Creating Website Part III


8: Optimize Your Site for Search Engines

Your business can have the best products or services on the Web, but it doesn’t mean a thing if potential customers can’t find your site.

The best way to get your Web site noticed is by ranking high in the results when users ask search engines like Google, Yahoo and MSN and others to scan the Internet for your kind of offerings.

It’s one of the most challenging and potentially rewarding tasks you’ll face in maintaining a commercial Web site, and absolutely essential for success.

We cover what you need to know for a great start with:

. What is SEO?

. Some Cautions

. How SEO Works

. How Search Engines Rank Web Sites

. SEO Best Practices

. Who and What to Avoid

. SEO Maintenance

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�� In some cases, using pay-per-click advertising to augment your SEO efforts can be an effective way to pay for search engine visibility.

�� Making sure your Web site includes the same words (keywords) your desired audience is typing into search engines.

�� Making sure your Web site is built in a way that allows search engines to find it and read the text on every page.

�� Building content on your Web site that other Web sites – especially those that speak to your target audience – will point links to.

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A word about SEO

You may be the best plumber in 10 states and have a fine looking Web site. But if no one can find it, it’s not bringing in any business. It’s like putting your business listing in the phone book – with no phone number.

Search engine optimization or SEO is just a way of marketing your Web site that helps bring the right people to you.

Primary goals of SEO include:

What is SEO?

Search Engine Optimization is the process of making your Web site as easy to find as possible for search engines and, through them, your clients and customers.

For that to happen, your Web pages have to contain the keywords and phrases most likely to be used when a customer enters search requests in an engine, and your pages must be organized in way that’s most “friendly” to those high-tech seek-and-find services.

There are two dominant types of search engines:

Crawler-Based - Google, Yahoo, MSN, Live.com and other top search engines operate automatically, coming up with their rankings by sending “spiders” out to “crawl” Web sites, analyze their contents and rank them according to how likely they are to have what users want.

Human-Powered Directories - These depend on Web site owners or someone working on their behalf to manually enter their listings, or enough information for directory editors to look over the site and write their own reviews. If you don’t submit your site to these directories, it won’t show up when they’re searched.

How SEO Works

Most crawler-based search engines have three key ingredients:

The spider or crawler that seeks out a Web page, reads it and follows links to other pages on the site. These powerful little tech-mites return every few weeks to look for changes and adjust results.

An indexed archive where all content uncovered by the spiders is stored. Also known as the catalog, it contains a copy of every Web page found, and is updated as a Web site changes or grows – for example, when you add new products.

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odcast: Startup Guide to Web site Analytics

Software that zips through the index database to “match” search requests and rank them by relevance. Because most crawler-based search engines use their own technology, search results vary between them.

How Search Engines Rank Web Sites

Unlike a human archivist or librarian, Internet search engines don’t interact with users and ask for more details, or use judgment and past experience to rank Web pages.

Instead, they rely on mathematic formulas called “algorithms.” Despite what you may hear, nobody but the search engine owner knows exactly how their algorithm works.

But they do follow a universal practice known as the keyword location/frequency method. Search engines look over your Web site to see if the search keywords show up at the top your pages, in the headlines or the first few lines of text content.

They assume that any page relevant to a given search topic will mention those magic words right from the start. “Frequency” is how often keywords appear in relation to other words on a Web page. Those with higher frequency are given more relevance, and higher rankings.

Some Cautions

Nobody, repeat, nobody can guarantee you top rankings – much less the top slots – on Google or other major search engines. Some providers claim to have “unique” relationships with them, or an “inside” source that will get your Web site to prime time. Don’t believe it.

The simple truth is that you can’t “buy” your way to the top, because position is never sold. One scam promises top placement, but gets your site only in lists of paid ads, not overall search results, where you need to be.

Note: Rigging the system like making white text (repeating the same keyword on a white background) can actually hurt your placement.

