Combine SEO and Web Design to Optimize your Marketing Strategy

If you didn’t think there was much of a connection between web design and good SEO practices, consider the fact that without strong SEO principles embedded in your web design, there probably won’t be too many visitors who ever get to see your website. The important role played by SEO can hardly be overstated, because it takes into account what search engines consider valuable to a website, and maximizes those appeals so that a site can be ranked highly by search algorithms. And of course, the more visitors who find your site, the more likely you are to enjoy business growth and success.

This being the case, here are some ways you can ensure that your own SEO approach is strongly reflected in your site design, and works well to optimize your marketing strategy. Some of these strategies may be beyond the abilities of your staff personnel, but they are so important that it’s worth consulting with the marketing experts to get them right, and get them incorporated into your site.

Think mobile

If your site isn’t mobile-friendly, it isn’t Google-friendly either, and will be prioritized low in search rankings. It goes without saying that mobile devices are the rage in Internet searches these days, so it’s an absolute must that your site has a responsive web design sensitive to that fact. Part of this awareness should include SEO strategies designed to sync up with voice recognition phrases commonly employed by mobile users in connection with your specific market.

Friendly URLs

You should be aware that your page names are important pieces of the search engine process, and can direct significant numbers of users your way if chosen carefully. A URL such as http://www.mycompany.com/auto-repairs will funnel users to your website who are looking to find auto repair services, and if you include specific geographic info in the URL, it will point them right to your location.

SEO for images

Every image on your website should have an alternative tag attached to it, because it provides additional content which can be searched by engines. Your graphics should also be scaled such that they do not degrade loading times, and should be named using keywords which are most likely to be referenced by Internet users.

Keep your content current

Internet users are always looking for the most current information, because things can become outdated very quickly in the digital world. That means that your content cannot be allowed to stagnate, and go untouched for months at a time or longer. Keep it fresh and updated with current information which is relevant to your users, and will be prioritized higher by search engines.

Speed is everything

Anything which slows down your presentation to users will be not only penalized by search engines, but may cause users to abandon your site in droves. This includes slow-loading images, plug-ins, social media buttons, JavaScript code, and anything else which bogs down your display time. Internet users have very little patience with slow displays, and at the first hint of delay, are likely to be on to the next website on the priority list.

 

Tips on Choosing a Perfect Web Hosting Service

Choosing the right web hosting service can be absolutely critical to your company’s continued success and business growth. Conversely, choosing the wrong company can lead to problems which threaten the existence of your business, or cause serious financial discomfort. For instance, a company which doesn’t provide an appropriate level of security for its clients could be hacked, leaving clients exposed to data theft. A hosting company which is unreliable may cause excessive downtime for clients, and in the commercial world downtime represents loss of revenue. With all this in mind, here are some tips which can help you choose the right web hosting company for your business.

Check out the reviews

You can find out a great deal about the reputation and reliability of many web hosting services simply by reading online reviews from existing and past clients. You will also be able to find out about any persistent issues commonly referred to by customers. Sometimes you’ll even see company responses to customer complaints, and these will also tell you a great deal about the company you’re checking out.

Pick the right kind of host

Before you can choose the right kind of web host, you’ll have to know exactly what you need in terms of hosting options. For example, you will require a lot more features from a web host if your own site is one which will have live streaming, and offer visitors the opportunity to upload their videos. If you expect to have tremendous visitor traffic, you’ll want to make sure that your site is not hosted on a shared server, and you should instead seek a dedicated server.

Find the right package

Don’t get fooled by the low cost of shared hosting, because along with that economical cost, you’re also likely to experience less responsive service. That can be a big problem for you if visitors to your website begin abandoning because of slow response time. It would be far better for you to have some kind of dedicated setup if you expect to have heavy traffic on your site, and when it’s important to provide your users with a high quality user experience.

Get enough bandwidth

Even as a new website, you should make sure you have more bandwidth than you actually need in the beginning, because you will almost certainly grow over time, and need that extra bandwidth very soon. It would be best to avoid signing any contract which locks you into a specified bandwidth, because more than likely you will be charged additional fees when the time comes for you to request greater bandwidth. 

Don’t jump on the lowest price

When you’re starting out as a small business, it’s best to avoid choosing a web hosting company which simply presents you with the lowest offer. While it might make economic sense, you may also find that you get poor customer service, unacceptable downtimes, and slow service that does more harm to your business than a higher budget hit would. Evaluate pricing in terms of what you’re getting for the money.

