Temp3.net Web Design

Website design, SEO and Marketing FREE Tips and Techniques

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Streamline Your Website Pages

Squeezing the most efficient performance from your web pages is important. The benefits are universal, whether the site is personal or large and professional. Reducing page weight can speed up the browsing experience, especially if your visitors are using dial-up internet access. Though broadband access is the future, the present still contains a great deal of dial-up users. Many sites, e-commerce sites especially, cannot afford to ignore this large section of the market. Sites with a large amount of unique traffic may also save on their total monthly traffic by slimming down their web pages. This article will cover the basics of on-page optimization in both text/code and graphics.

Graphics

Graphics are the usual suspect on heavy pages. Either as a result of a highly graphic design, or a few poorly optimized images, graphics can significantly extend the load-time of a web page. The first step in graphics optimization is very basic. Decide if the graphics are absolutely necessary and simply eliminate or move the ones that aren't. Removing large graphics from the homepage to a separate gallery will likely increase the number of visitors who "hang around" to let the homepage load. Separating larger photos or art to a gallery also provides the opportunity to provide fair warning to users clicking on the gallery that it may take longer to load. In the case of graphical buttons, consider the use of text based, CSS-styled buttons instead. Sites that use a highly graphic design, a common theme in website "templates", need to optimize their graphics as best as possible.

Graphics optimization first involves selecting the appropriate file type for your image. Though this topic alone is fodder for far more in depth analysis, I will touch on it briefly. Images come in 2 basic varieties, those that are photographic in nature, and those that are graphic in nature. Photographs have a large array of colors all jumbled together in what's referred to as continuous tone. Graphics, such as business logos, are generally smooth, crisp and have large areas of the same color. Photographs are best compressed into "JPEGs". The "Joint Photographic Expert Group" format can successfully compress large photos down to very manageable sizes. It is usually applied on a sliding "quality" scale between 1-100, 1 being the most compressed and lowest quality, 100 the least and highest quality. JPEG is a "lossy" compression algorithm, meaning it "destroys" image information when applied, so always keep a copy of the original file. Graphics and logos generally work best in the "GIF", or more recently, the "PNG" format. These formats are more efficient than JPEGs at reducing the size of images with large areas of similar color, such as logos or graphical text.

A few general notes on other media are appropriate. Other types of media such as Flash or sound files also slow down a page. The first rule is always the same, consider whether they are absolutely necessary. If you are choosing to build the site entirely in Flash, then make sure the individual sections and elements are as well compressed as possible. In the case of music, I will admit to personal bias here and paraphrase a brilliant old saying, "Websites should be seen and not heard." Simply, music playing in the background will not "enhance" any browsing experience.

Text and Code

The most weight to be trimmed on a page will come from graphical and media elements, but it is possible to shed a few extra bytes by looking at the text and code of a web page. In terms of actual text content, there may not be much to do here. A page's content is key not only to the user's understanding but also search engine ranking. Removing or better organizing content is only necessary in extreme situations, where more than page weight is an issue. An example might be a long, text heavy web page requiring a lengthy vertical scrolling to finish. Such a page is common on "infomercial" sites, and violates basic design tenants beyond those related to page weight.

Code is a different story. A website's code can be made more efficient in a variety of fashions. First, via the use of CSS, all style elements of a web page can now be called via an external file. This same file can be called on all a site's pages, providing for a uniform look and feel. Not only is this more efficient; it is also the official recommendation from the W3C. The same may be said of XHTML and the abandonment of "table" based layout. Tables, though effective for layout, produce more code than equivalent XHTML layouts using "div" tags. Where a minimum of 3 tags are required to create a "box" with content in a table, only 1 is needed using divisions. Using XHTML and CSS in combination can significantly reduce the amount of "on page" code required by a web page. A final, relatively insignificant trick is the removal of all "white space" from your code. Browsers don't require it; it is primarily so authors can readily read and interpret the code. The savings are minimal at best, but for sites that receive an extreme amount of traffic, even a few saved bytes will add up over time.

Examples:

TheChive is an example of a website that is purely graphics based. They have primarily images and videos.
TheLivingPearl is a perfect example of combination of Text, Code and Graphics combined nicely together.
DeadEndMath is an example of a website that contains virtually no graphics, but is very rich in text (and formulas).

Conclusions

Target images and media files first when seeking to reduce the weight of a page. They are the largest components of overall page weight and simply removing them can significantly reduce total weight. The images that remain should be optimally compressed into a format appropriate for their type, photos or graphics. Avoid huge blocks of text that cause unnecessary vertical scrolling. Organize the site more efficiently to spread the information across multiple pages. Adopt XHTML and CSS to reduce the size of the on-page code, and call the CSS externally. These tips should help reduce the size of your pages and speed their delivery to your viewers.

