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Monday, January 08, 2007

Website Evaluation Tips - Part 2

Eliminate Broken Links
One of the most common, and easily correctable maintenance tasks is identifying broken links in your website evaluation and fixing them. Working links may lead to other pages (either to your site, and other external sites) or to graphic images. Broken image links appear as either a little red "x" or a blank box representing where a graphic is supposed to appear. Broken page links will result in the dreaded "404 FILE NOT FOUND" error message. Hopefully, through the process of evaluating your website, you've already compiled a list of these annoying anomalies. If you'd like to double check for additional links you may have missed, you can use a variety of free tools available which will not only verify all of your links, but also check for spelling errors and perform other useful functions such as checking page load time and discovering browser compatibility issues.

Take an inventory
Set aside a time when you can browse the entire site, and try to conduct this visual website evaluation through the eyes of a new visitor. Click on every link and view every page. Hopefully, the site still accurately represents your organisation. Be on the lookout for content items that are inaccurate, out of date, or no longer important. Any such issues discovered while evaluating a website should be addressed and corrected as soon as possible.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Before the Click

When people are searching for something online they have a specific intent. They are either looking for information or looking to purchase a product or service etc. When they see your ad or link and it conforms to their needs they will click on it. That is great, but have you prepared your site to the best of its abilities? One of the simplest ways in which to ensure that they don't immediately click out of your site is to take them where they want to be.

So many people still overlook this small, but very vital action. Don't take them to your site's home page. Although your home page might have loads of information about your company, product or service or may just be of very flattering design, this means nothing to your PPC visitor if it doesn't take them directly to where they want to be.

If your visitor was looking for "Marketing services" take them directly to your "Marketing services" page, not to "Email marketing" or "All Services", or "About Marketing", but directly to "Marketing services" this is simple and effective. Most retailers would use the "product page" as their primary landing page. Service providers would use the "service page".

There are two ways of going about your landing page strategy. You may choose to either send your traffic to a page within your existing website, or create landing pages specifically targeted towards your PPC campaign.

This provides you with more freedom to customise the design of your landing page.

Website Evaluation Tips - Part1

Even if you or your company doesn't have a lot of time and resources to keep the site in good order, there are several things that evaluating your website can bring to your attention that may need slightly tweaking at little or no cost.

Review the Goals and Purpose of the Site
Hopefully you had a goal or purpose in mind when the site was originally designed and launched. It may have been to promote brand awareness, drive sales leads, sell more product, etc. As the first step of your website evaluation, confirm that these goals have not changed, and if they have changed, determine what your new goals and objectives are. Throughout the process of evaluating your website, continually ask yourself if each site element helps to meet the goals of the site.

Keep a 'to do' list
It's a good idea to keep a list for the website at all times. This list can be as simple as a Word document or as complex as a database, including (at the very least) each item to be modified (page, copy, graphic, link, etc), the desired action, (add, remove, update), and the priority (low or high). Then, if you happens to have a few minutes here or there, this list can be continually reduced in an efficient manner.

Information kept updated
If your site states that your 'next' event is 10 months ago, or your "coming soon" has "gone and went", bring the site back up to the current date by addressing these types of issues. Nothing can be worse for your visitors than serving them out of date information. If you don't have the time or resources to continually update your site, make sure you add as little time-sensitive information as possible.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Whats changing in 2007

Firstly I would like to wish everyone a belated Happy New Year and hope of everyone had a great Christmas or Eid as the case maybe. I thought it would be a good idea to start the year by providing you guys with what we might expect from the world of Search Engine Marketing.

As the most complicated search engine Google usually sets the bar for best optimization practices so focusing on attaining results on Google usually nets favorable results on the other major engines. With that in mind I do not see any reason that ethical optimization tactics will be revised to any significant level in 2007.

I cannot stress enough the importance of the emerging 'Mobile Search' industry and I expect that the increase in R&D from Google and some effort from Yahoo and Microsoft in this area will produce an undeniable need for separate, mobile-friendly websites (i.e. .mobi sites designed entirely for mobile use). This market place will see significant growth this year as Internet marketing companies jump into action and begin offering mobile site creation, promotion and optimization.