Website Design and Marketing PlanTo build a successful website you must have good planning and develop the strategy you plan on following throughout the design phase that will affect the performance when the website is complete. Many web designers make a common mistake where they have a basic idea and create the webpage without thinking about the marketability, profitability, layout, search engine optimization and customer use. Without a plan, you will not have a realistic expectation for your website, a website like a business must have a direction or it will not be as successful as it could be. So the following document is a step by step process to help web designers develop a successful website in just one year. The following is a guideline that will help you generate the traffic to your website, what you do with that traffic is up to you. Your site can be successfully completed faster if you are enthusiastic and willing to work hard!
Step 1. Preparation Work before your website goes live
Content, Content, Content; Content is king.
Be prepared! Before your new domain name is settled on, start putting together notes to build at least a minimum100 page web site. This is a good start and to become really successful you will want more even more targeted content. Just to recap this is 100 pages of real content, as opposed to link pages, resource pages, about us, contact us, faq pages. These pages are just filler and will not make your site successful.
Selecting a Domain Name:
Brandable. You want "house.com" and not "the-keyword.com". Keyword domains used to be good but now they are no longer as effective - name recognition and website branding are the only way to go. The value of keywords in a domain name mean nothing to search engines so lets make it easier for your customers. A powerful lesson can be learned from "goto.com" when it switched to "Overture.com". It's one of the most powerful gut check calls ever seen on the internet. A highly successful website went away from keyword based domain and several years of name branding to switch to a name branded website.
A simple website is the best policy. Make sure your text content out weights the html content. It is sometimes difficult to do but your content pages need to validate and be usable in everything. Keep in mind that Lynx, Mac, some obscure browsers, and some leading edge browsers all handle HTML differently. It is important to keep your as close to html 3.2 as possible. Most search engine spiders do not like html 4.0 so you want to design your site to make them happy. Though it looks pretty stay away from heavy: flash, dom, java, java script. Go external with scripting languages if you must have them thought there is little reason to use them - they will rarely help a site and tend to hurt more then the web designer will ever know (search engines distaste for jt is just one of the many reasons).
Make an intelligent layout with directory names hitting the top keywords you wish to hit. Some people have has some success with just throwing everything in the root directory so the choice is up to you. For the sake of finding and editing my sites I find the organized directory approach to be the easiest to navigate and edit. Don't spam your site with frivolous links like "best viewed" or other counter like junk. Keep the layout clean and professional to the best of your ability.
Website loading speed is the most critical factor in layout design and should be your number one website design consideration.. If your website doesn't respond almost instantly to a request you will loose those fickle internet browsers. Load times of even 4 -5 seconds delay will make many users hit the back button and search for an alternative site. Heaven forbid load time takes longer then this you will lose 10% of your audience for every second they wait. 10% may not seem like a lot but think of it this way. A website that has a meager 100 hits a day will loose 10 potential customers a day. Calculate that out over the course of a year and you loose 3650 potential customers for each second! Now imagine if your site achieved 10,000 hits a day? Faster is better!
Kind of similar to the above rule, smaller the better. Keep page size under 15k if you can. Try to keep it under 10k if you can. The simple rule is over 5k and under 10k. Many of you must be thinking that I am crazy, it is tough to do, but it works. Search engines eat it up, and more importantly it works for surfers. Remember, 70% of your surfers are still on a 56k modem or even less. Design your site to the slowest surfers needs and you will be surprised by the results!
Did I mention earlier that content is king? Well it extremely important so you need to be prepared to build one page of content per day. It is a good rule of thumb to have 200-500 targeted words on this page. If you are at a loss for content, start with the Overture keyword suggester. Use this tool to help you find a meaty set of keywords for your topic area. These keywords are your subject starters and the content of your site should be built upon them.
Density, position, frequency.
Design your website from the ground up with search engines in mind. Use the keyword once in title, once in the heading, again in description tag, once in the url, bold it, italicize it, place it high on the page, and hit the density between 5 and 20%. It may seem like overkill but trust me you need to do it. Use good sentences and spell check it your work. Spell checking is so simple to do and it is the most neglected tool in your arsenal. There is no reasonable excuse for not following through!
Get Outbound Links:
Each page should have one or two links to a high ranking site under your chosen keyword. Use your keyword in the hyper link text as this is more important that you might realize.
Internal Website Cross links.
Cross links are navigation links used by your users / search engines to move about your site. Links need to be on topic and to quality content all across your site. If your page is about scuba diving, then make sure it links it to the scuba equipment and the scuba history page. Google use your on topic cross links to share your pr value for each page across your site. It is not a good idea to have one page that out performs the rest of your site. You want all 100 pages to produce an equal number of referrals a day and not one page that produces 100 referrals. If you find that one page out produces the rest of the site, you should try to redistribute some of that pr value to other pages by cross linking heavily.