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Design Your Site for Traffic in 2005

Article printed from SiteProNews: http://www.sitepronews.com HTML version available at: http://www.sitepronews.com/archives.html

Design Your Site for Traffic in 2005 By Elizabeth McGee

What better way to start the new year than with more traffic to your web site. Web traffic is a critical part of your internet business and it is imperative that you design it to bring you the most amount of traffic possible.

Designing your site for traffic includes offering good content, easy navigation and a logical flow. Additionally you must also build your site to draw traffic from the search engines because if you can obtain high search engine ranking, you can enjoy free traffic.

It's important to note, however that good ranking won't do you much good without a well designed site and a well designed site can't bring you visitors if no one knows it's there. Both high ranking and good design need to work together.

How do we pull all this together? Let's take a look.

-A Word About Design-

A huge mistake I see many website owners make is that they get caught up in making their site cute. They love the little animations, buttons and dramatic backgrounds. What they fail to consider is that these things are worthless if you don't offer good content, easy navigation and a logical flow.

First of all don't try to be everything to everyone. Design your site around a theme, preferably a niche theme. Don't confuse your readers with links all over the page. Design a logical flow. Lead your viewers to where you would like them to go. Leave plenty of white space and keep your pages organized. Clearly state at the top of your pages what you are about and what you would like your viewers to do.

Secondly, I don't recommend pop-ups. I find that the majority of internet users find them annoying. The demand for pop-up blockers is a good indication that viewers don't want to see them.

Thirdly, offer good content. Provide information on your site that will help viewers solve a problem. Offer information that they might not get elsewhere. Write reviews regarding your products. Write newsletters and articles and most importantly offer something of value for free. Give your viewers a reason to come back. It will also build trust in you.

-Traffic Builders-

Good search engine ranking can bring lots of visitors to your site. It often takes a few months to rank well but the payoff is lots of qualified traffic. While it's not practical to depend solely on search engines for traffic it can complement your other advertising campaigns nicely. Aiming for high search engine placement is always a plus.

Keep these in mind when developing your site for the search engines:

- Domain Names

Choose a domain name that has your site keywords in it. For example, if you're a site about pet care, try to include the words "pet care" or words related to pet care in your domain name if you can.

- Keywords

Keywords require research and there are several tools to help you out in this area. Here are my favorites:

http://inventory.overture.com/d/searchinventory/suggestion/ http://www.digitalpoint.com/tools/suggestion/

I suggest focusing on only one keyword or keyword phrase per page of your website. This may not seem like a lot but if your site has 20 pages you can focus on 20 keywords. Each page should be considered a landing page for your site. If you have proper navigation on your pages, it will easily allow viewers to see everything you have to offer.

Include your keyword or keyword phrase at the top of your page as well as in at least one header phrase. Also work the keywords into the body of your text as often as you can without sounding redundant.

Your keywords should be in the Title tag as well as in your page description tag. Many search engines no longer look at the keyword tags, but I recommend using them and including the plural forms as well.

- Alt Tags

Search engines don't index images, therefore any text on your site that is presented in image format won't get indexed. To solve this problem, you can enter the image description in the ALT tag. To be sure that the search engines recognize all the content on your site, fill in your ALT tags with your keywords. This will boost your keyword frequency and help your site achieve better ranking.

- Linking

Search engines will rate your site by who is linking to your site, so it's important to establish quality, related links. This can be accomplished in a few ways. One way is to establish reciprocal links with other like sites. When exchanging links be sure to include your keywords in your site title.

Review the page you are exchanging links with. Be sure it is a site that you find easy to navigate and informative. I also recommend that the site's index page have a Google PR rating of at least one. This ensures that the site is not being penalized by Google. If it is a penalized site then you could be penalized as well for linking to it.

- Include a 'tell a friend' and 'bookmark' script on your site.

This gives viewers an easy way to bookmark you and most of all return to your site.

- Include a Site Map

Site Maps let visitors know what information you have, how it's organized, where it is located with respect to other information, and how to get to that information with the least amount of clicks possible.

Site maps also provide spider food for search engine robots. This can increase your chances of becoming indexed because a site map allows the search engines to easily visit every page of your site.

A site map works best if you include a link to your site map in the navigation of every page on your site.

Finally, don't let your site become stale. I have found that my search engine rankings improve when I periodically add new pages to my site and keep the content new and fresh. Follow these tips and 2005 may be your year for traffic.

================================================================ Elizabeth McGee has spent 20 years in the service and support industry. She has moved her expertise to the world wide web helping businesses find trusted tools, enhance customer service, build confidence and increase sales. You can visit Elizabeth's sites at: http://www.homenotion.com http://www.pro-marketing-online.com ================================================================

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