Google Ranking Tips
Google is by far the most popular
search engine available today for both ordinary surfers and webmasters.
Surfers like it because of the
highly relevant results it gives, and the speed at which it delivers them. This is due to its complex text matching algorithm
and of course the Pagerank™ system that this engine uses. More on the Pagerank™ system later.
Google is popular with webmasters
and Internet Marketing companies due to the highly workable ranking system it uses.
Unlike other engines where information
about how the results are obtained are sketchy at best, Google actually publishes information on its site about the results
it produces. So webmasters have things they can do to produce higher rankings. What also makes Google popular with webmasters
is the speed at which they will spider / list your site.
If you are not listed in Google
and submit you are usually indexed within two weeks. If, however, your site is already listed in the index Google should reindex
once every month, but more frequently if you have a high Pagerank™.
This indexing / reindexing time
is much quicker than most other search engines, this allows webmasters to edit their pages properties such as title, first
few lines of text, headings, keyword distribution and of course the number of incoming links to their site. They can then
discover quickly if the changes were successful or not.
It's because of this popularity
that you need to know the workings of the google search engine. Without knowledge of it you will be ranked lower than all
other sites that are only slightly familiar with the Google algorithm.
So let's indulge ourselves in
the Google ranking algorithm. Well, there are two main parts to the algorithm google uses, the first is its text matching
system, whereby Google tries to find pages relevant to what the searcher has entered. The second and equally important part
of the algorithm is of course the Google patented Pagerank™ system.
I'll first go through how to
make your page relevant, i.e. - the text matching part of the algo.
Google gives a lot of "weight"
to the title tag when searching for keywords. So make sure your most important keywords or keyphrases appear in the title
tag. It seems to work best if you have other words in your title tag, too, after your keywords, but try to remain under 35-40
As many of you know, Google does
not use meta tags such as keywords or description tags. This is because the text in these tags cannot be seen by visitors
to a website. And Google feels these tags will be abused, by webmasters placing lots of unrelated words in them in order the
get more visitors.
The lack of support for meta
tags means that Google creates your description from the first few lines of text on your page, this means you have to have
your keywords and phrases right at the top, if it finds them your page becomes more relevant. If it doesn't the rest of your
page has to work harder to become relevant. For example Scroll back to the top of this page and you will see:
AKA Marketing .com - Free Internet
Marketing Articles , Google submitting tips, ranking high at google.com
The above sentence includes keyphrases
related to this page.
Google considers keyword density
in the body of a page for determining relevancy too, so make sure your keywords and phrases appear a couple of times throughout
the whole page. Don't go overboard though, a density of 6-10% seems to work best.
Other advice about making your
page relevant includes putting keywords into the <h?> heading tags </h?>. Also try and bold as many keywords as
you can. As of late Google seems to be indexing text in alt image tags, so includes your keyphrases in there too.
One final tip on page relevancy
is the point on having your keywords and phrases in links which point to your site. It is a good idea to have the linking
text contain your keywords as Google even says itself that it analyzes pages that links come from too, in it's description
of it's pagerank technology.
How much keyword laden links
matter is anyone's guess. But I have noticed a lot of sites which give the HTML code to visitors who want to exchange links
do include keywords in the actual linking area. You should do something like this to on your links page. Say something like
"if you want to link to this site, please use the following code".
In the above section of the article
you have learned what areas Google uses and looks at when looking for a relevant site. But what method does Google use to
determine which site is better, the answer is the Pagerank™ system.
Pagerank™ is as the name
suggests a ranking system of pages. It works on the basis that if a website ABC.COM has been linked from a website XYZ.COM,
abc.com must have some good content and therefore Google will count the link from XYZ.COM as a vote for ABC.COM. You can check
your link popularity on Google by downloading the Google toolbar from http://toolbar.google.com
The Pagerank™ scale goes
from 1 to 10 on the Google toolbar and from 1 to 7 beside listings on the Google toolbar. A less important site is of course
a site with a PR of 1 and a very very important site is a site with a PR of 7 or 10, in the directory or toolbar respectively.
