Affiliate Disclaimer: This article may contain affiliate links, if you click a link and make a purchase I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you. Learn more.
Recently I asked Twitterverse if they wanted me to do a quick review of their niche website and see if I could give them any tips. For those who missed it, I’ll give you the low down in this email and a bit more context.
Heads up: This article was a newsletter that originally went to my email list, long before it ever shows up on this blog.
You can join 2,636 other folks in getting my newsletter content every week and before you'll find it here! Subscribe today 👇
After reviewing a few dozen different niche sites (of all kinds of niches), many of them had the same six fundamental problems:
1. Paragraphs are too long for mobile
Everyone needs to look at their website on their mobile phone. Do you see how there are five separate lines or more in one paragraph? That sucks to read. Go for 1-2 sentence paragraphs, three at a push. (This email is an exception to this rule ;))
2. Font sizes are often too small for mobile
You need to be aiming for a minimum 18px font size for mobile (or all screens) unless you have some exceptional circumstance or brand. But a larger font makes it much easier and faster to read on a small screen. Make it easier for your readers, not harder, especially when most of them will be on a mobile device when they find you.
3. F*cked up categories
Sort your categories out, people! You don’t need 20 of them. And you don’t want posts spanning multiple categories. Subcategories are different, but subcategories like categories should only exist to link broad topics together to make your site easily navigational (for readers) and crawlable (for Google bots). Don’t overcomplicate this or overthink it. If you haven’t planned this out much yet, try a blank slate on paper and cluster the most relevant content together first; the best name for an overall category will come to you.
4. F*cked up tags
Many people are using tags like tic-tacs. And it’s rubbish. What value is this going to provide to any reader or bot? Little to none, most likely, so stop doing it. Tags should be used, in my opinion, when you have a good reason to link articles together by relation beyond what the broader category, interlinking, OR titles do. An easy example is a food blog with a recipe for cooking the perfect Turkey. Let’s say it’s an evergreen piece, but it’s relevant for the Thanksgiving season. So the post exists in a category called Recipes, but you don’t want to make the post just about Thanksgiving. You can still relate this recipe, and many others like it, to the season of Thanksgiving by using that as a tag. This kind of relationship is worth Google crawling because it could hint that it’s relevant to the Thanksgiving season when those searches go nuts for the trend. Are you with me?
5. Most people don’t use many images
Whether original imagery or not, using images seems to help my overall success with an article, I say that because most of my main competitors are lazy on it, and by adding photos (yes, even stock ones) and 1 or 2 YouTube embeds, I add an extra degree of usability, which boosts my posts to beat the competition. Sometimes it happens immediately upon indexing, and sometimes the user experience signals help it get there over time. Either way, this works. It’s not that hard to do; it just takes a little extra effort per post.
6. General mobile usability problems
Focusing on the mobile experience is the most crucial for most niches. Although you’ll do most of your work on a laptop screen, it doesn’t relate to the reader experience. For my leading site, 60% of traffic is on mobile. If you’re putting efforts into speed, design, or general usability, then you must do it for mobile as the priority. The quick fix here is to load up your site on mobile and ask yourself: is this an excellent mobile experience if I landed on this article? Is there a giant ad in front of my face before I can see the title or any content? Is my header pushing the content far down? Is my featured image taking up all the room? Help your users get to your content!
I hope that being aware of these common problems encourages you to check yo’ self and yo’ site and see what kind of messy stuff is going on there. Then after fixing them, you could see some Google love coming your way soon because of all the positive user experience signals you’re giving off like a pollen-ridden field.
I hope you enjoyed this.