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Category Archives: Website Building

  1. The ABC’s of Landing Pages That Work

    • by Gustavo Morais
    • December 14th, 2014

    When you click on a landing page, what’s the first thing that pops in your head? Are you annoyed, amused, perhaps intrigued? Talking about landing pages, the main thing to be aware of is impression. How do your visitors see you? Are they engaged and interested or will they move on to the next page within seconds? There are few things that create a better first impression than a well designed landing page, and the key is to understand your visitors and what leads them to take action.

    But, what is a landing page?

    A landing page is any page on a website where traffic is sent specifically to prompt a certain action or result. One way of understanding the process is to think a soccer match during penalties. When the whistle marks the beginning of a penalty, the goal is to get the ball to, well, hit the goal! Similarly, landing pages work with copy and design and their goal is to get visitors to take an action.
    Landing page traffic can come from various sources, from a pay per click or marketing campaign, banner ads and sponsorship graphics to email links and blog posts. The best landing pages are simple, well-designed and speak to the right audience.
    And how is my landing page different than my website?
    From landing pages to websites there is one major difference: your visitors. There are two different types of visitors, coming from two different backgrounds: the ones landing on your page and the ones who just end up there.
    The first type probably knows you. They likely typed in your name or web address and probably were referred by someone, read one of your articles or an email they signed up for. You won’t need to try hard to sell them anything, but you will need to make sure their experience is the best possible and they have easy access to all navigation and resources they will need to continue to get and know you better.
    The second type doesn’t know you. They found something floating around the web and somehow got linked to your page. They may be skeptical too. The goal here is to educate, convince (nicely) and most of all, make them feel comfortable. You want them to be curious about your business and the solution you could provide them. You want this interaction to be simple, direct and effective.
    Making sure to track both your landing page and website performance is the best way of understanding your visitor’s actions to set up a strategy and reach your conversion goals.
    There are a lot of parts and terms to landing pages and working with the basic ABC’s, we found a great infographic where you can get all the information you need to design pages that work:

    copyblogger-infographic-abcs-of-landing-pages

    Need help with your landing page and website design? Contact us at ST8. Let’s work together and create the best strategy to impress your visitors.

    Infographic and featured image via Copyblogger.

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  2. Optimizing Your Website For All Major Platforms

    • by Gustavo Morais
    • August 24th, 2014

    In the past, website creation had been geared specifically towards computers. But with the rise in website access via mobile devices and tablets, companies are having to reevaluate and modify their web design strategies.

    For the average business, 60% of website traffic comes from mobile devices — not desktops. With a dedicated mobile SEO strategy, you can stay ahead of the curve, tap into a growing customer base, and increase your business by optimizing your website for tablet and Smartphone users.

    To optimize your website for major platforms, there are 3 main strategies:

    •Responsive design is recommended by Google as the best mobile SEO strategy (embed source http://searchenginewatch.com/article/2253965/3-Reasons-Why-Responsive-Web-Design-is-the-Best-Option-For-Your-Mobile-SEO-Strategy). RD uses same URL and HTML codes for both desktop and mobile versions. The content automatically moves into a mobile format when accessed from a mobile device. Therefore if website is visited on a smaller platform like a phone, the website will look exactly the same… just smaller.

    •Dynamic Serving uses one URL and adapts to whichever device you are using. However, depending upon what type of device you are using, the HTML code will change. Unlike responsive design where you are seeing the same website on both mobile and computer devices, with dynamic serving you will see the content change on mobile devices. Dynamic can be more expensive and potentially causes problems with mobile searches when incorrectly set up, but when done correctly can give a more pleasing experience to the user

    •Sepearte sites, an alternative to the other two methods, uses corresponding URL’s for both desktop and mobile devices. The mobile site will often be setup as “m.website.com.” Where as the desktop site would read “www.website.com”

    RECOMMNEDATION

    We at St8 recommend using responsive design when setting up a mobile site. Google search bots are designed to find a URL and all content that lies within that website. This is how Google ranks the site in search engine results. Because this is how it is set up, when the HTML changes (as it does in Dynamic Serving) the bots will not recognize the mobile site. In Responsive Design The HTML is consistent throughout both platforms, thus will gain a higher search ranking and will give your website more traffic.

