Real SMB IT: Learning Web Site Optimization
June 19, 2009
As I introduced in this post titled; IT – In Marketing? , this is the next in a series looking at your web site from a marketing perspective – When you are not a marketing person!
This series will look at real world improvements that don’t require major work or extensive help from experts. Stuff that can be typically done by an SME either by themselves, or in some cases just basic tech staff assistance.
The second in this series was my amusing incident with Google Local here.
For the next step, I wanted to see how our current Web Site stacked up from a marketing perspective. To do that I used Hubspots’ Web Site Grader to take a look at the current state of our site. (If you are interested in improving your site, go subscribe to their blog)
We did not do very well in their grading! – to put it bluntly – we scored in a fairly low percentile.
As I can’t do it all at once, the first thing I identified was that we were losing inbound links referencing our web site as we have DNS (Domain Name System) records pointing to our web site as www.domain.com and plain domain.com, with no www in front of it. This is pretty normal, as it ensures that if someone does not type in the WWW part first, they will still find your Web Site.
Without going into details (of which I am not an expert!) these inbound links are a type of currency for the search engines. The more people reference your Web Site, Well the more important you must be! The problem though is that the search engines think that http://www.domain.com and domain.com are actually different Web Sites.
To fix that and to get all links pointing to the same web site, I had to setup what is called a canonical redirect.
Having never set this type of thing up before, I was not sure if I needed to obtain a second Internet (IP) address to do that – So I posed the question on Linked In. That question was answered by by Kyung Cho with;
can assign multiple virtual hosts to the same IP provided you specify a different host header for both. in the wizard, when it asks you to assign an IP or all-unassigned, make sure the host header field(3rd down IIRC) is unique for that website
Our Web Server is Microsoft’s Internet Information Server, so this is specific to IIS. With the Internet Information Server Management tool, I took our existing web site and created the host header for http://www.domain.com. I then created a second web site with the same Internet Address, and pointing to the same physical directory as the first web site, but set the host header to domain.com, and clicked the permanently redirect check box.
It worked perfectly, now if I type domain.com into my web browser, I can see that it automatically changes to the http://www.domain.com.
Next step is now complete!
There will be more to come, so stay tuned the RSS icon on the Home Page!