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design & marketing blog

Straightforward design, marketing, and technical advice for making your marketing communications more effective.

How outgoing links on your site affect SEO

February 28th, 2015

This is a follow-up  to a post we published a couple years ago entitled entitled “Should you trade links?“.  We received an excellent question regarding that post about if and how PageRank can be lost from posting links to other sites within yours.

There is some confusion on this topic because when we put an unrestricted outgoing link to a page on another domain, the PageRank of our webpage does not decrease directly. However, the overall PageRank of our website is reduced due to how the flow of PageRank  within our entire website works.  For those of you not familiar with PageRank, it’s a sort of authority rating assigned by Google to a particular webpage. It’s a ranking based on the number of links to your webpage and the quality and relevancy of the webpage that are linking to your page. Google uses PageRank when determining how high to display your webpage in the search engine results page (SERP) for a keyword search relevant to your page.

When outgoing links are posted on a webpage that has been assigned PageRank by Google, Google will consider the total PageRank of the referring page, and distribute some of that same value to the outgoing links.  So if you have a webpage that has PageRank and you have ten links from that page going to other pages in your site, then the PageRank is flowing all back to your site.  If however you add links to external sites then Google will now take some of that PageRank that was being fed back to your site and assign it to those external pages, thus reducing the overall amount of PageRank for your site.  The PageRank of your webpage sending external links does not decrease directly, however if you add in links from other sites on your page now you’re not sending as much PageRank back to pages within your own site, it’s a net PageRank loss for your site.

This doesn’t mean that you should never have unrestricted outgoing links to other sites, it just means that when you do be aware that it’s costing you something in terms of overall website PageRank so you want to make sure you understand there is a cost and you need to make sure that you’re making a good investment with your PageRank currency.  There are good reasons to provide unrestricted outgoing links to other sites when they are high-authority sites and provide relevant and valuable resources that will benefit the users of your site.  It’s good to make friends with such sites and sometimes those high-authority sites will notice the favor you’ve done them.  The real key in deciding when and to whom you provide external links is be evaluating the value of those external links from the perspective of your site’s users.

For more insight into this topic please see our post “Should you trade links?“.

 

Mobile Design for the Modern Business

February 1st, 2015

With nearly seven billion mobile subscribers around the world, businesses need to make sure they have a proper mobile strategy in place.

Today’s consumer is mobile and always on-the-go. They want to connect with brands from any location and find information about a product from their smartphone. However, if a business doesn’t give people the opportunity to interact with their brand through the mobile web, they’re missing out on a huge opportunity to build a relationship with their customers.

Mobile design is essential for the success of any modern business. If businesses want to expand their target audience and reach more customers, they’ll need to create a mobile website. This website will make it easier for people to access information about a business and find product information. Plus, customers will be more likely to make a purchase directly from their mobile device, too.

When creating a mobile device, there are a few elements to keep in mind. First, it’s important to create a mobile website that’s responsive. This simply means the mobile website can be accessed from any mobile device such as a tablet or smartphone. Additionally, it’s important to use high quality images and provide adequate information on your website. This will improve the overall user experience for your customers.

Mobile design doesn’t have to be complicated. There are a number of tools and resources available to help you create mobile website. Tool such as Sketch or LiveView can help you create mobile elements for your website. By using these tools, you’ll be able to create a beautiful mobile design for your business’ website.

Adapting to mobile design trends are crucial to the success of your business. Especially if you want to draw in more customers and make your business more accessible, a mobile website will be necessary for your business. To learn more about mobile design for the modern business, check out the infographic below:

Mobile DesignIvan Serrano is a social media, marketing and business journalist living in the Bay Area of California.

Top 7 Instagram Tools to Assist You in Your Marketing Management

January 22nd, 2015

InstagramInstagram is a powerful tool for brands looking to build awareness and increase engagement with their online community. According to Maximize Social Business, Instagram engagement is 15 times higher than Facebook engagement.

When it comes to creating an effective Instagram marketing strategy, you need the right tools. Although Instagram has updated its filters and improved its editing features since launching in 2010, brands that want to create a successful Instagram account and gain more followers need to tap into additional tools.

There are dozens of tools available to help you build your Instagram account. Whether it’s a platform for measuring your account’s success or creating higher quality images, it’s important to make sure you’re using the best tools for your photos. Here are the best Instagram tools to assist you with your marketing management strategy:

1. Schedule Instagram content with LaterGram.

Sometimes, you don’t have time to edit, upload, and publish a photo. By using LaterGram, you can easily plan and schedule your Instagram content. This app enables you to manage your content from a mobile device or web, and makes it easier to create a strategy for your Instagram account.

