Monday, June 08, 2009
You may have a spectacular website, but there are a few essential requirements that your website needs to be successful.
Meta Tags: Title Tag, Meta Keyword and Meta Description tags should be included in your HTML code at the top of every page. Search engines will crawl them and store them to display in their search results. Again, each page should be optimized separately and have a unique title, keywords, and description tags.
Navigation: Normally I will suggest Top, Left and Bottom Navigation, also if possible breadcrumb navigation too. Make sure it stays the same across the board on all pages of your site. Your job is to guide your visitors through your website, making sure they always know where they are and how to get to where they need to go.
Search Engine Optimized: Trust me it is very important, everybody wants their pages to rank well in the search engines. All the pages of your website should be optimized with 2, or 3 keywords/phrases. Use your keywords into your title tag, Meta keyword and description and in the body of each page, also use them in your images alt tag, even in the names you give your pages.
Google Analytics/Tracking System: Once your site is up and running you'll want to keep your eye on traffic. Who's visiting your website, what pages are the most popular, where is the traffic coming from. All of these questions and more can be answered by using a good analytics program. You can use Google Analytics for this, once registered you will be given some Java Script code to copy and paste in all your web pages.
Contact Us Information: Many websites fail because the visitors cannot find a way to contact the owner of the website. If you can't include a phone number, at least have an email address or a "Contact Us" form. By this you can make your visitors feel comfortable and they can reach you.
Search Box/Site Map: If your website is rather large, you will also want to include a way to search, or have a "Site Map". There are many ways to add a search function to your site, the easiest being to use Google's free service at- http://www.google.com/sitesearch/
A site map is just one web page that contains links to every page of your site, usually broken down by category.
Newsletter Sign Up/RSS Feed: By offering a newsletter you will be building a list of possible prospects, which is invaluable to any site owner. Remember no body will buy from you if they don’t know you. You can also offer an RSS feed for your newsletter, or updates to your blogs or website. This makes it easy for others to keep up with your most recent posts.
Social Media Share Button: With the popularity of social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and MySpace, you would be foolish not to include an easy way for your content to be shared with others. Visitors can instantly share them with their friends. The best example I can give is ‘AddThis’ http://www.addthis.com/
Trust Seals/Testimonials: They both instil trust and confidence in your visitors. Remember, when someone comes to your website, they don't know who you are and if you are selling something, they may not feel comfortable giving out their credit card information. To help them include trust seals.
Example: If you are dealing with online buying and selling, use ‘VeriSign’ Seal – http://www.verisign.com/
Also, if you have testimonials from happy customers, or ezine subscribers, weave them into your site copy. People always love to hear that others have had a happy experience with your products/services. Make sure you take permission first from the testimonial writers before placing them on your website.
These are the basic things your website should have, to build trust in your visitors. It is not very difficult to create a website, but to stands out in crowed, you need to include these important elements.
Joydeep Deb experienced in Online Marketing, Web Technologies, Search Engine Optimization, SEO, SEM, SMM, Web Master, eMail Marketing, Web Analytics, MIS Reporting, Web Design and Development.
Lives in Bangalore, Karnataka - India and working as an Program Manager SEO at Cisco Systems Inc.
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