Is Your Website Footer A Missed Opportunity?

 

A website design always includes a website footer, but many people consider the footer only suitable for disclaimers and cookie policy documents. But the footer can be a valuable part of a website if used correctly, so ask yourself if you have let your website footer become a missed opportunity.

 

Common website footer mistakes

There are several mistakes that are made by many, including website designers, when it comes to the design of a website footer. These include including a copyright notice and nothing else, but also failing to use the footer to repeat contact details or Calls to Action. Broken links, excessive placing of logos, and out of date information are all notorious footer mistakes.

 

Why the footer is important

The footer is important because it is visible on every page of your website, including your blog if it is part of your main site. Using the footer to its optimum capabilities also means that you need not clutter your main pages with text or images. The footer is also usually the last thing a visitor to your website sees, especially if they are viewing it using a mobile device, such as a smartphone or tablet. This means it may be the last opportunity you have to make a connection with your site’s visitors and the last opportunity to make a sale.

 

What your footer should be used for

Your footer therefore, should be used for Calls to Action, links to other pages on your website, contact details, opening hours and social media buttons. It should also be used for a copyright notice and policies, because this is where most people are likely to look for them. You can also use your footer for a list of recent blog posts and their most popular categories, your Twitter and/or Facebook feed, and your logo.

 

Keep it simple

You may be thinking that this is a lot of information to put in your footer and this is true, so you will need to exercise discretion when choosing what to include. Do not include links that are of little value or interest to your users, for example, but rather focus on links that will take your users to places where you want them to be and which they will find entertaining, informative and relevant. Do make your contact details – business name, address, telephone number, email and operating hours – clearly visible so it is easy for users to get in touch.

The footer of your website is a prime opportunity to market your business and enhance engagement with your website users. Pay as much attention to your footer design as to the rest of your website to ensure that your site is working hard for you 24/7.

Dedicated Servers: 6TB Drives Now Available

1436835734_HardDrive

Need to store a large amount of data?

InterServer now offers 6TB Hard Drives as an available option for all dedicated serves.

Upgrade from 250GB HD to 6TB for an additional $20 per month during your purchase of a new dedicated server.

See all our dedicated server packages here: http://www.interserver.net/custom-managed-dedicated-servers.html

How To Write SEO Friendly Content

SEO Friendly Content

Getting your content picked up on the internet is akin to shouting on top of your lungs in a chock-a-block souk. You may be an expert in a certain subject and able to weave interesting pearls of wisdom but if you are not able to bring people to read it, even great content means nothing. The world we live is driven by information overload. With every ragtag and bobtail sharing their thoughts, ideas and stories, we are filled with a deluge of data and are buried under the barrage of information.

If you want people to read your content, you need to ensure that you are catching people’s attention. Most people make small mistake and their seemingly good content gets buried under the volley of websites and thus keep people off from reading the good content in offer.  One of the best ways to ensure that your content is being read is by ensuring SEO Friendly content. SEO and content go arm-in-arm and if you want to get ahead of your competitors, you must learn how to write exciting and SEO friendly content. Here is a little smattering on the must-know tips to enhance the visibility of your website and to write SEO friendly compelling content.

Write Quality Content 

When it comes to writing content, the most important aspect is to write good quality content. You can have all SEO practices in place but if the content is not up to mark, it is bound for failure. Write meaningful content with well-researched and original idea. If you can leverage your industry experts to dish out some uncommon tips and ideas regarding the topic you are writing, and link your own research with a round-up of ideas from other experts, you can churn out content which is bound for success. Remember to choose topics and write content which are user-oriented and engaging.

Keyword Balance

More often than not, overenthusiastic writers stuff their content with keywords thinking that it would rank higher in search engine. Not only it backfires but most search engines penalize such practices. On top of it, it is a big nuisance for the readers, putting them off your posts for good. Of course it is important to add keywords to your content as it helps readers as well as search engines know what your content is all about but knowing how many keywords to use is what needs to be learnt. Use relevant keywords thoughtfully and sparingly spread across your post’s headline and body. The idea is to use keywords which don’t look stuffed in but give a more natural feel to the content. You could also take advantage of blog tags by tagging relevant keywords for your posts.

Meta Descriptions

The meta-description is more like an advertising face of your posts. It is usually a short description on the search engine ranking page and gives a glimpse of what the post is all about to the viewers. It draws the readers to the website and a compelling, readable meta-description improves the click-through rates of a post which is very important when it comes to writing SEO friendly content. An intelligently woven short one to two liner with interspersed keywords is the key to a successful meta-description.

Write compelling headlines

Headlines are to your posts what promos are to a movie. An interesting headline may translate to more readers. The main role of a headline is to get people to click on the post to read more. An easy to understand enticing headline which projects to educate and inform the readers is the key to a successful content.

Unique Content

It is actually a no-brainer that a user wants to read unique content instead of duplicated ones. It is annoying for anyone in search for a post to be flagged by many different websites with the same content. According to search engines, unique content are the content which don’t replicate too much text from other sources. Ensure that your content is unique by ensuring a well-researched relevant content. You can check the uniqueness of your articles by testing it through plagiarism checker software.

