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Archives for October 2008
If you don’t have a newsletter as part of your website, you’re missing out on some valuable promotion and content opportunities.
Not only do newsletters allow you to position yourself in front of potential clients on a regular basis, they also give you valuable archiveable content for your website on a regular basis.
Running a newsletter can be as simple as sending it out from Outlook, or there are resources such as Constant Contac www.constantcontact.com that will help you to run the whole thing smoothly.
If you have an image map (a graphic that has different areas of it leading to different pages when clicked) then you’re not making Google’s job very easy.
There are all sorts of reasons why people use image maps, and navigation is just one of them, but if you don’t offer an alternative then Google and other search engines will just turn around and ignore your site.
If you must use an image map, also offer a text and HTML version of the navigation or links to give the search engine spiders something to index and follow.
Web users are notorious for speed reading content, and in 2006 Jakob Nielsen conducted a survey of 232 users to see how they looked at thousands of web pages.
He found that their main behaviour was fairly consistent and produced a reading pattern in the shape of an ‘F’, which means:
– first users read in a horizontal movement, usually across the upper part of the content area
– then they read across in a second horizontal movement, covering a shorter area than the first
– finally they scanned the left hand side of a page in a vertical movement
These 3 movements form an ‘F’ shaped pattern.
What does this mean to you when writing content?
– be aware that users will scan or speed read your content at first, rather than read in depth,
– ensure that your first 2 paragraphs (the two horizontal lines of the F) have the most important information in them
– make sure that left hand navigation (the vertical line of the F) has keywords and bullet points to grab attention
There is more information on the F pattern and what it could mean to you at
http://www.useit.com/alertbox/reading_pattern.html – although written in 2006 it is still valid today.
Go to your website right now, and read the front page as if you have never seen it before.
Is it obvious what you are selling / offering / promoting?
If I don’t know that you can solve my problem, whether it is a business or a consumer one, how do I know if I am interested in your site?
You don’t have long to grab my attention – use bold text, large text and headlines to let me know I’m in the right place.
I bang on time and time again about adding content to your site – real, relevant content that will deliver value for your visitors and benefit from the search engines.
Clients say to me all the time: “But Nikki, we have nothing to add – what can we possibly write about and add to the site? Everything we do is right there!”
And I can guarantee that within 5 minutes I have thought of 5 or 6 things they could add to their site to increase their content, visibility, and ‘sticky’ factor (the amount of time people spend on their website)
– the localised cleaning company that added pages to their site for
customers to leave them testimonials – they had content added by their
clients and had to do little or nothing themselves
– the telemarketing client that adds an article a month about the areas
people find difficult in telemarketing; cold calling, closing, getting past
– the baby goods affiliate site that now trawls the net for review of the
products they sell and adds them to the site frequently
– the software company that regularly adds support documentation and
– the chauffeur company that adds ‘holiday checklists’ and more tot heir
site as often as possible
All of these clients came to me saying they had ‘nothing to add’. If you’re thinking you have ‘nothing to add’, I’ll happily rise to the challenge – email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll take a look at your site and make some
It’s all too easy to write content JUST aimed at Google and other search engines.
There you are, filling in keyphrase after keyphrase, linking away and everything is going swimmingly
But is it?
Who are you actually writing this content and copy FOR?
Yes, I know you want good google listings, yes I know you want Yahoo to like you – but to what end?
If you’re like most people, the end aim is to get customers to your site that will then either buy from you or pick up the phone / email / enquire.
The problem with copy written solely for Google’s benefit is that it can switch some visitors off.
A great way to avoid this happening is to read your copy out loud to someone, and let them tell you what they think.
Is it too keyphrase heavy> Does it make sense? Does it have a strong message that isn’t diluted by lots of keywords
and phrases for the sake of it?
If it sounds OK when being read out, the chances are it will read OK on the page.