Just as you went shopping for storefront software in Step 6, take your time and look around for quality SEO software packages:

Check in with SEO discussion boards or online forums to see what current users are saying and draw on their advice.

Ask the SEO provider if it reports any violations of search engine guidelines it finds to Google’s anti-spam project.

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To gauge SEO specialists’ trustworthiness, ask for a money-back guarantee or some other refund if you’re not happy with their work – and get it in writing.

SEO Best Practices

Boosting your Web site’s visibility is a very competitive game, and you should assume that rival sites are playing it.

No worries. Here are some well-proven ways to optimize your Web site’s visibility:

Get the most from your URL

Be specific and creative with your domain name. Use one that uniquely identifies your company and your brand.

Create search-friendly page titles

Be sure to use relevant keywords first in your page titles, and keep them under 60 characters.

Don’t use “home page” in your title

Studies show it decreases your Google ranking.

Highlight your keywords

Be sure the individual words and phrases are in the meta tag description of your site, which you build into the code with your design or site-builder software. The description should be no more than 200 characters long.

Focus on density

Use multiple key words in a coherent, creative and compelling way on your pages. Be sure your keyword “density” is never more than 5 percent for pages with a lot of text, or 10 percent for pages with little copy, or your rankings could nosedive. SEOChat.com has a free keyword density tool.

Emphasize your text links

The wording of the links on each of your Web pages is one of the most important requirements of SEO, and will significantly affect your search engine ranking. They should always include relevant keywords.

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Keyword stemming

Including all the possible variations of your keywords is called “stemming.” For example, variations of the keyword “optimization” include “optimal,” “optimize” and “optimum.” UsingEnglish.com has a free tool to find similar or stem words.

Page linking

Be sure every page on your site is linked to the other pages. Search spiders follow these trails to rank your Web site.

The 2-Click Rule

As we discussed in Step 4, navigating around your site should be as easy as possible for your customers. The same goes for search engines. Be sure that every page on your new business Web site is at most only two clicks away from the home page.

Avoid “spamalot” syndrome

Search engines will drop your site if they think you’re “spamming” – and using any of these things:

Meta refresh tags

Invisible text

Irrelevant keywords in the title and meta tags

Excessive repetition of keywords

Identical or nearly identical pages

Submitting to an inappropriate directory category

A dizzying slew of links that are of low value

Who and What to Avoid

Google’s Webmaster Help Center is a rich source of information not only for optimizing your new business Web site, but to learn the SEO practices and providers to avoid. Be sure to include it in your research. The Web isn’t just crawling with search spiders, but also with scam artists.

If you think you were deceived by an SEO provider, you can report it to Federal Trade Commission online, by calling 877-FTC-HELP, or write to:

Federal Trade Commission CRC-240 Washington, D.C. 20580

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SEO Maintenance

The Web never stops buzzing with change, so search engine optimization has to be continually tended to keep up. Simply put, it can always be done better.

Here are some excellent sources of help:

The Search Agency

Google Webmaster Help Center

SEO Consultants.com

CafePress Tutorials

SEOChat.com

UsingEnglish.com

Web Workshop

HighRankings.com

Association of Search Engine Professionals

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SEO vs. pay-per-click advertising

icrosoft Office Live Small Business’s adManager provides an easy way to interact with Ask Sponsored Listings and Microsoft adCenter. Within minutes, you can begin purchasing keywords to advertise your business, both across the country or for selected cities.

ith Microsoft Office Live Small Business adManager you can optimize your search advertising budget across two of the most popular search engine networks and reduce the time spent managing this process —without having to rely on outside help. Plus, you only pay when someone clicks through to your Web site from your search ad.

