Welcome To JUST A BLOG

We’re Expanding

welcoming business man

Just A Web Company Inc. is excited to welcome the newest addition to our team, Ira Miller.

Ira joins Just A Web Company, Inc. after graduating from The Art Institute of San Diego. With an emphasis on Visual Programming as well as other computer related skills Ira helps round out our growing team of developers and marketers.

Ira states “this is a great opportunity to grow my programming skills and learn hands on in the industry”.

SEO and Hummingbird

Hummingbird In Flight

Happy Birthday Google – here’s Hummingbird. Google announced on September 26th, it’s 15th birthday that they had given themselves, and you a present, Hummingbird.

What is Hummingbird you ask? It is a complete replacement of the search algorithm Google uses to process queries and searches, and return relevant results. This is the first time since 2001 that Google has had such a major change to it’s core engine and code.

With the old search engines, there were patches such as “Caffeine”, “Penguin”, and “Panda” that helped keep things moving along, but now those patches in the true sense are gone. Google has no doubt incorporated the very best of the patches into the new algorithm and will continue to cut down on internet spam and return quality, relevant results.

So what does Hummingbird really do? According to Google it will focuses on the meaning behind the words, or the whole query string and return more targeted, personalized, relevant results. Google also promises fast, and precise results. In addition Hummingbird will help drive “conversational search”. This type of search is accomplished when speaking queries into your phone, tablet or computer. Google wants to have a conversation with you to better understand what it is you are looking for.

What does this mean for SEO, and search engine optimization? As long as you are using properly coded websites, responsive web design, and delivering high quality original content, then you are will continue to reap the benefits from those efforts. Unlike Panda, and Penguin, Hummingbird is about speed, and great results, it is not a spam blocker, but it does inherently come with Penguin and Panda baked in.

When does Hummingbird go live? According to Google, Hummingbird has been in use for over a month now. This is excellent news for SEO’s and web site owners alike. If you are still seeing high rankings then you are doing everything exactly as you should.

How Much Should SEO Cost?

Group of 3D characters tugging a $100 bill

Interesting question – how much should SEO Cost? We have discussed website pricing in previous blogs but not marketing costs. First we should ask ourselves what exactly is SEO? If you have spent two seconds on the internet you have heard the term Search Engine Optimization, but SEO is really more than that. Think more along the lines of website accessibility.

In order for search engines to crawl your website, and index it, it first must be accessible. This means that your website is not chalked full of coding errors, it means you are using alternate text with images, descriptive titles in images and video, that you offer compelling original content, meta descriptions on your pages, and that you utilize responsive web design to ensure your website displays correctly any size device. This is just a partial, bare-bones list and in no way a complete blueprint for success.

SEO requires that once you ensure your website is accessible that it becomes popular. This is accomplished by building site reputation, and authority. Reputation is defined by how many sites are linking to various pages on your site, and authority being measured by how trust worthy, or notable the sites are that are linking to yours. With more link opportunities from highly respected sites comes web site-traffic. With more website traffic chances are it will become easier to earn more links from higher quality sites. Then you enter a cyclical environment that equals online marketing success.

So thats it right? Thats not even half of it – we haven’t talked about social media, analytical data, measuring competitors, geo-graphical data or demographics. The list goes on and on and if you think it’s daunting – well, thats because it is.

SEO is an ongoing process. It is not about ranking well for a month and stoping the work, it is about keeping up with your visitors, trends in search terms, devices used, social media interactions and more. While we can’t tell you what SEO should cost, we can you tell you what it should not cost, and that is a $200 a month.

A Great way to look at an SEO budget is in the terms of going to war. You are going to war with your competitors. Your competitors are spending money on advertising and search engine optimization, content creation, and more. As it is with any battle, the better equipped, better trained army generally wins, and that truth carries over in the SEO wars.

SEO and Web Development

SEO and Marketing Chart

Do you need an SEO Company or Web Company?

You know you need SEO on your website, and you know need updates, but do you call a web design company, or an SEO company? You shouldn’t have to choose. Your Web Design Company should be your SEO company, and your SEO company should be your web design company. The sad fact is, often this is not the case. Most web developers know little about SEO and marketing and most SEO guys really don’t know much about web development. This creates a HUGE disconnect in the level of service you receive and the quality of your website.

