After reading “Be the Media” Chapter 9, I found that I learned many important tips about search engine optimization and the importance of knowing the tools that are available to aid in the creation and maintenance of Web sites.
While I am learning a lot about the Web design process in the iMedia program, I had not read much about specific tools available to insure that a site will gain an audience and remain competitive. 85 percent of users will find a site using search engines, so it is essential to improve page rank through keywords and meta-tags on the Web site.
When reading the chapter, I was surprised that many of the tools available to improve page rank are easy to apply to a Web site. During the Digital Media Workshop in August, I became more skilled at using Dreamweaver, but I was not taught about the importance of filling in image tags and establishing a title page for a Web site. It is so simple to title a Web document, but many student Web sites say “Untitled” at the top of the Web site window. This alone is enough to greatly decrease a page rank because the site will not be search friendly.
If the majority of Web users rely on search engines, it is also important to utilize off-page optimization factors, which Mathison says are even more important for ranking than on-page factors. These factors include commenting on blogs or discussion boards, publishing stories on other Web sites, or submitting articles to directories.
The biggest take-away from this chapter is something that I am pushing myself to do on a regular basis: When you have created a Web site and it is finally online, the work is far from being finished. Making the site live is just the first step. For any sort of success, creators must be constantly active on the Web. They are not just creators of Web sites, but participants looking to spread a brand and draw in users/readers. It is my instinct to create something, display it and then move on to another project. But a Web site is never complete. Content and design must remain up-to-date, and the audience base should continue to grow with added effort in spreading awareness about the site’s presence online.