Vesta Digital Blog

Posts Tagged ‘search engine marketing

With the right web platform, businesses are able to have access to a rich and powerful web application framework with a supporting cast of tools, servers, and technologies to help them succeed on the web.

By choosing a web developer for your website, you are choosing a framework (PHP, .NET) with their own advantages and disadvantages. A web developer will choose the framework for developing a website depending on the requirements and his or her technical proficiency.

PHP framework is an open source application, usually chosen by people who wish to have a short term solution and save money. Even though add-ons may be available, they may not be easily integrated into your website or may not be the best fit for your company.

Unlike PHP, .NET is not an open source and does not come for free. This framework is compatible with a number of programming languages like VB.NET, ASP.NET, C# etc and gives you plenty of access to offline and professional support. A number of high end programs are developed with the help of .NET. Though working with .NET involves paying a cost it is considered worthy of its price. Dot NET applications are generally used for the corporate sites where more stability is required. For sites that have many functionality and use .NET is highly preferred by developers.

The Use of Content Management System (CMS)

Once the website is launched you need to operate and market it to drive traffic to your website. It is important to have a sophisticated content management system that allows you to maintain, edit and operate a website on a daily basis with ease and efficiency. Sometimes CMS software deployments fail due to technology choices. The main cause of CMS solution failures lie in poor or non-decisions about CMS software and CMS implementation essentials such as web publishing models, web content governance and assignment of enterprise content management responsibilities. To achieve successful CMS implementation, consider these guidelines as CMS software deployment essentials:

  • Web Content Migration
  • Web 2.0 Standards and Templates
  • Web Content Creation
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Web Content Modification and Reuse
  • Monitoring and Progress
  • Ease of Operation

Content Management System and Search Engine Optimization

Content management and search engine optimization are inter-related. The quality and relevance of your web content along with its appeal to the search engines are considered the main magnets of web traffic.
Solid content is the key to a successful website. With CMS you are able to keep track of URLs and meta data for all your pages. In addition, CMS can provide an efficient way to syndicate the content you create to other websites.
Similar to a blog, it can also keep track of who created the content and when. CMS allows you and your staff to create and update content and graphics quickly and without the use of additional programs such as Microsoft FrontPage or Adobe Dreamweaver and costs associated with using these programs.

Using CMS has benefits for your search engine rankings as well. CMS platform gives you the ability to insert SEO-friendly tactics directly into CMS templates. Each content type or content category can be assigned its own section of your website. This allows the CMS to create keyword-rich, search engine friendly URLs easily. Your meta data and title tags can be managed in a central location also, making changes simpler and faster.

To take advantage of both worlds — the convenience and management advantages of a CMS and the site promotion advantages of SEO — you need a search engine optimizing CMS. It is important that CMS solution you choose allows non-technical users to easily specify keyword rich URLs, title tags, descriptions and image alt text. The system should provide feedback on these elements in terms of how they will impact the page’s performance for selected keywords. This kind of CMS allows users to create and optimize content in one tool rather than having to switch back and forth between a CMS and a set of SEO tools.

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FacebookAs Facebook soaring in popularity and becoming more popular than Google, people should be cautious when creating their personal or business pages. The most important thing to pay attention to when creating your Facebook page is profile settings. Make sure you check the appropriated boxes based on the privacy you wish to have. Below you will find some tips, do and don’s that may help you protect your privacy and avoid scams and embarrassment.

DO Consider the Following:

Use Your Friend Lists

Facebook describes friend lists as a feature which allows “you to create private groupings of friends based on your personal preferences. There are a few very important things to remember about friend lists:

  • You can add each friend to more than one friend group
  • Friend groups should be used like “tags” as used elsewhere around the web
  • Friend Lists can have specific privacy policies applied to them

Using friend lists is useful for organizing your friends if you have a lot of them. Having lists also helps if you wish to send the same email to all the friends in that group.

Remove Yourself From Facebook Search Results

Visit your search privacy settings page. Under “Search Visibility” select “Only Friends” (Remember, doing so will remove you from Facebook search results, so make sure you want to be removed totally. Otherwise, you can select another group, such as “My Networks and Friends” which I believe is the default.)
Click “Save Changes”

By default, Facebook makes your presence visible to the network you are in. Frequently, people aren’t aware of their visibility, so this is one of the first settings that users wish to modify. By selecting “Customize” from the search visibility drop down you can make your settings even more granular.

