Archive for 2006

May 12
2006

Well you’ve finally come to the conclusion that you need a website. Great stuff! A website is an effective marketing tool for your business. Literally millions of people go online now to find what their looking for instead of flipping through the antiquated yellow pages. So where do you begin?

Enter Li’l Johnny, your nephew, aka the computer geek of the family. Li’l Johnny is an exceptionally bright kid, with a very rare talent in “doing computer stuff”, and this makes him the perfect candidate to take on the job of designing your website. The hours and hours he spent fiddling around in Adobe Photoshop zooming into images, resizing them, warping them, and applying all sorts of crazy, sometimes ill-contrived effects serves as the foundation of his knowledge. The skills he honed in scanning your family re-union photos, editing the group image of your family, cutting out old Aunt Beth and replacing her with a tree stump, have most certainly prepared him well.

The trick is to get Li’l Johnny inspired and in the right frame of mind by buying him something he wants… like those cool new Nike shoes, or tickets to a football game for him and his buddies. Once he appreciates you, he’ll be in the right frame of mind to produce the right design for you.

So with a great attitude and a renewed love for his favorite relative, Li’l Johnny will get hard at work and slap together a design that will totally blow you out of the water. Finally the day arrives – It’s everything you ever imagined, the perfect representation of your business…

Or is it?

Perhaps we should look at this from another angle. A professional website design takes into consideration several factors, none of which involve removing annoying relatives from family photos, as enticing as that might sound :)

Li’l Johnny, while sincere in his efforts, isn’t aware that a successful website design takes into account the following factors:

1) Goals and Objectives – Designing a site with loosely defined or no measurable goals is a waste of time. To achieve design success, take the time to identify specific goals and objectives, and ensure a mechanism is in place to test against those benchmarks. Investing in tracking or surveying software to qualitatively and quantitatively monitor the site.

2) Target Audience – This is the most important aspect of website design. A successful user experience will result in repeat visits, referrals, and a positive atmosphere on your site. Even one bad experience, and your customer is lost. Focus on who your target audience is. Identify their likes/dislikes, their background?

3) Web Standards – Ensure that the site is designed to meet the latest level of web standards. Even the smallest mistake can result in alienating a huge percentage of your customer base, because the site won’t function in their browser, or their monitor resolution. To achieve the greatest level of flexibility, make sure the code is streamlined, and effectively employing Cascading StyleSheets that separate content from presentation. Keep an eye out for Usability and Accessibility standards.

4) Usability – Your site may look nice and be technically sound, but is it usable? Information should be easily accessible by a broad base of users, each of their own level of expertise and background. Users should be able to navigate the site with minimum clicks and find the information they are looking for easily.

5) Keywords – Have you done any research on what your target audience is searching for online? Did you make sure that these keywords are prominent on the site and in your content? Did you know that most site visitors, don’t actually read the content…they skim through it. Keeping that in mind, keywords should be placed strategically throughout the site, to achieve maximum visibility. This is a major aspect of implementing an effective Search Engine Optimization (SEO) program.

6) Marketing - do you have a solid plan in place to market your website once it’s complete? Even with the nicest design, a website is useless unless your customers visit it. How effective would it be to have a beautiful store, without any customers in it? Same principal…

7) Maintenance – A site is only as good as its content, and content should change on a regular basis. How should that happen? Should you hire a web design company each time updates are needed? That doesn’t sound very appealing. Instead, invest in an infrastructure allowing the you to easily update content/information regularly.

Let’s let Li’l Johnny focus on his grades in school, or perhaps he can do a website for your family. Leave your business to the professionals.

Apr 19
2006

Maybe you have been tempted to buy more than one domain name for your web presence, although this most probably will not lead to increase your Search Engine Rank, it could be helpful for other reasons.

One of these reasons could be protecting your brand, if you own wsinetsense.com you might want to buy wsinetsense.net and maybe wsi-netsense.com or even wsi-net-sense.com to prevent others from building their website on your successful brand that you have worked hard to build.

Another reason could be getting similar names that your clients could type in by mistake when trying to get to your site like wsiwebsense.com using web instead of net. Also buying a misspelled version of your domain could be a good addition to your multiple domain selection, like wsinetsence.com, or wsinetcense.com both of these techniques will provide you with a way to catch clients that didn’t get the name right, forgot the exact name, or typed it wrong.

