Word of Mouth is Everything

Word of Mouth is Everything

If you’re trying to figure out a way to send more traffic to your site, you need to understand that word of mouth is probably the best way. There is nothing stronger and more powerful for your site than for a loyal visitor to go to some friends and say, “Hey, check out this site.” If they do that, those people will go visit it because their friend says it’s good. If the site is good, those people will then tell other people and it will begin to become a viral campaign where people are telling people about everything.

Viral marketing is a fantastic method in which someone is able to create something that really creates conversation. For the sake of this article, let’s say someone wrote a really controversial political piece for their blog. A couple of diehard fans of the blog read it and go, “Wow, that’s killer.” They tell some of their friends. Those friends tell some of their friends. What happens is a situation where that single article begins to pick up steam. Is it effective? You betcha.

The reason viral marketing works so well is it spreads like a virus. If you tell one person about an idea and tell them to tell three people and to tell those three people to tell three people, what you’ll have is an exponentially growing story. If you tell a person and they tell three people, that’s now four people that know. If those three tell three, that’s now thirteen people that know. If those nine people each tell three, that’s now thirty one people that know. It continues to grow and grow and grow. The traffic can be absolutely amazing.

How do you get a word of mouth campaign going? You need to have loyal readers. This one depends entirely on your site. If your site is trash and the readers just don’t care about what’s going on, they’re not going to stick around to learn more and become loyal readers. If they’re not loyal readers, they won’t tell their friends about it. You want your readers to become diehard fans because once they’re diehard fans, they’re invested in your success. So, they’ll be more willing to tell friends. If there is only one way to get traffic, this is the best way. A single viral campaign can do wonders. The grassroots have shown that they have the power to bring success. President Obama anyone?

Why Good Web Design is Important for Your E-Commerce Site

Why Good Web Design is Important for Your E-Commerce Site

Not so long ago, web design was not at then top of the list on the minds of online business owners. This was because despite having amazingly ugly websites, these folks were still able to make money! However, the internet is undergoing a revolution thanks to the ever growing competition and search engines getting more concerned about the user experience.

So, what does this mean to you as a website owner?

i. Significance of branding
With the maturity of the internet, online shoppers are getting choosier on whom to buy from. They are looking for credible product vendors to buy from. They want to buy from the best experts. This makes branding very critical. People are more likely to stay loyal to a brand and make repeated purchases from it if they trust it. Loyalty is an important business strategy. Earning your customers loyalty is capable of making you a market leader. Professional web design will help you achieve this. You will certainly command respect from your online visitors with a professionally looking website. Your website will help you send out a message that you are committed to providing the best products and services to your customers.

ii. The importance of exceptional user experience
Search engines have a lot to do with this. The first task of search engines is to provide web users with the most relevant content as quickly as possible. The importance of relevance is second to none when it comes to search engines. Who would want to use search engines that yield results filled with ugly and irrelevant pages?

For an e-commerce website, it is highly recommended that you keep the design simple, precise and clean. Fast loading pages will help you avoid the impatience of your visitors. Search engines will also give you a reward of high rankings. You should still be able to acknowledge the importance of having a user friendly website even without search engines. These two reasons will make your clients want to return to your website; professionalism and quality information that meets their needs.

iii. The importance of standing out
The internet is getting increasingly crowded with stiff competition. This is reason enough for your business to stand out from the crowd. Failing to pay attention when designing your website will make it no different from thousands of amateur websites out there. To be honest, you do not want your business to be associated with millions of poorly designed websites littering the internet! If it is, then your visitors will find it really hard remembering your business. A logo that is easy to remember can help your business stand out. Consider selecting a harmonious color blend that is comfortable on the eyes. Avoid using black backgrounds with red or white text as this will keep your visitors off.

Using simple but professionally looking graphics can go along way in heightening your website presentation.

What exactly is SEO?

What exactly is SEO?

Often times, people have to stop what they’re doing and ask themselves: what is SEO? Sure, they know that SEO is important for their website and they know that if they are going to have success on the web, they need to employ a series of tactics that will make their content appear before readers more likely than with another website. However, the truth is: what is SEO?

This is a question that people often have to ask themselves because they don’t even realize what they are doing. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a series of techniques that a website owner (or company) employ in an effort to optimize their site so it appears on the front page of the respective search engines, specifically Google. People spend thousands of dollars each and every month because they understand that having a front page listing is worth a lot of money, especially if the keyword is super competitive.

