The Advantages of Blogging for SEO

Blogs and SEO

You can have the best looking website design, keyword linking to your site out the ying-yang, but if you don’t have relevant and unique content you’re not going to get anywhere. This is where blogging comes in; with the right content, you can get many of your SEO goals accomplished. You might think that starting your own blog is hard, or you might not be able to think about what you should write but blogging for SEO isn’t nearly as hard as you think!  Here I’m going to show you why you need a blog, and what you can do with it to start driving traffic to your website.

What is a Blog?

Just in case you don’t know, a blog is a website or part of a website where you “post” information often; people who read your blog can sometimes leave feedback like comments on your posts or questions about what you’re saying. It gives people the interactive element they crave, especially when they’re doing business with you. You can already imagine how important having a blog on your site is!

What is SEO?

SEO, or search engine optimisation, is a way of manipulating the search engines to rank you better for relevancy. If you have a percentage of keywords on each page, you’ll be able to pull in better traffic to your site that’s actually interested in what you have to say and what you’re selling. It’s important to be able to get this traffic, because without people coming to your site you’re not going to be able to reach the people you need to the most.

How a Blog Helps SEO

Having a blog helps you have the content you need to lace with keywords to get better search results from Google when they index you. You’ve probably already done keyword research for article marketing or just the usual SEO purposes; you can use those keywords in your blog content. Think of promotions and other stuff that’s going on in your business, what information should people know about what you’re selling? If you have a consultant business, tell them how they can build their online presence, or if you are selling lawn chairs help them pick the right one for their needs. Whatever you’re selling, you’ll be able to give people help making decisions and you’ll become a more trusted source for information online.

How SEO works for Blogs

With each post you write, Google will index it and weight it to check for authority and relevance. You put in a keyword once every hundred words, the Google will think that you’re more relevant than someone who just puts the keyword in the title and forgets about it the rest of the article. A blog will allow you to have keyword diversity, using a multitude of keywords around your site and getting better SEO without getting in trouble for keyword stuffing.

There are many ways you can get a blog, but the best one is WordPress. WordPress allows you to maximise your SEO efforts and publish blogs and content with a click of a button. Get your blog today, and start reaping the benefits!

Contact us today to find out how we can help you achieve your SEO goals!

Understanding Logos, Brands and Identity

Logo design brands and identity

Brand, Logos and Identity are actually three separate beasts that you need to master to bring your business to the next level. Here, we’re going to go over what each is and how you can start formulating ideas for yours today!

Logo

A Logo is like your personal ID card for your business; a visual representation of your business, a name that will help people recognise you when they see your logo in different places. Logos don’t show what your company does directly (though elements of your business can be incorporated into the design) but they are there to help people know who you are. Logos are the first thing people see when they go to your website, store or office, and they’ll leave the lasting impression, negative or positive, in their minds. You always want to invest in your logo design so you’re communicating effectively with your audience, so do your research and find a good designer who understands the unique needs of your business.

Brand

Brands are tricky, as you can’t exactly make a brand for yourself; your followers and customers create the brand, but your designer can guide public opinion in the direction that you want to form your brand. Brands are corporate images, to prove this point, think about Google. Google has evolved from a search engine to a major powerhouse on the internet whose motto is to “Do No Evil.” Most of us think of Google as a friendly company because we use their products day in and day out, but they’ve had a great hand with their brand creation by experts. The only thing that separates Google from a brand like Microsoft is better brand management!

Identity

Identity is not logo or brand! For identity, we’ll look to Apple. Apple essentially is an expensive computer wrapped up in a pretty package. No different than a PC, it’s a lifestyle product that people will pay dearly for; they’re not paying for a truly superior system, they’re paying for the identity of the product. Identity is products and packaging and anything else visual that projects the company as a whole. This is what most people will identify with; the shape of a coke bottle, the thinness of a Mac Air Notebook, the color orange for Home Depot, these are all visual representations that establish identity.

When you’re crafting your brand design, logo and identity you’ll want to have a professional help you. It all begins with a designer; before you hire any designer ask them these questions:

  • Have they worked on these kinds of campaigns before?
  • Do they know the difference between logo, brand and identity?
  • Can they give you references to people who’ve been successful with launching or re-launching their image?

Knowing these three things will help you be certain that you have the right person for the job. Brand, identity and logos are the next step for a business who wants to get to the next level, so start today!

Contact us today to learn how we can help you with your Logo, Brand and Identity!

