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Do You Own Your Own Website?

One of the most important questions you need to ask when getting a new website is “Do I have full rights to this website?”

You may think the obvious answer is YES but you’d be surprised with the fine print of some of the DIY and low cost website alternatives out there.

A few months ago we wrote the article “Are You Held Hostage by Your Website?” in which we discuss three main ways you may be controlled by your website, including licensed websites.

Today I want to discuss the topic of licensed websites in more detail. A licensed website means that the web designer or host or software owns the code for your site and you use a monthly or yearly fee to use it. This is like renting a house – when you decide to move on you don’t own anything and you don’t have any equity built up to show for all your months of payments.

The two main questions I want to address today that will hopefully give you a better understanding of whether you need to “own your own website” are:

  1. What makes licensed websites so attractive?
  2. What’s in the fine print (“terms of use”)?

What Makes Licensed Websites So Attractive?

Today, everywhere you look you can find ads and app resources promising you a free or almost free website that will bring you instant success. You can quickly build these user friendly sites, or you can give the information you want put on the website and it will all be done for you. After all, these type of websites promise to be affordable, simple and fast and will help you to:

  • Stand out from the competition
  • Increase your sales
  • Bring in more customers
  • Support your brand

However as we discuss in our article Benefits of SEO Web Design vs DIY Websites there are several common disappointments in a licensed or DIY website ownership:

  • Looks cookie cutter, unprofessional or poorly branded
  • Constricted to what you can edit
  • Doesn’t show up in Google Search results despite the promise of being “SEO Friendly”
  • Other websites look the same as yours
  • Time spent on the website is much more than you anticipated
  • Prices that add up or increase over time.

You may be thinking, “When should you choose a licensed website?” There are a few situations where it may make sense for you, such as:

  • The website is only needed for a short period of time.
  • It is a temporary website to use until you can afford to design the final version.
  • The code or design required is so complex it would be too expensive or impossible to build on your own.

Reading the Fine Print on Licensed Websites

Before you sign any type of contract you’d read the fine print- and buying a website is no different.

Example 1: YellowPages 360 Solution

Advertising departments know the high (and often increasing cost) of traditional YellowPage ads as well as the fact that people are no longer using a physical phone book to look up businesses. YellowPages 360 is a more affordable solution that helps small businesses get listed online with a customized website or profile.

The website can be turnkey or customized, crafted to send out a branded message to everyone searching for you. It sounds great but here are some fine print details from YPG Terms of Use:

5. License.

By posting, uploading or submitting any information, material or content to this Site, you automatically grant (or automatically warrant that the owner of the rights to such material or content has expressly granted) YPG a perpetual, royalty-free, irrevocable, non-exclusive right and license throughout the world to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, create derivative works from, publish, translate, license, transmit, distribute and otherwise exploit any or all portions of such information, material or content in any manner and media and by means of any technology now known or hereafter developed. In addition, you hereby irrevocably waive all moral rights in any such information, material or content posted, uploaded or submitted by you.

9. Copyright.

All Content published on or otherwise accessible through this Site is protected by copyright. The Content, and the copyright in the Content, are owned or controlled by YPG or YPG’s content suppliers. You may only use or reproduce the Content for your own personal and non-commercial use. The Content may not be otherwise used, reproduced, broadcast, published or retransmitted without the prior written permission of the copyright holder. You must abide by all copyright notices, information and restrictions contained in any Content on or accessed through this Site and maintain such notices in the Content.

Source: http://www.ypg.com/en/legal-notice

Example 2: Squarespace

Squarespace makes it easy to design your own website! Just select a template (you can switch at any time), start a free trial (no credit card is required) and then get a free domain.

