The designers at NetSource Technologies are proud to announce the launch of a new website design for long-time customer Express Brake International (EBI), a manufacturing company that specializes in heavy duty truck brakes and brake systems.

After the recent redesign of their logo, EBI decided to update their website to create a unified brand. The result is a bold, custom design that looks modern and professional. Large images and diagrams are used throughout the site to feature their truck brake products. In addition to brochures and testimonials, an interactive map lists EBI Distributors accross the United States.

EBI is an Ocala, Florida based company that produces heavy duty truck brakes and accessories. Their innovative products include the XTREME Brake, Brake Alert, Drum Caddy, and the original Express Brake.

NetSource Technologies, central Florida’s premier web design and hosting company, is pleased to announce the launch of countryboyarchery.com, an online store for archery equipment and supplies.

This custom website uses ProductCart software to create an online archery store. The earthy colors and natural imagery create a welcoming environment. Visitors can browse Country Boy Archery’s catalog to find arrows, slings, targets, and other archery equipment. The secure online shopping cart allows customers to order products easily and safely.

Country Boy Archery sells archery supplies for bowhunters. Their product line includes arrows, bow slings, quivers, targets, releases, stabilizers, wrenches, broadheads, arrow rests, and other archery accessories. The company is run by an avid bowhunter with over 10 years of experience in archery and the shipping industry.

Yep, that is my predicition.

In 2009, while our economy continues to slug along, those that do a good job of marketing themselves online stand to have a very good year. We’ve all probably heard stories of how a lot of people became rich during the Great Depression – because it is true. Those that keep their eye on the ball when everyone else is distracted will continue to hit home runs – it won’t be as easy as it was before, but it will still happen.

Markets are shifting right now. While mainstream for quite some time now, the internet is now starting to subplant other channels of distribution and marketing. Newspapers are struggling, some either are, or are planning to go to internet-only distribution. Video, which had the exclusivity of TV delivery, is now more popular than ever online (even traditional TV’s might be hooked up to a PC or Apple TV), Google searches are replacing Yellow Page look-ups, users are carrying around internet-enabled cell phones loaded with mobile apps that connect to their online accounts, businesses are advertising online with pay-per-click advertising. While lower than before, the spikes in gas prices over the last few years has more people getting used to the idea of staying at home where they can spend more time surfing the web. A new generation is growing up not knowing of a world prior to high-speed internet. Social networking is redefining public relations for major companies and public figures.

There is a fundamental shift that is taking place – while we thought we have already seen the impact of the internet on our lives, we are now realizing that the last 10 years was just a slightly advanced stage in it’s infancy. A major growth spurt is coming in 2009 and a lot of companies that thought they had a “web presence” are going to get left behind, while a lot of companies that are “plugged in” to the coming changes will reap great rewards.

So, what are the nutshell nuggets of knowledge to pull from all this?

First you can’t be just a “web presence”. You can’t be “static” online. You can’t think of a website as the beginning and end of your online efforts. Sure, it has worked in the past, and in many cases working still. But at some point it no longer will.

Second, change the way you think about the internet – almost consider it a parallel universe. 20 years ago, they called the concept “virtual reality”. It made a lot of buzz but died down as the real world realities of the internet’s limitations at the time softened our vision of this “cyber-space”. Now we are seeing virtual reality slowly coming about. Sure, it’s not a funny headset and Tron-like graphics, but the internet is becoming another place that we exist, or more importantly, where your customer’s exist. They are not just hopping online to do a quick search with a keyword phrase to find your product or service and then signing off, they are living much of their life there. So, you will need to be “plugged in” to where they are, what they’re doing and how to get their attention.

We are already seeing this shift in our business. We are not a website development firm anymore, despite my old-habits-die-hard habit of calling us that. We are actually an interactive agency now. Developing the site for your web presence is no longer the beginning and end of our involvement. Throughout 2009 we will be asked to build the “main” site, setup the blogs, create sub-sites, recommend lead tracking solutions, secure advertising, handle marketing campaigns, develop a social media strategy, manage company brands, oversee public relations, broadcast online call-in radio shows, produce video, write copy, record podcasts, program applications, create training materials, research keywords and provide consultation services.