The more links or votes a site
has the more important it must be and therefore the higher it will rank for search words which it is relevant to, right?,
Google does not simply count
the number of incoming links a page has, if that was the case every webmaster from Iceland to Vietnam
would try and exchange links to every tom, Dick and harry website that would let them. In Googles own words
"Google looks at more than the
sheer volume of votes, or links a page receives; it also analyzes the page that casts the vote. Votes cast by pages that are
themselves "important" weigh more heavily and help to make other pages "important."
Hopefully your beginning to get
the idea. If not - The idea is to have your page linked to by as many high quality and high pageranked sites as possible.
Right?, RIGHT and WRONG.
WRONG BECAUSE - You see Google
pagerank system also takes into account the number of links the page that has linked to you has. The reasoning for this is
that a page X has a certain amount of voting PR, if your site Y is the only link from that page X, then Google feels confident
that page X thinks your page Y is the best link it has, and will give you more PR. If however page X has 50 links, page X
could think your only the 50th best page. So the more links it has the less of a PR boost your site gets.
RIGHT BECAUSE - Linking to a
site with a 6+ PR will provide a significant boost to your PR in most cases, but in cases where the site also links with 100
other sites the boost will be almost zero. Likewise if a site has a PR of just 2 but you and only one other site are linked
from it, then the PR boost would be more than the site with 100 links and a PR of 6.
It's beginning to come complex
isn't it, just wait till you see this formula. Its looks scary for non math's people.
First let me explain what the
damping factor is. The damping factor is the amount of your PR which you can actually pass on when you vote / link to another
site. The damping factor is widely known to be .85 . This is a little less then the linking pages own PR.
PR(A) = (1-d) + d(PR(t1)/C(t1)
+ ... + PR(tn)/C(tn))
In layman's terms PR(A) is the
Pagerank™ boost your page will get after being linked from someone else's site (t1). PR(t1) is the pagerank of the page
which links to you and C(t1) is the amount of total links that (t1) has. It is important to know that a pages voting power
is only .85 of that pages actual PR and this voting power gets spread out evenly between all sites it links to.
Imagine akamarketing.com was
linked by XYZ.COM's link page which had a PR of 4 and 9 other links, here's how the formula should look like:
PR(AKA) = (1-.85) + .85*(4/10)
= .15 + .85*(.4)
PR(AKA) = .15 + .34
PR(AKA) = .49
To sum up my site would get an
injection of .49 PR after being linked from a page with a PR of four and 9 other links.
Lets say I was linked from a
site with a PR of 8 - double the previous example's amount, which had 15 other links, a total of 16 outbound links, my boost
PR(AKA) = (1-.85) +.85*(8/16)
PR(AKA) = .15 + .85(.5)
PR(AKA) = .15 + .425
PR(AKA) = .575
The above two worked examples
show that not only is the PR of the linking page important but what is also important is how many other sites are also linked
/ voted for from that page.
OK, I think we've had enough
mathy stuff for now. Just remember that the name of the game is to get as many links from pages with high PR and few other
links. The more of these links you get the more your PR will grow and the more your rankings will improve for your relevant
The best thing you can do for
your PR seems at the moment seems to be getting listed in Dmoz.org - The Open Directory Project.
Pagerank™ is widely known
to be biased towards big name directories such as Dmoz.org, Yahoo and Looksmart.
This is true, especially in the
case of Dmoz.org. These ODP links are treated like gold by Pagerank™. It doesn't even matter what the individual PR
of the category page is. I have seen sites gain a large PR boost on the toolbar as soon as Google updates it's directory with
the latest one from dmoz.org. This is because Google uses it's own version of ODP for the Google web directory.
Don't believe ODP links are very
important to Pagerank™?
Don't believe a listing in the ODP will boost your ranking?
Well they are and they will.
