Web Design vs Business Design

Web Design vs Business Design So you develop websites? Good for you, you now join the ranks of thousands of others in the world. Now what is your goal? You may say you want to get rich, or work for yourself but how can you do that with so much competition out there? Truth is you can’t, this was the problem my design firm had and this is the story of becoming a business designer. I realized that I could effectively build a website. I could do it at a cost efficient price point but so could almost every other designer. I needed to be different, I would need to offer something that my clients needed not just a pretty site with nice pictures. While I was producing quality product, I needed to offer more. My clients are small to medium sized businesses, the demographic I deal with will already have a website and need a redesign. They come for many reasons, most prevalent are the ones who need to go responsive. Most have a site builder website that never in fact met their original needs in the first place. The common factor I found was their knowledge of the web was limited. Providing a site that just met their requests was not enough. They needed a business plan for their web presence. Seeing that they needed guidance in making this work; we became a business development studio. Followed by a cute little slogan “Creating a Positive Online Presence”. “POP’ing your business”. This meant knowing my clients not just the products they sold or services they offered but on personal level. What makes them tick, where do they get their drive from became the first step in business development. Creating a site that best displays their message was the next step. Do they need a separate mobile site, what is the pertinent information that needs to they need displayed at 320px at 900px etc. Executing CTA’s that provide effective user response. Figuring out how to reach their demographic with the most effective strategy. Developing social media that makes sense to the followers and implementing a process to best reach them. These are some of the tactics involved in making a businesses POP. This is just an outline of how we go about working with our clients. What you need to take away from it all is , clients are individuals and they need to be handled as such. There is no plan that you can sell them that will cover all the needs of all the clients. You need to be proactive in working with them learn who they are, at the end of the day you are a salesmen for them not just a vendor. At W5 Designs we take success in our clients success. Their dreams of awesomeness live and die at your ability to portray them online. Web development becomes business development when your goals become lined up with your...

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SEO Part 2: Keywords

In Part 1 we gave a brief overview of on-page search engine optimization or SEO. We also gave a brief overview of the SEO practice of link building. We will look at each of these in turn, in more detail. First, though, let’s talk about keywords. What Are Keywords? Keywords or keyword phrases are the strings of words you are trying to rank higher for in search results. Imagine you have an e-commerce website that sells large blue blazoomars. You want the page about that product on your site to rank higher in Google for the phrase large blue blazoomars than competing blazoomar companies’ pages. What Kinds of Keywords Are There? There are several kinds of keywords you should be aware of. Short tail keywords are keywords that only consist of one or two words, and are only not all that descriptive. Mp3 player would be an example. By contrast, long tail keywords refers to more descriptive, specific keyword phrases. They identify a much narrower category of products or information. Blue clip-on mp3 player would be an example of a good long tail keyword. For most people it is better to focus on using long tail keywords. They are more descriptive and the ranking competition is lower for them. It is true that the total number of times long tail keywords get searched for is lower. But the users who search for them are very targeted and will likely convert more, through purchases or signups. These people know what they want already when they perform a search. Another distinction between kinds of keywords is user intent. We can split this into two categories: transactional and informational. Are users who visit your site more likely to be looking for information? Or do they want to buy a product, service, subscription as soon as possible? This consideration should impact your keyword choices. Something else to keep in mind is that today’s search engines like Google are learning to provide relevant results to users based on conversational language. Users often search as if they were speaking to an actual person. So one kind of effective informational long tail keyword might be formatted as a question, for example What kind of blazoomar is best for teenagers? Keyword Research Once you have decided what kinds of keywords you need to be targeting in your SEO efforts, it is time to begin doing some keyword research. The goal of keyword research is two-fold. Keyword research helps you discover new keyword ideas, and find keywords with a good balance of high search volume and low competition. Search volume is the number of times people search for that phrase. Competition refers to how difficult it will be to rank high for that phrase. The ideal situation is that you find lots of relevant, descriptive keywords that have large search volume and also low competition. High competition keywords may have enormous search volume, but will be difficult to rank for. But many of the low competition keywords will have lower search volume. So you need to find the right balance. The growing phenomenon of local search is something else to keep in mind. If you are trying to rank higher as a brick-and-mortar business like a restaurant, focus your research on regional, state, or even town search analysis. You can find these options in many keyword research tools. One of the best tools right now is <a href=https://adwords.google.com/ko/KeywordPlanner/Home>Google Keyword Planner</a>. It is free to use when you have an Adwords account with Google. There are a couple of other ways to find new ideas for keywords, too. One...

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SEO Part 1: What Is SEO?

