FUNctional Web Development & Optimization

We all can see that the word FUN is in functional, but is your “fun” website really functional and utilizing search engine optimization techniques properly?One of my biggest pet peeves is when someone comes to me and says, “We want to have a fun site. We want it pretty and have a flashy banner or home page.” My general comment to that? “So, you want a useless site that will have no presence in the search engines, right?” That’s when they start to back pedal. I’m not against a fun site, or pretty graphics, but what I am against is when that’s the first thing that they think about. You can have a pretty site, a fun site and a functional site, but if you leave out functional, there is no way that your site is going to survive or get the presence it needs in the search engines to garner traffic, leads and an ROI.

As new technology comes available, more functionality is added to websites as Flash becomes less and less used. One site, 20 Things I Learned About Browsers And The Web, showcases the great ability of HTML5. The entire site uses CSS, HTML, HTML5 and text. This functional site is not only pretty and fun, but it has all the ingredients to make it successfully functional.

So, what can you do to make your site functional, but still have that edge?

  • Make sure that you’re using Alt Text for your images, and make sure that your site isn’t one big image. Just because there are words in the image doesn’t mean that the search engines can read that. Search engines are blind visitors, so make sure that you are naming the images and using text in your site.
  • Links – stop using CLICK HERE. Please. Where is HERE? Use what we call link text. Link text is the highlighted text that uses keywords to link to another page.
  • Content – content is STILL king. Use it. Don’t be afraid of it. But one place to be careful about where to use your text is your home page. That page should quickly and easily answer the 4 staple questions -
  1. What is this?
  2. What can I do here?
  3. What do they have here?
  4. Why should I be here and not somewhere else?
  • Talk to your visitors, tell them what they want and need to know. Don’t go off about yourself or your company, but rather guide your visitors and potential leads to what they are really at your site for.
  • Flash is great, but use it sparingly.
  • Web 2.0 is dead. Stop talking about it and move on to Real Time Web Development. Real time Twitter, Gowalla, Foursquare, Facebook, Blog Posts, and constant content generation.
  • Keep in touch with your visitors using Social Media Optimization – get them to sign up for newsletter, RSS feeds, follow you on Twitter or have them “Like” pages or become a fan on your Facebook page.

These are just some of my Search Engine Optimization, Functional Web Development and Social Media Optimization techniques to make your next web development and design a success.



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