How to Improve Your Website: The Role & Importance of SEO, Branding, Content, Usability & Beyond

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Need to make improvements to your website and are unsure where to start? The DragonSearch digital marketing workshops: are designed to train organizations on how to most effectively use marketing strategies to attain their goals and achieve success. In addition, our team of experts run local workshops aimed at helping small businesses better understand how to utilize these tactics. This presentation outlines our workshop on Improving Your Website. Held by senior Dragons Etela Ivkovic and Ralph Legnini, it covers topics including: SEO Branding Content Development Usability Information Architecture Analytics Conversion Rate Optimization Content Optimization NAP This is a great way to learn the basics of website improvements, whether you are starting with a new website or are rebuilding an existing site. We invite you to learn more about this topic in the two part series on our blog:


Social Marketology presentation

Workshop for Small & Local Businesses

How to Improve Your Website

The Role & Importance of SEO, Branding, Content, Usability & Beyond

SCORE - about us

SCORE is a nonprofit association dedicated to helping small businesses get off the ground, grow and achieve their goals through education and mentorship.

Ulster SCORE: @etela @ruaralph

DragonSearch about usFull Service Digital Marketing Agency

Founded 2007

Office Locations:New York, NYKingston, NY

PresentersEtela Ivkovic, General Manager, @EtelaRalph Legnini, Senior Project Manager, @ruaralph2

DragonSearch about us

@etela @ruaralph

DragonSearch clients

@etela @ruaralphDragonSearch way

Metrics-Driven how will we know weve won?Constant Testing how can we win better?Industry Leaders in Digital Marketing Process & Strategy what are new ways to win?

@etela @ruaralphDragonSearch core services SEO | Search Engine Optimization evaluate, research, optimizePPC | Pay-Per-Click Digital Advertising analyze, restructure, test, improve, test againSMM | Social Media Management research, strategy, engage, roiCRO | Conversion Rate Optimization analyze, optimize, test, increase leads/sales Creative & Content Marketing video, copywriting, graphic designWeb Development design, programming

@etela @ruaralphDragonSearch core services

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Who Am I? Start with Your Brand

What does your brand stand for? How would you describe your business in 1 to 3 words?What is your voice & personality? Fun? Playful? Formal? Serious?Are you, the individual, representing the brand, or will you create a company that has its own name and brand?How are you different & better than your competitors? What is your unique value proposition (UVP)? Define your brand, voice & personality@etela @ruaralphDo Your Homework

What is happening in the industry? Is it in line with what you are about? Who are your competitors? How well do they define their brand? What are their strengths and what are their weaknesses?How will you focus on opportunities they may be missing?

Analyze competitors and the industry@etela @ruaralphTrust

Does your website project trustworthiness? Does it look hokey or outdated? Is your brand message clear? Is it cluttered with too much information? Are there too many CTAs (calls-to-action)? Does it look like a cheap haphazard website?

How are you broadcasting the image of your brand to potential customers?@etela @ruaralphWhat Name Should I Use for My Business?

Dont rush choosing a name; think it through. You will be building a whole company & brand around this name.Search online and pay attention to the results. Are there other established brands with that name?Is there any negative sentiment or results associated with that name?Do not use different variations of your name; spelled out, truncated or any other deviations. Why? Because it will be confusing to customers & the search engines.Once you decide on the business name, STICK WITH IT!Use only one version of your business name consistently. @etela @ruaralphChoosing Your Domain Name

Try to get your companys name as your domain.Stick with the .com if possible. If you are an organization use the .org extension.Avoid using hyphens - if possible.

Wonder if you should use a keyword rich domain name? Read a bit more about exact-match domain names in this article Keyword Rich Domain Names Should You Invest?

@etela @ruaralphDesign, Navigation & Structure

Your websites design should reflect your brands personality and connect with your audience. Make sure that you have a well-designed logo that is a true reflection of your brand & style.Make your logo small enough on the website so that it is clearly visible and readable. Understand how your customers think about what you offer & structure your site and its navigation with that in mind.Will users be able to understand where they are on your site and navigate to other areas of it?Have clear navigational labels.@etela @ruaralph

Optimizing for Users & the Web

Web users attention span is short.You have only a few seconds to impress visitors before they hit the Back button.Copy is important.Every page should have content with unique topical focus.Are you speaking to your audience? What are you telling them about your brand that will make them trust you? Does the content contain all the pertinent information about what problem you are trying to solve?Create content that others will share.Do keyword research and optimize your copy with rich, semantic language using synonyms and related terms.Use Schema markup on your site. Visit for more.Create great content@etela @ruaralph

Optimizing for Users & the Web

Use original images.Name each image with a descriptive name (i.e. red-corkscrew.jpg not IMG3429.jpg).Use lower case letters with hyphens in between the words.Include a full sentence describing what the image is about in the Alt Attribute and the Caption.The copy surrounding the image will also signal to the Search Engines what the image contains so make sure images are topically relevant and described in the content. Make images easy to share (i.e. Pinterest friendly).

