Archive for the ‘website development’ Category
Wednesday, May 15th, 2013
Social networking site Pinterest has improved its experience for mobile users. Specifically, they’ve added notifications, mentions, and better search.
The author of the article linked to above says:
I know for a fact that many of my Pinterest-fiend friends simply choose to not bother with Pinterest at all unless they’re sitting in front of their desktops.
That’s not uncommon, actually. Unless webmasters make sure that their websites are mobile accessible, it is likely they will lose traffic and lose revenues. That includes your website. Not only do you need to make sure that it offers a great user experience for desktop browsers, but you’ve got to make your website mobile-ready. You should also make sure it is Pinterest-ready.
Luckily, in 2013, there are some tools that can make your HTML website or WordPress blog or website mobile ready in a few clicks. WordPress has plugins. There is at least one website that you can use to turn your HTML website into a mobile-ready website for a monthly subscription fee. I’m not ready to recommend any of those, but they do exist. Another option is to hire a web development firm to help you make your site mobile-ready. In most cases, it’s not that expensive. But it is necessary.
Wednesday, April 10th, 2013
There comes a time in your web development life when you’ll have to test one or more elements on a web page to determine which one is better or more favorable to your website visitors. Should you use A/B testing or multivariate testing?
The short answer is, it depends.
A/B testing allows you to test one version of a single element against another version of the same element. For instance, if your web page currently has the lead photo on the left side of the page, you can move it to the right side of the page and present both versions of that web page to a sample of your site visitors to see which one gets more views, fewer bounces, and a more generally favorable rating.
Multivariate testing is a little different. It allows you to test multiple elements on your web page at the same time.
For instance, you can test the image on the right and left sides of your page, rewrite your headline, and look at one and two sidebar versions of the web page. You can test each of these elements simultaneously. The downside to multivariate testing is it doesn’t tell you what users think about each element you are testing. It only tells you whether they like one version of a page better than the other. Still, multivariate testing has its uses.
One time when you might use multivariate testing is when you are trying out a new web designer. Have him or her redesign a page on your website. Then, conduct a multivariate test on that version of the web page and your current page. The test will reveal which version of your web page users like better.
Testing is a good way to determine which elements on your web pages are working for you and which ones you should ditch.
Tuesday, March 19th, 2013
Google likes to help new webmasters. That’s why they recently published a PDF document that is a one-page cheat sheet for beginning webmasters to help them learn the basics of search engine optimization. These few suggestions Google offers won’t guarantee your website a page 1 ranking, but they do give you the basic run down on what Google is looking for from websites.
It’s pretty simple, really. Small Business Mavericks has been saying the same thing for several years.
Here’s the basic recipe for ranking your new website in Google:
- Write an informative page title based on your primary keyword
- Choose a domain name that is easy to read and descriptive
- Make your meta descriptions unique for each page and 160 characters or less
- Use short, descriptive file names for your images
- Include alt tags for every image
- Write short, descriptive captions for each of your images
- Provide useful content and update your website often with a blog where you post original content associated with your niche
When it comes to ranking in Google, start by following Google’s guidelines for webmasters, but be willing to do your own testing.
Wednesday, March 13th, 2013
Website headers are a little bit misunderstood. Some small business owners think they can just find a great image, put their business name on it, and they have a website header. You really need to put a little more thought into it than that.
Your header has a very important job. It’s got to communicate something very important to your website visitors.
First, it should give a clear idea about what your business does. Putting your business name on the image isn’t enough. The graphic or image you use in the header should illustrate as well what your business’s specialty is. For instance, if you buy and sell houses, putting a turnip on your header might confuse people. If you are an auto mechanic and the image in your header is two kids playing kickball, that might confuse people.
A second thing your header should do is brand your business in a way that people will remember you and your website. You don’t want people leaving the site and forgetting about it.
Website branding is a difficult thing to achieve. It takes more than a powerful image and your business name to successfully create a brand. You have to think on a broader scale. What images do you want people to associate with your brand? Colors can also be used as branding elements. For Small Business Mavericks, we use brown and blue.
You also want your branding elements to be consistent company-wide. That means your website needs to look like your brochures and vice-versa. You are building an image. Your website is a part of that image. Treat it as a valuable member of your family.
Friday, February 15th, 2013
WordPress developers are a creative lot. They can jazz up your WordPress website or blog with just a few little codes and these codes can do wonders to make your site or blog look incredible – and do incredible things. The good news is, you can do it yourself with simple tools called shortcodes.
Shortcodes are little snippets of code you can insert into your WordPress blog or website to make it do some really cool things, such as:
- Add a Contact form on any page or blog post
- Create custom-designed Buy Now buttons
- Design cool-looking bullet points or Read More buttons
- Make your website navigation look great with tabs
- Improve your look and feel with sliders
Virtually anything you can do with a normal website or blog can be done with shortcodes. You can add shortcodes to your WordPress website or blog with plug-ins like Shortcodes Ultimate and J Shortcodes, two of the more popular shortcodes plug-ins.
What makes shortcodes such great tools is that you can turn any free off-the-shelf WordPress theme into a premium theme without shelling out any money. And they’re easy to work with. Be sure to follow the installation guideliness to a T.
