Pippas Web

Web Design & Local SEO for Small Businesses

From Spiderman to Spamming in One Blog


Back in 2002 in the first Spiderman film there was this quote

“With great power comes great responsibility”

I’m learning it can be like this with blogs.  You spend time and great efforts trying to get people to notice them, wanting people to read what you’ve written, make comments, you decide if you want to make your site dofollow to reward your commenter’s and what happens you get spammed.

Recently one particular post has been targeted, on here and I don’t see why.  What’s the point ?

OK yes the obvious answer is you’re trying to get a link to your site.  But as Google pays more respect to links that are from sites on a related topic, this link won’t really help.
Spam filter will stop obvious spam messages before it goes live.  A lot of bloggers moderate their blog (including me)  I do like having comments and if you are adding a link to your site I will more than likely check it out.  So if I find the site is inappropriate or offensive it goes straight to be deleted.

So how do you know you’re being spammed?

“Anonymous” – Who is leaving the message?  –  OK not everyone who leaves an anonymous message will be a spammer but most will want to sign their work, so anyone who doesn’t I am automatically wary of and check their messages.

“Links within the comment field” – most people are content to have a a link with or alongside their name. and sometimes demonstrate the point they’re making in the comment it might be worth adding a link within the comment, but I’ve had several messages where the whole message is just keywords and links, no message, no thought (Straight to spam box).

“Messages in foreign languages” – again not all posters who do this are trying to spam but, seeing a message you can’t read, to me sets of warning bells.  I translate message using online translators, to check for in appropriate or offensive language (I don’t use it and I don’t think it’s necessary).

A link on a blogs comment, to me is a reward or a thank you for leaving a comment, so stop trying to cheat the system, if you anybody or anybody working on your behalf uses these spamming tactics, consider the harm it could end up doing to your site.  Or at least the wasted efforts of tracking down the blog and then having your spam comment go straight into the spam box and deleted.  Play the game and play fair, or I might just set Spiderman onto you.

 

Pippas Web design websites for start up companies and small business, check us out.

 

From Blank Page to Content – Where to Start?

Whether you are planning on creating your own website or hiring someone else to design your site at some point you’re going to have to start adding some content to your website, but where to start?

I find it very difficult to write about someone else’s business without quizzing them thoroughly, at the end of the day, you know your business best so either writing your own content or providing lots of information on what you do can only help.

I was talking to a client yesterday who was going to go away and start working on his content, but didn’t know where to start, I said I’d try and send some suggestions through this is what I came up with, bare in mind it’s not exhaustive but just designed to get you to think about your business and your site and give you a place to start.

• Who are you aiming your service at businesses, individuals?

• Are you going to serve a specific area or a larger more general area UK / world wide?

• What is your unique selling point (what makes your service different to the competition)

• If you were looking for your business in Google what would you type in to find it? (These are called keywords)

• Do you know the address of any of your competitors, have you checked out their sites? What do you / don’t you like about them?

• What services do you provide?

• What contact details are you going to use.

• How do you want to be paid?

• Do you have any ideas of the kind of colour scheme you’d be looking for?

• Do you have any images that can be used or do you want to find some on one of the many image sites.

Here are some ideas for basic pages you might want to include.

Home – This page should give over view of what you do, direct people to other area of the site to find more detail

About us, – explain who is involved in the company, how you got started what skills you bring to it etc.

Services – what do you offer, do you want to add prices?,

Contact – includes your contact details, giving a physical address and phone number gives customers more confidence in you than leaving them out. Contact form do you need any specific information to be able to help them best? Or will standard name, email address and message do for initial contact.

I hope this gets you started.

“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” Walt Disney

Pippas Web design websites for start up companies and small business, check us out.

Don’t Sell Yourself Short – You ARE Clever.

Last night, I was making some changes to the Cricket Club website ready for the new season, when my husband turned and said what to him was a heartfelt comment,

 

“You are clever, aren’t you”

I took it almost as a throw away comment because to me, I don’t feel clever, I think what I do, everyone could do, so what make me special.

