Before embarking on your new website ambition you should know that much thought must go in to the planning and set up process of building a website. I don`t want you to naively think that you can just set up a website quickly and all the work is done, nothing could be further from the truth.
There really is a lot more to think about and do if you want to build your business on a concrete foundation and create a constantly flowing stream of traffic and profits. You should never set out blindly to build your website without thinking deeply about what it is that you are trying to achieve.
When writing I have learned to write from my point of view and to always keep the content personal. I`ve noticed that when I write of my personal experiences and my writing is informative and complete in thought my articles get more traffic and they get many more click throughs as well.
Things to Consider When Creating a Business Plan:
Creating a good business plan focusing on website content and promotional material should be a main priority to guide you along the steps needed in order for your website to become successful within a self pre-determined time period.
I`m not going to tell you what to include in your plans but researching your competition can be very valuable when looking for ideas to add to your business to make it more interesting.
Do not copy your competitors website or the content but use the information you gather in your own way and if possible put a twist on it which will make it unique and always try to make your site better than your competitors.
If you find something interesting which belongs to someone else and you want to share it on your site or blog make sure to give credit where credit is due by linking to and thanking the creator of the original content.
This will help the search engines distinguish which site contains the original content and help your website to avoid any penalties which may arise from displaying duplicate content.
PPC Advertising: Pay Per Click advertising can be very lucrative if done correctly. If your budget permits, PPC can easily help you to spread the word about your product(s) much faster than waiting for your SEO plan to work.
PPC advertising is attainable on many sites and most every search engine as well. Keywords are the base, rates vary when different keywords are used to attract customers through this type of advertising. The more popular the word or term is the more it will cost to advertise using them.
Social: A good social plan should also be considered to harness the torrents of traffic that websites like Google+, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, StumbleUpon and others similar sites can offer. These popular sites can bring traffic from people who never use the major search engines and who stay on these sites most of their day.
Many of these sites offer platforms for you to use to make pages. These pages are free to create and they can really be a good way of having customers engage with your website. These pages can be a great place for offering discounts or something to help your customers to engage more frequently with your site.
SEO: If your business is going to depend on search engine traffic you should do some more research by using the tools within the Google Webmaster Tools- Website Webmaster/Website Guidelines.
These are the rules which your website should follow to be listed favourably in the major search engines such as Google, Yahoo, Bing and others.
There are a few important guidelines to follow for your page layout and recommended "limits" for your page name,(meta) keywords and (meta) page description of which you should be made aware of. A little further down this page I provide a overview of recommended page headline font sizes and their order as well as recommended page title and meta description lengths.
I strongly suggest that you join the Google webmaster Tools website (link to this site is above) and from there you can signup with Google Analytics. Using these two free services together the information you gather can be extremely useful for improving your website and increasing the amount of traffic your site receives.
Keywords: Researching the right key words to use can be a daunting job. When just starting out (before your link strategy is in fullgear) longtail keyword phrases or popular miss spellings will most likely be your best bets to obtain traffic from any of the search engines.
For some keyword tips and more on content and linking you can read the blog entries I`ve previously written entitled → Keyword Tips and wn the page to find these entries.
Create and Submit a Sitemap:
Be sure to include a site map in your site. A site map comes in two forms, one for the customer and one for the search engines. A customer`s site map can be a page on your site which has links to all pages on your site of which a customer is allowed to access.
A site map for the search engines should also be produced by using a service such as XMLSiteMaps.com. You can easily create a site map here by just filling in the fields for site URL and frequency of change(to your website).
Add the site map you create to the files of your website and make sure it is accessible. Some hosting providers offer a specific place to put your site map so look around to make sure you`re putting it in the right place.
Next you need to check to see if the file is able to be found by copying the link location (from inside your files) and pasting it in your browser`s window and searching for it.
The best way to check if it`s working is by submitting your site map to Google inside their webmaster tools.
In order for Google to be certain you are the owner of your website and you have the administrative permissions needed to edit it you will have to go through a verification process by placing a snippet of code on your page or by uploading a file to your site`s files. When you`re finished confirming ownership of your site just submit your site map in the proper "add a sitemap" section.
Finding a Good Hosting Provider:
The next thing you will need to consider would be your hosting provider. There are all kinds of different hosting providers who all offer a multitude of different features who`s inclusions or exclusions and functionalities can make or break a website and it`s success. Look for the best one for your experience level but it`s best to try a couple different hosts before committing your website`s domain name to any individual host.
Most providers will offer a free website for a starter. Take a week or two and use the free websites they offer to evaluate each service a provider offers and see if they meet all your needs. If you don`t like something about a provider during your evaluation period you can just close your account and leave with no worries or money loss.
All I`m saying is try a few different hosting providers to see if you`re able to understand how to use the features each one offers but most of all look for the features you will want to use on your website. Be as specific as you can and try to think about everything you want to put on your site.
Make sure the features work the way the are supposed to (the way you think they should) or one day you could be wondering - How come this feature doesn`t do "some certain function"?.
