Posts Tagged ‘Website design for attorneys’

Maximum ROI Through the Use of Keywords

Thursday, March 1st, 2012

Every business owner seeks the maximum return on investment, and online businesses are no exception. Unfortunately, many online business owners are not fully cognizant of just how important using the right keywords is to your success. Keywords and keyword phrases will be used in the copy on your website, in your headings, in your meta tags, in your titles, and on your online advertisements, newsletters and blog postings. Searchers who are looking for a product or service you offer will enter a word–or multiple words—into their favorite search engine. In an ideal world, this simple entering of keywords would send traffic pouring into your site. In the real world, however, there are millions of sites, many of whom are selling the same product or service as you—and using the same generic keyword(s).

Finding the Perfect Keywords

What you will be trying to do is modify these highly popular, yet generic keywords, turning them into a keyword phrase that is less well-known, and has less competition from competing sites. By using such targeted, specific keywords, you are dramatically increasing your potential for highly targeted traffic—and targeted traffic brings conversions which bring a higher return of investment for your business. Even if you have the highest-quality content, but have neglected to use any of your chosen keywords, then it is unlikely your customers will be able to find you, and a pretty sure bet your site will eventually flounder and fail.

The Three Tiers of Keywords

Your first tier keywords are generally the shortest keywords, but also the broadest keywords that people would associate with your product or service. Suppose you sell fine sable hair paint brushes. Your broad tier or first tier keyword will be paintbrushes or painting equipment. The second tier keywords are more focused and typically will come as a phrase or term. In the example of paintbrushes above, your second tier keywords could include sable hair paintbrushes, or fine paintbrushes. Your final keyword tier will consist of highly focused, very specific keywords such as Siberian sable watercolor paintbrushes.

This tier is generally considered the “money tier,” as they will bring you the most targeted traffic, meaning the most conversions. As you can see, the keyword “paintbrush” will bring a vast number of people who have absolutely no interest in fine sable hair paintbrushes to paint watercolors. You would also get the do-it-yourself homeowner who simply wanted a cheap, serviceable paintbrush to paint the house with. This type of traffic is exactly what you don’t want, as it will run your bounce rate up in no time at all. Your goal, then, is to use your second and third tier keywords in a specific manner throughout your site.

Think Like a Customer

Because you are so involved in your own business, it may be extremely difficult to step outside your head and look at your site from a customer’s point of view. Ask a friend or family member how they would search for your business, and you might be surprised at the keywords they would use. Visit some of your competitor’s sites—the successful ones—and see what keywords they are getting their traffic from. A branded keyword will include some unique aspect of your business or your business name. Branded keywords can generate highly targeted traffic—and a high ROI—since nobody else will be using them, however you must ensure they are not so branded that nobody would ever think to use them in their search. Choosing the right keywords for the highest ROI is not especially difficult, and can be done rather quickly once you’ve gained an understanding of keyword basics.

How Your Users Will Judge Your Business by Your Website

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

Most all of us tend to judge others, at least in part, by our first impression of how they appear or present themselves. We judge businesses in much the same way. And guess what—we also judge businesses by how we perceive their website. In fact, the Stanford Web Credibility Project states that at least seventy-five percent of us freely admit to making judgments about a business’s credibility based solely on the website design and presentation. After reading that sentence you may be frantically wondering just how many times your site has been judged, whether that judgment was positive or negative and if it has hurt your rankings and conversions.

What is Credibility?

Of course credibility is important in your virtual business, but it can be just as much, if not more, credible in your online business. You may be wondering just what credibility really is. It its most concise form, credibility encompasses both expertise in your field and a solid feeling of trustworthiness. If your website visitors perceive your site as truthful and unbiased they will view you—the person behind the website—as experienced and knowledgeable. Add all these qualities together, and you have credibility.  Consider the truly massive amount of information on the web, and you will see why it is more important than ever to stand out from all the rest, but only in the best kind of way. People find credible websites appealing, and the most highly credible websites are able to actually change the attitudes and behavior of their users.

Design Mistakes Which Can Damage Your Site’s Credibility

Elements of your design, including photos, graphics, dominant colors and your company logo all mix together to provide credibility. Research has shown, for instance, that when websites use a dominant red background in their design, users perceive the site as evil or dangerous. Very dark colors were found to give a sense of foreboding, and all in all there were few positive reactions to extreme colors of any type. Pictures and logos are harder to get a handle on, as the reactions to both were mostly based on personal preference. All of those questioned during the research on website design agreed that a website needed, first and foremost, to appear professional.

Positive Design Aspects Which Increase Credibility and Conversions

Keep your site professional, and make it extremely easy to verify the accuracy of all information on your site. You can do this through third party citations or links to your source data. Make a point of playing up the expertise behind the products, content and services you provide. It should be apparent that there is organization behind your site, and it should be very easy to find contact information for you.

Be sure to add your physical address and phone number as this is one of the primary ways you will build trust among your users. You want users to have no doubt that your organization is real, so provide evidence that you have a real business in the real world. You can show photos of your office, or list your membership with your local Chamber. Your site should be useful, but should also be easy to use. Update content often to give your users the sense that you are reviewing your site often. Don’t go crazy with advertisements or offers—users find it distracting and a little tacky. Avoid errors of any kind—even the smallest error in spelling, grammar, sentence structure or information can damage your overall credibility. Take the extra time and proofread not once, but several times.

If you have followed standard website design guidelines, then you should begin to see the fruits of your efforts very soon through increased traffic and a boost in your rankings. Building trust takes time, whether in real life or online, but the reward is worth the time.

