Shoe Laces

It is entirely possible you start every day by screwing up. Tying your shoes is something everyone who graduated kindergarten can do without thinking, but you could be doing it backwards. The same is true of your website. Common tasks like reading your web traffic, updating software and signing your name to a blog post are easy. But you’re probably doing them wrong.

Now, this doesn’t mean you’ve failed at Internet marketing. But you’re probably making this vital activity harder than it needs to be. Take shoe tying as an example.

Most people wrap the lace around the front of the loop. Tying the knot this way causes your laces to stick up awkwardly and eventually fall apart so you have to do it all again. There’s a better way. Instead, start tying your knot as you normally would, but wrap the lace around the back of the loop instead. Watch stylish web series Put This On to learn how. Skip to the 8:17 mark to get right to this life changing tip.

Just like with your laces, simple changes to your website routine can prevent annoying breakdowns and help you make your best impression on potential customers. Let’s take on website stats for a start.

Read the Right Stats for the Right Reasons

If you own a WordPress website, you should have two tools for tracking activity and traffic. One is the essential Jetpack plugin. This software packages a slew of useful functions developed by the same community that maintains WordPress. The most important function is Site Stats. The other stats tool you should have is Google Analytics.

What’s the difference? You can spend significant time resources poring over the data captured by Google about your website. If you’re a small business owner with a growing online audience, it can be overwhelming. But you don’t have to look at Google Analytics every day under normal circumstances.

Instead, I recommend checking on your website with Jetpack’s Site Stats. It’s like a snapshot of your traffic that’s easier to skim, process and act on. Save your time resources and look to Google Analytics when it’s time to review your overall strategy or if you need more information about an unusual data pattern in Site Stats.

Take Care of Your Updates

WordPress and the community of theme and plugin developers frequently release updates to their code. These are mostly little fixes that correct problems you’d never notice. Notifications about updates appear in your WordPress Dashboard in yellow boxes. Click on the link in one of them or look for Updates under Dashboard in the left-hand control panel. Then take care of business and run your available updates.

Like the “Check Engine” light in your care, you could ignore the notification for a day or a week and everything will be fine. But ignore updates for 6 months to a year and your website will get hacked, your customers will be angry and you will have to pay someone to fix it in a rush. Avoid a crisis and keep your website up to date. If you have questions about an update, the best resource is your website’s original developer. Our current and past clients know they can always call for a quick tip about updates.

Use Your Real Name on Blog Posts, Not “admin”

There was a time when anonymity was easy and normal for users on the web. No one cared if a blog post was written by OptimusPrime83 or Webmaster. However, Facebook and Google+ require users to display their real names, making online anonymity is a thing of the past. Identifying by a handle or username on your blog now makes it look like you’re hiding something.

Increase your credibility with readers by posting under your real name and set up an author bio page with a picture of you. If you have multiple authors currently writing under one username, create new author accounts on your blog, introduce the authors to your readers and start giving credit to those individual writers. By linking the blog posts to real people, readers feel better connected to your business. This transparency is critical for small business. Customers trust you more when they can see your face.

You’ll also benefit from building credibility in Google’s Author Rank system. Follow these steps to link your authors’ Google+ profiles to your blog. Soon, their profile picture will show up in Google Search next to any blog post they’ve written. Details of the impact on your organic search ranking for participating is one of Google’s mysteries, but it’s undoubtedly an easy step with positive effects.

Have questions about WordPress, stats, or shoelaces? Let us know in the comments.

photo credit: hyekab25 via photopin cc