April 24, 2012 WordPress Beginners Meet-up Hosted By CoSpace
Presenter: Sandi Chevalier-Batik,Pleiades Publishing Services
Human visitors, Google and other search engines like logically organized websites. To consistently build well organized sites that can be navigated easily with an easily understood information architecture, you need to develop your processes with best practices in mind. The best place to start with understanding the ‘goal‘ of the site.
- Define the purpose for your site
- Sell product?
- Inform public?
- Build a contact list
- Identify goals
- Make a list of things you want to accomplish with your website.
- Identify your target audience
- Who are you trying to reach?
- What does your audience want to do when they reach your site?
- What do you want them to do?
- Create list of content topics and keywords
- Who are your competitors?
- What words or keywords would you enter to find the products or services that you offer?
- What do your competitors offer?
- What can you do better than your competition?
- Brainstorm all the words you can think of that relate to your site and then try to whittle them down to the most relevant and significant.
- Divide the keywords into content categories.
- Draw a flow chart of pages
Draw out your site — put pages in boxes and draw lines between them.
Create wireframes to figure out how pages relate to one another.
How do you expect people to navigate from page to page and find the information they need?
Look at competitors’ sites and see what they do right… and what they do wrong —and then do it better!
Make it easy for people to navigate the site.
Once your site is live, find out how visitors actually use your site, and be prepared to tweak things to improve their experience.
- Create navigation menu
Write out your sitemap and plan where the pages of your website will go and where each will link. Don’t let users get confused!
Navigation menus should be consistent throughout the website.
Every page should have a link back to the home page.
Each page should be summed up with one or two keywords that then become your navigation labels.
Be sure you can answer these questions for every page:
Where am I? Where have I been? Where can I go? How can I get back to home page?
If you are building an eCommerce site — please make it easy for your customers to give you money.
Don’t make visitors register just to browse your site or see your services.
Make sure your logo is in the same place on every page.
Don’t link to under construction or unfinished pages.
- Develop a unified site design
Produce a site plan
What am I going to do with this site?
What kind of info will I be posting?
Who is going to read this?
Why am I doing this?
How often am I going to be posting new information — Remember — Google spiders get bored… there needs to be new content regularly.
Create a visual theme that is consistent with your site’s mission and goals.
- Design action steps for visitors
You need a big green button. Or something that is very clear for visitors to find and do.
- Commit to treating your website as a business unity and follow schedule for updating content
Google Wonder Wheel
This option in google search results (scroll down and look for wonder wheel option in left-hand column; you may have to turn off instant search options off) can be a useful tool for search engine optimization and site organization. It generates top-level keywords based on search phrase; this can be helpful for organizing your site, keywords to add to your SEO metatags, and the major categories on your site. It can even help you come up with a URL for a new site.
Google Ad Words
Looking at a rundown of keywords gives you a sense for what your competitors are using. Look for keywords with relatively low competition and high number of searches. The goal is to figure out how to narrow it down to get to the specifics of what your clients are searching for. Once you have figured that out, use those terms in your site, giving useful information. Don’t just put it in your keywords… give people information, even if it’s in a FAQ.
Shows how many searches for specific keywords and cost per click. Common misspellings, pay per click competitors. Organic competitors did not buy ads but shows how often the keyword shows up in their site.
Will alert you when your designated keywords are mentioned in a blog. This might give you ideas for sites with which you can network an create reciprocal website links, which helps with SEO.
- Google XML sitemap plugin
- Sidebar plugin to create vertical accordion menus
- Yoast’s breadcrumb plugin
- E-Commerce plugin
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