Building a website is a vital part of any business in today’s world. The internet is an everyday tool almost everyone in the world uses, and having a website enables you to engage with an ever-growing customer base. There are a lot of options out there to build a website, and whether you go to a code your own, go to website building service, or hire a professional developer/designer, the choice isn’t an easy one.
Website Building Sites
If you’ve watched many videos on YouTube or listened to any Podcasts in the last few years, then you’ve probably seen ads for services like Squarespace or Wix. These sites offer the ability to create your own professional looking websites through their company. These are website building sites. They are straightforward, easy to use, and give people the ability to create websites without years of education in coding. You pay these services, and they give you some templates for websites and online stores. Like anything though, there are pros and cons to everything. So let’s look at some of the most popular website builders out there:
Wix is one of the most popular and highly rated website building sites out there. It comes in a multitude of different price packages for whatever your needs might be ranging from free to $500/month. Some of the features that Wix offers are mobile optimization, an online store option, domain name, and social media integration. Wix has an easy to use and intuitive editor with over 300 different templates, giving you a wide array of personalization capabilities. One of its best points is the drag-and-drop editor that allows you to essentially point and click your way to a beautiful website.
One of the biggest downsides of Wix, however, is that it’s not the most SEO friendly platform out there. Poor SEO can really slow down the organic growth of your platform. The ease of its user interface is also something that can eventually hamper Wix since it can make large changes difficult to do. It also makes customizing your site in your own unique way difficult, do to the cookie-cutter nature of these services. Wix also makes it difficult to export your website data if you ever want to change services, and for any decent-sized company, the more expensive premium packages are the only ones worth considering.
Pricing for Wix :
Business Basic: $25/month
Squarespace is a big competitor of Wix. While both offer very similar services, they each have their own fans. Squarespace really excels at making visually aesthetic and beautiful websites. With gorgeous templates, you can really make a memorable impression on anyone who visits. Squarespace also has the drag-and-drop feature that makes website building simple and intuitive. The backend design, or the user interface for its customers, is also beautiful, which gives off a polished and measured feel to it. Squarespace offers 24/7 customer support that is helpful and always there should any problem arise.
The biggest slight against Squarespace is that it is not very customizable. Beyond the templates offered by the service, there is very few, if any customizable options to really give your website a personal touch. Like any template service, Squarespace suffers from the fact that everyone uses the same set of designs. While the websites themselves can really look beautiful, they also look just like any other Squarespace website, so making a website that really sticks out can be a challenge. One of Squarespace’s biggest selling points is its eCommerce options, and while they’re solid, there are a lot of better options out there can be used. If you want a website to sell your merchandise, Squarespace probably shouldn’t be your first stop.
Pricing for Squarespace:
Online Store (Basic):$26
Online Store (Advanced): $40
WordPress is probably the oldest website building sites on the market, and arguably the most popular. A primarily free blogging website, WordPress offers people the opportunity to post their own thoughts giving them a platform. Since 2003, they have expanded, like its competitors, into a website builder that thrives on template designs and user-friendly interfaces. With a simple design which allows its users to easily and freely edit their websites, WordPress has made a name this market. There are also a wide variety of 3rd party plugins that allow going beyond WordPress’s offering.
Although the service has been around for over a decade and a half, its offerings are somewhat limited, and the user interface, while intuitive, can be frustrating at times. The templates are also limited and offer minimal customization for personal branding.
Pricing for WordPress:
The last option you have is to go to a professional designer or firm. This can be expensive, probably much more expensive than using one of the previously mentioned services. Though it is more expensive, there are some definite upsides to it as well. Firstly, you get the ability to personalize your website to a greater degree than any of the template-driven services. This allows you to have a more unique website, a more unique user experience for your visitors. A professional developer can create a user experience tailored to your target clientele. That alone can help drive sales or other business-related conversions.
While many of these website builder services have some SEO, going through a firm or a professional will open up a wider array of options to optimize your traffic. It’s a design firm’s job to understand these processes and how to apply them. A professional will tailor a website perfectly to what your business needs.
While cost is always going to be a major downside of hiring professionals, another downside is the time to launch. With any of the aforementioned services all you need to do is point and you have yourself a website. Hiring a professional is going to take time to prepare everything. Your time from hire to launch might be a couple weeks in this situation. The tradeoff for this, though, is that your website is entirely unique to your business and a lot more complete than using a builder yourself.
Ultimately, every website is a commercial decision. Whether you’re a hobbyist trying to display what you’ve made, or a Fortune 500 trying to expand their brand, having a website is important. So is how you make it. This should be a business decision. You’re the only one who knows what your business needs and what it can afford to do. Make sure you consider all the facts and do your own research to find what option fits you best.
Have any questions about the website building process? Contact us today!
SEO Optimization for Spring
Since website performance and SEO optimization is affected by things such as bad links, sloppy code, and poor content, it is a great time to do a semi-annual tidying to eliminate any problems. What does something like this do for search engine optimization efforts? Here are a few ways to be sure any essential SEO areas that tend to collect internet ‘dirt’ is cleaned.
