Why You Should Consider Mobile Phone Design Compatibility

In February this year, Jwire released a study that showed that OVER half of public wi-fi connections aren’t made from laptops. This means that more and more people are turning to their cell phones to connect to the internet. If you have a mobile device, you might notice that some websites are formatted differently for a small screen. Proper mobile web design ensures that your website will be seen no matter where your customers choose to access it! After all, nothing is more disappointing for your business or your customers if they get a jumbled mess of a website when they access it from a mobile device.

Of course, we can’t talk about mobile devices and smart phones without mentioning applications. From games, giving gifts, to getting in shape, there’s pretty much a phone app for everything you can imagine! If you’re interested in phone app development for your business, we can definitely help. Think of all the possibilities and visibility that your business will gain as your app prepares for an App Store launch.

Just something to keep in mind as you check out Mashable’s list of some top applications for 2010.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Band Websites: Improving Bad Website Design

Ok, so your favorite band doesn’t suck but what about their website? After browsing some sites, I found that many artists, bands, labels are missing the point when it comes to good search engine friendly website design. Besides being esthetically unappealing or having a loop of the same blaring songs, these bad band sites also share other similarities:

Overdoing the Flash
Super long to load on slower internet connections and it can be really annoying. Yes, we’re looking at you, The Strokes (and tons of other bands). Your site may be fancy and look really cool, but it’s 100% flash dependent. Flash sites aren’t indexed by Google and you can’t add any keywords in your content. More popular bands are just lucky that they don’t need to rely on this as they’re already getting traffic from fans.
Instead: A little flash here and there is fine. You want to concentrate on engaging and informative keyword rich content. You should also put a little time into your link building strategy and incoming links.

Just Too Much
As an artist, you want to accurately convey your image to your fans. Because of this, many artists go overboard with too many pictures, too much text, too many widgets and just way too much clutter. Lady Gaga’s bio is an eyesore with a page full of CAPITALIZED white text on a black/grey background. Surely, no one will really care to read this except for the super fans.
Instead: Have a section that is short and sweet. New fans want to get straight to the facts. You might want to include a more detailed bio page or even include a video to accompany the reduced text.

Ignoring Your Fans
Many band sites that aren’t updated frequently are static and dead. With Twitter, Myspace, and Facebook, band members are finding it easier to update on the social media platforms. Don’t forget about your site! Fans want to stay in touch and just small updates here and there will make them feel special. NIN is especially known for their fan interaction. Their website features a members area, an extensive photo gallery and even an area where you can mix your favorite songs.
Instead: Use Analytics to see where your fans are spending the bulk of their time. Are they interested in your lyrics, merch, or media? Now that you know, integrate a blog, photo blog, or even your social media profiles to appeal to those likes. Even a simple band Q&A once in awhile will help your website from dying out.

These are just some of my peeves, any other tips for bad band websites?

Simple Steps to Ensure Your Website is SEO-Friendly

If you’re like me, easily influenced by pretty shiny things that flash in my general direction, then you may be designing your website with aesthetics as your number one priority. That’s all well and good if you’re an established fashion label with ten years of Vogue and Vanity Fair creds. But, chances are, potential clients will be depending on search engines to find the type of services or products your company offers, without knowing that your exact company exists. Following these simple tips when building your website can lead to a more SEO-friendly design, giving you the search engine ranking and exposure your company needs to be on its way to becoming a household name.

Tip #1: Age Matters
Search engines want to “see” commitment. Websites that have been in existence for 5 years as opposed to 5 weeks will rank higher. When your website shows longevity, a search engine will consider it as a trusted and authoritative source.

Tip #2: Title Tags are Golden
Don’t make the mistake of titling your web pages with inside jokes only your frat brothers would know, or using overly simple titles like “My Website Page 2.” While this may make your life easier or more comical, it does zilch for search engines when they crawl your site for content. Use your most competitive keywords in your pages’ title tags, as they are the most important pieces of text on your website for SEO purposes.

Tip #3: The Pen (or QWERTY Keyboard) is Mightier than the Sword
You can toss out the notion that “a picture is worth a thousand words” because in the world of SEO, a picture is about as valuable as Enron stock. Rather than focusing on graphics, make sure that your homepage includes searchable content. If you plan on linking to other pages from your homepage, use text links rather than hyperlinks contained within an image. When search engines read a link that uses text (e.g. “Bulldog Puppies For Sale”) and it actually links to a page that has relevant content in the text of the title/URL/header and body copy, this builds your site’s “trustworthiness” and “authority” status putting you on the search engine’s honor roll.

One Keyword Per Page

It’s expensive to create and optimize pages for search, so why not try to jam as many keywords onto one page as possible? Unfortunately this scattershot approach won’t increase your ranking, instead only diluting your results. The best number of organic search keywords to target per page is one.

