Tag Archives: Website Design

Want More Sales – What’s Your Polish Look Like?

Be on target to assure you make the right impression with your website.
Be on target to assure you make the right impression with your website.

Your website is all about more sales! That’s the reason you’ve hung out your shingle, but are you hurting leads and sales by having a website that’s not polished enough?

Polish is not about having fashion models in your content photos, although attractive people in your pics will not hurt, it is about the details.

These details communicate visually your professionalism and instill confidence in prospects when they visit. It’s the look and feel and you’ve got 10 seconds to make a favorable impression!

Here are my top polish points to check out on your own site.

Content blocks on the home page
These just must be the same word count and line up horizontally. When you have three different sized boxes it just looks bad.

Blog post excerpts in your footer
Control the word count! There are plugins you can use to assure your excerpt stays the same word count. Make sure to use them so you do not have giant blocks of blog content making the bottom of your website page look like jagged teeth.

Photos with no smiles
Staff photos where everyone looks grim or the business owner is frowning should be updated. Look approachable, you don’t have to be a model, but a pleasant look on your face is important.

Photos where the clothing is too casual
Owner and staff photos are important. If you work in a professional arena like a dentist or doctor – wear a white coat, lawyers – wear a suit, business owners – the higher dollar figure your sale, the more dressed up you should be. Polo shirts and super casual wear is great for your photo if your customers and competitors will be wearing those types of clothes. Careful – what you wear impacts your site’s polish and communicates professionalism.

Blog posts that are off topic that don’t match what you sell
If you blog yourself for your own website, make sure that you create and stick to a content strategy that works to build keyword density and authority  for your website.  Keep the your website’s polish going by being on topic.  Blogging is not your online journal, but rather a way to build authority with search engines and provide new fodder for search engine robots.

If you need help polishing your site, we provide consulting services to help your site improve in appearance and polish. Find out more today.

Tips to Moving Your Law Website Away from FindLaw.com – Part One

We Are a Google Partner Specializing in Search Marketing
We Are a Google Partner Specializing in Internet Marketing

Are you moving your law website away from FindLaw.com due to high monthly payments; sometimes over $2,800? You are not the only law firm that is planning ahead to move out!

As a professional internet marketing consultant, I find it very hard to believe that a $2,800 a month charge is not “bringing home the bacon” in regards to leads. Although FindLaw.com may be the perfect place for some law firms, I have one firm I am working with right now that does not feel that way and has complained about the high costs and low lead numbers.

We are moving this firm away from FindLaw.com and here are some tips to consider if you are considering moving out as well.

Do not wait until the last minute.
FindLaw.com requires a 90 day notice that you are leaving. Don’t miss this deadline or you will be forced to renew another year. That’s what happened to our client. He was so aggravated, that he made a note on his calendar for the next year and contacted us to move.

When you decide to move get started on a new website.
Don’t wait to get started on a new site. You may need 90 days to get your new site up. Although FindLaw says that the site you paid for and “own” (minus all their scripting that makes it work and images that makes your site beautiful)  is yours to move, I can tell you that the static site is nearly worthless and you may pay more to try to fix it than to simply start over.

Consider the static site they give you as a temporary  “Band-Aid”
The static site we got has missing scripts, missing images, the code is one huge glob, not even readable, navigation elements are missing or in our client’s case weirdly commented out to not show in the source code.  Consider this a site you can use only after significant cleanup for one to max. two years.

Push hard and early to get your static site sent to you.
We had to push the FindLaw rep to give us the static site 70 days out from stopping services to allow us time to try to fix anything we could. What we got I would call marginal. Don’t let them give you the static site a few days before you leave. Your webmaster will need a minimum of 30 days to work it over for it to work and look “good”.

Make sure to check back Wednesday for more on moving your site out of FindLaw.

 

Google Starts Testing on Mobile First Search Index – Explained

Googlespeak can be confusing for those not in the industry, so this post will help business owners understand what Google means when it states the following:

“To make our results more useful, we’ve begun experiments to make our index mobile-first.”  Doantam Phan, Google product manager

Google Partner Badge
McCord Web Services is a Google Partner.

This is the bottom-line. Google is testing and will most likely rollout a huge change to its indexing algorithm that is used to rack and stack websites in the organic or unpaid results of search pages.

The algorithm will now review and base the ranking index across all devices based on what the Googlebot spider reads in the content of a mobile version website. This is incredibly big news and the ramifications are huge.

Here’s why:

  1. If you have a responsive website, you do not need to worry. You are totally covered for this update.

2. If you have a mobile adaptive website, you need to start making changes. A mobile adaptive site means that the content for your mobile site is different and sometimes lacks the content that you have in your desktop and tablet version site. You may have dropped content, streamlined content on pages, or not developed content for some pages. In other words the mobile site is different by design and desire from your desktop site.

3. If you do not have a mobile site it is time to get busy and move to a responsive website design. Although Google says that it will still spider your site with its mobile searchbot, I would expect in the future to see tags in the index stating your site is not mobile friendly and possible demotions.

Google means business on mobile as attested by the following quote.

