Back to the basics

Your site will succeed if you follow some or all of the following website techniques. CHRIS THOMAS

Chris Thomas

By Chris Thomas

This brief outline will help you achieve the two most important aspects to online success, getting traffic, and getting the results from your site you should expect.

1. Get found!

Decide what it is you want your website to do.

Is your site a selling tool? Is it an online “brochure”? Is it online to pick up leads and encourage communication with your business? Does it cater for other businesses (B2B – usually wholesale sales/business services) or does it cater for consumers/online shoppers (B2C). Is it a combination of all of the above?

Choose your key phrases. Your business will mostly be found through search engines like Google, by people typing in search terms.

Make a list of search terms related to your business. Create this list by pretending to be your own customer trying to find your business online. It’s OK to place local words like “Melbourne” into your search terms if your business caters for a small hinterland. For example; “office plant hire melbourne”

More and more people are searching this way (that is, locally).

Choose the most popular search terms. Visit Google’s new Insights keyword tool. Type your search term list into this tool to see which is the most popular. The most popular search term related to your business usually “wins”!

Now optimise your site for the most popular search terms you’ve found.

If you are responsible for the website – place the most popular search term into the <title> tag just once (don’t over do it). This is a vital piece of optimisation “real estate”, so use it wisely. Also optimise your meta tags for the chosen search term.

Place the search term into a <h1> tag (heading 1.). Then use the search term liberally through the text of your page.

If your site is built or maintained by someone else, ask them to perform the steps above on your behalf.

Lastly, try to gather links from other websites. Links pointing at your site from other websites are very important for three reasons. One: They can provide traffic. Two: Search engines (like Google) will find your site because its “robots” followed links to you from those other sites linking to yours. Three: Google will rank your site more highly as it sees links as a measure of popularity. For more information visit Google Webmaster Central.

2. Convert your visitors!

The written word is your most powerful tool. It will make or break your effort to persuade your visitor. The right words will turn your visitor into a customer. Do not distract your visitor with animations, rotating banners of flashy graphics. The world’s largest online retailer Amazon doesn’t have any, so you shouldn’t either.

Rule 1.
Knowledge of your product’s benefits and your customers’ needs are critical to writing compelling website copy. Decide on the biggest benefit your product or service has for a consumer and USE IT in your opening paragraph! Fire your biggest gun first.

Rule 2.
Keep paragraphs short, keep sentences short and keep words short. It’s OK to be conversational. Yes really!

Keep a space between each paragraph, it allows the page to “breathe” and makes it much easier for your visitor to digest and remember your words.

Rule 3.
Decide what the main aim of your site is. If you want someone to fill out a form, make sure there is a constant focus on that outcome. For example, all links on your site should point to the “form” page.

Rule 4.
Make it as easy as possible for your visitor to achieve the main aim of the site!

It’s OK to write “ORDER HERE!” instead of “order here”.

Rule 5.
Build TRUST, LIKEABILITY & CREDIBILITY into your words. Make people feel comfortable dealing with you.

Rule 6.
You can never say “you”, “you’re”, “your” enough!
For example, change this… “We make the best widgets in Australia…” (yawn) to “You and your friends are going to love the look of these widgets!”

Rule 7.
Lastly, use testimonials and endorsements to emphasise other peoples’ positive experience dealing with you, your business or your products.

Top resource: Make Your Site Sell 2002 by Ken Evoy – yes it’s old, but it will become an invaluable resource to your business.

 

Chris Thomas heads Reseo, a search engine optimisation company which specialises in creating and maintaining Google AdWords campaigns and Search Engine Optimisation campaigns for a range of corporate clients.

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