The benefits of a Properly Dressed Website
The first thing you are told, when you start a business is that you must have a website! So when you come to choose that “said” website, how do you know that you are getting or have you got the right one for your business? A simple answer to that, would be one that works as part of your team and not just an asset on your ledger! What it needs to do, is bring you new customers and be a go to place for all your company information. BUT it needs to be properly DRESSED!
It is true, that a website is an important part of your marketing, particularly if you do not have premises! Your website will become your shop window. It will become how people judge you and your company by how it looks, what mistakes there are on it and if it is interesting and motivates them to get in touch! Look at your website now and does it do that for you? If you have no office or shop premises for people to visit, then your website will become your shop window, you need to keep checking to see if it is properly dressed.
What do we mean by properly dressed?
There are a few basic points that you can check for yourself and then make the decision if you need to hire an expert to fix any issues. Business owners often feel short changed when they buy a website and realize it doesn’t do “everything” they thought it would do. When commissioning a new website, you need to be clear in your request of what you expect your website to do.
Think of it as going to a special occasion, you need a new outfit but one shop probably won’t have all the items that go to making that ultimate outfit for that occasion. In this senario, you will probably buy the dress in one shop, shoes, and handbag in another and the jewelry somewhere else. All the other items of clothing and makeup you may already own so no need to buy anything more.
With a website, it is no different and a basic website will include just that, perhaps 5 pages with text and placement areas for text and images, but you will be responsible for sourcing that text and images. Unless you ask for this to be done for you. Search engine optimization (SEO) is what drives traffic to your website and on a basic site this will not be included in the price. If you want an optimized site, make sure you ask for that to be included and enquire as to what SEO manager is going to be used. Finally website hosting. When you own a website you need it to be hosted somewhere and somewhere safe so that it is protected from hackers and spam traffic. There are many options out there and the cheapest is not always the best. Consider shopping around but always enquire with the website designer as to what they charge as they may not give you full support if you self host. So what should you do to check how best dressed your website is today?
1. Check your code
What we see on the web is for humans, the back code is what the spiders eat and read and then decide if your website is good or bad. open your browser and bring up your website. Right-click to the left of your site in an open area (not on your website) various options will come up. Select view page source. If your site has any optimization in it, you will see lots of text appear on the page. The key things to look for are:
The title of your website is key on each page as this is the text that will appear on google in the search results. A good title will place you higher in the search engine rankings but it needs to be relevant to the page. Try to keep your titles under 55 characters. Test how yours looks with this free tool http://moz.com/learn/seo/titletag
This is where you backup your title statement with a short snappy description of what you are offering. Keep it to less than 160 characters to stay within the number of characters the spiders read. Remember they get bored and move on if you say too much. AND they can mark you down! Use your keywords at the beginning of the title.
These words are called key as they are the words that are typed into the search engine box. You need to choose your keywords carefully and take time to decide which are right for you and which are irrelevant. Remember to consider words that have double meanings such as, networking. The 1012 Business Club use this keyword as a long tail rather than on its own.
What’s a long tail? Its where you have 2 or more keywords together such as, business networking.
spend time to brainstorm your keywords:
- To start, select 5 (include longtail keywords) to use on your site
- Test your keywords in the search engine, what results do you get?
- Place keywords in the KEY places5. Where to put your keywords?
- Lots of people assume that keywords should be just in the keyword box of your admin section in your website. That is true but there are other places you need to consider placing keywords.
In your title along with your business name
- In your URL (page name) ie www.1012businessclub.co.uk/NETWORKINGMEETINGS
- H1 tag. This is normally the main heading on your page
- Body content. Spread the love of your keyword throughout the page, but don’t go overboard.
- Site navigation content link text. but don’t go over board it as it may be classed as spam. what’s link text? “we offer networking groups throughout Berkshire ”Site navigation link text. ie your menu titles. But don’t spam Image tag. Make sure you spread your keyword throughout your images on your site.
- Meta Description. The description for your page in the admin section of your site that appears in the search engines.
5. Content is King
The content on your pages must match your keywords and relate to the “story” that you are telling. Remember to guide your visitors through each page and ultimately to YOUR end goal. Be brutal and review each page to see if you know what or where you should be going after you have read the page. Ask yourself these questions:
- Is the content too long?
- Is this relevant or boring?
- Does this information motivate the reader?
- What do you want to do after reading the page?
- Are all your links working correctly?
Spiders love links, they are like road signs that tell them where to go, what to do and which words to eat. Without the road signs they move on to another site and will not optimize all your pages. So if you spend lots of time creating content, make sure you guide your users and the spiders correctly so that they can find it!
Images are key to a websites ranking and good clear images will always work better than home taken fuzzy shots. But the key to images are:
- Size. Don’t load large photo images to your website as they will take too long to load. Slow sites get marked down by google.
- Give them a name before you upload to the site. 8907689.jpeg means nothing to the spiders
- Make sure you give them an alternative name, known as an ALT tag. Again spiders are blind and cannot see the image so tell them what it is.
8. Contact Details
Seems an obvious one but before choosing a website layout, make sure your contact details will be visible on each page for your user. The last thing you want is for them to not be able to contact you. AND only add social media feeds and icons if you actually use them. Dormant accounts tell the visitor you are not up to date!
Meta – is your website properly dressed
Is your website properly dressed? How would you know? Read our 8 top tips on how to make sure your website is dressed and ready to be crawled and indexed.