Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Logo Designed for Start-Up Biz

Logo developed for a new health insurance consultancy company based in NY State.

Navigate the Exchange Logo Design

Logo designed using CorelDraw X6, with bevel and drop shadow added in Adobe Fireworks CS3.

Patrick LaJuett
Patrick LaJuett operates a website design and marketing agency where he supports his clients as a Web technology consultant and search marketing strategy advisor.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Google Sites SEO

How to Organically Optimize Google Sites for Search

Here are the simple or baseline steps I take when performing SEO on a Google Sites website.  It is not a complete list of Google Sites SEO techniques, but the minimum that I recommend.  I hope you find it helpful:

1. Use keywords in Google Sites Name
(i.e., Jeep FC-150 | 1959 Forward Control)

2. Make sure Page Titles are unique
(i.e., Jeep FC-150 Specs)

3. Use keywords in Page Descriptions
(i.e., Collection of Willys forward control Jeep print ads...)

4. Create a custom footer with name of company
(i.e., Copyright 2013 My Jeep FC-150...)

5. Add a new Announcements page populated with interesting keyword rich posts*

6. Enable the auto-generated sitemap page in the links configuration

7. Register a domain with name of company, geographic identifier or service description
(i.e., jeepfc150.com)

8. Map custom domain to Google Site

9. Submit sitemap.xml to Google Webmaster Tools and Bing Webmaster Central

10. Install Google Analytics

11. Submit site to dmoz.org

12. Claim site at aboutus.org

13. Claim site at alexa.com

14. If it's a local business website, submit address to local listings (GooglePlus, Bing and Yahoo Local).  GetListed is a great tool to manage and monitor local listings.

*Remember content is king, updating your announcements page with new relevant information will help drive traffic to your Google Sites.

Patrick LaJuett
Patrick LaJuett operates a website design and marketing agency where he supports his clients as a Web technology consultant and search marketing strategy advisor.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Google Site Developed for Keuka Lake Rental Cottage

New Google Site features embedded Google Calendar, Picasa Web photo gallery, and more.

Need an inexpensive website up and running quickly? Try Google Sites. The rapid development cycle, along with simple to use interface, is very hard to beat.

There are limitations on the level of customization. (No JavaScript or inline CSS).  And quality third party gadgets are still rare.  However, the ability to integrate Google apps is a winner.  The built-in micro blogging widget is probably my favorite feature...they just need to open up the public comments.

Springer's Keuka Haven - cottage rental website built with Google Sites
Google Sites is a structured wiki and webpage creation tool offered by Google as part of the Google Apps Productivity suite.  

Patrick LaJuett
Patrick LaJuett operates a website design and marketing agency where he supports his clients as a Web technology consultant and search marketing strategy advisor.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

New WordPress blog for Hochstein School

We helped develop the new WordPress blog for Hochstein School of Music. Check it out here.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Salmon Creek in Hilton, NY

Here's an autumn view from our Hilton office.  Photo has Photomatrix' tone mapping algorithm applied.
Salmon Creek in Hilton, NY.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

SEO Project Walk Through

National search marketing campaign initiated for New York State based business, Hunting and Shooting Related Consultants, LLC.

The Leaders in Hunting Incident Investigations

Let's Take a Walk

The Analysis

  • Website architecture audit
  • Keyword research
  • Local listing inventory

The Good

  • Client has an existing html website and a WordPress blog
  • Site is aesthetically pleasing and well coded
  • Client reputation is well known internationally

The Bad

  • The underlying search engine optimization is lacking
  • National web search yields low ranking for related keyword phrases
  • A couple of blog posts exist, but nothing substantive

The Fixes

  • Added Google Analytics code
  • Modified page titles and descriptions
  • Generated XML sitemap
  • Submitted to Webmaster Tools
  • Created a new G+ page
  • Directory submission

The Next Steps

  • Establish an authorship schedule for relevant blog posts relating to hunting and shooting safety, accidents and incident investigation
  • Attract quality incoming links from national publications and forums
  • Monitor traffic and lead generation
  • Expand social media efforts

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Client Communications - Constantly Evolving

Client communication is critical to my business success. I'm constantly juggling and multitasking. Social media is both a blessing and a bother.

Simpler Times
My Web design business launched in the fall of 2001. Back then, face to face meetings, emails and phone calls were the ways I communicated with customers (sorry, couldn't do the pager on belt thing).

How things have changed
With the explosion of mobile phones and social media, I now have customers contacting me via LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc.  Trying to keep up with the various incoming messages from all these sources has become a challenge.

Time to talk
Communication is critical to business success, but it can be a real time vacuum.  As a small business owner, I constantly struggle to juggle the various aspects of running the business. Things like work flow, cash flow, and trying to grow.  I need to be able to respond quickly and concisely to the multitudinous customer inquiries I receive.

Email to the core
My preference has always been email because I like to have a "paper trail".  I also like the ability to respond at any time (even 2 am on a Friday night, I'm ashamed to admit).  I use Outlook and Gmail with synced calendars, this allows me to use the best of both tools.  Priority flags and reminders are my virtual post-it notes.

Google Voice - A nice choice
The "Swiss army knife" of small business communication tools?
  • It's free
  • Local phone number
  • Call forwarding / call screening / conference
  • Voice to email and/or SMS

Help Desk - Scalable and Professional
I have implemented an online help desk (Zendesk) to help manage projects, changes and technical support issues.
  • Web based
  • 24/7
  • Tracking
  • Integrated with email
From my experience, customers seem to resist the "lengthy" ticket creation process (sarcasm).

SMS / Texting
Not new, but it's still very convenient when possible.
  • Quick
  • Mobile
Integration is a problem, although Google contacts and Voice play nicely together.  No way to push events to G calendar (app idea?), I also find that messages can get buried quickly. And land lines are land mines.  Accidentally trying to send a text to a land line and you get the dreaded 25 cent extra charge message.  I've never found the courage to do it.  Damn, I actually have to call the customer back.

Social Media - Lovin' G+, Facebook not so much
Keeping pace with evergreen social network landscape is fun but challenging.
  • Highly interactive
  • Non intrusive (Turn the alerts off - gasp!)
  • Hooks into help desk
Any of these tools can be a barrier for non technical customers.  I also have privacy concerns. Accidentally posting a reply that's set to public versus private.  The equivalent of "reply all" if you will.

My quest for the ultimate solution continues...
No matter what I have in-place, it will never please everyone, myself included.  Clients demand 24/7 accessibility and instant response.  Spam blockers, forgotten passwords, playing phone tag... all barriers to effective streamlined communication.

I look back fondly on the "olden days".  Before smartphones and social media enveloped my every waking minute.  And I had to walk uphill both ways to school. :-)

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