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Back to the Message

I remember taking on the job of writing this when the economic crisis was just the first gremlin that managed to find a water source. Once again I am optimistic about 2011 because I have seen a new breed of progress.

Markus Nelson President, Blue Light Labs Web DesignIt just hit me the other day after watching a little too much weather channel that communication as a medium and commodity has become not only the way we communicate now, but also effects how seriously we receive the message. The reason behind that run-on sentence pushes an interesting argument. With all the email, rss, tweeting, listing, promoting, face booking and newsletter writing we have at our finger tips the messages are being spread thin. Back in the day, companies were still able to run and function quite well without it all. I know times have changed but incentives have not. When a company had a staff meeting before email and cell phones,  I would assume that they took their meetings  more seriously than we probably do today. They did not have the constant availability of direct communication that we now have on tap.

It's all about the message isn't it?

The Web Designers MessageWhether it's a family member you are inviting to a Christmas party or a potential prospect you want to work with, the impact of the message does not get better with how many media types you can broadcast with. People need to get back to focusing on the message and stop fixating on how many mediums they can push it through with - don't you think? Getting to the point I have spent this entire year trying to figure out how to link all these communications systems up to where they are optimized to be refreshed / updated from one location. I'm sure other people will disagree with me, but I have found that the message gets diluted quite a bit by obsessing with the objective of automation. Quite a few clients we have here at blue Light Labs want to engage in this cross platform technology because they feel stressed  with limited time on their hands.   They are not strategizing, or planning where they are going and what their purpose is. As much time as you might think you’re wasting, I would like to encourage you to take your time learning your audience and the medium you are using to communicate with.

A Little Website Content can go a Long Way

Planning on adding white hat organic SEO to your web design and internet marketing agenda this year? It's a good idea, and the sooner the better!  Many of our web design and Joomla CMS clients this year have asked us to optimize their sites and most of them have been present on the web for quite some time. Out of many factors that determine a websites ranking three of the primary ones are:

  • Domain Age
  • Number of Links Pointing to the Website

Google PR or Page Rank Some of these businesses are sitting on a gold mind of PR and don't even know it! For example we just took two sites that had minimal content (justfitness4u.com) and (rivadesigns.com) and added a few paragraphs to their blogs , static pages and  tweaked the page titles and descriptions. Bam! in less than 2 months these sites had a number of top 10 (first page) competitive rankings. I was astonished at how fast they started showing up. New domains fresh off the GoDaddy press can take 6 months to a year to mature to get these kinds of results.

If you’re still here and with me … there are two main drivers to search engine ranking:

  • Links
  • Keyword to Content Ratio

By default many of these older sites had accumulated links without even knowing it. Once we added some fresh original content BAM!!! - Free Google Link Juice.  Many SEO experts don't want their clients to know this. I know many of you have been spammed over and over by these so called “SEO experts”  that offer you creatively written plans - don't waste your time. Blue Light Labs first focuses on the individual SEO and marketing goals of companies. We then decide what it takes to get them where they need to be. It is the only logical way to price it. Just remember you could be sitting on a wealth of PR and not even know it!

Blue Light Labs is offering website SEO evaluations at no cost to the first 10 companies that request it. The evaluation can give you valuable information as to where you stand and what your chances are for ranking well for your business. Feel free to call us at 770 309 6480 if you are interested.

Web Design Necessities

Once your website is up and ranking well - Then What ??  Allot of the time we found ourselves going back to the web design board and revamping the website to bring down the (Bounce Rate) "The bounce rate" is typically defined as - The rate in which visitors hit your site and for one reason or another leave within the first 10 seconds. According to Google a healthy bounce rate is around 30% most websites are stuck between 80% - 60%. That is half of your traffic or more leaving without so much as recognizing the websites message. Google now has a very handy tool that has helped us quite a bit with tweaking the web design and placement of elements on a home page for example. It's called Google Experiments and it allows users to post different versions of different web pages for specific periods of time. The good news is that doing this does not affect your ranking or position based on how each page is sculpted. After doing this with a number of clients I came up with three things that I felt made a huge difference when reviewing the bounce rate and lead generating potential of each site. This list does not necessarily work for every scenario but defiantly one to make note of.

Business Phone Number

Yes I know everyone thinks this is a no brainer but really. When people are shopping ---- > They are shopping and in most cases a visitor is never going to get past your front page. 90% of the time the visitor will absorb the message relate to it in one way or another and make an action. Some people want to be called or followed up to, others want to speak to a representative right then and there. If you are running a service based business or one that will accept phone calls really thing about strategically placing the main phone number on every page of the site - without exception the home page. I normally use 15-18px font and add it to the upper right corner of the header. Don't depend on your contact page! Make your home page as dummy proof as possible so a visitor can engage in what you offer at any time.

The All New Popular Mini Form

This works particularly great with service based businesses. I have been using a mini form on my home page for the last year. Doing this alone has pushed up my sales leads up to more than 40%. In fact, I would have never considered that,  but more than half of the web design leads that came in were from that form. We also have a much more elaborate form on the site that is triggered by an obvious call to action for those leads that want to take their time. Keep the mini-form simple,  because a visitor should not have to put much energy into filling it out.   I had no Idea how well this would catch on!

Training the Eye

On a web design level, color schema, look and feel, menu placement, call to action placement and message order of importance play a huge roll.
Ask any serious fisherman and they’ll tell you. You need to know where to fish, know the type of fish you’re going after, and know what bait to use.
Design your website for your ideal client. It’s hard to have your cake and eat it too, especially when you have an extreme diversity between services and products. Pick your top Service / Product direction and stick to it. The standard human eye moves from upper left to lower right. Putting a obvious call to action just right underneath the header has proven effective for me.
Thank you for staying on the leading edge.

QR Codes if's and's and but's

Blue Light Labs QR Code

More than likely you have seen one of these somewhere. To give you a heads up these are being used quite commonly by the Japanese and are slowly being adapted by the western market. QR stands for (Quick Response) using many smart phones with a camera users can now get direct information about a company, product or other information source by scanning a QR code on various media types.  This technology is currently not being used accessibly in the US but appears to be growing in popularity. For example the QR code up above I generated using Google places. If you take a snapshot of it with a phone that supports QR codes you should be forwarded to my Google places listing. This can open a variety of unique marketing opportunities.  Businesses  could list their QR codes on anything from business cards to T-shirts to give interested users access to more information about them.

Warm regards
Markus Nelson

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