In this issue:
1. Future-Proof SEO – part 5 (final part)
2. Doors Open On Monday 26th September
In this newsletter I have the final part of my Future-Proof SEO course. In this part we talk about what’s in it for the visitors and how you can make your site "Sticky" to lower bounce rates and keep people on site for longer than the average 50 something seconds (I think that is what Michael Campbell said it was, but I may be wrong).
Also today, I want to let you know that my "Insiders" Group is opening Monday next week. I am always getting asked if I do private mentoring, and the answer is always no – I simply don’t have time to do one-on-one coaching. However, this is about as close as you can get. Find out more in today’s newsletter.
Let’s get on with it….
1. Future-Proof SEO – part 5 (final part)
What’s in it for the visitor?
When somebody arrives on your website, you have a very short time to make a first impression. That first impression will decide whether they stay or go, so the first thing you need to do is make sure your site looks good. If you’re using WordPress, then that’s quite easy because there are a lot of very attractive WordPress designs out there.
Apart from the design, another aspect of your site which will add to that first impression is the speed at which the page loads. This needs to be as quick as possible to avoid visitors waiting for stuff to load.
Install Google Analytics and get a Google Webmaster Tools Account
These tools can give you a huge amount of information on your site and your visitors.
I suggest you use Google’s free “Webmaster Tools” to see how fast your site is loading. Click on your domain name and then in the menu on the left there is a “Labs” link. Inside there you’ll find site performance:
On the same page you’ll find a link to a plug-in for Firefox called “page speed”:
You can install that, and it will tell you which aspects of your page are taking too long to load. This will then give you an idea of what you can remove, or in the case of graphics, what you need to compress more.
If you are fairly inexperienced with web development, this may be a little too confusing for you, so just make sure your images are as compressed as possible (small size) and that you are not using unnecessary plugins for the sake of it.
In Google Analytics, Google will tell you the average time a visitor stays on your site, as well as the bounce rate (how quickly someone bounces back to Google after reaching your site).
Both of these metrics are a measure of how “Sticky” your site is. Google gives you a value for your site as a whole:
.. and also for individual pages:
This helps you find out which pages are letting your site down.
Important aspects of a web page
You need to capture the visitor’s attention and let them know what you have got to them.
In terms of articles on your website, this can mean a great headline that makes them want to read more. If your visitor reads the headline and finds it interesting, they’ll then read the first paragraph. The first paragraph is almost as vital as the headline itself – you might like to try creating an opening paragraph as a summary of what your visitor will find on the page below.
As you write content, try to keep sentences short (20 – 25 words) as well as paragraphs – four or five sentences. People hate large blocks of text, but also hate sentences that are so long they are confusing. When you have finished your content, read it aloud and make sure there are no parts that you have to reread to understand fully, and no parts that you hesitate over as you read it.
To make your article easier to read, use sub-heading and bullet points. Pictures and diagrams can often help to break up blocks of text to make it easier on the visitor and as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.
Another important point is to use colours and fonts wisely. Don’t put white fonts on black background or any other combination that causes eye strain. Black font on white backgrounds is the best, and use fonts that work online like the Verdana, Trebuchet and Georgia. If you want to see some truly shocking use of colour on the web, search Google images for bad website design.
While we’re talking about content, be aware that people are a lot less patient than they used to be, so be succinct and to the point. Don’t waffle simply to get the number of words on the page higher.
To make your site sticky, you need to give your visitors what they want. In order to do that you need to know your visitor. Ask yourself:
- Who is it?
- What do they want?
- What answers to they need?
- What do they want to ask me?
If we are talking about your homepage, this should guide them quickly and easily to various sections of your website to give them what they want. Your visitor should be able to find what they want quickly and easily – a search box is essential, but that is easy with WordPress 😉
Ways to build Trust
- A photo of yourself in a prominent part of your website. The sidebars or in the logo are a good place for this.
A photo helps build trust because the visitor can see who they are interacting with. The problem for Internet Marketers is that not many of us want our photos on our niche websites. I would suggest though that the benefits of having a photo are too strong to ignore.
