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Design your site for traffic in 2005

Designing your site for traffic includes offering good
content, easy navigation and a logical flow. Additionally
you must also build your site to draw traffic from the
search engines because if you can obtain high search engine
ranking, you can enjoy free traffic.

It’s important to note, however that good ranking won’t do
you much good without a well designed site and a well designed
site can’t bring you visitors if no one knows it’s there.
Both high ranking and good design need to work together.

How do we pull all this together? Let’s take a look.

-A word about Design-

A huge mistake I see many website owners make is that they
get caught up in making their site cute. They love the little
animations, buttons and dramatic backgrounds. What they fail
to consider is that these things are worthless if you
don’t offer good content, easy navigation and a logical flow.

First of all don’t try to be everything to everyone. Design your
site around a theme, preferably a niche theme. Don’t confuse your
readers with links all over the page. Design a logical flow.
Lead your viewers to where you would like them to go. Leave plenty
of white space and keep your pages organized. Clearly state at the
top of your pages what you are about and what you would like your
viewers to do.

Secondly, I don’t recommend pop-ups. I find that the majority
of internet users find them annoying. The demand for pop-up
blockers is a good indication that viewers don’t want to see

Thirdly, offer good content. Provide information on your site
that will help viewers solve a problem. Offer information that
they might not get elsewhere. Write reviews regarding your
products. Write newsletters and articles and most importantly
offer something of value for free. Give your viewers a reason
to come back. It will also build trust in you.

-Traffic builders-

Good search engine ranking can bring lots of visitors to your
site. It often takes a few months to rank well but the payoff
is lots of qualified traffic. While it’s not practical to depend
solely on search engines for traffic it can complement your other
advertising campaigns nicely. Aiming for high search engine
placement is always a plus.

Keep these in mind when developing your site for the search

– Domain names
Choose a domain name that has your site keywords in it. For
example, if you’re a site about pet care, try to include
the words “pet care” or words related to pet care in your
domain name if you can.

– keywords
Keywords require research and there are several tools to
help you out in this area. Here are my favorites:

I suggest focusing on only one keyword or keyword phrase
per page of your website. This may not seem like a lot but
if your site has 20 pages you can focus on 20 keywords.
Each page should be considered a landing page for your site.
If you have proper navigation on your pages it will easily
allow viewers to see everything you have to offer.

Include your keyword or keyword phrase at the top of your
page as well as in at least one header phrase. Also work
the keywords into the body of your text as often as you can
without sounding redundant.

Your keywords should be in the Title tag as well as in
your page description tag. Many search engines no longer
look at the keyword tags but I recommend using them and
including the plural forms as well.

– Alt Tags
Search engines don’t index images, therefore any text on
your site that is presented in image format won’t get indexed.
To solve this problem, you can enter the image description
in the ALT tag. To be sure that the search engines recognize
all the content on your site, fill in your ALT tags with
your keywords. This will boost your keyword frequency and
help your site achieve better ranking.

– Linking
Search engines will rate your site by who is linking to
your site, so it’s important to establish quality, related
links. This can be accomplished in a few ways. One way is to
establish reciprocal links with other like sites. When exchanging
links be sure to include your keywords in your site title.

Review the page you are exchanging links with. Be sure it
is a site that you find easy to navigate and informative.
I also recommend that the site’s index page have a Google
PR rating of at least one. This ensures that the site is
not being penalized by Google. If it is a penalized site
then you could be penalized as well for linking to it.

– Include a ‘tell a friend’ and ‘bookmark’ script on your site.
This gives viewers an easy way to bookmark you and most of
all return to your site.

– Include a Site Map
Site Maps let visitors know what information you have, how
it’s organized, where it is located with respect to other
information, and how to get to that information with the
least amount of clicks possible.

Site maps also provide spider food for search engine robots.
This can increase your chances of becoming indexed because
a site map allows the search engines to easily visit every
page of your site.