 1. What We Own

All material and services available on the Site, and all material and services provided by or through Squarespace, its affiliates, subsidiaries, employees, agents, licensors or other commercial partners including, but not limited to, software, all informational text, software documentation, design of and “look and feel,” layout, photographs, graphics, audio, video, messages, interactive and instant messaging, design and functions, files, documents, images, or other materials, whether publicly posted or privately transmitted as well as all derivative works thereof (collectively, the “Materials”), are owned by us or other parties that have licensed their material or provided services to us, and are protected by copyright, trademark, trade secret and other intellectual property laws…

3. What You Provide to Us

You are legally responsible for all information, data, text, software, music, sound, photographs, graphics, video, messages or other materials uploaded, posted or stored in connection with your use of the Services (“Content”).  Squarespace is not responsible for your Content.  You hereby grant Squarespace a worldwide, royalty-free, non-exclusive license to host and use the Content in order to provide you with the Services and hereby represent and warrant that you have all the rights necessary to grant us such license.  You are responsible for any Content that may be lost or unrecoverable through your use of the Services.  You are encouraged to archive your Content regularly and frequently. 

4. Giving Us Access to Other Accounts and Services

Some of our Services may require you to give us access to or require you to provide login information and password information for accounts or services you may have with third party providers.  When you provide this information to us or give us access to these third party accounts you agree that you have read all contracts and written agreements governing such access, login information and passwords and that you have all the necessary contractual and legal rights to give us such access, login information and passwords.

12. Termination

d. Notice of termination of Services by Squarespace may be sent to the contact e-mail associated with your account. Upon termination, Squarespace has the right to delete all data, files, or other information that is stored in your account.

Source: http://www.squarespace.com/terms-of-service/

Where is this information?

A link to preview the fine print is typically in the footer of their website listed under “Legal” or “Terms of Use”. If you are in doubt ask a customer service representative before buying:

  • Can I take my content if I cancel?
  • Can I transfer the domain to myself if I cancel?
  • What is your cancellation procedure?
  • What will I need to provide for the website?

Help is available

If you haven’t already, read through our Website Hostage article and let us take you through the ramifications of not owning your site or domain name. We’ll also help you understand what you can do to protect your business from the dilemma of a contract domain.

A 1st on the List Consultant is ready to work towards the independent ownership of your site. When we set up your website – you own it.  Our goal is to create a web presence that is uniquely yours – owned by you, directed by you and paying you.  Check out our website design information.

Time to Count the Cost

Yes there is a cost in paying someone to design your website just the way you want it. Your site will take time to rebuild, and because the old content is owned by your host, it will need to be rebuilt. That takes time.

But consider the cost of your own time spent on DIY websites and the cost of not owning your website down the road. For a closer look costs check out our SEO Marketing Budget article to get a good idea of work that goes into “fixing” websites and the average costs involved.

If you still have questions regarding your website give us a call at 1-888-262-6687 or send us an email at contact@1stonthelist.ca.

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Why SEO and User Experience are Two Peas in a Pod

One of the major themes in the last couple years in the SEO industry that is now critical to the success of every website is User Experience.

Google says their goal is to provide users with the most relevant results and a great user experience (source).Think about it. Google wants to be the best Search Engine. To be the best they need to give the best results. And who determines the best results? Users.

In the last couple years Google has begun integrating several User Experience factors into their algorithm. What grade would your website get for User Experience and more importantly, is User Experience helping or hindering your rankings?

What is User Experience?

In general terms, User Experience (also referred to as UX) is a person’s behavior, attitude and emotions towards a particular product, system or service. In the case of your website it is how a person interacts with your website.

Essentially User Experience is about ensuring your visitors find value in what your website provides. According to Peter Morville’s User Experience Honeycomb model  a person can derive value in several ways. When applied to Google’s user experience factors in their algorithm, Morville’s model looks like this:

  • Findable – Can they find you in the Search Engines?
  • Useful – Do they find what they look for?
  • Desirable – Is it what they want?
  • Credible – Do they trust the information on your website?
  • Accessible – Do the pages load fast enough? Can they click through pages to find the information they need?
  • Usable – Do all the features including contact forms and links work?

What’s the connection between your website’s User Experience and SEO?

The example of a dating website comes to mind. A website like eHarmony or Match.com does a good job in getting you “found” by eligible individuals who meet your criteria. Once the site connects you with these people it is your job to court the individual, offer experiences and provide meaningful exchanges.

