Content or Design?

Starting Your Own Website? Content Or Design First?

Making the decision to start a website can be very exciting, but also a daunting task for business professionals and web designers alike. For the business person, they are good at what they do. No matter what that might be, that is the reason they are in business. The typical business tends to go to a professional design team to put together their website or to update or upgrade their existing one.

This is where you, the IT professional comes into play with a content writer (usually an IT pro) and a design team. The problems that a businessman or woman might encounter are the same ones that you have to work out and make the project a reality. In order for the project to go smoothly, you must look at the project as a series of steps that all have to be taken in order to succeed. Now that we have a basic idea, ask yourself the big question: What comes first, the content or the design?

A typical web development team will have content writers and design professionals and each camp will want their particular specialty to be at the forefront in terms of importance. As a project manager, it is your job to move the project forward with the proper emphasis on areas that are vital to the overall success of the entire project while keeping the peace with your teams.

Start off with a simple strategy after the first meeting with your client. Make a list of the primary goals of your client in order of the importance they put on them. After you have done that, make a list using the same priorities in order of how important they are to you as you move forward with the project. What is the customer going to use the web site to promote? Are they selling a product or a service? Is the product/service being sold on a price basis or on a quality basis? What is their target audience in terms of demographics? These are all vital things to take into consideration and also shape what is going to come first, the content or the design.

Gather your two teams in one meeting and outline what you have come up with so far, paying particular attention to the aspects that each group would be interested in based on their specialty. Let your content writers know what the focus of the content will be. Give them a direction to take the content with specific ideas and goals to meet as well as a timeline. Next, give your design team direction on how to proceed. Share with them the typical target customer that will be going to the site and what they expect in terms of colors, graphics, ease of use etc.

Combine the best ideas of both working groups into a working prototype website that the customer can look at and use in your office or at theirs. Get their reaction and input on both the design and the content. Take any changes or criticism in stride and make any changes necessary in order to fulfill what is desired. Remember that no successful website can be created without content first and design second and that personal egos of members of either team do not pay the bills, your customer does.

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How will Google rank your website in 2012:

How Google Ranks Your Website:

Google had Google bots and Bing has Bing bots.   These spiders scan and index every webpage and the content of your website and determine whether or not your site is relevant for the keywords that users are searching for.  We, the users are considered to be Google’s “Product.” Google’s advertising revenue in 2011 was over $30 billion, which means they have a lot invested in providing the users with the most relevant search result.  Below are some very important factors Google and other major search engines considers when their spiders visit your website. (They are in no particular order)
Here are the top 6 factors Google considers when your website is indexed:

  1. There is an old saying in the SEO community: “Content is King”

This is still very true in 2012.  When was the last time you updated content on your website?  Google loves fresh content that is current and relevant.  Be sure your websites are abiding all the guidelines of Title Tags for Search Engine Optimization.

  1. Domain Age:

There are over 300 million website on the Internet…lot of them end up being skateboard sites – They are here today but might not be there tomorrow.  For this reason, if your domain has an est. in 1990 you will have higher chances of showing up on Google than a newbie site.

  1. Domain Authority:  

Domain authority is the strength of your website.  Google has trademarked “PageRank” after their founder, Larry Page.  Page Ranking system is a numeric representation of your domain between 0 to 10.  The most popular websites will have a PageRank of 10 and the not so popular will have 0.

  1. Link Popularity:  

Google uses link popularity algorithms (defined as the number of links that lead to a particular page and the anchor text of the link) to rank websites for relevancy.   So in simple terms, the more links you have point to your website the more respect your websites gets from Google.  The links must come from a site that is relevant to yours.  Websites that are serious about their search engine visibility need to reach out to a SEO Specialist about starting a Link Building Campaign.

  1. Is your Site Social?  

Having presence on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Four Square, Pinterest, and Google Places will definitely help your site gain search engine visibility.  Google and other major search engines are using social signals when providing search results to users.  So go and grab as many Likes, Followers, & Pluses.  Speaking of Google+, be sure to have your company profile on Google+.  Is Google bias about giving your Google+ page additional visibility on their own search engine?  (I know the answer, but I will let my readers come to their own conclusion)

  1. Website Design Aesthetic / Page Layout:  

Have you checked how your website looks in Chrome, FireFox, and Safari?   Do you have a mobile or a responsive design website – How does your website look on different screen resolutions?  Google search algorithm now looks at your website Page Layout.  Users want content right way, and if they come to an unpleasing Landing Page they end up leaving.  This impacts your Bounce Rate – one of many other factors in Google’s Search algorithm. FYI – Bounce Rate is the number of users that left your website without viewing other pages.

