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Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

How Web Design Can Affect Search Engine Rankings

Sunday, August 26th, 2018

Uniquely built web sites can create unique issues when being promoted on the search engines. From a basic 3 page brochure site to a corporate site with hundreds of dynamically generated pages, every web site needs to have certain design aspects in order to achieve the full effects of an SEO campaign. Below are a few points to take into consideration when building or updating your web site.

1. Size Matters.

The size of a web site can have a huge impact on search engine rankings. Search engines love content, so if you have only a few pages to your site and your competitors have dozens, it’s difficult to see a top page ranking for your site. In some cases it may be difficult to present several pages of information about your business or products, so you may need to think about adding free resources for visitors. It will help in broadening the scope of your web site (which search engines like) as well as keep visitors on your site longer, possibly resulting in more sales.

2. Graphics-Based Web Sites.

While web sites that offer the visitor a more esthetically-pleasing experience may seem like the best choice for someone searching for your product, they are the most difficult to optimize. Since search engine robots cannot read text within graphics or animation, what they see may be just a small amount of text. And if we learned anything from point #1, small amounts of content will not result in top rankings. If you really must offer the visitor a graphics-heavy or Flash* web site, consider creating an HTML-based side of your site that is also available to visitors. This site will be much easier to promote on the search engines and your new found visitors will also have the option to jump over to the nicer looking part of your site.

* Author update – As of July 2008 Google has updated their algorithm to take advantage of Adobe’s searchable SWF library, enabling the indexing of Flash content for the first time.

3. Dynamic Web Pages.

If most of your web site is generated by a large database (such as a large book dealer with stock that is changing by the minute) you may find that some of your pages do not get indexed by major search engines. If you look at the URL of these pages they can be extremely long and have characters such as ?, #, &, %, or = along with huge amounts of seemingly random numbers or letters. Since these pages are automatically generated by the database as needed, the search engines have a tough time keeping them up to date and relevant for search engine users.

One way to combat this problem is to offer a search engine friendly site map listing all your static pages just to let them know that you do have permanent content on your site. If search engines see links going to and from these dynamic pages within a good internal linking system, this may also lead to the pages getting indexed. The link popularity of your site may carry more weight in this case as well, so if you can’t offer as much static content as your competition, make sure you have an aggressive link campaign on the go.

4. Proper Use of HTML.

There is quite a bit of sub-par web design software out there. Word processors usually have a way to create HTML documents which can be easily uploaded to a site via ftp. However, in many cases the code that the search engine robots see is mostly lines and lines of font and position formatting, not relevant content. The more efficiently written web sites usually achieve higher rankings. Our choice for web design software is Adobe Dreamweaver, as it is an industry standard. It also makes using CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) a breeze, which can drastically cut down on the amount of text formatting in HTML code. Hand-coding HTML to design sites is also a good method if you are proficient enough.

There are some no-brainers too: Web sites with abnormal amounts of hyperlinks, bold or italicized text, improper use of heading, alt, or comment tags can also expect to see low rankings.

5. Choosing a Domain Name.

The golden rule to web development of any kind is to keep your visitors in mind above all else – even search engine optimization. When choosing a domain name, one should pick either your business name (if you have a high-profile business name such as Chapters or Coca-Cola) or a brief description of your products. Domain names can always help with search engine optimization, as it is another area of your web site that important keywords can appear. Forget about long-winded domains such as http://www.number-one-best-rare-used-books-on-earth.com as no one will ever remember it and it will be hard to print on business cards or in ads.

If you need to change your domain name for any reason you obviously don’t want to lose existing rankings. An easy way to do this, and one that is currently supported by most search engines, is the 301 redirect. It allows you to keep your existing rankings for your old domain name, while forwarding visitors to your new web site instantly.

6. Using Frames.

Don’t use frames. Frames are a thing of the 90’s (and in the Internet world that is eons ago) and are not even supported by some search engines. The search engines that are able to index your site through frames will most likely frown upon them. Whatever you are trying to accomplish by using frames can usually be done with the help of PHP includes or CSS (Cascading Style Sheets). Some browsers are not frames-compatible, so there is the danger of some visitors not being able to see your site at all. Bookmarking of individual pages within a frame becomes difficult without lengthy scripts being written.