In the same way SEO helps you connect with qualified potential customers who are seeking what you offer. Once they arrive on your site (the “first date”) you need to offer something the visitor can’t find elsewhere. You need to impress. You need to keep them coming back for more dates.

Here is a helpful SEO and User Experience Chart to help you further understand the interaction:

SEO Role

  1. Improve quality of traffic.
  2. Target keywords searched by specific personas.
  3. Turn searchers into visitors.
  4. Connect searchers with what they are looking for.

User Experience Role

  1. Turn traffic into conversions ($).
  2. Design website to appeal to each persona.
  3. Engage visitors enough so they return.
  4. Help searchers solve the problem behind their search.

Best Website User Experience Tips

Ready to improve user experience on your website and promote your brand in the best light? Start with some of these easy tips …

  1. Make sure your navigation is easy to use.
  2. Make sure your website displays properly and is functional on all devices – including mobile devices and tablets.
  3. Make sure the pages on your website load fast (Google recommends less than 2 seconds).
  4. Create high quality content your visitor will want to read, and can’t find elsewhere.
  5. Organize the information on your site so it is structured and well presented.
  6. Add trust factors such as testimonials, awards and memberships.
  7. Keep your products and services information up to date.

Start Improving Website Experience Today!

Although high level tracking and analytics can greatly improve the usability of your website there are other affordable options to help you get started in assessing your website’s usability:

  • Look at industry leader websites. These companies have likely spent thousands if not hundreds of thousands on perfecting their website. What themes do you see? What can you apply to your website?
  • Ask friends, family members and even customers for their input on your website. Ask them to perform simple tasks on your website or browse through pages for 5-10 minutes. They will likely have a list of feedback for you.
  • Read web design and marketing blogs. There is a lot of research out there that proves certain design concepts, layouts and website structure. Trust the numbers!

If you are still lost, give us a call at 1-888-262-6687. We can provide an SEO and User Experience Website Evaluation to help improve your website in respect to both SEO and User Experience! We also offer A/B split testing to improve conversion rates and user experience on your website.

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What Do Customers Want from Your Website?

Did you know that the first impression of a website is formed in less than 50 milliseconds? That means you have just 0.05 seconds to prove yourself.

To most visitors your website isn’t just a website. It’s your company, your brand, your personality and often the deciding factor of whether to do business with you or one of your competitors.

Our brand new SEO eBook explores six expectations that your visitors have when they arrive on your website and how you can make a great first impression. This eBook will also help you understand how to capture your visitor’s attention (in a good way), give them exactly what they are looking for and ultimately ensure your website has done it’s job in “closing the deal”.

What is a closed deal such as a phone call, new email lead, purchase or in store visit worth to your business?

Don’t miss out on this FREE eBook. Just hit the
download button and start learning today!

You can also check out all of our free SEO eBooks, Articles, Slide Presentations and Infographics at no cost on our Resources Page.

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Could this Simple Change Build Website Visitor Trust?

A recent study conducted by BrightLocal set out to find if images are a powerful trust factor on local business websites. Take a minute to stop and consider BrightLocal’s reasoning:

Consumers arriving at a website may not be actively looking for photos of a business, but a picture speaks a 1,000 words and images convey a lot about a business and the people who run it and work there.

In order to find out if images do in fact build trust BrightLocal showed participants a series of 3 screenshots that resembled local business websites. Each website was identical except for the image used on it. The image options were:

  1. Genuine photo of a business owner
  2. Generic product or office photo
  3. No photo or image

The results found that nearly 80% of participants trusted the website with a photo of the staff, generic product or office location more than the website without any photos.

The Simple Change for Your Website

Add a photo of yourself, your staff, your office or some of your services to instill more trust and confidence in your website visitors.

Other Key Insights About Website Images and Trust

  • Different types of businesses see varying results from the types of images they place on their websites.
  • If your customers come to your place of business then a picture of your office or site can build trust.
  • If your office isn’t particularly attractive, consider using  staff photos and generic images.
  • If you are a service-based business, such as a dentist or plumber, where your staff plays a big role in providing a good experience consider adding pictures of your employees.
  • A generic picture of your services (such as a faucet for a plumber or toothbrush for a dentist) can instill trust by instantly sending the message that you do indeed offer what they are looking for.

