Your website is an important vehicle to help generate leads for your business and to create awareness for your products and solutions. This section covers the following:
- Things to Consider When Creating Your Website
- Making Your Website Search Engine-Friendly
- Linking to ni.com from Your Website
1. Things to Consider When Creating Your Website
- Clearly define the strategy for your site and decide on the primary goals and objectives.
It is important to establish what you are trying to accomplish in each area of your site. Having clearly identified objectives (i.e.collecting leads, driving e-commerce, generating inbound calls, educating users) helps you prioritize which content to include on your pages. When adding content to an area of your web site, always ask yourself, "Does this content match my objective?"
- Create compelling content and present it clearly on your site.
When writing content for your website, keep your users in mind. Address their needs, pain points, and concerns and explain how your products and solutions alleviate those problems. They care about how your system benefits them. Having useful content is crucial, but it doesn’t help anyone if users cannot find it on your site. Think about how to most logically group your content and organize it on your site. Clearly label sections of information and pieces of content so that users can skim the page and find what they’re looking for. Based on your experience with your customers, highlight their most typical key points of interest.
- Check to make sure you have a clear user experience and friendly interface.
Make sure that your site is easy to use and to navigate for your users. If it’s hard for them to find what they’re looking for, they might give up and leave. It is tempting to try to cram a bunch of content and calls to action on one page, but that often clutters the experience and potentially confuses the user. If in doubt, keep things simple, and refer to your primary objectives to decide what to prioritize and present on the page. When you are working with customers, feel free to request their feedback on your website, and what they would like to add or change.
2. Make Your Website Search Engine-Friendly
Search engine optimization (SEO) helps increase traffic, and therefore leads, to your website. This section covers the following: understanding how search works, understanding the user, optimizing content on the page, and promoting content off the page. This is intended as a basic introduction. There is much more you can learn about SEO. It is recommended that you continue pursuing this topic as it can directly impact the performance of your website.
Understanding How Search Works
Search engines feature four main functions:
- Finding content: Search engines use software (bots) that move from page to page through links to find your content.
- Indexing content: This is the process of bots parsing through the HTML on a page and storing it in a file for the search engine to reference when a user searches for a term.
- Returning results to the user based on relevancy: The main way that search engines determine relevancy to a page is through something called anchor text or link text. Anchor text is the visible, clickable text in a hyperlink. You want this anchor text to match as closely as possible to the keyword you are trying to optimize.
- Ranking those results based on importance: Search engines determine importance based on popularity and the quality of your popularity (for example, who is deeming your content popular). Search engines are trying to reward good content, so it assumes that popular content is deemed good by users.
Understanding the User
The way the user interacts with a search engine is by inputting keywords. It’s important to understand the language users use to describe their applications and your products and services. That way, you can get the right people to your site. By using these keywords in your web site content, search engines will associate your web site with these keywords and direct users to it.
- Ask yourself/sales team
- Search the keyword
- Use your web analytics tool
- Look it up on the Google keyword tool
- Test it with Google AdWords
- Narrow your list of keywords down to 1-3 per page
- Think about long tail SEO. That is the distribution of search terms from broad to niche. Which 20% of keywords gives you 80% of the correct traffic?
- Broad terms: A very broad word such as “daq” is going to get a lot of search traffic, have a lot of competition, and have a lower probability of converting.
- More niche terms: These phrases have less competition and less search volume, meaning you could potentially get less traffic to your site. But these terms also convert better, meaning the customers that get to your site are more likely to continue shopping and browsing because your site applies to them well.
- When selecting a particular keyword for one page, think about your goals. Are you trying to build awareness that you are a DAQ vendor but are less concerned with converting people to leads or sales? Then a broad term might be a good decision.
Optimizing Content on the Page
Search engines view certain content on the page as more important based on where you place it. The items with a higher weight are page title, headings, and URL, so you want to make sure that your keywords are included at this level.
- HTML tag: This is a code surrounded by brackets (<>) that denotes format, hyperlinks, or information for the bot.
- Page title: The page title or title tag shows up in a few places. It is visible at the top of the browser. It is also the clickable link in the search engine results.
- Meta tag: This is a type of HTML tag that gives information about the page. The bot can see this information in the HTML, but the user can’t see it on the page. Users can see it on the search engine results page below the clickable link. It is not a factor in determining your rankings, but it can help persuade users to click on your link versus another one on the first page.
- Heading: This is recognized by the HTML tag “H” and then the number, such as H1 or H2 as the heading tag.
- Keyword at the page level: Sprinkle the keyword throughout the body content, with a few variations to allow for user variations in the query and for natural writing in the content. At the page level, it’s really important to remember your users. If they type in a search term, get to a page, and find out it’s not about that keyword, they’re going to leave.
Promoting Content off the Page
Of all the things you can do to optimize your content for search, this is the most important. The search engine determines your popularity and relevence at the top of the results page largely based on which external sites link to yours.
- Get links from trusted, relevant sites. Examples include:
- Credible institutions: .edu, .gov
- User-generated: blogs, forums
- Focus more on external links than internal
- Get links from multiple unique domains
Build links to your site by
- Creating exciting content: If people are really excited about what you do as a company, they are naturally going to talk about you and link back to your site.
- Building relationships: Build relationships with editors to get them to write articles for you; build relationships with bloggers in your industry to get them to write posts about you.
- Taking advantage of social media: Post comments on blogs and forums related to your industry. Social media is a great way to get links back to your site.
- Participating: Make sure you are participating in the forums, conferences, and communities that contain your target audience. This helps you spread the word, forge relationships, build credibility, and much more.
3. Linking to ni.com from Your Website
Cross-linking between relevant and content-rich sites is important for driving traffic. Your company can greatly benefit from linking to our site. For example, by linking between sites, you improve your ranking in web search engines, as we just discussed above. Higher rankings mean better chances that customers will come to both ni.com and your websites looking for your services and solutions.
As a contributor to the LabVIEW Tools Network, take advantage of the Related Links section of your model page to link back to important documentation and demos on your own website. Link back to your model page on ni.com and the LabVIEW Tools Network to strengthen the link connection.
As always, feel free to post your own ideas below.
LabVIEW Tools Network Product Manager