A landing page is a web page that drives consumer traffic to your business and if done correctly, this can turn traffic into big bucks. Your landing page is where visitors may go to find out more about a promotion or a specific service so it has to be intriguing and informative enough to hold their interest. Above all other online marketing materials, a company landing page is perhaps the single most crucial web tool to use if you want to secure your target audience.
One of the main things a landing page can do for you is help increase your web traffic by an astonishing amount. A clothing retailer, for example, may generate a decent amount of traffic in referring visitors to the homepage but this will deliver fairly feeble results. This is because a homepage, regardless of a striking layout and appearance, is noncommittal and rarely sends visitors in the right direction.
A landing page on the other hand will prompt visitors to complete an action, to stay a while and to hopefully leave with a purchase and a positive impression. Great landing pages make use of optimized keywords with the intention of matching relevant search results to that of your targeted web page - sending more traffic your way and reeling in an audience that is specific to your brand.
More effective leads
How you choose to setup your landing page will radically impact the number of visitors to your website. Design and presentation can play an important role in chasing up more leads as demonstrated by Livecity software. Traditionally, web users are often directed to a company’s homepage via a blog link or referral email, but this is often a waste when a landing page carries far more potential.
A landing page prompts visitors with an offer to complete, whether this is in the form of a discounted insurance form or a seasonal sales bargain. Sending visitors to your homepage may generate a few leads but these are rare if people have no prior intentions. Landing pages undoubtedly make online browsing more interesting. By directing consumer attention to a solution to their query, you can effortlessly secure loyal customers overtime, ensuring that the majority of visits will bring you results.
Call to action
Your landing page will always be asking something - albeit, subtly - of visitors, so it goes without saying that the content must be compelling enough to convince potential customers. The best kind of landing pages will keep the main information short and sweet to ensure visitors can focus on whatever it is you wish to direct them to and feature very clear and basic signage i.e. when the offer expires, where similar products/items can be found on your site etc.
Many web-building templates (http://www.livecity.com/site/live/vs/livecity-vs-wordpress.asp) provide an array of customization options that can initiate web traffic even further with features such as in-built payment systems and mobile optimization. The latter feature in particular can make your landing page more accessible, as you can embrace social media users and sharing options to triple consumer traffic and become the best in lead management.
Your landing page is a simple way of managing the leads you receive and directing them on to the next stage of their relationship with you. Here are five ways to make them as effective as possible:
Have separate pages for each campaign or purpose
Some people confuse having a link to the homepage of their business with the use of landing pages. Those who find their way to the former are faced with general information, together with a series of varied options that they can then choose from. Each visitor is in control of the direction they take. A landing page is visited for a specific unique reason. Therefore a visitor will expect it to be purely about that product, service or explanation. By using landing pages, you are also controlling their next step as you move them through the process as you wish.
Present a variety of different promotional offers
You are presenting a specific product or program through a marketing email to a different range of customers. Each may be paying a different price or receiving varied discounts. For example, you might be making one offer to new customers, another to returning ones, and a third to your regulars. If everyone is directed to a single page and then asked to choose which they are, then confusion (even anger) may be the outcome. Simply direct each from the email they receive to the specific page for the offer they are entitled to. Confusion averted, anger dissipated!
Create separate pages to meet specific arrival points
Suppose you are marketing the same product or service in a variety of different ways. Your prospects then arrive at your site from a varied series of access points. Some will have received an email, perhaps clicked on a link in an article you’ve provided for the local press, others through Facebook or Twitter. Creating separate landing pages for each type of arrival serves two key purposes. Firstly, you can assess the effectiveness of each source. Secondly, you can cope with varying degrees of knowledge – 140 characters on Twitter will need a different explanation from those who received a detailed email.
Arrivals from elsewhere on your site
Some people will say that this isn’t a true “landing page” if it’s arrived at from a click-through from elsewhere on your site, possibly the home page. However, it can be useful to consider it as such because you are still trying to accomplish the same objectives as with those arriving through Twitter or elsewhere.
