Articles

A collection of things I’ve written.

Get my business on Google Maps

Getting your business on Google Maps (aka Google Places, Google Local Business) is critical for every business as search results now prioritise and display local results over regular non-map based searches, if your business isn’t on the map then you’re missing out on a significant amount of potential customers.

UPDATE: We are now offering a service to get your business on Google Maps for only £50.

Thankfully, getting on the map is  a simple thing to do, it involves creating your own Google Places account and then submitting various business details such as address, contact details, categories, images, reviews and more to Google for consideration. Getting noticed is a little harder.

The tough part is getting your business noticed on Google Maps, as there are more and more businesses claiming their place and competing for attention. There are various components that need to be done right or it’s just a waste of time. A well constructed place marker can generate genuine customers for your business and is absolutely vital in todays crowded market place. There are some proven tricks to use to jump up the listings above your competitors if you know how to play the game - these include getting your categories right, using key phrases in your copy, getting important related

Getting noticed on Google Maps

We have experience of getting businesses onto Google Maps and getting them noticed, generating real value to your bottom-line and bringing you more customers and ultimately orders. We have multiple businesses now appearing in the coveted top 8 map slots, bypassing their competitors in regular search results.

Contact Us to see how we can help you get your business on Google Maps with a well built Place marker for only £50..

Improve Google Adwords advertising campaigns

4 min read

Managing an effective Pay Per Click advertising campaign on Google Adwords takes experience and skill to do right as there are many factors that come into play in order to really maximise your budget and effectiveness.

At the time of writing every new Adwords account gets a £30 voucher to use within 15 days of the account opening so it’s worth grabbing that free cash and using it will.

Before you go ahead, setting up a single campaign, with 1 advert pointing at your homepage driven by lots of keywords is a sure-fire way to wasting your advertising budget but with a little effort you can make it work for you.

It’s important to understand how your advert will be chosen to be displayed based on the adverts content, the bid (usually automatically set) and the page on your website that the advert points to, all of these components need to work together for the best effect.

Adwords Quality

A core concept is a number between 1-10 that you will see displayed as keyword ‘quality’ within your campaign, the higher the number is the better the ‘quality’ of your advert is. The actual mechanics of how this is calculated is a closely guarded secret by Google but it’s definitely based on the relationship between the keyword, the advert copy and the content of the web page your linking to.

Here are some examples to try and give you some ideas.

Good - quality is likely to be 8

- keyword: ‘ecommerce website’ - advert: ‘Get great ecommerce websites that deliver more customers’

  • link to page: http://yourwebsite.com/ecommerce-website (note the keywords are in the linked address)
  • page content: a page on your website focusing on the keywords ‘ecommerce website’
    • page title: Amazing eCommerce websites
    • page description: Amazing ecommerce websites for businesses of all sizes.
    • page keywords: ecommerce website, website ecommerce, ecommerce website

Bad - quality is likely to be 1

- keyword: ‘ecommerce website’ - advert: ‘All jobs taken, no job too small. Call us now’.

  • link to page: http://www.yourwebsite.com
  • page content: the home page that contains lots of images and contact details without the key phrase ‘ecommerce website’

The previous 2 examples of pay-per-click adverts clearly show the difference between an effective collection of components and ones that don’t work together at all.

Now, here’s how advert quality plays how in the advertising campaign.

You can essentially think of ‘Quality’ as a percentage of how efficient your pay-per-click bid is for any particular keyword, lets look at an example. To make this a little simpler we’ll imagine fixed bid of £1 for the adverts above and the formula.

Bid Value = Quality x Your Bid

Advert Bid Value your bid ————————– ———– ———- Ad A (Good - Quality 8 ) £0.80 8 * £1 Ad B (Bad - Quality 1) £0.10 1 * £1

In these examples, Ad A is generating £0.80 of bid value compared to Ad B generating £0.10 of bid value for every £1 allocated. If these 2 webpages were competing for the same keywords then Ad A is very likely to be seen in prime locations where Ad B is never going to be seen because £0.10 simply isn’t enough to out bid their advertising competitors to be seen for those keywords.

