Tuesday, April 8, 2008

7 Things Every Website Should Have

Don’t monkey around with your future. If you’re going to invest in a website - do it right the first time!

What do you really need?

1. A Professional Design
Trust a professional to design your site for you so that you can avoid all of the common mistakes many small businesses make. Just because you can build your site with Yahoo site builder, doesn’t mean you should. Take time researching professionals and go with one that has a proven track record and clients to back up their claims.

2. Meta tags
That’s right, you still need them! Time and time again I speak to clients who have a page rank of 0, yet they have had their website up for years. Every time I click the link to view their site and check the source it’s always the same. No description, no keywords, no title tag. Some argue this point that the search engine crawlers don’t pay attention to this due to over-use. I argue right back that you’re wrong. I’ve seen evidence of it for far too long.

3. Keyword rich content
A delicate balance should be used here. Often times people over stuff their content using the same word over and over. Does it help you in a natural search? No it doesn’t. Sometimes it penalizes you. Study up on keyword density (as it’s also ever changing) and publish your content accordingly.

4. A web CMS (Content Management System)
Unless you have the budget to have a Webmaster on staff, or the budget to continually hire a contractor when you need changes, make sure that you get a CMS solution that will allow you to update your site yourself. It will help with your SEO (search engine optimization) by allowing you to continually provide fresh content to your site.

5. Analytics
It’s vitally important that you have analytics installed and that you actually look at them and use them. It doesn’t matter if you go with a paid option such as ClickTracks, WebTrends or if you use Google. Just make sure that you do include them. Just think if analytics were available in traditional advertising all these years? What a wonderful tool to be able to tell which one of your marketing campaigns is working. What page on your site is driving people away? What website referrals retain visitors longer. Knowing who your customers are is imperative, and having the ability to make tweaks and measure improvement is a fantastic tool that we all should be using!

6. Good Hosting
If you don’t have a reliable host, how will people view your site? If the server is consistently down or your email isn’t working – you could put your business and your reputation in jeopardy.

7. Basic SEO
You don’t have to pay a bundle to see search engine optimization results. Don’t trust any company that guarantees you #1 placement. No one can claim that and even if they could get you there for a minute, they’d have to continually work on your site full time in order to keep it there. Also, don’t fall into the trap that you have to plunk down a bunch of cash on a PPC (pay per click) campaign in order to be seen on the Internet. It takes time and effort to show up in a natural search result, but if you invest the time – the benefits are well worth it.

Most of all make sure that you properly research the designer you decide to go with. Make sure you Google their name and their company domain name. Contact their previous clients and make sure that you feel comfortable talking and that they will be there for you in the future if you need help.



SBA said...

I'm a web designer and I mention most of these points to my clients & prospects. I'll refer them to this post in the future. The CMS can be provided by the web host. Many owners prefer not to get their hands dirty (don't have time to learn the system; don't have staff to do it) --- not surprising when lots of small business owners aren't familar enough with browsers, shortcuts and image manipulation. They can contract the developer to create a customized, step-by-step 'training manual" for reference. If the website has content management it's easier for the designer and the owner saves some maintenance costs! Thanks,

Complete Business Systems said...

Thank you!

I really do find that providing my clients with a CMS helps them take control of their site.

For the clients that opt not to have it, they end up coming back to me throughout the year asking for changes that they hadn't anticipated. Naturally, I do have to charge them for the work.

A good CMS is a great investment.