5 Invisible Best Practices for Your New Website

perfect_by_designWorried that your new website is missing a few important details? Learn about 5 “invisible” best practices that will help your new website.

Before you roll out your new website design, talk to your website designer about each of these.  Make sure you have implemented the following 5 best practices:

404 Page Setup – A 404 error page is a “whoops” page that your website visitors see when they go to a malformed or non-existent web-page.  Make sure you have 404 page that fits the character of your website and shepherds all those lost visitors back into your website.  With a new website, you are bound to get a few “whoops” visitors.

  • Tip: consider monitoring this page to see if there are any major sources of traffic that need accounted for.
  • Benefit: it is easier to keep a visitor than get a new one!
  • Learn More about 404 pages

301 Redirects - When you build your new website, your page names change (ie from www.yourdomain.com/oldpage.htm to www.yourdomain.com/newpage.php).

This confuses the heck out of search engines and can cause lower rankings and lost visitors.  Make sure you set up a 301 redirect for each old page of your website to a new page.

  • Tip: Ask your new designer to work with your host on this.
  • Tip: Ask for the list of 301s they are implementing.
  • Benefit: More visitors to your website.
  • Learn more about 301 redirects

Sitemaps – Always make a simple sitemap available to your users and search engines.  Make it easy to see, typically linking from the footer:

  • Tip: Make it read nicely and be easily skimmable, many humans use these.
  • Tip: If your website has hundreds (or more) pages, break sitemaps up into usable chunks and put on different pages.
  • Benefit: helps your users and search engines navigate your website
  • Learn more about sitemaps

Analytics - Make sure your Google Analytics is setup. The only reason NOT to use Google Analytics is you already have a different tool.

  • Tip: Make sure it is installed on every page of your website.
  • Tip: try setting up goal funnels and revenue tracking.
  • Learn more about Analytics

Google Webmaster Tools – Benefit from the unique insights available via Google Webmaster Tools. Google shows you how it sees your website and alerts you to any problems.

  • Tip: Once your site is registered with Webmaster Tools, leave a comment on Sidewiki
  • Benefit: Excellent tool for troubleshooting problems with your rankings.
  • Learn More about Google Webmaster Tools

Having these 5 invisible yet important elements installed in your website will protect your new website from losing visitors and give you best of breed analytics and reporting directly from Google.

Comments

  1. 5 tips helpful, really worth Priyantha to adopt when designing new and upgrading old sites, thanks

  2. Thanks your post. This is more like website hosting 101. For newbies like me, this is great info!!

  3. Hmm I didnt realise you could add google analytics to each page, as previous trackers ive used always had problems doing this, I might well try this.

  4. Trent:

    Good post. Good advice. People don’t know that they should be getting these things from their web developers/providers.

    I’ve put my own thoughts in a post and I’m working on a series focusing on common website problems. Most are common across any small business websites, but my target audience is inns, B&Bs, small hotels.

    http://www.sitevalet.com/blog/whatswrongseries-code/

    Keep it up. You’ve got some great advice here.

    DAVE