If you do decide to add some images to your website don’t forget about proper image optimization for SEO! Ask us more about how to do this by emailing us  or calling us at 1-888-262-6687.

If you’re interested in seeing our team’s faces visit our Meet the Team page!

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How to Improve B2B Website Usability

B2B Website UsabilityFinally a B2B website usage study focused on B2B website usability and how actual decision makers use the website to move through the purchase process!

KoMarketing Associates and Dianna Huff’s study What B2B Buyers Want from Vendor Websites sought to understand total B2B Website Usability. The study reveals that buyers approach B2B websites with one motive – to “qualify a vendor in order to begin the process of moving toward a purchase.” Does your B2B website have what it takes to qualify you as the appropriate vendor, in the eyes of a buyer? Can your buyers move smoothly through the sales process while on your website?

In this blog post we will summarize the 7 major findings from the study and what you can do today to improve your B2B website to propel your visitors forward into the sales process in order to increase purchases.

#1 – Buyers look at products and services first.

Huff/KoMarketing first asked survey participants, which primarily consisted of decision makers such as CEO’s, Managers, Consultants, Analysts and Directors, what they look at first when they come to a website. The results include:

  • 90% want to see Products and Services info.
  • 61% want to see our About info
  • 37% want to see Marketing Collateral such as white papers, case studies, articles and so on
  • 36% want to see Testimonials
  • Less than 25% want to see social media buttons or a blog.

Ultimately, as the survey states, the buyer is looking for validation that they should continue to invest their time looking at your website.

Key Takeaways for Your B2B Website:

1. Integrate the important information into your navigation.

2. Give easy access to Products and Services in particular.

3. Include company information, including About and Testimonials, in your top navigation.

4. Make your logo in the header clickable to your homepage.

#2 – Buyers need marketing collateral and pricing.

First, let’s start with the top four B2B website design “Must Haves” as indicated by buyers:

  1. Pricing information (43%)
  2. Technical information (38%)
  3. Case studies, white papers, articles, blog posts (38%)
  4. Shipping information (37%)

On the flip side, marketing collateral and pricing are the most lacking items on vendor websites. The most lacking content that hurts B2B website user experience includes:

  1. Case studies, white papers, articles (54%)
  2. Pricing (50%)
  3. Product reviews (42%)
  4. Details about technical support (42%)
  5. Testimonials and client list (31%)

This information is important because buyers use it to pre-qualify you as a vendor. Are your services or products within their general price range? Do you meet their basic requirements? This study also points out that as a B2B website you need all the information clearly posted in order to send you a RFQ or to send the order to their purchasing agent.

Key Takeaways for Your B2B Website:

1. Include some indication of pricing, even if it is general price ranges.

2. Post case studies, white papers and articles for visitors.

3. Give visitors all the information they need to do business with you, including contact information.

#3 – Buyers prefer to use email and phone to contact you.

Do these survey findings of how buyers prefer to contact a vendor surprise you based on how frequently you are contacted by prospects?

  • Email – 81%
  • Phone – 57%
  • Contact Form – 39%
  • Live Chat – 17%
  • Schedule an Apointment Tool – 11%
  • Social Media Platform – 9%

As Huff/KoMarketing reminds us, remember the age demographic of your prospects. If they are between the ages of 36 and 64 (like the majority of respondents in this study) they will have a natural preference to phone.

Key Takeaways for Your B2B Website:

1. Put your phone number in your website header so it is prominently displayed on each page.

2. People are contacting you through a variety of methods; give them all these options.

#4 – Buyers hate long contact forms.

It seems that there is a love hate relationship for contact forms. We saw in the above results that nearly 40% prefer to use a contact form yet visitors are very sensitive to the contact form.

More than 80% say that they won’t fill out an “excessive form”. Did you know that 60% prefer not to give their phone number and another 53% don’t want to give you their postal address? So what information are buyers willing to give you in a contact form?

