Why am I suddenly receiving spam!

Your website is up and running and almost overnight you are receiving lots of emails. But… they aren’t the ones you were hoping for – it’s spam.

Welcome to one of the downsides of being online. We publish your email address on your website for your customers so they can get in touch with you, ask questions and hopefully purchase your products or services. Unfortunately, the spammers also have access.

They use spambots, automated programs designed to search the web for email addresses, to collect them for mailing lists.

Until recently, you could put extra spaces in your email addresses, or spell out the word ‘at’ instead of using the @ symbol, to foil the spambots. These are no longer valid defenses as most spambots have been reprogrammed to include these new formats.

These little tricks also make your company look unprofessional and require your potential customer to stop and reformat your email address before they can contact you.

Personally speaking, I would hesitate to do anything that makes it more difficult for customers to contact you especially since even the most basic email programs contain some form of spam filter.

Word of caution:

If you are using a spam email filter, be careful of the security settings you use. Don’t become overzealous in your quest to banish spam because you may end up inadvertently losing emails from legitimate clients who are trying to send you information. A great example of this is the word ‘sex’. It may sound like a no-brainer to filter out porn, but it is also a valid gender question on many forms.

Worthy Reminder:

Never reply to spam to request to be taken off their mailing list. All this does is verify your email address ensuring you’ll receive twice the amount of spam.

For more tips please return to the home page of
SNB Consulting Services – Web Design 101
or check out our website at http://snbconsultingservices.ca.
Contact us directly at sue@snbconsultingservices.ca or 604 202 4519

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It’s just not for teenagers anymore.

You want me to use Facebook to promote my business? Are you nuts?

I’m pretty sure that’s exactly what I said when I was told to use social media to market my business. Putting my good business name in the hands of a teenager’s toy like Twitter seemed ludicrous. I was certain it would cause more harm than good to my professional reputation.

But that was then and this is now.

If you are just launching your small business you can’t afford to miss out. Social media is free word of mouth advertising to a larger audience than you could imagine. According to recent statistics, the average age for Twitter is over 35. Linkedin members average 35-49 years old and most Facebook members are over 26.

With so much competition for business especially with such a low economy, businesses are going where they’ve never gone before. Small businesses are soaring. Check out this article in the New York Times on Marketing Small Businesses with Twitter.

Helpful hint:

Do not bombard your followers and fans with advertising. The key word is ‘social’. Establish a relationship with your readers. Get them interested in what you have to say, link to articles related to your product or service. Let them know about your company philosophy. The more they know the more they’ll remember you when it comes time for them to make a purchase.

 

For more tips return to SNB Consulting Services – Web Design 101
or check out our website at http://snbconsultingservices.ca.
Contact us directly at sue@snbconsultingservices.ca or 604 202 4519

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What is SEO anyway?

According to Wikipedia, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the process of improving the volume or quality of traffic to a website from search engines. (Wikipedia’s full explanation)

So what does that mean to you?

It used to be that you could pop a few keywords in the top part of your website’s code and voila, your company would automatically appear when someone searched for your product or service.

Times have changed and the competition has become fierce for the top spots in the search engine results. In some cases there are thousands of listings for the same topic, so how can you get yourself noticed?

Search engines have improved their ranking systems to ensure that only the best matches to your search request are displayed prominently. It’s in their best interest to provide only the most relevant and knowledgeable websites based on your search criteria.

Caution:

Competition is huge among the big search engines. Microsoft has just released Bing to compete with Google and they’ve also merged with Yahoo, to really amp up the race for market share. Providing pure, unmanipulated search results is key to their business.

They are constantly updating their algorithms to keep out the spam and illegal SEO techniques. If your web designer promises to get you listed high on search rankings, be wary. Search Engines are very clear about what methods are acceptable and what will get your website banned from search results.