Perform a search for almost anything on Google and you'll discover that 75-80% of the top 10 results are also indexed in the
Google directory. The fact of the matter seems to me to be if your not listed in ODP, you shouldn't expect much traffic from
It's not difficult, it does sometimes
take time, but it's not difficult. Just make sure you site has good content and follow the guidelines for adding a URL. Try
to get you index page listed at least. I say at least because although ODP claims only to list your index page, there are
plenty of sites with 5 - 10 pages listed. So if your site has very distinctive sections, then submit each section - slowly.
Once Google updates it's directory, these listings could do wonders for your site maximum PR.
As for Yahoo and Looksmart, Pagerank™
will usually allocate a more than normal amount of PR boost for any sites listed. For tips on getting listed in Yahoo, read
Yahoo Submitting Tips.
If you are a non-commercial site
or have a site that's almost completely non-commercial you can get into the looksmart directory through www.Zeal.com. I really
love this site, just like Google obtains results from ODP, Looksmart obtains it's non-commercial listings from the Zeal web
directory, without Zeal I would have to fork out hard earned cash and all my site does is provide information.
To continue - I submitted AKA
Marketing.com on a Tuesday and was listed in Zeal by Thursday morning. On Monday I checked my logs and found lots of referrals
from Looksmart, I was in Looksmart already. I looked at my logs later only to find MSN had updated it's DB from the looksmart
DB and was sending my loads of visitors cause of the good listing I got. My site was listed in Zeal, Looksmart and MSN within
six days. So get over to Zeal.com and submit your site.
Before you can submit a site
however you must pass a member quiz, which is fairly simple and straightforward.
If you happen to be a webmaster
that has a listing in all three of Dmoz.org, Yahoo and Looksmart then I'm guessing your site has good to very good PR and
Have your main keywords
and phrases in your TITLE tag and well spread throughout your page. Get as many links from as many high PR low number of outbound
links pages you can. GET LISTED IN DMOZ.ORG, Yahoo and Looksmart.
Well that's it. I hope you have
enjoyed this Google Ranking tips article, as much as I have enjoyed writing it. I also hope that you can put this advice into
use and help get yourself some real traffic.
Did you like this article?, it
took three days to write, so any feedback good or bad would be appreciated. My email is email@example.com
Article by David Callan - firstname.lastname@example.org
David is the webmaster of http://www.akamarketing.com.
Visit his site for free internet marketing articles, advice, ebooks, news
and lots more.
Grow Online With Reciprocal
If you've been marketing online,
for even a short amount of time, you are probably aware of the many benefits of reciprocal links.
This simple process of trading
your link with other sites can generate visitors and increase your search engine popularity ranking.
Keep in mind that, if your trading
partner's links pages are several layers deep in their directories, the search engines may never spider them. Ask if they
have manually submitted them so your link gets picked up for the popularity ranking benefit.
Reciprocal linking also makes
a great "door-opener" for meeting potential joint venture partners online. By asking for a reciprocal link you have established
your first contact with the site owner. This can make future correspondence more receptive since you have already shown an
interest in their site.
This doesn't mean that you can
automatically add your trading partners to your ezine or opt-in mailing list without their approval. Instead, construct a
personalized message to relevant trading partners outlining the benefits of setting up a partnership with you.
Here's a few reciprocal linking
Be sure to keep your links theme
specific. Search engines frown on sites loaded with too many unrelated links.
Free Resources To Help Your
Free eBooks - Website Content - Ezine Directory
We all know search engine optimization
is a tricky business. Sometimes we rank well on one engine for a particular keyphrase and assume that all search engines will
like our pages, and hence we will rank well for that keyphrase on a number of engines. Unfortunately this is rarely the case.
All the major search engines differ somewhat, so what's get you ranked high on one engine may actually help to lower your
ranking on another engine.
It is for this reason that some
people like to optimize pages for each particular search engine. Usually these pages would only be slightly different but
this slight difference could make all the difference when it comes to ranking high.
