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Do you have a website?

  • We’re going to give the log & rustic discussion a break today and take a side trip. If you have a website, hopefully this will be of interest. If you do not have a website, you may as well skip this article and browse our other postings. Thank you.

One of the companies featured in our Log Cabin Directory, sent me an email yesterday expressing frustration that their website was not attracting many visitors, and asked if I had any suggestions.

The answer to such a question can be quite complex. The short answer becomes evident if you Google the term “log homes“. You will be offered more than 50 million results, which means that your website is in competition with 50,000,000 other pages that mention log homes (gulp). So how does one scramble to the front of such a crowd?

Unfortunately, there is no short answer to that question; thousands of books, websites, blogs, seminars and companies deal with that topic, and it is an industry unto itself. Obviously, I cannot scratch the surface in one blog post, but I can point out a couple of things that will help narrow the odds in your favor.

Having a business website is no different than owning a brick & mortar retail store. A certain amount of advertising and promotion must be done to make people aware of your Business. In the physical world you hang out a sign, buy a Yellow Page listing, advertise in the local newspaper, etc. You do many things to create awareness and attract people to your store.

On the Internet, your Yellow Page listing are links from directories and other websites. Advertising and promotion can be accomplished a number of ways. One of the fastest methods of appearing on the front page of a Google search is to advertise with Google using their AdWords program. You would buy the “keywords” that describe your products and only pay if someone clicked on your ad. Be aware, broad terms or words can get expensive, so you will want to focus on key phrases that pertain more to your products that others.

You can edit your ads and adjust your budget until you get the results you want. There’s no minimum spending requirement or time commitment. Clicks can cost you as little as $0.05, a small price to pay for someone looking for your keyword phrase (i.e. “log home dealer in Georgia“). Note that I didn’t use the broad phrase of “log home” as that would be an expensive term and not focused enough to your company. Learn more about advertising with Google by clicking here.

As I mentioned above, there are MANY other things you can do to increase your position in the search engines, and many of those things pertain to your website. A few weeks ago I emailed a newsletter to the companies listed in our directory and addressed this very issue. Excerpts from that newsletter are below…

What has always worked better than anything else is fresh, new CONTENT. “Content is king” – that was the mantra ten years ago, and it remains the number one way to persuade Google that your site is an “authority site” relating to your keywords (i.e. log homes, your-State, etc.). Content is TEXT!

Good page content, i.e. the TEXT on your pages is the chief determining factor of how you website is regarded by search engines.

Unquestionably, there are many other things that search engines factor in to determine the “value” of your site (as it relates to a search query), but your page TEXT is the single most important element.

Real world example:

Let’s suppose that your site is about log homes and your company name is XYZ Log Works. On your home page you have three stunning photos of your top-selling models and you’ve named your three models, the Gold Rush, the Glacier and the Montana Dream. The text on your eye-catching page mentions ordering, shipping, return policy, contact info. and other important business information. Your page looks magnificent!

Unfortunately, Google cannot “see” your eye-catching pictures. The only information Google captures from this page, and the way search engines store “your” words in their index looks something like this…

{xyz log works gold rush glacier montana email contact shipping policy order}

Someone searching for your log homes will never find your website. Google can not determine what your page is about so it will not include your URL when someone does a search for “log homes”. Descriptive text, rich in keywords conveys to visitors (and to Google) what your site is about. If your page text was liberally infused with keywords such as below…

WYX Log Works builds log homes in Montana. We offer three models of log homes, the Gold Rush Cabin, the Glacier Weekender and the Montana Dream Lodge. Our log homes are hand crafted from Ponderosa pine and assembled using old world joinery of skip peeled logs with a weatherproof rustic finish.

(look at all those keywords used in a content-rich description)

Google would have no problem identifying the “theme and subject matter” of your page and website. Such keyword-rich text would greatly improve your odds of being listed in a search for “log homes, Montana”. Other factors that contribute to your website being “search engine friendly” include:

  • Informative page title, description and keywords

  • “H-1” tags (Headlines)

  • Bold or italicized keywords and phrases (i.e. log homes)

  • “Alt” descriptions for photos and images

  • Hyperlinked descriptive words or phrases (i.e. clean peeled log railings)

  • Where you link “TO” and where you are linked “FROM

  • JavaScript pointing to an external file vs. code clutter on the page

  • CSS vs. code on the page

  • etc., etc., etc.

I know that 99.9% of you reading this are not “geeks”, and are too busy managing your business to learn everything you’d like to know about HTML programming or SEO (search engine optimization). But I also know that if you could get 10 or 100+ additional targeted visitors to your website every day, you’d find the time to make that happen. Implementing tips such as what I’ve mentioned here will help to bring new visitors to your website.

Summary:

  • Review the TEXT on your main pages. Is the content of your site adequately described in the text on your pages? If not, add abundant descriptive, keyword-rich text. AND, add new pages with related content.

  • Write an article. Tell your visitors about your company, how you make your products, describe the process, talk about the materials used, suggest how they can be integrated in home decor – Educate your prospects.

  • Add content-related articles to your site from other authors.

SEO

SEO (search engine optimization) is an art and a science.
Basically SEO is the process of maximizing every facet of your website to increase your ranking in search engines. If a person does a Google search on “log homes”, good SEO is the difference between being listed on page 1 vs. page 4096.

Triple Your Traffic - in 90 Days - or Don't Pay A Single Penny!I read most every book, follow major blogs and get daily Google alerts on SEO articles. I know how important SEO is – and I promise you it does work. If you do a Google search on “log homes” you will see 54,800,000+ results. Implementing SEO will help your site get recognized for your important keywords (i.e. log homes, your_city, etc.).

When clients ask me what is the single biggest thing they can do to increase their traffic I recommend they buy one book, The SEO Book – and USE IT. This is one of the major tools I use and there is no better source of information online – and they guarantee it. The author guarantees that you can Triple Your Traffic – in 90 Days – or Don’t Pay A Single Penny!

The SEO Book is a 256 page PDF file, which you can download immediately and begin putting it to use. However, this is much more than just static information. The search engine industry changes frequently and any “bookstore” book is obsolete the day it hits the shelves. The SEO Book gives us Free Lifetime Updates. When the industry changes, you get the updates – at no additional cost. In addition they provide access to the same tools the pros useFREE. There are a few other incentives the author offers for buying his book, but take my word for it that the information inside is invaluable… If you do not do one other thing to market your website, Learn Search Engine Optimization.

In Conclusion

Your online store requires vigilant attention if you ever hope to rise above the other 50 million sites in your space. This is not as difficult or as mind-boggling as it first seems, but it does require your time – and a budget for promotion. Yes, there is a learning curve, which is why I recommended the SEO book above as it can drastically shorten that learning curve and let you see positive results in a short time. If one treats their online store with the same attention to detail that we give to our physical store… they will come – and they will buy.

Also, consider monetizing your website with Google’s AdSense. I am a big fan of AdSense, even in competitive situations. Did you know that you can block sensitive or competitive ads from appearing on your site. For the ‘average’ website owner, there are few things you can do that will produce more passive income than utilizing Google’s AdSense program. Visitors to your website will take one of two actions. Prospects will either pursue your product offering – or they will leave your site. If they choose to leave… you need to provide an exit path that generates revenue! Click here to learn more…

Thanks to Melinda B. from Georgia who asked this question and thanks to everyone who took the time to read this lengthy (and possibly boring) post.

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