Web Design

Mobile Website vs. Mobile App

Mobile Website vs. Mobile App

For Broad Marketing Outreach, A Mobile Website is the Place to Start

If you’re planning to establish a mobile presence for your business or organization one of the first considerations that will likely come to mind is whether you want to create a mobile application for users to download (app) or a mobile website, or perhaps both. Mobile websites and apps can look very similar at first-glance, and determining which is most suited to your needs will depend upon a number of factors, including target audiences, available budget, intended purpose and required features.

What’s the Difference Between a Mobile Website and an App?

Before you can evaluate the benefits of a mobile website vs. an app it’s important to understand the key differences between the two. Both apps and mobile websites are accessed on a handheld devices such as smartphones (e.g. iPhone, Android and Blackberry) and tablets.

A mobile website is similar to any other website in that it consists of browser-based HTML pages that are linked together and accessed over the Internet (for mobile typically WiFi or 3G or 4G networks). The obvious characteristic that distinguishes a mobile website from a standard website is the fact that it is designed for the smaller handheld display and touch-screen interface.

Like any website, mobile websites can display text content, data, images and video. They can also access mobile-specific features such as click-to-call (to dial a phone number) or location-based mapping.

Apps are actual applications that are downloaded and installed on your mobile device, rather than being rendered within a browser. Users visit device-specific portals such as  Apple’s App Store, Android Market, or Blackberry App World in order to find and download apps for a given operating system. The app may pull content and data from the Internet, in similar fashion to a website, or it may download the content so that it can be accessed without an Internet connection.

Which is Better – an App or a Mobile Website?

When it comes to deciding whether to build a native app or a mobile website, the most appropriate choice really depends on your end goals. If you are developing an interactive game an app is probably going to be your best option. But if your goal is to offer mobile-friendly content to the widest possible audience then a mobile website is probably the way to go. In some cases you may decide you need both a mobile website and a mobile app, but it’s pretty safe to say that it rarely makes sense to build an app without already having a mobile website in place.

Generally speaking, a mobile website should be considered your first step in developing a mobile web presence, whereas an app is useful for developing an application for a very specific purpose that cannot be effectively accomplished via a web browser.

Advantages of a Mobile Website vs. Native Apps

If your goals are primarily related to marketing or public communications, a mobile website is almost always going to make sense as a practical first step in your mobile outreach strategy. This is because a mobile website has a number of inherent advantages over apps, including broader accessibility, compatibility and cost-effectiveness.

CheckImmediacy – Mobile Websites Are Instantly Available
A mobile website is instantly accessible to users via a browser across a range of devices (iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, etc).  Apps on the other hand require the user to first download and install the app from an app marketplace before the content or application can be viewed – a significant barrier between initial engagement and action/conversion. 

CheckCompatibility – Mobile Websites are Compatible Across Devices
A single mobile website can reach users across many different types of mobile devices, whereas native apps require a separate version to be developed for each type of device. Furthermore, mobile website URLs are easily integrated within other mobile technologies such as SMS, QR Codes and near field communication (NFC).

CheckUpgradability – Mobile Websites Can Be Updated Instantly
A mobile website is much more dynamic than an app in terms of pure flexibility to update content. If you want to change the design or content of a mobile website you simply publish the edit once and the changes are immediately visible; updating an app on the other hand requires the updates to be pushed to users, which then must be downloaded in order to update the app on each type of device. 

CheckFindability – Mobile Websites Can be Found Easily
Mobile websites are much easier for users to find because their pages can be displayed in search results and listed in industry-specific directories, making it easy for qualified visitors to find you. Most importantly, visitors to your regular website can be automatically sent to your mobile site when they are on a handheld (using device-detection).  In contrast, the visibility of apps are largely restricted to manufacturer app stores.

CheckShareability – Mobile Websites Can be Shared Easily by Publishers, and Between Users
Mobile website URLs are easily shared between users via a simple link (e.g. within an email or text message, Facebook or Twitter post). Publishers can easily direct users to a mobile website from a blog or website, or even in print. An app simply cannot be shared in this fashion.

CheckReach – Mobile Websites Have Broader Reach
Because a mobile website is accessible across platforms and can be easily shared among users, as well as search engines, it has far greater reach capability than a native app. 

