Featured Website Design
Smith-Digital offers website design to its clients in Houston, TX, and around the United States.We specialize in building websites that are “search engine friendly”, and also offer additional services including Search Engine Optimization (SEO) as well as other various Internet Marketing Services.
Regarding our web design services, Smith-Digital offers options for any size business, and can custom fit your business with a professional website, flexible maintenance plans, and Search Engine Optimization. Our web designers and developers are capable of programming websites in a number of different languages or platforms including HTML/CSS, Blogs, Content Management Systems (CMS), and full flash websites or flash introductions.
HTML/CSS Website Design
Though “Web 2.0″ websites are mostly written in PHP or other scripting languages, you should never overlook the option of and HTML and CSS website. Fully customizable and able to include addition items like flash and various scripting, HTML and CSS websites are a great option for small business owners. For the most part, HTML websites are designed and updated by a web developer and use Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) files for a common theme throughout the site. The convenience of using CSS allows a developer to make changes to the styles all of the pages within your website by editing (usually) a single file. More advanced HTML/CSS websites may have multiple stylesheets, depending on the output of the page(s). HTML and CSS websites are best for companies or individuals who are not interested in making frequent changes to their website. For users who wish to be able to make regular updates, changes or additions to their website, a Content Management System (CMS) is a better fit.
Content Management Systems (CMS)
Content Management Systems are one of the web’s greatest inventions; website owners with little or no knowledge of web programming languages can manage their website efficiently and easily through any web browser. CMS give users the ability to add new pages or posts, upload and share content like images, videos and music. Another great advantage of content management systems is that there are many different platforms that are open source, which means that the structural coding for the website is free. Platforms such as WordPress, Joomla! and Drupal (Visit any of these links for more information) are regularly updated, and can be updated through the administrator control panel–or “backend”. There are also multiple third-party plugins and “widgets” that can easily be incorporated into the website to allow for additional functions such as e-commerce, social media and bookmarking, image galleries, contact forms; just about anything you would need to add to your website. Many of these platforms also provide for “themes” to be incorporated into the site, which changes the overall look and styles of the website conveniently and easily. For more information about content management systems, or to learn how Smith-Digital can help you and/or your business develop a website using one of these platforms, please Contact Us today!
Blogs are a great way for you and/or your business to get a web presence quickly.When it comes to blogs, content is by far the most important aspect. Blog writers should take time and care to publish article and posts that are relevant to their site. Using a platform that allows for easy social network sharing is also very important for a successful blog. Smith-Digital uses WordPress for all of blogs that we develop. Being that WordPress is an open source platform, blogs can be setup quickly and are very cost effective. Plugins for social media sharing, as well as RSS feeds, can enable a site to get their information out quickly. Blogs are also very helpful for search engine optimization. Content that is relevant to the rest of the website will help increase the size of your site, and can help to quickly increase your search engine rankings. If you are looking to get your message out, or would like to use a blog to increase the amount of content and frequency that your site is updated, Contact Smith-Digital today for more information.
Flash Websites and Introductions
Smith-Digital also offers full flash website design and customization. Or, if you’re looking for a catchy introduction or flash-animated content, we can custom design these flash items for you or your business. Flash websites are often used by companies in the entertainment, music/video, promotions or other related industries. For the most part, many businesses tend to shy away from these types of sites, simply because of the arguably “poor” abilities they have for search engine optimization. Too much animation, or confusing navigation can easily lose a clients interest. However, flash websites can be very attractive, and easily KEEP a viewers interest. If you are interested in a flash website for you or your business, please contact Smith-Digital today for more information.Read More
Search Engine Optimization
Search Engine Optimization – What is it?
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a method used by website designers and programmers to increase your website’s ranking in search engines, such as Google, MSN, Bing, Yahoo and so on. Most SEOers use a variety of techniques while performing search engine optimization on your website. Some of the commonly known techniques include content writing and optimization, (reciprocal) link building, business directory submissions, and local search engine map listing optimization. Also, the structure or platform of your website may need to be optimized to allow for better SEO. For more information on these different techniques and structural soundness, see the sections entitled “Search Engine Optimization – Different Techniques” and “A Structurally Sound Website is Needed for SEO“.
