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What Makes a Site Lucrative?

group people asking questionsGroup of People Asking QuestionsPeople ask too many things about websites. They ask about the key points to remember in order for their website to conquer the Web as well as to boost their sales. They ask about the right colors to use, layout, content and the likes. So many queries but it all sums up to one thing - a profitable website.

To boot, in order for your website to be lucrative, it must exude total equilibrium with all its elements. What do I mean with total equilibrium? Well, it's simple. It involves six crucial rudiments - organization, focus, design, navigation, technology and marketing. Short of one rudiment means your website is incomplete and lacking. One by one let us discuss their essence.

Organization

A design must be detail-oriented. Just like a piece of art, each detail must contribute to the overall projection of the whole. Nevertheless, it must only have what it needs and nothing more. It is with semblance to the maxim in clothing that it is better to be underdressed than overdressed. This is because it can tend to lead the visitors astray. They may not be aware of where to go or where to look at. This is the reason why it is always safe to keep it simple and in order yet not tedious. Follow the basic rules and your readership will surely soar.

website goalsWebsite GoalsFocus

All sites have goals. In order to achieve that goal focus is necessary. Objectives must be met in a way that the target audience can relate and look forward to working hand in hand with you.

Design

Design must be simple with web safe colors. Design is something that will not punish the eyes of the readers, something that will not look shameful but a memorable and professional epitome of both art and function. It is advisable to use toolbars on homepages however, it must not be more than ten. Another thing that you should consider is its size. Ordinary home page has a standard 17" size without any scrolling involved.

Navigation

Easy navigation means quick routing. That way visitors can transfer from one page to another without any difficulty. Giving burdens to visitors may mean annoyance and will most likely result in poor cooperation and realization of your goal.

Technologywebsite marketingWebsite Marketing

It is noteworthy that a website should use accurate technology in order to meet its objectives and dynamics. It must be recent and up to date so that your target readers may not find it passé and rotten. You can utilize all possible resources as long as it will rebound to the benefit and efficiency of your website.

Marketing

Lastly, the domain name must be easy to recall. It can bear the company/business name or something that will easily be connected to your products or services. It must have a one-to-one marketing practice - an abode that will make clients comfortable and at ease. It must also be something that will make visitors come back for more!

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What Is Web Usability?

huge consumer electronics storeHuge Consumer Electronic StoreWeb Usability. It sounds very simple. "It’s just how to use the Web, right? I already know how to do that." That’s not exactly right. In fact, Web Usability is the layout, construction, structure and navigation of your website. Does that sound simple now?

Web Usability - A Real World Comparison

You can compare a website to an actual store. Let’s say you walk into one of those big retailers, looking for a new baseball glove. Now, you’ve never been there before. So, you first need to find the Sporting Goods section. This store is huge. And with all the shelves and displays up front, you can’t see the layout of the remaining 80% of the space.

The store might have a guide/map up front for you to check out. Then again, if it’s the chain I have in mind, they probably don’t. Instead, you’re going to wander around looking for signs. You also might use past experience in stores to make an educated guess. For example, you probably would look for the Pharmacy in the same area as the medicine and vitamins. That’s where they usually put it.

 store guide mapStore Guide MapNotice I didn’t say anything about asking someone who works there? That’s because it wouldn’t fit our example. Websites don’t have disgruntled slackers or underpaid clerks roaming around. Your sense of where you are and where what you want to go is dependent on the web designer. The hierarchy and site layout is created by them – and used by you.

Easy To Use = Easy To Profit

The ease of site use by your visitors is the same as the visitors to our store. How easy is it to find different sections of the site? Is there an easily located sitemap for them to consult? Do they have a sense of where they are in the site and how to go back to a page they visited before? Without using the browser ‘Back’ arrow?

example sitemapExample SitemapA frustrated customer might keep going back to the ‘real’ store in our example just because they’re the only game in town. Or they have the best price. But those advantages are few and far between on the Web. Chances are there is a viable competitor ready to take your frustrated visitors only a click or 2 away. And people do leave web sites when the get frustrated.

