Category Archives: blog

What the buzz is SEO?

“You must do SEO on your website” – the normal phrase you hear every time you say website design. If you don’t already know, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a process to get more traffic or visits to your website. The reason why it is a process is because it has a lot of things that is required to optimize your site for the search engine.

Here’s a simple explanation: you are looking for a flower shop in your city so you go online search of the web for ‘flower shop Chicago’ (called keywords) and the search engine lists you with the appropriate flower shop details. You mostly don’t go to second or third page and click on the top 3 sites on the list. To make sure you get into the top 3 list when they type those keywords you need to have your site optimized.

But the question is why website design and SEO goes hand in hand. The reason is that there are two breakdowns in SEO: Onpage Optimization and Offpage Optimization. Onpage includes all activities or changes to be done on the website itself and offpage are the activities done outside of page. So, when designing a website if you take SEO into consideration and design it accordingly you will be saving a lot of time and resources.

What are onpage activities?

The onpage activities are a bit on the technical side where you need to select keywords that people search for. Just like the example of ‘flower shop’ your keyword selection should be related to your business. There are lot of rules you need to follow as if you miss out on it you might be penalized. You don’t have to worry about it too much and can let the experts handle it.

The most important and the best practices of SEO Onpage optimization are:

Content with targeted keywords

Content is the key ingredient of the website. You need to have relevant content based on the keywords that have led them to your site. This doesn’t mean you abuse the usage. The content should be targeted to give information to you viewers that result in lead generation or sales. After all that’s the main reason you do SEO.

There are many updates and algorithm Google and other search engine follows that tracks your website authenticity. Knowing the rules to know how to break them doesn’t apply here. The search engine and your target are the same; to give what the user is looking for.

Title Tags

These are page headings and appear in the browser as well as search results. They are also keyword based and should be clear on what your content is about. General practice for using title tags are of 70 characters.

SEO basics

Description Tags

They are an extension to your title tags. They appear in the search listing and gives you a better opportunity to make your customer click your link. A description tag should not exceed 160 characters as they will appear in dots after that.

Header Tags

These are proper html tags that are used to highlight the keywords or the headings. Just like we have a properly structured letter with the Date on the left or right, subject in the middle the header tags serves a similar purpose. They are like H1, H2, H3 etc. tags which shows the main heading and sub headings. One thing to care about using these tags is that you can only have one H1 tag per page.

Anchor text that links between pages

Anchor text also highlights the keywords in between contents. You must have notices Wikipedia does it all the time. When you are going through the articles there are links to different pages when you come across a topic. But with website you can be smart about it and use keywords as anchor text.

Image ALT tags and Filenames

It’s not just the contents that needs managing, even the pictures and files for downloads needs to have proper names and tags. Using these are a good practice and search engine ranks you website well if you follow all the necessary steps.

What are Offpage activities?

Besides, the search engine there are other ways to get more traffic to your site. The offpage activities refer to all the promotion activities done outside your webpage. You can check my article How to get more visitors to your site for more information on Offpage SEO.

Should you or should you not invest in responsive website

The answer is a definite YES!!! The technology keeps changing with the touch screens gets popular, tablets getting smaller and smart phones getting bigger you never know what your audience using to when they visit your site. Instead of designing a site for different screen sizes you can target all devices with one responsive website.

Before the responsive website people had different versions of website and based on the device used the website would appear. The problem with this was that it had to make too many assumptions on the screen size and the device plus you had to compromise on the contents. With the responsive sites you just prioritize and stack them in order. The same set of contents will appear on the site and people would just have to scroll through it.

Top reasons why you should have a responsive design:

Increasing mobile usage

mobile usage

Usage of mobile phones is increasing day by day. People are using mobile while doing other task so it has become a norm. If you are into statistics it’s 20% of the people who are using mobile while other things. Judging from the picture and Einstein’s theory I know you can relate to the picture.

One site many devices

This is the major reason for responsive. You don’t have to worry about which device people are using they get the same contents. Thank god for media queries which made it all possible. Instead of making assumption of the device it can simply scan for screen resolution and fit the website in that resolution.

Search Engine friendly

It has become mandatory for sites to go mobile as search engines rank these sites higher. 20% of the Google searches are on mobile and people access social media sites mainly from mobile than desktops so you can understand the importance of having a responsive site.

Easier to manage

With the responsive site you need to design just one site. Ofcourse best practice is to start from small devices and then move on to big ones. The site becomes more modular and easily adapted to the environment it is in. With this sort of design it is easy to manage the data and you can choose what to show first and highlight the necessary.

