Web Navigation is About Moving Forward

Posted on July 16, 2009. Filed under: Others, SEO |

The primary purpose of web navigation is to help people to move forward. It is not to tell them where they have been, or where they could have gone.

Web behavior is impatient. The eye darts across a page. Decisions of what link to click on are made quickly. That’s why we need simplicity in web design, because complexity leads to confusion and poor decision making.

Every time you add a word to a web page, you take something away. You take away the ability to focus on the words that are already on the page. Every time you add a link you offer a choice. What you also do is impact on the ability to choose the links already on the page.

Let’s say you’re out driving. You come to a junction where you are offered a choice between heading to New York or Boston. You take the road to New York. That’s a decision you have made. Would you find it useful to be constantly reminded that you can still turn around and head to Boston? Would it be helpful to be reminded of all the places you’ve passed as you head to New York?

It is confusing to be reminded about all the decisions we could have made. It clutters the ability to focus on where we are going. It increases the chances that we might make a mistake.

Navigation should primarily be about helping us keep on going in the direction we have chosen. If I choose a link for “notebooks” then I have made a decision. Continuing to present me with links for servers and desktops decreases my ability to focus on the notebook direction I have chosen.

When I choose a link for “ultralight notebooks” that indicates that I am not interested in multimedia notebooks. Once I arrive at the ultralight notebooks webpage, the overwhelming focus of the navigation must be to help me find the right ultralight notebook.

Good web navigation design is not about giving people lots and lots of choices. It is not about second guessing decisions we have made. It’s not about asking what if we want to get back to where we were. It’s about looking forward, not about looking backward. 

The Back button helps us to get back if we want to get back. The global navigation allows us to reach major sections, no matter what part of the website we are on. (It is usually found in the masthead at the top of the page.) 

Designing a website can be a bit like being a kid and inheriting a sweetshop. It’s easy to get carried away. There are so many choices. A website can be like an attic that never fills up. Space is not the problem. Attention is.

Your job is not to design for all possible directions someone might want to take. That leads to a cluttered website and it will clutter the mind of and overload the attention of your customers.

Your job is to understand the primary direction your most important customers are heading, and to remove obstacles in the way of them arriving at that destination. Forward-looking navigation options should dominate.

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5 Tips to Generate more Leads

Posted on July 13, 2009. Filed under: SEO | Tags: , , , |

So you’ve started to get respectable numbers of potential customers visiting your website as a result of your search engine positioning strategy. But are you converting them into valuable sales leads for your business? If you are getting less than a handful of sales leads through your website a day, then the answer is no. You are not doing enough to convert browsers into buyers. You are not even converting them into interested prospects, instead, they are leaving your site as they arrived – simply browsing.

  1. Only have one link
    Remember that the difference between where a sales lead is won and lost lies in the “landing page”. The landing page is the first place visitors land within your website, after they have entered a particular search term into a search engine. To turn a browser into a sales lead, you need to collect some sort of information (e.g., email address, name, phone number) from them. To encourage people to enter their information, you must make sure you are not distracting them with multiple links. Particularly make sure there are no hotlinks next to the ‘submit’ button. The moment you starting adding links other than the one on the ‘submit’ button, you are driving traffic away from your lead form. And that traffic is unlikely to return.
  2. Provide powerful, readable arguments
    The copy or text on the landing page should be persuasive and readable. That means you should have 3-5 paragraphs about the key benefits of your product, in at least 9 point size font. Do not assume that just because someone has landed on your site after doing a search they will automatically give you their details. You will need to convince that browser, through your landing page copy, that you are the best amongst your competitors.
  3. Make sure your entire registration form is above the fold
    Don’t make your browsers scroll down to get to the registration form on your landing page. Previous studies have shown, they just won’t do it. By making sure your entire registration form is in the immediately- viewable, top half of your landing page, you are maximising your changes of gaining a sales lead from every visitor to that page.
  4. No need to recite the Privacy Act on the landing page
    You should never forget to mention your company’s privacy policy on any page where you are collecting customer information. However, by putting a link on the page to your privacy policy, you again risk losing people through hotlink overload. The best way to overcome this problem is simply to state your privacy policy in 1-2 sentences. For example, you can simply state that any information collected will not be released to third parties. In doing so, you are assuring people of your company’s commitment to privacy, while not detracting from the main purpose of the landing page.
  5. Give them the option to call you!
    Your number of sales leads will always increase when you give customers multiple ways to contact you. Once browsers have reached your landing page, there will always be a proportion who prefer to phone you to find out more information about your products or services. By providing these people with an easy-to-find contact phone number on your landing page, you are again minimising the risk of losing them. Ideally, the phone number should be in very large, bright font at the top and bottom of the page.

