Welcome to the Precision Computing Arts / Fastwebdev blog. We use this blog to post interesting news about our Sitebuilder web hosting and content management system (CMS). As with other blogging systems, blog articles from our system are indexed in Google and other search engines within a week or two.
(Customers can set up and maintain similar blogs on any Sitebuilder websites that we host.)
3/13/15 Update: Thieves are stealing company web addresses, so please be wary of responding to suspicious "phishing" emails asking you to renew your domain or provide other sensitive account information. Also, guard and take responsibility for your own account user names and passwords.
Who has the keys to your domain...and your web hosting account...and your PayPal account...and all the other online accounts that make your business tick?
As a business, personal, or non-profit website owner, if you didn't answer this question with a resounding "I DO!,"you are putting your website and possibly even your entire enterprise at risk.
Many companies such as domain registrars, website hosts, PayPal, banks, and others that are required to keep your sensitive online information safe WILL NOT COMMUNICATE with anyone other than the person who is listed as the main contact in their records. And they certainly will not release user name, password, and other account information to anyone other than the officially designated contact.
Knowing this to be true, consider what might happen in the following scenarios if you are not listed as the primary contact and you do not have a copy of your login information:
Your employee leaves the company.
You decide to switch web designers, or your designer retires or closes the business.
Your spouse divorces you.
Your relative turns untrustworthy.
You and your friend or business partner have a falling out.
Now further imagine that one of these common situations arises and you need to:
Change your account password or contact information.
Change your web hosting service.
Change your domain registrar.
Change your website designer or search engine optimization (SEO) company.
Access your PayPal account in order to add new payment buttons.
Ouch! You could be in a world of hurt, as one of our new customers discovered recently.
The bottom line is that YOUR contact information should be on ALL these accounts, and YOU should have a copy of all the login information for these accounts: that means URL addresses (e.g., paypal.com, namecheap.com, gmail.com, etc.), user names, and passwords. PLEASE do not rely on others (or Precision Computing Arts) to keep this essential information safe for you!
Tip: Here is one way to find out who is listed as the primary contact for your website's domain and to learn the nameservers for your website hosting account:
Type in your domain name (e.g., pcartsonline.com). Omit the www.
Check the domain whois record box.
Click GO. (Note: If you have changed the information recently, it may take about 24 hours to see the most recent changes.)
Oh, in case you are wondering, when Precision Computing Arts / Fastwebdev sets up an account for you, we never list our company as the registration, administrative, technical, or billing contact. We always list you — the company owner (or your designee) — and we always provide you with the complete login information for every account that we set up on your behalf. PLEASE STORE THIS INFORMATION IN A SAFE PLACE!
You may be wondering why your website no longer appears on page 1 of Google search results. The answer is complicated. Some of the answer depends on the content of your site (something you can control). But a lot is due to changes in the way Google does business (something you cannot control). An article by Rolfe Winkler in the Tuesday, August 19, 2014 edition of The Wall Street Journal, page B1, outlines the differences between Google's goals before it went public in 2004 and Google's goals in 2014.
We asked Joe Sardotz, owner of Oregon Roof Consulting and Inspection, to tell others how important it is to combine good-old-fashioned shoe leather efforts with newfangled Search Engine Optimizaton and a full-featured website to grow one's business. Don't miss his comments below and many more words of wisdom on his own Super Roofer Blog.
Use "noindex" on syndicated content (pages that you have duplicated from another source), which prevents the search engines from indexing the content on your site.
Avoid repeating boilerplate content on your site. Instead, move it to another page and then link it as needed.
Expand similar content pages (such as a travel site that has boilerplate content but just small amounts of unique information about multiple cities). Instead, provide more unique information on each page; or, combine the pages.
Provide more unique product content rather than simply copy/pasting product details from the source, such as Amazon.com or a manufacturer's website.
Use "rel=canonical" link relationships, which Google and some other search engines use to determine the preferred version of content.
Posted by: Elizabeth Olson (from article by Jennifer Kyrnin) AT 06:41 am
Creating an online presence with useful content is key to a successful presence on the Internet. The following summarizes an article about how to improve your company's overall Internet marketing strategy (The Costco Connection, May 2012, page 22-23).
