Category Archives: Website

Information to help you with your website.

Tips for a Great Website

 Tips for a Great Website

Marketing youweb designr small business can be a tough job.  Most small business owners don’t have the resources to hire someone to do it all for them, so they do the best they can on their own. If you find yourself in this position, I hope you have found this blog series helpful. This blog post (the last in the series) will focus on your website.

If you’ve followed this blog series, you have your logo, business card, and brochure. You might also have started creating a newsletter. Those are all great for getting organized to build a website. Here are some things to consider

Content

This is where a lot of people get stumped. If you have a brochure, use that as a building block. Websites are an expansion of your brochure. Here’s where you toot your horn: give credentials, list awards, share the history of your company as well as your philosophy, mission, and vision. A lot of people are shy about sharing all their accomplishments during casual or business meetings. If you are one of those people, just hand over your business card (with your website listed, of course) and suggest they check you out. If you have a professional designation, tell people what that means…what do the letters stand for and how does that set you apart from your competition.

Obviously, your website should include your services or products. Whether you share your pricing structure is up to you and your industry. Take a look at what others are doing in your field.

You will also want to make sure you have a way that people can contact  you (Contact Us page). If you are a home-based business, you do not need to list your home address. Simply state that you are a home-based business and prefer the initial contact be via email or phone or whatever you are comfortable with.

Use the tried and true 5 Ws: Who, What, Where, When and Why

Who – who are you: a short bio of employees is appropriate. Pictures are nice, too, especially if they reflect the personality of your business (professional or more relaxed/candid).

What – what do you do/sell

Where – where are you, how do people reach you

When – what are your hours, are they set or by appointment only

Why – why should people do business with you, what makes you unique; include testimonials of existing customers.

Design Tips

All content should be written in the third person. With certain content, like a bio or mission/vision statement page, first person is OK, but set it off with quotes.

Fonts

Not all fonts are web friendly. Keep that in mind as you dress up your website. Before you make it “public,” go to the library and look at it on their computers. Ask friends to see it on their devices. There are just a few fonts that are mobile-friendly. Just know that a fancy font may not look so fancy, if that particular font is not loaded on your customer’s or potential customer’s computer.

Colors

Use a color scheme that is in, or compatible with, your logo. Search the internet for color themes, if you are not sure. ALL of your pages should use the same “template” of colors and layout. If you change every page, visitors to your site will wonder if they are on the same site as they go from one page to the other.

Media: photos, videos and flash

Also, be VERY skimpy with fancy Javascript or “Flash” elements. They tend to slow down the loading of pages and people just don’t have the patience for that. If you need/want videos, don’t put them on the home page, with the exception of a SHORT intro video. Always put in a disclaimer if the video or flash is going to take some time to load, i.e., more than 5 seconds (no, I’m not kidding). Resize your photos to fit the space and no more than 72 pixels per inch.

Good luck on marketing yourself and your company. I would LOVE to hear what you found most helpful in this series. Also, please share other tips you have.

Content is Still What Drives Website SEO

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There really are no short cuts to SEO (Search Engine Optimization) for your website pages and blog posts. Pretty much as soon as a search engine finds a new “stuffing” technique (stuffing is artificially placing keywords in or on your page or blog), they program around it and often flag it in such as way as to move your site to the bottom of the list.

For reliable SEO, and just plain great writing, follow these tips. People will return to your site for more because they recognize great content.

  • Keep to one topic or subject on each web page or blog post. My general rule of thumb is no more than 1.5 screens worth of content. For people to scroll down further, your content has to be REALLY compelling – to THEM. A good rule of thumb is 300-500 words per page; more for an informational article, fewer for a contact or newsletter sign-up page.
  • Edit your writing so you are using as few words as possible to get your idea across. Your readers will LOVE you for it!
  • Use a heading on each page. In HTML language that means use an h1 tag. (This is a search engine magnet.)
  • Use subheadings (h2, h3, etc.) in your writing instead of bold and italics.
  • Use normal reading language. Check for grammar and spelling errors, too.
  • Don’t overuse your keyword list. Make sure your content is geared toward your readers, not a search engine.
  • Use a bullet or numbered list. This increases the visual impact of your writing and makes it easier to read.
  • Link to other pages on your website only when it makes sense. For example, don’t have more than one link in your text go to your contact page.

One final note about content. Sarcasm does not come across in the written word. Just don’t do it.

Happy writing!

 

Here’s Your Website New Year Check List

As you head into 2014, don’t forget to take a look at your website and update it.

  • Start with the date. Update your copyright date. Make sure your calendar of events is updated for the new year. Archive old articles/blogs
  • Take a backup copy of your website. Not only is this a great safeguard, it gives you a history of your website. The frequency of your backup is determined by how often you update your site. Hopefully, you are updating something on your site at least every month (to increase SEO). In that case, a quarterly backup is sufficient. If you update once a week, do a monthly backup. Once a day would mean a weekly backup, etc. If you are updating your website less frequently than once a month, consider adding a regular (weekly or monthly) blog. Fresher sites get higher search results.
  • Review your contact information. Is everyone still there? Are their phone numbers current? Phone extensions? Consider adding a photo of everyone, if you don’t already.
  • Check to make sure all your links are valid, especially external links (those linking to outside sites).
  • Have you had your eye on a new domain name or extension? Now is the time to see if it is available.
  • Review the website itself. Is content still relevant? Did you miss a grammar error last year? Does the design still reflect your company image?
  • Check your website statistics. See how last year compared to previous years. Is it now time to see what steps you can take to increase traffic to your website? Are your meta tags (description, keywords, title) reflecting current business practices? Maybe last year you added a service or product and it needs to be added to your keyword list.

Here’s to a remarkable 2014!