Building Your Website
Building Your Website Home Page
Your home page needs to accomplish these four things:
- It should quickly capture the attention of your target audience.
- It should vividly communicate your main marketing message.
- It should clearly employ a conversion vehicle.
- It should briefly outline the main contents of your entire web site.
If you are developing a new site, build your home page last. So, go ahead and read this now, but skip to #2, Building Your Website About Page and build that one first.
Following are the reasons the home page should be built last:
- You will have a better grasp on the overarching message of your site by building the other main content pages first.
- You will easily be able to build your brief outline (see #4 above) and guide your website visitors through your site if you have already built those pages.
- The process of creating your content pages will help you clarify your marketing message.
- Having your key content pages created in advance of your home page will help you create and refine a conversion vehicle.
Who is Your Target?
Everyone is not your target. If you need help identifying your true target market or demographic audience, sign up for 5 Minutes Marketing (it is FREE) and then make a special request for "Words That Work Wonders".
You must have a rock-solid knowlege of your target in order to market effectively, and that is never more important than when it comes to marketing your business via your website.
If you aren't confident of your target, then you will not be able to create an effective marketing message, commonly referred to as an "elevator speech."
Your target are those that need and want your products or services. Are they mostly male or female? What is their age? How highly educated are they? Where are they most likely to live? What do they value? What type of music do they prefer?
Add more of your own questions and get a clear picture of your target.
Craft and Clarify Your USP!
Your USP is your Unique Selling Proposition. How is your business BETTER than your competiton? What do you do DIFFERENTLY from the others? What makes you positively STAND OUT from all of the rest?
There are usually many other choices that your target has for your products or services. WHY should they buy them from you instead?
Develop and Refine Your Marketing Message!
Be sure and include your logo and then forget it.
You should have a properly developed logo and should brand all of your marketing vehicles with it, whether in print or electronic media. Just keep in mind that your logo needs to be present but need not be prominent.
Your logo will identify you, but it will not sell anything for you, so place it and forget it!
You need a good marketing message to sell.
Your marketing message should quickly seen as soon as your web page loads. In most cases, and for most small business owners, it should be embedded in the header or masthead of your website.
Your marketing message should be directed at your target and should include your USP.
Above the Fold and Beyond the Fray
See your webpages viewe as standard 8.5" X 11" pages. Now, take your home page (an 8.5" X 11" page) and fold it in half to create a viewing pane that is 5.5" tall and 8.5" wide. This area is "above the fold".
Your branding, marketing message and conversion vehicle should all be visible above the fold. When your target lands on your website, they should NEVER have to scroll their screen in order to see and/or hear your message to them along with your conversion vehicle or "call to action."
They need to see how or why you are better than your competition and have no doubts about the "button" that they should click!
What is a Conversion Vehicle?
What is a conversion? A conversion is the opposite of a "click away." When a new prospect (someone actually in your target) lands on your site, you often have about ten seconds to: 1. Captivate their attention, 2. convince them to read, listen or watch more on your website, 3. copy or click on button or complete a quick form for more information.
A conversion is when the visitor to your website accepts your invitation to "take the next step." These three things are ALL potential conversions:
- Complete a form requesting more information
- Pick up the phone and call you
- Place an order
Your conversion vehicle is the tool that you use to get the conversion, and it is often incentivised as a special offer or a limited time offer.
When someone visits your website, what do you want them to do?
Whatever that is, make dead sure that your website spells it out for them with a clarion voice.
Don't Make the Mega Marketing Mistake!
The biggest mistake that many small business owners make is trying to sell to soon. Put yourself in the chair of the person that does not know you that is looking at your website. Have you got their trust? Have you eliminated their risk?
They don't know you, and to "buy from you" they must first come to either trust you or at least not feel that they are greatly at risk.
So, along with a "buy now" button, be sure to offer a "learn more" button, too.
If their only option is to buy and they aren't sure they should, they will usually click away ... and never come back.
The Best Way To Arrest Attention & Present Your Marketing Message
No doubt it is video. A 30 to 60 second video of YOU talking to YOUR audience directly. Deliver your marketing message in the most often preferred medium: video, - like watching TV.
It is so super-easy to get video on your website today. If you have a $20 web cam, you have enough to make it work.