You have formatted a series of landing pages, each to welcome an arrival from a different source (such as your email marketing activities) or for a specific reason (such as a variable discount offer). The key way to use your landing page now is the same for every arrival. It is there to move them on through the process, so encourage the action you want them to take and make it as simple as possible for them to quickly comply. A landing page's success should be judged by the number of arrivals who then head off in the right direction!
In essence, you are using your landing pages as processing points for lead management. How effectively you achieve this will greatly affect the success level of the campaign or promotion itself.
Not all landing pages follow the same framework. The layout and overall intention of a landing page can depend entirely on your business, your unique marketing campaign and of course, the target audience you wish to reach. The following are five very different types of landing page, each with their own unique approach to driving web traffic.
Click through landing page
A click through page is the most basic form of landing page, typically simple in its layout and intentions. As described, a click through page is designed in such a way that will tempt web users to click through to a company’s website. Normally, the information provided will vaguely summarize a product or service to entice users into finding out more and the only way to find more information is to progress with the transaction. These landing page links can appear in the form of banner advertisements on blogs featuring large print lettering to attract consumer attention with key phrases and statistics.
Viral landing page
Viral advertising has become an increasingly powerful marketing tool and companies are using this to great effect in their website landing pages. A viral landing page intends to create a buzz about a certain product or service using humorous videos or flash games to drum up interest. The content will often promote the company indirectly with the intent of getting people talking. Unique and memorable content can spread like wild fire over the net and the wider your reach on social media sites, the more likely it is that serious clients will step up and take notice.
Lead capture landing page
Lead capture landing pages can be a very clever way to secure potential customers. The intention of these pages is to retrieve personal data from visitors, usually instructing people to leave their name and email address. As a result, any navigational links and exit options are purposefully very limited. Essentially, this is a company’s way of building up a mail list of potential customers to then follow up. By marketing to said customers on a regular basis, companies can begin to draw in their first group of loyal clientele. This kind of page can provide businesses with a great boost in lead management.
Product detail landing page
This type of landing page typically lists everything you could possibly need to know about a specific product or service. These are commonly employed by retail businesses as they are a quick and easy way to inform visitors of every sore and score on one page. Product detail pages are often criticized by being too overwhelming since these product descriptions are combined with banners and other distractions that can ultimately drive visitors away from your site or at best, away from the landing page and on to a different service altogether. Using flexible web templates similar to those featured in Livecity can help you achieve the right balance when it comes to creating effective content.
Homepage landing page
This is the most traditional form of landing page and, some would argue, the most ineffective when it comes to conversion rate. The main problem in directing customers to a homepage is that it can be counter-intuitive to business takings. If a link promotes a range of perfect summer dresses, for example, sending visitors on to your homepage may result in them purchasing a pair of jeans instead. While companies still make a profit this way, they may struggle to sell a specific item and this could well be what their success is weighed upon.
Part of the business website you create using our Livecity range of proven templates may well include a landing page, sometimes also called a lead management capture page. Someone has clicked through from a search engine or a link on social media and this might well be their first experience of your business. Here you deliver directed copy, specifically designed to build on their initial interest, usually by taking a clear course of action.
Your first decision is to decide which one of two types of landing page is needed. A reference landing page provides a raft of information relating to the interest that has brought them to you. For example, you might be providing a program of events for an upcoming business conference, or delivering “how to” information to allow them to complete a task. The second type of landing page is transactional, asking them to do something such as completing a form to provide their email address. In reality, a reference page should really also give them this chance to make a commitment!
