We’ve all heard the saying “It’s not the outside that matters, but what’s on the inside” and this couldn’t be more true then with ranking algorithms. We as a end user see the fancy design and colorful graphics. Crawlers, those mysterious bots who do the “dirty” work, see lines and lines of code and not images and graphics. In that code are clue’s as to what your website is about and what can be found there. Not to say a good design is useless as it present’s a professional look and feel for a company or person. We all want to dine at the five star restaurant before the same ‘ole fast food chain. This is the first step in retaining your visitor’s and decreasing your bounce rates. Like any commitment, in this case staying on your site, it all start’s with attraction. If your site look’s good visually, we as a end user are more likely to stay. If your a bot looking at clean and easy to read code, your going to like it more and continue reading. Whether your a bot or a human, looking at design or code, beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder.

Don’t jump the gun yet and start building your site. That’s just the easy part. Next step is getting those bots and visitors to your site so they can develop that attraction. You always hear about how you can benefit from having a active and targeted SEO campaign. You get on the first page, or even the first spot, in the major search engines. You get a ton of traffic to your site. You get other sites who want to be listed on your site so they can get a piece of your pie. In fact, optimizing your web site for the big search engines is becoming the “norm” in the online world. It’s basically a essential in the web 2.0 era. With so many website’s out there, you have to optimize your site if you want your website to be visited and used. I mean after all, what’s the point of having a beautiful site if no one is going to see it… right?

As a online marketing professional, it never cease’s to amaze me the amount of times I hear “I spent all this money on getting this nice website built yet I never get any traffic.” For some reason or another, people never think about this crucial part when creating their online presence. I often tell our clients to think of your site as a physical retail store. You wouldn’t open up a bakery and not advertise that your open for business would you? Of course not! Why would you make this mistake with your website? Your website is a business, treating it as such is a must.

Okay, so you’ve gotten a good design and you are starting to get traffic from your SEO campaign. Thing’s are starting to look up for a change as your finally getting results. You can finally relax and sleep at night knowing your site is performing, yeah? Or is it?! Let me ask you a question… what do you plan on doing with that traffic? Let’s be real here, if your like 99% of the people who own and operate a website your doing it for one main reason and that’s to turn a profit. Whether your a e-commerce site that is selling a item, a affiliate for a specific niche, or just a information portal selling advertisement space and generating leads… your wanting to monetize off of your website one way or another. The final key to the puzzle is conversion.

The concept of converting your traffic is to place them into a funnel, if you will, so that the only logical outcome is to end up where the funnel places you. This could be a page that asks you for contact information so you can call them back to, say, schedule a quote or a button that links to a person that pay’s you a commission for every person you send their way.

There are a lot of thing’s to consider with conversion, and perhaps the most important is your bounce rate. As someone who has bought and sold ad space I can tell you, one of the first questions you will have brought up is “What is your bounce rate” and rightfully so. I’m not about to spend two thousand a month to place a banner on a site if the bounce rate is so high that my banner won’t get seen that much.

(For those who don’t understand bounce rate, it is the percentage of single page views. So a person come’s to your site through a page on your site and they exit while still on the same page. They don’t look around, they don’t fill out any information, purchase a product, etc… Basically, your conversion is in need of work and the traffic your getting is useless.)

Downside here is that it can be sometimes hard to determine what is causing a high bounce rate. Possibly a design issue or maybe a content issue. No matter the cause, it always results in a conversion issue.

I’m not trying to discourage anyone from developing a online presence. In today’s world people are more likely to be on their computer doing something online, as I currently am, then sitting around watching the television. Online marketing is “blowing up” and it’s no mystery as to why this is, 9 out of 10 people are more likely to look for a service in a search engine then the local news paper. When people are going to a search engine, they are looking for something specific that they most likely want or need right then and there. If your site is built and operated properly, chances are good their going to end up on your site. The question you have to ask yourself is whether or not your website is up to the task of fulfilling your visitor’s needs and wants when the time comes. If not then rest assured your competition will get their shot to do what you have failed to do.

No matter how you look at it, it always comes down to one key factor which is conversion. At the end of the day you can have the most lavish web design and getting so much traffic to your site that your server is returning time out error’s from the heavy load it’s experiencing. However, if your not converting your traffic then what’s the point? It’s a simple equation, no conversion equals no money.