Bonus Tip

The screenshot below has highlighted the paid search results for “BMW” while the links that appear below are the organic or natural results resulting from SEO.

rganic ads from optimization

ay-per-click ad placements

e cover what you need to know in four parts:

Using a Test Site

Staff and Customer Site Reviews

Testing on Different Platforms and Browsers

Tracking Bugs, Confirming Fixes and Testing Links (again)

Step 9: Put All the Parts Together

By now, you’ve spent a lot of time planning and assembling the pieces of your new business Web site. In this step, you get a prize for all that work – seeing it all come together and watching your site do its stuff.

Or not.

Whether you’ve hired a pro or did most of the work yourself, you now know how complex even a simple site can be. With that come bugs. They’re unavoidable, have a tendency to reappear, and you’ll always need to stay on the lookout for them (see Step 11).

Best practice? Thorough testing of your company’s new Web site before going live.

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Forums: How To Receive a Great Web site Critique

Testing Your Site

Before you start telegraphing to the world that you’re online, be sure to test for the following:

Have you checked for spelling and grammar mistakes? Even the slickest, most professional site will look like amateur hour if you’ve ignored basic content editing. And don’t trust your spellchecker. It doesn’t know the difference between “their” and “there” and a lot more.

Are your pages and navigation consistent across the site (see Step 4)?

Do all of the links work, taking users where they expect to go?

Are all of your pages printable? Some Web users are still “old-school,” so building in a “Print This Page” function can be a crowd pleaser.

Staff and Customer Site Reviews

While you’ll always be able to make changes to your Web site after launch, it’s important to ask your employees to review it now, especially those sections related to their workflow. Then be sure they feel free to give honest feedback.

This also puts more pairs of eyes on the content to pick up typos, spelling or other text errors, as well as problems with images, video and audio content.

Then there are your customers. It’s hard to see your company and Web site exactly from your customers’ point of view, but give it a good try and you’ll get more traffic. We encourage you to put your site in front of peers to give you feedback. You can do that easily at StartupNation’s Web site Critique service.

Post your Web site for critique in StartupNation’s community section and get instant feedback from peer entrepreneurs.

Here are some questions to ask:

1. Do you understand, or have any questions about, the information on our site?

2. Does our Web site flow? In other words, does the information roll easily from one page to the next?

3. Is it easy to use and find your way around?

4. Did you lose patience trying to find what you needed, waiting for pages to load or links to work?

5. Do the pages print OK?

6. Are images, audio and video the right size?

7. Are our products or services clearly displayed?

8. Is our shopping cart easy to use? Do you trust it?

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9. Are all forms easy to understand, fill in and send?

10. Do you like how our Web site looks and works? If not, why?

If you have trouble getting volunteers to step forward, offer them a gift card, restaurant coupon, even discounts on your products. The important thing is to get potential users to review your business Web site.

Testing on Different Platforms and Browsers

Just because your Web site looks great and runs smoothly on your Windows Vista machine in Internet Explorer doesn’t mean it will look the same on Firefox, a Mac or other browsers or operating systems. So:

Be sure to test your site across all browsers, and keep up on new releases or upgrades after you go live.

Most of your customers will be using Windows XP, Vista or Macintosh OS X, so it’s essential that your site works on all platforms, or operating systems.

Take a look at your Web site on a variety of monitors. Color settings and screen resolutions vary, and an LCD monitor’s quality is much higher than a standard CRT monitor’s. You can’t do much about it, but if you see drastic differences between monitors, fine tune a little to cut the gap.

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Tip

Key Web site reports

How do you know how well your Web site is performing? How many visitors come to your site? Which pages do they visit most? You can get this information with a few clicks of your mouse with Site Reports, which are bundled with every Microsoft Office Live Small Business subscription.

Site Reports tracks all kinds of helpful information about visitor traffic to and from your Web site. You can spend hours checking out all the details, but we know you have a business to run so we're telling you about the five reports we think are most essential.

1. Search engines and the keywords people use to find you: It's enlightening to find out which search terms bring people to your site. If you don't see the keywords you feel are important to your business, take another look at your content to give those words greater prominence.