Be Found Online! You may have heard of SEO, but perhaps have no idea what it is. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It involves optimizing your website’s content and visibility on the web, so that its pages rank higher in search engine results. Search engines are popular tools found at websites like Google.com and Yahoo.com. They help people browse the web to quickly find websites that have the information or products they are looking for. If you are a business owner with a website, you want your website’s pages to rank as high as possible in the results. When people search for certain terms or phrases (keywords), you want your site to appear on the first page of search results. This way you get more visitors to your site, and, if you play your cards right, this means more leads and conversions. More people will be likely to sign up for your newsletter, order your product, or connect with you another way. Keywords, or keyword phrases, are the foundation of SEO. We will talk more about keyword research and proper keyword use. But first let’s take a brief look at the two main branches of SEO. These two parts of SEO use keywords to rank your website higher in different ways. They are: on-page optimization, and link building. On-page Optimization The on-page work of SEO involves several things. One is the placement of good keywords and keyword phrases throughout the visible content of a website’s pages. But it is also important to optimize some of the background code that the search engines see, even if users don’t see it. W5 Web Designs is on top of all the modern standards and best practices for these on-page SEO concerns. They can make sure your website looks great and relevant both to users and to the search engines. On-page optimization must also consider overall design and usability of a website. When search engines like Google rank a web page for a certain search term or phrase, they take into account how long users have stayed on that page in the past. This tells the search engines how useful or relevant they found that page to be for their particular web surfing goals. So it is important that a website loads fast and has easy navigation and structure. It is also important that it contains content that is relevant to the topic or products described by the chosen keyword phrases. In the past SEO has been about using sneaky tricks and tactics to trick the search engines into ranking a site’s pages higher. But with today’s technology, the old tricks don’t work anymore and will actually hurt your search rankings. So it is better to think of on-page SEO as putting your best foot forward. It is  about providing the best experience possible to the people who visit your site. The expertise of W5’s design team and SEO services will help you do just that. We will speak in greater detail about on-page optimization in a separate post. For now let’s look at an overview of link building, the other branch of SEO work. Link building One of the other tests that search engines like Google use today to rank web pages in their results is backlinks. This refers to the number and quality of other websites that link back to your site’s pages. (Links are the clickable, sometimes underlined text that you click on to navigate to a new web page). You can think of this as a kind of digital word-of-mouth system built into the search engine code. The...

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Introducing: Search Engine Optimization

After designing a new website or revamping an existing one, the work is not yet complete! One of the important marketing services W5 provides to its clients is search engine optimization, or “SEO.” You may have heard of this in passing but do not yet understand what it is about. It involves moving your website’s pages higher up in the rankings in the results in “search engines.” Search engines like Google.com or Yahoo.com help people surf the web and quickly find websites they need. The details can become overwhelming the more you learn about SEO. But the basic principles are simple enough to understand and apply, with a little professional help. SEO is a way to ensure you are maximizing the number of people that come to your website from search engines like Google. You may be running paid ads for search. But it is important to optimize for “organic” search traffic as well. This means getting your site to rank higher in the unpaid, natural spots in search results, which is where most people click. Over the course of the next several blog posts, we will give a brief overview of SEO. We will talk about keyword research. We will define and give examples of on-page optimization. And we will talk just a little bit about linkbuilding, which is the other side of a full-orbed SEO strategy....

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Intern Introduction

Hello all!  My name is Kelly Witowsky and I’m W5’s new Social Media Campaign Developer Intern!  I’m thrilled to be a part of this team and looking forward to posting awesome new content to various social media websites.  I will also put in place a new online marketing campaign. Here is a little background information about me.  I am a recent graduate of McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland where I majored in sociology. I developed an interest in marketing during one of my internships where I worked on email marketing.  It was then I recognized my passion for writing.  I also began crafting eye-catching content that represented clients in an engaging and articulate way.  I want to continue down this path of writing and marketing through social media and online marketing, which is how I found myself at W5. I am particularly excited about my main role to post on social media websites and keep our pages up-to-date.  Social media is a lot of fun and allows us to see what our family and friends are up to.  It is also quite beneficial to developing businesses.  According to recent statistics, “8 out of 10 internet users can be reached via social media networks and blogs” (business2community.com). Socialmediatoday.com reports that “Social marketing budgets will double over the next five years.”  In short, social media has become the number one way to reach out to potential clients and customers.  Missing this opportunity with a company’s marketing campaign would be a huge mistake.  The benefits are especially important with small companies. 87% of all small businesses say social media helps their businesses (mediabistro.com).  These numbers are too good to pass up. Facebook and Twitter pages linked to the business website is the best place to start an online presence.  Website traffic and business should increase if you are posting daily on your social media.  The social media bandwagon is an exciting place to be in the business world and there are many more tips and tricks to stay on top of it all.  Stay tuned for...

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HEARTBLEED

What you need to know If you have heard of this bug or vulnerability ( which is in fact what it is ) and you are worried; perfect that’s exactly how you should feel “catastrophic bug”, “On the scale of 1 to 10, this is an 11,” as said by Bruce Schneier crypto expert. This is scary stuff and all the jargon is a tough read for most of us. Let’s break down what it is and what you need to do to protect yourself. All it comes down to is that there is a hole in OpenSSL. Seems simple enough right? Warning what I tell you next may happen to infuriate you. These bad actors on the web were able to go into servers where your info is and remove parts of your data. This includes your usernames, passwords and encryption keys. That last one is bad. Encryption keys are what make the https secure and give you the ok to do business, warm fuzzy feeling of trust. Oh man, this is bad right? Yes, we established that already, try to keep up. This is going to make you mad too, while this was just discovered it turns out that the vulnerability has been around for 2 years! So, the bad actors of the web have been able to do this for a long while. What now? Change your passwords! Yes that’s about all you can do at this point. We recommend you change all your passwords. If you sign into anything, there is a pretty good chance you use the same password for other things right? Don’t lie! Ok here is a list of some of the affected sites, whether or not they patched the hole and if you need to change your password for their service. I hope this simplifies whats going on. Enjoy the awesome experience of changing all your passwords. Don’t worry about W5 Designs, we were not affected by the...

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