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A New Website Will Get You Much More Than a Great Design

A New Website Will Get You Much More Than a Great Design 

DC Web Designers New Website DesignTypically, most organizations when doing a website overhaul get really excited about updating their corporate design. Many of the calls we get from potential clients are so embarrassed with their current website that they tell their clients not to go there, or they preface the visit with “please don’t judge, we are working on a redesign”. Let’s face it; this isn’t the best way to start a professional relationship. What most organizations don’t realize is this is an amazing time to redesign their website. So much has changed in the web world the last eighteen months that web development companies have to provide much more in their standard design packages just to keep up with industry standards.

Let’s take a look at what has changed on the Interweb

Mobile Web

It’s impossible to talk about websites now-a-days without mentioning a mobile solution. Two years ago most web companies had to build two websites for their clients interested in a mobile solution. With the introduction of Responsive Web Design, that is no longer the case. Responsive Web Design is a new technique that uses cascading style sheets (CSS) to allow your website to collapse and expand to the resolution of the device serving up the website. This means that you can build one website and it will work on every device. A few benefits of Responsive Web Design include cost savings, better search engine rankings, better viewing experience for users, and easier site management. With more and more users viewing the web from smartphones and tablets, these benefits are really now necessities. In late April of 2015, Google forced organizations to go mobile by playing favoritism towards mobile compatible websites. Basically they told the web world, “If you have a mobile website, we are going to improve your rankings in our search results”. That is a nice benefit, especially for industries slow to making moves to the mobile web. Responsive Web Design is affordable and efficient. Building two sites can be costly, and having all of your content under one web umbrella saves time on development and time on administration. You can use one content management system to make content changes, removing the daunting task of updating two sites, your mobile version and your desktop version.

Navigation

Another big change has been the introduction of expandable drop down and mega menus. These newer navigation tools allow users to dig way deep into a site’s content without ever leaving the homepage. In addition, a lot of these menus allow you to add descriptive text and images to provide more insight into the available content living deep within your website.

Homepage Animation

Organizations interested in merchandising their products and services from their homepage have a great way to do so now. If you have spent anytime surfing the web lately, you’ll notice many sites offer an animated element on their homepage that provides unique messaging and calls to action to the important content living in the depths of their website. Homepage scrollers allow you to really take advantage of that seven second rule in getting the attention of your user, providing relevant information, and offering a clear path to get there. Homepage scrollers do a great job in all of the above.

Social Media Feeds

Although we’ve seen the social media bubble burst a bit when it comes to organizations putting a tremendous amount of time and effort into their Facebook and Twitter pages, it still pays an important role in many markets and can be an effective way to attract new users to your site.. Today, many sites are pushing their real-time Facebook statuses and Twitter tweets to their website home and contact pages. Most web design companies can easily add these feeds and format them to fit your branding requirements.

Expandable Footers

Another design change we’ve witnessed is the expandable footer, sometimes referred to as a sitemap footer. A space normally used for privacy policies and terms and conditions is now a prime location to allow users to see the breadth of your content. Sitemap footers allow users to see way deep into your content architecture and easily locate web pages not necessarily seen in a menu system.

Rotating Content

Real estate is limited and valuable on a homepage; a great technique used to take advantage of limited space on the homepage is rotating, scrolling, or tabbed content. You’ll see a lot of websites that rotate their news, job opportunities, client logos, case studies, and other content types in a small area using a scroller or tabbed design approach. When you have a lot of content you want to present on your homepage, utilizing these techniques can really help, they look great and have high click through rates.

Ridding Yourself of Outdated Technologies

Another great reason to have your website designed in 2015 is to get rid of technologies that are outdated, unsupported, or just plain slow. Flash is a great example. Flash is dead and has no place on a homepage anymore. Besides being unsupported on a few browsers, it shows that you haven’t put any investment into your website in the last few years. Updating your web technologies can decrease the load time, provide better interaction, and shows your company is vested in the quality of your website.

