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Website Myths Part 2

Steroids alone are a bad enough poison for an athlete, but it might take a while to kill you. It is like the proverbial example of putting a frog into a pot of warm water and putting it on the stove. The frog doesn’t notice the temperature rising until it is too late. That is what search engine spamming and search engine myths are like to your site. The reality, however, is that there is a much quicker way to kill a site than getting sucked into a bad sales pitch from a hosting or search engine optimization company. The quick way is to have a bad site. Having a bad site is like pouring alcohol directly down the throat of the athlete. That athlete won’t even be able to leave the locker room, let alone perform on a field! This type of a mistake is at least salvageable unlike the former problems, if you are willing to eat the wasted site design cost, suck it up and move on.

As people living in America who have grown up with TV, we are drawn to motion. That is a good thing to know because if you put motion into your site, like animation, your site will hold your audience’s attention longer. However, there is a problem that we have seen with animation, specifically Flash, that is a site killer. Search engines look for text not images. If your site is entirely Flash, you are mostly invisible. The other problem with Flash sites is that although they are wonderfully eye-catching, they are generally illegal if you have a “brick and mortar” building. Your site has to be screen reader compliant, or able to be accessed by the sight impaired. This is evidenced by the very expensive lawsuit that Target just lost by not being screen reader compliant. The good news is that if you are screen reader compliant, you are also searchable by the search engines. Don’t throw out motion. It is important. Just don’t do an entirely Flash site, and if you have motion on your site, weight the content and programming to accommodate text to enable the search engines to find you.

The next most misleading information that is being distributed on websites is having a counter on your site, with a guarantee of a certain number of hits a month. Counters are only really useful to someone who has a global market. The world wide web is called that because your audience is the world. . .literally. Your hits can come in from all over the world, and there is nothing you can do about it. You can increase the local hits by making your key words pertinent to the area that you are in, however, by discipline, profession or location. What you can’t do is eliminate the broad reach of the world. A diabolically smart computer guy will have no problem setting you up with a counter that will give you all the hits that you could ever want to see, even if they are coming from Ethiopia. Another way that they can make sure you are getting the hits is to set up a robot to hit your computer from their computer. They will never tell you where the hits are coming from or the quality of the hits that you receive. The counter on your site, however, will tell you what everyone wants to see, lots of hits. There are different types of counters and they don’t always give you all the pertinent information that you need to make the counter relevant and effective for your business.

We avoid counters and focus on the response to the website and giving people a reason to respond directly. You can execute a killer referral marketing effort from a website rather than depend on the winds of chance to blow people to you. That is a more stable targeted way to reach your market anyhow. Take control and take responsibility to put forth an effort that gives people a reason to come to you and find you. Play on the vanity aspect of people and include pictures of customers, patients or clients. Guess what? They will send everyone they know to your site . . .that is like delivering new business right to your door. We have one client who is a master at marketing her business. She changes her site every week to give her clients a reason to come. There is lots of information, offers and special events that keep changing and rotating. Another one of our doctor clients does a health evaluation on line. If you fill it out and bring it in you get a discount, “and by the way his supplements are on sale this week with the evaluation too!” That is a great marketing strategy. Bundle one service or product with another one.

Article Copyright 2007 Educate for Health, LLC and its licensors. All rights reserved.

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