Creating a landing path
If you fly into a strange airport for the first time, you’ll hope when you land that your path through immigration and customs (if overseas), past baggage reclaim and out to the point where you can complete your onward journey is as simple, clearly signed, and easy-to-complete as possible. This is also a good guide for completing an effective landing page, taking a new visitor smoothly to where you want them to be. To achieve this:
• Provide a clear and simple headline that immediately speaks to their specific reasons for clicking through to this point
• Quickly move on to the point where they can take the course action you wish them to
• Once they have done so, thank them in a way that shows you appreciate their taking this action. Let the person know what happens next, and add any other points that might further engage them with you and your business
Cleared for takeoff
Although these are landing pages, they actually should be the start of a journey rather than the end of one. It’s the point of first contact between you and an individual who has decided to visit you from elsewhere. They might only need to take a single course of action, but it is one that can be the start of a successful relationship. You want to make a good impression, by being friendly and welcoming, but not over-familiar. Keep your message simple and clear, and dress your page attractively, rather than have it appear garish and off-putting.
By achieving these simple steps, you then have a chance to stress one or two of your good points, and politely ask for their contact details! Turning your visitor off at this stage can even cause substantial harm to your business. They might well take to social media and let others know of the let-down they have experienced!
You have used the superb range of templates here at Livecity to create a specific landing page for visitors to your business website. Just before you sign off on it, here are five crucial mistakes often made when creating landing pages. Take a moment to make sure you aren’t guilty of any of the following:
1. Using an ineffective headline
It’s long been known that print ads have less than a couple of seconds for their headline to grab a reader’s attention. The same holds true of the header on your landing page. Added to this is the fact that the person clicking through wants a subconscious confirmation they have reached the right place. To achieve this, aim to deliver an answer to this statement: “Here’s why you’re here”.
2. Suddenly offering too many options
Your visitor has arrived at your landing page for a single specific reason, or to move towards buying one product they are already interested in. If they suddenly find a whole world of choice in front of them, it’s likely to have a negative reaction. Imagine going into a store to buy sneakers and instead of simply showing you a pair, the salesperson brings out boots, slippers, and moccasins as well. You’d probably just leave – and that’s what can happen on a cluttered and confusing landing page.
3. Failing to make a quick call to action
We know your visitor is there for a reason. As they have taken the action necessary to visit you, then this person is already eager to proceed. Don’t feel you need to waste a lot of time providing paragraphs of information before getting to the point. Make your proposition, add a few key benefits, and then ask the visitor to take the action you both want them to. If you must, you can add further information below. Those who want to read it can, others should have already taken the action you want, such as requesting a callback. As a quick guide, the person should be able to complete the action without having to scroll down the page.
4. Making the page look like a collage
Don’t be like those stores where you can’t actually see the product because all the promotions cards are getting in your way! Equally, don’t feel the need to add a lot of bells and whistles effects to “add excitement”. Your visitor is there to take action, so make the page as simple and user-friendly as possible.
5. Not saying “thank you” in a well mannered way
Imagine that you have just made a purchase and clicked “confirm”. After a few seconds, a one-line “Your order is being processed” message appears. Well, that business really values both you and your custom! When someone completes your landing page, your message should be specific about what has happened and the next step: “Thank you for subscribing to our blog. The link to the latest posting will be delivered to your email address within the next few minutes. We’d appreciate your comments after reading it.” This also provides the chance to “sell on” by adding other related actions this person might be willing to take: “Did you know that we also produce a monthly newsletter? If you’d find that of interest, then…”
Five simple errors often made on landing pages. Avoiding these will help with effective lead management and deliver potential customers and contacts to the point where they have taken the action they intended, the one that you want them to.
Landing or lead management pages are a key part of starting an online or e-commerce business. They provide a simple solution for the collection of committed leads; those people interested enough to consider buying your products, or signing up to make use of the services you offer. In face-to-face selling situations, they should become the equivalent of what you would term your “regular calls”.
The first consideration is what your business is actually going to be – and to whom. Of the millions, if not billions, of people available to you across the internet, it’s likely that the vast majority will, at any one time, have little or no need or interest in what you are intending to offer. If that thought alarms you for a moment, don’t worry.