Sadly, it’s all too common to see businesses spending money on online advertising without realising how ineffective their pay-per-click adverts are and those businesses are wasting money on bad internet marketing and this isn’t something you can afford to do.

Putting together an effective Google Adwords campaign

Adwords advert quality is a critical component of an effective Google Adwords PPC online advertising campaign but it must work in concert with the page your visitors will land on, aka: landing page. If you’re looking to start an Adwords pay-per-click campaign or maximise your internet marketing budget then you need to get a few things right if you’re to make best use of your budget.

  • Create landing pages for your campaigns on your website
  • Choose relevant keywords
  • Write advert copy that matches your keywords and landing page
  • Check your keyword quality to make sure not wasting cash
  • Split your campaign up into multiple keyword:ad:landing page segments
  • Avoid negative keywords that don’t bring you visitors such as ‘jobs’, ‘career’
  • Target specific ad placements such as competitors, forums, special groups, to focus on your audience. NOTE: this is about where your ad is place rather than what keywords you use

You can take this further by adding in some data capturing through Analytics

  • Optimise your landing pages to convert your visitors into customers
  • Automatically track conversions and adjust your campaign to be increasingly efficient

These are some of the elements we carefully setup and manage for any campaigns we undertake along with a number of other techniques only available to our clients.

Effective Adwords Pay-Per-Click Campaigns

Generating highly visible effect pay-per-click advertising campaigns shouldn’t cost the earth and you careful management can really make a difference to get your campaign noticed in the right places and bring potential customers to your online business.

Our pay-per-click campaigns are well-managed, efficient and make best use of your  budget. Can you afford to waste your precious internet marketing budget? Contact Us to find out how we can help you.

Five eCommerce Website SEO tips you can use

We have a great deal of experience in Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) for eCommerce websites to improve the position of both your online store and the items you sell.

We have some secret ways of doing this for your eCommerce website but we can share our most common tactics that are specific to eCommerce to genuinely improve your orders.

  1. Navigation around the eCommerce website must be easy for both Google and your customers. There are specific tasks that need to be done to ensure that you make the most of website layout to ensure your items rank highly. e.g., the URLs of the products themselves, how the categories interlink, location of your checkout.
  2. You must avoid duplicate content by ensuring that your products are unique, even if the same product exists in multiple product categories, that can be achieved with some clever use of meta tags.
  3. The website needs to respond quickly to keep your Page speed very quick. This is especially tricky in category listings that show lots of products, but we have tricks and tactics that can reduce your load times massively through on site and on server fixes.
  4. Product Reviews are big news for Google and other engines but they must be able to find the reviews and make sense of them in order to display them against your listings in search results by using hReview microformats.
  5. Get your products out of your online store and into global eCommerce website places like Google Shopping, Facebook, eBay and Amazon to reach massive audiences. We have experience in adapting existing stores to make this happen and our new online stores come with these features built in.

These are just a few of the things we do to make your website rank high on search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo to get you more customers and more sales.

eCommerce Website Developer

It’s fair to say that we’re experienced experts in ecommerce web development having delivered multiple ecommerce websites of all sizes that serve anywhere from 100 to 90,000 customers per month and have over 1,000 products listed on Google Products.

We offer a number of ‘out of the box’ ecommerce packages that can support your business whatever your scale now and in the future.

All of our ecommerce packages are built on proven, secure, extendible eCommerce web platforms that will scale with your business.

