6 Types of Content Your Website Doesn’t Need

Content is king, marketers say – but not all of it. Indeed, some content can harm your website, slowing its performance, irritating visitors and badly affecting its search engine ranking. The way to deal with this is to check your site regularly and get rid of the damaging material. Here, we’ll explain what to look for.

1. Heavy images

Images are important elements of any website and can have a positive impact on user engagement. However, they are data-heavy and can slow down the loading time, damaging SEO and user-friendliness. While we are not suggesting you delete your images, what we do suggest is following best practice by optimising them for your site.

This means using PNG files of 72 dpi which are much lighter and can be loaded more quickly than larger files. At the same time, use an image optimising plugin that will take existing images and create light versions of the right dimensions for your theme. To speed up your site even more, consider using lazy loading or a content delivery network.

2. Popups

While popups have been proven to help increase conversion rates, they are one of the most annoying features of a website and can lead to user abandonment, especially if you use multiple popups. If you don’t need them, take them down. If you do, ensure you use them minimally and have them appear when the user is leaving the page, not halfway through reading your content. You also need to make sure that closing them is easy and that they don’t appear on every page. Pay particular attention to how your popup works on mobile screens where they can be even more problematic and harder to close than on a desktop. 

Remember, also, that a popup adds an additional script to your website which will affect its performance and impact SEO.

3. Overeager cookie consent popup

Cookie consent is something all websites are required to ask for; however, users end up getting incredibly annoyed at having to click ‘accept’ every time they visit a site. So, while you can’t dispense with the law, you can make acceptance far less of a trauma.

For a start, consider replacing page dominating cookie popups with less obtrusive methods that don’t interrupt the user from reading the content. Secondly, set the cookie consent form to appear at the same frequency as your shortest cookie life. Once you have permission to store cookies on a user’s device, you don’t need to ask for it again unless you start collecting new cookie information or change the length of the cookie, the purpose you use it or the way the information is used, stored or shared. This means, if your shortest cookie life is 30 days, you’ll only need to ask for consent every 30 days.      

4. Broken links

Links are important for both the user experience and SEO. Internal links help users find the content they are looking for more quickly and enable search engine crawlers to discover and index content on your site. Outbound links are considered by search engines to add value to your content and can, therefore, improve your SEO.

While working links are good, broken ones are not. Users get frustrated if they click on a link to a page that doesn’t exist anymore and this can lead to them having a poor impression of your site or even leaving it. That poor experience is noted by search engines when they follow your links and this too can lead to the pages that they appear on being downranked.

You need to check for and amend broken links regularly, especially if you have been deleting pages or changing URLs. The easiest way to do it is to use a link checking plugin that will take care of the legwork for you.

5. Out of date content

Hidden in the metadata of your web pages is the date on which the content was published. While this isn’t visible to your visitors, it is to search engines which use it to understand how up-to-date your content is. As the world changes so quickly around us, search engines look for fresh information, considering it more relevant to a user’s query.

At the same time, the users themselves want the latest information – someone searching for ‘Best clothes shops in Bradford’, for example, would be disappointed if they found a page containing a list of shops of which many had shut down.

For websites, this means regularly going through your content, deleting pages and posts which are completely out of date and updating outdated information on those that still had some relevance. For companies which have product and service pages where there has been no change to what’s on offer, it may seem that there is no need to make changes. However, even making minor tweaks now and then will refresh the content for both users and search engines and update the publication date at the same time.

6. Third-party ads   

A helpful source of income, many sites display adverts, including video ads, from third-parties like Google and Bing or show imaged-led links to content on other websites. While the odd, discretely placed ad does little harm, some sites can go overboard and this can significantly slow down the loading time of the page and become a major obstacle to reader retention. It can have a serious impact on SEO, user engagement and conversion rates. You are most likely to see this overloading of ads on newspaper websites.

