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Gonzo Systems Website Design Blog

Where should a small business owner start in building a Web site?

by msmith 11. May 2011 17:30

Identify the purpose(s) of the site: Not all Web sites have the same goal. Give some thought to what you want to accomplish before you consider anything else. 

Get your domain: In most cases, the domain name you choose will probably be very similar to your business name.

Get hosting: This is typically where small business owners start eyeing the door. You have many options but it's nice to know who you call if by chance your site goes down in the middle of the day.  You can find many hosting companies for less than $10 per month but no names come with that fee - good luck calling them.  Your hosting plan should also allow you the opportunity to create a [you@domainname.com] email address – make sure you set that up to give you some added street cred.
Hire someone to design it: You don't need a fancy Web site but you do need one that looks professional after all this is your clients first impression of you!

Create your content: You don’t need a huge Web site over flowing with content. That means creating (at minimum) your Home page, Product or Service pages, an About Us page, and a Contact us page to share information about who you are and what you do, but also to  localize your business through content.

Get listed: Claiming your local business listing in all third-party sites is important enough that I do include it on the setting up your Web site.

Marketing it: Like the design stage above, you'll want to outsource your marketing efforts to professionals who can help you create a social media plan or a marketing road map. The search engines’ obsession with local has made your Web site an even bigger part of your business and marketing plan. Make sure you’re treating as such.
 


 

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Why Your Small Business Needs a Website in 2011

by msmith 10. May 2011 12:47
2010 NSBA Small Business Technology Survey showed that while the majority of small businesses (84 percent) do have a Web site for their business, the 16 percent that do not could be facing uphill challenges as the Internet continues to grow and replace other forms of business searches. Among those that don’t have a Web site, the most widely-cited reason is the belief that it is not necessary for their business. And they're right--companies that don't want to be successful certainly shouldn't spend the time and money to develop a company site. So every company doesn't need one. Small business owners need to realize that people aren't using phone books for anything other than door stops anymore.
It’s possible to create a Web presence without a full site thanks to things like Yelp and other social media outlets. However, you don’t control any of those. You have no say on how they’ll let you connect with customers. You can’t create an email list on Twitter. By relying on *other* sites to house your conversations you’re severely handicapping yourself.
Without a real Web site, you lose your ability to: 
  • Differentiate yourself
  • Create authority and street cred with customers and within your industry
  • Spread ideas
  • Get social
  • Take advantage of Universal Search’s ranking power
  • Benefit from the engines bias to show local results
  • Share your company story and information
  • House your own community
  • Save costs by answering frequently asked questions
  • Target your specific neighborhood (defined by zip code, points of interest, ideas, etc)
  • Build an email list
If you're on the fence about having a website, I have one question for you: How many big, successful companies don't have a website? I'm betting none. That's because a company website is just a basic, must-have marketing tool for the 21st Century.

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Website Design

Why you should own your Domain Name?

by ecotto 7. January 2011 08:16

Finding the perfect Domain Name...
So you hire a company to build a website.  They help you pick out the perfect name and they take care of all the techincal details.  The site goes live and everybody's happy.  Then a year or two goes by and you change your phone number so you dig up the developer who did the site for you so you can make a simple but very important change.  No answer.  Hmm.  You call, you email, you google; to no avail. Where did they go?  After a fews weeks or months of frustration you decide that's it I am going to hire another company. 

Losing the Perfect Domain Name...
You start the process again with another web developer.  You build a website.  You love the new design and what the heck it was time for a change any way.  Now the company says ok do you have the user name and password for your domain name so we can connect it to the new site.  "What?"  you ask.  Well which registrar did you buy it from?  "Huh?"  Did you but it through Godaddy, Network Solutions, Register.com, Domain Registry of America?  Blank stares.  Did the other company give you any user names or passwords.  "No."

So the investigation continues.  They do a whois on your name and provide you with the same list of names, emails, and phone numbers you have already tried.  You call the registrar to see if you can get your name back but guess what you are not the owner.

