Thursday, October 15, 2009

Website Tools

Increasingly the best and easiest way to get information about your business or organization to Livingston County residents is through the internet. I recently ran across a very helpful website that gives information and advice for economic development websites, but I think the information can be useful for businesses and organizations in Livingston County as well. Here are some of the main points:

1. Content Architecture
Whoever is in charge of website content needs to start out with a content plan. The contents of the website should be organized into logical and practical sections. It is important to organize information that will best serve your customers and community members. A disorganized website with broken links is one good way to scare off visitors to your website.

2. Searches
More than half of all internet users use search engines (google, yahoo, etc.) to find information on the internet. There are a few things you can do to make sure that your business or organization is first on the search lists. Most searches consist of one or two words, so it is important to anticipate what words your visitors will use to search for your website. Make sure that you use those words often throughout your website. For example, if you are an insurance company, you need to have a high density of the word "insurance" throughout your website. If you think visitors will search by location and you are located in Flanagan, for example, you should have the word "Flanagan" or "Flanagan, IL" in various places throughout your website. Another factor can be the number of links between your website and other relevant websites. To illustrate, main street organizations in the county will have a higher search engine ranking if they are linked with other main street organizations in the area.

3. Make it easy and quick
The average time that someone spends on the GLCEDC website is 2 minutes and 53 seconds. We have that much time to get visitors the information we want them to have. The easiest way to direct visitors to important information is through navigation menus. Menus should be visible and uncluttered. Fold-out menus that allow customers to scan through page options is a good, time saving idea. Menu titles should be short, clear, and describe exactly what information the visitor will find by clicking on it.

Lastly, remember to update your content frequently. New, interesting content will keep you on the minds of customers and community members. You can make simple changes like updating pictures or news articles once a week to keep your website looking fresh and up to date.

For more information about building and maintaining a dynamic website follow this link.

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