Good looks will only take your website so far…

Yes, your website needs to be attractive and have beautiful high quality project photos. Just as important is what your website has to say. Keep the content interesting and valuable to your visitors.In addition, as more people are using smartphones over desktops to access emails and search for local information, having a mobile responsive website is absolutely necessary.

Your website has a job to do, it needs to build trust and inspire your visitors to take action by contacting you.

“When you’re a carpenter making a beautiful chest of drawers, you’re not going to use a piece of plywood on the back, even though it faces the wall and nobody will ever see it. You’ll know it’s there, so you’re going to use a beautiful piece of wood on the back. For you to sleep well at night, the aesthetic, the quality, has to be carried all the way through.”
-Steve Jobs

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Should you redesign your website?

A website redesign or update should be considered if your site is visibly outdated or not mobile responsive. In general, it’s a good idea to keep up with changing technologies and design features so that your website has a fresh look and improved usability.

One of the main goals in updating or redesigning your website is to improve your company’s rankings. When selecting your website professional, make sure your developer has experience planning, transitioning and executing the old to the new and in search engine optimization strategies. Properly done, a website redesign including SEO will improve your rankings, increase visibility and the number of visitors to your site.

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Recent Website and Email Scams

In the past couple of weeks It has been brought to my attention from several of our clients that they are receiving confusing emails regarding their website hosting and email accounts. At first glance the emails seem legitimate. However, they are not.

One is from a “Domain Service Organization”, lists your name, address and website address and looks somewhat authentic. It suggests that your website domain registration is expiring and that you will not be found on the web if you do not purchase an additional year.

We have also been alerted to another email scam which says that your
“Email Account Certificate” has expired. It is requesting that you “renew your webmail certificate” and “update” your email records to restore full access otherwise your email delivery will be interrupted.

A good rule of thumb would be to contact your hosting and email providers if you receive anything about your accounts.

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Redesign Your Website in 2016

Your website is the most important strategic marketing tool your business has. Since a website redesign necessitates an investment of your budget and time, proper planning is important.

When planning a website redesign, evaluate your current website and ask yourself the following:
Is your website aligned with your current business strategy?
Does your website reflect your brand adequately?
Is your website easy to navigate?
Is your content accurate, current, useful and reflect your current targeted audience?
Is it mobile friendly?
Is your website being found?
Thinking about the answers to those questions will be a good start towards planning a new website. The next step would be to choose a website professional with proven design and optimization experience and who understands marketing for your specific business.

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Setting Website Goals for 2016

Now is the time to plan your business’ goals, strategies and budgets for next year.

When you are setting goals for your business, remember to include goals and objectives for your website. One objective, often overlooked, is that your website should attract your ideal visitor. A website aimed at everyone often attracts no one. Your website content should appeal to that ideal visitor and make it easy for them to go to the next step.

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Is Your Website too Distracting?

Have you ever gone into a grocery store and gotten overwhelmed by the number of choices of let’s say – pasta sauce? With any luck, you find one to buy within 10 minutes.

Research has shown that if there are too many choices, consumers are less likely to buy anything at all, and if they do buy, they are less satisfied with their selection. More isn’t necessarily better.

When your visitors go to your website you want them to focus on what you want them to do next, for instance continue on to another page.

Too much information can be a distraction on your website pages. Offers, advertisements and links to other companies’ products may provide valuable information to your visitors, however, they can also be a distraction. Make sure that any links don’t interfere with your website’s overall goal which is to convert your visitor into a potential customer.

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Strengthen Your Website Presence

Most people go online to comparison shop and find products and services in their area. Your web presence is that first impression of your company that prospects see before they even contact you. Following are some characteristics of a great remodeler website.

Personality
Your prospects need to get to know you and your company. Be sure to list your credentials, photos of you and your team, background information and company history.

Photos
You have quality work. Show it off by including as many high quality finished project photos as possible. Add new project photos as soon as they are available.

Process
Help your prospects to understand the remodeling process as you do it. Mention your areas of expertise and how you differ from your competitors. Let your prospect know what to expect if they choose you as their remodeler.

Proof
Show you are credible, your prospects need to trust you. Your website should have testimonials, reviews from other social sites, social media links, awards info, organization membership logos, certifications and articles you may have written and published.

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What are Keywords?

Keywords are the words and phrases that Internet users type into a search box such as in Google, when looking for your type of business. The right keywords are essential to include on your website because they drive targeted traffic (potential customers) to your business and can positively affect your ranking in comparison to your competitors.

Businesses evolve and services sometimes change. It’s a good idea to let your website developer know if you offer additional services so that more keywords can be added to keep attracting new customers.

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Why Haven’t You Visited Me Lately?

If your website could talk, is that what it would say? Hopefully not!

When a potential customer first visits your site, you want to create a type of bonding experience so that they will be enthusiastic about your work and select you for their remodeling project.

First impressions are often lasting, so remember to put your best final project photos up front. Keep updating your website with new photos to inspire your prospects and keep them coming back.

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Has Your Website Reached Retirement Age?

I often write about how to develop a good website and the need to update or redesign your website on a routine basis. But how do you know when your website may be outdated? Below are some red flags that may indicate that it’s time for a new website.

Overdesigned
There is clutter, many bright colors, several different backgounds, another words, your website is screaming “LOOK AT ME!!!”

If your home page has a caption under a photo which says “Award winning project from 2005”, it is definitely time for a new photo or a new website.

Flash and Auto Play Music aka “Broadway Show”
Many people are in public places. Images and music are distracting and noisy. In addition, Flash is not SEO friendly, takes longer to load and is not compatible with many devices.

Stock Photos
Sometimes business owners need photos. If you must use them, try not to use stock photos that look fake, as your brand loses credibility.

Pop-Ups
Back in 2004, pop-ups were the most hated web experience according to Nielsen Norman Group. However, there are new creative techniques to consider so they can be more effective and not make people quickly exit your website. But if you have those old time popups you may want to think about a website update.

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Drive More Customers to Your Website

Building your reputation is an important part of driving traffic to your website.
One way to do that is to brand yourself as an expert in your field and build your credibility. Authoring articles is a good way to accomplish this.

Here are some tips for writing articles:

Just do it. Don’t get caught up in revisions, make sure spelling and grammar are correct, and get it out there.

Make sure you have good keywords in the title and article that will get people’s attention.

Give useful information to the reader such as tips. Don’t make it promotional.

Find trusted print and online sources such as local newspapers or industry magazines to submit your articles to.

Remember to put the article on your website.

If your articles are well written and interesting to your audience, you will no doubt hear from the readership and in turn grow your website traffic.

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Create a Successful Website

Would you build a house if you didn’t have a plan? Probably not. The same approach should be taken when designing or redesigning your website. Take time and give some thought to the following:

Determine your goals – what you want your website to accomplish.

Think about your customers and what services they are requesting; what services you prefer to do and plan on doing in the future. What are you customers interested in?

What personality should your website in order to reach your “ideal” customer. What valuable information will you provide them with?

Think of keywords and phrases that might be used by a prospect searching for you. This will help with your Google rankings.

Do you have a call to action such as Contact Us? What do you want your visitors to do when they land on your site? You may want them to read your blog or sign up for your newsletter or contact you.

