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Website Optimization

Book Description

Remember when an optimized website was one that merely didn't take all day to appear? Times have changed. Today, website optimization can spell the difference between enterprise success and failure, and it takes a lot more know-how to achieve success.

This book is a comprehensive guide to the tips, techniques, secrets, standards, and methods of website optimization. From increasing site traffic to maximizing leads, from revving up responsiveness to increasing navigability, from prospect retention to closing more sales, the world of 21st century website optimization is explored, exemplified and explained.

Website Optimization combines the disciplines of online marketing and site performance tuning to attain the competitive advantage necessary on today's Web. You'll learn how to improve your online marketing with effective paid and natural search engine visibility strategies, strengthened lead creation and conversion to sales methods, and gold-standard ad copywriting guidelines. Plus, your increased site speed, reduced download footprint, improved reliability, and improved navigability will work synergistically with those marketing methods to optimize your site's total effectiveness.

In this book for business and IT managers, author Andrew King, president of Website Optimization, LLC, has assembled experts in several key specialties to teach you:

  • Search engine optimization -- addressing best (and worst) practices to improve search engine visibility, including step-by-step keyword optimization guidelines, category and tag cloud creation, and guerilla PR techniques to boost inbound links and improve rankings

  • Pay-per-click optimization -- including ad copywriting guidelines, setting profit-driven goals, calculating and optimizing bids, landing page optimization, and campaign management tips

  • Optimizing conversion rates -- increasing leads with site landing page guidelines, such as benefit-oriented copy, credibility-based design, value hierarchies, and tips on creating unique selling propositions and slogans

  • Web performance tuning -- optimizing ways to use (X)HTML, CSS, and Ajax to increase speed, reduce your download footprint, and increase reliability

  • Advanced tuning -- including client-side techniques such as on-demand content, progressive enhancement, and inline images to save HTTP requests. Plus server-side tips include improving parallelism, using cache control, browser sniffing, HTTP compression, and URL rewriting to remap links and preserve traffic

  • Web metrics -- illustrating the best metrics and tools to gather details about visitors and measure web conversion and success rates. Covering both search marketing metrics and web performance measures including Pathloss and waterfall graphs

Website Optimization not only provides you with a strategy for success, it also offers specific techniques for you and your staff to follow. A profitable website needs to be well designed, current, highly responsive, and optimally persuasive if you're to attract prospects, convert them to buyers, and get them to come back for more. This book describes precisely what you need to accomplish to achieve all of those goals.