Your aim should be to secure, through effective use of landing pages, a manageable number of the right kind of people, namely those who have some level of need or want of your services. Therefore, before using the terrific range of landing page templates available here on our Livecity website to design your own, create a picture of who you want to reach and what they want you to tell them.
How to attract them
A landing page could be compared to a new restaurant. If you don’t tell interested parties that it’s open for business, no matter how terrific the food is, it will simply never be used. Therefore, as you start, it’s vital to build up a series of activities you can use to deliver these prospective customers or business partners to your pages.
Social media is an obvious source, so make sure you are using Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other sources to promote your activities as well as the business itself. Local media, or specialized websites involving the type of service or products you will offer, are other useful places to be found. Many of these sites will welcome articles offering advice or information helpful to their own visitors, and as part of the information, they will let you highlight your company and how it can help, with embedded links to your landing pages.
How to satisfy new arrivals
The moment someone clicks through to your landing page, they want to know they’ve reached the right place. Therefore, your headline and any graphics should confirm this. The message needs to be specific, not simply that they have reached your company, but that they have found precisely what they are looking for. From this starting point, take them on as quick and simple journey as you can to where they take the action you want from them. This might be signing up to receive emails, or a newsletter, perhaps to go forward and buy an actual product or request a service.
Remember this key
Earlier, we briefly compared a new landing page to opening a restaurant. This holds true again because when diners arrive, the initial reception area is there to welcome them and then you would guide them to their table. Your landing pages are that welcome point, starting their journey with your company. Make sure people use them to move on to the next stage, just as the restaurateur would with their diners.
Far too many people ignore the fact that a significant number of visitors to their web sites will be browsing on a smartphone. Fortunately for LiveCity users, a mobile version of your site will be automatically produced along with the big screen version.
However, there are still a number of different things that must be borne in mind when considering which content to put on the mobile landing page of your web site.
1) Make sure that your mobile web site loads quickly: Studies suggest that if your page takes more than five seconds to load then three quarters of visitors will leave, with 60% leaving after only three seconds. Using mobile optimized images and content and avoiding scripts will help to ensure that your page isn't so slow that it turns potential customers away. This can be tested with free online services like W3C Mobile OK.
2) Keep everything above the fold: This is a general rule for all landing pages, but with a mobile page the fold (the edge of the page that is visible without scrolling) is much higher up than with computer web pages. It is also more important to make sure that the call to action is above the fold as mobile users are less likely to go looking for something that isn't immediately visible. The most important content should be at the top of the page and all pages should be in a single column format.
3) Be as brief as possible: In general, mobile landing pages should have about half as much text on them as the full version of the page. For smartphones, there should only be about 35% of the text on the full page. For tablets that number rises to 65%. Headings for mobile pages should be no more than three or four words long. One way to get the message across with a reduced word count is to replace text with images.
4) Ensure your page is easy to read: The rule of thumb for this is whether the page is legible at arm's length. Fonts need to be 16 pixels high and there needs to be sufficient negative space surrounding text. A simple color palette with sufficient contrast between text and background colors is also required if a mobile landing page is to be easily readable.
5) Make it easy to call: The majority of smartphone users end up making a phone call after searching for a business online. The easier that you make it to telephone your business after landing on your page the more people will end up making that call. The best way to do this is to have a button that when clicked will automatically dial your company's number. The click-to-call button should have a telephone symbol on it to allow users to identify it immediately. The number used in the click-to-call link should include the international prefix so that people can phone from abroad.
Adding video to a landing page is one of the key ways in which web designers are encouraging visitors to remain on the page and learn about a business's products. With LiveCity's software you can easily incorporate video into your landing pages in order to improve your ability to convert visitors into leads.
A video immediately grabs the attention of a casual visitor to a web page. They are also excellent tools for quickly explaining what the benefits or a product or service are.
