If you’re running your own site, chances are you’ve picked up a lot of new skills along the way. From better photography to understanding a bit more about search engine optimization, being in charge of your own sex blog can be a great way to learn more about the internet. But sometimes your main focus is on the actual content of your blog, and not whether or not your site is experiencing any issues like broken pages or faulty analytics.
If you’re using a content management system (CMS) like WordPress, you’ll have less to worry about. Using a CMS can be a good way to ensure that you’re not having too many site issues, and eliminates a lot of the work for you. Shoutout to WordPress for using Yoast’s SEO plugin. But if you’ve built your site from the ground up, there are a few things that you should check on a regular basis.
Run a Site Crawl
There are a ton of free tools out there that will crawl your site. Screaming Frog is a great choice, but the free version only crawls 500 pages. For larger sites, I prefer Xenu. Warning: Xenu’s site is really bizarre. If you see aliens and talk of scientology, don’t be alarmed. You’re on the right site, it’s just… fucking weird.
Anyway, running a crawl of your site can uncover some issues you may not have otherwise found. These will be things like a ton of 404 pages, or duplicated pages. If you see various URLs that look the same, but maybe have different capitalizations or some have a trailing slash and some don’t, (example.com versus example.com/) then you’ll want to make sure those are redirecting to one single URL. Otherwise we have an issue on our hands. If you do see something wonky, get at me. We’ll work on it.
Check Your Backlinks
This isn’t something that I do on a regular basis for my day job clients. Maybe once a year, or twice a year if they’re having issues like seeing major, sudden traffic drop-offs. But a good way to see which websites are pointing links at your site is by using Open Site Explorer. It’s a free tool from Moz, one of my favorite SEO software companies, although you do get more information if you have a membership. (You can sign up for a free 30 day trial and get all the goodies though, if you’re interested.)
Take a quick scan of who’s got links to your site. If you see something really strange, like foreign language sites, gambling sites, or thousands of links from one sketchy domain, it might be worth looking into.
If you’re using Google Analytics to track your site traffic and engagement, you’ll want to make sure it’s still functioning the way it’s supposed to. After years of blogging, site changes, CMS upgrades, maybe even a domain change, there’s always chances that you’re seeing inaccurate numbers.
Go download Tag Assistant. It will help you troubleshoot Google Analytics tags, Tag Manager, and AdWords Conversion Tracking. If you don’t have Tag Manager or Conversion Tracking, don’t worry about it. Most sites don’t need them unless you’re doing a lot of advertising. When you download Tag Assistant, you can go to your site, enable the add-on, and check to make sure you don’t have multiple Google Analytics tags, or confirm they’re firing correctly. If, for some reason, you have two identical GA tags on one page, you’re double counting your page views, which throws off a lot of your metrics. Better safe than sorry!
If you’re using something other than GA, give me a shout on Twitter (@_aceinthehole). I’m always curious to see what people are using.
Have questions about your site? I’m always happy to do a cursory glance at sites to uncover glaring issues that could be affecting your traffic. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, use my contact form, or find me on Twitter @_aceinthehole.
On Wednesdays, we wear pink. On Saturdays, we talk about SEO for Sex Bloggers. Find me on Twitter for the latest updates!