Website building is a creative process that is easily crushed by too many ideas.
So many building tips are available for a one-person publishing company to major media businesses that the person in charge can end up trying to do too much, too soon. The sheer volume will leave a site too diluted to be good at any one thing on the list.
In no particular order, here are 10 basic tips for website building that result in reader interest and natural search engine optimization.
1. Write original, well-written and well-edited content. Google and the other search engines value original content more than syndicated. Good grammar and easy readability improve the quality scores. The editing process uses SEO to optimize the stories.
2. Write many short articles and a variety of long ones. Short articles build momentum and attract search engine attention because they usually mean a site is updated frequently. Long articles build authority and are individually ranked higher in search engine results.
3. Develop a clean and simple site design. Visitors cite “too busy” as one of their top complaints about websites. A simple design is easier to manage and navigate.
4. Develop light and fast-loading pages. Yes, broadband is here, but it isn’t unlimited. Badly designed sites with too many graphics and interactive scripts can load slowly even on broadband. This goal is especially important for mobile design. Site analysis software also still shows a large number of DSL users in the U.S.
5. Offer intuitive navigation that is no more than three levels deep. “Can’t find what I want” is another top complaint about websites. Visitors are impatient and want their information quickly. Good navigation results in more frequent visits and high pages per visit. High pages per visit indicates strong product appeal for advertisers.
6. Use graphics that serve the content and don’t overwhelm it. Heavy graphics slow a site and make it more difficult for the visitor to find their information. Large graphics also can push critical content farther down the page, which may require scrolling to reach it. Research shows that visitors don’t like to scroll.
7. Provide deep, long-term archiving. Old content often has great value in an archive. It also gets lost easily because of a redesign or changes in subject categorization. Try to increase the number of indexed pages in search engines.
8. Consider SEO for every article, every page, every day. A daily effort at search engine optimization in time will become a second-nature habit. It also will lead to better long-term results.
9. Limit article abstracts on index pages to three lines or less. Brief abstracts or summaries will create space for more abstracts on an index page without forcing the visitor to scroll.
10. Maintain index pages that are moderate in width and depth. Research shows that click rates drop near the bottom of many pages. People don’t like to use the scroll bar of their browsers.
These Website building tips aren’t necessarily unique. What’s important to note is that they are not often implemented, or they are implemented and forgotten.
If these aren’t your 10, then find your own, or pick even five. Stick with them in the face of every single great idea thrown your way — all 10,000 of them.