Posts Tagged With: idaho web design

Google Plus – Facebook but better

Google Plus, more of the same, but better!
Earlier last week Google unveiled it’s new super top secret social network Google+ (plus). This latest project is still in limited release and has already seen it’s share of ups and downs due to an amazing amount of interest. Essentially Google+ is the search engine giants answer to Facebook and other social platforms. But it’s more than just a way to let your friends know you are drinking a cold one at Sockeye Brewpub or to share the latest joke. The search giant’s new social project will be omnipresent on its products, allowing for some of the easiest user integration we’ve yet to see and providing a huge potential for the platform to grow throughout Googles many other product. This ease of use and integration into what many people are already familiar with may give Google a serious leg up in the social networking world.

Islands in the Stream
Google+ features a Stream, basically just like Facebook News Feed, allowing users to share photos, videos, links or their location with friends…but better! You see, the focus of this social project is not on sharing with a mass group of friends, but on targeted sharing with your various social groups.

To do this, Google uses a system called Circles. Circles are an extremely easy way to add people to specific groups. Rather than the clunky or difficult ways other networks have done this with Google+ it’s as easy as dragging and dropping, or clicking an option when you accept a new persons friend request. Circles make it easy to choose exactly who you want to share with any time you post an update – an invaluable tool as our social personas collect more and more followers.

You can even easily create your own Circles to make categorizing your connections even easier.

Photos and More
Google+ has very slick photo abilities as well. The photo tab takes a user to all of the photos he or she has shared, as well as the ones he or she is tagged in. But there’s more than just photo tagging – Google+ includes a variety of image options, privacy options, and sharing features.

Facebook tried to jump the gun with their video chat – ironically enough the release of which was majorly overshadowed by Google+ launching just a few days later. As video continues to become a more and more prevalent tool the ability to hold live real time video conferences, meetings, and chat sessions may very well become “the next big thing”.

Beyond this Google+ also has some innovative and imaginative ways of Sharing content and even announcing events. To encourage easy sharing, Google has added a “recommendation engine” for finding content you are interested in. Called Google+ Sparks,it is a collection of news, videos, photos and other content grouped by interest. For example, the “Music” spark will have a listing of recent and relevant content for that topic.

Google+ allows users to create “Hang Outs”. Essentially creating their own instant “check-in” locations for events or places they are gathering. Similar to the way foursquare and other networks allow you to “check-in” to already established/verified locations, Google+’s Hang Outs let users create these wherever they are, on the fly.

The Next Social Network?
No matter what Google may claim, Google+ is without a doubt their answer to Facebook but being the giant of search engines doesn’t buy you a free ride in the social networking world – and not all of Googles past enterprises have been a success. Remember Orkut? Yeah, Google hopes nobody else does either. Google is just dipping it’s toes into the social arena at this point but in some ways their functionality alone is already a HUGE improvement over other available networks. Having only been using this new platform for a short time it is hard to judge, but already I’ve started to feel like I am playing with Tonka trucks every time I login to Facebook now. With Google+ whispering rumors of a “business profile” ability that is yet to come to the Google+ platform the leader in search engines may soon be giving everyone in the social networking world a real run for their money.

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Categories: Boise SEO, boise social network management, Design Blog, Search Engine Optimization | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Top 3 Reasons You Need a Business Website

Despite unbelievable growth in the internet some surveys still show that the majority of small businesses have yet to setup a website. As more and more of todays consumers are becoming computer savvy it has become expected that a business has a website; not having at least a minimal digital presence could end up costing you business.

Here are the top 3 reasons you need a website in todays world:

1.Level the playing field.
Online websites are treated the same, whether they are owned by a huge fortune 500 compant or Farmer Joe up the street. Everyone gets the same amount of screen space to get their message out and generate business – what matters is how well you make use of that space. Believe it or not a well designed, properly marketed website that cost a few hundred dollars can very much out-perform a poorly designed website that cost several thousand dollars.

2.Better Customer Service.
A website makes it possible to provide instantly viewable information, news, and specials for your customer base. You can provide a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section on your site so that people researching your company will likely already have many of the concerns taken care of before they even contact you. Not only does this satisfy your customers but it can also lead to time saved by your customer relations staff.

Websites and social profiles are also a great way to gain feedback from your customers and prospective customers.Using forms or polls you can garner great information about how to better server your customers needs.

