SEO

Can SEO Help Authors Promote Books Online?

Is SEO A Reliable Online Promotion Strategy for Books?

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a technical science, not guess-work or smoke and mirrors. Whether you are an author who wants to promote their book online, or a business owner just looking to capture more leads, SEO is a critically important marketing opportunity you need to be aware of and understand that might be easier than you think to take advantage of. It's true that SEO is big mystery to many people, and it is also possible to waste a lot of money on the service if you use a bad strategy or unprofessional provider. But SEO is an extremely critical aspect of marketing today and when done right can be a reliable foundation to any marketing and promotion plan. If you know the search terms that are being searched most often for the product or website you want to promote, such as a self-published book, and you focus energy on adding valuable information on your website for those keywords, then you may be able to gain a steady stream of new visitors to your website from those specific keyword phrase searches.

The Best DIY SEO Strategy for Authors & Writers

Aside from hiring a trusted and skilled SEO marketing agency which is always my first recommendation, I believe the next best SEO strategy is to build an on-going content creation strategy that is manageable but focused and measurable. To begin, think of what kind of content you're able to create the most by yourself that is both high-quality and high-volume. Then develop a marketing strategy that incorporates SEO keyword targeting to promote that content on and through your website, social media, and third party websites.

Promote Your Targeted Website Content on Social Media

This strategy should emphasize promoting and distributing the valuable free content that you publish yourself on a regular basis to as wide an audience as possible. You can do this using blog posts on your website, facebook posts, twitter, SnapChat, Instagram, or videos you create and host on YouTube, or Vimeo. To improve your website's ranking try to host the content directly on your website and use social media to promote and link back to that content on your website. Focusing on 1 or 2 social media platforms that specifically match the type of content you create will help keep your focused and yield the greatest value.

SEO in a Nutshell, Link-Building & Content Creation

Optimizing keywords & meta tags on your website is the first and best step towards making your website appear in searches for specific relevant keywords. But the on-going bulk of the work after your existing website pages are optimized, is creating new content on your website which expands its page volume coupled with link-building, creating links back to your website, on as many respected 3rd party websites on the internet as possible. That's SEO in a nutshell, building links that point to your website and adding & sharing valuable content on your website that is optimized for your keywords.

Black-Hat Link-building for SEO

One way to build links from 3rd party sites is to manually go add them yourself, some SEOs create their own networks of hundreds of micro-websites as forums, info sites, blogs, etc, and then slowly over time build them with content from their customers, others do it with browser 'bot' automation programs. Although, I don't recommend either of these strategies because they are unnatural, and don't typically occur organically. Some of these strategies and others that are questionable are often called Black-Hat SEO and can be penalized by Search Engines like Google.

White-Hat Link-building for SEO

Another way to build links is to create really interesting content and disseminate it in the form of press releases, social media posts, or articles on other websites. This content should be genuinely interesting and valuable to readers. If content about your product or brand are posted on news & industry websites then you're doing both promotion of your brand, building relationships, and link building happens naturally. These are just a few of the techniques that are safe to use because they are very normal and natural activity online, and are called White-Hat SEO.

Why Authors Are Great for SEO

All of these activities require work, but because the most important work in SEO is content creation, if you're an author you're well positioned to create a lot of very valuable SEO content. I tell everyone writing is the hardest part of SEO, so if you write well and often you're perfectly suited to generate a high-volume of regular content for your website's blog, social media, or third party websites that link back to your own site. Although I highly recommend hiring a professional SEO company or consultant to help you identify which keywords are best to target, how to maximize your social media value and make it efficient, optimize your website's meta tags, and show you how to include keywords appropriately in your blog posts and content. If you don't have that much money to invest in SEO, the good new is you can do the content creation and PR link building yourself with a little training and guidance. If you don't have time to do it yourself then you've got to find the right kind of content creator who can create content in the channel that's best suited for your brand and products.

Let Influencers Promote For You

In the book publishing industry, as well as many other industries, often the best way to sell a book or product is to identify the celebrities and key influencers who would really love your book or product. These are people who have a large following on social media already, people with tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of followers. If you can get one or two of these influencers to talk about your product, you will suddenly be marketed to thousands of new people for free.

Beyond SEO, Utilize Existing Distribution Channels

Another route is to simply access the large distribution channels out there that already exist. For instance, how do you get your book or product on the "featured new & best sellers" shelves in brick & mortar stores as well as online retail stores? How do you get established groups or associations of people to add your book to their "staff pick" lists? If you can find out this may be the easiest way to get seen and heard. I for one have never ordered a book I'd never heard of by accidentally stumbling across it online. I find books by looking at "what other customers bought" lists, staff picks at bookstores, recommendations from friends on social media, and hearing the book is on a popular book club list such as Timothy Ferris' book club, or Oprah's book club. This could be the best and most effective kind of PR for book-selling. Try going to the networks that millions of readers are already using and simply ask to be included or send free copies to the leaders of those groups or to popular influential bloggers who already have a massive following, so they can simply add you to their lists!

SEO is only part of Marketing

I always recommend doing SEO, but isn't there a better way to promote a book than building up SEO value from scratch? How many people really look for and find books on search engines vs inside Amazon, Good Reads, other book websites? You might not want to put all of your marketing energy into SEO, but regularly writing content on your website and promoting links to that content on social media is something you should be doing regardless, and it just so happens to be a core part of a successful SEO strategy.