1. Offer information to consumers
Many people prefer to search online to learn more about a product or service seen in ads elsewhere. Your company's website should focus on helping visitors make smart buying decisions, educating consumers even before they call you or speak to a salesperson.
2. Make it easy to find
Use good keywords in your website's home page, title tag, and page content so that search engines will find your website. Be sure to interview your current customers to find out what keywords they would use to find your company. And, if you provide local services, be sure to include keywords that mention your geographic zone, such as "website design in Tigard and Portland, Oregon."
3. Focus on content
Good content is essential to Internet success! In addition to providing frequently-updated, fresh content on your website, you should seek quality links from other relevant websites as well as blogs of your own, links from other related blogs, and educational online videos that you create to help customers get the most from your products and services.
4. Incorporate social media
Combining a quality website with a YouTube channel, Facebook fan page, online press releases, blog entries, Twitter, and other social media will round out your Internet marketing strategy and tie everything together to increase awareness of your company among consumers.
Google recently has introduced SEO and spam penalties that can hurt SEO focused sites in Google's rankings. The best way to keep your site performing well in search engines is to add more content rather than over-adjusting the content you have.
Key do's and don'ts include:
Avoid repeating the keyword phrase more than 10-15 times in your article or putting too many keywords on a single page
Avoid titles that are stilted and repetitive
Avoid multiple headlines using the keyword phrase
Avoid including the keyword phrase in additional, less visible locations such as image "alt" text
Write and expand content regularly to ensure:
Relevance and focus on delivering content to customers
Website provides expanded information on a topic
More of your pages found in search results
More linking opportunities within your website
More frequent visits by search engine spiders (they remember if your site is updated regularly)
What We Do to Improve Customers' Search Engine Results
We design all websites with good search engine performance in mind, and my customers' websites appear to be doing well. I've had customers get VERY expensive estimates from SEO experts who proposed to do what 23 already had done (or could do) myself. We did the necessary work, and their search engine results improved.
With the client's input regarding desired search keywords, we make sure keyword content is complete, and keywords and meta tags are present for each page. Then we use the built-in search engine submission features available on your Cool Tools system, which hits all the major engines.
What You Can Do to Improve Your Standings in Search Engines
Brainstorm which keywords you want people to use to find your site, and and be sure those keywords are already in the pages of your site. The most important keywords should be on your home page. (If you decide to hire us to help, be sure to write down and send us all the keywords that are most important to you.)
Type your keywords into the major search engines (mainly Google.com, Yahoo.com, and Bing.com, in that order of importance). If your site is on the first page, you've got it made! Check out your competitors, too, and see what keywords find their sites high up in the results. Note that some businesses have so much competition that it's virtually impossible to always land on the first page of the search engine results, so no one can guarantee top-page performance. Also be aware that search engines change their methods for finding sites relatively frequently, so your site may be at the top of the heap one day and appear to move down the next; there's no way to really prevent that. Regardless of what the search engines do, your best bet is always to have high quality keywords in your content and meta tags.
We generally recommend customers submit to the directories themselves, because it requires knowledge of their business and sometimes payment; it's tedious data entry work, but generally easy to do. Having us do something you can easily do yourself would not be cost-effective for you.
Consider some paid advertising (e.g., Google Adwords and various directories). I think this can be a last resort, except for industry "musts."
Here are some quotes from a customer (www.kevinmcginnstables.com) whose site we built with search engines in mind. He also worked on his own (with a little help from us to get started) to submit his business to various general and industry-specific directories. He wrote:
"Thanks so much for demystifying building a high functioning site for me. Many friends that are expert at online marketing have complimented your work and your calm and clear direction has given me a new presence on the web.
6/16/11 Update: When I initially contacted you in February 2011, I had 3-1/2 clients. My site went live in late March. I have picked up 6 new clients since you redid my site and I started listing myself anywhere I could. So I am up to 10!!! YOU are magic!!!!! Once I get caught up $$$$Ly in about a month, let's talk about how to enhance the site more.
7/1/11 Update: I've been sticking to free directories only, with the exception of the professional horseman's association directory because it's an industry "must." I've been doing OK with my cheapies! My income has risen about 120% in 6 weeks! It was like a switch went on Friday May 13th when my website went live. Who said Friday the 13 was unlucky?"
