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How to Improve Your Website: Lessons from the Garden

In this article I’ll explore the commonalities between gardening and how to improve a website. It can be helpful to use a simple analogy like gardening to understand a more complicated topic like website improvement and content creation.

Seeding, growing, maintaining and nurturing a garden full of plants, trees, shrubs and flowers takes a lot of work and time but is very rewarding. The same is true with a website full of different types of content that “flower” and provide rewards (of the financial kind).

If you’re willing to put in the time and effort, both website improvement and gardening can be very rewarding.

Okay, let’s get into gardening … and how to improve a website.

Table of Contents on How to Improve a Website

Both Require Planting and Seeding

In gardening terms planting and seeding are two techniques to grow plants. They are slightly different though. Both are similar to content creation and website improvement practises so let’s examine both.

Planting

Planting involves placing an already grown or established plant into the ground. Planting is used for shrubs and trees that have outgrown their original container.

In terms of content creation, you might have written a smaller article that has garnered a modest amount of traffic. Now, you’re considering expanding and updating the article to target additional related keywords. By doing so, you aim to create a larger, more informative, and helpful piece of content that will attract even more traffic.

Think of “planting” as taking an existing piece of content and expanding, enhancing and updating the content to attract a bigger audience.

Seeding

Seeding is the process of taking a seed and sowing it into the soil. The seed may or may not germinate and develop into a plant. There’s no guarantee of success.

This process illustrates how to improve a website by creating content. From a blog idea (or “seed”) you create a blog post published on your website. It may, or may not, attract organic search traffic. It could grow into a huge, bountiful flowering plant with many fruits, or it may wither and die on the vine.

Both Require Consistent and Regular Care

planting a shrub

Both require nurturing and care. In gardening, you need to water, fertilize, and prune your plants regularly. For your website, you need to create high-quality content, optimize for search engines, do keyword research and promote your content.

Water and Fertilize for Growth

Plants don’t grow without being watered and fertilized. You can think of keyword research and SEO techniques as the watering and fertilizing of your content.

Understanding how to improve a website goes beyond just creating great content. Using keywords your audience is not searching for results in little or no traffic.

Fertilize your content by understanding basic SEO techniques such as:

Promotion is like watering your plants, it helps your content grow (with more impressions, clicks and ultimately conversions).

A gardener can grow plants without being an expert. The same in SEO, start producing content and learn as you go.

Both Require Looking out for Pests and Diseases

A garden can be ruined if an intruder arrives such as slugs, caterpillars, snails or whiteflies.

Like a gardener a website owner must be wary of intruders such as viruses, spammers, hackers and ransomware gangs.

Understanding web server security is a crucial aspect of how to improve a website, ensuring it remains safe and functional.

Gardeners inspect their plants for signs of attack. As website owners and content creators we need to inspect our website and content for signs of attack.

Choosing a web hosting platform with robust security and 24/7 customer support is vital. From my experience as a website owner and administrator, I recommend SiteGround for hosting, particularly for WordPress bloggers, as a reliable option for bolstering your website’s security and performance.

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Both Involve Planning and Strategy

Planning and strategy are required when deciding how to improve a website or how to design your garden. A garden without a clear plan for plant types and layout can become overgrown and chaotic. Similarly, in SEO, if you don’t have a clear strategy for creating content and optimizing for search engines, your website may not rank well.

Careful selection of plants, trees, and shrubs, and their arrangement for visual appeal in gardening mirror the need in SEO to thoughtfully choose content types and optimize them around targeted keywords and topics.

Decide on a clear content strategy before you start blogging (content types, topics and keywords, publishing schedule, promotion etc)

Both Require Monitoring

man maintaining his garden

A gardener will spend plenty of time in his garden, checking his plants, looking for weeds, repositioning to ensure optimum access to sunlight and shade. Repotting, adding more soil or fertilizer.

As a website owner, when we consider how to improve a website we need to perform the following tasks:

A great free tool to help you understand how your website is performing is Google Search Console. I check this website every day to see how many impressions and clicks my content receives.

In addition, you are definitely going to need an SEO audit tool, keyword research and competition research tool and a keyword rank tracking tool. Luckily tools are available that do all of these tasks for you. Recommended are:

SE Ranking (Mid-tier)

Ahrefs (Premium)

SemRush (Premium)

Premium SEO tools can be expensive, typically over $100+ per month. More affordable tools are available and recommended for beginner bloggers or those on a budget.

SEO and keyword research tools are essential for every blogger and website owner

Both Require Pruning and the Removal of Weeds

Maintenance tasks vital for a healthy garden are similar to those needed for website improvement. Let’s consider the common gardening tasks of pruning and weeding and digital content creation, illustrating effective methods on how to improve a website.

Pruning

pruning a tree

Pruning is the process of selectively removing parts of the plant (branches, bud, flowers or stems). It’s used to maintain the health of the plant by cutting out dead or damaged parts.

You want to use the same process for your content. Think about it, over time some of your content becomes outdated, not useful or even plainly wrong. Google cares about helpful, relevant and useful content so you need to prune your content regularly.

Weeding

weeding

Weeding is different than pruning, it’s about removing unwanted, harmful growth.

Your articles may accidentally or through carelessness contain harmful content. By harmful, I don’t mean content that is wrong or inaccurate. I mean content that diverts from the main topic and causes your article to lose it’s focus. It’s easily done but can be harmful by making your content overly verbose, unfocused or just difficult to read.

Focusing on the main topic is a good goal when writing an article. Write other articles if you want to discuss a side issue or related topic.

Think of the weeding analogy to find clumps of content that are “weeds” (unhelpful content) and removing them. This helps keep your content tightly focused, less verbose and ultimately more helpful and useful to the reader.

Overwriting Be Gone: Slim Down Your Blog!

“Prune” and “weed” your content to keep it tightly focused, accurate and useful

Both Understand You Can’t Control The Weather

bad weather

Bad weather can damage plants or, in extreme cases, wipe out your entire garden.

This can also happen for websites.

Your website is one Google Algorithm update away from getting wiped out. Not understanding or knowing Google’s SEO guidelines can result in penalties, including site-wide penalties, resulting in a loss of all your traffic.

You can’t control the “weather” (external events such as algorithm updates, economic trends or fashion trends). So you have to control how you react to these external events.

In the case of changes to the Google Search algorithm you will get notes from Google about the changes and what you need to do to rank well and how to avoid penalties.

To ensure you are optimizing your content for Google, it’s important to follow their guidelines. Taking a long-term approach to growing your content will yield the greatest benefits. Focus on crafting high-quality content that is thoroughly researched, helpful, relevant, and useful.

Final Thoughts on How to Improve a Website

final thoughts on how to improve a website

It’s useful to think of the gardening analogy when doing website improvement. Think of your content as your plants and make such your maintain, water and weed your content for best results!

Some gardening tips to help your content and SEO efforts:

  • Grow your plants in good soil (pick a good SEO niche without too much competition)
  • Prune and weed your content (remove redundant, outdated content and keep your content tightly focused)
  • Remember you can’t control the weather (external events are outside your control)
  • Monitor your garden (check your content for signs of problems)

Thanks for reading. If you found this article helpful, please consider sharing it with your network by using the social media sharing buttons below. Thank you for your support!

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