We often face a situation, where a person or company decides to build a website, thinking that once online, it will immediately receive thousands of hits per day and sales jump up.
Unfortunately, the situation is not like that. You can have a fantastic website, but if people do not know about it, nobody will come to see it.
When a company decides to build a website, and they reserve a budget for that, few are those who reserve part of that website budget for proper search engine optimisation and On-line marketing. It is far more better to have a smaller website that generates traffic (and revenue) than a big nice website that nobody knows about.
Let’s speak for example regarding Flash only websites. Many people want a Flash based website because it looks nice. Sure it does, but search engines cannot index what is inside a flash animation. That means you will loose most of the search engine traffic.
What I’m trying to say is to basically focus on what is important for your company. If you want people actually come and visit your site, and have a good experience, then these are some basic guidelines that both you, as the owner of the website, and your webmaster, should follow:
1. no big fancy graphics that make it impossible to visitors with a slow internet connection to see.
2. Keep Flash animations only for banners, graphics, or video, where it is replacing a part of the website that could be represented by an image only. Never write content inside a graphic.
3. The website should have a clear linking structure/navigation structure. It should be very easy to find a page on your site, and each page should be accessed with not more than 3 clicks. (i.e. no more than 3 levels in the website structure)
4. validate your work through w3c validator. yes, i know that sometimes it’s almost impossible to validate new work especially when using some new technologies, but the validator may catch simple mistakes in html and css and it’s quite useful
5. your website should provide unique, new, content. and lots of it. The more content you can put online the better it is.
6. updates – the website, like everything else, should be maintained and updated regularly (at least one time a week if possible). Often people get confused regarding what updates should be done, mostly because the information on the website does not change regularly. Try to keep a ‘news’ section maybe, where you can add company news, special offers, etc.
7. Create an HTML sitemap and an XML sitemap, and submit these to search engines.
8. Submit your website to relevant directories in your industry. Do NOT submit to all the directories that you find, but only to relevant directories. (i.e. submit to the major ones – dmoz, yahoo, stpt, botw) and industry specific directories.
9. A company blog/forum keeps the website always updated, and keeps your customers closer.
10. Ensure that your webmaster develops the website according to major search engines guidelines. Use of free tools such as google webmaster tools will help you detect any mistakes.
11. Get incoming links – Get links from your business partners, or from your other websites, in order for search engines to give importance to your new website.
12. New websites tend to stay in a ’sandbox’ for 6 to 12 months. A new website is less trusted than a website which is a couple of years old. So, new websites will have a slight disadvantage in search engine rankings. That means you will have to work more in the first year to get your website to rank good in search engines.