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5 Link placement strategies to maximize web traffic

"You can't get there from here."
 
Not just a funny line but too often a pretty apt description of an economic development website. I think of this as the site selection scavenger hunt: All I want to do is get some contact information for an actual person. Or search for available commercial sites and buildings. Or compare key data points on several communities. Or analyze labor force and talent data. I click and click and scroll and scroll and sometimes I come up empty. I know that information is in there somewhere, but it appears you can't get there from here.
 
can't get there from here
Our clients are well aware of the importance of link placement for their site selection GIS data tools, and often ask my advice regarding the placement of links to our data tools on their websites. How to maximize traffic? How to make sure as many different kinds of community stakeholders as possible are taking advantage of these powerful information resources.
 
Here are some key points to bear in mind:

 

1- Visitors can land on any website page. They don't just come in from your home page. Ensure there are clear menu header and footer tabs. If you have a page called Demographics, it makes sense to either place your Demographics data tool (such as this one) right there or clearly link to it. Nothing wrong with having the same data tools in multiple places. Which brings me to point number 2.


2- Redundancy is key. Building multiple links to the tools ensures the highest number of web visitors will see and click on them. That's why our site selection microsite templates are built with multiple ways to navigate to the same places. People read web pages the way they do a printed page to some extent, so left to right and then top down. But we have also become accustomed to having menu headers at the top of web pages and often again in footers at the bottom. If you can include an item called "Interactive data tools" in a header, it will ensure it's found on every single web page.


Welcome_-_Montreal_International.png3- Use an icon with text. A simple visual accompanying the text will boost click rates. A simple Google search for "data icon" will yield some useful examples, such as this, this or this. If you link to a map, then a Google-type pushpin is instantly recognizable. Montreal International did a great job using both an icon and a clear description right on their home page (see image at left). Alternately, you can also use a search widget to let website visitors begin searching right from the home page, as in this example from the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce

4- Use generalized but descriptive language. If you call it a "GIS tool," then people unfamiliar with GIS won't click on it. If you call our ZoomProspector Enterprise tool a "sites & buildings database," then you automatically ignore all the people seeking data about business, industry, labor force, consumer spending and incentives. Something too general, such as "Facts & Figures," doesn't evoke the interactive, robust and wide. Here are some suggestions for different data tools. 

  • Interactive Data Tools
  • Intelligent Data Tools
  • Economic Development Data Resources
  • Interactive Location Analysis Tool(s)

5- Make use of one of our turnkey microsite templates. We make it so easy, so affordable and so fast to hit a home run with a turnkey economic development microsite template. Choose from 6 beautiful designs, all based in website design best practices, with a specific focus on economic development and site selection. All data tools are set up and each organization adds their own logo, branding, colors, and images. Want to know more? Click on the link below to set up a customized assessment and demo.

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