Website Tools

Las Vegas Tech Education Schools & Resources


Is the bubble bursting? Or engulfing everything around it?

Did you know that most of the biggest tech conferences make Las Vegas one of their prime stops? The new tech and startup bubble in sin city began forming in 2012 and it hasn't stopped growing.

In 2016 Vegas had the pleasure of hosting HCM Excellence Conference, Learning Solutions: Sharing What Works, 2016 Spring CLO Symposium, DevLearn, CES, and many more in recent years including SXSW V2V and Collision Conference. The new tech conferences and resources appearing all over the place are due to an increasing appreciation in the government and business community for the many economic benefits of this fast paced growth sector.

Right now, Las Vegas is seeing a huge influx of tech related jobs; especially in green energy and the drone industry. Last year, Nevada was one of only six states to receive a two-year certificate of authorization from the FAA to test drone technologies in the state. That has brought companies from around the globe into Nevada, hoping to jump into this virgin market.

In addition to the ongoing innovations of this kind, the overall resources for growing and supporting the next generation of engineers in Vegas is covered from all angles! From high schools offering technological career paths such as the Advanced Technologies Academy and Career and Technical Academies in Clark County, to public Higher education degrees in tech from the College of Southern Nevada, CSN, Arts Institute, as well as independent training programs like Iron Yard and more.

The Money 20/20 Hackathon coming to Vegas on October 22nd to the 25th has been established as a premier event for the world’s best developers, and has set an entirely new standard for Hackathons globally. Last year’s event brought together teams that battled for $125K in cash prizes and international notoriety as they were challenged to showcase their skills and vision using the APIs, SDKs and other tools from today’s leading Payments and Financial Services Innovators.

Needless to say, the tech scene, with its opportunities for connection and education in Las Vegas are raising the bar to new levels of excitement and possibility and are destined to transfer this tourist destination city.


Important Factors that Affect Your Web Design Cost

3 Factors that Affect Your Web Design Cost

One of the questions we receive a lot of is “how much will my website cost?”. This can be very difficult to answer because of the many different types of websites and time it takes to build each one. There are some major factors that can change the price of your website which we have compiled in this article:

1. The components and features you need.

Never assume that your needs are “simple” or should be cheaper than a designer’s standard rate. Some things look easy but are very complicated, while others seem like a big deal but are very easy to implement. Your site may only consist of a single page, yet that doesn’t mean it’s automatically cheaper than one with 5 or even 100 pages.

The thing is, that even if something is simple for a designer to handle it has taken years for them to learn that skill much like a doctor or attorney. Additionally, things can require custom development during construction which may necessitate additional time to either create or troubleshoot a unique component. Generally the more custom features, graphics, functionality, and components you request that are unique to your site the more it will likely cost.

2. Your designer’s skill level.

Yes, you can get a website for $150. No, it won’t be the same quality as a website that costs $1500. It’s like the difference between a bicycle and a Lexus. Both will get you where you need to go, but one is decidedly faster, provides a more comfortable user experience, and requires less effort for a user to operate than the other.

Designers who charge more are typically providing you with expertise you won’t find at a bargain rate – and in most cases, the value of the benefits will certainly outweigh the added costs. If you automatically choose the cheapest option, you risk hiring a designer who may have poor communication, an unclear process, inconsistent follow-through, no support after completion, or a sub-par or faulty end product. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!

This goes for the same as using a build-it-yourself site like Wix or SquareSpace. You can get a nice looking site but you may end up spending a hundred hours to do it and have a website that is missing important elements or that is not organized, modern, or user-friendly.

3. How demanding you are as a client.

In the interest of being honest, I’ll share a tidbit that can add to the cost of a website. If you as a client are not organized in advance and don’t have your project information like initial vision or revision request organized, succinct, and collected into one easy to read document, it will most likely slow down communication, require extra time to be spent in follow-up conversations to clarify your feedback, and will take time away from both yourself and the company you hired, ultimately delaying the final completion date of the project and potentially costing you more money.

Over time, designers learn how to identify challenging clients, and although we take many precautions to ensure our design & development processes are clear and straightforward, we also make sure that we are compensated for any extra work caused because of a highly demanding client. Please remember that designers also have lives away from our computers a healthy long lasting business to business relationship works both ways.

Like lawyers, depending on the project, graphic designers and web developers have the ability to bill clients for time spent on rushed projects that require work outside of regular work hours, or even for time needed to meet, call, or email with a client depending on the type of project and service agreement in place.

