The Art of a Linkable Website

A recent conversation on a webmaster forum got me thinking about making a site linkable. A linkable site can help grow your business by getting higher results in the search engines and greater name recognition.

I won’t go into why links are important; not sure if I will save that for another day, or just hope you already know that.

Creating a linkable website is in some ways like creating a piece of art. You want to create a site that satisfies one of the primary categories of sites (sales, information, portal, etc) and one that other webmasters will want to include on their sites.

Creating an Unlinkable Site

No one creates a site with the intention of not being linkable. It is the well-meaning website owner who creates a site that has one of a number of no-no’s that often creates an unlinkable site.

There are literally millions of what I would call unlinkable sites. I have visited many of them while looking for Crafty Sites to add to Crafty Tips. Why anyone thinks someone wants to read about how wonderful it is to create a old fashioned Christmas on a site that offers no tips on doing so is beyond me? So, rather than simply write yet another article on how to get links, this blog entry will talk about what not to do.

How long is too long?

You have this really cool site and it is truly a designer masterpiece. It takes several minutes to load on a dial-up Internet connection and perhaps 40 seconds on a better connection. ZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzz. See ya.

You will have to balance the power of the design against the length of time it takes to load. What good is that million dollar home page design if no one sticks around long enough to see it?

What’s the Point

You only have a scant few seconds to draw in a site visitor to your site. Once the home page loads, how long does it take the visitor to determine what the site is about? If you sell vintage crochet patterns, it should be clear on the first screen and above the fold that the site is about crochet patterns.

There are so many others on the net competing for your customer, don’t let people leave your site thinking, ‘Hmm, Google said it was a match for vintage crochet patterns, but all I see is a picture of a forest and a bunch of affiliate links. Oh well, can’t link to that mess.’ Click.

Still under construction?

So many websites come and go every day. Still under construction is instant death to a website. Either finish your site before trying to get links or leave off the part not finished.

A simple change of wording can turn something not finished into an invitation to return. Instead of a notice of construction, post an invitation. Coming soon, an exciting new line of women’s fashions. Sign up to be notified when the first garments become available to ensure you don’t miss out.

See how easy that is? You don’t turn people off and you might even begin developing a mailing list.

Where’s the content game

Words, words everywhere. Pictures, lines, words allruntogetherwithnospacing. Where is it anyway? C’mon there’s gotta be something here. If I can’t find the content in about 10 seconds I’m gone. Forget about asking for a link – not interested.

Laundry Lists of Words

These are sites where folks know a little bit about SEO and how it is related to words on the page. They simply list all the words they think might be related to their site. For example, “I sell crochet blankets, hats, scarves, mittens, bonnets, afghans, slippers, socks, footies, beanies, muffs, lap ghans, …”

Then maybe a bit further down the page, “If you are looking for…” and the list is repeated. That is called keyword stuffing and is a big no-no. People are not going to link to you and the search engines will eventually drop your site, if not ban it completely.

Pop-Ups, Pop-Unders & Other Annoying Things

I visit your site, before I even have the page loaded I have 3 new windows opening. Guess what? C’mon, you can get this one. I’m outta there. Nuff said.

Empty Promises

So, there’s this site that submitted to the Beading Sites category on Crafty Tips. They have a business selling beads. They submitted the site quite a few months ago. It says that they are still getting their pictures and will be adding them at a later date. At the time they submitted their link, the site also had several menu items that didn’t work. I offered to list their site once it was completed.

I looked at the site the other day. No surprises there – still no pictures. I guess they think since most people know what delica seed beads look like they can get away with a notice that the pictures are pending. Not impressive, not linkable, and poor business.

A Linkable Site is a Must

There are other issues in what makes a site linkable, but these are some of the biggest mistakes people are making. There are some mistakes that are more subtle and technical in nature, but for the typical crafter simply trying to promote their site – these are the main ones to look out for.

So to create the super short version of this post, Linkable sites do not

1. Take forever to load
2. Hide their purpose
3. Have Under Construction signs
4. Overcrowd the page
5. Keyword stuff
6. Annoy
7. Contain false promises

Piece of cake! You don’t have to a Picasso to create you own work of art – just think about how others see your site and you will be sure to avoid making your site unlinkable.

A few suggestions for further reading...

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