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Writing for People and for Search Engines

So you've decided to get a website that's optimized for search engines. You're no dummy. You want your website to show up any time a search is conducted in your area of expertise. Who can blame you? But wait. Be prepared for twists and turns ahead.

The Bible says, "My people perish from lack of knowledge." This is also true in the technical world of search engine marketing. Your lack of understanding of how search engines find websites can be detrimental to your success. In effect, you could lose your website investment, and lose again by not being at the top of the engines later. If your website is built and written correctly, you will experience a positive return on your website investment that pays dividends for years to come.

Before you start correcting the website content created for you by The Marketing Shop, or any webmaster experienced in SEO, make sure you have a firm grasp of search engine optimization. If you have a question about something that looks peculiar, ask your designer before you spend too much time fretting. Chances are--if it's on your website--it's there for a purpose.

Writing a website is a delicate balance between pleasing people and computers. Strike the right balance and you'll find your website at the top of the search engines, converting your website traffic into loyal clients. Miss the mark and your site will be in no man's land without a word to say.

Here's a few things to know about search engine optimization before reading your website content for the first time:

Keywords are Paramount. If your website does not have the keyword content that people are using for search, it will not show up in search results, period. This is not quantum physics. Computers are machines. They can only pick up text. It's crucial that we analyze what people are typing into the search engines and build your website content accordingly.

Keyword Research is Necessary. The Marketing Shop performs extensive keyword research for all our web marketing clients. We want to know exactly what people are typing in what into the search engines to find products and services like yours. Based upon our expertise in search engine optimization, we determine the best keywords and phrases to optimize on your site. We have many different calculations that we use to determine which keywords to optimize for and rest assured we've done our homework on the best keywords for the current development phase of your website.

Headings Must Be Search Engine Optimized. The headings of your website impact your website search engine optimization. It is important that they read in a precise way in order for you to "score points" with the search engines and rank higher in search results. There are at least three levels of headings (h1, h2 and h3). If you're keywords aren't here, your page won't be optimized.

We try to maintain a balance by writing headings that are search engine optimized, and compelling for the reader. A headline sets up the structure of the page and entices people to read further. We try to do both wherever possible.

Your Page Layout Must Be Search Engine Optimized. Everything about your website must be optimized for search or you may loose valuable opportunities to gain new customers. Our websites have generally the same layout because our research has shown the layout to be most effective for SEO. While there are probably many better ways to layout your website, we prefer the way that the search engines prefer in effort to attract website traffic.

Your Navigation Will Make or Break Your Search Rankings. The navigation on your website is integral to your website for a variety of reasons. First, it contains links that help the search engine spiders get to where they need to go on your site. Second, it contains keywords that help your website get indexed for search queries.

We strive to create intuitive and easy to use navigation systems that are search engine optimized. Much thought goes into the creation of your navigation. Though it may see strange, your navigation is built for search engines and people. Whenever possible, we will add keywords and key phrases to each and every link of your navigation. Here's some bizarre things you may encounter on your SEO navigation:

Repetition Keywords: It's important to put keywords everywhere, including the navigation system. Not only do the keywords score points for being there, but the link itself scores double points for linking to the page it's linking to.

Re-Phrasing of Terminology: Sometimes we will need to breakdown the way you phrase something in order to make it match with what people are searching for in the search engines. If our research shows that people are not searching for a given term, we will change it to suit the search queries of the customers you want to win.
Localization is A Sticky Situation. Many of The Marketing Shop website clients are those seeking web marketing in a local vicinity. We do our best to bring you customers only from the area you request. However, there are times when our keyword research concludes that people are just not searching for your local area and we have to optimize more broadly. If this is the case, rest assured that targeting the broader area will still render results in your local area due to our expertise in local web marketing.

Each Page is Only Optimized for One or Two Phrases. The most successful web pages for search engines are optimized for only one or two keyword phrases. That means the title is about one thing and the page contains the same keywords sprinkled throughout with plenty of links reflecting the same keywords too.

Images are Invisible to Search Engines. If you were expecting a website to be a lead-generator that has more visual appeal and aesthetic stimulation, please reconsider. Images are invisible to search engines. Studies also show that people want information when they come on the web as opposed to a colorful "website brochure."

Content is King. Content is king for a variety of reasons including for search engine optimization, for website conversion enhancement and for inclusion into Google.

Search Engines: Search engines can read only text. It makes sense to keep fresh, relevant content on your site for search engine crawlers.

Website Conversion Enhancement: People are on the web to get information, not to read brochures. The more information you provide for them, the "stickier" your website becomes and the more people will bookmark your site and rely on it for pertinent information. (See article on web content.)