Remove Yourself From Google

Visit the same search privacy settings to control the visibility of your public search listing which is visible to Google and other search engines. You can turn off your public search listing by not marking the box next to the phrase “Create a public search listing for me and submit it for search engine indexing” as pictured in the image below.

Avoid Photo/Video Tags

To avoid infamous tagged photo or video from showing up in all of your friends news feeds do the following: Visit your profile privacy page and modify the setting next to “Photos Tagged of You”. Select the option which says “Customize…” and a box like the one pictured below will pop up.

Select the option “Only Me” and then “None of My Networks” if you would like to keep all tagged photos private. If you’d like to make tagged photos visible to certain users you can choose to add them in the box under the “Some Friends” option. In the box that displays after you select “Some Friends” you can type either individual friends or friend lists.

Protect Your Albums

Visit “Photos Privacy” page from which you can manually configure the visibility of each album Set your setting according to your preferences. If you wish your photos to be viewed only by your friends, make sure you choose that option.

Things NOT to DO

Password

Do not use the same password used for your banking or email address. Consider using letters and numbers and different case letters. If it is hard enough that even you can’t remember, write id down and stash in place only your would know.

Birthday

Do not leave your full birth date on your Basic Profile. You can choose not to show your birthday at all or have certain variations, such as month and day only.

Travel and Vacation Announcements

Do not make announcements of your oncoming vacations and/or trips. You can write and post pictures after you come back. Safety first!

Name Drops

Avoid using names of your Immediate family (spouses, significant others, children). If the picture is intended for your friends and family, they will know and recognize the pictures without names.

Supervision

Do not leave your teenagers unsupervised. Facebook limits its members to ages 13 and over, but there are children younger than that find have access to Facebook. If you have a young child or teenager on Facebook, the best way to provide oversight is to become one of their online friends. Use your e-mail address as the contact for their account so that you receive their notifications and monitor their activities.

Website TrafficThese 10 tips come from my personal experience as a blogger and reflect what I think is the best way to get attention or links from popular blogs. Essentially, you are using these tactics to target large blogs with a big readership in order to get more exposure for your website or business. These methods are for the most part free and only require a little time.

1) Find an Angle. Every good pitch needs an angle. If you are seriously interested in targeting a popular blog, take a look at what they publish to get an idea of what they kind of content they will run.

2) Content. Create your content with this angle in mind and pitch it accordingly. Creating content with a specific slant is quite easy to do and the rewards are high if you succeed in getting a mention. You can always go back to your usual content type or format after that happens.

3) Create the Perfect Pitch. There are some general rules to follow. Make your email concise and compelling. Check your copy and punctuation. Introduce yourself briefly. Use the blogger’s first name. Don’t flatter too much. Refer to specific posts when making comments. Be polite. Focus on their interests and benefits. Offer alternative means of communication (e.g. phone, IM).

4) Establish Prior Email Contact. Asking someone to link to or check out your site in your very first email is poor strategy. Build up a regular email flow by sending an email to the blogger, without selling or promoting your website. One of the best ways to do this is to ask a question or simply thank them for their wonderful website and content, which you’ve found helpful. You can also give helpful feedback on the site in general. This instantly elevates you from the rest of the crowd when you eventually decide to pitch an article.

5) Use Comments to Network.
Many people have written about how comments can get you traffic from blogs but their true value lies in their networking potential. Comments are one of the easiest ways to get the attention of any blogger. Make sure you comment regularly and contribute to the discussion. Refrain from pitching your own website or article within the comment section. Try to get at least 10 comments on separate blog posts before you even consider pitching your article.

Promote them with Social Media. Bloggers regularly check their sources of traffic and submitting their website to social media sites like StumbleUpon and Digg is a great way to get on their radar. StumbleUpon in particular, can send hundreds of visitors to any site and its a really easy way to get noticed.

Just remember to tie the social media account you are using with your own website by inserting your URL or site name in the profile. Alternatively, forums are also a great way to share the blogger’s content.

6) Set up an Internal Connection. Very large blogs are businesses. Sometimes it is difficult to break through the attention barrier and get noticed because these sites receive a lot of email pitches everyday. The easiest way to jump ahead of others is to establish personal contact with an inside source.

For example, some of the staff writers or editors have their own personal blogs. Go visit and comment on these blogs and befriend the specific individual. Another alternative is to find a friend who has direct contact with an internal staff and ask your friend to introduce you to the specific person.

