There are so many amazing things about the web, and one of its best attributes is variety. Really, if you take a step back and think about all the websites that you visit day-to-day and even the thousands of others that you've maybe landed on for a brief time throughout these years – the variety and unlimited assortment of what's on the web is tremendous.
Yet, here we are midway through 2009 - 15 or so years after the web arguably became mainstream and so many companies, individuals and organizations are still content with just having a website – without regard of it's credibility, usability and search engine-friendliness. They still haven't grasped the power of the web and what it can do for them from a business and personal standpoint. Just having a website was important back in 1999, and now in 2009 transforming that website into a full-fledged webpresence is critical.
Search Engine Optimization is the Foundation
Say you want to open a retail store. You find a nice location and start to move the inventory in, set up your displays and hire the salespeople. That's good, but what about a sign out front to get the attention of other shoppers?
Without a sign there will be no shoppers, they don't know anything about your store and they don't trust it enough to go inside. Plus there are many other stores around yours and they'll just go to those instead. What if you're renting space over in the distant corner and all the shoppers are on the other side milling about? Chances are they hang out where all the action is and wonder why in the world your store is hard to find.
Essentially, this is where SEO comes in to play for websites. If your site doesn't rank on the search engines, either through organic methods or the pay-per-click ways, then you're missing an incredible opportunity of attracting the people who are actively searching for you and your services.
SEO begins during the development stage of the website. It takes some foresight to build a site with interesting content and features that visitors will appreciate and that search engines will love. The main focus for SEO is advancing the goals of a website by improving the number and position of its organic search results for a wide variety of relevant keywords. Proper SEO strategies may increase both the number and quality of visitors.
Brand Image is Everything
First impressions are extremely important. When websites have approximately eight seconds to convince a web visitor to stay, the design and layout of your website must appeal to them.
Trust and confidence in your brand must be expressed clearly to those who visit, shop and link to your site. You may be asking them to purchase products and/or enter their personal information and if your site doesn't exude professionalism and trustworthiness then you may be losing out on a number of opportunities. Most web users have inevitably received spam or heard the horror stories of online identity theft. For this very reason online shoppers have become hesitant and untrusting of online stores they are not familiar with. Anything you can do to ensure visitors you are not going to take advantage of them is going to make your audience more comfortable, therefore resulting in a more positive experience for both parties.
What Can My Website Do For You?
While the design and look of your website is more important than ever, just as important is how visitors navigate the site and jump from page to page. We're in a short-attention-span world and if visitors get bogged down trying to find what they're looking for on your site, then chances are they're patience will run out quicker than the click of a mouse.
Connect and Engage
The Social Networks like Facebook and MySpace have allowed websites to be connected with their customers and new audiences like never before. Twitter gives individuals and businesses a quick and easy way to interact with their customers, fans, clients and the general public. And now if your website isn't connected or integrated in some form to these amazing marketing tools, then you're not fully aware of what a webpresence can actually accomplish for yourself or your business.