‘Practical Techie:’ Optimizing websites with key tools
Keeping a website functional and fully purposed, is not only prudent but financially rewarding.
If your commercial site is of you’re own doing, or professionally designed, keeping it running the way it should is a sound business move. Not only for profit reasons, but to avoid technical hassles or legal entanglements.
Let’s examine some tools to do so.
First of all, content management.
This has been said many times: In the cyberworld, content is king.
Good content gives websites good ranking in search engines, because nowadays, they scan a site’s subject matter and not so much the hidden tags and metadata as in the old days when the Web was born.
Ranking makes a website visible, and the more original the content the more ranking it gets. But, it’s not just search engines that like content.
Your customers also appreciate solid, fresh material. Make it point to promote your wares in a crisp, different or innovative style. Be vivacious, bubbly, spirited about your product or services.
It’s easy and natural, if you are passionate about what you offer to your virtual clients. If you are not a word person, or lack visual skills, hire professional content makers.
Make sure the content that you generate yourself, or hire others to create, is essentially original. A tool for this is the plagiarism checker. Visit this site dustball.com and make sure that your content is not already somewhere else in the Web. Remember, if it is, search engines will blackball your site for being repetitive or plagiarist.
Writing spry, vibrant articles about aspects of your industry is a great way to generate visitors. Each visitor must be primed as a potential customer. Another useful tool is a registry, but not as a requisite to see your content but rather as a guest book sort of thing. Ask the visitor to register in exchange for advisory, alerts and promotional offers. Use this tool poppydog.com to create registration services in your website.
Your visual content should also be not proprietary. That is, owned by other people. Otherwise, there will be legal issues.
So what are the options for owning your content?
One is to ask for permission to borrow. If you’re a retailer and you want to copy the product descriptions for your shopping cart from that of your manufacturer, simply ask for a license to use. If not, create your own. Never cut and paste.
When selling a product online, make sure it looks good in visuals.
Professional looking images are mandatory. Since you’re not a photographer or graphic artist, go to shutterstockphoto.com gettyimages.com, istockphoto.com or bigstockphoto.com for licensed visual content. If you have no budget, use creativecommons.org, for public domain visuals. This other tool dustball.com/icons/ will help you find flashy, open source icons for your content.
Another tool to make your visitors’ presence worthwhile at your site is helpbubble.com. It adds a “help” system to your site to let new arrivals find things easier.
Want to be more interactive with visitors? Try turbotally.com to create an instant poll. Want to entice your clients? Create a contest on Twitter about your product or services. It’s a great marketing and branding strategy.
This one, shopify.com will help set up a fully hosted and customizable online shopping cart that accepts all global currencies.
Here are other tools to help manage your business time offline. Fonolo.com gives callers to your business a fast road to a sales rep. On the other hand, voxox.com let you stay connected by syncing contacts on different platforms, calls, chat, messaging and social media shares.
DocuSign.com will help you manage electronic signatures and e-signature for transaction documents. It is a cloud-based electronic signature platform to help companies and individuals securely collects information or sign e-documents.
Talking about originality. Try this tool: trademarkia.com has 6 million registered logos in its date base. Search for names or slogans to make sure your name or idea is not already floating out there in cyberspace
Want to cut proposal or bid writing time to a minimum? Use bidsketch.com to put together client proposals in minutes.
Another tool, mailchimp.com is already generic name on the Web, but many don’t know what it’s for. It helps business people use newsletter templates for marketing purposes and even allows for customizing your own design.
Want to do some industrial spying? Legally, that is.
SpyFu.com searches for competitor’s keyword use on the Web.
“[The tool] exposes the secret marketing formulas of your most successful competitors. Search for any domain and see every place they’ve shown up on Google, every keyword they’ve bought on Adwords, every organic rank, and every ad variation in the last six years,” boast the Spyfu people.
Then there’s vendio.com, a platform for selling your goods on multiple e-commerce channels, including Amazon, eBay, Facebook, etc.
Like to use whiteboards a lot with your team? Well, balsamiq.com lets you create electronic ones on your laptop, desktop or wall screen.
Bear in mind that some of these tools are for hire while others are open source.