SEO is not simply about putting text on a page, or changing a URL within the WordPress backend. It involves a deep level of understanding of how a website works from a technical standpoint, and an understanding of how websites are used and navigated by visitors. It is important that websites not just look pretty, but that they are functional on every size screen, and every type of device that is used to view your site. This is the type of technical service that comes with experience.

If you talk to most SEO companies, and you want something that isn’t considered a basic update on a website, chances are they will not be able to do it. You need a company that specializes in SEO, Web DEVELOPMENT, marketing, and that understands your business. Chances are the SEO guy, and the Development guy (or gal) are not the same people, but they should be working side by side on a daily basis. It is through this synergy that you receive the best of both worlds and end up with a project that not only looks great, but performs well.

Website Design and Usability

Usability Ad

With the advent and proliferation of content management systems such as WordPress, Website Tonight by GoDaddy and other free or low cost web frameworks, we are seeing a troubling trend. That trend is everyone is now a website developer. While backend platforms such as WordPress have made it easier for people with non-technical backgrounds to maintain websites, this does not make them web developers, designers, or coders. While the intent was good, this ability has in many ways cheapened the experience on the internet.

The websites that are being launched by non-qualified people have a troubling trend of not using standard compliant coding, not displaying correctly on multiple devices, and the biggest problem left out is usability. In order to properly develop a site, you need to put yourself in the shoes of your target audience. Who is most likely to visit your site, and when they do, what is the purpose? Is your site visitor looking for a phone number to talk to a live person? Or is your visitor looking for your product page to purchase something from your online store?

The usability issue is something that needs to be dealt with before development starts. The usability problem needs to be addressed in the design phase of the web project. This usually involves more than one person. The problem is, with the free or “easy to use” web solutions, the design and usability phase of a web project is skipped. This leads to a low quality experience for site visitors.

The silver lining here is for the companies and businesses that realize that usability is truly the first step in the SEO phase of a website, and the ones that realize this will shine leaps and bounds above their competition. SEO is not simply about being “found” in the search engines, it is about providing a site that is easy to use, with information that is relevant to the searches being conducted, and satisfies the visitors needs. This all starts with the design and usability phase.

The best course of action is to consult with a professional web design company and make sure you are on the right track. Even if you have a great “in house web guy” to work on your website, it is best to hire an outside company to consult on the project and make sure every detail is covered. After all if you are going to make a million dollars selling your next product, it would be prudent to invest a few thousand up front and make sure your project is done right.

WordPress 3.6 Navigation Problem

WordPress 3.6

Many of our clients utilize the WordPress CMS platform. As part of our monthly services we ensure all the latest updates are applied to our clients websites. During the latest release of WordPress 3.6 we noticed some common issues that “broke” the navigation of the website design of the website.

This was caused by adding an extra <div> container called <div class=”menu-main-container”> around the main navigation bar.

To fix this problem login to your WordPress backend administration area, click on Appearance on the right side, then Editor. A list of the files included in your theme will be displayed on the right side. Find the file titled header.php and open it up. Look for the code snippet <?php wp_nav_menu( array( ‘theme_location’ => ‘main-menu’ ) ); ?> and replace it with <?php wp_nav_menu( array( ‘theme_location’ => ‘main-menu’, ‘container’ => ‘false’ ) ); ?>

As always – make sure you back up your files AND your database before attempting any updates of the WordPress platform.

SEO LINK BUILDING

SEO LINK BUILDING GRAPHIC

If you have spent even a second researching SEO you have heard and read that you need backlinks to your website. Even a few years ago it was common that you would call up your “SEO GUY” and order the monthly link building service, which generally consisted of using automated software to accomplish the task or perhaps outsourcing the job to someone in India.

As a rule, we have never offered that service to our clients. Links are important, but what is more important is that they are quality links. What does this mean? Let’s say you have a site about cars. Chances are the links generated by automated software would end up on junk websites that were about a wide range of topics, or perhaps about the latest home remedies. Would you rather have 1,000 links on those type of sites, or one link from car and driver magazine?

