website Archives -
By Karri Hill
On 18, Aug 2012 | In Website Design | By Karri Hill
J-TEC Associates, located in Cedar Rapids, IA is the latest website development for Axxis Design Group.
J-TEC produces vortex flow meters used to test engine efficiency and help engineers and mechanics design and improve internal combustion engines for better fuel economy, emissions, and performance.
J-TEC’s original website had most of the content needed in place, but was sorely lacking in creative design.
We livened things up with a stunning design and a WordPress-based, content-managed website.
The home page features a “layered” slideshow, meaning that elements on each slide can move independently of each other giving a little extra “wow” factor. The slideshow acts to relate the overall story of the products J-TEC offers.
PDF spec sheets and drawings are available for each product they offer.
Check out the new website for J-TEC Associates!
By Karri Hill
On 30, Jul 2012 | In Website Design | By Karri Hill
We’re getting very close to the official launch of the new Scioto Ridge Job Networking Group website! Here’s a peek at the before & after home pages:
The look is fresh, but not a giant departure from the previous version, so it will retain a sense of familiarity for users. The focus on look & feel was to update, make it look more exciting and show what a chapter meeting typically looks like.
The biggest changes involve:
- Streamlining the content
- Telling the story more effectively and in a more compelling way
- Re-organizing the navigation
- Installing powerful functionality that allows people to:
- Join online with integrated PayPal ability
- Create a personal profile
- Search for jobs
- Check out the chapter information
- Keep up-to-date on events with the event calendar
SRJNG admins will now be able to write and send email newsletters right from the website back end.
By Karri Hill
On 13, Jun 2012 | In Website Design | By Karri Hill
The case for WordPress: a tale of two websites.
If ever there was a case study for the power of WordPress, this is it.
I firmly believe there is a solid case for taking any static html website and deploying it into a content management system, such as WordPress. Functionality is practically unlimited, the user interface on the back end is very easy for non-technical clients to use without being intimidated and blogging is naturally built-in.
However, far beyond the bells and whistles, there’s a far more important reason to make the switch: Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
WordPress websites are very Search Engine friendly right out of the box. They are easily crawled and indexed by Search Engines. New content is picked up within hours of being added. It’s a very easy matter to add keywords and tags to pages and posts. When you upload images, you have the opportunity to rename the photo, add titles and alt tags in a few seconds as part of the process. With a few plugins (added functionality scripts that you can incorporate into a website), you can easily change page titles so that you have something ‘menu-friendly,’ but still have a page title that works well to enhance optimization. You can add xml site maps, which aren’t seen by human website visitors, but greatly aid Search Engines crawling a site.
How much better can a WordPress website perform and affect your website traffic?
Take the case of two contractors I’ve developed websites for. Both contractors do the same kind of work. Both had static html websites. Both depend on “organic SEO,”which basically means that neither uses any pay-per-click campaigns or banner advertising on other sites to drive traffic; just good, old-fashioned keywords, meta tags, page titles, alt tags, properly named photos and page descriptions. Neither site (no matter now much I encourage it) actively update their websites; they’re both busy with their work.
Both websites were optimized fairly equally (though I do not and did not copy the SEO from one site to the other). Both sites were pretty much dead even for website traffic. Some days one would be ahead, some days the other, but they averaged about the same number of page loads over a week or a month’s time.
Until one of the contractors asked me to re-design and deploy his website in WordPress.
The math of WordPress adds up to more website traffic.
Within a month of his website being deployed in WordPress, his traffic was consistently averaging more page loads than the static html website of his competitor. Within a couple months, the amount of traffic went from double the page loads to triple. Nine months later, his WordPress site, optimized fairly equally, is experiencing 4-5 times the amount of page loads of his competitor’s website.
Search Engine positioning is a science that I won’t claim to be an expert at, but I do know this: a website that gets more page loads will rank higher in Search Engine Positioning over time. You see, Search Engines want to return the best results for users. There are a host of complicated algorithms they use to determine what to return when you type words in to perform a search, and they change almost daily, but at their heart, Search Engines are trying to return the best results for the search terms entered by users.