• I’ve taught myself HTML and CSS,
• I’m learning, developing and using SEO skills,
• I run my own business.

Yet I still don’t think of myself as clever????? Time for a change of mind set I think.

Then I got thinking about it and I realised that I and probably many others are just selling ourselves short. Our interests and skills are OURS, we learned them, we put the effort in, something’s are easier than others to learn or do. However something’s are harder for other people but they still do it.

As part of learning, developing and your SEO campaign you’ll be busy reading blogs, articles and websites from people in your area of expertise. This can have a two-fold effect

It can help you learn new things, give you new ideas,

or

it can make you think all these people know so much more than me.

Don’t let yourself worry about or get upset about the second one. Remember that chances are the person behind the blog your reading has been working in this area a lot longer than you. But behind the blog, the article is a real person, just like you.

For your own blog, it’s your personality as well as your knowledge that people are interested in, try to put something of you into everything you do, it’ll give you more personal satisfaction, and make it more interesting for you readers.

Value Your own judgement, Your knowledge. Use others as a source of knowledge, a source of authority for your link building, but Not Gods, they’re real people using their knowledge and experience to their advantage so go forth and do the same.

I’ve told you why I’m clever, so now it’s over to you.  Please leave a comment below to tell me and everyone else,  what you do that is clever too.

To see how Pippasweb could help your start up or small business, check us out.

How to Tell Google About Your New Site?

In order to get your site to appear in the main search engines you need to tell them that the site is out there.

You could use www.google.com/addurl/?continue=/addurl after all you enter your url / web address enter the “prove you’re real” code, job done.  But then all you can do is sit and wait.  In my experience this is the slowest way to get your site listed on Google.

So how should I add my site to Google?

The quickest and most efficient way I’ve found of getting a site listed in Google is to follow these steps.

1) Make sure it’s ready -is your site is finished or at least presentable, for people to see. Google may find you quickly, but may take a few weeks for the spiders that crawl websites to get back to check.  So by having all your info, your keywords, your descriptions, the site all set for visitors, it means that if the do take a little while to get back they already have the right information.  Nothing worse that seeing your new site on Google with glaring spelling mistake for all to see.

2) Add your sitemap – Create and add a sitemap to Google and Bing Webmaster tools, this means when the spiders arrive at your site they’ll be able to find their way round and hopefully explore as much of the site as is possible as quickly as possible.

3) Get Links – Google’s little spiders search back through all it’s known sites, the more often a site is updated the more often it’s likely to be crawled.  So good places to get some early links would be active  forums and blogs.  Also if you got a web designer to create your site, they might add a link to your site (especially if good if they have good pr (page rank) on the page you’re listed on.

3) Social Bookmarking – Submit to bookmarking sites like Digg, Delicious, etc. there are lots out there. Bookmarking sites are a way of saving links of sites, blogs etc of interest, and sharing them with others, it’s way of showing you liked something on the web and you can then share it with friends and followers.  The more votes a link has, the more popular it was.   But even if you just add it once for the purpose of getting Google listed it all helps, and ideally in time you’ll get more votes.

4) Social Networking – Adding links on sites like Twitter and Facebook, will hopefully help direct traffic, but they also help to get the search engines attention.  These links should not be your only links though as they don’t appear to give much juice.

The bonus of getting listed using links rather than submitting it directly, is the links will also count in your SEO efforts for to get a better ranking.  Using the right combination you could get listed in just days, rather than weeks, be aware though that although you’re indexed on the search engine it will take time for your rank to emerge and settle, so keep going with the link building and reap the rewards when it does.

Do you use any other methods? want to share?

To see how Pippasweb could help your start up or small business, check us out.

I Just Want A Basic Website

What does a basic website involve?

So you’ve decided you want a website, a “basic Website” but what does that mean?