CheckLifeCycle – Mobile Websites Can’t be Deleted
The average shelf-life of an app is pretty short, less than 30 days according to some research, so unless your app is something truly unique and/or useful (ideally, both), it’s questionable how long it will last on a user’s device. Mobile websites on the other hand are always available for users to return to them. 

CheckA Mobile Website Can be an App!
Just like a standard website, mobile websites can be developed as database-driven web applications that act very much like native apps. A mobile web application can be a practical alternative to native app development.

CheckTime and Cost – Mobile Websites are Easier and Less Expensive
Last but certainly not least, mobile website development is considerably more time and cost-effective than development of a native app, especially if you need to have a presence on different platforms (requiring development of multiple apps).

CheckSupport and Sustainability
The investment considerations of app vs website don’t end with the initial launch; properly supporting and developing an app (upgrades, testing, compatibility issues and ongoing development) is more much more expensive and involved than supporting a website over time.

When Does an App Make Sense?

Despite the many inherent benefits of the mobile web, apps are still very popular, and there are a number of specific use scenarios where an app will be your best choice.  Generally speaking, if you need one of the following, an app makes sense:

  • Interactivity/Gaming – for interactive games (think Angry Birds) an app is almost always going to be your best choice, at least for the foreseeable future.
  • Regular Usage/Personalization – If your target users are going to be using your app in a personalized fashion on a regular basis (think EverNote) then an app provides a great way to do that.
  • Complex Calculations or Reporting – If you need something that will take data and allow you to manipulate it with complex calculations, charts or reports (think banking or investment) an app will help you do that very effectively.
  • Native Functionality or Processing Required – mobile web browsers are getting increasingly good at accessing certain mobile-specific functions such as click-to-call, SMS and GPS. However, if you need to access a user’s camera or processing power an app will still do that much more effectivley.
  • No connection Required – If you need to provide offline access to content or perform functions without a network/wireless connection then an app makes sense.

As with any project, when developing an app you want to ensure that your are getting an optimal return on your investment. What you want to avoid at all costs is the needless and expensive exercise of building an app to do something basic that can be achieved with a mobile website.

In Conclusion

As long as mobile remains a relatively new frontier, the “app vs web” question will remain a very real consideration for organizations seeking to establish a mobile presence. If your mobile goals are primarily marketing-driven, or if your aim is to deliver content and establish a broad mobile presence that can be easily shared between users and found on search engines, then the a mobile website is the logical choice. On the other hand, if your goal is interactive engagement with users, or to provide an application that needs to work more like a computer program than a website, then an app is probably going to be required.

10 Essentials for a Website

10 Essentials for a Website

So your business has a website — or you’re in need of one for your brand new venture. Web design can be an overwhelming process, so we’ve spoken to a few web designers who told us what you need to have on your site … and what you can probably do without (like crazy Flash animation).

The first thing you must do is secure a good, catchy URL. Make sure it makes sense for your business, doesn’t have quirky spelling and is available on social platforms, too. Panabee can help you get creative if your business name is taken, and Name Vine is a great resource for seeing what’s available.

Once you’ve set up your domain, it’s time to build out the site and make some big decisions. Here are 10 must-haves for your website that will ensure your customers have a positive experience on the site, improve your company’s digital footprint and increase engagement with your brand.

1. A Logical Roadmap

Sure, a website should be aesthetically pleasing, but it’s more important for it to be useful. Before you even pick a server or type an HTML tag, you should map out how you’d like the website to work. This is important both for user experience and for SEO, since Google considers the content and structure of a site when it ranks for search. So, map out and mock up a design for the site — what designers call “wireframing” — and run it by a few friends to make sure it makes sense and is intuitive. “If they can understand the logic, so will the people visiting your website … and Google bots when ranking it!”

2. Crucial Business Information

The biggest failure that people have is that they try to build the website they want, not necessarily the website they need. Take a restaurant, for example — Everyone wants music and this giant ‘about’ page, but they neglect the basic things like the menu, contact information and directions.

Keep text to a minimum when it comes to your mission statement, because you should be writing things so people can skim — we all have short attention spans. One helpful tip for conveying your mission is to compare your business to something else. Don’t underestimate brevity — one or two sentences can be really powerful.

