Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Happy New Year!

 Wishing You a Very Happy and Prosperous New Year!


Patrick LaJuett
Patrick LaJuett manages a website design agency: + LaJuett.com, where he supports clients as a Web technology consultant and search marketing strategy adviser.

Monday, December 28, 2015

10 Questions Your Web Designer Should Ask You

10 Questions Your Web Designer Should Ask You

Here are ten questions I ask as part of the initial sales call and web design project kickoff meeting:
  1. Who is your target audience?
    (b2b, b2c, etc.)
  2. Where is your target audience located?
    (local, regional, national, global)
  3. Description of your 'typical' client?
    (general public, professional, hobbyist, etc.)
  4. What is the primary goal of your website?
    (sell, acquire, inform, etc.)
  5. Who are your main competitors?
  6. What marketing are you currently doing?
    (tv, radio, web, print ads, etc.)
  7. What are your branding guidelines?
    (logo, colors, typeface, etc.)
  8. What types of graphic files can you provide? (photos, graphics, icons, etc.)
  9. Do you have a content author available? (text, articles, social media, etc.)
  10. Do you have access to your current website analytics data?
Each project is different, but this helps get us on the same page.

For more etailed info, here is my "6D Development Process" for Website Design Projects
(My six step process for designing winning websites)


Patrick LaJuett
Patrick LaJuett manages a website design agency: + LaJuett.com, where he supports clients as a Web technology consultant and search marketing strategy adviser.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Parallax Scrolling Website Using DNN 7

Relax It's Parallax

Here's an example of a parallax scrolling single page website built using DNN 7.4.  Parallax scrolling involves a background image moving at a slower rate than foreground content.  This creates a layered effect as you scroll down the page, providing a subtle element of depth.

In the example below we focused on "call-to-action" from traffic arriving via a display ad banner campaign.

http://replacementwindowmilwaukee.com


Patrick LaJuett
Patrick LaJuett manages a website design agency: + LaJuett.com, where he supports clients as a Web technology consultant and search marketing strategy adviser.

Friday, November 6, 2015

WordPress Down Under

Teamed up with YOW! Australia to develop a family of related conference and event websites.

http://melbourne.yowconference.com.au

Patrick LaJuett
Patrick LaJuett manages a website design agency: + LaJuett.com, where he supports clients as a Web technology consultant and search marketing strategy adviser.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Convert Your Website to a Mobile Friendly Design

Make Sure Your Website is Mobile Friendly.

Earlier this year, Google Search expanded its use of mobile-friendliness as a "ranking signal". This change affected mobile searches worldwide and had a significant impact in Google Search results.

Pass Google's Mobile-Friendly Test
Google's Mobile-Friendly Test Tool
How to get the“mobile-friendly” label from Google.
  • Avoid software that is not common on mobile devices, like Flash
  • Use text that is readable without zooming
  • Size content to the screen so users don't have to scroll horizontally or zoom
  • Place links far enough apart so that the correct one can be easily tapped
If you want to make sure that your page meets the mobile-friendly criteria:
  1. Check your pages with the Mobile-Friendly Test.
  2. Read Google's updated documentation "Webmasters Mobile Guide" on how to create and improve your mobile site.
  3. See the Mobile usability report in
    Google Search Console
    , which highlights major mobile usability issues across your entire site, not just one page.

We are experts at mobile-friendly website design and conversions. Contact us for a quick quote.


Patrick LaJuett
Patrick LaJuett manages a website design agency: + LaJuett.com, where he supports clients as a Web technology consultant and search marketing strategy adviser.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Enable Customers to Manage Web Content via Google Sites

Easy, stable and connected to the Google Apps for Work product suite.

Baseball team website developed using Google Apps for Work - Google Sites

Enabling customers to manage their own content is the right way to go.  I choose Google Sites as my go-to web CMS platform.  Here are a few reasons why...

  • Integrate Google Calendars
  • Embed Youtube videos
  • Instant micro blogging platform
  • SEO friendly
  • Hosted in the cloud

Patrick LaJuett
Patrick LaJuett manages a website design agency: + LaJuett.com, where he supports clients as a Web technology consultant and search marketing strategy adviser.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Display Ads for Sticky Leads

Display Ad Designs for PPC

Designing these mini advertisements is fun because it forces you to quickly understand and conceptualize the customer's business within the boundaries of a 300x250 rectangle.