Images@etela @ruaralph

Optimizing for Users & the Web

Title & meta descriptionThe pages Title & Meta Description goes into the code of each page and does not appear on the page . They generally show up in the search results.The Title is seen in the browser.The Title and the Description work together to entice people to click through. The Title Tag is one of the areas Google is looking at to help identify and evaluate what the page is about. Title Tags will truncate after 512 pixels, approximately ~55-60 characters. Descriptions will truncate after approximately ~160 characters, ~920 pixels. Google may choose to pull descriptions or even titles from other sources depending on the searchers query, but this is your opportunity to stipulate what you would like them to see.Optimize your Titles and Meta Descriptions so they are uniquely focused on the topic for each page.@etela @ruaralph

Blogging & Strategic Ongoing Content Creation

Content is key on your website. Every new blog post is a new page that has the potential to become a door to your website through which visitors can enter it. Every page can be a new opportunity to be found, to talk to (and with) your audience and to convert them. Content helps search engines better understand what your website is about. So keep your pages & blog topics relevant to your websites overarching theme. A blog is not static. It is an opportunity to have conversations with your readers through the comments and on social media. Go beyond just thanking them; try to continue the conversation, ask questions, etc.

@etela @ruaralph

Blogging & Strategic Ongoing Content Creation

What do I blog about? Your audience will typically care and connect with you much better if you talk about the passion points behind your brand and your offerings. Find those passion points and the issues/needs your audience is dealing with and that you can help with. Take a look at some of the large brands to see how they are focusing on these passion points instead of on their products purely. i.e. If you are a local business, you can include events and other local topics in your blog that you know are of interest to your customers.How often should I blog?Its not about the frequency but more about the quality and consistency. Find the frequency that works for you and try to be consistent. It is much better to write high quality content less frequently, than to write low quality content often.Low quality content will not only turn your audience away but will also dilute your websites overall value. @etela @ruaralph

Conversions & Call to Action (CTA)

What is a conversion? What defines a conversion will vary from site to site and business to business. Conversions can also change overtime depending on the objectives of your campaigns. Determine what should be a conversion by defining your goals that tie into the main business objectives. Dont focus on ranking in the search engine results pages (SERP) as your goal. Here is a good summary of why rankings should not be your goal. Driving more quality and targeted traffic to your website is a much better goal. Here youll find some examples of common goals to help you get started.@etela @ruaralph

Conversions & Call to Action (CTA)

How do I handle Calls-to-Action?Ensure that your design and structure make it easy for your visitors to convert on the website. Where will you place the call-to-action? Will you have a form? Have good landing pages focused on converting visitors.Include enticing calls-to-action (CTA) on your site to lead potential customers to those landing pages. Its important to have CTAs but too many calls-to-action will be distracting and overwhelming for your visitors and they will be much less likely to follow them. Make submission forms easy to submit to; only ask for information you HAVE to have in the first contact. If you have a multiple step conversion funnel, like in ecommerce platform, closely plan each step and make it easy for them to understand where in the process they are.@etela @ruaralph

The Importance of NAP

Name, address and phoneInconsistent NAP information (Name, Address and Phone) confuses your customers and the Search Engines too. Search Engines want to identify one consistent NAP across the web to confirm your correct information and identity your site, your social platforms and any directories or other sites you are cited on. Dont have Smith & Smith Law AND Smith and Smith Law Firm AND The Law Firm of Smith and Smith. Remember, decide on your brand name and stick with it. The same is true for your address be consistent. Some sites can self-generate your NAP info, pulling it from other sites so if you are not consistent, a big mess can be quickly created.It is hard and time consuming to clean it all up!@etela @ruaralph

Using Google Tools for Insight

Google Analytics (GA)Google Analytics is a free tool that will tell you everything you want (and should) know about the traffic to your website. Install the GA tracking code on every page of your website.Start exploring the collected data and little by little get comfortable digging deeper and deeper into analyzing your website and audience.

Google Webmaster Tools (GWT)Google Webmaster Tools are a free tool that will provide you with valuable information about your website and how Google sees it. Set up email forwarding to get notified if Google finds any issues with your site. Among other things you can submit new pages to Google, see if their crawler is hitting any roadblock or issues when crawling your pages, links to your site that Google is seeing, etc.@etela @ruaralph

Monitor, Test & Experiment All the Time

Keep a close eye on how your website is performing at all times.Continually tweak and test things. There is no one way that will be true for all websites, you have to find out what works best for your. The way to do that is by testing, experimenting and constantly changing.

For additional, more advanced SEO considerations and tips check out this summary and presentation of our advanced SEO workshop we gave at Webgrrls in New York City.

@etela @ruaralph

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Ready this presentations accompanying two part blog post here:How to Improve Your Website - for Small & Local Businesses