However because search engine
spiders crawl through sites indexing every page it can find, it might come across your search engine specific optimizes pages
and because they are very similar, the spider may think you are spamming it and will do one of two things, ban your site altogether
or severely punish you in the form of lower rankings.
So what can you do to say stop
Google indexing pages that are meant for AltaVista, well the solution is really quite simple and I'm surprised that more webmaster's
who do optimize for each search engine don't use it more. It's done using a robots.txt file which resides on your webspace.
A Robots.txt file is a vital
part of any webmasters battle against getting banned or punished by the search engines if he or she designs different pages
for different search engine's.
The robots.txt file is just a
simple text file as the file extension suggests. It's created using a simple text editor like notepad or wordpad, complicated
word processors such as Microsoft Word will only corrupt the file.
Here's the code you need to insert
into the file to work:
Red text is compulsory and never
changes, while the blue text you will have to change to suit the file and the engine which you want to avoid it.
User-Agent: (Spider Name)
The User-Agent is the name of
the search engines spider and Disallow is the name of the file that you don't want that spider to spider. I'm not entirely
sure if the code is case sensitive or not (maybe someone can let me know) but I do know that the code above works, so to be
sure to check that the U and A are in caps and likewise the D in disallow.
You have to start a new batch
of code for each engine, but if you want to list multiply disallow files you can one under another. For example -
User-Agent: Slurp (Inktomi's
In the above code, I have disallowed
Inktomi to spider two pages optimized for Google (internet-marketing-gg.html & advertising-secrets-gg.html) and two pages
optimized for Altavista (internet-marketing-al.html & advertising-secrets-al.html). If Inktomi were allowed to spider
these pages as well as the pages specifically made for Inktomi, I run the risk of being banned or penalized, So it's always
a good idea to use a robots.txt file.
I mentioned earlier that the
robots.txt file resides on your webspace, but where on your webspace? The root directory that's where, if you upload your
file to sub-directories it will not work. If you want to block certain engines from certain files that do not reside in your
root directory you simply need to point to the right directory and then list the file as normal, For example -
User-Agent: Slurp (Inktomi's
If you wanted to disallow all
engines from indexing a file, you simply use the * character where the engines name would usually be. However beaware that
the * character won't work on the Disallow line.
Here's the names of a few of
the big engines,
Excite - ArchitextSpider
Altavista - Scooter
Lycos - Lycos_Spider_(T-Rex)
Google - Googlebot
Be sure to check over the file
before uploading it, as you may have made a simple mistake, which could mean your pages are indexed by engines you don't want
to index them, or even worse none of your pages might not be indexed.
A little note before I go, I
have listed the User-Agent names of a few of the big search engines, but in reality, it's not worth creating different pages
for more than 6-7 search engines. It's very time consuming and results would be similar to those if you created different
pages for the only the top five. So more is not always best.
So now you know how to make a
robots.txt file, to stop you from getting banned by the search engines. Wasn't that easy. Till next time!
Article by David Callan - email@example.com
David is the webmaster of http://www.akamarketing.com.
Visit his site for free internet marketing articles, advice, ebooks, news
and lots more.
What Search Engines Want
by Dennis Gaskill
Self-proclaimed search engine
experts have, over the years, touted all kinds of methods for ranking higher in search engines. This has included things such
as hidden text, hidden links, meta tag stuffing, double meta tags, page stuffing, cloaking, redirect pages, bulk-quantity
doorway pages, and other "secrets" of dubious quality.
Those techniques, and newer techniques
that still amount to trickery, can result in lower rankings just for using them. In a worst case scenario they can even result
in your domain being banned. Once banned, it's hard to get back in. Let's look at search engines from the search engine perspective
instead of a selfish perspective.
My site, www.boogiejack.com,
has consistently been ranking high in search engines since it opened in 1997. The ranking will fluctuate from time to time
with each search engine, but I usually enjoy a few front page and number one links at any given time. Try a search for "left
border backgrounds" now (one of my specialties), and see how it ranks at several search engines.
