Monday, April 14, 2014

How to Optimize the Title Tag of Website

Want to be on the first page of Google? Impossible without an optimized title tag. Read on to learn how to optimize your website's title tag.

What is the Title Tag exactly?

The title is what you see in your browser at the very top of the screen. It should contains 2 parts.
  1. The name of the page
  2. The name of the organization
A lot of times the title tag does not include both parts. Always include the name of the page, plus the name of the organization, often separated by a dash or a vertical line. For example:

How to Optimize the Title Tag of Website | Fresh Look Web Design

If you look at the top of your browser right now, you should see that title for this page.

What should I put for the name of the page?

The name of the page is usually a "keyword phrase". A keyword phrase is what a web user types into Google when they search for something.

For example, let's say that you were looking for how to optimize your website's title tag. You might go to Google and type "how to optimize the title tag of website".

Now let's say Fresh Look Web Design wanted you to find our website. That keyword phrase above is what I should put as the name of the page. "How to Optimize the Title Tag of Website". See the connection?

How do I know what keyword phrase to use?

This can be be hard to know for sure, and the best way to find out is by doing your research. But what we recommend is checking out some of your competitors. See what they have in their title tag. It's possible that they have it wrong, but you will get some good ideas of what to possibly use.

Another important suggestion is to include a locality in the title. On our services page, we have "Web Design in Hampton Roads | Fresh Look Web Design" as our title. It helps focus the search query so that you're being a little more specific in who you're targeting.

How long can my title tag be?

The general rule is that your title tag should be 70 characters or less. However, as of this writing, Google has also said that it looks at the pixel width of the title. So for example, letters like "m" and "w" are wider than letters like "i" or "t". Our recommendation is to stay within 65 - 70 characters, and then check your page on Google to see how it looks.

Another new thing Google is doing with their titles is instead of truncating them like they used to do, they will sometimes use a different title that they like better. So whereas they used to just cut off your title if it was too long, now they may just use something entirely different. And that title they choose may or may not be very user friendly.

Long story short - stay within 70 characters, and check your page on Google to make sure that your title fits, and looks good.

We hope this article has been helpful! Check out some of our other SEO articles below, or contact us if you have any questions.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

What do I put on my website?

Coming up with good content for your website can be difficult. If you're a small business, you may not have a marketing person on staff to take care of it for you, and if you're a marketing person it still can be tricky!

Here are some tips and ideas of good things to put on your website:

1. Blog or Article section

Let's cut straight to the chase. A blog or article section on your website is one of the best and least often used tools for web design. What does a blog do? Well you can read more about it in our article, Why you NEED a blog on your website, but the short answer is that it can greatly help your search engine optimization. It takes time and effort to write the articles, but the results will be worth it.

2. Contact Info at top

Many people visiting a website are just looking for a way to contact you. Depending on your business it may be an address, phone number, or email. Whatever you decide on, it's important to display it in a prominent area of your website, often in the banner at the top.

3. Lead form

A lead form is a nifty way to let users contact you straight from the website. Users enter their name, phone, email, etc (or whatever else you want them to type in) and you receive an email with the info. A client of ours, Extra Storage, located in Gloucester VA, has a lead form on their home page (as well as contact info at the top of their site). Click here to see their website.

4. Specials or Coupons

One way to attract people to visit your website periodically is to offer online-only specials, or web specials. In other words, the only way to get the coupon is to go to their website. This is useful for a new website, where customers may not be used to going online to check out the business.

If you have a online storefront, you can incorporate your coupons directly with the shopping cart. If you don't have a shopping cart on your website, no problem! Just advertise your specials online, or have a printable PDF document that customers can bring in to your store when they purchase from you.

Tommy Garner Air Conditioning & Heating, located in Newport News VA, utilizes a coupon right on their home page. Click here to see their website.

5. Photo Gallery

Pictures can REALLY help out your business. "A picture paints a thousand words" is a good phrase to remember. Particularly if you're into any kind of custom designed product, food service, or in the tourism industry, a good photo gallery or slideshow of pictures will really sell your product and services to your visitors.

Another client of ours, SR Design in Virginia Beach VA, utilizes a good photo gallery of their products on their website. Their slideshow is a series of thumbnails which you can click to enlarge. Click here to see their website.

6. Hours of Operation

A simple yet easy to forget item to include on your website is your business hours. They often go on your Contact page, but can also go on your About Us page or in a permanent place on the left or right menu.

7. Testimonials

Customer reviews are very helpful! Get a few of your clients to leave you some feedback and post it to your website. It will encourage others to use your services!

8. Directions

Depending on the technical expertise of your typical customer, a Directions page can be helpful. Many people just need an address to plug into their GPS, however some people aren't comfortable with that and would rather follow directions.

Here are a few other ideas:

  • Events page
  • Site map (for larger websites)
  • In the News section  - for if your organization has been in the news
  • Printable material
  • Employment applications
Let us know if you are interested in a free consultation. Call us at 757-778-8973 or email at info@freshlookwebdesign.com. Good luck!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

What is "Above the Fold"?

Above the Fold is one of those terms you may have heard but not really defined properly. Simple put, above the fold in web design is what can be viewed on a monitor without scrolling down with the mouse. It's also known as above the crease or above the scroll.

Originally, it was a term for newspapers. When a newspaper sat in the stand, it was folded in half, so whatever appeared in the upper half could be viewed by just walking by and not even picking up. So editors put what they thought were the most interesting stories "above the fold". Advertisers also wanted their ads in this space since their ads were much more likely to be viewed.

This concept applies directly to web design. We want our most important information to be viewed without scrolling down on the page. Typically this would include:
  • Logo
  • Phone number
  • Address
  • Email address
  • Contact form, or "lead" form
  • Banner ad
  • Important intro text
Not all of these things can necessarily all fit above the fold. There is limited space. Your website may not even have all these things. But fit what you can without it looking cluttered.

You can still use "Under the Fold"

Some people think that everything should be above the fold. This isn't true. It's good to have a lot of additional information, even if it doesn't fit on one screen shot. Just try to get your most vital information above the fold like your phone number and important call to action buttons.

Different computers have different "folds"

Not all monitors will show the same amount of information on one screen. Different monitors have different resolutions and sizes. Test your website by looking at it from many different computers, including smaller laptops.

Above the fold is a big deal in search engine ranking

Everyone wants to be #1 ranked on Google right? Well if you can't get #1, then at least go for above the fold. Appearing in the top 5 or 6 on Google makes a huge difference when you are above the fold.

Make sure you're applying this principle! Identify the 3 or 4 most important parts of your website. Make sure that they are above the fold. If necessary you can rearrange things. Good luck!