Monday, January 14, 2008

Why You Need To Optimize Your Web Site

Does your web site get many visitors? Are you getting enough business from your web site? There's not much point in having a web site that nobody visits.

Most people build a web site, submit it to a couple search engines and hope that people will find it. Unfortunately, with so many different web sites and blogs on the Internet, it is not enough just to have a web site out there. If people don't know that your web site exists or how to find it, you might as well not have a web site at all. If you want to drive a constant stream of free targeted traffic to your web site, you need to make sure that your site is optimized with the search engines in mind.

When people use search engines to find information, they rarely bother to look beyond the first three pages of search results; some people don't go any farther than the first page. If you want people to find your web site, you need to take the trouble to optimize your site for the major search engines.

What is search engine optimization?

Search engine optimization, SEO, is simply the process of making changes to your web site to improve your site's search engine ranking for specific keywords. It is a universally recognized way of climbing in search engine rankings.

When people use a search engine to find information about a particular topic, the search engine lists results based on the best matches it can find. Optimizing your web site for the search engines is simply a matter of providing content relevant to the keywords you want to be found for and presenting it in the way that search engines prefer. When you do, your web site is guaranteed to climb in the search engine rankings.

SEO is not difficult; anyone can do SEO when they know the basic steps. It is simply a matter of being methodical and applying the same principles to every page on your web site.

There really is not much point spending time and money creating a beautiful site if people can't find it. If you want more people to find your web site you need to design your site with the search engines in mind and take time to optimize each page for specific keywords.

The good news is that you do not need to be a technical whiz to achieve better search engine results you simply need to apply basic search engine tactics to your web site.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Free Tools for Your Web Site

It does not have to be expensive to get started in web design. There are many free tools available, including HTML editors, graphics programs, and other programs for your web site.

Free HTML Editors

The two most popular free HTML editors are NVU (available at NVUdev.com) and Notetab Lite (available at Notetab.com). NVU is comparable to Dreamweaver. It might not be as powerful as Dreamweaver, but provides enough power for most of us who just want to create some basic Web sites.

Whether you use NVU, Dreamweaver, or Frontpage, having Notetab Lite on your computer is highly recommended. Many people use it for editing existing HTML files. It is quick and easy, and it is freeware.

Free Graphics Program

Probably the most powerful free graphics program is GIMP. With GIMP you can edit photos and other graphics. Most people will find that GIMP is comparable to Photoshop and has all the tools they need. GIMP can be found at GIMP.org.

GIMP supports the most popular file formats: GIF, TIFF, PNG, PSD, and JPEG. It works with Windows XP and Vista, Mac, Linus, and Sun. You can check it out at GIMP.org.

Free Blogging Program

Blogs have become very popular, and the most popular blogging platform is Wordpress. Wordpress is a powerful blogging program that is also a content management system (CMS).

A content management system manages the content on your site. Why is this important? It makes it simple for anyone to set up a site, add content to it, and not worry about it any further. The program manages the content for you, setting it up in archives, categories, and so forth.

There are hundreds (maybe thousands) of free plugins available to make Wordpress incredibly powerful and easy to use. One of the best places to find free Wordpress plugins is at wp-plugins.net.

There are also thousands of free Wordpress templates available. Many of them can be found at the Wordpress.org site under Themes. There are themes that are 2 columns, 3 columns, that accept widgets (which make it very easy to modify the sidebars), and themes of every color and design.

Tutorials for HTML, Wordpress, NVU, and GIMP

All of these programs have tutorials available. There is also a Dummies book for Wordpress if you find it easier to gather information in book format.

Some tutorials can be found at the sites listed above, or you can do a search for "nvu tutorial," "gimp tutorial," or "wordpress tutorial." One of the great things about the Web is all of the free tutorials available.

Get Started Today

With these powerful free tools available there is no reason not to get started online today creating Web sites. If you are completely new, try setting up a Wordpress blog first. It is easy, it is free, and it is a great way to get started.