You don't always need to pay an expert to find out if your site has problems. In today's episode we discuss three simple site checks you can do yourself.
Darryl: Hi and welcome to “The My Bloody Website podcast” where we talk about all things online especially for small and medium business owners or marketers. I'm Darryl King, I've been running a web agency for over 25 years. And my co-host Ed Pelgen, who's been running his online marketing agency for just as long. Our goals to cover things in a way anyone can understand and can improve how they use online in their business. And we're talking to you. This is episode 39 and it's called “Three simple site checks you can do for yourself”. How are you Ed? How are you doing?
Edmund: I'm doing very good Darryl. Yourself?
Darryl: Excellent, I'm doing very, very well
Edmund: So what are we talking about today mate?
Darryl: well, you know; we spend a lot of time in the nitty-gritty with highly technical; we know how to do advanced things. And a lot of times I think you can have a conversation with people and say to them; you know, and blah blah blah blah; and I'm; I do this to people a lot where I did bombard them with information. They go, okay; just one thing it'd be good
Darryl: so to step back and say to people listening. Here's three things that you can do as a audit for yourself to make sure you're on track.
Edmund: That’s right and can I just; I'm gonna quickly interject and I'm gonna say, the reason why this is really important was proven to me this week. When I was doing an order for a client. And they've been running this stuff for six months and no one had taken the time to look at just simple stuff. To check whether they were making any money. What does it; just; you know; everyone just assumed it was someone else's job or they didn't know how. So Darryl's got some good ideas this week about what you can do.
Darryl: and these are lowbrow. If I want to call them that way and that's not meant to be demeaning. These are just simple things that two of them particularly; you do not have to have any prior knowledge or an account or anything to do. The last one is predicated a little bit on you having access to something. But we'll get to that. And keep it in mind. Two episodes ago we talked about SSL implementation and there was episode 37. That's something you could check yourself we talked about it. So that's a bonus one out of the three. That's not included in three but if you didn't hear that episode go back and listen to it. And really it's about not just checking the homepage. It's got the secure signal. Actually looking across pages. And this probably comes into an overview for everyone. When you look at your site, when you review your site, don't just go to home page and go, life is good; okay? It's like walking in the front door of your house and go you know that's just great; it’s great. Walking back out again right? And then you walk around the corner and there's dishes not done, toilets stink, you know; whatever? So it's the same thing look at a bigger perspective and if you've got a large site. I know that you can't easily do some of these checks; across a large site. So you pick different areas. Don't fall in the trap where you know; I click the home page and I went to the men's climbing category and a woman's climbing category and the kids climbing category. Anything looks good. I went to the contact form and we're getting orders. It's all good; you know, so actually go bit deeper
Edmund: that's right
Darryl/Ed: all right well/ where's/ what
Darryl: okay, so this one; I got first-hand experience a couple of weeks ago and I think it's a really simple thing to do. So what you want to do is you want to go to google.com; google.com.au; whatever it is in your browser and you are going to type the word SITE S.I.T.E and then you're going to put a colon (:) for those of you that don't know what that is that's the two dots one above the other right? Directly afterwards site so no space; site colon and then you're going to put your domain name. So using our site in this example would be: site:mybloodywebsitepodcast.com and that's it, there's no spaces, that's what you get to see. Now what that's going to show you when you get the results. The first thing it will show you. And last episode we talked about this thing called Google search console and we are going to talk more about that in the future but you will see an item at the top that says, try Google Search Console, google.com/webmasters and do you own this domain? Get indexing and ranking data from Google, Google. So that's cool ignore that one for now. If you don't already know what it is we'll talk about it; coming episodes but what you will then start to see is a list of SERP’s. If you like which is Search Engine Results Positions but Ed?
Edmund: I was about to ask you to explain what the heck is SERP was?