Your website is your most important marketing tool, it is your company’s online “face”, the very first impression. A professionally designed website can effectively showcase your company’s strengths and more importantly turn leads into sales.

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Search Engines Have to See You to Rank You

The first requirement for visitors to find your business by means of a search engine is to make sure your website is visible to the search engines. This is referred to as being search engine friendly.

The exact indexing rules and procedures used by the various search engines are a closely guarded secret. However, there are certain basic principles that are known and can be applied. Following these ‘best practice’ principles will result in a greater likelihood of search engines finding your website. For example, a recent announcement by Google gives better rankings to websites that are mobile friendly.

Websites by Ideal develops websites that follow best search engine practices so that your business stays high in the rankings and can be found.

Posted in Internet Marketing, SEO | 37 Comments

Recent Website and Email Scams

In the past couple of weeks It has been brought to my attention from several of our clients that they are receiving confusing emails regarding their website hosting and email accounts. At first glance the emails seem legitimate. However, they are not.

One is from a “Domain Service Organization”, lists your name, address and website address and looks somewhat authentic. It suggests that your website domain registration is expiring and that you will not be found on the web if you do not purchase an additional year.

We have also been alerted to another email scam which says that your
“Email Account Certificate” has expired. It is requesting that you “renew your webmail certificate” and “update” your email records to restore full access otherwise your email delivery will be interrupted.

A good rule of thumb would be to contact your hosting and email providers if you receive anything about your accounts.

Posted in WEB Cautions | 3 Comments

SEO Offers Too Good To Be True

SEO (search engine optimization) is more than just naming pages and creating keyword phrases. Keep in mind there are thousands of companies offering SEO services that do not have the real expertise necessary to do so.

If you are ever contacted by a company that offers you a free trial and asks for access info to your website…beware. This would be like giving them your home address, your front door key and telling them when you are going on vacation.

There is a lot involved with SEO, keep in mind that no legitimate company will do this for free.

It’s a good idea to thoroughly research any Internet Marketing companies that contact you before you commit to doing any business with them.

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How Effective is Your Website?

One metric (standard of measurement) that Google analytics reports is your website’s bounce rate. The bounce rate is a percentage of visitors that visit a page on your website, view only one page and leaves. A high bounce rate may indicate your website is not doing its job.

Website bounce rates vary from industry to industry. If your reports are showing a high rate it may mean your content is not engaging enough or your navigation is poor. The goal of a website is to entice visitors to continue and explore more content. A sale or conversion from someone who only viewed one page is somewhat of a rare occurrence.

However, even a “bounced” visitor may have spent a long time on that one page. Analytics do not show the amount of time a visitor stays on a page. Keep in mind that there are many metrics to analyze. The bounce rate is only one that is tracked to keep you informed whether your website is doing what you need it to do.

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Preparing for a Design or Redesign of your Website

Take Time to Brainstorm
Think about what content should be on your website and look and feel you want. Get input from your staff and talk to your design people.

Look at different websites in your industry. Take notes on what you do like about other websites and what you don’t.

Create a Mood
Would you like a simple and clean look, an elegant classy look or maybe something modern or eclectic? Don’t stray too much from your current print materials. Make sure your vision reflects the company image you want to portray.

What Will Your Visitors Like?
It is very important to think about what your visitors would relate to – what they might want to see, what would interest them. The goal is to turn your visitors into potential customers so you want them to enjoy the experience, spend time, and return in the future. Navigating through your website should be uncomplicated and easy for your customers to “travel” around.

The Home Page
What questions do your customers most ask you? Make sure that the answers are easy to find from the home page.

Emphasize how you are different and why someone would want to do business with you. Distinguish your company from your competitors. And if you have a good motto, use it.

Get Your Resume Together
Gather content you intend to use to position yourself as an expert in your field. Info such as articles you have written or appeared in, organizations you belong to, certifications, achievements, awards and charitable projects you have participated in. Most of all don’t forget good quality photos of yourself and your projects and client testimonials.

With this information your website design professional will be on the way to creating, customizing and communicating your message for your new website.

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Better Content, More Results

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) allows companies to rank on search engines such as Google. SEO Marketing if done correctly can be highly effective; however it can produce negative results when done incorrectly.

Here are some suggestions to improve your SEO:

Focus on the quality of the content rather than the quantity. Think about your customers not just rankings.

Don’t forget to update your website’s content. Pretend it’s a plant that needs to be watered frequently.

Be aware that duplicate content can negatively impact your rankings.

Don’t pay for links from “link farms” to increase traffic to your website. Instead, try to find high quality natural links.

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Generational Marketing vs Life Stages Marketing

Generational marketing is target marketing to specific generations such as Baby Boomers, Generation X’ers, Millenials, etc. These generations have always been thought to exhibit common traits and shared experiences, influences and beliefs which influence their buying decisions. This method of marketing has become somewhat outdated – the lines have blurred. For instance seniors over 65, a generation supposedly “technologically challenged” spend over $7 billion a year in online purchases.

Within generations there are various life stages that occur in different groups such as becoming new parents, couples with college bound children, empty nesters. blended families etc. When you are determining your target audience for marketing it is better to focus on life stages rather than generations. Identify the “buyer” you want to have and present your marketing specifically for them.

For info about a new website, redesign or search engine optimization contact
Websites by Ideal

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Close Sales with a Better Website Design

Your business is all about style, function and good design. Your website should reflect your business in the same way. It should be easy to get around, have a color scheme consistent with your brand, high quality images to showcase your work and quality content with an easy to read font.

Your website is the most important sales and marketing tool your business has. It is the economic engine of your business and should target your audience, provide qualified leads and help you close the sale.

Websites by Ideal is different from many website companies. We specialize in design, redesign, and search engine optimization for businesses in the Builder/Remodeling industry.

Contact us to see how we can make sure your website works the way it should for your business.

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Promises too Good to be True?

It seems like almost every day we get calls or emails from SEO “experts” making unrealistic promises and guaranteed rankings. They offer “free trials”, “lowest price”, and “secret” strategies.

SEO is hard work and takes a serious amount of time to do it correctly. Keep in mind that no one can guarantee a #1 ranking on Google. Google itself says to beware of anyone that promises this.

Be wary of too good to be true promises. What distinguishes those who really know SEO from scammers is their history and background. Request samples of work and references, make sure that you verify that the company is reputable. Your best defense against scams is becoming more educated.

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Will a website redesign hurt my rankings?

You should consider a website redesign every few years to keep up with technological changes, to have a fresh new look and improved usability.

Hopefully you have high rankings now, but will a redesign lower them?
Redesigning your website could lower your rankings, but won’t if you make sure your design team is experienced in planning, transitioning and executing the old to the new.

Properly done, a website redesign including SEO will improve your rankings and increase the number of visitors.

Posted in SEO, Website Design | 8 Comments

Should You Redesign Your Website?

If you aren’t completely happy with the way your current website looks, or if it is not helping you to get more business, it is time for a website redesign.

People go through an evolution of websites similar to the way their living spaces evolve. The starter house that was adequate for the newlyweds gives way to more spacious quarters as the family expands. Similarly, as your business grows you may need a website redesign.

