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This is a very troubling time in South Africa.   Businesses are closing and people are losing revenue. 

Don’t be caught unprepared.

Is your website doing what it is meant to during the lockdown?

Let us give you a free website optimization report…do not wait until it is too late!!!

The one thing that can keep you going is your website.   Your website is your number 1 salesperson, especially in these devastating times when we are all confined to our homes… You need a website, proper Search Engine Optimisation (S.E.O.) and marketing.

Do not allow your business to disappear.   Today, people have time to think and plan for their future and the future of their business.

If you have a business, you should have a website to advertise and draw clients.  If you have a website, then now is the time to make sure that it is doing what it is supposed to do. Let us give you a free website optimization report.

You need to have the best S.E.O. possible to increase search engine advertisingrankings and draw customers to your site to convert to sales.

Online marketing is the second most important item on your to do list.  Although business has dropped, people are spending a lot more time on the internet, and that is perfect if your website is well marketed, and available for people to see.

Now is the time to build your business, while you have ample time at your disposal to make the best decisions.

StormBiz are Professionals and can take care of all your business needs. Do not allow your business to become history.

First and foremost!  You need a really good website. Marketing and good S.E.O. can keep you in the public eye and strengthen your presence online.

If you are not sure of what is best for you, please do not hesitate to contact us, either via email, or give Stanley a call today on 081-525-1727 to discuss your requirements and receive a free quotation.

It will be the best decision you can make in these trying times

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What is Search Engine Optimization and Why Do I Need It?

web designWeb Design ServicePurchasing web design service is confusing with all of the different buzz words floating around. A service being pushed by many web developers is search engine optimization (SEO). It has become a huge field in the last few years despite the fact that many purchasers of web development services are not clear on what it is or why they need to consider it in the making of their site.

What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?

Nearly every internet user finds new web sites using a search engine such as Google, Yahoo, or MSN. You go to their site, type in what you are looking for and usually find it in the top two or three results. What goes on behind the scenes of every internet search involves complex software intelligent enough to figure out which pages are the most relevant to your search. If you are looking to buy a product online, you will search for the product name and typically buy it from a company who comes up near the top of the result list. Search Engine Optimization is the process of figuring out which search phrases, or “key words”, potential customers might use to find what you are offering, and then doing whatever is necessary to move to the top of the search results so that these searchers visit your site.

Figuring out what key words to target is a tricky process. If you run a company that sells candy, your first thought might be to target the key word “candy”. There are a number of problems with targeting such a general word or phrase. If somebody is logging on to the internet to buy candy, they are just as likely to use a search phrase like “chocolate”. The other problem is that if someone searches for “candy”, they might simply be looking for recipes or information. Spending money on search engine optimization which results in visits from recipe seekers will not be beneficial to your company or to the searcher. Luckily, there are many tools available, such as WordTracker, to do proper key word research and determine exactly which phrases are the best to target.

The second part of the search engine optimization process is crafting your site to be near the top of the search results for the phrases you chose. This can be very difficult, as the World Wide Web is full of competing web sites that would like to be higher on the list. There is a wealth of information describing exactly what you can do to have a good shot at being in the top results. I will discuss some of these methods more in depth in future articles. In the meantime, I recommend reading the information at Bruce Clay’s web site. It is the best resource on the internet for good, free information on SEO.

you need S.E.OYou Need Good S.E.OWhy do I need Search Engine Optimization?

If you are going to promote your website through standard advertising (i.e. print, TV, or radio), you might not need to invest very heavily in SEO. Most startup companies do not have the budget to promote their site through those mediums. If that is your situation, doing some careful research about SEO can help you access a form of advertising that is nearly free and reaches millions of people interested in exactly what you have to offer. If you have the budget to pay a professional for this service, make sure to investigate very carefully and get examples of their work. If a company offers you a guaranteed top spot on Google, be weary. True SEO professionals will tell you the truth: that getting a high search ranking for a competitive key word phrase will take months of diligent work and planning, and involves many factors that you cannot control due to competition for the elusive top spot.

When you write the copy for your web site, use language that contains your key words. Try to provide information that your visitors will find useful. People are much more likely to buy a product or service from a company that gives some of its expertise for free. It is also important to continually update the information on your site to keep visitors returning to see what new information is available. Hopefully they will make a purchase along the way. 
 
