Basic Guide To Web Development

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My experience in building a site and optimising it.

A few basic tips on websites, and my experience with optimising a website (SEO).  I run a local Stoke on Trent Driving School and also am involved with another local company between these two companies we have four websites. Before I decided to become a driving instructor I had 25 years’ experience in International Sales and Marketing Management with a global company so SEO was not that important. So I had some experience in websites, this was nothing compared to setting them up from scratch for a new company, where you need it to be first page on google!

I have written this in the hope that it will give small start-up businesses that have little or no experience in the web how to start. Hopefully it will provide them with some simple tips and save them lots of time.

There is lots of information on the web about setting up a site and optimising it and lots of people wanting to charge you lots of money for SEO. Sifting through it all takes an age, trust me it does. There is so much out there, much of it complex, and all the “experts” out there have a different slant. The whole thing is dynamic as the major search engines keep changing their algorithms. So I thought I would write a very simple article to get you started.

Whatever your business is, small or large, in this day and age you do need a site. Yes they are very easy to set up, you can do it yourself and get a page up on the world wide web. Does anyone see it? Probably not, and this is problem, 90% of websites fail. Why because before you get it to websites think very carefully about your web strategy.

What are you going to use as your web address? What is your core business? Where are you located? Are you a local business like mine or are you global? How many pages will I need? All these things need to be thought about. Ideally your web address should contain information about what you do.

So I run a Driving School in Stoke on Trent, so drivingschoolstokeontrent  would be a great address, either .com, or .co.uk etc. But they are taken. Don’t despair, get something that is close for your business.

Web address sorted, great and it’s hopefully close to what you do. Lots of new customers “I am on the web”. Think again this is the first step in what will be a very tough journey, and it’s a long one!

Next step, do I build a page myself, yes nice and cheap, it won’t work unless you are a web designer and forget the one page websites free adds. You need a well-designed site that has a comprehensive admin page, which is where you can add pages, meta tags, meta description and manage your site if you are going to get anywhere.

The web design has to be compatible with you whole marketing strategy, and existing company image. So get someone to sort this for you, it will save you time and money in the long run. You can waste lots of time on sorting all this, in the mean time you are not focusing on your business and potentially losing business. I use a local Stoke on Trent company  www.amicreative.co.uk.  They provide complete package from business cards/promotional material to web production. Very professional honest team of people and they won’t let you down.

So you have sorted your web site and now the really hard works starts, and trust me this is where it is difficult. Unless of course you are a wizard in website optimisation.

Most people have the miss conception that the people who build your site put the words/content in it. Wrong they will do it at a cost but they cannot be close to the specific industry that you are in and therefore are not in an ideal position to write quality content. You know it better than they do, so you are better placed to write the content for your site.

This is your first step into SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). What’s this I can hear you saying. When you go on the internet to find something you may use Google, so you want a Driving Lesson in Stoke on Trent, or a plumber, graphic designer so that’s what you type in the search bar. A list comes up. So how come your company with its nice new website does not come up on that first page of Google? Basically because your site is not optimised, so what does this mean? Lots of hard work I am afraid!

Writing your content should have key words, these are important it’s what the search engines pick up on and they are related to your business. Think about it this way if you wanted the services you provide what would you type in the Google? Those are your key words, think about lots of variations.

Google does have a key word tool https://adwords.google.com/o/Targeting/Explorer?__u=1000000000&__c=1000000000&ideaRequestType=KEYWORD_IDEAS#search.none

This will help you and show which words will have the most competition. Search engines work in very complex ways and do change regularly they are called algorithms. Years ago flooding your page with keywords would get you a good page ranking, not now you have to be very careful with your key words. They are still very important but be careful how you use them. Be creative search engines like original content. So if you are a garage in Preston offering car services and MOT’s. Key words may be “MOT’s in Preston” or “Car Servicing in Preston”. Try and be more creative “Professional Car Servicing in Preston”, “Car Servicing in the Local Preston Area”, “Local MOT in the Preston area”. So this shows you have got Key words in there but have changed it slightly.

Top Tip Analyse you Competitors Key Words

Ok you have decided on your web address and found your key words and written some good content. So the website completed. How do we get it seen by the search engines? Don’t forget there are a few of them these days but about 80% of the traffic is through Google. So start with that. Don’t forget there are others so don’t ignore them.

This might vary depending on the audience your core business is targeted at. For instance my site is typically targeted at 17-25 year olds so I do have to think a good proportion of them will have an iPhone and use Safari Apples browser. Currently for my site it’s about a 70/30 split, Google/ Safari. This just points out the importance of having a website that can give you this sort of information. If I don’t optimise my site for Safari then I am loosing 30% of potential leads!

Top Tip Analyse which browsers people are accessing your site from. 

Something that I have only started to realise is these days we tend to say “internet”, don’t forget what www stands for. World Wide Web and the last word is very important, it is a web. Think of it as an enormous club which you are a member, develop friends in your industry or related industry and after a period of time it just starts to grow this is called link building and is important to the search engines. Basically the more links you have (friends) linking to your site the better you will climb up the search engines.

Having a presence in some of the top directories is a plus so do this. DMOZ is one of the top ones. Use the local directories too, plenty of them city visitor, smile local etc.




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