Also, getting a domain name for a specific local area or a specific industry could be a good option if you think it will stick to your clients’ mind better or it will give you an edge over your competitors. An example would be if you are targeting clients in a specific geographic area, you could add that area name in front of your domain and use that domain name in the marketing material in that area, like if we are only targeting the bay area we can buy BayAreaWsiNetSense.com or if you are in the limousine business and your domain name is LimoServices.com you might want to get SanJoseLimoServices.com to target the local clients. The same is true if you are targeting a specific industry where you can use the name of the industry in your domain name to let your client know that you are specialized in that industry, as an example we can use WSINetTravelsense.com if we are targeting the travel industry.

Finally, getting a similar domain for a specific use or purpose is also a valid option, this specific use could be a support site, a store website, a discussion group site, or even for a separate blog

For the above reasons except the last one you should use a redirect mechanism where all of your multiple domains would redirect the visitor to your main website, there is more than way to do this (Ex: HTML, JavaScript, VBScript..), but a pure domain redirect with your domain registrar could be the best option. Here you request that any traffic going to that domain be redirected to your main domain. The only exception of the redirect rule would be if you acquired the new domain to host a different site for a specific reason like a blog as we mentioned above then you would need a separate site and separate hosting package since the visitors will go a totally different site.

Contact E-Nor today for all of the latest tips and news on the latest domain name tips for your business or organization and setting up an premium hosting environment.

Apr 13
2006

If you are a frequent user of the web, you’ve surely browsed a site styled by Cascading Styles Sheets. CSS has made a huge difference in the world of web design. They offer you the ability to change the entire look and feel of a site without having to edit countless sub pages. In the next few paragraphs we will see why CSS is practical and how it is being used to revolutionize web design as well as taking a look at an example of CSS in action.

Anybody who has written html code is familiar with the html [font] tag knows that it is used to make changes to the letter styling, size and color (to name a few). It is a vital tag for the novice webpage designer. However, it can pose some problems in making updates and design changes.

Consider the following example: A site with 3 pages where each page has 3 paragraphs. The first paragraph is written in a 10pt. red font while the second one is written in a 20pt. green font and the third is written in 12pt. black, bolded, and italicized font. We now have a problem! Aside from having an eyesore of a site, if we decide to change the current style we have, we need to edit 3 different pages, each with 3 different font tags. Now imagine this for an entire website! You can see that this will be a very tedious task. This is where CSS comes to the rescue. Had the styles on this site been managed using CSS, you would only need to edit a few lines on your style sheet and the changes would apply (or cascade) throughout the site.

The use of CSS is not limited to the editing of fonts. Far from it. You can change the style of your entire site using CSS. Margins, background colors, image properties and custom bullets are just a few of the style elements that can be modified using CSS. This allows for a consistent look and feel across the site without the hassle of editing every single page. Furthermore, CSS can be used to adjust the placement of objects on a site. As CSS becomes more widely used as a standard, tables will become a thing of the past. This allows for much more freedom in design and makes changing the position of elements of a page much simpler than dealing with tables.

We will now look at an example of CSS in action. Here we have a copy of the New York Times home page on April 6, 2006. As you look at this you may ask, What is the CSS doing on this page? It looks like a regular page to me. In fact you’re right, the end result will be the same weather you use style sheets or not, however it is the process of getting to that result that differs vastly.

Let’s take a look at the same page without CSS.  You can disable CSS inside of your web browser.  You may find yourself wondering if you’re looking at the same page, but if you scroll down you will see that the content is the same. This massive change was brought about by removing the link to our style sheets (three lines) from the header. This shows us the power of CSS as well as how simple it is to include or remove from our code. Had this page been created without using CSS it would have taken a hour at least to replicate the same thing we did by removing a few lines.

You may find yourself asking, Well what does this mean for me as the proprietor of a website? I don’t manage it, what do I care? It comes down to this: a site like this will be much easier to modify if the bulk of the design changes can be done by editing one or two style sheets as opposed to every single page on the site. This in turns means less hours spent modifying it, which in turn means you pay less for the same work.

Still not convinced? Consider this: CSS is revolutionizing the way we make web pages. It will soon become the standard. Designing a site purely controlled by CSS requires planning but will pay off in the long run. It will take us into the next generation of websites.

