Tag Archives: web design

Website branding is more than a pretty logo

A lot of websites and website owners mistakenly believe that creating a branding for their website means a compelling and relevant name, and well designed logos and web pages. While these are a part of website branding, they are far from being the whole story. In fact, every aspect of your website needs to convey image. This includes design and marketing.

Your Target Market
Branding needs to concentrate on the target market you are aiming to attract. Market research and some competitor analysis will usually garner you with relevant information regarding the people you are aiming to attract. What products and services are they looking for? What information do they want access to? Do they expect to be able to interact with you or other members of your online community? These are all important questions that you not only need to ask but answer as well.

The most effective branding will also consider the demographics of a target market.. Again, the savvy online business owner should have at least a reasonable understanding of their target market demographics. Knowing this information ensures that you not only create a brand, but that you create a relevant and powerful brand that is attractive to the right people.

What’s In A Name? Everything
The first aspect of your brand is your company or website name. It doesn’t necessarily have to portray the products you sell, but it does need to be memorable. Brands like Google and Ebay relay little about the service they offer but they are short, catchy, and easy to remember. You can consider other aspects of branding when choosing a name   PayPal clearly conveys the fact that the service is related to paying and payments, while the addition of the word Pal implies that the service is user friendly and intuitive. It still sticks to the format of being short and memorable; the use of alliteration making the name roll off the tongue even easier.

Domain Names
Once you’ve determined a brand name and ensured that domain names and company names are available, it’s time to register domains. .com domains are the most effective because they are the ones that we, as surfers, generally remember. We may remember a company name and forget the domain extension. Nine times out of ten we would add .com as the extension and hope to find the right site. It will pay, in the long run, to purchase a number of domains including your own regional domains (.eu, .co.uk, etc…) and others. Some potential customers like to deal with local firms and these customers will use local extensions.

Headers And Logos
Many websites now utilize a header rather than a true logo. Whichever option you plump for, it is usually a good idea to have your graphic designed by a professional. . A logo will appear on all communication you send to customers, every page of your website, every newsletter, brochure, and virtually any other form of communication or promotional material. It needs to be strong and instantly memorable to prove effective.

Providing The Brand Your Market Wants
The design of your website and other online media needs to be attractive, but it needs to offer the level of usability and functionality that your target market expect. Website design, in particular, needs to be easy on the eye, give simple guidance to the most important parts of the page, and appear professional. It should also cater to your target market. A younger audience will gladly appreciate a more modern design, while the older generations may prefer a classic and more simple design.

Bringing all aspects of design together in all of your media is important. for example, if you intend to use video marketing as a tool to drive traffic and promote your brand, then you need to try and include your logo and a link to your website within that video. Emails, newsletters, faxes, and invoices should largely match the design of your site and should certainly include any logo you have.

Website Content And Narrative Voice
Narrative voice is another important facet of website branding. The main reason that we go online and search for certain terms is to find out more about that term, and not usually to directly purchase a product. As such, website content should provide the information that your visitors are looking for and throughout your website and other media you need to convey the same type of voice.  Websites that are geared towards individual consumers can adopt a more friendly and personable style. This conveys an image that you and your brand are equally friendly and personable – an attractive perception to most visitors.

Giveaways To Promote Brand Awareness
Offering free newsletters or promotional giveaways is an excellent way to kick start your website’s popularity. It provides visitors with the information they crave and it provides you with an opportunity to further enhance your new brand. Blogs, forums, and web applications offer similar advantages and they convince visitors to bookmark your pages and visit more frequently. This, in turn, helps to improve brand awareness and makes your brand much more memorable to your visitors.
Start creating content for use outside of your site. Articles, videos, blog posts, and news stories are all good material that can be branded effectively and distributed in various areas of the Internet. This extra push will help to improve your brand image because it will begin to convey you as being an expert within your field. It will give you and your brand greater exposure and will also help drive traffic to your website.

A Look at the History of the Internet

Throughout the history of man, our accomplishments have been marked by various ages. There was the Stone Age, the Bronze Age, and the Iron Age.

These were primarily marked by the material used in the weapons of the day. In modern days we have gloried for a brief time in the Nuclear Age, but this rapidly fell from favor when we figured out we either could destroy the world, or die from all the waste from our reactors. With the advent of the Internet, we find ourselves in the information age.

Although most people think that the Internet is a recent development, it actually has its roots over 40 years ago. The US military saw the need to interconnect radar facilities all over the country. Later this ability would allow the exchange of information between educational facilities.

