Starting Your First Web Project, Part 3



In this lesson Starting Your First Web Project, Part 3 we will discuss the analysis you should use to determine your target market and develop the keywords and key phrases your target market will likely use when browsing on the internet. We’ll explore these issues in the context of our continuing example, using our hypothetical friend John, who is developing a Website of southern family recipes.


Since our last lesson, John’s life has become more interesting. One of his friends came over while he was videotaping the preparation of some recipes. The friend asked what in the world he was doing and John explained. Since then, his circle of friends and neighbors have good-naturedly teased John about “doing videos” for the Internet.

John has discovered an important social factor, one that comes into play whenever you begin to accomplish something powerful. People will tend to both misunderstand and denigrate what you are doing. Even though they like you, they tend to get uncomfortable if you try to become more successful than they have decided you should be. So, as you move toward success, friends and family often misunderstand your effort and even make fun of it.

John decided to take the teasing good-naturedly and even tease back a little in a light-hearted way–all the while proceeding on with his project with even more enthusiasm. John is not waiting for everyone to agree that he should be successful. He is moving forward to create his own success on his own terms. John’s next step in this venture is to work out his keyword and key phrase strategy for his recipe Website.


By reading about advertising techniques, John has learned that certain words catch people’s attention much better than others. If you are preparing ad copy, you need to use the “powerwords” in your advertisements. John has teased his circle of friends and neighbors that he plans to have a banner promising “hot, spicy videos” on his web-site (after all, many of the dishes he prepares are hot and spicy). He knows that in ad copy and banner ads, it would be better to say that he was “revealing spicy secrets” than to say that he was “listing family recipes.” In ad copy and banner ads, you need to use attention-grabbing techniques and powerwords.

It is good, however, that John also understands the difference between ad copy and keywords for a Website. With ad copy you are trying to anticipate the words that will grab peoples’ attention. With keywords, however, you are trying to anticipate words that people will actually type into a search engine. There is a difference. It is important to understand that words that may grab people’s attention in advertising are not necessarily the same words they will type into a search engine when looking for information on the internet. When developing keywords for your site, you want to focus on the words that will likely be typed into the search engines by your target market.


Developing a keyword strategy is the first step in the final design phase of a Website. Since your keywords must match your content, the keywords and key phrases you choose will predetermine the actual content on your site.

From his readings, John knows that he needs to come up with approximately 20 to 25 keywords, combining some of these keywords into key phrases. These keywords and key phrases will then be inserted, among other places, in the keywords meta tag, which is located in the “head” section of his Website code. These should be words that people will likely use when searching for sites like his from the Internet search engines.

Coming up with the first few keywords was easy. “Recipes, food, cook, cooking, southern, meals, menus, ingredients” came to him as fast as he could type them. But, beyond these first few obvious keywords, John wants to come up with the best possible words to give his site the greatest exposure.

John also knows that he could use different keywords on different pages on the site and repeat keywords from the main page in a different order on different pages of his site. The section on pasta, for example, could have “pasta” as the leading keyword and then pick up on the other keywords. The section on steaks could lead with “steaks” and “beef” and then pick up on the other keywords. By having many pages with different keywords and different order of the keywords, he could maximize the chance of someone finding his site with a specific narrow search. That is, by using “steak recipe, steaks, recipes, beef” as the first few keywords on the steak page, those searching specifically for steak recipes should be led directly to that page of the site by the search engines. He should also put these words in the title for the steak page as well.

Each section, if not each page, of a multi-page Website should have keywords and key phrases specific to the particular section or page, at least for the first few keywords; rather than just repeating the same keywords in the same order on every page of your site. This technique greatly enhances the chances of your site showing up in very narrow searches.


To come up with keywords, John must put himself in the shoes of an Internet user who might be interested in his site. Who will they be? What will they be thinking? How will they search? It would be great if John could hire a Market Analyst to perform an empirical study and give him exact results. Not being able to afford that, however, John uses his common sense.

Defining a target market is, in part, a process of elimination. In answering the question “who will they be,” it occurs to John that he can immediately eliminate children. In general, adults do the cooking, not children. John also decides that he can eliminate men over the age of fifty-five. These men grew up in a culture that relied on women to do the cooking and most have not likely changed with the times. On the other hand, women over fifty-five most likely have done a great deal of cooking and are quite interested. So, his market is at this point narrowed to both sexes between the ages of 21 and 55, and includes women over 55; eliminating children and men over 55. John also decides that he can eliminate the very rich due to their hiring servants to do the cooking.

Defining a target market is also a process of determining specific inclusions. Thus, John concludes that–in this age of microwaves, frozen pizza, and fast food restaurants on every corner–most people aren’t motivated to cook unless they have someone to cook for. Thus, parents of younger children become a prime target because most parents feel the need to provide home-cooked meals for their children–at least on occasion. Since men are more involved in parenting after divorce now, it further occurs to John that recently divorced men may be a prime market. They now find themselves with the children a great deal of the time and need to cook for them. Finally, it occurs to John that people who are overweight or who have health problems may have to learn new recipes to meet the requirements of new diets.

So, to summarize, John has decided that he can eliminate everyone under 21, men over 55, and the very rich. He needs to particularly target parents, especially recently divorced men under 55, overweight people, and people with health problems.

Of course, to be true to the southern tradition of cooking, John will have recipes on his site that are not particularly healthy or weight reducing. But he realizes while thinking through this process that the people most likely to be searching for new recipes will be looking for healthy and low-fat alternatives. Thus, he is guided in how to better develop the content of his site by defining his market. He needs to add a number of low-fat and otherwise healthy recipes.


Now that John has some idea of who may be interested in his site, the next question is, “what will these people be thinking as they search the Internet?” The above analysis provides a real hook here. Since parents of younger children are his main target, and since parenting is such an overwhelming obligation, he assumes they will be searching for information to help them to be better parents. Thus, John will want to include words such as “child,” “children,” “parent,” “parenting,” and “raising,” in his key phrases and tie them to cooking. He may even consider including the words “divorce” and “father.” He will also want to use words such as “health,” “healthy,” and “slim” to reach the health conscious market.

By including these words, John may catch those people who will like his site even though they are not specifically looking for a recipe site at the time. A recently divorced father, frantically searching the Internet for any information to help him be a better parent, may type in “parenting” or “raising children” and may even type in “divorced father” in a phrase such as “help for divorced fathers.” When he sees the site’s listing, he may say to himself, “Yes, this is something I need to learn. I like this site.” Thus, using these techniques, Johna will have extended the reach of his site to some people who were not even sure what they were looking for!



In this lesson Starting Your First Web Project, Part 3 we discussed developing your list of keywords and key phrases as the first step in the final design of your Website. You need to decide on your keywords and key phrases in order to develop your final content. To develop your list of key words and key phrases, you need to define your target market. Defining your target market involves a process of elimination and a process of inclusion. Decide who will not be interested in your site and decide who specifically will be interested. Think of the words that your target market will likely search for on the internet search engines.


The real trick, as may have become apparent to you from our examples above, is to order the keywords you have chosen and tie them together in key phrases within your keywords meta tag and the title meta tags for specific pages. You need a specific strategy for each section or each page of your site. This will be the subject of our next lesson.

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