I know I covered web page size a few times but I thought a few more things to say. Web page Load times are very important especially for WordPress blogs. Many people are switching to dial up or switching to lower speed broadband to save money. AT&T offers a 750k service for $20 a month now. Even if that were not the case I know everybody has dealt with slow web page load times on their expensive high speed connections. If you have a cable modem you are sharing an Internet connection with your whole street probably. Not to mention many people share an Internet connection in their home. If you live with somebody that plays games and/or downloads movies and music you have seen slow web page load times. Even if Google analytics is showing you 5% dial up users that does not mean you donâ€™t have to worry about slow web page load times.
The problem is that many websites are built on top of some CMS or shopping cart. It may be impossible for some people to make these changes. The advice I give is that if your website is doing well and making you money it is worth the investment to redo the site so that it loads faster. If your just starting out or already invested a lot into a website it may not be worth the extra expense. Slow web page load times will not kill your site I’m just talking about how to make your site better. If your running a business you should always be looking for little ways to squeeze out more profit. I mentioned in a previous post on this subject that Google Maps reduced their page size by 30% and traffic went up 30%. I have also read that you have anywhere from 3 to 5 seconds to convince people to not to hit the back button. If your content does not load very fast you will lose sales.
Do you have a 404 strategy? Do you know what a 404 is? First off lets describe what a 404 is just in case you donâ€™t know. When somebody comes to your website using a URL that does not exist by default your server will just send the user a 404 error which shows your visitor a white page with huge letters that say â€śNOT FOUNDâ€ť. Most the time the person just hits the back button and moves on. The answer to the other question should be obvious.
Iâ€™m not going to get into the technical side of how to create a 404 page there are lots of blog posts and articles already out there. Iâ€™m going to talk about your strategy. What is your goal? Do you want to entertain, solve the problem, or act like nothing happened?
Here is a list of strategies that people use and the pros and cons of each.
1. Redirect all 404 traffic to the front page. This only slightly better than doing nothing. This confuses some people. They clicked on a specific link and they end up at your front page that may have nothing to do with what they clicked on.
2. Create a template page of your website and put a page not found message on that. With this method at least now they know that something went wrong but still does not help the person. They still canâ€™t find what they are looking for.
3. Create a custom 404 page with some logic that tries to guess what the person is looking for. I would also put a search box on this page as well. If part of the URL is correct like the folder you can have a specific 404 landing page with a list of things they might be looking for. Try to help the visitor find what they need.
4. Create some gimmick like a funny video, cartoon, or game. This can get you some attention and might get you some viral attention. Here are some examples.
Another benefit to using a custom 404 page is that you can put your analytics code on it. If you donâ€™t have a custom 404 page it will not show up in Google Analytics. You need to modify the tracking code on your 404 page so donâ€™t just use the normal footer. Here is a link to how to modify that code. It is very important to monitor your 404 errors. You can find where people have linked to you incorrectly. You can send them a message to fix it or 301 redirect it to the correct page.
Windows Vista just came out and offers a neat gadget bar on the desktop where you can put gadgets like clocks, rss feeds, calculators. You can create all kinds of tools that can get you publicity. Just like creating firefox add ons, and google gadgets. Visit www.gadgetspark.com to find out about creating your own gadget. Windows is new but there are lots of people getting it and they are looking for gadgets to try out on their new vista gadget bar. Windows Vista is not just being used by first adopters it is your only choice on many new computers. So your audience is first adopters with lots of money and people with new computers who typically have extra spending money.
I was reading over at Silicon Valley Watcher that Friday 2/9/07 a study is going to be released by Susan Feldman, a senior analyst at IDC. She says “that the large search engines had only about 30 per cent of the search query traffic.”
The point is that SEO is not where it is at. When I help companies with their websites I have always talked about non-search engine traffic but I never really new that it was this important. Read more…