    Although all three are viable options, responsive design provides the user a consistent experience across many different platforms, making SEO strategic management simpler.

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  3. How to Panda-Proof Your Website & Avoid Getting Penalized By Google

    • by Gustavo Morais
    • June 28th, 2014

    Many small business owners and large corporations have been wondering why Google has become so stringent when it comes to Web content. Believe it or not, there is a logical reason. Their philosophy is simple. They desire to provide Web users with information that is relevant to what they are searching for online. In other words, they want to give people what they want.  This is understandable because over the past few years, the Internet has been flooded with poor quality content.  Any content that Google stumbles upon that lacks quality is devalued.

    The success of a website is no longer measured by how many pages of content you have or the amount of links it contains. A website (or web page) is measured by whether or not a person does what you want them to do.

    Internet guru, Gab Goldenberg from Searchenginejournal.com once said: “If you have sufficient PageRank and you regularly publish new content – yes, Googlebot will return frequently to your site to crawl your articles, which will then be indexed. But if you just have plenty of content – even if you publish 5 new unique, original articles a day – Google doesn’t care…”

    This is living proof that it’s no longer about the “quantity” of content you have – but rather the “quality” of content a website presents.

    In this article, we’re going to share a few quick tips that you can start implementing right away. Here’s how to detect poor quality content on your website and how to avoid getting penalized by Google:

    •Search your website for any kind of poor quality content and clean it up by either improving it or deleting it altogether. Now, if you have several pages of content on your website, this can be a very tedious job. One way to detect poor quality content is to use Google Analytics. Check your bounce rate, pageviews, pages per session and the average time a person remains on your page.

    •Quick Scenario: Let’s say that your webpage doesn’t have any usability issues, but you have a high bounce rate, that’s a sign there may be an issue with your content.

    •Only publish content that is informative and relevant to the product or service you’re offering your audience.

    • Your content should engage your readers. Low engagement can also affect the success of your website. Many people struggle with in this area. One way increase your engagement is to create content that will interest your readers. For example, solve a problem that your target audience is more likely to struggle with.

    •Avoid keyword stuffing your content. Make sure your keywords are relevant. Also, try using a variation of keywords within your text.

    •Use other forms of content, such as video marketing. Videos tend to index quicker than written content. Plus, it is more likely to go viral and it puts a face to your brand.

    •Avoid posting thin content. Thin content includes anything that’s less than 100 words. Try boosting your content word count to at least 300 – 500 words. Avoid adding fluff – make sure the content serves a purpose to your audience.

    •Get rid of any expired content. Make sure you update content on your website on a regular basis. This includes your static web pages and your blog content.

    •Avoid buying links from linkbuilding farms. Yes, people still do this. Google has shut down many linkbuilding farms, but some have fallen through the cracks. When someone tries to offer you an astronomical amount of links at extremely low rates (1000 links for $100), this should raise a red flag in your mind. Buying links equals trouble. Your website may not be affected right away, but it could in the future.

    The Bottomline:

    The key to Panda-Proofing your website is to provide quality content that’s relevant and engaging. You should also stay abreast to the latest Google guidelines. Hopefully, the tips in this article are helpful in maintaining a website that contains high-quality content.

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  4. “How to Rank” SEO Master Blueprint – Instruction Manual for Beginners from SEOmoz

    • by Gustavo Morais
    • May 14th, 2014

    If you are new to SEO and are still learning the ins and outs of “How to Rank”, this is definitely going to help. SEOmoz blog post titled “How to Rank: 25 Step SEO Master Blueprint” provides an incredibly detailed and easy to understand framework for how to get your SEO strategy off the ground. Author Cyrus Shepard gives a few disclaimers before the journey begins:

    1. There are 100’s of ways to rank a web page, from tweeting a link to getting New York Times articles written about you. This is only one process.