However, while understanding SEO is important, there is a way to delve deeper into the topic. There are two types of search engine optimization. There is the more basic one which is the external search engine optimization. Then there is the more detail oriented one which is the internal search engine optimization. Here are details about each:

  • External Search Engine Optimization: This is the process by which a website owner builds links for their sites. They may employ any number of tactics such as article marketing, link exchanges, directory submission, or anything else. The goal is to create an abundance of links. The more links that are linking to your site (in the proper niche) results in a higher page rank from Google, but more importantly, it results in appearing on the front page for a series of keywords. What keywords those are, though, is entirely up to you.
  • Internal Search Engine Optimization: This is the process by which a website owner goes in and carefully edits their code so that it is works better for the search engines. Here, a website owner may go in and edit the meta-tags so that the site ranks stronger for other keywords. This is very fine detailing; however, this fine tuning can result in a considerable boost in the search engines. Without this technique, no good search engine optimization will work well.

No plan works alone. Without internal SEO, external SEO won’t do enough and the same can be said on the flip side. With this understanding, it is important for a webmaster to develop a technique in which they focus on building their links, but keep a careful eye on their code to make sure they don’t need any growth on that side.

Web Design Inspiration?

Web Design Inspiration?

We all get the design flavor of writers block occasionally it is unfortunately part of life. What you do when that happens makes the difference between a designer, and a good designer. Some will call it a day and go home, others will go to the nearest bar or coffee shop and forget about everything for a while. Others will go and do something completely different like go fishing, skating or to the gym.

When you do lost inspiration, it is certainly time to step away from the project for a while but it doesn’t necessarily mean the time is wasted. There are plenty of ways to spend time away from the desk but not be productive. Every city has plenty of places you can go to take your mind off things while still being productive.

Here are some of my favorites.

An art gallery is an obvious choice I guess, but one that shouldn’t be ignored because of that. Here you can spend time looking at other people’s ideas and work. You will be relaxing away from the office, but still not wasting time. While your conscious mind might be taking in great works and admiring the skill of the artist, your subconscious will be storing it all up for another time.

A modern art gallery is a variation of a theme but still worthy of an honorable mention. Here your mind can take in the latest in contemporary design. These places are often great for exploring color and how different ones can work together, or not. Not everything in a modern art gallery appeals to me, but there is often enough in there to get my mind ticking over.

A Museum is another great place to get inspiration. While it won’t have cutting edge, modern exhibits, there are a lot of retro ideas that can come from somewhere like this. Old engines, architecture, jewelry, even clothing from days gone by. New designs often use influences from the past and the museum is a great place to get them. It could be just the use of colors, or the lines of a specific exhibit. It’s all subjective so you will take what you will from it.

Going shopping is another great pastime when you have designers block. Especially a department store that sells high fashion. A slow browse around taking in the colors, shapes, lines and anything else that takes your fancy. You don’t even have to buy anything if you don’t want to, just look and absorb what you see. Your imagination will do the rest.

These are just a few of the places I use to visit when my creativity takes a break. Which one and where depends entirely on my mood at the time, but by the end of the day my mind is brim full of ideas ready to go the next day. It might not seem as productive as slaving away at your desk, but it is, just in a different way.

Web Content Management System (CMS): Why You Need To Have One

Web Content Management System (CMS): Why You Need To Have One

Your web design exercise can be pretty simple and fast when you have a good content management system in place. With an effective CMS, you can easily update elements of your site like photos, videos and text. However, the real potential of a content management system comes with thousands of adds-on applications which can range from simple ones to the most complex ones.

In place of a motionless/ brochure type website, you can incorporate additional features that will help attract more visitors. Such features can include social media applications from sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn that are linked to your site. Such applications will help you build a reputable online brand image while reaching and interacting with millions of potential customers. Better still, you can always update these applications by yourself once they have been installed by your web developer.

So what are the benefits of a web content management system?

Content management system sets you free from the bonds of conventional web design. Think about you being in full control of your website. There are definitely several benefits that come with this, two of which are cost and time.

Suppose you had a shoe store with hundreds of new shoes to list on your site, you can use your content management system to feed information to your store’s database. By “pointing and clicking”, your new products will be included to your online store in a matter of seconds. This means that you will no longer look to your webmaster to update your product list for you. You can apply the same concept when you are looking for something more “advanced”.

With your “do-it-yourself web design” enabled by your Content Management System, you will be able to save hundreds of dollars on your web master’s fees. This is no doubt a great cost cutting strategy. This coupled with the time saving advantage are major factors contributing to the popularity of web Content Management System.

While CMS will certainly save you time and money among other benefits, not all website designers are capable of developing websites using it. As an online trader with some web knowledge, CMS will be of great importance to your business. All you will need is a little understanding of other user friendly programs.