It is important to have one primary focus on the page, one concept that the page is about.
Now of course you can have more than one word on the page, or target two words that mean basically the same thing. For example optimizing the same page for “certified public accountant” and “CPA” makes perfect sense. However, you should resist the temptation to use the same page as the search landing page for “CPA”, “certified public accountant”, “tax accountant”, and “tax services”. Although all of these words are related, you won’t end up with a number one Google result this way.

The bad news is, this means lots of landing pages. Sure it’s more work, but doing something right usually is. The more concepts you try to cram on a page, the more you confuse the search engine, so keep it simple. Just start with pages for your best keywords, and add a few more every week. Over time you will see much better results for the effort.

Not everyone agrees with this strategy, and it is possible to get a number one rank for multiple keywords when they are less competitive, but in a competitive environment, it is important to specialize and be clear with your seo strategy. Keeping your target keywords as close to one as possible will keep you from spreading yourself too thin and losing out on valuable traffic.

Web Advertising for Mobile Browsers

The number of people accessing the web from their phones is skyrocketing. However, devices vary from full browsers like iPhone or Blackberry Storm to mobile browsers whose access to the web is more limited. As a result, websites and advertisements must be prepared to cater their search engine optimization campaigns to all types of browsers or risk being inaccessible to their customers.

For businesses who need to reach customers on the run, such as tow truck companies, locksmiths, or even restaurants, gearing pay per click advertising to mobile users is critical. It is important to think about what a mobile user will want to accomplish with a small device with limited speed and storage. Since mobile users are not likely to go beyond the first page of a website, getting the vital information out front and legible on a small device is key.

It is always a good idea to check to see how an ad renders in a mobile browser. Some mobile browsers don’t render flash or java well. When images, flash files, or script files are large, it may take some time for the website to render on a mobile device. One way to test mobile ads without paying for a full mobile site is to create a test site using a blogging platform like WordPress which has a mobile compatible plug-in. Google also has a mobile preview tool that will let you view mobile results from a laptop.

Adwords and Google Analytics also allow you to track your mobile conversions so organic SEO performance can be assessed and adjustments made. It can also be useful to have completely separate mobile versus desktop campaigns, sending traffic to different pages on your site for the same keywords based upon their device.

As phone browsers’ capability increase, it becomes more viable to reach customers anywhere and everywhere and convert a passing whim into a sale, but it will always remain crucial to distinguish properly between the needs of the mobile customer versus the desktop customer.

Web Advertising and the Small Business: Do I Need a Middleman?

Web advertising is becoming an increasingly self-serve business, allowing SMBs to run their own web campaigns. Now that anyone can purchase keywords on search engines and pay per click advertising, do SMBs really need a company to help them advertise?

Although the new age of advertising does offer unparalleled flexibility and affordablilty, wading through the sheer amount of options and technical lingo can be overwhelming, and many SMBs still find it worthwhile to have someone to guide them through the process, sift through the options, and find the most effective and economical strategy for their advertising dollar. Techniques such as search engine optimization, and organic SEO though simple in concept, can be tricky to implement.

For the unsure, online ads can be as simple and old-fashioned as the online yellow pages ad. Any business owner familiar with yellow page advertising can wrap their head around this one, but the technique is still the same as print advertising, visibility is determined by the size and placement of the ad. Local search sites like city search add such features as customer reviews, but not much else.

Search engines, considered by many the most effective form of online marketing, also bring a wide spectrum of options and increased complexity along with them. The goal here is the highest rankings, but truly effective search engine optimization is far more than popping up first under a particular search. For example a search for “plumbing” versus “plumbers” or “plumber” can yield far different results. This complexity has created a niche for companies like Emarketed to help SMBs plan SEO campaigns more effectively.

The irony is that as web advertising becomes more accessible to the small business owner, the complexity of effectively running these campaigns increases as well, meaning that at least for the present, SMBs will find themselves best served by consulting these middlemen for their online advertising campaigns.

Search Engine Friendly Web Design Tips

We tend to get asked this question many times throughout the week:  What is search engine friendly web design? I’d like to clarify this for our readers.

So here’s a quick list of things you should be considering when creating search engine friendly web design:

1.) Loads quickly (no heavy flash loading files or quick time movies)

2.) Have clean code (programming on the back end – click view source in your browser to view the programming of a web page – some programs throw in a lot of code that slows your page down)

3.) Have a site map (at the bottom of every page should be a link to your site map that has all the pages of your site listed)

4.) Have proper headings (clearly name your pages and use sub headings as well to break up your content)

5.) Have good content that talks about your services and/or products (search engines love content – give the search engines relevant content)

6.) Make sure to name your images with the ALT tag (this is how you’ll label your images in the html – you can do this with text editors or with programs such as dreamweaver or frontpage)

7.) Make sure you have different title tags for each page on your site (the title tag in the html looks like this:
<title>Page Name Here</title>

8.) Lastly I’d spend some time going through the Google Webmaster Guidelines to get familiar with how the largest search engine out there wants to see your site.

Good luck!