Before SEO starts
If you are serious about your website you will want to make sure that you have a number of things in place before you get started. These things although seemingly simple will ensure that you will not be wasting your time. They are, of course the basics.
The first and most important basic to remember is that unless you are a Hollywood superstar no one cares about you or your site. The world at large sleeps very well at night having utterly ignored you and they will continue to do so until you give them what they care about. Other than that what should a site have ready prior to SEO?
A site should
In the list that follows terms in bold are vital while the remainder are just very important (but can be changed during the SEO process).
- have the ability to convert visitors in some way
- be considered ready for the public with little or no pages under construction
- have good textual content in normal and readable html pages
- load within a reasonable time scale
- be relatively free of flash, java and media as the primary presentational method
When I show this SEO requirements list to many people they often seem surprised. In SEO 101 you will learn what SEO can and can not do. One of the things it can do is enhance your results in terms of the amount of visitors you will get but it can not make your site a site that visitors will be happy to say at. So before you try to get lots of visitors do your best to make sure your site is a site where visitors will want to be.
Try to make sure that your titles and content are actual text and not stored as images. Text as images not only makes the text invisible to search engines but to many disabled users too (which is illegal in many countries). If you are planning on running a business and using a website you can afford to offend as few people as possible.
The same goes for all flash sites. It is vital that you understand that your "site" is actually a single page with a complex and probably expensive media presentation on it. Many viewers who do not have the flash extension installed will see a white page. Disabled users will see a "white page" and search engines will see a "white page".
With an all flash site you have nothing to optimise with. Worse yet if you do get people to visit your site the chances are that unless the flash movie loads within 5 to 8 seconds (or there is a good chance of seeing naked women, violence or side splitting comic moments) they will leave again. Whatever you paid for that site was a waste of money - you will not see a penny in return for that "investment".