Looking at the BIG picture: Why it works and what it takes

Picture speaks a thousand words. While the photographers and content writers can compete over this statement, to me both are like music and dance. With the increase in internet speed and the demand for creative website big images are here to stay.

These days the website homepage is not cluttered and an image with some text are all that is important. Event the ads these days have large picture with less words. The reason is simple, it works. It gets the attention of the viewer and keeps the things hidden so people are interested to know what it is about. But there are certain rules to using them. You cannot keep a picture of a rose in the home page of a Limousine service website just because it’s beautiful. There has to be a meaning and a word that matches it.

Some examples of full size image used in websites.

large image website 2

Large image website

Just by changing the picture it gives a new look and feel for the website and it will not bore your audience.

There is no hard and fast rule that you use image as a background in your homepage, you can also go with graphics illustration and animation. Go with what pleases the eye. I know there’s a lot of talk about being different and about being independent by not following trends but these are something to consider because they work. Just like the white spaces are needed in the writing for people to adjust the eye for reading a picture makes it just as easy for the eye.

Using large images is not an easy task though and it does come with a price.

Concept is everything

Like I said about using a picture of a rose in a limousine service website, the picture you use need to make sense. A car with happy faces makes more sense in this case but it doesn’t come cheap. You need to invest in the pictures more that the content writer. Treat it like the first impression of you. The cost of the photographers and the shoot might cost you but it will be well worth it.

Responsive for compatibility

The picture also needs to be responsive which means it should resize itself when used with different screen size of desktop, laptops or mobiles. Without responsiveness you will lose out a lot in value because you never what device you audiences are using to view your website.

Making the site responsive requires a highly skilled CSS designer and picture slicing. I might be going a bit technical here but you will require the expertise. They carefully design and cut the image to make it look same in all of the devices.

Site performance and speed

As they say the price of beauty is high there is a huge price for it in internet speed and performance of the site. For people viewing the site with slow internet speed it could take a while to load the large image and you can lose out on the purpose and user experience.

However, there is a way to get around these by focusing on the resolution. The designers would need to test those using appropriate resolution and screen sizes in different platforms. There are many tools available for it and it is well worth the trouble.

Sometime the simplest things are the hardest to achieve. You can always work hard but you also need to work smart.

How to get more visitors to your site?

You must market your marketing. Website is a marketing tool but you can’t expect people to come after you’ve launched it. Honestly I don’t know if it’s a blessing or a curse to have technology by your side. You only had to worry about offline marketing before and now online marketing is a whole new playing field. It is affective no doubt but you now need a whole new team for it. The best and worst part about online marketing is that it is an even playing field for small and large business. We don’t want you to miss out on the opportunities so here are few ways how you can increase your website traffic:

Creating your social stamps

Social media is very important and you need to create accounts in the major platforms like: facebook, Google+, Pintrest, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Youtube and Tumblr. According to the recent statistics facebook alone has 1.3 billion active users a month, Pinterest has over 11 million users and so on. If we are to tap into these networks we need to be a part of it.

I can assure it is not going to be an easy task and you will have to keep updating with interesting and valuable contents. Keeping your audience entertained is not that easy and to be consistent at it requires a lot of practice. You cannot expect instant success with these platforms; it all depends on luck and the contents you put out there. It should follow the basic rules of marketing with proper planning with targeting and segmenting your customers. So, a proper planning and patience is required.

Social stamp

Online Advertisement

Okay this will cost you, but don’t worry it is an investment. Facebook ads and Google ads are some of the best advertisement platforms in online marketing and the conversion has been huge success. More than 80% of Google’s revenue is from ads and Facebook relies completely on ads. The reason why they are successful is because it works.

Online advertisement gets you more exposure than any other platform and it is way cheaper than your traditional print ads. Plus with the options of selective targeting you can keep track of you dollars spent and to whom you spend it on. It really is a great way for research as well.

You can check my blog Google Vs Facebook for more information on which one is best for you.

Blogging and SEO

Blogging and SEO are two different things but they serve a similar purpose. SEO is mostly about contents and blogs provides the contents that can boost search engine ranking. SEO has many other things to consider but all of them needs to be mapped out before your build your site. For the ongoing SEO activities blogs are the most essential ingredient for SEO. You can target specific keywords for your business in your blog and you can also make it more informative than a normal site. This way you get more organic traffic to your site.

