Is the Web Working for You or Are You Working for the Web?
Let’s face it -- fewer and fewer people are just strolling in our front door. We have a new ritual in shopping and that is checking out stores and categories online. Years ago the Yellow Pages advertised “let your fingers do the walking.” Today, it is part of our culture.
You might have a great website, but if the category/categories or brand of merchandise doesn’t show up in a web search, then you don’t even exist in the mind of the customer. Then there is another scenario -- going to a site expecting to find what you are searching for and if you don’t see it in the first few seconds, you quickly click off. However, what is really frustrating for the retailer is knowing they have the merchandise but no one is seeing it.
So lets define the problem.
- Showing up on a web search when:
- Customer is searching for a specific category of merchandise.
- Customer searches by brand name.
- You get to the site but can’t find the merchandise or brand you are searching for.
Here are some remedies to these issues that might be the difference in making, or not making, a sale.
List the categories of merchandise you carry. Use lines like, “known for the best (or greatest) selection of wedding rings” or “the place to go for engagement rings”. Then list all of those categories together, etc.
The key is to use your key word or, as I like to call it, your DNA of business over and over again. If you are a muffler shop, keep using the word muffler over and over again.
Create a separate landing page just dedicated to specific categories of merchandise. These pages don’t have to be long but they must focus on one category and only one category of merchandise.
Another trick is to list the categories of merchandise you sell on every page of your website. It can be tucked away in the corner but it shows continuity.
Similar and even more effective than listing categories is to list the names of all of the vendors you carry in very small typeface on the bottom of every page you create. When I first saw this I hated it and fought it but the numbers don’t lie. This concept works extremely well.
Alternative Text also known as ALT Text are the few words that go behind the picture to explain the picture. Remember-- search engines can’t read pictures, they just read text. Many people manipulate the use of the Alt Text by using similar words to promote one idea, a piece of merchandise, or a category, which is exactly what the alt text does better than anything else. (You can always tell whether or not if you have a good web designer by their inclusion of alt text.) It should be an integral part of your marketing efforts.
Blog about the category or brand.
Tweet about the category or brand.
Use titles on all stories, articles, or even any information you write about on your website. Instead of just saying ABOUT US, use a catchy headline such as, “FROM A SIMPLE BEGINNING TO WHAT WE ARE TODAY.” It creates reader interest.
Lastly, use the sub-headline, or what I call paragraph identifiers. An example is in the ABOUT US section that has the headline “FROM A SIMPLE BEGINNING TO WHAT WE ARE TODAY”. Then the next paragraph might start off with, “FROM THE OUTSET QUALITY WAS IMPORTANT.” All you are doing here is making your website more user friendly. You are making it easier for readers to navigate your site which in turn allows them to stay on your site longer. And the longer someone stays, the better the chance they will buy or take some positive action, such as visit your store.
This list of 10 only scratches the surface of what the web can do for us when we use the tools available to make the web live up to its full potential.