Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Does Your Site Deserve a Top Ten Search Engine Ranking?

New site owners are especially eager to achieve high search engine rankings quickly and usually have unrealistic expectations of what search engine optimization can do for them. Donald Nelson, owner of A1-Optimization, reminds us that the goal of a search engine is to pick the best sites in any given field, and suggests us to ask ourselves five questions to see if our site fits the mark:

1) Are you an industry leader?
2) Does your site look good?
3) Is your site content rich?
4) Is your site and authority site?
5) Has your site been around a long time?

To the degree that you answer "yes" to those questions, you will have more chances of search engine success. Read the full article.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

The Long Copy vs. Short Copy Debate

There is the camp on the hill that say “long content is better”. It’s never about length of copy, it’s always about whether you have communicated your offer to your audience effectively and answered their wants and needs. That’s all. If you can do that in one line then why write a saga about it?

There are some equally ridiculous theories about short copy and using embedded links within page content to get people to move through your website and be subjected to more short pages. People mistakenly assume that if I have to scroll down a page that it’s bad from a usability perspective. Let me ask those people, when was the last time you went to a website page you were really interested in and stopped reading because you had to use the scroll bar?

Read more about the Long Copy vs. Short Copy Debate in this interesting article by Steve Jackson, editor of Conversion Chronicles.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Improve Conversion by Cross-Linking Your Pages

One of the greatest challenges for online marketers is how to reduce the "bounce rate", meaning the percentage of vistors who leave your site without doing anything. The folks at the Conversion Chronicles noticed that by linking to four of their articles from the body of another article, bounce rates were reduced from 90% to 38%.

This is how this works: Let's assume that an article on your site talks about search engine optimization, and that it touches on the subjects of keyword selection, website architecture and blogs. You could then link to articles on your site that deal with those three topics from the body of the search engine optimization article.

This will give your visitors the option to learn more by following those links (as oppossed to just leaving your site). By doing so, they will delve deeper into your site and will stay longer, giving you more opportunities to educate them, develop trust, and lead them further into the persuasive process.

This technique also offers important search engine optimization benefits, as the search engines will follow the embedded links, add the linked pages to their index, and pass along Pagerank from the linking page to the destination pages.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Five Reasons Why I Like Blogs

Blogs are probably the easiest way to have a website. With blog software, it literally takes minutes to have a professional looking site up and running. These are the five things I like the most about blogs:

Blogs are easy to create:

You don't need expensive or complicated web editors or web design software to create a blog. Blog vendors offer you a variety of templates you can choose from. Most likely you will find among them one that offers the look and feel you're looking for. Your only web design expense may very well be to pay a graphics artist to design an attractive logo that makes your site unique.

Blogs are easy to maintain:

Blog software allows you to post online, which means that you won't need to bother with FTP software. This also means that you can post anywhere, not just from your own computer. You may be in a hotel room in China, and if it has an internet connection you can log in and update your website from your web-based control panel. Your blog's software will automatically move your most recent post to the top, while archiving older posts by date or by topic, so you don't ever have to bother to move web pages around.

Blogs are search-engine-friendly:

Since blogs assign each post an individual URL address, each of them will have it's own, separate web page. If you take care of making each post very focused on a specific topic and carefully choose the keywords that best describe your post (using them in the post title and post body), they will stand a very good chance of ranking well with the search engines. Also, since blogs tend to be updated regularly, search engines will crawl them often (search engines love fresh content), adding your new posts to their index.

Blogs allow you to interact with your customer base:

The best websites allow your customers to interact with you and give feedback. Since blogs offer you the option of enabling a "comments" field after your posts where readers can give you feedback, your visitors will not only be more inclined to come back, but you will have at your disposal an effective and inexpensive way to get to know your customers better.

Many great blog hosts are free:

There are several excellent services that offer blog hosting for free. The most well known of them is Blogger, a free blog service owned by Google. Signing up takes minutes, it offers many different templates and customization options, and also gives you the option of tying your blog with your Google Adsense account. That way, not only is the service free, but you can also make money. The downside to all these great advantages is that they have encouraged the creation of a huge number of me-too and low quality blogs that don't add value and hardly get any traffic. Don't fall into that trap. Before jumping to create a blog, remember that to be successful you must write about a focused and original topic, or offer a unique perspective on a common theme. In the end, as the cliché says, it all boils down to quality content.


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