Ask Your Friends How They Find New Books

Start asking everyone you know in each conversation you have with them the next time you talk, and ask them where they discover new cool books to read, how do they search when looking for good books or recommendations on what to read next. They might say I search online, but WHERE do they search online, in Amazon or by asking their friends on facebook?

What Keywords Are Other Authors Using?

For keywords, ask yourself what authors have surely spent money on marketing & SEO, have high quality websites, and are internet savvy. Next go to their websites, and placing your mouse cursor on their website on Mac "CNTRL+click" or on PC "right-click" and you should get an option to "View Page Source". Then use "CTRL+F" on PC or "command+F" on Mac and search for "meta". Look for text that says "meta description", " 

Exact Keyword Phrase Matching Helps

Some websites show up simply because they've been around a long time, or just happen to exactly match the keyword search phrase with their domain name or blog post title. If you're writing a book about 'How to promote books online', and do a search for "SEO for self-publishing books", you'll likely find many websites that appear simply because their keywords in your search match their domain name exactly, or because they are just a very old website.

Build Your List of Keywords

Before you do more research, you should also do a brain dump of all the keywords you think match what your book is about. If your book is about 'How to Promote a Book online' you might also want to do Google searches for "SEO for authors", "How to market self-published books", etc, and then look for all the bloggers' websites who show up there. I recommend starting to build a spreadsheet list of websites that are already ranking well in the kinds of searches you expect your customers to use. Google Sheets is a great place to build your list in a spreadsheet; use website name, domain name, author name, keyword you searched, and position it ranked 1-10 as your columns; then add each website as each new row.

Ask Bloggers to Write About Your Book

If you have a list of bloggers who are writing about the topic of your book, then email your info to 10 new bloggers a day just by doing basic relevant Google Searches and adding them to a list, there's a good chance some of them will mention your book and link to your website before or after reading your book.

Don't Forget E-Books And Audiobooks

I also personally use Audible a lot these days to read most of my books. This is another good marketplace that shouldn't be overlooked when thinking about distribution platforms that might be interested in carrying your book too. Many authors offer their books as a downloadable e-book, there are several different popular formats and having your book available in each might be a great way to sell it as a download on your website. You could also create an audio version of your book. These newer formats are also most accessible online so you may find additional promotion and distribution opportunities if you explore these networks and the communities that talk about them.


Google Can't Pass its Own Mobile-Friendly Website Test

I do a lot of website testing

As a Las Vegas web designer I'm constantly on the look-out for new trends and ways to improve website performance. I pay attention to Google announcements, tech blogs, and am always on the look-out for new easy ways to measure the health of websites, security issues, and website performance. One easy kind of tool I like to use sometimes are automated website checkers. Some website checkers will tell you how many pages your website has, some will measure an abstract performance value relating to Search Engine Optimization (SEO), others will tell you how fast your website loads in browsers, and others will give you helpful suggestions on ways to improve your website to remove technical errors in the code or out-dated code usages which should be updated for best browser compatibility.

Google Adwords told me my website had some errors

So recently while checking my Google Adwords account, which is a service created by Google to help website owners advertise their website in Google Search results, I noticed an alert posted about our company's website AllinWebPro.com. Adwords was alerting me that some of the pages that visitors see after they click on our ads aren't totally mobile-friendly, and that there are still some errors occurring that we might want to address. So I clicked on the link and it took me to Google's mobile-friendly website test tool. Here you can type in the name of any website for Google to search and then see what results or errors it finds that you might be able to easily fix to improve the user experience for mobile viewers of your website. This is a useful tool in many ways.

Hello Google's Mobile-Friendly Website Test Tool!

I wasn't sure if the errors it found were important

But when errors appear that aren't very clear, such as scripts or images that might be intended to appear when your website responds to a mobile browser, it would help to know whether or not we should be alarmed and take these warnings or errors seriously. Are these problems that are stopping visitors from using my website? Should we quickly contact a specialist to see if we can optimize our website to make it load .01 seconds faster to help improve the user experience or rank better in search results?

So I tested Google's homepage in their own test tool

To better answer this question I thought I'd be cheeky and enter google.com into its own mobile-friendly test tool. And the result is a little interesting, if not surprising. There were about 4 errors that Google's own website scanner detected on Google's own homepage! Apparently Google had some scripts that couldn't be accessed and there was some kind of URL redirect error occurring. Don't ask me about how to troubleshoot Google's own errors though, I'll leave that up to Google. But it was quite an interesting result considering that you'd think Google would be an authority on perfectly optimized website conventions and that they would have used their own tool to remove any errors they might have had. Or that if they saw that their own tool was producing errors for their own website that they'd endeavor to either remove those errors, or if they weren't really errors to change how the error detection in the automated test program to remove those kinds of errors from the list so they don't appear for the average user.

I noticed Google had 4 errors on their own homepage...

And I could see what the errors were...

When Google doesn't pass its own Mobile-Friendly Website Test

The results of doing this test on Google's own website in Google's own tool is that these mobile-friendly tools don't operate by having a team of real people somewhere loading up your webpage every time you submit a website in their tool to be looked over and reviewed, but really just a machine that is prone to making mistakes and mis-identifying errors that might not really be errors. The results you see from any automated website scan is simply a program that one or more web programmers wrote that was designed to detect specific conditions that occur based on the specific knowledge of how websites, website programs and scripts worked at that specific time, and it's not possible for those programmers to be able to account for every possible variation of program or script that websites might have. They could only do their best to write a program that would hopefully provide some helpful information to whoever uses it.

