Heh, I hate to say this, but I think the organizers of SITEX can afford to put together a better website.
But before, I go on, check out the SITEX site for just 10 seconds. Tell me – what is the FIRST thing you notice?
Got it? Good.
Did you notice “Your Digital Playground” first?
Wow! I can read you mind? Yeah, this is me, inside your computer, looking at where your eyes looked at.
Heh. Not so. It’s all about web usability.
Currently, the website looks like this:
Looking at the Adsense ad placement heat map, which is recommended by Google after going thru testing by their scientists, we know that the most attention always go to the middle of the page.
Unfortunately for the SITEX site, all its put there is a big image with “Your Digital Playground”… and buttons to the different segments. (yes, those green bordered circles with icons are buttons – didn’t you have the slightest idea?)
Frankly, I feel “Your Digital Playground” doesn’t help me much for a surfer. If I am a consumer, I want to know four things – dates, locations, opening timings and great deals. (Or maybe Job Opportunities if I wanna be a sales promoter for the event!) If I am a exhibitor or advertiser, I want to know the PR opportunities, rates, and exposure.
“Your Digital Playground” doesn’t tell me any information about what I want to know. The consumer targeted information is located the top left, where you logo should have been, and the link to details regarding advertising opportunities is at the middle of the header, not to mention, in small white print over the red star (or whatever you call it!)
So, how Kian Ann?
I’d recommend it look something like this!
Well, this is just a 3 min revamp of the layout so obviously the colors need more tweaking, but you get the idea – in terms of the placements of the elements.
Five Useful Usability Adjustments
Here are five usability adjustments to create a better user experience!
- Shift the elements in order, give the consumers and advertisers to find what they want, faster. Put important elements smack at the middle.
- Make buttons look like buttons please! I’m sorry, but 14 round circles with irritating mouse-overs DON’T work well. (You can probably go ahead and track how many clicks go through them!) Accompany them with text, so people know that the buttons mean without having to mouse-over the button.
- Exhibitors Lounge, Visitors Lounge, Media Lounge… cut out the lounge. Make the menu items shorter.
- Move the opt-in form to the left, or together with your content!
- Make it obvious where to go to advertise at SITEX. “Check out! Special SITEX supplements” don’t tell me about PR and advertising opportunities.
Now, on to Search Engine Optimization!
I’m going to talk primarily on On Page SEO – their off page optimization is naturally good since it is the main website for a very popular event in Singapore, and they do a lot of offline marketing and advertising, resulting in quite a heapful of incoming links from the advertisers and the different reviews and user experiences over the years.
Because of the link juice, its a PR5 site!
Let’s dive in to the On Page SEO killers.
#1. The first link on the site is called “Home”.
In SEO, the anchor text is critically important for link reputation. If so I want to rank well for “blog marketing” for example, I’d put blog marketing as the link anchor text.
My recommendation: Change it to “SITEX”.
#2. Linking to index.html!
The home link links to “index.html”. There are two drawbacks. First, it will not be easy for them to switch to a server site script in the future (e.g. change to index.php, or index.asp). Redirection is needed to not lose the visitors… and this falls into a duplicate content trap. (i.e. http://www.sitex.com.sg and http://www.sitex.com.sg/index.html) are treated as two different pages.
My recommendation: cut the index.html in the link.
#3. Canonical Domains Issues!
The website does not redirect the “www” version to the “non-www” version of the site, or vice versa. In SEO, http://www.sitex.com.sg and http://sitex.com.sg are two different sites. This, again, might trigger duplicate content penalties.
My recommendation: use a redirect to one version, and keep to the version. (I’d recommend the version with the WWW)
#4. Weak Content!
The page looks beautiful filled with colors, but with some content and keyword density analysis, you will notice that there are only 132 words in the whole first page! Less than this blog post! Heh. Content is king. Add more content.
On keyword density, guess what? “Home” appears 5 times and is the top keyword! Disastrous!
My recommendation: add more content, and add keyword rich content relevant to the event!
#5. Same Page Titles Throughout the Site!
If you look at the indexed pages, you will find that the site has 214 pages… all with the same title!
Like how my SEO mentor loves to put it, imagine your site as a hotel. Having same titles for every page would be equivalent to having every door in the hotel with the same unit number! How do you expect the search engines to categorise and index your content correctly?
My recommendation: Go work on those titles – make them unique to each page!
Yes, so, 5 usability recommendations and 5 SEO recommendations, that I can guarantee will improve their rankings, web traffic and conversions.