website optimization

Optimizing your website

Companies don't fight their way to the top of the food chain just to become vegetarians.This is why optimizing your site is more important than ever before. There are two main reasons why you want to optimize your website.  The first is to have a good first impression on your customers, increase sales, and get them to come back. 
The second is to rank high on search engines.  Search engine optimization is a little different and will be discussed on the next page.

Do you have a good domain name?  Even though the name is unique to you, and good ones are getting harder each day to find, the name should some how describe what your site is about.  It should also match your keywords.  It has been found that when your Domain Name has one of your best keywords in it, it will go a long way in helping with top search engine rankings. A great place to search for domain names is GoDaddy.  They let you search all the different extensions like .com, or .org, or .gov etc.  They also offer suggestions if your not finding what your looking for.  Another cool service that they offer is letting you bid on Domain names that are already registered but not in use.  Some of these names have prime value already with rankings in the search engines as well as links from other websites.  Buying a name that is no longer being used but is up for sale by the owner can save you tons of time trying to build your site in the search rankings.  Of coarse you could pay a little more or a lot more for these prime names.
The key words that search engines look at are the ones in your meta tags, and the words surrounding your links to the other pages on your site, alt text for your pictures, and header tags, and the names of your other pages.  Why is this important?  Website Relevance!  The words you use in these areas need to be the key words that describe your site. Bottom line if you want happy customers and high search engine rankings then you need your site to be relevant.  People don't like it when they search for a certain term and they get sent to your site and it's not relevant to what they needed.  Let me explain.  If your site sales baseball hats, your keywords should be specific in this.  Example, you are using keywords like "hats" "cheap hats" "best selection of hats".  You're paying for ads, and even getting some search engine traffic, but you notice that your sales are small, very few customers go past the first page, and your spending more money on ads than getting from sales.
 This is because your keywords are not specific to your site.  The customers going to your site could be looking for cowboy hats, firefighter hats, etc.  If your keyword were relevant to your website they would say "low cost baseball hats" "top quality baseball hats "baseball hats for sale".  Now the customers clicking on your ads and getting there from search engines, are the ones that specifically are looking for baseball hats and looking to buy.  Now your sales will go up because your keywords are relevant to your site.  As people are doing searches for baseball hats, you want your keywords to be relevant for this.  If a potential customer clicks on your site and doesn't see what he or she was looking for right away, they will hit the back button.  This is a very bad thing if a person got there from a search engine.  Companies like Google will see that the person hit the back button soon after clicking on your site, and Google will doc your site for not being relevant for the keyword the customer was searching for.

Can customers find what there looking for?  You don't always need to send them to the home page first when placing ads.  If you leave a link for Dodger Baseball Hats in an advertising site, have the link take them directly to the page with the Dodger Baseball hats.  If they land on the home page can they find any of your products easily?  Is the check out process easy?  The average person will leave your site within the first 15 to 30 seconds if they don't find what they are looking for.  Having a good stat analyzer like Google Analytics will help you optimize your site and dial in the pages that get the most hits, how much time people spend on your site, how many pages they view, and what pages they exit from.  You can also see how many of your visitors are returning customers, or new customers.

Get to know your competition.  Do a search for the same keywords on your site that you have chosen.  What other sites come up?  Take a look at what they have done to optimize their website.  What keywords do they use?  The reason they are at the top of the search, is because the search engines have determined that their site is the most relevant to those keyword.  After going through your competitions web pages, ask yourself, what do I need to do to make my site more relevant than theirs.  One good way is the content that you place on your pages.  Have a good description of your site and products.  Use your keywords in your content.  Use your keywords around your links that take your customers to your other pages. Your page names should reflect your keywords.

Website First Impressions - If you were seeing your site for the first time, what would you think?  Do other sites seem to be more professional?  Does your site look like the type of website a customer would give their credit card info to?  Would they feel like the product they buy is what you are advertising it to be?  Can they quickly find what they are looking for, or will they get frustrated and go somewhere ells?  A good tip.  Get someone you know to look at your site when your done with it.  Someone who will be honest with you, and knows what they are talking about.  In fact get several people if you can to take a look and give you honest feed back.  What they like, don't like, did they find their way around, good grammar, was the site cluttered, what thoughts first hit their mind when the website first loaded?

Keep them coming back!  Again I ask, if you were just another visitor would you come back to your website?  What are the other sites doing to accomplish this.  Do they have the best prices?  Do they offer free shipping? Do they give away something for free to returning customers? Do they offer a mailing list to keep you informed of new deals?  Find something unique that only your site will do, to offer your customers a reason to return.  Getting them to book mark your site is an easy way to get them back later. Once again, relevant content with relevant keywords, will get you the right customers and it will get you returning customers.
 
Now lets talk SEO (Search Engine Optimization)  Next
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