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Blog - GOBI | Atlanta Web Design | Georgia Web Design

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GOBI - Finally Web Design Made Simple

Affordable Website Design

on Sunday, 18 March 2012. Posted in GOBI Web Designs Blog

What is affordable, and what is just cheap


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Everyone looking for a web designer wants an affordable website design.  The question is not  how much a website costs you upfront, but how much more money a website can make for you over the long term.

You certainly can find a designer can provide you a site for $200, at this price don't expect any keyword or market research to be done before building the site.  You may get basic on-page SEO, but forget about any off-page SEO campaigns or an SEO strategy. Optimistically you will get a nice looking site that you can put on your business cards.  If this is good with you, then I'd recommend you save the $200 and use a third part sitebuilider and build your own site.  GOBI offers just such a sitebuilder, it's called Website Tonight and costs $4.05 a month.  Alternatively you could also purchase a hosting account and install Wordpress.  Wordpress can be worked into a solid business website, but it requires a little more expertise and involves a steeper learning curve than website tonight.
If you would like to a professional business site developed keep a few items in mind;

1. What does the designer offer in terms of developing targeted traffic?

Remember a site should provide a return on your investment.  In order to provide revenue, your site must have traffic.  What will your designer offer in terms of organic search engine optimization, and do they have an Internet marketing strategy that can generate natural, targeted web traffic to your site?  Make sure they clearly state what they can offer and what the addtional cost will be to you.  You should allocate at least as much resources into properly marketing your site and generating traffic, as you will into all other aspects of site design combined.  Lack of traffic is the number one cause of failure for business sites.

2. Make sure you own your site

This is an unfortunate situation I've seen to often when hired to redesign a site.  The previous designer will claim they own rights to some portion of the website.  It could be the domain name, the keywords, web programming code, pictures, or logo.  This is dirty and these sort of tactics give honest web designers a bad rap.  Make sure you own your site - you are paying for it.  The only rights a web designer should ask you for are; to include a "Designed by..." on your site and the right to use your site as part of their portfolio, and even then these are your rights to give, or refuse.

3. How much will it cost to maintain?

Ask what your designer will charge to update and maintain your site. An affordable website design, that ends up requiring 10 hours of maintenance at $100 can become expensive.  Ask whether they offer a content management system that allows you to easily make minor changes yourself.  Ask whether the quote includes hosting, if not how much do they charge for hosting?   A reasonable price for hosting can depend on several factors, but unless you are planning on receiving over 5,000 visitors a day, you should not pay over $25 a month for hosting.

4. What is included?

It is a simple question, you should get a simple answer, most web designers do a good job of listing out what services they will provide.  Use this to compare between several web design firms to find who is the best fit for you and will provide you the best value.

Don't Pay Anyone to Submit Your Site to Google!

on Sunday, 18 March 2012. Posted in GOBI Web Designs Blog

I know almost every web design company out there says they will submit your site to Google and other search engines. Some people are even paying good money to have SEO experts submit their sites.  Let me let you in on a secret, it is completely unecessary, and can even work against you.

The bottom line is that you want to get your site indexed and listed by Google as quickly as possible. The best way to do that is to let Google 'find' you. From experience I have learned that a site I submit to Google via their site submission tool can take up to 6 weeks to get indexed unless I take other measures to get it found. I know this does not make sense, but that the way it is.

So how do I get listed on Google?

The best way to get noticed and listed by Google is to get a backlink from a site they already trust. Google uses pagerank (PR) to measure the authority of a page. Without getting into a lot of technical details, let's just say that a high page rank means Google trusts that page. Trusted pages get crawled by Google more often. Getting backlinks from several high pagerank sites can get your site listed in days instead of weeks. I have had sites listed this way in under 30 minutes. Most websites with high pagerank are very guarded, so the trick is getting backlinks from high PR sites. Fortunately there are two good ways to get this done free, and without the need to pay SEO experts.

1. Submit an article to a well established article directory. The top ones in my opinon are EzineArticles.com GoArticles and InfoBarrel. EzineArticles has the highest pagerank and in my experience brings me the most traffic, but they can take up to 4-5 days to approve an article. InfoBarrel will usually approve an article in 1-2 days, and will pay you 75% of any adsense revenue generated from your article. Of course to take advantage of this you will need to setup a Google adsense account first.

