Archive for the ‘
Web Design ’ Category
Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010
Search engines have been developed to work in the most efficient ways possible. They can quickly gain you access to information on just about any subject you want to learn about. This speed is only possible because of indexing. Indexing is a way that search engines know what your site is about. Google has deployed robots, otherwise known as crawlers throughout the worldwide web. They visit web servers to examine websites, including yours, to categorize it according to your website content. These crawlers will repeatedly visit your website throughout the year to update the index. Keeping the index up to date is within Google’s best interest if it wants to provide its visitors with relevant and up to date content.
The rate at which Google crawls a website is not a routine pattern, but rather has many determining factors, many of which are not known to those outside of Google’s development team. Larger, more popular and established sites such as news websites will be crawled several times a day, but smaller businesses will have to wait. It can take up to several weeks for Google to revisit your website, this means that changes that you make to your website today, will not reflect on Google’s search, until Google crawls your site and updates their index. To find out when was the last time Google crawled your site, simply Google your entire URL. Once you find your link on the Results Page, look beneath it to find the “cached” link. Click it and you will see a snapshot of your website, with the date on which your site was last crawled. By routinely checking the results, you will be able to get a good estimate on how often Google is crawling your site. Use this information to schedule your next website update, product release, or exciting announcement. Doing so can help you see faster results and can help your visitors always find your website relevant to their search.
Find Out When Was The Last Time Google Crawled Your Website
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Thursday, January 14th, 2010
There exists many aspects of Search Engine Optimization that can be utilized to rank higher on search engines. Unfortunately, there will exist those websites that no matter how much they are optimized, will never rank on the first page of search engines, and/or will not be working towards attracting new customers. These websites are perfect candidates for web redesign services. When redesigning a website, it is important to plan ahead of time before the design process begins to find out what the primary goals of the new design will be. Is the design process going to focus on attracting new customers or will it focus on catering to existing clients? After the goals have been set, you can begin the process of redesigning your site.
If your goals are to rank higher, you want to consider the benefits and disadvantages of different types of designs and embedded material and how it will effect your SEO. Certain “best practices” strategies can be used in creating a good SEO friendly site. One of the most effective strategies is in CSS programming. Using CSS to set up your website layout will effectively separate your HTML from each element’s style (CSS). This will make it a lot faster for Search Engines to be able to index your content because they are essentially skipping the additional code that defines the look of a site. At Saba SEO, we pride ourselves of using CSS programming whenever possible instead of resorting to convenient tables for your page’s layout. If you need a website design that is consistent and easy to edit, you may also want to consider building a website template and creating a dynamic content library. A template and library items will allow you to easily make changes to repeating parts of your site without having to make the same changes over and over to each page.
You may also want to subscribe to website design best practice standards to ensure your site meets the proven criteria for easy customer conversion, and lead generation. Upon reaching a website, it is natural for a visitor’s sight to begin on the top left hand side of a website and begin reading left or down from there in an “F” or “Z” pattern. By organizing your webpage material accordingly, you can make certain aspects of your site more prominent. A “free consultation” button on the lower right hand of the page will not be as visible as a button which falls within this “Z” or “F” pattern. Many visitors also avoid scrolling through a page, choosing to keep their cursor closer to the top of the window. For this reason, it is also recommended that all of the web pages’ important content fall above the fold (bottom of the visible page before scrolling down).
Each page of a website should also incorporate some sort of “call to action,” which will serve as an incentive to your visitors to take action. Perhaps it is to sign up for your company newsletter, or it can be a lead generating form. Either way, you want these things to be prominent so that they are not skipped. It was not uncommon in the past that these “calls to action” were mostly reserved for the website’s home page, but with “Landing Page Optimization” (a way to make each page in a website unique and draw visitors) it is possible to have your interior pages act like small catching nets, acting like mini home pages. For this reason, a call to action must be included in every page to ensure that all of your visitors are given the option of taking action. Otherwise, you will only gain leads from those pages displayig the call to action.
Other good practices also include clear navigation, and targeted content. If a visitor cannot find their way around your site or links lead to irrelevant information, your site will suffer from a high bounce rate. This means that visitors may come to your site, and quickly leave. You can avoid this by making a visit to your site a pleasant experience.
