Web Design Business

Designing Your First Website

Building a website is pretty exciting, more so if you are a newbie and you happen to be building your very first website. You might be tempted to be all out and give your web site all the trimmings to make it nice looking. Here’s a word of caution: too many frills on your website could cause you to lose the most important reason for the creation of the website-visitors.

Flashy pages, colorful graphics, elaborate and heavy scripts as well as bouncing animation could cause visitors to be distracted instead of being interested with the contents of your website. Creating attractively designed websites is of course important to create good impression but most webmasters overlook the most vital part of a website and that is content. Most internet surfers or browsers come to the site exclusively to get information. And these visitors will not stay for more than a few seconds because the website is slow loading due to heavy images or because of complicated animations. Visitors would surely click on the next site. For sure you wouldn’t want that to happen.

For the benefit of your readers, you have to create pages that are clear and readable. You can do this by providing ample white space between contents. Using darker text over light background is eye catching as well as providing ease to the reader. Choosing the fonts is equally important. You can choose from the many available fonts in the computer. For a good measure, choose a font size that is readable to all types of readers. Smaller sized fonts could be the in thing for the young generation but older readers will appreciate bigger sized fonts. You will be thanked by the readers if they don’t have to install new fonts just to read your content. You may want to add graphics to your website. It is important however to be certain that the graphics would enhance the site rather than distract visitors.

For your image formats, you can use the Graphic Interchange Format (GIF) for drawings. This format is most suitable for black and white images. For more complex and intricate graphics and photographs, Joint Photographic Expert Group (JPEG) is most suitable because it maintains 16 million colors most appropriate for pictures and complicated graphics.

Another important factor to consider in building your first website: browsers are generally “lazy” people. They just scan the page. They don’t really sit and read the content unless their attention is grabbed and they are hooked by the keywords. Be sure to provide cues and keywords that will help the readers in their search for information. Write simple conversational sentences and avoid using jargons. Try to keep your paragraphs short so as to keep the readers interested.

Navigation is crucial to any website. Studies showed that left side navigation is favored by most people. Having your navigation bar on the left side of the page will provide ease to the visitor. Placing pertinent links to other sites is equally important as a lot of visitors would look for links whenever they are searching for information.

A Few Mistakes To Avoid When Designing Your Web Site

Be aware of these common pitfalls when designing your site:

• The home page does not quickly tell you what the Web site is all about. You should be able to visit the home page of any Web site and figure out what the site is about, what type of products it sells, or what it is advertising within five seconds.

• The poor use of popup windows, splashy advertising, splash pages (pages with neat animations and sound but which you have to watch for five to ten seconds before you are taken to the real Web site), and other Web design features that draw interest away from your Web site, products, and/ or services.

• Poor Web site navigation. This includes broken hyperlinks, hidden navigation, poor wording of navigational links, links that take you to pages with no links, links that take you to the same Web page, and pages with no links back to the home page (always include a link back to the home page so that regardless of where site visitors are, they can find their way back home!).

• Believing that because you have a Web site, you have a marketing campaign or overall marketing and advertising strategy. You need to understand that your Web site is not your marketing strategy. Your Web site is just a part of your overall marketing strategy, depending on your business goals; for example, if you have a successful restaurant but want to advertise and promote your business on the Web. Creating a Web site is great, but if it is not promoted and advertised, no one will ever find it. By passing out business cards with your Web site URL embossed on them, you are using a traditional marketing campaign to promote your Web site. If you offer a downloadable/ printable coupon from your Web site, you are successfully using your Web site as part of your marketing strategy to meet your goal of increased restaurant sales.

• Failure to attain Web site relevance and content updating. There is nothing more dissatisfying to a Web customer than visiting a Web site that is grossly out of date. Incorrect pricing, products no longer available, dated content, and ancient advertising all signify to the Web site visitor that your devotion to your Web site is suffering greatly. Cramming your pages with non-relevant material will detract the visitor from getting the point of your Web site (the five-second rule mentioned earlier).