Continuing this analogy, even if your home is functionally adequate, the time may come when you want to make it more attractive and comfortable. The same thing can happen with your website. Just as you may decide to redesign your living quarters, you may need or want to redesign your website.

No matter who originally developed your current website, Websites by Ideal will provide you with a website redesign to improve your on-line image and the success of your business.

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Time For a Website Facelift?

It’s a new year – time for a fresh start. Perhaps it’s time to give that tired, old, difficult-to-update website a facelift. Where do you start?

Think about the goals you would want from a new website. What should the new website achieve?

Different types of business have different customers. Are the needs and wants of your customers being met?

Do you know what does and doesn’t work with your current website? Are you reviewing your website’s Google Analytics? Nowadays it’s all about the data. The data info gives you an objective picture about visitor behavior and what your website is accomplishing or where it is failing.

Keep in mind website design is an ongoing, ever changing process due to changing technology, changes in your goals for your business and the changing needs and wants of your customers.

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Preventing Negative SEO

Most people are familiar with good SEO, the kind that helps you increase you rankings and your ability to be found. Negative SEO is an unethical practice that mistakenly or deliberately targets a specific website. It can be a result of a professional who is not properly optimizing your website, a competitor who does not like your website, or a hacker who just wants to cause harm.

Although these occurrences are somewhat rare, a website professional knows how to identify these negative “attacks” using analytics and can correct and prevent them.

The best defense against negative SEO is making sure your website’s content and structure is solid and that you have good quality links pointing to your website as well as out to other websites.

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A Cost Effective Marketing Strategy

Your website can be viewed as the “perfect employee” – it works around the clock, doesn’t call in sick or come in late. It does whatever you tell it to do. Its only limitation is what you don’t ask it to do.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a needed enhancement for your website for continual growth of sales for your company. It’s a cost effective online marketing strategy with the ability to build brand awareness, target users and differentiate your company from your competitors.

Without SEO your website can only get so far on it’s own. With proper SEO you will see increased traffic and have defined measurable results to determine your return on investment.
Samples of Our Work

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The Benefit of Having a Mobile Optimized Website

Recent surveys have reported that 45% of people use their smartphones to shop, 65% of all email first gets opened on a mobile device and 75% of people use their phone in bathrooms.

If you have an older website it may not mobile ready. New websites that are optimized and responsive allow website content to be easily read, usable with features such as click to phone and click for directions, and to automatically adjust the size to fit all types of devices.

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A Cost Effective Marketing Strategy

Your website can be viewed as the “perfect employee” – it works around the clock, doesn’t call in sick or come in late. It does whatever you tell it to do. Its only limitation is what you don’t ask it to do.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a needed enhancement for your website for continual growth of sales for your company. It’s a cost effective online marketing strategy with the ability to build brand awareness, target users and differentiate your company from your competitors.

Without SEO your website can only get so far on it’s own. With proper SEO you will see increased traffic and have defined measurable results to determine your return on investment. Websites by Ideal can help!

Posted in Internet Marketing, Website Design, Website Maintenance | Tagged | 3 Comments

Your Website Tells a Story

It’s About Perception…
When visitors go to your website they are instantly deciding whether you are credible and what level of trust they will have in you. Having quality photos can make or break the design and set the tone of your website. Really great photos encourage your visitors to participate in your website story rather than hit the back button and leave.

In addition, high resolution, quality photos indicate the amount of effort you put into the design of your website. Visitor perception is that this is the same kind of effort you would put into your work.

Although hiring a professional photographer may be a costly option, it is often worth the extra expense. If you decide to take photos yourself, invest in a high quality camera, shoot in raw mode, and make sure to examine the photo’s details and retake if necessary to remove unsightly clutter. If you take a little more time to get the “perfect” photo, your visitors will have more confidence in your company which will help influence them to do business with you.
Website Words of Wisdom

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Links on your Website Good or Bad?

Should you avoid linking to other websites?

For the most part, links on your website to other websites can be good, As long as these outbound links are relevant to your business they can help build your credibility. Valuable links will direct visitors to other objective sources about you and your company. For example, links to articles and news topics help to reaffirm your expertise in a subject matter and can make you an authority of sorts. And reputable links will help your website and those pages you are linking to rank higher.

Beware of having too many links, links to sites with no useful content, or broken links. Be careful that you don’t link to websites that may direct your visitors to your competitors. Visitors can get confused and you run the risk of sending them away from your site.

View our sample websites

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How SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is like Building a House

Every house starts with a foundation as does a website. The foundation is a base for everything, the structure must be solid or the house’s future is risky. With a solid foundation in place the building can begin. If quality materials and skilled tradesman are used to do the work the finished product will last for years.

Search Engines such as Google are the appraisers and inspectors. They make sure your “house is built to code” and look at the neighborhood to determine the value of your house. The better the location the higher the value.

In the world of websites a properly optimized website with quality links (that’s the neighborhood) is critical. The result will be more visitors to your website and higher rankings with search engine providers. For more info visit Websites by Ideal

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Keys to a Successful Website

There are multiple elements that must come together for success with any website.

The website must be designed to be attractive and functional, it must communicate to the target audience, and it must be found on the internet. Just like a builder must use the skills of a number of trades, the creation of a successful website requires the abilities of a number of disciplines. It is not enough to just have a designer or to just have a programmer. There also must be someone who understands marketing and also someone who understands Search Engine Optimization (SEO). All of these skills contribute to seamlessly handling the website project.

See Our Sample Websites

Websites by Ideal has the capability to build a variety of websites from simple to complex, to optimize and to maintain websites.

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Color Perception in Website Design

The Importance of Color Selection

As your business grows and changes over the years, you may desire to make changes to such things as your business logo and your website. If so, it may be good time to consider changing the colors that have been used also.

Choosing an appropriate color combination in the website design process is considered one of the most important (yet often overlooked) elements in creating a successful website.

Choice of color has the ability to generate a positive impact to the visitor and as a result, make the visitor stay longer. We all know – the longer the visitor stays the more the chance of enticing the visitor to take action. For more about website design and SEO visit Websites by Ideal

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Generate more leads from your website

Help your visitors want to sign up for your services

Today’s homeowners don’t like to get the hard sell when visiting your website. It is better to “help them to buy.” So make sure your website allows them to find the specifics they want to know about you, your firm, past projects, customer reviews and more.

One thing to keep in mind when designing or redesigning your website is that navigation should be clear and intuitive. The site should function properly and the content copy should be helpful and informational rather than a sounding like a sales pitch.

Your website must also make it easy for the visitor to contact you. All phone and fax numbers, mailing address, web forms, and an e-mail address links are all ways to help visitors “buy” from you.
For a new website, or search engine optimization
contact us

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The Value of Reviews and Testimonials

There are many sites such as Google and Yelp that allow your clients to post reviews of your work.   Having positive testimonials are imperative to drive more traffic to your website, improve your search visibility and improve your rating.

Gathering testimonials from satisfied clients and adding them to your company website should be done routinely.  To keep it simple consider having a way to post their reviews directly onto your website.  Websites by Ideal Reviews

 

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Winner 2014 Star Awards Best Remodeler Website

Legal Eagle Contracting,, Inc., of Houston won Best Remodeler Website at the Texas Association of Builders 2014 Star Awards.