In a nutshell, Web Usability is making your site easily navigable, understandable and intuitive. It’s marketing, whether you realize it or not. Why? Because it’s a part of your image, your presentation, your place in the mind of the prospect. That’s why it is so crucial to success. Especially online, where you face a world of competition. Keep your visitors on your site and you’ll keep their business there, too. Now, that is as simple as that.

Please contact us for a free quotation, or to discuss your website requirements

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What A Difference Good Copywriting Makes

copywritingCopywritingWeb site copywriting is a special method that allows the companies to advertise and promote themselves. In today's highly competitive and ever-changing online environment, it is not enough to rely on the texts alone. One should combine the knowledge of offline copywriting with online realities.

Professionally written website copy (www.killer-content.com/webcopywriting.php) is one of the most significant and important elements of your web site. It is widely regarded as one of the most effective ways to communicate with your potential customers, retain old ones, and attract new clients. In the developing of your web site, you should understand that web site copywriting is one of the most significant elements of your marketing strategy. It is used by many companies to promote their businesses and services. It is widely regarded as one of the most efficient tools in the developing of online copywriting process

surfing the netSurfing The NetHow do people get to your web site? How do they find your company's website? Certainly, some of them already know your company, and some of them might visit your website, because they have read advertisements about your company. However, most of the visitors visit your site through the results of search engines, after they put search terms they are interested in into the search engine boxes. Once the visitor has come to your website you should try to grab his attention immediately. One should remember that most of the visitors do not have much time to read the whole text of your website, the bulk of them just skim through your text. That is why one should develop a trustworthy, and reliable connection with the visitor right from the start. This is a prerequisite for transforming him into your potential client. If the visitor is not interested, or not impressed with your text, he will be impressed with the text of your competitor.

Try to be precise, coherent, and communicate with only one customer at a time. One should be engaged in direct dialogue with your customer. Individuality is what matters. By emphasizing that you speak directly to a person you might make your message more custom-oriented. The most successful web site copywriting copy, is the one written, based on marketing research of your targeted audience. That is why the services of marketers who can evaluate the competitors of your market, as well as the wishes and expectations of your potential customers, must be used in conjunction with the development of well-written copywriting copy.

For more information, or a free quotation, please contact us today.

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Search Engines and Spam

spamming search enginesSpamming Search EnginesWhat is Spam?

Spam (for Search Engines) refers to the use of any illegal technique to improve a page' ranking in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). Who decides what 's illegal? The SEs, who else?

Tons of articles have been written about search engines and spam. Why the need for another article? Because, believe it or not,  MOST of the major search engines are still vulnerable to MANY unethical techniques used by malicious Webmasters.

Spam has been known for a long time. For years, Webmasters tried to cheat the search engines. Today, many SEs say they know all the tricks and penalize those pages. As you will see, most SEs only SAY that they will punish spammers, but in fact they DON'T.

What is Search Engine Optimization?

Search Engine Optimization, Placement, Positioning, Ranking, or whatever you want to call it, is the process of designing a Web page that can be easily indexed by the SEs and receive high rankings in the SERPs.

My Experience with Search Engines

Recently, using some major U.S. SEs, I made a search for a Web design company in New York. Let me to share with you my highly disappointing experience.

The search engine results pages (SERPs) in most of the search engines were full of Web pages that used one or more spamming techniques. The most frequently encountered illegal strategies used by many SEs were:

  • Keyword stuffing
  • Page redirect
  • Mirror domains

Keyword Stuffing

Keyword stuffing is the adding of many relevant, sometimes irrelevant, words in the:

Keywords META tagKeywords META TagKeywords META tag

One of the criteria some search engines use to rank pages in the results list is the presence of relevant words in the Keywords META tag. From use to abuse is a little step, so some webmasters place many words, repeating them many times in the hope that the page will rank higher. The record was a page that had 1,150 words (no mistake, WORDS not characters) in the Keyword Meta tag. The word "design" was repeated 209 times. Unbelievable, right?
What are Search Engines' positions regarding this spamming technique? One of the Web's most important Search Engines, in their submission guidelines, states that it will "exclude submissions" with "excessive keywords". It looks like 1,150 words are not "excessive" enough, because THAT SE and many others index the page.