2. Traffic summary: The Traffic summary page gives you a great snapshot of your traffic data, and it also drills down on both visitors and page views. Views tells you exactly how many times a page was visited. Visitors tells you how many unique users came to the site or page in a specified time frame.

3. Are your pages revolving doors? Unlike your place of business, your Web site offers people as many doors as it has pages. If you are interested in knowing which pages people land on when they come to your site, the Entry Pages report will tell you—by day, week, month, and year. People have to leave your site sooner or later, but knowing which page they are on when they make that decision is helpful.

4. No matter what your mother told you, popularity IS important. It's always exciting to click into the Most Requested Pages report and find out what people are looking for. A page may land at the top of this list because search engines are picking up terms that people are searching for. Make sure that the navigation and links on these pages are clear so that people don't leave, but instead move to other pages. Use this report also to identify weak pages on your site that you need to improve to pull traffic in.

5. Top referring pages: "Referring" Web sites are just like people you network with—some send you more business than others. When you look at the Top Referring Pages report you'll see that search engines typically will send you the most visitors. But you may find that a Web site linked to you also is a top referrer. Use this report to discover new sites or events that drive traffic to your pages, such as a blog entry or online news article that points to your site.

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Tracking Bugs, Confirming Fixes and Testing Links (Again)

When you find bugs, make a note of them and the fixes in a log or record book. That way, if it happens again, you’ll know what worked or what didn’t.

Once you’ve gone through and tested the site, go back to the log and confirm that everything’s been fixed. This will also turn up any problems that might have been caused by fixes later in the list.

Test all of your links again. Few things rile Web site visitors more than links to nowhere. And don’t rely on the tiresome “Click Here” as your only link “description.” Make your links say what they do. This will also help you in your SEO efforts if you have embedded keywords into these links.

Resources:

W3Schools SiteValidation

Internet Explorer

Firefox

Windows XP

Macintosh OS X

Siteoptimization.com

WebPerformanceInc.com

NetMechanic.com

Microsoft Test Tools

TestComplete

eValid

Badboy

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Step 10: Take your Web site Live!

After all the planning, designing, coding, testing and re-testing, your new business Web site is ready to launch – almost.

It’s a big day, the culmination of a lot of careful work. But to go live properly, and see the face of your business looking back at you from the infinite possibilities of the World Wide Web, there’s a little more housekeeping to finish. Then celebrate!

Here’s how to do it right in six easy pieces:

Register with Search Engines

Buy Ads for Better Placement

Sign Up with “What’s New” Directories

aunch a PR Campaign

ry Pay-Per-Click

tart a Blog

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Register with Search Engines

As we’ve mentioned earlier, if your Web site is built according to the guidelines we’ve laid out, search engines will find you on their own.

But you can give the process a goose by registering your new site with them.

Start by submitting your URL to the top search engines, including Google, Yahoo and MSN. Basic registration is free. A great clearinghouse for many other search engine links and advice on how to get higher rankings can be found at SearchEngineWatch.com.

You can also use such registration sites as QuickRegister.com (free for a basic submission) or SubmitExpress.com (starts at $29.95). They’ll want to sell you additional Web marketing and SEO services, and if you’re sold, go ahead.

Registering is simple, usually little more than entering your complete URL in a form. Sometimes you’re asked for a brief description of your new Web site. Don’t just dash it off. Include two or three keywords that will act as search magnets – one more way to improve SEO.

Buy Ads for Better Placement

Paid advertising on major search engines is one method used by many businesses to help them climb in rankings. Lately, opinion has been sharply divided on whether the return on investment is high enough to justify the costs or if there are enough safeguards against fraud by competitors.

Before you spend the money, research the pros and cons of specific cost-per-click (CPC) programs and other advertising-related ranking services. Forums such as those hosted by DigitalPoint.com, SEOChat.com, HighRankings.com and many others will supply plenty of guidance for making a smart choice.