If you are in the position of gaining a competative advantage by choosing a website redesign, call us today to schedule a free consultation. 866.937.1717
Monday, December 21st, 2009
There exists hundreds of thousands of different fonts, and the list continues to grow each day. Out of this pool of fonts, there exists the right font for your website. Choosing the right font is not as easy as it sounds, and it’s not a matter of just picking fonts from a list. A lot of thought has to go into choosing the right font based on the studies of typographers past. These faceless artists have worked hard designing type, and have established styles. Just like art, type has a history which continues to evolve. Studying type of generations past can help us to choose the right types of fonts for the work at hand…our website. This blog is a short introduction to type, and will hopefully help you in your selection.
Fonts can be placed in several different categories that have developed through time.
Generally speaking, old style was the first determined style that developed, whose earliest influence was the handheld chisel. Ancient typographers used chisels to carve words into stone at an angle. Out of this method, the traditional serif was born, which helped finish off the stone carved letterforms. Today it is argued that the serif helps readers eye flow from one word to the other, in ancient times it is likely that it allowed the artist’s chisel a smooth transition from one shape to the next. If a modern artist wanted to evoke a sense of antiquity, or stability, or timelessness, a old style font such Bembo, Garamond, or Trajan would work best. These fonts were created with the influence of ancient stone writing and hand written letterforms of the midieval period. They are among the oldest recognized designs in type ranging from about the 1400-1500’s. By this time, artists also began experimenting and lowercase letters slowly began to emerge.
old Style vs transitional
Transitional Fonts developed after the old style in the period of enlightenment, where challenges to old thoughts and tradition were common, and are recorded in the history of the type. Transitional fonts are typically recognized by their shorter or thinner serif, the increased uniform thickness of stroke, and their increased symmetry. This began the slow reduction of influence typographers got from the handwritten forms of medieval times and was a transition for the complete elimination of human influence from later styles. Fonts from this area include Times, Baskerville, and Caslon. They too evoke a sense of tradition, but also take a step away from it in a slow regression of human style. Italic letters were also developed around this time to help distinguish shapes and to help create hierarchy between letters. The formality of these letter forms make them perfect for modern business and school writing. These may be good choices for a modern designer looking for a corporate look, that would make their website carry a feeling of history, yet not tied to it. This style of font gives a sense of flexibility, which a corporate company may be interested in portraying.
transitional vs block
Block Serif or Slab Serif fonts were developed along with continued developments in print and technology. The creation of the printing press developed a market for thicker fonts that would allow for easy legibility in a large point size. They are characterized by their square serifs, block shapes, lack of stroke modulation and have a mechanical look. This type of type design is a clear cut from all humanist letterforms and can be best understood by studying the backdrop in history at the beginning of the industrial revolution. Fonts that emerged from this era include Rockwell, Courier, and Clarendon. These fonts can be easily used by a modern designer to create a design that evokes the principles of industry that existed throughout the 1800’s including firm confidence and boldness.
block vs sans serif
San Serif or Gothic Typefaces began to emerge in ancient times but were not widely adopted into print until soon after the emergence of block serif fonts. They are in effect a reflection of the thought during the Industrial Revolution, when mathematical efficiency was prized and human’s imperfect nature was not. The serif of previous styles was the last part of type design that beared any human influence, removing it was a bold step away from humanist style, removing it was to remove the fallable. Smooth, even strokes and symmetry became the standard and san serif was born. San Serif fonts were quickly adopted as headline fonts but have increasingly found their way into text copy, despite arguments against them. Fonts which have emerged from this style include Century Gothic, Futura, Helvetica, and Arial. If a modern designer wishes to create an art piece that has a modern feel, San Serif is the way to go.
Decorative fonts Have little value for professional designers. They are a modern take on classic letterforms often so abstract that their legibility is questionable. Their usefulness is limited to headline sized text and can often be so emblazoned with decoration that thier purpose is limited to a specific design. What purpose is this I speak of?…The purpose of legibility. Type was meant to be read, and classic fonts that have lasted century are those that have allowed readers to easily read its shapes and figures to distinguish meaning. A highly decorative font will cause a loss of legibility so they are never good choices. Most often these fonts can be found for free online simply because they have no value. Avoid their use and you will begin to notice a growing sense of typographic professionalism as you notice the great amount of flexibility classic typefaces allow you when used creatively.