• Avoid too many text effects. Forget flashing text, reversing text, gymnastics text, or other eye-popping and dizzying effects, which do nothing more than annoy your site visitor. Don’t create a “loud” Web site that contain so many blinking, flashing, twirling, and spinning icons, text, or graphics that visitors are overwhelmed by the effects and under-whelmed by the site content.

• Limit the number of graphics on your Web site so that you don’t overwhelm your site visitors with “graphics overload.” Don’t use animated GIF images on your Web site. These were cool ten years ago, but in today’s professional environment, they are just another “loud,” annoying distraction that site visitors don’t want to see.

• Don’t use Microsoft’s themes (built-in design templates) when creating a Web site with Microsoft FrontPage. While FrontPage is bashed on a regular basis, we stand by the fact that it can be used to design great Web sites.

• Don’t incorporate frames into Web site design. The use of frames within a Web site will drive customers away faster than anything!

• DO incorporate the proper Web site design elements to ensure that your Web site is ready to be found by search engines.

web design

Affordable Small Business Web Design – 5 Tips

When creating an affordable Web site for your small business, there are certain things to keep in mind from a design perspective that can make or break your site. Even if you do not plan to spend a fortune on your site, paying attention to each of these items you will ensure that the final product is something of which you can be proud.

Here are 5 tips for designing your small business Web site, even on a budget:

Tip #1: Make sure your Web site loads in 5 seconds or less: Have you ever tried to view a Web site only to find that it takes 10 or 20 seconds to come up on your screen? Unless it has been recommended by a friend or you have some other burning desire to visit the site, you probably likely gave up and moved on. The first 5 seconds is very important in terms of the attention span of your visitor. During that period, you need your site to load and for the visitor to be able to “get” what your site is about. If it takes longer than this, your visitors will run out of patience and leave. Tip: if you want to show off a long flash presentation, try featuring it on a page other than the home page.

Tip #2: Limit the menu bar to 5 options: Your Web site needs to be singular in purpose and focused in appearance. If your site is trying to be all things to all people, it will end up being of value to almost nobody. The simplicity and focus of your site design is reflected in your navigation and symbolized on your home page by your menu options. If you believe your site requires more than five menu options, make some of them sub-menus that are available only after the user selects one of the five main options.

Tip #3: Make clearly visible a call to action: Ever shopped at an IKEA? Their stores have a non-traditional layout that allows you to look around freely and yet literally leads you from one section to another, right on through to the multiple cash registers and food goodies waiting for you at the end of your path. Let this serve as a model for how to set up your Web site: on every page, you need to make it abundantly clear to your site visitors just exactly what it is you want them to do. Do you want them to contact you? Order your product or service? Add a comment to your Web site? Whatever it is, make this call to action very easy to spot both textually and graphically from anywhere on the site.

Tip #4: Provide free and clear access to additional help options: You do not want to lose sales (or visits, or whatever your goal for your visitors maybe be) just because you failed to give someone the chance to ask a question. Just as with your call to action, make it clear to visitors that no matter where they are on your site they can easily locate help via phone, e-mail, live chat, call back, user forum, or knowledge database. Hint: present the various options in a prioritized manner depending upon anticipated user needs.

Tip #5: Show consistency among other design elements: The look-and-feel of your site as a whole is really just a combination of all of its individual components. Pay close attention to every detailed component of your new site. Use appropriate colors and graphics, pay attention to font size, make sure your messaging is readable and makes sense, and make sure images look crisp and appealing. Items that you think are minor might form the basis for whether someone chooses to stay on your site or find that of a competitor.

Whether you are designing your own site or hiring a professional designer, pay attention to these items and you will have a winning site for your small business, even on a budget.

SEO process

Writing SEO Copy – 8 Steps to Success

So before you even start reading this article, if you are a Design Agency or just the weekend warrior that designs websites in your basement on the weekend, you may want to loom into white label SEO as an option, if you want to provide that service.  Our buddies are Agency SEO Services provide manual white label seo for designers and agencies.  They are awesome at what they do and will work with you to make sure you understand what SEO is, how it works and how to explain it to your clients!