I have had problems with my members section on this site`s web host and it has really slowed my progress. After finishing my site I noticed a certain feature was not working the way I thought it should and it just caused me to practically give up.
I kept the site active but didn`t work on it for almost 3 years until I finally figured a better way of doing things. I wasted some time but now I`ve figured a better way to work with my members section so now I`m back to finish what I`ve started.
I`ve had other hosting problems with my other site (a review site) which is on a different hosting provider than I use for this site and the blog they offered did not have a proper feed or permalink tools which left me no option but to start a blog on another blogging platform website just to get the proper tools to use.
Another option you can try is this guide I found which is advertised as for beginners - "Host your site on your home PC". I cannot give you much insight in to this except that it seems like a lot more work. Doing the hosting yourself will definitely save you some money on hosting but I cannot accurately say if hosting your own site would be any better , that would be your individual choice to make.
Overall try to remember that it takes time to build a great website and proper planning will help you to avoid frustrations brought on by poor planning or miss direction and will save you precious time which could be better utilized by promoting your site or beefing it up with better content.
Make Your Site Stand Out From the Competition:
To have your website stand out above your competitors you`ll need to make sure your website has some type of unique value to it, don`t just spew out rehashed content which is available anywhere on the web. Let me explain a little better because it`s hard to just say be unique and you`ll succeed.
Basically, you will need a real reason you can add to your site to make people stay on your website and do all their research about a subject without having to go back to the internet to find the information somewhere else.
The more complete your website is, the longer people will remain on your site which will help you keep potential clients returning time and again to read what you have written. The work you put in will be directly reflected in the amount of time someone will stay on your site and will help you to build a trusting relationship between you and your customers.
Keeping people on your site is a ranking signal for Google and the longer someone stays on your site the more it will benefit your rankings for this parameter when Google crawls your site and apply their website ranking and search algorithm.
Always keep looking for new ways to market your product by adding comparisons or by making new images to use or explore the benefits of a certain key feature(s) of your product just to give you a couple of ideas.
If you need help creating content and if you have a task like writing or programming of which you`re not very proficient there are places on the web where you can hire people to do whatever tasks you need doing for as little as $5, of course the bigger the job the more they are going to want for doing it but by outsourcing your work like this to someone who surely needs the extra money, you can speed up your work output, add extra value and get your website finished a little quicker.
Try looking at the content on your site from a customers point of view. Is it original? Is it Informative? Will it have the appeal to get people to link to it and share it with their friends?
If you were to appear on the television to talk about your site, will the site make you proud to talk about it? Or do you want to just brush off the questions and say who cares?
If you think "who cares" it`s pretty hard to convince people who arrive on your site to care at all. All I`m saying is make yourself proud and do everything you can to keep your site original, informative, fresh and complete.
Posting informative content already found on other websites can gain you short time traffic spikes but duplicate content troubles may leave your website in a worse position in the search engines. Originality is your best opportunity for retaining traffic for the long term.
Having original, accurate and well written content on your pages will keep your customers returning time and again because they enjoy reading a well done article, promotional offer or whatever you`ve written.
Overall, proper planning can save you some time and a whole lot of frustration.
Try not to think about the search engines and how they will perceive your pages. While writing keep thinking to yourself "I`m writing for humans first".
Make sure the content you write about flows properly. Do not shift around from one subject to another in the same paragraph and try completing thoughts until they are fully exhausted and then move on to the next thought in your sequence.
Keywords Length and Placement, Page Title and Headlines:
Keywords are critical to your website`s success and using keywords in the right places is so very important when your trying to be found by the search engines.
Make sure you have your chosen keywords throughout the first paragraph of each page and try to add your main keywords or keyword phrases in the page title and headlines as well. Keep your keywords relavent to the page content and try combining 2 or 3 main keywords and incorporating them in to your page titles. You can even add keywords in your headlines as well. Keep your headlines relavent to your paragraphs too.
A good keyword tool is available inside the Google Webmaster Tools website which can accurately show you how many times a search has been conducted for any keyword you need to analyse. There is an open online version of this tool available for anyone to access but you will get better and more accurate information using the keyword tool inside Google`s Webmaster Tools.
Each page should have its own keywords/keyword phrases and headlines (e.g. h1-h6). Use only one h1 per page and make sure the font(i.e. size of the letters) for the h1 is the largest of all headine fonts on the page or at least the same size as the largest. Use declining font sizes for each headline starting with the largest being the h1 ("headline1"). Other headines should be the same size or smaller but never larger.
It goes like this h1- largest headline font on the page
h2- same size as h1 or smaller
h3- same size as h2 or smaller
h4- same size as h3 or smaller
h5- same size as h4 or smaller
h6- same size as h5 or smaller
Always keep the the h1 through h6 headlines in order starting at the top of the page(h1) working down through to h6. You can add more headlines but Google may not index past the (h6).
