Tips To Improve Your WebSite (or Web App) Pages

Ok, so you are ready to update your website pages, or these days, a web-based app page. Well planning content is critical for making the most of your site pages. Here are several tips that should be included in refining a site or app page.

  • Layout a wireframe for a site – a wireframe needs to show how a page is laid out, so you can plan what is related to it.
  • Select content and images that tell how you will solve a problem,. not just your “life story” . It is good to know something about how a business is established for credibility, but keep stories to three paragraphs when starting out. And be ready to update your story over time.
  • Have a focal point of a page – an image that conveys what the site is ultimately about
  • Balance the white space – make sure that a pages does not crowd with a lot of text. People read differently online than they do offline.
  • Avoid using grey or any light-colors for fonts.  In many instances, words in dark definitive colors against a background is easier to read at a glance.
  • Remove flash pages – they are not only dated as of 2017 (and earlier), but flash pages also can hinder loading the key material visitors want to see on a page.  With mobile and tablets being the first tool used to view sites, a flash page can hinder mobile access if there is no mobile page….
  • ….Which, by the way, there should be a mobile page for your site. Make it with simple features, such as a simple bullet list of offered products/ services and a large button which users can click to dial to your store or office.
  • For showing important details on your business offers, ask designers how to highlight that information. Sometimes a slight contrast in the background can show importance
  • Despite better text editors and code frameworks, it is important to verify the appearance of webpage and web app pages appearance across browsers. To do so use Browsershots, an online site that checks pages for browser/site compatibility
  • Make sure there is a privacy statement indicating the use of analytics, where applicable, and how data is handled within your organization.
  • Consider examining how navigation usage occurs within a session that last 190 seconds (190 seconds is a typical average for a webpage). Note what is clicked and loaded easily within that time frame.
  • Decide on social media platform and memberships to be displayed – links, badges, and widgets that shows a window of the activity on that platform.  Sometimes these can add to page load time if the images are not optimized.
  • Plan footer content – the latest website designs have a footer that works across each page.  For apps consider what elements appear in the navigation – can any of it be arranged to simplify the loading of the app.
  • For websites, gather recommendations of products and service – show on a page or every page where possible.

Finally, remember to optimize for search engines – i.e. use SEO to rank your site in a search query.  Without this, your website has not guidance for search or even for a paid search marketing plan.

The most critical mistake with websites is to make delays to deliver your content to a developer or designer – more than a few months to code and finalize function can be problematic for your designer to organize and revise code with quality. Those delays can also cost your business sales, because your business’ updating of a site reflects how well it is operating.  Gather essential changes so you can share your concerns upfront, and make any changes in an organized fashion.

Good Starter Questions for Organizing an A/B Test

A/B testing and optimization does not always sound like a sexy subject to talk with someone (if that someone is not an analytics practitioner). Neither is going to the dentist for some people.
But just as people do make an appointment with a dentist, managers need to make an appointment with their analytics teams to understand what content and app features are working to attract customers.  Thus managers need to have discussions about testing and optimization plans.
In starting discussions about testing and optimization,  a few simple questions are worth asking.
  • What testing is needed in the overall digital strategy? What website elements, qualities or user actions are repeatable to warrant testing and optimization?  These questions highlight what the test is meant to accomplish – essential asking “What is the test for?” The questions also highlight what element in a website or app is being questioned.
  • Which internal organization owns the Testing / Optimization process? In short, who is running the test and responsible for the reporting?
  • How can this testing support the analytical needs of the marketing campaign?  In other words, how does this support a goal for the organization?
  • What obstacles hinder testing?  What resources are needed?
Consider the following as those thought-starter questions that can lead to a healthy discussion and decisions on how to best approach a digital presence for an organization.

How To Keep Site Performance Tip Top – From 301s and 302s to Page Loads

301 and 302 redirects
301 and 302 redirects can create new challenges in making content appear in search queries

Building a customer experience that includes a website means more than being visible online. It also means managing the negative aspects of a digital presence – removing duplicate pages and staying alert for usage of a business name.

To do this, consider the following tips to keep a digital presence as pristine as possible.

