SEO Website Design

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Posted on May 27, 2015 by MyNetWire
Categories: SEO, Website Design
From the largest multinational corporation to the smallest local business, companies nowadays heavily rely on website design for service, marketing, and overall brand-building. There's no avoiding the need for a solid and vibrant web presence when running a business. More and more, consumers judge a business on their website. Even if a company offers outstanding products and services, a poor web designing job can spell trouble in the long-term. Digital media marketing has gone a long way in just a decade; imagine how it can -- and will -- change in the years to come.
 
Website Design
 
One of the more recent innovations to hit the world of website designing is search engine optimization (SEO). What is SEO? Search engine optimization is a marketing strategy that uses the power of online search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo! to reach a broad base of customers. How broad? Well, simply put -- the world! The search engine industry is worth approximately $16 billion and reaches billions of people every day. Search engines process an astounding 100 billion inquiries every month. A recent study by OutBrain found that search engines are by far the predominant driver of traffic to content websites. Because of the widespread, constant use of search engines, companies have developed a method that takes advantage of search engines.
 
Web designing takes a different turn under a SEO campaign. Under SEO, a website is designed a certain way as to attract search engines when they're looking for relevant web content. By including certain phrases and keywords as well as certain web designing techniques, businesses can increase their website's visibility dramatically. With SEO, a company has the possibility of being featured first (or as close to it as possible) on a search results page for certain keywords. Doing so will almost guarantee more traffic and, as a result, more business.
 
For more information about web designing and SEO, feel free to contact us.
Posted on May 26, 2015 by MyNetWire
Categories: Website Design
In Indianapolis, along with everywhere else, businesses simply must have a strong online presence in order to grow. There’s no other way. From social media profiles and paid advertisements to search engine optimization (SEO) and web designing, a company’s online assets are important now more than ever. The Internet provides the world with instant communication and access to knowledge never before seen. In just twenty years, the number of Internet users shot up from a quaint 45 million to more than three billion today. Never in human history have three billion people done anything together, let alone instantaneously.
 
Along with every other avenue in life, business has dramatically changed due to the World Wide Web. Consumers expect more information, faster service, and better methods of searching for what they want when they want it, and the Internet has delivered those wants to them -- for a price. Businesses are compelled to be up-to-date and completely thorough in their online services. Home pages. Online ordering. Troubleshooting. Inquiries and customer service. Things once done in person, telephone, or by mail have been completely taken over by the Internet. As the Internet grows, so do consumer demands.
 
The upside for business, however, is that companies are able to get more done and grow at a phenomenal rate. Look no further than Facebook and Amazon to see how enormous Internet-based companies have become. Businesses can sell, buy, trade, lease, rent, manufacture, communicate, and market like never before -- anytime, across the world. All with the click of a mouse.
 
Businesses serious about growth, both locally and beyond, need a robust Internet marketing services and website designing in order to survive. Here at MyNetWire, we realize the potential for growth, which is why we specialize in website design. First impressions matter, so our job is to design websites that draw users in from Day 1. How do you do that? By creating web content that is not only high quality and pleasing to the eye but also doing it in a way that will draw attention from the right sources -- i.e. local users, search engines, targeted parts of the market, etc. Whatever a business does, whomever it appeals to, its website is its best -- and first -- asset to have for reaching out, marketing a brand, and growing.
 
What does web design entail, exactly? As you may imagine, quite a bit! Website design involves marketing, communication, interface, layout, still and motion graphics. To better illustrates the several facets of website design, here is a list with a detailed explanation of each:
 
  1. Marketing and Communication: This is a critical component of any business, online or off. What makes it unique (and challenging) for websites is that the website must reflect the company’s brand in every possible way. From the typeface and the colors in the background to the mere placement of media files, a website is more than just a bunch of links strung together. The details of successful marketing for website design are vast; the strategies quite sophisticated. In fact, every aspect of web design takes marketing the brand into consideration in one way or another. Take, for example, the next point.
     
