How To Select A Search Engine Marketing Firm

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is an absolutely essential service if you want your business to succeed online, but the initial selection process often poses several challenges for entrepreneurs and merchants who do not know what signs to look for in a SEM firm. This article will discuss some of the most common criteria for selecting the best SEM service provider for your website or company.

Goals: Even before you start looking through the endless list of possible candidates, you should make it clear for yourself just what your companies goals and priorities are. Once defined, this makes it much more likely that you will get exactly what you want. Don’t go into the evaluation process looking to get to the “first page on Google”. While it’s certainly a commendable effort, the first position on the natural search engine results pages itself carries no value to your business unless you know how to monetize your website.

Planning: The best goal is to focus on an optimal return on investment. Before you pay for any search engine marketing services, consider how you’re going to get that money back by turning a profit. For example, there’s a big difference between the way an e-commerce and subscription-based website should approach this problem. Spend plenty of time on predicting the outcome of your marketing campaign. Compare the value of each click made by new visitors to the money spent on SEM. Remember that search engine marketing is a long-term commitment and you need to consider the amount of time it would take for the services you purchased to take effect.

Customization: Don’t expect search engine marketing companies to provide you their services without any input from you. If you want to receive real value for your money, you need to be familiar with the processes involved in SEM and be able to guide the service providers toward the direction that best fits your business. An approach that takes the unique goals of your business into consideration will always fare better than ordering a generic “SEM package”, even if it’s sold by one of the most reputable providers online.

Transparency: Another benefit that comes with familiarity with search engine marketing is being able to discern what are the exact steps that a SEM company will take to benefit your business. If you feel that the service provider you’ve contacted is hiding something, you probably shouldn’t proceed with your order. After all, they shouldn’t have any problems with giving you a brief look into their SEM process if what they do is truly effective.

Experience: It’s not that important how many years any particular SEM firm has been online, and even the number of clients they’ve served is not always relevant. What you need to look into is what kind of clients they have worked with and the results they provided. Search engine marketers that claim to have operated for ten years, but only have one or two good examples to show for it shouldn’t be considered for your project. On the other hand, a SEM firm that is only a year old, but has worked with the same two clients for the last 6 months and already increased their profits can probably provide a quality service to your business as well.

Summary: Search Engine Marketing can prove beneficial to your company over the long term. SEM strategies take time to implement and they come with costs. However, a well executed SEM strategy will provide your business with a good return on its investment.

How To Select A Web Designer

In today’s highly competitive world, having a company website, or even a personal website, can make the important difference between success and failure. A well designed and attractive website can drive huge amounts of business your way. However a poorly designed, difficult to navigate website will give your costumers a bad impression of your company, or services, and will scare away potential customers. This is why it is an important skill to know how to select the web designer that will be just right for your business.

There are many different aspects that you should take into consideration when it is time for you to choose a web designer, and they are:

The Web Designer’s Design Proficiency: Serious and credible companies can’t afford to have a poorly designed website that will spell “cheap” in the eyes of potential customers. A sleek and well thought out design with nice images and is easy to navigate are key elements for any website, and don’t be fooled as it is just as important as it’s coding, not less!

The Web Designer’s Coding Proficiency: It is no good to have an astonishing design on a site that doesn’t work. The code is the engine that makes the site run and controls the site’s functionalities. Links must work and the navigation should be intuitive. Also, when costumers or users report problems, it’s probably the code. So your web designer should really be comfortable and proficient with coding.

The Web Designer’s Marketing Insight: It’s his insight on Marketing that is going to display your website so it reflects your personal or business needs. The site’s layout, colors, and functionality requirements must be in balance.

The Web Designer’s Copy writing skills: If you aren’t providing your own content for the site and you are going to leave all the writing and content creation to your web designer, then make sure his copy writing skills are top notch, after all, he is going to be the Public Relation agent for your online marketing efforts and your company brand.

These are just some of the core skills your web designer or web designing agency must have, but there are some other things that you have to take note of. For example, are they going to update your site or just take care of the initial set-up and launch. Also, is their design original or does it seem as though the design was done from a template.

