Checklist for Small Business Web Sites

Posted: July 10th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: SEO, Web Design | No Comments »

A lot of my clients have trouble when it comes to self promotion. I am guilty of this myself. I was raised not to be a show-off, not to toot my own horn so to speak. However, your web site is a big part of your marketing plan, and it needs to work for you. Here are the elements your small business web site should have:

Call-to-Action
I can’t stress this enough! Getting visitors to your site is only half the battle. Or less, really. What is it you want them to do when they get there? If you want them to sign up for your newsletter, put it where it counts: in the upper right hand corner. If you want them to pick up the phone and call you, then make your phone number big and prominent. Hoping they contact you via email? Make sure your contact link is obvious and inviting! If you are a non-profit, make that “Donate” button prominent!

Testimonials
Many people have a hard time asking their clients and customers for testimonials. I’m definitely guilty of this, and only started doing it recently, after helping many of my clients add testimonials to their sites. It’s quite powerful. Edit them down and sprinkle them throughout the site if you don’t want to have a page dedicated to them.

Dynamic Content
If you have a static home page (not a blog), then visitors will see the same site every time they return. There are so many ways around this. If you use Facebook or Twitter, consider putting the feed in your sidebar. If you also have a blog, you can feed the latest blog post headlines to a small feature area in your sidebar. It’s also simple to add an events calendar using Google Calendar. If you don’t blog, tweet, or use Facebook, there is still hope. You can have a rotating set of images or testimonial quotes that will provide a change when visitors return to your site.

Standard Nomenclature
If you offer the kind of service that someone searching for “Nutritionist” is looking for, then think carefully about defining yourself as “Personal Healthy Eating Coach.” Even though part of the attraction of being in business for yourself is the ability to define yourself, it doesn’t help if no one is searching for those terms. The competition will scoop up those who are searching for nutritionists. Always try to put yourself inside the head of your ideal client, and what they would type into a search engine.

Links!
It’s so important for your site to be linked to from other sites. Otherwise the search engines will place little value on your site. Start with the obvious places– does your Twitter feed link to your site? Does your LinkedIn profile link to your site? Try to have your site added to relevant directories and organizations. Don’t pay for spammy listings or do anything shady- be honest and legitimate. Link generously to colleagues and organizations with whom you have a genuine affiliation, and ask some of them to link back. Again, no shady link exchanges!

Less is More
All of the standard information people expect is good to have on your site, for example: About, FAQ, Resources, Contact. But, don’t let your navigation get out of control. There should only be 6-8 main links. You can have many more pages but don’t cram them all into the navigation bar. Consolidate pages if it makes sense. Spend some time culling, and get rid of content that is old or outdated. Use photos to break up text.


Notes from a Handful of SEO Audits – Part 1: Mind your search engine results page.

Posted: October 22nd, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Google Page Rank, SEO, Web Design | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

I’ve had a good response this month from Brooklyn bloggers, entrepreneurs and artists looking for ways to increase traffic on their web sites. I’m happy to report that all the sites I looked at are headed in the right direction and can easily increase their traffic by devoting about 5-10 hours to that end and changing a few habits. I’ll be devoting the next few posts to talking about some of the things I found when doing these audits.

Many small business web sites use the same duplicate page title on every page. My guess as to why this happens is that the coder uses a template, and doesn’t think to change the title when plugging copy into the bodies of the pages. The small business owner who is employing the designer/coder doesn’t, in most cases, know what a page title is. If they don’t see it within their design they don’t realize it exists. It’s seemingly a small oversight but the stakes are high. Google awards quite a bit of weight to page titles, but there’s another reason to be concerned about them. They are what users see in the search engine results page (SERP). Getting a page onto the SERP is only the first step. On the SERP, there are 9 other pages competing for one click– so the title really has to be right.

While we’re on the subject of SERP’s, let’s talk meta tags for a moment. Ever since we found out that Google doesn’t use the description meta tags, many web designers and coders out there have decided that meta tags are dead. That may be when it comes to PageRank but that’s not the whole story. If there’s no meta description tag, then Google grabs the first few words of the web page and uses those as the description on the SERP. In many cases, it’s the navigation that shows up– and it’s great to be using text links in the nav — but, which of the following two examples would you click on?

Example 1:
SERP example 1

Example 2:
SERP example 2

So, before spending money on PPC ad campaigns, small businesses should take a look at their sites and see if they can make a few small tweaks that could go a long way.

Notes from a Handful of SEO Audits – Part 2