 

WordPress Web Developer Position

Big Splash Web Design & Marketing is looking for a Junior Web Developer to assist with WordPress website development and a wide variety of digital marketing projects, including landing pages and other SEO implementation. Our ideal candidate would excel with minimal supervision, proactively find solutions to problems and be able to communicate with clients and the rest of our team effectively.

Big Splash Web Design & Marketing is a rapidly growing web design and digital marketing agency in Houston that specializes in combining high-quality custom web design with comprehensive turn-key marketing services and search engine optimization (SEO). We use WordPress to build completely custom responsive websites as well as interactive mobile apps and web applications and then offer our marketing services to help increase the success of the sites and apps we build.

This position will provide the right candidate real-world web design and marketing agency experience and valuable insight into digital marketing and web development. It is a great opportunity for growth, with full and part time available.

Responsibilities

  • Editing and building responsive WordPress websites
  • Building landing pages and email newsletters
  • Working knowledge of WordPress, CSS, HTML, and Adobe Photoshop is required
  • Knowledge of PHP, jQuery and MYSQL is preferred but not required
  • Collaborate with the creative director, developers, and client account manager and directly with clients to create website functionality and design solutions
  • Follow written and verbal direction for consistency across all builds
  • Detail oriented website development and QA, with strong organizational and communication skills
  • Ability to excel working independently, unsupervised or with minimal guidance in a fast-paced, deadline driven agency
  • Strives to be a valuable team member that makes a contribution to the overall success of the agency
  • Troubleshoot client email and hosting issues with the help of hosting technical support
  • Other duties as assigned

Salary

Dependent on Skill Level

 

Visit our Contact Page to let us know you’re interested.

 

Big Splash Has Moved Into New Offices

We’re excited to announce that the Big Splash team has moved into a new larger location in the Clear Lake Area. This new space will not only allow us to better serve our clients – as well as prospective clients – but we also believe it’s going to help us be even more creative!

We’d love for you to stop by, say hello, and check out our new digs. You’ll find us at:

1322 Space Park Dr
Suite C201-D
Houston, TX 77058

 

Give us a call today to schedule your free Website Marketing Consultation. We’d love to visit with you about how Big Splash can help your business grow.

 

The Big Splash Team is Growing

Here at Big Splash, we’ve been very fortunate to experience continued growth and we’re currently looking for additional team members. Specifically, we’re searching for a Web Developer and an Online Marketer .

Visit our Contact Page to let us know you’re interested.

 

Advantages of a Custom Website Compared to a Template Website

Boring Template Website

Many individuals and small businesses are content to put up a website based on a template, especially if it’s their first foray on to the Internet, because it’s simple to install, requires little tailoring, and it’s ready to go pretty quickly. However, it isn’t long before owners realize that their template-based websites look like hordes of other sites on the Internet, and offer little of distinction to visitors to make them stand out.

Little or no design time is needed in such cases, because the design has already been decided, and all that’s really needed is to plug in the name of the business before you’re off and running. But isn’t your unique business entitled to its own unique website – and as a business owner, aren’t you entitled to present yourself to the world in a way that’s entirely your own?

Advantages of a custom website compared to a template website

A website needs to be more than a pretty template that appeals to the masses; it needs to function as a window to the world for your business, inviting Internet users to learn more about your company and its products and services. Every web page, and every piece of content should be somehow informative to readers about just what it is that you do, and how their lives can be made better by continuing buying from you and by reading the useful information you provide. That’s what custom web design is all about.

Custom Designed Business WebsiteA custom website is always more SEO-friendly, which will cause you to be ranked higher by search engines, whereas a template-based site is relatively restricted in its implementation of good SEO practices. You can’t really use good online marketing techniques either on a template site, especially on your front page, which is crucial to getting your message across. If you really want customers to find your website, it should be a custom website instead.

Another advantage of having your site custom-built is that you’ll get continuous support from the designer/developer, both technical and informational. Template-based sites have little or no support available, because all the work has been done already, and you have to accept it as is. In other words, you’re on your own.

The advantage that should stand out the most though, is the fact that a custom website stands out from others by virtue of its higher quality and sophistication, its superior functionality and ease of navigation, and its uniqueness in a setting where so many websites look virtually the same. When customers view cookie-cutter websites, they tend to form that same opinion of your business – that there’s nothing special about it, and it’s just like all the rest.

