Wednesday, September 24, 2014

5 Ways to Save Your Company Money

Here are 5 simple ways to make a dollar last longer and save your company money:

1. Hire an unpaid intern from a local university

Using an intern can be a fantastic way to save both time and money. It may take some time to find a good relationship with a university and to train the intern, but in the long run it will definitely be worth it.

Many universities are looking for local businesses who will offer internships to their students. The student really benefits because they gain real world experience and build a contact with a local business in their field. The business benefits because they get some much needed help with the day-to-day operations.

Fresh Look has greatly benefited from many different interns over the years. We have a partnership with ECPI University, located in Newport News and Virginia Beach Virginia, and we highly recommend the same for any business.

2. Update Your Website Yourself

Updating your website does require strong computer skills as well as time and patience. However it can save a lot of money for your business. Not all websites can be updated by an "amateur", so talk to your web designer to find out how you can update your website. It also helps if they can train you on how to make those updates. Click here to contact Fresh Look Web Design about how you can edit your website.

3. Don't waste money on Yellow page ads

Unless you have strong convictions that this is helping your company, don't spend money on Yellow page ads. They are outdated and it's just not how people search for businesses anymore.

4. Buy your domain through GoDaddy.com

There are a few reasons GoDaddy.com is a good choice for your domain name:

Cost - they're generally pretty cheap. Network Solutions domain names can cost $35, while GoDaddy's are usually closer to $20.

Reputation - despite what you may think about their commercials, when it comes to actual services GoDaddy has a good reputation for customer service. I've always had good experiences, and if something goes wrong, they fix it.

English - GoDaddy's technical support team is easy to work with. No language barrier to make things difficult.

Coupons - there are a lot of promotion codes you can use for GoDaddy's services. Check out http://www.fatwallet.com/GoDaddy-coupons/ or http://www.retailmenot.com/view/godaddy.com to knock a couple more dollars off your domain name.

Cancellation policy - if you renew your domain for multiple years, GoDaddy reduces the price, thus saving you money. If you decide to cancel the domain name before it expires, they refund your money back for the amount of time you didn't use it! So there's no risk in paying for multiple years at once, and it saves you a few bucks.

5. Encourage customers to not use their credit card

You have to be careful with this one, because whatever is most convenient for the customer is typically what you want to do. Credit cards are a great way to get paid because it's immediate and doesn't give the customer time to change their mind. It's important to close the sale, and credit cards make that happen right away.

However if you can do it right, encouraging customers to use other means of payment can really add up your savings, especially on large sales. You don't want to risk losing the customer of course, but a lot of people (especially other small business owners) can really relate to the "evil" credit card fee, and are willing to help you avoid it.

Do you have any good ideas about how to save a small business money? Let us know at info@freshlookwebdesign.com.

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!