  • Small eCommerce websites are built on the popular Wordpress platform and can support from 1 to 100 products in multiple categories and come with a rich feature set including secure payments via Paypal or Google Checkout.
  • Mid-size eCommerce websites are built on the proven and feature rich Magento eCommerce web platform that is used by hundreds of existing eCommerce stores around the world. Our eCommerce website is capable of handling 1000s of products and 1000s of customers every day.
  • We have experience in improving your existing eCommerce website with new features, Google Product listings, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), new payment schemes, Price Comparison integration, new layouts or anything you wish.
  • Our custom ecommerce web development projects can bring you a completely bespoke eCommerce store that’s finely tuned to the needs of your business without breaking the bank.

Our eCommerce website hosting is especially chosen to cope with all of the demands of your eCommerce store.

Spring Clean Your Website to improve your Search Results ranking

2 min read

Keeping your website up-to-date is important to ensure you keep high in the search listings or you will be overtaken by those that do. We can help you find and fix any issues that may affect your search results position, it’s never been more important to keep your website up-to-date.

There have been a few recent Google announcements that are likely to affect your site if your website isn’t updated to consider them.

  • February 2011 saw Google change their search results formula and 11% of old sites disappeared off the radar, many others are sliding down the ranks.
  • March 2011 raised the profile of Page Speed, where faster loading pages appear higher in the Search Engine Results Pages. This website scores 88 out of 100, how does yours compare?
  • Jan-April 2011 has seen a major update of  Wordpress and numerous security fixes to mitigate hacker attacks
  • May-June 2011 will see Google Product Merchants being required to include extra data in their product feeds. Google said “While these attributes will not be required for your data feed to process correctly, they may prevent your items from appearing in Product Search results if not included”

These are just a few of the recent changes in an ever changing web landscape, it’s never been more important to keep your website up-to-date.

Here are some website self-help tips:

Further Spring Cleaning Advice

Contact us for a FREE Website healthcheck to keep your business appearing high in the search results.

Broad view of your Online precense {style=”clear:none;”}

Take a birds eye view of your websites online presence with Open Site Explorerhttp://www.opensiteexplorer.org/.

Clean website

Search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo prefer clean websites with no technical errors. You can check your own website is compliant at these

Page Speed

We’ve all visited websites that take an age to load and we’ve all clicked away to find a faster website, here are a few ways to check your web page load speed - anything over 2 seconds is considered slow, anything over 5 seconds is very bad:

What next?

These are just a few of the tools to keep you informed of how your website is performing in todays internet climate, Ring Alpha Web Design is ideally placed to do this work on your behalf and keep your website appearing high in the Search Engine Results Pages.

Can your business afford not to keep high in the search results?

Contact Us now

Ten Website Design Mistakes to Avoid

3 min read

As the economy took a downturn and fuel prices soar, more people are turning to spending money online. But, with millions of sites competing for every customer, competition is tough, to say the least. To complicate matters, studies show that the average website visitor spends approximately 8 seconds on your site before moving onto check out your competition…unless your product or service hits ‘em right between the eyes with the kind of impact that makes them want to stay and buy.

To stand head and shoulders above the competition, you should know these ten business website design mistakes to avoid. With only a few seconds to convert browsing visitors into paying customers, striving to become the first –and best –destination for your products and services will be much easier if you follow these key points:

  • Using Design Templates
  • Dull, Drab Colors and Words
  • Too Many Words
  • Confusing Menus
  • Inaccessibility; Poor Navigation
  • Lack of Professional Appearance
  • Hard to Read, Frustrating Fonts
  • Only One Purchase Option
  • Neglecting Upkeep & Site Maintenance
  • Annoying Ads, Pop-Up and Otherwise

Looking over this list, you’ll notice all of these points fall under three main points vital to your business website design success:

  • Presentation
  • Precision
  • Prioritisation

Presentation

The main goal of any profitable business website is to attract potential customers and convert them into paying customers.  Thus, presentation is vital to the appeal of your website. Grab ‘em while you got ‘em, or risk losing them to your competitors. It’s that simple. The best business websites combine great design with the features customers want most, to get their attention, draw them in closer and open their wallets.