You can essentially have your own TV commercial running on your website for FREE. Just record your videos, upload them to YouTube and then embed them on your website. (Be sure and add your website address to your YouTube videos).
Write your script, weaving in your marketing message and then make an appeal for them to take the next step ... which happens to be the key missing ingredient from most small business websites.
The Key Missing Ingredient from Most Small Business Websites
If there is anything that small business owners are not doing today that they should be doing, it is using a quick form as a primary conversion vehicle, providing something of value to the target audience in exchange for a name and an email address. It can be as simple as a "keep informed" offer, but why not spice it up with the offer for a FREE Coffee Mug or some other item(s) to brand your business?
The BEST thing you can do for your business is BUILD A DATABASE of contacts, and with email permission marketing, it is EASY to get your message directly to them at any time.
This is called email permission marketing.
I recommend the use of a professionally operated permission marketing program, such as A1 Email Marketing. They will custom-craft your email templates for you as well as create your data collection forms for your website, help with landing pages and much more.
Email Permission Marketing TRUMPS all social media put together, because it enables you to ALWAYS reach your very best audiece with your message at any time.
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Building Your Website About Page
Ordinarily, there should be at least a brief paragraph and a small image on your home page that links out to this page, in addition to the link being found in the main navigational hierarchy of your website.
The number 1 element that sways buying decisions is consumer confidence, and it is nigh impossible to create consumer confidence when a consumer can’t see you and learn about you. They need to first decide if they can TRUST you before they buy from you. A good about page will help.
Make it Personal.
Is your business only you or you and your partner? Or do you have a small or complete staff?
Whatever the size of your small business, your website should introduce all of you (ordinarily) in the first person.
The first business websites, created to be like an “Online Brochure” were typically created by an HTML programmer in the early days. This programmer or someone else interviewed the business owner(s) and then wrote a report, much like a newspaper columnist would write a feature story or an editorial. Thus. Third person. But that was then.
If your website has third person copy on it, get it changed as fast as you can. Why? Just let me reason with you a while.
Third person articles are distant. Do you want to distance yourself from your clients through your website or do you want to bring them closer to you?
Your Website is a Virtual Office for Your Business.
I’ll use my own business as an example for you. My business name is PROSBO. Think about it. If someone were to walk into my office and speak to my staff, and ask this question: “Tell me about your company”, do I really want my staff to say something like this:
“They provide products and services for small business owners. They have been in business since 1999. They are experts at helping small business owners effectively market their businesses and have developed some great software that enables small business owners to edit their own website. They have also created a search engine optimization program that is achieving outstanding results for its subscribers.”
I want my staff to say something like this: “Hi, my name is Doug, how may I help you today? To which the guest replies, “Tell me about your company”.
To which I respond, “I help small business owners attract new clients, increase their client’s satisfaction, and make more money. We do this by providing affordable and effective small business marketing education, products and services.”
Your website has not been written by an electronic newspaper reporter, has it? No? Then don’t make it sound that way. Websites can do many wonderful things for us, but by their intrinsic makeup they are NOT personal. They are cold. Warm them up and warm up your clients and prospective clients by warming up and personalizing your website!
Consider showing you or your staff on the about page -and maybe in the header of your site (that shows on all pages). It does not need to be prominent, but it should be present.
If you operate your business from any type of brick and mortar facility, be sure and get a photo of it online as well. If you operate from a home office, then let them see you in your home office setting.
This is most important when you are hoping to secure business outside of your own city.
I have many clients that have both physical stores as well as online stores, and I always encourage emphasize the importance of showing their physical location on their websites.
People need to see that there are real people associated with your business, because there are more scam sites out there than there are real ones, I would say maybe even ten to one.
Your personal face should be a smiling face! Smiling faces sell. Just pick up any mainstream magazine and browse through it and you will see lots of positive, smiling faces. Smiling faces add a warm personality to an otherwise cold website.
Make it human.
Your "about" page should be about you as a person, not just as a business owner. The more you share about you, your family & friends and hobbies and such, the more REAL your site becomes. Share as much as you are comfortable with.
When I visit a website, I ALWAYS go to the about page first. I want to know who they are. If people have difficultly discovering who you are, they will usually click away.
List your affiliations.
