With the WideRange Galleries Admin software, I strive to provide robust yet intuitive tools to manage all of your galleries, photos, prints, and other website content. While some website companies opt to make their admin panels as easy as possible by dumbing down the available options, I prefer to offer more powerful tools even though I realize that in some cases it may increase the risk of confusion or misuse. In this article I will explain the most common pitfalls that clients sometimes make in the WideRange Admin.
1) Overuse of Embedded Formatting in Text
The WideRange Admin features advanced text field editors that make it easy to add links, insert images or videos, add lists, or apply special styling to text. It is this last feature that is often abused, particularly when it comes to changing text colors and alignment.
Keep in mind that these text editors are NOT what-you-see-is-what-you-get text editors! Your text will look different on your website than it looks in the admin. For example, in the admin text editors the text is always black on a white background, but your website might have light grey text on a black background. The default fonts and font sizes will also be different. Your website already applies default text styling and formatting, so there’s no need to apply it manually in the admin. There’s almost never a need to change your text colors or text alignments in the admin, except for occasional unique circumstances. The key is to only embed text colors or alignments sparingly, only when necessary for a specific unique purpose. If you find yourself regularly changing the text color or alignments of entire paragraphs, you’re probably doing it wrong and it would be better to contact me to change your default text styling for your website instead.
It is best practice to keep your text as clean and free of embedded formatting as possible. Overuse of embedded text styling or formatting inevitably leads to inconsistent looking pages, which in turn looks unprofessional. Also, when you have an overabundance of embedded text styling/formatting it makes it very difficult to modify later on, for example if you want to update your website design or fonts in the future. Because instead of just updating the default site-wide CSS text styling in one swoop, you then have to go in and change or remove all the individual bits of embedded styling throughout your data, which is a huge pain.
Remember, if you keep your text data as clean and raw as possible, your website will look more consistent and it will be much easier to update in the future.
2) Not understanding how the Keywords work, or using too many keywords
A second issue I often see in clients’ admins is that they are using way too many keywords, or are inserting keywords into the wrong or duplicate spots. First, let me recap the general guidelines of keywords:
- You have your Main Site Keywords (at Settings > General Settings) which are automatically added to the keywords of every page of the website.
- You have the specific Keywords for every page, whether they are a gallery page’s keywords, photo keywords, product keywords, or misc page keywords.
- A general rule of thumb is that any given page should not have more than 20 keywords total, which includes the Main Site Keywords + the specific page Keywords.
- Keywords should be highly relevant to the content of the page. Relevance is far more important than quantity.
- You do not need to add a bunch of different combinations of the same keywords.
One of the most common keyword mistakes I see is when clients add a ton of keywords to the Main Site Keywords, many of which are too specific. Keep in mind that since the Main Site Keywords are added to every page of the website, they must be super generic keywords that are still relevant to every page. So this basically only includes things like your name, and generic terms like “photography, photos” and possibly “prints”. You should almost never include location names in the Main Site Keywords, since that’s likely too specific to apply to every page. For example, I have a lot of Colorado photos but I do not include “Colorado” as a main site keyword, since many of my photos are not from Colorado and that keyword would be irrelevant for those pages.
Oftentimes I see clients simply including way too many keywords. As mentioned above, a high relevance of keywords is more important and effective than the shotgun approach of including tons of keywords. The total number of keywords for a given page should be 20 or less, including the Main Site Keywords. So this means that as a rough rule of thumb you might have five or six Main Site Keywords, plus maybe a dozen or less specific keywords per gallery/photo/page. There is no advantage to stacking lots of keywords or keyword combinations for your pages! In fact it’s more likely a disadvantage as an excess of keywords is diluting rather than increasing the relevance and importance of each keyword.
3) Laziness with Captioning, Page Descriptions, and custom URLs
Despite all my talk above about keywording, what is actually far more important for SEO purposes is comprehensive captioning of photos, along with other relevant data fields such as the gallery paragraphs, page descriptions, URL fields, etc. I have noticed that the best performing of my clients’ sites are the ones where the galleries have descriptions and the photos are all carefully captioned.
Keep in mind that text is like food for search engines; the more descriptive and relevant your text is, the better the search engines will be able to index your website pages.
So, take the time to caption your photos and add introductory text paragraphs to your galleries. Also, don’t forget to fill out the Page Descriptions wherever applicable (for galleries, products, and other misc. pages). The Page Descriptions are actually more important than the keywords, and they show up as the little snippets of text under the links in Google search results. Finally, give your galleries and photos descriptive text URLs rather than the default auto-generated numerical URLs. The URLs should be short and highly relevant. Don’t bother trying to stack numerous keywords into a long URL.
4) Posting your Email Address visibly on your site
Unless you love receiving spam emails, do not ever include your email address visible on any pages! Spambots will harvest your email from the page and you will get an increased amount of spam.
This is the purpose of the Contact page form – it enables people to email you without exposing your email address to the public. So whenever you want to ask people to contact you on your website, don’t type your email address but rather include a “contact me” link to the contact page.
5) Forgetting to Update the Sitemap
Whenever you add a new gallery or a new batch of photos, you should update the Sitemap (in the “Sitemap” section of the admin). The sitemap is basically a list of all your website pages, which makes it easier for search engine spiders to index your pages for their search results. The reason this isn’t automated for you is because not all new galleries or pages are ready to be published right away; you might want to work on them for a while before they are added to the sitemap. Therefore, you must manually regenerate the sitemap whenever you want to.
Unfortunately I often see that clients forget to do this, leaving a sitemap that is months or even years out of date. This isn’t totally critical to SEO performance, but it’s certainly a good idea to keep the sitemap up to date.