What we know as the Internet today actually got its start in the early 90’s. The advent of the personal computer in the late 1980’s spurred the growth of the internet. What started with a few college students talking to each other’s computers has grown to an international information exchange.

Remember the days when you would mention you had a computer to a friend and they would say, “Hey my friend Joe has a bulletin board, do you have a modem?” Once you figured out what a modem was, you went down to your friendly computer store and either bought one, or most likely had it installed. (I remember the days when I was scared to death to open up a computer case.) So you had your 1200 baud modem hooked up, listened to all those tones and viola, you were connected. It took maybe 2 weeks if you downloaded a picture, but you were actually talking to another computer. Heaven forbid that you even thought of video. No one could call you because the phone was always busy as you were exploring this strange new world.

Now we have DSL and satellite so we can talk on the phone while we text our friends on our mobile while we post to Facebook.

Information is king in this day. You can find most anything within seconds. We have new words, “I’ll Google that,” or “I Googled that yesterday.” A word that a few years ago did not exist has become a noun and a verb for finding information.

With the rise of the internet we have seen a new economy develop. “Ecommerce” has become the byword of the day. Today it is quite possible to live and never leave your home. This new economy has given birth to a new generation of entrepreneurs, the Internet Marketer. Selling information on the Internet has become a multi-million dollar business.

People like Armand Moran, Alex Mandossian, and Rich Schefren are among the top Internet Marketers in the US, as well as Michael Green, Michael Cheney, and the up and coming Alex Jeffreys in the UK.

Although the main advantage of selling information on the ‘Net is it is a fairly level playing field that most anyone with a few skills can be successful in, it is becoming a bit more difficult now. There is quite a bit to process from web site design, content, sales copy etc.

Unless you are very self-directed, and disciplined, one of the better ways to become successful is to find a mentor. A mentor can provide the information and inspiration to guide you along the way. After all, they have been down the route before and already made the mistakes.

Finding the right mentor can be a challenge. You must take care that you don’t get one who is willing to take your money and leave you standing. Some of the best places might be forums directed to the Internet Marketing niche.

Look for people with a good reputation check references. You can also try typing the potential mentor’s name and “scam” to see if there is any negative feed back about them, but do this with an open mind. Sometimes disgruntled people will leave undeserved negative feedback.

Can anyone know how long the “Information Age” will last? What is next on the horizon, implants that bypass the computer and let your brain directly access the Internet? Can you make it “big” on the “Net?” The only way to know is to find a mentor and give it a try.

About the Author: Gene Ilten has been involved in Internet Marketing for 5 years. You can find out more on his blog at geneilten.com.

Search Engine Optimization – the basics.

With so much information – and misinformation – available on the topic of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) it can be tricky trying to separate fact from fiction.

Coupled with the fact that SEO changes only slightly less rapidly than the weather, it can be downright overwhelming to know where to start.

So, if you’re an SEO newbie looking for a place to start, here’s a look at some Search Engine Optimization (SEO) basics. What Is SEO?

Even the most beautifully-designed site won’t do you much good if potential customers can’t find it. That’s where Search Engine Optimization (SEO) comes in: SEO helps ensure your site is more visible in the search engines, drive qualified traffic to your website, and convert that traffic into actual customers.

In short, SEO increases your website’s rankings in the search engines by making the pages within your site more attractive to the search engines. The more attractive your site is to Google, the higher its rankings in the search engine results pages. And the higher your rankings, the more likely users will visit your site. Obviously, a site with a result on Page 1 of Google is going to get more traffic than a site buried on Page 14.

If your site is missing from the top search results, then you may not be maximizing your ability to generate new business and add revenue to your bottom line. Let’s take a look at some stats:

* 1.3 billion Internet users
* Over 85% start at a search engine
* Less than 25% will go beyond the top 10 search engine results
* Top 10 results get 80% more traffic than those ranked in the 11-30 spots

Besides gaining better rankings in the search engines, SEO is effective in several other areas as well:

* Branding/establishment as an authority
* Pre-qualified lead generation
* Easily tracked ROI
* Cost savings compared to other mediums such as glossy brochures and yellow pages ads (average cost per lead is $0.29!)

Breaking SEO Down

SEO consists of several key elements that work together to generate increases in a website’s rankings, traffic and conversions: Keyword Selection, Copywriting, Link Building, HTML Optimization and Analytics. Let’s take a look at each element in more detail:

Keyword Selection

The foundation of any SEO campaign is good keyword research. That’s because targeting the right keywords is essential to getting your SEO on the right track. If your sell silver ladies watches, then you’re going to want to rank in the search engines for the phrase “silver ladies watches” and other similar phrases. If your keyword research is off and you target the wrong keywords, then you may not get visitors who want what your site has to offer. That’s why you need to make sure that your site is properly optimized for the most-searched-for keywords related to your business.