  2. User Interface: User interface (UI) simply refers to the way users use a website. Ostensibly, UI is one of the most important aspects of a website. After all, a business can offer great services and products and can present itself very well in writing but without a clear, reliable interface the user won’t be able to appreciate all of that! The design and implementation of user interface is the building block of any website.

    When discussing user interface, there are two components to keep in mind. First is the actual user interface: what the user will see. The website may have, for example, a continual scroll as opposed to a limited one -- an option popular for websites that want to be mobile friendly. It may have its “about” page linked directly to the homepage or it may have it linked elsewhere. The graphics may be at the top instead of the bottom in order to better attract customers. The company’s logo may be featured once or several times on the same page. These options and more are things user interface designers have to think about when building a webpage from scratch.

    The other component of UI is known as user experience design (UX). User experience design can be described as the initial setup of UI. That is, it provides the “blueprint” for the website. To use an analogy of building construction, the UX would be the architectural design of a building. What the building will look like. The building materials used. The layout of the rooms and offices. Etc. Once the basic framework is laid out, it is the job for the interior designer (which in website design is the UI designer) to flesh out the building. They decide what floors to use, what blinds to install, the colors of the walls, and the layout of the lobby. Etc. The two aspects of website design, much like building construction, go hand-and-hand. The best websites are those that find a balance between the two.
     
  3. Page Layout: Page layout has been around since...well, pages themselves! The same sort of principles designers use when constructing web pages were used by medieval monks when creating manuscripts. Where should the text be? Images? How much space should there be between lines. How big is the font size? Etc. With website design, however, the electronic format allows for more space and diversity in putting content on a page, something the monks with their lambskin parchments and quill pens didn’t have!

    There are two things web designers keep in mind when constructing page layout: the design and the coding. The design aspect is what a user sees on the screen. The coding is what makes it all happen. Many pages use HTML coding, for example, for content and general structure. For presentation details such as typography and spacing, cascading style sheets (CSS) are used. For interactive elements of a webpage (for example, the feature that lets you open a document), a dynamic programming language such as JavaScript is used.

    As Sitepoint.com explains, there are four main types of layouts: fixed-width layouts, fluid layouts, elastic layouts, and hybrid layouts. Fixed-width layouts are the most traditional kind. Under this layout, pages are binded by a certain amount of pixels (usually 960 pixels). The advantage of fixed-width is that it is relatively straightforward. However, computer screens larger than 960 pixels present problems. In contrast, fluid layouts base their size on percentages, rather than pixels, affording them more space and flexibility. Another layout, elastic, is similar in its flexibility (as indicated by its name) but with one key difference: instead of being measured by percentages, elastic layouts base their design on ems. What is an em? An em is a standard of measurement based off of the number of pixels the typeface of the website uses. For example, if the typeface size is 10 pixels, 1 em is equivalent to 10 pixels, 2 ems is equivalent to 20 pixels, and so forth. This layout is popular with website designers for its convenience. The last layout design, hybrid, is a mix of two or more layouts on the same page. A hybrid layout may feature a fluid layout for the sidebar but an elastic layout for the table of contents. The last three layouts are very popular nowadays with the advent of smartphones. Because websites are expected to cater to both desktop and mobile devices for Internet use, fluid, elastic, and hybrid layouts are in high demand.

    There are many other codes and elements to consider but the important thing is this: page layout is quite complex, taking considerable knowledge of program coding and design for it to succeed.

     
  4. Motion and Still Graphics: Graphic design handles the non-textual components of communication. That is, any image or video, no matter how rudimentary, fall under graphic design. Images and videos must be coded in a certain way in order for a) the user to see them and b) for search engines and other Internet services to see them. Programs such as Adobe help website designers embed media files and plugins like Flash help the user see them better. Without motion and still graphic design, a webpage would be more-or-less an essay-like forum -- and no one wants that!
     