2. Create a Hubpage or Lens, Sign up with Hubpages.com or Squidoo.com and create a page. When you first sign up with Hubpages, it may take a day to get a hub approved, but after you have created a couple, they get published right away. Squidoo publishes theirs right away. These sites also share their adsense revenues with you as well.

I would recommend writing several different articles, (they can be on the same topic, but written in different ways) and submit it to more than one of these sites. Once your article is published go to www.pingomatic.com and "ping" the URL of your published article. What this does is announce to the Internet "Hey! New content here!"

Thats a good question. Think it might be like the traffic light buttons on crosswalks. You still push them even though you have this feeling, that it really does not do anything. It makes you feel better though, so you continue to push repeatedly. Getting backlinks to your site from high PR sites tells Google that your site has value because another site is in effect vouching for you.

Now that you are armed with this knowledge, quit using the submit tool, and PLEASE don't pay and SEO experts to do this for you.

 

Building a Business Site

on Sunday, 18 March 2012. Posted in GOBI Web Designs Blog

What's so different about a business site?

There are literally millions of sites on the web waiting to be explored.  You have decided you want to join them with a business site of your own.  Building a business site is different from building a personal site, hobby site or informational site.  The multitude of businesses on the Internet make it an extremely competitive.  In many cases you will compete directly with companies like Wal-Mart and Amazon.  The good news is that most small business sites are not getting the basics correct, and there are ways a small business cannot only compete, but win against the megastores.


Planning.  Unlike a personal site that is built to share a passion or hobby, which you might hope develops some sort of following or measure of popularity; a business site must have traffic.  Attracting customers is usually the ultimate goal of any business site.  Larger corporations such as McDonalds or Nike often build site geared more towards promoting brand and providing an enjoyable user experience, but as a small to medium business, your focus is developing more customers and increasing revenue.  In order to maximize your chances of success you must do research.  Building a business site without the proper keyword and market research is like heading out for a vacation without a map and no idea of where you are headed, just hoping you end up somewhere nice.  Keywords and keyword phrases are the roads leading to high traffic and more customers.  A web designer is that cannot provide you with keyword and market research results does not effective build business sites.  They surely are talented designers that build beautiful, attractive websites; but your primary concern in having a business site is to find customers.  Once you have a list of keywords and phrases, related to your market, that have the best potential you are ready to begin the design.

Design.  Personal or informative sites can be an exercise in creative expression.  Business Design should emphasize simplicity.  Unless your business involves creative design, such as a photographer, fashion designer or floral arrangements you should avoid too many graphics, colors and complex designs.  Keep in mind that your visitor is at your site because they are looking for something.  The purpose of a business site should be to capture that need and produce a desired action.  The action can be one of several things.  Placing a phone call to your business for a consultation, placing an order or visiting your business (such as in a restaurant).  Do not muddy your purpose by focusing on more than one of these.  The only exception would be to capture their email in order to follow up with your visitors.  An email capture can and should be used in conjunction with your primary action.

A beautiful creative design, is not necessary for a successful business site, in fact it can often distract visitors with too many options, colors and lack of an intuitive menu layout.  A business site should have all its features, menus and navigation exactly where a visitor would expect them.  Simplicity is the key to a effective business site.  All key information should be easy to find.  Avoid very long pages that require your visitor to scroll down the screen, the most important information should always appear at the top of the screen.

 

Customer Oriented.  This is one of the biggest flaws I see in business sites.  View your site as customer or visitor, not as the business owner.  It is understandable that you are passionate about your business and want promote it and highlight your accomplishments.  Your site visitor has a need or problem, how important are these accomplishments to them in comparison to their current need?  Your website should reflect a customer focus, anticipate what a visitor is interested in and ensure this information is readily available.  Answer questions they may have.  Make sure you have some kind of analytics to track what pages your visitors look at the most, and how much time they spend on each.  Once your site has been up and running for a while, you can use this information to make changes to your site based on real data.

Understanding your demographic.  Ensure you tailor your site to your demographics.  Are most of your visitors older? Make sure your font is not too small and make sure to display a phone number in large print.  Many older customers feel more comfortable speaking to a real person.   Do you deal with a younger demographic, then provide links to your Twitter and Facebook accounts.   If you deal with a diverse group of customers, make sure your graphics reflect this.  Visitors will create a perception of your business from your website, and whether they would be comfortable doing business with you.