Table of Contents

  1. Website Optimization
  2. Foreword
  3. Preface
    1. Who Should Read This Book
      1. Web Marketers
      2. Web Developers
      3. Managers
    2. How This Book Is Organized
      1. Part I
      2. Part II
      3. Chapter 10
    3. Conventions Used in This Book
    4. Using Code Examples
    5. How to Contact Us
    6. Safari® Books Online
    7. Credits
    8. Acknowledgments
  4. I. Search Engine Marketing Optimization
    1. 1. Natural Search Engine Optimization
      1. The Benefits of SEO
      2. Core SEO Techniques
        1. Common SEO Barriers
          1. Inadequate inbound links
          2. Drowning in splash pages
          3. Flash fires
          4. Unprofessional design
          5. Obscure navigation
          6. Duplicate content
      3. Ten Steps to Higher Search Engine Rankings
        1. Best Practices
          1. Deploy keywords strategically
          2. Reinforce the theme of your site
          3. Optimize key content
          4. Optimize on-site links
          5. Make it linkworthy
          6. Acquire inbound links
        2. Step 1: Determine Your Keyword Phrases
          1. Tools for keyword research
          2. Find your primary keyphrase
        3. Step 2: Sort by Popularity
        4. Step 3: Refine Keyword Phrases and Re-Sort
          1. Right-size your keyphrases
          2. Target multiple keyphrases
        5. Step 4: Write a Title Using the Top Two or Three Phrases
          1. Keywords trump company name (usually)
          2. An experiment in stuffing
        6. Step 5: Write a Description Meta Tag
        7. Step 6: Write a Keywords Meta Tag
        8. Step 7: Make Search-Friendly Headlines
          1. Write headlines that pop
          2. Keyphrase headlines early
        9. Step 8: Add Keywords Tactically
          1. Keyphrase anchor text
          2. Buy keyphrased domain names
        10. Step 9: Create Valuable Keyword-Focused Content
          1. Sharpen your keyword-focused content
          2. Create search-friendly URIs
          3. Write compelling summaries
          4. Automatically categorize with blogs
          5. Create tag clouds
          6. Deploy strange attractors
        11. Step 10: Build Inbound Links with Online Promotion
          1. Leverage higher-ranking pages
          2. Don’t dilute your PageRank
          3. Employ social networking and user-generated content
          4. Be leery of link exchange voodoo
          5. Pay for links
          6. Hurl harmful outlinks
          7. Reduce risky redirects
          8. Measuring inbound links
      4. Summary
    2. 2. SEO Case Study:
      1. Original Site
        1. Few Indexable Keywords
      2. First Redesign: Mid-2004
        1. Search Engine Optimization
        2. Conversion Rate Optimization
        3. Results
      3. Second Redesign: Late 2007
        1. Let Keywords Do the Work
        2. Results
      4. Summary
    3. 3. Pay-per-Click Optimization
      1. Pay-per-Click Basics and Definitions
        1. The Pay-per-Click Work Cycle
        2. Common Problems with Pay-per-Click Optimization
      2. Google, Yahoo!, Microsoft, and Everybody Else
        1. Differences in Bulk Editing: Uploading Spreadsheets Versus the AdWords Editor
        2. Differences in Geotargeting
        3. Differences in Minimum Bids and Quality Scoring
        4. Summary of the Differences Among AdWords, adCenter, and YSM
      3. Goal Setting, Measurement, Analytics Support, and Closing the Loop
        1. Calculating Return on Investment
        2. Goals and Values
        3. Tracking and Metrics
        4. Closing the Loop
          1. Targeting and qualifying visitors
          2. Qualifying visitors who are late in the sales cycle
          3. Relevant landing pages
          4. Closing the loop offline
        5. Using Metrics to Set a Budget
        6. Return on Investment and Profit
        7. Pay-per-Click Return on Investment and Goals Summary
      4. Keyword Discovery, Selection, and Analysis
        1. Keyword Research
          1. Step 1: Look through your site and identify major themes
          2. Step 2: Research the competition for your root terms
          3. Step 3: Use a keyword research tool to generate variations from your list of root terms
          4. Step 4: Choose the right keyword set
        2. The Right Keywords and the Myth of the Long Tail
          1. Target part and model numbers
          2. Broad matches versus direct bidding
      5. Organizing and Optimizing Ad Groups
        1. Guidelines for Grouping
        2. Example Themed Ad Groups
        3. Optimizing Ad Groups After Launch
      6. Optimizing Pay-per-Click Ads
        1. Measuring Ad Performance
        2. Optimizing Ad Copy
          1. Creating ad copy variation
          2. Testing ads the easy way: AdWords optimized ad serving
          3. Testing ads the hard way: Confidence interval testing
        3. Dynamic Keyword Insertion in Ads
        4. Pay-per-Click Ad Optimization Summary
      7. Optimizing Landing Pages
        1. Landing Pages for AdWords
        2. Landing Pages for Visitors
          1. Complete conversions with clear calls to action
          2. Use persuasive copy
          3. Support the ad claims that triggered the visitor’s click
          4. Include multiple conversion points for different stages of the buying cycle