Website scan tests are just programs, and their results aren't always useful

It was clear that one condition the creators of the test programmed into this site scan is to detect if a website uses some form of web address (URL) redirect, another is whether certain scripts listed on the page are actually being loaded or not. But even if a script isn't fully loading it's not always a critical problem, maybe the person who built the script didn't mean for it to load the first time someone visits the webpage, or maybe they didn't intend for it to be activated on mobile devices, or they wanted it to only be triggered by some kind of human behavior like a mouse-over instead of by a robot in a Google Mobile-friendly test program script that's just reading it.

Conclusion, website scan tools help, but aren't the best authority

The bottom-line here is to not take the results of all automated site scan tools as the definitive judge of whether or not your website is having serious problems or errors that need to be fixed in order for your website to function correctly. It's possible the tool might be identifying problems that might not actually be problems, or it might be falsely leading you to a state of anxiety about something that isn't really an issue. It's always good to consult experienced website specialists to ask them how your website might be improved or optimized. But just because a website scanning tool says your website has errors, yes even Google's, it doesn't necessarily mean there's a major problem happening or that your website is broken.

Learn more about Google's Mobile-Friendly Test Tool

I also clicked on the help section for Google's mobile-friendly test tool to see what other information I could find on it, which you can also read here in case you're interested.


Traits of Professional SEO Web Design

Not all Web Design is SEO friendly

When it comes to professional web design, there are lots of great web designers out there. Most web designers are very creative and have a strong artistic background. These designers can use their artistic abilities to design websites, which are guaranteed to catch the attention of your visitors. However, there's one major factor that the majority web designers are lacking.

Many web designers are usually not familiar with the concepts and implementation of search engine optimization (SEO) techniques. Even if a web designer has at least some fundamental knowledge and understanding of SEO, the majority don't worry about implementing search engine optimization strategies into their designs.

Include SEO in your web design conversation

While the implementation of SEO into your web design might seem like a trivial detail, it can be the root of some major problems. No matter how aesthetically pleasing or engaging your website is, if it's not indexed by or optimized for search engines, such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing, it might not receive any visitors from organic searches. Once you realize your website hasn't been indexed or isn't ranking well in search engines, you will probably need to hire an SEO expert who knows how to update your website to be optimized for search engines.

In the end, you could find yourself paying double for something that should have been done the first time around. Whether you're a web designer or a business owner looking to hire a designer, it's essential to know the three traits of professional SEO web design.

1. Human & Search Engine Usability:

The first trait of a professional SEO web design is usability. The website must be easy for visitors to navigate and be easy for search engine robots to crawl and index. Making your website friendly for human visitors, search engine robots, & search engine algorithms requires minimizing or removing things to ensure that your website is setup for success. When a website is designed with usability in mind, you can be certain that both your visitors and search engine robots will be happy with your website.

2. Follow Search Engine Guidelines:

The second trait of a professional SEO web design is that it follows the search engines webmaster guidelines. Web designers are typically very creative individuals and tend to push the envelope in terms of designing websites. This mentality can result in some amazing web designs; however, it may also create problems when taken too far. It's alright to push the web design envelope; just make sure that the web designer avoids anything that the various search engines advocate against.

3. On-Page SEO Optimization:

The last trait of professional SEO web design is on-page search engine optimization. Out of our three traits of professional SEO web design listed here, this is the most important. On-page SEO is the foundation of a professional SEO web design. It's crucial that the web designer properly implements things such as the page title, meta description, H1 and H2 tags in addition to internally linking between pages. If the web designer takes the time to apply these practices, it will make a significant difference in how and where your website ranks in the search engines.

All in Web Pro is the leading Las Vegas web design and SEO company. We understand that your website is the face of your business on the web, and we'll ensure that you're delivered a professional SEO web design solution that will engage your audience and make the most of the best search engine optimization techniques available today.


7 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Building a Website

Want to build a new website?

Exciting right!? Whether you're planning to hire a web designer or interested in starting a do-it-yourself (DIY) website project, having a smart approach and knowing where to start can save you time and money. We want to help you with this important and exciting process, and have written a few important things to keep in mind to help make your first steps easy and stress-free. Many people can get overwhelmed by the many different options, new terms, and sometimes complicated features they hear about when speaking with web designers. But if you ask yourself a few simple questions you can easily prepare yourself with a strong foundation of the right information to help make your next steps and discussions with any web designers much more productive and efficient.

In this post we've created a list of helpful questions to ask yourself that will help tremendously if you take a little time to answer them before contacting web designers about creating a new website or even if you want to build it yourself:

 

1. How will your company benefit from a new website or redesign?

  • Do you want to increase revenue and online sales?
  • Do you want to bring more traffic to your site?
  • Do you want to integrate any new features into your website?
  • Do you just want your website to be modern and mobile-friendly?

 

2. Who are your primary audience and target visitors?

  • Do you have a younger or older audience?
  • Will most of your visitors already know your brand when they arrive, or visit after only seeing an advertisement without knowing much about your brand?
  • Are your visitors interested in learning something or taking a specific action?
  • What action do you want first time visitors to take?
  • What kinds of actions do you want returning visitors or existing customers to take?
  • Do you prefer visitors to call you, book something, buy something, sign up for something, or just submit their email address?