These are the two major online advertising models being used now:

Paid Placement. Sometimes referred to as “Search” or “Keyword” Marketing, Paid Placement advertisers buy a place in a section reserved for them on search results pages. When you hear “pay for placement” and “cost-per-click,” this is also referring to Paid Placement. (See page 45 for a sample screenshot.)

Paid Inclusion. You can buy your way into a search engine’s listings quickly, but they’re usually quick to tell you there are no guarantees for improved rankings. Still, it’s a way to get fast visibility while waiting for crawlers to find and list your pages.

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Tip

Keys to keywords

While experts may be better at drilling into engine algorithms and analytics, you're the best bet for figuring out keywords that define your business and that will draw serious traffic.

So stay on top of the keyword process. These 10 tips will help.

1. Research, test, and learn. Industry sites such as Wordtracker now make it easier to select keywords. Their free online tools give you a popularity barometer of keywords and offer suggestions about choices.

2. Choose phrases. Don't just look at one keyword. Look at hundreds of phrases. The more specific the phrases, the more likely you'll attract exactly the visitor who's looking for what you sell.

3. Mix and match. While you're brainstorming with friends, staff and experts to comeup with key phrases, make sure you run the gamut from broad keywords to specific ones, so you reel in all possible prospects.

4. Don't overlook the obvious.The HTML title tag at the top of your browser window is a prime factor in search indexing. The title should include search terms and 'call to action' messaging to entice prospects to click on your link when it is presented in the search engine results page.

5. Invest in education. Run a pay-per-click campaign for a few weeks to learn which keywords pull. That way you don't have to spend a lot of time and effort optimizing your site pages for keywords you don't yet know will work.

6. . . . Or, if you love graphics.Search engines don't read graphics or Flash animation. If your site relies on Flash or illustrations, then pay-per-click is a smart bet so you don't have to optimize your site.

7. Join the club. Each industry has its own buzzwords and jargon. Use those to draw the insiders you want to reach., but don’t use them excessively.

8. Review results. You'll waste time and money if you don't keep checking which keywords attract which customers. Then you can winnow out effective keywords and track which ones pull from which engines.

9. Be your own customer. Every month or so, visit a search engine and input the keywords you're using and considering. You might be surprised at the results. Also, call your top customers and ask them what keywords they currently use.

10. Use your keywords consistently. An Microsoft adCenter study found that users gave a nearly 50% higher "likelihood to click" to listings in which the keyword was included in both the title and the description.

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Try Pay-Per-Click

If you’ve included an advertising budget in your planning, consider pay-per-click or PPC marketing – at least in the early days – for instant Web traffic to your site.

Pay-per-click advertising providers charge a small fee, adjusted according to the competition for your chosen search keywords, for each potential customer who clicks on your ad to visit your site.

Some advantages and benefits:

Affordability. Whatever your budget, simple online tools tailor (and limit) your spending to what you can afford.

Performance. You only pay for people who click on your ad.

Targeted Campaigns. You can aim your ads at very specific market segments, and geographic areas as small as 10 square miles.

Adaptability. You can change you ad daily or weekly to compare response rates and effectiveness.

Simplicity. Because these keyword ads are text based, you don’t need a high-priced creative director to design your ads. Can you type? With a little bit of imagination you can effectively run a campaign.

Start with PPC programs from the major search engines: Google AdWords, Yahoo! Search Marketing and Microsoft adCenter.

Sign Up with "What’s New" Directories

“What’s New” directories are popping up all over the place with one purpose – telling the world about your new Web site. Netscape What’s New, NewWebDirectory.com and WebWorldIndex.com are just a taste of the online offerings, each simply listing your business in an appropriate category and often with opportunities for feedback and ratings.

But keep in mind that simply submitting your site to a “What’s New” directory isn’t a done deal for an instant listing. Most of them carefully review every submission before acceptance.

