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Web Design Blog, Tips, Articles & Advice
18
Jul

3 Popular Web Strategies That Don’t Work

Posted in Search Engine Marketing  by publisher

Staying to the tried and tested is often considered to be a safe choice, whether in the domain of web design or any other profession. Yet it’s also true that taking this kind of an approach will result in lackluster and at best – conventional results.

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Web design strategies – as they’re known – despite being popular don’t always work. Since the first step to true web innovation is recognizing these strategies and discarding them, here are 3 popular web strategies that don’t work:

#1: Being New and Different

What you must keep in mind is the fact that newer is not necessarily better. Well, Google didn’t invent the search engine and neither did Apple create the smartphone, digital user interface. Both these companies made it better. Similarly, trying something new with your website or product won’t necessarily always capture the imagination and get the attention of customers.

#2: Watching your Competitors

Trying to imitate or improve on what your competitors do with their business is usually another strategy that is tried by several businesses. But what if the competition is applying a strategy that is bound to fail?

The focus should really be on pleasing your customers with your website, and not necessarily outdoing your competitors.

#3: The Focus on Features and Technology

Customers usually are interested in useful products. It’s really as simple as that. Similarly, websites designed should avoid the route where technology or a list of features are the focus but continue to follow the simple paradigm of keeping the visitors’ needs in mind more than anything else.

20
Jun

3 Little-Known Social Media Tools That Should Be Used

Posted in social media marketing  by publisher

Guest Post provided Pierre Z. of iClimber

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Social media is the new rage. It’s practically everywhere and people are talking about it while they use either for their personal or professional lives. In fact, this social media craze has caught on so much that almost every other week, there is a new social media site that caters to a particular audience.

With this explosion of social media sites, there is a need for professionals to track and monitor the effectiveness of their social media campaign.

So, here is a list of little-known social media tools that should be tried:

#1: TweetReach

This tool will tell you about the reach of your tweets. Very simply, it will tell you how tweets it took to reach certain people while also giving you a number as to how many people your tweet reaches. You will also get information such as how many times you tweets have been shared by retweets or standard tweets even replies.

#2: EditFlow

This open source content management system from WordPress will help you to manage your editorial team flawlessly. You can use the Calendar feature to keep track of your monthly content while also use the ‘user groups’ function to clearly organize a group of writers. This tool comes in handy for those who have a multi-author blog.

#3: ArgyleSocial

This is one of those productivity apps that not only help you to stay organized with your team using Facebook and Twitter but also it also generates reports on of your social media efforts in terms of ROI. This tool is clearly beneficial for those who need to improve their business or need to know how their social media campaign is doing.

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25
May

10 Guidelines to Keep in Mind When Using Twitter

Posted in social media marketing  by admin

The objective of social media is to build a community. Much like in real life, when one spends time with an online community, there are certain rules that have to be followed. Facebook, Foursquare, Google+ and Twitter – they all have rules, and it’s in your best interests to abide by them.

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Not unless you don’t mind being referred to as a Twanker or Twidiot, when it comes to Twitter…

So, here are 10 guidelines to keep in mind when using Twitter:

#1: Only Tweet when you have something good to post. Don’t just flood Twitter with post or people will just unfollow you at the drop of a hat.

#2: Avoid doing a Follow Friday, retweet it or even say thanks.

#3: No one wants to know what you are having for dinner.

#4: Avoid the overuse of hashtags by using them only when necessary

#5: Keep your tweets to about 140 characters. Of course, you can post a longer tweet, but do you think people will want to read it, being a micro-blogging site and all.

#6: Use a short username as you have only 140 characters to work with while also picking a suitable avatar.

#7: Don’t plagiarize. Period.

#8: Grammar and typos can reflect poorly on a company, especially if you’re trying to build a brand.

#9: Be very careful if you have personal and business account on Twitter. Don’t ever make the mistake of mixing things up.

#10: Ensure that respond to a direct message privately, and not publicly.

 

 

18
Jun

Small business social media strategy

Posted in social media marketing  by admin

webpage4lessMost small business owners are too busy to run their own social media campaigns. Instead they hand it out to an intern or outsource it. For smaller businesses this can be a mistake. There is no other media that gives a business owner access to its customers like social media.

Know your customer

Social media is all about the customers. Marketing basics dictate that you should think like your customer. This is especially true for social media. Not sure where your customers are? Ask them. Then setup your presence and focus on those specific social media networks. For example, some groups are only active on LinkedIn and so that should be where all your social media attention should be focused.

Time

Social media is easy for a lot of businesses to get into due to the fact that it’s free. You can create facebook pages, accounts, twitter accounts etc all for no cost. However an effective social media campaign does have a cost: time. A proper campaign should be targeted to where your customers are. Remove any profiles on any platform that has no value to you or your customers.

Success

For a lot of people, the total number of followers indicates success. That is not a good metric to go by. Popular brands can have follower figures in the millions while a few hundred for a small business can be considered a success. Look at the quality and engagement with your followers. Their devotion and enthusiasm for the business and its product is the target.