 

3. What content do you need, and what content do you already have?

  • How much information needs to be on your website?
  • Do you know what pages you want to have, the names of the pages, and text they will contain?
  • Do you have photos already, or do you mind using stock photos on your website?
  • Do you have any graphical elements to add, and have they already been designed?
  • Do you already have a logo designed?
  • Do you need any custom graphics or icons to communicate your message?

 

4. Do you have your domain, hosting, or company email already?

  • Have you thought of or purchased a domain for your website yet?
  • Have you decided what hosting company to go with and what type of hosting you'll need?
  • Do you have a company email setup with your domain name in it?

 

5. Have you researched what your competition is doing?

  • What kind of website are they using?
  • How does their content compare to what you want on your site?
  • What 'calls to action' (CTA) do they use?
  • What products or services do they emphasize most?
  • What is the structure and sitemap of their website?
  • What special features or functionality does their website use?

 

6. How will you market your website & drive visitors to it?

  • Will you continually update your content to provide new valuable content for visitors?
  • Will you use social media activity and networks to drive people to your site?
  • Will you use online, print, radio, or TV advertising to drive traffic?
  • Do you want to pay for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to rank well in Google?
  • Do you need traffic right away or are you happy to have traffic grow slowly as you add more content to your website or social media streams?

 

7. How Do You Measure Success and Optimize For It?

  • Are you considering site traffic monitoring systems?
  • Do you want to track ROI for conversions per advertisement?
  • Will you try to track total sales, or be able to identify sales from different channels?
  • Will you use outside sales and marketing subcontractors, or your own in-house team?

For measuring advertising performance and optimizing to improve it, you may want to consider strategies such as A/B testing, SEO, Content Generation, Ad Conversion Tracking, asking leads how they heard about you, using and comparing multiple channels to drive traffic from social media and online content distribution networks, in addition to traditional print, radio, & TV placement.

Don't be afraid to ask for help.

Be sure to keep these tips in mind when you're considering building your next website. You will be much more prepared if you take a few minutes to consider each question, learn what the terms mean if any are new to you, and don't be afraid to ask more questions. If you have get stuck on any of these questions, or feel want to have someone double check your answers, feel free to reach out to a professional at anytime!

All in Web Pro is here to help when you need us. Feel free to leave a comment below, or give us a call at our Las Vegas office at 702.331.0650!


How Mobilegeddon Affects Your Website & Business

What is Mobilegeddon?

Google’s new mobile update, dubbed “Mobilegeddon” by internet marketers, has far-reaching implications for both your website’s SEO (search engine optimization) and your business. Mobilegeddon’s affects, which began in April of 2015, had a negative impact on the search result rankings of websites that are not mobile-friendly. However, for the long term, Google is making a clear statement that mobile devices and mobile search are becoming a critically important aspect of digital commerce and internet use in general.

Mobile Use is Sky-Rocketing

In the last few years, mobile device and tablet use has been skyrocketing to record numbers year over year. In 2014, statistics showed that the use of non-desktop devices, such as tablets and mobile phones, outnumber PC’s online. Although mobile devices have not yet surpassed desktops in the amount of searches on Google, smartphones are quickly approaching desktops in search. These days, nearly 90% of purchases for local goods and services are first researched online through search engines and more than 70% of business traffic is driven by search.

Search is extremely important and valuable to businesses, and trends are moving towards mobile search as the primary digital mode of the future as more people use their phones and tablets to search for products, solutions, content and more. Consider how many times you’ve used your iPhone or Android device to search for a local restaurant or business in your city, or perhaps while you were in a store and searched for reviews or prices of a product you were thinking about buying.

Google is Constantly Updating

Google is highly aware of these trends and is constantly testing and analyzing user behavior to deliver higher quality results and a more user-friendly experience to Google searchers. They are always looking for ways to connect users with the most relevant search results possible while also providing a improved user experience across all devices.

Responsive & Mobile-Friendly Web Design

Responsive web design refers to websites that respond dynamically to the size of the web browser that they are displayed in. Websites that are responsive can change in a variety of ways by adjusting their visual elements including font, images, layout positioning, and relationships between elements in different ways on the fly without requiring the web browser to be refreshed. This can be easily be observed by adjusting the width of the browser window you are viewing. Common elemental changes in a website that is responsive include the morphing of menus into a button with 3 horizontal lines, the vertical stacking of images and layout elements that were previously in rows, and the adjustment or removal of large elements in order for them to still fit on the webpage.

Responsive Web Designers

All in Web Pro is a leader in Las Vegas web design, graphic design, and custom web development that is focused on building mobile-friendly websites & web applications. We can update your website to make sure it is Mobilegeddon compatible so that your search engine rankings and business achieve the best results possible. Our web design services utilize responsive web designs that are mobile-friendly and will optimize your website across any mobile device and browser viewport on phone or tablet.

As the web has evolved, so has All in Web Pro. Our role in helping businesses increase their search engine visibility and provide excellent user experiences to their customers through the most modern web design practices, has helped make Las Vegas based All in Web Pro a leading provider of web design, graphic design, and online brand consulting & marketing.