Adobe Fireworks can help you quickly develop ad mock-ups for client review.

Patrick LaJuett
Patrick LaJuett manages a website design agency: + LaJuett.com, where he supports clients as a Web technology consultant and search marketing strategy adviser.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

How to Build a Basic WordPress Website

12 steps to follow for a building a successful WordPress site.

  1. Set-up a basic Linux hosting plan on a secure server environment.
    • Bluehost, 1&1, GoDaddy, etc.
  2. Install the WordPress application (should be a 1-click install via host control panel)
  3. Purchase and install a WordPress theme
  4. Customize the WordPress configuration and settings
    • Upload your logo
    • Modify colors to match your brand
    • Set fonts and sizes
  5. Create or import content
    • Add pages
    • Author blog posts
    • Upload images
  6. Enhance user experience
    • Add desired menus (top, side, footer)
    • Add widgets
    • Connect with social media profiles
  7. Install plugins to extend WordPress functionality
  8. Test, tweak and test some more
  9. Launch
  10. Submit website URL to Google Search Console
    • Submit XML
    • Set preferred domain (www or non-www)
  11. Connect to Google Analytics
  12. Monitor and adjust
    • Keep everything up-to-date
Note: Obviously some of this is personal preference, but the overall process has worked well for me.


Lakeshore Riders WordPress website

Patrick LaJuett
Patrick LaJuett manages a website design agency: + LaJuett.com, where he supports clients as a Web technology consultant and search marketing strategy adviser.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

United Insurance Website Redesign

New site features responsive design, interactive quoting forms and more.

Here's a new Google Sites we developed for an insurance company located in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

BEFORE REDESIGN

AFTER REDESIGN

http://www.grubbsgroup.net/


Patrick LaJuett
Patrick LaJuett manages a website design agency: + LaJuett.com, where he supports clients as a Web technology consultant and search marketing strategy adviser.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

How Do I Appear First in Google Search Results?

How Do I Appear First in Google Search Results?

 
Here are best practices for improving your ranking in Google search results:
  1. Provide high quality content on your site. Google tries to find the best answer for our users’ requests; if you write the best material, you’re in the game.
     
  2. Make your site mobile friendly. Many users search on mobile devices; Google’s search results favor pages that they think answer the user’s request with the best possible user experience on their platform.
     
  3. Use informative titles and snippets. Good, clear titles and accurate meta tag descriptions help Google understand the purpose of a page and generate useful snippets in our search results.
     
  4. Add structured data to enable additional search result features such as stars, event information, or site search boxes.
     
  5. Make sure that you follow Google’s guidelines and avoid pitfalls that could affect your ratings.

Patrick LaJuett
Patrick LaJuett manages a website design agency: + LaJuett.com, where he supports clients as a Web technology consultant and search marketing strategy adviser.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Mobile-Friendly Website Redesign Using DNN


New Nobles & DeCarolis website was built with DNN

Utilizing a Responsive DNN Skin to ensure better customer experience

We took an older DotNetNuke website and upgraded to a modern responsive skin. The result is a better looking and easier to navigate website.  Here's what we did:

  • Updated CMS to latest stable DNN build
  • Applied responsive skin
  • Modified to match customer brand
  • Migrated content
  • Integrated custom photography
  • Added CSS3 animation
  • Q/A Tested
  • Launched
See results of Google's Mobile-Friendly test here: https://goo.gl/HiIZ2A

Patrick LaJuett
Patrick LaJuett manages a website design agency: + LaJuett.com, where he supports clients as a Web technology consultant and search marketing strategy adviser.

Friday, July 31, 2015

How to Disable Comments in Wordpress

How to Disable Comments in WordPress


1. This applies to new posts that you will publish from now on:
Navigate to Settings > Discussion > Uncheck "Allow people to post comments on new articles".