23
May

Four mistakes to avoid on your website audit

Posted in Web Development  by admin

Ranking on search is unpredictable. Even with enough inbound links, a small change in the algorithm can move a page from the first page to the third. One of the ways to ensure that the site has done everything to ensure good ranking is to conduct an audit of the website. However, there are some common mistakes that people make when doing a website audit. Here are the four most common that you should avoid:

Crawl

The first mistake many make is not conducting a complete crawl of the website. Often we make changes without thinking about the implications of those changes. Without a complete scan of the website, there is no way to know what repercussions might result from the changes. There is a lot of free software available that can do complete crawls.

Robots

There is a robots.txt file that indicates which files and folders a spider should crawl. Check that file to make sure that nothing important accidently falls into the Disallow section. This is one such example of where a complete crawl of the website will illustrate unintended consequences. It is also important to make sure that all unnecessary content is not visible to the search engine.

On-page

On-page ranking factors do not hold the same weight as inbound links. However, making sure the on page factors meet certain criteria ensures that the page does not fall below a certain standard. Some of those include a minimum word count, value of content to the user, optimized images, keywords, titles, etc.

26
Apr

The four steps of inbound marketing

Posted in Web Design & Hosting  by admin

Inbound marketing is the other name for online marketing. It is the only effective way to market a product online and go through the entire process of attracting visitors and converting them into customers. There is a four step process to this cycle which we will look at below:

Attract

When it comes to attracting visitors, the numbers are not important. What you want is the right kind of visitors. Attracting those visitors will require high quality content distributed via tools like blogging and content marketing. SEO will make your articles and other online properties more visible. Social media will help spread that content to hopefully the right people.

Convert

Now that there is quality content that attracts visitors, those visitors need to be converted into sales leads and then into customers. The first step is to get their email address and contact details. For this proper calls to action, landing pages, forms can be used. The process should be as quick and painless as possible.

Close

This part is probably the hardest. It involves converting those leads into customers. The toolbox here is to use CRM software, email content, and marketing automation to convert them. Different tools at different stages of the cycle is also an option.

Delight

The reason inbound marketing is successful is because it also focuses on the stage after the lead has become a customer. The goal here is by promoting and encouraging customer delight and then making them your fans.

24
Mar

The three types of mobile web design

Posted in Web Development  by admin

There is a lot of debate in the community over the benefits of the different forms of design for mobile content. The primary options are responsive web design, adaptive design, or separate sites:

Adaptive design, also known as Dynamic serving, use the same URL as the main site but serves the visitor a different website based on the browser. When the web server detects a mobile browser, the end-user gets a mobile version of the web site.

Separate web sites for mobile and desktop browsers use different URL’s to distinguish between the two options. Much like adaptive, the server tries to determine the type of device using the browser identification tag. The difference here is that rather than serving a different page, the server redirects the visitor to another site, usually with a mobile prefix.

Responsive web design is the most popular form of mobile web design. With one single site, you can serve a multitude of screen sizes. The browser will render the page using a set of rules. A smartphone will render the page with smaller fonts, a hidden menu bar, and a small page width. A desktop browser will render the site with a different set of dimension.

Responsive design is also Google’s preference for the mobile web. Google prefers responsive design because it requires less work by the designer. However, there is no single better choice. The only real differences are the cost of implementation.

11
Feb

Three reasons to host static web pages

Posted in Web Design & Hosting  by admin

Almost every site you visit on the web today are dynamic. When we say dynamic, we mean that the server generates the content you see as soon as it gets your request. Dynamic websites have a lot of benefits, mostly the ease of updating, fixing, and deploying a site. However, there are still scenarios where a static web page makes sense:

High load

When a web server generates the content on the page, the process generates a lot of load on the servers. There are ways to reduce the load, but most of them make a small difference to the load on the server. When you have a high-traffic site with very few changes, an HTML site can reduce the server cost significantly. Also, you will not need database servers and other components, just a designer, and a web server.

Security

Another big benefit is the improvement in security that comes with a plain static HTML website. Every single platform and language has security holes and vulnerabilities. The platform needs constant updates and becomes vulnerable as soon as you miss one. However, with a static website, only the web server needs protection.

Cost

There are also cost savings from using static websites. You will use less bandwidth, server resources, and fewer servers. Also, you will only need a designer to update the site, rather than a team of engineers maintaining the CMS. A well designed static website will look no different to a visitor, and if anything will probably load faster.

2
Jan

Three tips for making the most of a website redesign

Posted in Web Development  by admin

Most organizations refresh the design of their website once every two years. This update is both a blessing and a curse. It is an opportunity to improve the underperforming parts of your site, but at the same time present the potential for making things worse. Here are three tips for making sure your website redesign is an improvement:

What works

The first step is to gain a thorough understanding of what works on the current website. To preserve existing your SEO, you need to know what works and why. The only way to prevent losing years of SEO work and equity is a proper review of your current setup.

What doesn’t work

As part of the above review, you will also find gaps in your current SEO and structure that you can address as part of the redesign. Most of the gaps you find will exist because fixing them can be disruptive under normal conditions, so take this chance and fix anything you can.