7) Link to them and send them traffic
. This works particularly well if you have a website or blog of your own. Link to the blogger you are targeting a couple of times and reference their articles. Put them on your blogroll if you have one. Remember, a link doesn’t cost you anything but it may get you traffic and exposure in return.
This is a great way to let the blogger know that you support their website. Even if the specific blog gets many links everyday, you will eventually be noticed somehow, particularly if you can send them some traffic.

8) Get Friends to Email Pitch your Article. Get a friend or another blogger to promote your website by sending an email tip. Some bloggers are not in favor of excessive self-promotion so this might give your specific site or article some extra validity. If you want to, get a few other friends to email pitch the same article. Bear in mind that you shouldn’t use this technique often because it is easy to tell if you’re artificially promoting your website via email.

9) Use Alternative Contact Channels
. Another way to get instant attention is to contact the bloggers on alternative communication channels. This include microblogging platforms, social networks and Instant Messengers. Not every blogger will have their details listed publicly but for those that do, consider using these alternative channels. Not many people will use these methods of communication and you’ll tend to stand out immediately.

10) Donations and Tips. Tipping bloggers and offering donations is a great way to show your appreciation for their work. This can be easily done if they have a Paypal donation button somewhere but even if they don’t, you can also email them to request for a paypal address. This is low cost and simple but it can definitely increase your potential for getting a mention in the future.

Other blog-oriented methods like guest blogging will allow you to get traffic and links as well but I didn’t include them because this article is not only for bloggers but online business owners and even public relations executives and marketers.

Your aim here is to build up an advantageous relationship by interacting with the blogger and appealing to their self-interest. How much time you need really depends on how you good you are at networking. I would suggest actively networking for a minimum period of two weeks before you start to pitch your own material. And one more word of advice: make sure the article, product or website you pitch is excellent material.

DimeIs your website floundering? Does it gather more dust than visitors? Don’t worry – there are many ways you can jump start it and generate more traffic. You can do this without hiring a web expert or spending any money. While some of these methods require an investment of time, they won’t cost you a dime. Here is a list below:

1) Add content. Create, maintain and update the content on your website. If you are selling something, write articles or post information about it. If you are providing information, make sure that you have more than a list of links for your customers to browse. High quality content that is updated regularly will keep your customers coming back for more.

2) Article Marketing. Sign up for an account with EzineArticles or some other free article database. Write articles and include a tagline about your website in the author section. Be sure to write informative content about your business, what it offers, and why people should buy your product or use your services.

3) Forum Posting. Include a signature for each of your forum posts containing your domain name along with a tagline.

4) Social Bookmarking Sites. This is probably one of the easiest ways to generate traffic. Simply create an account with Digg or StumbleUpon and begin submitting your own articles.

5) Write and Send Newsletters Regularly. Newsletters remind your customers that your site is still there. Even if people don’t visit your site every time you send one, you still keep your site in their mind. Also, since it is email it is easy for your readers to send it to their friends, thus increasing your potential customer base.

6) Forum Posting. Include a signature for each of your forum posts containing your domain name along with a tagline.

7) Submit Your Site To Directories. You don’t need to pay for directories; there are a lot of free ones out there. Submit your website to as many as you can.

8) Blog Regularly.
Be sure to notify (or ping) aggregators and search engines when you post new content.

9) Run a Contest or Promotion.
Contests will revitalize your site almost instantly. And if you have a good prize, you will get people to spread the word. Be sure to include an official rules page, and find out if there are any disclaimers in your state regarding contests.

10) Increase Your Mailing List. By collecting visitor email addresses, you can easily send articles and advertisements directly to their inboxes, and encourage them to return to your website.

11) Submit Sitemaps. To ensure that search engines know about all of your website’s pages, create a sitemap in XML format and submit it to all of the large search engines. Some popular search engines that accept sitemaps include Google, Yahoo, MSN Live, and Ask.

12) Social Networking Sites. Last but not least – there are many social networking websites like Facebook, Linkedn, and Twitter that you need to be participating in. If you have an account, be sure to include your url in your portfolio, along with a brief explanation about you are are or what you sell, if applicable.

Good luck! These tips will help increase your website’s visibility and traffic and they won’t put you in the poorhouse.

JavaScriptThis headline is not a typo. Read on and you will find out why. JavaScript is used almost everywhere to accomplish a wide variety of features like hover menus, rollovers, animation and form validation. In fact, JavaScript is used so frequently web developers often take it for granted, without realizing that not all browsers support it. You heard right, not all browsers support JavaScript. In fact, many web surfers actually disable JavaScript and if you’re wondering why – take a look at the list below.

