Category Archives: Web Design

Strategies specific to the world of web design.

SearchMash.com – Google’s Testing Site and What It Means For Local Businesses

Earlier this week, there were many bloggers writing about SearchMash.com. This site appears to be a testing server for Google to test out AJAX style features such as combining Images and web results on one search page. See below for some screen shots. One element of this search platform that I do like is the fact that when you select more web page results, it does not open a new page, rather it expands the current page you are on and just increasing this length. With a regular search engine you can increase the number of results you see, but let’s face it, the majority of web users don’t actually know how to do this.

So, the question is; as a local business how does a program like SearchMash.com affect my business? Directly, the answer is minimal, however, now is a good time to review whether you have properly tagged your images on your website to identify your business name, brand and products and services. A9.com was one of the first to incorporate this combined web and image search on one search result page and now with Google playing with this concept it is important to revisit the tagging of images from a SEO / Branding perspective.

What exactly do I mean when I say tagging your images? Basically, it boils down to doing two things:

1) Properly name your images on the server – for example) say your company name is ABC Plumbing and you obviously display your logo on your web page. Don’t name the image logo.gif instead name it abc_plumbing_logo.gif.

2) Include a descriptive “alt” tag so that when a user scrolls over your image – they see a title for it. In the above case, that would be ABC Plumbing – forget adding logo to the alt tag as the user already knows of that.

These can make it easier for a search engine to identify the images on your web site and directly tie them back to a search result page. For example if I did a search for ABC Plumbing on one of these pages and my site URL was displayed on the left and my logo on the right – even if a competitor was trying to capture my search engine traffic, I have double branded myself on a particular page.

Take the first image below and move your mouse over it, you will notice the text “This is the home page of SearchMash.com” this is an example of the alt tag. If like many small businesses you have hired a web designer to build your website, I encourage you to inquire with them about this particular issue to ensure that you are covered.

Search Mash Home Page SearchMash.com
This is the home page of SearchMash.com

Search Mash Calgary Results Page Calgary
Search Results

SearchMash Calgary Results Page

Search Mash More Calgary Search Results Calgary
Search Results

SearchMash Calgary Results Page

Beautiful Web Sites Seldom Make More Sales

This article is not written by myself. Rather it is written by Vishal P. Rao. There are some good points, hence my reason for publication.

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Designing an E-commerce Web site is not as simple as having a “pretty” site that is a pleasure to visit. While it is important to have an attractive site, as much thought must be given to functionality as to appearance.

Many Web designers seem to focus more on appearance than functionality, and while an attractive site is helpful, visitors that become frustrated by the inability of a site to function well, will leave almost immediately, never to return! Continue reading

Hits, Page Views and Unique Visitors – Which Metric Should I Use?

Psst … Did you know that last month my web site had 5000 hits on it? Sounds impressive doesn’t it? Well if they calculate hits, how I calculate hits, most likely it is not that impressive.

One problem with online advertising is that there is still some confusion, and no thanks to traditional media sources, regarding the proper metrics to use when explaining the value of an online property. This article is not about discounting the term “hits”, rather putting it into perspective in terms of what it actually means to your online business and how to use the information.

Before jumping to that, let me explain what the difference is between the terms. Continue reading

How Critical Are Your Web Stats To Your Online Success?

In today’s marketplace, web site statistics are a very important tool to help us when making decisions about our web site. In case you are unaware, if you have a website on the Internet, there is a good chance that your web server is collecting information on the visitors to your web site. For example, if you called me and told me you visited my site at 4:00pm on a Friday afternoon, I would be able to look into my stats, find that time, and be able to tell you what pages you looked at while visiting my site, how you came to my site, which page you left on and how long you were visiting.

The reality of web site statistics is that almost everything is tracked. The information collected from visitors is truly amazing. However, more importantly than the statistics is how we use them to make business decisions and ultimately more money. Continue reading

Look Up – Look Way Up

Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe this is what the Friendly Giant use to say after he arranged the miniature furniture and wanted the camera to pan up to him to start another show of The Friendly Giant. For those of you wondering what might have happened to The Friendly Giant, Mr. Robert Homme died in May 2000 at the age of 81.

So, what does a line from the Friendly Giant have to do with marketing your business in Calgary? Continue reading