Google provides a very useful set of tools for website admins called Webmaster Tools. This suite of internet functionality helps you get a good idea of how your site is being presented to visitors, and how well your content is being consumed. To sign up for Google Webmaster Tools, go to www.google.com/webmasters and follow their registration procedures. Here are a few key tools that you should implement ASAP if you haven’t already.
Any CMS worth its salt will include functionality for creating a sitemap. A sitemap is an XML (eXtensible Markup Language, a subset of HTML) document that provides a link to every page of your site in a consumable format for Google’s web bots. If you don’t already have a sitemap for your site, you can create one by going to www.xml-sitemaps.com and following their steps. The final and most crucial step is submitting your newly-created sitemap to Google, which you will do in your Webmaster Tools panel under Crawl -> Sitemaps.
If your site has been around for a while, you may have some incoming links that point to non-existent pages on your site. This is frustrating for visitors that have come to your site looking for specific content. Google Webmaster Tools allows you see the statistics for Google’s bots that are crawling your site, and their visits will find links that don’t work anymore so that you can create 301 redirects to tell Google that you’ve permanently moved the page somewhere else. Redirects help keep your site tidy and organized, and keep your visitors from getting frustrated by going to non-existent pages. To find bad URLs on your site, go to Crawl -> Crawl Errors.
Links to Your Site
Another very neat feature is that as Google crawls the internet, it finds websites that link to your site, and shows you where your incoming links are coming from. KJV Churches, for instance, has a few churches that have linked to us, as well as our Facebook page, and a missionary friend who was kind enough to add us to his recommendation page. By the way, this is a way that you can help us, by adding a link to our website on your church or ministry page. You can see who is linking to your site at Search Traffic -> Links to Your Site.
There are a lot more ways that Google Webmaster Tools can help you keep your website running smoothly, and best of all, it’s all free. You must verify that you own your website, but as long as you have basic understanding of web technology, it shouldn’t be a problem.