  • Examine 302 redirects – make sure that the temporary redirects are managed correctly. That means examining how the pages appear in a search query, because a older page that is deprecated against the newer, temporary page can be viewed as obsolete and thus ignored by the search engine, though there are signs that 302s won’t impact pagerank (Google just explained this, according to Search Engine Land)
  • Be leery of 301 chains – numerous permanent redirects in a series can seem spammy to search engines, leading to delisting on search engines. It also impacts the latency for a site by creating unnecessary page calls to a server.
  • Make sure the site map is up to date to reflect the site pages and associated sites.
  • Examine how the site is loading with page speed reports. Pingdom and Yottaa can examine how a site loads relative to a server. These can indicate fishy server calls that slow down a site experience.
  • Audit the site for duplicate pages. Siteliner offers a free and premium tool for identifying duplicate content as well as broken links.
  • Be aware of online copies of your site text. Use a plagiarism checker like Copyscape to discover other sites that may be mimicking your site. The results can yield potential phishing sites and well as sites that scrape content.
  • Keep Google Alerts for usage of your company name, products, and other brand as needed. Alerts can help you discover new allies for your business, as well as nefarious sites that have scraped and copied the site.
  • Use the Page Load Speed report within Google Analytics to note spikes in page loads. Increasing the page load can encourage site visitors to leave a site rather than view other pages or material.
Polymer.js example

How Semantic Search Relates Online Content to Customers

Polymer.js example
This HTML mark up is a technical example of how semantic search works. It calls out specific parts in the code, like this callout designed to address a version of JavaScript called Polymer.  Although JavaScript case like this is not an influence on SEO, most semantic search is meant to address highlighting specialty HTML elements in a search query.

Search engines have subtly changed their methodologies over the past few years. One methodology that has yet to see widespread adoption has already experienced its most significant change yet.

Back in 2013, an ontology library site, Good Relations, announced an alignment of its markup structure definitions with those used on schema.org, a metatag library. The end result is increased consistency of definition usage among businesses, and a wider shared usage of structure markup among web developers and search engine optimization practitioners.

This merger occurred thanks to increasing search discovery needs for digital media. From music to webinar presentations, businesses have added numerous content to appear when potential customers research product and service information online.

The content has led marketing managers to give a refreshed look at their optimization strategies through apply semantic search. Semantic search involves organizing keywords and content with website element protocols and structure markup language. The organization makes the pages and site content more visible to nuanced search engine queries.

Good Relations and schema.org support separate protocols for semantic search. Schema.org contains metadata meant for HTML5, an update of the venerable website structure code language positioned for future website development. Good Relations contains RDF – resources description framework that has proven utility for current retailers and E-commerce sites.

One strategic benefit for managers is learning enhanced ways to translate potential client language to its digital properties. If businesses within a given industry agreed to ontology for services and needs, those businesses can adjust their content tags to position its content to potential query results from those businesses. Imagine a video on better financing for construction projects – With a metadata protocol, now imagine that video section appearing in a search query run by a construction firm.

That exact example lies at the heart of HTML5. HTML5 added video- and music-related tag elements, developed to increase media exposure to relevant search engine queries. Other tagging protocols can help search engines recognized a group of authors – an aid to marketing teams leveraging personal brands of its members online (You can learn about what Google accepts in structured markup here – Bing also has a structured markup guide). The fundamentals of digital marketing is increasingly shifting toward strategic data ownership, which is supported through content marketing and semantic search.

With the schema.org – Good Relations alliance, digital marketers and website developers can optimize metadata and RDF information across varied content. The success of such an effort will create a true application of semantic search’s definition – the science of actual customer’s language.

Analytics Tips: How non-techies can monitor branding for small businesses and non-profit organizations

Google Analytics Affinity Reports
Reports like Affinity Report can be set in the dashboard for quick referral of traffic quality.

Monitoring your brand. It’s a phrase brought up by marketers, yet no one thinks about how non profits or non technically inclined individuals should be monitoring their “brand” online.

Why is this overlook important? Well, the definition of a brand is ”how others remember you”. In general you are asking the public to remember you – for a donation, for purchase a service, or for purchase from your inventory when your nearby competitor has the same product (and these days, everyone online is a nearby competitor!).

So let’s assume that you have added a Google Analytics account to your website. If so, you’re half way to monitoring your data and your brand. To get that other essential half, try the following few starter ideas for digging into the reports without getting too overwhelmed.

  • Schedule a reporting time – minimum once a month review with the analytics reports. Expect more frequency if you are using paid search or other budgeted media for marketing.
  • Set Goals in your analytics account – Set the pages and webpage actions that relate the site to your objectives.
  • Set visits by geography if your business or nonprofit is covering a specific region. Geography reporting can be the easiest to understand, if your business is marketed to certain regions. Review if traffic consistently lined up with where the business is marketing.
  • Look for trends over time. Examining where data comes from will narrow down what actions to take to strengthen or adjust.
  • Look at affinity reports to see what other topics of interest that attracts visitors and are receiving your visitors after they have visited your site. The reports can spark ideas for Adwords campaigns by lifestyle to sites that are suitable partners for increasing exposure to your site and brand.
  • If you are receiving regular reports from an analytic practitioner, ask for the meaning behind a report or metric definition. They should be following along your business at some level, and making connections between the metrics recorded and your business objectives.