Wrapping It Up

Today is a great day to explore the possibilities in upgrading your website. There are many more benefits than the ones I’ve identified above, and to be honest, the cost to build an interactive, robust site has come down. A great way to get started is to pick up the phone and ask questions. We here at DC Web Designers would love to speak with you about your project. Give us a call at 410-740-9181.


Tuesday, September 1, 2015 at 12:00 AM




The Best Web Investments You Should Make This Year

The Best Web Investments You Should Make This Year

Secure Your Company and Web Presence

You don't need to look far to understand that security breaches are happening everywhere and hackers do not seem to discriminate; leaving all organizations vulnerable for an attack. The media surrounding cyber security isn't a scare tactic; network and website attacks are real and prevalent. The good news is that many new protection services are affordable and effective for small and medium size businesses, and well worth the investment.

DC Web Designers offers a variety of products and services specific to our client needs. Our partner, Bricata, offers leading edge Cyber Security solutions designed to detect and prevent attacks by hackers, discover internal threats and ensure that your system is not invaded by malware.

For more information, please email Mark Cyphers or call 410-740-9181 to discuss the best way to protect your organization. For more information on Bricata next generation cyber security solutions, visit their website: http://www.bricata.com.
 

Responsive Web Design

Responsive Web Design translates to mobile compatible websites. By utilizing multiple style sheets for your website, DC Web Designers can now build your organization one website that will be fully compatible for any device.

DCWD Responsive Web Design examples:

To speak with a DCWD team member to discuss adding mobile compatibility to your website, call us at 410-740-9181 or email our website support team.

*** 4/21/2015:  As of today, Google is degrading search results for all websites that are not mobile friendly. A drastic change to the search result algorithm is paying favoritism to mobile-friendly websites, and pushing non compatible sites down or even off the most popular result positions.  Please read our blog Surviving Google's Mobilegeddon. DC Web Designers HIGHLY RECOMMENDS YOU EDUCATE YOURSELF ON THESE CHANGES AND CALL US TO DISCUSS MOVING YOU TO A MOBILE FRIENDLY (RESPONSIVE) WEB DESIGN.  CALL US AT 410-740-9181
 

Sticky Websites

Sticky webpage elements are popping up everywhere, and seem to be sticking around! First responders seem to like them and even went as far as calling them effective. So, what is a sticky element? They are web page components, most frequently a piece of content or call to action important enough to follow users around as they navigate a web page. You will usually find them on the far left or far right edge of the browser, usually in the vertical center of the browser. However, when a user scrolls up or down a page, instead of the page element leaving the viewable area it remains grounded in a constant location..

To speak with a DCWD team member to discuss adding a sticky element to your website, call us at 410-740-9181 or email our website support team.
 

Website Sustainability

In the olden days (2014), most companies made similar mistakes protecting their web investment.  Whether it was due to lack of resources, ineffective tools, or not knowing what to do, they would spend a large dollar amount redesigning their website but fail to sustain it's health following the launch. 

DC Web Designers has proven that properly nourishing the health of the website by making smart changes on an ongoing basis costs less money, increases traffic, and improves the success of our client websites.  

DC Web Designers provides a post launch support plan that provides services that impact the success of our client sites.  Typical client goals are to increase web traffic, convert more users to customers, improve sales, modernize their brand, and create effective messaging,  By creating a detailed plan of execution outlined in our custom Road Map document we provide ongoing services that help achieve those goals over time.  

Our support plan, SiteFit, is highly recommended for clients who have recently launched a new website and are interested in protecting their web investment by improving the success of their site.  SiteFit is a flexible program that requires no long term contract (month to month agreement), and yields results in as little as thirty days.  

To learn more about SiteFit and other support plan options call us at 410-740-9181 or email our website support team.  
 

Video Content

Video content is the obvious progression for the web and the content it delivers. After all, YouTube is the number two search engine in the world. To learn more about adding video content to your website, call us at 410-740-9181 or email our website support team.
 

Mobile Web Apps Replacing Native Apps

Personally, we think native apps have run their course. They are quite inconvenient to build and deploy for developers and costly because they need to be built for multiple operating systems.   Mobile websites, using Responsive Web Design are much lighter weight, provide an optimal viewing experience, and offer similar functionality to many native web apps.  