Finally, don’t forget to ask them if they know about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) because you don’t want a website just for the simple fact of owning a website. You want to be found at the top of the search engine pages and get a bucket load of new leads! And this is how to select a web designer for your company.

But I Have a Website Already!

Your current website was created to be seen and read and perhaps to sell things. Is it doing it’s job? There are approximately 180 million websites in the world. Yep one hundred and eighty million… If you currently have a website for business or personal use your site is one of the 180 million.

So how do people find you in the glut of pages out there? Are “you” findable? Are “you” being linked to? Is your site being saved? Is anyone talking about your site?

The best way to find out is to look at your user statistics. Are people coming to your page? How many? and last but not least are there enough people coming to your site that you are happy with the number of visits?

If your website is coming out of toddlerhood and headed to grade school and still hasn’t been noticed then the chances are it needs an upgrade. In the last few years the way websites are ranked, searched for, shared, saved and spread has changed.

Google has all but taken over the search engine business. If you want your site to be known and shared you need to be on Google’s barometer. The sites who are winning in the search results are those who use the Google tools and analytics to bring them forward and up top in the search engine race.

Your web page should be constantly increasing in views and in commerce. Each month that goes by should show an upward swing in visits. If your site is stagnant it’s time to think about a remodel or a complete overhaul.

Google search results that are not paid for are called organic searches. The organic search rank of your site is important. Have you searched for your own site lately? If not go and try it. Begin with a broad search and gradually narrow it down until you show up. If the results of this little experiment are disappointing then you have some work to do, or work to be done.

Multiple things go into search engine ranking. Links to others sites, the sites that link back to you.  Your page titles, quality of information and ease of access are counted as well. The number of keywords used on the site within the proper context and the behind the scenes SEO settings and keywords. The last considerations are the links that lead to your social sites such as Facebook and Twitter. . The last and most important issue is the updating of your site at regular intervals. To have your site stay consistently high in the organic search results it need to be updated on a regular basis.  We take all of these into account when we create your site.

It costs money to keep up a website, is your money being well spent? Are all the needed areas being covered by the current site you own? If not it’s time to consider building a new one or remodeling the old one and incorporating the Google tools, updated content and current security features to keep it up and running.

Technology continues to grow at an astounding rate. As fast as the old operating systems (remember vista? ouch!) go out of style and mobile phones become obsolete your website may fall by the wayside as well. With a maintained WordPress site it can stay updated, current and fresh through all the trends and changes in technology.

Do You Own Your Website?

Maybe not. Web based law is still in it’s infancy.  The big question right now  is “What is a website?”.  Is it a creative work? Is it the source files? No one seems to know. We think of a website as a physical and tangible thing but it isn’t. It is a series of files containing information presented via each person’s internet viewing device.

Right now  web sites seems to fall into the pile that is considered creative work. So lets say you contact a web design firm and pay them to build and host a website for your company. Who owns the website? They do unless otherwise specified. What you are doing is leasing the work they have created for you and maintaining it’s presence on the world wide web.

What if you wish to leave their hosting and go elsewhere? Then there may be an issue. Unless there is a contract stating otherwise they can refuse to release the files that make up your website. They created them so they own them.

Now we are NOT lawyers but after doing some careful research here  are some helpful hints to stop an unprofessional web designer  from holding your website hostage. (If you have concerns please contact a lawyer.)

1) Buy your own domain. Do not allow the website developer to do it for you. That way the domain is registered in your name and you have control of it.

2) Buy your own hosting. Don’t use the web developers web hosting. If they have one they suggest then by all means use it but set up the account in your name or your business name and have the login and password on file. Tell the developer you do not want then to change either of those things. That way you can have access to the files that make up your website and if there is ever an issue you can change the password to the hosting account.

3) If you supply pictures, articles and information for your website then have the developer use you as an author when building the site. Attributing these to you is not difficult or time consuming. That shows you provided the info and graphics.

4) If it is a WordPress site be sure that you have an administrator’s login and password. That gives you access to your site. Without it or access to the email that created the Wordpress account you can be locked out with no recourse.

