Copyright 2006 - 2011 - Mario D. Vaden
These days, virtually every business should have a website. A website at minimum is a business owner's contribution to be represent their trade on the internet. Beyond that, a website can be one of the most important tools.
In the Gold Rush days, 1000s of people flocked to acquire a resource that was limited. And only a few reaped wealth big-time. Website ranking is similar. The top 10 spots never deplete, but only a few websites will rank in those SERP positions. Think about the old 1800s. How many people headed west for promise of riches, but only went broke? And I see this same mind-set repeating itself with websites and the internet.
There can be many websites within a trade: hundreds maybe. And any can contend for the top 10 positions on the first search page. Can each website be on top? Of course not. And the more websites there are for your niche, the less the chances are to be 1 - 10. At least if equal investment or effort is put forth by each one.
Pretend that we know the best SEO person in the world: "The Most Interesting SEO in the World". Suppose 100 of us with similar professions all hired this person. If he tweaked all 100 websites with the same so-called perfect code and technique, would we all be in the top 10 positions? Obviously not. It would be like a roll of the dice. WIth uncertainty compounded too, by change in search engine programming.
Pay per Click advertising
Even pay per click advertising can became saturated. Around 2004, I was bidding 5 to 25 cents per click for premium keywords. And $10 worth of clicks per month brought thousands of dollars worth of business calls. But the cost or bids per click rose like 500% by the time 2010 arrived.
Just as the top 10 positions of search results are a limited resource, so are the first page's worth of pay per click ad positions. And the best way to approach all this is by realizing and accepting the facts. The facts show that those are a limited resource. It is not complicated.
What is not limited or left up to chance
I'm not saying your site cannot rise to the top if your trade saturated the internet. But its not something to just expect or take for granted. This is why its important to differentiate between optimizing and competing. If our websites are competing, then a lot of other people and websites are involved. And the outcome can be somewhat uncertain.
On the other hand, development, content and optimization of our own websites is rock solid and virtually unlimited. We can choose our design, add as many pages as we like, and pick the level of hosting we can afford. This facet of optimizing and fine-tuning content can be the most rewarding and satisfying. First, because it is virtually unlimited. But second, when done right, rarely hurts search engine rankings, and is basically the open door to top rankings if that is available.
Websites and the benefits
Your website is extra customer service
Your site is one more form of customer service. It can inform, instruct and provide an option for communication or feedback. For that reason it should be easy to read and navigate, and promise no more than what you can perform. A website can include advice pages, contact, background, photo albums, online store, instant calculators, forms and documents. This is all customer service.
Websites can be the #1 business tool
A website should be up and running the first day of business. These days, a website can be the #1 Business Tool, even if just one page. Even it's just one page, give it a photo of your work or yourself. Photos do wonders, allowing people to identify with you.
Why list a website address anywhere if you just want a phone call?
On my cards, the website is the first thing after the name. I want people to visit the site before they call. If someone needs our phone number, they know it will usually be on a card and will find it anyway due to habit. Make use of that habit. Remember that the card is tiny and nothing will be lost.
Websites cover us when we lack space
If any of your printed advertising lacks space for more information, you can direct people to your website for the rest of the information.
Traffic from putting our URL in front of people can adds to visits from searches.
If we list our site on cards, brochures, advertisements and email, this adds to our website traffic. This unrestricted option should not be underestimated.
Websites are a mirror
Design a beneficial website that represents your company or who you are. It should be a reflection of what you represent and what you can do. The more content you add, the more reasons you have provided for people to visit. If you write your own advice pages or articles for the site, the content will reflect who you are even more. If you really know your profession well, supply at least one major article that displays your knowledge and wisdom, or implies your care for customers or quality.
Upgrade seminars and shows
If you engage people with a lecture, mention your website if appropriate. Make handouts with your website. If you don't have time to explain something in detail, tell listeners which page on your site has more information. You actually upgrade the seminar that way. And the website address on the handouts should be put first.
Naming your webite domain name
The webiste address, or URL, does not have to be the same as your business name. Short names are easy to remember. My website address is easier to remember than a phone number and does not have to be written if a pen is not handy. mdvaden.com is easier to remember than the 10 digit phone number currently used here. If someone is helping you design or host the site, be certain the domain name is registered to you.
The most important factors for SEO / optimization
Here are some of the most inportant factors for website optimization. If you need advice, feel free to call.
Website name and length
If you already have a URL, that is done and over. If you are starting from scratch, pick a short name. One challenge may be deciding whether or not to buy a .net and .org if you mainly need just a .com or .info
Page title and description
Your site needs a good title, and there is room to add beneficial keywords in the tag. Your description can be longer, and should also include good keywords, the right location names and a reasonable percentage of vocabulary words.
This is one area where I find conflict between what search engine representatives (like from Google) recommend and what actually is most effective, or best for communicating.
Home page content
On the home page, no space or word or sentence should go to waste. You don't want to repeat words that have little value, and keywords of great relevance should be used or repeated. The order and placement of words is important. And if the order ever becomes unimportant, it should still be treated like its very important in case search engines deem it important again in the future (if SERPS and search ranking is important to you).
Page names can be important. Don't just name a page like /003.htm for example, if it is about a tooth care product. Or /385HQ if it is about a large professional cutting machine. Individual page file names can be more descriptive and useful than that.
Image file names and descriptions
Images are not just there to look at. The images and the file names are data. And search engines record those file names and data. Every image name can be put to good use.
On the other hand, there may be reasons to prevent people from finding your images if they are not looking for what you offer, and just need images to borrow.
Inbound referrals to your website or backlinks
When other people or website owners link you your website, those can be like votes for your site. Those can increase your ranking and traffic, and basically cannot decrease your ranking or traffic.
These are not the #1 factor. Just one potential means of being boosted.
If you are open to doing the same for other website owners, decide whether or not you are willing to dedicate a page to mention them and send folks their direction.
dofollow & nofollow links
Referrals to other web pages or sites can be identified in code with dofollow or nofollow. One doctrine says that nofollow will not help a site's search engine ranking or position.
Personally, I've watched other sites and behavior online convincing me that nofollow has far more value than some internet related representatives are revealing.
Where your images are stored
Are you a photographer? Do you have images to show? Either way, you may need a good online image host if you plan to see photos. But if you can put your own photos on your actual site, there is merit and profit.
Regarding image searches, the balance of power for search results appears to lie heavily with the site where the storage exists. This also overlaps how image files are called and described.
Even the images of other sites can benefit ours. I have linked to images at other sites before, and image searches for others led them to my site because of this. The photos were not displayed at my end or borrowed, but only referred to via a hyperlink.