An example of an effective video for a business that sells products could be a short demonstration of one of their main items. This should engagingly show how easy the product is to use and what the benefits are for customers who buy one. Adding in customer testimonials will lend credence to the fact that the product is of a good quality and will be more likely to stick in a viewer's mind than a text comment to the same effect.
Another good use for video is to demystify something complicated. For example, a piece of software that visitors to your site might understand has benefits for them but which they are intimidated by the thought of using. A quick guide to using the product will help make your product seem more accessible and encourage visitors to click through and make a purchase.
It is not necessary to have a lengthy video that shows every function of your service. Instead, a short video of 90 seconds or less will often be more effective as fewer people will stop watching before the end.
Having a video with actual human beings speaking and interacting opens up possibilities for quickly engaging the emotions of your audience. This can be extremely effective in hammering home the benefits of your product or service. For example, showing what a VoIP service can do to help you communicate with family members in other countries.
If your business has well known brands among its clients then a video showing them using your services will quickly give you credibility with anyone who visits your site. People assume that well respected, big name brands will use the best goods and services and will judge your company accordingly.
Embedding the video on your page allows visitors to sign up for your services as they are watching your, hopefully, very persuasive presentation. Some companies have reported conversion rates upwards of 20% for people who have watched their videos.
With LiveCity's lead management interface you will be able to see which people viewed your video prior to making a purchase. This should help with testing the video and further optimizing your messages to visitors.
Including a call to action as the thumbnail for the video rather than just a random still will help increase the number of people who actually watch. This could be something as simple as "Learn more in 60 seconds". It also helps to make the video a big part of the page.
Your landing pages are vitally important if your web site is to produce the maximum possible results for your company. The way in which each aspect of the user interface is designed will impact on how many leads your site will generate. This is why many people are turning to A/B split testing in order to make sure that their landing pages are as effective as possible.
A/B split testing is a process where two different versions of something, in this case a landing page, are produced and then tested with users to see which produces the best results. For sites that aim to sell services this will commonly involve changing the placement of links and the wording of text around the purchase funnel in order to push the maximum number of people through to purchasing the good or service.
If the site is simply intended to allow people to contact the owner then funnelling visitors towards the contact details or form will be the focus of the split testing.
Typically, the existing version of the landing page will be used as a control and the new version, known as the treatment, will be compared against it to see if it produces better results. The term A/B testing was first coined by Google back in 2000, but split testing of one sort or another has been used in research settings for many years.
Originally, A/B testing would have been the preserve of larger companies with the resources to pay web developers to produce multiple versions of web sites. Now, the availability of software like LiveCity's is allowing even the smallest of start ups to optimize their web pages.
There are free tools available that will help you to create an accurate A/B test. These include Content Experiments and PlanOut. Usually a test will involve comparing the response rate between landing pages in repeated experiments involving samples of customers. The tool will direct some customers towards the control page and others towards the treatment until enough have visited each page to draw statistically significant comparisons.
It helps if you can break your respondents down into segments. This allows you to find out which messages are effective with which groups of people so that you can fine tune the content on your page. For example, some messages might be more appealing to women rather than men and some might repel older customers while attracting younger ones.
A short questionnaire at the check out is a good way to gather this data. Some sites also use pop ups that prevent the visitor from accessing content until they've answered a question. Gathering this kind of data is extremely useful for lead management and A/B testing is an effective way of determining the optimum approach to achieving this goal.
If your web site is to end up competing with the big players in your industry then A/B testing is a key tool to help you get where you need to be.
With the internet playing an ever larger role in our day to day lives it is little wonder that everyone wants to get a piece of the action. More people than ever are looking to create a website for their business, hobby or organization, because a presence online means you can be found by anyone anywhere in the world.
If you’re just starting out or if you don’t have much experience in creating websites, this can present you with your first hurdle when it comes to getting an online presence. It feels like an uneven playing field where all of the big companies and organizations can blast you out of the water with their jazzy sites.