Depending on your business, you should have a few things on your website that fall into the realm of “information.” We know restaurants need a menu and a list of locations (ideally with directions or a map), but every industry has its necessary items. If you’re an e-tailer, you need product images (and they need to be good pictures). If you work in the service industry and have a business that relies heavily on customer service and referrals, put some testimonials on your site. For example, a wedding planner could have one of her recent brides write about her experience with the business. A web designer should include screenshots or link out to previous work. A hair salon could have client testimonials about a stylist’s skills and promptness. Tailor your site so that it offers the information users are likely to be looking for.

3. Contact Information

We can’t stress enough that most crucial business detail is contact information– which is why it has its own section. How many times do you visit a website and think ‘how hard is to contact this company?’ Have a number, email, address and a contact form easily accessible and visible.  It makes a difference because there’s nothing more frustrating than being unable to get in touch with a needed business or service.

When you put an email address or a phone number on the site, don’t upload this information as part of an image — the number or address should be able to be clicked on or copied right from the site in order to place the call or send an email conveniently and quickly. Most smartphones these days have the ability to do “click to call” on the web, so make the process as easy as possible for users.

Don’t want your phone ringing off the hook? Just use an email address, but be sure you answer emails in a timely manner. And please, get an email address for your domain. Using Gmail — or worse, an AOL email address — isn’t professional, and that’s what you’re striving to be. If you like Gmail’s interface, you can use Google Apps to set up custom email addresses through Gmail — it’s free for up to 10 email addresses.

4. Clear Navigation

A map is useless without a legend and a website is useless without clear navigation. Make sure you use easy-to-understand and logical names for the various pages of your site — contact, about, FAQ, etc. Being clever or cryptic will just be a turnoff for users.

When developing your navigation strategy, you should consider a call to action. What is it that you want people to do on your site? Place an order? Email for a quote? Become a member? Come to your brick-and-mortar store? Call to speak with a customer service rep? Make your goals clear and obvious.

“Put yourself in the shoes of who’s coming to your site.” What are they trying to get done? Think about the goal of your potential customer. Pepper the site with action items to help customer easily do what you want them to do. Birchbox has done a good job of this, encouraging users to “learn more” and directing them to claim a gifted Birchbox, since it’s a popular gift item and giftees are likely to be first-time visitors.

5. Security

If you’re selling anything online, you need to put some effort into securing your site with an SSL certificate. The SSL will encrypt communications between you and your clients (i.e. a credit card number, Social Security number), which will allay their fears of providing such information, since there’s so much identity theft on the web.

6. Social Media Integration

Twitter. Facebook. Tumblr. YouTube. Pinterest. Google+. LinkedIn. Instagram. Foursquare. There are a lot of social platforms out there, and you should promote your presence on them on your website, because social media is critical part of marketing your business.

Integrating these platforms into your website will help boost your SEO, improve your business’ footprint on the social web and build your following across numerous social platforms. Is it worth it to maintain a presence on so many social platforms? Yes — as long as you actually maintain your content, you’ll keep your brand top-of-mind and keep users engaged. “Social media is not going to leave us anytime soon and its worth the investment in time — it does make a difference.”

7. A Mobile-Ready Version

Smartphones and tablets are driving an increasing amount of web traffic, and the numbers are only going to grow as mobile devices become cheaper and more mainstream. Andy Chu, director of Bing for Mobile, says 70% of task completion happens within one hour on mobile sites, meaning that people are often browsing on the web with intent — they’re looking to do something, buy something or go somewhere. If someone searches for a restaurant on his smartphone, he’s likely to eat at that restaurant within the hour, says Chu. So your website better be readable on handheld devices.

“Until two years ago, designing for the web meant designing for a computer, now it means designing for anything with an internet connection,” says Frankel, referring to laptops, tablets and smartphones, all of which have different screen sizes. So, how can you do it? Responsive design.

Responsive website design enables you to use fluid widths, so that your website layout will adapt to the screen on which it’s being browsed. You can enter HTML code so that your sidebar takes up, say 20% of the screen width, and the remaining 80% is reserved for the body of your website. Layouts are adjustable and images are scalable to make for a better web experience on myriad devices.

Do you simply want to focus on developing a mobile website? You can use Mobify and other tools to create a mobile version of your website.

8. FAQ

People have a lot of questions. As you hear concerns from customers and receive feedback via email, gather up the most frequently asked questions into a list and offer clear, concise answers. Questions often revolve around materials and ingredients used (for allergy reasons), shipping information, company history, sizing (for apparel brands) and cancellation or return policies.