Darryl: Technically they're not results positions or ranking positions because you're not. It's not ranking for a query but the search engine result blocks. Which are a title and then the URL and then the description that you would see if your pages were showing up an (4:29) and a traditional query. Now why is this interesting? Ahh; what it shows you is every page that Google knows about your site. Okay; doesn't sound really exciting; does it? Oh that's exciting; I hope they know about it. But it actually shows you things that are really; really useful. So an example is if a page on your site. I shall step back. So the example I used was I was just checking how this site was looking because I was doing a fix to the HTTPS implementation because it had mixed content. And as just as a habit. I went and put it in and did it. And the first thing I noticed is if you scroll to the very bottom of the page where Google shows you the pagination right? So how many pages of results are you getting? This one had like 8. Now the site itself had about 11 pages so there's typically 10 results that Google show you so if there was 8 there's at least 70 right? So between 70 and 80; results. So there's something incongruous here. We've got a site with about twelve or fourteen pages so theory each should have twelve or fourteen results. Actually getting 70 on
Darryl: That was first alert to me that this probably needed further investigation. Now there are there are instances where, let's say you had a five page website; maybe there might be eight or nine; there are; there are pages that you're not aware about. If you have a WordPress site typically you probably already have a default for a four page and a sitemaps XML file and some others; you know; there'll be a feed page. So there might be things that you're not cognizant of, you know; a few extra pages but we're talking you know; five times as many pages
Edmund: That’s right
Darryl: (6:19) all times
Edmund: that's right. So that's giving you basically insight into how many pages on your website existing in Google and does that correlate to actually how many pages you've got on your website correct?
Darryl: yeah and so people might go, well that's a good thing right? I got more pages; that is not.
Edmund: What did you find? What was the cause (6:34)
Darryl: Well in this particular instance I found numerous things. So the things that you can see and then I'll talk about what I found. The sorts of things that you can see, one is suddenly it said you know; the top couple; should the home page and you know some pages that I expected to see and then about four or five pages down. There was a little blue text warning under the URL that said this page is not mobile-friendly. What other; the exact words were. Well that's a bit odd because I've already checked the site's responsive and the other pages aren't showing that and as I looked and I quickly jump through pages. The large number of the pages that were showing. It had that on. So that's one thing that you can get. Another thing that it will show you is that it'll say translate this page and that normally sits out to the right of the URL. So that; there's a URL and there's a little drop-down arrow that allows you to see from history so and then it translate this page; was like; well hang on; it's written in Australian English why is it saying translate this page now? Why? Because it had Lorem Epsom on there. Ed had (7:36)
Darryl: so okay; so what I discovered with this site was. Ed was a WordPress site with that had been installed by Web Company with a thing and that installed all the default parts of the theme which is an option that you can get with themes. Hey load this and all this stuff so puts in all these sample content. So the bulk of the pages indexed by Google; all the template pages, markup pages and stuff.
Edmund: So, why is that even an issue? Like this someone's thinking. I think well, why do I care? What does that mean?
Darryl: Okay, so they were replica home pages that had photos that were then contact details that were the theme developers and all this (8:15) services that they did in their industry. So let's just said that they were a doctor and said oh, you know; we do guest your (8:20) ology and we've got this net and it was not related to what they do. So you're now advertising falsely information that doesn't belong to you but there was also links back to the theme developer and all sorts of things. There were blank pages with just one line on them. There; it was showing things like sample icon options, sample layout options, you know a QA page. There was just full of projects
Darryl: So; the key thing here is that it's showing you stuff that's not good trust signals above your sites
Darryl: so in this particular instance the person relies on trust and integrity and the level of professionally that their business does and they were exhibiting trust negative signals because it had all this crap content on them
Edmund: yeah and it's messy too right? I mean you'll find all these pages I mean; who wants to
Ed/ Darryl: (9:08)
Darryl: how does he use a phone; what they want; they don't; not easily; and you know they're a fake contact pages so someone clicks on that and or fills it in. Where does that go? They you know, so it just; for all sorts of reasons but I mean you could probably talk about you know, the Google factor you know, if we're looking at search results you know, it's hard to rank. Let's not make it harder with
Edmund: that's right. So basically what you just explained then is a situation where you can identify any miscellaneous pages that don't belong. So, but what else; so like; when you; when you do this site colon and your domain name search and you see the search results. What else can you infer from looking at those that that content besides?
