Keeping pace with WWW in 2011

Let me introduce the elephant in the room. Last year Australia’s internet users grew to more than 17 million and approximately 9.5 million Facebook users. Eighty per cent of Australians are now using the Internet. More often than not, customers will check out your website before they do any business with you. But, when it comes to improving websites, we don’t always know where to start or what to fix. So, let me share my three golden rules for websites.

1) Websites: all for the users
Always, always keep in the mind the users of your website. My favourite example is Intel. Although you never buy from Intel direct, the Intel website is designed for users, not the computer companies or wholesalers who buy their product.

The critical parts of your website are its navigation links and call to action buttons. Help navigate your visitors to the right pages. If you don’t do this in less than 8 seconds, then they are gone, possibly to your competitor.

Review website statistics, get customer feedback, try different layouts, and give users what they want. Without this strategy, even Google wouldn’t be Google.

2) If it’s not new, it’s boring
It doesn’t matter how pretty your website is, if I have seen it once, it’s boring. That’s how most users feel.

If you have regular website visitors, give them something new to look at each time. Put seasonal decorations on your site such as Christmas and Easter images. Constantly add content to your website. Content is king on the web. It is also food for Google and other search engines.

By adding more content, you will not only keep your website fresh, but also increase its chances of being found on search engines.

3) Visibility on search engines
Increasingly customers are looking for products or services on the web. Here are some DIY SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) tips, to help you get better rankings on search engines.

  1. Ensure your business is listed on Google Maps/local business centre
  2. Research and fi nd out the most suitable keywords for your business/website
  3. Make sure your website is well optimised and keep adding new content
  4. Submit your website on a variety of search engines
  5. Allow website visitors to share your web-pages on various social bookmarking sites
  6. Find blogs and forums within your industry to engage with your potential customers
  7. Build/exchange as many links as possible from other related websites.

You can also run Google AdWords, e-newsletter, and other campaigns but don’t just drive traffic. Convert traffic into profit—it’s a numbers game. Give your customers control, let them place an order, make a payment, look-up their order history. Engage with your customers and have fun along the way.

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