What To Expect From Your Web Guru

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A short list of things you can do to protect yourself when purchasing a new website for your company or transitioning to a brand new site.

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What To Expect From Your Web Guru

  1. 1. What to Expect from your Web Guru Amber (Leto) Mayer Chief Operating Officer Instant Software Webinar – December, 2009
  2. 2. <ul><li>Web Guru Checklist of Expectations: </li></ul><ul><li>Design and Functionality are two different services – Can your web guru work with Weblink Connectivity or Weblink Plus WSDL feeds? </li></ul><ul><li>Make sure you fully evaluate all of the Pros and Cons of your current site before you build a new one. </li></ul><ul><li>Be Involved with the development of the User Interface – make sure the process in which to make a booking on your website will lead to the optimal number of bookings. </li></ul><ul><li>What does your Web Guru know about Search Engine Optimization? Usually, programmers are programmers and SEO people are SEO people. Ask them how they are going to ensure that you do not drop in rankings after the transition. </li></ul><ul><li>Make sure you maintain control over and ownership of your Domain Name. </li></ul><ul><li>Create a Google Analytics account and add your webmaster as a User. Make sure you are the admin of your Analytics account. </li></ul><ul><li>If you are going to accept credit card purchases online – then be sure your Webmaster is purchasing an Secure Socket Layer certificate for your website. This is also known as an SSL certificate. </li></ul><ul><li>Dynamic Google Site Map – make sure they provide one and submit it to Google on your behalf. </li></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>Design and Functionality are two different services – Can your web guru work with Weblink Connectivity or Weblink Plus WSDL feeds? </li></ul><ul><li>Design and Programming are two separate services and usually, programmers are either purchasing template designs online or they are outsourcing the design elements of your website. Make sure you understand who or how they are going to be accomplishing your design elements – this will help you negotiate the pricing. </li></ul><ul><li>In order to have Online Bookings – Instant Software clients have two choices: Weblink or Weblink Plus. The difference between the two is that Weblink offers a standard search interface in iframes that your Web Guru can literally just link up to and you have online bookings. This is a simple fix if you have never had online booking capabilities, but it has very limited features. Weblink Plus is just a data feed provided to your Web Master that if he/she has the skills – they can utilize to create a completely custom search interface and search results for your Website design. </li></ul>
  4. 4. <ul><li>Make sure you fully evaluate all of the Pros and Cons of your current site before you build a new one. </li></ul><ul><li>Look at your current website traffic utilizing Google Analytics. If you have never had Google Analytics on your current site then try researching your site traffic in Quantcast.com or on Compete.com. </li></ul><ul><li>Find out how many pages are indexed in Google for your current website. This is extremely important because knowing this information (which can be provided by your Web Guru), helps you know what pages to build on the new site or which ones to abandon. </li></ul><ul><li>If you have Google Analytics – use the TOP CONTENT section to find out what pages get the most traffic – make sure you duplicate some of this content on your new site to help balance the transition. </li></ul><ul><li>Know what your goals are with the new site and make sure you do your KEYWORD RESEARCH so that your Web Guru utilizes the correct Meta Data (Page Titles, Meta Descriptions, and Meta Tags) on the new site. </li></ul>
  5. 5. <ul><li>Be Involved with the development of the User Interface – make sure the process in which to make a booking on your website will lead to the optimal number of bookings. </li></ul><ul><li>User Interface refers to the “process in which online users interact with your website in order to complete a Call to Action” or in our industry – “online booking” </li></ul><ul><li>Talk to your Reservation Staff and find out the consensus on the questions (and in what order) guests generally ask when they are on the telephone trying to make a booking. This is your clientele's logical thought process to complete a booking – try to replicate that online. </li></ul><ul><li>Make sure that making an online booking is not confusing – if it is, no matter how pretty your new website is or how much you spent on it – it will never yield the number of online bookings that you were trying to achieve. </li></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>What does your Web Guru know about Search Engine Optimization? Usually, programmers are programmers and SEO people are SEO people. Ask them how they are going to ensure that you do not drop in rankings after the transition . </li></ul><ul><li>Know this – no one can GUARANTEE that you will not drop in the search engine rankings after you complete a new site. Almost every site will hiccup right after launch because the search engines have to get to know you. Just expect this no matter how hard your programmer works to stabilize the transition. </li></ul><ul><li>Most importantly – the hiccup can turn into pneumonia if your programmer does not know how to implement the “best practices” of stabilizing your site in the search engines. </li></ul><ul><li>Your programmer should redirect your current URLs to the corresponding new URLs of the new site IMMEDIATELY after launch in order to help you sustain your current rankings. </li></ul><ul><li>A myth: Utilizing these URL redirects – does NOT pass on PageRank or Link Juice. </li></ul>
  7. 7. <ul><li>Make sure you maintain control over and ownership of your Domain Name. </li></ul><ul><li>If you don’t know how to access your domain name – then go to WhoIs.com and it will lead you in the right direction if you search for the owner of your domain. </li></ul><ul><li>Make sure your Web Guru has access to your DNS (Domain Name Server) settings in advance so that when you are ready to launch there are no hiccups, but double check to make sure that you are the owner and they are only the technical contact. </li></ul><ul><li>Not owning your domain name can cost you THOUSANDS of dollars and possibly – your brand. Never let anyone else purchase your domains on your behalf unless you really trust them and have it in writing that they do not own the domains, even though they purchased them for you and make sure you reimburse them with a form of payment that reiterates this fact. </li></ul>
  8. 8. <ul><li>Create a Google Analytics account and add your webmaster as a User. Make sure you are the admin of your Analytics account . </li></ul><ul><li>Google Analytics is Free – so make sure you use it! </li></ul><ul><li>Make sure your Google Analytics account is setup as you being the main administrator of the account – otherwise, if you ever change Web Guru’s …. You may have to open a new account and lose your historical data. </li></ul>
  9. 9. <ul><li>If you are going to accept credit card purchases online – then be sure your Webmaster is purchasing an Secure Socket Layer certificate for your website. This is also known as an SSL certificate. </li></ul><ul><li>SSL Certificates make sure that transmission of credit card data from your website is secure. Many online shoppers have software that alerts them when a site does not have a valid SSL Certificate. </li></ul><ul><li>SSL Certificates may be including in the price that you were quoted by your Web Guru – make sure you find out and if not – purchase one and provide it to your Web Guru. There is a process involved where the SSL Certificate company will verify your identity and company prior to issuance. </li></ul>
  10. 10. <ul><li>Dynamic Google Site Map – make sure they provide one and submit it to Google on your behalf. </li></ul><ul><li>Property Manager sites are always changing – adding properties, losing properties, putting up specials, etc. You need to utilize a dynamic sitemap so that as your site changes, so does the sitemap that was provided to the search engines. This helps diminish any broken link issues when the spiders go to crawl your site. </li></ul><ul><li>Dynamic Sitemaps are not “Site Map” links on your homepage. A Dynamic Sitemap is an XML file provided directly to the search engines and not visible anywhere on your site. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Contact Information Amber (Leto) Mayer [email_address] [email_address] www.TravelStorm.net 850-499-5504 Facebook: TravelStorm Twitter: Amber Leto LinkedIn: Amber Mayer

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