As a client the best thing you can do is allow your designer the time he or she needs to complete the list of work they currently have and not make edits in the middle of a project, especially if it isn’t going to be finalized yet. Also, it’s extremely important to follow the procedural instructions of your designer or developer. If they require all revisions or information to be submitted at that time, it’s important to spend the time necessary to have your information prepared so that no surprise changes need to be made near the end of the project that should have been brought up in the beginning.

So How Much Should I Pay?

Good Question. A good website on the low end will probably cost anywhere between $3,000 and $5,000. This is a very rough estimate for basic but good quality informational website for a business. From there the cost can go up depending on how many additional features, components, custom work, or special considerations you are requesting. If you are looking to only spend $2,000 or less, you may as well just use a do-it-yourself web editor, or use a creative solution such as forwarding your domain name to a simple business listing page like your Google Places or facebook page until you have enough time and money to invest in a professionally built website. For another rough estimate of web design costs, feel free to use this web design pricing calculator for a general example of how prices change as more features are added to a website quote.

Interested in getting some web development done? Contact our team at All in Web Pro today!


Dynamic Website Application Development with Node.js

Javascript and Node.js:
Javascript is a very useful and important tool in the arsenal of a front-end web developer, and you would be hard-pressed to find a site on the internet that uses any dynamic content but doesn’t use javascript somewhere. It is really the life-blood of interactivity on internet websites, and while some of its big uses, namely animation, are now being offloaded to things like CSS keyframes, it still certainly has a place.
All modern web-browsers include a javascript engine allowing them to run javascript content on sites. There are always some limitations when building something, and you will always be required to think outside of the box to solve some problems, but nodeJS takes that to a completely different state of being. Node.js is a lightweight, efficient javascript runtime program that is able to do a lot of things that you would spend ages creating in standard javascript.

 

Example of Node JS:
The primary uses of Node.js are to create asynchronous I/O, high I/O operation, dynamic and interactive applications. This can include things like real-time chat, browser games, and Single Page Applications (or SPAs). Here is an example of a short, sweet, and simple Node.js script:
var http = require('http');
http.createServer(function(request, response) {
    response.writeHead(200, {'Content-Type': 'text/plain'});
    response.end("Testing!");
}).listen();
What this does is create an http server and run a function that requests a response from the server. The server itself is responding with a 200-response and the word, "Testing!" in plain text to any requests that it gets.

This example is about as simple as it gets, but it can get a lot more complex. Some larger websites that are built on node are walmart.com, LinkedIn, Yahoo, and even Uber.

Get Started with NodeJS:

If you are interested in giving this a try, there are a few ways to get started.
1: Set up Node.js on your development server or desktop machine. There are plenty of tutorials, but there is also the npm documentation if you would prefer that.https://docs.npmjs.com/getting-started/installing-node
Or 2: Use an online service like http://jsapp.us/ or https://c9.io/
There is a small learning curve for this, but take the plunge and spend a few hours learning the syntax. Also get more familiar with HTTP responses to make the transition into this new style of development a bit easier. Start small and work your way up to bigger things and before you know it, you will be happily plucking away at keys effortlessly!

How to Update your Sitemap.xml file for Google and Bing

Your Sitemap.xml file might not be up to date

Recently I've become inspired to create a multitude of new pages and blog posts for our All in Web Pro website to add a wealth of new content to our site to bring helpful information to our clients and site visitors, as well as to boost our ranking in Google searches. This week after publishing several new blog posts in a row I wanted to double check our sitemap.xml file to make sure Google & Bing had the most up to date list of all of our old and new webpages.

We'd been using a WordPress plugin called "Google XML Sitemaps" which had worked for us in the past and is designed to automatically update the sitemap.xml file anytime a page or post is created or updated on your WordPress website. This is important because you want all of your new webpages to be announced to search engines as soon as they're live on your website. And although search engines automatically rescan your website to look for new content and pages, submitting it to them directly can speed up the process and help those pages get indexed and seen by search engine users faster.

So after checking our sitemap.xml file that the Google XML Sitemaps plugin was generating, I noticed the blog posts I'd submitted a week earlier weren't appearing. I'm going to update our WordPress core and activate the plugin to see if it will start working again. But in the meantime I needed a way to update our sitemap quickly and manually to make sure it's appearing correctly with all of our links. Which is where the following short tutorial on how to update your sitemap.xml file begins.

What is a sitemap.xml file?

A sitemap.xml file that sits on your website's hosting server which tells search engines all of the pages on your website that exist, what priority you rank the pages in, when they were last updated, and how frequently you update them. This information helps Google & Bing know how often to rescan your website's pages for updates and which pages on your site are more important to show in search results. It's also a good way to announce the creation of new pages on your site to Google & Bing. The file is written in XML, which is similar but different from HTML, another type of "Markup Language, which is what the "ML" are abbreviations for. So it's important that your XML file is created correctly with no errors in the XML format.

