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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.

 

 

4
Sep

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.

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.

 

1
Jul

Four critical technical SEO audits

Posted in SEO  by admin

Recently, there have been several announcements in the search space, such as improved JavaScript crawling support, AMP in search results, and the move to a mobile-first index. With all of these changes, there needs to be additional focus on technical SEO audits. Here are the most critical audits that should form the base of your SEO audits:

Mobile web crawling

We know that the majority of traffic to the search engines are from smartphones and other mobile devices. Also, we know that Google is moving as quickly as it can towards a mobile-first index. Your next technical audit should test how your site performs with the Google Smartphone crawler.

JavaScript

It has been three years since Google’s crawlers began crawling JavaScript content. However, even with recent improvements to crawling JavaScript, there are still some limitations. The site should follow certain best practices and use specific frameworks to ensure that all content is crawlable.

Structured data

The search results pages have not looked like the traditional ten links for a long time. Now you see more and more specific answers and results at the top of the page. The only way to take advantage of that is to follow data structure guidelines. It is critical to understand how your pages can take advantage of these new features.

HTTPS

In 2016, Google announced that sites that sell products and accept credit cards without HTTPS would have a “Note secure” label next to search results. Lots of sites have prioritized HTTPS migrations and conduct checks to ensure that all pages are secure.

4
Jun

What marketers need to know about Google Attribution

Posted in Internet Marketing  by admin

Google Attribution was one of the biggest announcements to come out of Google Marketing Next. It is a free solution that pulls data from Google Analytics, AdWords or Double Click Search and provides a more holistic view of conversions across all these platforms. Let’s look at what this announcement means for online marketers:

What is Google Attribution?

Attribution 360 is the enterprise-level offering Google got when it bought Adometry back in 2014. You can look at Google Attribution as a simplified version of the Adometry product. Users can link their Analytics account with an Attribution account. At that point, an attribution model can be assigned to conversion events. Eventually, you can feed that data back to AdWords to inform future bidding.

What problem does Attribution aim to solve?

One of the biggest problems for both Google and advertisers is that they only see the final click interaction. For example, if a user clicks on a generic term ad in search results or on a website, but only takes action after clicking on a branded ad, then only the branded interaction shows. With Attribution, Google aims to show how mid-funnel and upper-level interactions so that advertisers do not end campaigns prematurely.

Also, by showing advertisers how upper and mid-funnel interactions affect sales and clicks, Google hopes that they will take that into consideration when bidding. Advertisers will benefit from seeing multi-platform multi-path conversion paths, but Google stands to gain more with increased bidding for generic keywords.

1
May

Web designers: what to ask you, clients, before you start

Posted in Web Development  by admin

Modern web designers need to realize that even when it comes to site design, marketing comes first. Very few organizations maintain a presence online purely for informational purposes. With e-commerce and online sales growing, any website should base its construction with marketing as its primary focus. Here are some key points that any designer should clarify before starting work on the new design:

Frustrations

When you revamp an existing website, it is because there is something about it that requires attention. Find out what the three most pressing issues they have with the existing site. Not only will that prevent you from repeating the mistakes, but it will also give you a general idea of what the clients expect from the new site.

Inspiration

Often, the decision maker at an organization will already have an idea of what they consider a good looking website. Find out what sites the decision makers like and what elements of those sites they think could work for their own.

Optimization

A lot of websites have contracts with SEO organizations that take care of their content and site optimization. Find out if there are any particular requires from the SEO team. Sometimes, entire sections of a website change because another team comes in later and asks for changes in the name of SEO.

Competition

Lastly, find out from the client what features, elements, components or design elements of competitor sites they find useful. This together with the frustrations listed above should paint a clear picture of what the client wants in their design.

4
Apr

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.

