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Website Marketing: Top five website features to have this year

March 16, 2011
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1. Smart SEO
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the visibility of your website in search engines, such as Google™, via search results. By applying a few simple ideas to your website content, you can grow your traffic dramatically. Search engines rank webpages based on how useful they are and their relevance to people searching for information. Sites that receive high rankings will appear at the top of the page when a user conducts an online search.

By carefully crafting your site’s content, you can improve your ranking and Internet traffic. Make sure to include common keywords, such as International Carwash Association or conveyor to increase traffic. Getting other sites to link to your content is another way to improve your ranking.

For example, the International Carwash Association offers a tool to members of its WaterSavers program that allows carwash customers to search for professional carwash businesses which comply to basic water recycling and conservation policies. For more information, check out www.icawatersavers.org.

2. Content (content, and more content)
Besides the usual contact, product and company information, you should post other content regularly to get people to visit your website — and help enhance your visibility through SEO.

For instance, you may want to include a link to the Fish Toxicity Report which showed the dangers of at-home and charity carwash events to local waterways. (You can search for the report and information about it at www.carwash.com.)

If your company receives an award or is mentioned in a news article, another example of content sources, make sure to include the links on your page. You can also link to trade organizations like the Western Carwash Association (www.wcwa.org) to give your site more authority.

3. Social media connectivity
Nowadays, almost everybody has a personal Facebook or Twitter page. You may question whether it’s really important for your business to participate in social media, but it can be a great way to communicate with your clients and advertise. Facebook and Twitter are easy to set up and maintain — and they’re free. You can post coupons or information about special financing opportunities or sales. Adding links to news stories about water quality is also a great way to interact with customers, keep them informed and initiate discussions.

4. Visual design
The visual appeal of your website is extremely important. In the same way an unmaintained storefront can turn customers away, a poorly crafted webpage can reflect negatively on your business. Alternately, a well-designed site with eye-catching graphics tells visitors that you’re serious about solving their water quality problems. Work with a professional web designer to develop a logo for your company and a unique feel for the website.

5. Ease of use
Having a professional-looking webpage is important, but you need to make sure it is easy to use as well. Too many flashy graphics and pop-ups may be off putting to some potential clients. Finding the correct balance between visual appeal and navigability is very important. Make sure your site features a user-friendly menu bar and that your contact information is clearly displayed.

Receiving an honorable mention in this top five list is, “Keep it fresh.” Due to mobile technology, Americans spending more time in front of their computer and other Internet trending factors, websites must be updated frequently to maintain traffic. Similar to that unmaintained storefront, mentioned earlier, if a website seems stagnant, old and unchanged, customers will stop visiting and assume the operation has been shut down.