If you use your photo as a Gravatar, then everywhere you post comments on other sites, your photo will appear – this goes back to what we were saying in the chapter about Authority. How much more comforting is it for a visitor to arrive on your site and see a face they’ve seen before on other authority sites? This can build a high level of trust.
- Fresh content – If people arrive at your site and see that the content is several years old, this may be enough for them to click the back button. Keep stuff like reviews up to date. If you update a review change the timestamp of the post in WordPress to reflect the new date.
Types of content that can give your visitors what they want:
- Answering real questions – you can find questions that people ask in your niche by looking at Yahoo Answers, Wordtracker’s Free Question Tool, and even Ask.com. Find real questions and provide accurate answers.
- Buyer guides – e.g. if your site is about Android Tablets, give your visitors a free PDF that tells them what they need to know when it comes to buying one.
- Tutorials – Provide helpful tutorials for your visitors if you can think of some that are relevant to your niche.
- Create informative, relevant videos and have them embedded in your web pages. Put a great title above the video to make sure your visitor clicks to watch (never make them start automatically – give your visitor the option).
Make sure the video content lives up to the title!!
Upload videos to Youtube.com and develop your own Youtube channel in your chosen niche. This will not only bring traffic, but also build credibility and trust. You can link to this channel from your site (see where I mention the Share and Follow plugin later).
- One type of page I usually include on my niche sites is a Terminology page. A niche has its own “niche vocabulary”, and often people want to know what certain words or phrases mean. You can see an example of this type of page on one of my own sites – it about diabetes terminology.
- Thinks about this: What valuable information or resources can you offer that are not available on the top 10 pages?
Make your site Interactive
- Allow Comments from visitors and in your posts, directly ask your visitors to use the comment box. It’s amazing how simple it is to say “Hey, if you’ve got a question or an opinion on this, leave a comment at the bottom of this post”, yet a lot of people don’t bother. Darren Rowse wrote a nice article on getting your visitors to comment.
A lot of people turn comments off on their blog because of the huge amounts of spam they receive. However, by using a good spam blocker like Akismet (commercial) or Growmap Anti Spambot Plugin, or GASP for short (free and arguably better than Akismet), you can eliminate 99% of spam.
Comments allow your visitor to interact with your site, but if they ask a question, make sure you answer it. Answering questions brings visitors back to your site especially if you have a plug-in installed that allows them to track responses to their comments. A popular one is “Comment Reply Notification”.
- By using a ratings and review plug-in like My Review Plugin, you can give your visitors the chance to award products a star rating when they leave a comment.
- Polls – Allow your visitors to express their opinion by voting. There are free polling scripts available.
- Provide Social Media Icons after each post so that people can spread the word on your great content. There are a number of free plugins available. The one I recommend is Share and Follow because it incorporates a lot of different functionality inside the one plugin. Using several plugins when one will do will just ends up slowing down the page load speed.
To see what Share and Follow can do, watch the videos on that WordPress Plugins page I linked to.
- Add a forum. This can be a lot of work because forums are often spammed heavily, but forums are a great way for people to interact with yourself and others.
That’s it for my “Future-Proof” SEO Guide. I hope you found it interesting and even informative. I will be creating a PDF version of this soon, and you will be able to download it for free.
2. Doors Open On Monday 26th September
On Monday 26th September, I am finally opening my "Insiders" Group at 5pm GMT. Inside the membership site, you’ll see me build affiliate sites (in real time) as well as a lot of other stuff I am keeping under wraps for now. As I mentioned last time, the main aim of this course is to try to build "Future-Proof" sites that will survive Google’s changes.
There is a big emphasis on backlinking & quality in everything we do. We also want to embrace the "social" aspect of website building and get our visitors interacting with the sites we build.
If you want more details & to be notified when its open, sign up here:
This list will not be used for anything other than notifying you about the course opening. Once I get the 100 or so members that I am limiting this to, the doors will close, and the email list will be deleted.
OK, that’s it for this newsletter.
Until next time. Have a great week!
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