Besides stuffing words in the Keywords META tags, some Webmasters also add lots of words in the:

Visible page

Another criteria some search engines rank sites in the results list is the so-called "word frequency": the more times a word is repeated in the content of a page, the higher are the chances it will be near the top in the results list.

Some Webmasters often abuse this criteria by placing words or phrases- most of the time- at the bottom of the page, many, MANY times. Do you recall the site that has 1,150 words in the Keywords Meta tags? Well, the same site just "copied and pasted" those words in the copy of the page.

You might think that it's weird to see a bunch of words inserted in the page. Well, Webmasters have found two methods to work around this problem: "tiny text" and "hidden- or invisible- text". "Tiny text" means that the Webmaster places the text in a very small size, most of the time hardly legible. "Invisible text" means the use of the same color for text AND for background, so users will NOT see the words but SE's spider WILL see, so the page will rank higher than it deserves.

The Search Engines' position regarding this spamming technique? One of the Web's most important Search Engine, in its guidelines writes: "We must sometimes exclude submissions" of "pages with text that is not easily read, either because it is too small or is obscured by the background of the page". Other SE's will "significantly downgrade a page's ranking" ... "if words cannot be read due to their small size or color".

Despite these statements, both SEs, as well as other SEs, index pages with text in the same color as the background. To illustrate the total lack of respect for users with little fear for SEs, one Web page has a whopping 936 words in BLACK text on a WHITE background. Incredible!

web page redirectWeb Page RedirectPage Redirect

One page can be redirected either by using the "refresh" META tag or using cloaking techniques. Why the need to redirect a page? One of the legitimate reasons to redirect a page is having a new URL for the site. But some Webmasters abuse page redirection to obtain higher rankings for their pages.

How does it works?

Using the "refresh" META tag:

This technique consists in building 2 pages: one, highly "optimized" - read "spammed"- with many, MANY words in the KW and Description META tag and also in the Title tag. Most of the time the copy of the page is also highly "optimized" with KW stuffing- many times with invisible text.

These pages called: "Doorways Pages", "Gateway", "Entry" or "Bridge" pages most of the time display a "Click here to enter the site" or simply "Enter" or sometimes "select Flash or HTML" message on the entire page. Using the "refresh" META tag the Webmaster will "redirect" the user to a second page, which will appear after a determined number of seconds after seeing the first page. If the time is set to "0" (zero) seconds, the viewer will NOT see the first page, but directly the second one.

Why two pages? The first one shown to SEs as highly "optimized" will help the page rank very high in the SERPSs, by cheating the SEs. The second one is "nicer", not too much spam, a good page for viewers.

Cloaking technique is probably the most controversial spamming technique.

It also uses 2 pages, one for the SE and another for the viewer. The big difference between this technique and the one above is that in the first case it is possible to see the code of the first page (shown to SEs), but in the second case it is not.

Hiding the Meta data (especially keywords) in the code can provide a huge advantage in this current highly competitive market, as there are known cases of Webmasters that stole a competitor's keywords in an attempt to rank higher.

What are search engines' positions regarding redirecting? Do not submit any site with an address that redirects to another address" or "Your site cannot mirror or redirect to another Web site" or we "may permanently ban from our index any sites or authors who engage in cloaking to distort their search rankings" or simply: "Don't cloak".

Pretty clear, right? Then why some Webmasters insist in using cloaking techniques? To hide their pages' code from prying eyes. Bad guys are not afraid to spam- most of the time, SEs only SAY: "don't do that". If you do, there will be NO- or sometimes very little- punishment.