What's my secret? It's quite
simple, I know how search engines want us to behave, and I have always followed the rules. I do everything I legally can to
optimize my pages, but always play within the rules using only legitimately recognized (read that search engine approved)
methods. When a search engine catches on to new trickery, you can be dropped or banned without warning.
So what do the search engines
really want? They want to be able to help their web site visitors find what they are looking for, and they want to give them
the best and most logical matches first. They can't do that easily with webmasters trying to manipulate their ranking by artificial
They want webmasters to show
the search engine the same content you show your visitors, so anything like hidden text and links, cloaking, redirects and
other tactics that show the search engine one thing and visitors another are high risk tricks that often result in being banned.
Your web site's content is the
search engine's content, so they want sites with high quality content above all else. They want to show the best sites available
for a search return, because if their content is helpful to the searcher, the searcher will be more likely to use their site
for searches time and time again.
It's hard to get search engine
employee's to comment on how their engines rank sites, but speaking on conditions of anonymity, here are the words of a technology
specialist from one search engine (...and I won't knowingly betray a trust, so don't ask who the specialist is or what engine
he works for, I won't tell):
"Design your site so that your
text accurately reflects your content, products, and services. We penalize sites that make obvious attempts at manipulating
our engine. No tricks, no misleading verbage designed for placement.
Link popularity is very important, so make sure the
sites that should link to you are linked to you, and you to them. This is more than the latest buzz, this is reality. So if
your site is about MP3's, you should have links with music sites, MP3 software sites, band fan sites, and so on.
At the very least you should
be exchanging links with non-competitor sites whose content complements your own, and if you're not afraid to link directly
to competitors and they'll exchange links with you, all the better. We give a little boost to sites that link directly to
One of the things we're after
with this is to have your site "pre-judged" for us by your fellow webmasters. All links help, because it shows others find
your site valuable enough to link to you, but links from relative content sites help your ranking even more.
I'll admit that sometimes people
find ways to manipulate results for a short time, but sooner or later we catch on to these techniques (nobody studies our
search engine harder than we do), and we'll penalize or ban sites for obvious manipulation attempts. Whether we ban a site
or just penalize them, is partly determined by the degree of cheating and partly by the mood of the reviewer!
Once we've flagged your site,
you'll have a hard time getting a top ranking again no matter how well you clean up your act. You've heard the expression,
"once a cheater, always a cheater?" So have we. And here's a dirty little secret for you: if we catch you once, we may check
other domains you own with a fine-toothed comb to see if you're spamming or cheating us with them too.
We don't place quite as much
emphasis on themed sites as some engines do, but a themed site will give you a boost with us too. That's not to say your MP3
site can't talk about your love of dogs, just that if you cover many topics within a particular theme, you'll get a boost
in rankings. You're not penalized for addressing many diverse or unrelated topics."
So there you have it, search
engines want the same things surfers want. Quality content presented accurately and honestly, links to and from sites with
complementary content, at least one major theme, and no dirty tricks.
Gosh, that isn't a great revelation
is it? It shouldn't be, it's the way we should all be doing business in the first place - honestly and accurately. It is what
works best in the long term with search engines and in life, and your site will never be penalized or banned by playing fairly.
Dennis Gaskill is the creator
and owner of Boogie Jack's Web Depot at http://www.boogiejack.com - a popular webmasters resource site ranking in the top 1% of the most linked
to sites on the Internet. He is also author of the new book Web Site Design Made Easy and publishes Almost a Newsletter, named
the Best Ezine of 2000.
7 Essential Steps to Web
Copyright 2003 by Herman
Web Site promotion should be
the major part of your web site marketing plan. It's not enough just to design a beautiful web site and put in on the Net.
Promoting your web site has to be done constantly if you want to get a continuous stream of traffic to it. If you don't drive
traffic to your web site, your online business venture will soon fail.