For more information contact E-Nor today!

Apr 06
2006

90% of Internet surfers use search engines such as Google and Yahoo to find products and services. On average, these search engines average 300-500 million searches a day. Only 7% of websites are properly optimized for maximum search engine visibility. Search engine optimization (SEO) is about improving your website so that search engines will rank it higher. Proper SEO takes time and is about improving your website for your visitors and the search engines. There is no way to guarantee any ranking for any period of time. There are ways, however, to make your website more useful to visitors and easier for search engines to browse through and rank.

As your website begins to rank higher on the search engines, more visitors are brought to your website. Good SEO is part of a comprehensive and well thought out plan. Not only do you make your website look better in the eyes of the search engines, your visitors are presented with content that is useful to them. The SEO efforts, if done right, will not only bring in more visitors but it will also bring in higher quality visitors. When high quality visitors are presented with useful content, conversion rates are bound to improve. In that sense, SEO is not about shady tricks and deceptive practices, but more about improving your business in a less conventional way.

A few of the things you might do as part of your SEO program:

  • Write high quality, relevant, and unique content that is useful to your visitors.
  • Obey webmaster guidelines, such as the one posted by Google.
  • Validate your website code so it is error free.
  • Run your content through a spelling and grammar checker.

What you do NOT want to do as part of your SEO program:

  • Try to trick the search engines so you rank well but offer little value to visitors.
  • Copy content from other websites.
  • Fill your website with content that is not useful or relevant.
  • Join a link farm where you pay to have lots of other websites link to your website.

Sometimes it can seem tempting to do whatever you can to get higher rankings, no matter how deceitful the technique is. Whenever this thought enters your mind, remember this: when was the last time a search engine purchased something from you? The answer is absolutely NEVER. Your website will never be a success if you don’t think about your visitors first. What good are all those visitors if they never buy anything? Make your website more useful to your visitors and make it search engine friendly at the same time. Y our rankings, online business presence, and overall success will improve over time if you stick to this formula. If you have any questions or are looking ways for your website to appear strong and with legitimacy under SEO, please contact us today!

Mar 26
2006

The global marketplace continues to shift online and a clear example is the phenomenon of Search Engine Marketing. Individuals continue to shift online to read the latest news, look up information and researching products which eventually lead to purchasing them. According to Nielsen/Netratings, the number of searches across all search engines grew to 5.1 billion in December 2005 from 3.3 billion in December 2004.

The amount of exposure and opportunity for businesses online has never been higher. Many companies have shifted their traditional marketing philosophy of off-line advertising (yellow pages, newspaper ads, radio commercials, etc.) to the online space and in particular, Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising. PPC allows your listing(s) to show under the “sponsored links” section which is easily visible to the users. It also appears on many affiliate sites under specifically marked “advertising” boxes.

In a nutshell, when an individual decides to search, there are a number of results to choose from. As an owner of a business or head of marketing, there are several options and strategies which you may take. For example, the more you pay per click the higher your advertisement is listed but is that what you would like to do? Is this a case of branding or gathering traffic to come to your site? Or do you wish to limit your online advertisement to a specific geography or can the product be delivered to everyone worldwide? These are some questions a business has to think about when developing an Internet Marketing approach. Thus it is important to come up with a strategy and objectives before deciding to fully pursue this marketing medium. Here are some important factors to keep in mind:

  • ROI: For any marketing initiative, pay close attention to Return on Investment (ROI) and results. ROI Analysis will enable you to see where success is coming from and where to pay attention.
  • Competition: Pay Attention to Competition. It may not be important to appear #1 on Google or Yahoo’s search results given your marketing objectives. Assess other companies and see where it may be effective to appear under results.
  • Landing page: Once a visitor clicks on the PPC ad, where do they go? Are they seeing relevant information or are they just led to a page where they have to navigate all over again. Guide them through the landing page on the decision that you want them to make.
  • Negative keywords: A new concept which definitely helps. Make sure that you identify terms which do not relate to your business. This will help gather more relevant traffic and eliminate any unnecessary visits from unqualified clicks.

