Congratulations! You've Gotten the Visitors to your Site - Now, can they find what they're looking for?

Jul 21 21:00 2002 Robin Nobles Print This Article

As search engine ... we spend an enormous amount of ... to get targeted traffic to our site. But, once ... get to our site, can they find what they're looking for?If not, guess

As search engine marketers,Guest Posting we spend an enormous amount of time
trying to get targeted traffic to our site. But, once those
visitors get to our site, can they find what they're looking for?
If not, guess what? We've lost a customer.

Think about it this way. How many times have you found a site
through a major search engine or directory, only to visit the
site and not be able to find what you're looking for anywhere on
the site? What do you do next? You go back to the search engine
and click on the next site. That site has lost a customer: you.

Helping your visitors find what they're looking for on your site
can cover a great many areas, such as navigation, user interface
issues, and the lack of a clear "call to action."

But one way around many of those issues is to offer an onsite
search engine, so that once visitors hit your site, they can
easily find exactly what they're looking for.

The really neat thing about onsite search engines is that many of
them are FREE. Yes, you read right: free. Of course, that also
means that you may have ads in your search results, which may or
may not present problems for you. However, even if you choose to
purchase an onsite engine, the cost is generally not expensive.

What should you look for in an onsite search engine?

* Good customer support. If you begin to have problems with the
engine, you want to be able to get help in fixing it.

* Reports that let you know what people are searching for once
they reach your site. Just think of the GOLD this will tell you!
If you don't have a page that covers a particular topic, make
one!

* Ease in setting up the engine. This may or may not be an issue
to you, but if you're like me, you want something that is simple
to set up and maintain.

* An extensive "help" section at the site that will walk you
through setting up the engine and answer any questions you might
have.

* The ability to keep the engine out of certain areas of your
site that you don't want spidered and available through the
search, such as employee areas, password-protected member areas,
etc.

* The ability to spider password-protected areas so that your
member areas can have their own onsite search.

* The ability to customize search results pages.

* The capability to request re-indexing whenever you update the
site, or even to schedule re-indexing on a regular basis.

In my training material and resource library at the Academy, I
had an onsite search engine for a long time. Then, the company
folded. Until recently, I hadn't set up another onsite engine,
because the one onsite engine that I really wanted to use didn't
index password-protected areas. So, I "patiently" waited for the
onsite engine, FreeFind, to add this to their list of features.
When they recently did, I jumped on it, and now both of my online
training programs have excellent onsite search engines through
FreeFind (http://www.freefind.com).

But why did FreeFind stand out among the others, and why was it
so important to me to wait until they could index password-
protected areas? FreeFind offers some features that I couldn't
find on other onsite search engines, features that would help me
tremendously with my work.

For example:

* FreeFind will automatically create a What's New page, after
you've any changes to the site. Just think of how much help that
will be for me with my training material? Between my two programs
(beginning and advanced), I have over 1000 resource pages to
update every single month, and I've been creating the "What's
New" page by hand. Now, it's automatically created for me.

* FreeFind is the only onsite search engine that enables your
visitors to find the page they're looking for, then keeps an eye
on it for any changes. Their ChangeDetection (tm) monitoring
system lets your users monitor a page for content changes, then
notifies them when the page is changed. If you set up this engine
on your own site, it will build traffic by turning casual, one-
time visitors into repeat and loyal visitors who return again and
again to look at changes made to the page that are of particular
interest to them.

* FreeFind will automatically create a Site Map of your site.
This Site Map is an alphabetical listing of the pages on your
site. The Site Map will be even more valuable to you if you have
a regular, non-password protected site, because it will give the
Web search engines a page of links to spider.

* FreeFind will search across several domains. So, if your
company has numerous domains, your onsite search engine will
cover each of those domains, without having to set up separate
engines.

In Conclusion

Look closely at your site. Is it time to add an onsite search
engine? Is it time to make sure visitors can find exactly what
they're looking for when they land on your site? Are you losing
customers who get lost and can't find what they want?

FreeFind (http://www.freefind.com) is an excellent onsite search
engine that met my exact needs. However, to be fair, and because
this article isn't meant to be an advertisement for FreeFind,
here are some other onsite engines that you may want to consider.
Look closely at their features, and find the one that works best
for you.

Other Onsite Search Engines

Atomz: http://www.atomz.com

PicoSearch: http://www.picosearch.com

SiteLevel.com: http://www.sitelevel.com/

FusionBot.com: http://www.fusionbot.com

A listing of numerous onsite search tools:
http://www.searchtools.com ools ools.html

Source: Free Guest Posting Articles from ArticlesFactory.com

About Article Author

Robin Nobles
Robin Nobles

Robin Nobles, Director of Training, Academy of Web Specialists,
has trained several thousand people in her online search engine
marketing (http://www.academywebspecialists.com) training
programs. Visit the Academy's training site to learn more about
their online search engine marketing training
(http://www.onlinewebtraining.com) and search engine optimization
(http://www.se-optimizer.com) software.

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