2015 was an amazing year here at Sundial Studios. We worked with some amazing new clients, worked on more than a few extremely challenging projects and expanded our incredible team of programmers, developers and SEO experts. What was once a one-person operation is now much much more!
SEO – Search Engine Optimization…
It’s a word that’s thrown around a lot these days. In the most basic of ideas, SEO is a process that is done to a website to make Google, Bing! and Yahoo! like it a more so it will rank higher.
My website has never been rude to any mobile device – does that mean it’s ok?
Uhh, no… It means you need a website that is specifically designed to function on a mobile device; either by being “responsive” or using a dedicated theme or mobile framework.
Mobile Traffic and Mobile Sales are way up for 2014!
Thanksgiving Online Sales Up 14%, One-Third Of Sales On Mobile Led By iOS!
What it does provide, however, are statistics outlining how people are shopping. IBM found that mobile, led by iOS, continues to rise in prominence in the e-commerce universe. Mobile devices now account for over half of all site traffic, up 10 percentage points on 2013; and now one-third (32.33%) of all sales are being completed on mobile devices, up seven percentage points.
Read the whole TechCrunch article here
Add some valuable content to your website, often!
If we hear one question from every client, it’s how long it will take their website to get on the first page of Google. As a follow-up to an earlier blog post “Why isn’t my site first” I wanted to dive into that question a little deeper.
First, nobody can guarantee that you’ll be on the first page of Google; we don’t have the ability to link into Google’s billion-dollar infrastructure and add your site; it simply doesn’t work that way.
Google uses an algorithm, or really complex set of variablesÂ to show search results. Well, to be more accurate, Google hasÂ manyÂ algorithms that they change multipleÂ times per year. It used to be that you’d add a bunch of keywords to the bottom of your pages and you’d show-up in Google; now that will hurt your ranking.
Add content, often.
When we start a new website we are typically given a Word document with some text to add. This is a great starting point, but it’s not enough to get you on the 1st page of Google. You need to add text on a regular basis, change some text and look at what happens to your ranking.
- You should add or change the text on your homepage at least once per month. That way whenÂ the alien technology at Google scans your site they’ll notice something has changed and will add it to the list again.
- You know your business better than we do, so you should look at the page titles and make sure someone who doesn’t know you will immediately know what you offer. This page title is often considered one of the most important elements of good SEO.
- Google your industry in the same wayÂ a customer would – don’t just Google your name.
- Paste a link to your website into Facebook; what does the title say? Is the description accurate? What photo is displayed?
- Add links to your website – join forums and groupsÂ for your industry who have websites where you can link to your site. These links will help your SEO, however don’t fall into the trap of the old “link farms” where you pay a fee an get links; Google doesn’t like that.
- Don’t duplicate content (don’t use the same text on multiple pages). Where this used to help in the past, now it hurts.
- Add a blog; if you’re using WordPress it’s really simple and takes about 10 minutes. Every week (or every few weeks if you’re superÂ busy) just type about what you know, adding some of your industry relevant keywords in with the text.
I could go on for pages, but in a nutshell; make sure you add or change the text on your website (particularly the homepage) at least once per month, give relevant information and try to add links back to your site from other websites (Facebook, Google & Twitter area easy ones to start with).
If you’d like a detailed SEO report of your website for free, [iphorm_popup id=”10″ name=”Free SEO Evaluation”]click here and I’ll generate a report for you.[/iphorm_popup]
Your domain name is one of the most important pieces of intangible and intellectual propertyÂ that your business has. It’s the direct line of communication between your customers and you. It’s how people find you online and make purchases. It’s how your current customers tell their friends to find you and it’s a vital part of your business.
One thing that we consistently come across when meeting new clients is how often they have ceded control of their own domain name to their current or former web developer. 99% of the time this is done without knowing the ramifications, the options and the potential legal pitfalls thisÂ can cause.
PLEASE DON’T TRANSFER YOUR DOMAIN NAME TO A WEB DEVELOPER!
Once you transfer your domain, you are no longer the legal owner of it – think about it…
Many web developers, freelancers and unscrupulous web designers will convince a small business owner that domain names need to be transferred over to their account in order to build, modify and maintain the website they are building for you -Â THIS IS FALSE INFORMATION
It happens like this… You hire a web design company to build or re-design your website. They tell you that in order to guarantee that it works properly, you need to transfer your domain to the new hosting service because yours isn’t fast enough / powerful enough / not the right system etc… Of course, you hired this company so you trust them, and you follow their instructions. The next thing you know, you no longer own, or have control of, your own domain name(s).
If you are presented with this situation, please don’t transfer your domain – EVER! Â Every domain registration company I have worked with offers the ability for you to update the NAMESERVERS for your domain name. Think of this like a “change of address card” you’d get from the post office. You retain ownership and control of your domain, and simply direct the traffic to your developer’s server.
If your web developer requests that you transfer yourÂ domain to their hosting, simply ask them for their NAMESERVERSÂ and update them at your registrar. This will keep you as the legal and rightful owner of your domain name and simply direct traffic to their servers.