For those of you wondering what we are talking about, a native app is what you will see at the app store. It requires a long process for approval and an annoying heavy download for the end users. Mobile apps use a browser, no download needed, and run like a typical website. For developers, they are much easier to build and deploy.

If you are interested in getting a mobile solution for your organization, we recommend a responsive website. To learn more about mobile website apps and Responsive Web Design call us at 410-740-9181 or email our website support team.  

Company Intranets

DC Web Designers has an amazing new offering for our clients. Our SmartSite Content Management System has the capabilities to run multiple websites, including a secure, password protected Intranet. Intranets are used for organizations who wish to have a website dedicated to the internal needs of the staff. It is an effective way to keep employees up to speed on company policies, relevant documents, news/events, and other company information that needs to be secure.

Find out how we can turn your SmartSite Content Management System into an enterprise level Internet Management System, call us at 410-740-9181 or email our website support team.

Deep Analytics

DC Web Designers provides analytical software, conversion tools, and social media management that measure the success of your website, provide valuable data about your website visitors, and offer data on the effectiveness of your messaging and calls to action.   

In addition, DC Web Designers provides daily, weekly, or monthly reports with a breakdown of what the data means and how it can be used to make the site more successful, For a live demo please call us at 410-740-9181 or email our website support team

Multi-Lingual and Localization Solutions

DC Web Designers offers a full suite of multi-lingual and localization solutions that enable you to turn your website into a global resource for users around the world. Localize your site for any user by integrating the Go-Global SmartSite module that enables you to add multiple languages as independent websites that can include translations in messaging, web content, and image captions.

Call DC Web Designers to Go-Global at 410-740-9181 or email our website support team


Monday, April 27, 2015 at 12:00 AM




How to Survive Google’s Mobilegeddon

How to Survive Google’s Mobilegeddon…

Google has shaken up the interweb with sweeping changes to their search results algorithm that could end up reducing traffic by 33% for many businesses without responsive (mobile compatible) websites. As of 4/21/2015, Google is playing favorites for mobile friendly websites, giving them a boost in rankings, providing tremendous traffic increases and ultimately more business.

So what happens to the companies without a mobile website?

“Well, unfortunately they are going to see dramatic decreases in their website traffic,” said DC Web Designers President, Mark Cyphers.

“At this time, we’re doing everything we can to reduce the impact it is having on our clients by turning around mobile solutions as quickly as possible. We tried to call Google and ask for a few more weeks, but we have been on hold since Monday,” said Cyphers, jokingly

Google has decided that it’s time organizations provide mobile friendly websites for their users. Instead of a nudge, they opted to give, what seems like, a bullied shove to business owners across the globe.

The good news is search results are only affected when done from a mobile device. The bad news is more than half of Google’s searches are done from a mobile phone or tablet.

How can I tell if my website is mobile friendly?

Let’s face it; you probably already know the answer to this question. However, if you want to cross your fingers, throw some salt over your shoulder, and tap your keyboard with a rabbit foot, go for it. Here is the link to Google’s mobile friendly website analyzer. https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/

If I fail Google’s mobile friendly sniff test, what can I do to reduce the impact to my organization?

The best answer to this question is to call DC Web Designers.  .

“We are building websites that are less expensive than similar sites built 5 years ago,” said Cyphers. 

However, the cost and time to transform your existing site or create a new responsive website depends on a lot of variables, such as the number of pages, existing code base, content management system, technologies, file types, page layouts and many other factors in determining the cost of the switch. .

In fact, many times it may be less expensive to design and build a new website. DC Web Designers has been launching mobile friendly websites for the past two years. Within that time, we  have launched close to 100 mobile or responsive websites. To save time and money, we can re-purpose existing code to reduce the investment and time in getting your mobile site launched.

In addition, there are many resources out there that have pre-packaged web templates that are fully responsive. Many times, we build a custom design and plug it into existing, responsive, HTML templates. By doing so, the project life cycle is drastically reduced, and so is the sticker price of the project.

How do I get started?