5 Tips for Choosing a Las Vegas Web Development Company

Anyone in Las Vegas can call themselves a Web Developer

Unless you know exactly what you’re looking for, choosing a web developer in Las Vegas can be a difficult task. There are no licensing requirements for web developers and the barriers for entry are almost nonexistent. This has caused the web development market to become flooded with freelancers and companies of all skill levels, skill types, experience, and capabilities. In this article, we’ll give you 5 tips for finding the perfect Las Vegas web development company for your next website project or advanced web application.

1. Find a Professional Web Development Specialist

Many web developers, (web dev&39;s) claim that they can do it all. In reality, most web developers are primarily either graphic designers, web designers, content specialists, or programmers. Each of these fields are very specialized, and it’s uncommon to find people who are experts in more than 1 or two of them. When looking for a web developer in Las Vegas, we suggest asking them who will be doing the graphics, where the text content will come from, who is setting up the website in the online CMS platform such as WordPress or SquareSpace, and who will be providing the programming or coding work if at all. If it’s the same person doing two or more of these things, we recommend paying close attention to their previous work in their portfolio and asking to see live examples of their work online that's actively being used by past clients of theirs.

2. Check Their Portfolio

A web developer’s portfolio is a good indication of the type of work you can expect from them for your own website. When reviewing their portfolio, keep an eye out for aspects that you might want incorporated into your website. If you are looking for the latest in design trends or cutting-edge technology, look for those types of designs in their portfolio, or find them on other websites and ask them if they can build something similar. On the other hand, if you’re looking to have a website developed that involves complex programming, ensure the developer has examples of this as well and ask key questions about cost, timelines, and what to expect.

3. Be Marketing Minded and Ready to do SEO

In the early days of the internet, simply having a website was enough to be found by both current and potential customers. In 2016, having a website is just one aspect of your overall web presence. It’s important to make sure that the web developer will create the site in a way that makes it easy to perform SEO (search engine optimization) tasks, such as updating meta data, or that automatically incorporate search engine friendly tags on images, links, URL page addresses, and that link internally and externally appropriately. This will help you increase your rankings in search engines and make it easier for customers to find you, especially if you are going to be blogging, launching an SEO campaign, or hiring a separate company to do your SEO afterwards.

4. Have a Long Term Web Development Strategy

Another thing you should consider when choosing a web developer in Las Vegas is the scope of ongoing maintenance and the charges the site will require and incur after initial development is complete. It’s also important to understand at what point your initial projects ends and the maintenance phase of your relationship begins. If your website id being developed in phases, having a clear roadmap and expectations for ongoing work is even more important.

5. Have Excellent and Convenient Communication Channels

Once you’ve narrowed your web developer choices down, it’s a good idea to speak with the developer directly, and in person or on video if possible. This will help you understand how well they communicate, how well they understand your vision, if your get along well with them, and it’s a good indication of how well you can manage and maintain your positive working relationship when important and detailed communication is needed during your project. It’s also one last measure of safety before you invest in having the web developer begin working on your project. We don't ever recommend hiring someone who doesn't speak your native language, or who comes from a cultural background that is different than yours as this may dramatically change the way they interpret your instructions and vision for the project.

About All in Web Pro - Las Vegas Web Developers

All in Web Pro is a premier web design and web development company in the Las Vegas area. We focus on providing custom web design and development solutions to the Las Vegas area and beyond. Whether your project is a blog, custom web application, or business website, we can take your web presence to the next level.

Call us today for a free web development consultation to get a free estimate for your next custom website or web application. 702-331-0650


AiWP Writer's block

Web Design Tips: 5 Ways to Beat Writer’s Block

Here are 5 Techniques for Overcoming Writer’s Block:

Creativity is necessary for some much of what we do every day. When we’re “in the zone” our newest web design, web development concept or client presentation seems to flow out of us and all the dots connect seamlessly. But we’ve also experienced the other extreme. The clock ticks incessantly on an impending deadline, the more you try and force your focus the more distracted you become, until you feel incapable of stepping up to the task at hand. You’ve smashed into that impassible wall known as writer’s block. The good news is you’re not alone. Every one of us has encountered this obstacle, threatening to obstruct our path to productivity and success. And the better news is, there are ways you can climb right over the wall and continue on your way to completing your project.

1. Get the blood pumping and oxygen circulating.

Take a walk. It sounds too easy to be true, but it is an exceptional way to clear your head. It is even more effective if you make an effort to be “in the moment” by paying attention to your surroundings on your walk instead of visualizing your deadline as an anvil about to drop on your head and bust it wide open like a watermelon at the hands of Gallagher (http://gallaghersmash.com/). A walk also packs the added punch of getting your blood pumping, which increases blood circulation and oxygen, and this is vital to achieving peak brain function. Sedentary lifestyle habits, like sitting at your desk all day, inhibits effective blood circulation and can have the same stifling effect on your creativity. Many times a momentary change of scenery, coupled with some physical activity and movement, is all you need to reinvigorate your creative mojo.

2. Take a mental break to switch gears and recalibrate your focus.

Occasionally, you hit a wall and all you need to get over it is to step back from the project for 10 minutes and let your focus recalibrate. The key to not getting mindlessly sidetracked is to limit your breaks to a specific amount of time, not exceeding 10 or 15 minutes. It is best if your break involves reading or writing. Perhaps you indulge your guilty pleasures, that celebrity gossip website or check the scores on ESPN.com or go on your social networks and check out what your friends and family are up to. But again, be disciplined or this won’t work and could become just another way to procrastinate.