Content Management System brings great convenience and a sense of self satisfaction by giving you the freedom to take full control of your website’s updates. This will to a great extent give you a feeling of being part of the system.

Using Offline Techniques to Build Your Website

Using Offline Techniques to Build Your Website

When people think about owning a website, they think that they need to hire a company to do SEO, they need to build links, write articles for article marketing, post on blogs and forums, and just do a whole bunch of online stuff. What they don’t take into consideration is there is another entire step of methods in which you can promote your site without even having to be in front of your computer. These techniques are a bunch of offline methods that can be applied so that more people can find you. This is best used when your site may not be ranked so highly in the search engines. Here are a few methods:

  • Get pens made with your website URL on them. It’s so easy to pass a pen out to someone when they ask. If they go to give it back, tell them to keep it.
  • Carry your business card around on you. You can get really inexpensive ones at some online websites. Get them and include your website on it so when someone asks you for your phone number, you can give them the card and they’ll see your website.
  • Put an ad in the newspaper. Newspaper ads are still really good. They don’t do as much as they used to, but a lot of people still go and read newspapers.
  • Submit a press release to your local paper. Your local paper may pick it up and write a story about you. This story will, in return, create talk about you which may send you an increase in traffic.
  • Just talk about your website. Tell your friends and your family that you have this new website, that it’s an addition to your business already, and you are really looking to get it larger.

These are five ways. There are hundreds. I’ve used tons of different methods when promoting offline. You could be in a conversation about the topic of your site and then you could suddenly say, “Hey, I actually wrote an article about that on my site. Check it out.” Boom. One more visitor. One visitor may not seem like a lot, but if you remember viral marketing, one can lead to two can lead to four and the list goes on. Don’t spend your entire life on your computer trying to promote your site. Go out, experience life, and promote that way as well. It really does work.

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Using Google to Get Your Business on its Feet

Using Google to Get Your Business on its Feet

Owning a website is a great feeling and it can be a really encouraging feeling to wake up, get on your computer and start publishing content on your business website with the hope of it becoming an authority. However, just because you are very motivated to get up in the morning and work, that doesn’t mean that people are actually going to be reading what you’re saying. There is a lot involved in getting people to read your content. Fortunately for you, the world’s biggest search engine, Google, has made it incredibly easy for your website to be found and for your business to get on its feet.

What Google has done is created a relatively straight forward algorithm for those that are trying to rank in the search engines naturally. On the flip side, they’ve created a tremendous advertising program in which people, if they have the money, can forsake the constant work of link building and on site SEO. Here, people can buy ads on certain keywords and get traffic that way. Which should you use for your website? Which of these Google methods can get your business on its feet? Good question.

  • Natural search engine traffic: Here is a great way to get traffic and the method is simple. Google’s algorithm is based on the principle that the more links you have, the better you are going to rank in their search engine. However, Google doesn’t just want any links. What Google wants to see is that you are getting links from other sites within the same niche as you. Getting links from a politics site when your site is about baseball just doesn’t fit and this could get you penalized. However, other than that, having strong, relevant links is the trick to get ranked. Sure, there are other details, but this is the basic method.
  • Advertising Program: AdWords is a fantastic way to get traffic to your site, but it can be a bit expensive. In this program, you’re paying for each and every click to your site on the ads. The way this works is that you pick a keyword that you want to advertise with and whenever someone searches for that, if your pay/click is highest, your ad will appear and the visitor can click. A lot of people have had a lot of success with this technique.

Google can be a great way to get your business on its feet, but there are two ways to approach it. You can do the slower, but often times cheaper technique of natural search engine traffic. On the flip side, you can do the faster, but more expensive AdWords campaign. Whichever route you choose, though, it’s easy to understand that Google is a great way to get the traffic you need and want to your website. Traffic means money!

Using a Video to Market Your Website

Using a Video to Market Your Website

As you probably know by now, at Tampa Web Design, we are more than capable to do a lot of different work for your company. One of the things that we can do is video production. Video is a fantastic way to market your website and the honest thing about it is that it is becoming the growing method in which people are giving information out on the web. It used to be text, but more and more people are doing video podcasts to give information out because they’re relatively easy to make and you don’t have to be an amazing writer.

However, let’s say that you don’t want to make a podcast because that takes too much of your time. Instead, you just want to get a video on YouTube.com that has a “find out more at our website” section at the end. In essence, you just want to get a ton of people to see your video and then want to know more, so they type the URL of your site into their browser. That’s a great idea and a lot of people do it to build traffic.

