Guidelines to Follow for a Perfectly Built Working Website.

If you are a business owner or a working professional you know the most important part of your business is your website.  Your website is the window to the world before the world meets you personally.  You need to seduce your viewers with an enticing website all the while keeping it low maintenance with optimum results.  Your website also needs to be easily found and connected to the maximum amount of people 24 hours a day.  If you follow these guidelines you will have a perfectly built working website with very little cost and upkeep.

A perfectly built working website will need the following support:

  • Your Website
    • Content
    • Social Media
    • Relationship Marketing
    • Search Engine Optimization
    • Paid Advertising
    • Mobile App

So lets start by breaking down each pillar that holds together your website.

Content Do’s & Don’ts

Do have your website built by a knowledgeable designer and be sure it is compatible with Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari & Chrome and all smart devises .  The content should contain search engine keyword verbiage that would be used exactly as if someone was using a search engine search box to find your type of business.

For instance:  If you are a homeowner and you are looking for a contractor to rebuild your deck, you may go to Google and search for “contractor needed in NY”   therefor, in the main content of your website you would want to include this keyword string.  So somewhere in the beginning of your first paragraph you should write something like “Welcome to ABC Contractors and look no further for that perfect contractor needed in NY!”  Do this over and over throughout your website using different keyword strings.  You could use a free keyword generator to view what would be the best keywords to use for your industry and refer to this list while you are writing your content.

Do name all your web pages and image files using these keywords.  Add unique keywords to each and every web page of your website so you are not just drawing visitors from your home page but from every page and image in your website.

Do keep your site simple not complicated.  Figure out what is the most important reason for your visitor to arrive at your site and make this information available on your home page.  Is your website providing a specific product?  Is your website used predominantly to make an appointment or reservation?  Is it to find your latest informative article? What ever the reason make sure this is visible and easily found within the first few seconds of a visitor arriving to your site.

Do use the tissue paper effect.  This is an old trick we use in order to see if your website is subconsciously portraying itself to the public effectively.  If you were to put a thin piece of tissue paper over your screen what would the impression of your site be?  Would it be known at a glance what you are offering?  The look, feel & content of your website should be predominant what you are offering.

Do build your website in basic html format.  Smart phone and tablet systems are moving away from everything app and most compatible with html type websites.  Avoid having issues with your site being visible on certain devices because it is a costly expense to convert your website to a mobile app.  Stick with html.  Consider having your site built with a word press system so you can easily self update and edit your pages.

Don’t have video, music or sound to play automatically when entering your site.  It will cause the majority of your visitors to just leave and find the next website offering the same service with out the annoyance.

Don’t have pop ups on your website.  Most browsers are set to block these and this can cause errors on loading your site on a smart phone.

Don’t have large files on your home page.  This will cause your website to take longer to load and will cause errors on smart phones and tablets and loss of visitors.

Don’t use a website template service!  This is the worst way to build your website because you cannot custom develop or structure your website properly.  Template websites cost substantially higher and they never look professional.  A custom built website built by a professional may have a higher initial cost but there are no monthly fees and once built is yours forever.

For instance, you could set up a CMS type website that you can self edit and blog with data capture forms etc, with all the bells and whistles for a one time cost of under $489 through Ricoche.com .  A wordpress installed website is by far the ultimate system to house your website which I urge you to thoroughly research and learn why.  Why your website should include a wordpress system WORDPRESS INFO

Don’t use Flash features or at lease keep this to a minimum.  Flash Features, JavaScript, cookies, session IDs, frames or DHTML, keep you from being seen in a text browser, and search engines have trouble crawling this kind of structured site and are not compatible with mobile devices.

Social Media Do’s & Don’ts

Do set up a facebook and twitter account that is only for business separate from your personal accounts.  Post to these pages a few times per week with industry related information.  Keep the postings current and of value so your visitors will stay interested.

Don’t complain on social media!  I’ve read postings of a local retailer that posted something about a shopper in her store taking for ever trying things on.  Wow!  What would she tweet about me!   This is a perfect example of a business killer.  Be careful what you post and should be something that would inspire your reader not make them run from you.

Do connect and have your social media website links visible on your Home Page and all your pages.  This will increase your followers and enable visitors to easily help to spread the word.

Do include a share this website feature.  For instance a married couple may be looking to rent a vacation home, they find your website and now need to share this info with their spouse or family so the quick share feature enable this.  You can get a free “share this” button from sharethis.com .  All you do is create the button, copy the code and insert this code in your html file.

Facebook is just as important as your website but without a website facebook is pointless.  Your website should be the entry point of your business presenting the fulfillment of the need of your visitor.   Connecting your website to facebook creates the harmony of continued relationships.  If your visitor “facebook likes you” then your  facebook page will be shown in their post views every time you write something and thus causing the reverse visit back to your website.

Relationship Marketing Do’s & Don’ts

Relationship marketing is a great way to help up your search engine rankings.

