Tips for Improving Your Blog

There are thousands of blogs out there and hundreds of new blogs popping up each week.  With this influx of blogs it’s important to take steps to ensure that your blog ranks high in the search engines, if you want people to read it.  Below are some tips to help you improve your site and increase your standing in page rank.

Fresh Content

Many blogs are created with great enthusiasm but then they aren’t updated on a regular basis.  This is something you want to avoid.  If your blog isn’t being updated regularly then you’re missing out on several SEO benefits.  The more quality content you have on your blog the better.  More content means more pages for search engine spiders to index which will help your page rank.  More fresh content will help improve your site’s bounce rate as well as increase the number of repeat visitors.  Visitors love new content and when your site is updated regularly with quality content they’ll want to come back day after day to read it.  If content hasn’t been updated after several visits they will quit coming back.

Build Community with other Bloggers

Blogging is a form of social media and should be social.  Don’t just live in your own little world, reach out and participate with others.  Comment on other blogs in your niche, contact blog administrators, and link to other blogs in your posts.  When you have a relationship with other bloggers you open the door to the possibility of creating guest posts on their blogs.  These posts can contain a link to your blog which will gain you some necessary backlinks.  The backlinks will help to increase your page rank in the search engines.

Add Images and Media

The text of your blog posts is extremely important and is what the search engine spiders will focus on, however, a bunch of text can be monotonous and boring for readers.  Break up the blocks of text with images, slideshows, videos, surveys, and infographics.  There are a number of sites where you can find free images to use.  A good balance of images and text will help to attract more readers and keep them coming back.

Link to other Posts, Sites and Blogs

When a reader has finished reading your blog post where do you want them to go?  Add a related posts section to the bottom of each blog.  This is where you will link to other posts and content in your blog that are related to the same topic.  This is beneficial because it can keep visitors on your blog longer.  Within the article of your post you may also want to include links to other blogs or other websites that offer relevant information.  However, remember not to overdo the links.  Limit the number of links to 2 or 3 per post and 2 or 3 related posts.  Too many links appears to be spammy to search engines as well as visitors.

Allow Comments

Allow comments on your blog so readers can participate in an online discussion about the topic.  Be sure to moderate and read all comments before allowing them to be posted on your site.  When you get comments it’s good, it means that people want to interact and participate in a discussion.  You should respond to the comments you get on your blog.  Answer any questions asked, respond to what they have said or at the very least you can thank them for the comment and for reading the post.

If a visitors leaves a comment with a URL go to their site or blog and if possible leave a comment.  This is another effective way of building a relationship with your readers or with other bloggers.


It is easier to attract followers if you have a specific topic that you write about and stick with it.  Own that topic and brand yourself as an expert in that field.  This allows readers to know what to expect from the blog.

Let Readers Subscribe

Allow your blog visitors to subscribe to receive an email whenever there is a new post.  This will alert your repeat visitors to new posts and keep them coming back.

Know What the Readers Want

Always write your content with the reader in mind, do not write for search engines.  Write your posts as if you are answering a question about why the topic is good for the reader.  Address concerns and problems that your readers have and if you don’t know what those are then ask them for some feedback.

Break It Up

Big blocks of text are daunting and can look boring so break up the text.  You can not only use pictures but use bulleted lists and headers as well.  When you use headers it is easier for the reader to skim the information and skip to the sections that are most helpful and relevant for them.

7 Tips for Using Texture in Website Design

There are times when it is appropriate to use texture to make your web design really stand out.  This is a practice that has become increasingly popular over the past few years.  You can give a site a weathered look or nostalgic look by applying texture to make a design look more interesting, add character, and evoke a different emotion or reaction from the visitors.  Texture can really make a statement but it shouldn’t be applied to every web design.

Weathered and nostalgic aren’t the only options when it comes to applying texture.  Weathered seems to be common but there are also metallic textures, wooden, fabric, water color, torn paper, sand, basically any type of texture you can think of.  When used properly these designs create sites that wouldn’t be the same if the texture had not been applied.

There are a number of different ways to apply texture to a website but before beginning keep the following tips in mind:

Less is more

Simple website design is popular.  Effective website design does not need to be very detailed instead it should convey a clear, simple, and accurate message through the images and content.  Using texture on your site doesn’t mean you have to go overboard with it a little texture can go a long way.

Texture should match the audience

You need to determine who your website audience is and then choose a texture that will reflect the personality and interests of that audience.  For example, if rugged denim is popular with the teen crowd and your site is geared towards teens then using a denim texture would make a lot of sense.  Choose a texture that will appeal the to particular audience you are trying to draw.

Don’t overdo it

Everything on the site doesn’t have to be textured, the entire page doesn’t even need to be textured.  Texture can be used just in the header, the footer, the sidebar, framing images, or even as a thin strip under the menu.  This technique when used with a white background can really make a statement.

