Posts Tagged ‘website development philadelphia’

A Beginners Guide To Google Analytics

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013

You just launched your brand new website, congrats! What an accomplishment! While you’re all giving out high-fives and enjoying that cold celebratory beer, you may not have thought about how you’re going to monitor all your sites traffic. Some people (my 50 year old father) may not even know you could monitor your websites traffic, let alone how to read it, understand it, and create a plan to improve it. Everyone has heard of Google Analytics, but does anyone really know what it is? Google Analytics is one of the most used and important tools for gauging your traffic and reading real-time stats. Let’s start off as simple as it gets, and well, let’s just keep it simple.

How do I get Google Analytics? It’s Easy! If you have a Google account (if not, just sign up), click on analytics and it walks you through every step. Assuming you know what website you want to track, you won’t have any issues. “And now my website it tracked, right!? YIPPIEE” Two things before you can start tracking your website. First, never say “yippee” ever, and second, once you complete your registration, Google provides a snippet of code. This code is meant for you to copy and paste into the code of your website pages. If you don’t know how to do this or don’t have a Word Press site (Word Press does it automatically for you) your web developer will definitely know. A tip for entering the code, make sure it’s at the HEADER not FOOTER of your code. There’s a lot of debate about this but I like having the code load first because that way if something breaks on your page, your analytics will still be tracking.

You have the code, it’s properly placed at the bottom of all page codes, and your website is officially being tracked. So now what are you going to do with all that data? What should you even focus on? How can you tell what’s important versus unimportant? I’m not answering any of those questions because it’s extremely complicated and every site has different issues that require a different approach with different pieces of data to focus on. But I will answer the basics that I think every site should be keeping an eye on.

Bounce Rate tells you how many people left a specific page without visiting any other pages. I like to think of this as a strong indicator of the “stickiness” to your site. If you have a high bounce rate than your site is just not engaging enough to users. It could be a design issue or content issue, whatever the case may be, but the bounce rate can help identify some major problems.

Landing Page is the page that a user first gets to (lands on) after clicking a link that redirects the user to that page. Optimizing the engagement of all your major landing pages is an absolute must. This metric is great for understanding why your high performance landing pages work and how you can tweak your low performing pages and improve them.

Conversion Funnels show how customers go through your site and experience it. Every site should have a desired path for their customers to take, ultimately leading them to one end goal (conversion.) It’s important to see the user’s path through a site so you can gauge the “user-ability” and overall user experience.

Devices are an extremely important metric to monitor, arguably the most important. A lot of people don’t know that the use of mobile devices to surf the web is increasing at an alarming rate. If 70% of your traffic is coming through a mobile device, you need a mobile site! This also means that you MUST HAVE A RESPONSIVE SITE. I won’t get into the whole responsive discussion because then I’ll go completely off topic and start talking about non-responsive sites and I’ll only get mad. But it’s definitely becoming a must these days.

Time On Site is important, but I say this with caution. I don’t want everyone thinking that their site rocks because the average time on site is 30 minutes. The common idea here is the longer a user is on my site the better, right? DUH! Well, not exactly, or at all. It could mean the user is getting lost and can’t find the page they want because your site is confusing as hell and now you just pissed them off and they’re never coming back ever again. On the other hand, it could mean you have the greatest, most engaging website ever and they never want to leave. Those are both the extremes, but I made my point. You have to understand what your product is and how long users should really be on your site before they reach that final goal (conversion.)

These are just some of the basics that I think are really important for people to analyze no matter what vertical of what industry. Let me highlight this point, DO NOT LIMIT YOURSELF TO THIS! Google has so many amazing tools that you can play around with so you can monitor exactly what you want. Take the time to fully understand everything Google Analytics offers. Take classes, read books, anything; it’s well worth any amount of time and money. If you can master Google Analytics, I have no doubt that you will be successful. It has to be just about the coolest thing ever, AM I RIGHT, OR AM I RIGHT?

What You Should Know About Building A Website Before You Even Start

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

1. First you should always plan your layout and how you are going to be placing elements within your page structure.

2. What elements you should use to get the best results from search engines and user experiences.

3. What proper channels you should take with keywords, anchoring text and optimized Meta data.

4. What links are going to be used and set up as the veins of your website so crawlers can crawl easily?

5. Easy access and controlled link paths & clean hierarchy for ease of use of webpages and better user controllability experiences.

