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Six Reasons to use WordPress

A website is an investment. And to make the most of this investment you want both beautiful and robust. 

WordPress is often our preferred platform. Because of it’s flexibility for design and development and it’s countless plugins, WordPress provides our Omaha web design team with the tools for a customized website at an affordable cost.

WordPress logo

Here are six reasons you, too, should consider using WordPress:

1. Browser-based

WordPress is a browser-based, meaning you can manage your website from any computer, tablet, or phone with an internet connection. They even have an app for easier on-the-go editing. 

2. Endless Plugins

Plugins, Plugins, and more plugins! WordPress currently has over 10,000 plugins for you or your developer to choose from when building your website. These plugins add functionality, extend the life of your website, customize the user’s experience, and are a vital part of any good website. Better yet, most are free or well-priced.

3. SEO Benefits

Having trouble with your website ranking? Well Google is pretty fond of WordPress. Compared to other platforms, WordPress gets the edge in Google Rankings. Updating your website regularly with valuable and authoritative content is a must, but WordPress provides several SEO plugins to assist in optimizing your web pages with appropriate titles, H1’s and Meta Descriptions.

WordPress also released WordPress 5.0 in November 2018 that includes the latest version of Gutenberg – a block editor that allows for simple and functional page editing. The Gutenberg editor, in conjunction with the Yoast SEO Plugin is powerful for search engine success. 

INSTALL YOAST

4. Multi-user

WordPress allows multiple users. As an administrator you can add other developers and even assign access levels for each user. Monitor user updates and add or delete users as your business grows and changes.

It also provides plugins (yes, more plugins) for user groups, user permissions, wholesale eCommerce customers, and user profile and membership management. 

5. Customization

WordPress is 100% customizable to the user. If you have the knowledge, or a great developer, almost everything in WordPress can be updated, customized or changed to fit your needs.

GET WORDPRESS

6 Things to Consider When Building a New Website

Building a website today much less resembles the lawless open plains of the Wild West and more closely relates to open freeways, endless roads to travel, scattered with check points and signs along the way attempting to guide you.

With technology so rapidly evolving, so many companies offering their services, and so many options when building a new website, staying up on the latest and greatest trends in technology can be overwhelming. That’s why I’m going to cover a list of the top 6 things  our Omaha web design team recommends considering when building a new website.

icon for building a website

Ownership

Building a good website requires a lot of work. You will need research, coding, design work, population, testing, security, and finally to launch the website. When it is all said and done, who owns the rights to the website – you or the company that created the website for you? Make sure you own the rights to both the design and content of your website, and ALWAYS ask this during your first conversation with a web design and development company.

Content Management System (CMS)

Think of the CMS as the brain of your website. Always research a CMS before choosing one. Google it! Read about its strengths and weaknesses, read reviews, and peruse websites built on the platform. Much like test driving different cars, different website platforms have a different feel to them and it will make a huge difference in user happiness and interaction. You will also want a well-known CMS, as it makes hiring new people to work on your website much easier. And just a quick tip, WordPress has rapidly reached its way to one of the most highly used platforms on the web, and it is one of the preferred platforms for our Omaha web developers.

Get CMS Quote

Purpose and Goal

Each website needs a purpose and goal. Some websites have a purpose to educate with a goal of helping to expand your brand awareness. Other websites have a purpose of generating online sales, or making your business money. A common goal includes collecting payments online to make your life a little easier. No matter the purpose or goal of your website, the navigation, content, and calls to action all need to work cohesively to accomplish this.

Mobile Friendly (Responsive) Design

Your website needs to be responsive. End of story. Most websites easily have above 50% of their users visiting the websites on a mobile phone or tablet. Without responsive technology the website will not look nice or function properly, which leads to high bounce rates and lower user satisfaction. Not having a mobile friendly website can also negatively affect your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) ranking.

Make My Website Mobile Friendly

Timeline and Budget

Anything that is worth doing is worth doing correctly. Don’t know who said it, but it’s true. Yes, you can build a website for very cheap and have it up in a week, but in the business of web development you get what you pay for. Set a realistic timeline, and be open to learning. As with anything good in life – a new car, a new home, a website is an investment – take your time, do your research and save up for what you want.