    2. The blueprint is an SEO framework – it’s not meant to detail every step, but instead provides you with the basic outline of ranking a web page from beginning to end, so you can build your own campaign on top of it.

    3. Many experienced SEOs undoubtedly have superior processes. Listen to them every chance you get.

    Now, I won’t repeat the entire post word for word here, but here is a snapshot of the table of contents… There is some seriously good stuff in this post and I encourage you to make your way over to the SEOmoz blog and check it out!

    Blueprint-TOC

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  5. Embracing the Growth of the Omni-channel Consumer

    • by Gustavo Morais
    • April 10th, 2014

    Here at ST8 it is not only our responsibility to understand your brand, but also to recognize the needs, desires and habits of your brand’s target market. This requires a vast amount of research into the target mindset and most importantly what influences their purchase decision. Recently, there has been a vast amount of research conducted on the consumer once they have entered purchase mode and some interesting patterns have begun to arise.

    In this digital age, the pursuit of a product or service has changed drastically. No longer are retailers strictly relying on storefront displays and striking print ads to garner a customer’s attention. With the access of technology at their fingertips, consumers are relying on their own insights, as well as the insights of other consumers, to reach a purchase decision. Online resources provide a consumer with detailed imagery and product description, user reviews, and often even videos. These features are all designed to lead the consumer towards a more educated purchase decision. By creating this relationship with the buyer, they are more likely to feel confident with their purchase and less likely to experience post-purchase buyers remorse. Because of this, the need for in-store-handling of a product is no longer the most important part of the shopping experience. The fear of online shopping is dissipating and consumers are now relying heavily on search engine “point-and-click” ease of access more than any other resource when making a purchase.

    Successful businesses and retailers are catching on to this trend and faceting it to achieve sales and success. By incorporating an Omni-channel approach to retailing, businesses are ensuring that the knowledge their consumer craves prior to making a purchase decision is easily accessible and seamlessly consistent. They are replacing the experience of stepping into a store by providing their consumer with information and an online experience that can mimic, and even exceed, the former.

    This article by Nathan Saffran delves further into the insights of consumer purchase decision-making.

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  6. The future of SEO?

    • by Gustavo Morais
    • November 15th, 2013

    For the last two years, the field of search engine optimization has been largely fueled by keywords and their rankings. It’s all about getting on the first page. However, last month, Google announced that they will not be providing over 80% of keywords that site traffic come from, making the job of internet marketers such as ourselves quite difficult.

    However it is important to realize that the Internet is thriving, and therefore online marketing is also alive and well. There is a lot of value to websites beyond ranking keywords, and now Google is rewarding sites that focus on important topics such as design, content and authority. Now that keywords are not provided, in order to rank highly in search results, it is more important than ever to become an authority on the topic or product your business is selling.

    In SEO, the new goal is to drive traffic to pages by being a source of authority, and not just based on keywords alone. Now it is important to create quality content in the form of copy, blog posts and images and promote the content to interested audiences through social media. It also helps to develop relationships with other sites or bloggers that are influencers on your topic and think of ways you can work together to create more content.

    As for design, it is more important than ever to have a technically-savvy site that is both visually savvy and a source of great content. It should be easy for all search engines to load. It should also be easy for people to navigate your site and learn information from it. There should also be links to social media profiles if applicable so that people can refer to them as reference to how others view your company. These profiles can also rank highly in search engine results as representative of your company.

    Therefore, the future of SEO lies not in keywords but with content and becoming a source of authority on your chosen topic.

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  7. Link Earning is the New Link Building

    • by Gustavo Morais
    • November 12th, 2012

    Here is a great video post by our friends over at SEOMoz. With Google’s recent algorithm updates it has never been more important to earn links directly with relevant content rather than building them in the more traditional sense. Rand says, “You can earn links very, very directly if you create the kind of content that you know someone wants to share, wants to link to, would embed, would write about or blog about, include in their press or their research or in something that says something nice about them.”

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