December 17, 2012
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Getting your company’s new or redesigned website off the ground can be extremely difficult. After weeks of hard work and many changes it’s exciting to reveal your new online hub to the world. Your website design and development team have created a masterpiece — it looks really professional, it is easy to use, informative and everyone (including your grandma) agrees … it’s a job well done.
The only problem is, this is where most small business owners stop.
Just because your new business website looks ready — that doesn’t necessarily mean that it truly is.
For example, some graphic designers love to obsess over shading, textures and gradients and often completely miss something much more important – search engine optimization (SEO).
SEO is a very important element of launching a successful website — if you want your newly minted website to receive the “organic” traffic it deserves. However, the sad fact is most business websites are a big lumbering mess “under the hood” — badly in need of a tune up.
So while most folks will share advice that only deals with marketing your new website after its launch, there is much more you can do pre-launch to ensure your new online business hits the ground running.
Here are the top 13 things your web design and development team should ensure are in place before sending your masterpiece out into the world. Does your new business website have:
1. Google Analytics (GA)
GA is a service offered by Google that generates detailed statistics about the visits to a website. The Google Analytics tool allows you to track the success of your site by giving you access to important data such as: visits, unique visits, pageviews, time spent, etc. Installing their code on your site will empower you to also measure your advertising ROI as well as track your Flash, video, and social networking sites and applications.
2. Descriptive URLs
A Uniform Resource Locator (URL) is the global address of documents and other resources on the World Wide Web. Your company websites’ URL lets search engines and visitors see the content of your page(s) at a glance. For example, (www.gold.com/the-precious-shiny-metal.html) is a descriptive URL that shares keywords eluding to page content. Ensure your website URLs are descriptive rather than vague and obscure (i.e. www.gold.com/123456.html).
3. Page Titles and Meta Description
“According to SEO experts, a webpage’s title is by far the most important factor in getting better search engine rankings.” If fact, according to Google “Titles are critical to giving users a quick insight into the content of a result and why it’s relevant to their query. It’s often the primary piece of information used to decide which result to click on, so it’s important to use high-quality titles on your web pages.” In a nutshell, this is information search engines display when your pages show up for user-enabled searches. Make sure both your page titles and meta descriptions are informative, intriguing and under 70 characters in length.
4. Heading Tags
Heading tags are used to define the headings in your page. For example, if you view your website’s code you’ll likely see <h1> to <h6> tags which are used to define HTML headings. These tags makes the page easier to read for visitors and easier for search engines — such as Google — to rank for relevant keywords.
5. XML and Static Sitemaps
A sitemap is a list of pages on your website that is accessible to crawlers or users. These tiny digital ‘maps’ allow Google to find it’s way around your site more easily. Creating an XML and HTML sitemap and submitting to search engines mean: more traffic and more pages of your site are indexed.
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