Category Archives: Website Design

4 Words Your Web Site Should Never Use

4 Words Your Web Site Should Never Use
By Steve Chittenden

When I tell you what these 4 words are, you will most likely be surprised for a couple of reasons. First, they seem innocent, and second, they are used on many, many web sites. It wouldn’t do much good though if I did not tell you why they are so bad, or what you should do, so I will cover that too.

What are those 4 words? They are, “Welcome to our website.” Even more surprising is how many professional web designers use these performance killing words when designing web sites for their clients. This common error runs rampant across the Internet.

Why is this so bad?

The first reason is that it violates a rule that every professional web designer should be aware of. This is commonly called the 8 second rule, and here is what it means. When a visitor first lands on your web site, they make a decision about whether to stay or leave in an average of 8 seconds. A welcome message squanders those precious few seconds.

Remember, people are visiting your site anonymously, virtually, and they are looking for content. The friendly greeting that works well in face to face reality is counter productive on your web site. Leaving your site is a simple mouse click away, and visitors don’t need to return your courtesy by saying excuse me or goodbye.

In those first few seconds, that web site visitor is only interested in knowing if you have what they are looking for, and if it will be easy to find. There are ways to let them know they are in the right place, but, “Welcome to our website,” is not one of them.

The second reason is that these words lack something critically important to your web site–uniqueness. I mentioned already that many, many web sites use these words. Just out of curiosity, I did a search to see how many. I chose Yahoo! for technical reasons, and they showed over 8 million results using the exact quote. By removing the quote marks, the results were over a billion! Google shows different (lower) numbers, but I’ll spare you the details on why they filter results and don’t show actual totals.

No matter how you run the numbers, those 4 useless words are way over used, which is reason enough to avoid them. Your site will never stand out if you make the same mistake so many others have made.

What should you do instead?

Well answering that question completely would fill a book, so I’ll simplify it down to the basics. Perhaps most importantly is getting immediately to your point. The visitor should get a good idea what your page is about at a glance. Page titles, headings and subheadings, first and last paragraph, and navigation structure all play an important role.

Have someone from an outside perspective look at your page. If you gave them 5-10 seconds, could they get a general idea of what the page is about? Do all the page elements support the message without causing a distraction? Could the visitor be visually overwhelmed or over stimulated? Keep it simple and clean.

Obviously, you can’t give visitors everything in 8 seconds, but you can give them enough so it “pulls them in” to keep them on your site longer. Make sure your site is easy to figure out and use. Plan and organize your content in a logical way. You can, and probably should, go into detail about your product or service to inform your buyers, just don’t violate the 8 second rule.

Even if you don’t use those 4 naughty words on your web site, I trust the principles here have been helpful in evaluating your web site’s content to make it more effective.

Steve Chittenden seeks to help business owners and organizations market themselves effectively and succeed. His company, Creative Business Services, provides carefully planned web design, graphic design, writing, and marketing services aimed at achieving this goal. Please visit for more information.

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Critial Elements for Geo-Targeting Your Web Pages


With local search increasing, and the use of paper yellow pages decreasing, it is more important than ever to make sure your web pages are geo-targeted. This post expands a little on a recent post I made.

When a web surfer is searching for a solution locally, they are using very specific search terms. They have learned over the last 10 years that searching for “pizza” is going to get so many results as to be useless. However, searching for “pizza in albany” or “italian food in saratoga 12866” will get them much closer to the results they want.

The listings that come up first are usually that search engine’s local listings, which are great, but they only show the first 10 or so local listings. If your business doesn’t show up there, or you haven’t taken the time to update your local listing (shame on you), then you can boost your chances of getting listed in the organic search results (directly below these local listings) by using the techniques outlined below.

Critical geo-targeting elements you need in the title tag:

  • keyword(s) in the title tag – “plumbers” or “plumbing” or “plumbing contractors”
  • city/town/region – “los angeles” or “gold coast”
  • state spelled out and also abbreviated
  • zip code (you can target neighboring zip codes on other pages)

Here’s an example search to show you how little this is being used (and how easy it will be for you to dominate the search results!) …


This handy tool will help you to choose keywords:

I have a customer who had a competitor opening up about 15 minutes away and he wanted to make sure he was listed first. The competitor was currently listed first in google. I added a page with the keywords he wanted, and a link to that page from the bottom of every page on his website. On the new page, I just listed the directions from the competitor’s town to his location, and a map. He’s now number one (and two).

Don’t forget to put your physical address on every single page of your website. It contains most of the critical elements.

TIP: If you have a page where you list your coupons, use these same elements in the title tag for that page: “Pizza Coupons in Little Rock”. And don’t forget to add an autoresponder to your coupon page, inviting them to sign up to receive additional coupons via email.

Correctly Using Keywords In Page Titles


It is recommended to use keywords in page titles itself. This title tag is different from a Meta tag, but it’s worth considering it in relation to them. Whatever text one places in the title tag (between the <title> and </title> portions) will appear in the title bar of browsers when they view the web page. Some browsers also append whatever you put in the title tag by adding their own name, as for example Microsoft’s Internet Explorer or OPERA.

The actual text you use in the title tag is one of the most important factors in how a search engine may decide to rank your web page. In addition, all major web crawlers will use the text of your title tag as the text they use for the title of your page in your listings.

If you have designed your website as a series of websites or linked pages and not just a single Home Page, you must bear in mind that each page of your website must be search engine optimized. The title of each page i.e. the keywords you use on that page and the phrases you use in the content will draw traffic to your site.

The unique combination of these words and phrases and content will draw customers using different search engine terms and techniques, so be sure you capture all the keywords and phrases you need for each product, service or information page.

The most common mistake made by small business owners when they first design their website is to place their business name or firm name in every title of every page. Actually most of your prospective customers do not bother to know the name of your firm until after they have looked at your site and decided it is worth book marking.

So, while you want your business name in the title of the home page, it is probably a waste of valuable keywords and space to put it in the title line of every page on your site. Why not consider putting keywords in the title so that your page will display closer to the top of the search engine listing.

Dedicating first three positions for keywords in title avoiding the stop words like ‘and’, ‘at’ and the like is crucial in search engine optimization.