9. Good Hosting

Don’t mess around with hosting. You need your site on a mainstream provider, and it costs a handful of dollars every month to have 24/7 technical assistance.

Not having good hosting can cost you in many ways. A slow site is frustrating, one that fails to load is obnoxious and both could turn off customers. But beyond annoying your users and increasing your bounce rate, poor hosting can also affect your rank in search engines, since many search engine algorithms detect webpage loading speed.

10. Here’s a Curveball — Some Features You Don’t Need

Don’t underestimate the power of simplicity. Feel free to forgo these things on your website:

  • Music
  • Flash
  • Anything that autoplays, whether it’s music or a video.
  • Extraneous information and media — it’ll only slow down the page’s loading time.
Google Analytics, Drive more Traffic to Your Site
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Google Analytics, Drive more Traffic to Your Site

There are probably thousands of articles on the web talking about Google Analytics, such as how to use the free reporting tool, how to set up Google Analytics for your website, and what Google Analytics reports you can take advantage of. This is all great information, especially for novice website designers. What is missing is the most critical piece of information, which is “How do I analyze these Google Analytics reports in order to actually make impactful changes to my website?” In this article we are going to answer that question, as well as, provide you with some examples of taking certain data from Google Analytics, analyzing it, and then using it to make changes to your website and/or website marketing.

Analyze Your Website on a Quarterly Basis


Tools like Google Analytics allow you to check your website traffic data as frequently as you’d like. I definitely recommend keeping an eye on your Google Analytics reports daily or weekly. With that said, we all know that checking your reports and actually taking time to analyze them are two different tasks. This is why I recommend that every website owner take a full day each quarter to analyze their reports and implement any needed changes to their website based on what the data is showing.

What Website Data should I be Paying Attention to?


use google reports

It’s easy to get lost in Google Analytics. There is SO much data that you can analyze. Not only is there a ton of data, but the ways in which you can slice it up seem almost endless. Every website owner is going to have different reports to focus on, but there are a few main data points that all website owners should be aware of during their quarterly reviews:

  • Traffic Sources – Keywords: Knowing which keywords are driving the most quality visitors to your website is crucial. You can begin optimizing more of your website around these keywords in order to capitalize on those searches.
  • Traffic Sources – Referring Sites: Understanding which websites are sending the most quality traffic to your website will allow you to focus more effort and time on those sites, and less of your time on under performing websites, moving forward.
  • Visitors Overview: How much of your website traffic is new visitors versus returning visitors? Knowing this might help you phrase content different or run certain marketing programs geared towards one type of visitor versus the other.
  • Content Overview – Top Pages: Having an idea of what pages are performing best will tell you what content your visitors are interested in. Produce more of that!
  • Visits: What days do you have the most traffic to your website? Knowing what days visitors are coming to your website allows you to publish new content or launch promotions on those days in order to capture the most attention.

Now that we have an understanding of some of the most important reports to analyze for your website, let’s dig into each of them to provide examples on how you can use the data to make real impactful changes to your website and website marketing.

Use Keyword Reports to Optimize Your Website


find keywords google analytics

Knowing which keywords to optimize your website with is crucial in attracting the right visitors. Here’s how you can utilize the Keyword reports in Google Analytics:

  1. Go into the Traffic Sources Overview section of Google Analytics
  2. Find your Top ten performing keywords and make a list of those keywords
  3. Go back through your website and begin infusing them into your website content
  4. Use them as anchor text for your URLs
  5. Name your images with your top ten keywords
  6. Add title tags and Alt tags to your images using your top ten keywords
  7. Create a list of new blog topics that you want to write about and be sure to infuse your top ten keywords into those articles

By analyzing your Traffic Sources – Keywords report and following the steps above you will significantly increase your website traffic for those specific keywords.

Once you have completed this first main Keyword optimization during your Quarterly review, go BACK through your Keyword report and sort the results by Average Time on Site. Find five keywords that might not be driving a lot of traffic to your website right now, but the traffic that is coming to your site from those keywords tends to spend a lot of time on your site. These are your “growth keywords”. Repeat the steps above using these keywords to see if with a little more use throughout your website they can produce more traffic.

