Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Wix and an SEO rant

I sometimes help people with websites: I've been doing so for the past few years. Mostly simple stuff, setting up pages for authors and editors and friends.

I usually use Wordpress, because it's simple, straightforward, and, while you can get more mileage from it if you know how to override the CSS and edit the HTML manually, you can get a perfectly functional, useful website without any of that knowledge. You can even get a decent website out of Wordpress if you don't feel comfortable poking around with all the settings. Having that low barrier of entry for use is really great, especially for people who want a website but not to live on the internet as they swear at code at 3 in the morning.

I've also worked in Joomla!, which was fine, but required more poking around before I could reliably make it do what I wanted it to. I don't usually recommend it for people, since it did require that experimentation.

The first site I set up for my mom was with Yola, which has convenient drag-and-drop boxes for doing stuff. The second, when she wanted to blog more, was Wordpress, because of the simpler comments features.

This, obviously, is Blogger, and I like it for the stripped down simplicity. I don't need it to do anything fancy or have particular page features, because it's a blog and it blogs and that is all I require of it. I like the clean back end with clear labeling and the option to compose both pages and posts either in rich text or HTML. If someone doesn't want to do fancy things with the appearance of their site and prioritizes the blogging over the static pages, Blogger is a great option.

Today I got to mess around in Wix, which I hadn't before. I don't like that it automatically adds big banners advertising themselves to the bottom of every site. I don't like that on so much of the back end, clicking a link opens a new tab or window. I don't like that the font modification options aren't universal: you have to change them page by page. I don't like that everything is popups. The ability to create an online store is pretty neat. The fact that all elements need to be moved around by hand instead of, oh, going into a neat sidebar, is fucking maddening. It also treats subpages as forms, making links to particular subpages look sloppy. Also, when you view page source (to see wtf is up with the fonts), it treats every subpage as part of the same page, so you are looking at every single element. I'm used to looking at the source for Wordpress, which is full of stuff that governs margins or whatever: endless lines of repetitive whatever, but that doesn't look anywhere near as sloppy. Wix also gives the options to add SEO keywords to pages, which, I guess, could make sense with image-heavy galleries, but is also reflective of a five-years-out-of-date approach to SEO.

Here's the secret to SEO: write about the shit you want to write about. People who are interested in that shit will find your website. If you are an artist who takes commissions, having a blog post that talks about different art styles will bring in people who search for those art styles. They will find you and give you money.  Would keyword stuffing with sex and kittens and whatever be of benefit to you?

It might get you more hits, but is that of benefit to you? You want people to buy art from you. Unless you specialize in like cat pinups or something, you are not attracting people who are interested in what you're doing, you're just getting people who will click things.

Blogger's statistics section shows search keywords that have lead to my blog. Let's look at some of the top ones of all time:


laura bradford interview

eileen young

laura bradford author

adam schreckenberger

amazing spreadsheets

is the kobo vox backlit

So, the first one is people forgetting that this is a .ca blog, and the third, fifth, and sixth are because of interviews I did with people more popular than me. Those all make sense as people who would appreciate the content here.

I've only talked about kishotenketsu once, but people continue to be interested in it, which is great. It's something I was really interested in, so people also interested in it might be interested in other things I talk about here.

Fourth is my name. Excellent. SEO is doing its job.

Amazing spreadsheets is probably because of my 'spreadsheets are amazing' tag.

And the question 'is the kobo vox backlit' probably leads directly to my review of the Kobo Vox, which includes the information that it's backlit and other details about it.

Search engines are designed to take people to what they're looking for. So use common terminology (if you're talking about books, don't call them bound stories or something like that) and correct spelling and provide regular new content, and that is your SEO.

If you're not getting as many hits as you'd like, make sure your website is attached to your profile on every site you're on and post more.

Back to Wix: you can't even configure a Facebook like box to go to a page you've already created. It does some auto-suggestion bullshit.

In conclusion: Wix sucks and I hate it. Only real benefit is the webstore, but that's what eBay and Etsy are for. 2/10, would set fire to again.

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