Apples to Apples

There are a number of services and things required to properly build a new website. When comparing companies and pricing, make sure you receive an itemized list of exactly what services they will provide, the estimated timeline for those services and, of course, cost. The reason why you ask? Two companies may have similar pricing, but one may be offering you a great deal more for your money. The bottom dollar gets all the attention but the details are what makes a beautiful website.

Get Website Quote

Why is Quality Content Important?

The short answer… quality content is important because it’s important to the search engines. There’s not a single client who walks through our door who doesn’t care about success in Search Engine Results Pages (SERP). And if Google loves good content, then you should too! The strategy of website design has made major shifts over the last few years. The goal has always been for good user experience; and years ago, our Omaha web designers and web developers would put most of the focus on functional and beautiful design for the best experience possible. Functional and beautiful design are still important to user experience, but now we must also put heavy emphasis on website content. So, let’s approach your website from a more holistic point of view. Let’s build a website that is both beautiful to the eye and rich in valuable information.

Where should you start?

google search example image You can start by understanding how results are served on Google. Google’s algorithm is multifaceted and based on more than 200 factors. But Google’s focus when serving results is relevance. Google does not see the design of your website, but instead sees the words and their location. Because of Google’s commitment to serving relevant websites and content, high quality content serves itself. This is not keyword stuffed content. This is content that is readable, that is appropriately placed on the correct page, that is keeping a user on your website. This is more than just plunking in a keyword every-so-often.

So, you think you optimized your pages…

You’ve selected your primary keywords based on what you think your potential customers are searching. Or even better, perhaps, you’ve partnered with our Omaha SEO team to do some in-depth keyword research and analysis. And you’ve tried to integrate your keywords into your web page titles and H1’s, and as frequently as possible into your content. (We offer this service as a one-time SEO optimization.) But if your website content is only a few sentences per page, with very little substance, your efforts hold very little weight in the search engines. In fact, it’s often more beneficial for you to invest in creating valuable content than implementing our one-time SEO optimization.

What’s the next step?

icon to show searching through website pages The only way to know your best way forward is to analyze how your website is performing. Though Google Analytics and Search Console you can see how each page is ranking, how you’re performing for your desired keywords, and what your user time on site and bouncerates are for each individual page. Quality content is going to establish, at least three critical factors for SEO success:
  1. The search engines will read it and rank it according to its context and value.
  2. Users will read the content, because it is relevant and valuable to them, increasing user time on site
  3. Users will likely be funneled into the website, decreasing user bounce rate.
If your questioning the value of any page on your website, I’d venture to say you probably need to rewrite it. And as a website design company who approaches your website from a holistic point of view, quality content is not only important from an SEO perspective, but also from a design perspective. Did you know that we have a copywriter on staff? Quality content is worth the time and financial investment because it can, and will, bring in new business. So, let us help you improve on every facet of your website – design, performance, content.

Help me with content

Avoiding or Correcting Duplicate Content

Duplicate content is any substantial portion of content that appears anywhere on the Internet more than once. Content is considered duplicate when it appears on your website AND someone else’s website. It’s also duplicate when it appears more than once on the same website URL.

Sometimes duplicate content is deceptive, meaning it is deliberately duplicated on different URLs to manipulate the search engines. One of the main reasons Google does not favor this is because it can result in a poor user experience, and Google updates it’s algorithms regularly mostly because of its dedication to enhanced user experience. If Google thinks duplicate content is malicious, ranking will drop for all URLs with this content or a website could be removed entirely from the Google index.

copy cut paste icons

How does duplicate content happen?

Many times duplicate content is not intended to deceive the search engines. Here are some examples of non-malicious duplicate content:

Printer-friendly website pages: These pages are often a duplicate of an already existing page. It’s also common to use an alternative version of a URL in these instances. For instance, http://www.exampleurl.com/product and http://www.exampleurl.com/print/product. URL variations, like this, cause duplicate content issues.