Spend more Time on the Websites that Refer the most Traffic to Your Website


what sites send the most traffic to my site

Knowing which websites (or social media channels) around the web that are referring the most traffic to your website is critical. As a website owner you only have so much time in the day to market your site. It’s best to use that time wisely. Follow these steps in order to analyze your traffic sources and make impactful changes to your website marketing:

  1. Go into your Traffic Sources report within Google Analytics and review the Top Referring Sites data
  2. Ask yourself, are these the websites that I assumed would be near the top? Are these the websites I’m spending the most time using in order to drive traffic to my website?
  3. Start trying to figure out why some sites are near the top of this list, while others are near the bottom. Perhaps one of the websites near the top is a site that you recently wrote a guest blog article for. Contact the owner of that site and see if you can write another article for them.
  4. Is LinkedIn outperforming Facebook? If so, you may want to tweak the amount of time you spend on both social media sites, with more time being devoted to LinkedIn next quarter instead of Facebook. This strategy can be repeated for all social media sites that you use.
  5. Is Banner Ad ‘A’ outperforming Banner Ad ‘B’? If so, perhaps you want to cancel Banner Ad ‘B’ and ask for more space on the website that’s hosting Banner Ad ‘A’.
  6. Is there a website that you don’t recognize that’s currently sending a lot of traffic to your website? Reach out to the owner of that website and see if you can partner with them in some way in order to capitalize even more on all of the traffic they are sending your way.

Using the Referral Sources report in Google Analytics will help you become more efficient with your marketing time and more effective at driving traffic to your website.

Run a Contest for New Visitors, Say ‘Thank You’ to Returning Visitors


Analyzing your Visitor Profile through the Visitors Overview report in Google Analytics will let you know how much of your traffic is composed of ‘New Visitors’ and how much of your traffic is composed of ‘Repeat Visitors’. You want to encourage new visitors to become return visitors, as well as, continue to attract even more new visitors. Here are a few ways that you can take your data from the Visitors Overview report and actually use it to improve your website:

  • Post some sort of a ’Thank You’ message somewhere prominent on your website for returning visitors OR send out the periodic ‘Thank You’ email to your email list just letting your supporters know you appreciate them.
  • Do you have an e-Commerce website? Give repeat customers a discount on their next purchase.
  • Create a ‘FAQ’ page to help new visitors quickly understand your website and how to use it
  • Make the ‘Contact Us’ page as prevalent as possible in case new visitors have questions and need to contact you
  • Create a survey for returning customers to capture information that you think will help you provide more value to them in the future
  • Run a contest to encourage new customers to get engaged with your website/brand

Produce More of the Content Your Visitors Like


most visited pages on my website

Understanding what content is resonating with your visitors will help you come up with new content topics for the next quarter.

  1. Go into the Content Overview section of Google Analytics and navigate to the Top Pages report
  2. Find the top 5-6 pages visited over the past 3-6 months
  3. Think about what information is displayed on each of those pages and determine what information the majority of your visitors are looking for
  4. Develop a Content Plan for the next quarter, comprised of topics that you think are most relevant based on your findings above. A few ideas might be:
  1. Write blog articles around popular topics
  2. Focus social media efforts in promoting those top pages or discussing those top topics
  3. Write an eBook expanding on some of those topics that your visitors are finding valuable
  4. Shoot YouTube videos around those topics and embed them into your Top Pages

Producing more of the content that your visitors are finding valuable will keep them coming back, get them to share your website with their friends, and attract new visitors.

Publish New Content, Contests, and General Website Updates on High Traffic Days


Are the weekends a popular time for your website or do most people visit your website during the week? Knowing what days are high traffic days for your website and what days are low traffic days for your website allows you to be much more strategic in regards to publishing new updates to your website. By analyzing the Visits report in Google Analytics you can see which days seem to generate the most traffic. Make a list of your high traffic days and then start taking advantage of those high traffic days in the following ways:

  • Publish blog articles on those days
  • Begin and end contests on high traffic days
  • Spend time on social media during those days
  • Publish events to your website
  • Make architecture or functionality updates on low traffic days

Knowing when, and when not to, publish new information to your website can drastically alter the number of views your new updates receive. Be smart about when you publish new content, news, events, etc. Use the Visits report in Google Analytics as your guide.

Turn Google Analytics Reports Into Impactful Changes for Your Website


Google Analytics is great. The website data provided by Google Analytics can help website owners learn a ton about their website. With that said, unless website owners take time to review and analyze their reports on a regular basis, and then take time to use that data to make changes to their website, they are missing out on the biggest advantage that Google Analytics provides. Google Analytics provides you with a blueprint for giving your visitors what they want, when they want it. Be sure to take advantage of that.

