Tips and tricks for your website (it does still matter)

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We’re continuing our discussion of how to get the most from your business website. (Read the first installment.)

If you haven’t already, sign up for Google Analytics, a free service that tracks key performance indicators. You can see things like how much time visitors spend on each page, the material they look at most, how traffic flows over the day and week, even visitors’ physical locations.

Metrics should be tracked regularly since they’re critical when launching new marketing efforts. A new round of ads, for example, or a new social media campaign, coupled with analytics, allows you to see how your audience interacts with your message and informs future marketing decisions.

The UX, or user experience, is a key element that many businesses overlook or don’t pay enough attention to. Remember: Visitors don’t always use your site the way you want or expect them to. UX focuses on helping visitors interact with the site according to their own preferences.

Experts recommend, for example, that each action your site offers, like looking up product options or checking out on a purchase, can be completed in five steps—not necessarily clicks—or less.

Speaking of acronyms, know the difference between SEM and SEO? SEM is search engine marketing. This is essentially paying for better search results. It’s sometimes referred to as paid search or pay-per-click marketing.

SEO is search engine optimization. This is the more organic side of improving search results by maximizing your site’s internal organization. Make sure all the links on your site work—broken links pull your rankings down. You also get better results with content that includes more keywords—the specific words used when consumers do a search.

Any time you provide an HTML link, include a brief title to describe it. It’s another chance to use more keywords.

Meta tags are another way. They’re brief web page descriptions that don’t show up on your site, but they help search engines see that your site has content that matches a search.

Your website is the foundation of marketing and a critical investment, so do it right. Make sure it’s modern, fresh and reflects your brand. And remember that outward- and inward-facing elements are equally important. Your site’s structure is just as key as the content it delivers.

Ann Edelman is Vice President of Public Relations and Media for Zehnder Communications, a fully integrated advertising and marketing agency. Reach her at aedelman@z-comm.com.

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