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Managing your website to improve it’s effectiveness can seem like an overwhelming task.  When considering this, many owners of small businesses ask 3 questions.  1) What should I do?  I’m not a technical expert.  2)   How much will it cost?  And 3) How long will it take?  Here aresome cost-effective techniques to improve the effectiveness of your website without breaking the bank or taking you away from your primary role of revenue generator.  These tips are key to maintaining a successful website that will better represent your company to your customers.

Website Content – Content is king!  More content means better ranking by search engines and the likelihood that people will return to your website more frequently.

– Search engines, like Google, scan website content to help determine website ranking on key word searches.  As search engines gain sophistication some older techniques, like Meta Tags, are losing their impact on search results but, the effectiveness of key word searches of content is increasing.  Thus, the more content that your website has, the more key words and the higher frequency of those key words, will help to improve your ranking on key word searches when these search engines scan your website.

– People like content too!  Recent studies show that 97% of people research the products and services that they are currently interested in buying prior to deciding who they will buy from.  Ask yourself this – Why should people come to my website?  Give them information about your products and services that is both interesting and informative.  Otherwise, they have no reason to stay on your website, explore it more deeply, or return to it in the future.

– Lots of relevant content is one key to a successful website.  You cannot have too much.  And, there is no limit to the amount of information you can have on your website.  Just make sure that it is relevant, and not distracting from your message.  Writing informational articles about what you specialize in, and posting it on your website,  is a great way to generate content.

Keep Your Information Current – The content on your website needs to be kept current.  There are 2 major reasons for this.  1st, the search engines are tyrants.  2nd, people are searching for current, not dated, information.

– How frequently you update the information on your website is actually tracked by the search engines to rank your website.  The more frequently your website content is updated, the better impact on your ranking with the search engines.  Search engines actively dislike a static website and if your website does not change and grow it’s ranking with the search engines will drop lower in the rankings.  Monthly updating is normally sufficient.

– Visitors to your website are also looking for new, updated information.  If your website does not include current information, they have less incentive to return to your website.

– Changes to website content can be as simple as altering text, updating pictures, adding articles that are relevant to your products and services, and blogs.

Organization of Your Website – Both individual visitors to your website and search engines prefer a well organized website.

– Search engines, which are computer programs, break your website down into elements that are based on the structure of the pages of the website.

– People seeking information on your website are looking for easy navigation on your website.  The will not read every word on your website.  They will scan headings and lists, not paragraphs, to find the information they seek. Having this information in a logical order of importance will allow them to easily find what they are looking for, rather than going to another website for the information they seek.

– Organize similar information and topics by grouping it.

1 – Present key sections with bold headings.

2 – Use bulleted lists, rather than paragraphs for detailed points of interest.

3 – Paragraphs of information are best used for detailed information about specialty areas.

The Style of Your Website – The appearance of your website does have value, but not as much as you may think.  Most people are concerned with the “meat” of your website, not the flashiness.  In fact, most website visitors are primarily interested in gathering the information they seek and find “Star Wars” style websites to be irritating, difficult to maneuver through, and take too much time to upload.  The people most impressed with flash-headers, voice-overs and live, streaming video are web designers, not common information seekers.  They want to know if the website will provide the answers they seek and how quickly can they find it.

1 – Make sure that your website is easy to read.

2 – Make sure that the text is large and bold.

3 – Avoid dark backgrounds.

4 – Use ALL CAPS sparingly.  Using all capitals can appear as screaming and when people read they do so by recognizing word shapes.  All capitals requires them to read each letter separately.

5 – Lastly, make sure that there is good contrast between the background color and the text color.

Proper Use of Images – People are visual creatures and pictures add visual appeal to your website. Remember that the visitors to your website cannot pick-up, feel or see your products.  Proper use of images can overcome part of that.  But, too many images can be distracting from your message.

1 – Make sure that the images you include are consistent with your message. These images need to compliment your message, not distract from it.

2 – Use images to enhance an important point but don’t over-do it or the images will detract from, not enhance your efforts.

3 – The quality of the images is very important.  They should not appear amateurish.  It is worthwhile to utilize a professional photographer or 1 of the many stock photo services available on the internet.  Stock photos can be purchased at a minimal cost.  Usually for a cost of $10 to $20 per image.

4 – If you have a highly visual product, such as art, including a “Gallery” page to your website is highly recommended.

Links To and From Your Website – Exchanging links with other websites will result in a better ranking of your website.  There are however a few key points to keep in mind.

1 – They need to be relevant to what you do.  Search engines look for the relevance of your links.

2 – Place the links to other websites throughout your website.  Do not put up a links page.  Search engines frown on this and can give you a lower ranking for this.

3 – Ask the owners of the websites that you link to, to link back to you.  This is called a link exchange or a reciprical link.

Don’t Try to Out-smart the Search EnginesSearch engines are consistently on the look-out for tricks, special techniques, and the use of backdoors to artificially enhance website ranking.  DON’T USE THESE!  The search engines will catch you!  Trying to outsmart the search engines will ultimately result in your website being ranked lower, not higher.  If you follow the rules of the search engines, you WILL receive a better ranking and your website will become a more effective marketing tool for your business.

I hope you find these suggestions helpful.  Feel free to contact me with any questions or comments you may have.  Call Wayne at 985-796-1288. YourLMP.com