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The Web Site Reality Check: Taking a Site Inventory.

Many small business owners make the mistake of launching their website and never looking at it again! If you're not updating your website regularly, visitors aren't likely to visit your site on a regular basis, and you may even be reducing your chances of higher search engine rankings. Improving your search engine rankings is much easier when your site is updated with fresh content, contains significant keywords, and features relevant backlinks. Developing a valuable small business internet marketing strategy is essential for driving traffic and increasing website optimization—a well-developed strategy can also make your website more credible.

Is your site outdated or in need of a refresher? Here are just a few top signs that your website could be brought into the new century:

• Does your homepage provide valuable information, or is it a page that most visitors skip? Making your homepage simple, relevant, and attractive is a top priority if you want a website that will start bringing in high amounts of traffic. If visitors are skipping the homepage, it might be time to update. You can also improve website optimization with a few keywords strategically placed throughout your homepage.

• Does your site have consistent navigation on all of your pages? Navigation and usability are important for a positive website experience, and visitors are more likely to stay and look around when they can get through the website in just a few clicks. Do you have links on your pages that draw visitors deeper into your site? If not, you'll need to add a few simple features to make your website that much more attractive—and easy to use. Online marketing is much easier when visitors are coming to your site on a regular basis.

• Do you have an 'About Us' page that provides an overview of who you are and what you do? This is an excellent way to make your business more personable and approachable. Can your visitors find this page on your site easily, or is it buried at the bottom of your page? Making sure your visitors don't have to dig for this information means making this page easy to find and presented in a clear way.

• Do you have a page featuring your products and services with details? A simple page that directs visitors to more information is all you need to make their visit better. Your small business internet marketing endeavors should include product details and descriptions as often as possible.

• Do you offer testimonials? Testimonials are an excellent way to enhance or develop credibility for your site, giving prospective customer the ability to trust your products and services; it's a simple way to improve your online marketing efforts.

• Does your copy stress the benefits of working with you, or buying your products? Highlighting how your business can help each and every visitor is an easy way to market yourself in a positive way.

• Do all of your links work? Making sure your website is professional and easily accessible is an essential step. Make sure you are using keyword rich links that include your product name instead of generic links, and improve website optimization in the process.

• Is the type or font easy to read? Testing for usability and readability is an essential step of development. You'll need to test the usability of your site on a variety of browsers and monitor sizes to make sure the layout is compatible with all sized screens.

• Do your pages load quickly? Slow page loading can turn off visitors and make it difficult for them to find information they need easily. Are your images optimized for speed in loading? If not, you may need to reconsider what types and sizes of images work well for your site. Images, video, and other larger files can make it difficult for pages to load in a reasonable amount of time.

• Do you offer interactivity on your site? Blogs, forums, discussion boards, and podcasts are great ways for visitors to stay and explore your site—and even subscribe to your content. A blog or other interactive platform helps make the website more personable--and much more interesting!

• Do you offer an RSS feed? RSS feeds or e-mail lists are a valuable way to keep readers interested in your content and visit often. RSS feeds let readers subscribe to your newest posts so that they can click directly to the site after reading the headline.

About the Author:

Entrepreneur and outdoor photography adventurer Caroline Melberg is President and CEO of Small Business Mavericks, a division of Melberg Marketing. She has over 20 years of experience creating marketing communications materials and writing copy for some of the largest and most successful companies in the world and she’s a leading expert on Internet Marketing for small businesses. Her small business columns are syndicated online, and she publishes the award-winning weekly eZine, “Small Business Maverick Secrets.” For more information on search engine optimization for your website, visit her at  today!

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