3.Affordable. Effective.
When you buy a print article it is a static advertisement that runs for a standard set amount of time. When you have a well designed website it is a dynamic source of current advertisements as well as news and information for your customers. A website will be online for you, hyping your services or product 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and generally for the cost of what a one time print advertisement would end up costing you. Even if your initial site design is complex or costly chances are you will see better return versus investment from a website than any print ad.

A website will also allow your company to reach a larger audience than traditional, local advertising.

Anyone with an internet connection anywhere in the world can find your website and thereby your business – giving you a huge opportunity to almost instantly increase your audience and potential customer base.

In this day and age, no matter how small your business might be you simply can not afford to be without at least a nominal web presence. As standard as business cards and yellow page ads were in previous decades, so are websites in today’s market. To find the business you need for your company you must be online and your website needs to be well designed, and marketed to be effective for you.

I offer a variety of affordable Boise web design, Boise SEO (search engine optimization), and other online marketing services (ghost blogging, social network management) in order to provide the very best tech solutions for your business needs. I work within a variety of markets, have years of experience, and can work within almost any budget. Contact me today to start developing your digitial presence!

Categories: Boise SEO, Design Blog, Search Engine Optimization | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

BOISE SEO BLOG: Build Better Backlinks

Backlinks are essentially links from external websites to your website. Why are they important? Backlinks are important because keyword density will only get you so far in many cases ( high keyword difficulty phrases like BOISE SEO ). The more people vying for a particular phrase makes it more difficult to gain good placement for those searches; beyond having good keyword focused text the next best way to do that is with backlinks.

Links to your website from other (preferably well ranked sites) essentially lend credibility to your website with the search engines. If 5,000 people are linking to your website saying it is THE source for Boise Ghost Blogging for instance, guess what, the search engines will believe those 5,000 people and give you a bump up in the search results.

While having 5,000 people linking to your website is good, it’s not as good as perhaps having 100 high quality links pointed to your site. So what determines quality? For the most part it is determined by PageRank.

“PageRank is a link analysis algorithm, named after Larry Page,used by the Google Internet search engine that assigns a numerical weighting to each element of a hyperlinked set of documents, such as the World Wide Web, with the purpose of “measuring” its relative importance within the set….”

You can see what a websites pagerank is by using online tools like the one here to determine a sites basic backlink quality.

Other factors that make a site a good source of backlinking is the sites content (is it related to your audience or genre), and the amount of traffic that website itself receives.

Ways to Create Backlinks

Social Networks – Many social sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn will allow you to add links to your website, the problem with many of those sites is that they attach a nasty bit of code to their links called NOFOLLOW. This essentially tells spiderbots not to follow the link or lend it credibility towards your overall backlinking numbers. Don’t discount having links on social networks to your main site, they are still important and can deliver live person traffic to your website, but from a backlinking perspective they are somewhat a neutral item.

Blogs – blogs, like this one, are a great way to create backlinks. It is important to market the blogs themselves or no one will ever see the links or content you’ve made there, so by all means if you make a blog, MARKET the blog. Blogs are a great way to create informative content and get it out easily to your prospective viewers.

Comment on Blogs – find blogs others in your industry have written and comment on their posts. Sometimes these links too will contain the dreaded NOFOLLOW code but they are still working to get your link out there and chances are if you do it right the people who read that blog will click your link to see more about what you are talking about or who you are.

Directories Etc – Sites like DIGG, Stumbleupon, etc all allow you to publish your blogs and content to a wider audience. This can lead to better linkage and a wider audience of visitors.

Email Blasts and Signatures – by all means put a link to your site in your email signature. Every email you send can then potentially lead to your website, this won’t count as a true backlink per se but it can help drive traffic. eBlasts work much the same, get a list together and send out an email copy of your latest blog or current special, it’s a last resort in many cases but it can help drive traffic up.

It’s MORE than just making links tho…
You can create links all over the place like this one: click here and then wonder why you aren’t seeing any results. You see it’s more than JUST a link pointed to your site.

While yes, the link itself IS important it is even more important to have the TEXT of that link be related to your targeted keyword. You will notice up above I linked out to a few places using keywords like BOISE SEO and Boise Ghost Blogging…that was intentional. You see those whacky little internet spiders don’t just count where the link is going to but also what words the “anchor text” of the link is made of…

The code of a link looks something like what you see here:
<!– <a href=”http://www.hinsel.com&#8221; target=”_blank”>Boise Web Design</a> –>
the HREF is the address the link goes to

the target (in this case) just tells the browser to open it in a new/blank winow

the words between the A HREF code and the closing /A tag is what is called the ANCHOR TEXT. By customizing this text wherever possible you can make your backlinks even more potent.