7. Update Your Information.

Not only does stale information look poorly on your organization when it is read by a visitor, you could also be missing out on some good rankings by not having content include new trends in your field. Web sites that continuously update and grow their web sites usually experience higher rankings than stagnant sites when dealing with an industry that experiences a high rate of growth or change. While the age of a web page is looked at as part of a search engine algorithm, it has no bearing on searches for items recently in the news. Consider creating a section of your site devoted to news within your organization, or have a constantly updated blog.

Many shortfalls of web sites can easily be attributed to designers who just don’t keep the user or search engines in mind. Search engine algorithms are quickly improving to try and list the most user-friendly sites higher, given that the content and link popularity are there to back it up. So first and foremost, know your target market and make your web site work for them before focusing on search engine optimization. If you build it (properly), they will come.

How to Find a Decent Web Designer

Saturday, August 25th, 2018

The first strategy you can employ is time-tested. Ask someone for a referral. Most of our clients come through referrals and word of mouth is usually the best strategy when picking a web designer because it’s usually what we do with all other services or trades… we ask our friends. You need a carpenter, painter, plumber… the first thing we usually do is ask around to see if our friends and family knows anyone and it usually works out fine. (Assuming of course that your friends LIKE their web designers!)

The second strategy is to look at sites that you like, whether its in your local town or industry, or simply some site that you happened to stumble upon. Most times web development companies have a referral link on the bottom of their client’s sites, so you can check them out and see if the rest of their work is cool. But before you contact them, drop a note to the site’s owner. Make sure they had a good experience before you get yourself into a proposal process. Most small business website owners will be happy to take a minute to tell you whether their designer gets a thumbs up or thumbs down. This is probably the second most likely reason we get contacted… someone saw a site we did and then they asked the site owner if things went well, then they contact us directly.

The third strategy could seem a little scary because it involves reaching out to strangers either through a web search, an advertisement or some random link you saw somewhere. This is the web equivalent of a cold call and there are some things you can take into consideration.

When you’re talking with them, do they seem to throw a lot of technical terms at you, like a car mechanic who throws out a lot of incomprehensible mumbo jumbo but doesn’t bother trying to explain it in regular terms? Do they suggest building a site that you can control over or do you get the feeling that they really want to do all the updates themselves? Last but not least, do they have enough experience? You should be able to see at least 15-20 projects they’ve done. You don’t have to like them all, but they should clearly show a variety of styles and content types, because this will tell you that they’ve worked with lots of different types of clients.

Web 2.0. The Social Media Revolution – Make Your Voice Heard Above the Crowd

Friday, August 24th, 2018

In the beginning of the internet, their was a massive divide between the web developers, and the end users.

It seemed that post the most basic information on the internet required degrees in computer science, and months of frustrating “hit and miss” attempts to get your message formatted in a way that was even barely user friendly.

Bright yellow web pages with lime green text, there were plenty of these about. Small graphic images that took minutes to download, and even longer to upload in the first place.

Lost connections, error messages and virus infestations were everywhere.

I’m not talking fifty years ago either, just ten or twelve.

The internet is a very different place now. Although WEB 2.0 represents nothing officially, it is recognised as the ground shift in the way end users can now actively participate on the web. Add to the discussions and even the media that is accessible by others on the internet.

Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and MySpace a the leaders of a huge following pack of user friendly WEB 2.0 sites that not only allow user participation, but owe their very existence to the products that we, the end user decide to upload and participate in.

With any innovation on a scale this enormous comes the possibility to leverage it for profit. These sites attract the most enormous numbers of visitors. The potential to marketing either products or ideas on these sites is clear to all.

The key for an internet marketer is first to understand the function of these sites. Join each site in turn, fill in complete user “profiles” for yourself.

Next, you need to make friends with people with a similar interest to yourself. Join existing groups within your chosen niche, if none exist form your own.

Finally, provide evidence of your ability. Answer questions, provide free help and information. Be an asset. If the opportunity arises you may be able to link to your own personal sites or web holdings.

Finding ethical and transparent ways to use WEB 2.0 sites to attract more internet traffic to your own sites is a task that is well worth undertaking.

The internet is a more open and user friendly experience. Having your say, learning from others, and getting a clear message across to others who would benefit from it is now easier than ever. Thanks to WEB 2.0