Keys to Building an Effective Website

effective website design

We all want to win online; from driving sales of products and services to getting your ideas and opinions out there, you need an effective website to get results. But what is an effective website, and how do you make yours fit the mould? Here we’ll talk about what makes a website effective, how to structure your website for success, and of course how to avoid failure with a few quick steps.

What is an Effective Website?

The difference between effective websites and ineffective websites is pretty simple: effective websites make a profit, the others just don’t. When you’re looking at your website, trying to figure out how it’s effective, look for:

Calls to Action

When you first go to a website, you see offers, things to sign up for, articles telling you about what you should buy, etc. These are known as “calls to action” and they help your visitors understand what you’re selling and what you want them to do. You can have the prettiest site design ever, but if you don’t have a call to action your website will be useless.

Contact Information

On every page there should be a form to contact you, an email address, something that tells people how to respond to your call of action. You don’t have to plaster your page with Adweber forms, but you do need to have something there that helps people get a hold of you! If you do business over the phone (especially helpful for ecommerce sites when people don’t want to submit their credit card information online) you need to make sure your toll free numbers are in the sidebar and visible on every page.

Good SEO Practices

  • Every site needs optimised SEO; no matter what you’re selling, without the right SEO strategy your site won’t be indexed by the search engines. You can do a quick few tweaks to make sure your site is on the right track like:
  • Does your Page have a Title in the Tab? If so, it needs to be what keyword you’re targeting for search engines!
  • If you’re using a completely Flash site, you need to get a site redesign; flash isn’t able to be indexed by search engines properly and will cost you in the SERPs!
  • Look over your content; is it geared towards your niche and what they’re looking for? How often are your keywords mentioned in each article? Are your articles well written, entertaining and informative? If you’re not good at writing, consider hiring someone who knows SEO who can get the job done for you.

What is your Website Design like?

Every site needs to look a certain way that excites viewers’ interests, keeps them on the page, and makes the site easy to search and navigate. Optimising your design can be as easy as a few tweaks to a complete overhaul, it will just depend on how much updating you need.

Go through this checklist and see where you’re at, then start implementing the changes to make your own website design effective. Always remember, having an effective website is the key to getting sales and keeping customers!

Contact us today to learn how we can help create an effective website for your business!

3 Big Website Design Mistakes

website mistakes

The Worst 3 Design Mistakes to Avoid

When you’re trying to create a great website to drive visitors to buy what you’re selling, you might make a few mistakes along the way. While you might think that theme design is the most important thing to focus on, there are three other elements that need attention before you launch your website, or when you’re redesigning it. Let’s get started!

Bad Content

Content is just as much a design issue as layout or navigation. You content must fit your website, and it needs to be interesting. Look at how your content is presented on the page, do the titles for the posts look like they belong with the rest of the site, or is it some funky neat text that looks out of place? Is your content broken up with pictures, video and other media, or is it just a long scrolling screen of text? To make your website more attractive and easier on the eyes of your visitors, it needs to be broken up into consumable little bits that make it easy for people to understand what you’re saying. Look at some of your favorite sites to see how they present information and how you can incorporate some of those ideas for your site.

Layout

Layout is one of the most important things you need to work on, no matter what products or services you’re selling. One of the worst mistakes in small business website design are the “cluttered” designs that seem to try and pack everything a company wants to put forward on a single page; you don’t have to put everything on the front page to get indexed by Google, and you could end up confusing or frustrating people who land on your website trying to find the right information. Clean uncluttered layouts are the best way to go for any business, so break your layout into different areas (like the pages feature on wordpress) for better ease of use.

Navigation

Navigation is also an important part of the good design puzzle; you want to make the navigation of your website clean and easy so people can find what they’re looking for. “How can you have bad navigation?” you might ask, since navigation is a pretty straight forward concept. Many people get tripped up with subpages and things like that, but the best thing to do with implementing a navigation system is to, like content, break them into little pieces that relate to one another. Never have more than ten subcategories or subpages in a single category; this will prevent you from cluttering your navigation to the point where it runs off the page and people can’t even find what they’re looking for.

These are just a few of the design mistakes any small business needs to avoid to stay competitive and drive sales online. Look at competitors in your niche and see how they do it, so you can adopt their best design practices and toss aside the ones that just don’t work.

Contact us today to learn how we can help you with your website design!

