You have a new business. You have opened the doors and customers are purchasing your wares. But you have reached a pinnacle in your sales. Your sales, which usually increase during the holiday season and sometimes during the summer, remain stagnant. You aren’t losing business, but business isn’t picking up either. What do you do? How about taking your business to the World Wide Web? All the kids are doing it.
But you cannot just create a website and throw it up on the Internet. It will not do you or your business any good unless you build and plan your site properly. If your customers or other visitors to your website do not know it is there, they will not come. So let’s get started.
BUILDING YOUR WEBSITE WITH TRAFFIC IN MIND
Step 1 – The first step entails building your website with the ultimate goal of bringing in traffic.” There are a few key factors you should consider when building your site.
- Domain name – when deciding on a name for your website, keep one rule in mind – the shorter the better. If possible, make it all one word, no hyphens are confusing spelling.
- Page size – this is easy…THE SMALLER THE BETTER. Most people do not like reading novels on the web. Each page should be no longer than 500-to-600 words in total. A good rule of thumb to follow is this – if you have to scroll more than three times to reach the bottom of the page, it is too long. Edit, edit, edit.
- Good content – no matter how flashy your website is, if the written content is not good, visitors will not come back. Keep the bells and whistles to a minimum.
- Keep the text simple – Use headers, bullet points and bold to help the overall content stand out.
Step 2 – Now that you have the basic floor plan of the pages laid out, now it is time to take a look at some the inner workings.
- Check your website with all the major browsers to determine how it will translate. Whenever possible, go for what is known as “the liquid design” page. This type of design allows for different monitor sizes and resolutions. Not everyone has the same type of computer monitor. But your web page should look the same on all of them.
- The content on your page should outweigh the HTML code. Use CSS whenever possible to allow for web pages that download quicker. The faster the page downloads a website to a computer, the more apt the user is to stay and visit every page on your site.
- Sign up for Google Analytics – Google analytics is kind of like a 24-hour-a-day census taker for your website. Google analytics will tell you all you need to know about the people who visit your website: What are they searching for; how many times they visited a particular page; and statistics on what pages they are most interested. This tool allows you the opportunity to give them more of what they want.
OPTIMIZING YOUR PAGE FOR GOOGLE, MSN, YAHOO AND OTHER MAJOR SEARCH ENGINES
When optimizing your web page, and thus your entire website, for the major search engines, you need to keep one word in mind…RANK. You want your page to be listed on the first page of results. For instance, when a human web crawler types in “Best time of year to go on vacation to Hawaii” into a search box on Google, Google will give the crawler a long list of web pages that match their search criteria. You want your website to be listed on the first, second or third page at the very least. Why? Most people do not search beyond those first three pages, that’s why. If they cannot find what they want in the first few pages of results, they will search elsewhere.
When Google ranks pages, it takes a few things into consideration. Keyword placement, website navigation are the two most important.
- Keywords – when deciding on keyword placement for the written content on your page, do not just stick the word in willy nilly. Make sure the keyword or key phrase flows logically throughout the content. Make sure the keyword or phrase is mentioned at least once in the title of the page, once in the description of the page, once in the heading and once in the URL. As far as the actual content on the page, use the keyword at least 5x per page: once in the first sentence and at least four times throughout the rest of the content. But again, do not overuse the word or phrase.
- Website navigation – the easier your website is to navigate, the higher your ranking will be. Make sure most of your pages link directly back to the home page. Design the web pages so the navigation structure rarely changes. Not only does this keep the traffic coming back, but also Google will rank your website higher.
PROMOTING YOUR WEBSITE
Now you have got your website built with SEO in mind. But you’re not done yet. Now it’s time to promote it. Here are a few ways to promote your website yourself:
- Topic directories – Find the authority directory for your keywords. Submit your page within the hub’s guidelines and watch your rank grow.
- Reciprocal Links – Find sites that are similar to your own and ask the webmaster to link back to yours.
- Wikipedia – Wikipedia is increasingly becoming the first stop for web crawler’s looking to find out information about almost anything. Find a Wikipedia topic that can link to your site. This could be that all important first link.
- Keep your site newsworthy by constantly updating the content. Try to get ahead of the curve by creating pages that could be useful in the future.
- Write articles about your site and submit them to the major article submission sites.
Finally, keep your website full of fresh content. You want visitors to keep coming back for more.