Showing posts from 2006

Featured Website:

Image contracted MSW Interactive Designs LLC for a website redesign in May of 2006. Their old website had a significantly dated look and feel, plus it was lagging in the search engines and basically underperforming all the way around.

We quickly went to work updating the graphics and the structure of the website. Budget was a driver on this site, so we opted for a basic database solution to meet their needs for now. The site features advertiser banners, listings, and click-through tracking on the ads. Currently targets dallas wedding, austin weddings, houston weddings, and west coast florida weddings. New markets will be added to the site a the client's budget allows.

In order to improve the search engine ranking of the site, we offered several recommendations, including adding more content to the website. The site now features several great articles on weddings and wedding planning. Brides must complete a short online sign-up form to obtain the article…

Website Matters

If you are a small business and you don't have a website, you are missing an opportunity. A common misconception among small business owners is that custom websites are too expensive. There are plenty of affordable solutions out there for business owners today that range from DIY style templated sites to custom solutions.

There are several disadvantages to going with a templated solution:
1. Your website can end up looking like a thousand other websites out there. Who wants that? Your business is uniquely yours, right?

2. The learning curve of creating the site, even if there is a template, can be steep for some people. You spend way too much of your time trying to figure out how to do it ... and time is money, right?

3. Most templated solutions don't have the true flexibility to allow you to optimize the site for the search engines properly. If it can't be found, you've lost half the battle.

4. Most templated websites end up looking amateurish ... and that's the last i…

Search Engines & Great Content

Every day I have clients who ask me how to get their sites to come up better in the the search engines. While search engine algorithms are honed and changed all the time, there is one constant that seems to make a difference - great content.

Write great content for your website. Update your content often. Archive your old content on your site (so your site grows as a resource over time). Use your own keywords in your content and link them to other areas in your website, like archived articles and resources.

It sounds simple, and truly it is. The challenge is in taking the time to do it. Make it a habit. Make it a goal to write one new article per week for your website. The payoff will not ONLY be in your search engine rankings ... you will quickly gain a reputation as an expert in the field through your website!

Take Control of Your Domain

Sandy, help! My website is down!

More than once, a client has called me in distress with a downed website. Strange ... the server isn't down and no other client websites are down. The first thing I do is a quick whois lookup to check out the state of the domain name. Predictably, the lookup shows the client has let the domain expire. The domain registrar moved it to a parked state (so the domain no longer points to the webserver where the website files reside), so they can work to collect the renewal fee or ultimately release the domain for sale.

I've learned that most clients who come to me, having already purchased a domain name, don't even realize they HAVE a domain registrar, let alone an account with that registrar that needs to be maintained, paid for, and kept current.

As a business owner with a web site, it's imperitive that you understand your domain name is an ASSET to be closely watched, guarded, and cared for. It is the foundation of your web presence. If you …

Successful Small Businesses Serve a Niche

While it may sound cliche' to "find your niche", the fact is having a niche market greatly increases your chances of success online as a small business.

As an aside:
One of the things that sets my web design business apart from others is practical experience. Yes, we have practical experience designing the sites themselves, but the TRUE difference is that we create the potential experiences of our clients and learn from them. We actually build our own stores and various small business websites, promote them, optimize them, and learn from the experiences so we can better serve and advise our web design clients.

So back to the "niche":
To illustrate my "niche" theory, MSW Interactive Designs launched two online retail storefronts about 4 years ago and promoted the heck out of them through online advertising, PPC, print advertising, affiliate programs, and the like.

The Success Story:
The first storefront serves a niche market - brides. sells…