If you have a blog or website and are not getting as many visitors as you would like, what could be wrong? Here are 11 of the most common mistakes that people are making on their site.
One of the most common complaints from bloggers and website owners is that not enough people are visiting or viewing posts. When the visitor numbers and post views are low, it makes everything else much more difficult. It is harder to make money from adverts and affiliates, it is harder to get noticed by Google, Bing, DuckDuckGo search engines, it is harder to persuade sponsors that your site is worth paying to be featured, it is harder to get feedback and comments on posts. Why is your website not more successful?
Make your site a success
Here are 11 reasons why your site might be failing and the most common blogging mistakes. They are not the only reasons and there are many more, but if you can solve these problems, you will be on your way to making your site a success.
1 Not enough time spent promoting
It is easy to fall into the trap of spending all or most of your time building a site and writing posts. If you build it, people will come, you might think. Well, they won’t. The problem is that some estimates put the number of blogs at 500 million, with up to 2 million new blog posts a day.
To get people to visit your site and read posts, you need to promote them in some way. This could be through social shares, by advertising, or using other methods – get a car bumper sticker with your site’s URL, put your blog in your email signature, and so on. It all helps.
Share links wherever and whenever you can and spend time thinking of ways you can tell people about your site and posts. Once some high quality posts are on a site, some people spend as much as 50% of their time promoting them.
2 Not checking your site on phones
Mobile phones are being used more and more for browsing the web these days and it is quite likely that half of your site’s visitors are viewing it on a phone. This means that it is critically important that the site looks good and works well on a small screen.
Go to the homepage of your site on your phone and check that the title, logo, main image, and other items are all clearly visible and readable. The WordPress theme used by the site should work well on phones and if it doesn’t, it should be changed for one that does.
Problems are usually obvious and you may find for example, the featured image or site title cut off because the phone’s screen is not wide enough to display it. Sharing buttons in the left margin might overlap some of the text making it awkward to read. The text might be too small for some people, and so on.
Ask a friend with a different model of phone to try your site and make sure it is OK. Check more than just the home page, check posts too.
3 Not installing security plugins
WordPress websites are under constant attack from hackers and they will try a variety of ways to gain access. Some try to guess the admin username and password and repeatedly try different combinations. Others use security flaws in WordPress or plugins to get in through a backdoor.
A security plugin must be installed in WordPress and there are several good ones to choose from. Go to Plugins > Add New and search for ‘security’. Wordfence and All in One WP Security & Firewall have millions of installs between them, but there are several others.
4 Not enough words in each post
The length of posts on your site is critically important for its success. It is a well known fact that longer posts are better than short ones and they tend to get more views, more shares and more backlinks. Backlinks are important for rising up the results order in search.
How long should a post be? Posts on news sites are sometimes short because of their subject, but this is an exception and generally you should aim to write 1,000 words or more. Not just any words of course, and the content has to be interesting and relevant.
Don’t waffle on about nothing or pad out the text to reach 1,000 words, that just won’t work. Stick to the subject, plan the article and cover the content thoroughly.
For this article for example, I created 11 sub-headings and so would only have to write 100 words for each one for the whole post to exceed 1,000 words. Breaking down an article into short sections is a good way to hit word targets.
5 Not doing keyword research
Posts should contain keywords and these are the words and short phrases that people might enter at search engines like Google, Bing and DuckDuckGo. If people search for ‘best apple pie recipe’ and you have those keywords in a post or title, you could feature high in the search results, maybe even the first page.
Before writing an article for your site, open Google in your browser’s incognito or private window. Begin typing a word and see what suggestions appear. There will be around 10 of them and you should use as many as you can in your post.
There are some great services that go much further than that simple method of finding keywords and some people spend hours using tools like Ubersuggest, Moz Keyword Explorer, SEOprofiler and others to find the best keywords and phrases for the subject they intend writing about. Ubersuggest is free, but many services aren’t.
6 Not building your email list
You might be getting visitors from Google, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and so on, but all these services can be taken away from you. You could land in Facebook jail, get locked out of Instagram, blocked on Pinterest and so on. This can have a devastating effect on your site’s traffic and page views could plummet.
If you build email subscribers then they are a more reliable way to promote your site and sell your goods, services or affiliate products. They can be emailed with a weekly newsletter containing news, information about the latest post on your site, services you offer and so on.
An email service provider is needed because you will need to send emails in bulk – hundreds or thousands at a time – and this cannot be done with a normal email account. Use a service like MailChimp, Benchmark, Mailerlite, SendInBlue or one of the many others. Many are free for people starting out with 1 or 2,000 subscribers.
Put an email subscription form on your site – you have no doubt seen the pop-ups on other sites asking if you want to subscribe. Add one to yours.
7 Not including essential pages
All websites and blogs should contain certain basic pages and these include an About page that describes who is behind the website and what the purpose of it is. It needs to include contact information and at the bare minimum this should be an email address. You could also include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other ways people can contact you. Businesses can include a postal address.
8 Not providing simple navigation
There will be links to posts and pages on the homepage and a menu, but will people be able to find ALL the posts on your site? Every single post should be accessible one way or another and the simpler posts are to find, the more likely people will be to read them. It is not only good for visitors, it is essential for search engines to be able to find all the posts on your site easily.
there are many ways to do this and this site has an archive page (on the Home sub-menu) that lists every post, ever. You could also put categories on a menu and there are examples in the menu bar at the top of this page.
However you do it, make it simple and obvious, and link to every post and page somewhere. Read Create an archive page on your blog to help visitors discover posts.
9 Not optimising images
The speed of a website is important and when pages are slow to display they frustrate users and they are less likely to stop and read your content. They may leave and not come back. A slow website is less likely to appear high up in search results because it is a ranking factor, one of many of course, but an important one.
Images should be optimised before they are uploaded and this means shrinking the width to the width of the web page. If a page is 700 or 900 pixels for wide for example, there is little point in uploading photos direct from your phone or camera that are 5,000 pixels wide. Shrink the dimensions in a photo editor like Photoshop or GIMP, which is free.
After uploading an image, WordPress automatically generates multiple versions of the image at different sizes. Use the Smush plugin or something similar to shrink the image file sizes.
10 Not analysing site statistics
Which posts are the most popular on your website? Which pages have seen few visitors over the last month? If you know which posts are the most popular, you can create more like them. For example, if a post about a trip to Australia was popular, you could write more posts about travelling around Australia.
If you know which posts are not getting many views, you can try changing the headline, adding more photos and a few more paragraphs of text. Make them better and more people might want to read them.
Google Analytics is a popular choice for analysing visitor numbers, what pages are the most and least popular, and so on. However, there are other ways, such as How to track page views and show a counter in WordPress posts.
11 Not providing internal links
Getting people to visit your site is difficult, so shouldn’t you put some effort into keeping them on your site when they do visit? Internal links are links to other pages on your website that might interest readers.
So if you had a recipe for apple pie, a link to another page with a recipe for cherry pie might interest people. A page about the best places to stay in New York could link to a page about the best places to visit in New York.
Think about related posts and link to them. There are some plugins that can post thumbnails of related posts either at the end of posts or in the sidebar, see How to show related posts links and thumbnails in WordPress posts.