goffgrafix.com website design and programming

I have put these two articles by Elizabeth McGee together on this one page. Although she repeats some of her ideas from one to the other, I feel that reading both gives some very sound web design suggestions for making your site functional/attractive both from a user stand point and a search engine stand point.

Design your site for traffic in 2005

written by Elizabeth McGee

What better way to start the new year than with more traffic to your web site. Web traffic is a critical part of your internet business and it is imperative that you design it to bring you the most amount of traffic possible.

Designing your site for traffic includes offering good content, easy navigation and a logical flow. Additionally you must also build your site to draw traffic from the search engines because if you can obtain high search engine ranking, you can enjoy free traffic.

It's important to note, however that good ranking won't do you much good without a well designed site and a well designed site can't bring you visitors if no one knows it's there. Both high ranking and good design need to work together.

How do we pull all this together? Let's take a look.

A word about Design

A huge mistake I see many website owners make is that they get caught up in making their site cute. They love the little animations, buttons and dramatic backgrounds. What they fail to consider is that these things are worthless if you
don't offer good content, easy navigation and a logical flow.

First of all don't try to be everything to everyone. Design your site around a theme, preferably a niche theme. Don't confuse your readers with links all over the page. Design a logical flow.
Lead your viewers to where you would like them to go. Leave plenty of white space and keep your pages organized. Clearly state at the top of your pages what you are about and what you would like your viewers to do.

Secondly, I don't recommend pop-ups. I find that the majority of internet users find them annoying. The demand for pop-up blockers is a good indication that viewers don't want to see them.

Thirdly, offer good content. Provide information on your site that will help viewers solve a problem. Offer information that they might not get elsewhere. Write reviews regarding your products. Write newsletters and articles and most importantly offer something of value for free. Give your viewers a reason to come back. It will also build trust in you.

Traffic builders

Good search engine ranking can bring lots of visitors to your site. It often takes a few months to rank well but the payoff is lots of qualified traffic. While it's not practical to depend solely on search engines for traffic it can complement your other advertising campaigns nicely. Aiming for high search engine placement is always a plus. Keep these in mind when developing your site for the search engines:

-Domain names
Choose a domain name that has your site keywords in it. For example, if you're a site about pet care, try to include the words "pet care" or words related to pet care in your domain name if you can.

-Keywords
Keywords require research and there are several tools to help you out in this area. Here are my favorites:

http://inventory.overture.com/d/searchinventory/suggestion/
http://www.digitalpoint.com/tools/suggestion/

I suggest focusing on only one keyword or keyword phrase per page of your website. This may not seem like a lot but if your site has 20 pages you can focus on 20 keywords. Each page should be considered a landing page for your site.
If you have proper navigation on your pages it will easily allow viewers to see everything you have to offer.

Include your keyword or keyword phrase at the top of your page as well as in at least one header phrase. Also work the keywords into the body of your text as often as you can without sounding redundant.

Your keywords should be in the Title tag as well as in your page description tag. Many search engines no longer look at the keyword tags but I recommend using them and including the plural forms as well.

- Alt Tags
Search engines don't index images, therefore any text on your site that is presented in image format won't get indexed. To solve this problem, you can enter the image description in the ALT tag. To be sure that the search engines recognize all the content on your site, fill in your ALT tags with
your keywords. This will boost your keyword frequency and help your site achieve better ranking.

- Linking
Search engines will rate your site by who is linking to your site, so it's important to establish quality, related links. This can be accomplished in a few ways. One way is to establish reciprocal links with other like sites. When exchanging links be sure to include your keywords in your site title.

Review the page you are exchanging links with. Be sure it is a site that you find easy to navigate and informative. I also recommend that the site's index page have a Google PR rating of at least one. This ensures that the site is not being penalized by Google. If it is a penalized site then you could be penalized as well for linking to it.

Include a 'tell a friend' and 'bookmark' script on your site. This gives viewers an easy way to bookmark you and most of all return to your site.

- Include a Site Map
Site Maps let visitors know what information you have, how it's organized, where it is located with respect to other information, and how to get to that information with the least amount of clicks possible.

Site maps also provide spider food for search engine robots. This can increase your chances of becoming indexed because a site map allows the search engines to easily visit every page of your site.