Proofread

Proofreading is to your posts what ironing is to your clothes. Dirty scrunched up clothes dispel people even if they may be branded and expensive. Similarly poorly written posts with typos and syntax errors can put off your readers off your posts even if the content may be unique or informative. Proofreading is an essential aspect of SEO friendly article.

Make it reader friendly

Make the article reader-friendly after all the reader is at the centre of it all. Use good headlines with sub headings and proper paragraphs with bulleted points for ease of read. Using relevant images to go with the post is also a good way to break text monotony and add entertainment value.

Provide your content and website a competitive edge by engaging these SEO friendly practices.

Choosing the best CMS for your website

Best CMS for your website

“Content is king”. You have heard this archaic cliché more times than you would care to admit. We all know that content is the back-bone of all things Internet. When it comes to posting content on the website, the most important tool at your disposal is Content Management System. As the name implies, Content Management System or CMS is a tool to create, edit, and store content in a convenient way. Having a CMS allows a user to add new information, products and services with speed and ease. Search Engines quest for new information is insatiate and that’s why they favour sites which are updated regularly.  Updated content means better search engine results in turn translating to better traffic and return on investment.

Reasons to Use a Content Management System

  • The best part about using Content Management System is that you don’t need to know HTML or any other kind of coding language to add content to your website. It is completely easy and any non-technical person can add in the information and update the website.
  • Since, most CMS’s are server based, you can access it and add/edit content from anywhere and from any computer. With an Internet connection and a computer/smart-phone/tablet, you can create and edit content on the go.
  • Content Management System allows a better flexibility and independence as there is no dependency on developers or IT department.
  • Most CMS Systems have in-built SEO friendly systems which can help a content rank higher in search engine results.
  • Content Management System also offers a collaborative system with features like approval chains, etc.
  • Adding/editing content through CMS ensures a consistency in design for all pages of the websites
  • Most CMS allows multiple people to add/edit the website at the same time without confusion, making the process faster and seamless.

Types of CMS

Content Management Systems can be roughly categorized into ‘open’ and ‘closed or proprietary’ systems. As the name suggests, an open source system is open to anybody working on the software and many people can work and create extensions which can be used with the original system. Since, the CMS is open, the best part is that it is available to use for free without any fee and the codes are more likely to be updated with many guides and tips on using the system. Open Source also ensures regular updates as it has a large developer base. The codes are available with a lot of documentation and ‘how-tos’ for the system. However, open system is more prone to hacker attacks as the codes are lying out in the open, making it vulnerable.  Some of the most functional and easier to use open source CMS are Drupal, WordPress,  Silverstripe, Joomla, Radiant CMS, etc.

Closed or proprietary systems are locked and secure systems built or maintained by single or group of organizations and normally do not allow general access to source code. These kinds of system may either be developed for a specific industry or edited to suit the needs of a specific website. With a monthly or annual subscription, you can avail the services of a proprietary system and get the features, training, design, development, etc., for your website with technical support. This helps you run your business without any hassles and extra need to hire developers and IT team. Closed System is more secure because it has closed codes and therefore is less prone to hacker attacks. Closed System also allows better and faster help with technical support. Some of the most functional closed source CMS in the market are Adobe CQ5 CMS, Magnolia, CoreMedia WCM, ECM Documentumetc, etc.

What to look for in a CMS

Whether you opt for an open or closed source Content Management System, there are a few things which you must ensure while choosing a Content Management System.

Easy and Quick Installation – The installation of a CMS shouldn’t be too complicated and should not take too long to install. A good CMS will have a simple and quick installation process leaving you up and running in no time!

Easy administration interface – Another feature which most popular CMSs provide is simple and easy interface which require no or minimum IT skills.

Supporting user community – Especially in case of open source CMS system, it is very important to have a thriving community where potential issues can be discussed and resolved.

Availability of extension of CMS – It is very important for website to keep evolving which means the CMS needs to be able to absorb and adjust to all website’s needs. A good CMS system will have continual availability of CMS extensions for added features and extra functionalities.

Easy template manipulation – A good CMS will provide a horde of templates which could be used for different pages of the website and should also accommodate easy manipulation to suit a website’s preference.

Scalability – The CMS you choose should be able to grow with your expanding business. Always remember to choose a CMS with a long-term vision.

Customization – Without the ability to customize, your website will end up looking like millions of websites strewn across the World Wide Web. A CMS you choose must have an ability to provide easy customization. It should allow manipulation of design, structure and the order of the content for unique visualization.

Security – One of the most important threats in real-life scenario for websites is hacking. A CMS you opt for must account for security and should have features to ensure maximum safety.

Before opting for a CMS, always research it thoroughly. The main purpose of a CMS is to make your life easier by creating and editing content, easily, effortlessly, and quickly. Always look from a user’s point of view and give preference to user experience over other functions. Make a list of all your requirements and choose a solution which works best for your audience and your business while being pocket-friendly. Remember that a CMS can make or break your website.