6. What images or rich media to use and how to use alt tags to tell search engines what this element is about and create robust pages.

7. Changing content on regular bases, but keeping Meta data optimized from the start to reflect rankings

8 Having proper forms and log INS, to capture consumer or client info for future advances.

9. Tracking data within page structure to see what users are viewing most and how long they are spending on that page etc.

10. Heat mapping website to get a viewer’s eye targeting.

  • Each example can be broken down ever further but this is a good starting point to keep in mind when building a website and if you are going to get someone to build your site for you always get a SEO company to build you your website because you will get more traffic create more sales and overall be a better contender on the internet and have a better end game in business and personal agendas   P.S. Best company to get for a website build, rebuild or revamp is 1SEO.com!

The Variations of PHP Code

Monday, April 15th, 2013

PHP code is probably the single most popular source used today.

Why?

It’s flexibility and scalability is second to none. It can be combined with virtually any other source to execute endless customizations. PHP is most effective when used with databases. The most common database software is MySQL. Which when used correctly PHP scripts can perform extremely difficult programming tasks. Most web frameworks are constructed with PHP.  Its library is endless. There is however, a drawback.

PHP can be coded in many different forms. As popular as the code is there is no “one specific” uniform standard. Any expert in this particular field can build their code completely different than any installation at any time. To date I’ve run into at least 4 different variations which most times leaves me scratching my head. Ultimately in the end all variations tend to conform to one degree or another on some level. It takes time to analyze and eventually understand how the different configurations have been implemented. It can be very time-consuming doing so. It’s always best to take notes to track back mainly because of the fact we’re always updating content. We always have to remember how the configuration was the last time around. The larger majority of sites built to encourage guest or membership involvement tend to be about 80 to 90% PHP based. It’s very easy to install, and administrate. When developed and implemented correctly this code can practically run itself. All it needs is a little attention on a regular basis and you can grow a thriving personal website, on line existence and company all in one.

The Dreaded Content Management System

Thursday, April 4th, 2013

The content management system or better known as “CMS.”

With the wide array of available scripts today, it’s inevitable a developer will be called upon to make changes to a client CMS.  In most cases, they vary on several levels with regard to administration.  Most scripts utilized by clients are free scripts such as Magento, WordPress, Thegemcart, PHPcake, Drupal, Joomla….the list is endless. None of which are administrated the same way. They tend to code their scripts in a way which forces the end user to wind up paying for service to support their site.

As a web developer, it’s my job to effectively support our client without the need to involve the manufacturer of said scripts. In some cases, making a simple change isn’t as easy as 1-2-3. One could be involved in making a change by sifting through thousands of files to find a single line of code to edit. It is a tedious and time consuming job.

The reason clients choose to utilize a CMS is mainly because it allows them to have full control of their site to make changes as they please without having to incorporate hiring their own website administrator. It’s a double edged sword though, as many clients have found administrating their own site isn’t as easy as it sounds. Properly running a content management system requires an understanding of basic HTML and how to navigate layers which all hook into each other to encompass a single page.

The CMS as I see it is the “headache” of the web development world. I guess in a perfect world there would be only one, unfortunately though there are hundreds of variations all very readily available to anybody with an interest of running and supporting their own all inclusive website.

MOBILE and SEO – How To Make Them Come Together

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

As a society we become more and more reliant on technology. Whether it’s our need for faster results or our couch potato mentality, we are always looking for the easy way out.  Our mobile phones and other mobile devices like iPads and tablets have increased the need for SEO Companies and web developers to step up their game when it comes to optimizing these devices for the SERP’s (Search Engine Results Page).   There are many key factors to keep in mind when developing an SEO campaign for your mobile device.

One of the biggest issues with searching on a mobile device has always been the inability to navigate the site properly.  Small screens and unresponsive designs make clicking on the tiny navigation near impossible.  No, you don’t have “fat fingers”, the website you are navigating needs to be converted into a mobile friendly design.  Websites using HTML5 with responsive CSS will convert the website and not only improve the end-user experience, but will allow Google the ability to crawl through your content quickly and easily.

My biggest pet peeve with mobile websites is too much information.  Yes, there is such a thing.  Sometimes seeing a ton of content on a web page, especially a mobile web page, is a huge turn off.  When something becomes “work” we tend to back away.  Searchers to do not want to read through paragraph after paragraph of content in order to determine if you can fulfill their needs. Keep your content short and easy to read. Make sure it’s relevant to the keywords you want to come back for and the product or services you offer or sell. There is no reason to over inundate a searcher with filler content.