If all the links to your website have the anchor text MY WEBSITE you are actively trying to gain position/credibility for the phrase “my website”…of which there are over 1 billion people doing the same (likely unknowingly). It is thereby best to use your keywords when linking to your website whenever possible. Many directories or other sites won’t give you any option, but often they ask for a “Name” for the link; instead of putting “my website” put your keyword…this is one reason why blogs are wonderful, because they make it easy to create custom anchor text links within a post.

It’s quite simply to improve ANY websites search engine position if you know the basics and how to use them effectively. If the competition is astronomical you may have to work harder to gain ground, or target more localized or niche markets to see better results there first, but creating EFFECTIVE properly formatted backlinks whenever possible can be a real boost; something that just about anyone who is trying to improve their search engine placement can do.

Do you have questions about search engine optimization in Idaho? Need a ghost blogger to write effective content for you? STILL not sure what the hell Twitter is and how to use it for anything more than letting people know you are at Costco? I can help with all those things! I provide the best Social Network Management in Boise , Idaho and likely for far less cost than anyone else. Feel free to contact me here or via any of my many social portals if you have questions, need help getting started or want to hire the best Search Engine Samurai online today. 😀

Categories: Boise SEO, Boise SEO Clients, Design Blog, Search Engine Optimization | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Boise SEO Blog: SEO Basics

Thank you for visiting my humble Boise SEO blog. It is my hope to share with you my knowledge regarding the world of search engine optimization and how you can apply very basic, easy to use, tactics to improve your website.

Search engine optimization often seems to be all smoke and mirrors to most people, but in truth it really is not that wildly difficult to understand and grasp in order to harness the power of search engines to improve your website traffic, sales, and digital presence.

It really comes down to just a few key factors deciding how your website is positioned in search engine results pages (SERP). Lets look at a couple most important factors:

Content – Not JUST content but KEYWORD rich content. Keywords are the targeted words or phrases that you want to use in order for people to find you in search results. Use your keywords within your websites text as often as possible without sounding like a broken record or “stuffing” your site. For instance, one of my keywords is Boise SEO; as you have seen I’ve used it a couple times in this blog post. Not only that, often when I have used it I will make it a link to the website or page I wish to lend a little “google juice” to. Which brings us to our next SEO factor….

Linking – Backlinks, or links from other sites to yours tend to be most important, but internal links have also now become valid and important as a positioning factor as well. By establishing incoming links from other quality well positioned websites to your site you gain credibility with the search engines – they figure if you have 5,000 sites pointing to you saying “This is a resource for Boise SEO” that there must be something to those links; thusly they give you a bump up in the search engine results. Internal links on your site (links to other pages on your site) are important as well as they demonstrate an interc0nnectivity and flow of information, as well as a larger picture of your overall site footprint. For instance in this paragraph I will tell you if you want to know what a blog is to follow the link I just made. Sites with more pages, obviously contain more content, and sites with more content and more links to that content are easier to navigate for users and search engines like that.

Keyword Difficulty – this isn’t something you will really have any control over. Keyword Difficulty is basically the number of websites competing to gain placement for a particular term or phrase. When you search on Google you will see up at the top the number of results; that is a good general way to judge difficulty for a keyphrase without using third party software or tools. The more people vying to be number one for a phrase (like Boise SEO) the more difficult it will be for newcomers or any one particular site to gain placement for that word or phrase without putting in some footwork. If you find there is very very low difficulty for a given keyword it may not be best to focus on gaining ground for that search as obviously many people may not be searching for Purple Zebra Hacksaws….

A basic formula for this might read Keyword Density + #of Backlinks – Keyword Difficulty &  = SERP

INSIDER SEO TIP: a rule of thumb I go by is that if you see less than 200,000 results for any given phrase you search on, chances are you should be able to EASILY gain position for that search with minimal work [ie keyword density alone in many cases].

Lesser Factors that Impact Search Engine Position:

Age of the site: this is quickly becoming less of a factor but for a while just by having a site for a long time you could gain some credibility.

Meta-Tags: Really not SO important. Your title tag will carry a little more weight, but really these tags just count towards your overall keyword density more than being any sort of magic SEO bullet.