Web directories and “What’s New” pages don’t post listings automatically. Real people – editors – decide whether your new Web site meets their requirements. Those vary between directories, but are always posted for you to see.

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StartupNation Radio: Marketing Your Business Through Public Relations

Launch a PR Campaign

There are others on the Web who stand ready to help you get the word out about your new Web presence: online news sites, e-zines, and press-release services like PRNewswire, PRWeb and PR Leap. The e-sales site Avangate has a “Top 50” list of more sites where you can submit press releases, most of them for free.

Some more effective publicity tools and tips:

Postcards. Send postcards to everyone in your business database and announce your new site. Include your company logo, URL and maybe a screenshot of your home page.

Discounts. Offer a discount on your products or services just for visiting your new Web home, and a bigger one if visitors bring you new business through a “Tell a Friend” promotional page on your site.

Voicemail. Re-record your company’s voicemail greeting to include your Web address.

Stationery. Include your Web address in all printed marketing materials – business cards, letterhead, advertising, invoices – everyplace it fits.

Links. Linking to other sites – not the competition, of course – can drive more traffic to yours. Ask professional organizations, your local Chamber of Commerce, local business publications and relevant industry journals if they’ll include a link to your site in exchange for including theirs on your Web pages. The more sites that are linked to yours, the higher your search engine rankings.

Yellow Page Ads. Be sure to list your Web address in your Yellow Page ad.

Start a Blog

Company blogs can be used both to enhance your business Web site and drive more traffic to it.

If you house it on your site, use it to report company and industry events, comment on relevant major news stories and let people know when you’ll roll out new products or services. But, you also need to insure that you keep your blog a two-way dialogue. It shouldn’t be a sales pitch.

Blogs offer an air of expertise – although sometimes undeserved – and readers may well come to rely on you, and revisit regularly, for trustworthy and useful information. Customers want to trust the products and services they buy – where better than from an expert?

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Blogs can also bolster your “street credibility.” After you start blogging you may see more “hits” from professionals inside your industry. After that, possibly invitations to sit on business panels or speak to industry groups. Best of all, even calls from the press.

Housing your blog off-site with its own URL let’s you fly the company flag in a second Web address and invite more visitors to your flagship site.

Now, double check the instructions from your Web host for taking your site live – and hit the launch button!

Congratulations, you did it – but you’re not done yet. You never will be if your new business Web site is to succeed to full potential. Move on to Step 11, the end of our series, and we’ll tell you all about it.

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Step 11: Constantly Tend to Your Web Site

The care and feeding of your new business home on the Web is as important as any of the steps that got you there.

Whether tweaking SEO, reviewing your analytics, adding new products and services, updating your site map, launching promotions and other marketing campaigns, keeping your site well-tuned and effective is a task that never ends.

Although the hard part is indeed over, the key to long-term business success on the Internet is a maintaining your Web site.

In this, the last step, we tell you how to keep on top of it in six parts:

1. Keep Things Secure

2. Manage Existing Content

3. Tend Your Analytics and SEO

4. Add New Content and Links

5. Constantly Promote Your Web Site

6. Reconsider Ads

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Keep Things Secure

Top of the list: Be vigilant about the security of your Web site and content, your network and your customers’ private information.

This includes all of your company’s firewalls, anti-virus scanning, adware protection and Web hosting services.

A wide range of online services and software can handle this crucial task for you or help do it yourself. Some are free, some charge.

This is a good starter’s list:

Qwest Security Services

Symantec Security Check

Alken Online Security Check

Software QA & Test Resource Center

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The basics of Web site security

Fortunately, just a little bit of legwork can help you determine if your site is properly protected.

1. Choose a respected and established Web hosting provider. Your host will be your first line of defense. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about what it does for security.

2. Be sure that your Web host maintains tight physical security where it keeps its servers. It should also perform regular backups so that your site will stay up and running even if a server goes down. For instance, if you maintain your data on Microsoft Office Live Small Business, it is stored on systems with limited access in controlled locations.