          5. Display large images of products or services
          6. Forgo navigation menus
        3. Testing Landing Pages
      8. Optimizing Bids
        1. Penalties for New Accounts
        2. Initial Bid Strategies
        3. Bid Gaps
        4. Adjusting Bids
        5. Automated Bidding
        6. The Big Picture
        7. Branding
        8. Bid Optimization in Action: The E-Grooming Book Example
      9. Other Pay-per-Click Issues
        1. The Content Network
        2. Click Fraud
        3. Trademark Issues
          1. How do I stop advertisers from bidding on my trademark?
          2. Can I bid on competitor trademarks?
          3. Should I bid on my own trademark or company name?
      10. Summary
    4. 4. PPC Case Study:
      1. Body Glove PPC Optimization
        1. Market Analysis
        2. Campaign Creation and Kickoff
        3. Initial Outcome and Improvements
        4. Dramatic Results
      2. Summary
    5. 5. Conversion Rate Optimization
      1. The Benefits of CRO
      2. Best Practices for CRO
        1. Source Credibility: Designing Gut Reactions
        2. The Psychology of Persuasion
          1. The six persuaders
          2. Building trust to close the sale
      3. Top 10 Factors to Maximize Conversion Rates
        1. Factor #1: Use a Credibility-Based Professional Design
        2. Factor #2: Make Website Navigation Easy
        3. Factor #3: Optimize the Credibility of Your Logo
        4. Factor #4: Write a Memorable Slogan
        5. Factor #5: Use Benefit-Oriented Headlines
          1. Optimum link length
        6. Factor #6: Give Important Content the Best Placement
        7. Factor #7: Include Appealing Offers and Calls to Action
        8. Factor #8: Deploy Persuasive, Benefit-Oriented Content
        9. Factor #9: Use Illustrative Product and Service Images—The “Hero Shot”
        10. Factor #10: Use Interactive Elements to Engage Users
      4. Staging Your CRO Campaign
        1. Discovery
          1. Discovering personas
          2. The Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
        2. Planning
          1. Step 1: Create the redesign plan: planning your site architecture
          2. Step 2: Plan your website design and color scheme
        3. Optimization
          1. Optimize with persuasive copywriting
          2. Put it on paper and build graphical mockups
          3. Optimize your conversion paths to get the click
        4. Test Everything
      5. Summary
  5. II. Web Performance Optimization
    1. 6. Web Page Optimization
      1. Common Web Page Problems
        1. Oust Oodles of Objects
        2. Untangle Tables
        3. Optimize Overweight Graphics
          1. The cost of banner advertising
        4. The Growth of Multimedia
      2. How to Optimize Your Web Page Speed
        1. Switch to Semantic Markup
          1. Use container cells for descendant selectors
        2. Step 1: Minimize HTTP Requests
          1. Convert graphical text to styled text
          2. Convert spacer cells to CSS margins or padding
          3. Combine remaining images and map or sprite
          4. Combine and optimize CSS and JavaScript files
          5. Eliminate (i)frames and JavaScript includes
        3. Step 2: Resize and Optimize Images
        4. Step 3: Optimize Multimedia
          1. Optimizing videos for the Web
          2. Flash optimization tips
        5. Step 4: Convert JavaScript Behavior to CSS
        6. Step 5: Use Server-Side Sniffing
          1. Sniffing with BrowserHawk
          2. XSSI browser sniffing
        7. Step 6: Optimize JavaScript for Execution Speed and File Size
        8. Step 7: Convert Table Layout to CSS Layout
          1. CSS page layout
        9. Step 8: Replace Inline Style with CSS Rules
        10. Step 9: Minimize Initial Display Time
        11. Step 10: Load JavaScript Wisely
          1. The perils of third-party widgets
      3. Summary
    2. 7. CSS Optimization
      1. Build on a CSS Architecture
        1. Use a Reset Stylesheet
      2. Top 10 Tips for Optimizing CSS
        1. Tip #1: Replace Inline Style with Type Selectors
        2. Tip #2: Use Descendant Selectors
        3. Tip #3: Group Selectors with Common Declarations
        4. Tip #4: Group Declarations with Common Selectors
        5. Tip #5: Combine Common Styles into Shared Classes
        6. Tip #6: Use Inheritance to Eliminate Duplicate Declarations
        7. Tip #7: Use CSS Shorthand
          1. Using shorthand colors
          2. Shorthand properties
        8. Tip #8: Abbreviate Long Class and ID Names
          1. Using semantically meaningful names
          2. Comments in CSS
        9. Tip #9: Use CSS2 and CSS3.x Techniques
        10. Tip #10: Replace JavaScript Behavior with CSS Techniques
          1. CSS buttons
          2. CSS rollovers
          3. Mono-image menu rollovers
          4. CSS sprites
          5. List-based menus
      3. Summary
    3. 8. Ajax Optimization
      1. Common Problems with Ajax
      2. Ajax: New and Improved JavaScript Communications
      3. Proper Application of Ajax
      4. Rolling Your Own Ajax Solution
        1. Synchronous Versus Asynchronous Communication
        2. An Illustrative Example
          1. Prelude to Ajax optimizations
      5. Relying on Ajax Libraries