A Structurally Sound Website is Mandatory for Effective SEO
Having a structurally sound website is necessary for better SEO results. Think of your website like you would your desk; how much can you really get done without having it organized? While building your website, it is important to build it in a way that will allow search engines to easily visit, and rank, each of your pages. Creating sitemap.xml and robot.txt files are a quick way to do this. These files will ensure that search engines can easily navigate through your site and find the data they need. Internal text page links are also important. Structurally sound websites should exhibit all of the features listed below:
Relevant, Properly Formatted SEO Page Titles Say it All
Page titles should be short (70 characters or less), concise and relevant. Just like an “intro paragraph” from grammar school, your page titles should be relevant and quickly to the point. Remember that when your website is displayed in search engine results, the main display item is the Title. This is commonly followed by the META description and your webpage URL. Do not overdo your titles. Using sentences strung together with your desired keywords won’t fool a search engine. Titles should be written to accurately describe the content found throughout each specific page. Your page titles should not necessarily be the same for the entire site.
According to SixRevisions.com, below are the top 5 common mistakes made when creating page titles for SEO sites:
“1. Not Having a Title
2. Page Titles That Are Too Short or Too Long
3. Keyword Cannibalization
4. Using the Company/Site Name in All Web Pages
5. Duplicate Web Page Titles”
Read the full article here for more information on each of these 5 common mistakes while titling pages.
Navigation Bar(s) – Easy to Navigate
Finding the way through your site should be one or two clicks away. Most people (and search engines) don’t like confusing or overly animated site navigation. Be sure to have plain text links to all of your pages, or at least your main pages. These main pages should include text links to all sub-pages. Remember, easy navigation is important! Try not to be redundant with links, though. Multiple links to the duplicate pages can count against you while search engines calculate your linking percentages. A main navigation, footer navigation to main pages and a sitemap page (or sitemap.xml) should be plenty. Make sure users of your website are able to see all of the hard work you have put into your website!
Organized Content for SEO – Headings, Paragraphs, and Styles
For SEO, each of your web pages should follow standard organization when it comes to your content. Proper use of headings (H1, H2, H3, etc.) and paragraphs is a must. Headings should briefly summarize the information contained in the paragraph(s) below. Headings should not be full sentences. Short, concise headings will easily draw a users attention. They will also provide information to search engines concerning page relevancy for its users’ keyword searches. You should also never use excessive breaks or open/close paragraphs for styling. Styles should be defined in your stylesheet(s).css and the appropriate styles assigned to each heading or paragraph.
META Tags – Precursors for Search Engines
As previously mentioned, META tags are important content that most users will never see. Hidden in the “head” area of your web page, the META tags include information about keywords, descriptions, and authors. Additional information includes instructions regarding suggested indexing options, FOLLOWing (or NOFOLLOWing) links contained within the page, and other related options. See this article about FOLLOW and NOFOLLOW links. For the most part, be sure that every page has a META description tag. As stated above, this META description is the content used to describe your web page in a search engine’s results page. Also, be aware that changing these settings incorrectly can adversely effect the rankings of your pages, and so these types of changes should be handled by a responsible SEO.
SEO Friendly ALTs and/or Titles for Links and Images
Alt and Title attributes for links and images. As smart as search engines are, they are unable to necessarily “view” an image and understand what it contains. For this reason, there are tags that can be used to instruct a search engine of the content contained within the image. These tags, along with titles of links, can be very helpful when it comes to SEO. Make sure not to leave these items out.
Here is an excerpt from an excellent article about Alts and Titles:
“So from my testing I’ve determined that a title attribute is meant to provide tool-tips to the user for user experience, whereas the alt attribute is helpful in terms of providing alternative information to the user when their browser cannot display an image or input element and helping to increase the SEO of a website. My recommendation is to pay close attention to when, where and how you are using your alt attributes. If they help with SEO, then you should pay close attention to what you are adding.