By being prepared for changes in 2009 as the internet leaves behind it’s infancy, you can be a part of it’s growth spurt.

Can you and your company afford not to take into consideration Goggle’s Googlebomb algorithms? First, for those of you that don’t know what it is, a Googlebomb is when people try to purposely push another website to rank for a search term that they didn’t intend it to rank for. You might ask… “how can this effect me and my site?”. Let’s say that you own a popular restaurant and you do everything “White Hat” with your web site. Your web site has developed over time and you have earned the rankings you wanted, but your cross town competition doesn’t hold the same moral values as you, and so they decide to try and setup some Googlebombs against your web site. They setup a number of different Blogs and forum threads that refer to your restaurant as something derogatory, and next thing you know your web site is ranking for “Worst Italian Restaurant in City”.

Now, I’m not writing this to put a scare into anyone as Google has algorithms in place to filter these Googlebombs. If you would like to read further about these Google algorithms just click the links in this sentence and you will go to Matt Cutts blog where he explains them in depth. What I am curious about is whether or not the algorithms are smart enough to realize if a company or organization is actually assembling a link building campaign or if they are trying to implement a Googlebomb. If it were the case that Google’s algorithm can’t decipher between the two, then it stands to reason that your web site could be penalized for link building or even repeating a targeted keyword term more than 2 or 3 times on your web site.

So what’s the answer? While some people have decided to ignore it and just deal with the repercussions of whatever bad press they may receive from this, others have decided to take action. The answer is “two-part”. The first part is building a Search Engine friendly web site that utilizes White Hat SEO tactics. This entails a number of different things that we will save for other blog posts, but the most important thing to remember is to write content for your visitors and not the Search Engines. By writing for your visitors you will limit the number of times you use your targeted keywords and find other related keywords that  complement them also. You can also used these different keywords as alternative navigation within your web site to generate more credibility for yourself. The second part is “patience”. Yes Google has algorithms in place to filter through these Googlebombs, but like everything else in life, it takes time to get it right. If you find that you are a victim of Googlebombing and you have done all the right things to ensure your SERPs, just try patience as it will take time to Google to decipher between the two, but in the end the two algorithms they have in place should catch any persistent problems with derogatory keyword rankings. the catch is that they only run every few months so the key is “Patience”.

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.

Too many business owners get caught in the trap of making a website something that they like as opposed to researching what type of site will best convert visitors into buying customers.  I commonly hear “I want” this or “I want” that without having answers to how a customer might percieve those things.  I’m not saying the site shouldn’t be an online reflection of your business – it should, and it should be appropriately branded – but, site usability, content displayed and specific features added should be geared towards your client’s likes and dislikes.

The site is a sales tool, and like all sales tools and marketing messages it can be refined and tweaked to better convert customers.  The only way to refine your marketing materials is to step back from being emotionally involved and look at your material from a strictly analytical view.

If your site is not a sales tool but provides a service itself, such as an e-commerce site or membership-based site, then you need to be even more aware of your customer’s wants and needs because with websites, you always have stiff competition that will try and woo your client base with features specifically tailored to them.

Regardless of your site, stay in communication with your customers and solicit feedback from them on their impressions of the site.  Ask them want they like, what they don’t like, what they wish the site had and what they would change about it.  Visit your competitor’s websites to stay on top of new features they add.  Keep track of your website traffic stats to monitor changes in traffic as you tweak your online message.

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. […]

No matter how optimistically it is presented, no matter how often it is mentioned that “everyone’s onboard” and no matter how much you want to believe it will work for the better, design by committee is a process that delays the completion of a website that no one involved will be happy with.

