I talk with who have Web sites feel that they must have
one to be up-to-date, and must also have a professional
e-mail address and a Web site address for their stationery
and business cards. But other than that, they really
do not see the benefit that a Web site brings them.
I hope to help those
of you who are disappointed with the impact of your
current Web site to make some positive changes, as well
as to encourage those of you who have not yet committed
to a Web site to take the plunge.
More than ever, technology
impacts the business world and its influence will only
This article will
give you a targeted “cheat sheet” of terminology
and definitions that will allow you to confidently interact
with your webmaster or Web site development company
as well as your colleagues. As in any other aspect of
business or life, if you know what to ask for, you will
be more likely to get what you really want.
These are basic yet often misunderstood terms defined
in simple English.
site: An organized group of documents/pages
designed to inform, sell and/or entertain. It is, by
nature, like a small “machine” with working
parts that need maintenance. Thinking of it in those
terms makes it far less intimidating. Whether one page
or a thousand, it is—if done well—no more
complicated structurally than a basic outline.
Someone who has registered with your Web site and accesses
it with a username and password.
who visits your Web site.
Simplistically, there are two major components of a
Web page—one you see and one you don’t.
What you see is created by the code that you do not
see. What you do not see—the code—is what
is referred to as the “backend.” Code is
written in several languages, the most common of which
are Hypertext Markup Language (html), Active Server
Pages (asp), ColdFusion (cfm) and Hypertext Preprocessor
The system of links that allows the smooth and logical
movement from one part of the Web site to the other.
This may be the most underrated factor in whether a
Web site is successful or is just a frustrating maze.
You want to be able to get to all major parts of the
Web site from the home page within one or two clicks
of the mouse.
Every time you press the right or left button on your
mouse you have clicked. Most of the time a click is
simply the means to get from one place to another. In
Internet marketing, it is money. It is how a visitor’s
interaction with your site can be tracked. It is how
you know if your visitors are going where you want them
to go. It is how you track potential sales and/or leads,
or how many visitors are viewing what properties or
accessing what information. It is how analytics are
The way in which visitor information is tracked. Analytics
will tell you as much or as little as you want to know
about who is visiting your site, where they are going
when they get there and what action they take as a result
of the action items you have put in place for them.
No matter what size your site is, analytics are critical
to measuring your effectiveness and what you need to
do to improve. Whether you use a free service—like
the excellent Google Analytics—or one of the big
analytics companies, this is a must-have. It is also
critical that you learn how to read your own analytics
reports. Not doing so is like letting a monkey do your
“Call to action” is a pretty trendy phrase
right now, so you probably know that this means enticing
your visitor to communicate with you through filling
out a form, sending you an e-mail, filling out a survey
or picking up the phone. The lure is often something
for free or a discount or some other tidbit that your
visitors are likely to be tempted to give up their e-mail
address or contact information to get. You will find
that simply providing a pleasant experience on your
Web site will encourage people to contact you and is
the most consistent action item you can offer. Getting
contact information from a visitor is the goal.
This is when a visitor takes a desired action that can
be tracked. A conversion results in the creation of
a record of a contact point, lead or sale. Conversion
rate is the percentage of visitors that act on your
call to action. Success is converting a visitor into
Optimization (SEO): This is the process of
making your site ready to take optimal advantage of
any search engine listing. Whether you choose to purchase
search engine marketing or submit yourself, optimization
is the key to getting that coveted top position in the
natural listings. In intent, it is simple; clearly state
what it is you have to offer. Make sure every page describes
in text what people can expect to find there in direct,
searchable terms. (Images cannot be read by robots.)
The application of
the intent is more complicated. There are really no
tricks or shortcuts. It is a matter of commitment and
time. Web sites like BruceClay.com, Bravenet.com and
Google Webmaster Tools are of enormous help. No matter
how fabulous your site, if your target audience can’t
find you, you are lost among the billions of sites out
there that have not taken advantage of straightforward,
intuitive steps to get listed.
This bit of code gives a snapshot of your site to the
search engine robots that scan your site for relevance.
There are several schools of thought on the use of MetaTags.
Most of the serious pros will tell you to use them—especially
if you are doing it yourself. Any search will turn up
tons of MetaTag Generators which will create a proper
set of MetaTags for you. They are all about the same.
Below is code that
you can use. Just replace the items in red with your
information and copy/paste the tags between the <html>
--- </html> tags in your code.
<title>Your Web site title should have key words
or phrases in it—keep it short</title>
<meta name="resource-type" content="document">
[if you have listings on your site you might want
to classify your content as catalogue/catalog]
<meta name="generator" content="Your
<meta http-equiv="pragma" content="no-cache">
<meta name="revisit-after" content="30
days"> [if you change your content more often
change to 15 days]
<meta name="classification" content="short
descriptive phrase such as residential listings">
<meta name="description" content="description—keep
under 350 characters.">
<meta name="keywords" content="keywords—less
is more—try to keep it less than 25 words or
phrases and make sure they really relate to your site
and appear in the text of your Web page. Separate
each with a comma, e.g., keyword, keyword, keyword
<meta name="robots" content="FOLLOW">
<meta name="distribution" content="Local">
<meta name="rating" content="Safe
<meta name="copyright" content="Your
<meta name="author" content="Your
<meta http-equiv="reply-to" content="firstname.lastname@example.org">
<meta name="language" content="English">
(search engine submission): This is the process
of submitting your Web site to a search engine for listing.
Manual listing is the only way to go, whether you do
it yourself or hire someone to do it for you. Claims
to “Get Listed in 3 Million Search Engines for
Free” are a complete waste of your time and you
will have given your e-mail address to people who will
sell it to anyone. There are lots of reputable search
engine submission companies out there. Choose one that
offers to MANUALLY submit your site.
If you do it yourself, the most important submissions
you make will be to DMOZ
(The Open Directory Project). Their partners include
AOL Search, AltaVista, HotBot, Google, Lycos, and Netscape
Search. You should submit to Google
So, when you are talking to your webmaster, ask about
parts of your site that seem confusing or unnecessarily
complicated. Take the time to go through the site yourself.
I know you are busy, but you are the best judge of how
to serve your target audience. If it feels good to you,
it is probably going to work. If it doesn’t, you
need to have “the conversation” with your
Ask if your site is
optimized. Ask what keywords are being used. Look at
the list of words and phrases and ask yourself, if you
were searching for someone offering what you offer,
would you use those words or phrases? Trust yourself.
Trust your webmaster too. Just let him/her know what
you want—they cannot read your mind any more than
you can read theirs.
If you do not think
your site is well-organized, ask for a sitemap and use
it to plot changes. Make your own sitemap like you would
a flow chart to show what you think would be best. This
is a nice one from Google that gives you an idea of
how to plan a Web site. Notice that every major element
is reachable in a couple of clicks.
Your site should look
good and be up-to-date in design. Go to Web site template
sites and look at what they have in their high-end templates.
Find something you like and show it to your Webmaster.
Looking good is not enough, you have to have everything
else I have mentioned as well. The best of both worlds
is what you want; look great and function even better.
is a great site to bookmark or add to your links for
ready definitions of all things Web.
will never regret taking the time to do these things.
If there is someone in your office that you trust, delegate.
Whatever you do, do not throw good money after bad and
neglect these basic checkpoints for your Web site. You
would not be intimidated by a challenging property negotiation,
so don’t let your Website be any different.