Mix it up

If you want to create a vibrant look to your site remember that the entire website doesn’t have to contain the same textured elements.  A site might have a wooden texture as the background but the content could be glossy.  This contrast can give a great feel to the web design.  To maintain a cohesive look choose a monochromatic color scheme to enhance the effect.

Heavy textures

Some textures are awfully bold and heavy; they can overwhelm a page and should be used carefully.  When a page has minimal content heavy textures can work really well.

Make it readable

Never sacrifice readability for use of texture.  One of the most important things about your website is that visitors can gather information from it.  If they can’t read it then the purpose of your site begins to fail.

Consider the point

Have a plan in mind for the use of texture.  What are you trying to convey?  What is the effect that you’re going for?  It’s easy to get carried away with the use of texture but when you know why you’re using it it’s easier to create a good balance.

How to Prepare for the Corporate Web Design Renovation

If most CEOs had their way, corporate web design would subliminally program every unique visitor to buy, opt in or act now. The page layout would be developed to subconsciously conjure the audience, closing business 99.5 percent of the time. But, “hypnotic web design”  is as fabled as Nonetheless, the recipe for developing purpose driven web design is not that intricate. It begins with every corporation possessing a focused vision of their brands, products, and services. It also entails a basic comprehension about the target market. By developing a specific web design agenda, a lot of time, money and havoc can be alleviated.

Step #1  A Corporate Identity  Assessment

Create several composites of  the various sectors and target audiences that your corporation serves. Then, evaluate whether there is room for tweaking these areas.

Compared to the competition, are there any unique market niches, where there is a shortfall of supply but a high demand for fulfillment? By evaluating a site’s keyword traffic and searches coupled with a compilation of customer feedback new products and services are born.

It’s the same strategy that Apple used to design iPad. Since many people only use their personal computers, to share media (photos, YouTube videos), check email  and even read electronic periodicals, as in e-book, the technology behemoth recognized the consumer demand for technology developed to resolve most personal uses.

Are there are any new services that should be added to your site’s navigation? With the site renovation for the corporate web site, now is the time to strategize new Web pages.

Step #2 Web Design Wish list

In step one, it is vital to have a fine tuned definition of how your corporation plans to use the Web site to complement the marketing strategy and other benchmarks. Based on the aforementioned details, determine which features would be beneficial for the objectives:

Lead generation

Secure ecommerce / online transactions

An ability to make web page changes internally.

Search engine optimization planned for a specific conversion objective

A medium to interact with prospective and existing clients

Also, determine how much your corporation can allocate for the marketing budget alosn with a specific completion date.

Step #3 Website Design Company Selection

Next, compiling the company’s strategy and web design wish list, obtain a site analysis from a Website design company with a reputation for achieving results.

Keeping Your Site Fresh

If you’ve been around web design for any length of time you know that search engine optimization is important.  The key to search engine optimization (SEO) is fresh and relevant content, this is important so you can engage your visitors and provide the information they are looking for.

Google Fresh

We’ve all known that fresh content was important, Google algorithm intended to make search results fresher.  The fresher results were intended to make the results more relevant for the searches performed.  The types of searches that were most effected by this change were recent events, hot topics, recurring events, and topics with frequently updated information such as the top movie reviews, or the top digital video cameras, for example.  The idea behind this Google change was basically that when people perform a search they are looking for current results.

So what does this mean for you, well, the impact of this change on your search engine optimization is dependant on how often you already create fresh content for your website.

Your Search Engine Optimization Plan

We all know creating fresh content for your website is valuable the problem is that it can be difficult.  Unless you have a writer on staff the content writing task usually falls to someone who finds it somewhat out of their comfort zone.  Nevertheless, you need updated site content if you want to attract organic traffic and engage your visitors.

With the Google update in mind, the importance of new content as an element of your SEO plan is greater than ever.

The thing is, the Google update is intended to target searches that will benefit from fresh content, searches that have freshness needs.  Different searches have different freshness needs so you need to determine what aspects of the products or services on your website would trigger the freshness need for Google.

Since we know that there are three main areas that Google has identified as having a freshness need it would be wise to incorporate those into your search engine optimization plan and site content.  Include in your plan:

Recent events or hot topics:

Are there recent events or hot topics that relate to your business or industry that are experiencing trends on the internet?  Some examples might include a release of a new product, or a merger of two companies.

Regularly recurring events:

What recurring events might be of interest to your site visitors?  Any annual events, in store or online sales, trade shows, earnings updates, and visits from Santa are all examples.

Frequent updates:

This category impacts anyone involved in retail.  If I perform a search for “smart phone reviews” the chances are high that I want to know about the most recent versions of smart phones not the ones from a couple of years ago.  This is true not only of smart phones but of any consumer product on the market.

When considering how much fresh content to include in your search engine optimization plan think about how much content you’re capable of producing.  How much fresh content does your competition produce? (Are you watching their site?  It would be a good idea to keep an eye on what they’re doing.) When you perform a search for your keywords how often is fresh content included in the results?

