Helpful Tips for Your Website & SEO
This information is provided with the assumption that you want your web site to be seen, appreciated, and bring you website traffic and/or business after it is created.
Keywords, Description, Title
These are things you need in the “head” of the html page source code, located where site visitors don't see content. **Note: In a Weebly.com website, their site builder makes adding Meta Tags easy for each individual page as well as the site as a whole. So, you don't need to access the raw html coding in a Weebly website in order to improve your search engine optimization (SEO).
Meta Tag: Keywords:
Despite what some articles will tell you, Keyword Meta Tags are important to website pages. Not all search engines place importance on the meta tags **especially** because, or if, the meta tags are 'stuffed' with excessive words, excessive search phrases that do not match what is 'seen' by the web crawlers within the body of the web pages. But, some search engines do still use the meta tags as guides, so this information will help make them work for you; not against you.
The "home" page is your first page such as "www.yourdomainname.com" If you are not using Weebly and are using a program where you can edit your own html source code, your home page is located in your files. The file name for your home page will be "index.html" All web pages have a “head” and “body” area. The meta tags need to be added to the Head of the web page and you should at least place meta tags on the home page. Search the internet for “add meta tags” or “meta tags free generator” and you may locate further assistance in creating the meta tags, or generating the exact meta tags to insert in the Head of each page; or just the home page.
The Home page is indicated by default in Weebly templates as “home.” Each page in Weebly has advanced settings where you can add keywords for each individual page. The main Settings Tab in Weebly also has a SEO area where you can add Meta Tags that pertain to the site as a whole.
Just as much as you want people to land on your website to bring you business or make your site popular, you don't want people going there and leaving in a few seconds when they see it's not what they really wanted to find. Wasting people's time is not cool on the WWW. Visits to your site that last only a few seconds may tell a web crawler/search engine that your site was not relevant to the search terms, after all. That won't bode well for your site popularity in the search rankings. If your keywords are not correct and relevant to what search terms people would use to find you, you aren't going to draw the business you desire.
Use only search words or search terms, separated by commas, that are exactly what you have to offer on your site. For example, say your name is Lulu and you teach quilting classes and sell quilt patterns. Your search terms may be (including your own name if you are a known teacher whose name someone may search) keywords such as:
Quilt patterns, quilting lessons, quilting classes, learn quilting, quilting classes in (name your state), quilt patterns for sale... etc.
In this example, you do not sell or discuss at length information on, and therefore should not use, these words in your web site keyword meta tags:
"fabric, longarm quilt frame, sewing machines ....." Be specific to what your actual web site is about; what you offer. If you don't offer it, don't list it in keywords. Is your site about fabric? No, it's about quilting classes that you offer, and patterns that you sell. You can still mention those other items (fabrics, etc) in the body of your text on your website, but meta tag keywords are to draw attention, to bring people to your site for what you actually OFFER.
Keep your keywords lists to 20 or fewer words or phrases; each of the 20 entries separated by commas. Put keyword meta tags on each page of the site where you have something to offer, and keep the keywords relevant to that page's specific content. Your Home page can have keywords related to everything on your site but stay under 20 words or phrases, separated by commas.
When selecting words or phrases, group words together that you know people will type in a search engine. You want them to find you for information on buying patterns or taking one of your quilting classes.
Example keyword list for your quilting site:
Quilting classes, Quilt class, learn quilting, quilt class yourcity yourstate, quilt patterns, buy quilt pattern, quilt pattern for sale,..
Example of a poor keyword list for this type of web site:
quilt, stitch, fabric, pattern, class, sewing, sale, …
These poorly chosen words could make people think that they can buy a quilt from you; buy or learn about fabric, any and all types of sewing patterns, any of the above for sale; “class” could mean any number of class definitions in the dictionary! An individual word is often too broad a subject for searching the world wide web. So, bottom line, make an effort to think through what YOU would search if you wanted to find YOUR site and it's related content. Turn those word or words into phrases that are separated by commas.
Meta Tag: Description
Each page should have a short sentence as description meta tag. The description is often part of what is seen in search engine results along with the title of the site. So, especially within the first 5 or 6 words of your description, tell them what is on that page so they will want to 'click' your link, knowing the content is likely what they need. In this example regarding quilting classes and patterns for sale, your description might be a sentence such as: Quilting classes in Albuquerque, buy patterns for beginners and pros.