1. Pop-up Windows.

Web developers often create annoying pop-up windows which are more irritating than useful. The best way to get rid of them is to disable JavaScript.

2. Security.

One of the most important reasons is security, and it is a well known fact that JavaScript can be easily exploited. (This is especially true for users browsing with Internet Explorer.) Additionally, many redirects are accomplished via JavaScript. By disabling JavaScript, you always know exactly where you are going and are less likely to be forwarded to an alternate website.

3. Animations and Sounds.

Have you ever been at work and navigated to a website which started playing loud music or sounds? A lot of this is accomplished by JavaScript. Additionally, by disabling JavaScript, you can also get rid of annoying animation which clutter the screen or distract you from the information you are trying to see.

4. Annoying Restrictions.

Sometimes websites limit the actions that can be taken by visitors. For example, you have probably seen the websites which stop users from viewing the source code, saving images, or highlighting text.
Alternatives to JavaScript
Clearly, there are many good reasons internet users would opt to disable JavaScript in their browsers. And while estimates aren’t too accurate, somewhere between 5 and 7 percent of internet users disable JavaScript. That means that at least 1 in every 20 visitors might not see your website as you intended. So it is important to ensure that your website works properly with or without JavaScript.

Fortunately, other internet technologies can accomplish most of what you would probably use JavaScript to do:

Hover Menus

Believe it or not, you don’t need JavaScript to create a hover menu! Sometimes, however, you might want to create a cool effect which is only possible with JavaScript. In this case, feel free to create the JavaScript menu, but pay special attention to how the menu behaves without JavaScript. Be sure that it can still be used to navigate your website.

Image Rollovers

This can be accomplished by CSS by using the ‘hover’ state to shift the position of an element or show a new element. Either way, rollovers are rarely crucial to the usability of a web page.

Redirection and Form Validation

Fortunately, there are alternatives for these as well. When you use JavaScript, it is always processed on the client-side, which is why users are able to modify the behavior of the web page when they turn it off. Instead, you can opt to do all of your processing on the server-side, by using a programming language. For example, our contact forms use server-side validation to ensure that a valid email address has been entered, even though this could be accomplished with JavaScript. By opting for server-side processing, your users will always be subject to certain restrictions. Similarly, you can use a programming language to redirect users to other web pages.

Animation and Pop-ups

For animation, there are two alternatives: (1) create an animated gif image, or (2) use flash. Both of these methods have their drawbacks. With the animated gif image, you are limited to creating an image with a reasonable filesize. (The longer the animation or larger the image, the larger the file size.) And finally, if you opt to use flash, you will encounter some of the same problems you encountered with JavaScript: Not All Visitors Enable Flash. And like the animated gif, you are likely to have some file size issues as well. As for pop-ups, we are at a loss. Instead, you will have to bait your users to click on a link which would open in an external window or tab (Let us know if you’ve found suitable alternatives.)

So if you are building a website, by all means use JavaScript. But it should only be used on elements that are not crucial to the use of your website. And if, for some reason, JavaScript is essential to the use of an element on your page, consider supplying some alternative text explaining what the element is and that users need to turn on JavaScript to take advantage of it.

Yellow CompasMarketing with social media is a powerful strategy that involves promoting your website or business through social media channels – such as Facebook and Twitter – to build stronger traffic, brand awareness and user-generated content. Social media marketing is a low-cost marketing method that will easily give you large numbers of visitors, which a business will be able to retain provided there is solid and relevant information on your website.

Companies that have implemented social media into their online marketing have been able to see immediate results. When used properly, social applications have engagement times that are 75 times greater than the time consumers spend interacting with traditional banner ads.

Here is an easy guideline for making social media marketing pay off:

Find the right network

There are so many networking sites available on the net like MySpace, Flickr, Plaxo, WordPress, Brightkite, just to name a few. Evaluate your business, industry and target audience to carefully choose which social networking (Facebook, YouTube or bookmarking – e.g., StumbleUpon, Delicious – sites will be the most beneficial for your business.) When it comes to choosing the right social media platform for your business, research is the key. It is crucial to find the right platform to achieve your marketing goals.

Content is king

Your web content should be updated daily when possible, relevant to your business or industry, and provide valuable information that people can read and, therefore, share later on, which is what social media is all about.

Have a blog

A blog can become the most powerful marketing weapon in your arsenal. Organize your posts into categories and allow visitors to browse by topic, group or interests. Google, MSN and Yahoo give more weight to well-linked blogs.