Rise above the crowd

From the above, it should be clear that a custom website is the way to go, from almost any angle you choose to look at building a site. To earn all the benefits of a custom built website, contact a web design team like Big Splash Web Design, and make your small business website perform like a Big Business company.

 

How NOT to Respond to Negative Reviews

Responding poorly to a negative review can have a worse impact on your business than the review itself.Any business, whether a Fortune 500 company or a local mom and pop store, can suffer from bad publicity. With the amount of activity on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, one person’s complaint about a particular aspect of your business can quickly turn into an avalanche of negative feedback if not handled properly. Worse still, handling the initial negative comment or comments incorrectly can have an even more damaging effect on your business and its image.

All it takes is one bad response to a negative review to start an ugly argument; the result being that poor response can tarnish your business’ reputation for a long time. When you respond badly to a negative review, your response won’t just be read by the initial reviewer. What you say can and likely will be read by everyone who reads your reviews or looks for your feed, whether it’s on Google, Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, or any other platform. It also shows that you can’t take criticism gracefully, and no one wants to do business with someone if they fear backlash from giving an honest review that is less than five stars.

What’s the proper way to respond to a negative review?

Regardless of how good your products and services may be, at some point, someone is going to feel like they got short changed. It’s just a fact of business. Twenty years ago, it may have resulted in an angry call or letter, but these days, an angry customer has the power to create a wave of distrust or fear with a few well-placed reviews. Take these steps to help prevent further damage:

  • Respond positively. Acknowledge that the negative reviewer was unhappy with some aspect of your service or product. Avoid becoming defensive – whether you were in the wrong or not, it automatically makes you look like you were if you take a defensive tone. Rather, be engaging, humble, and willing to listen.
  • Take it offline. Eliminate the possibility of a negative online discussion by asking the person to call your business directly so that you can discuss and remedy the issue in person. Not only will the customer feel as if you’re taking the time to right what they felt was wrong, but it also shows readers (potential clients) that you can respond appropriately, that you care enough to try to fix the issue, and that you’re willing to grow from the feedback.
  • Offer to make it better. There exists what Terry College of Business professors Michael McCollough and Sundar Bharadwaj call the service recovery paradox, which is the result of a very positive service recovery, causing a level of customer satisfaction and/or customer loyalty even greater than that expected if no service failure had happened. If you can manage to help your negative reviewer feel as though the wrong was righted and gain back their business, it is possible to recover from a negative review.
 

Is Your Business Using E-mail Marketing Yet?

E-mail marketing is one of the most effective ways to keep in touch with customers. It is generally cost-effective, and if done properly, can help build brand awareness and loyalty. At a typical cost of only a few cents per message, it’s a bargain compared to traditional direct mail at $1 or more per piece. In addition, response rates on e-mail marketing are strong, ranging from 5 to 35% depending on the industry and format. Response rates for traditional mail averages in the 1% to 3% range.

One of the benefits of e-mail marketing is the demographic information that customers provide when signing up for your e-mail newsletter. Discovering who your customers really are – age, gender, income, and special interests, for example – can help you target your products and services to their needs.
Continue reading

 

What Is A Mobile Optimized Version Of My Website And Why Does My Local Business Need One?

With over 4 billion mobile devices in use worldwide, smartphones are now commonplace. As the technology behind the phones continues to develop, consumers are browsing the internet more often on their phones than on their desktop computers.

People can use their phones to access websites, transfer money, and buy products online. As this shift in buying patterns continues, it’s becoming necessary for businesses to create a mobile optimized version of their website.

By providing customers with an easy and accessible way to connect with your business from anywhere and at any time, you’re making certain you’re not missing out on potential customers who might find your site via a mobile device.

What Is A Mobile Website?

Mobile Web Design for Rock Roofing and ConstructionAll standard websites can be accessed via a smartphone, but mobile websites are specifically designed to suit the device’s small screen, slow speed, and limited functions. Mobile sites show users exactly the same vital information, but in a way that it is easier and faster to navigate. By creating a mobile website for your business, you will be able to make the most of the new advertising opportunities that this technology offers.

Since the iPhone was first introduced in 2007, the number of people using smartphones has continued to increase. Studies show that since mid-2011 the average person now spends longer on their phone than they do on their PC. As a result, a more specialized mobile marketplace has emerged. A mobile website differs from a standard website in a number of ways:

  • – Pages are more compact so that they are easily viewable on a smaller screen
  • – Websites load faster to suit limited smartphone capability
  • – All data is simplified to make it easy to negotiate
  • – Flash and other multimedia elements that are not compatible with all mobile devices are avoided

How To Create A Successful Mobile Optimized Website

A typical user spends an average of 77 minutes per day on their smartphone, so creating a well-designed, mobile optimized website can boost your business’s online visibility and yield significant results.