The use of san serif fonts for modern applications continues to grow as modern low resolution screens cannot capture the neuances of delicate serifs, specially at smaller sizes. San serif fonts have therefore made themselves the font of our current century, and their use has continued to grow. Although San Serif Fonts have better web applications than serif fonts, they too have neuances that cannot be captured on screen. In short, they have not been designed specifically for the web. They are widely used because their shape holds more true on screen than serif fonts, but neither will give you better legibility than fonts designed for online viewing. Fonts such as Verdana or Georgia should be considered when choosing a font specifically for the web. These are amongst the most modern fonts available and have been designed specifically for on screen viewing. Their shape holds true with size and shape better than any other font designed for print. A designer creating a website for the elderly or the hard of seeing may want to consider these fonts for their online design. Likewise, a font designed specifically for the internet should not be used for print material, as their purpose is not being honored. A font designed for online viewing will never give you the printed results a design made for print will give. Therefore be wise in selecting your font.
This is not to say that you cannot use any font for your website. You can use any font, but if you use an abstract font that not many people use, or a font that to others may be unavailable, your purpose in your design may be lost because someone on the opposite side of the country may not have the same font so they will be seeing a substituted font in its place. This is most common in headline fonts, where you may feel that the font Impact for example may be a great choice, as it offers great weight and draws a lot of attention. If a visitor to your site does not have the font uploaded on their computer, they will see whatever similar font you have set as an alternate. What if you didn’t set an alternate? Than their system might substitute any default font, or may not display anything at all. A way you can avoid this problem is to make your font into a graphic. This will allow any visitor to see the type in the way you intended them to see it. This will help your design stay true to its original form, but you loose a great deal of potential SEO (Search Engine Optimization) opportunities. Headlines hold a lot of weight for search engines and they use it to know what your website is about. If all of your headline text is in graphic form, your website will not easily rank on search engines, and your competitors will gain from your loss.
To play it safe with your SEO rankings. I suggest sticking to a list of commonly used, browser safe fonts. Using these fonts will increase the likelihood your visitors are seeing exactly what you intend them to see.
- Times New Roman
If you still intend on using specialty fonts for certain places such as your banners or other graphics, then make sure your type is a graphic image (jpeg, png, gif) and then insert it into your website. Good SEO knowledge suggests you save your keyword rich titles for non graphic type, but if you must use graphic type, remember to add your alternate text tag in order to still be able to communicate with search engines. Actual text carries more weight than alt text, so avoid this practice whenever possible, and make as much text in your website into editable html text to increase your Search Engine Rankings.
Elements of Typographic Style
If you want to read more into the subject of type. I suggest trying out “The Bible of Typography”: The Elements of Typographic Style, a book by Canadian typographer, poet and translator Robert Bringhurst. This book will tell you everything you need to know about typography. Be ready to take notes, it’s quite a read.
At Saba SEO in San Diego we try to provide useful information to business owners throughout the United States on how to create better websites. Our goal is to help your business grow online. With the decrease of print advertisements, purchases are being made online at an exponential rate. Be sure your company is taking advantage of this swell by allowing us to create a custom web design or by allowing us to optimize your existing site. Countless of clients agree that our services have helped to maximize online profitability. It all starts with a free website evaluation by our team. We will tell you exactly where your website can improve and we back it up with statistical data. Call us today to get started 866-937-1717.
Wednesday, October 21st, 2009
Working in a creative environment can be challenging at times. Us creative folks are trusted with creating the best possible solutions to-often-difficult problems. A very difficult problem will require a sincere and deep investigation into the industry in question in order to study what competitors have created, or what opportunities they have missed. Without any research, the design will miss its mark and will fail its mission. The same story repeats whether designing a logo, collateral or a website. In order to create a great design, the right questions must be asked in. Some of the questions I find myself asking clients the most include the following.
1. What’s your objective?
This may be the most important question because you are addressing the problem straight on. This will be the solution you are trying to solve. The answer to this question must always be in mind throughout the creative process.
2. What are you expecting?
This question allows you to gauge the customer’s expectations and will give you a first step in understanding their train of thought. You will not only hear about what type of design they expect to see, but what type of service they expect from you. You will be able to set up deadlines for each step of the creative process through this question.