Page Meta Title and Meta description (lengths and content):
Your page titles and meta description of your page are what is viewable to your potential customers when they search for your products or website using a search engine. To comply with Google`s guidelines they suggest you have no more than 69 characters (this includes spaces) in your page titles and 156 characters (including spaces) in each of your pages meta descriptions.
If Google finds that your decription of the page is lacking, missing or if it`s too long they may usurp your description in favor of a snippet of text from your page.
Yahoo suggests a length of 72 characters (including spaces) for the page title and 161 characters (incl. spaces) for the meta description.
Bing suggests a length of 65 characters(incl. spaces) for the page title and 150 characters for the meta descrition.
These lengths seem to differ only slightly from each other and since Google is the largest search engine(by far) the Google guidelines is a good base to use because they will bring your website more search engine traffic and business than all of the other major search engines combined anyway.
Remember, place a combination of two or three main keywords in each of your page titles and add as many keywords as possible to your meta page descriptions making sure to keep the writing fluid and easy to read by a human being and try to keep the descriptions of your pages accurate so as not to confuse the search engines.
Before Link Building:
Make sure your site is complete with no "work in progress" parts on your pages and insert a site map in to the files of your website first thing after completion (as described above).
Next you should submit your site(s) to all the major search engines. Manually submitting your site is better than using a service to do it but time constraints usually dictate which way you is better for you.
There are many sites online which offer a search engine submission service for free. Normally around 200 search engines are reachable this way and for a fee they will increase the number of search engines to which your site will be submitted.
Look for answers to the question "Which sites will my website be submitted to?". Not all, but some services like this may only submit your site to less popular search engines for free and submission to the most popular search engines are charged for, so be aware and do your homework.
Link building is different for every website but every webmaster must do it to be recognized on the web.
Links to your site are confirmations from other websites that your site has good content and will help to increase your website`s rank, reach, popularity and visibility. When a website obtains a higher number of high quality links than their competitors for a certain search term search engine traffic will increase.
Here are a couple of easy ways to get links that you can start with to get the ball rolling.
- http://www.activesearchresults.com - Active Search Results can get you a backlink for up to 30 pages of your site for only one backlink from your site. This is an excellent place start your link building.
- By building a blog on Blogger.com or making business pages on sites like Facebook.com you can add as many links as you need, just don`t spam the links. Try to mix up the keywords you use so you`re not targeting just one or one set of keywords or phrases.
- Look for high ranking sites in your niche to leave comments on their blogs, articles or whatever place you can to get a link back to your site. Try for a keyword text links but a link is a link and if you can only link to your name that`s fine, it will help either way.
- Three way linking has become popular lately however links from websites which have no similarities to your website may hurt your rankings in search. Try to keep any links which link to your site coming from similar or competing websites.
- There are lots of places to get links on the web and I cannot list them all here however you will have to find these sites on your own anyway because every site is different and will require different links and you will also need to use different strategies to obtain them.
Writing Articles is Best for Link Building:
Writing articles and having them published on high ranking article directory websites has been around since the beginning of the internet for increasing site exposure, link building and for increasing site rankings and position in search.
By writing articles related to the products or services you offer and submitting them to these high ranking sites you help to position yourself as a expert in your niche. The increase in rankings and traffic from writing articles comes from linking through the bio at the bottom of your articles to your website.
When writing anything try to keep your writing evergreen, which is to say write about something that is timeless and will never change. Write strong and high quality articles that will stand the test of time and will still help and/or even enlighten people in 5, 10 or even 20 years from now.
People will return to your site to read what you`ve written for years if what you write about is complete and informative. Writings of Plato and Confusious are still being read and quoted today because they are of great value and they speak of life experiences which will always be relavent in any society. So give it your all and if your writing has not progressed to where it should be keep at it because with more experience your writing will surely get better over time.
Before submitting or posting any of the work you create anywhere be sure to go over it thoroughly for continuity, spelling/gramatical errors and overall value to the reader. If the value factors in your articles are lacking your readers will most likely find another source for the information that you could have provided easily with a little more thought and commitment to excellence.
Just to make a point, sometimes while I`m in the middle of writing an article and I find that I don`t like what I`ve written and I cannot find an easy way to fix it I will just ditch it and start all over.
I figure if I`m hoping to make a better website than my competitors I need to make my writing better than theirs and to stay informed I read constantly about website building and how to better everything from SEO to the content I put on my site. By doing this I keep my site informative and current.
As I look back at some of the many articles I`ve written over the years I find that my best performing articles are the ones of high quality and are the ones where I have added a unique and real informative value to them like stats or actual life experiences.
Site Navigation is just the way people will navigate around your website to find the products or services you are offering.
Make sure every page on your site is reachable within one or two clicks and that every page has at least one link pointing to it from an easily viewable page on your site so the search engines will have an easier time finding and indexing it.
Linking from one page to another using a text link can help with your keywords being recognized more easily by the search engines. This may not help your ranking but it will help associate your pages with the keywords used for each page.
I want to thank you for reading this article and I really hope you find the information here useful. I hope to see you return to read more of my writings in the future.
By - Mark Demers (MSW)