Five Ways to Get the Most from Your Web Site
In today's business world, nearly everyone knows that having a useful web presence is a requirement. As promotional resources go, web sites are as powerful and convenient as anything yet deployed. The Internet is the new phone book, postal catalog, TV commercial, and community sounding board all rolled into one.
But just because a site is online doesn't mean that it is poised to generate successful interest and opportunities for its business.
When it comes to having a site that works best for you, there's a multi-faceted approach that it should be covering:
How it attracts visitors from search engines and other sites
How it guides your visitors toward making a purchase or contacting you
Luckily, there are many steps you can take to cover either one or both of these goals. Here are just five of them:
Make sure that your text is what search engines want to see.
Keywords and search phrases should be an important part of your site's text content. Create a list of search terms that would work best in locating your business (and your competitors) online. Without going overboard, put a healthy dose of these search terms into your text material throughout the site. You should make sure that headlines, boldfaced text, italicized text, and web links contain them too. Make sure that it reads naturally; your site visitors are the final audience, and search engines know this. Not even Google feels good about sentences like "If your previous carpet installation needs to be replaced with a new carpet installation, then get carpet installation by the masters of carpet installation: Jimmy's Carpet Installation!"
Keep call-to-action phrasing in mind, especially for links to your store or contact forms.
Though a web site is technically a collection of web documents, it is important to have the mindset that this is an interactive collection. Your visitors are coming to your site to learn more about you, but they are also looking to press buttons, go to new areas, and make something happen. Without being too commanding or impatient, you can create assertive text that guides your visitors into your e-store, subscribing to your mailing list, telling their friends about you, and more. (Some visitors will be grateful for the ease at which you pointed them to the "Buy Now" button.)
Replace text-heavy graphics with text blocks.
Ever visit a web site that had an empty image placeholder? The little box with the red X inside? Now imagine that all of the images on your site have been removed and replaced with that red X. That's how search engines see your site. Take stock of the number of graphics on your site with embedded text information that Google or Bing might be missing, and see if you might be able to try a different visual approach. At the very least, look into providing ALT text for those images.
Ask past clients for testimonials that you can include on your site.
They say that word-of-mouth is the most powerful advertising/conversion tool. One of the next best steps is to provide testimony from people who vouch for your product/service. Just send out an email or a few phone calls, and point out that you're not looking for an essay; anything from a sentence to a paragraph will do. Testimonials have a two-fold benefit:  they promote your trustworthiness and proof of successful delivery of promise, and  the likelihood that some great search term text is included is a benefit to your site's SEO.
Set up social media pages for your business, and link them to your site.
Sites like Facebook and Twitter (and even the upcoming Google+) are the rage for connecting with friends and getting cool tidbits of trend-friendly information. As stated above, word-of-mouth is a super advertising tool, and its potency is on full display and in full throttle at these sites. Providing people with an easy way to connect with you, stay current with you, and to share you with their friends is essentially a no-brainer. It's also a plus for your search ranking to link your website and your social networking pages together.
Depending on your business needs and your market, there are many more things you can do to elevate your web site's usefulness.
Add a video to YouTube linked back to your site.
A web video can provide a detailed description and personal demonstration of your product or service, and if properly planned, can motivate the viewer to buy it, try it, or reach out to you. And YouTube (a Google-owned company) is well-represented in Google searches, and sites that employ YouTube videos get rating increases as a result. This takes care of both of the web site goals mentioned earlier, as well as a third: speed of content delivery (particularly for visitors who aren't into reading a whole lot of material to get to the good stuff).
Posted on 07/14/2011 (7:35 AM) by Keith Adams