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I get this question a lot. My reply usually begins with, “What were your hopes for your new website?” Often, people say things like they want to generate leads for their business, or in the case of blogs, some want to reach a particular audience and increase traffic. Whatever the individual goals may be, there are a few things to keep in mind.

Be sure to update your website.

I’ve worked with people that have put up their websites only to leave the site alone for years. Even if it’s a brochure type of site, printed brochures need to be updated. Think of it this way, if you want others to use your site, you need to use it as well.

Also, content that isn’t changed, isn’t crawled by search engines as often. Search engines like new content on pages; it makes the results they deliver more relevant. The same goes for website visitors; like most, I go to sites that continually add new articles or information. If you want your website or blog to work for you, you need to add content regularly.

Your voice matters

Make sure your content will provide value to your site visitors. Consider your primary audience and write content that will help them become more efficient, knowledgeable or get more out of life. It’s okay to keep it light, too. The main thing is to be connected with website visitors. Check your site stats or analytics to see what articles are getting traffic, encourage conversations in posts and see which articles are being shared on social media.

Some more website hints

Make reading easy for visitors by allowing white space. Reading on a computer can be tough. To help with this, text should be broken up into smaller paragraphs. When you can, break up text with bulleted lists, block quotes, and images.

Use headings. Heading tags such as <h1>, <h2>, <h3>, etc., help search engines (and site visitors) to know what information is important.  The lower the number of the heading tag, the more important the content. For example in this post, my article title is an <h1> tag and then I use other headings as <h2> in the text to highlight important sections. It’s important to note that search engines only like to see one <h1> per page. In blogs and content management systems with text editors, there’s usually a drop-down list for formatting types like paragraphs and headings.

Have links that go outside of your site open in a new browser tab or window. Having external links open in new tabs or windows will help keep your visitors on your site even when they’re checking out resources you’ve provided.

Be sure to include alternative text and titles for any images. If an image, graphic or diagram is a critical part of your content, be sure that you have some text contained in the alternative text or, <alt> tags, to explain the graphics  just in case the image doesn’t load. This is also a good practice for the visually impaired. Content management systems like WordPress make it easy to upload images and usually provide “Alternative Text” fields during the upload process. Use them.

If you have any questions, or would like more information on some specifics, just let me know.