Basic Steps To a Successful Website

Why Do I Need a Website?

No doubt this question has come to mind if you own a business. The answer is simple: If you don’t have a website, then your competition probably does.

The Internet has become so pervasive in our lives that consumers and suppliers expect to find information about your products or services and even expect to purchase them directly online. Maybe in the early days an Internet presence was out of reach for the average business, but nowadays there is really no excuse for not having your own website. E-Commerce (Electronic Commerce) has now become a required business tool for small businesses if you are to compete in this ever-changing technological world.

Because we live in a technology driven world, millions of consumers across the globe are now searching the Internet for products and services from the convenience of their home or office. Having a WWW website allows the consumer to conveniently access your website 24 hours a day, 365 days a year without you even being there. Your site can be totally automated to answer questions, take orders online and promote your goods and services plus much more.

If you are an individual, an artist or a business owner who offers goods or services, by having your own website, you are making a statement that you are on the cutting edge. The consumer now perceives you as a serious professional with instant credibility.

Your website can provide your customers with a vast amount of information. You can write a newsletter, publish articles and become an instant opinion leader in your field. Promoting yourself on the web has unlimited possibilities. Your advertising and printing costs on the web are greatly reduced because it is quicker and more cost-effective to revise material on your website. You can capture your own mailing list of potential customers who visit your site and promote to them. This is one of the keys to successful marketing on the web.

Businesses and organizations that do not have a presence on the Internet may inadvertently be making a statement that they are unable to keep up with today’s technology and cannot adapt to change.

If you want to be perceived as a serious professional in today’s marketplace, it is time to realize that the future that once was is NOW.

I decided I want a website. Now what do I do?

The first thing you need to do is establish the goals for your website. What do you want it to do? Next you need to determine a budget. This will be based on what you want to achieve and what you can afford. Remember that some of the expenses you will have to consider are monthly web hosting besides the design and marketing. I highly recommend consulting with a professional who can be a one-stop solution for you. You definitely want your site designed with marketing in mind. A good web design is one that is visually stimulating and appears simple and easy to navigate. Certain web designs can be interesting and have a lot of glitz, but does the visitor remain at your web site after he arrives? If your web design does not communicate, if the customer cannot navigate easily, then your prospective client is lost.

How do I get visitors to my website?

There are millions of pages on the Internet. Driving traffic to your web site requires that it be listed in search engines.

A search engine is a special kind of web site that maintains an index of words and phrases gathered from the web sites on the Internet. A few of the more popular ones are Google (www.google.com), Yahoo (www.yahoo.com), Lycos (www.lycos.com), Excite (www.excite.com) and Altavista (www.altavista.com). You may already be familiar with these. Users who are looking for sites with specific content visit search engines and enter a search query (search words and phrases) and the search engine returns links to pages having content that matches the search query.

A typical search yields many pages of results because there are so many sites on the Internet. Most people never read beyond the first few pages. Therefore, an effective search engine strategy requires that your site be listed at or near the top of the results of a search engine query.

Statistically, 85% of the traffic that comes to the average web site comes from search engines. This one fact is so vital that missing this one point can mean the difference between viability and non-viability for your web site.

There are literally hundreds, if not thousands of search engines on the Internet. Most of the traffic resulting from search engines comes from only 8 or 10 of the most popular ones. The five mentioned above are among these. So these top 8 or 10 search engines become the focus of an effective search engine strategy.

Getting listed in the search engines requires that you submit your website on a regular basis. Knowing just how often to submit is important. Over-submitting and under-submitting can lower your position. Again, it would be wise to enlist the services of a professional to submit your site to the search engines.

How do I achieve a top position in the search engines?

Words and phrases that users enter in a search engine are called “keywords” or “keyword phrases”. The dictionary definition of a keyword is one that “serves as a guide to find other words, articles, topics, etc.”

The answer to achieving a top position in the search engines is for your web pages to contain the same keywords and keyword phrases that are used as search phrases in search engines. Although this may sound simple, discovering these exact words and phrases and knowing how to place them in your web pages is a skill acquired after much practice. Your web site must contain the right keywords in order for you to be found. That important step is called “Keyword Optimization” (choosing, writing and placement of the proper keywords for your web site).

I can’t begin to tell you how many web sites are on the Internet today that fail to generate traffic. Many owners don’t understand that there is a solution. Most just give up.

You can write the content and place the keywords in your web pages yourself or you can hire a professional to do it for you. If you choose a professional, then check out their statistics. Of the sites they are promoting through search engines, how many of them appear at or near the top of a typical search? This is a service that is well worth the fee.

How long does it take before my web site has top position?

A search engine maintains an index of words along with the addresses of web sites it gathers from the Internet. It takes time for the search engines to update their indexes and for your pages to appear in them. One should start seeing results within three months on average, but if there is a lot of competition for the keywords in your site, it can take longer.

There are a number of factors that can affect your ranking. If you are starting from scratch it can take longer. If your site is already listed somewhere in the search engines, then it can take less time. If your site is popular with other sites and they have placed links to your site on their web pages, your chances of getting a high ranking increase.

The best thing to do would be to get a thorough evaluation of your site by a professional. You can get an estimate of the costs and decide if it would be better for you to optimize your web pages yourself or hire them to do it for you.


Sue Doughty is the Marketing Director of Studio 1 Design and Hosting and has over 15 years experience in her field. Her advice in the area of search engine optimization has helped businesses achieve high search engine placement and success on the Internet. Visit Studio1 Design and Hosting on the Web at http://www.studio1webdesign.com, email email hidden; JavaScript is required.