How many pages are required to promote a site? That’s like asking how long is a piece of string. Our usual answer is as many as you want or as many as it takes. It depends on what the website is about. How many possible combinations of keywords do you have? Each popular keyword combo needs to be in the top 20, the front pages of the search engines. How many internal pages – within the domain name – do you need? One for each product category at least. Then you’ll need at least three doorway or hook pages that link to each internal page. If it is strictly a lead generation site or an expensive item, you probably need only a few pages and an online form. You just want to qualify the lead. You’ll have your sales representative phone the interested party and do the follow-up. The same goes for a site that sells only one product, or perhaps a small store with a regional focus like a restaurant, a hair salon, or car repair centre. For the restaurant, maybe a just couple of pages of food shots and an email order form (so you only need a computer to take the orders).
We strongly caution about spending too much money on the actual site. A lot of fancy bells and whistles are not required at this point. A basic, low technology site will do just fine.
Also, Read – Tactics for using Search Engines to your Advantage
What’s important…. is to focus more on marketing and search engine placement, rather than spending money on the site itself. So a five-page site, and 10 more hook pages, that lead to it, might be ideal at this point. When it comes to an online retail store, each product category will need its own page. You might also want pages dealing with warranty information, returns, shipping, testimonials, FAQs and so on. The retail product area might have 10 or so product pages and the service area another 10 or so pages. Then add in 35 hook pages (depending on how many keyword phrases you have) and you’re up around 55 pages for a single website. Multiply this by 5 or so websites – virtual locations – all selling the same thing and you’re up to 275 pages. Seriously. At last count, any e-commerce site has over 350 pages working for them in the search engines, stored around the internet on various domain names. What about a searchable database? Wouldn’t it be better to put all those product pages in a searchable database? Yes, except for one problem, most search engines cannot usually find pages inside a database. They need static HTML pages. Pages they can find and catalogue. No search engine is sophisticated enough to fill out a form on your site and do a search to find out what is inside. (There are developments, however, that allow search engines to find dynamically generated pages, also known as active server pages or ASP.) The solution is to turn your database inside out. Yes, you can still have a searchable website, but make each one of the product pages a “live” HTML page as well. This way, you can offer people the convenience of searching your database with keywords, as well as providing search engines with tons of pages they can catalogue and index. If you only have one product, then you’ll only need two web pages and five to ten hook pages to promote your site. It’s the minisite concept. One homepage with a keyword rich sales message, that links to an order form. One domain, one sales message, one product. The only logical solution is to buy the product or move on. Simple and effective, this model works very well with an email solicitation or paid advertising, that drive people to the sales message, where they buy the product. There is a full range of needs when it comes to the “right” amount of pages. There are sites with just a few pages and online retailers with hundreds. The best solution is to determine what it is that you’re doing online. Are you selling product or gathering leads? Decide if it’s leads or final sales that you’re after, and take it from there using the guidelines I’ve set forth above. Just don’t set up a huge website and have nothing left over to market it. It’s the same mistake we find in the dirt world where a business spends everything on fixed assets and has no money left for advertising. Such a business is doomed to fail. Start with a small site selling a few hot items. Spend two or three times the amount of dollars marketing it, pushing it, making it go. If you push really hard, it will go faster and farther than your wildest dreams.
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