Precision

Have you ever landed on a site where the home page has ten paragraphs of detailed information in a teensy-tiny font you can barely see? How long did you hang around? Do you remember what they sold? Better still, did you buy anything?

Wordiness, confusing navigation, poor quality images, insufficient explanations of who you are and what you offer are just a few of the problems web sites often encounter. Here’s the problem: Most website owners create the site based on what they think people want to know, not what people really want to know. They miss the mark in serving the needs of their customers, and it can mean death for their business.

Uncover your customer’s real needs so you can precisely address those needs via the design and features of your business website. That’s a sure path to success.

Prioritisation

Finally, no business is successful without prioritization.  For example, the needs of a customer should come first.  When a question or problem arises, can you be reached for customer service, or are you unreachable?  Does your business website design make it super-easy for people to contact you for help, or do they have to hunt all over the site to find your phone number or email address? If you make your customers feel as though you’re happy to take their money quickly, but not so quick to respond to questions and problems, your low conversions and high bounce rates will show your website’s true colors.

Likewise, if a visitor is sitting in front of the computer, open wallet in hand, is your sales process simplified? Does it offer several payment options? Is the product or service up-to-date? A customer friendly business website, where the buyer feels he/she is a priority, means repeat patronage in the future.

To get started designing an incredibly efficient, effective and functional business website customers will love, and to avoid theses common mistakes and others, knock the socks off your competition with a cutting-edge, highly interactive website design from Ring Alpha Web Design.

 

Don’t miss the growing mobile web audience

Mobile purchases and mobile web viewing are increasing every day and it’s simply not good enough to expect users to view your regular site. iPhone, Android and tablet viewers expect custom built views.

Thankfully, all of our regular and content-managed websites take full advantage of the iPhone, iPad, Android and other devices with views and touch-based interfaces especially built to get the most out of them.

Our new elegant iPad specific view is a joy to behold and features large buttons, swipe gestures and much more.

Can you afford not to have a mobile website? Especially a FREE version of your existing site?

Contact Us to find out how we can help.

Following are some pictures of this web design site running on iPhone and iPad, I’m sure you’ll agree they look very impressive.

iPhone Web View

iPad Web View

Want to capture the growing mobile audience?

Contact Us to find out how we can help.

How to Choose the Best Website Designer

3 min read

In order to compete in today’s tough hospitality economy, business owners need a strong online presence. The convenience of online shopping, coupled with the high price of gasoline, means a growing number of potential customers are on the Internet right now looking for your business and dreaming of their next vacation destination. So, whether you are just beginning to sell online or want a more competitive edge for your existing business, knowing how to choose the best website designer is a crucial skill.

One word of caution: when choosing the best designer for your business, never choose based on price alone. While price can be one indicator of whether the designer meets your budget needs, you may unfortunately get what you pay for, which will certainly cost you more in the long run. Hire the best designer you can afford to avoid this common and expensive mistake.

Of course, paying top dollar does not guarantee you’ll get the best designer either. So let’s consider the top 5 qualities to look for in choosing the best website designer for your business:

  1. Professionalism
  2. Portfolio
  3. Experience
  4. Creativity
  5. Service

Professionalism

Unfortunately, all website designers can create graphic design for your business website, but not all are professionals. Professionalism seems to be fading as more and more website designers jump on the freelance bandwagon to get their share of the buying public’s money. Simply claiming to be the best is not good enough.  Doesn’t everyone claim they provide the best services at the best prices? So pay close attention to other important signs, including:

  • Is the business web design company interested in specifically what elements you’ll need on your website for growth, or are you herded into their client group and given a select number of templates to choose from that look like everyone else’s?
  • Is the business web designer prepared to take the time to determine your target audience?
  • Are they interested in your overall business goals?
  • Does the designer know enough about your industry, or are they willing to learn, in order to trounce the competition?
  • IS the design company responsive when you call or send an e-mail? If it takes 2 days for them to return your call just to discuss the project, what will happen after they’ve gotten your money?
  • Does the designer talk in terms of the future- how they will support your needs or continue to work with and maintain your business website once is completed?