To me a basic web design includes the following

Home page – This sets the scene for the whole website, it should explain what the site is about, briefly  the services you provide.  The home page is likely to be the first page a potential customer says, they need to see personality, link it to different areas of website but make sure it’s clear for people new to your site to find what they are looking for, your services, your prices if appropriate etc.

About Us page – This is where you add information about when the company was formed , who is involved.  if there’s just you then tell your customer about you and how come you do what you do. If qualifications are required for what you do, you could list them here.

Services or Products Page – Why does you potential client need your service? what do you offer?  Do you offer anything different to anyone else?  If you offer more than one service consider adding each service to a different page.  This will make it easier for SEO purposes later if you only have to focus on one topic per page.
A big question is “should I advertise my prices?”  There are several ways to consider this question.

  • Show Prices – it could deter time wasters, if they know how much they don’t need to contact you, this leaves you time to deal with those that really want to use your services and are happy to pay what you’re asking.
  • Don’t show – You are giving your competitors information that they can use to under cut your prices, Your prices may initially appear too high to the untrained customer, which make them turn away from you.  Or appear too cheap to be real.

Contact page – This is an important page as it is the basis of communication between you and your customers.  If you’re selling things from your website you need to add a physical address to your website.  Adding addresses and phone numbers will help build trust between your potential customer and yourself, showing that you’re real, and that you can be contactable if they want to.
Give people an option of how they contact you.  Some people prefer to speak in person in the phone as first contact, other would prefer to write an email or fill in a contact form.

So with all this to consider what makes it Basic?

To me a basic website, consists of:

  • mainly text and images.
  • no added extras, like shopping basket, booking diaries,
  • anything that needs adding and extra coding,

But then if you know nothing about how to create a websites and where to start, nothing is really “basic” is it?

 

 

 

To see how Pippasweb could help your business, check us out.

Things to Consider When Choosing a Hosting Package

What is a hosting company?

Put simply in order for your website to be seen on the Internet  the files need to be stored somewhere.  It is possible for you to host a simple website on your own computer, but this would mean the computer would need to be on 24/7, have security installed and I’m guessing you’re not interested in doing that.  So the better option is to find a hosting company.  They’ll keep your website files on their servers and they can deal with the maintenance of them, allowing you to concentrate on your business.

How to choose ?
So for your small or new business, you’ve chosen a domain name and chosen the ending you want, but now it’s time to pick your hosting.
Your hosting options vary depending on how you’re going to create your web page.

  1. Using an online programme like moonfruit or wix, these programs create flash based sites with a html (Hyper text Markup Language – that websites care coded in) version embedded so which overcomes the issue that flash is traditionally SEO unfriendly. These websites are usually hosted on the site they’re created.
  2. Using software like Dreamweaver, coffeecup or FrontPage or even wordpress that allows you to create the pages offline with varying amount of skills and knowledge from some are visual based some you need to know html and possibly CSS to code the pages. The pages and any software will need to be transferred / uploaded usually called FTP (File Transfer Protocol). If you’ve got a snazzy new site made in .php you’ll need to find a host that allows php. If you want to upload wordpress or any other blog system you’ll need to check their hosting requirements before you pick it.

Other things you need to consider when choosing your hosting company

Email : Does the host give you the ability to set up email if so how many and is it enough for what you need, can you add more?

Storage Space: How much space do you need? most hosting options offer more than enough for setting up a simple starter site. But if you are adding photo galleries, shopping systems, blog etc you need to think can I upgrade and get more space if I need it?

Bandwidth: bandwidth, this refers to a mix of the number of people accessing your site, and how big you page files sizes are and the amount of data that is sent to your browser. Some hosts limit that amount of broadband and if you only have a small site with mainly text and a few images that it likely to be fine, but consider using a host with unlimited or unmetered bandwidth, then you’ll never need to worry.

Help: What support is offered? if you’ve never done anything like this before you may want to ensure the support levels and that it’s included in your package.

So How Do You Chose?

