Developing a Search Engine Optimization-friendly website can appear like a daunting task, but the process can be broken down into a few manageable steps. Beginning with finding a domain name and web host, and down to the minute details of site maps formation, information pages, and privacy policies, this content provides valuable information on the steps to basic website structure and higher search engine rankings on Google.
Select a Domain
Domain names establish a connection between consumers and the company, and are a major factor in search-engine ranking. The best domain names are either the brand or company’s name, or contain keywords that describe the content to be found on the website. It’s favorable to register a name without hyphens or too many extra characters.
To register for a domain name, navigate to www.godaddy.com and search for your selected domain using the top-level domain (TLD) extension.
SEO TIP: If available you should select a .com TLD. Be careful and do not be allured to purchase a non .com simply because your preferred name isn’t available. If your desired domain isn’t available you should consider acquiring the domain. There are domain brokers (GoDaddy is one as is Moniker and Sedo) that can help you acquire the domain.
If the selected domain has already been registered, you may be able to register the name through a different TLD extension or choose one of the alternative suggestions from GoDaddy. Once a decision is made, continue to registration and check out. Please keep suggestion above in mind when selecting a non .com TLD.
To prevent others from registering similar domain names, it may be wise to register similar domain names that include variations, common misspellings, several TLDs, and country extensions. Registering for the .com, .net, and .org extensions is the most important. Many domain names have been previously bought in bulk and monetized in a practice called “domaining.” If the domain you are set on is unavailable, you may be able to purchase it from a secondary market, such as Sedo or Moniker.
Select a Host
Choosing a reliable host is a part of the website building process that needs to be chosen for the specifications of the website. Established, reputable hosts are often the best choice to ensure that they won’t suddenly close.
Free web hosts often rely on advertising, and you may not have any control over the advertising. Space may be limited for both the overall website and file sizes. Many do not have FTP access, which is fine for rudimentary websites, but more complex ones tend to require the ability to upload pages through the browser. The biggest problem with many free hosts are reliability or speed issues, which can lose many visitors if the page does not load fast enough or at all. Websites that plan to become large or deal in ecommerce should avoid free hosting.
Commercial web hosts do tend to be more reliable and fast, but you will have to pay for the quality that you want. The amount of disk space needed varies greatly depending on the amount of content and if the website will be hosting videos or music.
Hosting companies will often try to oversell, so compare what you want your website to be to similar websites to get a good estimate of how much you will actually need. It is not always easy to estimate the amount of bandwidth that will be required, because it requires estimating how many visitors will go to your page each month, but it is often better to estimate high than to pay the costs of exceeding bandwidth. Even “unlimited” bandwidth often has some sort of usage limits.
Another factor you should check for is technical support. If you expect to have high traffic even on weekends and holidays, you will want a host that has technical support these times. Many hosts allow for email addresses at the domain, but the features vary. You may want to check that email can be forwarded to your main email address or is compatible with your favorite email software. It is absolutely vital to have a secure server, especially if your website deals with sales or personal information of any sort. Finally, price is always a factor.
Optimize For Multiple Browsers and Devices
It is important to take into account all of the major web browsers for computers, tablets, and mobile phones when designing a website, because different browsers can interpret websites in different ways, which can alter the display from one to the next. It is also important to design for different screen resolutions.
Website Design and Structure Plan
The website plan is basically a blueprint of how the website layout should function. Websites with single themes need to be structured differently than websites with multiple categories, such as shops that sell a variety of products. After a theme is decided upon, the best place to start is deciding upon categories and subcategories. Content laid out in a way that is consistent and sensible makes it easier for search-engine spiders to crawl through the website.
Create a Thematic Website Structure
The thematic structure needs to be well thought out to make the different areas of the website clearly differentiated, which makes the website better for both users and search engines. Creating a proper hierarchy of links helps to guide users and search engines from one page to another related page and reduces unnecessary clutter. Linking is very important to search engines and linking will give the impression of page relation, so linking two unrelated pages, even on the same website, is not advised. For occasions where the link is necessary, but might appear convoluted to the search engine, a “no-follow” directive can be used.
Eliminate Broken Links and 404 Errors
Broken links are the kind of clutter that can cause a search engine to penalize a website and is unfavorable to users of the website. A free link checking software can be found here. This program will check for broken links and pages that do not exist. Links to dead pages will deliver “404 errors,” which should be avoided. Follow ups on the website statistics should also be done on a regular basis to check if visitors are receiving error messages. By figuring out and fixing these problems, the website will be much more user friendly and optimized.
Design a Sitemap
Sitemaps work like road maps – they help navigation to a certain place without getting lost. A good sitemap will have the homepage, category and subcategory pages structured in a way that will get the maximum number of public pages indexed by search engines. The namesake tool can be found here.
Let Your Visitors Know Who You Are
Company Information or About Us pages help to increase the credibility of a website and instills trust in visitors by making the experience more relatable and human. This section includes information about the company as well as the owners, such as the purpose of the business, contact information, and company history.
Add Biographies of Key Employees – Have Fun
A biography section generates trust and provides prospective customers with the background of your business. By just writing a brief biography and mission statement and including some photos of the employees, the products, and the company you open the doors to business. This page is one of the most viewed on many business websites so it’s important that you take it seriously and execute.
Privacy Policies are important for informational and legal reasons and make the website appear more legitimate. They are particularly important if any personal or demographic information about the clients is collected. Some useful tools can be found at www.freeprivacypolicy.com and www.the-dma.org. Professional advice is still recommended.
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