Website Development - It's Not Magic - It's About Good Content!
Thursday, 20 March 2008 - David Ogden
Website development is not magic, and it's not as difficult as some people would like you to believe. The many companies involved in SEO or Search Engine Optimization are correct in stating your site must be "optimized" for the search engines in order to get higher search engine rankings. What they would like you to believe is this is all very technical and sophisticated, and therefore it justifies the prices they charge for their services.
What is in fact highly technical, sophisticated and developed by absolute geniuses, are the search engine algorithms used to rank sites as the "bots" crawl the millions of sites and bring back information. But you need to understand one thing clearly. The search engines are ultimately looking for only one result - fresh content that will be exactly what people like you and I want when we do a search.
When I made my first attempts at website building, I researched everything I could about website development and how to get my website ranked in the top 10 and then using all the technical tricks and tools to make the search engines happy and rank my site high. You can guess what happened...nothing!
The only way you could find my site was for me to actually tell you my URL. Needless to say, I had very little traffic. Then it hit me, why am I trying to outsmart the brilliant people at the search engines who continue to update their search technology on a daily basis? I realized there has to be a better website development method, and went looking. Face it, with out the search engines ranking your site highly; all your work will be for nothing, because your site will be invisible!
I was very lucky to find a company that not only hosts websites, but has a complete website management and training program. I signed up with them for $300, and it was the best investment I have made yet in my online adventures.
I went through their 10 day course and read every page and watched every video. They quickly pointed out the basic misconceptions people have about website development and building sites that are ranked highly by search engines and how to avoid them. What they made clear to me can be summed up in one phrase used often in their course..."content is king!"
You start your website development with a concept or theme, a subject you are passionate about, a subject you believe you can make into a business. Then you do keyword research about your subject to find out how much search activity there is about your subject on the search engines. You also look at what keywords have the highest search demand versus websites supplying that information, and the resulting gap or surplus. When you find gaps, this means there is demand for information about those keywords, and an opportunity for your concept.
Then you build content rich pages around those keywords, and guess what. That is exactly what the search engine algorithms and "bots" are looking for...CONTENT! But you must never forget the most important part of equation will be the humans that will be reading your pages, so as they say in the training - Keep it real! You must write as your having a conversation with someone sitting in front of you.
If website development is magic, then the magic boils down to three key principles.
* Your website must have a theme that you are knowledgeable and passionate about.
* You must understand you will never outsmart the search engines, and the search engines rankings are based on good content around a specific theme and keywords.
* You must keep your human readers in mind as your first priority and develop your content for them.
Keep these basic principles in site at all times and then, and only then, you will get the results you want -- traffic and increased sales!