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How to Design a Site That Will Attract Traffic?

Jun 26, 2008
Are you planning on having a professional website built for your business and would like to know the best way to design a site that will attract traffic? There is little point building a website that looks great but is not search engine friendly as you will never get found. You don't want to spend hundreds of pounds on a flashy website if no-one will ever find it. The best advice is to have a website built with SEO (search engine optimization) in mind or spend as little as possible on a website but as much as you can on SEO or site promotion.

Here are a few points that need to be considered when having a website built:

Download speed - fast download or people with not stay
Search engine friendliness (SEO) - without, your site will be like needle in a haystack
Simple Navigation
Simple colour schemes (not multi coloured)
Ease of updating the site
Contact details on every page

The above points should be remembered and made clear to your web designer. When users visit your website they expect to find the information they are after quickly and easily. They will also expect your home page to be interesting and self explanatory of what your website is about. Visitors will not stay long if they believe that your site is not offering what they are looking for.

There are known hot spots in web sites and one of them is having your contact telephone number on every page at the top right each page. Also a form on every page is important, especially if you have more than 5 pages. Professional websites often have hundreds of pages to draw in traffic, each of these pages will be consistent with the rest of the design and the phone number and a contact form on each page.

Download time is another important issue. You need to make sure you website downloads to a browser in 15 seconds or less. Most people will click away if they have to wait longer than 15 seconds. Generally a website with just text will take only a couple of seconds to download. It's when there are large images or flash files that take time to download. A website designed in Flash might look great but a search engine cannot read it, so will ignore it as they will ignore images. If you must have images and obviously some images are needed to give a page an interesting look, then ensure you describe the pictures with alt tags.

Navigation is an important factor in good web design. When a visitor comes to your site as well as being obvious what the site offers it should be really obvious and easy to navigate. An ideal website should be built so that the visitor is only ever 2 clicks away from what they are looking for. Generally most of us are used to sites having a logo at the top with page navigation either at the top of down the side. It is best to sick to this layout and ensures you have consistency throughout the website. When a visitor goes to one of your pages it helps if they know how to get back and if all pages are consistent with regards to the layout they will know where pages are without having too think much about it.

Text colours should be used as little as possible, obviously a colour scheme is important in making the overall look nice but the use of too many colours is very off putting. Stick to 2 or 3 colours only. Colours are useful for making points stand out which is useful. Text is very important as this is all the search engines can read. Search engines are just programs which analyse the text on the page. So you need to ensure you have plenty explanatory text. Use bullet points and hyperlinks within the text also as visitors will just of glaze over the most of the text but click on parts that are most interesting to them.

Search engines like websites that are constantly being updated and not just left stationary, so it's important to have a site that you can easily update. If you have a shopping kart you might sell out of a product or have new products to add. Except for those proficient in HTML and other programming languages people will need a type of content management system (CMS) so they can edit a site. This can be costly but in the long run will save you. If you don't have a CMS then you will have to use a web development company to do your updates for you, the cost will differ depending on the company but most will not work for less that 25 an hour. Over weeks and months this will build up so it is worth have the site built so that you can do all these changes yourself.

With regards to SEO it is worth finding a competent company to promote your site for you. But for those wanting to have a go themselves here are a few pointers:

If you want your site to be listed on the front page for a keyword like for example 'computer repair' then you need to have a page totally dedicated to those keywords, the title of the page needs to be computer repair, the body of the text need to have a high density of the keywords 'computer repair'. As well as good keyword rich text you also need to have other websites linking to your page. This is like a popularity vote and Google will see your page as being popular and important with regards to the keywords of 'computer repair'. Now before you go off getting links to your newly optimised keyword rich pages you must be realistic. Do a search for your chosen keywords. If there are over 20 million results, it will take a lot more than what I have just explained to get you there, even for 2 million results it could take some time. You need to find a keyword phrase that is less competitive. For instance, if your computer repair shop is in Kent then you can only really help those in your area so you should be targeting keyword phrases like 'Computer repair in Maidstone' or 'Computer repair in Ashford' and so on, covering each town in Kent. All of these phrases are very obtainable and would only take a few weeks to get there.

If you choose to find an SEO company be very careful, there are many sharks out there which offer the impossible. No SEO company can guarantee high rankings because a) search engines algorithms are always changing, b) they do not know what your competitors are doing c) some key phrases are just too competitive (sites have been optimised for those keywords for years and years - so there will be no knocking them off the top). If your competitors are paying over 1000 a month on promotion and your only have a budget of 100 a month, then your SEO company will find it hard to compete. I recommend finding attainable key phrases and working on as many different variations as you can afford. Also ensure your SEO Company can prove they can get result by asking for case studies. It can take between 6 and 9 months of promotion before you start seeing any real results.
About the Author
Carolyn is the SEO Manager of Discount Domains Ltd, experts in Professional Web Design and Search Engine Marketing .
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