Why is my sitemap.xml file so important?

If you want to have the best chance of showing up on the first page of a Google or Bing search when your potential customers or audience are doing relevant searches you need Google and Bing to know all of the pages on your website, which ones are the most important ones you want appearing, and also to include your most recently created content. If your sitemap is not up to date it will tell search engines that maybe your website isn't being updated and therefore might not have the most relevant and current information on it. Many other factors are taken into consideration, but when you know sitemaps have an impact on your search rankings and are an important part of SEO, why not be safe and make sure it's correct?!

5 Steps to Updating your sitemap.xml file

Here's a quick list of steps you can take to manually update your sitemap.xml file. Once finished you'll know it's live by simply go to your website homepage and add '/sitemap.xml' after '.com' or '.net'. (e.g. www.domain.com/sitemap.xml)

1. Generate your XML Sitemap file

There are several websites you can visit to generate a sitemap file for your website. I did a Google search for "sitemap generator" and found XML-Sitemap.com which worked well. Just enter your website URL and download the free files generated. The file we need is sitemap.xml.

Sitemap xml file

2. Upload your sitemap.xml file to your website's root server

To get your sitemap.xml file onto your website's hosting server you'll need one of the following 2 things. A) The login & password to the hosting control panel for your website so you can utilize a file manager tool that your web hosts provides to upload the sitemap.xml file to your website's root (/) folder. B) You can download a free FTP (file transfer protocol) program to your computer, such as FileZilla, which will enable you to upload files directly to your website's hosting server. You'll still need to have an FTP user account created on your hosting account, which will have a username & password along with a hostname. For hostname you can usually just type your website domain name (e.g. allinwebpro.com), otherwise you can use the IP address of the web host server where your website's files are located, which your hosting company provides you.

3. Make sure sitemap.xml is in your server's root folder

The sitemap.xml file should be uploaded to the root folder of your website. This is usually the folder labeled '/', and is also usually the same folder where you'll find usually also see the 'index.php' and '.htaccess' files.

sitemap website URL address

4. Verify your sitemap.xml file is live

Now go to your website and add the '/sitemap.xml' suffix to your website's domain name, like this: 'www.mydomain.com/sitemap.xml'. If the page you see looks something like this then it worked!

5. Submit your new sitemap to Google & Bing

Both Google and Bing have an advanced Webmaster Tools service where you can create an account and manage all of the different websites that you administrate. You'll need to verify that you control your website by following their verification instructions, which usually involves adding a snippet of code to the header or footer of your homepage. Once verified you can navigate to the 'sitemap' area of Webmaster Tools to submit or resubmit your sitemap.xml file. Both search engines have advanced tutorials and help information to help you complete this task, and both provide advanced reporting tools to let you know more about your website including any broken links, or how many pages are currently indexed vs what was submitted.

Other Options

Although this method works, it is a little time consuming and it would be much easier to simply upload a plugin to your WordPress dashboard that would automatically update your sitemap.xml file anytime changes were made to your site. I'm going to do some plugin tests and see if any are reliable and will update this blog post accordingly. But it's helpful to know how to manually create your own sitemap.xml file in the event that plugins become buggy or aren't picking up all of the links to your site, especially if you start using a subdomain which may be tricky for some automated plugins to read.

What Sitemap Tools Do You Use?

Please comment below if you found this sitemap.xml guide helpful, or if you have other websites, plugins, or tools that worked well for you.

About All in Web Pro

All in Web Pro is a Las Vegas Web & Graphic Design company that has been helping small and medium sized businesses unlock the power of the internet to accelerate their brands since 2010. If need help with your website or have want to know how to get more value out of your website, call our team today! 702-331-0650


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.

 


Healthy SEO

6 Simple SEO Habits to Increase Website Rankings & Traffic

In our Digital Age, the success of your business depends on getting noticed online. With 83% of U.S. consumers researching online before they make purchases, and 80% of global consumers doing the same, being found on the internet is tied to your survival in your marketplace. If your customers are not clicking on your website link and coming to you when they are searching for the products or services your company provides, they are locating and interacting with your competitor.

As the numbers of consumers doing primary research on the internet before they buy continue to rise year by year, being easily accessible online will only become more crucial. Being among the first search results in your category is the only way to guarantee consumers interested in what you do and what you sell will be able to discover your company. In fact, on any Google search page in organic results the #1 ranked link gets 33% of clicks, the #2 receives 22%, the #3 grabs 11%, #4 nabs 7%, on down until #10 only catches 1-3% of clicks. The conclusion is strikingly apparent—your website must live on the prime real estate of the top of the Google page or you will drown into the oblivion.