Portfolio

Basically, a picture does speak a thousand words. The best website designers will have a portfolio of successful sites.  So ask questions. Seek references. Visit websites they’ve created. Notice the page ranking with the search engines.

Experience

In essence, the best web designer has the experience necessary to make the competition pale in comparison. With an in-depth know of SEO (search engine optimisation) and other marketing strategies, a growing knowledge base to stay one step ahead, and the focused expertise to increase you Internet presence, your online visitor will be converted into an online buyer.

Creativity

Templates are a dime a dozen.  Actually, a growing number are freeware. A novice can take a pre-made web page and, with limited knowledge, build a website. Thus the end result looks like a thousand other sites scattered throughout the Internet.  To be number one, you must look like number one visually, with concise information, consumer-friendly interactive navigation, stunning pictures and enticing content that sells.

Service

Probably the most import aspect of the best website designer is service.  A good designer will back up his/her product with ongoing services to ensure your success.

Ring Alpha Web Design offers all of this and more, including:

  • Unique Web Design-updated periodically
  • Web Hosting-to keep the site up and running
  • Domain Registration
  • Online Marketing of the Site-to bring potential customers
  • SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)-to make sure your site is #1

Ready to begin creating a business website that really has impact? Please contact Ring Alpha Web Design to discuss your needs today.

How SEO Boosts Your Page Rank

3 min read

Do you ever use search engines to find a product or service on the Internet, rather than physically getting in your car and driving to the local department store?  You’re not alone. Millions of others are doing the same every day. How often do you go beyond the first two search results pages to find what you’re looking for?  How about beyond the first few entries on the first page?

Perhaps without realising it, you’ve just demonstrated know how SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) can boost the ‘page rank’ of your own business website.

Page Ranking Determines Success

What exactly is page rank? Page rank determines whether potential customers will find your business on page one of a web search, or page 1,022.  The ultimate goal is for your website to be the first business listed on the first page. Generally, buyers of products and services type a specific word or words into their browser to describe what they’re looking for. For example, ‘Jamaica travel’ or ‘cruise to Bermuda’. If they know the name of your business, even better, because the search engines return hundreds, thousands, even millions of results that match the words they are using to search, either completely or partially. The customer then browses through page one…maybe page two…but very few will go beyond that to find what they’re looking for.

Many factors go into putting your company on page one, but great business web design is one excellent way to boost your page rank and bring customers knocking at your virtual door and scheduling vacations,

SEO Boosts Rankings Through:

  • Key Words and Phrases
  • Increased Relevance
  • Popularity
  • Improved
  • Weeding Out the Competition

Although success does not usually happen overnight, with good SEO, your business website will rise swiftly through the ranks, moving your online presence from the back page to front of all the competition.  Here’s how:

Key Words and Phrases

When consumers are looking for a business via the Internet, they do not put a complete description in the text box.  Likewise, general words may bring up a whole slew of sites having nothing to do with the need. For example, typing in ‘the renaissance’ as a search term brings up results related to The Middle Ages, an investment firm called Renaissance, a search engine marketing club, and others. If your business is named ‘Renaissance’, it may be listed on the 3rd page or further down, and will never be found by the visitor. Therefore, targeted words or phrases help narrow down the choices for optimal sites to peruse. In a case where the business name is similar to many other company names, other SEO strategies and keywords can help in this regard. With good SEO, your pages will be peppered with the most common words used to consumers to find what your business has to offer.

Increased Relevance

With proper key words and phrases blended into your web site content, your business website design and pages will increase in relevance, which translates into more consumer dollars spent on your site.  During a search for business, the competition will be left in the dust, if your page pops up as the most relevant to the consumer’s search terms. The best SEO companies, like business Web Design, know how to uncover what people are searching for to get the best results.

