How to Improve Your Local Business Website

Improve Your Local Business Website

5 Ways to Improve Your Local Business Website

When customers don’t stay on your website for long, it’s hardly surprising you fail to connect with them and build the trust needed for them to get out their credit cards and buy from you. The great news for you is there are tons of quick and easy – usually free ways – to make your website more appealing to your customers.

Here’s 5 you can apply today.

1. Site Search

When you have more than 20 pages, it’s a good idea to add a search facility. If you have a site search, make sure it’s prominent. Usability guidelines tend to prefer the upper-right corner of the page. Keep the button label simple and clear – “Search” still works best for most sites. Don’t unleash your powers of lateral thinking and swap in a word like “Retrieve”. Keep it simple.

To Do: Just using your search, try to find 3 pages of content. Is that process “quick, easy and straight-forward?” Or is it “hit and miss?”

2. Ensure Your Web pages Can Be Skim-read Easily

Few people read word for word online; the vast majority skim-read to get a sense of the page before they read any of it in detail. Make it easy for visitors to skim-read your content. Always use headings and bullets to break up text. Think about it. If a heading is not relevant for your visitor, they can easily skim down to the next heading, making it straightforward for them to get directly to the information they need.

Always keep your text in manageable chunks, not an unbroken wall of words like insurance small print, so it’s easier for customers to look up what they want right away and with confidence – which is critical if they are making a buying decision.

To Do: Give your website a quick review and make sure all your text is broken up into clear, manageable sections.

3. Keep Your Styles & Colors Consistent

Make sure people know they’re still on your site by being consistent – confuse them and you’ll lose them. Keep the look and feel of your website sections consistent and avoid any radical changes. Visitors can get confused and think they have left your site accidentally.

Layout, headings, and styles should be consistent site-wide, and colors should usually have the same meaning.

For example, don’t use red for headers on one page, red for hyperlinks on another, and red as standard text somewhere else.

To Do: Ensure all your web pages appear to be part of the main site and that they are consistent with each other. Are there any “nasty surprises” depending on the part of the site you’re in?

Start-A-WordPress-Blog4. Use Emphasis (bold, etc.) Sparingly 🙂

It’s a fact of human psychology: try to draw attention to everything and you’ll effectively draw attention to nothing. We’ve all seen that site, the one with a red, blinking, underlined “NEW!” next to everything. Don’t be that guy or gal.

Remember, if your site’s graphic design is counter-intuitive and doesn’t help visitors get something done quickly, it’s going to make your site much slower and difficult to work with.

Slow, awkward sites never, ever, ever, delight your customer or create a good rapport online.

Visitors will be back at the search engine in seconds if they find your website “complicated” or “busy”.

To Do: Ensure your website is only highlighting critical factors you absolutely need your visitors to gaze at or click on in order to meet your online business goals. Menus, buy buttons, opt-in boxes and so on.

5. Keep Your Ads & Pop-ups Unobtrusive

Ads are a fact of life, but integrate them nicely into your site. Don’t try to force ads and pop-ups down peoples’ throats; you’ll end up creating frustration for your visitors. Also, do people a favor and make your ads clear. If you blur the line between ads and content too much, your content may suffer, since many people have developed “banner blindness” when it comes to surfing, and might overlook some important content by mistake.

To Do: Doublecheck if your popup window is significantly increasing your opt-in rate. If it isn’t, you could be annoying present and future customers unnecessarily.

Final Word

Always make sure you view your website through the eyes of the customer and not through your eyes, the website owner.

Make sure there are no red-flags on your site that are going to frustrate, confuse or bore customers. Keep everything nice and simple to make sure your visitors enjoy spending time (and money) on your site

Full Article at Site Pro: http://www.sitepronews.com/archives/2010/nov/15prt.html

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Seven Easy Tricks to Get a Goooooooogle of Links

seo

SEO is a race.
And in any race learning from your competitors makes you a better runner. Even when you’re running first it’s sometimes good to look back and check the runner-ups. And if you’re not the yellow jersey guy, you absolutely should examine the leaders: their gear, their training, their strategy. In SEO the most interesting thing about your competition are their links.

seo-CYCLEWhether you like it or not SEO is still pretty much about links. Good link profile can make up for almost any lack of optimized content and other onpage flaws. Love or hate, the best thing you can do about it is embrace the fact and run with it.