Analyze with Analytics
Using analytic software such as Google Analytics and run a full array of reports normally monitored, especially important ones like site and page errors. Error reports are the most significant and probably the lengthiest. As much it may seem like doing such work could be put off – don’t do it! Every error detected by analytics tools is one more that is affecting website efficiency.
Inspect your site.
Start the process with a crawl of your site to collect the data you’ll need. Use a crawler such as Deep Crawler (which is especially helpful for sites on Angular, the front-end platform) or Screaming Frog. Crawlers help you identify all manner of metadata and site errors, as well as the server header status for each page. Each of these data points will identify an area that needs attention.
Review Your SEO Optimization
Since it can be somewhat difficult to systematically review websites for SEO, content, and other aspects, adding this job to the twice-yearly cleaning can help make sure it actually happens. Be sure content is correct and complete; review upcoming content ideas to be sure of current relevancy. Discover the latest trends in SEO and coding; update any techniques or HTML to benefit the overall website.
The annoying truth of the matter is that site errors need to be fixed. Many will be simple such as dead links or URLs with typos; others may be quite important. SEO reports can point out errors such as pages missing header tags, nonworking links, and other such information. Troubleshooting site speed may show other types of problems that unknowingly exist. It may be tedious; however, it is necessary to fix page issues regularly. This will improve site speed and result in fewer problem pages on the website.
Check those important social media pages to be sure that they work, especially for any unknown issues. Be sure links from main websites to different social pages are not broken, out of place, or have been forgotten. Such problems should be corrected quickly, as this can potentially affect website traffic both to social sites and back to the corresponding website.
Claim Your Local Listings
Just like with social media, the more local listing sites you’re on, the better. Find out where your company should be online and start claiming your businesses profiles. Most, if not all of these sites are free and require very little effort to claim. Once you’ve done so, start filling out the profiles with relevant and useful information including products/services, location(s) and contact information. Be sure to save all the credentials for these listings as you may need to update them over time as new products/services come out, you change locations or need to change contact information.
It probably seems like a lot to go through twice a year; however, doing so can keep any website and its search engine optimization efforts functioning smoothly and reaching planned goals with very few concerns.
Have any question about SEO Optimization? Contact us here!
How To Improve Your Search Engine Ranking
Here are important factors when trying to improve your search engine ranking.
Keywords are key
The first step to choose the search term or phrase you want your page, blog post, or website to show up for. If you’re writing a blog post on the best ways to grill a burger, you’ll need to find out what people are actually searching for to find that answer.
What makes a good keyword?
The answer is both broad and targeted keywords. Search engines will associate specific keywords with their more general phrases. When you use both on your site, it will help the site become an authority on the subjects you discuss.
A general term may yield a higher search rate than more specific terms, but search engine ranking for a target keyword phrase will give you a higher conversion rate.
Where to include the word?
It’s important to include your keyword in all of the necessary locations to ensure your page ranks for the word. First, your page title should contain your keyword. You should include it and make the title interesting enough that people will want to click on the title to read your blog post or webpage. An engaging title can help you pull in your audience and turn them into customers with your engaging content.
Including your keyword in a header will not only help you organize your page but will help it rank. This organization is helpful not only for people in skimming blog-post articles but it’s also helpful in showing Google exactly what your blog post is about. Therefore, be sure to use your exact keyword phrase at least once in your sub-headers.
Next, if your blog post contains images, you can use them to cement how Google will crawl your page about your post’s topic. There are a couple of ways to do this. You can change the image name and the alt tag.
To change the image name, simply change the name of the image on your computer before uploading. Instead of a file called “2831274.jpg,” you can rename it something like “juicyburger1.jpg.”
The “alt tag” is something you designate after you upload the photo to your website. Without getting too technical, the alt tag is simply the text that the web browser will show if the photo can’t load for some reason.
Research your competition
Good content is better than none, but bad content is worse
Now that you know what your competition looks like, it’s time to create the content that is going to blow those folks out of the water. This is perhaps the most difficult part, but it’s the most important. Your content needs to be engaging for the reader, and written so that your audience and Google can understand it.
Links for Search Engine Ranking
If you aren’t talking about your best content, why should anyone else care? For this reason, it’s important that your best SEO content is linked to internally by other pages on your website.
Yes, this means you may need to go back and edit some older posts to include links to the new, incredible content.
Okay, finally we’re finally at the big one: external links.
External links are links from websites other than your own. Google relies heavily on external links to determine how good a post is. And this makes sense, doesn’t it? You can talk about yourself and your own skills all day long, but no one will believe you. But as soon as other people begin bragging about you, others take notice.
While producing incredible content may get you some links, the truth is, you are going to have to do some “link building.” This means reaching out to other website owners in the space to ask for links.
Have any questions on how to improve your search engine ranking? Contact us here.
When you search Google for the best Italian restaurant in town, a list of results appears. The results at the very top are the ones that most closely match the words you typed into the search box. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is what helps those restaurants appear at the top of your search results.
For over ten years, search engine optimization has served as a valuable tool for businesses. In short, it directs more people to your website based on relevant keywords or phrases that they search. It can even help you monitor progress. SEO also helps with reputation management. Therefore, the more your business appears on a search results page, the more reputable and credible it seems.