When adding images always be sure to add an alt attribute to the code of each image. If you do not have one, then just specify a blank one, such as alt=”". Also, be sure to add alternative text that is relevant to that image, the content on that page and be sure not to specify an alt attribute greater than 100 characters in length, as this may be perceived as spamming.
I hope you find my brief overview on the topic of, “Do Alt and Title Attributes Help with SEO?” to be beneficial for you and your business. I’m sure one could dive deep into this topic, spending weeks determining the differences between how Google, Yahoo! and the other major search engines handle title and alt attributes with regards to SEO for a website.”
Inbound and Outbound Links
Links are very important for calculating Google’s PageRank. For newly developed sites, inbound links are essential. Returning to content, having a large amount of relevant content and outbound links to other highly relevant sites will help. For example, links to non-competitor pages (for search engine optimization) like “WikiPedia’s Search Engine Optimization” wiki, SEOmoz’s “Beginner’s Guide to SEO” and Google’s “Search Engine Optimization for Webmaster Tools” will help create outbound links to “authoritative” content. Reciprocal linking is also very important; check out this Link Directory for an example of a Web Directory, and here is a Blogs Directory.
SEO Increases Rankings
SEO – Search Engine Rankings
Due to the nature of search engine optimization, your SEO rankings may fluctuate regularly. However, keeping your placement on the first and second pages is one of our main goals. This is especially true early on in your SEO campaign; as a strategy is developed, competitors’ movements will be closely monitored. Observing and understanding any upward fluctuations (directly from SEO) will enable us to compete with–and ultimately beat–their progress.
How do search engines rank sites?
First, check out this brief article about How Search Engines Work. While calculating your page rankings, many factors (as discussed in the previously mentioned article) are taken into account. Smith-Digital uses their understanding of these calculations to increase your website ranking in search engines.
What kind of rankings can I expect?
With SEO, it is important to keep in mind that many will promise “first page rankings”, but few will deliver along with them long term, natural organic growth. This is especially true with companies that promote “Guaranteed First Page Rankings” but rarely promise long term growth. Smith-Digital uses acceptable techniques that include real optimization of content, links and other SEO-related data. Our goal is to have your site receiving first page rankings for most of your keywords and phrases.
How quickly can you improve my rankings?
The million dollar questions in SEO include “can you make my site rank on the first page”, “how quickly can you increase my rankings”, and so on. A true SEOer should include a timeline estimate within their proposal, as well as projected placement. However, guarantees of first-page rankings and overnight jumps in rank can be dangerous. Listen to this cautionary tale:
“Our website was ranking poorly in the United States. After doing little research, we decided to go with a company based in China. We were told briefly that our website would quickly increase in ranking based on specific keywords and phrases the company provided. Unfortunately, our website was soon banned from Google (with a “Possible Threat” notification attached. After discovering the tactics used by said company in China, we were appalled to find out that their tactics included many known “black hat” techniques; and, because of this, our business began to fare badly.”
Smith-Digital’s minimum time-frame for any search engine optimization campaign is three months, and suggest at least a one year campaign for new or recently established websites.
Can you use my existing website to increase my search engine rankings?
Existing websites can, for the most part, be structurally updated and optimized for a successful SEO campaign. These include websites programmed in HTML/CSS, PHP and other open-source platforms (like WordPress, Joomla! and Drupal). Smith-Digital does not normally promote full search engine optimization campaigns for full flash websites because of the limited amount of information search engines are able to extract from the flash (.SWF) files. However, sitemap.xml files and other META and link data can be incorporated to help these sorts of websites. It’s always a good idea to include yourself in free or open web directories and at least one Shopping directory.Read More
Smith-Digital Provides Website Design and Search Engine Optimization in Katy, TX and Houston, TXAdditional Info