We all know that the lion’s share of web traffic comes through the search engines. We also know that keywords and links to your site are the two things that affect your ranking in the search engines. Your keywords tell the search engines what you do, and the inbound links tell them how important you are. This combination is what determines your relevance. And relevance is what the search engines are after.

There’s a lot of information around about how to incorporate keyword phrases into your HTML meta tags. But that’s only half the battle. You need to think of these tags as street-signs. That’s how the search engines view them. They look at your tags and then at your copy. If the keywords you use in your tags aren’t used in your copy, your site won’t be indexed for those keywords.

But the search engines don’t stop there. They also consider how often the keyword phrase is used on the page.

To put it simply, if you don’t pepper your site with your primary keywords, you won’t appear in the search results when a potential customer searches for those keywords.

But how do you write keyword-rich copy without compromising readability?

Readability is all-important to visitors. And after all, it’s the visitors that buy your product or service, not search engines.

By following these 8 simple guidelines, you’ll be able to overhaul the copy on your website ensuring it’s agreeable to both search engines and visitors.

1) Categorize your pages
Before writing, think about the structure of your site. If you haven’t built your site yet, try to create your pages around key offerings or benefits. For example, divide your Second Hand Computers site into separate pages for Macs, and PCs, and then segment again into Notebooks, Desktops, etc. This way, you’ll be able to incorporate very specific keyword phrases into your copy, thereby capturing a very targeted market. If you’re working on an existing site, print out each page and label it with its key point, offering, or benefit.

2) Find out what keywords your customers are searching for
Go to www.wordtracker.com and subscribe for a day (this will only cost you about AUD$10). Type in the key points, offerings, and benefits you identified for each page, and spend some time analysing what words customers use when they’re searching for these things. These are the words you’ll want to use to describe your product or service. (Make sure you read WordTracker’s explanation of their results.)

3) Use phrases, not single words
Although this advice isn’t specific to the web copy, it’s so important that it’s worth repeating here. Why? Well firstly, there’s too much competition for single keywords. If you’re in computer sales, don’t choose “computers” as your primary keyword. Go to Google and search for “computers” and you’ll see why… Secondly, research shows that customers are becoming more search-savvy – they’re searching for more and more specific strings. They’re learning that by being more specific, they find what they’re looking for much faster. Ask yourself what’s unique about your business? Perhaps you sell cheap second hand computers? Then why not use “cheap second hand computers” as your primary keyword phrase. This way, you’ll not only stand a chance in the rankings, you’ll also display in much more targeted searches. In other words, a higher percentage of your site’s visitors will be people after cheap second hand computers. (WordTracker’s results will help you choose the most appropriate phrases.)

4) Pick the important keyword phrases
Don’t include every keyword phrase on every page. Focus on one or two keyword phrases on each page. For your Macs page, focus on “cheap second hand macs”. For the PCs page, focus on “cheap second hand pcs”, etc.

5) Be specific
Don’t just say “our computers”. Wherever you would normally say “our computers”, ask yourself if you can get away with saying “our cheap second hand Macs” or “our cheap second hand PCs”. If this doesn’t affect your readability too badly, it’s worth doing. It’s a fine balance though. Remember, your site reflects the quality of your service. If your site is hard to read, people will infer a lot about your service…

6) Use keyword phrases in links
Although you shouldn’t focus on every keyword phrase on every page, it’s a good idea to link your pages together with text links. This way, when the search engines look at your site, they’ll see that the pages are related. Once again, the more text links the better, especially if the link text is a keyword phrase. So on your “Cheap Second Hand Macs” page, include a text link at the bottom to “Cheap Second Hand PCs”. If you can manage it without affecting readability, also include one within the copy of the page. For example, “As well as providing cheap second hand Macs, we sell high quality cheap second hand PCs”. TIP: If you don’t want your links to be underlined and blue, include the following in your CSS file:

<style type=”text/css”>
<!–
a {text-decoration: none;}
–>
</style>

Then format the HTML of each link as follows:

As well as providing cheap second hand Macs, we sell high quality <a href=”pcs.htm” style=”text-decoration:none”><font color=”#000000″>cheap second hand pcs</font></a>.