If one website gets more traffic, because more people click on that link in the results, Search Engines translate the click-throughs as meaning the site is relavent to the search term, and it pushes that website higher in the rankings over time. A business can easily go from several pages back in the results (and perhaps rarely being seen) to front page results, where most users will start and perhaps even end their search. It’s like rolling a snowball downhill, but this snowball can affect a business’ bottom line.
With more page views, there are naturally going to be more form submissions asking for quotes, more phone calls that give a business a chance to talk to warm leads, more chances to close a sale, contract work and get paid.
Is re-deploying your website a cost or an investment in your business?
Re-deploying your website will cost you money, but I know from talking to this particular contractor, that he has seen many times the return on what it cost him to do so. Is it an investment you can afford not to make?
By Karri Hill
On 29, May 2012 | In Blogging | By Karri Hill
When yellow and blue don’t make green.
I’ve been working with the owner of an e-commerce website, exploring ways to drive traffic to his website without pay-per-click or banner advertising. We’ve talked about organic SEO, social media and blogging. He has been using keywords on his site, he’s got a Facebook Fan page for his business, and he has a blog.
There’s one big problem, however: his blog is not integrated into his website.
What does that mean?
The platform/service he’s using to power his e-commerce website doesn’t currently give him the ability to blog as a part of his core website. His blog is in WordPress, but it is a stand-alone entity. The diagram below will help to illustrate (please forgive the stick drawings!):
It’s great that he has a blog, but other than a link from the website to his blog and vice versa, there’s no connection. He’s figured out how to get blog posts to automatically post to his Facebook fan page, but users who click through to read the entire post are only going to his blog. Because it stands on it’s own, viewers aren’t seeing any of the products he offers. Unless they click the link to his website, they don’t even know what he sells, so he’s not realizing many, if any sales due to his blogging efforts.
Another problem is that his e-commerce site isn’t benefiting from the relevant keyword content contained in his blog. People who might well be customers, using search terms, may get to his blog, but again, it takes extra effort to get to his website, because the search queries are not leading to the internet presence that pays his bills!
The final large problem is that he’s not taking advantage of turning the prospects on his e-commerce into loyal fans. One of the best ways to use a blog or news section on your website is to provide regular articles of interest and information that will keep people coming back for more.
While it’s true that the equipment he sells is available on other websites, he is an expert in his field. He can answer questions, give advice, help people choose exactly what they need without over-spending. He has a huge potential to earn customers that value his expertise and would buy from him because they know they’re getting the best advice, and because he is a regular blogger, they’ll keep coming back. Every time they come back is another opportunity to sell products.
What can he do to overcome this challenge?
By Karri Hill
On 16, May 2012 | In Website Design | By Karri Hill
A lot has changed since I first began helping clients market themselves back in the year 2000! Most of my clients wanted simply to HAVE a website to keep up with their competition. Back then, most websites were static html, websites loaded pages at a snail’s pace, and browsing was still done on a computer.
The graph below will show you the astounding statistics of how people browse the internet in the last couple of years in the US:
The top four bars? All mobile device browsing!
What does this mean to you?
It is vital that you have a website that is easily viewed and navigated on a mobile device. Sure, your website is probably viewable, but does it really lend itself to the small screen?
- Is it too small on a phone screen to see and navigate without enlarging?
- Do users have to scroll side to side as well as up and down to read your content?
- Are the links too small to read, let alone click (darn fat fingers…)?
What can you do?
Implement a Responsive Design.
In plain English, responsive design allows your website to automatically adjust for the device it’s being viewed on. It will look different on a computer, a tablet and a phone, and it will look and perform better on each than a non-responsive design.
Links enlarge for smart phones, making it easy to navigate without having to magnify or scroll side to side. The whole framework of your website will adjust, rearranging content so that it fits the screen it’s being viewed on.
Why is this important?
- Because you need to meet your customers where they are.
- Because your competition is doing it, or soon will be.
How do I make my website responsive?
You can develop a separate site meant specifically for mobile devices. This is like a retrofit, and it works, but it may take as much time and money as redeveloping your site with responsiveness in mind, and you won’t have two websites to maintain.
There is an easier way! Having a site built from the ground up to be responsive will also ensure that it remains viewable, even as new devices come on the market and are used for browsing.
Having a website built for mobile browsing is not optional in a world where mobile devices have overtaken the PC.
Are you ready? We are, and we’re ready to help you.