Getting the Maximum SEO from Your Title Tags

Monday, January 30th, 2012

The title element of your web page is meant to be a clear and accurate description of your page’s content. The title tags are not only crucial to your user’s overall web experience, but also for the all-important search engine optimization. Your goal is to create an incredibly descriptive key-word rich title tag. In fact, keyword usage in your title tag may well be the most important place overall, garnering you the best rankings.

You want to make sure that your title tags get you the most clicks possible from a Google search, not to mention that when your stories are shared on Facebook the title tag is often the heading. Title tags are also used as the default text whenever you bookmark a site. Don’t forget that title tags are also used as the text in any links to your website, therefore placing keywords in your title tags can add that extra “oomph” to your search engine rankings. In short, anyone who is looking for a quick boost to their website rankings should look at their website title tags where small changes can net huge gains.

Best Practices for Optimizing Your Title Tags

Keyword research is, well, key as your chosen keywords and keyword phrases are used in many places within your site, over and over. Start with solid keyword research, and ensure your keywords are exceptionally relevant to your pages. It’s a good idea to have one primary keyword phrase and at least three secondary phrases for each page. Your most important keyword phrase will be used at the beginning of your title tag since Google gives greater importance to the words at the beginning. Using your keyword phrase at the beginning of your title tag will send a signal to the search engines that this is what your page is all about, and if you want your company name included, place it at the end of the title tag.

Since Google will not display more than seventy characters from your title tag as the title of the search result, try to keep it below 100 characters. You do get credit for words beyond the seventy character limit, they just won’t be displayed. Use hyphens wisely to be recognized for variations of the same keyword phrase. Your title tag needs to be the most unique seventy to one hundred characters you can possibly come up with. It should be specific and relevant to each and every web page, and you should not duplicate title tags among the pages of your site. Rather than listing a series of keywords or keyword phrases separated by commas, your title tag should be a clear sentence, description or phrase. Using synonyms can be a great way of adding repetition into a title tag without repeating the same word.

Title Tags Improve Click-Through

Title tags can be a great way to get people to click on the search results to get to your site so long as your title clearly states you have what they need. The search engines will also highlight the keywords which were part of the actual search—another clear benefit of using your keywords and keyword phrases in your title tag. Creating a compelling title tag will obviously pull in more visitors from the search engine results, so it’s very important not to just consider SEO and keyword usage, rather think about your typical user’s entire web experience. Title tags can be a relatively simply way to get maximum return on your website as a whole.

Ditching Bad Inbound Links While Optimizing the Good

Friday, January 20th, 2012

While inbound links may well be the lifeblood to the success of your website, there are some inbound links which may be doing your site more harm than good, along with some which, while not technically hurting you, can simply be classified as useless. Cultivating the good links—those which can send your website quickly up Google’s popularity ladder—while ditching the bad and useless links, can significantly improve your website’s performance.

Keep the Useful and Good

Great inbound links can bring enormous benefits to your website by increasing search engine visibility. This increase in visibility in turn brings increased link popularity, a bump up in PageRank, higher traffic, and, ultimately, higher sales. In other words, what’s not to like about a solid inbound link? Getting these highly relevant inbound links can take lots of time and constant attention.

Offer Consistently High-Quality, Relevant Content

Providing extremely useful and unique content in your site is the first step to attracting quality inbound links. When your site consistently offers value and high-quality information which cannot be found elsewhere, you are on the yellow brick road to success. Other websites will be clamoring to link to your site in an effort to provide their own web visitors the best website experience possible. This natural progression brings targeted traffic and valuable inbound links.

Listing your website in the highest quality web directories can also bring a flurry of great one-way inbound links as can submitting your best articles to article directories with your site’s URL in the resource box. Some reciprocal links can be beneficial to your site, although Goggle’s latest algorithm has devalued link exchanges to some degree. If you stick with quality, themed reciprocal linking, then you will probably reap rewards. Finally, social bookmarking is the latest trend; you can link your sites to popular social media as a way to obtain traffic and great inbound links.

What are Bad Inbound Links?

Inbound links which are especially frowned upon by Google can do substantial harm to your website. Whether you are linked knowingly or unknowingly to harmful sites, you can be penalized or even blacklisted by search engines. Linking to sites which are considered link farms—they contain hundreds of links linking to one another in a single page—can damage your overall credibility, something that can take considerable time to rebuild. Search engines are also not in favor of sites known as Free For All sites where you place an advertisement with a link to your site. Your ad appears with literally thousands of others in an FFA site, however your exposure is minimal and the damage is huge.

What is a Useless Inbound Link?

You may find inbound links to your site which are neither especially good, nor particularly bad, however they offer little in the way of benefit to your site. Useless inbound links include sites which have little relevance to your own site, even if they rank highly. If your site is about office chairs, avoid an inbound link from a picture frame site, even if it is a quality, highly-ranked site.  You get no credit, and little targeted traffic from such inbound links.

Ditching Those Bad and Useless Inbound Links

Once you have determined which links are either hurting your site or offering no real benefit, how do you resolve the problem? Unfortunately the removal of harmful links is not something Google can do for you, therefore you have to solve the problem the old-fashioned way. Contact each site you deem bad or useless and ask them to remove their links. Most webmasters will remove the link once you make the request, however you may run across a few uncooperative site owners. Unfortunately, this then becomes one of those things you have no control over, so it’s better to not dwell on it for too long rather focus on the things you do have control of. Links which are of particularly low or questionable quality rarely stand the litmus test of time, and tend to disappear over time, removing the problem from your site altogether.