You don't want to waste your search result visibility with some fancy but irrelevant name which you dubbed your business such as “Shiny Red Buttons” if it has no bearing on your content. UNLESS (there's always an exception) you are already well known by that name in the world of Quilting; and perhaps have a well recognized logo with that business. If you are new or relatively unknown, then choose a (title and) description that will help your search result be descriptive and improve your clicks and ranking. You can always move “Shiny Red Buttons” or whatever odd name you've been carrying to the end of your description; and/or to the bottom of your web page/s. That way it will still be related content that the web crawlers will find, for anyone who knows you well enough to search for “Shiny Red Buttons” instead of searching for “quilting classes.”
Meta Tag: Title
Each page should have a very short title; not a sentence like your description. Often it will just be your website name, especially for the home page, but if each web page has a very specific purpose, then indicate the title individually for each page. For this example, you may have multiple class pages for, and thus create individual page titles for:
Decorative Quilt Edges Class, or,
Patchwork Quilt Class with Lulu
If your domain name is Lulusquilting.com then you might want your title for the home page to be: Lulu's Quilting Classes & Patterns
Search engine results will almost always put your title of the page first, followed by a portion of the description. You have probably gone to a search engine to search for something. Examine the listed results to get an idea of what they display. If you have a few favorite websites, search their content just to see how the search engine has displayed their title and description information in the results list.
SEO for the Body of your web pages
This is the content that web visitors come to your site to see & read. This is the content that web crawlers look for to determine if your site is relevant to the words someone types in a search engine. .
Remember those meta tag keywords? Use a variety of those keywords that you used in meta tags, in the “body” of the pages; your text content & articles. Each page should at least have one paragraph, more if possible, containing one or more of those same words or phrases that you used in your chosen meta tag description. The search engines will scan the content of your pages for relevant words to someone's search in their engine. Example: I search for “patchwork quilting classes” and if you have one or more instance of that same text in the body of your page where you discuss to your website visitors what your class is about, that will make your 'patchwork class' page relevant to the search results. “In my patchwork quilting class, you will learn how to piece together three types of patchwork quilts. Patchwork quilt classes are available for the first week of each month. Your supply list for this patchwork quilting lesson will be....” Notice repeated use of Patchwork quilt or quilting; and the words class, classes, lessons. These are things people may search that are relevant to what you offer; the web crawler sees that repeated content on your page and your website becomes a good candidate to those search results. Be conservative with those searchable words only if you feel it will make your reader, or yourself while reading it, uncomfortable. Too much may be ridiculous; not enough and you don't have good results. More paragraphs / more writing content gives you more room to insert those key words and phrases 'comfortably.'
If you feel you have friends who will search for you as “Lulu's quilting” (we're still assuming, for this example, that's your website name since you are the teacher) then put that as at least one occurrence on each page, even if it is at the bottom of the page, and it will help your site turn up in the search results. You could use it as a signature line under the text you type. Again, only if this type of signature line seems to apply to the page and text (aka: copy) you have written for the page. I would use a more relevant title heading at the top of each page, sub-headings – if at all possible these will also be relevant 'key' words for your site - if needed, above other paragraphs. If you want to draw people who don't know to search you by name, focus on getting relevant (search/keywords) words in the text in the body of the page.
If you want to target a specific region, because your classes will be wherever you are located, for example, make sure that information is on your site in the class information. Perhaps a mapping area where you have a link to internet map inserted; directions; and/or contact page with this information as well.
IF you don't need a specific location to be important for your search results, and you do not have much text on your website for people to read, then put a small note at the bottom of each page that says: "Tags for this page: Quilting classes, Quilting lessons, Lulu's Quilting lessons and Patterns for sale..." And LIST some very specific keywords of content that you have on each web page. If you do this, just make the text smaller and/or lightly colored so it's less noticeable to the person viewing the page but gets the attention of search engines. Do not “hide” the text by making it the same color text as the background; web crawlers are getting smart that way and it will count against you. "Marking up" text (bold, italics, changing the color of text) can also get the attention of search engines to that specific text, although, web crawlers are also being taught to ignore some of this markup as well. Smart web crawlers! So don't over do the markup on key words on your website. Ultimately, you should try to have actual articles / paragraphs where you discuss the content related to your subject or product. The more pages / articles you have, the more relevance your entire site will have to earn good placement in search results.