Darryl: well, as you know; its big part of what you do when you're structuring stuff you know; the titles and descriptions that are displayed by Google are very clear to see. So rather than when you; so, you know; like if you're the pool builder and we say you know pool builder and we do a query and you say, oh; there's a page of mine against all my competitors. There’s one page in isolation but when you see all your pages together. You can see patterns, you can see stuff that you've forgotten. You know, like in this one it's got clients - name of company so it's a default page title. And then I can see and this is the thing I saw they started to go; okay, there's a whole lot of Latin, whole lot of Latin but I can see other things; for example; typically with a blog; the archive page for a blog; when; if you don't have content on it properly or it's not set up properly. It will just show random Meta description whereas you could go in there and type that up. In this example the blog page lived-in slash blog slash blog because of the way it was set up. So the page that had data was the double blog. The top-level slash blog which still exists it goes menu, back home, about blah blah blah blah. That's what the Meta Description will show as that titles are the links on the page. So there's just a whole lot of visual stuff. Very quick to go, even if you don't know how to fix it. To go dudes
Darryl: that so; this was three things that you could do to audit your site yourself. So if you had paid someone 30 days ago to roll out the new version. You could turn back up and say to them this is not good enough. I thought you know, like this this is wrong. You didn't give me the quality I expected. I want you to remedy this. But if it's an older site just to know it. There's a lot of power
Darryl: It is some things I can fix. There's some things I can do today I didn't need to pay anyone to learn this but now I need to work out. Can I fix it myself or I can give it someone
Edmund: yeah it's a super awesome tool just that doing that site search. So site colon and your domain name dot com in the Google search box itself. I'm gonna give you a little advanced tip here if you want to find out which page on your website Google thinks is the most important to rank for a specific keyword then you do a site colon your domain name of your website leave a space and then put in the keyword and then Google will; the number-one ranking page on your website will be the one that Google thinks is most relevant for that keyword phrase. So that's a lecture little tip there.
Darryl: Nice tip, nice tip
Edmund: Darryl that's number one using the site search feature to find out, to check out your website. What's the second tip you've got for us?
Darryl: It goes into what we've talked a little bit about looking at your site. So most people were working at work. Check this site out. They do it in a desktop browser. They go. Everything looks happy, I'm fine. A key thing to do is away from the office, out in the real world, pick up your mobile device and go through your site. And do this in several ways, one go through it and look at a couple pages and then actually put yourself in someone's shoes and say, I want to get a quote for my pool or I want to engage someone to do my SEO or I want to know, I want to talk to the web design guys see if this is suited for my business. What steps will that use? It go through to do it and actually complete them because on your phone, completely on your phone. Right? Now give you an example of a scenario here is. Even people that do testing and get this wrong. Someone doing testing. Registration process on a site and a login process on the site. Doing it using lots of tools, checking it in browsers. It all works good, going through and they're logging in on a mobile device but failing to actually do the full test which is to start on the home page find the registration button, answer the email on the phone and then click through on that. See what happens. Like how does your device spawn the page from email and then work through and do it. Now that was a specific example of work through. So this was even a QA tester that missed a step. They did it (13:47 all here; good). They operate differently. More importantly is you're a checking use your experience. So, examples of that happen commonly. We say (14:00 all that recites,) response; what that means is that the code is responsive to the device you're on so you don't get tiny sites that you have to pinch and zoom like we used to do
Darryl: on ones that are really wide and you have to scroll and all those response. The site fits, everything stacks and they work. That’s the start of it. Having a responsive sites is the code adjusts but it doesn't mean it's a good user experience. It means that response and so you can get results where padding is off. Example I saw a few days back was a block that was put; you know, like a highlight call-to-action across a page; you know, call us on one eight hundred, one eight hundred you know one, whatever; when that was responsive on a standard IPhone or android that call to action panel that was in; was it like; you know, was it like nested layers; whatever? So there was a background
Darryl: Then there was little panel and all that text. So the background responded beautifully but the text block became this tower of information. So it had like; yeah so where it's a contact us; they'll call us now and then the phone number. It was CA on the first line then our LL on the second line then space then US. So the text was just all well and the number; the phone number was like two the two numbers, two numbers, two numbers. So it had not been thought about and they're our best; there are better practices for that to be done
Edmund: yeah and I think that that raises the issue too. I mean we've talked about this a lot. People should start thinking about designing their sites from a mobile-first perspective right?