7) Use keyword phrases in headings
Just as customers rely on headings to scan your site, so to do search engines. This means headings play a big part in how the search engines will categorise your site. Try to include your primary keyword phrases in your headings. In fact, think about inserting extra headings just for this purpose. Generally this will also help the readability of the site because it will help customers scan read.

8) Test keyword phrase density
Once you’ve made a first pass at the copy, run it through a density checker to get some metrics. Visit http://www.gorank.com/analyze.php and type in the domain and keyword phrase you want to analyse. It’ll give you a percentage for all the important parts of your page, including copy, title, meta keywords, meta description, etc. The higher the density the better. Generally speaking, a density measurement of at least 3-5% is what you’re looking for. Any less, and you’ll probably need to take another pass.

Follow these guidelines, and you’ll be well on your way to effective SEO copy.

Just remember, don’t overdo it. It’s not easy to find the balance between copy written for search engines and copy written for customers. In many cases, this balance will be too difficult to achieve without professional help. Don’t worry, though. If you’ve already performed your keyword analysis, a professional website copywriter should be able to work your primary keyword phrases into your copy at no extra charge.

SEO

The Best Place to Put SEO Copy on Your Web Page

It seems like a funny question to me, but it gets asked a lot. “Where should the SEO copy go on my Web page?” That question gets asked so much because there are several pieces of out-of-date information, rumors and myths with regard to text placement, when writing SEO copy.

For instance, many absolutely swear that the copy has to be as high up on the page as possible for the search engines to find it. Not true. The spiders will find the text regardless of where it is on your page. Others say all your text has to be in one block. Also not true. The spiders will find the text regardless of where it is on your page.

Other statements I’ve heard regarding text placement include:

· Your headline must appear at the very top of the page.

· Copy placed inside tables throws the search engines off.

· Copy must be positioned above the fold to be found by the spiders.

None of these are true. The spiders will find the text regardless of where it is on your page. (Or did I already say that… twice?) This is true in 99.9% of the cases, with only some very rare exceptions.

So where is the best place to put SEO copy on your Web page? Wherever it makes sense to the site visitor!

Spiders will find your text regardless of where it falls on the page. Want proof? Here’s a test. Go to Google and type in any working URL. When the result comes up for that site, click on: “Show Google’s Cache of…” In the box that appears at the top of the next page, click on this option: “This cached page may reference images which are no longer available. Click here for the cached text only.” What do you see?

You see exactly what the search engine sees. If the text appears in this text-only cache, that means Google’s spider can read it and index it.

Put Copy Where It Is Most Beneficial to Your Visitors

Since the engines will find your text regardless of where it falls on the page, your focus should be placed on the site visitor. This is where your focus should always be. The people who have the money come first; the search engines come second. 🙂

If it makes sense for your visitors to see your headline as the first thing on the page, then put it first. If a graphic design element makes more sense, then put that first. If you use photos or other images, include captions so your visitors understand what these photos mean and how they relate to the sales message.

If you have an ecommerce site, create pages for each category of products you offer in order to help guide the visitors’ steps. Then add short copy segments that quickly describe what is offered for each specific product. Even though the copy is scattered all about the page, the engines WILL find it.

When it comes to copy placement on your Web pages, don’t agonize over what the engines want you to do. Give 100% of your consideration to what would be most useful for your visitors and place your copy in those areas. The spiders will find it with no trouble at all.

Custom Web Design and Online Promotion Go Hand-in-Hand

Many new online business owners have misconceptions about custom web design. It’s not only about getting your website up and running. It’s about designing every aspect of your website – every “nook and cranny” – to lead your visitors to the ultimate end, a sale. Whether you plan to build a service-oriented website or offer many products, your site’s design must have all the ingredients for success from the very start. Be sure the web designer you choose has an understanding of promotion as well as custom web design. Here are some features your site must have to survive among the Internet masses.

