Update Your Website : Retaining Visitors and When to Link Offsite

October 19th, 2012 by | No Comments »

Internet users are easily distracted. The Internet, when it works the way it should, provides one of the best ways for people to get information and to find related information by simply clicking on a link. This is a great set up for research and learning, but it’s not always the best set up for commerce sites. If you need to retain visitors on your site, you have to know when you should not encourage them to leave by presenting them with a rather interesting link. Here are some great linking strategies for when you update your website.

SEO and Linking

Anyone who has studied search engine optimization knows that adding links from your site to useful resources tends to make your site appear more worthwhile in the eyes of the search engines. The trick is not to overdo this when you update your website. You want the benefits you get from those links for search engine optimization, but you don’t want to create a situation where most of your visitors show up on your page, read a few paragraphs and then immediately go elsewhere because one of your links encourages them to do so.

You’ll definitely want links off of your site to other sites that have genuinely useful and related information, but you need to do it in a way that retains visitors, which is something of a challenge when you update your website.

In the Middle of Articles

It’s essentially the convention at this point to denote when you’re referencing a site by linking to that site in the text. For example, you might have a sentence that reads “Be sure you put chocks behind your tires to stabilize your vehicle when it is up on the ramps.” If you happened to be linking to a site that sold vehicle ramps, it would be intelligent to link to a site where the reader can buy those ramps, encouraging them to leave the site but making a sale and the process. Putting a link to the word “chocks”, however, that simply led to an informational site about those devices might end up sending the visitor off to that site, never to return to your own.

If you’re going to put a link in the middle of an article, be sure it is advantageous to you in some way when you update your website. If you’ve ever lost yourself in a Wikipedia article and ended up hopping through several related articles because you clicked on a link in the first article, you’ll know exactly the effect that putting an interesting link in the middle of a story can have.

Only Once

You don’t have to link to a site you use as a reference more than once in an article. In the above example, for instance, you wouldn’t need to link to every instance of the word “ramps”. Doing it once is sufficient and it encourages people to keep reading your article by not presenting them with constant distractions.  Keep this in mind when you update your website.

Linking too many times from your site can also have negative impacts on your search engine optimization efforts. If you’re not certain how much linking is good for your site, talk to your web designer and get their opinion on the matter when you update your website.

Check Your References

If you’re going to link to an off-site destination to offer more information about a topic that you’re covering on your blog or other site, make sure you thoroughly inspect that site before you make the link. You’ll want to look out for obvious problems, such as the site you’re linking to linking directly to a competitor’s site. You’ll also want to make certain that you read the entire article that you’re linking to be certain that you’re actually sending someone to a good information source.

Linking is a great strategy for making your site more interesting and more useful, make certain that you do it right when you update your website.

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