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With IT systems, it pays not to be complacent. BRENDAN LEWIS

Brendan Lewis

By Brendan Lewis

Every couple of months I have a look at the stats for the Churchill Club website to see how things are going.

It appears that we now have around 700 visitors a week (visitors, not hits). I got this estimate after removing from the total visitors, the number of times search engines visited us to scan the site (about 1200 times a week). My site uses the Deepmetrix system.

A bit chuffed by this, I drilled down a bit further and found the majority of the visits were from Australians (excellent) but most people ended up at the site via direct navigation. That is, typing the address into the web browser or clicking on a hyperlink elsewhere. The handful of people (15) who came through search engines, searched for “churchill club” or “churchill group”.

At first I thought “cool, the brand is getting out there”, but then I had another thought. A much more disturbing one.

Maybe people are searching for entrepreneurship and innovation events, but are not finding the Churchill Club. Eek.

I immediately went to the home page of the website and selected “view | page source” from Firefox’s menu (that’s view | source in Internet Explorer). What I was looking for were the keywords for the website. Normally they are close to the beginning of the page of code, in the HEAD section. I was looking for a line that started with:

<meta name=”keywords” content=”

All the words after content= are the keywords that search engines such as

Google will use to help people find the Churchill club website. To my horror I discovered that the line was missing.

It appears that even though I had entered lots of keywords into my content management system, somewhere along the line the system was broken, and the keywords I setup were no longer part of the home page.

Rather than try fix the problem with the content management system (a potentially difficult problem), I quietly slipped on my techo hat, and hacked the template for the home page, manually writing my keywords in.

Words like “entrepreneurship, innovation and panels”. I didn’t remember the exact syntax, so I went to another website, and checked their source code and copied the correct format. I then re-published the club’s website and checked its source code again, to make sure the changes I made had worked.

In a month’s time I will have a look again to see how it has changed people finding the site, and how that transfers into event registrations. Hopefully, I will blog about how well exactly some search engine optimisation actually works for me.

With IT systems, it pays not to be complacent. The system that was working fine when we set up the site, decided somehow to fail slightly during an upgrade – and I never even noticed.

 

Brendan Lewis is a serial technology entrepreneur having founded : Ideas Lighting, Carradale Media, Edion, Verve IT, The Churchill Club, Flinders Pacific and L2i Technology Advisory. He has set up businesses for others in Romania, Indonesia and Vietnam. Qualified in IT and Accounting, he has also spent time running an Advertising agency and as a Cavalry Officer with the Australian Army Reserve.

To read more Brendan Lewis blogs, click here.

 

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