An Easily Recognized USP (Unique Selling Proposition)

When a visitor arrives at any of your web pages (not only the homepage), he/she should understand what your site is all about immediately. You only have a split second to grab their attention. Make sure each web page has a powerful keyword-rich headline that will keep the visitor reading.

Graphics that Complement without Dominating the Web Pages

Every website needs a few graphics here and there to make the web design pleasing to the eye, but be sure your graphic design and logo design do not dominate your pages. You want visitors to read your page, not look at your graphics. So, keep graphics to a minimum, and use them only when they help to create an even reading flow on the page. Many sites use a pleasant “newsletter” style when there is much to read on a page, sprinkling graphics or photos throughout the text in a wrap-around sense. For logo design, keep it small and simple. There’s nothing more annoying than waiting on a page to load because its logo is too big!

Keyword Rich Content for SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

Be sure your designer understands about SEO and keywords. Every page of your site should be designed with search engine promotion in mind. This means gearing your meta tags, link text for pages or in menus, headlines, image “alt text” contents, etc. to attract search engine traffic for the long haul.

Web Design

Web Design Elements You Should Avoid

As a web designer, you should design your websites to give your visitors the greatest ease of use, the best impression and most important of all a welcoming experience.

It doesn’t matter if you had the greatest product in the whole world — if your website is poorly done you won’t be able to sell even one copy of it because visitors will be driven off your website by the lousy design.

When I’m talking about a “good design”, I’m not only talking about a good graphical design.

A professional web design will be able to point out that there are many components which contribute to a good website design — accessibility design, interface or layout design, user experience design and of course the most straightforward, which is graphic design.

Hence, I have highlighted some features of the worst web designs I’ve come across. Hopefully, you will be able to compare that against your own site as a checklist and if anything on your site fits the criteria, you should know it’s high time to take serious action!

1) Background music

Unless you are running a site which promotes a band, a CD or anything related to music, I would really advise you to stay away from putting looping background music onto your site.

It might sound pleasant to you at first, but imagine if you ran a big site with hundreds of pages and every time a visitor browses to another page on your site, the background music starts playing again.

If I were your visitor, I’d just turn off my speakers or leave your site. Moreover, they just add to the visitors burden when viewing your site — users on dial up connections will have to wait longer just to view your site as it is meant to be viewed.

Web Design Business

Starting A Web Design Business

Web Design as a Business

The world wide web just keeps growing. Business realize the benefits of being on the web, but don’t always know how to design a good site. If you have some creativity and know basics about web design, you might be interested in starting a web design business.

Starting a web design business is not much different from starting other businesses. Just knowing how to design a website is not enough. You need to do some research to be certain you have all the tools you need. A computer and printer are essential. You’ll need graphics software and HTML editing software. Remember that you are working for businesses, so you some knowledge of what makes a business site effective.

It helps to target a niche market. Find a field you’ve always had a passion for and develop ideas for that particular market. In this way you will stand out as one of the best in that particular field.

If you are just starting your web design business, you can learn some of the ropes by volunteering to help somebody put up a site or improve their site. Look at sites from local businesses and call them to offer your services. Often the smaller businesses have put up their own site with no professional help. They may welcome your skills, and will later serve as a valuable reference.

When starting your web design business, don’t forget that it is a business. Learn how to set your rates and keep good records for tax purposes.

As you consider starting your web design business, make sure you know what you need to know before offering your services. If you have creativity and an interest in building websites, this could be a business for you.

WordPress Web Design

Some Handy Web Design Basics

There is more to web design than many people take into consideration. An effective web designer wears many hats and should be responsible for various aspects of the design process. These responsibilities include graphics, interface, SEO, and standardized code and relevant content. Some designers do not feel that SEO is a justifiable part of their job description. However, horns and whistles may cause traffic to pause briefly, but it is the content that must win them over and increase rankings with search engines. There is such a thing as affordable SEO and every designer should follow certain basics that will cause their client’s website to become a beacon in the limitless dark hole known as the internet.