Edmund: Think about this shit). How's it gonna work on the phone because they can waste so much time designing a pretty site and getting antsy about the layout and the colors and the sliders and it all doesn't matter on a mobile phone right?
Edmund: Just use a tab
Darryl: I told you this day people go; well; you know, most people use desktop for us whether that's substantiated or not they still design for desktop knowing full well that the trajectory is changing rapidly. Now some industries do have more desktop users but it's still changing over time and
Darryl: critically everything's got to be titillating on desktop and most of that stuff is crap on mobile but so the lesson here is use your site. Don’t just look at your site. And work your way through and you must at some point check every page on a device top to bottom. And can I click that link? Is it touchable?
Edmund: That’s right
Darryl: Does it active? Are they too close together or you know does the menu is it easy to actually use because it's a default hamburger menu. Doesn't mean it's easy for the user. It's just the lazy option; you know,
Edmund: Out of interest are there any tools that can help do this? Like I may have one device an iPhone but I don't have a tablet or a (16:36)
Darryl: There are some great tools for checking and testing sites. I know there's a company called Mobile Moxie has a automated landing page tester where you can actually put in model devices of all devices and put in URLs.
Darryl: and there are other types of emulators as well but there is no substitute for at least using the one phone that you've got and checking it. So I think there's two levels there one is I need to check it across all devices. So using like the mobile Moxie tool is a good way to do it to get a real emulation or a real simulation I should say of what it looks like in devices. But the first thing is those things don't necessarily make it easy to move fully through sites. The way you would on a phone with your finger
Edmund: Hmm; yeah
Darryl: If you're looking in a desktop and then you're seeing it and then you're clicking with a mouse is not the same. And you can't do every device. So that's why tools like that exist and you should use them but when you want to do; what I'm talking about is as the marketer or this business owner. the person responsible for caring about our customers; we should use it and use; Ed, look; we all don't do it; me, you, everyone doesn't do it all the time but you have to remember to do that and do it regularly and then use the other tools to check; you know, for example let's say that you're running a pay-per-click campaign and you have a landing pages, one campaign, one landing page with two landing pages. It would make sense to use automated testing tools like that across many devices to snapshot how it looks and those two devices so that I'm not blowing money because some updating my Drupal or my WordPress site broke the page and I haven't look right? So it would make sense to have them me every week, every month, pop-up you quickly scroll through them; hey, they all look good. I've validated on my phone tick the box. I’m responsive
Edmund: Just do it. Yeah, I mean think about how many pages get shared; how many pages get shared on to Facebook for example and they pop out; I mean; does it work in the mobile Facebook app and; you know what I mean? All this issues right and
Darryl: Well you raised a good point because; you know, the statistics for anyone that advertises on Facebook. If you actually look at them the percentage of people that do that on a mobile and then view to stuff on a mobile is astronomical. If you filter out the analytics which there's a nice Segway but I've been filtering analytics to look at; you know, where the source is coming forth; I say, that particular page and you see it and you go; you know, Facebook and then you look at whether that's mobile or desktop you will finally
Darryl: seventy eight percent or more on mobile; you know
Darryl: What does it look like? And that's not even a standard browser. That’s a Facebook browser which is different. So if you haven't checked that on your phone and click the link and look from Facebook. Well, that looks like when you post it you've got no idea.
Edmund: Double check. I agree and Facebook is a mobile game. That’s where all the action is. All right, that's cool. So first tip was use the Site search tool; search in google; the second thing is actually browse your phone; you start that again; browse your website using a mobile phone, Tip number three mate? What is tip number three for doing a simple site check?