Are you a member of your local chamber of commerce or other business groups? List them. Are you a member of other service clubs or not for profit organizations? List them.
List your credentials and certifications.
Even though this is precisely the OPPOSITE place to start when first introducing yourself to a new prospective client, they need to get there eventually.
With your marketing message, you grab their attention telling them how you can solve their problems, but then have to convince them that you can. Your credentials and certifications help to validate that you are an expert in your vocation.
List Your accolades and awards.
I know that the Holy Scriptures say "Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips." (Proverbs 27:2). When you post your accolades and awards, you are publishing what someone else has said, which makes it carry more weight than if you were to say it yourself.
Don't be squeamish about touting your skills. Be honest, work hard and tell the truth about yourself, even when it is good!
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Building Your Website Products or Services Page
If your company provides products.
... and you are selling products through an ecommerce store, it is most likely that what is viewed on the page is dynamically generated and therefore not search engine friendly.
So, if this is the case with your website, you will want to develop some static, HTML product pages and then link from those pages to your store, or bring the product from the page to the store via a .php include if your store will support it. (pajezy.com and the sites that we host will support .php includes).
If you are using the pajezy.com store, it is dynamically gernerated HTML atatic content, and therefore IS search engine friendly.
Enable Scan and Dig
Most people scan websites, they don't READ them. However, your product may need a juicy description to be read in order to convince your target to purchase it, so make the description sizzle as much as you can.
Start with a delicious, short description and an image no larger than necessary to display the product (so it loads quickly). Allow your website shoppers to either click to learn more and see more product photos (use on-page anchor tags (#) for a hypertext "jump" down the page.
Go ahead and provide a buy now button or link or an add to cart button or link, but always make a way for them to learn more if they are not ready to buy.
Don't try to make them read long copy at first glance - that forbids them from the "scan." Let them scan and let them decide if they want to read or learn more.
Provide Photos and Video
Be sure to provide great photos and video of your product(s) when necessary. Always use enough photos to tell the story. If one says it all, just use one. If your product is something that moves or there are advantages to showing differing perspectives, a video would be great.
They can't touch it or smell it on your website - so the visual (and audio) is what you must rely on. Do a good job with it.
Use a Testimonial or Two about That Specific Product
You will have a testimonial's page, but why make people go there when they are looking at a specific product. Post appropriate testimonials for the specific products that tell them what their peers think of the product.
Make More Sales via Sampling
Sampling is a proven way to get more sales. If your target has a low-risk or no-risk way of trying your product before purchasing a large quantity of it, they are more likely to give it a try. It is then up to your product (and you) to convince them that they should make a regular order.
Use sampling whenever possible. It will cost you something, but marketing always does. Marketing (and its associated expenses) is a necessary part of getting sales.
Create a way of minimizing the risk of your target that also minimizes your own. If you need specific help with small business marketing, get in touch with A1 Small Business Marketing.
If your company provides services.
Adapt as much of the instruction above as is applicable, and be sure to post as many thorough testimnials as possible.
Use testimonials that are specific to the service that is being described.
For example, if your company provides tree services, your list of services might look like this:
- Fruit Tree Care
- Tree Health Care
- Stump Grinding
- Chipping / Grinding
You would want a good testimonial or two or three on the page that explains the spedific service offered.
Offer Free Advice or Instruction
Free advice or instruction is equivalent to lightweight SAMPLING. By posted or published free content AND / OR brief, personal initial consultations you may be able to win the confidence (TRUST) of your target which will result in a new client.
Even if it doesn't, the "good will" you create can end up generating new referrals for you.
Sampling Can Work for You, Too!
For example, Les Schwab Tires fixes flats for anyone for FREE, regardless of whether or not they purchased their tires from them. This service has won them LOTS of new customers.
Find creative ways to allow your target to sample your services and enjoy the rewards of attracting new clients.
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Building Your Website Frequently Asked Questions Page
Every website should provide a frequently asked questons (FAQS) page.
A FAQs Page Can Save You LOTS of Time
One of the things you need is more time, right? If someone is only a "tire kicker" why not get that question answered without it taking your time again and again and again and again and again ...?
Just answer it once by putting it on your FAQs page. Some people will still call, but it can greatly reduce the number of calls (so long as the page is easy for them to find) that waste your time.