  5. Search Engine Optimization: The last point mentioned here is relatively new (at least compared to the points before it) but is rapidly increasing in popularity. What is search engine optimization? SEO is the process of designing a website in order to better attract search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo! Search engine optimization relies heavily on website design. Google “crawlers” (i.e. programs that scour the Internet for relevant content) look for certain qualities when searching for and indexing websites. The job of a SEO campaign is to create web content that matches what the crawlers are looking for.

    To better illustrate how it works, let’s say you own a bakery and want a SEO campaign for your website. Your website would be structured in a way that includes certain keywords and phrases that would attract a crawler for users who search for bakery-related things. By using keywords like “bakery stores,” “cakes,” “personalized cupcakes,” “local bakeries,” and “eclairs” for example, the website has a higher chance of being noticed and indexed by the crawlers.

    Why does SEO matter? Because of the results. The better a SEO campaign is, the higher the website will be placed in a search results page. And the higher the placement, the more traffic and notoriety it will receive. Moz recently cited a 2011 study which indicates that the number 1 position of a Google search results page receives 18.2% of all click-through traffic. That is an astounding number! The second position receives 10.1%, the third 7.2%, and the fourth 4.8%; the others receive less than 2%. If your website is ranked within the top ten, if will receive on average 52.3% of the click-through traffic for that search inquiry. That means that more than half of Google users will most likely check out your website at least once.

    So in order to ensure a robust SEO campaign, website designers build websites to best reflect the wants of search engines, which in turn reflect the desires of the users. And given that more than 100 billion search inquiries are processed every month, that search engines are a $16 billion industry, and that 93% of all sessions on the Internet begin on a search engine, businesses would be wise to take advantage of SEO!
Now, having going through the nuts and bolts of website design, you may still be wondering about the bottom line: Will better website design mean better profits? As with many business questions such as this, the answer is yes and no. As KISSmetrics shrewdly points out, an improved website will generally mean an improved revenue. However, that depends on the goals of your webpage. If, for example, you want your webpage to be more informative and you do not sell anything online, a solid website design may not yield high sales. If you’re primarily interested in boosting sales, it’s important to get feedback -- constant feedback -- from the users. Conducting surveys and polls is a great way to see what your website needs and what it doesn’t. Performing tests on your website will also help in that regard. Don’t let up with the surveys and tests. Without them, you will not gain the valuable direct insight from users, who are really what website designing is all about.
 
Companies large and small are taking advantage of the World Wide Web through website design and other services. It used to be that only the large corporations needed a website. Now, practically everything needs one! At MyNetWire, we understand the pressing need for clear, fast, and stylish webpages. Our services and dedicated team of designers, programmers, and marketers will cater to your every online need. For more information, feel free to leave a comment or question at the bottom.
Posted on May 21, 2015 by MyNetWire
Categories: Website Design
Having an active, prominent online presence has never been more important in the world of business. As technology and the Internet continue to become more commonplace in our lives (both personally and professionally), businesses all of kinds need to catch up. Having a solid online presence is no longer just an option; it is a necessity. Companies with a poor or nonexistent online presence (which includes homepages, blogs, social media, wikis, etc.) simply cannot survive for long when so many businesses kill the competition with digital media marketing. Internet marketing services are nothing new. However, the kinds of services and methods used are always changing. Companies who do not identify or employ the changes risk losing everything.
 
Simply put, an online presence can make or break a business.
 
Of the recent innovations in Internet marketing and website design, search engine optimization (or SEO) is one of the most important. In fact, one could argue that is is the most important component of online marketing, since it is focused on one of the most important features of the Internet itself: the search engine.
 
Why are search engines, such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo!, so important? Because they are by far the most widely used service on the Internet -- and not just in the United States. Every month, search engines process approximately 100 billion inquiries around the world. A recent study conducted by OutBrain revealed that search engines drive the most amount of traffic to content websites than any other source on the Internet (such as social media and direct advertising). Another study from MarketingCharts found that nearly two out of five online purchases come from a search engine. As the number of search engine users (in the billions now) continues to climb, so will the demand for search engine-based services.
 
