Seattle Web Development: Do You Need Mobile Web?

Seattle Web Development: Do You Need Mobile Web?

If you’ve been looking around for a website designer then you’ve probably heard or seen the term ‘mobile web’ a few times. If you’ve been reading up on what your website should and should not have on a blog then you’ve probably heard it more than a few times. The mobile web is a vast and confusing place if you’re new to the world of web development, but, whether you have an existing website or you’re planning on hiring a local Seattle web developer to build one for you, you’re probably only wondering one thing about the mobile web, do you need it?

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What is the Mobile Web?

The mobile web is technically any part of the web designed for mobile use. For the most part, that means websites and menus which resize or adjust or are sized properly for phones and tablets. Because traditional websites are often too big to display properly, or display so small that it is impossible to read or select the menus comfortably, the mobile web makes using the web easier.

Do You Have Mobile Traffic?

If you already have a website, then the easiest way to see if a mobile website could benefit you is to check your mobile traffic. If you have any analytics program (the free version from Google will do the trick), you can easily check to see which percentage of your visitors visit on a browser vs. a tablet or phone. Some will even tell you the specific devices such as Samsung Galaxy or iPhone that you’re getting your traffic from.

If you don’t have a website or don’t have analytics (or don’t know how to use your analytics) then you can also go by general statistics. Right now, mobile usage is trending upwards, more than 60% of users research shops, restaurants, and stores on their phone before visiting them, and more than 70% of consumers research products and cross compare them on their phone before purchasing. Essentially, if you sell products, have a store, or have anything that users may want to research online first, then the mobile web could directly impact your sales.

What Are My Options?

There are multiple options for anyone who wants to have a website that’s compatible with the mobile web, but sometimes the best thing to do is to talk to your Seattle web developer about your needs and your site first. Some websites work well with mobile websites set up separately, although these do have their issues with search engine optimization and duplicate content. You can set your website to automatically re-direct to your mobile version whenever someone logs on from a mobile device. You can also have your web designer set up a responsive web desing that resizes based on your visitors, but this isn’t always ideal.

Do you want to talk about which mobile web option is best for your website? Try talking to one of the professional Seattle web developers at Rory Martin before you make your decision.

Seattle SEO Tips – Quality is the Most Important Ranking Factor

 SEO has come a long way in the past few years, and whether your Seattle SEO specializes in Google or Bing, times have definitely changed. Four years ago you could upload a post with a 4% keyword density and 100 backlinks and expect it to skyrocket to the top of search, but today, that same tactic is far more likely to have you tagged as spam and possibly even blacklisted by most major search engines. Google and Bing both now focus on quality as an important ranking factor, and many of them immediately rank the largest sites first (which is bad news for the little guys).

If you’re still posting your blogs on WordPress and blogger sites with links back to the original, paying for funnel websites, or creating thousands of links back to your site, you’re definitely making a mistake. The following include a few rules for Seattle businesses to live by when handling their SEO.

Pretend Google Doesn’t Exist

Or Bing. First things first, if you wouldn’t do something in terms of link creation or adding words without thinking of a search engine, you shouldn’t when thinking of a search engine either. Both Google and Bing are looking for quality in terms of keywords and links, and natural is the way to go.

Think Like a Reader

If you’re writing a blog or a website page and you’re thinking like you’re trying to sell to someone, then you’re thinking the wrong way. Instead, think about the reader experience as you go through the page. You should design your text, the quality of the text, and the number of links on the page based on how you think a user or reader would feel about it. Search Engine Land recommends reading the newspaper and deciding where you would put links, and see how they wrote content, to get the hang of writing for readers.

Put Quality First

Quality is your most important goal, for both links and on-page content. That means writing well-written sentences, using a spelling and grammar check, and proofreading everything. You want to have shorter paragraphs of no more than five sentences, and unless you’re targeting a highly educated audience, a fifth grade reading level. Make your content easy to read, and make sure that it is very easy to tell what it is about, without excessively repeating keywords. Think the same way with links. Try to accumulate them for their readership and activity rather than their PR (public PR is mostly irrelevant now as Google probably will not be updating the toolbar any further). If you put up guest posts or links, do so only with the idea that you want the readers to visit your site, and not for Google or Bing.

Want to know more about how to run a quality SEO campaign? Consider asking one of the expert Seattle social media managers at Rory Martin to help you handle your SEO, or to create a strategy for you. SEO optimization is more than just links and keywords, and hiring a professional can help you rank with the best of your competitors.

What’s the Difference Between Web Design and Web Development?