HTTP vs HTTPS: If your site maintains versions at both http:// and https:// they are both live, visible and indexable to the search engines.

Copied Content: Some people will copy blog posts from other websites. Other times it’s less obvious… like duplicating large portions of content for each service page on your website, or for eCommerce websites it can exist in product information.

These few examples are among the most common causes of duplicate content.

Help me find duplicate content

Why should you care?

Duplicate content really cannot provide you any benefit. The only thing it can provide is decreased rankings and traffic loss. Consider that Google will rarely show duplicate content in it’s search results, reducing the chances that a page will be served. And if whether you are competing for local or national SEO success, duplicate content will not benefit you.

Duplicate content will only be acted upon (punished) by Google if a review indicates that you engaged in deceptive practices. But, if your website does suffer from duplicate content issues then Google will select a version of the content itself to show in the results.

How can you address duplicate content?

While Google can do a decent job of addressing and ranking pages with non-malicious duplicate content itself, there are a few steps you can take for best SEO practice to ensure your website is indexed and ranked appropriately and fairly, despite having the same content in more than one place.

Nonindex meta tag: This is particularly useful for those printer-friendly webpages. You can block the printer-friendly version of the page using the nonindex meta tag and Google will not index it.View Post

301 redirects: We’ve discussed this previously, but if you’ve restructured your website or launched a new one with a new page structure, use 301 redirects to redirect users and Googlebot.

Consolidate Duplicate URLs: A page accessible by multiple URLs or different pages with similar content can be considered duplicate content/duplicate pages. Google will choose one as the canonical version, but you can tell Google which URL is the canonical version. Consider doing this if you have a mobile and a desktop version of your website.

Use Google Search Console: Here you can indicate how you wish Google to index your site and select a preferred domain. An example of this is HTTP vs HTTPS or WWW vs no WWW

Minimize your duplicate content: Review your website content and see where it’s repetitive. Take action yourself to reduce the words being duplicated on multiple pages. You can provide unique and valuable content on every page and then link to another with the content you need to be repeated. If you have an eCommerce website, take care to rewrite your product descriptions so they’re different than the manufacturer, or create ONE product with variations instead of 6 of the same product – the size being the only difference.

Need help?

If you have repetitive content across your website, but aren’t how to rewrite it, we can help. If you switched to https:// recently and are questioning if you have duplicate content issues as a result, we can help. If you need assistance implementing redirects after a website restructure, we can help. If you copied website content from your competitor and put it on your website… and now you’re a bit worried, we can help with that, too.

Help me review my content

Website Content Consultation Offer

content is king graphicPerhaps it’s been a while since you’ve evaluated your website’s content. Or perhaps it’s been a while (if ever) since you’ve looked at your Google Analytics to evaluate how your website content is performing.

You’ve likely heard the phrase “content is king.” From text and images, to web page titles, to H1 tags, to general call-to-action placement, website content matters to the search engines and it matters to potential customers. As a marketing tool with the intention of bringing in business, website content should be evaluated again and again so that your website keeps working for you – bringing in leads, making sales and building credibility.

What is website content?

Website content is more than just text and photos on a website “About” page. Some examples of website content that should be evaluated for success includes:

  • Clear, concise, keyword-rich text on all pages
  • Strategically selected keywords and keyword phrases
  • Optimized web page titles and H1 tags
  • Clear calls to action
  • Strategic landing pages for AdWords/social campaigns

Websites are meant to be investments for increased prospects and increased sales. Let us help you with that.

Increase website success

Did you know JM has a team of experts who work in-house to analyze data, build out web marketing and SEO campaigns, and monitor the results? We provide monthly reports and advice to our web marketing clients, so they can tweak their website content for better results.

For the month of April we are offering a one-time website content consultation for $100. Our web marketing team will analyze your analytics report and Google Search Console data and offer you advice on how to improve your website content to reach your goals.

One hour, $100… and you’ll leave with action steps that YOU can take to improve your website content and website performance.

Call 402.292.7500 ext 115 to schedule a one-hour consultation or send us an email.

