Free Basic Checklist for Designing Website Content from a Template

designing first website

When you’re creating a website, how do you make sure what’s on the page is both useful to visitors and gets noticed by search engines? Small business owners just starting out and bloggers with personal websites don’t always have the money to hire an expert for designing website content. Open source web creation tools like WordPress supply templates almost anyone can use, but not everyone realizes what’s going on in the background.

Organizations devote whole departments to search engine optimization (SEO). People with massive brains and extensive computer backgrounds spend their lives analyzing how search engines work and finding ways to tweak every aspect of web development.

This post isn’t for those people.

This is for the beginner using a template who doesn’t have the time or the money to learn to speak computer. As you’re designing your pages, here are some actionable tips.

If you’re really pressed for time, just read the headings and bullet points for a quick checklist.

Start With the User

Ask what brings users to your site? What do they want? Which search terms might they type in to find you? What do they most want to see when they arrive? Brainstorm ideas.

Define Your Goal

Before you start to design a page, narrow down what you want to accomplish. Physically write it down in a few words and make sure everything on your page relates to that

For the Content by Missy home page, I want visitors to buy content (surprise!) They would basically arrive asking “What exactly is content and how does it benefit me to pay for it?” Every element of the page revolves around answering their questions so they can move toward that goal.

Identify Keywords for Designing Website Content

When search engines index your page, they’re looking for keywords or key phrases that tell what it’s about. Find out more about how to identify keywords on the post How to Improve SEO Ranking in Tyler, Texas.

If you’re a roofer, you might find the phrase “roofing contractor” is one of the most common things people search for and decide to make that your focus. Here’s how to use keywords and key phrases.

  • Place your focus keyword in the title as close to the beginning as possible. Don’t be clever; use something like, “Your East Texas Roofing Contractor.” Bots use your title to identify what the page is about.
  • Use the keyword in your first paragraph.
  • Keyword density should be between 0.5 and 2.5 percent. In other words, if your post is 300 words long, use your keyword between two and seven times. If it’s 400 words, use it between two and 10 times.
  • Make sure your keyword or a synonym is in most of your headings and subheadings.

Craft Your Meta Description

A Meta description is often the first thing people see when they search for your business. They look like this:

Content by Missy Meta description

Google decides if your Meta description is good or not based on how many people you get to click on it, so it’s important to make it compelling. Check for these things:

  • Meta descriptions should contain your keyword.
  • Make descriptions between 135 and 160 characters (individual letters and punctuation, not words) including spaces. If it’s longer than that it will get chopped off.
  • Include a call to action that prompts readers to click.

Adjust Length and Readability

Search engines rank pages based on how useful they are to visitors. They’re looking for readable text. Here’s what they want:

  • Make each page at least 300 words long.
  • Write no more than 300 words under each subheading.
  • Make the majority of your sentences 20 words or less. Aim for between nine and 13 words. Most of the words should be three syllables or less.
  • Write in active voice. I started to write, “posts should be written in active voice,” but changed it to practice what I’m preaching.
  • Keep paragraphs short. Aim for between two and five sentences.
  • Use an online calculator to compute readability. This version will analyze a sample for free. I use a plugin on my WordPress site that does it for me. Depending on your audience, you are aiming for between 50 and 80 on the Flesch Reading Ease Scale.

Tag Images

Search engines don’t see photos the way we do. When designing website content, add images for users, but you’ll also need to tag them for search engines.

No one searches for “image2.jpg,” but lots of people with a craving often search for “chocolate cake near me.”  If you post a mouth-watering photo of your restaurant’s specialty dessert, be sure you tag your photo something like, “Dark Chocolate Cake” so crawling bots know how to index it and people who are visually impaired or using search methods that don’t include images know what’s on the page.

cake

Test Your Mobile Version

Google considers the mobile version of your site the “real” one. Go to Google’s Mobile Friendly Test and type in your web address for a quick, free checkup. When I typed in my site, Google told me it was good, but there was one page that wouldn’t completely load. It gave me more information so I could fix the problem.

Want to know more about designing webpage content that gets results? You’d be surprised how affordable it is to hire a professional to write your website content and provide dynamic posts like blogs, e-books and social media blurbs. Contact Content by Missy to find out more today.

 

 

 

 

 

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