Mirror domains

Consists in building hundreds or even thousands of pages with SAME content but with altogether DIFFERENT URLs (Web addresses). The advantage is clear: by finding the "right" tricks to cheat the SE algorithm one can "dominate" the SERPSs with pages one after another. One company had 62 pages in the Top 100 results list.

What are the search engines positions regarding this spamming technique? "Do not submit mirror sites". "Your site cannot mirror or redirect to another Web site". "Do not submit" . . . "the same pages from multiple domains". But in practice most of the SEs are vulnerable to this technique.

Spamming in on page elementsSpamming in on Page ElementsQuestions for:

Search Engines

When are you going to be SERIOUS about your job?

When will you PUNISH the spammers? Have CLEAN indexes? It is not difficult. A dialog with the Webmasters community might result in opinions such as THIS one:

"I can't understand why the search engines aren't professional enough to put their anti-spam efforts into a detailed agreement and have anyone that wants to be listed sign their agreement. Such an agreement would spell out very clearly what is and what isn't allowed. Anyone breaking the rules would be subject to specific penalties or banning, but would be notified and have a chance to fix the problem especially if the infraction was not too serious".

Clear enough?

Why do you accept advertising from sites which use spamming techniques? So, if a page cannot achieve high rankings, for few buck it becomes "featured" site or listing and voilà!, on the top of the list. Is this the latest trick for a poor site to be listed high? Now, on one hand, in your guidelines you tell Webmasters not to spam, on the other hand, if a spammer PAYS, that's no problem. Good bye relevancy, hello profits! Here is a comment by a high-ranking official from a major SE: "the more we take payment for listings, the more you'll get great results" Excuse me? "Big" pockets' sites are NOT always more relevant than "poor" pockets' sites.

I know I'm not the first one to ask but, when are you going to make a CLEAR distinction between paid listings and real results? The user needs to make an informed decision. The user needs to be helped, not confused.

Webmasters

Why use techniques seen by the SEs as spam? Why take the risk of having pages penalized, or even permanently banned, from indexes? Two months of glory, then a new domain, blacklisted again- poor way to market any business.

Think it's impossible to get higher rankings WITHOUT using spam? My answer is NO. Do your homework, read thoroughly and abide to SEs guidelines, cross your fingers and you'll be # 1.

Have you ever seen one of your page's ranking lower than a page which uses spamming techniques? I bet you did. Now, how did you react? Did you report it to the SE or you said "nah, that's no use anyway"? Or perhaps you thought it's not nice to turn in the Webmaster. OK, let me ask you something: would you like, that while waiting in line to buy a ticket to a movie, somebody, who comes AFTER you, go in the front and buy a ticket BEFORE you do?

Or perhaps THIS is the solution?

A site will be nominated and posted on a listserv which any member can second then the offender will be notified of his conviction by the spamdex police. They will have a week to clean it up and re-submit and remove the offending listing from the search engines. After a week the offender will be reported to the search engines. The search engines will have a month to act or they will be added to the list as an accomplice to the activity.

Search Engine Results PageSearch Engine Results PageHuh? What do you think?

Site Owners

When are you going to wake up? What am I talking about? Well, I'm taking about a report, which says, "nearly 46 percent of the marketers surveyed said they allocate less than 0.5 percent of their annual marketing budgets on search engine optimization (SEO) services". Now, read it again, and again.

So, you spend 95,5 % on gizmos such as Flash and Java Scripts and less than 1% for SEO. Let me tell you something: bells and whistles will never help a page rank high in SERPs. NEVER. In fact it will work against.

Which are your rankings, by the way? When was the last time you checked, if ever? Are you in the Top 30 results for your strategic keywords when the user runs a search? You're not? Practically you don't exist for your prospects. Still wonder why so many .com CLOSE? Are you going to be next?