3. De-clutter your environment to reduce distractions.

Whether you believe that your surroundings can physically block energy, as in Feng Shui, or you just subscribe to the general principle that a messy work space is a needless distraction, it seems to improve clarity of focus when there is not “stuff” scattered haphazardly where you are working. Keep disorder to a minimum and it will enhance the process of organizing of your thoughts. A scattered work area can easily lead to scattered thoughts.

4. Limit outside interruptions.

This goes beyond your physical setting to include outside distractions such as phone calls, emails, social media and messaging notifications, television, interruptions from family, friends and co-workers, to the alluring temptations of the world wide web. Whether it’s eBay, Facebook, Zappos or cat videos on YouTube that entice you to drift, you have to empower yourself to just say no when you need to buckle down and produce a finished, quality project. Turn the phone on silent, adjust your settings to off, let those around you know you’re “off limits” for the next hour, or three, and close your internet browser. The world will not cease to turn if you go “underground” for a few hours.

5. Two minds can be better than one.

Get a second opinion. Collaboration can be a rewarding way to push through your writer's block. If you are writing an article, you can call an expert on the subject for a short interview. You reap the benefit of a relevant quote that improves your work, while expanding your perspective and, hopefully, making a new valuable connection. If the project is a presentation, try asking a colleague, friend or spouse to listen to your pitch and offer feedback. It will be helpful to have someone to bounce ideas off as well as give an insight or perspective that takes your concept to another level or in a different direction that you would not have thought of on your own.

The important elements of web development, web design, SEO, graphic design, or any creative development work, all require a high level of creativity and focus. It’s vital to have strategies to deal effectively with blocks when they occur. We would enjoy hearing what strategies get you past writer’s block and back on the path to productivity. What practices help you get into your creative flow?


Social Media that Matters

Web Design Tips: 5 Ways to Make Your Social Media Matter

To harness the full power of social networks and leverage the exponential reach available through social networking, here are 5 best practices.

Social media is a powerful tool for generating brand awareness and building trust. An effective social media strategy integrates seamlessly with your web design so that your online presence represents your company with professionalism and your SEO is boosted. If you do social media the right way you can build relationships with fans and followers that will build long-term relationships by creating content that engages and brings value your audience. Your web development strategy should always include a social element so your social networks are easily visible and your content is easily shared by those interested in your brand and content.

 

1. Use your social networks to listen, not just talk.

The social interaction between people is what brings the “social” element to social media. People interested in your brand will fan you on Facebook, follow you on twitter and subscribe to you on YouTube to interact with the person behind the company. They aren't always finding you on social channels to hear a one-way message that talks at them. Rather, thanks to social media, marketing and advertising is now a conversation and consumers will demand that you talk with them in a conversation. This is an exciting evolution that allows you to develop genuine connections with your audience that were not available before.

2. Your content should create value for your audience.

Only if you entertain, inform, or in some way provide value, with your social posts and updates will your fans and followers like your posts, share your blog content and videos and retweet your tweets. How can those interested in your brand join the conversation if you are not initiating one? No one wants to be sold to all the time, not in person and not on the net. If you consistently provide content that is of educational, social, or useful value you will build a following that is loyal, engaged and enthusiastic about your brand.

3. Social is not about selling, it’s about building relationships.

You get out of social what you put in. If you use it as a platform to always be selling, making it all about you, visitors will be less motivated to come back to your sites. But the good news is that building relationships is actually more powerful than sales! If you’re a dentist you’re not trying to use your blog to sell one pair of braces. If you blog on interesting subjects related to your business, such as how to ask for a second opinion or, for those that are terrified of the dentist, a 5 minute mediation to put you at ease before you enter the dentist chair, you will begin to build trust with your audience. This trust is the first step to building a lasting relationship. You will become a trusted resource that can develop into a client bond that will outlast a one-time procedure and continue for 5, 10, or 20 years or longer.

4. Use social networks to build relationships with industry leaders, colleagues and mentors.

Social is not only about reaching out to potential consumers, it's also about participating in the conversation among your peers and industry thought leaders. Follow those agencies and individuals that are driving innovation in your field or who have influence with many people. These people have much to teach and they give away valuable information and insights through social media. Are you listening or are you missing out? LinkedIn is optimal for engaging with industry giants and experts. You can join LinkedIn groups representing your field to keep up on the latest news, updates and industry trends. Be a part of the conversation so you too can establish yourself as a leading voice in your market.

5. Track your metrics to develop and fine tune your strategy.

In order to know what you are doing right, and which strategies are not benefiting you, you need to track your performance. There are many tools, both paid and free, that will generate reports which let you know when your content resonates with your audience and when it falls flat and fails to generate interest and engagement. By playing to your strengths and understanding your weaknesses, you can develop a winning social media plan that will increase your presence, raise your SEO ranking and establish your business as a leader in your market.

We have been in the Las Vegas web design and web development industry for years and we have experienced the power of social media to make connections and create partnerships and clients in our community. It’s not rocket science, all it takes is knowledge, a passion for engaging with your audience, and a consistent dedication to the effort and consistency required to create value and build genuine long-term connections.


