Preplanning and Organizing Your Site
What do you have that can possibly enhance your website? List all your potential assets, not just those that are already online. Be creative and very open‐minded at this point. Take stock of all the following:
✦ Written materials you or your company has produced — such as brochures, catalogs, articles, user manuals, tutorials, online help, and customer correspondence
✦ Videos of interviews, television spots, commercials, award acceptances, speeches, and company events
✦ Audio recordings of radio interviews, and original music
Designing Spider‐Friendly Code
Whether you’re writing your own HTML or hiring a webmaster to do it for you, you want to keep your site’s underlying code spider‐friendly. Basically, you need to streamline your site’s code so that the search engine spiders have an easy time crawling your pages and figuring out what the pages are about. You do this by keeping the code as clean as possible.
Creating a Theme and Style
When it comes to design styles, people tend to have certain expectations about what’s appropriate. Elegant restaurants don’t seat people at tables with plastic chairs and red, yellow, and blue toy blocks for decoration.
Neither do preschools decorate their rooms with Persian rugs and neutral colors. A typical business designs for its intended audience, so assessing who makes up its target audience is one of the first things the business has to do.
Writing Rich Text Content
People do read, especially online. “Content is king” is a frequently stated maxim of Internet marketing experts because it’s true. To have a successful website, you need lots and lots of content on your pages. How much content do you need? The answer depends somewhat on what is normal for your industry. When you research the sites that rank well for your keywords, some of the things you want to find out are how many indexed pages they have, as well as the quantity, quality, and structure of the keyword content on the high‐ranking pages competing with yours. When you know what level of content is currently succeeding in the search results pages for your keywords as an average, you get an idea of how many pages and words you need in order to play in their league.
We recommend that you have a minimum of 450 words of text content per page. That’s a general rule, based on all our experience helping companies do SEO. If that sounds like a lot to write per page, think about it this way:
The page that you’re reading right now has about 450 words on it. Having fewer than 450 words on a page makes it hard to convince the engines that you’re a subject‐matter expert. In fact, depending on the industry and keyword, 450 words might still be too few. The SEO industry averages around 1,000 words per page, and this is true of other industries as well. Still, 450 is a good initial target number before you do competitive research.
Planning Your Navigation Elements
Navigation elements make up the roads and highways of your website. They’re the transportation system that can help people move smoothly from place to place, following clear signposts through well‐marked paths. On the other hand, a website’s navigation can make people frustrated and hopelessly lost, causing them to press the first Back button and get out of town.
A strong call to action is critical, but it’s just one factor that helps you achieve conversions. In the end, your conversion rate reflects your ability to persuade visitors to complete their intended actions from A to Z. It is a measure of your effectiveness and of customer satisfaction overall.