These are just a small number of ways to turn your browsers into buyers.

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What Color is Your Brand?

Posted on July 3, 2009. Filed under: Others, SEO |

Think about this. What colors come to your mind when you hear the names McDonald’s, Kit Kat, Target, IBM and UPS? Doesn’t take a lot of thinking, does it? 

Colors have always been an essential aspect of any branding effort and the reason we associate a particular color with a brand is because of consistency. The brand uses that color in their logos, in every advertisement and every piece of communication until not only is it associated with that color but also becomes synonymous with it. For example, IBM is so strongly associated with the color blue that it is known as “Big Blue,” McDonald’s is identified by its “Golden Arches” and UPS is also known as “The Big Brown Machine.”

So, why are colors so important? Why does it matter so much if a brand uses red or blue or green? Every color has certain connotations and psychological effects on the observer. The color a business uses says a lot about that company and the effect it wishes to have on consumers. Red is a great attention-grabber. It is the color of energy, excitement, passion and movement. Since it is such a noticeable color, it should be used sparingly as overusing the color is likely to irritate the onlooker. It’s a great color for logos and to add emphasis to advertisements but a bad one for the walls of a restaurant. Though orange also denotes energy and liveliness, it is more commonly associated with discounts and low-cost products. Colors like blue, green and pink are soft colors that are calm and restful. Blue denotes dependability, faith, loyalty, steadfastness and wisdom. Green denotes fertility, generosity, nurturing and stable energy. It is also the color most associated with nature; therefore, green is commonly used for eco-friendly products or services. Pink is the most gentle color. It denotes truth, romance, delicacy and affection. White denotes purity, freshness and cleanliness, while black is the color of power, authority and mystery. Black tends to overwhelm people, so business keep its use to a minimum.

Do colors really help consumers remember a business? The answer is yes. Research conducted by the secretariat of the Seoul International Color Expo shows that 92.6 percent of the total respondents said that they put most importance on visual factors when purchasing products. Only 5.6 percent said that the physical feel via the sense of touch was most important. Hearing and smell each drew 0.9 percent. When asked to approximate the importance of color when buying products, 84.7 percent thought that color accounted for more than half among the various factors important for choosing products. Research also shows that color increases brand recognition by 80 percent; improves readership as much as 40 percent; and increases comprehension by 73 percent. Color ads are read up to 42 percent more than similar ads in black and white and color can be up to 85 percent of the reason that people decide to buy.

But the color you choose for your business can also turn into your enemy, especially if you have branches in other countries or your business caters to a particular culture. Colors have different connotations in different countries and cultures and some can be negative. For example, yellow expresses weakness and cowardice in Europe; blue is the color of mourning in Iran; white denotes unhappiness and mourning in India and China and black is the color of mourning and death in Europe and bad luck and evil in Thailand. Therefore, it is important to take such factors into consideration and think twice before choosing a color for your business.

Once you’ve settled on a color for your brand, make sure to incorporate it throughout your marketing plan. Including your brand color or color scheme in all your advertisements, promotional products and publicity campaigns will help in reinforcing your brand so that whenever your customers see your brand color, they’ll think of your brand. The key is consistency.