  • First Name (only 9% say they prefer not to disclose)
  • Email Address (only 13% say they prefer not to disclose)
  • Last Name (only 14% say they prefer not to disclose)
  • Company (only 19% say they prefer not to disclose)

Even if your form is excessive over half of respondents said they would still fit it out if it means they get something for free such as a trial, research, white paper or webinar.

Key Takeaways for Your B2B Website:

1. Only ask for information you absolutely need in a contact form.

2. Monitor completion rates for your contact form to make sure people are filling it out. Try eliminating unnecessary fields if too many people abandon the form.

3. Consider offering a promo when people complete a contact form; an exclusive link to a white paper is a low price to pay for a new lead.

#5 – Buyers will leave a website if they see this.

Most of the elements that annoy the survey respondents come as no surprise to us. If you have any of the following elements on your website you should seriously consider if their value is worth the risk of annoying visitors and driving potential customers away!

  • Video or audio that plays automatically
  • Animated ads or popups
  • Lack of message (can’t tell what the company does)
  • No contact information
  • Tiny text
  • Intrusive live chat
  • Stock photos

The study also sought to understand why these type of elements annoy visitors so much. The main reasons include that it wastes time, interrupts train of thought and reduces credibility.

Key Takeaways for Your B2B Website:

1. Make it incredibly clear what your business does – 49% will leave a site due to lack of message.

2. Display your contact information prominently – 37% will leave a site because there is no contact info.

3. Generic websites (including DIY sites and sites with stock photos) will reduce your credibility. Make sure your website looks professional and portrays your brand.

4. Develop case studies and white papers before social media, as 31% of respondents said marketing collateral establishes credibility whereas only 10% say social media establishes credibility.

#6 – Social media won’t impact buying process.

This study uncovers a purchaser’s indifference towards a B2B’s presence in social media:

  • 37% say it isn’t a factor
  • 30% say it’s important, but not a deal breaker
  • 26% say they are neutral towards social media

#7 – B2B buyers are using desktops although mobile is growing.

Huff/KoMarketing disclosed similar mobile traffic rates as what we are seeing for our B2B clients. Approximately 25% of traffic is through mobile whereas the average website is experiencing closer to 35%.

How’s Your B2B Website Usability?

How did your website fare through the eyes of purchasers? After seeing how actual decision makers evaluate a B2B website like yours, does your website need some attention? There are two ways we can help you:

1. Website Design – all of our website designs incorporate these best practices and help you brand your business the way it deserves.

2. Search Engine Optimization Campaign – if you are looking to grow your traffic while also improving your website then an SEO Campaign is perfect for you. While we work at making your website easier for the Search Engines to crawl and show in Search Results we also improve your website for visitors so it is easy to navigate and find the information they need. We also focus on properly branding your website and increasing leads.

Contact us today by calling 1-888-262-6687 or by emailing contact@1stonthelist.ca to talk about how to make your website more successful at converting visitors into purchasers!

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Using Effective Optimized Press Releases To Boost E-Commerce Sales and Visibility

As an e-commerce website owner, you’ll find that optimized press releases are an effective way to impact your e-commerce sales and Internet visibility.

Optimized online press releases can be very useful as part of a successful Internet marketing strategy. In fact, a well-presented optimized press release with good online distribution can typically be read by over 40,000 people in one week. Read more

Organizing Website Content Navigation for SEO

If you have 300 newsletters that you’ve written that directly relate to the topics within your website, then the newsletter articles should be readily available from the other pages that relate to that topic. More often than not, they are only available by a link that says “Newsletters” and then the links to the newsletters have textual links that look like “March 2007 Newsletters”.

This can often be missed by a visitor who could have actually found this information to be of value. Still worse, it might also be missed by the search engine robots who would have found additional content to support your targeted phrases had your navigation been laid out a bit better.

Anthing that supports your targeted keyword phrases adds value and can result in an increase in rankings. In this scenario, you could be missing out on added value that might be given to your website by the search engines simply because your navigation is set up improperly.