“Pick up the phone and talk to one of our seasoned staff members,” says Cyphers. “We’ll evaluate your current web presence, address your current and future growth needs, and turn a proposal around in 48 hours. Depending on the solution we recommend, you could be up in running in as little as two weeks, although most projects run twelve to sixteen weeks. However, we have been doing a lot of work-arounds in the past month, so our clients have something mobile friendly up and running in the shortest time possible.”

Call DC Web Designers at 410-740-9181 or email us at sales@dcwebdesigners.com

Thursday, April 23, 2015 at 12:00 AM




A fool-proof plan to an exceptional user experience

You’ve heard the old saying, “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail”. Planning is an essential part to web design and development. Research and thinking ahead will help shed light on some issues you may come across down the line and prevent your site from becoming “broken”. The word broken here doesn’t just apply to broken links or errors. A failed plan and broken user flow are just as bad!

Our first step is to sit down with a client and talk through what their vision is for their site and to add some ideas of our own. But is our responsibility as the web professionals to take all of these ideas and transform them into a functional user experience. We need to know when a seemingly cool idea will and will NOT work. If the client states that they want to use totally awesome, unexpected verbiage in the navigation, for instance, we need to speak up and remind them that this could possibly cause confusion for the users and diminish the user experience. Instead, we may suggest an ALTERNATIVE way to utilize their super cool verbiage throughout the site.
In the second step, design stage, a web designer needs to design a site with that same  approach.

Think ahead. A great idea may pop into our head for the design, but if we cannot envision how this idea will translate into development stage, we need to rethink this idea. A good web designer thinks like a developer… even if they haven’t a clue how to code. How do these buttons work on click? How about  on hover? How does that dropdown work? Where is the best place to put this callout for high visibility?

With the advent of Responsive web technologies, our thinking and planning has to go even further. What will this desktop content look like on a tablet? On mobile? Which pieces of content will need to be hidden when the site is viewed on mobile, without taking away from the experience? Will this mobile nav be easy to use/find?
Users are now expecting faster and easier interaction, and they are growing less patient… especially users of mobile devices… so we want to keep the sites as simple and straightforward as possible.

The final step, after buildout is to test, test and test some more! There are plenty of emulation tools available to test online, but when possible, there’s no better testing solution than the real devices. We test on androids,  iphones, ipads, computer monitors with multiple screen sizes, different browsers, and so on. With this keen attention to detail, we generate beautiful, functional, user friendly websites with a seamless user flow!

Monday, March 30, 2015 at 12:00 AM




Lessons from Dad

When I was young, I had a love/hate relationship with going to work with my dad. I loved the idea of going to work, spending quality time with my father, and of course, the soda and snacks from the break room.  What I didn’t like so much was walking around the office and having to talk to everyone.  Of the many lessons that he has taught me time and time again, there are 3 that always stick out:

  1. Always tuck in your shirt.
  2. When meeting someone for the first time, always look them in the eyes and give a firm handshake.
  3. When you speak to people, always be confident and engaging.

Sound simple? Well, that’s because it is, and looking back now, there are a lot of ways that these same “guidelines” can and should be used for your website.

 

Tuck in your shirt

Honestly, I didn’t understand this one at first and always disliked it, at the age of six, I wanted to take off my shirt rather than tuck it into my pants, but this was the easiest and most important step of all. It showed that I was in control of the way I looked and respected myself. To my dad, presenting yourself in a positive manner showed that discipline and details were important.

The same goes for your website. You are in control of how your website looks, and having a site that is sloppy of unkempt gives the viewer the same feeling about your organization. How does your website reflect your company? Does it give off the look and feeling that you are going for? Does it give a strong idea of the quality of the work or services that you provide?

 

Look the person in the eye, give them firm hand shake and friendly greeting

It was important to my dad that when he introduced me to someone, I knew how to handle myself. I was to look them in the eye and greet them with a firm handshake, letting them know it was nice to meet them. Being shy and hiding behind him, as I always wanted to do, was not an option. He taught me to be assertive and make the best of these introductions.

