SEO and Web Development Go Hand in Hand For Overall Success

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has forayed into the world of web development with astounding success. It has carved its own niche with a growing number of SEO experts who make websites search engine friendly through innovative online promotional techniques. As various factors on the site itself determine the success of your optimization campaign, you must pay careful consideration to the process of web development. After all, search engine optimization and website development are dependent on each other.

While developing your website, you must write authentic code. Irrespective of what language you use for coding (HTML, XHTML, or any other language), make sure that it fully complies with the existing standards. Therefore, it is highly recommended to test your website on the W3C Validator. This website is very simple to use. Just enter your website’s Uniform Resource Identifier (URI) in the box and find a list of errors on the site.

Never forget to incorporate the unique title tag on each and every web page. The title must always be in the active voice instead of the passive one. So, make use of the subject on front and center only.

Your homepage must have a Meta Description tag incorporated in the following manner: meta name=”description” content=”a short site description”. There are also many other Meta tags such as keywords, author, rating, etc. But, they are not so useful due to their over-copiousness. The Meta Description is what really matters from search engine viewpoints since it comes out as your site description in their search results.

Make optimum utilization of various HTML tags for their actual intent. For instance, never generate headings simply by enlarging the fonts of a paragraph. There are h1 and h2 headings tags for this purpose. Making use of the original tags can help the search engine robots to interpret the site’s content in the desired manner.

The use of frames in web development is not highly favored by search engine robots. Hence, steer clear of them altogether. Similarly, never use images and graphics for headings. However, you can still use images for other purposes only after specifying an ALT tag for each one of them. As some browsers don’t support all the image formats, the presence of ALT tags with the alternate text can help visitors to identify the images in case of their invisibility, i.e. some text is displayed in place of the invisible image. Images having ALT tags are also indexed by search engines quicker than those with no tags.

Your website URLs must be search engine friendly too. Always use words instead of digits to describe the path to inner pages. For instance, websiteexample.com/?topic=234&id=5 is not as good as websiteexample.com/services/seo-services. Dashes must take the place of underscores all the time. You have to edit your site’s.htaccess file to change the structure of URL.

An outdated content and design of your website can drive away potential visitors as well as search engine spiders. Therefore, keep the site up-to-date at all times. Though this task seems to be the toughest one, it is the most vital aspect as well to ensure repeated customers and spiders

Best Website Design Companies – Web Developer Exposes the Myths About Website Design Companies

It’s All Lies

How can you find the best website design companies? It’s not easy. Every client that has put out an RFP for a website can relate to the feeling that they are being lied to, perhaps deliberately mislead, or just that internet experts are one step removed from cure-all charlatans.

After countless hours reading or hearing website design companies talk about their “proven solutions,” “one-stop shop” capabilities, and case studies, you’ll often be more confused about the right direction than when you started.

Can’t they just talk to you in plain English?

Giants of Chaos

Clearly the best website design companies are online, right? Yet often researching it online doesn’t seem to help much. The Internet is a strange conglomeration of every form of organization known to man seeking to define the way information is exchanged for their benefit. From media mega-conglomerates, to Google, Apple and Microsoft, the giants of industry have a lot at stake in what appear to be inconsequential and arcane issues.

Anyone hanging out on Google News saw Apple’s spat with Adobe over Flash, and Facebook’s fight with the government over privacy.

Down in the trenches of the digital universe is the intrepid web developer – seeking to make the world a better place by shepherding you, Indiana Jones style, through the chaos to your own personal treasure trove of more sales and happier customers online.

Only this one is completely self-taught, and his biggest problem is that whatever he did yesterday needs a little update today, because the entire Internet got one little tweak that changed everything… again.

Websites aren’t Products

I love hearing businesses talk about how they need to “Get a new website.” It’s almost like listening to my sisters talk about shoes, or my brothers about video games.

We’ve come to see our websites as consumer products, needing a fashion update ever couple years.

Sadly the reality is much worse. The web is a living breathing entity that changes every day.

Most business websites, developed by your friendly neighborhood web provider, look nice on your computer when you signed the check, but are broken for 30% or more of your viewers who don’t happen to use Internet Explorer on Windows Vista. By the way, that percentage grows every month.

And while you’re at it, factor in that in about two short years, more people will be surfing the web on a phone then on a computer, and all the cool colorful whizbang you have on your site (or your entire site if it’s in flash) can’t even be seen.

Then go one step further. Google used to be about searching information that was posted on the web, you know, back when people posted articles on a topic and four years later you could still find them. Now, Google has updated their search system with Caffeine (yes, it’s literally called that), and now whatever is being tweeted about and shared on Facebook shows up. Whatever isn’t shared, doesn’t register.

Top that all off with the fact that every year having an up-to-date website that meets customers expectations grows in importance for a business’s survival, and it’s no wonder that even little non-profits are flocking to seminars trying to understand what Twitter can do to save puppies.