I have seen this situation play out countless times on website development projects throughout the years. When a committee is involved everyone has to compromise to some degree yet no one wants to. Someone has to sign off on design work yet no one is willing to do so until everyone is in agreement. Someone has to direct the design team and provide timely feedback yet no one wants do so independently without a scheduled meeting.

Everyday, sites with a single point of contact move quickly through the system. There is less spreading out of the information that is shared, so consultations have more impact. Impromptu meetings can occur on a moments notice. Feedback is immediate. All involved in the project stay engaged from start to finish.

Don’t let your website development project become a burden and use your committee as an excuse to procrastinate until later – have a single point of contact for your website that is committed to it’s delivery.

NetSource Technologies and RVUSA.com are pleased to announce the launch of Evergreen RV Center’s new website, www.evergreenrv.com.

The new website uses our exclusive SiteSource content management system with our template, “Stratosphere.” This gives the Evergreen RV Center staff complete control over their website with the ability to easily edit, delete, and add pages. RVUSA’s Inventory Manager allows New RVs, Used RVs, and RV Rentals to be listed on the website for online rv shoppers.

Evergreen RV Center is located in New Braunfels, Texas. Their RV inventory includes diesel motorhomes, Class A motorhomes, fifth wheels, travel trailers, Class C motorhomes, and toy haulers. Coachmen Class C motorhomes are available as rentals in three different sizes. In addition, Evergreen RV Center stocks RV parts and accessories, and has a professional service department for RV repairs and maintenance.

NetSource offers specialized online solutions for RV dealers through its sister company, RVUSA.com, a leading Recreational Vehicle classified ad website, connecting private buyers with individual sellers (FSBO) as well as nationwide RV dealers and manufacturers. RVUSA is THE place to get top dollar for your Recreational Vehicle, with over a million serious buyers searching the thousands of RVs on their site every month.

NetSource Technologies is pleased to announce the launch of a redesigned website for Glastop, Inc., an RV furniture and Marine furniture business.

This custom design is actually three websites in one. The Glastop company website has general information about the company and history, and leads you to their two subsites; Marine Furniture and RV Furniture. Each section continues the look of the website but is distinguished by color. This allows Glastop to target each separate market and still maintain their branding.

The Glastop website uses a Content Management System which gives the staff control of their website content. Products are organized in a clear way that makes browsing their catalog a breeze. Each detail page provides large photos and additional specifications. While the site design was provided by the client.

Glastop Marine and RV Furniture has been providing high quality furniture to RVers and boaters since 1972. Their furniture inventory includes sofas, sofa beds, storage sofas and sectionals, captains/helm chairs and pedestals, recliners, barrel chairs, hi-low marine tables and custom designed and manufactured furniture.

NetSource Technologies is an award-winning web design, hosting, e-commerce and consulting company that has been serving Ocala and clients nationwide since 1995. Visit their web site at www.netsourceinc.com for more information on their services and to view additional client web sites.

Countryside RV Sales, a long-time member of the RVUSA family, has recently launched a new version of their website with the help of NetSource Technologies.

The addition of SiteSource, our easy-to-use content management system, allows the staff to add, delete, and edit the pages on their website. This tool was added to the existing website template, “Tranquility.” This quick modification gives Countryside RV Sales complete control over website updates.

Countryside RV Sales is a family-owned RV business located in Gladewater, Texas. They specialize in used RV sales, including travel trailers, fifth wheels, pop ups, and motorhomes. In addition, they have a full service / repair shop and perform a full inspection on each RV that enters their lot.

NetSource offers specialized online solutions for RV dealers through its sister company, RVUSA.com, a leading Recreational Vehicle classified ad website, connecting private buyers with individual sellers (FSBO) as well as nationwide RV dealers and manufacturers. RVUSA is THE place to get top dollar for your Recreational Vehicle, with over a million serious buyers searching the thousands of RVs on their site every month.

NetSource Technologies is an award-winning web design, hosting, e-commerce and consulting company that has been serving Ocala, FL and clients nationwide since 1995. Visit their web site at www.netsourceinc.com for more information on their services and to view additional client web sites.