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Article Marketing – An Important Strategy Of Online Marketing

Posted on July 3, 2009. Filed under: SEO |

Promotion is an important part of any business; you need to let potential customers know about you and your product. Articlemarketing is a strategy that will increase your exposure to the people who will want to buy your product or service. Articles written about your industry will help to establish you, the author, as an expert in your field, and can be published in print media and online.

Customers have a preference for doing business with someone they are familiar with, and article marketing is an ideal way of getting your name out there. The content of your articles needs to be useful and relevant to your target market. Articles that are informative, interesting and provide solutions to your readers are tremendously helpful.

If writing is your thing, then do your own articles. If not, there are several sites online where you can connect with writers, eager for work. Choose someone who uses good grammar and spelling skills, and who can write in an informal and conversational style that is easy to read. Your name will appear as the author on these outsourced articles, promoting you as the expert.

These articles are meant to inform and add value to you and your product; they are not blatant sales letters. Online publishing sites wouldn’t publish sales letters anyway, and print media would avoid them as well. To establish your credibility, you need to give something to your readers, not blast them with sales talk. Don’t ever forget, the reason they are reading your articles is for the information.

Web and ezine writing is very different than writing for other off-line publications. Brief is better. Be concise and write in short paragraphs. Your main purpose is to capture their attention and to get them to visit your website. If your article is long with every piece of information, they won’t see the value in clicking the link to your site.

You should always check for spelling and grammatical errors before submitting your articles to directories. These kinds of errors will reflect badly on your reputation and credibility as a quality information provider. Try to avoid technical language, but provide an explanation of terms if they need to be included.

Put the major benefit to the reader in your title. The title will determine whether or not the reader will click to read the article and possibly click to visit your site. If they aren’t compelled to read the article, they will never get to see your link, or see your website.

Article directories are the sites where you submit articles for online publication. They check your articles to make sure they comply with their guidelines before they publish them. And though we won’t go into it here, print media, like newspapers and magazines, are also always looking for fresh copy, so you can also submit your interesting articles to them for publication.

Make good use of the resource box under the article; this is where you can promote your product and supply contact information. What you include here should encourage readers to click to your website. The best resource box describes your website or yourself in a short sentence and includes at least one link that points back to your website or blog. When the reader clicks on the link to your site, your website visibility will increase.

Remember, a brilliant article with a bad resource box is a waste of time and money. Carefully review the rules for resource box information for each directory you submit to and try to get in as much information about yourself as you can.

If you can, place links to other articles you’ve written in a new article you’re writing. Sometimes, if the advice is helpful, the ezines will let you do this. This cross-referencing will get you more bang for your buck. Before publishing them elsewhere, you should always add your articles to your website or your newsletter. This helps to identify you as the source of the information and is another good way to get your name out there to build relationships with potential customers.

Articles for online publication need to be written with search engines in mind. You need to use the most popular keywords that online users type into their search engine when looking for information about your topic. Use the keywords in your article, but do not saturate it with them. This ruins the readability of the article and will not add to your credibility at all.

Set up a blog to keep in contact with customers and interested contacts. You can upload your articles to your blog to give your readers a continual supply of interesting, informative articles about your area of expertise. Add new content frequently to keep the search engines interested in your articles. Use your blog as another means of promoting your product and yourself as trustworthy and interested in your customers.

Article marketing is probably one of the easiest and most effective ways of driving targeted traffic to your website and boosting your exposure on the Internet. These guidelines will help you get started in article marketing. Use them to promote your product or service and to establish yourself as an expert in your field, then watch your sales increase.

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Securing Your Domain Name

Posted on July 1, 2009. Filed under: SEM, SEO | Tags: , |

Starting a website can be easier then it may appear to be. The one thing aspect, however, that is most important and many tend to spend the least amount of time on, is the domain name. Many feel that the the domain name is not important and choose something cute that is only meaningful to them and no one else.

When choosing a domain name, however you want the name to be something directly related to your business, if at all possible. Either it should be about the product, the name of your business and something of this sort. Now, most people choose the .com version of whatever name they choose, however it is important that if your business begins to take off that you turn around and buy the extensions of that name as well. For instance, if you have a site called, then you want to go and buy the .org,.net version and so forth.