Another important part of developing a SEO campaign that is mobile device friendly is utilizing shorter keywords and the realizing the possibility of more local traffic.  People who are searching on their phones or iPads are typically in the “hurry up” frame of mind.  They are more likely to select shorter and more precise keyword phrases.  Searchers using a mobile device are also typically “on the go” and looking for local businesses.  Capitalizing on the local searches can mean quick profits for your company.

2013 is going to be a huge year for Google and mobile device usage.  As the trend for devices like iPhones, iPads, Androids, and tablets increase so does the need for better “mobile friendly” SEO campaigns.  Your website design, content, and keyword selections all play a very important roll in your effectiveness in the online market.  Take the time to review your mobile website or lack of one with your current SEO company.  Make sure you take full advantage of the increasing mobile traffic that is just begging to land on the right website!

Should You Be Favoring Your Social Media Site Over Your Website?

Friday, October 5th, 2012

As I sit here and evaluate how Facebook continues to grow and their potential talks of a search engine, I know they are going to be around for quite some time (in my opinion anyway). However when I saw that Mashable released an article saying “50% of Consumers Value a Brand’s Facebook Page More Than Its Website” I was definitely shocked at the fact businesses would consider ridding of a traditional website in favor of a social network, although I can’t say I’m surprised.

I believe in a strong social media presence and engagement, but do not see it as a wise choice to favor a Facebook business profile page over a traditional website. As the business page came about it was to help enhance your businesses presence online but never to replace it (although could that be a part of Facebook’s master plan?)

There are a few reasons you might want to consider not relying on Facebook for your overall online presence. For starters, you don’t get to choose the updates that occur on Facebook (for example the uproar over timeline that rolled out this past year). You also need to understand that the design and layout is something you cannot control because in the end it is not your site. On the other hand with a traditional website that you own, you can design the way it looks and make any changes that you think will create higher conversions.

Another concern should be a no brainer you don’t “own” your social profile. Think of it this way you have to abide by all their terms and conditions. If you fail to corporate they have every right to deactivate your account. So in having said that since you technically do not own your social profile all of your content, photos, followers, and conversations could all be lost, gone, finito.

Lastly, Facebook cannot take the place of an e-commerce site. Although I, we, everyone spend millions of hours on social sites but do not have the luxury of purchasing from Twitter or Facebook (not yet at least). We have to remember the reason for social media, which is to connect, and engage in conversation. I will say that it is a great way to post opinions and reviews on a buying experience. Therefore becoming an influencing media channel, however I think it is a wise choice to invest in a traditional website and not cut corners with your online presence.

 

3 Things To Consider When Building A Mobile Website

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

Being one of 1SEO.com’s resident code geeks, I owe it to myself and my reputation to keep abreast of trends in the Internet marketing game. One surprising statistic that was recently released is the growth in mobile search. Mobile search of course leads to mobile web browsing. While most websites look absolutely fine in a standard smart phone browser, it is absolutely to your benefit to also build and launch a mobile version of your website for the best end user experience.

What Are The Keys To A Good Mobile Website?

1. Easy and bold navigation. In a traditional website, horizontal navigation is the winning solution here, but that may not necessarily translate well in a mobile environment. Big buttons or bold bars are the way to go when it comes to a mobile website. Remember, you have about 3.5 inches diagonally to work with, so make it count!

2. Simple color scheme. Following the same rule of thumb with the size of the media, you do not want to overwhelm the end user. Keep the graphics simple and eye catching.

3. Calls to action, my long standing favorite. As you may recall from my last post, Design, Implement, ACTION!, I touched on the importance of making the end user react to your site the way you want them to. The same principles apply here…keep the phone number large (and clickable!), make sure your buttons are large (relative to screen size of course) and evenly spaced, and be direct!

Remember, this is a mobile world and people are moving faster than their 4G cell phones can handle. You want to make sure you streamline your information here, and deliver your sales message home and as quickly and effectively as possible.

 

Choosing The Right CMS

Monday, October 10th, 2011

CMS’s have come a long way in the last few years, they come built in multiple languages, run on multiple web servers, and each offer nice features for those building websites or intranet systems with them. Choosing the right CMS can be a bit of a chore before you even get to building, there’s so many of them out there. The more well-known names on the block are Joomla, Drupal, Silverstripe, even WordPress is used as a CMS now. For a developer picking a CMS a lot of times it depends on how a client will be able to use it and what their technical proficiency is. Other times it’s a matter of what you’re willing to hack and modify to make it do what you want.