Here are just a few features that a successful mobile website should include:

Simple layout

The most important difference between a mobile site and a standard site is the way that it is laid out. Your website needs to be easy to read on a much smaller screen. The key design aim is to prevent the user getting lost in navigation. Here are just a couple of changes that should be made:

  • – Cut out all non-vital information
  • – Limit the number of categories you have
  • – Reduce the number of links per page
  • – Prioritize links in order of popularity and importance
  • – Avoid using forms or tables

Fast download speeds

The larger the data size of a page, the longer it will take to load. This is true of every website, but keeping data size low is particularly important in those designed for smartphones. If your website is slow to load, users can quickly get frustrated and move onto other sites. The more pages they are able to view in a set time, the more likely they are to see something they want to buy.

Integrate with map

A wide range of mapping functions can be included as part of a mobile website. The technology is able to alert a customer when they are close to your premises or navigate them directly to it. This feature is particularly useful for small and local businesses which often go unnoticed when standing next to larger chain stores.

Connect with offline media

Smartphones are carried with people wherever they go, so the devices have an unprecedented ability to connect online and offline forms of advertising. QR codes are scanned by a phone’s camera and will connect the web browser to a specific webpage, such as a landing page or buying page. The code can be added to magazines, posters, brochures, and any other form of print advertisement.

The Results You Can Expect From A Mobile Website

By creating a mobile optimized version of your website, you can increase your sales, boost your visibility, and make a positive difference to your business’s image. Here are just a few of the possible advantages:

Higher Google ranking

The higher up that a website appears in search engine results, the more likely it is to be visited by customers. This is especially true of the mobile internet because scrolling through results on a smartphone can be difficult. Search engines like Google are able to recognize when a person is using a smartphone and will feature mobile optimized websites higher in their search results. Your easy-to-read site will have an automatic advantage over your less up-to-date competitors.

Positive customer experience

Once a customer enters your site it is important that they have an enjoyable experience. If a webpage is difficult to read, then a user looking for specific information will simply move onto a more suitable site. By having a clear and concise layout, you can ensure that each visit creates a positive impression of your business.

More sales

Expanding your website to meet the needs of the mobile market is an ideal way drive up your profits. Making the buying process as simple as possible and reducing the number of steps it takes to get from landing page to purchase is key in maximizing sales.

A better brand image

Having a user-friendly, mobile optimized web page will give your business a contemporary, technology aware image. As mobile websites continue to become a mainstream reality, businesses without them are being left behind.

How To Get Started With a Mobile Website

Mobile Web Design for Kingsman GroupCreating a mobile website opens your business up to a huge marketplace that is continuing to grow. However, without extensive online marketing knowledge, developing a successful mobile website design and overall advertising strategy can be almost impossible. Awkward navigation, convoluted design, and unnecessary graphics can all frustrate and put off potential customers.

If you are looking for an easier way to make the most of this emerging technology, an online marketing specialist can help you to create and manage your mobile website. Hiring the services of a professional will not only save you time and money in the long run, but it can also give you peace of mind that your website will be a success.

 

Branding & Marketing Strategy

There are three basic questions that should be answered before trying to create your brand and marketing strategy. To get you started, here is a little bit of information that may send you down the best path:

The first question should be: What is a Brand?

A brand is more than a logo; a brand represents your company in a way that will be recognizable and relatable to your target audience. A brand is what makes a company memorable — customers and clients associate the service and quality of a company with the image that represents your company.

The next question will be: What do I use the Brand for?

Your brand is how your audience remembers you.Your brand is how your company is portrayed to your audience. All of your marketing should be cohesive in your message. Whether you’re focusing on being dependable or on having the fastest response times in the state, you must use a marketing strategy that will portray this message across the board. This allows your audience to understand what your company stands for while also easily recognizing your brand in different marketing arenas.

The last question is: How does my Marketing Strategy promote my Brand?

This becomes a mixture of creating innovative, memorable ads and marketing campaigns and providing top notch service that gives your customers or clients a reason to want to remember your brand. Once they have a reason to remember, providing them with the right graphics and well-placed advertising makes it simple to remember and easier to recommend.

Give us a call if you’re interested in marketing your brand to become more recognizable to your target audience and how you can grow your client base with some simple graphic and marketing changes.