1. Create a web site marketing plan - if you fail to plan then you default to a plan for failure. When designing
your web site, create a plan on how to market it as well. Try to put yourself in your customers shoes when doing this. It's
too easy to just view your web site from your own perspective. You need to have a clear vision for your business, goals (short
and long term) you wish to achieve and the strategies of how you will accomplish them.
2. Define your target market - many online marketers promote their web site aimlessly in a field which is too
large i.e. they may use bulk mailing as one of their promotion strategies. Of course you may get some visitors but the chances
are you will not make many sales. Why? You have not narrowed your field of customers and targeted them. If you sold Cadillacs
online for instance, you are not randomly going to market to every person on the Net. Your target market may be previous owners
of cadillacs, or people who routinely purchase luxury American cars.
Getting targeted customers to
your web site, will increase sales, because they will have more interest in your product or service than marketing to a general
3. Use several promotion strategies - don't just stick to one form of promotion because you never know which
one will work the best for you. If you use many channels i.e. search engines, email marketing, forums, writing articles etc
you have a greater chance of getting more traffic to your web site.
4. Promote continuously - if you want to drive constant traffic to your web site, you must promote it continuously.
Web traffic is the lifeblood of your online business. For example, you could constantly optimize your web pages for the search
engines, resubmit them if needed, visit discussion forums every day and write an article for online publications every two
5. Calculate your return on investment (ROI) - this means keeping track of how much money you invested in your
marketing plan and what profit you received in return. This will avoid wasting large sums of money thrown aimlessly into advertising.
If you calculate it takes 100
visitors to your web site to generate one sale and with each sale you make $10, then you shouldn't spend more than 10 cents
to get each targeted visitor and still make a profit.
In order to know which aspects
of your marketing campaign bring the most visitors, you must be able to monitor visitor activity to your web pages.
6. Analyze your web site traffic - by analyzing your web site traffic, you can determine what marketing strategies
are successful. You can then change them as necessary, to boost the sales or services from your site.
Your analysis may include what
keywords your visitors are using to find your web site, which web pages are the most popular and where your visitors are coming
from. These are essential statistics you should know, instead of blindly promoting your web site and hoping for the best.
7. Test, monitor and track your results - to run an effective online marketing campaign, you need to constantly
test what works and what doesn't. Tracking the response to an ad may cause you to refine it until it generates a great return
on the money you invested. Once your results are satisfactory, you can then roll out your ads on a larger scale and spend
greater sums of money.
You should also monitor your
site in the search engines, so you can optimize your web pages for higher search engine rankings. This will attract more visitors
which leads to higher profits.
Web site promotion strategies
will differ for everyone, and will depend a lot on your product, web site and your personality. Try everything you can, record
the results, and see what works for you.
Herman Drost is the author of
the new ebook "101 Highly Effective Strategies to Promote Your Web Site" a powerful guide for attracting 1000s of visitors
to your web site. http://www.isitebuild.com/web-site-promotion
Writing Newsletters -
Tricks of the Trade
Follow 8 simple rules
of thumb, and you'll soon be writing great newsletters and reaping the rewards.
By Glenn Murray*
Company newsletters can be an
amazingly successful marketing technique.
Whether you want to up-sell or cross-sell, establish your brand or establish
authority, or simply reach a wider market, a newsletter can do the job
for you. You just have to make sure you write it
Television, radio, and print
advertising are often too expensive for many
businesses to justify - especially small businesses. Fortunately, there is
alternative. Today's internet and email technologies make company
newsletters a very inexpensive, yet surprisingly effective,
advertising. When it comes to newsletters, big companies and small are
finally competing on a level playing
So what is an email newsletter?
An emailed newsletter serves much the same purpose as a traditional company
Think of it as a short newspaper - but instead of relating to a
town, city or country, it relates to your business. You
can include articles
on new products or services, awards, recent success stories and case
studies, promotions, specials,
share price rises, company events, research.
And if it's a quiet month, you can simply write articles that might help
8 Steps to Success
Follow 8 simple rules of thumb, and you'll soon be writing great newsletters
1.. Keep It New! Your readers
won't waste time reading something they
already know, so make it 'news they can use'.
