Featured Contributor

When did Owning a Website Become So Complicated? by @DreamTravelMag

by Sharon Mendelaoui | Featured Contributor 

Recently on one of my Facebook networking groups, someone posted a photo gif about her frustrating day. Then she said, “how do you all feel?” The result was hundreds of comments filled with animated gifs featuring people banging their heads against a wall, falling, crashing into things, rolling eyes and screaming. We were all feeling the same thing: FRUSTRATION. It made me relieved and sad at the same time. I’m not, alone in how I think about my websites, but why were we all feeling like this? When did owning a site become so complicated?

The Website Difficulties On Our Minds

There was a time when we would code a website with HTML and then it would go live, and we didn’t have to think about it for years. Those days are gone. Websites need constant review and updating. From the WordPress platforms, we built them on, to our themes, plug-ins and even our posts. It is a continuous battle to keep things running smoothly.

When I think about the topics of discussion on my blogging groups, it is no wonder how frustrated we all are. Most of us run blogs alone, some of us run multiple sites targeting different niches. So as solo entrepreneurs we put a lot on our plates. When I think about all the things I have to know about the web, Google, social media and what’s under the hood of my blog – it’s no wonder my brain hasn’t exploded.

Will We Ever Understand Google?

When you own a website, it all comes down to Google. Where does your post rank? How do you make it rank on Google’s first page? How do I get more traffic? These are the standard things all bloggers obsess about. But I’m surprised by how many bloggers don’t know any of those things.

There are Google Guidelines?

Did you know Google has rules? Basic rules like your sites need a privacy policy, security certificates, accelerated mobile pages and a cookie disclaimer to let your website viewers know that your site (like pretty much every site on the web) uses cookies. If you have ads or Amazon links you have to have disclosures and disclaimers for this too. Sigh, they probably just changed the rules or added new ones and I haven’t even finished writing this post!

How many bloggers sit at our computer looking at Google analytics? Who is viewing our pages, which pages, how did they get there? Which leads to my next nightmare – SEO.

SEO and Why I have Nightmares About it

Search engine optimization or SEO has to be on the top of your list if you are a website owner. SEO is one of the keys to getting traffic to your site. People search a topic and find you and visit your site. There have been hundreds of articles written about SEO and techniques to mastering it. The hardest thing to master, how to insert all these keywords in your posts and not sound like a robot.

Internal and External Links Oh My

SEO is only part of the Google search ranking game, another thing you have to consider are links to your site and links pointing to other pages within your site. This is a dangerous game because adding too many links from other people’s site to your site, or links Google doesn’t like, and they penalize you.  Google states these inbound links need to be natural, but bloggers are always trying to game this with guest posting and link swapping.

Internal links are the links within the pages of our sites. It is a constant battle as you add new content to link readers to older posts that are similar in an attempt to keep them on the site. If you like this article, consider this one too. Or for more on this topic visit this post. Then you have to go to the old posts and link the new content you just wrote.

Social Media Strategy

As if that wasn’t enough, we also have to consider our social media strategies. Which channels are we using, are we sharing all our posts on these channels regularly, engaging in conversations and encouraging people to like and share our articles? Each channel has its strategy, but the one I’m going to talk about now is Pinterest.

When it comes to driving traffic to your site the one channel you need to focus on is Pinterest. What makes it so frustrating is that on our sites most of us post horizontal images, but on Pinterest the photos are vertical. Which means for every post on your site you need at least one vertical image optimized for Pinterest. That’s just another thing you have to do. Then you have to pin it, share it in Pin Group Boards, your boards and hope it gets re-pinned.

Focus too much time on Pinterest – where you will see significant results, and the other channel referrals and engagement will drop. Hence the importance of a social media strategy.

Website Monthly Checkups

The last thing that swirls through my head with all the above includes how the site is running. Things that Google also tracks and uses to measure where it puts you in their search results. How fast is the site loading when someone comes to it? What is my Domain and Page authority? Are there any broken links on my site?

These mechanics of my blog the updating of software, themes and plugins, the inner workings of everything are as crucial as getting regular oil changes and checkups for my car. Just another thing to add to the list of things I need to be aware of when it comes to my website.

My animated gif right now is someone frantically typing on her computer right before her head explodes. Why? Because as if all this above is not enough, I have to process images from a recent press trip, optimize them for the web and write a new post to schedule on my site.

I’m also thinking about all the things I didn’t write above that you are all going to write about in the comments now! Happy Blogging everyone!

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