Provide a List of Questions and Answers to Those Questions Asked Most Frequently
Start with either your most frequently asked question or the most important question. State the question clearly and then provide a complete answer.
Enable drill-down navigation for those that may want even more information by linking to another page.
When appropriate, include images, video and testimonials interwoven with the answers.
Ask the Questions for them that they SHOULD be Asking
Educating your clients is a must. You know what they need to know, and there is no better way to teach than the classic questions and answers format.
If they knew more, they would ask different questions. This is your opportunity to ask these questions for them. Providing the answers to these questions that they don't ask (but should) provides another opportunity for you to engage them with the hopes of winning their business if they are on a discovery mission, or providing valuable content to them if they are already customers.
Ask more Questions that you WISH they were Asking
In addition to the questions that they do ask, and should ask, there are also questions that you WISH they would ask. These questions would be "Why should I choose you? There are lots of other businesses that I could choose instead?"
The answer to this question is your USP (Unique Selling Proposition[s]). If you want people to do business with you, you must have one or more compelling reasons.
Here is another opportunity to compel them. Don't miss it!
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Building Your Website SiteMap Page
A Simple, HTML SiteMap
A simple sitemap is just a bulleted list of the pages on your website, typically following a logical, hierarchical outline form, such as below, and uses standard HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language) protocol.
We don't show all of our pages in the list above. You would want to do so for your site.
You should also create an XML SiteMap for your site, especially if you want your pages to rank well in the organic search engine's results pages.
An XML SiteMap
Extensible Markup Language (XML) is a markup language that defines a set of rules for encoding documents in a format that is both human-readable and machine-readable. It is defined in the XML 1.0 Specification produced by the W3C, and several other related specifications, all gratis open standards.
The design goals of XML emphasize simplicity, generality, and usability over the Internet. It is a textual data format with strong support via Unicode for the languages of the world. Although the design of XML focuses on documents, it is widely used for the representation of arbitrary data structures, for example in web services.
There are free XML generators online, but we recommend our awesome automated XML sitemap creator that will automatically update when you add or remove a page from your website.
You can see the XML sitemap for this site here: http://www.pajezy.com/_site_map.php
When coupled with our automated content program, an XML SiteMap yields a powerful boost to obtaining and maintaining good rank in the organic search results pages of the popular search engines
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Building Your Website Contact Page
To start with, even if you have your complete address in the head of your website or in a sidebar, go ahead and repeat it in the first lines, such as follows:
PO Box 2851
Port Angeles, WA 98362
If you do business via a physical location, include a link to a map as well.
Also provide a quick contact form. You notice that I did NOT include an email link in the address information above. There are two reasons:
1) publishing your email address makes it easy for spam scrapers to grab your email address - resulting in you receiving more spam.
2) An embedded email link will fail if the person is not using an application to send mail from their computers, and many people don't - they only use web based email, thus, the link will not work for them anyway.
Keep it short. Just ask and require their name, email address and reason for the contact. You may include other fields as well, but don't make them required.
If you have a need for gathering more specific information, as you often will, this is not the place to get it. Create a separate page to collect this detailed information, and make every field required that you need.
PO Box 2851
Port Angeles, WA 98362
Please Note: the form below is for General Inquires Only. If you are wanting a free, custom website demonstration, click here and complete the custom website demo form instead. Thank you.
Your form fields would follow here ...
Email Address Encryption
The pajezy website form generator ALWAYS encrypts the recipient's email addresses so spam scrapers can't get them. When you define the "target" for you forms, you simply provide the email address(es), separated by commas.
When this page is published, the email addresses are encrypted. You can visit the resulting HTML page on your live website and view the source code. Your email address will look something like this: ZG91Z0BwYWplenkuY29t.
Define a Redirect Page
Your form pages require a redirect page. This is sometimes called a "congratulations page" or "thank you" page. Once a person completes your form and clicks on the submit button, they will be redirected to this page that you have created and defined.
This is where you tell them "thank you" or "your form was submitted" or whatever you want to say. Sometimes, you may want to link to additional resources or present special offers.
"Hide" the Redirect Page
If you don't hide the page (so it does not appear in navigation) it will be added to your visible navigational structure, unless you are using a theme with custom drop-down navigation. Since you don't want browsers seeing this page unless they submit the form, hide it.
