Smart Tools for Smarter Business!
Web Designs, Digital Marketing and SEO!
Smart Tools for Smarter Business!
09 Apr 2013
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Web Design

Most Effective web design

A well-designed site has many components – if any component is missing then the overall effectiveness of the site will be affected. The major components of site design are:


 

Web Development

Most Effective web design

A well-designed site has many components – if any component is missing then the overall effectiveness of the site will be affected. The major components of site design are:

Visual design

This is the area that most people think of when asked about web design – how does it look?

The Visual design is the graphical treatment of the website and includes images, graphic element placement, colours, fonts, space usage, and so on.

Different designs and colour schemes will appeal to different customers so it is important to understand your customer first.

Technical design

Technical design involves using the right technology for development and future enhancements, using appropriate screen resolutions, catering for browser issues, making sure that the download speeds are the best they can be, and enhancing security to avoid unauthorised access/modification.

Two Important criteria in selecting technology is a) ease of maintenance, and b) expandability for future changes.

Accessibility design

Accessibility design ensures that everyone can access and use your website and it ensures that everyone can perceive, understand, navigate, and interact with your site. Important questions to ask are:

  • Is there enough contrast between text and background to allow readability?
  • How does your colour scheme look like to a colour-blind person?
  • What does the site look like in a pure text-browser with no flash animations, no images, and no sound?
  • How does your website perform for a visually impared person with a voice browser?

Usability & content design

Usability & content design is all about optimising the user experience

  • Is the site easy to use and intuitive?
  • Are all the expected design elements where they should be?
  • Does the visitor need to think about what to do next?
  • Are the content and page elements organised in a way to make them clear and simple?
  • Is the visitor’s time used efficiently?
  • Is each page focused on a single topic?
  • Is the site Search Engine friendly?
  • Overall, is the site user friendly?

Navigation design

Navigation design adds to the simplicity of use, and clarity of the website. Considerations when designing for navigability are:

  • Can the visitor easily know what to do next?
  • Can all content be found within 3 clicks from the home page?
  • Are there multiple ways to access all content on the site?
  • Is the navigation consistent?

09 Apr 2013
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Website – Static or CMS

Static or CMS? Race to Decision

Starter sites: The budget for these sites is up to £500: These will be small static (non-changing) websites with little maintenance. The website will have just a few pages describing your product/service, who you are and where you are located, “contact us” form or information, home page, and possibly policies such as returns or privacy etc.


 

Static or CMS? Race to Decision

Starter sites: The budget for these sites is up to £500: These will be small static (non-changing) websites with little maintenance. The website will have just a few pages describing your product/service, who you are and where you are located, “contact us” form or information, home page, and possibly policies such as returns or privacy etc.

static or cmsThese sites are generally called “starter” or “brochure” sites. They are ideal for someone who just wants a simple online presence and a website address to put on business cards, stationery and other marketing materials.

You may need a starter site if:

  • You have a fixed number of pages <20
  • The information (or content) on the site is fairly static or doesn’t change very often
  • You have no customer interaction
  • The main purpose of the site is to let prospects know who you are and what products/services you offer

Dynamic or Content Management Sites (CMS): The budget for these sites is from £500 to £1,000. Content Management sites are more dynamic and flexible than static starter sites. With these sites, you will easily be able to make changes and add new content or pages. Most sites we do are of this type.

Initially, you may have between 10-20 pages but there is no limit to how many you can add. Once the basic site is up and running, changes for new products, services, articles etc. are easily made. These sites are geared towards the person who wants a website that will engage with their prospect or customer and which will generate sales.

You may need a content management site if:

  • You have a variable or even an unlimited number of pages
  • You want to change the content on the site often so that the site is always fresh and up-to-date
  • Secure areas for clients
  • Comprehensive search of all information on the site
  • You want to easily change the look and feel of the site (templates) without a re-write
  • You want some method of customer interaction: forms to gather prospect details, purchase options, forums or blogs, order taking or even eCommerce

09 Apr 2013
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Web Content

What can I have on my site for pages or content?

This is one of the most common questions we receive. There are no agreed practices for the ideal number of pages, type of pages, or amount of content for each type of site. Each site is unique. Within our proposal to you, we will recommend certain pages as a minimum.


What can I have on my site for pages or content?

This is one of the most common questions we receive. There are no agreed practices for the ideal number of pages, type of pages, or amount of content for each type of site. Each site is unique. Within our proposal to you, we will recommend certain pages as a minimum.