Best practices:

Check out Google’s Webmasters Guidelines. They have some very useful information written in an easy to understand format. There are several recommendations for content and navigation. I recommend reading these guidelines when first planning out your website as they are good advice even if you aren’t concerned about search engine optimization.

 

For more tips return to SNB Consulting Services – Web Design 101
or check out our website at http://snbconsultingservices.ca.
Contact us directly at sue@snbconsultingservices.ca or 604 202 4519

Posted in Search Engine Optimization | Tagged | 7 Comments

Should I bring a compass?

Unlike sailing ships or hiking through the wilderness, you can’t navigate a website by relying on the stars or a compass to guide you. No matter how good your sense of direction, without the proper visual cues, you can become hopelessly lost in even the smallest website.

Most people are too busy to take the time to decipher what they see on a website. These are the days of instant gratification. If the content and navigation aren’t immediately clear on your website your potential customers are off to the next website which is only two clicks away. Your online business doesn’t have the ‘since-we’re-here-we-might-as-well-look-around’ advantage.

You should be thinking about your website’s navigation even before you start preparing your content. Planning the way visitors will travel through your website is a huge help when it comes to categorizing and writing your content.

CAUTION!

Remember why you are creating a website.

Design it from your customer’s point of view. What will they be looking for? How will they expect to find it? The closer you can match your website’s navigation to their expectations, the faster they’ll find what they’re looking for and the better your chance of converting casual browsers to paying customers.

Tip:

My favourite book for navigation help is Steve Krug’s Don’t Make Me Think. It’s a nice quick read full of invaluable information.

 

For more tips return to SNB Consulting Services – Web Design 101
or check out our website at http://snbconsultingservices.ca.
Contact us directly at sue@snbconsultingservices.ca or 604 202 4519

Posted in Useful Navigation | Tagged | 3 Comments

Do you need a website?

You’re in the process of setting up your new business or investigating ways to expand the marketing strategy for your existing company. Everyone tells you to get a website. You think about that guy down the street who doubled his profits when he added his website and your teenaged niece can make one for free (well you should at least slip her $20 for her effort – but that’s a topic for another blog).

Stop! Before you go any further.

Websites are awesome. Yes, I’m biased; after all, I make my living building them. But if you’re a small business owner, it’s vital to ensure that a website is the right way to spend your advertising dollars. Websites can be a very cost effective way to promote your business, but if your audience isn’t online, your money can be better spent elsewhere.

When you first developed your business and marketing plans you identified your customers. If you haven’t already, now is the time to ask yourself, “Would these people be likely to search for my product or service online?”

If the answer is no, perhaps a website is not a good move for your business right now. Things change, come back and ask this same question in a year to re-evaluate.

If the answer is yes, “Let’s talk.”

 

For more tips return to SNB Consulting Services – Web Design 101
or check out our website at http://snbconsultingservices.ca.
Contact us directly at sue@snbconsultingservices.ca or 604 202 4519

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The Goal of Content

Content is king. Of all the components on your website, content reigns as the multi-tasking champion.

Content is your online salesperson available 24/7. The better your content, the more likely potential customers will find what they’re looking for and come back again… oh and they’ll tell their friends.

If your information is hard to read, potential clients won’t bother sticking around to figure it out. They’ll leave. Thanks to Google and the other search engines, your competition is only seconds away.

When a potential customer arrives on your website they should be quickly be able to identify your company name, see what products/services you provide.

Good content should be clear and concise. It needs to be your advertiser – keep it current and up to date. Visitors to your website will judge your entire business on what they find on your website. Make it an effective ambassador for your company to validate your expertise and build a foundation of trust between you and your potential customers. Then, your content should call them to action and convert them from visitors to purchasers.

Did you know? When formatted correctly, content is more effective than keywords for search engine optimization.

 

For more tips return to SNB Consulting Services – Web Design 101
or check out our website at http://snbconsultingservices.ca.
Contact us directly at sue@snbconsultingservices.ca or 604 202 4519

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