But help is at hand, and it might be easier than you think to create your own website when you use website templates – we’ve listed just a few of the reasons a free website template could be the right option for you.
It saves you time
There are so many things to learn about when trying to create a website from scratch. If you go it alone you’ll need to not only be able to write, but create HTML and CSS code, these things take years to perfect and it’s a constantly evolving skill. Even if you pay someone else to create your website it will be a lengthy process – Rome wasn’t built in a day! With a free website template you can have your choice of style and design, all you have to do is enter your text.
It saves you money
As previously mentioned, it takes a lot of skill and many hard years of learning to be able to create a top notch website yourself, something you undoubtedly don’t want to have to spend money learning. A professional web designer can charge you astronomical fees for their work, especially if you go with a bespoke website company. In contrast, website templates are far cheaper (especially when they’re free) but still look fantastic when fully hosted.
There are no mistakes
If you do decide to learn all the necessary skills to design your own web page, or if you already feel you have a relatively good amount of skill, then you might be tempted to do it yourself. But stop, think about the intricacy of your site – one tiny mistake and you could be punished by Google and other search engines. This simply won’t happen with a template and search engines will be able to list your website as a quality search result, something which will hopefully help you reach your audience.
It’s already optimized
When you take a free web template the code is already neat and tidy, meaning you don’t have to comb through the computer language to optimize your site. Many self-made sites need constant upgrades in terms of the SEO and styling but this isn’t the case with a template, they’re ready to go as soon as you are.
With money, time and the hassle of dealing with search engines taken off your plate it’s clear to see why so many people utilize free website templates.
The availability of free website templates has made the job of establishing a presence on the internet considerably easier. With a small financial outlay and just a bit of time, it is possible to create and organise hosting for a professional-looking site without the need for any technical know-how. But it is of course important to ensure you choose the right template to begin with. For many businesses, their website is the first point of contact for customers and so it's essential to set the right tone and make a good initial impression. The same is true if the website is non-commercial. The following are points worth considering before selecting a free website template.
One of the first things to take into account when looking at a website template is whether it will actually provide a good visitor experience. Usability is key. If a website is difficult to navigate and has a confusing layout then the chances are visitors will not stay long. Consider how you would like people to navigate their way through your site in an ideal world, and what you want the final outcome to be. It might involve them purchasing a product or perhaps requesting further information. If your website is easy to navigate then it's far more likely to appeal to visitors and keep them on the website for longer.
First impressions matter, especially on the web where there is a huge amount of content available. Most marketers will tell you that you have just a few seconds to get the attention of a visitor. When considering a template, think about what will appeal to people who are interested in your product, service or web content. Will a big image on the homepage work best, or perhaps a few lines of sharp, snappy text? As soon as your page loads, the clock starts ticking. Ensure your site makes a statement.
Choosing a colour scheme for a website can be particularly difficult. Again, it is all about the impression you want to create. Bright colours will convey a sense of fun and vitality, while more conservative shades of grey, dark blue and plenty of white can be used to create a more corporate feel. Can you imagine a bank's website splashed with pink and yellow? Would a blog about food and drink be likely to use lots of neutral and dark shades? Perhaps, but think carefully about what kind of impression you are looking to make and the overall theme of the site. The good news is that with Livecity, there's a huge range of options and template categories to choose from, so hunting down the ideal colour scheme shouldn't be an issue.
When it comes to launching a website for the first time, many people believe it's best to stick to the basics and get something up and running – even if it's not something with which they're 100 per cent happy. It's important to remember though that you need to create a good impression right from the start. It's also worth considering what kind of functionality you need the site to have going forward. If you are building a corporate website, will there be a web store? If you are an accommodation provider, will you need an online booking form? Most website owners will want to have some kind of contact form on the site too. Plus, with the number of smartphone users around the world set to hit anything from two billion upwards in the next few years, ensuring a site is optimised for mobile is a must. Livecity's free website templates are all designed to adjust automatically when viewed by a mobile device.