 

Web Content - SMH ServicesThat said, for most sites we would recommend some or all of the following:

  • Home page – this will be the first and main page that many of your visitors will see
  • About us – who are you and why should your customers do business with you
  • Pages detailing main services/products – what is your solution to your customers’ needs and problems
  • Contact us – provide easy ways for your customers to contact you
  • Policies for returns, guarantees, privacy, copyright – help customers trust you
  • Search & Sitemaps – help your visitors navigate your site
  • What’s new and latest news – keep your customers informed
  • Ordering & shopping cart pages and catalogue – essential for eCommerce sites
  • Articles and features – provide additional information to your customers
  • Forum or blog – provide a means for your customers to interact
  • Gallery or portfolio – show your customers examples of your previous work
  • Testimonials & case studies – show your prospects how past customers appreciate you
  • FAQ or frequently asked questions – help your customers with critical information
  • Social media links and functionality.

You don’t have to have all the pages ready before going live and you can expand them at a later date.


09 Apr 2013
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Healthy Eating

10 Easy Ways to Eat Healthy in College (It’s Possible, We Promise!)

Just because you live in a dorm doesn’t mean you have to give up on good food.

by Elizabeth Kiefer. Article initially published on Teen Vogue.


 

10 Easy Ways to Eat Healthy in College (It’s Possible, We Promise!)

Photo by James Wojcik

Photo by James Wojcik

Eating well as a co-ed is hard. And why wouldn’t it be? “College is a place where you’re often set up for food failure,” says Atlanta-based health coach Chelsea Hunter. For the first time in your life, you’re on your own, making decisions about what you should and shouldn’t eat. You’re surrounded by salty snacks and sweets, you’re almost always in a rush, and controlling what you consume without a kitchen at your disposal can be majorly challenging.But college is also the place where you can start establishing good eating patterns that will last a lifetime (and where you can break the bad ones, too!). Here are 10 ways to improve your dorm-dwelling diet.Stock up on healthy staples.
Yep, that mini-fridge is definitely not going to accommodate all the prepared (and expensive) options your Whole Foods has to offer. But that doesn’t mean your dorm room needs to be filled with high-preservative, high-calorie snacks. Chelsea recommends buying healthy foods with a long shelf life, like nuts, seeds, dried fruit, rice cakes, and multi-grain crackers. Apples and citrus fruits can sit out for up to two weeks, and raw veggies and hummus are good options too.Always take the fruit.
Your college dining hall probably doesn’t encourage students to take food to go, but typically there’s a fair-game basket of produce hanging out somewhere near the exit. “Take the fruit!” says Chelsea. “Always, always take the fruit, even if you don’t think you want it.” If you’ve got it in your bag, you’re going to eat it, and chances are it will keep you from grabbing something less healthy on the go. Another reason to reach for that banana? You’re paying for it—it’s literally included in the price of your meal plan. So every time you walk past that basket, you’re essentially leaving perfectly good, already-purchased groceries in the checkout aisle.Eat high-quality junk food.
If there’s one thing we remember about the campus cafeteria, it’s that french fries and ice cream were readily available all day, every day. But if you’re going to indulge in food you know isn’t especially good for you, you’re better off going with something a little higher quality and really savoring it. Love pastries? Find yourself one that’s made with fancy ingredients. You’ll feel more satisfied, and it will make eating a delicious, buttery croissant more of a treat than an everyday habit.

Read Full Article at Teen Vogue.


09 Apr 2013
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Web Components

What do I get when I order a site?

When you order from us you can expect to receive the following depending on your , preferences, requirements and chosen packages:


What do I get when I order a site?

When you order from us you can expect to receive the following depending on your requirements:

 

Website Design Web Design – Content management sites

  • Sample design templates tailored to your solution
  • A content management system pre-populated with your own content
  • Unlimited number of pages and articles plus the means of adding more and modifying existing pages
  • Optional multiple templates that you can implement without changing the content
  • Optional functionality such as blogs, forums, tools, widgets, “buy now” buttons, secure areas for registered visitors, newsletters, file sharing, and much more
Web Design – Starter site

  • Sample design templates tailored to your solution
  • As many standard pages as you need
  • You provide all content and graphics
  • We prepare, alter and render the webpages
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) & Promotion

  • Search Engine submission (free with all sites)
  • Keyword research
  • Pages are optimised for chosen keywords and phrases
  • Website analysis
  • Competitor analysis
  • Pay Per Click advertising campaign and tracking
  • Linking campaign
eCommerce sites

  • Shopping cart plus payment options
  • Administration tool to add new products/services
  • Administration tool to modifying existing products/services
  • Articles and page creator
  • A pre-populated site with your products and services

Reporting

  • Website usage analytics and advice
  • Search engine ranking reports and advice
  • Linking reports
Website Maintenance

  • Site monitoring for performance and uptime
  • Automated backups and restores
  • Enhanced security
  • Changes to existing pages
  • Additional pages and content
  • Copywriting service
  • Hosting
  • Domain registration
  • Optimised graphics and images

09 Apr 2013
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SEO

Search Engine Optimization is by far one of the most frustrating goals. That’s why its important to master this most vital Internet Marketing segment.