Traits Every Small Business Website Should Have

Traits Every Small Business Website Should Have

There is always vast room for improvement with any website, and small business websites are no exception. With the phone book a communication tool of the past, establishing a solid online presence is at the forefront of a lot of small businesses.

If you’re a small business owner, your website is a pivotal part of your marketing and branding, and shouldn’t be taken lightly. It’s integral to not just focus on appearance – but usability – as this will play a major role in how long your customers stay around.

In this article we will address the areas that factor into whether a small business website is ultimately successful or not.  Pay careful attention to these areas in your next design for a small business, as they will reap benefits in the long run.

Articulate Your Mission

In today’s society buzz words are a thing of the past. Freely express your vision for your business with the world on your website. You can start by asking yourself (or your client) these three questions:

  1. Who are you?
  2. Who are your potential customers?
  3. How can you tell your potential customers who you are?

After answering these three questions your can begin to develop a creative strategy for your website that will ultimately make it more effective. These questions hold the key to making marketing decisions, branding your business, building fierce loyalty within your customer base, and a lot more.

Keep these tips in mind in creating copy for your site:

  • Employing overly sophisticated language or industry-specific jargon could confuse, isolate, and frustrate clients. Use words you would use when speaking to someone in person.
  • Read your marketing material to a child in late elementary or middle school. Do they understand your product? If not, what did you need to tell them before they did?

A Call to Action

You’ve spent hours upon hours designing a beautiful website for your clients, complete with custom illustrations and a flashy new slideshow, but your client isn’t getting any new business. A fundamental error of many small business websites is they fail to include a clear Call to Action. If you aren’t leading users to commit to an action (buy a product, contact you or subscribe, for example), then you are losing them.

You may have spent a lot of time driving traffic to your client’s website, ultimately to only have these customers not convert into new business. If a call to action is a small link buried in a sea of text, it’s easy to see how these customers got away. To achieve a business’ goals, creating a successful call to action to guide users where they need to be should be at the forefront of your web design check list.

The call to action button above is placed in a prominent location; it’s large and has a distinctive color with respect to surrounding elements. To provide additional context on what it means to “Purchase the book”, the call to action button is followed by text explaining cost and available format (traditional book or PDF).

Keep the following in mind when creating the right call to action:

  • The design of a call to action can be broken down into 4 simple elements —size, shape, color, and position. Each plays a vital part in determining how effective the call to action is in directing the user.
  • Don’t overdo it with multiple call to actions on each page.
  • Provide access to the call to action quickly. Your visitor is most interested in accessing this information as quickly as possible so don’t create any unnecessary hurdles!

 

Content

We all love a beautiful website, but when that website loads slowly or gets in the way of accessing pertinent information, it’s time for some restructuring. It’s important to address what is the ultimate goal you wish your visitor to achieve in visiting your site. Your site should ultimately draw focus to the content, and all those bells and whistles are just icing on the cake.

Most people won’t read everything on your page, so it’s critical to decide the most important content that needs to be there. This can be achieved through a visual hierarchy that guides the user through the page and creates a more enjoyable user experience.

Here’s an article on Eye Tracking to give you a better idea of how to structure content.

Here are some tips to keep in mind when structuring your content:

  • White space is necessary. Giving your content room to breathe allows the user to focus on the most important aspects on any given page.
  • Break up lengthy blocks of text into digestible blocks. Heading, sub-headings, bullets, blockquotes, and paragraphs are all necessary components of a well-structured website.
  • For every flash animation or widget on your web site, your site’s loading time will increase while your screen real estate decreases.
  • Challenge every item on each page and ask, “Does it really need to be there? Does it serve a specific purpose? Can I live without it?”
  • Crisp layouts, cohesive colors, and well thought-out design elements give off a sense of know-how and experience.

SEO

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) should also be addressed in your overall website strategy. Quality content with legitimate mentions of key words and topics related to your business will help to bring more business your way. What’s best is results are now consisted of all kinds of content, including videos, images, maps, business listings, tweets and even Facebook Page posts.

  • Add a Blog. Search engines love fresh content and if your client updates it regularly, they will experience a distinct SEO advantage. The interactivity also increases the likelihood that potential customers will social bookmark it and share it with their network.
  • Consider creating a YouTube channel. Every video you post to your channel can be tagged and indexed, increasing the odds your brand name will appear in natural searches for keywords associated with your business.
  • Remember to add footer links to every page, use meta description tags, and make each page unique.