Their website was designed by Websites by Ideal  in  Houston, NY, Florida.  See more websites we designed

 

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Content Marketing to Boost Your Business

Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a target audience. This is not selling but instead helping the customer or prospect to be more informed and aware of your presence.

When focusing your efforts on content marketing the playing field is leveled between you and your competitors.  Unlike traditional marketing such as TV, radio and print ads, the size of your marketing budget doesn’t matter but what does matter is the focus and hard work you put into it, who does it better. Content marketing efforts can be accomplished across multiple platforms such as websites, blogs, e-newsletters, social media and articles.

Energize your business by investing in content marketing, you will be rewarded with more business and customer loyalty. More articles about website marketing.

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Does your website have any of these design flaws?

Flashy digital animation and special effects

If you must, use these sparingly. They are very distracting from the purpose which is to sell and show the value of your product or service.

Patterned backgrounds and black backgrounds with colored text

Try to have no more than 2 or 3 colors and use a readable font.  Keep link colors consistent.  This way, your visitors won’t suffer from eye strain.

Too many pages and important info is hidden

Your visitors should not need a GPS to get where they want to go.  They should enjoy the trip and get to the destination easily and quickly.

Studies show you have 10 seconds to grab your website visitor’s interest. READ MORE
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Don’t Be Fooled By This Scam

According to the Better Business Bureau,  scammers in Asia are trying to trick business owners into paying a premium for website domain names. 

How the Scam Works:

You receive an email addressed to the owner of your company. It appears to be from an Asian domain registration service. The email says that a third party company has requested to register your business’s brand name as a website domain in China or elsewhere in Asia.

According to the email, the “domain registrar” realized your company owns that brand name. And they decided to do you a favor and offer to register the domain for you instead of this other company.

The catch? There is no competing business, and the price to purchase the domain is much higher than you would pay elsewhere. Often, the email sender isn’t even an actual domain registration business. He/she simply purchases the domain elsewhere for a few dollars and immediately sells it back to the victim for an inflated price.  Contact us for more info

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Elements of Good Website Design

In your business you strive to have beautiful and functional projects. Your website should reflect that work by having a beautiful and functional design.   If you are planning a design or redesign of your website there are a few things that you should keep in mind:

Your website should have good visual flow, layout of the home page and other pages should have the same look and feel and share a common theme.  The navigation from page to page should be clear and simple. The colors should either complement or contrast to fit the mood you want to portray.

Text should be concise and in small paragraphs so your visitors stay interested.  If there is too much to read or if there is too much clutter they will leave.  When choosing a font for text, stick to the standard fonts because non-standard fonts may be substituted with another on some computers.

Showcase your projects; take before and after professional photos and use good quality large images.

Designing a great website can take a lot of work but if done properly it will deliver by paying you back with lots of qualified prospects who are excited to use your services.

  More articles

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Make Sure Website Visitors Come Back

Having designed many websites for builders and remodelers, I can’t emphasize enough the old saying “A picture is worth a thousand words”.   Websites often become outdated because new photos are not added on a regular basis. 

New photos and fresh content attracts new visitors and repeat visits to your website.  An added bonus is that your photos and projects will be readily available for awards competitions.

Technology is constantly changing; search engines, mobile websites, email newsletters, and websites like Houzz emphasize the need to keep your website from going stale. More about website maintenance      

Keep your website up to date!
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Don’t Trick Search Engines

Part of good website design has to do with the proper use of keywords.  These are words or phrases that appear within your website’s content and help to get your website a higher Google ranking when someone searches for your products or services.

For instance, if you are a Kitchen Remodeling Company in Houston, these keywords and phrases could be Kitchen, Remodeler, Kitchen remodeler, and Kitchen Remodeler Houston. Proper placement of these terms and variations of these words is crucial and should be carefully done by a knowledgeable website designer to prevent over-optimizing.

Companies such as Google have programs that are continuously checking content to ensure that the same words and phrase(s) aren’t being used over and over again.  These programs might consider this spam and if so, your website could be removed from their indexes or your company could be penalized with a lowered page rank.

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Be sure to Investigate a “good deal”

There are many offers from companies promoting website design and maintenance.  Unfortunately not all of them are legitimate and some of them can even be detrimental.

We have heard from some of our clients who have had the misfortune of trying to take advantage of some of these companies.  They thought they were getting a “good deal” but instead they were held hostage by them.

These companies have been known to duplicate your website (a big no-no with Google) and use one of their own phone numbers on this duplicate website. This duplicate website (which you don’t own) is competing with your own website and you get charged lots of money for them to maintain it.

And if you cancel your contract with them, they’ll reuse the alternate domain name for someone else’s duplicate site and also reassign the same phone number they had been using for you. So if someone uses that phone number to try to reach you, they’ll reach one of your competitors instead.

Before doing business with any website company, please investigate them thoroughly. For more info contact Websites by Ideal

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How a remodeling company can get more business

Most people turn to the internet when looking for a remodeler to do their home remodeling project. If they are lucky enough to find and go to your website, these people are either casual visitors or qualified leads.  A properly designed website will increase visitor traffic, capture leads, and turn casual visitors into qualified leads.

So to answer the question “How does a remodeling company get more business”?  It’s by increasing your online presence with a well-designed website. An effective website should not be a glorified brochure but instead a lead generating tool. See Sample Websites

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Website Design – Picture Handling

Websites by Ideal utilizes a wide variety of picture handling and presentation techniques to maximize the impact of your website for your clients and prospects.

1. Slide shows

2. Mouse over

3. Pop up (with an option to add descriptions)

4. Enlarge in place

5. Film strip

6. Carousel

We have also hand crafted special picture presentations to solve unique situations for our clients. There is a lot of truth to the old saying that “a picture is worth a thousand words” and there is no better way to show off what a great product you are capable of producing.

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Is Your Website Search Engine Friendly?

The first requirement for visitors to find your business by means of a search engine is to make sure your website is visible to the search engines. This is referred to as being search engine friendly.

The exact indexing rules and procedures used by the various search engines are a closely guarded secret. However, there are certain basic principles that are known and can be applied. Following these “best practice’ principles will result in a greater likelihood of search engines finding your website.

Websites by Ideal will ensure that the websites we provide adhere to the best practices of search engine optimization. This will give you the best shot possible of having your website found by your prospects.

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Featured Builder Website

This website was custom designed for a builder in the Houston area.

See more sample builder websites we have created.

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Word of Mouth is Still the Best Game in Town

When it comes to credibility and effectiveness of advertising, word of mouth advertising has always been the most effective at generating “hot” prospects. This is just as true in today’s world of web marketing.

For good word of mouth it is absolutely necessary to participate in the various social media venues such as Facebook, Linked-In and Twitter in today’s world.

One of my clients once said “I’ve got a website! Why do I need Facebook?” I had to point out that you not only need a great website that shows off your products or services, you also need to get your potential customers to visit it.

You shouldn’t just rely on the search engines to know what you have to offer and then hope that your prospective customers will search for the right keywords. A more   proactive approach should be taken to get the good word out. By letting all your friends on Facebook, Linked-In and Twitter know about your website and that you’re looking for new business, you stand a much better chance that they will tell their friends and they will tell their friends, etc.