Considering these questions and doing a little research will help you determine how much content and how often you need to add fresh content to your website.  Even if you don’t think the content on your website fits into the three areas of freshness needs it is still important to produce and publish fresh content for your website on a regular, probably monthly, basis.  This will help to grow your site as well as your product and service visibility assisting your other search engine optimization efforts.

6 Vital Web Design Tips

Which characteristics reflect the best web design tips?

For the last five years, our consulting business has had the same Web site. Recently, we’ve added new services and are ready to update the look of our site. Being number crunchers, we’re can’t discern poor web design from the best. Can you provide some tips on what distinguishes great from inept web design?

There’s no precise formula for what distinguishes average web design from inept. Nevertheless, the best web design possesses five vital characteristics:
•   Inspires visual relevance. The layout should accommodate the needs of the end user, motivating interest and providing information value.  That includes your navigation, sidebars, links and content.
•    Directs eyes to the purpose. Placement and position have an impact on how the visitor interacts with the Web site; thus influencing visitor conversions.
•    Loads expediently. Sites that load slow have a higher bounce rate.
•    Incorporates visuals. Behavior market research indicates that Internet users tend to be captivated by images, visual media and photographs.
•    Functionalizes flash. Flash animation should be multi-faceted, serving more than a three-dimensional effect. In other words, animation, rendering better usability and encouraging the visitor to learn more or take action, enhances the brand experience.
•    Size matters. The best way to capture the audience’s attention is to magnify the object of the main attraction. If the idea is to get them to opt for the no-fee analysis, an enlarged image serves as eye candy.

Content Marketing

Your web design is what impresses your visitors, but your content is what gets them to stay. Content is the reason people visit your website.

Content is an integral part to your website, after all, what good is a website without any content?

Content marketing is a trend that has been on the rise lately due to the influx of thin and spam-like content. Content marketing is the practice of using your website’s content as your primary marketing tool by promoting it in different ways including but not limited to email marketing and social media. Content marketing can also be combined with search engine optimization techniques. Properly optimizing your content with the use of title tags, keywords, and h1 & h2 tags helps to boost and increase your content marketing efforts in order to get your content in front of your audience. The idea that spurs content marketing to success is providing quality content that visitors will value and find helpful. It seeks to engage visitors and focus on topics central to their plight. It seeks to show rather than tell by focusing on answering questions.

Typical web copy for a law firm website provides qualifications and brief or vague descriptions of the attorney’s practice area. Most website content is dry and technical, filled with jargon that immediately causes visitors to shy away or cause confusion. Through content marketing, you don’t just focus on the written word. You use all that’s available to you: visuals, infographics, statistics, commentary, and even videos. Content marketing isn’t just about sharing and marketing your content, it’s also important to present the content in an engaging and appealing way.

Let’s face it, no one likes to read a giant block of text. It’s unappealing, intimidating, and most visitors just don’t want to bother reading the whole page. People generally skim through content rather than taking the time to read it and the average time a person spends on a web page ranges from 5-10 seconds. Generally, a visitor’s attention span is short and if you want people to stay on the page, you need to provide an incentive or capture their attention which is why it’s important to design the layout of the content in an inviting and engaging way:

Use visuals and photography to keep visitors interested and engaged.

Limit your use of jargon and write in a conversational tone.

Break up your content into different sections and focus on important points of interest.

Content marketing is about sharing, informing, and educating. By focusing on content your visitors find helpful, the theory is that they’re more likely to contact you for your display of expertise. The benefits of content marketing come from generating conversations and dialogue with your intended audience.

Contrary to popular belief, content marketing isn’t a passing fad as some marketers speculate. The internet is filled with spam and thin content and as major search engines continue to refine their methods of search, spam and thin content will be replaced with quality content.

How to Optimize your Content

Optimizing content is an important step to web design that should never be ignored. When people talk about optimizing content they are referring to the different strategies used to make sure that your content is as best as it can be for use on a website. This also has strong implications for SEO & search engine marketing, as content needs to be a certain way to be read by Google’s robots. For example, it’s important to make note of whichever keywords you want to qualify for on the SERP (search engine results page) and to incorporate these naturally when writing content. This can be done badly though, because keyword stuffing is a technique that Google’s algorithms will pick up on so it’s vital that you use them conversationally, and that you sound natural. You’ll also want to use the right amount of written content. Google can see what type of content you have on your website (images, text, videos, feeds, etc.) and it will judge your overall ratio.

You also need to properly optimize images for search engines. Image optimization isn’t as complicated as it sounds, but it does require some knowledge of image editing software and a basic understanding of how images are read on a website. Images are made up of a certain number of pixels (referred to dpi or ppi) and every device has different dimensions for the number of pixels it will show. To keep image sizes down, you’ll first want to make sure your pixels match what a screen can display – which is 72 pixels per inch (ppi). Because most cameras take pictures at 300+ ppi, and printers will print at 300ppi, you’ll want to adjust this setting first. Smaller images mean faster loading times, and fast loading time is one of the factors Google considers for SEO.