Site Navigation

Just as there are different ways people search for the same products online, there are different ways that people may look for something within your site. You may feel that your navigation works well for everyone but this simply is not always the case.

Many times customer service reps field calls where an online searcher states that they “can’t find such-and-such on your site”. Although the rep may feel it’s a no-brainer, they fail to hear themselves when they respond “go to ‘x’, then click on ‘y’, then look for ‘z’ and you’ll find it under the ‘m’ category”.

If this is occuring with your clients then you have an issue with your website’s navigation that needs to be corrected. Look at how your navigation is set up. Did you group your products and information together by a a topical category such as:
•    High Heel Shoes
•    Tennis Shoes
•    Golf Shoes

Or did you group them by the types of people who buy them?
•    Womens Shoes
•    Mens Shoes
•    Kids Shoes
The latter grouping could mean that your visitors will have to click on the multiple links to find what they want. In the following example, the product they want is four clicks down from the home page:
•    Home Page
–  Womens Shoes
– Dress Shoes
– High Heels
– Red ¼ Inch Leather Pumps
That form of navigation may seem natural, however many visitors do not want to click 4 links to find what they want. And neither do the search engines!

Google’s guidelines (and this is a good rule of thumb) say that your pages should be able to be reached by 1 to 2 clicks from the home page. Otherwise pages that are more deeper down than 2 clicks are more likely to not be indexed.

The more popular your site is and the longer it is around (the more history it has) may help to get those pages indexed but that isn’t going to help you now.

A quick solution would be to just leave that form of navigation in place; but consider adding a new navigation within your actual content area. Often times the quickest way to do this is through “bread-crumbs”.

Bread Crumbs

If you don’t know what a bread crumb is take a look below:

Where You Are:  Shoe Store>>High Heels >> Red ¼ Inch Leather Pumps

If you’ve ever seen this in a site, this is a breadcrumb.  It is a quick navigational bar that allows visitors to see what category they are in, but it also allows search engines to get deeper into your content with 1 to 2 clicks from the home page.  It also allows you to go back to the main category page or home page with just one click.

These types of breadcrumbs can be added to your pages easily and is a lot easier than reconstructing your left navigation.

SEO Content

For the busy shopper this removes a few clicks to find what they want.  It also makes it easier for the search engines to get to the content further down within your site.

Another reason for this is that to you, it may make perfect sense for your pages to be linked by the people who use them (mens shoes, womens shoes, kids shoes) but the search engines are looking for the concept and relation to the concept.

Once you do this, you need to ensure that your category pages are easy for everyone to find what they are looking for.  So lets say your home page looked something like this:
Webpage Optimization

Is it boring?  Maybe!  A good designer can possibly dress it up however they like. The main point is that the core elements are here and easily accessible by the search engines and your visitors.
If you want images, backgrounds or more stylish fonts, you can do whatever you need to make it your own but the concept remains the same.
Below is an example for someone who is looking to buy gym shoes (tennis shoes, sneakers, court shoes… whatever one likes to call them).

Category Page Example

With this example a man’s sneaker, a woman’s sneaker and a kid’s sneaker are all still a sneaker when all is said and done.  Having a page for sneakers that then breaks down by who wears them would also help the engines identify the relationship between your products.  An example would be:

Now if you look closely you could probably find many different types of navigation’s in place;

  • a header nav
  • a footer nav
  • a center nav
  • a left nav
  • and the original left nav

The purposes for these distinctly different navs is simply called ease of use, or accessibility.

Why should your visitor have to go click the back button to find what they want; here they can to the home, check their cart, click woman’s shoes and select from high heels or hiking boots. The concept is simple but so hard for some to grasp. This not only makes it easier for visitors to find what they want quickly, but this also helps the search engines find the information they want quickly.

If your website is not setup like this that’s okay; you can actually create additional pages that help to open up your site; you may find that it also increases your sales.  Remember that your site should continue to grow.

Take that one step further; allow your site to grow as your knowledge of what works online grows.
Often times people learn something new that they feel could help catapult their website, however they often feel that they should just dump their site and build a new one.  There is no need to dump your old or existing website; simply implement what you’ve learned into your existing site and move ahead.