Your chances increase that somewhere along the line, somebody will be looking for your product or service and will then be only a click away from visiting your website where they’ll see all the great things you have to offer.

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Website Marketing-Promises or Problems?

Recently I have come across a number of situations where promises have turned into problems.  Following are some cautions: 

If it’s too good to be true, it probably isn’t good.  Beware of the free website offers.  In the cases I have seen, the web developer either links you to your competitors or ends up charging you a huge monthly fee to maintain the free website.

If you are new to the web or expanding your presence on the web, make sure you own your own domain name (that is your address on the web).  Just because you pay for it doesn’t mean you own it – so just check it out.

Sometimes a third party will offer to get you more visibility on the web.  Some of these companies will purchase a different domain name, duplicate your website and then send prospects to that website.  If you decide to cancel your services with that company, they own the new domain name that has been getting all that traffic and has built up a presence on the web.

There is undoubtedly opportunity on the web, but there are also significant landmines out there.  Before you jump in or if you are already in, before you commit to some of the promises being made, please use just a little caution.

View our designed/redesigned websites

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Search Engine Scams

I have recently seen some awful text created for a website by a so called “search engine optimization company” that should have known better. They blatantly told the website owner, “Don’t worry about the writing, it’s written for the search engines, not people.” In other words, they were trying to scam the search engines into sending more people to that website without any regard for the fact that they’d be turned off by the quality of what they found once they got there. This directly violates the first point of Google’s published Quality Guidelines which states:

“Make pages primarily for users, not for search engines. …”

Google has every right to, and has been known to penalize websites for violations of their Quality Guidelines. At Websites by Ideal, we make it a policy to follow Google’s guidelines. We feel that it pays off in the long run to keep on the good side of the largest search engine company in the world that sends about 80% of the new traffic to websites around the world. It seems to us that search engine scams are very short sighted and can do nothing but harm in the long run.  Read More About SEO

 

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Do it Yourself Websites

With all the “Do it yourself” website building software available, why shouldn’t you just create your own website?

Sure it can be done. But ask yourself; “Don’t I have more important things to do, that no one else can handle for me? Isn’t it more cost effective to leave the building of my company’s website to an experienced professional? One who will ensure that my website is attractive, user friendly and ranks well in search results? ”

Do it yourself websites often look like amateurish, cookie cutter websites built from a template. The old adage that says, “You get what you pay for” is very true when it come to the creation of websites. Paying a professional web designer who already has the experience needed to do it right is much more cost effective than using your own valuable time to try to learn by trial and error. Trial and error is always the most expensive way to learn anything.

Frequently asked questions

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Don’t Promote Your Competition

“That’s obvious advice,” you may be thinking, “I’d never promote my competition!
”Well unfortunately, if you have one of those so called “free” websites that you’re paying $133 per month for, you are in fact promoting your competition without realizing it. At the bottom of each page of your “free” website, the visitor finds a link to the website of the directory company that built the website for you. Following this link takes them to a directory of all the people in your same line of work. And it’s a safe bet that your company isn’t listed first.

Try it for yourself. Scroll down to the bottom of one of your website pages and click on the ad logo placed there by the directory company. When you get to their website, pretend you’re someone looking for the services you offer and see how easy it is to find your company.

If you are appalled at what you discover, don’t despair – we’ve already rescued others who were inadvertently promoting their own competition. For advice and information on how to get started with your website rescue mission, visit WebsitesbyIdeal

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Show Your Work with Your Own Photos

To project the best image for your business, it is important that you use your own photos to illustrate your capabilities. For example, websites I recently developed for a Long Island architect, Houston remodeler, Kingwood remodeler and Houston custom builder all feature extensive photo galleries which beautifully display the accomplishments of these professionals.

Not only are you better off showing your own projects on you website, you will also avoid copyright infringement violations. I have recently seen instances of companies being sued for their use of copyrighted photos. In addition to potentially being very costly, using these photos also projects a poor image for you and your work. Often these photos show up multiple times on the internet, which makes it obvious that they are not representations of your work.

Unfortunately, I have seen instances of websites that were developed inexpensively using photos without permission. Usually the owner of the website is unaware of this infringement until they are sued by the rightful owner of the photos. If stock photos must be used, make sure that you have the rights to use them.

Using your own photos will increase your credibility and image. For example the Long Island architect site displays photos of his Design/build home remodeling projects. The Houston home remodeling company has an extensive gallery of their award-winning home renovations. The Kingwood Texas home remodeler uses his photo gallery to show their prospects his Kingwood, Humble and Atascocita home renovations. Even simple photos that you take yourself will be better than a stock photo that can be seen on other websites.

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Creating Interest with Your Website

The two essential elements of any marketing effort are to attract attention and to create interest. All too often with website marketing, all the effort goes into trying to attract attention.

However, in order to obtain the ultimate objective of selling something, whether or not the sale is done directly from your website, the element of interest must be created and maintained. In other words, there has to be something of substance presented that meets a need or fulfills a desire.

It does no good to catch someone’s attention with a lot of flashy glitz and glitter if it isn’t backed up with a something of substance for them to get interested in. In fact, even if there is something of interest there, it may be hidden or obscured by all the noise and commotion created in an effort to attract attention.

Websites by Ideal strives to achieve the proper balance between these two essential factors of attraction and interest. We create websites that are attractive in the sense of being aesthetically pleasing to the eye and that evoke interest by attractively presenting finished products that anyone would be happy and proud to own.

To see samples of the websites we have created based on these principles, visit our samples page and explore any of the websites you find there.

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Do it Yourself Websites

With all the “Do it yourself” website building software available, why shouldn’t you just create your own website?

Sure it can be done. But ask yourself; “Don’t I have more important things to do, that no one else can handle for me? Isn’t it more cost effective to leave the building of my company’s website to an experienced professional? One who will ensure that my website is attractive, user friendly and ranks well in search results? “

Do it yourself websites often look like amateurish, cookie cutter websites built from a template. The old adage that says, “You get what you pay for” is very true when it come to the creation of websites. Paying a professional web designer who already has the experience needed to do it right is much more cost effective than using your own valuable time to try to learn by trial and error. Trial and error is always the most expensive way to learn anything.

Websites by Ideal has the knowledge and experience needed to provide you with an aesthetically pleasing website that will show off your products to best advantage. Our websites provide an easy user experience that doesn’t confuse the user and drive them away. First impressions are always very important and a good website is a very valuable first impression for your company.

To get started on the process of acquiring the most cost effective website for your company, call Websites by Ideal today at 516-382-0861 and ask for Art.

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Spreading the Word

by Arthur Hart, President of Websites by Ideal

Farmers need to understand this method of operation. But in our society of instant gratification, we seldom have the patience to wait for the good word to spread.

When we put up a website, we’d like to have people immediately begin to visit it and start contacting us to do business. Just like growing a crop, these things take time.

First, the search engines have to find your website and index its content. Then they need to evaluate how important that content is to their users (the people searching for content like yours).

One of the ways Google evaluates the importance of your content is to examine how many times it is referenced from other websites. In other words, the good word about your website needs to spread among your peers. And again, these things take time.

Fortunately, there are some things you can and should do to help this process along. For help in getting your website found more frequently by qualified prospects, contact Websites by Ideal. We’ll help you make sure you’re doing the right things to promote your website for long term success.

