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Business Website Best Practices

Carrie Hill wrote a very interesting article about website best practices for small businesses in Search Engine Watch, Nov 25, 2008. After reading, I decided to elaborate on the content about designing a Web site with business in mind. She made a 25 item list, and I decided to go a little bit further. The general idea is to design a site that will please your visitors and the search engines.

First of all, install some kind of website statistics software. An online solution like Google Analytics it’s at the top of the list!, but you may also consider Piwik which is a PHP MySQL software program that you download and install on your own webserver. Monitoring your website is a must in commercial software!

Piwik Main Screen

Piwik Main Screen

Allow space for a minimum of 250 words of relevant text if possible but you should be careful about writing too much text and loading it to your website or blog site. For the Internet, there are different types of writing that are more appropriate.  Bold only key ideas in the text. Adding too much bold will over-emphasize the whole page, which is counterproductive. Generally, bullet points, bold words, short paragraphs and breaking up a lot of text and make it easier for viewers to read. Also ensure you have the right balance between text and graphics. Graphics-heavy Web sites with little (or no) text can make it hard for a search engines to determine the relevancy of your site to queries you should rank for. Images and graphics, on the other hand, help tell a story about your products and services.

Break up long paragraphs with photos or bullet points. Use a readable font and font size, and one that is hopefully easily scalable for low-vision users. Use quality graphics and photos. Poor photography can lead to less trust in what you’re offering. Remember: a picture is worth 1,000 words. If possible avoid Flash elements and java photo slideshows, they usually are visually attractive but various different web clients (mozilla, Internet Explorer, Chrome, etc.) may not show them correctly or use up bandwidth and system resources.

Create an eye-catching website header. This makes an impression on visitors, much like the façade, front door, or foyer of your store. Also consider how easy the home page and interior pages will be to manage in the future. Simple objective designs seriously influence the sites appeal. Please work on a modular design and consider your website should be able to link new pages and grow and change over time. Also use Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) to keep excessive code out of the way. This leaves a clean and concise interface for the search engines. And please remember your phone number should be prominent and located at top of page in large type. Additionally, if your business is not web based, location of your offices should be prominent and obvious on the page. Use header tags on every page — your tag should support the page title and be relevant to on page content that follows it.

If you include an online store, create logical and custom navigation with “Product” and “Purchase” links in clear view. Place strong call to actions throughout the site. Make it very easy for your user to find the “buy” button and get through your checkout process. Buying or reserving information should be prominent and above the fold (book now, checkout, shopping cart, etc). Don’t overload your contact or RFP forms with information. Make it simple and easy to fill out and submit — name, phone, e-mail address and comments are the basics. If you ask for personal information via a sign up or contact form, then you need a privacy policy.

Search engines don’t care how the words are delivered — paragraphs or bullet points are fine — just as long as your services and products are fully described on each page. Write unique page titles and meta descriptions for each page. This is ad copy, so take advantage of it. Sell using great keyword phrases and calls to action. Have a static HTML sitemap and an XML sitemap that can be uploaded to your Google Webmaster Tools account. Remember: when you add pages to a site, update your navigation and sitemap. Consider having static sitemap links that use main keyword phrase for the page it links to. It doesn’t hurt to wrap some descriptive text around those sitemap links either.

Finally, if you go into the process with some knowledge, hiring someone who can build you exactly what you need to be successful will be much easier and you’ll have some realistic and professional advice. If interested, please contact us, we can quote you on a site that accomplishes all of this and more.

posted by admin
Martes, noviembre 3, 2009