Create a text footer for your site that has copyright information, your name and type of business, and location if needed. It has been useful in my experience in helping to push, for example, a specific site up to the first search results page for their service in "their specific city..”
for this example, we're saying your quilting business is in Albuquerque, NM:
Lulu's Quilting Classes and Pattern sales in Albuquerque, NM © 2014 All web site content is copyright material.
(To create the copyright symbol, hold ALT and on your number keypad type 0169 then let up on the alt tag.)
Add social media links (linked in, Yelp, Facebook, Twitter etc) to your footer and/or at the top of your web pages, wherever they fit or work in your favor.
Also add a text-hyperlink navigation, for at least your main website pages, in your footer. This helps further some search engines ability to see your pages; and helps certain handicapped viewers 'read' and use your page links more easily.
Quality but Compact View for the Internet; SEO
Even if, for your business, some printed materials you sell may need to be developed from vector graphics (no blending on the edges of objects to prevent jagged appearance aka: anti-alias) your images displayed on the internet should have anti-alias turned on and looking as good as you can possibly make them to your site viewer. Bad looking graphics or photographs can turn a visitor away if they don't like what they see. If you're concerned about someone printing your images from the internet, just make them a lower size and resolution (100 dpi and 200 to 400 pixels wide, for example) so that they will not print well enough if enlarged and printed by a site visitor. IF your business requires people to know your product is from vector graphic design and without anti-alias, such as peel-off decals, you can explain that in a note somewhere on the site.
Put ALT tags on images – a few words describing what is in the image; use a search keyword or two in image alt tags if at all possible / if it's what is in the image. For the most part alt tags are for site visitors who do not have images loading or when there is some problem occuring that will not show the images. The alt tag text will show in place of the picture so people see what type of picture is shown there. In Weebly they give you a place to fill in the ALT tag in the image settings if you click on the image and then select the setting areas for that image. In your other web building programs, you'll likely have to edit html code to insert the alt tags.
If possible in your website building program (not always possible – as in Weebly there is no place to put a title tag on images) put a TITLE tag on each image in the page's html coding. It's just like the ALT tag / can be idential to the alt tag, but use <title= instead of <alt= for the tag. The title tag will be seen when people mouse-over the image. Alt tags used to work this way and in newer web browsers they stopped showing the mouse-over view with alt tags. Now it requires a title tag for the pop up text to show upon mouse-over of an image.
Web Site Navigation
Bear the basics in mind when building your site and creating the main navigation links. Keep your main links to a minimum if possible, then use menus – aka pop-outs / flyouts / pop-menus; or secondary navigation (primary across the top of the page; secondary down the side of a page). Be sure that all main aka primary navigation links are available on each page.
Your main navigation should readily answer/tell the site visitor what you have to offer. You don't have to have these exact page names but keep these thoughts in mind when creating the names of your primary navigation menu:
What I Can Do for You / My Store / Articles / Resources / About Me / Contact
(or for the Quilting Site example: My Quilting Classes / Quilt Pattern Store / Quilting Articles / Resources / About Me / Contact)
Your navigation should be available on every page either along the top or side. If you have so much information that you feel that, even with pop menus, you need a second navigation, then put the primary navigation links at the top; secondary down one side of the page. They should if at all possible be easily editable as one unit that will change all instances of the navigation throughout your site; so there are no variations in menus if you miss editing one of the pages.
Having to hit the browser's back button several times to get back to the home page to navigate to another area of your site is frustrating to your visitors. This is why it is vitally important to have all main navigation on every page of the site. They consistently see the same menu so they know where they have already clicked and what areas they still need to visit to see all of your site.
Menus: aka pop-menu aka flyout aka sub-menu etc. On mouse-over of a main navigation link, a menu will open with a list of related pages.