Examples

Mailchimp
MailChimp helps you design email newsletters, share them on social networks, integrate with services you already use, and track your results. In addition to a user-friendly navigation, a prominent call to action button is displayed, encouraging users to get started.

Craft Coffee
Craft Coffee is a coffee discovery service that explains the value it brings to customers as soon as they enter the website. After highlighting their services, they direct users to “Buy a Tasting Box” with one of their highly visible call to action buttons.

Your Web Job
Your Web Job is a hub for job-seeking web professionals — project managers, copywriters, SEO experts, usability folk, social media gurus, and designers and developers — and for those who want to hire them. A call to action button is placed right at the top of the page, encouraging visitors to submit jobs right away.

These simple procedures in web design are just stepping stones on your way to creating a memorable website for your business.

General SEO Do’s and Dont’s

General SEO Do’s and Dont’s

Let me tell you WHAT TO DO by telling you WHAT NOT TO DO:

Don’t Ignore Your Audience

Write about topics your audience cares about. Like what? Find out, by conducting a poll (like I did), scan some relevant bulletin boards or forums, look for common topics in customer emails, or do some keyword research. There are great free keyword tools like the Google Keyword Tool or SEO Book’s Keyword Tool and loads more. The plan is not to spend your life doing keyword research but just to get a general idea of what your visitors are interested in.

Don’t Be Dense About Keyword Density

Keyword density

Once you have a topic for readers; help search engines find it. Keyword Density is the number of times a keyword appears in a page compared to the total number of words. You want to make sure your keywords are included in the crucial areas:

  • the Title Tag
  • the Page URL (friendly URL)
  • the Main Heading (H1 or H2)
  • the first paragraph of content.
  • at least 3 times in the body content (more or less depending on amount of content and if and only if it makes sense).

Most people aim for a keyword density of 2% (i.e. use the keyword 2 times for every 100 words). But what if your keyword phrase is “SEO for Web Designers and Web Developers” how many times can you repeat that before it sounds just plain unnatural? Write for your readers not for search engines. If you follow the tips in this article you’ll be writing naturally for your readers; which works for the search engines too.

Warning: Do not over fill your page with the same keywords or you might be penalized by search engines for keyword stuffing.

Don’t Ignore Relatives

In this article, it makes sense to mention topics like “keyword research”, “search engine crawlers” and “title tag use”, but what if I mentioned a highly trafficked term like “cell phone plans”… kind of out of context right? So use other keywords and topics that make sense to your audience, the search engine measures keyword relations to determine relevancy too.

  • Cars and Tires (yes)
  • Web Design and Flying Monkeys (no…well sometimes)

Don’t Be Afraid of Internal Linking

Do you want the search engine to see every page on your website? Help the search engine spider do its job. There should be a page (like a sitemap or blog archives) that links to all the pages on your site.

Tip: You can promote the more important pages by inserting text links within body content. Make sure you use relevant linking text and avoid using “click here” (as mentioned earlier).

Don’t Ignore Broken Links

404 not found error

You should always search for and fix the broken links on your site. If you’ve removed a page or section, you can use the robot.txt to prevent the spiders crawling and indexing the broken links. If you have moved a page or your entire website, you can use the 301 .htaccess to redirect to a new URL.

Tips: You can use the Google Webmaster Tool to find broken links and your 404 Not Found errors.

Don’t Be Inconsistent With Your Domain URL

To search engines, a www and a non-www URL are considered two different URLs. You should always keep your domain and URL structure consistent. If you start promoting your site without the “www”, stick with it.

Don’t Be Scared of Semantic Coding

Semantic and standard coding not only can make your site cleaner, but it also allows the search engines to read your page better.

Search Result Position

Coding and setting up your site to be SEO friendly can improve how well a search engine can access your website, it doesn’t guarantee you’ll end up at the top of the search engine result page (SERP). There are many factors in determining the search result position, but here are the basics:

PageRank

PageRank

Some professional SEO’s pay attention to Google’s PageRank and some don’t. In my experience it doesn’t hurt to have a high Google PageRank. It’s a nice little benchmark to let you know how important Google sees your web page as. You can improve your PageRank by following the tips above and building-up quality backlinks. If you want to learn how PageRank works, Smashing Magazine has a very good article.