Do have your affiliated websites include your web address on their websites.  This shows value, importance, interest and credibility of your website to a search engine crawler which will cause your website to move up in page rankings.  A search engine will search for a connection to and from your website and the more there are, the more relevant to a visitors search results.  You’d be amazed about how article writing can boost your rankings.  If you write an industry related article and many share this article, your website will instantly jump up in page rankings. For instance, RealtyRooster.com offers article writing and will post your real estate related article to share with their subscribers and so with one article you have instant access to thousands of subscribers.

Do create and maintain an industry related blog of your website and allow visitors to subscribe and comment.  The best tool to enhance your web to visitor interaction is through a blog.  A wordpess system installed on your server is the ultimate tool to maintain your client database and eliminate using a paid emailing system.  Wordpress plugins are vast and if you choose one that can maintain, contact and handle your database properly you will save upwards of that $45 monthly fee to constantcontact.com 

Do post articles on other website such as your businesses home town website.  There are plenty of websites competing for your article or announcement.  When you submit a relatable article, you are in fact helping that website by providing the much needed content that keeps it running.  Websites such as ourtownpage.com encourage you to submit your information for posting on their numerous websites for free.  They send announcements up to 3 times per week to their subscribers, again putting your company in front of thousands of potential clients.

Do use correct back-linking methods. Back-linking is highly recommended and the best practice in optimal search engine rankings.  This is thoroughly explained here by Google Link Schemes

Don’t purchase links, automated link exchange system,use exchange pools or link to link spammers.  This will negatively effect your search engine page rankings. A big no no.

Search Engine Traffic Do’s & Don’ts

Do submit your website address to multiple search engines properly.  This will enable search engines to find, crawl, and index your site correctly.  Every page should be accessible through at least one static text link.  Use the search words visitors would type to search for information and make sure that your web pages actually includes those search words within it.

Do be sure that your <title> elements and ALT attributes are descriptive and correct.

Do create a site-map listing all your website pages and links.  Creating a site-map for your website will help search engines easily crawl and categorize your website.  Here is an outline to creating a sitemap.  This is a great free online sitemap generator that will create a sitemap for you in the format needed to submit yours to google. xml-sitemaps.com

Don’t use an automated url submitter!  These submitters require you to input your email addresses and you will definitely be extreme spammed!  There are only a few search engines that are really used so manually submit your website address on those websites only.  Definitely submit your website to Google, AOL, Altavista, HotBot, MSN, Yahoo, Ask, Lycos, AllTheWeb & Netscape.  It will take just a few minutes and without allot of fuss with ultimate results.

Paid Advertising Do’s & Don’ts

Do use Google Adwords.  This is the optimal way to pass all the nonsense and what I consider the most cost effective way to get in front of your target audience.  When internet users search the web, the very first listings to show up are the paid ones.  That’s right, you can pay to be at the top of the Google results page.

Google Adwords  allows you to set up an account, choose your target audience, choose what keywords are to be use to display your link and the localized area you want to appear.  You pay only when someone clicks on your ad.  This method flushes out the casual internet surfer and targets only your desired audience.  Visit  Google Adwords for complete instructions.

Do place facebook ads!  Facebook ads are messages that you pay for that target 2 times more of your customers than those who are not connected to you on Facebook.  All you do is choose the dates you want your campaign to run and the event that you want to promote then choose how much you want to spend.  You will only pay for impressions (CPM) which are optimized to be shown only to the people who would most likely be interested.

Do place ads on localized websites that are subscriber based and update their content weekly.  For instance, if your business is located in New Canaan CT, then you would definitely want to be listed on a New Canaan CT based town website such as www.newcanaantownpage.com  A good size ad will only cost you $200 a year and this ad will be in front of your local community each week as members receive they’re weekly headlines.

Don’t pay for traffic exchanges they are a complete waste of time and money and will only land your website to be search engine blocked.

Mobile App Do’s & Don’ts

Do make sure your website is compatible with smart phones and tablets.  By having your website available as a mobile application program, you replace your internet website with this app.  Flash and other programing languages cannot be read certain devices so a mobile app would eliminate these functions keeping the site simple for the mobile gadget to understand.  This type of programming is costly but necessary if your site uses Flash Features, JavaScript, cookies, session IDs, frames or DHTML .

Do building your site with simplicity and do not use a template service or fancy features.  Hiring a specialized app developer is much more costly then creating a compatible website.  Two years ago I would say this was pertinent but with today’s smart phone and tablet technology being so advanced they will soon be using the same browser controls as your PC.

Don’t put crazy animated intros. These effects actually delay the visitor from entering your site so keep it quick and appealing and worth it.

In conclusion

To build a perfect working website, your design must be carefully considered.  Critically decide what your visitor is trying to achieve when searching for your website and let that be the nucleus to your web creation.  Don’t cut corners and do test your site on every type of computer, browser, smart phone, table and TV.  Hire a professional!  Chances are you will try to learn and build your website yourself and then after months of wasting your time you will ultimately hire a professional in the end anyway.  Every website, hosting platform and desired outcome is different for every business and only a seasoned professional web designer can build you what you need.

Feel free to contact me to analyze and recommend what you may need to do to get a perfectly built working website.

Lisa Sauro, Designer
www.ricoche.com