Popularity

As soon as your site begins to show more traffic (visitors), search engines will pick up on its growing popularity.  Then, subsequent searches will be more likely to see your business chosen as the best. Thus, your page ranking has hit a major milestone in page rank. Soon, search engines scour the web for pertinent information, and your business will be at the top of the list.

Improved

As your pages increase in popularity and begin to rank higher, you can track how improved start elsewhere and end up on your page.  With great business web design will be instrumental in out-selling the competition, and your bottom line will reflect that change.

Weeding Out the Competition

It’s simple supply and demand. As your business grows, your competitors will be further left behind. Your pages will rank even higher than before. Finally, the first page, and possibly first place, is attainable thanks to SEO.

Want to outshine the competition? Allow business Web Design to apply our expert knowledge and experience in SEO to boost the page rank of your business’s web design. Please contact us to find out more.

Extend the Range of your Home or Business Wifi Network

3 min read

I am sometimes asked how to extend the range of your home or business Wifi network using cheap hardware and the ADSL Router your ISP gave you for free and I wanted to share with you my tips.

**UPDATE:** This also works with the [D-Link DAP-1160 Wireless G Open Source Access Point/Router](http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B000VS08QC/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=gamedevelcons-21&linkCode=as2&camp=1634&creative=19450&creativeASIN=B000VS08QC), although the control panel interface is different the principles still apply.

Extending your home or business Wifi network can be a great solution to connect a remote set of devices like printers, home consoles, desktop computers to a Wifi enabled router that sits in another room.

I have used this solution to extend physical networks into remote offices and also connecting home computers and even XBox 360 to a broader network.

The key to all of this is the amazing D-Link DWL-2100AP, which you can pickup for about £55 and it’s a much cheaper and tidier alternative to running cables around and also using the ethernet over power devices.

The D-Link DWL-2100AP is a great little device and I’ll take you through how I connected a remote home office at the bottom of a garden to the BT Homehub back in the house.

To extend the range of a BT Homehub you need a few things:

  • D-Link 2100AP with firmware 2.2eu, the one it usually comes out of a box with.
  • BT Homehub v1 - the white one. NOTE: This does not work with the black v2 Homehubs as BT disabled the WDS feature that you need
  • Your network needs to all be running on the same sub-net, the simplest way to do this is to simply change your netmask on everthing to 255.255.0.0.

The trick is in configuring the software correctly *AND* not upgrading the firmware beyond the build-in v2.2eu as the newer versions tend to cause more incompatibilities and they don’t add or fix any problems you’ll have with this configuration. Stick with firmware v2.2eu.

  • Setup your D-Link and connect via the web management interface, usually found at http://192.168.0.50
  • Navigate your way through the menus to Home->Wireless
  • Select Mode: AP Repeater
  • Under Site Survey, hit Scan to find all the devices on your home network.
  • You should now see your regular home network listed, select your network and you will see the information be copied above into the ‘Root AP MAC Address’ and ‘SSID’
  • Make sure your Authentication details are identical to your Homehub, if they’re not then it simply won’t work.
  • Select ‘Apply’ and then you’re done here

2. Homehub

  • Login to your Homehub’s web interace, typically at http://192.168.1.254
  • Go through the menus: Advanced -> Configuration -> Wireless -> Repeater
  • Scan for wireless access points to discover all of the Accessible Access Points
  • Tick the box next to your network in the Accessible Access Points list
  • Hit Apply and thats that.

That’s it, once your devices have rebooted themselves your 2 networks should be able to see each other. I’ve done this a few times now and it’s worked like a charm every time.

This has failed for me if I’ve tried to change settings or upgrade firmware (v2.3, v2.4, v2.5) and all have caused me much grief. Stick with firmware v2.2 and it’s a breeze.

Hardware You’ll Need