Do either of these scenarios sound familiar?

  • You’ve got a site that was built hastily and pushed live because “having something is better than nothing”.
  • You “inherited” an old site that hasn’t been updated in years.

Once you decide to give your website the attention that it deserves, knowing where to start can be the hardest part.

My advice? Start with the basics. Make sure that you’ve got a solid foundation to expand upon. Part of that means fixing any glaring issues within your CMS – including overall layout and design issues. Next, ensure that your robots.txt and sitemap files are in order – make it easy for the engines to find the important stuff and ignore the things that you want ot keep hidden.

Once you’ve tackled that, I’d take a look at your Google Webmaster Tools account and correct any of the errors that are being reported.

Not sure how to configure your Webmaster Tools Accounts? Watch this.

Next, ensure that your page templates are setup in a way that allows for effortless social interaction. I’d consider using plugins like AddThis or ShareThis to take some of guess work out of things. If your CMS doesn’t already have a built in commenting system, consider using Disqus. It’s super easy to setup, but has a full set of features.

Once you’ve reinforced your foundation, so to speak, work towards creating a solid content plan for the future and correcting any legacy issues that may be lurking.

First, define a set of keyword themes that you want to target and divide them into buckets like Transactional, Informational, etc.

Once you’ve defined your buckets, take inventory of your existing content and see where you’ve got gaps in coverage. If your entire site is comprised of content that’s focusing on the hard-sell, there’s a pretty good chance that your going to push away folks who are still in the “research” phase of their journey.

Next time, we’ll talk about how to make sure you’re getting the most out of the new content that you’re creating, and how to go about cleaning up old content to breathe some new life into it.