Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Making First Contact

Making First Contact

There are many people these days who have their own website. I remember, when I first created mine back in 2000; it was absolutely nerve-wracking to press the publish button. For some reason, I had the notion that as soon as I pressed it I would be inundated with so many requests for product that I would be overwhelmed and not be able to fill the orders fast enough. Needless to say, that did not happen. I soon found out that I could have the most awesome site in the world and not get one order. Why? was the question of the day. What had I missed? I had a great product, a user-friendly website, and still, the phone wasn’t ringing, the emails weren’t coming, and I was totally confused. Not knowing anything about the web at that point, it was quite shocking and completely deflating.

I know now that it was because I was not ‘connected’. So, the first thing I did was submit my URL (Uniform Resource Locator), meaning my internet address to the search engines. Think of it as creating a beautiful card to send to someone and then not having an address; it won’t get very far. I submitted to Yahoo! Google, Dmoz-the Open Directory Project, Lycos, Alt Vista, and dozens of others. It was time-consuming but it began to pay off by creating lines of communication between my site and the directory’s site… just like the lines in a spider’s web.

I learned about keywords. At that point I’d come up with twenty keywords to describe what my site was all about. I use Front Page, which creates the html for me as I enter the data. I entered the keywords into the html page. The reason I did this is so that when my website is ‘crawled’ by a search engines ‘spider’ all of the keywords associated with my site will be recognized and my listing will be easier to find. For instance, right now I have several dozen keywords some of which are: ….my name spelled every way it could be ie: Lyn, Lynn, Lynne, Lin, Linn Ayre, Aire, Arye, Air and so on), energy, healing, courses, workshops, learning, classes, sessions, Reiki, (all the modalities by name, level, and by meaning), and so on. When I meet someone and they ask for a card (don’t leave home without them) then lose the card and all they can remember about me is my name is Lyn, I live in Coquitlam, and do something with energy, they will be able to find my site.

Reciprocal links
All of my business comes through my website via surfing the web and word of mouth referrals. I have a links page and do reciprocal links with others of like mind or of sites that are in harmony with mine. I also belong to organizations who refer people to my website.

Helping Others
Recently, two friends asked me to have a look at their websites. Here are some of my comments...

…Going to View then to Source, I see there are only a couple of keywords there. It may be great fun to have your friends read over the site and then make a list of ten keywords each that people may type into search engines and that are just associated with dogs such as leash, dog food, and dog groomers. You may also want to put your name in the keywords (use all possible spellings) so that when you meet people and the only thing they can remember about you is your first name and that you have something to do with dogs, there'd be a chance they would find you using a search engine.

Another thing that can be done it to optimize each page. If you go to LynAyre.com and watch the very top bar as you go to each page, you will see the name of the page then a tag line with the word energy in it as I do energy healing. You, of course, would want the word 'dog' in your tag line. Put it right after the title.

Linking to outside sites is key in getting your search engine rankings to go higher. Find several other sites and approach the webmaster to see if you can do a reciprocal link. (Animal Rescue, SPCA, local pound, Petcetera...) Create a links page on your site and check your links every month to make sure they're still going to where they should and that they are linking back to you. You can also add your website URL to your email signature. This makes it easy for people to just click on your site and have a look.

to another friend…

Your site is very pretty, calming, and esthetically pleasing. These are my comments: There is no photo or information about you, who you are, and what is your vision and experience. This is so important as your client needs to identify with you as a person.

How about something like:
(PHOTO-of your lovely smiling face) "Hi, I'm ___ and welcome to Day Spa. I have a background in _________________ and bring (ie: customer service skills) or have (___ many years of experience) to help my clients. My training was at _____ , and I'm dedicated to ongoing training in order to ensure updated techniques and treatments are available to my clients. I hold certificates in _____. My vision is: ______________________" or something like this that is more 'you talking'.

When I type into the Yahoo search engine "day spa in (your city)", your company is not listed in the first five pages. When the 'spider' crawls your web, there is very little for it to bring back to the world wide web. Some keywords that come to mind are: manicure, pedicure, toning, enzyme peel, exfoliation, extractions, hand, scalp, foot, and leg massage, European Facial, French Manicure, Tinting, Waxing, and bridal packages. Another thing the 'spider' looks for is connections... do you have links to the outside, ie: other websites. You want to link back to others in your field.

Have you listed in any of the directories for your profession? Are you a member of a professional body and listed with them? Is there somewhere you can list that will refer clients to you? I had many other questions for this friend.

NOTE: I am not a computer whiz, an internet genie, or an expert on any of this. I am sharing my personal experience with you. This is what I have found out through trial and error. I have a friend who is an expert and her name is Sue: http://www.suestudios.com/index.htm

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