provide content up front and rarely have updates I will hand code. If they will frequently update text, imagery and other content I will take your suggestion and go down the wordpress route, and then provide support and a user guide for them to update themselves.

      With the site loading time I think it is the widgets and iframes that are the bottleneck at the moment. A developer friend said that I could use the api's directly to sort out the speeds, however this would involve a substantial amount of additional learning and a lot more work on my part. So for now I guess I just have to put up with it, unless anybody else has suggestions? I suppose once I provide more unique content on the site, I will be able to remove some of the widgets and iframes, which should speed things up.

      Cheers again for your response.

      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[11174345].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author jeandevenish
    I will make my point on social media.

    As soon as you can, try to get fresh and organic content to Facebook. Facebook does not apreciatte canned content from other sources. You can try using the same posts but writing them (and putting them on schedule) on Facebook directly.

    You may see a change in results soon.

    Keep up the good work.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[11176379].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Chris Roberts
    Thanks for the Advice jeandevenish.

    When you say fresh and organic content on Facebook, would linking out to a completely new blog post I have written count? or would I have to post the blog post directly onto Facebook?

    Best wishes,

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[11176490].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author jeandevenish
    Both works, but I was talking about the second option: Post the Blog post directly to Facebook.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[11177360].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Aditya Bajaj
    Hi Mate took a quick look at your site it looks like a spam box from the first moment. I looked at it. The socials plugins really dont help in SEO as the API calls will slow your site down like crazy.

    You got to go easy on the links and create more reliant content as well.

    the only social plugin you should be using is facebook comments.

    Looking under the hood I can see you have used intensive meta tagging but there is no benefit to adding it before the title tag and the traditional SEO tags.

    I can also see you dont have HTTPS which you need to install before you even think about SEO. I hope this helps

    Adity Bajaj
    SEO consultant at mindmysearch
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[11183073].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author Chris Roberts
      Cheers Aditya Bajaj for your honest feedback and going in depth looking under the hood.

      So my plan of action should be to get HTTPS as Google now favours secure sites (even for sites where users are not required to sign in or provide sensitive data), strip out the social plugins and use Facebook comments where appropriate?

      You said to go easy on the links. Do you mean links to external sites or links pointing to internal pages?

      So I should keep the meta tags but move them under the title tag?

      To be honest I don't really understand the exact term "Spam Box". I did a quick Google search but it just returned results for Email Spam and Spam Folders. "Spam Box" is obviously a negative term, but could you please elaborate and define it. Also what steps can I take to not be seen as a Spam Box?

      Thanks again for your thoughts.

      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[11183172].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Aditya Bajaj
    Google is smart enough to detect your header links from that it is able to give your web page something called link juice. Now if I give myself many link via the text the link juice will spread out between them. So if you have 20 link in 2 paragraphs you are already spreading that link juice very thin.

    If you are giving other sites links make sure you use rel-nofollow Google will reward you for this as then it thinks you are creating genuine content.

    You should move the meta's down and definitely keep external calls to a minimum.

    Do research on things like keyword stuffing and link to text ratios to help you understand what I am saying better.

    HTTPs is a must . Even if you have no transactions.

    You can also work on improving your google page speed
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[11183198].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Chris Roberts
    Thanks for the speedy reply. I will implement your suggestions.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[11183310].message }}
Avatar of Unregistered

Trending Topics