“Although our search index will continue to be a single index of websites and apps, our algorithms will eventually primarily use the mobile version of a site’s content to rank pages from that site, to understand structured data, and to show snippets from those pages in our results.” Doantam Phan, Google product manager

 If you need help with a responsive website, now’s the time to check in with the McCord Web Services team. Our focus is to implement affordable, SEO-focused responsive websites that bring you customers.

Positioning Your Website to Own Your Location

My new Spotsylvania, Virginia office location.
My new Spotsylvania, Virginia office location.

I am getting ready to move this summer from Waldorf, Maryland to the Fredericksburg, Virginia area to Spotsylvania, Virginia.  As a result I am already starting to plan and to position my own website to grab market share in the Fredericksburg region.

Here are a few of the things I will be doing in the upcoming months to my own website to position myself locally.

1. I’ve already bought for $10 a new Google Voice phone number with my new local area code. Instead of 301 I want my area code to be 540. I will be using this local Fredericksburg phone exchange on my website and expect to list phone numbers in both Spotsylvania and Fredericksburg on my website.

2. I will be using my full street address again on my website in the footer of all pages. Google loves location specificity and when you include your phone, address, city and state as well as zip code, Google understands more clearly how to categorize your website.

3. Google Local is an issue. Many business owners have real trouble updating their address in Google Places when they move. For some reason Google will continue to show your old address instead of your new address. As I do have full access to my old pages and new pages, and the ability to for a while to receive mail at my old location and phone number, I will be making my address change on Google before I move. I have found for some that try to do this after they have moved, it can be a problem when Google wants to send a snail mail update and they do not have access to mail.

4. I will start reworking my content to put Virginia in on my pages and to mention my location on blog posts more fully as I start to transition my business to its new location. Planning ahead is key and this blog post is simply the start of the process for me.

My new billing and office address in August will be:

10708 Chatham Ridge Way
Spotsylvania, Virginia 22551

5. Once I am landed in my new city, I will be joining the Chamber of Commerce. What a great way to connect with local business owners. Plus they will link to my website as a member and Google loves location specific links that are authoritative.  This will help Google to know I have moved.

6. I am a Google Local Guide and have already started to write about Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania, Virginia locations. That will give Google another online cue as to my new location.

It takes a while to own your local location for your business, but with careful thought and planning you can start to appear in local searches at your new location if you plan ahead.

Need some help with smart solutions to position your own business locally. Contact me at McCord Web Services today.

Responsive Websites in HTML5 Look Different

Home page of the new Heritage Pest Control website.
Home page of the new Heritage Pest Control website done in HTML5.

Technology marches on! What was popular in regards to website design is now passé today. What we used to think was fabulous and hi-tech two years ago, looks dated today.

Here’s what’s out and what’s in when it comes to website design styling:

What’s In

1. Large footer blogs that almost appear like a WordPress template that have full site navigation in lists typically three or four vertical spaces.

2. Social media icons in gray or muted colors to match the site and typically found in the footer on the right or left.

3. Top navigation and sometimes with drop downs but not always.

4. Smaller amount of content per page – keeping smartphone use in mind. There may be more pages but less content per page.

5. Wider banners that may nearly fill the whole screen on a desktop, but are resized to a smaller profile and size for smartphones.

What’s Out

1. Footer navigation separated by | like Home | About | Contact Us

2. Social media icons in color at the top right of every page in the header or banner.

3. Left sidebar static navigation and left menu flyouts.

4. Left and right side bars and a clutter of “ad-like” icons.

5. Pages that scroll on and on forever with tons of content.

Client feedback so far about HTML5 is mixed at this point. Many clients like the old graphics intense sites that they have used for years and see no problem with forcing site visitors to pinch and tap with smartphones, but those who are positioning themselves for the future are embracing the responsive designs and streamlined look and feel of responsive HTML5 sites as the way of the future.

Starting at $1,850 our responsive designs are built to go up fast, be SEO friendly and include 5 pages of custom content.

 

Mobile Website Redirection Tactics

I recently have been testing out mobile website design. Although there are some great free tools out there that automatically make a mobile website for you, I simply did not want THAT much content on my mobile site. I wanted a streamlined small interface with just my key services and phone links. PLUS I wanted the website files to reside on MY server, not over at Bing Local or over at Dudamobile.com.

I found a template at Dreamweaver to help me used JQuery to create a mobile website. You can check out the video and grab the files here. I was able to pretty easily customize the site and CSS, but really ran into a problem getting the site to show for mobile users.

Typically a “sniffing” script will be used to deliver content for mobile phones, but the scripts I found simply did not work. My Android smartphone still saw my desktop website. I found that the CSS declaration that identifies screen width and then redirects the used did not work for me, nor did several other php scripts. I ended up using a .htaccess redirect.

This is the code I used in the .htaccess file:

# mobile site redirection
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http://(.*).mccordweb.com/.*$ [NC]
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} !^/mobile/.*$
RewriteCond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT} “android|blackberry|iphone|ipod|iemobile|opera mobile|palmos|webos|googlebot-mobile” [NC]
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ /mobile/ [L,R=302]

This worked for me. You can check out my mobile site at http://www.mccordweb.com/mobile/ but you’ll only see if on your smartphone, don’t got there with your browser. Mine is still a work in progress, but something that I am testing.