Example Navigation with pop-up menu under Primary Navigation links: Pattern Store and Art:
Home - (no menu needed)
Pattern Store (menu with samples to see or from which to choose)
(optional extra sub categories / if extensive just use some main sub categories then use jump links to individual decal sets on those pages)
- baby quilt
- patchwork quilt
- Halloween theme quilt
- Painted Quilts
- My Acrylic Artwork Slideshow
Contact Me (no menu needed)
Web Site Pages and Content
People like something FREE. Search engines like text content relative to search terms. win win. Make a page or two / article or two dedicated to just telling people some free advice / information. "How to Prevent Your New Quilt from Bleeding Colors in Laundry" "3 Easy Tips and Techniques to Enhance Your Quilt" Anything that will 1. give the site visitor something 'more' in their site experience that is free / free advice .. and 2. Gives the web crawlers more of that searchable text content that will have some of those search terms making your site even MORE relevant to a persons search terms.
Links aka Resources
And Link Exchanges
The now outdated page name people used for links to other websites was simply “links.” The newer and better word to use is “Resources.”
Related content / link exchange / directories
If you have links to share, try to keep them related to your site business or site content. For affiliate links and other links that earn you money, use a 3rd column on popular pages of your websites; or insert them like ads within the body of your text. If you like or recommend specific stores that carry products which will help with the quilting supplies etc., link to them. You can have a page dedicated to where to buy supplies and so forth, and call that page “Resources.” Ask businesses if they will link back to your site, so that you have done a link “exchange.” Shared links / link exchanges work in your favor. Web crawlers can see that other sites have linked to your site; thus making it more popular. Bear in mind that it is still 'more' important that links to and from your site are still in some way related or helpful. It is less likely that a link to sunglasses website from your quilting business and/or their linking back to you, will be as helpful as a link to a fabric store.
Directories - Listing Yourself
Try to find free directories on the internet and submit your site (after it is newly built /not during construction). Submit to the correct category/subcategory of the directory that fits what you offer / your business, hobby, or information. Start with dmoz.org !!! Search AT dmoz.org main page for your type of website, example: "Quilting Lessons and Quilt Patterns" and then look at the location of the page/s. Read some of the other websites who have their Quilting business listed there. Does your site belong listed on one of those pages? Choose the best area to fit your needs. If it is a state/location related business, then search that state as well and look to submit your site in whatever is the best fit, example: Quilting Lessons in Albuquerque, NM. When you find the right area where your site link belongs in the dmoz.org directory, click the "submit URL" link at the top of that page. Follow directions – they explain how to do it.
Other directories may be a bit easier to submit your site. Search around for free online directories. Try related search terms ! Such as “Quilting directories” and see if you can find directories that are specific to your business!
List yourself / get an account at Yelp etc.
If you have a physical business address, get a google account and get your business listed and mapped properly. Often google maps are a little 'off' the location marker and YOU can edit your own business location after following a verification process that you own the business. That way you can be sure your map marker is correct at google maps.
Do your homework regarding mobile devices and how your site will be viewed on them. Many people are using them now and they are in a wide variety of sizes / screen widths. Weebly is one location where you can have mobile view turned on and it will adjust the screen and menus to work in mobile devices. That's a plus, because if you have a webmaster building for you and they do not know how to structure your site coding to be mobile compatible; or they want to charge another fee to create your site mobile ready, it can become costly. I do recommend that you have a mobile-ready site. Don't lose business because someone cannot access your information on the fly.
A Few Final Notes
Progress can be slow if you are not prepared with all your text and graphics content for the site when you are ready to begin building. If you are building your own website, maybe you don't care that it will be a slow process and you will add things gradually until you are finally finished and ready to “go live” and publish your site. If you are hiring a web site designer, have your content prepared and ready to send/use in advance of contacting a designer to work for you. If someone is working for you, be prepared to be available by phone or email and get back with them as fast as possible when they ask questions. Don't hire someone and then go on vacation or get busy with other projects, telling them you can't be bothered until weeks later etc. You have no idea if they will be available to work for you when you return! That can cause more delays, and frustration for both parties. Just some tips for good business and speedy website build.
This information will at least help guide you to a more fully optimized site; or is some good information to request if you're hiring someone else to do your web site build for you.
Best of luck with your new websites!
Next: Creative Graphic Design
See page "What Can I Do for You" for some sample images of graphics work.