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A website is for life, not just for Christmas.

Clients and friends often ask me, “Why is my website not doing well? Why is my traffic going down not up? Why am I slipping down the Google rankings?” Now obviously, there could be a myriad of reasons, but generally, it often boils down to one thing: LOVE!

To have a successful website you have to pay it attention. Just like a puppy, you can’t expect it to manage all on it’s own from day one, no matter how pretty it looks. So here are six helpful tips on how to treat your website as if it were your dog, and give it the love and attention it craves:

1) Careful grooming

It’s important to keep your website looking spruce and sexy at all times. So that means keeping up with current design trends and giving your site a makeover every couple of years. If you’re using WordPress, this is as easy as installing a new theme.

2) Regular exercise

Websites need to work for a living: if you just let them sit there all day they’ll get dull and sluggish. So, be sure to add content to your site regularly, ideally adding a blog post once a week and keeping all your other pages current and relevant. Too often one sees Testimonial pages with age-old quotes, out of date client pages and even incorrect address and contact details!

3) Regular health checks

Keeping up to date with your site’s ‘health’ is vital for ensuring consistent and continued traffic. Some regular website health checks should include:

  • Installing strong anti-virus Plugins (if using WordPress).
  • Reviewing your Google Analytics results to check on top keywords, popular pages, exit pages, etc., and updating the site to take advantage of any findings.
  • Googling your keywords to see where you rank.
  • Trying out new keywords based on competitor activity, current events and new services.
  • Reviewing your hosting and ensuring it’s in line with your needs as your site grows.

4) Socialisation

Websites like to be linked to other websites – they are essentially social beasts. This isn’t going to just miraculously happen; you need to work at it.

In my experience, automated link building services don’t add half the value that manual linking does. Be sure to hook your site up to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Stumbleupon, Plaxo, Flickr, Youtube, etc. Also, be sure to register yourself on good quality free listings sites like hotfrog, Yellow Pages, Startlocal, Truelocal, etc.

Contact your friends and colleagues and ask if they’ll be willing to link to you. The higher the number of good quality links you have (preferably in the same type of business as yours), the better your domain authority will be and, as a result, your Google ranking.

5) A good diet

As a website owner, it’s important that you feed yourself and your site a good diet of interesting ‘stuff’. So, if your industry is ‘selling cheese’ you should be keeping up to date with interesting cheese related stories, industry news, innovation, new recipes, etc. By consuming all this knowledge, you’ll improve the quality of your site content and blog posts, making it more interesting and engaging.

6) Quality time

For many small business, their website is the NUMBER ONE traffic driver, and yet many think they can set and forget. You must spend time with your site to make it a success. For example, I spend on average two to three hours a week fiddling with my website, whether that’s adding a new blog post, updating pages or adding links to Social Networking sites. On top of this, I spend another couple of hours (depending on workload) on reading great blog posts by other copywriters.

So, the next time you’re wondering why the traffic on your site is dropping and your ranking is slipping, think of your site as an eager puppy that needs more than a once-monthly pat. Woof! Woof!

P.S. The picture above is of my C.F.O. as a puppy – check him out here, all grown up.

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