Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Phoenix Web Design: 7 Tips for Effective Small Business Websites


Most legitimate companies, small or large, have some sort of web presence these days. Typically, most consumers won't even know a business exists without it! Since much of our time is spent online, in search engines, and, apparently, on Facebook, it is becoming more and more a necessity to have a website for your Phoenix, AZ small business. Venturing into this realm of internet and web design mysteries can be a little scary at first, but with the following 10 Tips, and an awesome Arizona web design firm, you'll have a shiny new website in a matter of weeks!

Tip #1 - Use Analytics Tools
Always ask your Phoenix web development company to install and give you access to Google (or other) Analytics for your website. This may not have much to do with the actual design, but in terms of quality, this is how you can tell what's working, what's not, and where your traffic is coming from. It will also tell you what people are doing with your website once they're actually on it, so you can see where changes need to be made.

Tip #2 - Clear, Logical Navigation
It doesn't matter if you're selling a product, a service, or yourself - your website and how users navigate it, needs to make sense. Make it especially easy for users to get back to your home page. You can do this by having a 'home' button, or simply making your logo a link. Both is better! The bottom line: Don't make users search click more than twice to get where they want to go on your website. Example: To get to this blog, all you had to do was click 'Blog' and then click on the blog title. Two clicks and you're here!

Tip #3 - Legibility and Fonts
You may have a favorite font, and that font may be Papyrus, but keep in mind that not everybody can actually read that font. It's best to keep it simple, legible and perhaps even fall into the trend of using large typography.

Tip #4 - Make an Impression with your Header!
It's potentially the first, (and last) thing your user will see when they visit or leave your website, so make it count!

Tip #5 - Use High Quality Photos Only
This is extremely important and the most forgotten aspect of most small business web design efforts. The pictures are not professionally taken, are fuzzy and pixelated (even by web standards) and lack the dynamic edge that can sometimes make or break a website. It may be an extra expense, but always get your web photos professionally taken. If you can't afford professional photography, take a look at istockphoto or some of the other stock photo libraries and buy some great photos for your website. It will be worth the effort and money spent to have clear, professional photos on your website.

Tip #6 - Follow SEO Standards
This is usually the last thing business owners think about. It's usually the last thing web designers think about unless they're well versed in the industry and common practices. It is essential to design your website, and choose your CMS based on your SEO goals and needs. If possible, stick to a CMS that makes SEO easy for you instead of having to hack the system to get it to work for you. This means having a CMS that allows you to dynamically change Title Tags, Meta Data, Alt Tags and SEO Friendly URLS all within the CMS itself. And Remember: Title Tag, Meta Description, H1 and body copy are the most important factors in SEO. Content is King!

Tip #7 - Use an Experienced Web Design and Graphic Design Team
Above all, do not hire your kid nephew to design a website that is meant to portray the best of your business. If your website looks like an amateur did it, it may give of the impression that you don't care enough to invest in your business. That can rub a customer the wrong way and cost you a sale. To avoid losing customers based solely on your website's design, hire an experienced, knowledgeable Phoenix, AZ web design and development company to design an effective, beautiful website that works for you and your customers.

There are hundreds of tips, tricks and web design techniques that could be added to this list. If you're not sure where to start, give us a call at 480-442-6106 to schedule and appointment. We'll help you not only put your best foot forward, but give you insight you may not have even thought of before.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Fake Page Rank: What is it and how to detect it

Chicago SEO

Fake PageRank. Is this new to you? It was new to me until I saw a link request come through the other day from a website that claimed to have a Page Rank of 5. Of course, being dutiful, I checked the site out, not really intending on taking the bait, but noticed something odd. There were only 5 articles on the site and the domain age was only a few months. How could this website have a PageRank 5? Let's back up though...I'm going to tell you what a fake page rank actually is, how to check for it, and unfortunately, how to get one. Since PageRank is important for Search Engine Optimization, it's not surprising that people have found a way around getting high PR websites the ethical way. Read along to see how shady SEOs are scamming poor webmasters into paying for links on websites that will soon lose their relevancy.

Fake PageRank: What is it?
A real PageRank is Google's way of giving a website credibility and authority. A Fake PageRank is this: when a domain expires, the PageRank of the domain is still valid until Google updates their PageRank for all domains. Some cunning SEOs have bought up those high PR domains and built websites on them in a matter of days creating...a brand new website with AWESOME PageRank. But the PageRank is from the old website. Most definitely not the new one.