Also, people who get free and valuable information from your website are more likely to rely and depend upon you when they're ready to purchase goods and services. It's a "give before you get" mentality that really works. Offer information and your website visitors will reward you with loyalty.

Another way good web content affects your website's conversion capabilities is by showing your clients how you operate. Your web content is very telling as to the goods and services you provide. If you skimp on your content and your competitor does not, your competitor will win the business. Your prospects may wonder why you're not offering adequate information. Do you not know what you're doing? Do you have something to hide? Will you skimp later? It's best to just ante up the info immediately.

Google has strict requirements for it's top search result contenders, including inclusion in the DMOZ. The DMOZ is a human edited directory that requires unique and informative content as a barrier to entry. We're in the Information Age, time to step it up and provide useful information.
The World is Changing and Your Customer is Well Informed. Why bother creating websites that are valuable to our website visitors? Because your customer is different today than ever before. Information is readily available to everyone. The person who gives out information most efficiently is the one people will rely on to do business with in the future. Customers are well informed, savvy and able to get information at the click of a mouse. We need to step out of the box and cater to the new consumer.

SEO Sites Can be Tacky. There are websites out there that try to capitalize on knowledge of search engine optimization by adding keywords flagrantly and abusing the system. The Marketing Shop will never do that as we rely only on ethical search engine optimization techniques. We care more about people than we do about search engine rankings. The only time we'll put machines over people is when it's very important to the overall SEO success of your website. Other times, we try to appeal human visitors most of all.

Conclusion
Before you get started, make sure you understand what it takes to get to the top of the search engines. Good foundational knowledge in SEO will help your site be more successful, and save your web designer and SEO professional a ton of headaches in trying to get you to understand what's what. Please understand that The Marketing Shop will do nothing to your website without having a good reason for doing so. Please ask questions before you get frustrated.

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Website visitors for your business

It is worth looking at some values and strengths of a few technical and promotional elements of your website that will help you to lay a foundation in building profitable online success. Once you have decided on your market and have chosen a relevant domain name for your online business, you need simple and effective tools and methods to put and keep your business on a profitable track. Ideally you will want to make use of easy-to-use methods that keeps visitors coming to your website. Lets look at a few practical ideas.

When a visitor comes to your website you have to get their follow-up information by collecting their email address. It is important to ‘enable’ your web site to automatically deliver quality content such as a newsletter to visitors and allow you to follow up with extra information when necessary. Top marketers agree that this forms a large percentage of their online success. How do you do this? You create forms on your web pages, giving visitors the chance to subscribe to your opt-in list, newsletter or report. This allows you to introduce your service and offer something valuable in order to build relationship. Email follow-up through autoresponders is totally free and an absolute necessity for implementing. All you need to do is integrate the autoresponder into your web site via a form so that you can pre-load it with your newsletters. You may say that you’re not a writer, but what do you know about your industry? Write it down and put it into an informative newsletter. Subscribers can now begin to see you as an expert on the subject and look to you for the solutions that your business is already offering.

Once your newsletter is up and running, you can use these very same tips and ideas you share with your subscribers and also write a weekly article about your product or service, and then submit it to ezines online. This is very easy to do and will have great response for your business. There are tens of thousands of ezine publishers online that needs good content, and will give you valuable exposure for your business. You will have many sites linking to your site and people will be able to read what your business is about and visit your website. Then they will also be able to subscribe to your newsletter which provides even more information about your product or service. Each article has got a resource box at the bottom which allows visitors to visit your web site. Write your 4 to 6 line resource box by viewing some samples online and making up your own. Finding details of ezine publishers can quite easily be done through looking up in search engines.

Let’s go a step further and look at newspaper classifieds. By using little snippets of ideas from your newsletters and articles, you can come up with short eye catching promotional messages to use in newspaper classifieds. There are newspaper companies that offer state wide and nation wide advertising in their papers, often covering readership in excess of 2 to 3 million. By placing 10-15 word tiny classified ads all over the globe can dramatically increase your website traffic. A big mistake people make when doing this is to try and make sales directly from their ads instead of just generating leads for later follow-up. You would want to get your leads to your web site first from where they can subscribe to your automated content.

Lastly lets consider the eye opener an affiliate program can have for your business. With the right product or service it is by far the hottest way of building your business and customer base. Submit your program to affiliate directories across the web. You’ll have affiliates making sales for you and not paying a cent in advertising until you’ve made the sale! Your advertising will be covered by your affiliates, and you can concentrate on providing customer service and continue follow-up with your increasing customer base through newsletter delivery and other product offers. By becoming familiar with how important it is to stay relevant in implementing these factors will benefit your business and you will find that you’ll be achieving better results.

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