What to expect
Getting acclimated to SEO takes a long time. It’s an ongoing process that involves choosing and editing specific content for your website. Because it can be such a tedious job, a lot of companies hire people specifically for the role of SEO. The benefits, however, pay off. SEO can increase brand exposure and awareness as it reaches new markets. Additionally, it makes your website more attractive and easier to navigate.
Overall, investing in search engine optimization can be a beneficial opportunity for your business to grow. As the Internet continues to change, it’s important to make sure your brand is still being noticed.
Need assistance getting started with SEO for your business? We can help.
Website design trends are constantly changing from year to year. This makes it hard for designers and agencies to keep up with the latest web design and tech advancements.
We’re here to help though. Let’s take a look at some notable web design trends coming poised to take over in 2018.
Website Design Trends
Bright Colors and Bold Fonts
To complement these modern design styles, you’ll need type font that stands out. Bold font styles help users focus on your content, while the whitespace makes it easier to read and skim through.
The goal is to create an easy and enjoyable experience for the user to keep them on your site for as long as possible and eventually convert them into paying customers.
In 2018, we may also see these fonts and colors taking the place of images. This makes sense for mobile especially. Unlike images, which slow pages down, scaling the size of your typography won’t impact performance.
All those tiny ads at the bottom of apps and mobile websites are making their way to desktop and tablet designs as well. And it’s not just ads in this down screen location, chat boxes, pop-ups, notifications, and even navigational elements are sticking to the bottom of the screen.
This less obtrusive location is a prime viewing area and mobile usage has trained users that these types of placements are acceptable.
Small, simple animations can surprise and delight users. They can also help provide information and lead the user through more active engagement with the design.
But subtle animation isn’t about a loading feature that hides logging time, it’s movement within the design itself.
To make the most of subtle animation in the design stick to a couple of basic rules: pick just one animation “trick” and stick to it, animation should feel realistic and mimic the laws of physics, don’t force sound or click actions to motion and make sure the animation plays on a reliable loop so users know when the animation is complete.
Interested in improving the design of your site? Contact us here!
As a business in today’s world, it’s important now more than ever, to have a functioning website that works well and looks amazing.
Today we’re going to discuss the basics that are important to have a website that you and your audience will love.
Colors, colors, colors
Color is critical on web pages, but colors have meanings to people, and using the wrong color can have the wrong connotation if you’re not careful. When you create your web color scheme keep in mind color symbolism.
Spellcheck is your friend
Very few people are tolerant of spelling errors, especially on a professional website. You lose credibility from your readers and audience when you have errors in your text. Having a rigid internal editing process is a great way to cut out the mistakes and put a clean, professional site in front of your customers.
If you do nothing else to improve your web pages, you should make them load as fast as possible. You also need to consider mobile visitors who may not have such wonderful connection speeds at the moment that they are visiting your page! The thing about speed is that people only notice it when it’s absent.
Stop, Navigate and Listen…
If your readers can’t get around on the page or on the website they won’t stick around. You should have navigation on your web pages that are clear, direct, and easy to use. The bottom line is that if your users are confused by a site’s navigation, the only place they will navigate to is a different site altogether.
If someone cannot easily contact you on a site, they won’t! That likely defeats the purpose of any site hoping to be used for business reasons. If you do have contact information on your site, follow up on it. Answering your contacts is the best way to create a long-lasting customer.
Links need a destination
Broken links are another sign for many readers (and search engines, too) that a site is not well maintained. Unfortunately, link rot is something that happens without even noticing. Even if links were coded properly at the launch of the site, those links may need to be updated now to ensure they are all still valid.
Everyone understands the need for a great website design. Your website is a reflection of your company. Therefore, your credibility and authority rely on having a top-notch design. Moreover, a design must capture the attention of your audience not only to motivate sales but because user engagement is a major factor in search result placement. Therefore, a design must build trust, keep your visitor’s attention, and encourage clicks and social sharing.
There are hundreds of details and ingredients that go into successful website designing. However, not everything works for every type of business, Nonetheless, there are ways to improve your website design no matter what industry.
1. Diminish Clutter –
An overly cluttered design can confuse visitors, create distractions, and make finding information difficult. Remove everything that diverts attention from your message.
2. Include White Space –
This is the area left empty on your web pages. The great benefit of white space if making your content easier to read and make guiding a reader’s attention to a call to action more manageable.
3. Use the Power of Color –
Marketing firms have long understood the psychology of color and use this power in everything from advertising to logo design. Whether your image is youthful, wealth, or trust, use colors that strongly conveys that message.
4. Stop Using Stock Photos –
Your visitors know that those stock photos do not represent you or your company. Additionally, these images make your website look very generic. A better choice is using a professional photographer.
5. Improve Navigation –
A visitor to your website should find the information they are looking for within a few seconds. Visitors will leave if they become frustrated. Moreover, primary menus should focus only on main pages.
6. Increase Speed –
It is a simple fact that the longer it takes your site to completely load, the more likely a visitor will become aggravated and leave. Optimize your site to load quickly.