If you’re getting ready to hire a Seattle web design or development company to create your website, then it is important to know the difference between them. While many business owners often confuse the two, web design and web development are two different things, and depending on which you hire, will create vastly different outcomes. While some of the best Seattle website companies offer both, you should be able to distinguish between the two.

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What is Web Design

Web design is the visual element of a website. It includes your graphics, your layout, your branding, and usually a good part of your UX. Web designers are graphic artists and designers who specialize in creating websites. When you hire a web design company, you’re paying for someone to create the look and feel of your website as others will see it. Most of them then either work with a web developer to create a CMS and the back end code for your website, or use an existing CMS such as Joomla to skip the web developer. Things that a web designer may offer include page design, landing page design, brand analysis, website branding, lead generation forms, email marketing templates, and more.

What is Web Development

Web developers create the functionality behind your website, they also create the back end, where you can interact with your site, add content, and otherwise edit it. Web developers are code experts, and although some of them are also graphic editors and able to do web design as well as development, not all of them are. A web developer might create you a website, and then allow you to design the graphics, colors, and style yourself. Another might work with a web designer to hand you a complete website. Web development is programming rather than graphic design, and web development usually costs a great deal more than web design. However, if you don’t want to use a pre-existing CMS, then you do need a developer. Items that web developers offer include website design, ecommerce creation and integration, interface development, database management systems or integration, email marketing development, landing pages, form creation, and more.

Which Should You Choose?

Most of the time, you want a web team that handles both development and design. However, you can usually save money by hiring a web designer and using a pre-existing CMS like Joomla to power your site. In some cases, you may also want to stick with a developer. For example, if you’re creating a storefront that mostly just needs a banner header and focus on the products, rather than great design.

Essentially, depending on your website and your needs, you might need one, the other, or both. You can decide on your own which you need, or discuss your needs with a professional Seattle web developer to see what they recommend based on your budget, your goal website, and your needs. There are plenty of reasons to go either way, so your best bet is to talk it out with a professional and choose based on your needs.

Seattle Social Media Management: Social ROI

We’ve all seen posts and videos go viral on social media and make their owners thousands or in some cases, even millions. But, how does the return on investment of the web hold up for small, every day Seattle businesses who often have considerably less to spend on promotion and marketing. If you’re wondering whether Social Media Marketing even has an ROI, then you’ve probably never had a professionally managed social campaign. There are dozens of ways to make money off of social, but most small businesses just end up spending and sometimes wasting time on their social media. However, Social ROI does exist.

How Does Social ROI Work?

Social ROI, or return on investment, mostly results from sales generated through your social campaign. For the most part, this means that you have to use analytics and tracking to ascertain where you’re sales are coming from, how many click-through’s are coming through from your pages, and how many of those clicks are turning into sales. The easiest way to generate social revenue on a page with a lot of active followers is to post a discount code. When people use the discount code, you earn social revenue. For example, a restaurant shares an offer on their page where social users can show a coupon on their phone, or print it out, and come in to get free drinks. So, for example, if13 people come in with the coupon, you’ve generated 13 sales, even at a discount. If you offer a bring a friend or a referral discount, you can generate new customers. For example, if you offer a 30% discount to new likes to the page, new followers on Twitter, or to new email subscribers, you can create social revenue from entirely new customers who have never been to your business before. If you have a website with online items, driving sales becomes even easier, because you can build up a fan base who expect to see sales, promotions, and items that they want to buy.

How Do You Get There?

If you have a social media page of any kind then you know that there’s a big difference between ‘social ROI’ and getting there. Managing and growing a page is a lot of work, especially if you don’t know what you’re doing. The trick is to be consistent, offer valuable information on your page in addition to sales and promotions, answer questions and be helpful, and add in a little interest through memes or photos. Growing a customer base organically isn’t always easy, but you can also direct old customers there and encourage them to post on your wall or leave a review, which means that others will see you.

Seattle’s social media managers have been creating a visible profit for local businesses for years, and there’s no reason why you can’t see the same benefits. Hiring a professional social management company gets you the benefit of a properly managed social channel, so that you can experience as much ROI as possible. If you want to know more about having a professional social media manager help your business, contact us today to discuss your needs, or your goals.

Is SEO Dead? A Guide for Seattle Businesses & Websites

If you’re into content or digital marketing then you probably use SEO, or at least plan to. SEO is one of the most popular forms of digital marketing, mainly because it offers a lot for what you pay. Rather than paying for what you get, like you do with PPC, you pay for a marketing strategy that could put you on top of search engine results for Google, Bing, or Yahoo. Unfortunately, time after time, we keep seeing articles with headlines reading some variation of “SEO is dead!”

