Mar 30, 2010

Web Safe Fonts

Not every font that is installed on your computer can be used on your website, because not everyone that views your website has the same fonts installed on their computer as you. In an effort to keep websites looking similar between different browsers and operating systems, web designers can choose from certain fonts that are “web safe” and reliable. […]

Testing your website pages, especially landing pages and sales pages, is one of the simplest things you can do to tweak your web site and attain higher conversions. In addition, you can learn more about content creation, as well as your customers’ interests, through testing than by any other method. […]

In this article we will take a look at creating some great looking product photos on a budget. We will outline how to shoot a basic product shot. The emphasis will be on background, lighting, and the positioning of the product itself. You can use any small object to shoot that offers a great example to highlight the basics of lighting and shooting an isolated product photo. I have chosen a small friendly shaped incense burner. […]

In this installment of my “Top Ten” tips to better Search Engine Optimization, I’ll be reviewing “10 Things to Avoid When Optimizing Your Website”.

SEO isn’t easy! Let’s just call it what it is, Hard and Time Consuming. A major mistake that a lot of people make, in an attempt to make things easier, is looking for short cuts to optimize their website. Many of these shortcuts provide short-lived result, but can harm your rankings in the long run (or even get you black-listed from search engines!). This is where I like to refer to a couple of old sayings to help remind people to stay focused:

–          “If it’s worth doing… It’s worth doing right!”

–          … and, “If it’s too good to be true… then it probably is!”

Keep your eyes on the prize folks! Don’t let other people take advantage of you and your business. Avoid bad neighborhoods, link exchanges and farms, don’t keyword stuff and… well… just keep reading, and Good Luck!

[…]

While email has been around as long the Internet and may not be as “trendy” as the new social media marketing strategies, email campaigns and email marketing are still among the most popular and effective tools in an advertiser’s arsenal.   According to a recent study by the Center for Media Research, 56.8% of marketers polled “realistically” plan to use email in their advertising next year.

But even though email may be “old”, new strategies and technologies come along every day that can help you start an effective email campaign, or improve your existing one.  Below, I present five new things to try along with five things you really should avoid when planning your next email campaign.

[…]

There is a book in our office that has been required reading for all staff members for the last 3 years.  This book is called “Don’t Make Me Think” by Steve Krug.  The book is about usability of website design and how you don’t want to have your site visitors have to think when they visit your website.  There should be a clear purpose to the site that spells out to the site visitor what you want them to do next, whether it is to fill out a contact form, buy a product, pick up the phone and call you, request a quote now, search for a dealer in their area, refer your site to a friend or apply now.

Don't Make Me Think - Book

Don't Make Me Think - Book

The book is deceptively simple and most of the information in it seems so straight forward and obvious, because… well, it is.  It is a clear message that doesn’t require thought and offers examples of how to enact better usability on your website, or websites you produce.

It is easy to get caught up in the message of your site without thinking about how that message is being received by others.  Sure a 5,000 word dissertation on what your product does can be informative, but it can also be overkill, or even boring and not worth the time of a busy internet suffer who is just trying to determine if your product can provide the particular benefit they are looking for.

When you are the provider of a product or service it is easy to be too close to the message – too “in-the-know” to be able to see how the site is coming across to others who are not “in-the-know” on your product or service.  Maybe usability testing is something you should consider.  This is basically a test audience who does not know your company and it’s products or services.  Let them navigate your site and see if they get it as quickly as you think they will.

Usability studies can be as simple as inviting a trusted friend over to try out your site and give feedback to doing a full fledged study with hired testers, video taped sessions, surveys and reporting.  However you do it, do at least something so you have good, third-party feedback on your site.

Most importantly, think of your call-to-action – that clear purpose to the site that spells out to the site visitor what you want them to do next.  Make sure your call to action is ever-present, on every page, reminding your visitors what you expect them to do next.  Sometimes a little redundancy is ok.

Can you be instantly recognized on the web? I can and I will teach you how.

Most web applications these days as well as forums and web commenting systems allow you to have a picture and URL associated with your online identification. This picture is called an avatar. Are you using one? Don’t let the gray link-less man represent you. Leverage social networking to increase traffic and recognition. After all marketing your self is just as important as marketing your business.

First and foremost make sure that your user name across various sites is the same, this also applies to social apps like twitter. What if my preferred user name is taken? Use a very similar variant, or another popular alias you feel comfortable with. Two user names? You will see why this isn’t such a big deal here in a sec. This name is one piece of the puzzle to becoming recognized. Internet users who browse the same sites as you or are members of the same forum will see your name pop up and know that this post or comment is yours. Now seal the deal. […]