3. What are your competitors doing?
No one will understand the competition better than your client. Chances are that they have already spent hours upon hours on the competitor’s websites trying to find a competitive edge. It is rare that you will come across a client who is oblivious to the competition but it happens. In this case, it is up to you-the designer-to help your client understand the competition and understand trends in the industry in order to have a successful design emerge that can not only compete, but leave the competitors behind.
4. Do your competitors have a website or collateral material?
You will need to gather as much information as possible. It is likely that your client has a collection of websites and print material that they have collected. Use this as a stepping stone for your research and get a head start. Remember to ask them what they like about each example and what-if any-opportunities the competition might have missed. This will enable you to design a strategy that suits the market well and goes beyond the competitors in filling in the gaps that the rest of the market may have missed.
5. How do you differ from your competitors to stand out, and where do you see yourself in 10/20 years?
Find out what makes this company unique and what would compel their customers to choose them. This will allow you to create a highly targeted design that will attract only viewers most likely to become customers.
This question will also allow you and your client to analyze their weaknesses and will allow your client to find room to grow. The prospect of future growth is very important depending on the type of design. If it is a logo with a lifespan of 10+ years, you must consider where the company will be then, in order to provide a design that will grow with them. If it is a simple marketing piece with a lifespan of 2-3 months, then designing based on their current branding principals is best.
6. What are you not expecting?
This question will allow you to visualize the “anti-design” and why it wont work. By understanding what not to do, you will have a direction in which to head. That is, do the opposite of the “anti-design.” This question will also come in handy if you are ever stuck with a serious case of design-block. If you can’t think of a solution, then begin designing the opposite. You will find it will open up a few creative doors.
Great design begins before you pick up the mouse. It begins in the mind when you begin to visualize your objective. In order to come up with the best design plan, be sure you are asked the right questions. If your designer does not ask them, he/she will be working blindly, and you can expect to need a redesign in the near future, wasting valuable time and money. Get it designed right the first time around. Check out our San Diego web design page for more information on Design for the Internet, or call us at 1-866-937-1717.
Monday, August 3rd, 2009
Today’s website needs to target its audience like never before. The competition in the online world is fierce and a website that is not fully optimized will not compete. Most companies still rely on their home page to make the sale. They will often stuff the page with a mix of information hoping to drill some knowledge and a selling point to the customer. Often times, these home pages will be overstuffed, unfocused and ineffective, leading to a higher bounce rate. Companies often focused so much attention to the home page, forgetting about the rest of the site, leaving it barren and weak. Today, there is a call to optimize an entire site in order to stand a chance at ranking. By making every page on your site into a home page, you can target different keywords and rate your efforts with data and analysis.
Landing page optimization is the process of creating a landing page structure out of your website. In order for it to work, one has to get used to the idea that your home page is not always the first page a customer will land on. They may first arrive at your about-us page or your services page. This all depends on your optimization strategy. It is important to know what you are going to say before you say it so it may be good to start with keyword research in order to examine search trends in your industry. By following search trends you will have a better understanding of what content should be included in your website. Your research will tell you information to include and what to ignore. You may want to organize your keywords by relevance in order to maintain your visitor’s attention. For example, if you are creating a page about Jamaican coffee, you may want to keep the page on subject, and not talk about the coffee world history. If you really want to talk about coffee world history, you can create a new landing page that will focus on that subject. This page in turn will target coffee enthusiasts who may be looking into coffee history and may be enticed to grant you with a sale.
After keyword and key phrase research is complete, it is not uncommon to have a 50-100 page website strategy. By making each page unique, speaking about different subjects in each, it is much more likely that you will be found by a larger group of searchers. It is very much like building a net with words. The more words you use, the more likely you are to catch a big fish. The only thing left is to create the content for these pages using your targeted key phrases. Search engines love content more than anything. They love it more than any title or h1 headline you can think of, and supplying unique content will tell a search engine that your website is relevant. If 50-100 pages seems too large, it is ok to use less, but choosing your keywords becomes much more important. 3-4 word phrases are more likely to convert than 2-3 word phrases. They are more rare and will likely be used by those who are in the buying phase, having already gone through the research phase. A good example would be using the keywords, “Jamaican coffee”, and “Purchasing Jamaican Coffee”. The later may have less people searching for it every month, but will be more likely to convert than the general term “Jamaican Coffee.”