Power to the People I’ve worked as a web developer for over a decade, working as everything from a Senior Technology Consultant to the Fortune 500 to freelance digital wingman for the local general contractor. I have an obsession with business growth through technology.

Everyone in this business likes to say they have the edge, obviously, but often they only have one piece of the puzzle. Once you understand the puzzle that is the web, you’ll know the dirty little secret of our industry and more importantly, how to make sure it doesn’t bite your business you know where. Knowing these secrets will help you find the absolute best website design companies.

Design, Development, Communication

There are three types of creatures needed to create a website:

1. Designer: someone who knows how to make things look pretty, or at least how to prevent it from looking like a used-car lot.

2. Development: research has shown that if someone comes to your site and it doesn’t work, they will never return. Hopefully, this guy isn’t just making your site do something cool, but also making sure it actually keeps on doing.

3. Communication: PR and Marketing are still battling it out to determine who should decide what is communicated on the web, but suffice it to say, they both probably have more people skills than your designer and developer combined.

Without a clear, simple idea, translated into a visual image, with some buttons for your customers to push, you don’t have a website that can do its job. None of the above three creatures, by the way, understand each other.

Then add the rowdy cowboys to this triumvirate:

– Internet Marketing consultants: people who can either show they’ve increased someone’s sales online by at least 20% or they are just quoting Wikipedia to you and have no idea what they are talking about.

– Social Media consultants: see above.

These two represent the two things that give a website any reason to exist: search engines, and search through word of mouth – also known as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn.

Now ask yourself, have you ever met a company that can show they are good at all the above?

No, You Can’t

That’s because making really good websites doesn’t make money for web design companies. Making what people ask for online is what makes web designers and developers money. PR and Marketing companies both know that as long as their customers aren’t losing money, and their competitors don’t offer lower prices, they’ll probably keep their jobs. The Internet Marketers and Social Media experts have to prove themselves every day, but what they do can be learned, taught to an intern, and then… “goodbye consultant.”

Finding Web Hosts for Ecommerce

Ecommerce is big and growing. It makes sense really, because shoppers look at ecommerce sites to get product information and best price without the bricks and mortar overhead. After the shopper gets this information they may go to a bricks and mortar store in their neighborhood or they may check out a second ecommerce site for info and price or they may just buy right there.

Shoppers are buying right there more and more often as ecommerce becomes more popular. And ecommerce websites can take a real share of the market – as long as they have a good web host keeping
them dependable and fast 24/7. The host is a major factor in ecommerce because there are some considerations that some hosts cannot handle well.

So, what should you look for in an ecommerce host? We often think of ecommerce in terms of an online shop for books, CDs, and computer accessories. But there are ever more products available and ecommerce hosts are responding. Ecommerce hosting plans must include a very powerful website design that allows you to create a responsive and effective sales engine. Here are some very key features:

Shopping Cart- A virtual shopping cart should be provided by an ecommerce website allowing a buyer to select one or several products before going to checkout point for purchase. This program should have cookies so your ecommerce site remembers every customer and every item in the shopping cart. Your ecommerce hosting plan must offer one or more shopping cart programs.

Payment Gateway- Ecommerce hosting necessitates provision of a payment gateway so customers will purchase goods from your site with Visa, MC, MoneyBookers.com, PayPal.com , check, or even by
telephone. Before you choose a particular host make sure all your features are compatible and well supported by that host.

SSL- (Secure Sockets Layer) To accept payment online you must have a SSL. SSL will provide security by encryption of all data – like credit card numbers and addresses so that it remains invisible to various computers the transaction must pass through. Without SSL your personal and financial information would be visible to anyone with access to the computers. If your ecommerce host plan includes shared SSL, than you can use the host’s shared SSL certificate. You can get a private SSL certificate if you pay a fee and you have a dedicated IP address. These details must be verified with your host.

Planning- Ecommerce websites need more planning than regular business web sites. You must have a detailed plan for growth so that your choice of hosting services can grow with your site. And you should try to anticipate the addition of new features as you need them. Your host must provide reliable technical support. You will need to use a database to store all of your products and various customer information. This can be complicated, but good hosting services that support ecommerce websites can show you a
demo model or some operational ecommerce sites that you can study. If you won’t have an in-house web developer it might be a good idea to select a host plan with ready-made websites that you can easily add your product pictures and texts. Look at the demo too if possible.

Your hosting provider should guarantee near 100% uptime. The worst case scenario sees your customers unable to bring up your website. Ask about downtime reimbursements for hosting fees and check with
webmasters who have used the host in question. There are plenty of ways to check out the reputation and abilities of any ecommerce host. The best way is to get a list of their ecommerce customers and send the webmasters an email requesting info on the company’s track record.