2. To disallow comments from already publish posts:
Navigate to Posts > Select all and "Edit" under bulk actions and hit apply > Choose "do not allow" next to comments and click update posts.

Patrick LaJuett
Patrick LaJuett manages a website design agency: + LaJuett.com, where he supports clients as a Web technology consultant and search marketing strategy adviser.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Top 10 Design Tips for Banners Ads

More Clickable Ad Banners

It's been a while since I designed online ad banners.  Back in the mid-2000s, I did a lot of them for AOL's YP ad campaigns.  The small size constraints certainly can present a challenge.  Here are some things I have learned over the past decade or so.

MY TOP 10 AD BANNER DESIGN TIPS:
  1. Use standard size ads (https://support.google.com/adsense/answer/6002621?hl=en)
  2. Make text as large as possible for legibility
  3. Adhere to existing branding specs
  4. Use glows and shadows to help text "pop"
  5. Use visually interesting photos
  6. Compress files as much as possible
  7. Test color blindness rendering (http://color-blindness.com/coblis-color-blindness-simulator)
  8. Incorporate ad size into naming conventions (i.e., WW-Puget-336x280)
  9. Get approval on one ad size before creating additional sizes
  10. A/B test design variations as well as call-to-action text
Here are some example of our recent ad banner designs...






Patrick LaJuett
Patrick LaJuett manages a website design agency: + LaJuett.com, where he supports clients as a Web technology consultant and search marketing strategy adviser.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Google Sites Redesign: Before and After

Need a Professional Looking Google Sites?

We recently launched a redesigned website for a customer down in Atlanta, GA.  See the before and afters below:
Before site redesign
After site redesign

Patrick LaJuett
Patrick LaJuett manages a website design agency: + LaJuett.com, where he supports clients as a Web technology consultant and search marketing strategy adviser.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

WordPress SEO Steps

Recommended WordPress SEO Steps

WordPress SEO
These are the baseline steps I take when optimizing a WordPress website for search:
  1. Backup Plugin- Install BackWPup: **Run backup job before installing plugins**
  2. Security Plugin - Install Wordfence: Keep WordPress core and plugins up-to-date
  3. Organic SEO Plugin: Install WordPress SEO by Yoast
  4. Tracking Plugin: Install Google Analytics - Google Analytics by Yoast
  5. Performance Plugin: Install PageSpeed - GZip Ninja Speed
Note: The plugins listed are my recommendations only.  Many alternatives are available, just make sure they are compatible with your version of WP.

Patrick LaJuett
Patrick LaJuett manages a website design agency: + LaJuett.com, where he supports clients as a Web technology consultant and search marketing strategy adviser.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

WordPress for Custom Home Builder

Building a WordPress Website in version 4.1.1

Just launched a new WordPress website for a custom home builder.  We took the html website originally designed years ago and migrated the content into a clean WP installation.

WordPress design features:
  • Mobile friendly theme (Real Property)
  • Image slider (Revolution)
  • Real estate property search widget
  • Integrated Google Map
  • Links to social media
  • Responsive navigation
  • Responsive form (Jotform)
  • On-page SEO (Yoast)
Most modern WP themes now have the ability to inject custom CSS (goodbye PHP code hacks). I like to use Chrome's built-in "inspect element" to reverse engineer the styles.  This allows me to preview CSS overrides in real-time.  Then it's a simple copy/paste/save to apply the site-wide theme changes.
 
Pinnacle Homes website

Patrick LaJuett
Patrick LaJuett manages a website design agency: + LaJuett.com, where he supports clients as a Web technology consultant and search marketing strategy adviser.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Professional Google Sites Design for Plant Concepts

 Custom Google Sites developed for local small business

New custom Google Sites web design for Plant Concepts in Webster, New York

This is the 51st website we have designed using the Google Sites platform.

Google Sites design elements:

  • Mobile-friendly layout
  • Responsive image sliders (how-to)
  • Google Drive integration
  • Micro blog
  • Mapped domain
  • Embedded forms

For more examples, check out our Google Sites demo website

Patrick LaJuett
Patrick LaJuett manages a website design agency: + LaJuett.com, where he supports clients as a Web technology consultant and search marketing strategy adviser.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

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