No matter what subject matter you are working on, creating an effective website based on sound principals will help you to raise your ROI by bringing in the customers you want. Stop relying on passive techniques that are outdated. Target your customers the right way by using through research. Saba SEO is a San Diego SEO Company that is always here to help. Call us toll free for more useful information and for a free website analysis.
Monday, August 3rd, 2009
It is not uncommon for companies who have lagged behind in maintaining their website to feel a little lost when trying to re-enter the competitive online market. A lot has changed in the past few years and websites that once ranked high for specific terms and phrases no longer are relevant. Without understanding the responsibilities involved in creating and maintaining a website, a company will not be competitive in today’s market. A company will need a talented individual or set of individuals to make sure the site is competing, and winning.
To put a website together takes the effort of various people doing small tasks collectively or it may take one person wearing multiple hats. This will include the hat of designer, programmer, copywriter, promoter, optimizer, and promoter.
- The designer will create the layout and provide a design that will allow a website to flow naturally with human visual perception in an F or Z pattern. This will govern the hierarchy of information and will make the absorption of data easier for human visitors. This design will be specifically targeted towards its audience to make sure the site is relevant to the target market.
- A programmer will put the website together and make sure that it is functioning without any bugs. They will create the language that browsers will understand to make the site work. They will create content that will allow a site to communicate with a server to accomplish tasks and provide advanced functions such as a member profile for each visitor who signs up.
- A copywriter will create the content to make sure that the visitor is well informed and is being enticed to sign up for the service. The copywriter must do this while maintaining the company’s best interests in mind. Writing from a neutral point of view at all times will make sure they remain professional.
- The optimizer will make sure the site is falling under SEO best practices and will be in charge of assigning the topics for each page to the copywriter. Only with through research can the optimizer find out what are the terms being searched and will also be able to suggest what pages to add, edit and delete. They will supply a list to the copywriter to begin the content building phase while keeping a close eye on the marketing effort through analytics. Once the site is uploaded and ready to go, it is mainly up to the promoter to market the site through various avenues including local listings and through social media.
- The promoter must be well informed of the company’s branding strategy, their goals and values to make sure the company is never misrepresented. They will work closely with the optimizer to check feedback and reaction to current marketing efforts and special marketing campaigns.
Although a company can spend a lifetime looking for the magic tool to convert new customers. It can be easy to look beyond the biggest and most important tool in our arsenal. The website itself. If a website is well designed and well structured from the beginning to end, the site will have the potential to rank well with minimal outside work. If the website is not well designed, you can spend a lifetime in marketing efforts without success. When creating an online marketing strategy trust an expert. Trust SABA, a San Diego SEO Company, with all of your website needs 866-937-1717
Tuesday, July 14th, 2009
One of the most important steps a business owner takes is in developing a website for their company. It can be the most enriching and valuable experience for a company as it begins to experience the many benefits of owning a website. Along with the potential of monetary gain and a reduction in marketing costs, a website (when developed properly) can be a great communication tool for gaining access to your market audience like never before. In addition to these benefits, a website also allows your company to take a giant step towards sustainability and cutting your company’s carbon footprint by reducing the need for print collateral and the need for transporting your information from location to location. It can be a great first step in promoting your site and company as earth friendly.
In today’s economy your customers are aware and are ever-more conscious of their actions and business practices and the effect they have on global sustainability. They are comforted by knowing that you take these concerns to heart. By creating a website geared towards sustainability, you are effectively reducing the need for resources consumed through conventional print advertisements. You can feel proud that while making a decision to grow your business, you are at the same time helping the environment.
The internet has revolutionized the way people do business by changing the way they are found and the way we communicate. This large influx of online business has hurt the print industry as more and more businesses make the switch. They in turn have raised their prices to supplement for the loss of business and for the increased prices on raw materials. Unfortunately, innocent companies have paid the price for this change by having to pay more for advertisements that are less effective than they were 10 years ago. Having a website eliminates these costs as it has changed the way the game is played. You no longer put out advertisements in an effort to find your customers. With search engines, your customers can find you. Forget about advertising in those old directories that nobody looks at anymore, and get your company real results with a fully functional website.
