Search engine optimization processInternet marketing optimization starts from the design of a website. Developing an intuitive and content-rich website takes planning.  Focus on organizing your information in a clear and logical manner. The areas of importance should stand out and be readily accessible.  Too often home pages are cluttered with non-essential information. This is generally the case when a variety of people voice their opinions or product managers are jockeying for prime real estate to promote their product lines. It’s like the old adage “too many cooks spoil the broth”.

Here are five tips for effective web design and Internet marketing:

Know your customers
You really need to understand your audience and the keywords they are likely to search for.  Internet marketing is about better positioning your content to rank higher than your competitors when keywords are searched. This is often referred to as your organic search results. These are natural keyword searches without paying per click for traffic. For most small businesses this is the preferred method of increasing awareness.  It’s a low cost and highly effective strategy to get your products and services in front of potential customers. Successful Internet marketing will drive highly targeted traffic to your website.

Keyword optimization
You could have an award winning website design and still not see the performance you seek. A sleek design that truly represents your brand is important, but generating meaningful traffic should be your top priority. Marketing your website is arguably more important than designing your website. For any business to be successful, they need to be visible. Prospects need to be able to conveniently find the information. This is why optimizing your site or SEO (search engine optimization) with the most relevant keywords is essential.  You want people to find you based on phrases and buzz words that accurately represent your business.

Ongoing marketing effort
The most effective websites are those that are updated frequently with timely and relevant information. Ensure that your pages are optimized for search engines, primarily by focusing on keywords and topics your customers are likely to search for. Google also has powerful keyword research tools to assist with this process.  Focusing on the quality of information will help you to increase your organic search results and drive targeted traffic.

Integrated social media
As social media feeds and posts are increasingly being indexed and returned in search results, good web design will include your social media and digital marketing initiatives.  News, articles, blogs, and social media accounts are excellent methods of keeping current customers informed while reaching new potential customers. Internet marketing efforts can be strengthened with effective use of social media.

Keep it Simple StupidContact information
Providing a means for visitors to contact you should be a priority in your web design.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to scour a website to find a phone number or method to reach someone.  It can be frustrating for visitors and a quick way for them to lose interest. Have easy to access contact information and provide a few methods for people to reach you – phone, email, social media, etc.

The KISS principle (or keep is stupid simple) is generally good to keep in mind when designing a website.  It can be easy to get carried away and lose focus of your business objectives. Technology like Flash and bells and whistles can supplement your site, but they shouldn’t be included without a purpose.  You’ll also need to understand any optimization limitations that accompany plugins and third party software.