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From my personal experience of around two year as home business website operator as well as owner, I have spent enough time learning and unlearning. Observing other sites and constantly reading and contributing in online forums about managing a website.
Having a website is all about being able to draw targeted traffic to you site. The more the traffic- betters the sales- improved commission. This is everyone's ultimate goal behind running a home business website!!
Striking a balance is the key - understanding visitor's psyche & the algorithm the spiders follow. Here, we will discuss a few important aspects of visitor's psyche; we will concentrate on home page only, conidering it's the first impression. Home page is also called index page.
Point 1.An uncluttered home page is the most important criteria of all. Let the home page be clean, simply formatted with readable font and suitable background color. Conider all these aspects. Unusual fonts, however attractive, should be avoided to play safe.
Point 2. You should make sure you are not filling up your home page with all and sundry affiliate links. Google will, in all possibilities not rank the page as well as you want it or expect it to. Google values content. Let your home page have information about main theme of the site. Try to cover as many aspects or points connected with your main theme on your front page. This way you will attract targeted traffic and move up the search engines faster. Google will visit your site more often.
Point No.3 Keep the visitor in mind: While you are designing your home page or writing content for it, keep your visitor in mind. His background, his interest, his benefit. Instead of your designing skills, your control over the language and so forth. Check other websites from a layman's point of view and see what kind of content holds your interest. Apply the same principal for your own.
Point No 4. Body copy of the home page should sound easy and interesting to read. Your headline, your punch line - everything should have an effect. At the same time - don't exaggerate. Don't lie. Don't over emphasize. A chunk of people anyway look at any kind of activity done on internet as scam. Be simple yet convincing.
Point No.5. Let your home page have clear cut paths. If your main theme is fitness let the pages directly connected to your home page be directly related to fitness. Like Diets, aerobics, fitness chart, yoga etc but when visitor clicks on diet page - on this new page, along with info on aerobics, you can have a link that's talking about free music download - to do aerobics at home. It's connected and yet sort of diversifies. But you have to be careful. Excess of these things will mar your main theme. This will affect your SE ranking.
Besides the above - here are a few quick tips: Don't change your home page too often. Neither the layout, design nor the key phrases you are optimizing it for. While exchanging links, make sure your anchor tags contain your main keyword. Optimize one keyword per page. Googlebot treats each page is a separate website. So try to take time with each page. Let each page be well optimized, interesting and informative and complete in all respects.
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