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If you don’t work in the field of SEO, then you probably wouldn’t know any better than to believe it. After all, it’s on the Internet, right? Wrong, SEO is not dead. Search Engine Optimization will exist so long as there are search engines using algorithm and math based tools to find search results that match a keyword. That is actually the definition of SEO. Because we don’t imagine that search engines will have manually listed results to show when someone types in a search anytime soon, SEO is still alive and well.  You can still benefit from paying a Seattle SEO company to optimize your business, especially if you hire the right company.

Why Do People Say SEO is Dead?

One of the main reasons that you might keep seeing that SEO is dead is because SEO has undergone some very major changes in the past few years. By major changes, we mean that where two years ago, a couple of thousand links pointing back to your site might skyrocket you to the top of search, now it’s more likely to get you banned. And the same can be said of keyword stuffing, or the process of putting a percentage of keywords into your article (I.E. make “Seattle cupcakes” 2% of the article). These processes once worked, but they’ve been blacklisted on many search engines because they typically produce content that is spammy, irrelevant, and difficult to read. New SEO algorithms are more complex, harder to game, and offer better quality results. It also makes “SEO” harder for random people to get into selling a service and calling it optimization. So, scam SEO is dead. But actual optimization is still another thing entirely.

What Goes Into SEO?

If you want to know what actually goes into SEO and what you should be considering, we’d have to tell you, a lot. Google, the most popular search engine, uses over 300 signals in it’s algorithm, and most search engines have different algorithms. So there is a lot to consider. However, that’s one of the reasons why you probably want to hire a professional Seattle SEO company rather than winging it yourself. Some of the signals that search engines look for include quality, helpfulness, use of the keyword, a low exit rate, grammar, readability, site functionality, metadata, and even social signals.

Is that a lot to keep up with? Yes it is. Unfortunately, most search engines constantly change their algorithms, which means that policies, and strategies might be different tomorrow.

SEO is most definitely not dead, but many old ranking strategies are. That’s why you want to hire a professional SEO or digital marketing company that keeps up with changes, and offers you something that works, rather than a quick fix.

Seattle Web Design Tips: How to Tell Your Designer What You Really Want

Seattle Web Design Tips: How to Tell Your Designer What You Really Want

Communication between website owner and website designer has always been more than a little hazy, with the former often knowing what they want in theory without really knowing how to put that across in firm physical descriptions to designers. Most of the time “I want it to pop more” or “it should remind me of Pistachio ice cream” just isn’t going to cut it, unless you add more background information. Because even the best web designer can’t see your image, their idea of this thing could be something completely different then yours. So, here are a few of the best ways that Seattle web designers agree you can use to get across what you really want.

Make Sure They Know Your Business

If you hire a great Seattle web designer then the first thing they’re going to do is familiarize themselves with you and your business. If they haven’t and you’re not yet ready to switch designers, make sure you tell them about your ideals, business meaning, and anything else that they can use to recreate the feel of ‘who you are’ onto a website. Business branding requires personality, and you want to make sure that the web designer knows yours.

Share Concepts That You Like

If you take the time and go over a few websites or portfolio pieces with the web designer to let them know which styles and themes you  like and do not like, you stand a better chance of getting something that you love. While not every web designer wants to sit down and discuss their portfolio with you, it will definitely make sure that they go into creating the design with a good idea of which pieces you like.

Create Reasons For Changes

When you ask for changes try going into detail as to why. If you’re not familiar with graphic design or terminology, that’s okay, just use normal language and say why you want it to look different in your language. For example, rather than saying “it should pop more” say “I think that some of the colors should be brighter, I want it to stand out a little bit more, and grab attention”, and then explain why. Discussing your needs with your Seattle web designer allows them to do their job.

Discuss What You Want

If you don’t know what you want, then you probably want to either sit down and talk it out with the designer, or work it out before finding a designer. Unfortunately, you can waste a lot of time and money looking for the perfect website if you don’t yet know what that website is. So, get a good idea of what it is you want from your website, and then after a discussion with a designer or developer, get into the web project knowing exactly what you want. This ensures that you get what you want, and you won’t have to do multiple revisions or eventually completely scrap the project.

Hiring a Seattle web designer is a big deal but by communicating openly, sharing ideas, and making sure everyone is on the same page, you can ensure that you get a website you love.

Seattle Social Media Tips: Managing Your Online Reputation

Reputation is probably the most important currency of online media, and especially so for social media. With more and more social media users taking the time to research companies on their preferred social platform before making a purchase, it is becoming increasingly important to manage your reputation online in order to present your best face to potential customers. The difference between the ‘right’ profile and the wrong one often means a new customer, or a lack of one, so management is one very important thing that you have to learn. If you have a social media manager in your employ, you don’t have to worry about managing your business reputation because they will do it for you, otherwise, here are a few tips.