You get the point. Obviously it is much more difficult to get a link from a top tier organization. If you are passionate about your area of expertise and write articles that are engaging, and offer a unique perspective, you are more likely to attract the attention of these so called “power sites”.

When we provide link building for a client, we spend the time doing the research for the top sites in our clients target market, and then reach out on their behalf and make the connections. Often this requires picking up the phone, sending an email, and following up. It doesn’t happen overnight, and it takes work, and dedication. This where our slogan “Active Web Management” comes from. We are not a passive development and marketing firm. Experience has taught us that it takes hard work, and dedication to make the connections required for a successful marketing campaign.

To successfully build links to your website, and to do it in a natural and organic way, takes time, hard work, and is slow going. There is no short cut for hard work.

Read more about our SEO MARKETING SERVICES here.

Website Creation Process

Web Design Process

What should I pay for a website? Great question. We recently had a sent out a quote the other day for around the $2,000 price point. On the whole as websites go this is fairly low end.

I am amazed when people still look and say – “Oh – I thought it would be around $500”. Let’s dive in and look at the factors of what it takes to launch a website.

Research

The first thing that goes into a great website is research, research, research. We need to research your industry, research your competition, research your target market, research and plan for an effective design structure, research colors, research graphics, research copy (text) for your website. All of this is done before the first line of code is written. Depending on the size of your project, this could take anywhere from 1 week to 1 month, or longer.

web designer

After the research phase is done, it’s time to plan. This is where we take all of the research, and compile it into a plan to achieve your goals. We review demographics, target market, what devices your visitors are likely to be using when accessing your website, what colors your target audience responds to, what pictures to use, what font works best, etc. We also take this time to work on navigation and page structure which is actually the beginning of our SEO part of your website. Search Engine Optimization starts before any code is created for your site.

We had a client who came to us, who’s target market was attorneys. This client had a direction they wanted to go, and assumed their target market was middle aged men, who’s median income was $100,000. While the client was right about their end target market, what we determined during our research phase, is that our client was not engaging directly with the attorney’s, they were engaging and making their pitch to the assistants, and secretaries. Their primary target market was actually a female, between the ages of 25-40 with a median income of $40,000. Without the research and planning phase, this particular client would have completely missed the mark with their web development project.

Website Planing

Once we complete the planning phase, and narrow down who the target audience is, we move into the design phase. The design phase is where we get into the graphical components of the website. This phase includes pictures, colors, text layout, navigation bars and more.

Website Development

After the design of the website is finalized, we start writing the code that runs your website. During this time, we continually check our code and make sure your website confirms to accessibility standards, displays correctly in multiple web browsers on multiple devices, and that the look and feel of your website is not compromised.

For small projects this process easily spans 2-3 months, and for larger projects can involve multiple people, multiple companies, and span lengths of up to a year or more. There is simply no way to produce an effective website without the above process, nor can this be done on a $500 budget.

SEO TIPS THAT WORK – The Three P’s

SEO Tips - the three p's

Everyone wants their website to be on page one of Google. The question is how do you get there? SEO is something that requires passion, persistence, and paitence. The three P’s if you will.

PASSION

Have Passion about your niche, be an expert in your field. If you are not excitied to share your knowledge and expertise in your field, it is not feasible to expect others to be passionate about reading your latest article. However, if your offer vauble and uniqe insight, then you are likely to have readers waiting with bated breath for your latest post. It comes down to being relevant. The more passionate you are, the more relvance you will have.

PERSISTENCE

Be Percetiant in your quest for Domeneince in your area of knowledge. It does take time for people to not only discover your website, but it takes time to build trust. With trust comes reputation. The more repuatable your site is, the better you will do in searches for topics that relate to your industry. The more you learn, the more you write, the more you can share. Try to keep a regulalr scheudle in your online posts. Don’t wait 6 months between updates.

PATIENCE

Rome was not built in a day. Neither will your web presence. It takes time for your website to gain a following. The more saturated your target audience is, the longer it is going to take to see results. With tools such as Google Analytics, and Alexa, you can track day by day results. Remember not to get bogged down in the daily details, and take more of a 10,000 foot view in regards to your website rankings.

Of course their is much more invovled in SEO, but the 3P’s are a good place to start.