Many business do not see a need to purchase the extension domain names, therefore they choose not to spend this money. This could end up hurting the company in the long run, as another business can purchase that domain and operate under your business. They then will have the opportunity to lure customer away from your website, or operate scams to steal from your customers giving your business a bad reputation.

Another reason the purchase the extension is because when a search a made to find your site, the search engine will show these other sites, as well as your own. This will mislead customers to believe that they are all related businesses. In order to secure your business, it is important to secure your web name. Acquiring the various domain names is simple and inexpensive to achieve and is definitely any money and effort put into it.

In order to maximize your business exposure and limit risks, it is essential that you understand the way in which the internet works. When you are unsure of how you can keep your business secure you should consult a website designer,SEO Management Company or other web professionals, that can assist you through the process.

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How SEO Internet Marketing Service can benefit Your Business

Posted on July 1, 2009. Filed under: SEO | Tags: , |

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is an integral part of internet marketing. With ever increasing queries on the search engines capturing traffic is a fanatstic opportunity that any serious online business should be looking to exploit. As competiton for high seach engine positions is increasing day to day, leaving SEO to an internet marketing agency is wise choice.

A relatively successful area of internet marketing is that of email marketing. For those businesses that still utilise direct mail, hiring a digital media agency can prove highly rewarding as there is often potential to greatly increase email response rates and increase sales through email marketing.

One of the fastest growing areas within internet marketing is Social Media. This covers a wide range of online technology, which all have a common goal: to allow people to share experiences and opinions with others. Social media has presented the opportunity to target your products specific demographics and consequently Social Media Optimisation can prove to be a valuable area of your internet marketing efforts.

If your website does not currently generate the levels of traffic that you desire an internet marketing company can benefit your business. By driving more traffic to a website there will naturally be more enquiries and more sales. However, internet marketing services can increase the conversion rates on your website, creaing more sales without requiring increased levels of traffic.

When searching for an internet marketing service it is worthwhile to bear in mind word of mouth is one of the best and most reliable methods to find a business or service. Internet marketing services are no different. Also, searching online is an excellent place to look. If a company that provides internet marketing services has an good website with decent search engine rankings it is a sign that they may be able to produce similar results with your website.

Internet marketing agencies are experts in all areas of online marketing. If there is any area of internet marketing that you or your business is not already successful in then it would be worthwhile looking into outsourcing your internet marketing, or at least some areas of your internet marketing campaigns to an internet marketing company.

With an evergrowing trend of individuals turning to the search engines to find information it is benefitial for any business to have a website. With the development of Google local search, local brick and mortar businesses can benefit from search engine traffic looking for local services without having to compete agaisnt national brands.

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Great Web Design Videos

Posted on June 30, 2009. Filed under: Others, SEM, SEO, Web 2.0 |

Here’s my series of great web design videos. Enjoy

Website Design: In 2 mins

Website Design: Cool & Hip

Website Design: Corporate

Website Design: Clean & Simple

Website Design: Artistic

Website Design: Vibrant

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Tips On Doing SEO For Small Business

Posted on June 19, 2009. Filed under: SEO |

There is a common understanding that SEO or search engine optimization is just for big businesses and corporations who want to extend their market reach online. Search engine optimization is not just the domain of large companies; small businesses also need the services of SEO in order to compete well in the market. So how to you implement the SEO for small business?

Research is critical in doing SEO for business

In any kind of activity, the need for research will always be there. In trying to tweak and update SEO for small business, you need to ask yourself what you will try to change in your site. Jumpstart your SEO job by writing down your goals for the business and start writing the possible queries that user may type in order to find your website and your small business. In trying to use SEO for small business, make sure too that you research the chosen keywords. You can make it happen by signing up with Google Ad Words. From there, your SEO for small business will now call for the identification of the right keywords that you can use for your websites. Plus this step requires you to understand your competition- see what are the high performing keywords for that site and learn the things that they are doing best so that you can copy their strategies as well. Once research has been done, then the next step for the SEO for small business requires you to do some on-site tweaks on your websites. Doing the SEO for small business means you need to evaluate the visual design of the business site. If the design of the website don’t attract readers but repel the readers, then no amount of work on the part of the SEO firm can help. In doing on-site checks as part of SEO for small business, make sure that you look at the HTML code of the website and optimize as well all the related tags.

