What makes a website great? A great website incorporates key “must-have” elements and leaves behind elements considered obstacles and a waste of time. For instance, just spare the reader and do not include a flash intro on your site!! Most of us just do not have time to sit through such an ordeal. We just want to find what we came looking for, that’s it. On the other hand, make sure any reader that visits your site for the first time will quickly be able to decipher what your website is all about. If you make me work too hard at figuring out what the heck your site is about, I’m gonna leave and so will the majority of your readers. With that said, here’s a quick list of the top 10 steps to a great website. 1. Hosting and Website Design and features. In short, do your research before investing too much time and money into something that will not meet your needs. 2. Keyword Research: Do this before buying a domain name. You should have a strong list of keywords before setting up your site. 3. Buy a domain name that has your main keyword in it, and be sure to use no more than one hyphen in your URL in order for the keyword to be readable by the search engines. 4. Create Excellent Meta Tags utilizing you keyword, once again! 5. Website Title: You guessed it, not only should it contain your keyword, the keyword should be the first word of you title …IF possible. 6. The tag should be the first meta tag after the tag. Some turn-key websites do not allow for this adjustment to be made!! I was recently working on a Realtors website and I ran into this very problem. Thus, it is a major obstacle to page optimization. Always include heading!!!! Always!!! You guessed it again, place your keyword there as well. 7. Build the remaining content around you chosen keywords or keyword phrases. There is an art to doing this and does take some practice. Be patient and you will get there. 8. Home Page Significance: Your Landing Page Give special care to your home page as it is the MAP to the rest of your site. Keywords need to appear in the Title, the subheading (and corresponding meta tags), and also early in the text or content. 9. When you have solid content, add your URL to the search engines…manually! 10. Create a Site Map for your site. Then submit it to Google and other search engines. Websites today should never be launched without a site map! For more information on site maps please visit Google’s Webmaster Tools Best of Luck!!