Did your web site not send you flowers this year – AGAIN?

Peter Graves

Written by Peter Graves on .

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Like all relationships the one with your web site takes a little work to get the very best out of it. In this article I’ll suggest a Dozen red roses that may well improve the quality of your relationship... with your web site.

1. Are you taking an interest in what she’s doing?
If you don’t really take an interest in what she’s doing she is unlikely to be fulfilled by the relationship. By setting up “Google Analytics” you can get a real picture of what’s going on, and find out any potential problems in your relationship, and things you can do to improve it. You can track conversions – which of your visitors actually committed to an action on your site. Take an interest and you’ll understand her much better!

2. All you have to do is ask.
Do you know who is looking for your web site and how? Have you used words on it that people are actually looking for? Most web site owners just guess what to say, based on what they know about their own business. While this is relevant to what you do, what if no-one is searching for that, or almost as bad, there are already 20 million web pages offering exactly the same thing? Web Marketers like us have special tools which tell you what search phrases people are actually using, in what numbers, and how many other sites are after the same visitors. All you have to do is ask, and the visitors can be yours!

3. Be Spontaneous.
Everyone likes a bit of spontaneity, and your site is no different. If you see a topic in your industry that gets you thinking, write it down, blog it, and put it on your site. The search engines have algorithms looking for fresh and topical news, so strike when the iron is hot, and get your topical news up there.

4. Raise the intensity.
Neglect is the curse of a relationship, so don’t do it. Once a week try to get something fresh and interesting posted on your site or blog, and your visitors (and search engines) will love you. After all – why come back to a site where you have already read everything? Raising the intensity of your new posts, to even once a week, will make your web site increasingly popular and successful.

5. Quality Relationships.
Your relationship will bloom if you provide quality time, quality information, and quality content. If your site offers its visitors quality information that adds real value to their search, then their chances of coming back are greatly enhanced. Quality posts may be linked to from other parts of the web, enhancing the traffic to your site. Think about what information you might offer to your visitors, be it gardening tips, recipes, holiday location information. They’ll appreciate it and come to see you again.

6. Being seen in the right places.
Some of us are homebodies at heart, but we also like to be seen in the right places from time to time, be it Ascot, Henley, or just a nice restaurant. Your web site likes to be seen in the right places too, and unlike a cocktail at the Algonquin Hotel, it need not break the bank. One the web one of the best places to be seen is in DMOZ – the Open directory. Google looks at this to work out which sites are authorities. However it can take many months for a site to be checked, and listed, by the real people who edit the directory, so apply for free to get listed today: www.dmoz.org. There’s a pile of other important places for any good social climber to “be seen”, and many of them are free too, so get started with DMOZ and then work through the list.

7. Stop Tarting around!
If she finds you tarting around you’ll get a slap – and your phone number blocked. Listing your site in ”Hundreds of directories for free” does not work, not does buying “Hundreds of incoming links”. Worse still these schemes can get you banned from the three directories that matter – Google, Yahoo, and MSN. Focus on building high quality relationships with relevant sites, and improve the quality of your relationship.

8. Communicate - because Love is a two way thing!
No relationship thrives on take-take-take, and nor does your web site. With the advent of Web 2.0 there are lots of tools allowing your visitors to participate, help each other, give and receive advice relevant to your market place. Putting these tools – like Forums, Comments, Polls, Chat Rooms – on to your site can enhance your content, your visitors’ experience, and your financial results.

9. Are you a one night wonder?
You’ll get no flowers for a one night wonder – unless you’re fantastic of course! Regular communication is the secret of relationship building, so when people come to your site give them something useful or interesting to sign up to for free, so that you can keep on talking and building the relationship. If you’re not doing this then your marketing is a one-shot-wonder, your visitors are unlikely to come back, and your web site will never really love you.

10. Naughty can be nice!
It doesn’t always pay to be goody-two-shoes: perhaps he’ll like you more if you’re naughty? This is a technique that used carefully (you don’t want to be too naughty or you might find yourself in trouble), can yield great results. Posting inflammatory content on your blog can get all sorts of people interested and linking to your site, yielding great results. However there’s a right way and a wrong way to do it, so tread carefully, and remember you really do have to find a way of doing this that doesn’t hurt anyone!

11. Consideration.
Show a little consideration and show what a nice type you are – it works in your favour in the long run. On the web one aspect of this is the accessibility of your site, which can manifest itself in resizable fonts, Alternative text for your images, and a raft of other techniques making your site easier to use for the elderly or the hard of vision. It can cost a little more to set a site up this way, but the benefits can be substantial, and of course – you’re doing the right thing. One really good example of how NOT to do this is my old web site www.channeldigital.co.uk which rather embarrassingly adheres to none of these principles, and enshrines a large number of other poor practices which you may spot. But it has one saving grace – there is a newer and better successor on the way, so I will eventually start showing a little consideration – I promise!

12. Let her know you love her.
Oh but how can I tell my web site I love it – don’t be so ridiculous. This article has really gone too far now. Well as luck would have it there is a way, several ways in fact. Some of them are called Digg, Squidoo, Technorati, Del.icio.us, and other funny nerdy names. These are the main “Social bookmarking sites”, and the place to go to tell a web site that you love it. You get to share your love with other lovers, and tell them why you love your (or another) site so much. If you haven’t visited these sites yet then have a go, they’re all free to join, very popular, and very effective, so tell a web page you love it, I’m sure there’s plenty to go round!

Well this article is a slightly different approach to the subject of love on the internet isn’t it; what do you think? Is it tacky? Do you pity my girlfriend? Does it stretch an already weak analogy much much too far, or is a humorous, useful reminder of a few things you could be doing better in your business? Do feel free to let us know (politely) – you can comment, criticize, or even Dig it!

Remember though – spend a little attention and time on your relationship with your web site, and you may be receiving flowers next year on Valentines, or perhaps some more visitors, money to buy yourself some flowers even? Who Knows...

Happy Friday!

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