Google’s New Responsive Design Algorithm Changes: What Does Responsive Mean for Your Site and Rank?

 

responsive-web-design

If you keep up with the latest Google algorithm changes, you’ve probably heard about the announcement on mobile design. Google recently announced that it will use mobile usability as a factor for its website ranking. This means that your website could be affected if you don’t have a responsive or mobile-friendly design. Website designers are familiar with what it takes to make a site mobile, but this article highlights what webmasters need to know if they don’t have responsive design experience.

What is Responsive Design?

Responsive design automatically formats and lays out elements of your web page dependent on the user’s screen size. In the old days of web design, webmasters had to create pages that fit large desktop monitors. These desktop monitors gradually became larger, so webmasters were able to create wider and larger layouts. Broadband also became available, so webmasters could create large images without worrying about the user’s download speed.

The opposite is happening with website design trends. Users are moving towards smartphones and tablets as a means of browsing the web. Sure, desktops are still used, but these smaller devices are quickly becoming the predominant form of browsing. If your website uses large image files and designs based only on desktop users, mobile users will have difficulties using your site. Frustrated users mean a loss in sales, and now Google has announced that its bots will detect sites that aren’t mobile friendly.

With responsive design, your site layout maneuvers to different areas of the screen based on the mobile device’s screen size. In other words, the same layout fits a smartphone, a tablet, and a regular desktop monitor.

The basis of responsive web design is CSS3. CSS3 is the latest version of cascading style sheets. CSS is the de facto in website design. All of your font styles, layouts, colors, and images are controlled by CSS. CSS3 offers a new type of action called media queries. Media queries detect the user’s screen size and lay out the website design accordingly. Media queries are only available with CSS3, so if your site doesn’t use the latest style sheet version, you won’t be able to work with responsive website designs.

HTML5 is usually integrated with CSS3, although it’s not a requirement to work with responsive designs. HTML5 makes it easier to work with media. The latest HTML version uses new tags such as video and audio that make it easier to create media-rich website designs.

Another issue with smaller screens and mobile devices is bandwidth. Although mobile devices have advanced in hardware and software, bandwidth is still very limited on mobile devices. Also, mobile device users still pay for data and most smartphone plans don’t offer unlimited data. Even companies that claim to offer unlimited data start to throttle users who take up too much data usage each month.

Limited bandwidth means you must consider the size of your website files. Images are usually the most difficult for webmasters to streamline. Reduce the size of old image formats and the quality of the image suffers. You won’t be able to avoid image quality reductions when you work with .jpg or .gif files, but you can create vector images to guarantee quality with any image size. With vector images, you can resize the file to a larger or smaller image size without losing its quality. Vector images usually have an .svg file extension, although there are others that you can work with.

The rule of thumb when working with responsive designs is to always work with the smallest screen first, and then lay out your website design for increasingly larger screens until you reach the biggest desktop monitor you want to support. You can limit the screen sizes you support, but tablets and smartphone manufacturers continue to change screen sizes to compete. For instance, the Apple iPhone used to have only one size for each new version, but Apple released two screen size options with its latest iPhone 6. The same can be said about tablets. Tablet manufacturers offer a variety of sizes that you’ll need to consider when you work with mobile website design.

Do You Have Any Other Options?

You do have options other than responsive website design. Responsive designs are the preference of most website designers, but the other option is a mobile version hosted on a dedicated subdomain. This type of site is called an “m site.” An “m site” gets its name from the common subdomain used. Most website owners put a separate mobile site on a subdomain such as “m.mydomain.com.” The “m” indicates to users that the subdomain is a mobile version of the main desktop website. An m site was the original method of serving mobile content to mobile devices, but then CSS3 and media queries offered responsive design.

If you choose an m site, you’ll need to work with an entirely separate solution from your main desktop site. M sites also work heavily with canonical tags. Canonical tags indicate to search engine bots that two pages are identical and one of them is your preference. Canonical tags are used similarly for m sites and desktop pages. For instance, suppose you have a sales page selling widgets on a desktop app and a separate page selling the same widgets on a mobile subdomain. The canonical tag indicates to the bots that the mobile page is the same as the desktop page.  Google also uses the “rel” element to link mobile and desktop versions. The “rel” element points the bots to the alternative mobile page related to the desktop page. Working with these two tags can get confusing, and webmasters can easily make mistakes. This is another reason why responsive design is preferred over separate m sites.

 

Are There Any Other Considerations?

Search engine rank is always a priority concern for webmasters when they release a new design. No one can guarantee that you’ll keep your existing search engine rank. Most people see a bit of a dip in ranking, and then it returns to where it was before the new design changes.

It’s also important to test your changes before they go live. Any errors can severely hurt your search engine ranking and sales, so have a tester go through the site and give you feedback. You never want your coder to also do testing. Coders know how the site works and often don’t find errors that your users will find. It’s best to have a third-party tester ensure that all parts of your site are working properly.

With the right designer and a little bit of patience, you can have a great mobile site. With Google making changes to its algorithm, you’ll need to consider mobile site design if you haven’t already. Just a loss of one place in search engine rank can greatly affect your sales and income.