Tips for Preserving SEO Value: Monitor Post-Launch

We’ve been taking the last several weeks to discuss critical steps when designing and building a website for a successful launch – so organic search engine rankings don’t take a hit and maybe even improve! You can read about these SEO tips in our posts on 301 redirects and website content. But what happens after launch?

A website should never sit stagnant. It should always be evaluated, refined and updated to satisfy your industry as it changes, your customers and the search engines. Monitoring organic rankings, traffic and Google Search Console in the months and years after a new website launch will help develop short and long-term strategies for improvement.

Monitor Rankings and Traffic

Google analytics admin

With a new website launch, you can expect fluctuation in both rankings and organic traffic. Ideally, within one month you should hit a baseline. By monitoring Google Analytics closely in the weeks post-launch, you should be able to identify problems and solve them quickly. Larger sites can take more time for a recrawl.

And while it’s impossible to rank and track every keyword that goes into driving traffic to your website, monitoring organic traffic will provide data on what keywords are performing best, what pages are out-performing/under-performing and what updates need to be made for improvements.

Use Google Search Console

google search console admin area

Google Search Console is a diagnostic space, provided as a free resource from Google. As with all Google products, Search Console keeps improving and providing more data for your benefit. All you need to do is know about to interpret the data. You can track your 301s and 404s here to ensure your strategies are working; and information covering clicks, impressions, CTR and average position are all critical for a long-term SEO strategy.

DIY or Hire a Pro?

As with anything, you’ll likely want to weigh the options of a DIY approach or hiring a professional Omaha web design and SEO team. From the initial stages of website design, to the content building and population, to the post-launch monitoring – do you honestly have time to do it yourself? DIY is always an option, and in some cases the only option. But considering the information we’ve reviewed in the last four posts relating to preserving SEO with a new website launch – it seems that the failure of a botched launch could cost a lot of money down the road.

If you have the time and skills to prepare your new website for a successful launch by analyzing old data, evaluating SEO strategy, implementing redirects, refining website content and monitoring data post-launch, then DIY is definitely a viable option for you. But, if you do not have the time, skills or know-how to complete all the needed tasks for a successful website launch, then hiring an experienced Omaha web design and SEO team is worth its weight in gold!

 

 

Tips for Preserving SEO Value: 301 Redirects

Rebuilding and relaunching a website brings much anticipation and excitement. And while significant effort usually goes into designing, layout and population, the critical steps of launch preparation and post-launch support are often overlooked – causing catastrophic results in lost SEO value.

As we began to discuss last week, in preparation for launching a new website our Omaha web design team implements many strategies and methods for retaining a website’s credibility in the search engines. A website should not only keep its rankings in Google, Bing and other search engines with a new website launch, but it should also incorporate new SEO opportunities – which were either not utilized in a previous website build, or not yet known.

rocket launching graphic to symbolize new website launch

Best-Practices

Best-practices are often overlooked, because they can be laborious. It takes preparation, thoughtful execution and continued monitoring to ensure SEO value is retained. Let’s, first, hit one major checklist item in preserving SEO rankings in a new website launch.

arrow representing redirects

301 Redirects

If possible, try to keep the URL structure and page names the same. Less can go wrong this way. When your URL’s change, search engines can still serve the old pages they’ve indexed. When this happens, redirects must be implemented to avoid to serving your users the wrong content and to prevent old URL’s from displaying errors.

The 301 redirect is for both users and search engines and indicates to both browsers and search engine bots that the page has moved. For instance, www.examplesite.com/contact is now www.examplesite.com/contact-us on a new website. These will be considered two separate pages to the search engines until a redirect is in place.

Search engines take a 301 redirect to mean that not only has the page changed location, but that the content can be found at the new URL. It could take some time for the search engines to recognize this URL redirect and credit the new page with the ranking from the old URL.

Prior to launching you will want a spreadsheet of all URLs on the old and new sites, so you can implement and test 301 redirects. When the new site is live, you will want to crawl the old list of URLs to ensure everything 301 redirects correctly. Additionally, keeping the old website as a backup will aid in knowing how to implement unforeseen redirects.

