Search

Ensure your website is visible

RESEARCH shows 87 per cent of newcomers to the net are there to make money, yet most new entries to this market make two fundamental mistakes in web design.

Firstly, their site is not designed to be found easily by major search engines and secondly, the sites are slow to download.

You have to get found first

Unless you intend to spend thousands of dollars advertising your site online and in traditional media, you will need to make sure your site can be easily found by the major search engines.

Make sure your website is actually registered with the major search engines. Registering your site is quite a long and complicated process.

Also ensure your website is constructed so search engines can find the site on as many levels as possible.

Search engines analyse website content in five different areas. These areas are:

Meta Tags: As you don’t actually see meta tag content when you open a page you need to ask your website developer to include certain key words in your meta tags when they build the site.

Select your key words carefully as these are what will help get your site mentioned in as many searches as possible and enter a different set of meta tags on each web page.

Page Titles: Some search engines also look into the ‘Page Title’ when searching for a particular item.

If your page title reads well, but doesn’t say anything about your products or your company name, it will not be of much use to the search engine.

Alt Tags: These are the little messages in boxes you see on a web page just before all the graphics come down and cover them up.

Some search engines actually read these messages when searching for specific topics. It is therefore useful to consider how you name alt tags, as they can have an effect on the amount of hits your page receives.

File Names: Similar to alt tags, some search engines also read the names given to specific file names used in the construction of your website. It is worth reviewing the file names with a view to making your site that little bit easier to find.

Copy: Some search engines also read up to the first 80 words of copy on your home page. you should at least make sure you get your company name, products and the benefits they deliver mentioned.

It’s not a picture gallery

It is better spending time and money getting one picture right, than using seven or eight to get your message across. Even if pictures have been compressed to the optimum level they still burn up valuable download time that could lose a potential sale.

Don’t get too animated

Yes, animated gifts are useful for attracting visitors to the fact you have a sale on this weekend but three on the same page will begin to try the patience of a visitor when downloading your home page.

Often it is better to use animations to help explain complex procedures such as ‘How to Order’ or ‘Why our product is better’.

Navigation error

Creating complex navigation bars in frames not only increases download times, frames are difficult for search engines to interrogate.

Unless you intend to grow your site to hundreds of pages try to minimise navigation buttons and avoid using complex graphics such as using pictures as buttons.

If you already have a website, making some of the changes described above is relatively easy.

If you are considering building a site, getting it right from the beginning can save you money, and deliver better results.

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