5 Important Small Business Website Tips
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Many small business owners struggle with the often overwhelming task of managing their own website.
There always seems to be so much to do every day and never enough time to do it all. I can certainly attest to that myself! This article will highlight the key aspects of website management and will help you get the most from your site with the limited time you have available.
The following 5 tips are very important when designing and maintaining a successful small business web site. Follow them and your site will do better, I can almost guarantee it! I can’t give you a 100% guarantee that your website will be successful since there are simply too many different factors that impact web success.
#1 Content Is Key
Every search engine (Google, Yahoo, DuckDuckGo, etc.) will scan your website content for relevant information. The more content you have on your site the more the search engines can scan and will therefore gain a better understanding what your site is all about. There is more to it then that though… people like and want content to read as well. Most of your visitors will measure your website success by your content, how often it has been shared on social media sites and the amount of comments you receive. Ask yourself this, “Why would people come to my web site? Do I offer my readers interesting and current information that relates to my products and/or services?” If your site doesn’t then why would anyone care to visit?
Relevant content and lots of it is one major key for a successful website. There is always room for more content on a web site by writing regular updates about your small business. You can add your personal thoughts and ideas, customer testimonials and pictures, answer questions, share product reviews, short tips, how-to guides and even include links to related websites. Find more ideas in this article by Robin Nobles – 25 Ways To Add Quality Content to Your Web Site. You can never have too much content! Set aside at least one hour a week to devote to adding new, fresh content to your web site.
#2 Keep It Current
Having lots of content is great, but if your most recent article or page update is a year old it’s not going to look like your website is much of a priority. The search engines actually track this information and monitor how frequently your website changes as they visit it for indexing.
The more often your content changes the better you will rank in the ‘freshness’ category. What constitutes change you might wonder? Well, pretty much anything. That is why keeping a ‘Blog’ section, or adding frequent news articles to your web site, usually produces such good results. The latest submission will always be on the top of the page and showing the current date on every blog post has been shown to make a difference as well.
If you don’t have time to write regular blog updates then at least update your main pages every couple of months. Small businesses like a local insurance agent for instance could include a page for local events or add a link to the home page to go to the Chamber of Commerce’s ‘Monthly Happenings’ page.
#3 Organize Your Website
Both the search engines and your web visitors prefer a web site that is well structured. The search engines due to their very nature, being computer programs, must break down all web sites into elements based on the structure of the pages, while most website visitors are simply rushing to find the specific information they are looking for. They rarely read through web pages from top to bottom. People scan headings and bullet lists to find the detailed sections of their interest. In both cases a well structured site will be far better received then one that is a mix-up of information haphazardly thrown together. Just like in real life, there is ‘a place for everything, and everything in its place” on a website.
Your main menu needs to tell your visitors exactly what they are going to get at a glance, then break down into categories and sub categories. If you were a seamstress offering different sewing services like, “dress making,” “alterations,” aso, you will want all those services as sub categories, under one tab of your main menu.
Make headings by using the correct coding tags for the them (h1, h2, h3, etc.) is important when creating your pages and posts. Organize sections of content into groups, using bold text and bulleted lists to present key points within the pages. Keep in mind when writing paragraphs of text that most humans will not read them unless they are specifically titled with a headline that matches what they are looking for.
#4 Don’t Be Tricky
Don’t even bother trying to outsmart the search engines, you will loose in the end! Many website design companies still promise success through the use of tricks, back door techniques and special tactics designed to sneak your site into a top position within a couple of weeks. This is something the the search engines are constantly battling to defeat. Don’t play the game, instead follow the recommendation of the search engines because eventually the cheaters will be found out and the rank that has costs you a ton of money to achieve will immediately be lost.
Most search engines have set rules for web masters that outline what they would like to see in a web site. Google Webmaster Guidelines offer best practices to help Google find, crawl, and index your site. By supplying you with these rules and guidelines the search engines are actually trying to eliminate all the cheating web sites and are working hard to promote the sites that do follow their rules. Google states, “If a site has been affected by a spam action, it may no longer show up in results on Google.com or on any of Google’s partner sites.” This will give your legitimate website a chance to move up the search engine ladder.
Stop wasting your time and money, steady content building will win the race in the end.
#5 Links Must Be Relevant
There is still a lot of talk about link exchanges with people linking to each others websites only to gain a higher search rank. If you are going to link to someone, ask yourself this first, “Is the content really relevant?”. A link to an unrelated site is not going to help your ranking and will frustrate your visitors. Did you know that every time you link to a website you will give a tiny bit of ”link juice” to that site unless you use rel=”nofollow” within your linking code?
Search engines want you to provide relevant resources on your website that enhance your visitor’s experiences. This must be done in a natural way! Always keep your users experience in mind when linking to other websites. For instance, don’t send them to an online shoe shopping site when you’re talking about spring gardening tips on your page. It’s spammy and you will get penalized!
What do you struggle with the most when maintaining your small business website? Please leave your comments below.
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