5) Ask for a contract stating that you own the site once the work is complete and payment has been taken care of. Some web developers will flinch when asked for this. We understand. Our websites are our babies so to speak we work very hard to create them and we put our heart and soul into them. If we turn them over then the owner can make changes we disagree with. The thought of that bothers us. BUT IT DOESN’T MATTER ! In our view if you have bought and paid for a website to be created then you own it.  So be sure if you pay someone to create a site for you that they transfer ownership to you when it’s completed , we do.

Keeping Your Website up to Date

Nobody likes dull and boring things. That is one of the reasons that major brick and mortar retailers spend major money doing resets to move things around the store. They need to keep people guessing and looking. If the customer always finds the item that they need in the same location that is precisely where they will go each time they visit and as a result they will not see everything the store has to offer. If that customer has to hunt to find something, they may find other things that they want to purchase. It is very similar with web design.

If your customer surds on in for one of your Immigration eBooks, for example. They might miss the other information that you have there regarding the US Immigration forms or the steps that you have for Green Card renewal and they might go elsewhere to locate that information. And you certainly do not want to lose a good customer to the competition no matter what the business. That is precisely why you want to do everything that you can to make your web area as fresh and exciting as you can so that they will explore your location and not have the time or the need to look at another place to get what they are after.

That goes equally well for information or for retail products that you might have for sale. Products and services both are things that people search for and purchase and they both are things that can make or lose you business depending on you site.

For example, if your site is geared towards people looking to become a citizen, you should have an attractive area that pushes the Immigration eBooks that are so popular at the moment. However you should not ignore the fact that the US Immigration forms will need to be filled out and down the road, a Green Card renewal is needed. So making sure that this information is where the customer can find it will increase the odds of them coming back to you for that information when they need it.

While there is no magic formula for what does and does not work, if you keep an eye on the competition and the trends out there you can often make an educated guess on what direction to point your customer via your website.

Keep in mind that a little move from one area to another can make all the difference and if people are readily finding your Immigration eBooks and yet you are getting no interest in the Green Card Renewal information or very limited hits on the US Immigration forms part of your website, then there is a chance that you have things placed in the wrong area and a redesign might well be in order. It is an on going process and a daily battle that is worth keeping up with because the end result can be quite gratifying when you look at the impact on the bottom line.

What is in SEO Content?

You might have heard about search engine optimization content and wonder what type of code is really inside of it. People are talking about how great their online business is doing now that they have hired an SEO. SEO content includes a few things that might make you consider hiring a business like this to help you improve the operations of your business.

SEO content is exactly as it sounds, content designed for search engine optimization. Search engine optimization is important because you want your business to pull up when someone runs a search for products and services you offer. You don’t want to be 40 pages down in the list because you know that users most likely will never get to your business. You might not be pulling up at all in the list and this is a bad thing if you rely on your online company to do well. This is when SEO content is needed.

Search engines use robots known as spiders to crawl the pages on a website. These spiders will grab certain keywords listed on a site and do what is called indexing. As these keywords are indexed, when a user does a search for these particular keywords, sites will be listed. The more keywords listed on a site, the higher the ranking will be with the search engine. What is important to know is that the keywords must naturally be provided in the content of the site and they cannot be excessively used for the purpose of the search engines. If you sell prelit Christmas trees and artificial Christmas trees you want these keywords mentioned on your site. You cannot repeat these words over and over in the code or on the pages if they are not natural. This is because a search engine will blacklist you. It is considered to dishonestly compete with other businesses and it will not be tolerated.

Search engine optimization content is natural content provided on a website to target exactly what the search engines are looking for. This type of content is written about the products and services you offer. Keywords are injected into the content of a site abiding by the regulations set forth by search engines. This ensures a business is following specified guidelines set forth by the search engines.

SEO content is not only designed to target search engines. It is also designed to target the visitors who come to your site. This type of content is interesting to the visitors and keeps them on your site and hopefully coming back for more. Good SEO content will attract the visitors and bring more.