For more information, or a free quotation, please do not hesitate to contact us today
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5 Valuable Search Engine Optimization Tips

seo contentContent OptimizingSearch engine optimization is THE most cost effective way for a company to market their products and services. Below are 5 extremely valuable search engine optimization tips:

1. Content is Key

Webmasters are extremely concerned with optimizing their code and as a result, they often forget about optimizing the content. As optimization tips go, this is one you should pay close attention to. The first 200 words of your home page should be loaded with keywords, this includes your headline. Some search engines, particularly those that ignore meta tags, will actually use the first few lines of text (including the headline) as your site description.

2. Utilize Static HTML

You don't need a "dynamic" website unless you have dynamic content, such as airline seat availability and pricing which needs to be dynamically published from a database because it constantly changes. You may store your website in a database but you're better off publishing it as a static HTML website. It's cheaper, the pages will download faster, and search engines will find it easier to comprehensively index your website.

The less HTML code you have, the better, as it makes it easier and faster for the search engine to index your page. Aim for a total page weight of 50 KB for any page (that's including graphics). Certainly, anything over 100 KB is going to be slow, and some search engines don't like pages that are over 100 KB.

title tag seoThe Title Tag is Important3. The Title Tag is Critical

The title tag is the single most important piece of content for people who search. Keep it short: Don't have more than 60 characters (with spaces), which is roughly 8-10 words. Lead with the most important careword for that particular page. Always start off with what is specific about the page and move to what is general. Many websites begin their title with their brand or organization name, and then follow with what is unique about the page. (This is a very common mistake, so check out your website.)

4. Optimize Your Images

This is another optimization tip that many people forget about. However, through use of your "alt" image attribute tag, you can slip in an extra keyword phrase or two that describes the picture users are about to see. The text only shows up when the user has turned off the 'view images' option in their browser or the image fails to load. But some search engine robots will pick it up too and the extra keywords could help your ranking. So take a few seconds to implement this optimization tip on your site and you could see improved results soon.

SEO ExpertSEO Professional5. Why You Shouldn't Optimize Your Own Site

While we have given you some basic optimization tips to help you quickly boost your search engine ranking, we still recommend that you hire a Search Engine Optimization professional for the best results. Search engines change their guidelines regularly, making it impossible for any one or two people to stay on top of all the changes while still running their business. What was a great optimization tip yesterday, could get your site blacklisted today. Your SEO professional will watch over your site as if it was our own, ensuring your site is always running in peak form. For example, we predicted many of the guideline changes Google made in November of 2003, saving many of our customers from the massive fall in rankings most experienced.
 
Please contact us for more information, or a free quotation
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Getting Honest With The Search Engines

discussion forumsDiscussion ForumsI spend a lot of time reading newsletters and forum postings about Search Engine Marketing. More often than not, people are asking about methods used to improve Search Engine rankings: what works, what doesn't, and what will get you in trouble.

Search Engine*:

A program that searches documents for specified keywords and returns a list of the documents where the keywords were found.

Algorithm*:

A formula or set of steps for solving a particular problem.

Frankly, no one can predict what will happen from day to day with the Search Engines. Only the Search Engine companies themselves know if the algorithms will change from one day to the next. Even the Search Engine rules change from month to month, sometimes daily. Think of the changes that have happened since pay for inclusion and pay-per-click have taken over the market for Search Engine results.

It seems so simple to try and comply with the Search Engine rules. Even though optimization adds to the basic content of a site and source code, there are ways to approach this without stepping over the line.

We personally do not use the methods mentioned below (methods to avoid, methods to be wary of) in order to play it the absolute safest way, using a long term plan in providing you optimum ranking in the Search Engines.

Keyword stuffingAvoid Keyword StuffingMethods to avoid

Keyword stuffing. "Stuffing" keywords into places where keywords don't belong, such as comment tags, image ALT tags where the keywords have nothing to do with the specific image

Invisible text. Text color the same as background color

Automated submissions. Using automated tools to deliver huge numbers of pages to submission pages of Search Engines

Submissions to "thousands" of Search Engines. A waste of time, since the major Search Engines/Directories drive the majority of the traffic to websites

FFA (free for all) links. Link popularity is good, but only when the links are relevant; a link from a page of random links is not worth nearly as much as a link from a site that is relevant to your site

Search Engine Marketing companies hosting your pages on their server. The marketing company "owns" your pages, and if you decide you want to move them, you may have a hard time wresting them away. (This is not always the case with marketing companies that also provide hosting, but you need to carefully choose when using this option.)