Next post: Optimizing the web page

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Search Engine Optimization, Better Than Rebuilding Website

A lot of website owners want to do both, but can’t, and struggle with deciding which one to allocate their budget to first. Rebuilding a website is a great idea. Performing search engine optimization (SEO) is better.

The Internet is vast… very vast. It is comprised of, at last count, over 3-billion web pages and that number increases daily. People need a map to chart this unimaginably large landscape… search engines are the maps. SEO provides pointers to your business on the maps. Rebuilding your site does almost nothing for it.

If you understand the following statement, then which one to do first becomes very easy to decide upon… in order to become visible to their second audience (the visitors), websites must first receive adequate top rankings (the first 2-pages) by their first audience (the search engines).

Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization (aka. search engine marketing, website promotion, search engine positioning) is probably the single most important thing a website owner can do to increase visibility and visitors. Increased visibility and increased numbers of more qualified visitors help to improve sales, which in turn, improve the bottom-line.

Studies have proven that SEO has the BEST return on investment (ROI) of any form of advertising -online and offline! Savvy website owners who realize just how fierce the competition on the Internet is try to get as much as they can out of search engine optimization. It helps to position their business ahead of their competitors. If you are not incorporating SEO as part of a website promotion/ Internet marketing strategy you are losing out because your competition mostly likely is!

The fact is, there lots of great websites on the Internet. So what? What use is a great website if no one knows about it or can find it? And even if people do know about it, you are still not reaching the largest Internet demographic –the 85% to 90% of ALL Internet users who find what they are looking for by conducting searches! An effective SEO strategy is your mechanism for becoming visible to this group. SEO is critical to the success of your online venture. Rebuilding isn’t… it can wait.

Rebuilding Website
Rebuilding a site makes it look nice, provides fresh content, and most likely improves navigation. Will any of these lead to increased visitors? Most likely not. Making aesthetic changes does very little to increase a website’s visibility on the Internet.

It is estimated that 56% of ALL websites are “lost in cyberspace”! This means they cannot be found in search engines. What is the point of spending money on rebuilding a website if no one can find it? It would be a complete waste of time, money, and effort. All of which translate into a very poor ROI.

It is akin to the early explorers setting out in their ships to explore the oceans of the world. They had no way of knowing what they would find or where they would land. Internet surfers are today’s version of those early explorers. They are people looking to find something but very few of them actually know how or where to find it. Rebuilding your website is like putting up a flashing billboard on a deserted island. No one is going to be able to read it… unless they accidentally come across it. Search engine optimization guides explorers to it.

Some web designers will tell you that they will both optimize and rebuild your website. Be careful. Most web designers do not have the in-depth knowledge to perform proper search engine optimization. There is more to SEO than just putting in keywords in the Meta tags (ie. title, description, keyword tags).

Other Considerations

  • Ask yourself, what will deliver more results to my business… rebuilding or SEO?
  • What is the purpose of your site? If you use it to bring in customers or sell products then SEO is definitely the one to do first. If visitors and sales aren’t important, but having a beautiful, stylish site is, then by all means… rebuild it.
  • For maximum benefits, a website must be people and search engine friendly. Will rebuilding accomplish this?
  • Some owner’s think they’ll rebuild the site first and then perform SEO, only to discover afterwards that their budgets won’t allow for it. Ask yourself, do I want to be stuck with a nice looking site that delivers NO more traffic than its predecessor?
  • View your website as an asset -not an expense. Use it to generate income, leads, or a tool that provides useful information about your company. If it isn’t then why have it?

SEO First, Rebuild Second
It really is a much wiser choice to perform SEO first. Later if the results indicate the need to make improvements, then proceed with rebuilding. And involve your search engine optimization company in the rebuilding process… their input/ advice will be invaluable!

If you found this article useful and would like to discuss how your website can benefit from highly successful, proven website promotion and search engine optimization strategies, please email sales@1stonthelist.ca or call 1-888-262-6687.