Tips on how to design your web content to attract clients and get picked up by search engines.
1. Certainly you want an attractive web site — but visitors to your site will be drawn in by your content.
2. Search engines pick up odd bits of content. The more content, the more likely you’ll be picked up in a search. Some visitors find my site by typing in phrases I tossed off casually, such as “moving with cats.”
3. Design your web content backwards, starting with the search terms your future clients use on their surfing expeditions.
4. Post your articles to your web site. Include a note, “May be reprinted if my resource box is included,” and place your resource box on every article page.
5. Drop the ho-hum, me-too ideas. “Set your priorities.” “Divide a project into manageable chunks.” “Yawn.”
6. Unless you are offering a new-to-the-world service, your clients have already heard of your service. They’re surfing to answer questions of “How” and “Who.”
7. If you offer a personal or professional service, clients will hire your personality, style and expertise. They may actually be turned off by a list of “too good to be true” benefits.
Perhaps the worst advice I ever got was, “See what benefits your competitors offer and list them on your site.”
8. Be guided by the question, “How do people make the decision to hire me?” Are you a professional service — or a chocolate chip cookie?
9. Once your site goes online, it will look different. Visitors will send you feedback and you will want to make changes.
Web designers charge for each change. You may have to become a designer or marry your designer to keep your site economical as well as up-to-date.
10. Do clients and web visitors say, “That sounds just like you!” Do your articles get posted and reprinted and even translated into other languages? You can learn to answer “yes” to all these questions. Seek out help and practice as if you were training for a marathon. In a sense, you are.
Cathy Goodwin, PhD, is an author, career consultant and speaker, who combines solid expertise with humor, commonsense and intuition. Visit her at http://www.makewritingpay.com or for more info, e-mail Cathy at firstname.lastname@example.org.