Content is king, linking is queen, but ... comes first. A logical ... of your site is an asset to take into account and not to be ... ... I believe that ... is the
Content is king, linking is queen, but structure comes first. A logical structure of your site is an asset to take into account and not to be underestimated. Actually, I believe that structure is the most important of the three. Site mapping Imagine a piece of paper, just a white sheet. Put your home page on top. Below it, put the pages that are at the same level as your home page. Below that put the sub directories that you have on your host and their pages below them. You really should not have sub directories of your sub directories (search engines will not easily find them) so it stops here. Draw a circle around it all and start adding your internal links drawing lines between your pages. Now draw outgoing and incoming links (one line can represent several links). This is what I call site mapping, your site structure. You should build your site structure the same way you build your page structure, with extreme care and with a purpose. AND, your structure should reflect your strategy. You can have 2 main strategies for your home based business site, so we will discuss 2 main structures as well. Two types of structures and strategies One type of structere is when the main purpose of your site is to "sell" the things you show on your home page (or main selling pages). This is a very simple strategy and everything should point mainly to those pages. Your other pages will have one goal, lead your visitors to your home page and try to sell (or offer) them your product or service. This means that all your resources, all your work should be concentrated on improving and updating your home page, so your visitors will come back to it. All your optimizing efforts are concentrated mainly upon your home page and PR (Page Rank) and keyword optimization will be of the utmost importance to that page. This will result in five or six, links on each page, deliberately concentrating PageRank on a small number of sales pages which you want to rank highly in search engines. The other strategy is that you have several main pages. Your home page and several pages at the same level that are directly and logically (inter-)related. Visitors can jump around, go from theme to theme and find several things they are interested in. Your main strategy is not to lead them to your home page, that is only something like a welcome page. Your main strategy is to keep your visitors on your site or get them interested in coming back. Your incoming and outgoing links are spread throughout your main pages. You are spreading PR and keyword optimization throughout your site. This results in dozens of links on every page, to all other pages of the site. This helps distribute PageRank evenly throughout the site. When you start building your site, you will have to choose between one of these two strategies. Once chosen one, stay with it. I think I would rather make a new site than try to change or combine these strategies and structures. Is one better than the other? No, it all depends on the purpose of your site. How can this mapping of your site help you? You need a logical structure for your site. The map shows you how people enter your site, leave your site and where your main attention should go to when updating and optimizing. You need the flow of your site to be smooth and easy to follow for your visitors. It is as if you take them by the hand and show them what you have to offer and that should be a pleasant ride. All the pages of your site should use the same template and it should be obvious what you want them to do and it should be easy to follow this flow. It is extremely important that your site is easy to navigate! Try to want them to stay on your site and invite them to come back, and of course, give them a reason to do so. Give the option to bookmark your site and be sure that your site title is unique, clear and inviting. Offer your newsletter, updates, articles etc. I do not like pop ups, actually I hate them. I did not ask for them, so I do not want to see them. Tracking You need to know if your strategy is working, so you need to know where people enter your site, how they browse around, where they left your site and how long they where at your site. Of course you want to know for each visitor what they did. Use this information to tweak your site and strategy. I use StatCounter, simply the best tracker there is. I would like to know what it is they are looking for. Your tracker should give you the information about which keywords people used to get to your site. An other service that can be extremely helpful is a robot watch that tells your when search engines visited your site and how they crawled it. Robot Manager provides this service. But what would be even better than knowing where your visitors came from and which keywords got them to you? I would like to know what they are looking for on my site! Of course you can ask them. Get them to fill in a survey or something like that (and reward them for doing so). I have heard people who said it worked quite well. I could understand that if you have a high traffic site, but if not? There wont be a lot of people willing to spend their time to supply you with this kind of info. What do I do? I use a site search box that once a week gives me the information of what people searched for on my site! There is no better way to please your visitors as to give them what they are looking for. You can find that search box on my home page. Use the tracking information to improve your site structure and to give your visitors the service they deserve and are looking for. -------------- --------------------- --------------------------- This is the second article in a series about web site building (for beginners). The other articles can be found on my web site: Ebiz Setup Tutorial - Starting a homebased business for beginners.
Martin Thomassen is an economist and system analyst who took to the internet to apply his knowledge in this area. His aim is to provide useful information and help to ebiz starters to setup their business for free. Visit his site, http:/www.ebizforfree.co.nr : Ebiz Setup Tutorial - Starting a homebased business for beginners.