6 Steps to Creating an Effective Website
Not all websites need to be built for marketing and communications, but if the objective of your website is to do so, it would beneficial for you to follow these 6 principles of building an effective website.
1. Know your search keywords
Before you embark on any web marketing campaign, you need to know whether if there are people searching for a particular keyword in the search engines.
To find out what keywords are in demand, and find out what keywords people put in the search engines, go to https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal and key in a seed keyword, e.g. if you are selling flowers, key in “flowers”. This will help to give you a long list of keywords people use, and the demand for each.
2. Don’t use flash websites
Flash animations are pretty, and allows a lot of web interaction. However, Flash websites are most of the time not search engine friendly. Stick to normal HTML pages with lots of content.
3. Watch your page titles
This might be a little technical for the non tech-savvy, but VERY essential. Try this. Go to https://siteexplorer.search.yahoo.com, key in your website URL, and click “Explore URL”
What you will see is a list of pages in your website, known to the search engines. Any page not listed here will NOT appear in the search engine listings. Notice the links to the page. Do all the links look the same? (i.e. using the same title) If so, then tell your web designer to change each page in your site to a different title. Every page in your site is an entry point for the search engines. In general, the more pages you have, the better. The title of every page is like a room numbers in a hotel. If you have a hotel with all the rooms with the same number, chances are that it will be difficult for you to find your room. Make it easy for the search engines to find each page – each title must be unique!
4. Focus on one most desirable action for each page
Many websites are clunk full of distracting images and sections. This is not very useful. Make you website clean. Usability studies show that you have less than 3 seconds to tell your visitor what your site is about!
Highlight what you want the reader to focus on by using bigger text size, colors and images. In short, every element on the site must be there for a reason. Focus on what you want the person to do on each page.
What is the “most desirable action” for each page? Is the focus of the page to provide information? Is it to collect an email address so you can follow up with the visitor? Is it to ask the visitor to make a purchase? By tweaking the layout of your page and removing distractions, you can make it easier for your visitor to do what they want (also what you want them to do).
5. Add a lot of content
In general, bigger sites (sites with more pages and content) always rank better in the search engines. Content is king, as far as the Internet is concerned. Add content to your site on a daily basis if possible. If not, at least once a week. One good way to do this is to integrate a blog to your site where you can post regular updates.
6. Build incoming links
An incoming link (i.e. someone else’s website linking to yours) is like a vote for your website. The more incoming links you have, the better your site will perform in the search engines. Here are three good strategies to solicit links
- Search for blogs in your industry using http://blogsearch.google.com and post comments in other people’s blogs. When you do so, you will have an opportunity to leave your website URL together with your comments.
- Write articles (about 400 words) on a single topic related to your business, and submit them to article directories like http://www.ezinearticles.com. When you post an article, you’ll have an opportunity to leave you website URL in the author resource box.
- Submit your site to website directories. These are link yellow pages on a web. To do so, search for “<Business> Add URL” (e.g. Organic Food Add URL). Adding your website to these directories will give you another incoming link.
If you take just these 3 strategies to building links and do it consistently, you will find that after 3 months, you will have site blooming with visitors.