FREE SEO Monitir

How to Measure and Monitor your SEO for FREE

8 tips on how to keep track of your SEO for FREE

You can offer the best services or goods in your marketplace, but if those who are searching for what you sell find your competitor online instead of you, you will likely not earn their business. The research shows most consumers first look online when they are interested in making a purchase. The statistics are clear; over 80% of consumers will do their own search online well before they pull out their wallet to spend their money.

 

In order to know where you stand in regards to your competitors, it’s crucial you measure your SEO (search engine optimization) to establish your position, and to monitor it on an on-going basis. If you have the budget, SEO is one of the most dominant factors in your online marketing campaign and allocating the funds to have it professionally managed, will be some of the most valuable money you spend towards driving traffic to your site and bringing potential clients directly in touch with your brand. However, if you are not yet in a position to afford expert assistance with your SEO marketing, all is not lost. With some time and effort, you can use the following free tools to identify your ranking and monitor your position. For 6 free techniques you can put into practice today to power your SEO upwards, you can read our article 6 Simple SEO Habits to Increase Website Rankings & Traffic.

1. Google Analytics

You can sign up in minutes to begin taking advantage of this powerful, free tool. Google Analytics offers daily traffic statistics which you can sort and organize:  per keywords, per visitor, per location, per referring website, per search engine, and by any time scale. Packed with useful features, it is a must have for anyone interested in measuring and tracking their website traffic and SEO progress.

2. Google Adwords' Keyword Tool

This powerful and free online resource allows you to see the number of searches that Google receives nationally, and internationally, for any specific keyword phrases.  We recommend checking off the box that says "Exact" searches, not broad or matching, for the most accurate and relevant statistics. What this means to you is that now you can confidently know which keywords your target audience is searching for the most when they're looking for brands or businesses like yours online. We use this to help decide which keywords would be most profitable to target in our SEO campaigns for ourselves and our clients.

3. Understand the Power of Search Results Ranking.

On any Google search page in organic results:  #1 gets 33% of clicks, #2 gets 22%, #3 gets 11%, #4 gets 7%, on down until #10 gets 1-3% share of link traffic. This shows how skewed the numbers are toward the top of the first page of Google. Because traffic is so heavily funneled to the first few listings, its easy to see how companies can become forgotten when they are not actively managing their SEO and staying on top of their ability to be found. Keep in mind that these numbers vary widely based on the industry you're in and how likely it is that people searching will be satisfied with the first search results versus continuing down the search results page looking for something the other results aren't providing.

4. MicroSiteMasters.com

This extremely valuable service provides Search Engine Results Page (SERP) rank reporting and tracking keywords in Google, Bing, and Yahoo, and their service is free for first 10 keywords. 10 keywords are more than sufficient to get started measuring the progress of your SEO efforts, and if you're not using a tool like this, you need to start now so you can begin understanding where you rank and how your rank changes over time.

logo-microsite-masters

5. HubSpot's Website Grader

In less than 30 seconds, HubSpot issues a report that analyzes all of your online marketing efforts, not just on your website, and gives you a Marketing Grade on a 1-100 scale. It doesn’t stop there; it recommends the next steps, in order of priority that you should take to improve your strategy. By assessing over 30 factors, HubSpot offers a comprehensive assessment and then provides a plan of action, complete with online resources to help put their recommendations into practice.

6. MajesticSEO.com

This website offers a free tool to track and analyze off-site backlink health of any website online, by total history or by recent growth. Use the power of MajesticSEO’s enormous link intelligence database to compare your backlink power to that of your competitors.

7. Google's "Site:" search

I use this tool everyday, even when just browsing because it's so powerful. Just try typing “site:examplesite.com" into the Google search bar, adding in a website use regularly, and then look at total search results for the number of pages indexed by Google. This normally tells you, with a fair amount of accuracy the total number of pages on any website, which can be used as a rough indicator of their on-site SEO credibility in Google. The total number of pages a website has can also roughly approximate how well established and trusted your website is according to Google search engine’s algorithm, this is because the longer a website has existed and the more valuable content they have online, the more it lends to the idea that they know what they're talking about, assuming that the content is relevant, unique, and that there's a decent amount of it on every page.

For even more fun, try adding search terms with a space just before where the "site:" appears, and you'll be amazed at how useful it is to be doing a Google search of pages ONLY on the website listed in the example. ("site:example.com")

8. Use "Page Source" / "View Source"

This is a simple, fast way to determine which keywords your webpages, and your competitors' webpages, are targeting. This is the basic information you need to assess where your current SEO is focused and vital to your understanding of what type of traffic you are attracting—or failing to attract. "Page Source" or "View Source" is a browser tool option which you can access in most browsers by doing right-click on the webpage on PCs or Option-click on Macs; it also appears in the browser's menu. Select this option and you will see the HTML code for the page. In the code, near the top of most webpages you should be able to see or find using CTRL+F the following text meta tags; look for <title>, <meta description >, <meta keywords > tags.

Pay attention to the first words that appear in these meta tags. These keywords can be used to analyze your competition and see what keywords they are telling Google to target for each of their webpages. The most important is the title tag, but the description tag is also very important to Google, because this is the text that appears in Google search results. Conversely, be sure your meta tags are telling search engines the right story about who you are and what content or keywords each webpage is primarily relevant to.