Page Load Time: yes, the time it takes for your site to load is now becoming a factor in search engine placement; will likely become an even bigger factor in the future with the advent of live searches and more mobile users. It is for this reason (thankfully) that simplicity and sanity may soon return to an internet near you.

These things are really just the tip of the iceberg, and honestly this post was written a bit self-servingly to assist in my own little Boise SEO experiment – but you will note that I did not just tout “buy my stuff buy my stuff” or promise to “demystify” SEO secrets and then only give you a bunch of fluff. I SHARE my SEO knowledge as much as I can in order to help make a better more well informed online community – because after all god knows I can only handle so many SEO, Boise Ghost Blogging and Idaho Social Management customers on my own anyway! ; )

Don’t hesitate to hit me up on any of my social portals if you have any questions or if this Search Engine Samurai can ever be of honorable service!

Categories: Boise SEO, Boise SEO Clients, Design Blog, Search Engine Optimization | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Best HDTV Installation in Idaho

Thanks for visiting my Boise Web Design blog once again! Today I would like to proudly share with you my latest redesign project for the Wireguys in Meridian, Idaho. Wireguys provides the best HDTV installation and conversion services in Idaho! Over the course of the couple of years I have been working with the Wireguys and doing their online marketing I have to say I’ve been really impressed with the dedication to quality shown by everyone there. They can get you into the 21st century so you can join the HDTV Revolution in Boise and start enjoying high quality high definition NO FEE TV in Boise Idaho !

boise hdtv
Check out their website to see my latest Boise Web Design work, and give them a call to schedule a time for one of their experienced techs to come out and get you wired!

Wireguys also specializes in Flat Screen Installation, residential wiring, outlets of all kinds, Idaho business wiring, and much much more! If you need it wired – you NEED the Wireguys!!

Categories: Design Blog, Search Engine Optimization | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What is a blog anyway?

I get asked this all the time by my Idaho web design clients – they hear the buzz word and hear blog this blog that from all directions but are still left guessing as to what a blog actually is. I hope to clarify this a little bit in this entry.

While blogs are used by millions of people as a way to interact and share portions of their life experiences with others, or to talk about their hobbies and interests, blogs are also valuable tools in Search Engine Optimization.
Generally a blog is a website outside of your main site where you can write content relevant to your area of interest; related to the content of your main site, and hopefully full of keywords and links pointed to your main domain.

By frequently creating new,keyword rich text and links on your blog you can effectively drive more traffic to your main website. Search engines love content, and they love NEW content even more. Blogs allow users to create and publish new content fairly easily, and as search engines update their data from blog sites more frequently (because they know there will be new content there often) you can see an incredibly fast return for your time involved if you really get in and get serious about your blogging.

Still confused? Think of your blog as the online version of those sign wavers you see outside of pizza shops or on the corner flagging traffic for the local tax man. Essentially you blog is just like that – it is a digital presence that is waving your flag in front of the traffic on the Information Super Highway, saying “Hey! Check out this site for great<u> insert keyword here</u>!”

In some cases people will come across your blog read it, like it, subscribe to it (making it itself even stronger in the search engine results), and find your site thusly generating more traffic for your main site – but more likely the search engines themselves will find it and see all the links to your main domain thus giving it more “strength” for the keywords you’ve targeted and thusly improving your search engine placement. The more keyword named links you have pointing to your main site (“Boise Web Design“, “Idaho Real Estate” whatever your keywords are …etc) the more trust that establishes with search engines, stating that in fact you are a source for that particular information, and thusly improving your standing for those search terms.

The most important parts of blogging are: Blog Often, Blog Well, Link link link! That is to say your blog does you no good if there isn’t fresh new content on it regularly. Even if it’s a post about the weather, make sure you include some keyword based links in that text or in the blog tags. Blog Well, by writing relevant content, rich with keywords and keyword based links – don’t lazy out and just steal something someone else has written (not only does it violate copyright, but what’s the point in having the SAME content as someone else?!). Link link link! – means make sure your blog entries have keyword based links pointing to your site. Having alot of text in your blog is only half the battle when blogging for Search Engine results – but it’s a battle that can be won!

Categories: Search Engine Optimization | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

The three things you need to have a website: Website Registration, Hosting, and Design

Website Registration

Very much like the drivers license you need to operate your real car.
It registers the existence of your ‘web vehicle’ with the proper authorities who own and maintain the structure of the world wide web. It also determins what your name is to the world – like a personalized plate on your web vehicle. Every so often accounts with the companies through whom you have registered ( like the DMV for your real drivers license ) must be renewed and paid.
Without registration you are not allowed to drive on the information super highway.