Avoid Form Errors
Don't use ' or " in your forms. They will be interpreted as commands and will cause errors. If you don't define and provide a redirect page, users will see a "page not found" when they submit your form. The form submission will still work but they will think that it didn't.
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Building Your Website Links Page
Linking to other sites is a standard convention and you should participate. Often this page today is called a Resources Page instead of a links page
. Knowing why will help you know how you should do this as well.
Outbound Links in General
Your links page is not the only place where it is appropriate to link to an outside (external to your website) resource.
When it makes sense to do so, you should link from any of your content pages to resources outside of your website. When it helps explain your content and is of value to your site visitors, you should provide the link.
Open External Links in a New Window
We suggest that you follow this simple linking rule:
When you are linking to an internal (on your own site) resource, have the link open in the same browser window.
When you are linking to an external (off of your website) resources, have the link open in a new window.
Internal Link Return: If your site has been properly created and distributed (as pajezy themes ALWAYS mandate), your visitor will have no problem returning to the page they have left. They can simply use the back button on their browser or the main navigation to return.
External Link Return: In most browsers, this link will open a new TAB in the browser and it is easy for them to click back on the tab they left (your site). In some cases, it will open a new browser window (session), and usually on top. This they will close to return to your site.
Why You Should Provide Links Out
You don't have to link to direct competitors!
First thing to consider is this: you don't have to link to direct competitors. We work with small business owners and we are not suggesting that you send your site visitors to competitors!
An external link does NOT mean that you have to lose the opportunity for a sale. You should link to authority resources and you can find them without linking to direct competition.
To Aid Your Website Users
If your website users are hungry for more information, participate by linking them to helpful resources.
Your website (properly developed) is designed with your target(s) in mind. If you don't understand what is meant by target, get in touch with A1 Small Business Marketing.
Your goal is to provide great content for your target, and sometimes this great content is found elsewhere. You may want to pull a snippet from an external resource (with permission) and then link out to that resource for more details.
To Promote Your Referral Partners
You say, "I want to effectively market my small business." One of the best ways to do this is to create your own referrals group. Find businesses in complimentary industries or those that provide complimentary products or services to you own and draft a formal (not necessarily complicated) referrals group. These groups are sometimes referred to as power partners.
Meet with some regularity (at least monthly) to discuss how you can better refer business to one another and come up with a strategy to implement on your websites as well.
To Positively Effect Your Search Engine Rank
Linking away from your site ... sends people away from your site! It doesn't sound smart to do this, but it is when done properly.
You are probably NOT the ultimate authority in your field. Having ZERO external links certainly makes your site look suspicious. One SEO research company has computed that good external links amounts potentially to 4% of the Google algorithm for organic serps.
Outbound linking certainly doesn't HURT your own SEO, it actually helps. Even without the data provided above, this is a common-sense conclusion.
And, as explained (and illustrated) above, you can link out to authority pages WITHOUT linking to competitors who may potentially win the business of your referrals!
Your Links Page or Resources Page
Your links page or resources page should link out to local governmental agencies that your website visitors may need or agencies directly related to your business.
Your links page or resources page should link out to your official membership groups or professional affiliations that you hold. Link them here even though you may have them listed on your about page as well.
It is also quite common to link to popular area attractions.
Request links back as a courtesy from all of those that you link to. You'lll be able to get some links to your site as well this way.
Complex Linking Strategies
SEO said to linking, "You've come a long way, Baby!". In order to continue to provide relevant results (the results that users want), search engine algorithms are in a state of flux. They are NOT STATIC.
Linking is not simply for providing great content to your website visitors, it is a method for increasing your rank in the most important search engines. Authoritative, inbound links are the single biggest part of the algorithm of all of the major search engines.
This section is focused upon links out. If you want to use links to raise your rank in the search engine's organic search engine results pages, then you must create and maintain an effective in-bound linking strategy.
Here are some resources for you to consider:
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Building Your Website Testimonials Page
The Ultimate Trust-Builder
Enthusiastic endorsements from your customers are the most powerful way for you to raise consumer confidence, and consumer confidence is the #1 reason someone will give you their business.
If you place consumer confidence in your stock-pot and cook it down, it will result in TRUST.
