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Secrets of Successful Websites Part 2

As the Renaissance swept across Europe during the 15th and 16th centuries, it was fueled by Johannes Gutenberg’s information-processing machine: the printing press.  That rebirth lasted several hundred years.  The new Renaissance is being sparked by the invention of the PC and public access to the Internet, both of which have occurred only within the past 25 years.  Gutenberg’s printing press brought knowledge and the classics within reach of the nobility.  The PC and the Internet are extending the reach of virtually everybody in the world.

The power of the technology is making many businesses re-think their basis strategies.  Small businesses are now able to extend their reach and sell their products around the world.  Larger companies, like Encyclopedia Brittanica were almost driven out of business until they recreated their entire business model and adapted to the new order.  The Internet levels the playing field, allowing small and large business to compete, having equal voices in the medium.

It is a very important that in the very beginning of the campaign that enlightened strategic decisions be made about the objectives of the campaign.  Frequently these decisions should prompt a re-examination of fundamental assumptions which are articles of faith in the normal course of business.  Among these challenges might be

  •     What is your product?
  •     Who are your potential customers?
  •     How do you reach them in a cost effective manner?
  •     What is their perception of your product?
  •     How do they refer to your product?

It is equally important that these question needs to asked and answered on a continuous basis in order to compete effectively in the changing Internet terrain.  Not only will the answers change, but the questions will, too.

It is often during the strategy of the campaign when decisions are made that determine whether a website will be successful or not.  The object of the game is NOT to get as many visitors to your site as possible.  The object is to get as many qualified prospects as possible, and then keep them there to buy.

Almost all Internet first time traffic is directed through either search engines, directories, or per-per-click organizations.  This is both good and bad news.  It is bad because, it puts individual websites in the position of having to conform to the rules of the indexers.  Unfortunately, each indexer has its own set of rules, some of which are mutually exclusive with other indexers.  It takes a very clever and exacting listing strategy to be successfully listed by all of the search organizations in such a way that you get near the top of most lists.  This must be an ongoing process, because the players, and the rules themselves change.  What makes this especially challenging is that the search engine folks are not at all candid about their selection criteria.

The good news is that, in exchange for forcing you to ferret out and adhere to their selection rules, the engines themselves make available, on a quantified basis, the phrases Internet users submit.  Sophisticated parallel processing databases collect the billions of phrases sought each year from the major search engines, and quantify related phrases and words grouped by subject.

These services then examine all of the key words in the websites to evaluate the competition for those searched-for phrases.  The result is a list per site of several hundred to a thousand words.  One forms a quotient of the number of times a phrase is requested, and the number of times the phrase appears in all websites.  With some thought, then, we can create a well-conceived list of phrases we feel would be useful to the user-public to find our websites, and then, using our fancy subscriber database we can evaluate the expected efficiency of those phrases, choosing the best of the bunch to define our clients’ sites.

The structure of the Internet process today demands a strategy of multiple highly targeted and focused messages, coupled with an intelligent network of methods to discover those messages.

The level of sophistication demanded by the Internet and its search engines has grown several orders of magnitude over even the past 5 years.  Fortunately, those same search engines, and the processing power of the Internet have also made available the tools to cope with and adapt to those new rules.

However, those websites that do not use those tools to evaluate and adapt to the changes will be soon become marginalized just like a corner candy store.

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Chatham, NJ
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This page revised   May 23, 2006
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