When setting up a campaign, a business needs to come up with a thorough and well formulated strategy to gather results and have an attractive Return on Investment (ROI). It is greatly stressed to set the objectives and goals for the campaign. Make sure that you understand the nature of the business you are marketing, and what kind of traffic you want to receive. It is always helpful to have some type of checklist when setting up your campaigns. E-Nor manages accounts across different industries and holds the recognition of being “Qualified Google Advertising Professionals” along with a “Yahoo Search Marketing Ambassador.” If you have any questions or need any information on Internet Marketing Solutions or professional website design or assistance on improving conversion, please do not hesitate to contact us and we will be glad to help you. Thanks!

Mar 08
2006

Two of our favorite definitions of “Marketing” are found in organizations that help small business owners establish and grow their trade, one in the U.S. small business association and the other is in the Australian Department of State and regional development. These definitions revolve around the concept of customer, customer and the customer! Simply, marketing is about finding out the wants and the needs of the customer and offering a product or a service that meet these wants and needs. And Integrated Marketing is basically the process of managing all media and coordinating all activities that will help the marketer reach and acquire a client. It is more important now than ever for you as a business owner, a president of a company or an executive to fully adopt an integrated marketing strategy for your business. Depleting the allocated marketing budget in one medium no longer provides the anticipated return. We advise our clients to “maximize the marketing mix”. Here are some practical steps to help you develop then maximize the marketing mix:

  • Research. First and foremost, understand and profile your “ideal customer”
  • Survey. Ask existing clients and new leads how they found out about your business, your product or service.
  • Segment. Equipped with the knowledge of research and surveys, segment the media to reach potential clients and the multiple media that each prospect uses
  • Implement. Put to practice the activities that will generate a higher impact when combined and keep in mind that;
    • Different customers will require a different combination of media
    • Integrate your online and offline advertising and communication
  • Measure. Track your Return on Investment (ROI) and apply your “lesson learned” in your future campaigns

Case Study – A high-tech company that offers Electronic Manufacturing Services (EMS). Working closely with the president of the EMS company and his business development team, a WSINetSense senior marketing consultant devised and implemented an integrated marketing plan that helped the company achieve and exceed its yearly goals. The company’s integrated marketing strategy included an effective combination of offline activities such as print ads, technical papers, technical presentations as well as a very comprehensive online marketing initiative leveraging the merging internet marketing programs such as Search Engine Marketing (Pay-per-click and Search Engine Optimization campaigns), banner advertisement, webcast sponsorships among other targeted campaigns. For every campaign, metrics and periodic measurement and analysis was done to ensure the planned objectives are achieved. The company has seen a substantial increase in exposure to potential customers. For more information on how WSI NetSense can help you maximize the return on investment and show you how the overall return of your integrated marketing activities can be significantly higher than the individual sum of each component and to help you implement an effective Integrated Marketing strategy, contact us for a free consultation.

Feb 27
2006

What’s with all of this blog hoopla anyways? Well a Blog (short for Web Log) has become a phenomenon on the web and is being used as an effective medium for everybody to spread their message in a unique and effective manner. In its relatively short existence, blogs have become an addicting trend for those interested in sharing their thoughts with the world. Simultaneously, it’s becoming more of an integral part of an effective marketing strategy for businesses worldwide. Its benefits include:

  • expressing your expert opinion in your field of trade
  • method to attract individuals to your site
  • a personable method of relating news of your industry
  • gather feedback and responses from customers
  • provides potential customers with information on your opinions

Don’t think anyone will read your blog? Well, consider the study which was done by EuroRSCG Magnet & Colombia University which states that 51% of journalists use blogs regularly for their research. The following was also revealed;

  • 53% of journalists use it for finding story ideas
  • 43% use it for referencing facts
  • 36% for finding sources
  • 33% for breaking news or scandals

Still don’t believe it? Consider that Mortimer B. Zuckerman, the editor in chief of U.S. News and World Report, affirms that blogs shouldn’t be ignored. Blogs are transforming the way Americans get information and think about important issues. It’s a revolutionary change and there’s no turning back.

The word is spreading quick as there are approximately 30,000 – 70,000 new blogs created daily. The team at E-Nor has always striven to become a leading Marketing and Internet Consulting Firm and has added this blog to its arsenal of useful tools to help you become the leader in your industry. If you have any questions about blogs or any of our latest services, please do not hesitate to contact us.