Build an online community

Strong online community encourages visitors to engage, interact, subscribe to RSS feeds and comment on your blog posts. Reinforce your message throughout your website.

Commit to it

Signing up with social networking websites such as Facebook, Twitter and Blogger is not enough. Company profiles should be complete, with website links and other corporate information provided and updated on a regular basis. Questions and inquiries posted should be addressed immediately. When you establish authority with your audience, it should be maintained.

Whether you’re selling products and services or just publishing content for ad revenue, social media marketing is a potent method that has the potential to make your site profitable with time. Businesses that create viral content and do effective website promotion through social media channels can reap the following benefits and rewards:

Increased traffic

There are two types of traffic: primary and secondary. Primary traffic is the large amount of visitors who come directly from social media websites. Secondary traffic is referral traffic from websites that link to your posts and send you visitors, after they come across your content through the social sites.

High-quality links

Achieving popularity on social bookmarking websites, such as Digg, Mashable or Reddit, will get you a large number of links, and therefore more traffic. Blogs written with solid and relevant information are often picked up by editorial links, most of which cannot be easily bought.

Back linking

Links translate to better search engine rankings. When a website receives a large number of natural, permanent links from trusted domains, it develops authority. Search engines trust it. If you optimize your ‘link bait’ (a technique used to attract links from high quality and ranking sites to your site) and website structure properly, you can easily start ranking for competitive keywords, which, in turn, will bring in search engine visitors. When maintained, your search traffic will undoubtedly increase.

Social media is not just a buzz word, it is a very effective marketing tool. Don’t just jump on the bandwagon. Do your research; Google it. Read the stories about people (e.g., Barack Obama) and companies (like Pepsi Cola and Hyundai) that have successfully used social media to achieve tremendous success. Evaluate and compare all the social media platforms available on the web.

There are many good ways to market your website. We made a list of some of the best. While some of these methods require an investment, most of them do not. Check out our list below:

1. Article Marketing.

Sign up for an account with Ezine Articles or some other article database, write articles, and include a tagline about your website in the about the author section.

2. Blog Regularly.

Be sure to notify (or ping) aggregators and search engines when you post new content.

3. Comment On Popular Blogs.

Most blogs allow you to enter a URL when you comment. Take advantage of this by writing a useful content and posting your domain.

4. Social Networking Sites.

There are a wide variety of social networking websites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and MySpace. If you have an account, be sure to include your URL in your portfolio, along with a brief blurb, if applicable. You can also opt to create an account or page to advertise your business. When doing so, do make sure that you are abiding by the terms of use.

5. Social Bookmarking Sites.

This is probably one of the easiest ways to generate traffic. Simply create an account with Digg or StumbleUpon and begin submitting your own articles.

6. Email At Your Domain.

To get your domain name out there, create an email account at your domain. And if you still want to use gmail (or other free email services), consider forwarding your email.

7. Forum Posting.

Include a signature for each of your forum posts containing your domain name along with a tagline.

8. Optimize For Search Engines.

Organic search will bring you highly targeted traffic. If you do not have the skills to optimize your website, consider hiring an SEO expert; it will be worth the effort.

9. Submit Your Site To Directories.

There are numerous free (and paid) directories to which you can submit your website for inclusion.

10. Pay-Per-Click.

Unfortunately, this method is not free, however it does generate a lot of traffic quickly. Google’s AdWords will give you the most traffic, but you can also consider similar programs at other large search engines such as Yahoo or Ask.

11. Submit Sitemaps.

To ensure that search engines know about all of your website’s pages, create a sitemap inXML format and submit it to all of the large search engines. Some popular search engines that accept sitemaps include Google, Yahoo, MSN Live, and Ask.

12. Press Release.

Similar to article marketing, creating and distributing a press release can result in a wide variety of inbound links. When drafting your press release, be sure to create an informative article about your business, what it offers, and why people should visit your website or use your services.

13. Content is the KING

(we saved the best for last, to make sure you keep reading  🙂
Web content is the most important marketing tool available to you. It has to be relevant to your industry, regularly updated and organized for easy finding and reading. Good content=good SEO.

We know these tips will help. You can also learn how Vesta Digital’s IntelBuilder can help your website grow. It is easy, affordable and it is guaranteed to bring you dramatic results. We invite you to browse thru our website to get answers to your questions. For additional information, please feel free to call, email or fill out a Demo request form. Good luck!