July 2006 Newsletter

Make Your Home Page Powerful!

The 4specs 2006 Specifier Survey shows that 60% of the product research by specifiers surveyed uses the Internet. By now it should be obvious that your web decisions are crucial to future business.

The goals for your home page and website should be to:

I look at 500-1,000 product websites a month in the maintenance and expansion of 4specs. I see so many bad websites that I get frustrated. If I cannot properly classify a company as to what they make, how will the architect or specifier be able to use the website product information to make design decisions? Here is one of the worst sites looked at this month. Hint - the navigation to the product information is hidden in the yellow circles. Cute, but very ineffective for both the user and the search engine.
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Here is a company that has given away their home page power. There is absolutely no reason for a search engine to send a user there. I typically find that flash sites are just that - all flash - and no substance. Flash is like the Texan saying - "all hat and no cattle."
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Before you think that I only like dull websites, remember that consumer-related sites have very different requirements. This book site has been search-engine optimized very well and yet the site would be considered to be visually sophisticated. This site is more of a consumer site than a business to business site.
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As I started to write this newsletter I received a newsletter from WilsonWeb. This newsletter addresses everything I planned to and more.You may want to subscribe to this newsletter yourself.

The newsletter title is The Web Marketing Checklist: 32 Ways to Promote Your Website. While this newsletter is about promoting your site, you need to be thinking of the search engines during website design and not as a rescue mission when your search engine referrals fall off drastically.

Last month's Jakob Nielsen's newsletter had an appropriate quote:

"Many business-to-business (B2B) sites are stuck in the 1990s in their attitude toward the user experience. Most B2B sites emphasize internally focused design, fail to answer customers' main questions or concerns, and block prospects' paths as they search for companies to place on their shortlists.

"These sites haven't realized that the Web has reversed the company-customer relationship. Most online interactions are demand-driven: you either give people what they want or watch as they abandon your site for the competition's." (Emphasis in the original)

This article is right on target - I propose that manufacturers with great websites will increase business, and those with poor websites will lose business - and they will never know why they were not specified and had to try and substitute their products on a project. There is a long article that can be purchased that will probably be of value to you.

Getting New York Times More Search Engine Friendly
The NYTimes finally realized they had been ignoring the search engines and here is what they did:
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There is a great article in the SearchEngineNews.com website this month. This is a subscription-only site, and well worth the $100 cost for six months. SearchEngineNews is one of the resources I use. Here is the title:
"How to Appeal to Multiple Departments and Split Personalities...
Surviving the Politics of Building a Company's Website"


Colin Gilboy
Publisher - 4specs
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