If you change web developers sometime in the future, you can simply update the NAMESERVERS again, but you always have control of your domain.
This will protect your investment and keep you in control!
Questions? Please contact me today!
Owner / Creative Director
I was recently having a conversation with some colleagues and the topic of Private Web Browsing came up. I was surprised to learn that most people have never used or even know about Private Web Browsing.
Basically it’s a function built into all the major web browsers that allows you to browse the web without being tracked, without cookies being saved to your computer and without forms and history being saved.
Besides the obvious, there are some great reasons to use Private Web Browsing; let’s say you have 2 Google accounts (one for personal and one for business) and you need to access the one you aren’t currently logged into. Instead of logging-out, then signing in with your other account, simply open a new “Private Window” and login. You’ll remain logged-in to your current account and the private window will logon with your other account – it couldn’t be easier or more convenient.
Using Private Web Browsing also prevents those ads from following you… Have you noticed that one day you do a search, let’s say for a 55″LED TV. All of a sudden you start to see ads for LED TV’s on different sites you visit. Those are tracked via a “cookie” which is not chewy and chocolaty goodness, but a small text-file saved on your computer that remembers you.
When you use Private Web Browsing, those cookies aren’t saved to your computer and you won’t be tracked.
Chrome calls it “Incognito Window”
Firefox calls it: “Private Window”
Safari calls it: “Private Browsing”
Internet Explorer Calls it: “InPrivate Browsing”
Give it a shot and see how it works for you!
Contact us with any questions!
Owner / Creative Director
The time has come – you have approved your new website, all the content is there, pictures are uploaded, it’s been QC’d and we have moved it to your hosting server, does that mean it’s done?
Excellent question! This would be considered the “build-phase” part of your website; which would be a completed site that is fully functional. In reality this is really only about half of the overall website build process. The other half involves fine-tuning, tweaking, adjusting and Search Engine Optimizing.
How long does all that take?
First the fine-tuning and tweaking; that typically goes on for a couple of weeks as the site is viewed in a real-world environment and by you and your employees. You may find that the logo size you first selected just doesn’t look quite right when viewed on an iPhone, or that there is too much text on the homepage. These things are simple to fix and are expected as a normal part of our projects.
Second is the Search Engine Optimizing. This part is a little more tricky to answer… The Internet is as close to a living thing as something electronic can be as there are literally hundreds of millions of people posting new information, developing new capabilities and coming up with new ideas every single day. It is continually evolving and growing, and so far I don’t believe it’s learning or has become self-aware (although read my last post on Private Web Browsing and you may think it’s alive).
Depending on your situation and your company’s goals – it may never be done. If your company generates the majority of your business via the Internet and relies on people finding you, then I would say you should be modifying and updating your site at least once per week, but daily is better. If your business uses your website as nothing more than a fancy business card, then maybe make an adjustment once a month or so.
The truth is that your website is your company’s image and the thing most new customers or clients will see first – make sure it shows them who you are! We recommend updating the design and look of your website at least once every two years. This shows customers that your business is thriving and they should feel comfortable working with you.
One of the questions we hear most often – WHY ISN’T MY SITE FIRST!!!
We know, understand, and even ask the same questions ourselves. The simple answer is that Google looks at many different aspects of a website – keywords, meta data, title, blog, media, inbound & outbound links, your content etc…, and then tries to figure out if your site is relevant to the search.
The not-so-simple answer is that it takes a lot of time and detail work for a site to rank high in Google. There is no magic bullet and nobody can 100% guarantee you that you will end up on the first page of Google.
SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is a process to get your site optimized, found and then ranked by Google.
Here are some basic things that can you can do:
- Make sure your site is registered with Google.
- If you have business where people could come to you, make sure you are registered with the Google Local Business Directory.
- Ask your employees, friends and family what they would type in to search for your business (no, not your business name…). For instance, if you are a florist in Orlando; the average person would probably search for “Florist in Orlando” and then see the results. These are “keywords” and are the most important part of your SEO.
- Come up with a short, 200 character sentence description of your company / business and try to incorporate the keywords from above into it.
- Add the descriptions & keywords to the pages in your site.
- Ensure that you have a XML sitemap that Google can scan.
If this is more than you feel like taking on, don’t worry – we can do it for you. JustÂ contact usÂ and we’ll do the rest.
Owner / Creative Director
Mobile friendly websites are a vital part of any Internet marketing plan. Current estimates are that 28% of all web traffic is from a mobile device; which is a lot! Basically 1 out of 3 people is using a phone or tablet to view your website. It’s important for you to think about how your site look like on a phone.
Take a minute to pull your site up on your smartphone (if you have one). How fast is it? Can someone find your phone number easily and in less than 5 seconds? Do you have a map with directions easily accessible so people can find you?
Most of our new sites are built using an amazing technology called “Responsive“, which changes the layout of your website by the size of the screen viewing it. In the past you would have to have a website for each device, not any longer – as the graphic below shows; your site can re-arrange and resize as needed.
Besides being pretty cool, this capability is a must-have feature for a small business website.
Contact us today for information on how to getÂ your own mobile website!
Owner / Creative Director