Security.  If you sell products or capture confidential customer information, security should be a top concern.  Ensure you or your web designer is familiar with purchasing SSL certificate, generating the keys and installing it on your site.  Costs for SSL Certificates vary widely; the main reason is not so much the strength of the encryption but the insurance and authencation.  Different companies will protect you from losses due to any SSL issues, the greater the coverage, the higher the cost of the SSL.  Authentication refers to the how the SSL issuer authenticates your identity, the lowest and easiest way is to confirm your email address, at the other end some SSLs require you to show up in person and present identification. Some SSL are only good for one domain, other will also protect sub-domains as well.

 

5 Top Factors To Consider When Building A Business Website

on Sunday, 18 March 2012. Posted in GOBI Web Designs Blog

Notice that this article refers to building efficient and effective "Business" websites.  Not personal pages, hobby sites, fansites, or informational webpages.  I am referring to business sites, whose purpose is to create business and in turn revenue for the owner.  A business may be a labor of love, but a business website.  Other sites may have the goal of promoting a hobby, sharing and interest, socializing and sharing ideas, but a good business website should have the sole purpose of supporting your business.  With this philosophy in mind, and  over 8 years experience in the Atlanta Web Design business these are the top factors in building a business website.

1.      Keyword Research - Hands down the single most important factor.  Your site must be built around well researched keywords and keyword phrases.  You must know the keywords in your market that people are actively searching.  How many times are they searched, how many competitors you have and how strong are they?  Once you have the 5 - 10 keywords that will offer you the best opportunity to rank well in the major search engines you can begin building your site.  Targeting the right keywords will provide you with targeted traffic.  For business websites targeted traffic is money.

2.      Simplicity - Visitors should not be overwhelmed with any unnecessary distractions.  The most successful business sites are very simple.  There are only one or two actions a visitor is encouraged to follow on each page.  The information they are most likely to need or want should be made accessible right on the front page or otherwise easily accessible.  Do not succumb to the desire to add a multitude of features, colors, and whiz-bang widgets moving all over the place and making noise.  Always keep it simple

3.      Customer oriented philosophy - A common mistake of a small business owner is to make the site about themselves or their business.  For the most part your visitors do not care about your business.  They have a need or problem and want an answer or solution.  It does not matter what year you were founded and all the wonderful places you have travelled.  Having an "About Us" page is fine, but keep it simple and don't  let it distract from the purpose of your site.  Service industry sites are more prone to using an about us page than a retail business, but even then it should be short, simple and to the point.  Any information about you or your business should be there solely as an answer to customer questions.

4.      Security - If you are in the retail business, make sure you have an SSL certificate if you ask the customer for any information.  Even if you shopping cart is handled by a third party business, if you ask you customer for an email address or name, make sure it's on a secure https page with an SSL certificate.  Get listed with the better business bureau or local chamber of commerce and put your credentials on your page.  Anything that will assure your customer that your site can be trusted.

5.      Focus - Do not try to do everything with your site.  Decide what single thing you want a visitor to do.  It could be to place a phone call, leave an email address, buy a product or download additional information.  Then build your site around that goal, after you are finished, go back, review your site and remove anything that does support that goal.

Unlimited Hosting Accounts

on Sunday, 18 March 2012. Posted in GOBI Web Designs Blog

GOBI Unlimited Hosting Accounts

Unlimited hosting accounts are perfect for small businesses and organizations that need a inexpensive web presence and expect to have a large number of video, image, or audio files.

Unlimited hosting does not mean it is not without limitations, the low cost of unlimited accounts is achieved by hosting a large number (1,000s) of customers across several servers.  It is not technically unlimited, but virtually unlimited.  Most websites do not use more than 1GB of space unless they host a large amount of video and/or audio files.  The downside is that performance suffers.  These sites are best used when traffic is expected to by low (up to a few hundred visitors per day), and performance is not major factor.  If you webpage does not have a lot of graphic files or flash / video, these accounts would probably suit you just fine.

Our GOBI web design packages do not use unlimited hosting, instead we use hosting accounts that control the number of accounts to under 250, usually less than 100.  We have found this configuration offers the best combination of performance, speed and affordablity for our customers.

For our power users, businesses that are either getting several thousand visitors a day, or require full control over their server configuration, we recommend you use one of our virtual private server, or dedicated server solutions.  Although these packages are among the best value in the web hosting market, they are more expensive than shared hosting, but offer great performance and flexibility.

If you are not sure of your hosting needs, just contact us and we'll be glad to match you up with the best hosting package for your needs.