Copywriting

Getting potential customers to your site is only half the battle; you’ve got to convince them to buy. That’s where persuasive copywriting comes in. Be sure to tell people why they need your products or services and include conversion points throughout the site. The search engines like content, so you also need to optimize your copy to include your keywords. This includes things like descriptive product pages, built-out content like biographies, news sections, etc. One important point to remember is to keep your most critical content “above the fold” – that’s the area that’s visible to your users before they have to scroll down.

Link Building

Think popularity contests ended in high school? Think again; you’re not so lucky. Link building is like one big online popularity contest, and the search engines like the popular kids. Your success in the search engines depends, in part, on the amount of relevant incoming links to your site. Of course, having lots of good links also drives customers to your site, which is a good thing, too. Links can come in various sources, including directories, business partners, organizations, social media sites, and much, much more.

HTML Optimization

Title tags, header tags, Alt tags, Meta-descriptions — the search engines want your site’s HTML to be descriptive and clean. Search engines want to know exactly what your page is about; they don’t want to sort through a bunch of extraneous code to figure it out. That’s why you’ll hear SEO types talk about the importance of having clean code and how to use CSS to make that happen.

Measuring Success

No SEO campaign is complete without analytics. After all, if you aren’t measuring things like traffic, link popularity, and conversions, then how do you know if your SEO strategies are working? Programs like ClickTracks and Google Analytics help make the number-crunching a little easier. When analyzing an SEO campaign, it’s important to only make one change at a time so that you know which changes are effective.

If you want to have an effective SEO campaign, you need to include each of the five SEO elements listed above. Keep in mind the information here just scratches the surface of these topics, and there are certainly other more advanced SEO strategies that can benefit your site as well. These building blocks, however, are the perfect way to get your SEO campaign started on the right track.

Website Creation Simplified

Brief Overview Of The Nuts And Bolts

Before you start fiddling around with HTML editors, FTP clients, and Domain registrations, it’s important to have at least a basic understanding of how all this works. This Website creation overview gives you an easy to understand look at what the process of building your own Website really involves.

A website is a collection of files that work together to form a unified whole. These various files, from images to HTML documents and PHP scripts, or instructional software, are organized by a Web browser and displayed appropriately on a computer monitor.

Website creation is essentially the process arranging information in a way that can be translated by Web browsing software, such as Internet Explorer, and presented to human viewers. To do this correctly you’ll need to gain a basic understanding of coding languages like HTML, CSS, and possibly PHP.

The process of coding your site is literally the activity of entering numerous individual lines of alphanumeric code that tell the Web browser how to format and display your Web page. While seemingly complex at first, the truth is learning the most basic Web development code — HTML — is less complicated than learning to use the English alphabet.

Once you learn what the various command codes actually do, your next step is to practice organizing them in a structured manner within an HTML document. This is not unlike the process of creating a word processing document and saving it; the only difference is that instead of sentences and paragraphs you’ll be entering HTML tags and attributes.

Once your files are complete, they’ll need to be added to your Web host so other Internet users can access them. The Web host, or server, is a powerful computer that operates around the clock.

It is here that all the files and data that make up your Website will be stored. And you’ll need to register a domain name and synchronize this domain with your host machine so people can type an easily remembered Web address into their browser and literally navigate to your Website by establishing a connection with your host server.

In addition to learning how to create and save basic HTML documents, Website creation requires some level of proficiency in transferring files between your computer and a Web server. This is called File Transfer Protocol, or FTP for short.

To do this, you’ll need a software tool called an FTP client. This utility is installed on your desktop and can instantly form a connection with your Web host, allowing you to upload files to the Web or download them to your machine.

It is also recommended that you become familiar with the directory structure and hosting control panel your Web host provides. This will make it easier for you to manage your Website.

This sounds like a lot of work. But the truth is the average Internet user can become basically versed in all of this within 30 days or less if he or she puts forth an effort to learn.

It’s beyond the scope of this article to delve into the specifics of any particular technique. But I hope at this point you at least have an understanding of what is involved in learning the Website Creation process.
Timothy Aaron Whiston – Quickly and easily learn Web design with the author’s amazing online course.   You’ll be an ace Webmaster in no time with this full-blown Web design course at your disposal.