If you’re looking for basic capabilities like editing text, changing pictures, etc. then pretty much any CMS will do. For more advanced functionality I always felt its best to use a CMS that is built on a solid application framework. Drupal and MODx, as well as others, use pretty solid frameworks that make it easy for a developer to build on and extend. I been experimenting with MODx Revolution a little bit, and so far I really like what I see. It uses a PHP5 Object Oriented framework that’s fairly easy to pick up on and the manager/admin section is built using ExtJS javascript framework. It doesn’t seem to confine you to one way of doing things, which I like. That’s always been one of the things I don’t like about Joomla.

One of the most common problems I see with some popular CMS‘s is that they all try to be a one size fits all solution. That has it benefits but also at one time or another forces to do some hacking around their core functionality to make something work they way you want it. Plugins often only give you 80% of what you’re looking for, that other 20% is what leads to modifications under the hood. When it comes down to it, picking the right CMS is a matter of finding that balance between out-of-the-box functionality and ease of extending core functionality through an api. Of course you could always build your own custom CMS but if you’re not willing to write extensive documentation and offer support it’s best to use an existing one with a strong community behind it.

The Legacy of Steve Jobs and How We Viewed the Internet

Monday, October 10th, 2011

No one man in the last 20 years has affected the way we live more than Steve Jobs. You may not see it evident but it’s all around us. You have only as far as your smartphone to look to truly begin to understand the presence Steve Jobs had and will have for many years to come.

Sure, Bill Gates created Microsoft and put computers into, as of 2011, around 80% of American homes. It took years for people to adopt the personal computer though, either because of need, price or space. It was a big, hot, noisy, gray box – and we had to have one, even if we did hide it in the corner under the desk.

What Job’s did was make it sexy to own a computer. Look at the offerings from Apple over the last decade or more and it was all about aesthetics, without sacrificing performance. iMac, iPhone, iPad – it became him to own a computer and more specifically, an Apple product.

Here’s a company that as recently as 1997 was near bankruptcy and struggling for identity, purpose and solvency. Re-enter Steve Jobs.

In the years since his return, Apple has revolutionized the way we view the Internet. Once the bastion of portability, laptops have taken a backseat and desktops have all but disappeared from their prominence on retailer web sites. Now, it’s about iPads and mobility. It’s about App’s and iPhones. Want to find a new restaurant to try in your area? Go on your phone while you’re on the road and look it up. Need a plumber while you’re holding a leaking pipe closed with one hand? Use the other hand and look it up on your iPhone. Developers chomp at the bit to develop App’s for the phone in hopes it will catch on and make them rich, becoming the next Angry Birds.

Business is anything but status quo when developing web sites to help businesses reach clients. The days of doing a simple HTML site with a page or two and a phone number are long gone. It’s about mobility, and mobile applications, mobile development is here, now! It’s past being important, it’s time to catch up, time waits for no one and neither do busy customers looking for your business, and if they don’t find you, the first guy that has a mobile site popping up on their smart phone, easy to find, easy to read and easy to call, right from the same device.

Did Steve Jobs invent the PC? Did he invent the internet? Did he invent the phone? No, but he found a way to bring them all together, make it attractive, affordable and inseparable from our daily lives. Android has 43.7% of the U.S. smartphone OS market. Android exists because of Apple, and Apple exists because of Steve Jobs. He changed the way we live and has enriched our lives in so many ways; we may never fully appreciate it in every single way.

SEO—The Secret Ingredient To Winning On The Web

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

When building a website or an online presence for you brand, there are many things to consider.  There is always design vs functionality, there is ecommerce vs blog, etc.  The ONE commonality all successful websites share is that they are searchable on Google.  With over 73% of search going through Google, why would you even bother having a company without playing online?  When was the last time you did any of the following:

     -Went to the Yellowpages

     -Watched a Banner Ad

     -Played a Pop Up game

If you are reading this, then the answer is probably not as of late.  The TRUE results that matter when you play online is your conversions.  If your site doesn’t convert to sales leads or prospect to answer a goal your site seeks to accomplish, there is not a reason to have a website

SEO is the key factor when playing online and generating conversions.  If you want leads, sales, and more traffic you NEED to SEO your site.