Getting too impatient can lead to long term disaster; especially if you do things that annoy the search engines. They have been known to penalize websites for trying to fool them into skewing their search results to favor one website over another

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Website Copy

I have recently seen some awful text created for a website by a so called “search engine optimization company” that should have known better. They blatantly told the website owner, “Don’t worry about the writing, it’s written for the search engines, not people.”
In other words, they were trying to scam the search engines into sending more people to that website without any regard for the fact that they’d be turned off by the quality of what they found once they got there. This directly violates the first point of Google’s published Quality Guidelines which states:
“Make pages primarily for users, not for search engines. …”
Google has every right to, and has been known to penalize websites for violations of their Quality Guidelines.
At Websites by Ideal, we make it a policy to follow Google’s guidelines. We feel that it pays off in the long run to keep on the good side of the largest search engine company in the world that sends about 80% of the new traffic to websites around the world. It seems to us that search engine scams are very short sighted and can do nothing but harm in the long run.

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Who Owns You

As an independent business owner, we like to think that we are free to run things the way we want to. We presume that nobody owns us. This may not be the case, however, for our website.

We all know that we don’t have exclusive rights to our own name – someone else could have been given the same name by their parents. This may cause a bit of confusion if they live in the same neighborhood or go to the same school.

However, in the world of business it is more important to have the exclusive right to use our own business name and not have it encroached upon by someone else. Governments don’t allow the same name to be registered as a business name by two different organizations.

In the world of the internet (also called the World Wide Web) uniqueness of website names is maintained by an international (non-governmental) organization that coordinates the registration of all website names (also called domain names). When you pay a fee for registering your domain name you are is essence paying for the exclusive right to use that particular name and no one else anywhere in the world can infringe on that right. The domain name of your website is a primary asset of your business. It is the unique name by which you are known to all the search engines.

Unfortunately however, even though you have paid to have a domain name registered, you may not have been given the authority to manage or control where it sends people to find you website. This only becomes important when you want to change website vendors. When you want to exercise your freedom to have your website improved by a different vendor or even simply moved to a different website hosting company, you may encounter a surprise.

It may turn out that the original vendor named themselves as the “administrative contact” even though you are listed as the official owner of the domain name. This means that you need their permission to change where the domain name points to. Usually this is allowed as a courtesy by the administrative contact. However, I’ve recently seen a case where they charged a fee to allow the domain name owner to have his domain pointed to his new website.

It’s an even nastier surprise when you discover that the original vendor didn’t even bother to list you as the owner but simply registered your domain name as belonging to them. In either case, you have been paying for a registration that you didn’t really own in the true sense of being able to control or change it at your own discretion.

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by Arthur Hart
President, Websites by Ideal
516-382-0861, www.websitesbyideal.com

Congratulations on surviving the economic challenges of the past year. Now it’s time to ramp up to take advantage of the growth opportunities of  the new year.

Now is not the time to rely on the tired same-old, same-old ways of bringing in business. This is your cue to renew and refresh the public face of your company. It’s time to create “a new you for the new year.”

This is most easily done by utilizing the vast marketing potential of the internet. If your company doesn’t already have a strong internet presence, now is the time to establish one. If you already have an internet presence, then now is the time to improve, enhance and strengthen it.

In either case, Websites by Ideal is here to help you create that new you for the new year.

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by Arthur Hart
President, Websites by Ideal
516-382-0861, www.websitesbyideal.com

I think you’ll agree that your ideal prospect is someone with a need you can fulfill and is looking for somebody to give them the service or product that they need or want. In the days before the prevalence of the internet, the standard way to get found was to list your business and its services in the local or regional phone book.

With the advent of the internet, however, people no longer go to the phone book listings – instead, they jump onto the internet and ask a search engine like Google or Bing to find a service supplier for them. Therefore, the problem of getting found is the problem of getting the search engines to know about your business and its services. This enables them to include your information is the response they give to the person looking for your type of service via the internet.

This is why it’s now a necessity for every business to have a “web presence” in the form of a website that accurately and completely describes its services or products. Furthermore, your business website needs to be attractive and easy to use so that your prospects will be pleased with its presentation and drawn into its content.

In other words, an attractive, user-friendly website is now an integral part of the successful sales process. You can’t rely on simply being listed in a directory (even an online directory) because you need to have a nice website for the search engines to direct people to. This will capture and enhance the interest of your potential customers thereby moving them along toward becoming your actual customers.

For help in creating an attractive, user-friendly website that will enhance the success of your sales process, contact Websites by Ideal at 516-382-0861 or info@websitesbyideal.com.

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by Arthur Hart
President, Websites by Ideal
516-382-0861, http://websitesbyideal.com

“That’s obvious advice,” you may be thinking, “I’d never promote my competition!”

Well unfortunately, if you have one of those so called “free” websites that you’re paying $133 per month for, you are in fact promoting your competition without realizing it. At the bottom of each page of your “free” website, the visitor finds a link to the website of the directory company that built the website for you. Following this link takes them to a directory of all the people in your same line of work. And it’s a safe bet that your company isn’t listed first.

Try it for yourself. Scroll down to the bottom of one of your website pages and click on the ad logo placed there by the directory company. When you get to their website, pretend you’re someone looking for the services you offer and see how easy it is to find your company.

If you are appalled at what you discover, don’t despair – we’ve already rescued others who were inadvertently promoting their own competition. We do it by redeveloping your website and moving it to your own hosting space at a reputable hosting company. Once this transition is made, you’ll no longer be paying good money every month to help promote your competitors.

For advice and information on how to get started with your website rescue mission, contact Websites by Ideal at 516-382-0861 or mailto:info@websitesbyideal.com

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by Arthur Hart
Websites by Ideal
516-382-0861
Art@WebsitesbyIdeal.com

We’ve often heard it said that “a picture is worth a thousand words.” There is a lot of truth to this statement and it is especially true for websites. People shopping on the web are much more interested in seeing a picture of what they are looking for than reading a thousand words about it.

Words are certainly necessary on a website as it is the words that the search engines like Google and Bing can understand and relate to search terms entered by their users. However, once the search engine has done its job of getting their user to your website, what will interest people the most are some good pictures of your final products.

Some people like to show before and after pictures of things like rooms or houses that they have redesigned or renovated. However, there are a few things to be cautious of in this regard.

Be cautious about showing intermediate stage pictures that show work in process. These pictures make it too plain to people that they are going to have to suffer through a period of messiness in their home as the project is being done. So don’t over emphasize the negative aspects – focus on the fulfillment of their dream and the final outcome.

Also, if you are going to use before pictures, make sure that you take the after shots from the same angle and perspective so that the two pictures are easily seen to belong together. And please be sure that it is clear to the casual observer that there is a vast improvement over the before picture. If the redesign was done simply to change the style of the home, but there was nothing obviously wrong or lacking with the original situation, someone with different tastes might prefer the before to the after picture.

Finally, make sure your pictures are well lighted and high enough quality to show up well on your website. The pictures you show the world on your website are a powerful indication of your ability to create a good, pleasing and professional product.