When you're putting together a new website, there are a lot of factors to consider. Not only do you need to ensure that your website is optimised to bring in traffic from search engines and around the web, but you also need to make sure that once users get to your site, they have a good user experience and can find what they're looking for easily. Making your company or business website the best it can be can do wonders for your brand and bring in huge numbers of new customers.
This, of course, is why making the decision of whether to use website builder software or not is all the more important. Any decision that draws you away from your perfect site is a poor one, but with our free website builder you may find that you can have your cake and eat it too. Website builders needn't mean sacrificing good design and usability; rather, they can make it easier to build your site - which only means good things for your site's design.
One of the biggest draws of website builder software is that it puts the control of the website in your hands. Traditional web development relies on a lot of code and programming, which is all well and good if you speak (or type) the lingo, but not much use to most business owners. If you choose to have your website coded by a developer, it'll take a lot longer (and cost a lot more) than doing it with our software, and while the finished product might look great, it won't be much use a year down the line when it's in need of a refresher.
By building your site with our software, you'll be able to edit and alter the website yourself with just a few clicks. Not only does this mean it's easier to realise your own ambitions for your website, but it also means that your site can easily be kept up to date and accurate - which is important to users, too. Changing your opening hours or offering an extra service? You can use our software to make these small changes yourself, rather than booking the work in with a professional and paying through the nose.
In a nutshell, website builder software makes everything easier. There's nothing you can do 'the traditional way' that you can't do with software, but there are many things that software makes much, much easier. You can make and track revisions of content with a click, and improve your website with images and media that would be very difficult to implement through HTML and CSS alone. If you're keen to make a splash online with a web presence to match your company's corporeal reputation, then our website builder software is without a doubt the way forward.
What's really in a name? When it comes to the internet – an awful lot. Out of all the various aspects involved in establishing a web presence, you might think that choosing a domain name would be the simple part. In fact, there's rather a lot to take into account.
Sharp and snappy
Many visitors to your website will be coming to you directly by typing in your web address. Having a domain name that's short, sharp, snappy and will stick in the memory is what's needed. It can play a significant part in building brand identity and recognition, so spend enough time coming up with a shortlist of options. Perhaps run some ideas by friends and family members to get their input.
Tell it like it is
Try not to be too clever when selecting a domain name. While an off-the-wall choice certainly worked for Google, you might be better looking at something a little more conservative. Sticking to a brand name is never a bad choice, but using foreign or made-up words can cause issues with spelling and be tough for visitors to remember.
Search engine optimisation
Not that long ago, you could improve a website's ranking in Google and other search engines by adopting a keyword-rich domain name, for example, www.vanhirein(location).com. It's no longer the case that domain names chosen to include certain keywords will boost your website's rankings, so try and be a little more creative.
While initially you might be planning to establish just a single website in one country, it's worth thinking about future expansion and whether it could be worth purchasing .com, .co.uk or .org domain extensions too. While you might not use them straight away, consider the potential impact if those domains were not available a few years down the line.
Back to the drawing board
Before you get too excited about a new domain name that you've come up with, just make sure that someone else hasn't had the same idea. There are an awful lot of registered domain names out there and unless you've had a real marketing brainwave, there's a fair chance you might need to revise your chosen title because it's already in use. Livecity has a free domain name search facility, which makes it simple to run a check on whether a domain name is free in seconds.
It is important to remember that if you are going to have a number of domains then you'll also need to manage them. This can be a major task, but thanks to Livecity's bulk management system it needn't be. It's possible to administer multiple domains through a single interface, ensuring minimum hassle for you.
You may have already heard of SEO or Search Engine Optimization, but you are not quite sure what it is or why you need it. The truth is that there are few things that are more important to you site than having a high ranking in search engines, but you are likely to get different answers from different people concerning how to achieve this. In order to answer your question in the most comprehensive and accurate way, we took a closer look at Google's guidelines on its webmaster tools site and took a look under the hood of SEO.
