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Three Essential Steps for Website Success

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There is more to building a good website than making sure you have the proper keywords, titles, meta tags, anchor text links and other search engine optimization features. In fact, a website is only useful if it is serving the purpose for which it was built. For most business websites, that means being profitable.

Having your website well optimized to accommodate frequent search engine spider visits and ranking well in the search results pages (SERPs) is an excellent first step. But since search engine spiders don't actually click advertising links or buy products and services, a website cannot be successful serving search engines alone.

The primary goal of a business website is to make money. It doesn't particularly matter if you make money selling products or services, showing advertisements, or generating leads. If your website is designed to make money then it must capture actual attention from real people.

Getting targeted people to your website is what search engine optimization is all about. If you sell blue widgets, then it wouldn't do you any good to have people visiting who are looking for red rings, right? Thus you optimize your site so that search engines will send people to you when they are looking for blue widgets.

Your job isn't done with just the search engine listing though. Your site could be listed on page one of the SERPs and yet receive few clicks from search engine users. You need to make sure your listing sells the click. This is performed by making sure you have an attention grabbing, relevant headline and where appropriate an engaging page description.

Having got a real live human to click on your listing, you then need to make sure you present them with an easy to use, attractive, focused website which addresses their needs. As Napoleon Hill author of Think and Grow Rich (an audio version is also available) pointed out, "it is literally true that you can succeed best and quickest by helping others to succeed."

This is where the three essential steps come into play.

1. Your website needs to be attractive to your target customer. If you are selling things to teenagers, the site will look and act much differently than one which sells to 60 year old grandmothers. To successfully execute this, it is vital that you know your audience. Learn as much as you can about them, so you can design and organize your website in ways they will understand and appreciate.

Structure your website to guide them towards the goal you desire. It doesn't matter whether that is clicking an advertisement or making a purchase. A well designed website will achieve your desired goal(s) and make the visitor happy.

2. Your website must be easy to navigate. If people come to page 3 of your site expecting to see small blue widgets, you should have information about small blue widgets displayed there. In the worst case scenario, at least put a prominent link to small blue widgets on that page so people can find it quickly and easily.

Well designed website navigation is guided by the "three click rule." This rule states that no one page on your site should be more than three clicks from any other page. The three click rule can prove difficult to adhere to when you have really large websites with many thousands of pages. However, that's when good structure and organization are even more critical to the success of your site. Making it easy and obvious for people to find what they are looking for applies whether you have one page or one million pages.

3. Your website must be convincing. Convincing covers many things online. Appearing to be trustworthy is very important for some target markets for instance, so you may need to publish a physical address and phone number in order to convince prospective customers to do business with you.

Convincing also means you need to provide enough information. If you're selling wall art but you have no photos of the product for customers to view, you may soon discover no one is buying anything.

There you have it: appearance, navigation and convincing content. Follow these three simple yet essential steps on your website and you'll soon find yourself having much greater success over the long run.

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