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Final Lap: Good Reads for the Week Ending May 3

A Weekly Review of Web Marketing Articles

Here in Ohio, we’ve had a nice week of sunny weather in the mid-70′s, and it’s amazing how a week of sunshine makes you feel! It’s made us feel so good, that part of the crew has made a resolution to start working off that winter weight with an afternoon plank break. I’m realizing just how out-of-shape I am! After the planks, it’s back to the desk to catch our breath and catch up on the latest happenings in the web marketing world. Here’s a sampling of what the crew has been reading this week.

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Why An Authoritative Website is So Important to Your Business

In the offline world, you wouldn’t invest tons of money in a sloppy-looking, incorrect-grammar-ing, confusing, and unknowledgeable salesman that wasn’t able to serve your customers needs in the ways they wanted to be served, would you?  So, why would you do it online?  Would you like to buy something from this guy?

The truth is, your website is your digital sales rep.  It’s the go-to “person” in the online world for customers looking for your solutions.  In light of all the activities you may do online, this is your digital home.  It is THE preeminent piece of your digital existence.  Kinda makes you think a little more about what you do with it, right?!?

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The Complete Guide to Mastering Your Link and Navigation Structure

nk2549 / 123RF Stock PhotoWhen looking at a website’s architectural issues, there is no bigger benefit than ensuring your internal navigation and links are set up to ensure proper search engine spidering. This helps give visitors the ability to find information they need quickly and effectively. There is also no bigger breakdown in site architecture than when your navigation fails at helping visitors navigate through the site, or effectively blocks search engines from indexing your content.

All said and done, it doesn’t matter how perfectly your site is optimized if your site navigation fails to get searchers and search engines to your content. Your optimization efforts are doomed to failure.

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The Complete Guide to Mastering Domain Name and URL Structure

As a web marketer, we often start working on websites after the initial development stage. It stands to reason, right? You don’t need web marketing until after the website has been built. Until then, there is nothing to market! While this may sound logical, when it comes to building a website that can be properly marketed, that process must start far earlier than website rollout. In fact, web marketing starts before you even settle on your new business name!

Without setting the proper architectural structure, and specifically, choosing a domain name and making your URLs search engine friendly, you’re setting yourself up for a whole mess of problems later on. Getting out ahead of these can save you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars of development, not to mention the headache of fighting the search engines while making necessary changes.

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Improve Your Website Navigation for Visitors and Site Performance

I’m not into hunting. That goes for the real world, as well as the online one. (My guns and crossbow are strictly for target practice and the impending zombie apocalypse). When I use a search engine, I want to find what I’m looking for the first time. When I go to a website, I expect the navigation to immediately point me in the right direction.

However, I often land on websites with navigation that’s less than intuitive at best and downright confusing at worst. If I can’t locate the information I’m seeking in a relatively short period of time, I leave. I am not going to hunt.

Why would anyone want to send their visitors away in frustration when it’s so simple to create clear, consistent navigation? To learn how to improve this critical piece on your site, check out my latest post on Search Engine Land, Six Easy Ways to Improve Your Site’s Navigation.

Build Trails for Customers that Don’t Dead End

You see it all the time: web marketing that fails to satisfy customer wants and needs in the buying process from first exposure to conversion.  The problem is that it’s so easy to simply leave a buying trail that you’re on with the web.  All it takes is a click.  This puts buyers in total control and makes them uber-sensitive to what they engage with online.  The challenge for us as site owners and marketers is to build trails from exposure to conversion that customers won’t want to leave.

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10 Important Conversion Optimization Tips That Make Your Site Bad-@$$

In a recent post, I provided a list of 10 Easy-Peasy Conversion Optimization Tips That Make Visitors Happy. That post barely scratches the surface of conversion optimization tips you can implement to build a more user-friendly site that out-converts your competitors. But they are all fairly easy to implement, and it gives you place to start.

Now you’re ready to move on to the next level. Again, this post barely scratches the service, but it does provide you with some additional, important areas to consider when looking at your site’s usability.

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The Construction of a Search Engine Friendly Web Page

Make Your Website Friendly Before You OptimizeA while back I wrote about the need to have a search engine friendly website before worrying so much about having a search engine optimized site. I want to expand on that point here and to look at what exactly constitutes a search engine friendly Web page.

Strong URL

Many argue about the value of using keywords in the domain name and whether that will make any difference at all in the ranking algorithms. Whether it’s a lot or a little, I believe the full process of optimization is largely about doing a whole lot of “not much.” SEO is often a series of baby steps that collectively get you closer to the goal.Continue Reading

SEO Kung-Fu or SEO F-U?

Kick the Mindset of Search Engine Ranking Pages (SERP)What makes a good SEO? Is it just about having knowledge of search engine algorithms, being able to tweak code for the biggest ranking impact, or inserting keywords into a page to give it a better keyword focus? Is SEO all about search engine rankings or is there more to this than meets the eye?

Several years ago I wrote, “Gone are they days when SEO focused exclusively on top search engine rankings.” I wish I was right about that, but unfortunately, we still see a lot of SEOs doing just that today. Not the good ones, mind you, but still, far too many.

Today’s top-tier SEOs are getting out of the search engine ranking business entirely. Well, maybe not entirely, but they understand that there is so much more to online success than a top position for your keywords. Many clients still need convincing.

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Three Easy Steps to Achieve IA Greatness

We live in a digital age, but haven’t quite gotten to that mythical paperless society that we’ve been reading about for the past couple of decades. Those of us that make our living via websites still rely on good old fashioned compressed wood to fulfill a number of our daily tasks.

One of those tasks that often takes us away from our computer monitors and into the world of post-its, index cards, and cork boards has been when working on a site’s information architecture. This can be a big task, that often requires a lot of table or wall space.

Depending on the size of the site, there can be a lot of data to sift through, so you have to be able to make notes and move things around easily. Post-its, index cards, and cork boards make for great IA tools, as they allow for easy rearranging of your data at will. But, not everybody has boards large enough to handle the big jobs. And, some of us would rather do away with the paper all together.Continue Reading