Back to Basics: Five Forgotten Website Fundamentals


basics_smallADOTAS – There are hundreds of things to think about when starting a new website or trying to improve on an aged one. You have everything from url structures and crawl paths for the search engines to where to place your newsletter and landing pages for external campaigns.

When site owners and companies are so focused on their traditional online channels like PPC, SEO and email marketing, they sometimes skip over five basic things that could be helping you to make more money and provide a better user experience. Here is a quick five things that many companies and marketers forget about when trying to maximize the revenue and user experience of their sites.

404 dead pages. Many people leave 404 pages alone as dead ugly pages. What they forget is that people still find their 404 pages if they are indexed in the search engines or they have backlinks pointing to them. An easy win for any webmaster or marketer is to design your 404 pages to have a direct response look and feel so you can either sell product right from it or guide your visitors who find them to the proper parts of your site.

Newsletter sign up boxes. Many sites have a newsletter sign up on each page. If you don’t, you may want to think about adding one in. What many people forget with their newsletter sign up boxes is to give people a reason to sign up. It could be as simple as saying “receive coupons, deals and discounts” to “receive tips, tricks and industry trends in your inbox.” By giving someone a reason to sign up instead of just saying join our newsletter, you may find a better sign up rate.

Breadcrumbs. More and more I am seeing people forget to include breadcrumb links on their sites. Not only are breadcrumbs a great way to help your visitors find their way through your site, but they also help the search engines find their way through. Make sure to include them in your taxonomy and also make sure that they change colors if a visitor has already been on a page.

Alt tags and image names. If you had to throw up a bunch of images in a rush, you may not have named them properly. Many times marketers forget to fill in their alt tags. Going back from your most important pages to the least important pages and renaming your images as well as filling out the alt tags is a great way to give yourself an extra boost in traffic from image search.

Datafeeds. Something that is extremely common for ecommerce sites is sending out a product feed or data feed. What many site owners forget is that when you export your database out to the comparison engines, affiliates, etc… you are syndicating your copy and custom written descriptions to a ton of sites that may have more authority than you. Take the time to create a separate product description and naming structure for the products in your feed so that your site has all of the original copy and your partners have to do their own work if they want to rank for your products.

There are tons of things that you can do to improve your website. You don’t have to split test, try new colors and designs or even build a brand extension to sell more product or give a better user experience. There is always something else you can do to your site if you just visit the basics of marketing and e-commerce.

Think about the other basics of online marketing and then see if your site is missing any of them. Sometimes we all get caught up with advanced things and adding in whistles and bells that we forget the basics. Take some time today to look at your site and see if there are any other basics missing.


  1. I think another one that I would add to the list is usability. I’m sick of going to websites where ads are the #1 and not the content. I know Google is getting a lot of bashing for their recent update, but I seriously have seen a lot of junk weeded out of the SERPS!


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