Before embarking on a serious search engine marketing (SEM) program, it's critical that your website is designed to take full advantage of the increased traffic. Landing pages are important of course, but not every SEM visitor will convert immediately—some will want to check out your site to learn more about your company, products and/or services first. Intuitive navigation, relevant visitor-focused content, and SEO all need to be built-in to your site from the outset.
With that in mind, here are some of the best articles and blog posts from 2007 on website design considerations and action items.
20 Ways to NAVIGATE to Higher Conversions by Internet Search Engine Database
Writer Stoney deGeyter details how elements such as the location of navigation bars, site search functionality, contact information, image alt text and clickable links are critical to designing a user-friendly website. "Site wide navigation, including top, bottom and side navigation, should be as user-friendly as possible, ensuring that what is "expected" is implemented just as much as much what should be obvious."
Color Schemer Online
This very cool color selection tool lets you easily translate RGB color values to hex and vice versa. It's very useful for finding just the right colors for a new site or website redesign.
12 Website Design Decisions Your Business or Organization Will Need to Make (PDF) by Ralph F. Wilson
Web marketing expert Ralph Wilson provides a 12-step guide to developing an effective website in this 32-page paper. It's designed to be printed out and "serve as a worksheet to clarify your thinking and provide direction at various stages of the project. If you decide to outsource the project, you'll want to share a copy of your marked-up copy of this document with your website designer."
5 Easy Ways to Make Your About Us Page More About Your Customers by Internet Search Engine Database
This brief but insightful articles shows how to make your "About Us" page more about what your site visitors need to know in order to have confidence in doing business with you. "The About Us page can play an important functional role in the process of providing visitors comfort and assurances in your company and your ability to meet their needs. Here you can provide specific information that visitors both expect to find and that will help them feel "safe" with the offerings you provide."
SEO for New Web Site Launch by Search Engine Watch
Mark Jackson of VIZION Interactive shows how to build in onsite SEO practices from the outset of a website design to optimize search position for new domains that are not yet "trusted" by the search engines. "Search engines need to go through a courting process...They need to get to know you and your friends (external links to your site). Over time, they'll come to trust you and like you, or decide you're a flake who deserves no attention whatsoever."
Small business branding; Developing a FAQ page for your website by Smart Marketing
Marketing consultant and author Jay Lipe shows how to use the FAQ page on your site to establish credibility with prospects and help the most qualified visitors to self select. "A FAQ page is actually a sales and marketing tool that can help qualify your website visitors and move them closer to doing business with you."
Four Quick Ways to Improve Your HELP and FAQ Pages by E-Marketing Performance
Echoing Jay Lipe's contention above, stating that "comprehensive Help and FAQ pages gives your visitors confidence that you’re there to provide them the information and help they need to be comfortable purchasing from you," Stoney deGeyter offers helpful guidance on making these pages as helpful and effective as possible.
Online shoppers quick to leave retail sites: study by DMNews
Ellen Keohane reports on research supporting the importance of accurate and well-designed site search functionality. Online visitors have short attention spans, so making it easy for them to find exactly what they are seeking is critical. "73% of respondents said they would leave an e-commerce site within one to two minutes if they could not find what they were looking for."
12 Product Page Conversion Strategies That Shant Be Ignored by Internet Search Engine Database
Pointing out that "Your visitors enter your product pages...to learn, research and compare what you have against a competitor. In addition to this, product pages also help buyers find relevant pricing information, delivery costs, warranty and/or return policies and a whole lot more. To be effective, your website must implement product pages that are able to satisfy each of your visitor's needs...but (also) be convincing enough to entice your visitors to move through the purchase process—on your site rather than on a competitor's website," this article provides 12 valuable tips for developing effective product pages.
The Top 10 Dumbest Web Site Decisions by SiteProNews
Writer Kalena Jordan details 10 "ouch!" mistakes that should never be made when planning, developing and promoting a website—but sometime are.
6 Ways to Get Your Visitors To Contact You From Your Contact Us Page by Search Engine Guide
And finally, one more article by the ubiquitous Stoney deGeyter (is there any site this guy doesn't write for?!) offers six techniques to make your Contact Us page ("one of the most important and crucial pages on your site") as effective as possible.
Previous articles in this series:
Best of 2007: SEO Analysis Tools
Best of 2007: SEO Keyword Research Tools
Best of 2007: News Articles on Social Media Marketing
Best of 2007: Blog Posts on Social Media Marketing
Best of 2007: Articles and Blog Posts on SEM
Best of 2007: Articles and Blog Posts on Google AdWords
Best of 2007: Articles and Blog Posts on SEO (Part 1)
Best of 2007: Articles and Blog Posts on SEO (Part 2)
Contact Tom Pick: tomATwebmarketcentralDOTcom