The above graph really does show it all (click for larger view).
I have often shared here that one of your greatest assets as an entrepreneur and starter is to experiment – never stop experimenting and evolving as an individual for your own personal growth as well as your business.
Of course, this goes for your blog as well and I continue to experiment wildly on a number of stealth blog projects (as I like to call them) – even with things as drastic as changing the core WordPress Theme that is being used.
Well, I set out to do just that with one of my blog projects and like most of my experiments I set a time-limit which is most typically a full 30 days to see if the change is working as intended.
Well, I sometimes have to break that rule when the results are so obvious that it’s painful to watch as the graph above clearly shows. What I did was I switched WordPress Themes and instantly saw a drop of traffic – it was so dramatic that I wrestled with abandoning the experiment altogether within the first 48 hours, something I rarely do.
Typically switching a WordPress Theme won’t see much movement at all in terms of traffic, both up or down – but this time it was incredible shift in the wrong direction.
But I decided to grin and bear it to at least see if it could somehow recover itself – 2 weeks later I had enough and I quickly switched back to my previous WordPress Theme (Standard Theme) to see it the site could recover the loss.
So far, the damage appears to be permanent and is not trending very well at all. Crap. As you can see in the Google traffic chart the month-over-month from the last period is trouncing the current period.
The biggest issue? SEO. This particular blog project had nearly 99% organic search engine traffic, which is the good stuff to have and maintain as you continue to scale and absorb keyword relevancy for the content. Google (and the other major search engines) took my change of Theme so poorly that they have redirected a chunk of that traffic to this particular blog’s competitors.
The worst cut of all is that this particular WordPress Theme marketed itself as an “SEO optimized” Theme and that it was built “specifically to enhance” your organic search engine traffic. I’ll admit that I’m partly to blame as I didn’t audit the codebase before installing it which I normally do to ensure consistency of code structure, quality, and SEO-related signals.
The cost of this experiment is already playing itself out as my traffic is down, the monetization is at an all-time low, and I’ve lost strategic positioning in vital keywords in organic search. This is the ultimate danger of a poorly developed WordPress Theme.
But here’s the kicker: Many of you may not even be aware of the impact that your current WordPress Theme is having on your traffic today! In fact, some of you might be getting a fraction of the traffic that your blog deserves to be getting because you’re currently running a theme that is poorly developed.
In other words, your current theme is holding your blog back from scaling and growing as it really ought to. Yikes.
Unfortunately, as many of my blog projects go, I have little time to devote to them which means that I’m not sure if I have the extra time to invest in fighting for those lost keywords through strategic blog content. Hopefully the search engine Gods will favor my decision, see my repentance, and notice that I rebooted the project with my previous WordPress Theme.
Or so I pray…