The Gonzo way:  We will be happy to either guide you through the steps of purchasing your own name or if you want us to handle it we will provide you the user names and passwords and the name is always registered to you. 

DNS Ownership checklist:

  • Buy your own domain name from a reputable Domain Company like Godaddy.
  • Choose your own user name and password
  • If you share this with your web developer change it when they are done
  • Be sure you are the registrant/owner, Billing Contact, Administrator, and Techinal contact for your domain name
  • Periodically login to your account and keep all addresses, emails, and phone numbers accurate

When you have the keys you're in control. 

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Search Engine Optimization Tips

by ecotto 6. January 2011 08:43
  • It is often difficult to tell if your Search Engine Optimization efforts are effective, so make sure you are monitoring your search standards.  By using Alexa and the Google toolbar you can keep an eye on your page ranks.  Also, review you log on a regular basis so you know where visitors to your site are coming from.
  • KEYWORDS are important.  Make sure you place your keywords in titles, content, URLs and image names.  Think like a consumer and ask yourself what words they would use to find your business and the items or services you are selling. PC World notes that two of the most important spots to put keywords are in the title tag and page header.
  • Internal links into your site are also essential.  This is an easy way to boost traffic to the individual pages of your website.  MarketingVox advises that you make the anchor text search-engine friendly.  Always make sure your links are appropriate and do not overlink.  
  • Add a site map, this will make it easier for spiders to search your website.
  • Make your URLs more search-engine-friendly by naming them with clear keywords.
  • Although Flash looks great on a site it really does not help you with Search Engine Optimization.  If you choose to have a website with Flash remember to place your links and text below the fold.
  • Text in your images will not help Spiders find you.  Make sure all the words you use for your images are very descriptive. Start with your image names: adding an "ALT" tag allows you to include a keyword-rich description for every image on your site.
  • Your content needs to be fresh -- updating regularly and often is crucial for increasing traffic.  Keep you site NEW, add pictures, news and events and blogs to help people better find you.

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Website Marketing | SEO

If your site is not updated regularly your site will look outdated……

by msmith 5. January 2011 11:33
Often website owners and companies design fantastic and richly detailed websites, only to be left wondering why they do not have better traffic. They can't figure out why more people aren't paying attention to their websites. Indeed this can be a bit of a perplexing puzzle, but the answer is really rather straightforward.
 
Websites that are not updated with great regularity simply don't seem as important to search engines. This is the first major reason that updating your website frequently is critically important. Search engines have programs that search the web and analyze websites based upon a wide variety of factors. One of these factors is how frequently sites are updated and with what kind of content. Remember that if search engines do not find something new during their visits, there is a tendency that they will stop visiting you. This will definitely be huge blow for your rankings. By updating your site frequently, you are effectively telling these search engine programs, often referred to as spiders or bots, that your website is dynamic, moving, ever-changing and interesting. Clearly, a website that is updated frequently will look as though it has a good deal more to offer potential visitors than a site that is updated once every six months or once a year.
 
Think of it like this. Which website would you rather visit, the website that is updated every single day or the website that is updated every year? The answer is pretty obvious. If your competitor is updating constantly and you aren't, then it should come as no real shock that your competitor is showing up on search engine results and you may not be. And search engine results mean traffic.
 
The other major reason that it is important to update your website frequently is that a frequently updated website brings people back to visit again. They know your site is a place where they can receive information on a topic that interests them. Let's say your website is about hats and gloves. If you are constantly posting new articles about hats and gloves, you will definitely have an edge over another hat and glove site that rarely updates. If a visitor knows about both sites, they are much more likely to return to visit your site more often.
 
Together these two factors, updating so search engines know you are relevant and updating so visitors know that you are relevant, are key in building traffic. Search engines will see you as being dynamic and interesting, and your visitors will see your page in much the same way. While your visitors might not say, "I will go back to that page, it was dynamic and interesting," they will say instead, "I will go back to that page, there is stuff on it." Of course, this is exactly what you want. You should see your traffic rise quickly if you consistently update your webpage with interesting and relevant content.

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Website Design

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