Blogs also help in pushing social media contents. You can post the blog links and also after math of the blogs in social media to keep the audience entertained.

Link building

Social media is also about link building but this one requires references from other sites as well. This is not only important for SEO but it can generate a lot of traffic to your site. Guest blogging is one of the best ways to get audiences from someone else’s site to yours. When you write articles for other sites that are already popular you get more view for your article than you own blog and then you can guide them to your site.

Some of the popular site where you can submit articles are ezines.com, scribd.com etc. Other than these sites you can contact other symbiotic communities and ask them to guest blog or do some your selves. Having a community also works.

Other way of link building is from directory submissions. There are many popular sites which can list your business with paid or free listings. You need to be very careful with them as you only want to be listed in the popular ones. Listing in bad or having low Page Rank website can bring your PR down.

There is no right or wrong methods in online marketing. Some methods that worked for a company may not work for others. It is a daunting process and you need to keep yourself updated all the time. I was browsing through the channels and there was an interview of an entrepreneur who build his business in IT and he was saying that he tries to carry all the devices from Samsung Notebook 3, iPhone etc. so that he is updates with the recent trends and doesn’t get’s his ass kicked by some 12 year old. Yes, the technology is that easy and difficult at the same time. So, you need to get your basics correct.

Facebook Vs Google which one is best for you?

facebook vs google

We all know these two giants and how they have dominated the online marketing world. However each of them is unique in features and how marketers use them. So the question to which one is best ends with another question on what you want to achieve. The ultimate is of course to make sales and both are important.

Google Ads

Google wins the battle on which is more effective but it doesn’t mean facebook isn’t important. The statistics show that Google has more successful ads conversion than facebook because Google hits it where it matters. When people search for a product and service and your ads appear it makes sense for them to check it out. As for facebook people are usually socializing and looking into pictures and statuses. Their eyes don’t hit the ads as much. Also Google has a wider reach with its display network and mobile devices.

Judging from this you may think Google has won the battle but with the facebook page and the new sponsored ads which is more mobile friendly it is giving Google a good run for its money. The one place   where facebook wins the battle is that Google is involuntary and facebook is voluntary. When you like a page it is because you already have a connection with it. You have tried their product or your friends have recommended it. Facebook plays well with using the connection in your friends list. When you see your friends are interested in something it gets your attention as well. It cashes in on the best marketing tool which is word of mouth.

Facebook ads

We learn in marketing about branding and its importance along with sales promotion to boost sales. One has a short term goal and one has long term. Google and Facebook are similar to it. Facebook is great in building brand than Google and Google is more effective in boosting sales. So while facebook shows a less conversion rate than Google it is because facebook strategies should be for long term gains and the results will take some time to show. Again when you have come across a website through Google you also check their facebook page to see how the interaction is which adds more credibility. So, Facebook and Google work hand in hand in online marketing.

Coming to the technical side of advertising in these platform facebook has much simple and cheaper in comparison. Google has a complex platform for advertising with keywords, contextual targeting, placements, demographics etc. (I may have given you a headache by now) but it is this complexity that makes it more effective and a wider reach.

From what you have read so far the argument can go one and you may not reach any conclusion. We can still be argued on what kind of product you want to advertise about. For events and parties facebook is much better than Google while in direct selling of other products and service facebook lacks the resources.

With Facebook buying off whatsapp and Google previous aquisition on Youtube we can always expect more. They are innovators in online marketing and we need to understand their mechanism and how we can use them to our advantage. The bottom line is both of them are great marketing tools and there’s a reason why they dominate the online market.

5 ways to build credibility in your website

A simple thing can make or break your site. Even a planned and thought out site needs few necessary elements if you want to generate trust in your website. These elements alleviate people to a certain extent of trusting anything on the internet. I wouldn’t blame a skeptic internet user as there are many spammers and hackers crawling the net and also websites that have been put up to con people.

Here are some must haves that shows authenticity and credibility

Live chat or help lines

This is as important as having a reception at your office. Whenever there is any confusion an audience is facing, they can simply click and chat with your office representative. This creates a personal interaction which has been the most argued point of the digital world. Showing that you have someone to help and guide you through the process and is very well appreciated by the audience. It puts them at ease of any skepticism they have.

Maps

If you have Google or other map integrated in your contact page, it shows the physical location of your company.  This gives the audience a relief that your company is not in the clouds and is a physical entity that they can find easily.

