We have focused on keywords for positioning and for content in past lessons. Now we need to look at traffic generation soon. But first, let's consider what a visitor sees when they do arrive at your site. Does your site convey authority on its topic? Does it get to the point of what you do and what you offer right away? Is the navigation logical and easy to understand? Yes, we want traffic; but we want that traffic to stick around, too. Your web statistics will show where a viewer enters your website, where they exit and how long they stay. So you will be able to easily determine the success of how well-like your website it. We'll cover more on web stats in a later SEO SOS lesson. Two things are of paramount importance in your web design: 1) The first impression you make, and 2) The navigation style you use. Let's explore first impressions of a website in this lesson. We've all heard the expression, "You only get one chance to make a first impression." With the breadth and depth of the Internet, this statement couldn't be more important. Factors that impact how well your website is received include:
- Placement and usage of graphics. It's important to use your logo early, preferably at the top of your website. No matter if you are Coca-Cola or Joe's Diner, your goal should be to create branding of your business for the people who have found you. When the viewers think of local diners, Joe's Diner should come to mind. Good branding will cause the viewer to bookmark your page. This is a good thing.
- Use of other graphics. If you use too many graphics you risk your page looking like a cartoonish site that has no content of value. Too few graphics makes the content hard to read without enough breaks and visual stimulations for balance and white space.
- Answer the "why me?" question right away with a heading that grabs the viewer's attention. Please, please, please do not put "Welcome to our website" as your first heading. This is not the receptionist's desk of your building. This is your first chance and only chance to make that good impression. "Joe's Diner - Voted #1 in St. Charles IL for 5 years running" would be a good heading. Market, market, market. Now is not the time to be polite and humble.
- Offer your product or service in a way that solves a problem. After all, this is what you do, right? If not, then why are you in business? Of course you solve a problem or add to someone's well-being or feed an ego. You know what you offer. But avoid listing the features of your product or service and focus on the benefits. "Joe's Diner offers the best breakfast in town at the best price. You'll never leave Joe's dissatisfied." Joe knows his food and he knows his customer. Satisfaction guaranteed. Do we know what Joe sells? Not in detail, but we know we're going to be satisfied with his food and not hungry when we leave. That's a benefit.
- Keep important information "above the fold." That is, at the top of the page before you have to scroll down to read further. Catch the viewer's attention early and they will scroll. If not, they will stroll - away from your site. So the challenge is to attract the eye, sell yourself and your business, and answer the "Why me?" early. Keep it simple; keep it direct. That's the formula.
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Reprinted with permission