From a web perspective, this can be compared to the time after the visitor has passed judgment on the look and feel of your site, and they are now measuring up the entire website. Relevancy for web users can take many different forms, but the main idea is that when they visit your site, they are provided with relevant material and calls to action for why they are there in the first place. The content on your homepage will determine how the rest of “conversation” will go. Does your website greet and engage your visitors, showing them that your company is happy they are on your site and they are in the right place to find what they need?

 

 

Speak to the person and be confident and engaging

Now comes the hard part, and my dad never let me off the hook on this one. “Can’t I just say hi and then move on to the next person?” I would plea to him.  Not a chance. I wasn’t going to get away with looking down at my shuffling feet, mumbling simple yes or no answers, either. When talking to someone, I was to look at them and be engaged.  

 

Websites have the unique advantage that the user views your site for a specific reason, whether though a search or directly typing in the URL, so all you need to do is “speak” to their needs to keep them engaged. This is done through the content of the site, and a well-designed website gives you the ability to engage all types of visitors and steer the “conversation”. Don’t make the common mistake of dumping tons of information on the viewer, hoping that they find something they like. Instead, address your targets and strategize your content placement to be what they want. Just like talking to someone, there is a clear difference between a meaningful exchange and just going through the motions.

 

I have learned and continue to learn lessons from my dad, but knowing that I’m in control of how others view me and that first impressions last translate in many areas of my life, including a career in website design. 



Also, remember:


You never get a second chance to make a good first impression.”

-- Will Rogers



Monday, August 11, 2014 at 12:00 AM




When to Stay Out of Your Web Vendor's Way

When to trust the professionals

Many companies engaging in the website project process are unclear about their roles and responsibilities, and to be frank, each one has different expectations from their web vendor. Some clients want to drive the direction of the entire project; they feel they understand their organization best and therefore should be the lead decision maker on design, content, functionality, and usability. Other clients expect the web vendor to make all of the decisions; they expect their hired firm to provide them with branding strategies, messaging, content, and market research.

The truth is that the most successful web projects are when there is a good balance of decision making between the client and the vendor. The best results come from a high-trust, collaborative partnership, in which each side provides ideas and thoughts on the pieces of the project.   

That being said, there are two main areas in which the client should always let their design firm drive the decision making.

Look and feel

Design styles, user expectations, and technologies change so fast that even the experts who work day in and day out in the web world can’t possibly keep up with the latest and greatest upgrades. However, you hired them for a reason.There is a good chance that your decision to hire them was solely due to the quality of their portfolio. You liked their design style, and hoped your new website would be of similar quality. Therefore, it is a good idea to let them drive this part of the project.  

Unless you dislike the original mock-ups they created for you, you should let them win the little battles of layout and design execution. They have an eye for what people like, and you should trust their expertise.  If you decide to scrutinize every little aspect of the design, it will lose quality. In fact, we have had many clients go through countless revisions and never be fully satisfied with the final product. When this happens, we’ll go back and show them the original mock-ups, prior to the revision cycle, and they fall in love with the design all over again.

You wouldn't tell a doctor how to diagnose your symptoms, or offer guidance to your attorney on how to defend your case.  Let the designers do what they do best, and trust them through the design process of your project.

Technology requirements

Many clients have a bad habit of providing technical advice to their web vendors.  Their company’s IT guy might have told them to use certain software, or they recently read an article in FastCompany about a great CMS, and they decide it is a good idea to tell their web developer which technologies to use on their web project.  While it is great to be informed, web design and development companies have most likely worked with a variety of web tools and know which ones are best to use based on your RFP requirements.  By understanding your content types, work flow, security needs, and hosting platform, your vendor has most likely already narrowed your options down to one or two systems.  Your budget will probably determine which of those systems is best for your organization.  

However, before moving ahead blindly on your vendor’s recommendation, it is a great idea to read up on the technologies they are recommending, and plan on demoing them before making a final decision.  In some scenarios, web vendors may push a certain software or technology because they built it, or it’s all they know.  If that is the case, then definitely take the time to educate yourself a bit so you don’t get stuck with a buggy, homemade, proprietary system, or an over-hyped open source solution.

