Thursday, April 23, 2009

"11 Things Every Successful Website Needs"

So you've put together a spectacular website, and you're ready to go live on the Internet for 004_17 the whole world to see. Not so fast there Bucky. In case you didn't know, there are a few essential requirements that every site needs to include in order to be successful.

Let's review, shall we:

1) Privacy Policy/Disclaimer: Now, I'm not a Lawyer and
don't claim to be one, but these two documents should be
standard issue for every site you have. People want to
know how you're going to use their personal information,
and a "privacy policy" does just that.

In today's litigious society you'll also need to include
a disclaimer/terms of use page. This protects you and
spells out to your visitors what they're agreeing to by
using your website. If you don't know where to start in
generating these documents, you'll find plenty of help

DMA Privacy Policy Generator

OECD Privacy Statement Generator

Google Adsense & other Ad Networks Privacy Policy Generator

Privacy Policy Generator

Free Site Disclaimer

This is not legal advice, and if you need help in this
department, consult with a local attorney.

2) Contact Us Information: I can't tell you how many sites I've been
to that fail to include a way to contact the owner. If
you can't include a phone number, at the very least have an
email address or a "contact us" form. By providing this
information, you'll make your visitors feel more comfortable
knowing there's a way to reach you should the need arise.

If you need a form and don't know how to create your own,
try one of these free form services.



Email Me:

3) Search Box/Site Map: If your site is rather large,
you'll also want to include a way to search, or have what
is called a "site map". There are many ways to add a
search function to your site, the easiest being to
use Google's free service at-

or try PicoSearch:

A site map sounds technical, but it's just one web
page that contains links to every page of your site,
usually broken down by category. Here are some
resources to help.


4) Google Analytics/Tracking System: Once your site is
up and running you'll want to keep your eye on traffic.
Who's visiting your website, what pages are the most
popular, where is the traffic coming from. All of these
questions and more can be answered by using a good
analytics program.

There are several ways to add a thorough tracking system
to your site, but the easiest and one that won't cost
you a dime is Google Analytics
Once registered, you can add as many sites as you like all
under one user ID and password. You'll be given some
code to copy and paste on your pages. Simple, easy, and
you're done.

5) Newsletter Sign Up/RSS Feed: There's an old saying
that people won't buy from you the very first time they
come to your website, so you need a way to stay in touch
with them to bring them back again and again. By offering
a newsletter, also known as an ezine, you'll be building
a list of possible prospects which is invaluable to any
site owner.

You'll find a multitude of free and low cost newsletter
services online. It's up to you, depending on your needs
and what you can afford. If you don't want to pay anything,
my favorite free services are:

Yahoo Groups:

You can also offer an RSS feed for your newsletter, or
updates to your blog or site. This makes it easy for
others to keep up with your most recent posts. The
best service for this is...

6) Consistent Navigation: This might sound like a no
brainer, but many folks get it wrong. No matter what
type of menu system you decide upon, make sure it stays
the same across the board on all pages of your site.

Your job is to guide your visitors through your website,
making sure they always know where they are and how to
get to where they need to go.

For more see:

Eye on Web:

Web Page Mistakes:

7) Search Engine Optimized Copy: At first glance you might
not think this is so important, but trust me it is. You
want your pages to rank well with the search engines and
there are a few steps you can take to ensure this happens.

Each page of your website should be optimized for 2,
or at the  most 3 keywords/phrases. Weave the keywords
into your titles and into the body of each page. You
can also include them in your image titles, alt tags,
even in the names you give your pages. Look at each
page individually and decide what it's about, then optimize

For help see:


8) Social Media Share Button: With the popularity of
social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and MySpace,
you'd be foolish not to include an easy way for your
content to be shared with others.

You'll find many free services that will give you the
code you need to instantly add a "share button" to
your web pages so that visitors can instantly share
them with their friends.

To generate your own buttons see:



9) Meta Tags: Some may tell you that meta tags are
dead. Don't listen. Meta tags should be included
in your HTML code at the top of every page. Many
search engines  will read them to pull a description
to include in their search results.

Again, each page should be optimized separately and
have a unique title, keywords, and description tags.

For help see:

Submit Express:
Submit Corner:

10) Copyright Notice: Sounds simple but forgotten by
many. All pages should include a copyright notice. If
you don't want to have to update it manually every year,
find a simple Javascript that will automatically do
it for you. You'll find one such script at:

Uncle Jims:

11) Trust Seals/Testimonials: I grouped these two items
together as they both instil trust and confidence in
your visitors. Remember, when someone comes to your
website, they don't know who you are and if you're
selling something, they may not feel comfortable giving
out their credit card information. To help them feel
more "warm and fuzzy", include trust seals for any
organizations you belong to:

For example:

Honest E Online:

Also, if you have testimonials from happy customers, or
ezine subscribers, weave them into your site copy. People
always love to hear that others have had a happy experience
with your products/services. Make sure you get permission
first from the testimonial writers before placing them
on your website.

So there you have it -my short list of what every site needs to succeed online. Now that you're armed with this information, get out the magnifying glasses and take a close look at your own website to see what may be missing.

It's not hard to create a website, but for one that stands out head and shoulders above the rest, you need to include these important elements. When you launch your next site you want it to be successful, not average. So what are you waiting for? You've got a lot of work to do, so get busy.

1 comment:

  1. Staci Burruel8:33 AM

    Those are the bits that site owners tend to forget. These are especially needed when you want to build your own network of clients. Business websites, for example, would need a call-back system where they can send their latest info to their prospective clients.


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