2. Create beautiful photos with AfterLight.

When it comes to creating engaging photos on Instagram, it’s essential to use external photo editing apps to help you create beautiful visuals for your brand. Apps such as AfterLight offer hundreds of unique filters and frames to help you create high quality images for your account.

3. Measure your success with Totems.

Knowing the success of your Instagram strategy is more important than ever. With Totems, brands can measure their analytics and social engagement to determine the effectiveness of their Instagram marketing strategy.

4. Discover key metrics with Iconosquare.

Iconosquare is another great Instagram analytics tool that helps you measure engagement on your account. With Iconosquare, you can find out data such as your most liked photos and average number of comments per photo. You can also view, post, and share photos, and follow/unfollow users directly from the platform.

5. Find the most popular photos with Webstagram.

Do you want to find trending photos within your industry or niche? Webstagram is a super helpful tool for identifying popular hashtags and interacting with popular photos. Not only can you view photos, but you can also send private messages to users, search users by keyword, and create an RSS feed for your photos. Webstagram also offers statistics and analytics for your Instagram account.

6. Explore users in specific cities with Followgram.

Are you looking to target a specific audience or niche? Use an app such as Followgram to identify customers within your target demographics. Followgram helps users find photos published in their area and find captions with specific hashtags. This is an excellent tool for growing your Instagram audience and finding users within your area.

7. Gauge community engagement with Ink361.

Another tool that’s helpful for measuring engagement is Ink361. This tool lets you see the total number of likes your images receive, distribution of likes, and your most popular photos. Ink361 also provides insights that helps users determine which photos their followers find most interesting. By understanding these analytics, brands can create a better Instagram strategy and post more relevant photos.

Developing a strong community through Instagram is a growing priority for brands. Visual content has changed the way brands build relationships with their customers and Instagram can help them grow their community. By using these Instagram tools to improve your Instagram marketing strategy, you’ll be able to tell a better story through photos and build a larger Instagram following.

Ivan Serrano is a social media, marketing and business journalist living in the Bay Area of California.

How to Save Money on Our Web Development & Design Services

November 24th, 2014

Save MoneyIt may seem strange for a Web development company to provide guidelines for how its customers can spend less with us, but really it’s not from our perspective. We believe applying the golden rule not only benefits our customers but also us in the long run. We might make less money in the short term, but we gain the more valuable benefits of building trust with our clients and playing a small part to ensure their long-term success. Such clients will spend more with us over time and become invaluable sources of quality referrals which is how a vast majority of our new business come to us.

So, with that preamble, here are a couple easy ways to reduce your Web development, technical service and graphic design costs:

Maximize the value of each change request

Like almost all Web development and design firms, we have a minimum  charge for any task of one hour . This is due to the fact that to switch to a new client’s project, for even a small amount of work, compromises the efficiency of our day’s work flow and imposes an opportunity cost. We have to transition from another project, retool, login to appropriate accounts, backup data before changes, post changes, often test the changes (for example in different browsers) then communicate back to the client regarding the work.

The key for clients to realize is that once we have initiated a change request, the incremental cost is much lower for us doing other small changes while we’re already working within a client’s account. For example take a client who sends over three Website content change requests during a week. Each change may take 10 minutes of actual coding, but if they send those requests at three different times they would get billed 3 hours. If they save those requests and send them all at once they would only get billed for 1 hour or 66% less.

This strategy of course has the most dramatic effect for small changes that are not extremely urgent, and can most commonly be applied for changes for Website content. So if you find yourself with numerous small changes throughout the month, simply try holding them in an Outlook folder or whatever and sending them in groups.

Save 15% by prepaying

We offer prepaid hours with a 15% discount off our standard rates. There is no minimum quantity, you can use them immediately, they never expire and unused hours are 100% refundable. You can also track your prepaid balance real-time through our online client portal.

Save up to 40% through our retainer plans

For any client who regularly gets at least twenty hours of service from us a month you will save a significant amount of money through our flat-rate retainer. Not only do you receive a substantial discount on the number of hours in your plan, you are also entitled to a discount on additional hours each month if you should need them. Flat-rate retainers are paid in advance of each month. Additional hours are billed at a discounted rate of your hourly retainer rate + 20% and payable net 15. Unused hours in flat rate plans are not refundable nor carried over to the next month. Retainers automatically renew but can be canceled at any time. If you have any questions or would like us to personally review your ongoing service needs and provide recommendations please feel free to contact us by phone at 208.475.3192 or through our online contact form.

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