Monday, June 9, 2014 at 12:00 AM




Homepage Slider Best Practices

As most website designers know, jQuery homepage sliders are a great way to merchandise important information you want your users to consume.  Just because the click through rate on sliders typically seems to be low, it doesn't necessarily mean your users are not reading them.  Below are a few things to consider when setting up or modifying your homepage sliders.

Slider Messaging Ideas

Corporate Message:  A lot of companies use a corporate message as their opening frame.  This concept is a great way to introduce who you are and what you do to new potential customers.

Competitive Separation:  If your organization is doing or selling something that is more effective than your competitor set, use a frame in your slider to demonstrate the valuable differences.  An example could be something along the lines of...

“7 out of 10 blind folded volunteers preferred the taste of Pepsi over Coke.”

Products and Services:  If your organization has product and service offering you are hoping to sell or develop interest in, use a slider frame to showcase them.

Specials / Promotions:  If you are running a promotion or special, showcase it within a slider frame.

The new era of web design is one full of homepage animation and graphic images. These images should convey your business's message in a clear and enticing manner. The goal of the marketing campaign should be to appeal to the potential client’s emotions. This way, they are more inclined to choose you as a vendor for their services. The most important thing to remember when developing the concepts for your new jQuery sliders is to promote yourself and your business as a leader in the industry. In terms of responsive web design, these images adjust to fit different devices for viewer convenience. In a time when new web design features are being developed at a daily rate, you need to stay ahead of your competitors in the race for business.

Tips and Tricks

Tell a story or use like items:  The last thing you want to do is be all over the place when positioning your company messaging.  When utilized incorrectly, sliders are a quick way to get in trouble and confuse users if you aren't smart about the approach.  For instance, don’t say…March Madness Sale...followed by…Like us on Facebook…followed by...A Promise from our President…

You will be much better off targeting one topic and telling a story that comes to life through each frame.

Use Call to Actions:  Make sure users know that there is more content to come.  Create calls to action with each frame to drive users to the content relevant to the slider messaging.

Provide Hints:  Let users know that more frames are to come, or they can navigate through to other frames using arrows or thumbnails.

Track Your Users

It is great practice to track your user behavior.  Using analytic software, it is easy to set up tracking on each slider frame to see how many times it is viewed and clicked. 

Conclusion

A great suggestion for a homepage slider is don’t use one if you don’t need it.  However, if you have a slider on your homepage it is very important it isn't an afterthought.  It needs a purpose.  If you can tell a story, create an emotional response, and get users to click on the material you hoped they would, you have succeeded.  Good Luck!


Monday, April 21, 2014 at 12:00 AM




A Challenge to Website Owners

Ask any experienced Personal Trainer or Nutritionist, and I’m sure they will agree that one of the most effective ways to improve your health and eating habits is to keep a log of everything that you eat for 2 weeks. If you are honest with yourself and keep a truthful record, you will be able to see where you are participating in negative behaviors and how you can make adjustments that will benefit your lifestyle. 

This same idea can be applied to your website, but without spending two weeks of your valuable time. For one day (or half a day), we challenge you to take note of every website that you visit and keep track of the following items:
1. The website 2. Is it your first time or are you a return visitor 3. Why you went on the site a. To gain information b. To buy something c. For entertainment purposes 4. Were you successful/ did you leave the site in the middle of your session 5. What caught your eye 6. Did you view the site on a desktop/mobile/tablet
Understanding how you interact and make decisions on websites is challenging because it is difficult to be self-aware; We may not realize why we preform certain online actions. Once you pay attention to how you navigate sites, you will have a better idea of what a measurement of a successful user session looks like, and can take a closer look at your own site. DC Web Designers’ president, Mark Cyphers, has spent a lot of time educating clients on the importance of creating a “user-centric” website and the dangers of having an “organization-out” design and content architecture. We can help you obtain the successful user sessions your website needs. 

Call us at 410-740-9181 or email us at info@dcwebdesigners.com for more information on the benefits on user-centric websites. 