Google changes their website ranking algorithm more than you think.  They have named it “Google Panda”.  In addition, there are over 200 factors that determine search engine visibility!  Collaborate with a SEO Specialist to determine the most effective way to improve online traffic and online revenue!

NYC SEO Experts

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SEO Experts in USA launch new ‘SEO Experts’ Blog

In USA, SEO Experts in 2012 launched a new website that focuses on giving industry advice on Search Engine Optimization & Search Engine Marketing.  These highly experienced ‘SEO Experts’ will get their point across in less than 250 words per topic or subject.  No need to read four to five pages of non-relevant content, this blog get to the substance quickly.  In the near future the website will also be adding ‘Web Design’ experts that will focus on topics such as UI & UX.

Below are two topics discussed on www.seoexperts-semexperts.com.  Furthermore, users and the online community can ask an itching question online or via email.  The SEO Experts get back to you with an answer via email within 24 hours.   There are no membership fees – that’s right!  This site is absolutely free and public.

1.)  To Sitemap or Not to Sitemap

2.)  Get your Video on Google

Featured article #1:

I’ll get straight to the point – Small websites don’t need a Sitemap. Google will easily index a small website without a Sitemap, so there is very little point in building a Sitemap for a small site. Google’s John Mueller stated:

“With a site of that size, you don’t really need a Sitemap file, we’ll generally be able to crawl and index everything regardless.”

A Sitemap sole purpose is to serve as a guide for Google robots. For large websites I recommend going with a XML Sitemap and HTML. XML Sitemap can be multiple files, but they are not visible to a user, only a search engine spider.

HTML sitemap are can benefit both humans and robots. When Matt Cutts from Google was asked if he had a choice, which would he pick, he chose the HTML Sitemap because both users and spiders can chew on it.

You can watch Matt Cutts video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hi5DGOu1uA0&feature=player_embedded

Sammy’s two cents: Be sure let Google know what your XML & HTML Sitemap is in Google Webmaster!

Featured article #2:

Google Webmaster Central Blog posted today that Schema.org is the recommended way to describe and markup a Video. Instead of just having the embedded code, you need to add the following HTML:

Next step is to get your webpage indexed on Google Webmaster Tools and for websites with multiple videos I would strongly recommend using mRSS Feeds.

NY SEO Experts

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Link Wheel: Good or Bad for SEO

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It has been said that Link Wheel can improve the ranking of websites. Essentially, a link wheel leverages the power of highly ranked Web 2.0 websites to build targeted backlinks back to your site. (i.e. the link wheel diagram above) By linking each site to another, it doesn’t look like a link-farm and you avoid massive reciprocal links. The goal here is to funnell more link-juice.

But does it help your ranking and can it work short term?

Yes.

But does it usually work long term?

No.

Worse yet, its not just a few bad links that might get devalued. If you build a complex link manipulation shceme and get caught, you’ll be facing a much broader penalty by Google and other search engine. So I would stronly recommend not using shady tactics to improve your SERP on Google or any other major search engines.

Here’s what has worked for me:

Personally, I feel and that On Page SEO, specifically anchor texts on blogs can significatlly boost your ranking! (Assuming that the website has decent about of Domain Authority and Page Rank.) In addition, having a Link Building campaign off page to relevant high PR websites will also improve search ranking. Be sure to get back links in small sessions instead of a large massive campaigns and stay away from Black hat SEO.

My SEO recommendations for 2012:

1.) Post fresh unique content via blog or press releases on your site.

2.) Focus on web design aesthetics and page layout! Google’s search algorith will now look at high quality websites in search results. This change is just one of over 500 improvements Google is rolled out in 2012.

3.) Don’t have the same Meta Deta and Meta Description on web pages. This is right from Google Webmaster Tools: “Make sure every page on your site has a title specified in the Title. Page Title should be descriptive and concise.” So avoid descriptors like “home” for your home page, or “Profile” for the profile page. Most importantly, avoid Keyword stuffing at all cost!

4.) Apply Rich Snippets! A presentation of snippets that applies Google’s algorithms to highlight structured data embedded in web pages. You can read more about Rich Snippets here:  http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2009/05/introducing-rich-snippets.html

5.) Get your company website on Google Plus. Google has been promoting the Google+ company pages and they are leveraging Google profiles in their SERP.  The key is to manage both SEO and social media marketing! So go get those plus ones, likes, & followers.

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