Every company owner dreams to have their website on the first page of Google’s search results. Nick, took this “task by the horns” (starting by dominating the metatag) and single handedly execute achieving this goal within 90 days – not 1 or 2 years, as competitive companies typically project it will take. Since it’s not a common skill set, Nick had to spend over £3,000 via trial and error, to hit the nail on the head (starting on page 58) to soar to PAGE 1 – like a speeding bullet! The frustration factor prior to achieving this “marketing magic” was intense, and it turned out Nick only needed to allocate about £800 to absolutely guarantee this success. Now Nick as a web developer and an SEO Expert knows first hand that achieving page one positioning is actually attainable through the delicate blend of Internet logic, google master tools, keyword intensity and graphic simplicity! While mastering the art of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – Nick has thoroughly concluded and proved, that the approaches that companies promote for $30 to $300 a month with very laborious preliminary tasks – simply can’t work if not done properly.

With a minimum of work and expertise, a website designer can help you achieve your search engine maximization. Getting your name in front of the people looking for you by ranking for relevant keywords is made as easy as ABC with our “cut the fat” techniques. By ranking highly in natural searches, your business will not only achieve more hits, but will also display an impression of authority within your industry.


09 Apr 2013
Comments: 0

Website Requirements

What do you need from me to build a site?

Providing the information needed to populate the content on your website is often the one task that most people underestimate. Our proposal to you includes a section defining whether you are responsible for all content or whether you contract us to generate it.

The main information we need from you depends on which pages we have agreed to design for the website. Unless you have contracted us to do copywriting or to generate the content for you, then we will rely on you to provide the content (text and images).

If you have contracted us to do Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) then we will take any content that you provide and optimise it on a page-by-page basis according to agreed keyword and terms.

What do you need from me to build a site?

webpage sampleFor each of the agreed pages in your website, we need text and images. This information does not need to be formatted in any special way since we will need to format it according to the agreed design.

Typical sources of information for you are:

  • Example of your company logo
  • Advertising slogans
  • Customer testimonials
  • Existing web page
  • Brochures
  • Flyers
  • Marketing material
  • Product and services catalogue
  • Internal policies
  • Business cards
  • Other written materials
  • Dedicated internal person to write new material and content for the agreed pages in your new website.

Can you use my existing content and logos?

Yes we can.

Content for your new site will come from your existing logs and artwork, brochures, flyers, and marketing materials. Even better, if you have an existing site then we can also use that content. Content is usually provided to us via email, links to an existing site, or in the post if it is printed.

If you take the option to have a Content Management System then there you will have scope for unlimited pages and content.

The more content that you provide upfront then the faster and cheaper it will be to produce your website. If you want us to produce a logo, graphics, and content for you then we can certainly do that but there may be an additional cost depending on the workload involved.


09 Apr 2013
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Don’t Sit and Wait

”Build it and they will come” myth

If you have a site that never needs changes, and if you do not need new customers, and if you do not have competitors, and your business model is perfect, Then just sit back and relax because “build it and they will come” is true for you.

marketing-servicesOtherwise, you will need to plan for one or more of the following:

Business goals

Essential to good planning is to set goals and targets and to compare actual progress against these targets. Every six months or yearly you should review your website and re-evaluate how it is contributing to your overall business goals.

Content maintenance

You will need to maintain your content on a regular basis because of changes in your products/services, change of location, shifts in the market, or change of suppliers.

Your options are:

  1. Do nothing and have incorrect/inaccurate details on your site leading to a loss of visitors and business
  2. Do it yourself if you have the technical knowledge. A Content Management System (CMS) will make this much easier by separating the technical design from the actual content of the site
  3. Outsource the maintenance to a third party or to the company that created your site.

Site housekeeping

Site housekeeping includes

  • Renewing your domain registration
  • Reviewing links to/from your site – are they still active and appropriate?
  • Doing regular backups
  • Security review – has your site been hacked or modified without your knowledge?
  • Yearly hosting fees.

Ongoing improvements

Review visitor metrics monthly to identify what areas of your site need improvement.

Typical metrics allow you to find out who is visiting your site, where do they come from, how they found you, what content are they most/least looking at, how long are they actually staying on your site.

Good news is that the software needed to review visitor metrics is free – your only investment is time.

Monitoring promotion campaigns

For Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) to be successful, take a benchmark on ranking & conversion rates, make the SEO changes, wait, and then take another benchmark.

With Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising, you have reports showing how much you spent on each keyword/ad, how many people clicked on your ads, and did the visit convert into a sale or some other action. Unless you review your reports, you may be wasting your money.