Seattle Social Media Customer SErvice

Limit Access To Your Page

The first step to controlling your company image is to limit access to your page. Many small businesses offer admin access to a wide variety of people including friends and family, but this definitely isn’t the best issue. You want to limit admin access to one or two people so that you can control what is posted more easily. In addition, you never want to offer admin access to people who don’t have to control the page. Instead, consider any of the other roles, such as analyst or content publisher.

Respond To Comments and Questions Quickly

One major thing that you can do to keep your reputation in check is to respond to questions and comments on your pages. This means monitoring all of your social platforms and replying to comments, personal messages, and reviews as quickly as possible. In some cases, items left on social media are comments that might escalate into issues if not responded to. In addition, consumers are more likely to purchase from a company that offers visible customer support, because  they feel that issues can be worked out more quickly.

Respond Politely to Bad Feedback

If you receive bad feedback of any kind, your worst mistake would be to argue with it. Instead issue an apology and hopefully try to rectify the problem. For example, White House Black Market apologizes and offers a return option to people who comment negatively about products on their page. This sort of reputation management costs you money, but can make you sales in the future. Going on the offensive can be more harmful to your reputation, so the best option is to apologize, admit you were wrong, and offer to fix the issue.

Resolve Issues Quickly

Quickly fixing issues clears them up and prevents any bad blood. It also reduces the risk that you will get negative feedback, or have people recommend others against your company before you solve the issue. Respond quickly to all issues, and try to clear them up as soon as you find out about them.

Monitor Your Social Pages

It goes against saying that you have to monitor your pages, but many small Seattle businesses let their social pages go weeks or days without supervision. This is especially true of pages that use prescheduled posts. However, it can be a big mistake. Make sure you log in and monitor what is going on on your pages at least once a day.

Hiring a Seattle social media manager is the best way to ensure that you get the best in reputation management. If you want to know more, contact us today to discuss your social needs.

 

Seattle SEO Talks: SEO Ranking Factors

Seattle SEO Talks: SEO Ranking Factors

SEO is the big name in digital marketing, it’s not always the most successful, but it is the thing that most people are almost instantly drawn to when they begin marketing their website. After all, who wouldn’t want to use a marketing scheme with the potential to generate unlimited return. The unfortunate thing is that many people either learn one or two things about SEO and try to market themselves, or hire the lowest bidder to do it for them. The result is a marketing technique that’s less about optimizing pages for search engines and more about pandering to the latest hot topic in the world of marketing (I.E. inserting keywords into all of your headers).

Seattle SEO

But what really optimized a page for Google, Bing, Yahoo, or any of the other search engines that you will rarely hear about in SEO talks? Keywords? Backlinks? Or is it a little something more. The following include a few tips from top Seattle SEO marketers on which SEO ranking factors you should and should not be paying attention to.

On Page

On page ranking factors include keyword usage, site optimization, html clues, sitemaps, and quality. For example, all search engines value high quality content, some like Google even have algorithms designed to see if the content is helpful or not. Most need to know what the content is about in order to find it, so you also need keywords and phrases that might tell Google that your article is what the person is searching for. But too much of a good thing is a bad thing, and this is doubly true with any sort of keyword optimization. Crawlability, or how well search engine bots can crawl the page, is also a huge factor.  Pages have to be easy to access,

Off Page

Off page SEO is a lot harder to control because they are designed to be controlled by outside people. Off page ranking factors are designed to see how important your site or page is. Some of these items include social shares, backlinks, trust, and reputation. These are considerably harder to control, but when you do, it is especially important to do so in moderation. For example, back links must be as high quality as possible, or they will do more harm than good.

No Single Factor

Probably the most important thing to remember about SEO is that no single ranking factor will get you to the top of search. You have to have all or most of the signals present in order to fully optimize your pages. If you have a good keyword density and poor site architecture, a search engine might not be able to find your page anyway. If you have good site architecture but nothing to tell the search engine what your content is about, you’ll never appear in search. For the most part, you do want to focus on quality over quantity, because that’s what today’s search engines are looking for.

Want to know more about how a professional Seattle SEO company would handle your search engine optimization? Contact us today to discuss your needs.

 

Seattle Web Design – Top Features for Business Websites

If you’re about to set up a website for your business for the first time then you really want to start considering the features and options you want on the website. While you can discuss your needs and any good local web design team will be able to tell you what you need, it’s also a good idea to decide what you want and why before you go. Here are a few of the things that Seattle web designers agree are the best features for business websites.