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by Lorraine Hart
President Ideal Consulting Services, Inc.
516 826-6725, www.IdealConsulting.net

With the advent and growth of the World Wide Web many companies and services have been jumping on the band wagon. There is undoubtedly opportunity on the web, but there are also significant land mines out there. Before you jump in or if you are already in, before you commit to some of the promises being made, please use just a little caution.

Recently I have come across a number of situations where promises have turned into problems. Following are some cautions.

If it’s too good to be true, it probably isn’t good. Beware of the free website offers. In the cases I have seen, the web developer either links you to your competitors or ends up charging you a huge monthly fee to maintain the free website. I have seen fees as high as $281 per month for a free website.

Regarding linking to other websites, I just want to say be careful. Links are or can be good, especially links to you, but beware of linking to a site where your prospects can find your competitors.

If you are new to the web or if you are expanding your presence on the web, make sure you own your own domain name (that is your address on the web). Just because you pay for it doesn’t mean you own it – so just check it out. Sometimes a third party will offer do get you more visibility on the web. Some of these companies will purchase a different domain name, duplicate your website and then send prospects to that website. If you decide to cancel your services with that company, they own the new domain name that has been getting all that traffic and has built up a presence on the web.

A similar situation occurs when your web developer has your website directed to their website. It is common for web developers to use this while they are developing your site, but once your website is completed, it should be found directly on the internet, not as a “sub-domain” of another website. To find out if this is the case with you simply type in your website and then look in the bar at the top when your website comes up. If it starts with anything other than your website name you are part of another’s site.

I am seeing more and more promises from companies to get you top listing on the web. I am also seeing promises of key-word clicks. Some of the services are excellent, but unfortunately many of the services are not what you think they are. The one many of my clients have been telling me about is the offer to get high placement or promise that you they will be listed “first or second, etc.” Often this is not quite what you think it is. Instead what they are promising is that you will be first or second in their directory. This, of course means that your prospects have to first find their directory and then they can find you.

Earlier I mentioned duplicate websites. There are a number of ways that this is being done and an explanation of the advantages and disadvantages is beyond the scope of this article. With the internet becoming the place to go for information and because of constantly changing rules it is difficult for anyone to stay fully informed. However there are certain cautions that you must know about.

For more information, please email or call Ideal Consulting.

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by Arthur Hart
Websites by Ideal
516-382-0861

There is a key ingredient in the sales process that is deadly if it is missing at either the very beginning or at the very end. That ingredient is confidence in you and your company.

It can be deadly at the very beginning if the potential customer has never heard of you and it can be deadly at the very end if the potential customer isn’t quite sure of your ability to build their dream.

In either case, a good website can do a lot to overcome the potential customer’s lack of confidence.

Even if they haven’t heard of you directly, having a website for them to visit shows them that you have a real business that has been around for awhile and that you intend to be there for them. The reason we recommend that you register your domain name and purchase hosting for at least five years is that even the search engines use this as an indication that you intend to be there for the long haul.

At the end of the sales process, when you are trying to close the deal, things will go a lot more smoothly if they’ve built up their confidence in you via your website. For example, a webpage filled with testimonials from satisfied customers goes a long way toward building their confidence in you. And similarly, a good photo gallery showing some completed projects will also boost their confidence. It is their confidence in you that will get them to sign on the dotted line.

To see a sample of some of the website designs created by Websites by Ideal, visit our website: www.websitesbyideal.com and go to our samples page. You can contact us for help with your website by either filling out and submitting the contact form on our website or by calling 516-382-0861.

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by Lorraine Hart
President
Ideal Consulting Services, Inc.

I am often asked about websites. These questions range from “should I?”, “must I?”, “should it be fancy?”, “should it be simple?”, “is it cheap?”, “is it expensive?”, “can I live without it?” The answer to all those questions is yes, and it depends. If you haven’t stopped reading by now, you deserve some real answers to those often asked questions.

In answer to the question “should I?” I am tempted to ask you if you should have a phone or more to the point a cell phone. Why do you need to have a website? Quite simply, because as a business it’s the thing to do and people expect it. That does not mean that you are going to get an influx of new clients simply because you have a website. However if and when you do take the plunge or when you decide it is time to redesign your website you will want to take some steps to make it possible to find you on the World Wide
Web. One of the simple steps is to include your website in all your other promotional materials. Another step has to do with what the technicians refer to as making your website search engine friendly. This is also known as search engine optimization or SEO.

Practically speaking what can your website do for you? It can serve as a good communi-cation tool; it can give you the opportunity to brag a little or a lot. It is an opportunity to show off your work, to show how you are different and of course to show that you are up with modern technology. Even if doesn’t really matter, people like it. Often, even if people never visit you online, it makes them feel good to know you have a real “address”.

The next question is how fancy should it be? That depends on you and your potential guests. Some people like very fancy, with lots of bells and whistles, others like very simple. Tastes vary greatly, just as they do in styles of houses, furniture and even clothing. I like simple, but that’s me. What do you like? More importantly, what will your visitors like, or should I say those who you want as potential clients. Keep in mind that although the animation and music can add life to your website, these features can also become very
annoying. Costs vary greatly and no, quality is not directly proportional to cost. I have seen some very nice, inexpensive websites, but unfortunately, I have also seen some very expensive, really bad websites. Beware of the very high cost and very low cost solutions. Make sure you know what you are getting so you can compare your options. If you plan to have a gallery of photos, you will need more space and more pages.

One of the first steps in planning for your website is deciding what to call it. Even if you are not quite ready for building your website now, you should still decide what name you want and buy that domain name now. Then you will have your name when you are ready for it.

Part of your planning process must include website maintenance. Although you may not want to be bothered with major updating, you absolutely do want to have the ability to make simple changes and updates. And it has to be simple. Unfortunately we have probably all heard of people waiting weeks and months for a simple change.

Once you take the plunge you will be glad you did. In addition to a storefront on the web, you will have another way to communicate to your clients.

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Responsive Websites Are Not a Panacea

by Arthur Hart

These days there’s a lot of talk about websites that respond to the type of device they are being displayed on. This is all fine if you want the website to respond to screen touches if it is being displayed on a touch-screen device or provide click to call capability if they are being displayed on an iPhone.

However, I take issue with the prevalent advice of today’s design gurus that a website should be cut back in scope and display only a minimal amount of information (mostly contact information) when it is being displayed on a small-screen mobile device. Their argument is that the website is too small to be useful if you display the entire page on an iPhone screen. They would have us offer up a much reduced version of the website that simply provides a way for the user to conveniently get in touch with the company.

As is usually the case, such advice has limits of applicability.  It applies best if the company is a well-known, national brand. In this case, people don’t need to see all the promotional offering and other details that they would find when accessing the website via their large-screen monitors or even their iPad. For such companies, it does stand to reason that when someone is accessing their website via a small-screen mobile device they are probably just interested in finding out how to get in touch with the company that they are already familiar with.

On the other hand, for smaller, less well-known companies, people may well need to see some relevant information about the company and its products before they are sure they even want to contact them. It’s obviously a disservice to both the company and the user to just give them contact information without adequate information with which to decide if they want to contact the company. This means that for these situations, it is important to somehow show all the information they would find if they were to find the website via a large-screen device.