SEO content is not special code. It is content written naturally that is interesting to the readers and informational. It provides the right mix of keywords which will target the search engines and help provide a higher listing. When visitors type in artificial Christmas trees in a search box they will see your site listed as a business that sells them. SEO content follows guidelines and rules set forth by search engines so a business is not blacklisted. Most companies don’t even know when they have broken the rules.

Keeping Webpage Design Modern

There are a lot of steps to designing a web page.  Each one alone has the ability to make or break your presence on the web and impact your business.  It does not matter if you are selling a item like an ebook about US Immigration or a service like guidance to filling out the application for US Visas and citizenship application forms, the fact is you need to pay attention to your web page design and keep it current with what people are expecting to see.

Once past planning, getting a domain name, and angling for good web real estate with a top level domain, consider who you want to reach.  If you are specialized in helping a specific language, you might consider nabbing a country based domain that serves that language base.  Just make sure you check the rules to ensure you can legally own the extension without living there. Any business that is legal will have their information public on WHOIS, so do not skimp on making sure this vital information is current and correct.

Of course having a domain does you no good without a great web host.  Shop around to make sure you are getting the service, features, and stability you need for a professional appearance on the Internet.  Consider testing performance with a number of tools, working with a shared hosting service, and buy a small basic package for hosting that is advertisement free. This way you can control exactly what ads appear on your website because you place them there.

It pays to consider basic development and coding. If you do not know much about this, then hire a professional to get the back end code correct.  This way you will have a code base that is tested and reliable. Conversely many small hosting packages come with a suite of tools that can help you self design a first-time website so you can see the value of a professional service later.

Once you have a basic design you should start keeping  track of various design blogs that can help you keep up with trends and new techniques.  Checking out web resources can really be a good way to grasp when your website is becoming dated and needs a facelift. Additionally, knowing what other websites that offer your services are doing can help you see how you should alter things to better meet the needs of your audience.

Never forget that your clients, be they folks looking for hair products or even US Immigration information and help with obtaining US Visas or filling out a citizenship application are part of a specific targeted audience and you need to grasp how they are seeking what they need.  Research them and tailor your site to what they expect in order to maximize your business potential. Always provide them with content they can use and be innovative with anything you try to “borrow” with the aim of improving it.  Staying modern never stops and neither should the evolution of your website.

Is Your Website Causing Your Business Problems?

It is common for a website to cause business problems and they don’t even know it.  Some of the issues that can cause company problems are poor functionality, credibility, and being displayed in the wrong search engine result pages.  Things like this can cause serious issues for a company and even cause you to lose a lot of money.

There is a lot of money to be made on the web with an online business if you have an excellent website providing the right tasks.  Websites can cause problems for businesses though and even ruin a reputation over time.  Always ensure your site is properly designed by a professional and your content is appropriate.

Poor functionality can be a serious problem for online businesses.  For example, if you sell glass tables and the option to pay additional money for fragile shipment protection appears to be working, but not on your end, you won’t provide fragile shipment protection.  This could cause the items to arrive broken and damaged, and upset the buyer.  Some online companies charge businesses for things like fragile shipment protection and a warranty.  If the functionality to purchase items or surf through the site is not working properly, this can not only be bothersome for shoppers, but it will cause them to go to another store.  This is because another store is only a click away.

Credibility is very important for a business and many companies lose credibility with their website.  Many companies don’t realize how poor their credibility is at all online.  Credibility can be based on the information you have on your website.  For example, if you give instructions to users about how to use edge protectors, the information needs to be accurate.  You might have incorrect information regarding edge protectors.  This can be irritating and cause readers to think you have no idea what you are talking about.  This could be a serious problem if your primary business is selling edge protectors.

Being displayed in the wrong search pages is another problem people often have and they don’t realize it.  Your online business might sell bath supplies but actually be displayed in the search engines when people are searching for corrugated cardboard edge protectors.  How can a company selling bath supplies accidentally be displayed in the search engines under corrugated cardboard edge protectors?  It is easy.  You might have a photo with a simple caption and the words corrugated cardboard edge protectors listed because your child cut his or her head on the bathroom counter and you are making a recommendation.  You have to be very careful about the content you have on your site or it will only drive irrelevant traffic to your web pages.

