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Website Maintenance. The Small Business Equivalent to Cleaning Your Oven
- Gaynor Humphrey
The one thing about being on lock down is that unless you have small children to look after we have all suddenly found ourselves with a lot more time on our hands. As a small toy company we are using this time to do a lot of house keeping on our website.
Many of you may be using the opportunity to clean things in your house or shop that have normally been neglected but if this is already getting tedious we have suggestions for you as to how to do a Spring clean of your website.
There are 2 specific things that we look for as they are the most common issues with SME websites
- Broken Links
- Over large images
These mostly occur when you include a spelling mistake in a link or where you move a product from one product category to another. So when we first introduce a product we put it in to “New” and then after a while it will just be moved in to its normal product category, for instance “Dinosaur Toys” We also have specific seasonal product categories such as Xmas and then occasional promotional product categories. Unless you redirect the link once you move the product out of any of these product categories you will be left with a broken link.
The problem with this is two fold. Firstly if a customer clicks on a broken link then they are going to be very irritated if they end up with a 404 screen. Its never a good look if the first introduction to you company is a 404 screen! Secondly Google hates broken links. Its not going to care about one or two but if most of the time it spends on your website is used crawling broken links it will “mark you down”
There are several ways to identify broken links on your website. We use Google Search Console but there is also software such as Xenus Link Sleuth which will show you how many broken links you have.
Each broken link needs to be redirected to where the product now is, or if you have discontinued the product then to a similar one. So if you had the orange diplodocus rattle and now stock the stripe diplodocus then redirect the orange to the stripe.
Be warned! If you have never done this before it may take some time to re-direct all the links. When we first did this exercise we had hundreds of broken links stretching back years so it took us a considerable amount of time to clean up.
Over large images.
The big problem with over large images is that they slow down the speed that your website is downloaded. Google recommends that your download speed should be under 2.5 seconds. We have never managed to achieve this and currently rate at 3.4 seconds which is on the slow side so we can definitely not claim to be experts in this!
If you want to know how fast your website loads its very easy to check with www.thinkwithgoogle.com
Our main problem has historically been over large images and now we work to a few simple parameters. Images need to be JPEG, no larger than 125kb and measure 800 x 300 pixels.
To individually check the size of images you right click on it, select properties and it will tell you the size. To get a file of any over large images you will need to ask the person who looks after your website!
So there are 2 jobs which could take hours but will make a huge difference to your website visibility. Better than cleaning your oven?