Even though there are techniques available for displaying only the top left portion of the webpage when accessing it via a small-screen device, I personally favor initially showing the entire page and then relying on the user to zoom in to whatever portion of the page they want to investigate further. This is more in line with the traditional “top down” approach of showing the “big picture” first and letting users drill down to find the details. Otherwise, they only get to see a portion of the overall picture at first and then have to go hunting to find what else may be there.

Responsive websites definitely have their place in accommodating the more modern technologies of touch-screens and click-to-call, but many situations are better served by simply sticking with showing the user the full story as laid out for a large-screen device and relying on them to utilize the zooming in capabilities of the small-screen devices.

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Get More Sales from Your Local Area

If your business is like most businesses out there, you need and want more sales. In order to get more sales, you obviously have to get more leads, which means attracting more attention. One of the best ways to attract attention is to have a great website and to make sure that your website can and will be found in your local marketing area.

One of the biggest “selling points” for the internet is its global scope. However, many local businesses don’t find this global aspect of the internet appealing. For example, it would be prohibitively expensive for businesses in the various construction trades to service the needs of anyone living beyond the normal driving range of their service vehicles.

Fortunately, Google and other major search engines have recognized the real need for a more localized approach to search marketing. By letting them know where your business is located and what areas you service, you can get marketing results focused on your local area.

For one thing, your website will be featured more prominently in search results returned to someone who is either physically located in your service area or who has entered a search for something “near” some locale in your area. Another way the search engines try to support localized web marketing is to restrict the display of paid ads to people either physically located or searching for something in your local area. They realize that it does you no good for them to display your ad to someone in Seattle if your business is located in New York.

So, the good news is that even if you can’t service the whole world, you can still take advantage of the internet to market your services to your own local area.

For more information on local search marketing or for help creating a great website, call Websites by ideal at 516-382-0861 or email Art@WebsitesByIdeal.com.

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Local Search Marketing

Besides being available 24/7, one of the biggest “selling points” for the internet is its global scope. In fact, the abbreviation “www” which stands for “World Wide Web” emphasizes the global character of the web.

Many local businesses, however, don’t find this global aspect of the web appealing. There’s no way they can supply the needs of anyone outside of what they think of as their local market. For example, it would be prohibitively expensive for businesses in the various construction trades to service the needs of those who live beyond the normal driving range of their service vehicles.

Fortunately, Google and the other major search engines have recognized the real need for a more localized approach to search marketing and have begun to respond accordingly. By letting the search engines know where your business is located and what areas you service, you can get marketing results focused on your local area.

For one thing, your website will be featured more prominently in the search results returned to someone who is either physically located in your service area or who has entered a search for something “near” some locale in your service area.

Another way the search engines try to support localized web marketing is to restrict the display of paid ads to those people who are either searching from within your services area or who have entered a search for something near a locale in your service area. They realize that it does you no good for them to display your ad to someone in Seattle if your business is located in New York.

So, the good news is that even if you can’t service the whole world, you can still take advantage of the web to market your services to your own local area.

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Have It Your Way

Your website should be something that you are both comfortable with and proud of. It ought to be a personal reflection of you or your business.

For example, your website’s color scheme should be based on your favorite color or on the color of your company’s logo and letterhead.

Too often websites end up looking like cookie cutter, one-size-fits-all websites that aren’t really a reflection of the owner at all.

At Websites by Ideal, we always strive to give you a website built to your specifications; incorporating what you like in other websites while avoiding what you dislike. If you give us an example of a website your really like, we’ll match it as closely as possible without directly ripping off content.

The website we build for you will tell your own personal story with simplicity and elegance. At Websites by Ideal, you can have it your way.

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Search Engine Optimization

by Arthur Hart
Websites by Ideal

516-382-0861

It doesn’t pay to try to fool search engines into giving your web pages a higher page ranking than they deserve. The purpose of the search engines is to provide their users with relevant and useful information. Therefore, your focus in getting better results from your website should be cooperating with the search engines. In other words, you should focus most of your attention on putting relevant and useful information on your website – the kind of information that the search engines would love to direct people to when they’re looking for it.

This being said, there are some ways of helping the search engines find out what information you have available so that they can properly index it and present it when they think it is relevant to what someone has asked them to find on the internet. It helps to visualize the activity of a search engine system as colony of little ants busily scurrying all over the internet looking for food to bring back to the main databases. The food they are looking for, as we indicated before, is information that might be relevant and useful to someone making a request for such information from the search engine.

So how do we help these busy little ants find the food we have for them on our website? One of the best ways is to use good descriptive page titles. A page title is a string of up to about 60 characters or so that the web browser will display at the top of the page. It’s easily missed by most people because it’s almost hidden out of sight at the very top of the screen – way above all those useful toolbars you’ve got installed. However, our little search engine ants pay particular attention to these titles as a good indication of what is to be found on the page. Knowing this, one should pay attention to using meaningful page titles. For example, if your website is about the care and feeding of gerbils, then the title of your photo gallery page should be “Gerbil Pictures” or “Pictures of Gerbils” rather than simply “Pictures” or “Photo Gallery.”

Our little ants aren’t intelligent enough to know that since your whole website is about gerbils, your photo gallery page is naturally going to contain pictures of gerbils! Each page is indexed individually and needs to offer as much help as possible as to its own content. A good way of indicating to our little ants what is on a page, even before they arrive to examine its content, is to have a meaningful name for the page. The same principle applies to naming pages as we saw in giving them meaningful page titles. For example, the page address “http://www.my-gerbil-website.com/gerbil-pictures.html” gives the search engines a lot more meaningful information than “http://www.mygerbilwebsite.com/gerbilpictures.html.” People have gotten into the habit of leaving the hyphens out of domain names and will usually opt for “mygerbilwebsite.com” instead of “my-gerbil-website.com” even though the later gives the search engines more information. The search engines treat the hyphens as blanks. Therefore, the individual words stand out for them in the first domain name. However, they aren’t quite up to figuring out where the blanks or hyphens should go in the second domain name.

If you know or can guess what word or phrase someone is likely to use when searching the web for information that you have on your website, then by all means use those words or phrases in the page content. Again, however, don’t overdo it by packing your pages with keyword phrases just to try to get the search engines to give your page an artificially high ranking. The search engines have caught on to this trick and if they think you’re trying to put one over on them, they can and will reduce your page ranking instead of increasing it. By the same token, keyword meta-tags in the internal page header, that were originally meant to be used to help search engines index the page properly, are virtually ignored these days. This came about because too many people abused the intent of these tags and just stuffed them full of the same keywords repeated over and over in an effort to fool the search engines.

In summary, the best practice is to work in concert with the purpose of the search engines, which is to provide relevant and useful information to the person using the internet. Steer clear of so-called “black hat” techniques such as “cloaking” which intentionally shows the search engines different content than will actually be displayed to the human users of your website. It all starts with creating or providing useful content and then helping the search engines find it easily so that it can be indexed and easily retrieved when it is relevant to a search engine user. The latest tricks and techniques for getting your pages to show up first will eventually be recognized and penalized by the search engines as they are counter to their purpose.

How to Get Better Search Results:
• Relevant Content, i.e.: remodeler, Bohemia
• Descriptive Page Titles
• Meaningful Names on a page
• Use hyphens – each word searchable
• Use keyword phrases in page content

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