Do you need a Ph.D. to realize that the SEO- your Web site "salesman"- is more necessary than ever? One of these days you'll discover the power of search engine marketing: the cheapest yet most effective way to promote your site to more than 300 million prospects. Bright future for SEO.
I can see a bright future for the SEO, don't you?

When are you going to understand that SEOs is NOT only optimizing the Keyword Meta Tag? SEO is a highly specialized, time-consuming and sometimes expensive but absolutely NECESSARY task. It's both an art and a science to position a Web page near the top in SERPs. So, forget about your in-house SEO "expert", shop around and find a reputable SEO firm or consultant.

Do;s and don'ts when you talk to the SEO guy:

If a Web Marketer suggests you to get rid of that flashy or framed Home Page, just DO IT! Or, don't blame HIM for the consequences. If a SEO says something about cloaking and doorways, run, and I mean it.
Don't even think telling a SEOs, that you'll pay him, AFTER the pages show up in the search engines. Enough said. Don't be a kid by asking him to GUARANTEE you Top 10 positions! No honest SEO will do it. The only thing a SEO can guarantee is an increase in the number of pages indexed and an increase of the current rankings. With some luck your sales will sky rocket.

Last thing: please, avoid those submission tools and their hype: "submit your site to 500,000 SEs for $24.95". Submit your Web site by hand. Period.

IN CONCLUSION:

SEM Search Engine MarketingSEM Search Engine MarketingSince the summer of 1995, when I worked for the first time with a Search Engine, I saw some SEs disappearing, and lots of new SEs appearing.

Competition is good, but users might be confused with thousands of SEs. Besides, not everybody knows sophisticated searching techniques such as the Boolean operators, so there is a lot of frustration out there. If we add the irrelevancy of the results in most of the SEs, we have a pretty sad picture.

A clean index should be the main priority for any search Engine. If a SE gives irrelevant results, the user will switch to another SE. Can a SE afford losing users in todays'fierce competition between SEs? I don't think so.

To wrap up, I am not saying here that ALL the Search Engines are vulnerable to ALL the known spamming techniques. All I say is that MOST of the Search Engines are vulnerable to MOST of the bad tricks.

I also believe that it is NOT important to list WHICH SEs are vulnerable to WHICH spamming techniques or WHICH sites spam WHICH SEs. The important thing is it STILL happens.

Not only in the American SEs. I've checked also Spanish, German, French and Italian SEs. Less spam, but still there.

Please do not hesitate to contact us for a free quotation, or more information

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Joomla Website Management Package

From 1 March all hosting companies have started switching off PHP 5 and started enforcing their clients to use PHP 7.

Since the security issues with PHP 5.x are no longer supported, all hosting companies have started moving their CPanel and Plesk clients to PHP 7.x. This affects all current Joomla, Wordpress and Magento clients, only to name a few. If you have a website designed in a Content Management System, like Joomla or Wordpress, it means that your website might break, unless all your components, C.M.S. and templates are up to date.

We have a management package that is specifically designed to keep your website up to date, every week, month or when needed. You can have peace of mind when it comes to your website and security updates, from only R450.00 per month. This includes all your components, your chosen C.M.S., and any add-ons you have on your site, and if you wish to host your site with us, then there's no additional charge. Click here to view what you get for this low price, which saves you R 1000.00's every year, as our price even includes license fees for most common Joomla components.

managementOnline Marketing Package & SEO

Our top selling product, the Online Marketing Package, is great for any business, any size. We will manage/set up your companies FaceBook/Twitter/Linked in and/or Google Page, post on a weekly basis and also do monthly SEO on your website (Joomla/Wordpress Only.) We can also write Blog articles and even send out weekly/monthly newsletters. When it comes to marketing, we can do it all, and we can ensure that your Company/Brand is promoted sufficiently and professionally, to reach as many new/existing clients as needed. Click here to view our Marketing Packages, starting at R 2 950.00 per month.

For ALL your Website needs - Contact Us for a free quotation or to discuss your needs or call us on 081-525-1727

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