        1. Evaluating an Ajax Library
      6. JavaScript Optimization
        1. Remove JavaScript Comments
          1. Conditional comments
        2. Reduce Whitespace Carefully
        3. Use JavaScript Shorthand
        4. Use String Constant Macros
        5. Avoid Optional Constructs and Kill Dead Code Fast
        6. Shorten User-Defined Variables and Function Names
        7. Remap Built-in Objects
        8. Inline Localized Functions
        9. Assume Default Values
        10. Every Byte Counts
        11. Bundle Your Scripts
        12. Lazy-Load Your Code
        13. Pace Yourself
        14. Monitor User Rendering Time
        15. Practice Error Awareness
        16. Clean Up After Yourself
          1. Memory leaks and garbage collection in Internet Explorer
        17. Go Native
        18. Clock Your Runtime
      7. Minimizing HTTP Requests
      8. Choosing Data Formats Wisely
        1. Consider Ajah
      9. Addressing the Caching Quandary of Ajax
        1. Method 1: Output No Caching Headers on the Server Side
        2. Method 2: Make Requests with Unique URIs
        3. Method 3: Make Requests with an Old If-Modified-Since Header
        4. Create Your Own Cache
      10. Addressing Network Robustness
        1. Timeouts, Retries, and Ordering
          1. Retrying after a timeout
          2. Out-of-order responses
        2. Addressing Server and Content Error
        3. Polling Carefully
          1. The problem with polling
      11. Understanding the Ajax Architecture Effect
        1. The Location Hash Technique
      12. Summary
    4. 9. Advanced Web Performance Optimization
      1. Server-Side Optimization Techniques
        1. Optimizing Parallel Downloads
          1. Reduce DNS lookups
        2. Caching Frequently Used Objects
          1. Three ways to cache in
          2. A specific caching example
          3. Target files by extension for caching
          4. Using mod_cache
        3. Using HTTP Compression
          1. Compressing content in Apache
          2. Average compression ratios for HTTP compression
          3. Delta encoding (delta compression)
        4. The Benefits of a Content Delivery Network
        5. Rewriting URIs with mod_rewrite
          1. How mod_rewrite works
      2. Client-Side Performance Techniques
        1. Delay Script Loading
          1. Use progressive enhancement
          2. Load JavaScript on demand (remote procedure calls)
          3. Use an iframe for external JavaScript
        2. Cache Off-Site Files on the Server and Load Locally
          1. Example RSS cache
        3. JavaScript Optimization and Packing
          1. Extreme optimization not advised
        4. Inline Images with Data URIs
          1. Disadvantages of inline images
          2. CSS and inline images
      3. Summary
    5. 10. Website Optimization Metrics
      1. Website Success Metrics
        1. Popular Web Metrics
          1. Measuring SEM success
      2. Types of Web Analytics Software
        1. Web Server Log Analysis
        2. JavaScript Page Tagging
          1. Multivariate testing with Google Website Optimizer
        3. Hybrid Analytics Systems
        4. User Experience Testing Software
      3. Search Engine Marketing Metrics
        1. Search Marketing Strategy
          1. Optimal paths
        2. Classes of Metrics
          1. Volume
          2. Content
          3. Objectives
          4. Means
        3. Volume Metrics
          1. Page views
          2. Visits or sessions
          3. Unique visitors
          4. New visitors
          5. Repeat visitors
          6. Instances
        4. Content Metrics: Measuring Each Component
          1. Entries
          2. Single-access visits
          3. Bounce rate (and simple engagement)
          4. Revenue per visit(or)
          5. Page attrition
          6. PathWeight and ProxyScoring
          7. Primary content consumption
          8. PathLoss
          9. Exit rate (or page exit ratio)
        5. Objectives
          1. Understanding objectives
          2. Ad clicks
          3. Goal pages
          5. Orders
          6. Sign-ups
          7. Cart additions
          8. Conversion
        6. Measuring the Means
          1. CPC: Cost per click
          2. CTR: Click-through rate
          3. ROAS: Return on ad spend
          4. ROI: Return on investment
        7. Success Metrics = Reaching Goals
      4. Web Performance Metrics
        1. Keeping Score
          1. Speed checklist
          2. Request statistics
          3. Load times
          4. Scorecard tips
        2. Designing a Sample Test
          1. Find your audience
          2. Clear cache and cookies
          3. Flush DNS
          4. Simulate connection speeds
        3. It’s Measuring Time
          1. IBM Page Detailer
          2. Under the hood: Waterfall reports
          3. Firebug: A simple alternative
          4. AOL Pagetest
        4. Speed Up Your Site
          1. Enhance Firebug with YSlow
        5. Reporting the Numbers
          1. A movie is worth a thousand scorecards
          2. Start render
          3. Useful content display
          4. Graphics loaded
          5. Ads loaded
        6. Commercial Monitoring Tools
        7. Overlooked Web Performance Issues
      5. Summary
  6. Index
  7. About the Author
  8. Colophon
  9. Copyright