5 Important Rules in Niagara Website Design

When creating your Niagara web design these tips will help;

Your website is where your business resides — it’s like the headquarter of an offline company. Hence, it is important to practise good design principles to make sure your site reaches out to the maximum number of visitors and sells to as many people as possible.

  • Make sure you have clear directions on the navigation of your website. The navigation menu should be uncluttered and concise so that visitors know how to navigate around your website without confusion.
  • Reduce the number of images on your website. They make your site load very slowly and more often than not they are very unnecessary. If you think any image is essential on your site, make sure you optimize them using image editing programs so that they have a minimum file size.
  • Keep your text paragraphs at a reasonable length. If a paragraph is too long, you should split it into separate paragraphs so that the text blocks will not be too big. This is important because a block of text that is too large will deter visitors from reading your content.
  • Make sure your website is cross-browser compatible. If your website looks great in Internet Explorer but breaks horribly in Firefox and Safari, you will lose out on a lot of prospective visitors.
  • Use CSS to style your page content because they save a lot of work by styling all elements on your website in one go.

If you need help with your Niagara Web Design please give us a call at 905-328-6957. We’ll be happy to answer your questions and help you out as best we can.

Email Marketing: Still Affordable and Effective

Although I spend most of my time working on my client’s websites, social media sites, and online promotional activities, there’s one online activity that I would like to see my clients use more.

Email is still the most popular activity that people do online.  Yes, more popular than Facebook and Google combined.!  Yet there are so many small businesses that are not taking advantage of this easy to use marketing tool.

There is a fear about email marketing that needs to be addressed. It is NOT spam! No, we’re not talking about filling the inboxes with messages and advertisements to people who don’t wan’t to receive them.  Email marketing is all about sending valuable, useable information that the reader WANTS to receive and has agreed to subscribe to.

Then there is the security and privacy component. In Canada you are responsible to ensure that collected private information, i.e. a name and email address, is stored securely.  The way to do this is to subscribe to an email service such as Aweber or Constant Contact.  These services will ensure that  your database of email information is secure.
The only way that you can send an email through these services is when someone has “opted-in”, or agreed to receive your messages.  This way you cannot be accused of spamming, but in addition, your messages will be better received by the reader because they actually want to read your stuff.

Email marketing provides several benefits but here are just a few to consider;

  • Affordability; Email is likely the most affordable and effective form of advertising available to any business.  The average return is $50.00 for every $1.00 spent on email marketing.
  • Tracking; There are few marketing channels that are as good at tracking campaign results as email marketing.  You can quickly gain information such as clickthrough rates, open rates, deliverability rates, etc.
  • Professional Email Templates; There was a time when you had to design and build your own email templates in order to have something attractive to send to your subscribers.  But no longer.  Both Aweber and Constant Contact provide a great selection of pre-made temlpates to choose from.

Email can be effectively used to gain new customers as well as keep current ones.  There’s really not a better way to keep in touch with your fans on a regular basis.

Just follow the email rules and provide good solid content and information that your readers will want to read.

Google Declares War! Are You The Enemy?

Google is all about collecting and distributing good content to internet searchers who are looking for specific information.  Nothing new here.  But there’s been a growing problem with the #1 search engine when it comes to content spam and “gaming” the search engine for rankings.  You see, many SEO’s and internet marketers figured out that by re using someone else’s content, you can quickly copy, paste, and get rankings for various targeted search terms.

Well that applies no longer!  According to Google search engineers, Matt Cutts, and Amit Singal, Google has made a major change to its algorithm and will be penalizing non-original, or low value, content.  This change is significant as it will effect 11.8% of worldwide search results.

What does this mean?  If your site is benefiting from duplicate content, low-value content, or other content as provided by “content farms”, you can expect to lose your Google rankings over the next little while.  Google is specifically targeting “Demand Media”.

Here’s a quote from the Google Blog post:

Many of the changes we make are so subtle that very few people notice them. But in the last day or so we launched a pretty big algorithmic improvement to our ranking—a change that noticeably impacts 11.8% of our queries—and we wanted to let people know what’s going on. This update is designed to reduce rankings for low-quality sites—sites which are low-value add for users, copy content from other websites or sites that are just not very useful. At the same time, it will provide better rankings for high-quality sites—sites with original content and information such as research, in-depth reports, thoughtful analysis and so on.

The update is currently in the U.S. only but will be rolled out elsewhere over time.

Over the years there’s been a continual controversy over whether duplicate content is ok or not.  I think that Google is making this pretty clear.  If you want good ranking results in the search engine, provide good quality, original content for your readers.

Facebook Is Restricting Your Newsfeed. But You can Quickly Fix It.

My friend Diana Ratliff, “Your Friend on the Web” posted this on Facebook today.

If it seems that your Facebook newsfeed isn’t showing updates from all of your friends and pages you “Like”, it’s likely not your imagination.  Facebook has changed a default in their system that restricts your newsfeed to updates from those you’ve recently interacted with or interacted the most.

This is a really simple fix.  Just scroll down to the bottom of your newsfeed; click on “Show all Friends and Pages”; Click “Save” and you’re done.

Here’s  a quick video to show you how.

And here’s my friend Diana on Facebook.  Hey, why not “Like” her page and let her know Murray sent you.