There are many things that can cause problems for businesses on a website you should consider.  These things can be invisible to you and not even recognized.  Your reputation on the web could be at stake and causing you to lose money.  Always make sure you are pulling up in search engine results as you should, have credible and reliable content, and ensure there aren’t any problems with functionality.

Is Your Web Page Outdated?

Some things don’t go out of style. Diaper bags for example are always going to be basically the same and since mothers need them, they will always be around in some form or another. Cute baby clothes don’t go out of style. The styles may fluctuate a bit but there is only so much you can do with them as far as clothing. And you likely will find that any cute clothes will stay in fashion for a pretty long service life.

Web pages however tend to go out of date fairly quickly. The public is fickle and what looks great this week and will keep people visiting your site are likely not going to even get a second look in a couple of weeks. That is because people’s tastes change. Things going on in the world change what people want to see. That is why fashion is such a volatile industry.

The cool baby clothes of today will simply be the cute baby clothes left lying in the bottom of the designer diaper bags of tomorrow. That’s just the way it is. People’s tastes change and when they do things that used to excite them are nothing more than an annoyance.

The trick in making sure that your web pages and your web site avoid becoming out dated and stay on the cutting edge, is for you to keep an eye on what is going on in the world today and to make sure that you change accordingly. Not only will it keep your content fresh for the people that regularly surf your site, it will also increase the possibility that fresh surfers will fins and enjoy you and recommend you to their friends and increase your visit count and the time per visit.

It’s nothing more than staying ahead of the curve and tying to anticipate what is going to be the top story of tomorrow or next week or even next month and making sure that you have made the needed changes to reflect that so that it looks to the novice surfer like you truly care enough and almost have the updated page before it is even a news worthy item. Thy will begin to think of your site as the site with the scoop and they will make your place the fist stop on the list rather than one of the many places that they hit while they are on line if there is time.

Most changes don’t have to even be that drastic on web design. In fact, the secret to a well designed page is to try for consistency in design that flows into a nice easy pattern of content so that your regular surfer that frequents your web site will be able to see that you are smart enough to stay updated and yet concerned enough to stay consistent so that you are more or less being identified as a brand, much like a certain burger chain is noted by its golden arches.

How Can Your Business Benefit with the Use of SEO?

There are many ways your business will benefit with the use of SEO content. These benefits include users who return, a better site ranking, more revenue, and better results with the search engines. These benefits are very valuable to almost every online business owner.

If you have a company on the net and you are wondering if you need to take advantage of using SEO content it might be a good idea. Your business might even be doing quite well right now but you can be doing even better. SEO content is designed to work well with the search engines through completely optimizing your site. This allows you to eliminate any monthly charges you might be paying for keywords and more.

Pulling up on search engine results is very important to every business. You might be failing if you have improper content. You might have traffic looking for jewelry and your primary product is artificial Christmas trees and prelit Christmas trees. This is a common problem for many online businesses owners and they don’t even know it. The good new is that this type of problem is easy to fix with the right SEO content.

The importance of a company is to build a set of customers who are loyal and always come back to you. You want to be able to reap the benefits of word of mouth but you also want returning customers who love your artificial Christmas trees. A site needs to have the right content that is beneficial for the users and that provides something useful for them. If you only provide products to buy and nothing informational, then no one will stick around. They might come to you only when they need something but never for anything else. The best thing SEO content can do for you is provide the right content that is useful and meaningful for the customers. This will cause them to return even when they don’t need to make a purchase.

Increasing traffic is one of the biggest ways your company can benefit from using SEO content. If you choose to call a professional for SEO content you will find your traffic increases. This benefit comes with many other benefits also. SEO content targets your specific audience and not the wrong audience of shoppers. This means you will enjoy more revenues from more purchases being made from your site. As you get more and more traffic you will also benefit because your site rank will also improve.

The Internet is a hard place for a company to compete today because it is global. Although you might feel you are already doing well online it is important to keep in mind it takes less than five seconds to lose a customer for good on the Internet. Your business may do very well through the use of a good SEO by improving your site rank, increasing traffic and making more money, creating returning customers and much more. You might check out what an SEO can do for you.