Social Media in Online Marketing

social media

The Importance of Social Media in Marketing Online

When formulating your online marketing campaign, you’ll think about what backlinks you need, all of the content you’re going to create targeted at your niche, and maybe even how much you need to sink into your online banner/sidebar ads. One thing many overlook is one of the most bountiful and affordable sources of advertising on the internet: social network and social media marketing. When you advertise on social media networks through Facebook pages, twitter and more specialized niche markets you reach your audience faster than ever before and they share links and news about your company with their friends FOR FREE. Here we’re going to go over the different ways you can utilise social media for your online marketing campaign and search engine optimization and why you should use it.

What is Social Media Marketing?

Social media marketing is extending a hand towards an already INTERSTED market who wants your products; you’ll be able share news, information and promotions instantaneously, allowing your audience to respond and share like never before. This cuts out a big part of the cost of advertising online, since you won’t have to run around trying to hook visitors and readers into investing in your product. 

How Social Media Benefits Your Company

No matter what you’re selling online, you can get a solid benefit from advertising on social networks like Twitter and Facebook. It may require a little more upkeep than other forms of advertising like banners and sidebars, but you’ll get a greater return on this time investment. People every day are searching for products, businesses and services that they need; position yourself with a pristine online presence that will boost your company for years to come.

How to Get Started with Social Media

The first step is to make a Facebook page (not account!) so people can like you; every time someone likes something on Facebook, that goes into their feed and all of their friends and family will see it and check it out. The “like” habits on Facebook are pretty haphazard; a page about “being afraid of the dark when you were four” can have 20 million likes while a corporate page for Chevron could have 10,000 likes. It’s all about how you present yourself, and how catchy and interesting you are in the first few seconds after the page loads.

Twitter is another popular social media option; you’re restricted to 140 characters (including your links) to get the word out, but you’ll be able to tweet as frequently as you need to and interact with your customers and others who have questions and feedback about your company. Ten years ago you couldn’t pay for this kind of information from your real market, and now you can get it for free.

Like many things, you need to know what you’re doing when you dip your toes in the water of social media; this means you need a consultant to help you create a brand identity online, go after the right audience and understand how to talk to your market. Whichever way you choose to go about it, social media marketing isn’t going anywhere, and to be competitive you need to embrace it!

Contact us today to learn more about how we can help your Social Media Marketing and SEO needs!

The Importance of a Consistent Brand Identity

brand identity

Your Name is Your Brand, You Need to Be Consistent

We all know that saying “Your name is your brand”, but what does that mean for your business and your brand identity? How can you stay with the times without having to constantly redesign yourself, while keeping your audience and making sure your customers know who you are no matter how much you change through the years? What’s great today might be awful tomorrow, and you never know what’s around the corner. Here we’re going to talk about the importance of a consistent brand identity, how you can create the right brand for you that will carry you through time and establish your presence in your market. Let’s get started!

Consistency Makes the Cake

Think of your marketing and brand efforts like a cake, if you don’t make sure everything is blended enough the cake will be lumpy; it’s important to keep everything as close to each other (your website, your social media campaigns, your mainline advertising) as possible This helps your customers and audience identify with your brand, know what to expect from you, and of course how to spot you in the big wide ocean online.

The Message is the Media or How Being Online Flips Things Upside Down

Recently the New York Times has had to overhaul its business model with blogs and media, but they still retain their brand affiliation with their audience. If you’re branching out onto YouTube, for example, you can interact with your audience like never before you need to take note of what you started out as and keep to that ideal. If you’re selling personalised onesies to expectant mothers or razor blades you need to stay with the original message and product, while trying to keep up with the online market. Social media, print media and advertising all need to meld together to give the wide impression that it has longevity and that it stands for this or that.

Protect Your Brand

Being consistent helps you avoid the pitfalls of others following in your footsteps; if you can prove that you’ve been doing things the same way, customers will trust you more and won’t fall for the cheap tricks that upstarts can pull. Brand identity helps your customers know it’s you, no matter how you change throughout the years. Why should you have to worry about someone coming along and using all of your hard work against you, when you have had a long term relationship with your audience that helps them identify who the real “you” is, and who it’s not?

Brand identity and consistency is important, no matter what you are dealing in. When you’re working online or offline, you need that presence that reassures your audience just who you are, what you’re about and where you’re going. This keeps you from walking the tightrope of being the new kid on the block forever, and builds your brand to withstand the test of time. Figuring out how to be consistent with your brand can be difficult, but with the right consultants you can!

 

Contact us today to see how we can help build you a consistent brand identity!

