This week I begin my series on 21 Steps to Building a Great Website. The information in these posts is from over 20 years of experience working on websites and felt that I could share this knowledge with everyone.
Today we begin with Step 1 – Understanding The Website Goals. This step is actually then broken down into 5 individual categories, Visibility, Credibility, Usability, Sellability and Operating Costs.
This is the first process my team takes when meeting with a client. It helps the client to also see if it is profitable to have a website. My team also works with the client to complete these tasks.
So let’s dive into this subject.
What is visibility? When we discuss visibility for websites we are talking about the process of getting your website found on the internet. The best way to increase visibility is to get your site ranked in the main search engines. These main search engines are Google, Bing and Yahoo. There are also hundreds of other search engines in use today, but these three make up close to 80% of all search engine traffic.
In order to rank in the search engines, it takes time. There is no magic code that will get you to the top in a short period of time, so don’t believe all those emails you get saying they guarantee top of the page in a few weeks. (This technique is known as Blackhat SEO and Google will blacklist your website)
Our team uses White Hat Ethical SEO strategies to deliver a long term solution for getting your website ranked. Our solution is Google friendly, we typically see results in 60 to 90 days of using our service, which is pretty much standard with any of the services out there that practice White Hat SEO.
If you don’t want to use a company to do your SEO to get your website ranked, then there are a lot of tools and videos that can teach you some basic SEO strategies. The first step is to do your keyword research, look at your competition and see how they are ranked and what keywords brings them successful transactions. Again there are basic free tools where you can find this information.
When thinking about visibility, think about the content you are going to use. You want to make sure you have a lot of content. I always approach content this way, If I am looking to buy a book about something, do I buy the book that is maybe 20 pages that explains it or do I buy the book that is 250 pages that explains it in greater detail. Well guess what Google and other search engines look at it the same way. the more content there is, the better your website will rank.
When it comes to content, that is only one piece of the puzzle that makes up SEO, however it is a big part of the process. So choose your content carefully. I always suggest writing your content down either on paper or type it into Word. This way you can spend time creating the content for each page of your website. Make sure you try to keep it at a minimum of 300 words per page. You can go more than that, the search engines will not penalize you. Just make sure to have at least 300 words per page to achieve a good ranking by the search engines.
Along with content is formatting the content to match the page. Have it include the name of the product or service, categorize your content to meet what your website offers. Also something that everyone forgets is to NAME EACH PAGE according to the content of the page.
Link Building is also part of the visibility process. Link Building is having links back to your website from Well Established “Authority Websites” related to your industry. When you have links from other website related to your industry, it tells the search engines that your website is credible, this helps increase page rank.
RSS Feeds, wait did I just really put RSS Feeds? Yes, Yes I did. RSS Feeds is still a widely used and highly successful way to distribute your content to websites in a related industry. When you publish new content, it will be distributed to these other websites. Some RSS Feed sites are FEEDPlex and RSS Feeds
Before the internet was born and widely used, businesses would do press releases to the local newspapers and news agencies, well guess what, you can still do press releases online. It is a great way to get your business out there to the public and there are free options (Press World, PRFree, PRWeb and many more) plus there are paid options (PRWeb SEP, Market Wire and many more). Which ever option you decide to go with, it will help build your website ranking.
The last thing I am going to talk about that everyone should do, submit your business to Google Local and industry related websites. To submit your website to Google, all that is required is setting up a Google Account. For Industry related websites, that will take some research to come up with a list.
As you can tell, creating a website takes many different techniques before the website is actually designed. This first step, Visibility is a critical part of the process. It lays the ground work for what happens going forward.
Tomorrow we will write about Credibility and how it affects the ranking of your website and why it is important to understand.
If you would like to learn more about Adirondack Online Services approach to building a website or getting your website ranked, feel free to contact us.