Targeting the niche audience – Websites are not designed to simply look pretty. The ultimate goal is to increase brand awareness. The best looking WordPress web design in the world will cease to drive traffic generation unless they can be found by the target audience. The ability to engage the potential customer and persuade them to visit the website is vital. However, it is even more important that the web design is able to translate into desired conversions. The webmaster will know the latest trends that correlate with the client’s niche. They must know from the start if the site is targeting business-to-business or being targeted towards particular consumers. The goal is to ensure that the website is properly indexed for high search engine rankings.

WebDesignThe basics of effective SEO web design – The website designer should focus heavily on image, video and local search engines. They must place a huge emphasis on keyword density within the content. Some of the things that should be done to make the site relevant include cross linking, Meta descriptions, and the use of relevant content. Studies have shown that small graphics are better for performance and the graphics used should correlate with the content. The general layout should be standardized and the ads should be reduced to the bare minimum. All of these issues are important to successful web design, at least from an SEO perspective. The client needs to know that affordable SEO practices exist and that they are being included on their website.

An experienced designer should be able to build impressive standard and WordPress web design projects. Through the use of analytic’s the client will be able to track results and conversion rates. These are just some of the handy web design basics that can make the difference between a successful or unsuccessful website.

How Seo Can Help You Out – Be Successful In The Online Environment

seo (1)Everyone would like to have a certain flexibility when it comes to their income. However, there are some things that you’ll have to be very careful about if you want to be successful and earn more money. For instance, in the online environment, everything is possible – you could become the entrepreneur of your dreams, earn a lot of money and increase your business, no matter what type of activity you do.

However, all these things come at a price – we’re talking not just about money, but we’re also talking about time spent learning and implementing the right marketing techniques that work for you and your business.

It’s known that every major business is present in the online environment, and even if all you want to do is to start your own food blog or beauty site or anything else you might think about, it’s necessary to apply some of the techniques we were referring to.

So, this being said, we’re going to talk today about the SEO – it’s meaning, it’s importance and how it can help you out.


The Meaning

First of all, let’s take the meaning. SEO comes from “search engine optimization” and it’s that thing that increases your ranking in the search engine results. It’s a fact that everyone who is searching for something in the online environment is actually using one or more words to do this, and the search engine gives them the results they can browse through.

With the help of SEO, your business or whatever it is that you are doing, can appear in the top results of colorado-seo-services5the search engine.


How It Works

All this is actually based on words and their impact in the online environment. As many of you know, the results that are generated are selected based on the relevance of the website in question. This being said, to make sure you get to be in the top results, you need to have a website that is extremely relevant to your activity or your passion, and focus on this.


Key Words

With just a few words, you could be in that top, so you need to run an analysis that gives you the most relevant words for your type of activity. For example, if you’re promoting nail designs, concentrate on having content relevant to nail designs.

People will look for “nail designs” when using a search engine, and this should be one of the key words that can describe what you have to offer.


The Content

To make sure you are relevant and visible to the search engines, your content – the articles or the blogs that you post there, should have one or two of those keywords that you have identified previously. However, don’t insert too many times the same word, or the search engine optimization will consider it as “spam” or a source that cannot be trusted. Also, make sure that it is relevant and important for your reader. People can decide in less than 15 seconds if what they are reading is worth their time or not, so make sure it’s interesting and engaging right from the start.


Implementing

The best way to implement it is by using the right keywords in the content, but also by asking for help from a web designer. They are more than qualified to do this for you, but make sure you have the right content on the website.

It’s better to create your own articles and blogs for this, as you know best what you want your readers to learn or find out from you, but it’s also a good thing to ask for outside opinion. The right implementation for this technique will also use relevant links to other websites with similar content, increasing the navi-img2visibility and determining the search engines to see your page as relevant and trusted.


The Costs

Compared to other marketing techniques, this one is quite cheap, as it doesn’t require too much time or too many settings. However, the content and the key words are extremely important for having success with this.

If you can’t do it alone, it’s better to ask someone to help you out – a company that is specialized in these kinds of services or an independent web designer who is proficient in online marketing. On the long run, it’s a great investment for the success that you will have with it.