By Scott Jason (c) 2008
As a Web optimization specialist I spend a good deal of time seeking out the best designers from around the country and around the world. We swap industry insider tips. They teach me about Web design and I show them how to get their beautiful sites to the top of Google, MSN and Yahoo. It's a match made in heaven. The most recent collaboration was a huge success that helped both of us get just what we wanted so we decided to publish our findings for anyone interested. That said; here is an interview with a New York Web design company.
What makes a New York Web design company any different from other Web design companies? That's easy... Competition. Just look at how many design firms there are out there and you will see what I mean! In the city or outside, someone seeking high quality Web design in New York faces hundreds of choices in an area of just a few city blocks. Now that's competition!
If you are not from the area it can be difficult to envision. This might help... Imagine typing "New York web design" into Google's search box and getting hundreds of pages with thousands of links of returns. Instead of clicking on those links however, you're walking into hundreds of offices; each offering their own unique flavor of Web design.
But, with the competition comes a competitive edge that is critical in a struggling economy. Of course we all want to look good on the Internet, but when you're competing with your real live neighbors in addition to those online; you have to step it up a notch.
With that said, I provide some inside advice from a successful New York Web design firm. Let's focus our attention on Website usability. This has the unfortunate distinction of being both the most important yet generally least considered aspect of design all too often and the Website owners suffer for the oversights.
First off, most people do not really read a Web page at first glance; they scan it to see if there is something worth actually reading. You need to get their attention right away and keep it. Here's how...
1.) Jump in with your most powerful content right off the bat. Grab their attention immediately and keep it. Don't save the best for last unless you have something nearly as good to lead the reader there.
2.) Make sure your functional areas are consistent, as much as possible, throughout your site. This is especially true of the navigation links (top, left, right, etc.) search fields, logins, and anything else needing user interaction. The more at ease your visitor feels working through the site, the more likely he or she is to stay for a while and go even deeper.
3.) Embed a link to your homepage within your company logo. This is expected by just about every site visitor who has been on the Web for any length of time. It's a safety net many users rely and to deny it could result in major inconvenience to your visitors.
4.) Add a search box in an easy to find, consistent location. And be certain it searches ONLY within your Website. Having a search feature that offers to "Search The Web" gives your visitors an invitation to leave your site. Why would you want that?
Secondly, keep in mind that search engines will also be looking at your site. Making it pretty is not enough. It needs to attract the search engine as much as live visitors if you ever expect those live visitors to find it in the first place. This is known as search engine optimization, or SEO. It's more complicated today than in years past but still quite doable. Here are three "must do" tasks for you to complete if you want your site on top of Google.
1.) Use keywords as anchor text (the visible clickable words) in your links throughout your page's content. This is huge! Allow me to demonstrate how powerful this one element can be.
Navigate to Google.com and conduct a search for the term "Clíck Here" (no quotes.) Take note of two things right away... Number one, there are more than 1.6 billion other (competing) Web pages. Number two, the top match returned is a link to Adobe Acrobat Reader.
Ready for a surprise? The term Clíck Here is not anywhere on the page text or META tags. The page is number one, out of 1.6 Billion pages, because thousands of Web pages supplying a link to Acrobat "Clíck Here" as their anchor text of choice. Amazíng, isn't it?
This is great news for you! You can easily take advantage of that power by linking to and from pages within your Website. Which leads us nicely into Tip number two...
2.) If you deem that SEO is a priority for your site, create a unique page for each of your main keywords. Just be sure to link the anchor text from each page to the page that has that specific keyword as its focus.
Industry Advice: If you are a blog specialist or Web designer by trade, offering SEO as part of your services is a natural fit that can double the value of your work, or more. With so many good SEO products available to help you get professional results with minimal effort, you can usually rely on reputation as a good indicator of potential success. For example, eBay, Motorola and Lexmark all stake their online success on a tool you can get for $250 at iBusinessPR0M0TER.com.
3.) Relevant anchor text should also be at the top of your mind when you are requesting inbound links from other sites. This is what Google uses as its strongest measurement to gauge the quality of your pages.
This is how you can build your brand using your words. Getting visitors there is only half the battle, keeping them is a whole different ballgame.
Now, similar to tip number 2, you want to request specific keywords be used in the anchor text leading to your pages from other sites. And be sure to request each link to the most appropriate page. Just linking to the homepage doesn't cut it anymore.
Warning: Avoid reciprocal link farms like the plague! They are so easy for Google to spot it's a joke.
If you are in need of quality links but don't have time to setup link partnerships yourself, you may want to try a service that facilitates "3 way linking" like the one at 3WayLinker.
It's very simple and really pretty ingenious. Here's how it works... Site 1 links to Site 2. Site 2" links to Site 3. And Site 3 links to Site 1 forming an indirect chain of one way links.
That's all for now. Good luck!