3. Watch out for unusual activity on your Web site. A sudden spike in bandwidth usage may be a tip-off that a hacker has infiltrated your site.

4. Consider hiring an IT or security professional or consultant to test your site’s defenses. This is especially important if you work with highly sensitive data like customers’ health information or financial data.

5. Restrict employee access to your Web site. Only those who absolutely must be able to update it should have the password and/or administrative privileges. Change the password on a regular basis.

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Article: Focusing on Web site Content to Market Your Site

Manage Existing Content

Even the most basic business Web site should be regularly refreshed with new information, images, promotions and services. If you have an e-commerce site, it’s obvious that your offerings will – or should – constantly change.

You’ve seen “stale” sites – never-changing, never improving, blah. That’s not what your new business Web site was so carefully nurtured to project.

Whether you hire out the work or do it yourself, keep these tips in mind:

Some Web developers are willing to negotiate a fee for maintaining your site. If you hired one, ask.

Include easy-to-use feedback forms on your site and monitor replies every day.

React quickly to critical comments and suggestions from your customers and employees, fixing any problems and making necessary upgrades or improvements. Give priority to any trouble with the customer’s Web site experience.

Don’t let old material stay online. Event dates and calendars, promotional deadlines, seasonal specials and products – there should be a clear plan for anything with an expiration date.

When you update your Web site, check for “orphaned” pages – a result of breaking the links to them when you make changes. Your analytics software can help you spot these floaters. If an orphaned page is no longer needed, delete it from your host server.

Tend Your Analytics and SEO

Your Web site’s analytics software holds the keys to staying on top of how your site is viewed and used by visitors and customers.

Whether you maintain your Web site alone or with help, know this:

It seems logical that registering with a slew of search engines will make it easier for customers to find you. But one-size-fits-all may not be the most effective approach for your business type. Check your analytics to see which engines are getting the most hits, and which are doing nothing.

Once you review this data, register with any search engines that clearly target your business audience. Consider adding site-tracking technology that shows you what users are doing in real time. Knowing this allows you to make pinpoint-targeted special offers or change your site’s navigation. If you’ve found SEO management to be more than you can handle, hire a specialist to do it for you (see Step 8).

Add New Content and Links

As your company grows, improves and evolves, your Web site will need to keep pace:

When you hire new team members, promptly add their profiles to your “About Us” page and make any other necessary changes to the lineup.

Call out new additions to your product or service lines on the home page, and includes links to them.

Whenever you add new content to your Web site, test the affected pages to be sure they’re optimized for peak performance.

Don’t forget to update your site map after any changes.

Always watch for opportunities to exchange links with other relevant sites.

Constantly Promote Your Web Site

Drive traffic to your online business home with regular promotional campaigns and strategies. This is limited only by your creativity and imagination, but start with these well-tested methods:

Discount programs are easy and effective. Use them as you would any direct-mail campaign. Creating urgency with “Today Only” and other limited-time offers are especially effective.

Offer “Family and Friends” incentives.

Set up a schedule of online and targeted e-mail newsletters. Include columns by staffers, company news, promotions – anything to lure customers back to your site – with links to get them there.

Consider adding a podcast to your site (audio content that you record), with an RSS link, which is a service that enables your visitors and customers to subscribe to automatic email alerts referring to the latest content available.

Reconsider Ads

If you haven’t tried any form of online advertising (see Step 10) and you’re disappointed with your early Web site results, reconsider.

Besides potentially costly search engine ads, there are alternatives – often free. Some examples are Superpages.com, Citysearch.com and Yellowpages.com.

You can also buy ad space on sites that attract an audience you want to reach. Online ads can cost as little as a few dollars per placement, or thousands if the site has heavy traffic.

Posted bySumedh at 4:12 AM  

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