Most people seem to have this sudden urge to have a website, they register a domain name (usually with the name of their company) and throw up some images and a bit of content then wonder why they are getting no traffic OR they spend a fortune on an ‘all singing all dancing’ website with no regards as to what keywords they should be targeting.
This is a guide as to what you should do if you are considering setting up your own website. If you follow this guide before you use a web designer it will save you a lot of time and money.
Finding the right keywords is an art in it’s self, I personally use software called Market Samurai but I have used every other keyword tool that is on the market and for my needs I think it’s the best available or try Google’s
Keywords will make or break your business, not just finding the right keywords but how you use them throughout your website and the content you produce.
Once upon a time (back in the good old days) you could get ranked high in the search engines for just about anything but as the search engines evolve so must you, the major search engines now use something called LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing).
What this basically means is that the search engines are starting to think more about what you really want, these days if you built a page around just one keyword you won’t rank as well in the search engines but if you build a page around that keyword then sprinkle in other relevant keywords then you will get a higher ranking, for example if I were to use the keyword ‘butcher’ then other words that come up in my research are ‘meat’, ‘chicken’ etc.
Next before I decided to use the term ‘butcher’ as my top level term I wanted to see how easy or difficult it would be for me to rank on the first page of Google’s search results because unless you are on the first page you are nowhere unless the market is huge and you have a lot of keywords in your mix.
I would regard this as an easy market to dominate, let me tell you why, its all to do with how you optimise your website (more about this later), in this example I looked at the top ten sites in Google’s search results for the term ‘butcher’ and there is only one of the sites that has a properly optimised website (the no1 site), that has the keyword ‘butcher’ is in the page title, in the URL, in the description and in the main headline on the page.
If I was to build a butcher site I would make sure my site was optimised, get at least 100 backlinks pointing to my main page and put some great relevant content on the site and from experience I would get to the first page in a matter of weeks.
Choosing the Right Domain Name
This to me is the really simple bit, some people agonise for ages over their choice of domain name.
It should contain your keyword or key phrase
No numbers in it.
.com is best unless you are going for a very specific geographical market, for instance if your market only exists in the UK then .co.uk is best.
If you can, get all the extensions like .com, .net, .org etc. if you are going large!
No hyphens unless it is a really good mix of your keywords, never more than three
Short as possible
I found the domain name ‘thebestbutcher.co.uk’ (available at the time of writing) in only a minute or two of searching, this domain also gives you an opportunity for branding, it doesn’t matter if you’re the ‘best’ or not, if you tell enough people you are and supply fantastic service and value they will believe you and then you soon will be! (As in ‘John is one of the top Search Engine Optimisation experts in the UK’) Mind you in my case it’s true!
Sometimes I have clients who have slightly more ego than commonsense and buy domain names with their name or company name in the URL, this is great if you are building a brand but not if you want to rank on the first page of Google for your keyword!
On Page Optimisation
On Page Optimisation is what is required to change a website itself to make it more likely to get higher rankings for a particular keyword (or set of keywords) in the search engines.
It includes such things as improving the page content, using keywords in page titles, using ALT tags for images (i.e. keywords in the text description for an image) and managing outgoing links.
As you build your pages your keyword phrase needs to correspond to that page, make sure the :
Page heading title
Page title meta tag
Page description meta tag
Page key word meta tag
all use the keyword phrase.
Now you need somewhere to host your website (the place your website lives).
I use HostGator for one reason, they are fantastic, there is virtually no down time, the support is great and they offer value for money, I think they are the best on the market.
Under no circumstances use a free host, there are many reasons why not, just don’t do it!!!!
When you have all of these parts in place you now have the majority of the work done and are ready to get your site’s design work done.