When a picture doesn’t tell 1,000 words

When designing a new website quite often the first thing that people talk about is what they want it to look like.

Investing in graphic design is a hugely important way to convey meaning around a company’s attributes, its values and personality, as well as presenting products in a way that makes them desirable.

But here’s the rub.

When it comes to ensuring your website is ranking well in search terms and is therefore easy to find via search engines – it’s only words that matter.

And they need to be the right words – so the pithy copy you have agonised over to produce clear and concise product descriptions just might not be enough to drive the right traffic to your site.

There are three questions that could help you on the way to increasing your website’s visibility.

What are your customers searching for?

If you’re describing your products in terms of “bespoke couture cakes”, your customers probably won’t find you if they are searching for “wedding cakes in the Scottish Borders”.

So you have to develop your site content so that it includes keywords – these are the words people type in when they do a search.

Including keywords in your website copy is the first step in attracting traffic from Google. There are lots of free keyword tools online that will help you do this.

Are you regularly generating content?

When you update your site regularly with new content Google will crawl it more often increasing your page rankings. So generate articles, news items or consider writing a regular blog (either on your site, or using a free blog publishing tool) that publishes content relevant to your website.

Who is linking to your website?

An in-bound link is a link to your site from another website. Good quality links (i.e. from well-ranked sites) will help increase your page rankings. Try generating content that encourages other sites to link back. This could include issuing online press releases or offering your services as a guest blogger for another site.

“As the Chinese say, 1001 words is worth more than a picture”, but if your site is heavily dominated by images, logos or video, ensure that they are identified by a text ‘alt tag’ (alternative text) so that they do add value to the site in search engine terms. These things don’t rely on marketing budget (you may need to ask your web developer to create effective alt text for your site) if you are willing to invest some time in marketing your website yourself.

But time is money and it may be more cost effective to get an expert to do this for you.

Visit www.borderscreative.com where you will find a wide range of marketing consultants working across the Borders and beyond who would be happy to provide advice and guidance.