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Jim Gibson - Publishing Partner, Online Media Today
By Jim Gibson - Publishing Partner, Online Media Today

As internet marketing professionals, we share a universal challenge in getting individual business owners to understand there’s more to online marketing than just putting up a company website.  Gone are the days when all a business had to do was get a website built and hang their virtual shingle online.  Yes, you can still build simple websites.  In fact, there are an abundance of great
website builder resources available to create most of what you’ll need, and fortunately, at a fraction of the price websites used to cost. 

But the reality is, with every one having a website these days (and, of course that includes your competitors!), the fight for online turf is growing increasingly fierce.   So, like top carpenters use the right hammers and nails, you, too, should apply the right techniques that turn your website into an effective business generating tool.

The Aesthetic Value

In today’s internet driven economy, there’s no denying the importance of your company’s website.   This includes the look and feel of your site.  Whether universally agreed, a company’s website is the “de facto” measure of business’s online reputation.  Like walking into a brick and mortar store for the first time –a website has the chance to strongly influence your customer’s first impression.   Poorly developed or template driven websites can quickly turn customers away. 

The use of Flash and/or Java Script are methods modern website owners believe they can employ to spruce up their site.  Although these design elements are very attractive to site visitors, website owners may encounter problems if these elements are employed without care.  Page load times can be considerably higher which may result in visitors clicking away before the site can be fully accessed.  In addition, search engine spiders may not be able to decipher contextual elements within the animation.  Generally used in the website’s most important page, the home page, Flash and Java may reduce the amount of quality indexing of your site’s critical message.  These design elements also play culprit to another search engine indexing challenge, code bloat.  Although the natural impulse is to use lots of animation in your new website, proceed with caution as problems can occur with its unstructured use.  

No matter whether your site style is considered static (brochure), ecommerce (sell products & services online) or dynamic (growing content, e.g., blog), you should invest considerable time and energy into making your website, not only aesthetically pleasing but easily accessible to your visitors and search engines alike.

Architecture, Content & Links – The Golden Pyramid

Your websites architecture, content and links form the cornerstone of your online marketing efforts.  Without a strong emphasis in these three areas of site construction, your future internet marketing efforts will be considerably flawed.

Website architecture refers to a variety of things but the most fundamental element of sound site architecture is its navigation.  Simply put, how easy is it for your visitors to find what they are looking for.   This often overlooked area of site usability influences not only your visitors but search engine spiders as well.  Well constructed site navigation allows search engine spiders to easily find and index appropriate links and display important pages in the search engine results pages (SERPs).

The use of Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), Sitemaps (both HTML & XML) and Robots.txt in your website architecture helps both visitors and search engines quickly locate the desired information.  Areas to be careful to avoid include:

1.     Website Canonicalization

2.     Session IDs

3.     Cloaking

4.     Doorways (hidden redirects)

5.     Hidden Links

Website Content: Writing is the Least of Your Concern

Most website owners spend considerably more time writing content than in any other area of site construction; and for good reason.  Your company’s message and intended goals lay within this critical framework.  Unfortunately, most content development is performed in a vacuum.  That is, content is often written very little forethought for how a website will be optimized for future search engine placement. 

Referred to as SEO (Search Engine Optimization), the process of developing content, both on page and off page, is an important area of site management that leads to increased visibility in the SERPs.  This organic content optimization strategy describes a thoughtful application of meta tags and internal site links.  Meta tags include: Title Tags, Meta Descriptions, Keyword, Alt Img and H1 Tags.  Although there is still a hot debate over the value of meta keywords, the fact is most search engines still place a great emphasis on title tags and meta descriptions. 

Links appear in the on page text and quickly direct visitors to other relevant internal site pages as well as to information contained on 3rd party websites.  Links are hugely important to search engines as they add a degree of relevance to your website.  Internal links are helpful to site visitors but also lead search engines to other page content that is measured for content relevance.  The more relevant the link, the better marks you get for content germaneness.     

Common Content Development Mistake

Too often, when just starting out, the website architecture is formed and the blank pages are then filled with text.   Only after the text has been written do website owners contemplate the application of meta tags and internal links.  Yes, I have been guilty of this too!  Although more common than not, this is actually a backwards way of developing an effective on page optimization strategy. 

Before you start writing any page content, it is highly recommended to perform a thorough keyword analysis using available keyword tools.  Only after you have developed a short list of important keywords, should you go about writing text for each page.  Including the most important contextually relevant keywords towards the beginning of your text (being mindful of keyword overuse) while making sure your page links are keyword rich (avoid using “click here”) is a great way to ensure search engines give your site high marks and increase your chance of landing higher in the SERPs.

Performing this process in this sequence eliminates kludgy text as you don’t have to go back later and force important keywords into your content.   And remember, optimizing your website for proper SEO is not a “one and done” effort.  SEO is an ongoing process that requires constant attention as not only are search engine algorithms constantly changing but, so too, are your competitors SEO strategies.  In order to keep pace, you must continually go back and re-evaluate your keyword strategy.

The great thing about marketing your business online in today’s world, is there are a ton of helpful resources available.  It’s important to know, however, that just because you have a website doesn’t necessarily mean you are actually being seen online.  Once you’ve realized there are some very simple techniques to expand your websites functionality, you’ll be well on your way to achieving better results in your online marketing efforts.

About the Author:

Jim Gibson is a certified search engine marketing professional and serial entrepreneur.  In addition to Online Media Today, Jim is a principal at GibSEM Group (http://www.gibsem.com) and has founded several internet properties including online B2C directory, Service Omni, Inc. (http://www.serviceomni.com) and QuakeDog, Inc. (www.quakedog.com), a network marketing company focused on the sale of personal survival gear.  You can reach Jim at: jgibson@gibsem.com or follow him @GibSEM.
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11/28/2013 05:00:53 pm

Such a nice discussion you have made on Pinterest which shows your creativity. Awesome pictures also you have putted in this blog which impressed me. Thanks

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5/25/2017 10:33:34 pm

Primarily, websites are created to be an online medium from one person to another. Because of so many innovations that happened, opportunities and a lot of things were also discovered. That's why it is important for someone to know what's the reason of him coming up with a website, so that, he'll know the direction to take in this world.

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