SEO has gotten a bad name in recent years because of a handful of individuals who used "black hat" practices to exploit search engines instead of work with them. Choosing the wrong SEO professional caused many websites to suffer damage to their reputation and they found themselves buried in search engine rankings once Google updated their algorithms. However, SEO professionals who are honestly interested in improving and promoting their client's pages can provide many benefits to your website.
Quality SEO professionals can:
- Review your site content for quality and structure
- Repair bad meta data that is hurting your rankings
- Develop new content that meets the quality standards that will improve search results
- Research keywords that are accurate to your product and get solid traffic
- Manage an online development plan that will make your site a destination for your target demographic
The best time to hire an SEO professional is when you are just beginning a new web design or when you are considering a considerable website overhaul. In many ways, an SEO professional will have to significantly renovate your website and you may not recognize it when it is done. You want your website to be friendly to the search engines from the bottom up.
Best practices matter
It is essential that your SEO professional follow the best practices guidelines that Google and other search engines insist upon. In that spirit, there are some things that any SEO should be willing to share up front:
- Success stories: They should be willing to share what they did for other sites and what the results were
- Knowledge of guidelines: They should know Google's Webmaster Guidelines chapter and verse
- Online Marketing Services: How do they organically compliment the content you already have?
Those that follow best practices will have specifics to offer. They will let you know realistic results you should expect in a specified time frame and be transparent about the methods that they will use to get you there. Choosing the right person or company to represent your search engine optimization interests can be a great boon to your business, but choosing poorly can lead to your downfall. If you have looked into it and cannot find a suitable SEO professional, it may be more beneficial to your business to do it yourself.
If you are looking for quality SEO tools and a free website builder that will allow you to create your website yourself, visit www.livecity.com for more information on how to create a website that utilizes SEO best practices.
We're not going to lie to you. Planning a building a website can be a lot of work. Even the most avid website builder will tell you that their love of the process is tempered by the frustrations that they face on a daily basis. The building of your website will go much smoother if you take the time to develop a sound website plan beforehand that will guide you through the rest of the process.
What you need to know
You need to ask yourself why you need an online presence and what you want to get out of it. You have a target audience that you want to reach, but how do you propose to do that? Having a website in and of itself is not a catchall solution. What value are you offering that will compel people to visit your website? More importantly, what do you want them to do once they are there? These are questions that you should be able to answer with your website plan.
Where to start
When you are planning a trip, one of the first things that you do is look at a map. Planning out a website is no different. Starting your website plan by mapping out your website will go a long way toward clarifying what your site will be able to do for you and for the site's visitors. If your website is just a single page without a sitemap that is a significant failure in design. It doesn't matter if you sketch this sitemap on the back of a napkin or use advanced website builder software. It will be your primary reference throughout the process, and you will be glad that you did it first.
Keep in mind that a great deal of website traffic these days comes from mobile devices. With this in mind, keep the principles of responsive design as a firm part of your website planning. You may need to forgo large graphics or other flourishes that would not be germane to those who are trying to view your website on their smartphone or tablet device.
The purpose-driven website
Your watchword should be usability. Always consider the purpose of your site throughout your planning. You will find that form does indeed follow function. You never want your visitors to be confused about what the point of your website truly is. Navigation should be easy and within established norms that people are used to. This doesn't mean that you have to completely follow the structure of other websites, but if there is a point that you do diverge there much be a specific purpose to it and one that your visitors will readily comprehend.
Write down everything
This may do without saying, but record everything in the process of your website planning. Even ideas that you discard along the way may have value down the line. Never assume that you will be able to remember a good idea or that an idea is bad because it is difficult. You may find that later on in your website planning it may just be the idea that brings it all together.
For more information on how to start your website planning, including a free website builder and other helpful tools, please visit www.livecity.com