Domain Age Before Beauty

You might be surprised to learn that domain age is also a factor in the search engine algorithm. Older domains have a history, and their content is looked at as more credible than the website that got started last week. Older domains sometimes get the edge in search results.

Be Patient

You may have done every single thing right., but your site is still not showing up in the search engines for your target keywords. Why? Because everything takes time. It takes time for the search engines to index and rank your site (especially for new domains). So, be patient.

Another reason — it could be the keywords that you’re trying to target are very competitive. Try altering the keywords on the page and you may have different results. Remember, you are competing with millions of web pages on the internet.

Why Redesign your Website?

Why Redesign your Website?

There are a number of reasons why you should want to redesign your website. However, irrespective of the reasons, you can use a professional website design company to take care of your redesign requirements. Mentioned below are some of the important factors that you should consider prior to redesigning your website.

1.Making the Most of SEO
SEO was not something that people had in mind when designing their websites a few years back. However, considering the relevance of SEO in today’s designing process, it makes sense to redesign the content aspect of your website to include relevant keywords that will bring in more web traffic. Keyword research is now easy with tools such as the Word Tracker, Ad Intelligence from Microsoft and Google Adwords Tool.

2.Keeping it Fresh
Quite often people create a website when they begin a new venture. However, they don’t invest the time and effort required to update their websites. These sites do not attract potential customers as no one wants to visit something that’s old and obsolete. A redesign of your website will get people to notice that you’re doing something proactively to get their attention. Give your web visitors something new to look at. Update your website with relevant content so people keep coming back for more. Besides, search engines like websites that are constantly updated with new content.

3.New Platform Integration
Technologies emerge as fast as the changing seasons. To keep your site updated with the best, you may need to redesign certain aspects to make it compatible with latest software. Incorporating new technology will enhance the site’s usability and effectiveness in the long run, so it pays to upgrade once in a while.

4.Adding New Tools
Unlike earlier, a website is not just about graphics or text. It is much more than that. In fact, a well designed website will incorporate a wide range of tools like photo books, blogs, social media and forums. In the hands of a professional website designer, there is no limit to what you can achieve with your website.

5.Staying Ahead of Competition
Just as in any other aspect of life, if you are successful in the online business, you will find competitors breathing down your neck. This means that your website needs to be at its best to stay ahead of the competition. This is because people base their decisions on something as simple as the look of your website and how it fares in comparison with your competition. Similarly, you may be doing a wonderful job of reaching out to your consumers but are you making any impact? Opting for a website redesign may give you leverage to grab customer attention. In fact, you can redesign your website by keeping new markets in mind.

If you’re not a technical expert, website redesign is a job best left to the experts. Narrow down on good firms that can offer affordable deals and excellent results. Your investment will certainly pay off when you see web traffic heading your way.

Become a Prolific Blogger

Become a Prolific Blogger

Whether you are a web design freelancer trying to win new work, an entrepreneur promoting your web app, or a corporate drone looking to enhance your career, you will need a blog. In fact the personal blog has almost become a requirement for any web professional.

The problem is, they are a pain to keep up. Sure we all start off well. We launch our blog with one or two posts in mind. However, we quickly give up and the site is left to stagnate.

The problem is twofold: One, we run out of material worth writing about. Two, writing posts is a painful process.

What then, should we do? We know that posting a few times a year really isn’t worthwhile and yet we struggle to do anything more.

Fortunately it doesn’t need to be this way. Blogging can flow easily if you can just start and maintain your stride. Let me show you how.

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Why is Your Logo Important?

Why is Your Logo Important?

When you are an Internet marketer, you are your own brand. Some online marketers use their first and last name as their business name, while others actually choose a company name to go by. Either way, you have an online brand and you should also have a logo. When it comes to business logos, no matter what type of business the company or person is in, there are some logos which fit the bill and others that are simply lacking.

When it comes to Internet marketing, your logo is very important and if you do not have a good logo, then it can easily affect your marketing success. Here are 4 reasons why:

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Make a Great First Impression

Make a Great First Impression

When visitors arrive on your website, they already have one foot out the door — poised and ready to jump to the next website on their list if they don’t find what they want on yours.

Your time in the limelight is brief — seldom more than 3 seconds. That’s how quickly today’s savvy Internet users make the decision to stay and look around your site or to leave it, perhaps never to return.

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