Selected tips on how you can do your SEO for small business

Here are other tips when doing the on-site tweaks as part of SEO for small business:

  • Make sure that the keyword should be in the title tag
  • Make sure that the keyword is in the H1 for each page
  • Keyword must be present on the content
  • Try to optimize the URL architecture and this is part of SEO for small business
  • And on relevant images, make sure that you incorporate the keywords in the alt tags and in the file names

Consider off-site tweaks when doing SEO for small business

Other on-site steps that you can take as part of your efforts on SEO for small business include the need to decide if our website is in need of meta-description and the need to include the company address and the phone number. The contact information should be made visible on all pages of the website and this should be part of your SEO for small business. And finally, your SEO for small business should include offsite activities. Your SEO for small business on this stage will include the need to include the website to major industry-related

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5 Steps Internet Marketing Plan

Posted on June 3, 2009. Filed under: Michelle's Intro, SEM, SEO, Web 2.0 |

Internet Marketing Plan Step 1 – Defining Your Customer

Defining your customer is as important as defining your products or naming your business. Answer these questions as honestly as you can. In other words, don’t project your expectations or hopes on them. What is your perfect, solid customer really like?

  • Is my perfect customer male or female?
  • Does my perfect customer work out of the home or in the home?
  • What is the job profile of my perfect customer – an executive, manager, worker, entrepreneur, stay-at-home parent, etc.
  • What is the net household income of my perfect customer?
  • What level of education does my perfect customer have?
  • Does my perfect customer have room in her spending budget for my product/service on a one time, occasional or constant basis?
  • How do my perfect customers use my product/service – do they buy it for themselves or as a gift?
  • Does my perfect customer spend a lot, some or minimal time on the Internet?
  • Where does my perfect customer look for my product/service? Both online and in physical locations?

Once you have this written out, you should have a good picture of where to start looking to place your message and how to write your message copy.

Internet Marketing Plan Step 2 – Choosing Your Targets

Now, where are you going to post your ads? A coordinated effort across several sites and venues commonly frequented by your customers is the most effective marketing campaign. If you are seen in several places your visibility and retained message is much stronger. Complementary sites that you can help cross-promote to your visitors, who will then see you there too, will provide excellent reinforcement of your message. Holiday specific sites that are well promoted are excellent areas to consider.

When considering a site or newsletter for your ad, look at factors such as traffic, search engine placement, external linking (how many places link to it), quality of current ads and types of messages being presented in current ads. Are there many competitors of yours already or is the advertising of a complementary nature to your business? Are the ads completely unrelated to your business and to the intended traffic of the site? These are all clues to measure a best fit of your message to the traffic of the site.

Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising is another consideration for your Internet marketing campaign but can be daunting for someone new to this form. If you’re new to PPC, stick to places that allow you to set limits on daily expenditures. Google is a good example. This will also help you to experiment and determine the most effective keywords by paying close attention to the statistics of the PPC campaign.

Conversion rates are an important measuring tool. What you need to do is determine what exactly you want to measure for your marketing campaign. Is it sales orders? Newsletter subscribers? Downloads of your free e-book? A conversion rate is the number of click-throughs it takes to achieve your target measurement. Your page may have 1000 hits, 14 clicks and 1 sale in a day. Your conversion rate is 1:14 or 7.1%. In other words, 7.1% of the clicks are generating a sale during this period.

Close monitoring of your conversion rates will quickly tell you what is working and what is not. Don’t hesitate to change, tweak or modify your ads if needed. This is a process in constant motion until you find the best fit. Remember too, an ad may work superbly in one place but not in another.