The Huffington Post recently reprinted a blog article by Anne Hill titled "5 Great New Social Media Strategies." Read the complete article. I've summarized this article for you below*.
Most companies today understand they need great SEO for their websites, and they need to actively participate in social networking sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. However, there are some new FREE options for you to consider in your quest for successful Internet marketing. These include:
Set up a Yelp Business Profile. This is especially useful for storefronts, but can be used for non-storefronts as well. Yelp provides a mobile app for finding products and services while you're on the road, and Yelp has an extensive set of features that allow people to review businesses and post events. Visit yelp.com to get started.
Get listed in Google Places. It turns out that being listed in Google Places will improve the Google search results for your business. If that's not an incentive, we don't know what is! Visit Google Places to get started.
Increase your visibility as an expert on Quora. Quora bills itself as "A continually improving collection of questions and answers created, edited, and organized by everyone who uses it." Quora is a place to learn and to have others learn from you. Visit Quora to get started.
Use video to get your message across. There's nothing like a video to showcase your products, services, and to give your business personality and pizazz. A small video camera or smart phone will get you started for little money. Post to YouTube and other social networking sites.
Use Meetup to create or join a group for local events. This tool is perfect for businesses that regularly hold informational meetings. Visit Meetup to get started.
* Special thanks to Kevin McGinn of Kevin McGinn Stables for bringing this article to our attention!
Submit your site to dmoz, a human-reviewed non-profit Web-monitoring project that links to Google's directory. Link is: www.dmoz.org/help/submit.html
Include a sitemap, which provides a list of your web site's pages for the major search engines. You can generate a sitemap automatically at www.xml-sitemaps.com. After generating the map, you will need to upload it to your website and submit it to the search engines.
Be sure the content of your site includes the key words and phrases that people would enter into search engines when they are looking for the type of product or service that you offer.
Try using Google's keyword tool to get ideas for keywords to include in your site. Link is: www.google.com/sktool/
Be sure the filenames of your photos include descriptive keywords, such as avoid_gum_surgery.jpg. (And don't forget to include the "Alt" tags.)
Encourage links from other (related) websites to yours. For example, when commenting on blog articles that are related to your business, be sure to include a link back to a relevant page on your website. Also, ask for other sites to link to yours. For example, if you sell volleyball uniforms, ask the webmaster for your local volleyball club to link from the volleyball club's site to your site.
Use informative description and title meta tags on each page of your site. These tags are not visible to website users, but most search engines employ them when creating a listing for your website's pages in their indexes.
Use relevant, visible headings that employ your search engine keywords throughout your site.
If you would like us to help improve your site's search rankings using the tips below, please contact us.
Check out "Video Can Be A Moving Tool For Your Business," by Mark Shapiro, in The Costco Connection magazine (December 2010). The article discusses ways you can use video on YouTube and/or your website to build brand awareness, reach new customers, and increase sales.
There are many ways to improve your standings in Search Engines such as Google and Yahoo (the two most-used search tools on the Internet). The fancy name for this is "Search Engine Optimization," or SEO. Some SEO requires very specialized knowledge; other SEO requires simple common sense and facility with website design tools. Please contact us if you would like assistance with SEO tasks, especially those that fall into the "common sense" categories below.
What does it mean to optimize my website?
To ensure that your site works well with the search engines, your site should be properly. Be sure that your site keywords and phrases are displayed in the places that search engines look at when indexing your website. To do this, review the areas listed below...
Website Content - most important!
The visible content on your pages is the important area that search engines look at.
Place your highest priority keywords and phrases in the content area of your pages.
Your home page must include your most important phrases.
Keywords must be placed near the top of your content area.
The browser title appears in the title bar of your browser window.
Be sure that your global browser title reflects the most important keywords.
Use page specific browser titles for specialized pages. Page specific keywords are displayed right after your global keywords in the browser title
Search engines will look at the names of your pages and links when indexing your site.
Keep your page names short.
Links on your site
Create text links on your site that take visitors to important pages.
Use your keywords in the text links.
For example, if you had information on televisions...Instead of creating a link called "click here" or "product specials", you could create a link called "Plasma Television Specials"
High-quality external links to your website
Search engines rely heavily on links to determine the relevance/ranking of your website.