Common issues

There are resources online that list out everything that can go wrong with a website redesign. Many others go through the same issues every year, and we can use that information to prevent making the same mistakes.

Detailed plan

Finally, you need a proper plan down to the last minute detail that shows everything that will change with the new design. The more detail you have, the faster you can fix any issues that come up when you relaunch.

1
Dec

Google deploys mid-December search update

Posted in social media marketing  by admin

Google confirmed search industry observations over the last week that there was an update to the search algorithm during the middle of December. Observers began to note larger than usual shifts in traffic to certain sites.

The official response from Google: “We released several minor improvements during this timeframe, part of our regular and routine efforts to improve relevancy.”

The biggest hit appears to be for sites that use doorway pages. These sites use multiple pages with multiple keyword permutations to target search phrases that will ultimately send the user to the same page. Google does not like this as there can be multiple listing for pages that vary very little that ultimately send the user to the same page. Travel sites are guilty of using this approach.

Another group of sites that got hit hard are sites which Google identifies as low value. There are several characteristics of these sites, with an over-abundance of ads being the primary characteristic. Google places a heavy emphasis on value to the user and is doing a better and better job of identifying average sites that only exist to serve ads.

A lot of sites with good content, design, usability, etc. got hit. None of the experts can seem to explain the rationale behind this, other than the possibility that their link graphs included sites that got hit in the update. Drops like this are why every webmaster should look at their link profile in-depth and disavow sites that Google might consider problematic.

7
Nov

Manual penalties: Unnatural links

Posted in social media marketing  by admin

There are several types of manual penalties that Google reviewers can apply to a website for violations of the guidelines. Cloaking or sneaky redirects penalty, Unnatural links from your website, Hacked website, Pure spam, and Hidden text or keyword stuffing are just a few. One of the biggest sources of penalties is for unnatural links, both incoming and outgoing. Here are some of the unnatural links that can cause issues:

Web directories / Article directories

Abusing web directories and article directories for incoming links is at the top of the list. The only link directories that escape a penalty are manually curated lists. Even then, Google does not penalize sites but chooses to ignore link lists.

International links

Links from International sites are also a problem when they are a majority of the incoming links. Content on foreign language websites that are not relevant contextually raise red flags. Nowadays, the practice is pointless as Google reduced the weighting on links from other languages.

Coupon codes

There are hundreds of Coupon codes sites online, and links from them are considered spammy since most of the sites only exist to provide links. There is often no value to the coupons, and there is no content actually to read.

Affiliate links

Another issue with affiliate links that are without the no-follow attribute. Google equates that sort of activity with buying links, and the penalty can be severe.

If you have a site that relies heavily on traffic from Google, then make it a regular practice to use online tools to scan and analyze your backlink profile. When you find problematic links, disavow them immediately. Some sites do link checks daily.

3
Oct

The mobile first index: Content design

Posted in Web Design & Hosting  by admin

There is a lot of emphasis on high-quality long form content. The emphasis is justified; quality content will get you backlinks, traffic, and keep your visitors coming back. However, very soon, Google will bring its mobile-first index online, and your mobile pages will be the only ones that people see on mobile phones. It is going to crucial that your content is easy to read on a smaller screen.

Table of contents

The best way to show structure and improve usability for a page on a mobile screen is a table of contents. You can also add HTML anchors and use the listing as links to take the visitor directly to the content they seek.

Headings

Not many websites use proper HTML headings anymore. The combination of proper headings and a table of contents will significantly improve the usability and visual hierarchy of a page. A good practice is to use the correct order of headings when dealing with sections and sub-sections.

Tabs

Tabbed content is only useful in particular instances. However, when it is applicable, it is extremely useful. You can hide content that the user does need to see right away, and the tabs can provide structure to the page.

TLDR

Webmasters have an obsession with keeping people on site for as long as possible. They need to understand that if a visitor is happy and finds what they are looking for, they will always come back, even if it took the visitor 30 seconds to read it. A summary of everything in the post, right at the top can save a reader a lot of time.

10
Aug

Google Search Console: What’s New?

Posted in social media marketing  by admin

On the 13th of July, webmasters started seeing changes to impressions and average positions of their pages on Google Search Console. At the time, everyone was under the impression that it was a) a bug or b) was an update in progress. As it turns out, it was an update of sorts to the Search Console, with a new reporting change.

Google’s exact description:

“An incremental improvement in Google’s logging system now provides better accounting for results in lower positions. This change might cause increase in impressions, but also a decrease in average positions. This change only effects [sic] Search Console reporting, not your actual performance on Google Search.”

This description does not explain what happened. Several webmasters ran tests using data from their websites and came to the following conclusions:

The drastic drop webmasters see in average position could be due to Google reporting on more queries regardless of the ranking. They might not be limiting the change to just low-ranked queries.

Your average position did not get worse. Rather, the only thing that changes is the way you see the position. Any individual query-level average position should not see a change because of this update. If you see change, there might be other factors at play.

Despite speculation, there is no voice search data in the current data sets. The difference is that Google is now providing more volume for the search data. There is also no specific pattern to what kinds of queries are showing more volume.