Internet Marketing Plan Step 3 – Budget

While some folks think this should be the first step, realistically you can better create the budget for your marketing plan when you have a good idea of the costs involved. That can only be done once you’ve figured out your targets. You probably already have a figure in mind of how much you can really spend, so go back to your marketing campaign sheet and total up the costs of all the ad spots you’d like to do. Chances are that total will exceed your overall spending limit.

Internet Marketing Plan Step 4 – Creating Your Ad Content

Internet marketing works best when you focus only on one or two things. You may have a variety of products but pick one or two items that are good sellers and have a solid appeal to your target market for your marketing campaign.

Next ask yourself, “What am I selling”? It’s rarely the product or service. You are selling a benefit, something that registers at the emotional level. If you are selling fishing rods, for example, you’re selling the excitement of successfully landing that monster in the lake. If you are selling cosmetics, you’re selling beauty.

The most successful ads use words that relate to the customer. Use You and Yours and never put the focus on Me, Mine, Our, My or We. Create several emotional words associated with the product – fun, comforting, relaxing, stimulating, addictive – and use at least one of them in the ad.

Coupons are also an effective marketing tool. They can be easily tracked either manually or by an automated shopping cart system. Use different codes for different advertising locations and you’ll quickly see which ones get the best attention.

Internet Marketing Plan Step 5 – Tracking & Monitoring Your Ads

Tracking and reacting to your campaign’s successes are critical in maintaining an effective marketing campaign. From your website stats to PPC stats, there are many ways to determine what is working and what isn’t. By paying attention you’ll learn volumes about your ads and how to hone them for best results.


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Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) Tips

Posted on May 29, 2009. Filed under: SEO | Tags: , |

There are billions of web sites on the Internet, with many more being added every day.

One of the best ways to find these websites is through the search engines, which gives you thousand of results… and how many times do you look beyond the second page? Not very often I guess.

Well what you need to do is to get your web site listed higher among your competitors and there are a number of things you could do to get there.

1. Page Title
Make sure each page on your web site has a title. Many search engines use the title of the page as the link to your site, so it is important that your title be as relevant and descriptive as possible. 

To see how many Untitled Documents there are out there, all you need to do is type Untitled Document into a search on Google, when I tried it returned 44,600,000 search results. When you look at the pages found, Untitled Document, is not going to make you want to visit that page. 

It is best to use the title for your page that describes the content of your page as much as possible in the most descriptive way. For example, if you were looking for a page that sells Crystal Wine Glasses and the search engine title for the page says Glasses, it could mean the page contained anything from Sunglasses to Beer Glasses.

2. Meta Tags
Meta tags are one of the most important element of a web page when it is indexed by a search engine. 
Meta tags are used by almost all search engines to index your page and contain items such as page description and keywords.
The description meta tag is often used by a search engine to display a sort description of what your web page contains. Some search engines look at the keywords entered into the keywords meta tag and display your page in the search results if it is one of the words used in the search criteria. 

3. Page Content
A number of search engines will index the first few lines of your web page, so try to make the first few lines descriptive.

Some search engines will even index your entire page. To trick the search engines, some people enter hundreds of keywords into the bottom of the page but in the same colour as the background. Unfortunately, they can be seen by the search engine spider. This is considered as spamming and search engines will either put your site lower in the listings or black list it altogether. 

4. Hyperlinks
Try to place as many descriptive text links in your homepage to other relevant pages in your site. Search engines will use these links to index the other pages on your site. 

5. Images
It is important that you use the alt tag on any images to try and describe as much as possible what the image is of. Not only will this help index your site better but it will also help those visitors to your site who are visually impaired. 

Where possible try not to use images that contain text as what maybe easily visible to you won’t be able to be indexed by a search engine. 

6. Links to Your Site
Google will rank your web site higher in search results by the amount of web sites that link to your site, also the higher the profile of the site that links to yours, the higher your listing is in search results. 

With this in mind it is worth searching the Internet for other web sites on the same topic as your own. Many of these sites will have link pages and even if they don’t its worth asking the web site owner if they could link to your web site. 

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