Ever wonder if you could make some small changes to make a bigger impact with your website? In today’s episode I’m sharing the most common mistakes I see food bloggers making on their website, plus a look at how you can easily fix them!
Can’t listen to the episode? Read on for the transcript!
These web design mistakes really come down to relatively simple things that you might be able to fix or change on your blog. Some of them are going to be a little bit more complex, but overall, I hope that these mistakes are things that you can either easily tackle or put on your list to tackle in the near future.
There are a lot of things that come up in the food blogging world that you should or shouldn’t do. And sometimes there’s not a lot of explanation about why or why not. You should do something. I’m excited to dive into this episode and hopefully really explain some of these things that maybe you’ve heard you shouldn’t do, or you should do. And I hope that it will give you some explanation as to why and what kind of give you some of the reasoning behind it so that you can make better and strategic decisions for your blog and not just blindly follow what you hear other people teaching.
Common Website Mistakes
These come from examples that I’ve seen of past clients coming up, people asking questions and just things that I’ve observed being in this industry for over five years now.
Mistake #1: Not Updating Plugins
If you have been a listener of this podcast, you have heard me talk about this before, but I’m going to talk about it again, because I think that you cannot be reminded enough that upgrading your plugins is super important.
Last summer I had a previous client reach out to me saying that her site had been hacked and was completely gone. Luckily, her site wasn’t actually gone. We were able to recover it, but we ended up figuring out that the reason her site got hacked was because she had a plugin that had not been updated and had some sort of security vulnerability within it.
Not updating your plugins is not just something that is going to annoy you when you see that little bubble with the number. It is something that could actually be a mistake that could ruin your blog.
When plugins are not updated, hackers can use those known vulnerabilities to break into a site and corrupt it or take it down completely.
Mistake #2: No Backups for Your Blog
You should always have backups for your site that are not tied to your hosting company. If your host provides backups, that is great! But you should have an additional backup just in case something ever happens with your hosting company.
Some backup companies I like:
- Manage WP
- Updraft Plus
- Backup Buddy
Mistake #3: Not Using Self-Hosted WordPress
The biggest issue with other hosting platforms like Blogger, Squarespace, or Wix is that you are seriously limited with functionality. Most food bloggers rely on a handful of plugins to optimize their blog, making it run faster, recipe cards, etc. Other companies do not allow the use of plugins.
If you are just getting started with blogging, and you’re not really sure if this is going to turn into anything that you’re going to benefit from, or really going to be a huge part of your life, if you have to choose a free platform or something other than self hosted WordPress, I would choose WordPress.com simply because it’s going to be really easy to convert that into a self hosted WordPress website down the road.
Even if you aren’t planning on making this a business right now, or it’s not something that you are really trying to make money from getting started on self hosted, WordPress is very inexpensive and it’s going to save you heartache and an investment down the road.
Mistake #4: Using a recipe card that is tied to your theme
In certain themes, a recipe card is “built in” to the theme itself. This may sound great on the surface, but if you ever switch themes, you would lose those recipe “cards”. It’s much better to use a recipe card plugin to make sure you are getting all of the SEO benefits of a recipe card and you can safely redesign your site or get a new theme without losing the content.
Mistake #5: Not Using a Good Recipe Card
When I say a good recipe card, what I am talking about is a recipe card that has built in schema for Google. Episode coming soon about which recipe cards I love! You can also check out this blog post for my favorite WordPress plugins.
Mistake #6: Using Multiple Recipe Cards
If you are using multiple recipe cards, it’s really important to switch over to one. This is not only just because it makes things more simple for you, but it also is going to eliminate some headache down the road.
Download the free website audit checklist!
Mistake #7: Not Having a Clear Call To Action
What is the #1 thing you want someone to do on your website? People often say make the recipe, but I think they’re already there to do that. So what do you want them to do after making the recipe?
Listen to episode 42 about getting started with email marketing or episode 11 on how to design a freebie.
Another call to action could be wanting people to browse more recipes. If this is your goal, you need to make sure to give someone a way to do that.
Make it obvious and easy for your readers to figure out what we want them to do next.
Mistake #8: Not Linking to Important Pages
So often see people designing pages on their website, but not linking to them anywhere. If you don’t tell people how to get to the page, they’re not going to find it.
When it comes to pages like your recipe index or about page, you need to make sure you are linking to those pages in prominent places so people can actually find them.
Mistake #9: Not Optimizing Your Category Pages
This is not just beneficial for SEO, but also beneficial for your users.
If you have your categories linked on your navigation menu, or even on your homepage, it’s really important that that category page is actually useful for people to dive into.
If you go to a category page like dinner recipes, and all you see are a bunch of squares with photos and a blog post name that really isn’t going to help me understand anything about this category. There is something unique about the way that you do dinner versus another blog, your category page should show that uniqueness.
Using these category pages more strategically and really optimizing them is going to provide a lot more benefit to your readers.
Mistake #10: Not Designing Your Website with Your Audience in Mind
When you design your brand, I have so many examples of different bloggers who have made strategic decisions with their websites. That wouldn’t be the way that they would want to browse content or would need to browse content. But because it’s something their audience has asked for, they have made that choice to include it in their website design.
If you don’t know your audience, well, you can’t make those strategic decisions. I’ve talked about this many times in the podcast before, but you really need to know who you’re speaking to. You need to know what they’re struggling with, and you need to understand them on such a deep level that you can infer the way that they’re going to need your content displayed.
If you haven’t done that work to figure out who your audience is, I would highly encourage you to check out the other episodes that I have about building your audience and connecting with them, check out the freebie I have about how you can survey your audience and the types of questions that you should ask them. This is really going to be important before you can make any good decisions for your branding or for your website design.
As a food blogger, your list of to do’s never ends. It is always growing. Don’t feel like you need to do all of these things right away, but if one of these things stood out, then make that your first priority, add it on your calendar, add it to Trello, whatever you use to manage your tasks, make sure that you just take action on that.
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