SEO must be built into your design

Developing a website is not easy, even if you know how to do it yourself. Imagine spending countless hours coding a great looking site, which says exactly what you want it to say, and fully expecting it to be an instant hit, but nobody notices!  Soul destroying stuff, and surely why so many blogs and sites are abandoned within a year.

The problem is that new sites are hampered enough, just because they’re new, without the added burden of poor SEO. There are however some really simple things you can do yourself to ensure your site has the best foundations for success.

Your own domain name
It seems almost churlish to advise you that you need your own domain name, but even today people still ask whether it’s necessary. It is, so buy one! Of course that doesn’t answer the question about what the best domain name might be, but that’s a whole new can of worms, we’ll return to in detail at another time.

Fast hosting in your target market
Google considers site speed an important metric in whether a site should be listed highly for any natural search, so it’s vital you choose your hosting carefully. Go for servers in your target market and, if you can, test them out for speed before committing yourself. We’re lucky, we’ve been invited to try the hosting being developed for iengine and moved this site over after some blistering speed tests. Currently you’ll have to wait before you’re able to join us, but a good alternative is Fast Hosts.

Build your site for speed
There’s no point paying for super-fast hosting if your site is bloated and slow. Optimise images either with photoshop or similar, or online using sites like jpegMini or compressor.io. If you’re using SVGs optimise them with svgomg. Minify your CSS and javascript using some of Dan’s Tools.

Optimise your meta data
The meta data your pages use is still important, so pay attention to it. Besides title and description, there are a number of meta tags which help search engines identify your content. Adding schema data, you can also link your social media networks to your site.

Test your site’s SEO regularly¬†
If you’ve optimised everything and you think your site is ready for the public, test it first with some of the many SEO testing tools. It’s easy to forget something, like making a robots.txt file or adding grip compression, so use a tool like Searcher to get a heads up.

Add Social Media networks
A website not connected to social media networks is doomed to fail. You will need to communicate with your users in the places they enhabit. Create Twitter accounts and Facebook pages, at the very least. Think carefully about how much time you can commit to this however, and use tools like Buffer to make it a bit more manageable.

Get links from good places
Submit your sitemap and validate your site with Google and Bing, but don’t expect to rank for anything. You need links from good places before you’ll be found. You want to find sites in your industry which might review your services because they’re interested in them and not because money has been exchanged. Never buy links!

Get a blog if you’re not blog already
Maintining interest in your site is an ongoing process and the easiest way to do so is by blogging. WordPress is the best blogging platform by far and many hosting companies will have easy WordPress installation via your hosting control panel, such as cpanel or plesk. If that seems like too much trouble, and you will need to maintain your WordPress blog regularly, go with Medium as an external blog you link to.