What Does SEO Friendly Mean Anyways?

seo services

We all want to be number one in the SERPs (search engine ranking position) but it can be hard to figure out just what the search engines want when they’re indexing pages. The first step to getting to the top is to have an SEO friendly website design, but what is SEO (search engine optimzation) and how do you make your website SEO friendly? Here you’ll learn everything you need to know and then some. Let’s get started!

What is SEO?

Before you can be SEO friendly, you need to know what SEO is:

Search Engine Optimisation helps people find your website; the content will be good and clean that will help visitors know what your website has on it, how relevant it is to search terms, and if it’s actually any good. The right SEO strategy will help you rise in the search rankings, as well as get the word out about what you’re offering. If you’ve ever done a search, you know how important it is to be on the first page (how often do any of us search beyond that first page?). Now that you know what SEO is, now it’s time to learn how your site can be more SEO friendly.

What is SEO Friendly?

When designing your site from the ground up, or redesigning your existing site, you want to make sure it’s making it on to the search engines and getting the audience you need to be successful online. This means using a CMS like WordPress that gives you that ability to customize the site with a full range of SEO options like tags, categories and enhanced Meta data. The better your SEO is, the more friendly it is to search engines who come knocking looking for information. You’ll also want great interesting and informative content that will be relevant to people looking for what you offer (purple Halloween wigs for example), so they’ll find you when they’re looking.

How to be SEO Friendly

The first thing you need to do is to check over how your pages are categorised and using tags, or keywords, to help people find you. If you don’t know what your keywords are, you’ll need to hire an SEO company to help you understand your niche, your audience and how to bring more people in. Once you have keywords, you can start putting out content that’s relevant. Think of your website like a main street store; people might pass by it every once in a while, but unless you advertise and have things in the windows no one will ever know you’re there.

If you have an existing website that is having a hard time getting results, consider having it overhauled to make sure you do! While this might cost a little in the short run, in the long run you’ll reap the rewards of having a site that is SEO friendly. More people will find you, you’ll rise in relevancy for search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo, and you’ll start reaching the audience you need to survive and thrive.

Contact us today for more information on how we can help you achieve your online SEO goals!

Big Website Design Trends for 2012

website design trends

Knowing where we’re going is almost as important as knowing where we’ve been, and in website design that couldn’t be truer! Why should you try and build last year’s site when you can get started on all of the latest trends in website design right now, and keep your site and brand identity ready for change? Here we’re going to talk about what you need to know for 2011 web trends, and how you can implement them on your own site.

People Love to Talk

People love to be able to interact; social media like Facebook, Twitter, comments on your websites blog and interactive forums give them the ability to do it! Sharing widgets on WordPress blogs help people share things on everything from their personal social networks to Reddit and Hacker News so they can show all of their friends the interesting things they’ve found. You want to be one of those interesting things, and if those social widgets and wiz bangs aren’t on your site, they might just opt out of sharing anything of yours altogether. Don’t be the one who gets left behind in website design by avoiding the social media trend!

Update Your Code

You need HTML5 and CSS3 to survive; ditch your flash and tables for an updated modern website design that runs on anything from an old computer, a modern tablet and the ubiquitous mobile phone. Updated code helps you reach more people much faster (both of these will increase your load times many fold depending on what you’re using right now) so you won’t have to worry about people just giving up and going somewhere else in frustration.

Big Headers

We’ve all seen those giant headers that take up about a third of the top space in a page; why people like them we have no idea, but it wows the crowds and keeps eyeballs on the page. When you combine them with clickable buttons in WordPress, you’ll be sure to keep them longer and make sure you stay visible.

Clean Crisp Designs

Minimalism makes everything easy to find and you need that to get people to stay on the page. Minimalistic website designs don’t have to be just black and white without any thought put into the design, you can create a clever design that will pop off the page and give people what they need. Information needs to be presented in a clear fashion and a clean minimalistic design will help you achieve this! Don’t underestimate the honest truth of the plain; please your audience with a clean design that will keep your brand integrity intact and help get your information out there.

Website trends change all the time, but everything on this list is important to having the right website. People want to be able to leave feedback and ask questions, they want up to date code that lets them view your site and content on any device they use. Clean designs with beautiful headers keep them interested, and you’ll need to please their aesthetic.

Contact us today for a FREE quote on your new website design!

