Monday 16 Oct 2006
Greetings from inside the SEOigloo!
I mentioned in another post that Liam and I are currently reading Charles C. Mann’s book, 1491, aloud. Though the book contains some interesting information about the Native American cultures of North and South America, we haven’t been that taken with the writing style. Nevertheless, as we were working our way though a section about the ancient city of Tiwanaku in the Andes mountains, we were much struck by the following description of the unending, ongoing construction that was a part of daily life in this place. I quote:
“They build their monuments as if their intent was never to finish them….Completion was not the object. The goal was a constant buzz of purposeful activity”.
Could any quote be more apropos in describing precisely what it is that the world’s best SEOs/developers are advising their clients that they will need to achieve to become key players on today’s world wide web?
Today’s blogs, forums, wikis, etc. have the above object as their exact purpose. Why, the quote even features the word ‘buzz’! It may be that my willingness to see parallels between an ancient city and the Internet are indicative of my need to take a vacation, soon, but isn’t it a perfect fit?
At the outset of a project, we always tell our clients that they mustn’t focus on when their website will be finished. Certainly, we’ll set a date for when the website will be launched. And all of us can enjoy a sense of accomplishment when that important step is achieved, but after we’ve all caught our breath from the heavy work that has gone into the preceding months, it’s time to turn our attention to what comes next.
Most clients do tend to groan a bit when I tell them, “Now comes the real work”, but the ones who are serious about becoming a real web business quickly see the importance of this. In cases where they don’t, we are forced to look closely at whether they are honestly committed to doing what it takes to run a vibrant web presence.
It isn’t just that fresh content and interaction sends the right signals to the search engines that your web presence is a ‘happening’ place, but constantly expanding and improving the usefulness of your website gives your human visitors a reason to come back a second time, a third time and so on. The reason that the big players like youtube are such a hit is because users know that there are always new videos being added that weren’t available at the time of their last visit. It makes the visitor want to check back again to see what neat new thing has shown up.
Imagine if Amazon.com decided today that it wouldn’t be adding any new books. You certainly wouldn’t go there to get the next month’s best seller. But, because you know that Amazon.com keeps their inventory up-to-date, they have become the book king and a huge percentage of people go to their website first to find whatever book they are looking for.
So, how can you create a website that has a constant buzz of purposeful activity?
Consider one or more of the following:
- A blog that gives your company a personal outreach to your visitors and allows them to talk to you.
– A forum in which your visitors/customers can talk to one another.
– A newsletter that features stories/comments from your customers/visitors.
– A moderated review section of your site which enables customers to review your products/services.
And never skip the basics of a simple, effective mode of site navigation that allows your visitors (and the search engine spiders) to buzz about easily from one end of the website to the other. Nothing kills activity like broken links, muddled calls to action, fancy technology that only some viewers can see or which loads too slowly for your dialup visitors to wait around for in the first place.
And keep that content fresh, always with the point in view being that you are trying to become a better and better resource for your clientele. A finished website is a dead website. Take a long, smart look at your www today to see if it really provides a reason for folks to call on you twice, and if you are giving those folks something good to ‘buzz’ about.