Seattle Web Design

Great UX

UX is probably the most important thing to integrate into your web design. UX or User Experience refers to design that specifically makes it easy for users to visit and navigate your site. This means clean design, simple menus, and easy navigation. While it may mean skipping some of the bells and whistles, it does mean a better site.

Contact Information

If you want to look professional to local visitors then you want as much contact information available on the site as possible. The best way to go is to put some information in the header or footer and create a dedicated page with everything visitors need to get in touch.

Integrated Social Media

Visitors want to see that you’re an established business and the easiest way to show them that is to link in your social profiles. Showing a Facebook profile or Google Plus followers is the easiest way to convince modern web users that your site is established and trustworthy. Because many online shoppers actually research using social, many will actually click through to your business page and perhaps even like the page, which makes your social marketing that much easier.

Graphics

The web is quickly becoming a very graphic driven place, and using graphics on your website creates a modern look. While you might be prepared to put up a few pictures of your products and perhaps a few stock photos, you should also consider creating graphic centric pages that center around an image. This makes your website cleaner, more modern, and simpler for viewers.

Mobile Ready

Whether you choose to go mobile friendly with a specific mobile website or with a responsive design, you need mobile friendly. An study showed that some 40% of Seattle smartphone owners use their phones to research businesses and products before shopping, even when out shopping, meaning that if your site is not mobile friendly, you could loose customers.

As a business, you want a website that is simple, easy to use, and informative. If you’re operating a web shop, you also want to make sure that your site is secure, offers secure protocol protection, and that it loads quickly enough to allow users to access and research products from their phones. Other than that, most of your services and pages might be unique to your business.

Want to know more about what goes into a great website? Or want to talk with professional Seattle web designers about building your perfect business website? Contact us today at 206-355-0894 to get a free estimate.

What Seattle Social Media Can Learn from Ello and Anti-Marketing

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Ello? What is it? It’s the thing that suddenly everyone seems to be talking about. Despite a March launch amid nearly zero fanfare, Ello has suddenly skyrocketed into fame and is currently one of the most talked about social platforms on the web. As something where most people do not yet have a profile and therefore no friends if you do have a profile, it’s not something that most people would expect. The truth is that Ello skyrocketed into a hot topic because of anti-marketing in the wake of Facebook’s many flagrant privacy and personal violations. Ello’s promise of no ads, no tracking personal data, and no selling personal data to big companies appeals to the many disgruntled social users who are, quite frankly, sick of having their personal data used for ads. The result is a clamor for invites, even though very few people seem to have one.

What is Anti Marketing

To better understand the concept of why Ello is currently so popular, let’s talk about anti-marketing. This is the concept of using a companies current policy, branding, or advertisement against them. GreenPeace does it almost constantly when they attempt to show the world how uneconomically friendly a company does. Usually they use logos and convert them into something a little less brand friendly. Essentially, anti-marketing is a form of brand-sabotaging, by using their policies or advertisements to point out flaws in the company, or to prove that your company is better. In Ello’s case, that’s the promise to not sell data or display ads in opposition to Facebook’s very ad-heavy platform. But anti-marketing isn’t the only reason Ello is currently so popular.

Ad-Free and Service Culture

One really major thing about users is that they like service, they enjoy clean, user-friendly environments, and they often find ads annoying. In fact, the click-through rate on banner ads and popup ads is depressingly low for advertisers. Ad-free is something that users see as a luxury, and more and more apps and now websites are beginning to integrate it into their business plan. Why ad free? How do you make money selling ads if you’re not charging for your product? For example, if you have an ap and you offer it for free or nearly free, you might think that you stand little chance of making an income without ads. However, apps and games like Whatsapp have long proven this theory wrong. Whatsapp had over 45 million downloads for free the first year, and 99 cents per year following. They did not display ads, but instead made money off of extras and additional sales. Many other web services, especially online games use this same business module to make considerably more than they would with ads, and without annoying their customers. So is Ello. They intend to sell additional site services to users who want to do more with their page. These services are wildly popular because they offer a solid service that is valuable and not annoying. In addition, Whatsapp has not spent a single penny on ads.

What you, and other Seattle social media managers can learn from it is that you don’t necessarily have to use a multi-thousand dollar marketing program to succeed, especially on the web. What you need is a great campaign that recognizes your target audience and your competition and then uses every bit of information you have to create a website, social media page, and brand that appeals to that demographic. Most consumers respond better to strong branding, value, and honest practices then they do to any amount of mass media marketing, although you shouldn’t abandon the latter.

© Copyright © 2012 Rory Martin Inc.
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