You want other websites to link to your site. This will generate traffic from those websites, and also will increase the ranking of your website.
Links from websites that are very popular and related to your keywords and phrases will give you the biggest boost in search rankings.
Do you want some help figuring out the best keywords to use in your Pay Per Click system (e.g., Google Adwords or Yahoo Overture)? Do you want to find out what the competition is doing? If so, check out Google's FREE Search-Based Keyword Tool. Use this free tool from Google to generate a list of keywords found on any site, including your own and your competition's.
In the Website box, enter the website address that you want to analyze.
Click Find Keywords.
You can sort by any column (click on the column name), analyze the results in a variety of ways, and even export the keywords found. The tool is optimized for use with Google's Adwords system, but it's great all by itself. (Note that it shows a limited list of keyword ideas, not every possible keyword associated with the site you selected.)
Our clients increasingly ask us to help improve their website traffic and pay per click results using Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) techniques. These techniques can require considerable time to master and not inconsiderable expense to implement.
One way we can help is by sharing the latest information and tips about current SEO and SEM techniques. Recently, we explored some tips from Google and received an email newsletter from PPCSummit containing information that we would like to share with you. Most of this information is written in plain English that even we can understand, so we feel it's worth passing along to our clients. We've summarized these articles below and provided links to the original material for your reading pleasure.
One more tip: Consider running ads in craigslist. Most craigslist ads are free, craigslist offers local classifieds and forums throughout the world, and Google indexes craigslist ads! >> more about craigslist
Google Webmaster Guidelines
This article from Google provides essential guidelines for: Website Design and Content, Technical Tools (for webmasters), and Quality. Implementing these guidelines will help Google do a better job of finding, indexing, and ranking your website. Among the most important are the Quality guidelines, which, if violated, can cause your site to be removed from or penalized in Google's index. >> read the article
Facebook Advertising (You May Want To Try It)
Facebook has nearly 200 million users, of which more than 100 million log on to Facebook at least daily. This article introduces Facebook Advertising, an increasingly effective way to reach Facebook's targeted audiences (which typically make impulse buys) and to increase brand awareness. The article provides helpful ad creation tips that apply to Facebook marketing as well as other contextual advertising such as Google Adsense. >> read the article
How to Train Your Visitors to Improve Your Conversions
Your website's landing page should treat visitors like untrained dogs that need clear guidance to get them to do something, such as buy your product or contact your company. The article explains how to find the competition's successful landing pages on the Internet and how to design landing pages for your own site that get more conversions. The acronym MORE ? which stands for Marketing Effectiveness; Offer Clarity; Readability of the Page; and Engagement with the Visitor ? is used to illustrate key points. The article also stresses the importance of testing and measuring the results. >> read the article
Five Ways to Maximize Your Pay Per Click Conversion Rates
Companies using Pay Per Click advertising (PPC) such as Google Adwords or Yahoo Overture know that every click from a sponsored search costs money that can add up quickly. This article explains five ways to communicate your message so that more visitors will turn into leads for your products or services. (Many of these tips will improve your website overall, whether you use PPC or not.)
1. Clearly understand your target market and the 2-3 messages you want to convey.
2. Make the landing page relevant to the link the user clicked.
3. Make the site design usable and readable, with a clear structure and easy navigation.
Social media enables companies to learn what's being said about their products and services in real time. This article discusses social media tools that can help you uncover keywords that can improve your Pay Per Click (PPC) campaign results and search engine page rankings. Tools mentioned include TwitterSearch, Collecta, Facebook Lexicon, and Delicious Tags; these can supplement more traditional methods for discovering keywords such as Google's Keyword Tool, WordTracker, and Keyword Discovery. >> read the article
"Killer Insider SEO Tips": How to Create Targeted Web Traffic in a Week
Need tips for getting targeted traffic to your website and converting that traffic to leads? This article includes four mostly free ways to begin, including:
1. Keyword research.
2. Using social media and building links. (Google's page ranking algorithm currently relies heavily on high-quality links!)
3. Using Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to build content-rich, keyword-rich copy and search-friendly websites.
NOTE: We are now taking on new projects and website updates. Do-it-yourselfers and professional website designers are always welcome to create and maintain websites on our easy-to-use professional-quality Sitebuilder platform.