Only naive or dishonest people will rush in to conduct business with someone that they do not know. People cannot really trust you if they do not know you, so how do you build a bridge to them?
Testimonials are Great Bridge Builders
People may be genuinely interested in trying your products or services. Your website looks great. It appears that you have the proper credentials, but how do they know they can trust you?
That's why you need to use testimonials. Their peers have used your products and/or services and recommend you.
Testimonials are Indirect Referrals
Referrals are the absolute best marketing you can get, because they enable you to sell to a new client based upon a trust relationship with an existing client.
The traditional referral is made in person, over the phone, email or some social media outlet between friends, acquaintances or members of professional affiliations.
A testimonial is indirect. It is best to always use a full name and link to their websites if they own businesses, so those referrals are then validated.
Review Sites are Simply Archives of Testimonials
There are many popular review sites that list consumer experiences and they will have a great impact upon your business when you are found there. They also provide a place where you can collect and publish reviews on your own web pages.
Be sure to acquaint yourself with all of the reviews sites that are connected to your industry. If you have reviews, be sure to respond, whether they are positive or negative.
An honest critic is a friend. The Proverb says, "The wounds of a friend are faithful, but the kisses of an enemy are filled with deceit." (Proverbs 27:6). Honest critics are your friends. Respond to this kind of just criticism graciously and those reviews that show negatively can be turned into a positive quickly.
How To Get Testimonials
Do a great job and you will deserve testimonials, but you may need to ask for them. Go "over the top" and give more than they expect. Follow up with them after the sale and ask if all went well.
When they thank you (especially if they are enthusiastic), ask them if they would mind providing a testimonial that you could publish on your website.
Get in touch with long-time clients and ask them to provide a testimonial / recommendation for you. Ask for permission to use their full name, city and link to their website if they have one.
You Can't Have Too Many Testimonials
You can never publish too many. Just keep adding the most recent ones to the top of your page.
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Building Your Website Partners Page
Partners Pages and Links Pages
A Partner's Page is NOT the same as a links page or resource page.
There are other businesses that are complimentary to your own - not competitive to you. Seek these out and forge "partnerships" or referral strategies with them.
List them on your partners page. Use their logos and photos if they want, with a brief message about them or from them and then link out to their websites.
In doing this, you are going to receive a reciprocal link from their partners page that matches the format that you provide for them.
In other words, if you are providing a photo, logo, recommendation from you and introduction from them with a link back to their website, then they should be reciprocating back to you with a like listing.
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Building Your Website Articles Page
Articles Provide BREADTH for Your Website
To serve your website visitors well, you need to provide helpful and authoritative content for them. So write articles.
If you are not gifted to write, then hire someone who is to interview you on your chosen topics to write the articles for you.
If you want to rank better in the organic search engines results pages (SERPS), then you need both DEPTH and BREADTH as a part of your on-site SEO strategy.
Well developed, complete articles provide BREADTH and the way you link to these articles internally on your website provides DEPTH.
Parsing Your Articles Provides DEPTH for Your Website
A complete article may have many pages and five to ten main points. Some articles can be parsed (divided) to make several articles that focus on one specific aspect and link out to additional, related subjects or the complete article.
Each Article Should be Named with Keywords in the Title of the Page
When you are ready publish your article, start by naming it properly when you create the page. Give it a Title that includes ALL of the relevant keywords.
The same is true when you divide it or parse it into smaller articles.
Organize Your Articles Page to Be User Friendly
Your articles page should be outlined into topics and then use a bulleted list below each topic with the anchor text matching the name of the article you are linking to.
Link from the title of the article, and provide a brief review of the article contents, at the close of the review provide a link to the full article.
Link to Your Articles Internally
You should also have this great content blended into your website naturally and link out to the articles when appropriate. It is best to link from natural keywords in your text.
If you have "mini articles" that are a part of a complete subject article, ALWAYS link to the abbreviated or concise version (the smaller one), which should also link out to the full article on the subject when they want to read more.
People usually SCAN webpages instead of reading them, and the are often in a hurry just to get to the meat of what they want. You are serving them best when you give them EXACTLY what they want to KNOW and ONLY what they want to know. If they want to LEARN MORE, you are providing that for them as well.
Just don't make them HUNT for the content. Make it plain.
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