Let’s Talk Competitive Link Research
Finding out where your competitors’ links come from is not all that hard. You just go to Yahoo! or Google and type in link:www.your-competitor.com to get a list of inbound links to the site.

Yahoo’s much better in that respect as it tends to give more extensive and accurate data. The problem here is that there’s a limit of 1,000 links per website which is often not enough as the fattest link sources get left behind the limit fence. Here’re some tips to break through to the other side.

Note: If you’re lazy like me skip to the end of the article where I’ll share a tool that does it all much quicker.

Trick 1: Search for Links to Particular Web Pages of a Competing Site

Alongside with link:www.your-competitor.com search for

link:www.your-competitor.com/products.html or
link:www.your-competitor.com/services.html

and so on.

Trick 2: Exclude Internal Links
You may examine the internal linking structure of your competition if you want to gain some insight on their navigation and marketing steps. But as we want to find more external links, let’s exclude the internal ones.

You can do this by adding -site:site.com operator to your search query. Type in:

link:http://www.your-competitor.com -site:your-competitor.com or
linkdomain:www.your-competitor.com -site:your-competitor.com

and you’ll get a list of external backlinks only.

There’s a dropdown option in Yahoo! site explorer that does the same.

Trick 3: Exclude Links Coming from Certain Domains
The -site: modifier lets you exclude links coming from specific sites. So, whenever you see a large chunk of links coming from the same domain add -site:thisdomain.com modifier to your query and the links from this site will get replaced with new ones.

You can add -site: multiple times in one query so that you have something like this:

link:http://www.cnn.com -site:cnn.com -site:en.wikipedia.org

Trick 4: Check Links Coming from Certain TLDs
This is a little known trick. The site: modifier actually lets you get a list of links coming from domains with certain TLDs: .com, .org, .edu, .co.uk and so on. Just type in

link:http://www.your-competitor.com site:.gov or
linkdomain:www.your-competitor.com site:.gov

and you’ll get a list of .gov sites linking to your rival.

Note: Do this in Yahoo! regular search, not site explorer

Trick 5: Exclude Links Coming from Certain TLDs
This is an even lesser known trick. You can exclude certain TLDs from the results with the -site:.tld modifier. Usually the biggest chunk of links comes from .com’s so add a –site.commodifier and you’ll get lots of new link data.

Trick 6: Use Different Combinations of the First 5 Tricks

Try link:http://www.your-competitor.com/page.html -site:your-competitor.com -site:.com
Or link:http://www.your-competitor.com site:.org -site:wikipedia.org

Give it a thought and I’m sure you’ll come up with lots of ideas. Feel free to share your findings in the comments.

Trick 7: Use the Above 6 Tricks in Different Search Engines
Don’t limit your searches to Yahoo! and Google, go to AltaVista, Alexa, (Bing doesn’t give you link data, so forget about it) but then there’re Exalead, Excite and tons of regional search engines. Search them, get rid of the the duplicates and you’ll have a goooooooooooooooogol of competitor’s links to study.

Note: Some search engines have a different set of operators so you’ll need to type domain:instead of link:.

seo-servicesGetting It All Done Fast
This sure seems like a lot of work and it is. Moreover, getting the links list is only the beginning and the easy part of competitive link research. Once you get the list you need to analyze each link, weed out poor quality sites and only leave the ones you can get a link from. Now THAT’s a lot of work.

I’m too lazy to do this all by hand, besides I value my time too much to waste it on such kind of work. That’s why I use SEO SpyGlass an advanced link analysis tool that employs all the tricks described in this article (plus some more advanced ones I don’t even know) to get up to 25,000 links per domain, which is much, much more than any other tool can get.

SEO SpyGlass also finds all the data I need to analyze the links:

• Google PR of the domain and linking page
• The URL and title of the linking page
• The anchor text and description
• Whether the link is still on the page (sometimes the link gets removed but search engines will think it’s there till they reindex the page).
• Whether the link is no-follow or dofollow
• How many other links are on the page
• How much link value the link passes
• And some other data like TLDs, domain age, country, etc.

If you want to do competitive link research seriously, I’d strongly recommend trying SEO SpyGlass out. And of course you can always use my tricks whenever you want to run a quick background check on that new guy on your block.

Note: This article first appeared on Site-Reference.com

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