Wait… there’s more

301 redirects are critical for ensuring success in the search engines after a new website launch. But this is just one piece in the larger picture.

A credible Omaha web design company will be able to execute these redirects, but it’s also possible for anyone – if you have the foresight and time.

Follow us in the weeks to come for more new website launch tips for preserving SEO rankings.

 

 

Tips for Preserving SEO in New Website Launch

Our Omaha web design and web marketing team is celebrating it’s 20th year in business, and over the 20 years we’ve designed and redesigned our own website, and of our client’s websites, countless times. The life of a website varies – depending on when it was built, the technology/platform used and the branding needs of your own company. Platforms and design trends are constantly changing, so reevaluating your website’s performance and design every few years is always recommended.

But when you do decide it’s time to redesign and launch a brand-new website, the process and execution are critical to your online credibility.

rocket launching graphic to symbolize new website launch

Preserving Online Credibility & SEO

Credibility is achieved through a professional, creative and functional design – of course. But also, don’t forget about the potential credibility you’ve built with Google for years, which you don’t want to lose. Building a new website should not only be about gaining a new website design, but also about gaining access to new SEO opportunities (not just retaining current search engine credibility).

Among countless things that can be problematic in retaining organic SEO with a new website launch are:

  • New, edited or removed content
  • URL changes
  • Page-level optimization changes
  • New sections or pages added to the website
  • New technology
  • Internal link structure changes
  • Domain name change
  • Subdomain change

We’ll hit on the items above in more detail in future posts. But, before launching a new website it’s important to identify a strategy to preserve SEO rankings and improve ranking and traffic moving forward. Carefully planning a new website launch and then monitoring results are critical in refining SEO strategy and refining your website for maximum success.

A website redesign is an opportunity for more traffic and more revenue, so don’t let a botched website launch hurt your credibility with Google.

 

Website Tip: Making a Website Personal

At JM, we often design and build websites for local Omaha companies who have a great product and staff, but have no photos of projects, services or staff for a website. Today, I’m going to talk to you about making a website personal.

Small businesses, especially in this economy, need to set themselves apart from their competition. With Internet ranking Search Engine Optimization (SEO) as one of the highest forms of gathering prospects, the importance of a personalized website is vital to a business’ prospect building and overall survival.

The first step is, of course, an overall website design that accurately reflects a company’s atmosphere and culture. We help our customers accomplish this through a thorough process of interviewing our clients and getting to know their company and future goals.

After the design is done, it’s time to plug in quality content (which we’ve already discussed here) and personalized images. High quality images of a business location, products, finished work and employees are important in building rapport online. The web design style lends itself to large images and minimal content. A picture is worth a thousand words and a good quality image speaks volumes about attention to detail.

At JM, we often run into this comment from business owners: “I don’t want my picture on about-pagethe website.” Did you know that the “About”/”Our Staff” pages are the most visited pages on a majority of our websites? People want to see who they are doing business with, read about their credentials and family. Many business owners don’t think prospects care – but they do! Analytics don’t lie, and ours tell us that people care.

We do, also, realize that you may not have the equipment to take beautiful photos or the gift to write detailed and personal biographies about your employees. But we do! If you don’t feel as though your website is personal enough, let us help you change your online image.

Tips for a Successful Website – Clear Call to Action

Clear Call to Action

Be strategic about what you want your website’s visitors to see and do. Keep in mind – you have somewhere between 5-10 seconds to capture a visitor’s attention. Be direct about your company’s purpose and let new customers or prospects know exactly what you can do for them. The longer it takes to get an end result for an online customer, the less chance you have to sell them your services.

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Tips for a Successful Website – Website Credibility

PRC Online

With the rise of technology and the increasingly important role online presence is playing for businesses, website credibility is an area in which many business should invest. Websites are the new store front. Even if you have a brick and mortar storefront, many potential customers will visit your website before ever getting in the car. You have 10 seconds to capture visitors’ attention when they get to your site. Are you maximizing those 10 seconds?

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