Why is SEO imperative to the success of your business? Because if you want to be around in 5 years you have to stand out from your competition so consumers find you, and not them. But fear not, there are easy methods to boost you to the top of the search rankings for those keywords that represent the services you provide and products you sell.

6 SEO Tips And Habits for Ranking High in Search Engines:

 

1. Check rankings weekly.

logo-microsite-mastersYou need to know where you rank, and checking your SERP for your top 10 keywords is a great way to know exactly how you stack up against the competition. SERP is an important acronym to know if you’re doing any online marketing campaign. "SERP" is short for "search engine results page", and since marketing through search is a dominant factor in online marketing, you need to be aware of how you measure up to your competitors, and not for just one keyword, but for all of them. This will tell you where you stand and allow you to gauge how well each SEO strategy you implement works. Getting easy to access measurable feedback will help you see what’s working well over time and what isn’t. We recommend using micrositemasters.com to easily track the ranking of your top 10 keywords for free. We can also provide and manage this for you if needed.

 

2. Leave your link.

Create a digital trail by linking to your website everywhere you go: in profile pages, social media interactions, blog comments, articles, friends' websites, your competitors sites, social networks, and any other websites that show up in relevant Google searches. Don’t forget to ask others to link to you (especially if you guest blog or participate in a speaking engagement, panel, seminar or other industry event). Always be genuine and don’t be a “sales person”.

 

3. Update old content.

Update the content on your web pages annually and be sure to remove or change any content that is outdated or incorrect. By recycling older, popular blog posts you can get extra mileage out of them. If industry updates and changes have occurred, you can create a new blog post by piggybacking off the original article. Also, keep your web content current so consumers are confident you are a leader with your finger on the pulse of your market.

 

4. Build more unique content.

Have little to no original text content on your webpages will hurt your ranking in Google. If you say the same thing over and over, even if you change some wording and sentence organization, search engines will also identify it as not adding new value and may penalize you for it too. Conversely, the more original and unique content you have that brings new value to your visitors, the higher you will rank on relevant search engine results pages. The more new original content you have, the better.

 

5. Ask for reviews.

Regardless of what type of website or business you have there are websites where people can write reviews about you. Take advantage of the opportunity to let your best customers and fans write something nice about you on those websites. If you're a restaurant Yelp is an obvious place for this. Any location based website can ask their clients to write reviews for them on their Google Places page. It's easy to ask, and there's a special kind of emotional reward that only comes from being asked to "give" something nice to a company or brand you love. You'll be surprised how many people will do this for you, IF you ask.

 

6. Create a weekly goal, make a plan, & follow-through

Even if your competition knows all of the best SEO techniques, none of it matters unless you take the time to put it into practice. Setting a long-term and achievable goal might just be the most powerful tool in your SEO arsenal.

Set a Weekly Goal; make sure your weekly goal is easy to achieve, don't shoot for the moon. The hardest step is the first one, so make sure it's easy for you to accomplish your weekly goal in a short amount of time and that you have easy ways to measure the progress you're making.

Develop a Plan; great goals are nothing without a solid plan for how to execute them. Be sure to plan exactly how you'll have time to achieve your weekly goal and to be patient with yourself and don't expect perfection on the first try. The more you do it the better you'll get.

Follow-through; create an incentive and accountability system for yourself. Put reminders up where you will see them, and set consequences that help ensure that if you do skip a goal, that you can easily catch up and get back on track. If it means skipping a Friday night out, so be it, your business and brand is worth it, and once you make a sacrifice, you'll be less likely to skip your goal from that point on. Or tell your colleagues and friends that you're setting a goal and want them to hold you to it, make them a bet and get others involved.

 

Closing Thoughts.

At the heart of SEO there is a search engine trying its best to analyze webpages and bring the public the most relevant and valuable information according to each and every unique search that's performed. And if you use these tips wisely and develop them into habits that you put into practice on a consistent basis, you'll be guaranteed to start noticing significant and consistent improvements in your search engine rankings that will stand the test of time and make these search engine happy. And it goes without saying that you should always keep the need and experience of your end user in mind because ultimately the quality of their experience on your website will determine your future.

SEO can be complicated and overwhelming at times, and we recommend consulting a trained professional before starting any SEO campaign. If you need help implementing any of these techniques into your online strategy please contact us for a free SEO consultation and we'll be happy to assist you.

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