In order to use search engines to their fullest, it's essential to learn as much as you can about them. As Moz illustrated in “The Beginner’s Guide to SEO,“ everything a search engine does boils down to one of two functions: crawling and indexing. “Crawling” is the process of searching the Internet for content. Search engine companies like Google spend a considerable amount of their time and resources on developing tools that can scour the Internet for webpages. These tools, robots commonly known as “crawlers” or “spiders,” travel through billions of interconnected documents on the World Wide Web. These websites are connected, in one way or another, by links.
 
Crawling, however, is only half the battle. Spiders are useful up to a point, but without an adequate way of recording, or “indexing,” these pages, spiders cannot serve much of a purpose. When a spider reaches a webpage, it deciphers its data and stores select parts in a datacenter for future use. Since there are an estimated 4.5 billion pages on the Internet, search engine companies maintain gigantic datacenters. Google alone has 13 datacenters around the globe, from Singapore to Dublin.
 
These datacenters store vast amounts of information and are expected to deliver results to any user, anywhere, instantly. Even a one-to-two second delay is considered “slow” by current standards. Mindful of these, search engines hire an army of engineers, software developers, researchers, and computer programmers to keep the datacenters up and running.
 
Even after the crawling and the indexing are done (and it's important to note that both functions happen nearly continually), one major obstacle remains between the webpage and the user. Search engines must decide what pages to include in their results pages and what to leave out. Have you ever wondered why certain pages are listed they way they are? Do you know why, when you search for “books” on Google, for example, the first page that shows up is Amazon, Barnes and Noble comes in second, and Google Books takes third place? Well, Google and other search engines generate their results based on two qualities: relevance and popularity.
 
By their standards, “relevance” means how many times a certain word or phrase appears on a website. In contrast, “popularity” refers to the how many times a website is visited. The more a page is visited, the logic goes, the higher quality it must be. Of course, Google uses much more complex information than just keywords or traffic count in its calculations. It uses hundreds of algorithms, and considers hundreds of variables, in order to make the best determinations on relevance and popularity. Page link authority features, page keyword usage, domain level anchor text, brand metrics, and a slew of other fancy-sounding elements are constantly evaluated to deliver the best search results.
 
You probably get it by now that search engines are important. However, you might be thinking why search engine optimization? Surely one can use the global reach of the search engine without implementing a sophisticated strategy involving a mountain of equations, programs, and research? After all, search engines aren’t the only guns in town. Social media such as Facebook and Twitter have billions of followers. Why not just use them, free of charge? There is also the tried and true method of direct paid advertisements. Ads, it seems, will never get out of fashion (just ask Don Draper).
 
Though social media and direct advertisements are useful, they are simply not enough by themselves. The fact is that search engine optimization is the leading online marketing strategy today. How? Just consider the growth of the market. A Pew Research studye found that in 2002, approximately 33% of all Internet users visited a search engine at least once a day. By 2011, that percentage grew to 59% -- nearly 100% increase! Americans alone place more than 20 billion search inquiries every month, according to comScore. Search engines are so ubiquitous, in fact, that a Burke report found that search engines are now used more than the Yellow Book (76% compared to 74%, respectively).
 
Business owners interested in tapping into that 20-billion-a-month market need to use SEO -- but just using it is not enough. It has to be done right. What is the goal, ultimately, in setting up a SEO campaign? Rankings, rankings, rankings.
 
Ostensibly, specific rankings wouldn’t seem to make much of a difference. After all, how important is it to be ranked number 1 rather than number 2? Number 2 and number 3? Page 1 vs. page 2? The truth is: it matters a lot. A 2011 study by Slingshot SEO found that the number 1 position on Google’s results page receives an average of 18.2% of all click-through traffic for that specific search. How do the other positions fare? Second receives 10.1%, third 7.2%, and fourth 4.8%. All other pages receive less than 2%. The average click-through rate of the first 10 sites is 52.32%. You don’t have to be a statistician to appreciate the incredible value of ranking 10th or higher.
 