Friday, March 28, 2014 at 12:00 AM




The Next Big Idea

Every week we get calls from people that have big ideas for the next Facebook, Twitter, eBay, or Trulia, but they are rarely fully prepared to hire a web development company for these undertakings. We understand that typically the main reason to contact a web design firm is to get an idea of what the cost of the project will be in order bring numbers to investors or plan out project budgets. With this being the main focus, it is important to make sure that you understand the different kinds and amounts of information necessary in order for us to properly give you an accurate price estimate. 

In order to assure that your first meetings or phone calls with web development firms are effective, informative, and without surprises, there is a short checklist below to help you. (Remember, the more detailed you are, the easier it will be to receive accurate costs.)

1. Have you done your research? 

a. Do you use Google and other search engines?
b. Who are your targets, how many are there and where? 
c. Is there anyone doing what you want to do currently, who will your competitors be? 
d. What is your differentiator, or what is it that will make your idea stand out or better?
e. Do a simple SWOT analysis.
i. Strengths
ii. Weaknesses
iii. Opportunities
iv. Threats

If you put in the leg work along with the type of research described above, it will make the rest of your project process much smoother and will also allow you to focus your efforts on the end goal of launching a successful project. 

2. Do you have written information prepared on the business/service?

a. Business plan
b. Mission statements

3. Technical aspects 

This is the most important piece in making sure that you secure accurate pricing from all the vendors that you reach out to. If you have strict requirements and can paint a clear picture, companies will be able to outline the services and costs that you require as well as give you break downs for where time and money need to be spent. Remember that the design and development company is there to help you and give you guidance during the project, but if they don’t understand what you are looking for in the beginning, there will be additional time and costs that can add up. Some good things to have prepared are:

a. Functionality requirements:
i. What are the goals of your site?
ii. What does a typical visitor session look like?
iii. What is the user able to accomplish or gain from your site?
iv. Wireframes to show relationships and UX

4. Non-Disclosure agreement 

If you are willing to put in the time to develop your idea and draw out moving parts, you will find that responses from potential vendors will be consistent and precise. This allows you to not have to spend valuable time reviewing documents trying to compare apples to oranges. 



Friday, February 28, 2014 at 1:10 PM




The Many Factors of Google Rankings

 Do you want to come up higher in search engine rankings?

What are the factors that actually affect your website’s ranking on Google and other search engines?  You may be surprised to find out that there are many things that you could be doing to help your business to show up higher in the rankings.

We often tell our clients that we will provide them with not only the tools, but also the knowledge to continually increase their rankings in major search engines. Below is a great article from Entrepreneur Media, Inc. that supplies a nicely outlined info graphic that lists the factors that are believed to be involved in Google’s ranking system (although Google has never published them).

http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/226884 

We encourage you to read the list yourself because there is an abundance of valuable information. Even if it doesn’t improve your ranking by much, it will improve your Internet presence and overall website. Below we have highlighted a few of the factors that popped out to us and are rarely mentioned when talking about SEO.

  1. Domain Registration Length:

     “Valuable (Legitimate) domains often paid for several years in advance, while doorway (illegitimate) domains rarely are used more than a year. Therefore, the date when a domain expires in the future can be used as a factor in predicting the legitimacy of a domain.” – A Google patent

  2. Magnitude of Content changes:

    The “freshness” of content is understood to help your rankings, but it is believed that the amount of content has an effect as well. It should go without saying, but a full section edit is different than changing around a few words here and there. Frequency is key when it comes to content updates.

  3. Keyword Prominence

    Having a keyword show up in the first 100 words of a page appears to be a significant relevancy signal. Google still uses keyword density to determine the topics of webpages.

  4. Multimedia

Having images, video, and other multimedia elements indicate quality content.

 You can use these factors as tools to improve your site. Remember that many of the tips and suggestions that are on the list are things that will make your visitors’ interactions with you through your website, social media, branding, and other outlets better. In return, you will see your company’s value increased over a short amount of time.

 -Andrew Kendall, Sales Director


Friday, February 21, 2014 at 1:35 PM





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