Why a Fully Flash Website is a Bad Idea

no flash

All Flash and No Bang: Why Flash Isn’t Right for Your Site

Years ago Flash websites were all the rage, at least for people who could get the pages to load all the way. If you were a website designer, you banged your head on your desk a little. If you were a site owner, you cringed and had to hire out edits just to make sure you could get a template customized to your needs or just to get the home and contact pages filled out. Luckily the internet as a whole has mostly moved beyond Flash, but there are many reasons you should choose modern options like CSS3 and AJAX/HTML5 over Flash based sites, keep reading to find out more!

Why is Flash a Bad Choice?

On the whole, Flash is something that should be relegated to the memory of the internet; remember all of those awful “Under Construction” gifs that were plastered all over Geocities pages? There’s a reason they died out, and Flash’ time is coming.

  • Incompatible with Tablets and Mobile Devices

Most people who browse the web today are doing it on multi-touch tablets and mobile devices. Flash isn’t set up to work with these kinds of devices, and uses way more processing power than is required.

  • Poor User Interfaces

With multi-touch and texting ninjas browsing the web, just who is walking around with a USB mouse to click a Flash button? Have you ever had to repeatedly mash the tip of your finger down on a glass screen trying to get the click to register? These kinds of headaches are going to drive your users away, and with online competition the way it is the last thing anybody needs is a bad user interface.

  • Malformed URLs

Modern websites use easy to remember URLs that are easy for search engines to index and even easier for people to share links with their friends. You need the exposure that social networking can provide, and Flash websites are just one URL with a bunch of hidden links within the applet. Flash limits sharing options and can affect your Page Rank big time.

  • Doesn’t Take Advantage of the Modern Web

The web has evolved since 1999, and while Flash can give you some nifty effects, you’re going to be able to get the same done with half the code in HTML5. Modern search engines want clean W3C compliant code that it can check for relevancy, and people need a site they can use and get information out of.

Modern Code for a Modern Internet

The internet we use today is all about sharing, and if a site can’t even share its URLs it’s not going to survive. You need a clean website with little code, something that loads up on devices without a lot of processing power, and of course something that gets search engine love. Flash is an obstacle of the past, and you won’t be doing yourself any favours using it to power your shiny new website design.

Achieving an SEO Friendly Website Design

 seo friendly website design

SEO Friendly Web Design

When you’re building your site, you’re probably worried about things like user interfaces, interactivity plugins (who doesn’t love Disqus?) and pretty color schemes that keep eyeballs on the page and help with conversions. But in our quest for eye candy, we forget the most obvious component to a successful website: SEO friendly code. You want your site to be as SEO friendly as possible, and the best way to accomplish this is to pick a CMS (content management systems like Joomla or WordPress) that is DESIGNED from the ground up for easy indexability by search engines.

Is Your Site an Information Farm or Silo?

When we think of farms, everything is spread out to give other plots of land room; when you store all your information in a single spot, you’re doing something called “siloing”. Think about it this way, would you rather hunt and peck to find the information you need on a website, or would you rather have it all in one place? SEO friendly web coding means a search engine crawling your site can find everything all in one place, and you’ll get a lot better rankings this way. Make sure from the onset that your website uses an easy categories system and the pages are easy to find (home, about us, etc. tabs at the top or on the side linked on the front page and every page). A silo is a funnel, and if information is easy for a search engine to find, visitors will be able to find you that much faster.

Code Matters

How the website is coded matters; avoid flash at all costs. Flash might look great, but you won’t be doing your SEO efforts any favours. If you have interactive elements on your site, be sure to use HTML5 and Java/AJAX so you’ll get the benefits of search engines indexing your site as well as a better user experience for visitors looking at your site on tablets and mobile devices. Make sure your site is using strict HTML, CSS and XML with a validator, so you don’t have to worry later about invalid code. Valid compliant code (W3C compliance) makes search engines happy and gives your users the best experience.

Finding the Right CMS

Choosing the right CMS for you is important for your SEO efforts and there are many different ones to choose from. While you might be tempted to go for something more obscure, your best bet is one of the more popular options. WordPress gives you the ability to extend it out into infinity, with plugins for every purpose and great themes that you can easily make your own. It’s built to please search engines and acts as the Silo that you need to get indexed properly. You can’t afford a PR 0 (useless site) for your first six months, so make sure you do it right the first time! Other popular CMS options include Joomla, Drupal and PHPnuke; all of these have their advantages and disadvantages, so do your research before you settle on the right one for you!

Contact us today to learn how we can help you achieve an SEO friendly website!