 

Based in Nevada, our Las Vegas web design team would be happy to answer any questions you may have about SEO. For more resources and helpful tips sign up for our newsletter or send us a message telling us what topics you'd like to see covered here. For now, don’t hesitate to get started with these useful resources that you can access free of charge anytime. We recommend always getting professional feedback and direction at the start of any SEO campaign, no matter how small, to ensure that you're not making any mistakes that could be costing you valuable traffic. We offer free consultations and are happy to educate our customers on the value of a well designed SEO campaign.


SEO Value

12 Steps to Creating Value with your Website

12 powerful ways to create value with your company website

The internet is overrun with content streaming and updating every second of every minute of every day. Intelligently planned SEO (search engine optimization) strategy and management can funnel users through the digital deluge straight to your company’s website, but once you have their attention it’s crucial you provide them with value or they may never return. People love the access to information the internet provides and 8 out of 10 of consumers hit the web to research when they are in the market to purchase goods and services. But competition is fierce and if you do not stand apart from the crowd, you will be drowned out by the onslaught of content crowding the internet. Most users suffer from content overload and you really have one chance to make your impression or they will move on to your competitors. How do you keep them coming back? That’s simple, but not always easy: create value with your website.

1. Provide information that helps people.

To determine what information is helpful to people try this effective technique: Pretend you're a visitor and imagine what you would want to know and what information you would want to come away having learned after interacting with your website. This seems simple at first, but there are subtle and sometimes unobvious subconscious decisions that your visitors are making. Try to get in their heads and really think about what would make them, not you happy.

2. Have a purpose and a way to measure your progress.

Think of your website as your online ambassador. It represents you every second of every day, while you're sleeping, away on business, or offline. What do you want your ambassador to say to people who are interested in what you do and what you sell?  What is your goal? Do you want your brand ambassador to generate sales or leads? How many and by when? Be specific in outlining your objectives so you can set up benchmarks and monitor your progress. If you are not hitting your marks, it’s a good indication that it’s time to make some changes to your content, online marketing, or SEO strategy.

3. Give or create something specific.

General information is for Wikipedia; you want people to gain measureable value from spending time on your site. Be specific in what you are communicating so people come away with a clear understanding of what they accomplished, learned or gained.

4. Use tools.

Tools help you maximize your web presence.  Of all the sites they could end up at, your visitors came to yours; why let them leave without knowing who they are and taking the time to see what their interests and needs are? One way to do this is to use a newsletter sign up that captures their email addresses and maybe a few additional pieces of information. For the cost of providing a weekly or monthly newsletter you gain valuable leads and priceless market research.

5. Always include a Call to Action.

Make it easy for your website visitors; let them know what to do next if they are interested in finding out more, taking advantage of a special discount or promotion, or talking to a representative from your business. CTAs can be designed to run with new product launches, special promotions, your current marketing campaign, or key industry events. Even if you are not offering a specific offer, you can suggest they click on a link to take your desired conversion action. You need to know what specific behavior you want a visitor to engage in on your site to consider it a successful visit. Then invite them to do so, that’s your call to action.

6. Connect to your Social Networking Sites.

Invite your visitors to engage with your brand through the social sites where they spend their time.  This takes the one way message of your website and makes it an interactive experience by opening the door to a conversation via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, or whichever social networks your company uses. It's important to pick and choose which networks you really plan to use, then stick with it, even if you only write an update once a month.

7. Incorporate a blog.

Fresh content improves SEO while establishing your brand as a resource and leader.  Additionally, if you continually update your site with new blog articles it provides a reason for people to revisit your site on an on-going basis, creating a relationship with your readers.

8. Use images and text to communicate your message.

Multimedia makes for a more satisfying and engaging experience.  If you can use images to enhance your message, go for it. If you can offer video content too, then even better. Internet users are becoming accustomed to photos and videos and the more variety of media you offer the more enticing your message. Images also help communicate the message you're saying faster and in a more friendly way when used correctly.

9. Use images as part of your navigation on your homepage.

People should be able to click on an image or icon to navigate through your website to improve the ease of use. This is especially true on your homepage. Some people are visual and may prefer to navigate using images so be sure your images are clickable and reinforce the natural navigation structure and flow of your site.

10. Plan your pages and content.

This requires that you have your objectives clearly defined. Once you know what you want your site to offer and what you want your digital presence to achieve, you can plan your pages and content to accomplish your goals. As your goals change and evolve with your business and the marketplace, you should update your site and revise it accordingly.

11. Have your contact info on every page.

Make it as convenient as possible for visitors to get ahold of you when they are ready to take the next step and contact you. Establish the method of contact that works best for your business and have it appear on every page. Have you ever been to a website and not been able to find the phone number? That’s an easy way to lose a client or give the impression you're not eager to receive calls. Don’t require too much work on behalf of your visitors, because they may lose interest or delay contact. Think about websites you've used recently and where you had to look on their site to find the phone number.

12. Make your homepage user-friendly.

Your site should be easy to navigate, streamlined and not overly cluttered. A web page that a visitor can glance at and have a clear idea of who you are and what you do is ideal. You only have a short amount of time to convey your message and if it takes too much of an effort to comprehend, or more than 2 or 3 seconds to figure out how to navigate your site, guests will move on.

As a Las Vegas SEO and web development company helping local and national companies build their brands online we are always interested in hearing about the experiences others have had with user-friendly design and invite you to comment or email us any questions you have or topics you are interested in and we’ll do our best to include them in our upcoming blog posts. And feel free to let us know anything we might have missed or anything that has successfully created value for your users which could help others.