WordPress developers are great people but some things you can do for yourself.
Thursday, February 14th, 2013
When building your new small business website, should you build it with HTML from scratch or use a website template? If you decide on a template, should you use an off-the-shelf template or a custom-designed template? A free template or a premium template?
These are all important questions, but there is no one right answer. What’s best for one business might not be best for another.
Templates are difficult because there are so many things that can go wrong – and so many things that can go right. If you design your website from scratch, then you control everything. You are also responsible for everything. Good and bad.
With templates, you have to make sure that they are SEO-friendly, crawlable, and user-friendly. If you design your own website, then you can ensure each of those elements as you build. Plus, if you use an off-the-shelf template, then you have to modify it if you want specific elements that aren’t included. I would almost always recommend some modification, even with a premium template.
Nonetheless, you can often work with a template a lot less expensively. If you see one you like, then it could save you some time on the front end.
It’s always your call, of course. But you’ll need to make sure that your website can be crawled by the search engines, will get indexed and ranked, and will meet your visitors’ needs.
Monday, February 11th, 2013
It’s not easy maintaining SEO rankings when you redesign a website. There are a lot of considerations you should think about before you go through with the redesign. One of those is search engine optimization.
What are the dangers?
First, you could lose search engine rankings if you significantly change your content. Secondly, you could lose traffic. And thirdly, you could decrease conversions. If these metrics are high for your website, you should think about your redesign long and hard before implementing it. You don’t want to lose the effectiveness of those key metrics.
However, you do want your website to look like it meets the design standards of 2013, not 2005. So updating the design of your website is a good idea while you guard against the dangers.
Before you get too invested in your website redesign, do these three things and design your website with these tips in mind:
- Make a list of keywords – This should include current keywords you rank for and any new relevant keywords getting searched for a lot that you are not currently targeting or ranking for. On your spreadsheet, note which pages of your website currently rank for your relevant keywords.
- Rank your pages according to conversion rates – Which pages convert better and for which keywords are they converting? This is very important. You don’t want to make significant changes to pages that convert well for the right keywords. You’ll have to decide if you want to create new pages to seize upon new opportunities or revamp your content on certain pages to convert better for the targeted keywords.
- Traffic rates for content – You probably don’t want to rewrite every page on your website during your redesign. What you do want to do is find those pages that aren’t getting a lot of traffic and rewrite those. Identify your low traffic, low converting pages and rewrite the content. Also, if you have pages that include duplicate content, then rewrite those pages.
When you redesign your website, pay careful attention to SEO issues. You don’t want to ruin any good search engine rankings you have.
Wednesday, January 30th, 2013
Website design has become a lot more sophisticated in recent years. There are so many websites online now that the competition is getting stiffer by the day. Every edge you can give yourself means one step closer to winning the game. Web design concerns are increasingly more important and you can give yourself that added advantage by paying attention to just a few web design principles.
Here are 3 ways you can improve your web design immediately:
- Brand yourself with colors – Learn to use the hex color graph. Choose 2 to 3 colors you want associated with your brand and design your website with those. People will, in time, associate those colors with your online brand.
- Use graphic content – Instead of just writing text, add some graphics to your website. You’ll be surprised at just how much that will improve user engagement and conversions. There is no substitute for an attractive website.
- Write content for the web – People read print differently than they do online content. Make your paragraphs short and your sentences simple. Also, use bullet points and subheads so that readers can scan your content easily.
Web design is one of the most important aspects of doing business online. Make your website attractive and give users an easy-to-navigate website with visual colors and graphics. You’ll love the response you get from your visitors.
Tuesday, October 9th, 2012
A landing page is a page you want people to land on so you can make a specific sales pitch to match their interests. You can have separate landing pages that target organic search results, PPC, and social media campaigns, but it’s better to target your landing pages for specific interests, then you can optimize those landing pages for each of your marketing campaigns.
Here are 6 ways you can design better landing pages for your online marketing:
- Enhance the Functionality – You want your page visitors to be able to use the page seamlessly. If there are interactive elements, make them easy to use. Layout the page so that it is easy to follow, navigate, or scroll through.
- Include a Strong Call to Action – You will make more sells if you tell the visitor what you want them to do. If it’s subscribe to your newsletter, make that obvious. If it’s buy something, they need to know as quickly as possible that you’re trying to close a sale. Finish with a strong statement that commands your visitor to take the desired action.
- Create Eye-catching Graphics – Get your site visitor’s attention with the right graphics. This includes the use of the right fonts and text sizes.
- Keep it Simple – Take out all the bells and whistles. If you try to get too fancy, you could end up watering down your sales pitch.
- Make a Tightly-focused Sales Pitch – Set a desired end goal – only one – and make everything on the page move your reader to that desired course of action. If anything on the page doesn’t work to drive your site visitor to the desired action, remove it.
- Take Out Anything Unnecessary – Links, graphics, and anything else that takes away from the overall message of your landing page should be taken out. Everything must work toward the end goal. Keep it focused on the end goal and end with a strong call to action.