This is also good for SEO purpose and can rank well in search engine when people are looking for services similar to your business

Social Plugins

Social media has taken the digital world by storm. Everyone is active in some kind of social platform either to connect with friends or business. Having the social media plugins connects the audience directly to your page and shows interaction other people are having about your company. This is even better than testimonials and people know that they are legit comments from people.

Portfolio

Some website just have their portfolio highlighted on their website and a means of contacting them. This is important because website is still about information. You still need a home page, about us page and product page as before but just not as highlighted as they were before. The website is more about the values you provide and portfolio is the best way to show them. This doesn’t mean you put the heading portfolio and list down your work. This also needs to be properly planned and it should represent your best work and converting audience into leads.

Blogs

Blogging has become important not just for content marketing but also has been a major importance in credibility building. The constant updates on blog shows how up to date you are with the current trends and it also shows your efforts in getting disseminating the right information across your audience.

But blogging is not an easy task and requires a lot of resources. If you want a blog in your website you need to do it right and not just fill it with contents. The contents need to be planned, informative and valuable to your customer and related to your business. If you cannot do it right your should not set up a blog, it can have both a good and bad influence in your profile.

Why is it so important to keep updating your website

You cannot be who you want to be by being who you are. They say the best advice you get is “be yourself” and it does apply in many aspects of our life. But if you want a fit body you need to work for it, and companies are no exception. Today’s digital word demands change all the time. The technology keeps changing and you need to keep updating.

I heard on the news today that facebook is acquiring Whatsapp for $19 billion because they wanted more information on people for more effective revenue generation.  Like 1.2 billion active users who basically post every moment of their lives on facebook is enough data for them that they want more? Whatsapp has around 500 million users which is a lot less than facebook but they don’t want to lose out on any market so they have paid a huge sum for this acquisition.

When it comes to searching on the net we Google. We don’t even say search the net just Google it. This is how common it is but they still advertise in different platforms and keep updating themselves for better user experience and new ways of generating values.

I am talking about facebook and Google here who are the two giants in the online marketing. Yet they are still very insecure in their market position and keep innovating themselves. So you understand now how important it is in the online business that you keep changing and upgrading yourself. It’s not an easy task but the digital world demands it and we are but a mere slave to it.

Here are two ways to keep updating your website

Blogging

The easiest way to update your website is to create a blog and add fresh new content at least once a week.  This allows you to connect with your audiences more frequently and it also provides a good platform for advertising or informing your audience of your services.

Dynamic Home Page

The homepage is the first thing they see on your website and having to look at the same page everytime can be a bit boring. So having a dynamic homepage allows you to make simple and small changes on the page and there’s something new for the frequent visitors.

There are two major benefits of this: you won’t have to redesign your site all the time and just the home page and your audiences will also get a good feeling that you are an active company.

3 things to consider before building a website

If you’re on the net you need to make it big. Don’t have a website just for the sake of having one. Website can do a lot more for your business including generating leads and growing your business.

Here are list of things you need to consider for your website

Choosing the right domain

Your domain name should be unique and easy to memorize. People usually have domain names same as their company but it is good practice to use a short domain. If you must represent your company then you can also use your brand name. Try to keeps it simple, short and something that represents your business well. e.g. www.easydeals.com, www.zara.com. For businesses .com domain are the best and you can register a domain for an average of $10 a year unless for some really popular domain that can go up to couple of thousand dollars. It’s a yearly expense so you need to keep that in your budget.

choosing domain

Having a short domain can also save on a lot of space in your visiting cards as well as your print ads.

Choosing the right web hosting

For those who are technologically challenged know that things don’t appear on the net out from thin air. There is a server somewhere in the world that stores your content. Based on your site requirement you need a webspace just like in your hard disk. Any company designing your website can give you this service and also suggest the best webspace for you. Just like the domain this also comes as a yearly/monthly expense and it usually depends on the space size.

website down

The other thing you need to be careful about is the support and the uptime guarantee of the webhosting company. All your emails will be linked and you don’t want to lose out on emails. Also choosing a good webhost keeps you safe from spamming and hacking of your site.

Choosing the right website design house

There are many website design house and the market is very competitive. The website design rates can come from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars. Based on your budget and what you want your website to do you can make your selection. Investing on your website can be an opportunity for expanding your business so don’t hold out. You can consult with the companies anytime and get a free quote on request.

early engineering

We all know this story and how it ends. Building a website also applies the same rules where you need to make a strong impact at the beginning and we can’t be lazy.

Choose a company that gives you value for your money and support is very important when it comes to website design and maintenance.