Darryl: okay so this is actually a very very simple one right? So Google Analytics - which is the accounting system for your website effectively. Like this shows you the stats. You like that? You like that? (19:44)
Edmund: yeah, you call it (19:45 becoming system mails) like what?
Darryl: what is because it's; you know, when you have an accounting system in your business you get reports, sales, summaries, PNL’s balance sheets; all that; Analytics is the equivalent for your website it shows you the traffic, conversions, it shows you summaries on what's going on. So Google Analytics we've talked about. I'm gonna work on the assumption that you have access to your Google analytics. If you don't there's a whole different episode we've talked about but if you've got access to Google analytics. Have you actually logged into it and checked it is showing you data? And the reason I say this is when a site's rolled out; you could do the tests which we've said easy; which is go to the page, Right click, View source, type in analytics or G capital GA and see that you've got analytics tag. You can do that and that's great. But what if it's not your tag? What if it's not on your URL? What if the web developer put the wrong tag in? And (20:37 eventually) the SEO guy and it's someone else's tag. Your graph will be zero. You’ll have either it might have ended, you might have had data and now it's gone; you might just have nothing. So it's a really simple check. When was the last time you logged into Google Analytics and check you were tracking data. That’s it
Edmund: That's right. I mean people shouldn't laugh because a really common mistake that I see is when someone goes and rebuilds their website and the new web developer builds a new site. It happens more often than you think that they forget to actually copy the analytics code across.
Darryl: Yeah and look and it can be things that don't happen from human error. I mean sometimes when plugins update they deactivate for whatever reason, a hosting problem, some installation problem. So if you're using a plug-in to place the code on your site and the plug-in deactivates. Then you; it's gone; now, if you don't login it at a regular (21:25) you wouldn't even know. So switched on marketing people probably look at analytics minimum once a week
Darryl: Are they're really paying attention? If they're running paid campaigns. They're probably watching them daily. So they're not gonna have this trip them up for very long but other people just haven't looked. Well, they've looked once a year so
Edmund: yeah; you know, what a really good way to avoid that issue too is to go into analytics; you know, if you visit intermittently and actually just look at one of the reports and set up the email yourself every week
Edmund: and that way you'll get an email of analytics and if it goes to zero then you know something's happened. So that's a real (21:53)
Darryl: Pro Tip used to write an email.
Edmund: Correcta Mundo
Darryl: (21:57) and this is the thing right? If you care about your online website and you want to make it better which is what the show is all about. Simple; you know, grassroots level changes and understanding to be a better online marketer
Darryl: then you need to log in to analytics and you need to do it minimum once a month. I'm saying more than that but if you're not at logging in once a month and actually having a look, you're being lazy, you don't care get off the show,
Edmund: okay, so in summary three quick simple site checks that you can do, one use this Site Search function in Google search to see how your pages are indexed and what they look like, number two actually spend the time to look at your phone and test it fully on a mobile device; complete the functions, by something, fill in a form, all that good stuff and number three actually log in to your Google Analytics and see what the hell's going on and make sure it's tracking data. What do you reckon Darryl?
Darryl: That’s it
Edmund: Is that’s it? Easy peasy; great
Darryl: That’s it man. That’s great yeah three easy tips. Use them. We'll get more of these sorts of things out to you and other episodes or just find new practical ways that you can hear this and you can implement them. Go do them today on your website
Edmund: that's right. Hear and do; awesome. That's it for today. Thanks again for listening to this episode of “My Bloody Website Podcast”. For everything that we're talking about check out BloodyWebsite.com. when you get there make sure you click: the subscribe by email button at the top so you don't miss anything bloody website related. If you'd like to check out the show notes for this episode or any past episodes. All of that can be found on the website. If you'd like to reach out to Darryl or myself you can find ways to talk to us on the about us page of the site. And lastly if you want to support the show you can do that by telling other website owners about the show and by visiting Apple podcast and living an awesome review. It's goodbye from me.
Darryl: And it's goodbye from him.