Ideally, you should test how the loading time of your website is affected by the ads you show and use analytics to see if they are impacting your ranking, traffic and engagement. If they are, you should remove the worst offenders until you reach a satisfactory balance.    – Read more

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How Automation Software Can Help You Focus on What’s Important

Nine ways you can use automation software to save time, so you can focus on high-value work.

Automation software can help you streamline jobs like tracking your income and expenses in spreadsheets. Writing social media posts that you manually post to your profiles. Creating an invoice using Excel or Word. Or sending email after email to follow up on a late payment.

Do any of these examples sound familiar? These tasks are consuming your precious time, removing you from more important, high-value work.

Think of what you could get done if you were able to free up the hours spent on these kinds of tasks every week. Enter automation software.

But what exactly is automation software? Should you even care?

Read on for the answers to these questions. Plus, an overview of nine business tasks you can automate with several automation software tools.

Automation Software: What It Is

Automation software is software that (you guessed it!) automates specific processes that would otherwise require manual input. Common examples include:

  • Email marketing software to send emails to a large list instead of typing each email individually
  • Cloud accounting software to track income and expenses, create invoices and send late payment reminders
  • Social media software to schedule posts in advance that are automatically published to your profiles

Automation Software: How It Helps Your Business

There are many benefits to using automation software, including:

  1. Time: It removes you from time-consuming tasks, so you have more time to concentrate on high-impact work. For example, instead of sending follow-up emails you could find new ways to boost productivity (e.g., 50-minute focus method) so you can get more done in less time.
  2. Cost-savings: It can help you save money. You can get more done without having to hire staff. It also lowers operational costs by helping you uncover redundant processes.
  3. Improved process: It helps you standardize processes, so you achieve consistent results over time and make fewer mistakes. For example, you can reduce common invoicing mistakes (more on that later).

9 Tasks You Can Automate with Automation Software

Here are nine tasks you can automate and the software that will help you along the way:

1. INVOICING

If you still use Word and Excel to create invoices, you know just how tedious this process can be. Creating invoices takes time and is prone to error. Just think back to the time you forgot to include the purchase order (PO) number, addressed the invoice to the wrong person or failed to specify payment terms.

Some of these mistakes may not seem like a big deal, but they can be costly. For example, not specifying payment terms can lead to an invoice that is weeks overdue. Or failing to include a PO number when working with a large company can lead to back-and-forth emails and unwanted delays.

Even more, any errors you need to fix will require making adjustments before going through the lengthy process of saving the document as a PDF, attaching it to an email, typing a message and hitting send.

Then, there’s also the issue of sending late payment reminders via email, which leads to awkward money talk. These conversations can be a huge mental drain when you’re already anxious about getting paid.

AUTOMATION SOFTWARE FOR INVOICING

Luckily, the right cloud accounting software automates your invoicing process by letting you:

  • Create an invoice in no time with ready-to-go invoice templates and fields that are pre-populated. For example, you won’t have to worry about calculating the total invoice value or even inputting the date. Plus, you’ll have access to a “Duplicate” invoice feature so you can simply copy an existing invoice and start editing without having to create a new one from scratch.
  • Set up recurring invoices that go out on a monthly schedule without lifting a finger.
  • Create and send automatic late payment reminders, so you don’t have to worry about following up.

FreshBooks is one such cloud accounting provider. Besides invoicing, you have access to income and expenses tracking, project management tools and time tracking.

2. TAX FILING

If you’re a freelancer, you won’t have to worry about payroll taxes, but you will have to pay self-employment taxes. Self-employment taxes are filed quarterly, and it’s up to you to set aside cash to pay them.

Unfortunately, it’s easy to fall into the trap of not tracking your income and expenses (or waiting to the last minute). Failing to track your finances properly when you do track them and not setting aside enough money for taxes are other common pitfalls.

The result?

You’re left scrambling during tax season as you wade through bank statements, look for receipts and try to find the cash to pay Uncle Sam. That’s not a position you want to be in. But it’s one you can avoid by using the right software. – Read more

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