31
Mar

Client-side scripting languages

Posted in Web Development  by admin

When it comes to web development, there are several layers of development languages. The two primary building blocks are HTML and CSS. Then there are server side scripting languages like PHP, Python etc. These power the dynamic web sites that we come across on the web every day. Another category is client-side scripting languages. These languages download along with the HTML and CSS, and execute locally. It is still a static page, like HTML/CSS, with additional interactivity. These are the most popular client-side scripting languages used today:

JavaScript

When you load a webpage and see animation, games or some form of interactivity, it is most likely to be JavaScript at work. After HTML and CSS, it is the most common scripting language you will see in use. The language works even without an internet connection, as long as the application supports local execution. Even complicated sites use JavaScript for applications thanks to the JavaScript engines of Chrome and Firefox. JavaScript is also popular due to the vast selection of libraries.

ActionScript

ActionScript is the scripting language used for Adobe Flash. There is something to be said for how far Flash spread, that even in its dying days, ActionScript remains one of the most used client-side scripting languages.

For a long time, there was a choice between the two. However, with the end of Adobe Flash in sight, JavaScript will be the predominant client-side scripting language.

10
Feb

Handling customer requests

Posted in social media marketing  by admin

Whether you manage a website, app, service, there are always customer requests. Even with the differences in all of the business categories, the requests from customers can fall into one of two categories: deep or wide. Let us look at the two types, what they are, along with examples:

Deep

“Deep” customer requests refer to increasing the functionality or utility of a product feature. We can also look at it as “improve A also to do B and C.” There are a few a benefits to fulfilling these customer requests. The first is retention. The more customers that use feature A, the higher the retention will be when they see the improvements. It also promotes vendor lock-in. The only downside is a loss of focus. Successful companies have a laser focus on the main features of their products and losing that focus can have consequences.

Wide

“Wide” changes can be seen as platform level changes, as opposed to feature level changes. An example would be integrating a product with another. The primary benefit here is that of customer acquisition. Increasing the reach of your product by integrating to another product platform opens co-marketing opportunities. You could also see an increase in revenue, as potential customers might want compatibility with other platforms before they commit.

Newer companies, especially those that are first to market should look to go wide first and then deep. Going wide early helps with early growth, while going deep later will increase customer retention.

31
Jan

How to create a good round-up post

Posted in social media marketing  by admin

Roundups are long form articles that aim to cover all or as many aspects of the subject as possible. These are similar to tech review roundups in that they reference other reviews of the same product. These are now extremely popular; in part due to how well they spread on social media, but mostly due to how well they rank on Google. Here is a step-by-step guide to creating a roundup post:

Step one – Identify every aspect of the subject

This is probably the most time consuming and the longest step of the process. Every possible angle on the subject needs to be addressed. For example, HR managers and potential employees could both be interested in reading an article on interviewing skills.

Step two – Images

Every single significant component of the article should be illustrated with a suitable image. Google considers relevant images an important part of what it considers good content.

In addition, take this one step further by creating an infographic. The right infographic can generate thousands of shares. Several services online provide free templates to use as a starting point.

Step three – Downloads

Successful roundups provide some form of downloadable content at the end. Visitors love downloadable content and this is the best method of getting a signup to a mailing list. The downloadable file should be an extension of the content on the page. Taking the above example of interviewing skills, the download could be a PDF of the most common interview questions along with good answers.

19
Nov

Microsoft Azure Components

Posted in Web Design & Hosting  by admin

webpage4less-novMicrosoft Azure, the cloud computing platform consists of a series of different components that can be used alone but are often used together. Using each of these components as building blocks, any organization can replicate or recreate IT infrastructure online. In this article, we will look at the most used components of Azure.

Compute

This is the bread and butter of Azure. It consists of virtual machines, websites and cloud services. Virtual machines are virtual instances of a server running an operating system. Web sites are code based websites that run from the cloud and have no actual server back-end. Cloud services are similar to websites but are low-admin applications that are maintained by Azure and are ideal for large adoption services.

Data management

This is where the data is stored. Individual SQL servers can be created or they can be done one database at a time. This is also where data can be imported and exported. It is highly unlikely these will be created without front-end websites and VM’s. The limits of the databases will be set at the point of creation and some will not allow any future changes.

Networking

The final of the basic components. This is where the internal and external networking options are selected and set. Virtual networks can be created and resources such as virtual machines and databases can be assigned. This is also where VPN’s (virtual private networks) can be created and set up to connect to on-premise networks.