Methods to be wary of

  • Cloaking
  • Doorway pages
  • Maintenance programs

Cloaking*:

Also known as stealth, a technique used by some Web sites to deliver one page to a Search Engine for indexing while serving an entirely different page to everyone else.

Cloaking is very difficult to do correctly, if you do not have an expert providing this service you could well be banned by the Search Engines. There are ways for this to be done that are accepted by some Search Engines. In general, cloaking is not always accepted by the Search Engine rules and can be a gamble unless you are certain your service provider knows what they are doing. Check credentials and get referrals from people who have used their services.

Doorway page**:

A page made specifically to rank well in Search Engines for particular keywords, serving as an entry point through which visitors pass to the main content.

Doorway pages are not accepted as they used to be by the Search Engines. A carefully crafted doorway page done by hand is entirely different from an automated doorway page generated by software. A few well-designed pages are a far cry from mass generated automated pages sent in large numbers through the Search Engine submission page, which are often considered as spam. Again, check credentials and get referrals from people who have used their services.

website maintenance2Website MaintenanceMaintenance programs

There are times when a page drops from the Search Engine listings or you re-design the page which might give you a reason to re-submit the page to the Search Engine. Re-submitting your pages every month is not always necessary. Having a log stats program in place will help you see which pages are still listed, along with a monthly ranking report. If you have these tools you should be able to see if any of your pages have changed. Be wary of people who consistently re-submit your pages, since re-submission can sometimes cause your pages to be dropped if they are already listed in the database.

My own experience with a very large website I did Search Engine marketing for, showed that the older (longer) the pages were in the Search Engine results, the better for link popularity and ranking. Of course, paid inclusion can give you more security in having your web pages stabilized in the Search Engine results.

A good maintenance plan will include providing a ranking report, tweaking keywords in your source code as needed for a monthly/six month/yearly fee and may also include log stats so you can see where your traffic is coming from and what keywords your visitors are using to visit your website.

Methods that work

Good content

Content is one of the most important items you need for your website. Once visitors arrive, you need to keep them there. Adding keyword-rich text that makes sense and serves the concept of the web page improves your ranking and keeps your visitors interested. The more text, the better for Search Engine spiders when they index a website.

Good navigation

There is nothing worse than arriving at a website and having difficulty understanding where to go for the information you are seeking. Have easy to use, clearly marked navigation so your visitors click through instead of click-away in frustration. Search Engine spiders (robots) index text and links; having good navigation is important to the indexing of your web pages.

Title TagTitle TagsTitle/META tags

Individualized Title and META tags for each of your important web pages gives you the best chance for optimum success in ranking. Title tags are necessary for Search Engine ranking, in particular with Google's Search Engine. META tags have decreased in importance, but are worth using for clarity and search results. The META description is still used by some Search Engines as the default text indexed by Search Engine spiders for the search results. The keyword tag is the least important but is still used by some engines. My theory is, you never know when the rules of the Search Engines will change, or a new engine will want them, so take the time to include these tags in all your web pages.

Link popularity

Links from other popular websites back to your website are one way of increasing your site's popularity. Finding websites with similar content (but not your competitors) and high link popularity, then trading links to be posted on each site, is one way of increasing your site popularity. Good content is vitally important because visitors who stay longer while visiting a website help measure the popularity of the site in the Search Engines.

Paid Inclusion

Paying a one-time fee or (as is most recently the case) a yearly renewable subscription fee to be included in the Search Engine results. Directories also use this style of service to accept submissions. Paid inclusion does not guarantee that you will be listed with the Search Engine or Directory, but gives a shorter time-line of acceptance if they do.

PPC (Pay-Per-Click)

Overture is the most popular PPC engine. You bid an amount per keyword phrase to get the highest ranking in the Overture search results compared to your competitors.