Green Web Design will reduce the cost of doing business. By migrating your annual reports, catalogs, marketing materials, and collateral work to an online platform, you are making your materials accessible to everyone worldwide. Imagine the savings on postage and gasoline alone! Now employees, colleagues, and customers can access this information with the click of a mouse. For companies who rely heavily on print media such as annual reports, the transition to an online database can save hundreds of thousands of dollars, while allowing for easy data editing and updating.
By creating a user friendly website and by following good web design practices, it is possible to create a site that is enticing to your visitors. With a website it is possible to encourage a visitor to fill out an online form, request a quote, or to contact your office. These inquiries can be logged and followed up by your sales team to make sure you get the most out of your online efforts. With a website it is possible to open new avenues of contact with your visitors, and rather than cold calling, you are now able to emphasis on converting these interested parties into customers.
When a Green Web Design is optimized, sales can be through the roof. Imagine going from not having a website, to all of a sudden, having this powerful marketing tool, working hard for you 24/7. There is no room for loss, only room to grow as you make your site accessible to potential customers through powerful search engines. They will now be able to access and contact you in a way they never could before. You have now made yourself accessible and have gained an important foothold in the market, able to compete with the big competitors. By taking advantage of our optimized Pay Per Click Management, Search Engine Optimization, and Search Engine Marketing services, you can be sure that your company is taking advantage of every opportunity to grow in the online world. Internet Marketing is the fastest way to grow your business and we encourage you contact us today at 1-866-937-1717 to boost your ROI.
Friday, July 10th, 2009
Hello, here are a few things to keep in mind when programming your website for SEO purposes. Some of these suggestions are no brainers but some others may surprise you. If you find this useful to you in your work or if you have suggestions on how to improve this list, I would love to hear about. Please leave a comment.
Before programming a website it is always a good idea to have an effective SEO strategy. It provides a basis for which to set up each page and it makes for easier content editing in the future. A keyword list must be provided to the programmer for them to follow this structure. This keyword list will help guide the strategy per page as there will be a primary keyword to target and secondary keywords to also use throughout the site.
By making each page unique and keyword targeted, we will be effectively making each page an optimized landing page. This will increase the odds of being found because a search engine doesn’t always arrive at the home page. If each page is targeted, the viewer has probably found exactly what they were looking for and it will lower the chance of a bounce (quickly leaving the site without spending time reviewing it). This can only be achieved by making the content relevant to the keywords.
1. A website’s structure should be separate from the website’s appearance.
- Make sure to declare the values and properties of your tags in the CSS and avoid doing so in html.
2. Use the H1 tag once per page. Other important headlines should be H2.
- H3 and H4 are often ignored by crawlers as they are seen as less important.
3. Each page should have its own unique keyword rich title. Keywords should target only the content of the page.
4. A description tag is necessary on each page targeting the keywords for the page.
- Meta data should always be high on the page in the head tag to make it easier to be found by crawlers.
5. Meta keywords should be included next to the description and should be unique to each page.
- Although Google does not place high importance on the keywords, it’s more important with other search engines and directories. It also allows anyone who will be editing the page in the future to see what the targeted keyword strategy when editing content.
- Only a few keywords should be used per a page (3-4). They will be grouped as a main target keyword and supporting keywords.
6. Avoid using too many images.
- Slow websites have a higher bounce rate (people will leave the site without spending time looking through it).
7. Each image should have keyword rich alt tags.
- Incorporate a description of the image using the keywords for the page
- If page has several images avoid over-using the same keyword, refer to supporting keywords. Overusing the same keyword may increase the odds of being labeled as a spam site.
8. File names of each html page should use the keywords separated by a dash (-) not an underscore(_).
9. Copy contents should be keyword rich
- Be sure to add the keywords high on the page, and in the first few sentences of each paragraph.
- Often crawlers will only read a few sentences before dropping the page or adding it to the SERP (search engine results page)
- Avoid using the same content on different pages
- Avoid using keywords from other pages
10. Consider the order of importance a search engine places on a page when adding your primary and secondary keywords. These vary in importance with different crawler’s but it is generally accepted that the page title will be the most important section to optimize.
- Copy Content
- File Names
- Alt tags
We are Saba, a San Diego SEO Company dedicated to your online success. If you need help with web design, Search Engine Optimization, or Social Media Marketing, Call us today 866.937.1717