There are two methods in which you can market your site with video:

* Provide honest and worthwhile information. Make a video that provides a solution to a problem. The best marketers are able to solve a problem. People want to know solutions, so if your video provides it, they’ll love it. Let’s say you own a blog all about blogging. You might make a video about how to install WordPress the long way. This is an honest video that provides information. If people start to spread it around, you’ve got a viral video going.
* Do a humorous video. This is the other method. This can be sarcastic or just humorous. In this method, you create a video in which the point of it is to be funny so that it is spread around. CollegeHumor.com is great at this. They make videos that are hilarious, they get spread around and then people go back to the site looking for more. That can work for you too.

Video is a great way to market your site and you should be using it as often as possible. Don’t overwhelm YouTube with your videos, but if you could get one posted a week, that would be a great way to push a ton of traffic to your site. Try one out and see how it goes.

Tracking Your Traffic is Important Geographically Speaking

Tracking Your Traffic is Important Geographically Speaking

Thanks to a lot of great tools on the web, one specifically being Google Analytics, webmasters have been able to not only track how many hits their website is getting, but also determine where in the world those hits are coming from. It used to be that if you got a hit, yay, your site was getting traffic. These days, though, advertisers don’t just care about how much traffic is coming to your site, but where it is coming from. If they only own stores in New York, they don’t want to advertise on a site that only gets traffic from California.

Tracking your traffic geographically speaking is good for three reasons:

  • Selling advertising. If you sell advertising, if you can provide to your advertisers to places that your traffic comes from, they’ll be more likely to spend what it is worth. General traffic is never worth as much as targeted traffic. For instance…Governor Corzine of New Jersey is advertising in the NYTimes because he knows that Jersey readers read it. Does he care about the LATimes? Not really.
  • Knowing which promotional techniques are working. Let’s say you buy a radio ad in Atlanta Georgia. You check your stats and suddenly, you are getting a huge amount of traffic from Georgia. Chances are, that ad worked. But, let’s say you run the ad, but get no traffic. You know that it was a waste of time and money and don’t do it again.
  • It can help you to target specific types of products. If you are selling a certain line of clothing that is great for the cold, but realize that people from Florida are coming to your site, you can go to your R&D department and get some clothing for warm days designed and in production. This allows you to sell to all areas because you know all areas are interested.

By knowing the geographical information, you will be better able to gauge how much to sell ads for on your website, but also what promotional techniques are working and if you need to develop some new product. It works. Geographically tracking your traffic is something a lot of webmasters are doing. Sign up to Google Analytics as soon as possible, insert the code into your website and then observe the results. You’ll be pleased to have that geographical information in your knowledge bank.

Three effective Web Statistics tools

Three effective Web Statistics tools you can use to monitor the performance of your Web site

You need to monitor the performance of your website in order to know the kind of improvements appropriate to it. Suppose you want to increase traffic to your site by 5000 visitors per month with your current traffic count at 10000, you will have to launch a web marketing campaign in order to attract more visitors, right? Without a web site statistics program in place, it will be very hard for you to know the impact of your campaign.

Let’s begin by looking at what an effective web stat program will do to your website.

• Keeping track of the daily, weekly, monthly and yearly visits to your site.
• Tracking your visitors’ country of origin
• Keeping track of the browsers, operating systems and search engines that people are using to find your website
• Keeping track of all the inbound links to your website
• Tracking the pages in your site that are frequently visited
• Monitoring the keywords that people are using to locate your website

Here are three effective web statistics tools you can use to monitor your visitors.

i. AW Stats
This is a free tool that is usually incorporated in a web hosting account. It is a great web log analysis tool that should be included in your web hosting plan. Always discuss with your web hosting provider to find out if this program or a similar one is included in your plan. This tool keeps track of the number of unique visitors, number of visits, number of pages accessed, number of hits as well as the amount of bandwidth used. Using this tool will help you achieve almost all the benefits mentioned.

ii. Google Analytics
Incase your web host is not providing statistics for your website, you can consider creating Google analytics account whose code you will need to insert on your web pages. With this tool, you can keep track of the number of visitors to your site, their origin and the traffic sources that they are using to find your site.

iii. Statistics Counter
This is a free hit counter that you can install on your pages and use it to monitor real time stats on your site. Just copy and paste your code to the HTML code of your pages. You can choose to make this counter visible to your visitors or not.

An objective and focused marketing campaign will help you increase traffic to your site and boost your search engine ranking. Begin by taking notice of your current visitor count as you move on to monitoring your web statistics during your campaign period. This will help you measure the level of your marketing success.