How to GET Fake PageRank
Just like I said - buy an expired domain with awesome PR. If you participate in Link Exchanges, which I suggest you do NOT - watch out for websites that are new, have little content on them, or appear to be spammy. They probably are!

How to check for Fake PageRank
The easiest way? Search for the domain in Google search, http, .com and all. What you'll find is a ton of 404 Not Found links from the previous website. You can also find out how long the website has been up by checking WhoIs and any Domain Registrar. If the website is less than a year old - the PR is most likely bought and paid for.

Phoenix Web Designer shares tips!

Phoenix Web Design

Site structure is the backbone of website designs. Good layout and organization are crucial to the functionality of your site. Without careful planning and design sense, it is impossible to grow your content without having to undergo a complete overhaul of the site. Structure also plays an important role in optimizing your site for search engines and bounce rate of visitors. So here's what you need to know:

Basic structure of the site
Each site should contain three main components: home page, main sections and subsections. For navigation purposes, your site must be no more than two levels deep and stick to the standard "in two clicks any user should be able to get the home page" or to any other page for that matter. Beyond simple user satisfaction, the site structure should be designed with search engines in mind making it easy for robots to index your site and search keywords.

The homepage is the most important page because it gives users their first impressions of your site. The home page should contain text and links limited and contain no more than 400 words in total. Search engines and users to see the first page, so make it a priority.

The main sections
You may think that the main sections of the website sections. These sections should pay attention to keywords and use them whenever possible. Search spiders to index these pages after interviewing the main page, so make sure the main sections as SEO friendly as possible.

Subdivision down each of your main sections into smaller, more bits of information. In this section, content is king. All important data on your website will live on these pages.

Understanding these basic principles will give you the foundation for the structure of the site. With effective planning and logical design of Web sites, you can create a site that is both SEO and user-friendly.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Local SEO Tips and Tricks

As many of you know, Local SEO is just as important as Organic National SEO is to your business. Since gaining rankings nationally for more generic keywords can take months, if not years based on competition and keyword strength, harnessing the power of Local SEO is terribly important for ranking fast. The top ways to rank locally is to employ some keyword research on the local level.

Do your Keyword Research
Keyword research on the local level of search engine optimization is just as important as doing it for a national program. Take into account local slang and word choice, and what the locals call your particular service. Also - pay attention to your long-tail keyword phrases; if you're not going to get specific, you're not going to rank highly for several different keywords across the board. Example: If you're a florist, don't just try to rank for Chicago Florist. Try to rank for Rose Shop in Chicago or Wedding flowers in Chicago. The key is the city you choose. Choose several cities around your area if you live in a suburban city, and don't just go for the big city if your service can be easily accessed in the city itself.

Keep your Google Place Page Updated
If you've ever searched for a service or product 'in' a city, you've probably seen a Google Map pop up with several places indicated on them with letters. These are Place Pages that companies have claimed and optimized. Make sure you claim your business so you can take advantage of the local business you can get through it.

Your Physical Address is Crawlable
If your website is Flash or the only place your address is listed is in an image, you can't take advantage of this. Google's spider bots will crawl your website and find your address - if it matches the address you've put on your Place Page, it will get ranked higher - so make sure text is not in an image.

Have your clients review your business on Google! Reviews help your page to rank higher - but make sure they're real reviews - fake reviews can get your place page AND your website banned from Google's search index.

Website Homepage Authority
The Page Rank and Relevancy of your website is important for any SEO campaign, especially local seo. In order to show up in Google's local results, you have to have a strong website and an optimized place page.

Traditional Backlinks/Inbound Links
As with any SEO campaign, inbound links to your website are important to rank Locally. Make sure you're using the correct anchor text as found with your keyword research rather than linking using your URL.

Local Directories
Submit your website to local website directories including Yahoo Local, Yelp, Judys Book, Urban Spoon (for restaurants), Insider Pages and more. You'll reap the benefits of better brand recognition and the backlink you get from it.

There you have it! Seven great ways to get started on your Local SEO campaign. If you need help, or if you'd like to talk about how we can help you with your Local SEO program, give us a call at 847.537.0067 or email us directly.