Website Hosting

This is the shell of your website itself. Your hosting company controls how big your website is, what core features it has ( like email & databases ), and also acts as the place in which the files that create how your website looks to the outside world are located. Periodically you must renew and pay the companies that own the hosting account for your website – like paying rent on the building your business is located in, or where you live.

Some registration companies also offer hosting and likewise some hosting companies also offer registration. Generally the only reason to not have both with the same company is if one or the other provides a cheaper price or more features.

Website Design

The design of your website is what everyone will see when they visit yourdomain.com. Some hosting companies offer pre-canned or template websites which you can purchase or use to create your own website. The best sites are designed by professional designers, who not only know what is appealing to the eye, but also what constitutes proper working code.

Some designers will purchase your hosting and registration for you and then charge you a (often inflated) monthly fee. Unless you have a hosting/registration agreement with your designer generally they will only be responsible for the creation and maintenance of your website content, graphics, and code itself – nothing more. Think of the designer as the architect that creates what your internet store will look like. In most cases you will only need to pay your designer when updates or changes are made to the site, although policies vary depending on who you hire.

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Tips for Web Designers

This is intended to just be a short list of tips for web designers – old and new – websiteman1to help make doing business a little less painful. In case you didn’t know in addition to my full time job I also am self-employed as a freelance Web/Graphic/Flash designer here in Idaho. You can view my personal Idaho Web Design site by clicking the link here.

Now, on with the tips:

1 – Always answer your customer – or especially your prospective customer – as soon as possible! There is nothing worse than losing a job simply because you didn’t take the 5 minutes to reply back and let them know the status of their job, or answer their questions.

2 – Take notes. Every phone call, every meeting – take notes of what the customer is telling you. These can really save your bacon when two days after a meeting you don’t remember what the customer wanted. If you take good notes you will be a step ahead.

3 – Be flexible. On price, on time, on whatever you need to be. If you are doing a site for a small company, or individual, or non-profit you might need to adjust your pricing to suit them. This doesn’t mean cut your own throat, but it does mean you need to understand Joe Average might not be able to sink $1500 into a site as easily as a large company or high-end customer. If you can’t lower your price offer to work out a payment plan, or offer a slightly dumbed down design as an option. Better to lose a little money than to lose the job completely.

4 – Understand the customer is coming to you because they can not (or do not want to) create their own website. In most cases your customers will have about all the tech savvy of a hard boiled egg. Be prepared to explain what you are offering, and how you can accomplish it, in very basic language.

5 – Get your customers full contact info at the first meeting. God forbid they decide to skip town and screw you on payment, but if they do having more than just a first name and telephone number could make all the difference in tracking them down and getting paid. Good info to get: Full Name, Address, Home and Cell phone numbers, if possible find out where they are employed or where their business is located.

6 – Create invoices. It’s as simple as opening notepad and typing in info. Any time you open their site and do work, keep track of your time and what tasks you accomplished. Also use your invoices to keep track of payment received so if there is ever any question you can find exactly what money has changed hands. I also usually start my invoices with the customer name, contact info, ANY login info (hosting, registration etc) so that I don’t have to go scrambling for post-its when that info is needed. This will save you alot of headaches down the road, and will allow you to create accurate receipts and billing statements for customers as well.

7 – Get it in writing. I realize in the first meeting with a potential customer they very likely won’t have any more idea of what they really want from their site than you do. But once that inital concept is approved and the basics have been established write up just a brief contract detailing what tasks you will accomplish, a timeline for changes to be made, how long the customer has to make changes to the initial design without incurring further charges, and other details like when payment needs to be received and what amount. (I will be adding a link to a simple example soon) This will save you endless trouble when you get those clients who want the world for free or who after the site goes live decide that they want to reinvent the wheel. Have it all laid out in black-and-white: this is what you will be getting, this is what it will cost, if you want it changed after its done it will cost you X amount. This is also a good means to establish what your hourly fees will be etc. Otherwise you can get caught making endless changes and updates either for free or end up having to find a way to tell the customer they have to shell out more cash for what they thought they already paid for.

I hope this has been of some help – I will be adding more as they come to me, or if you have some ideas you think are important to include send them along!

Know somebody who needs a website developed or updated? Send them to me!
Boise Idaho Web Design by Hinsel.com – Innovative Design

Categories: Design Blog | Tags: , | 1 Comment

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