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10 Simple Website Building Tips

Website building tips
© 2017 Scott Bateman

Website building is a creative process that is easily crushed by too many ideas.

Experts spew out a massive number of building tips. So many are available for everyone from 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.

Building a good website is more than just having the right content management system in place. It has a major impact on marketing and advertising for the business that publishes the site. A site that ignores good tips or follows bad ones may end up with a brand that suffers as a result.

In no particular order, here are 10 basic tips for website building that result in reader interest, better online marketing 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. A steady flow of short articles of at least 300 words build momentum and attract search engine attention. They indicate a site is updated frequently, which search engines love. Long articles build authority and credibility; they 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 fast, 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.

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 higher pages per visit. High pages per visit indicates strong product appeal for advertisers and is another positive signal for search engines.

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. Navigation that accesses those old articles will increase the number of indexed pages in search engines and lead to more visits from them.

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. SEO in brief means using accurate keyword phrases in the page title, meta description, article headline and body copy, among other locations.

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. Site visitors don’t want to read about the article. They want quick and simple directions on how to get to the article.

10. Maintain index pages that are moderate in width and depth. Research shows that click rates drop near the bottom of many pages. Again, visitors 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 deliver results, are not often implemented, or they are implemented and forgotten.

If these aren’t your 10, then find another 10, or pick even five. Stay disciplined about a short priority list for the website. Analyze the results on a regular basis and revise the  list if some of them don’t deliver results.

Stick with a short list in the face of every single great idea thrown your way by visitors, bosses, staff, advertisers and the general public.

It’s better to be great at 10 priorities than terrible at 100 of them.

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