A site map works best if you include a link to your site map in the navigation of every page on your site.

Finally, don't let your site become stale. I have found that my search engine rankings improve when I periodically add new pages to my site and keep the content new and fresh. Follow these tips and 2005 may be your year for traffic.

 

Give Your Website A Chance

written by Elizabeth McGee

I often wonder how serious people are when it comes to their websites. I thought that most everyone knew that the phrase "Build it and they will come" no longer applies on the internet but I'm not sure how many people really believe it.

I look at sites everyday as part of my sales strategy and I can't tell you how many of them violate the obvious elements of good website design and submission.

What even amazes me more is that they can't figure out why they don't get sales or visitors. Do yourself a favor and attempt to apply the following tactics to your site. They won't cost you a thing except a little time and effort to apply them.

About Page

Always include an about page on your site.
Don't be afraid to tell your story and let people know who you are and how you arrived where you are.

Opening yourself up and letting people know who you are adds an element of trust. It exposes your personality, capabilities and knowledge. All factors that let your readers know you are genuine.

Include all your contact information

Let your visitors know that you are available.
Encourage questions, email and phone calls. Include your name, address and phone number.
If you can, it's also helpful to place a photo on your site. Familiarity is key and it can add one more link in the ladder of trust.

Headlines

Create compelling headlines. Peak the interest of your readers. This is your chance to grab their attention and incite them to read on.

Don't be flashy or obnoxious. Simply tell it like it is. Capture their attention with descriptive, informative words. Get your readers involved in your information. Ask questions. Make them think.

You might be surprised to learn that just one compelling headline can bring instant sales almost overnight.

Create your meta tags

This is the first place I look when people tell me they aren't getting visitors. I often see sites that have no title or description tag or the tags don't follow the suggested guidelines for proper setup.

Here's an example of how the tags might look for a site that sells hummingbird feeders:

<title>Hummingbird Feeders: Shop For Hummingbird Feeders Online</title>
<meta name="description" CONTENT="Hummingbird feeders.Shop For hummingbird feeders online">
<meta name="keywords" CONTENT="hummingbird feeders, hummingbird feeder, bird feeder, bird feeders">

You will need to do this for each page of your site. Each page needs to have it's own set of tags. I also recommend focusing on one keyword per page, two at the very most. Too many keywords can confuse what your page is about.

Always make sure that your keywords are scattered throughout your text as well, however don't sacrifice
good content for nonsense. Your text should be easy to read and should not sound redundant. Make your pages at least 250 words.

Testimonials

Solicit feedback from buyers you've had. Ask them to write a small testimonial that you can place on your site. This goes a long way to help convince your visitor that your products and services are sound.

Linking

Reciprocal linking is a common and effective tactic for obtaining search engine status and page rank but it's also the most time consuming. It requires making contacts, following up with contacts and updating your website.

While reciprocal linking is an excellent way of establishing page rank it's not the only way. Page rank can also be established by submitting your site to directories, writing articles and setting up blogs.

Don't underestimate the power of website links. Take the extra few hours a day and get your site noticed.

Review the page you are exchanging links with. Be sure it is a site that you find easy to navigate and informative. I also recommend that the site's index page have a Google PR rating of at least one. This ensures that the site is not being penalized by Google. If it is a penalized site then you could be penalized as well for linking to it.

Include a 'tell a friend' and 'bookmark' script on your site. This gives viewers an easy way to bookmark you and most of all return to your site.

Include a Site Map

Site Maps let visitors know what information you have, how it's organized, where it is located with respect to other information, and how to get to that information with the least amount of clicks possible.

Site maps also provide spider food for search engine robots. This can increase your chances of becoming indexed because a site map allows the search engines to easily visit every page of your site.

A site map works best if you include a link to your site map in the navigation of every page on your site.

Finally, don't let your site become stale. I have found that my search engine rankings improve when I periodically add new pages to my site and keep the content new and fresh. Follow these tips and 2005 may be your year for traffic.

About the Author:
Elizabeth McGee has spent 20 years in the service and support industry.
She has moved her expertise to the world wide web helping businesses
find trusted tools, enhance customer service, build confidence and
increase sales. You can contact Elizabeth at: mail@pro-marketing-online.com
or visit her website at: http://www.pro-marketing-online.com

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