Google AdWords Select

Google AdWords is a program that uses your chosen keywords in an ad in the Google Search Engine results in order to promote click-throughs

Log Stats programs

Having a log stats program is very helpful in tracking your visitors, finding which keywords they are searching on to enter your website, tracking which pages they leave from and much more. Analog is a good free log stats program. WebTrends is a popular paid logs program used by many businesses.

free or paid submissionsFree or Paid SubmissionsFree submissions take patience

After paying for inclusion, try submitting to some of the secondary Search Engines and directories. Long before Google was a household word, I thought it might become popular and submitted the company website. It certainly paid off a year later when Google became the best of the upcoming Search Engines.

Another avenue to venture down are specialty directories. As the web grows larger over time, specialty directories (also known as vertical portals or "vortals") focused on your business area may help you get more link popularity and your company name out to the public.

Stay Honest

Stay honest, create good content and do your homework when hiring for services.

Using affordable Search Engine Marketing services you will add to your audience exposure on the web. In this way you will always be ahead of the game and hopefully, ahead of your competitors.

If you would like a free quotation, or more information, please contact us today

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How to Avoid the 12 Common Web Design Mistakes

Website Redesign ChecklistWebsite Redesign Checklist

Are people visiting your web site, but not buying? This may be a sign, and the time to do some redesign of your web site. Often you are so close to what you have created, that you can’t see obvious design mistakes. I have done the same when writing an article – everything looks fine when I have finished, yet when I review it the next day, I am amazed at how many mistakes I have made.

Let’s take a look at some of the most common Web Design mistakes:

1. Sloppy Web Site Copy – your heading and first paragraph should clearly indicate the purpose of your web site. “Content is King” on the Net, so make sure there is plenty of focused information for your visitors. The content should draw the visitor through the site, to take action in the end. Include contact information on every page in case people have questions..

2. Bad Colour Coordination – avoid using dark text on a dark background. Use dark text on a light background, such as black on white. Use colours that blend well together.   Observe nature, or look at paintings to get some idea of good colour combination's.

web design coloursWeb Design Colours3. Pages Load Too Slowly - using too many images, or inserting large images on a web page, slow down the loading times of your web page. Optimize your images, (reduce their size) before you insert them on your site, otherwise your visitors will leave before your site is loaded.

4. Poor Navigation – this means visitors can’t easily find the information. They experience broken links, error pages, or discover too many moving objects (animations, flash, scrolling text, marquees) – all these will annoy the visitor, and cause him to click elsewhere. Keep your navigation simple by creating clear links on all web pages.

5. Orphan Pages – these are pages other than your homepage, where the visitor has no idea how it fits in with the overall structure of your web site. You should always have a link to the homepage, so that visitors know where they are on your web site.

6. Long Scrolling – the visitor has to scroll horizontally, or many pages vertically to view them.

7. Meta Tags Missing – without optimizing your web page with a description or keywords, people can’t find you on the search engines. Research key words or phrases relevant to your site content. Include them in your title, description, and Web Site copy.

8. Lack of Marketing Strategy – a beautiful lawn without sun or water, will soon die. A Web Site without visitors will soon die too. Visitors are the life blood for your website. Create numerous marketing strategies to attract visitors to your web site – you never know which one will be the most effective.

9. Poor Layout and Design – create an aesthetically pleasing design to keep the visitors on your site. Create enough white space between your text and images by using margins. Don’t overlap text and images, and avoid capitalizing all text – it gives the impression you are shouting at your visitors. Use font type such as Arial, or Verdana, to make it easier to read on your computer screen.

web frameWeb Frame10. Avoid Using Frames – frames don’t allow you to bookmark the page or return to it, and sometimes the URLS stop working.

11. No Cross Browser Compatibility – you may be losing many customers, if your Web Site is not compatible to the browsers most people are using. Internet Explorer (IE 4, 5, 6) is currently the dominant browser, and most users are displaying 800x600 pixels or more, with a colour depth of at least 65K colours. .Therefore check your design with these statistics in mind.

12.Outdated Information – your web site is like a garden. If you allow weeds to block out the sun and take over your garden, it will be destroyed. Attracting, and keeping web site visitors, means continually adding new information (i.e. latest news), deleting irrelevant, outdated information, and removing broken links.
Continuous maintenance of your web site is crucial to attracting, and retaining Web Site visitors, as without visitors your web site will soon die. They are the life blood for your website. Remember to create numerous marketing strategies to attract visitors to your web site – you never know which one will be the most effective.

For more information, or a free quotation, please do not hesitate to contact us

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