2.. Keep it personal: Always use
your reader's name. Make sure when
someone signs up, you get their name, then use it in the subject line, in
and anywhere else you can.
3.. Know your reader: Find out what your reader is interested in. Do some
invite response, or use an email marketing solution
such as Ezemail** which will track the links your readers click on
a history of their activity.
4.. Let them know you: Let your personality shine through. Readers are far
likely to become loyal if they feel they know you. Always include a bit
of you in the newsletter, whether it's humour,
personal details, personal
anecdotes, or personal views.
5.. Subject is Headline: The subject line of an email newsletter
is like a
front-page headline in a newspaper. You need to draw the reader in, so make
it engaging and relevant (maybe
promise a benefit) but no more than 25
characters so your reader can see it all before opening the email.
6.. Make it
'scannable': Most people don't read online - they scan. Make
sure you use easy-to-read bullet points and sub-headings.
Link to your
website and post extra details there.
7.. Easy unsubscribe: Make your unsubscribe easy to find. If it's
they'll feel safe and can then appreciate the content. To many people, the
ease of unsubscribing is an indicator
of the integrity of your company.
8.. Forward to a friend: Include a link to encourage readers to forward
on to their friends and colleagues. Find an email marketing
solution which allows you to do this and sit back and watch
* Glenn Murray heads copywriting
agency Divine Write. He can be contacted on
(02)43346222 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit www.divinewrite.com for
** Ezemail enables you to create,
manage, deliver and track your email
marketing and sales communication. Email email@example.com or visit
Writing Right for Your
Back to basics. Forget
funky design, good writing is the key to a clear and intuitive website.
By Glenn Murray*
Are you losing business because
of your website? More and more customers are logging on to the Web to decide where to spend their money because it is quick
and convenient, and they can jump from site to site instead of walking from store to store.
Web savvy customers don't need
to be patient, studies have shown that you need to engage a potential customer very quickly by giving them easy, fast access
to the information they need. Otherwise they will simply move on to the next site.
Appealing design and speedy functionality
are important but they don't ensure that your site is well structured (intuitive) or well written (clear). If clear and intuitive
is what you want, there are two golden rules:
* Write first, build later.
* Be brief and clear.
The real message on most websites
is in the writing, and so it makes sense that the writing should determine the structure. Unfortunately, this is not the usual
case. Most businesses choose the structure and design of their site first and then try and fit the writing around that structure.
This flies in the face of commonsense. When you speak to someone, you structure your speech around your message, you don't
decide on a structure then change the message to suit. So you need to plan what you want to say before you create the site.
Maybe even write the whole thing first and then use the message to determine the structure.
When deciding what to write,
think about what your customer wants to know rather than what you want to say. It's a subtle difference, but it is the key
to engaging a potential customer.
Most customers will want to know
* What do you do?
* What benefit can you offer
* Why should they choose your
service or product?
* What does it cost?
* How can they contact you?
* Where are you located?
Brevity & Clarity
Your website has to communicate
a lot of information and to make matters worse, you are going to have limited space. Ideally, your customer won't have to
scroll on any page (all your information will fit in a single window) and that single view will need to contain more than
just words. The design and navigation elements take up about a third of a window, and you should leave a bit of room for white
space (you don't want to overwhelm the customer). As a rule of thumb you should expect to have about half the window free
How you are going to fit all
your information in such a confined space? This is where writing skills come in - choose your words very carefully.
Websites can be an extremely
powerful piece of marketing collateral. You can reach millions of potential customers for as little as a few hundred dollars.
Unfortunately, your competitors are all doing the same thing - it's a level playing field but there are a lot of players.
It is important that your message
is structured and well thought out, otherwise your site will be a mess and no-one will bother to read about your business.
If your message is clear, your site will be simple and easy to use. It's all in the words.
* Glenn Murray heads copywriting
agency Divine Write. He can be contacted on (02)43346222 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit www.divinewrite.com for further details.