SEO Search Engine Optimization

Search Engine Optimization aka SEO is rather important for your website to be found in search engines such as Google, Bing, Yahoo or any other similar website.

These websites have specialized programming to get the best results to their clients. There are many ways to optimize a website, and these methods are either black-hat or white-hat, going back to the early days of 2 color TV (you guessed it! Black and White!) when the bad guys wore black and the heroes wore white.

Search engine programming has become pretty good at finding and defusing the cheaters’ methods, so the good guys can finally be at the top of the results page. Of course, we are the good guys too, right? So we won’t even try to cheat. You and I will just provide what your clients are looking for, clear and concise content, products and solutions for their problems, with no tricks, gimmicks or plain old lies. Your key words and phrases will be located in the content and titles how the search engines want it, how it should be.

10. Social Media

Linking your website to social media, including but not limited to, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr and Google+ is a great way to magnify the exposure of your products, blog posts or any other content on your website.

Social media sharing is the easiest and cheapest way to get the word out. They say the best advertising is word of mouth, well that is just what social media sharing is!

7. Feedback

One important thing that helps visitors decide whether and what they want to do on your site is feedback from others. If you have collected any client’s comments before, you can add them to the site.

Never underestimate the power of testimonials and reviews, even if they are negative. The positive will give proof of the solutions/benefits you have provided for others, and even negative reviews are beneficial, as they will allow you to show off your customer service skills in the replies.

 

4. Action Map

The goal of any web page is for a visitor to do something: click on a link, read an article, subscribe to a list, or other action. Each page will have a different goal.

What do you want your visitors to do? In what order do you want them to do it? How do you show on the page the benefit of taking the desired action? Which type of Call to Action will you use?

These are questions you will need to answer before setting up your “action map”. Once you have the answers, you can start to map out the path you want them to take. This is important because you don’t want to scare them off by asking for personal information or money too soon.

 

5. Mission Statement

You will also need a mission statement on your site, so that visitors will know what you are all about, why you are providing the product or service. This will need to be stated in a short and clearly understood paragraph or two.

What is the reason you are in business or starting your business? What gave you the idea to start it? Remember that visitors may have searched a long time to find you, what will you offer them? How will you make it worth their time and effort? Is it easy to find? Does it fill their needs?

Search engines are making it abundantly clear that they want the customers to have a great experience, and if your site does not have quick access to the information they are seeking, you will be moved to the bottom of the list, which means you will not be found!

6. Business data

You will need to provide certain data to your visitors, especially since you will want to interact with them to answer their questions, reassure their doubts, and give them food for thought.

You will want to provide various methods of contacting you, as people are very diverse in their own habits. Some prefer social media, others email, and yet more will want to speak in person.

If you have a physical location or locations, you will want to add the address information, along with contact points for the store(s), and maps of how to get there. You want to make it as easy as possible to find you, otherwise people will give up and go elsewhere. nnn

 

3. Your Brand

What is a “brand”?

It is the overall image of your business, how people will remember you, what they see when they think of your company. It’s not just a logo, it’s the idea, mission, solution to their problems that is represented by your images, color scheme, company name and tagline. These are the first items of data presented on the website, and we all know how important a first impression is!

Your brand will include a logo, colors, fonts and other stylized parts of your website, marketing materials, packaging, etc.

2. Website Hosting

There are different hosting plans available through many, many different companies for varying website needs. The features and pricing vary somewhat as do sizes and quality of housing (although the prices themselves are very different!). Where cheap apartments are small and may not have room for all your “things”, there are always better plans with more features, hard drive space to store your website’s files and bandwidth, which is like data usage on your cellphone’s plan (like cellphones, bandwidth gets used up fast with images, faster with audio and fastest with video, but also depends on the number of monthly visits to your site).

Once you have chosen your domain name and have the website design planned out, you will need a place to host it. Having built websites since 2005, I have tried out many different hosting companies. The results I have had were fairly similar with all I have actually used, they start off great, with fast delivery of the website to viewers, and fairly easy to use.

However, after a few months, a pattern started to emerge. The sites started to have lags and other issues (including being hacked, but I have learned how to prevent that as well as is possible!). When trying to contact their customer service I found longggggg wait times for serious issues like the downtime (meaning the server was not serving up my websites at all, just an error message or page would show in the browsers), hacking (someone not authorized and outside the hosting company accessed the sites, usually changing the website content that is shown, for malicious reasons), often there was a language barrier (customer service is usually located outside the US and their English was limited and hard to understand their pronunciation over the phone and even written).

Once I finally was in touch with them, I would be treated as an idiot who knows nothing about websites and told that the problems were not from the hosting; the issues were blamed on anything else that could go wrong…even after I proved that it was not the case. They would often just make changes to the configuration without informing me what was done, even when I requested instructions on how to do it myself so I could learn and not bother them in the future. Then I would be steered to a more pricey plan when none of the “fixes” worked… you get the picture!

For several years now, I have been using WebFaction hosting for an increasing number of websites. Yes, this is an affiliate link, but I DO believe in this company, and I highly recommend it. In fact, if you choose to have me obtain hosting for your website, WebFaction is the company I will use. I have not had any slowdowns, customer service replies have never been longer than 24 hours, I have never had to even call them, emails have done the trick, not that I have had much to email about either!

I have not been treated like an idiot, and WebFaction’s service agents will give me instructions instead of doing it for me, as long as I tell them up front that’s I want. They also make almost everything so easy to do (with one exception: automatic installation of Let’s Encrypt secure certificates to keep everything safe in “transit” through the net), although they did improve it to make it easier to do manually, just not automatically like some other hosting companies have done. However, I even found outside help with the automation for free! And best of all, I am still on their most basic package (so obviously it contains all I have needed so far for both my clients and myself), and they have never tried to upsell me!

1. Domain Name

The domain name is the “address” of your website. For the computers in the Internet to know addresses, there is a series of numbers, such as 162.194.92.1 called the IP address, assigned to each computer. Since it is not that easy for humans to remember/use number series like these, we use words instead. When you want to find a particular website, you would type the domain name into the browser address bar directly, or else use a search engine like Google, Bing or Yahoo.

For example, I used Bonny Sites as my freelance website design company name, and my domain name is bonnysites.com. Much easier to remember than something like 162.194.92, right?!

So, how does one select a domain name?

First, you will want to have at least part of your business name included, the whole name if it’s not too long. Too many characters will make it too much work for the customers, and we want to make it as easy as possible for them!

Second, you will need to decide on the TLD, or Top Level Domain. This will the the end of the domain name, for example, the old standbys are: .com, .net, .org or one of the newer TLDs available like: .us, .life, .shop etc.

Lastly, you will need to check if there are social media handles available that are as close to exactly the same as possible. For example, if your business was ABC Shipping, your domain name could be abcshippping.com, and Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Instagram handles could be ABCShipping. You will want to check they are all available before ordering your domain name, because once you have it, you can’t change it! You can order another, however, no refund will be given for the first as far as I know.