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by Pat Fischer

10 Ways to Scare Your Webmaster on Halloween Without A Costume

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There are some things scarier than the blue screen of death!

It’s Halloween, did you remember to dress up for work today? If you haven’t, don’t worry. We have created a list of 10 surefire ways to scare your webmaster – no scary Halloween costume required! We put these in order from least scary to nightmare inducing, so only the bravest souls should venture to the bottom of the list. Happy Halloween!

10. Suggest a Flash Introduction Before Your Homepage Loads:

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Just, no. Please. For the love of GoogleBot, no. Apart from embedding the occasional YouTube video (which often uses HTML5 instead of Flash anyway), there are hardly any practical applications left to use Flash on a website. Flash is outdated, lacks cross-browser compatibility, requires frequent security updates, and worst of all, it doesn’t work on most mobile devices. On top of that, it makes it much harder for robots to index your site.Sure, the search engines can read text in Flash, but they really don’t feel like it – and we can’t say we blame them. These days, it’s likely that HTML 5 is more than capable of achieving whatever you were hoping to use Flash for anyways. Plus, it kind of reminds us of an internet era we’d like to forget happened.

9. Make Changes without Notifying Us

We spend a lot of time with your site. We wouldn’t call it a romantic relationship, but it’s close. If you make changes, we WILL find out. We will find out SOON. Please, keep the clichéd statements to yourself. We don’t want to hear that you were “thinking of us the whole time” while you apologize, or that the changes “meant nothing” to you. Communication with your webmaster is of the utmost importance. In order for everyone to be working towards the same goal, everyone must be on the same page. Make sure you alert your webmaster to any changes you plan on making in advance, so that we can plan accordingly. We can usually make some pretty good recommendations on the best way to implement the changes, too.

8. Buying Links or Social Media Interactions

Once upon a time, one could rank well for practically any search term desired just by acquiring a ton of anchor text heavy backlinks to their site. Google and other search engines have learned to combat this, and now pay much more attention to the quality and relevance of the link rather than just the sheer quantity of them. Sure, purchasing links from “link farms” is fast, easy and often cheap, but fortunately, those three adjectives do not describe any successful SEO campaign. The same holds true for Facebook likes. Search engines definitely factor in a website’s social media presence when ordering the rankings, but sudden dramatic increases in “likes” will appear very spammy and do more harm than good. If there was a Facebook page dedicated to not buying likes, it would not have to buy any likes, because we would spend all day liking that page.

7. Spelling, Grammar or Typographical Errors in Your Copy:

Great content and copy on your site can make a huge difference in conversions and repeat customers, but just one spelling error can make a potential customer or lead vanish in a nanosecond. We recommend creating your copy in a robust word processor such as Microsoft Word and then pasting it into your CMS editor. If you run into formatting issues, try using this website to convert your word document into HTML. Many people know that Microsoft Word has pretty good spellchecking capabilities, but many don’t realize the full capabilities of its grammar checker. Navigate to the settings in Microsoft Word (Preferences > Spelling & Grammar > Writing Style Settings), and you’ll see many options that will help you create better copy. Options include scanning for incorrect contractions, jargon, wordiness, sentence structure and more. Also, sometimes a fresh set of eyes will notice a silly mistake you were missing – if you wrote the copy often your brain will autocorrect the mistake before you notice it. You likely paid attention to every last detail when designing the site, so make sure your copy has that same level of care. Remember, your website is not just selling a product or service, you’re selling your brand as well, which is often only as strong as your content.

6. Outsourcing Content Creation to a Company Lacking In the English Department

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You may not discover any actual errors of spelling or grammar, but something will seem a bit similar to the eagle upon descent regarding your creation of contents. You won’t be able to place your hand’s digit on the problem, but it just will not flow as the river should. Similes will read like the tired pigeon herself.

We understand the temptation to outsource your content creation to an SEO company operating in a foreign country; they are often willing to work for a significantly lower price than you would normally pay. Unfortunately, when it comes to content creation, the old “you get what you pay for” adage rings truer than ever. Even if your outsourced content is grammatically correct, it will often be obvious to visitors and search engines that a native speaker didn’t write it. Remember, your content is your main line of communication with your visitors. Be sure you can be proud of the message you are sending.

5. Neglecting your Social Media

We love handling our clients’ social media campaigns. We are quite good at it, and it’s actually a pretty fun change in pace from the occasionally monotonous day-to-day SEO tasks. Unfortunately, many people refuse to recognize the importance of social media in a digital marketing campaign. Others realize the importance, but attempt to do it themselves. It’s okay if you don’t want to outsource your company’s social media. As long as you are willing to spend a lot of time working on it, it is possible to run a successful social media campaign on your own. But, if you are not willing to put the time in, let us help! We enjoy it quite a bit, and it can do wonders for an online marketing campaign – WHEN it’s in caring hands.

4. Using someone else’s copyrighted photos or material.

“Can’t we just Google a picture and use it” is one of the most common phrases a webmaster hears when explaining the need for product pictures or graphics. Sure, you could, but it’s against the law. Not only does it violate copyright laws, it’s just plain bad karma to steal someone else’s work. Additionally, it brings nothing new of value to the web. It’s very important to make sure your website has something to offer the Internet, i.e. it makes the Internet a better place. If you can’t offer your visitors a unique experience they can’t get anywhere else, you probably should rethink your website altogether. By the way, if you do try to use copyrighted images, the odds are fairly great that the copyright holder will find you. Photographers and graphic designers alike have plenty of software available to scan the web for their protected works. Odds are, the ensuing lawsuit will cost you a lot more than just sourcing a photograph the right way.

3. Bad Product Photos

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While we’re on the subject of photos, never underestimate the importance of high quality photos of your products. Nobody is going to buy a product if the image associated with it is grainy and small. We work so hard to drive traffic to your website; don’t scare away the customers with frightening images. Make sure to show all available colors of a product as well as multiple angles. The point of an eCommerce store is to replace the traditional storefront. Being able to offer multiple high quality images of your products can make your customer feel like they are looking at the real thing, and they will be much more likely to make a purchase.

2. Resistance To The Mobile Platform And Responsive Design

The mobile phone has changed the way people view, develop and interact with websites. It’s now estimated that more than half of all Internet traffic is from a mobile device of some kind. Yet, we still hear other webmasters complain of clients who either don’t want to pony up for the programming costs or are simply ignoring the statistics. Heed our words now: The future of search is in mobile, and the future is now. Every day your website is not mobile friendly is another day you are catering to less than half of the visitors you could- nay, should be.

1. Launching a Redesigned Site or Changing Domain Names Without 301 Redirects

You wouldn’t change addresses without notifying the post office, would you? If you did, you certainly wouldn’t blame the post office for not being able to deliver your mail, right? 301 Redirects are the best way of notifying the search engines that you have relocated a page. This is especially important when redesigning your site or when changing domain names. Skipping out on 301 redirects, or doing them incorrectly, can destroy rankings that took months or years to acquire in the blink of an eye. What’s scarier than that?