Search Engine Optimization
 
Search engine optimization campaigns have to be finely tuned in order to yield the most visibility. One of the most important components of any SEO project is website design. Websites designed for optimal visibility must be structured a certain way, just like Google and Bing’s crawlers are structured a certain way. When designing a page for SEO, website designers should keep a few things in mind:
  • Watch out for online forms. A form such as a login may block a crawler from accessing any pages behind it.
  • Avoid duplicate pages. As much as this may seem obvious, many websites created by a content management system (CMS) feature duplicate versions of the same page. Since crawlers are mostly interested in original content, duplications can confuse them.
  • Coding needs to be up to snuff in order to garner attention. Incorrect crawling directives (such as robots.txt) or link structures can stall or even block crawlers entirely. Even if a page is indexed, poor coding can lead to a very low ranking.
  • Non-text content such as Flash files, images, photos, audio, and plug-in content are not picked up as easily by crawlers as HTML text. Including such files using a readable code dramatically increases visibility and index worth.
Simply put, the more in common the design has with the crawlers, the more attention it will get.
 
There is, of course, a pesky issue besides website design that also deserves attention. Keywords (that is, the words and phrases included in web content meant to draw spiders) are just as vital to the success of a campaign as website design, and, as with website design, there are certain caveats to consider when choosing the right keywords:
 
  • Use the most common terms. Using rare or niche words can thwart rankings. Writing “processing units,” for example, rather than “computers” can lead users to another direction, even if the content is highly relevant to computers.
  • Spelling should be appropriate for the location. Writing “check,” for example, would not work as well in Canada as it would in the U.S.; companies that want to appeal to Canadian consumers are better off writing “cheque” instead. Similarly, a company that writes content in French, for example, is out of luck if its clientele is mostly based in Germany.
  • Using the right keywords means using them in the right place. If a keyword is conspicuously out of context with the rest of the text, crawlers will steer clear from them. For example, if the main keyword of a page is “Florida oranges” but the content itself is about a New York restaurant that serves fresh-squeezed Florida orange juice, a crawler is likely to get confused and may ignore or poorly index the page as a result.
  • Lastly, consider the "golden rule" of SEO: do NOT just include a keyword over and over again on a page. So-called "keyword stuffing" will get a campaign nowhere -- and, in fact, will even cause rankings to fall. Years ago, when search engines and SEO campaigns were just starting, some website designers in Indianapolis would simply include a keyword multiple times on a page, even if it didn’t make sense in context. The strategy worked initially, but search engine companies eventually caught on and developed algorithms to detect such tricks, ultimately leading to penalties. Simply inflating the keyword density no longer works for SEO.
Of course, no matter how brilliant the strategy, comprehensive the web page, and astute the keywords, a SEO campaign still relies on “getting the word out” for the web content itself. Yes, search engines rely on popularity (i.e. the amount and kind of traffic it receives) to determine rankings, but even if a web page is of poor quality, it can still gain favorable rankings if it’s visited and talked about enough. That is where other kinds of Internet marketing tools, such as social networking and paid advertisements, come into play.
 
There is considerably more to learn about search engine optimization. Google, after all, spends millions of dollars and employs thousands of people every year just to keep afloat, and as a result, search engine optimization experts are always on their toes learning about (and improving on) the latest SEO methods. Although it's crucial for businesses to employ this tactic as part of their overall marketing strategy, it's also difficult for a layperson to undertake successfully -- which is why companies that want to focus on their core business should consider hiring an agency to handle their search engine marketing needs.
 
Overall, search engine optimization is an invaluable tool for businesses in the same way that search engines are an invaluable service for users. The world of business (and technology) is constantly changing. Businesses that are not in the loop risk losing it all. It is fair to say, too, that as business and technology respond to the world’s wants and needs, they in turn help shape the world itself. 
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