How To Avoid 6 Common Website Mistakes That Cost Money

According to a recent article, 6 Common Website Mistakes That Cost Money are:

1. JavaScript or other crawler-unfriendly navigation that may impede indexing

This one is best avoided at design-time, by including Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0 Level A in the design brief, but if you’ve ended up with JavaScript-based navigation on your site (check by doing “View Source” and searching for the code for your home page link and so on – if you can find it, then it’s probably not javascript) and it’s based on some template system, a webmaster can probably do a whole-site edit to put the navigation links in the page properly – or at least add a useful <noscript> tag.

2. Navigation that buries important pages within the site architecture.

The structure of the website’s files and the structure of the link menus do not need to match, so if there’s a page that you feel is important, get your webmaster to add it to the navigation links across the whole site.

3. Duplicate “pages” getting indexed under multiple URLs.

This usually happens for one of two reasons: one is inappropriately-parked domains, which is mistake 6 below and often fairly easy to fix; the other is a misbehaving web application, which you’ll need to get a programmer to fix.

You can do a simple test of your web application by starting at your homepage and following links to a particular page; then open a new browser window and try to reach the same page by different links (or a site search) and compare the address bars (the bit of your browser showing http://) – do they match? If not, you’ve got this problem.

4. No keyword phrase focus in the content or conversely, keyword phrase stuffing

You can use a good word-counter on the text to see how common different keywords and keyphrases, or use the “webmaster tools” section of some search engines to see what they’re focusing on.

Keyword-stuffing can be fairly easy to see. If you “View Source” on a page and there’s a large block of keyword-intensive text somewhere in it that doesn’t appear it when viewed in a browser, then it’s probably stuffing. Many sites regard stuffing as a sort of spam, so you don’t want to be found doing this.

To fix these problems, rewrite the page text appropriately.

5. An optimized home page, but that’s it

Repeat your checks from problem 4 on a few pages other than the home page to discover whether you suffer from this. Also, see whether your website statistics show search engine visitors arriving at a variety of different pages (these are sometimes called “Entry Page” statistics).

6. Additional domains owned by the company are not properly redirected

If you usually use, but you also have a .com domain, try visiting a random page on your website, then click in the address bar and replace the with .com – what happens?

If the page is Not Found, then your domains aren’t properly redirected and you need a Redirect adding to the second one.

If the page displays but the address doesn’t change itself back, then your domains are probably pointing at the same webspace but aren’t properly redirected, which will mean you’re probably making mistake 3 above. Usually, the simplest way to fix this is with a conditional redirect. On Apache webservers, you can add a .htaccess file containing something like:-

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !^$ [NC]
RewriteRule (.*)$1 [R=permanent,L]

That even works on BT Business web hosting, by the way. If it doesn’t work, try asking your web hosting provider to enable mod_rewrite for you or ask them to suggest how to achieve the same result.

The above list of mistakes was published on Search Engine Land last week. The correction methods are all things used by my webmaster cooperative.

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