My desire is to provide helpful and thoughtful information about all aspects of doing business. Feel free to share your comments, experience and insight!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Tips For Web Site Success

Creating a successful web site can be quite challenging for small businesses. However, with a few tips and thoughtful plans, the puzzle pieces begin to come together so any web site can increase its effectiveness.
  1. web site development, website design, search engine optimizationDefine "success" for your site. Web sites are diverse and can serve any number of purposes - from on-line brochures to dynamic sales portals. Take time to decide what the function of your site is and then determine what is success for that function. Would success for your site be a specific number of visitors? Or would it be an increased percentage of sales? Or possibly success would be an increased number of visitors that register on your site. Regardless, once you know what success is in your eyes, you can tailor the site to meet your goals.

  2. Concentrate on good design principals. There are basic design principals and concepts that all web sites should employ. Sites should be user-focused and easy to navigate. Keeping things simple helps users find what they need quickly and almost effortlessly. There are many cool, cute & clever functions that can be created on a site but if it does not serve the visitor, leave them off the site and stick with good, basic designs.

  3. Make sure your site is usable. This may sound odd but it is important to consider. Once visitors make it to your site, they need to be able to use the site and understand the content. This is closely related to the good design principals noted above. The navigation should be clear and in a prominent place. Again, cute & clever won't get you very far if the site visitor can't decide how to get around your site. Make sure content is well organized and tailored to help users find what they need.

  4. Promote, promote, promote. Make sure everyone knows you have a web site. Put your URL on business cards, letterhead, e-mails...anything that leaves your office. Market your site like you would a new product or service. The more people that know about your site, the more potential visitors you can get. And as your web site traffic increases, you can begin measuring the effectiveness of your efforts.

So having an effective web site isn't rocket science but it does take some time, thought and persistence. It helps to have assistance from a professional developer but the tips noted above are practical and can be used by any web site owner. As with most marketing tools, a web site only increases its success with your commitment and effort.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Search Engine Optimization For Every Business

Search engine optimization is something that every business with a web site needs to know about and needs to address often. The good news is, it is relatively easy and it does not have to be costly...and the ROI can be priceless!

Effective web sites provide the right information to the right site visitors at the right time. Web sites that are effective in search engines utilize that right information to help lead those right visitors to their sites at the right time - when someone is searching for them! So how can every business take advantage of search engine optimization? With 3, equally important, simplified practices:

  1. Keywords. Consider the exact words & phrases that will bring people to a site. And not just bring people to a site but bring the right people to a site. Use those words in text on the web pages, in titles and in descriptions.

  2. Content. If the site text utilizes keywords, matches page descriptions and confirms the message of the business, it will naturally do well in search engines. Content developed to serve the site visitor will also serve the search engines - no magic tricks or smoke & mirrors - just good, quality content that is informative and uses terms that best describe the products or services.

  3. Links. Inbound links are important to search engines. All the top search engines use what is called "link analysis" and it helps the search engines determine many things about any given web site. Along with popularity (how many other sites link to it), link analysis determines the validity & relevance of page content & keywords. If inbound links are meaningful and make sense with the content on the page, search engines will consider the links as a valuable measurement variable of the site.

Please note that these 3 items work in coordination with each other and are not ways to unduly influence search engines in favor of any given web site. The true purpose of search engine optimization is to make sure the information presented in a web site is being appropriately indexed by the search engines by using technology the search engine programs can analyze. If the information is accurate, straight-forward and what customers need, there will be great results from the web site...the right visitors at the right time!