One of the most common questions we receive is, "How do I create a website?" This blog series is a response to that question. It is intended to be a simple and easy guide that will walk you through the entire process from start to finish.
Today we'll go over the final, most challenging step in creating a website:
You may have the most content-rich website in your field of business, but no one will ever know about your website if it isn't promoted. The buzzword for website advertising and promotion is "search engine optimization", usually referenced as "SEO".
The internet is saturated with theories on how to improve your search engine ranking. Hundreds of companies base their entire business on providing untrained website owners with tools and tricks. The fact is that automated tools, often available for free, may provide the same results.
Saturate your content with relevant keywords. For example, say that you have a website promoting a particular brand of fishing products. Create a significant number of pages that are not blatant advertising. Instead, fill those pages with useful tips, fishing stories, tackle guides, and etc. Make sure you create an entire page on every relevant keyword that people may use to find your products and services in a search engine. When someone performs a Google search for "best tackle for trout" your page covering that topic will show up. It's a free method of target advertising with immediate benefits.
Do not fill pages on your website with a list of keywords. Search engines will be able to tell that you're attempting to subvert their search results. Search engines will actually rank you lower for those keywords.
Submit your site to the major search engines for indexing. Indexing is a process where search engines navigate your website using programs that gauge your content relevance, quality, and popularity based on inbound links. Submitting your site to be indexed ensures that your site will show up in search results. It also ensures that your newest content will always be included in searches.
Most web designers, developers, and Content Management Systems (CMS) will create title and alt tags for you in your website's code. These tags are keywords that tell search engines what each content area, link, or image contains. A search engine can't see an image of a fishing pole, but it can see a tag that identifies a picture as "fishing pole".
The menu structure of your website actually has an effect on your website's SEO. Don't place the same page under multiple menu areas. Search engines will see these links as duplicated content.
Don't attempt to increase your website's ranking by using the same content on multiple pages.
All of the major search engines allow you to enter your business' information in a local database for free. For example, Google Places allows you to add your business to Google Maps results.
Paid advertising is generally less effective than free advertising. The only advantage of paid advertising is the ability to specify targeted keywords.
Google Adwords is possibly the simplest advertising service that allows targeted keyword marketing. It's relatively inexpensive at low volumes, and is simple enough to use for even the most basic of website owners. Omnis Network offers $50 of free Google Adwords credit with each hosting account.
Advertising on a single website is generally a poor idea. Your audience is limited to the visitors of that website. However, there are exceptions: if there is a non-commercial informative website that discusses the same topic as your website it may be a worthwhile advertising venue.
SEO is not a mysterious art. Content will always be the determining factor in the long-term success of a website. Be sure to read the past posts in our blog series for tips on selecting a domain name, choosing the right software for your website, and writing content that effectively promotes your website.
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