Firstly I suggest you check Google, get a selection of hosting company’s and pricing that suits your requirements and budget. Then check the company on Google for customer reviews. Remember however that everyone’s experience can be different. I personally host my main site through Streamline.net. searching through reviews sites there are a number of people who have problem with them. I however have never had a problem with them.

A lot of hosting companies offer a domain name when you sign up to their deal. So as you’ve already picked you domain you’re now ready to sign up.

To see how Pippasweb could help your business, check us out.

How to End Your Domain Name And does It Matter?

So you’ve picked your company name, decided on your domain name, and gone to buy your domain name, through a company like 123-reg or godaddy. Then you realise you’ve got lots of options to choose from. All domain names end with a (dot)and a series of letter i.e. .com, .co.uk or .biz.

Domain name endings.
In 1985 the domain name system was started with just 7 original endings, .com, .edu, .gov, .mil, .net. org and .arpa. Now there are many more with new ones regualrly being added to cope with rapidly expanding Internet.
But what do the different letter combinations mean.

.com Commercial is by the the most common option although is traditionally for American based businesses.

.co.uk this is the UK’s own commercial

.edu for education sites

.gov for governmental sites

.mil military.

.net networks

.org organisations

.me personal sites

.tv was originally the extension for Tuvalu but now can be used for entertainment and fansite.

.co the Columbian code is .co but now .co can be used by anyone,

.info information websites

.biz an alternative ending for businesses.

Each country also has it’s own letters which can be offered by providers, added to a number of the above, i.e. .co.uk, org.uk or uk.net

So which one should you choose?

From an SEO point of view it really makes no difference. It’s your on page optimisation and back links that really make or break a site.

However that said in the UK, there is an expectation that UK based companies will use .co.uk domain name.

Do you need to buy all the domain variations?

Well buying them all will stop anyone else using that name, but will also set you back a lot of money. Personally I would advise if you’re UK based and serve the UK stick with a .co.uk if you’re a global company, you might want to go for .com However if someone the other end of the country to you has the .co.uk version of your preferred domain but the .biz or .net or even .me version is still available there is nothing to stop you choosing that.

So if you have your own domain, what extension / ending did you go with, and what made you choose that?

To see how Pippasweb could help your business, check us out.

Google PR Dead or Not?

Last month I touched on something that was increasingly bothering me.  Why hadn’t Google updated the pr of the page that we see using our tools?

 

 

I’ve tried to bring it up several time in response to blog posts I’ve read but never really got a answer that worked for me.

This morning I found this post about Googles official standing on this issue.
The post was based on a discussion on the Google forums about the pr issue.  In amongst all the usual speculation a google employee John Mu piped up.  He confirmed

“The PageRank which we use internally is continuously updated, so even if you’re not seeing a PageRank in your Toolbar, rest assured that we’ll be treating your site accordingly regardless, and will crawl, index and rank your websites appropriately. “

and for those us wanting to see the updates reflected on the toolbar he had this to say.

“We do update the Toolbar PageRank regularly, even if that’s not as regularly as some of you wish. I agree that it would be nice to have it updated more frequently. Given the time since the last update, I imagine you’ll start seeing another one in the near future.”

 

So it would appear that PR is alive and well, and living with Google and at some point (hopefully) soon we’ll start receiving updates again onto tools like this one.

To see how Pippasweb could help your business, check us out.

 

3 ways to pick your domain name.

How to pick your domain name
You’ve made that decision that your company wants a web site. So your next task is what to call it. It needs a domain name or url.
1) Use your company name. The simplest idea is to buy a domain name using your company name. This is great if you’re an existing established company. After all how will people know to look for your company, if they don’t already know it’s name? Of course that’s where SEO would come in, you’d arrange your site so it could be found using the keywords

 

2)What do you do? Describe a service that your site offers, using a keyword you would expect people to use to find you in Google for example. Window cleaning and select a domain name using the term somewhere within. This will give a bit of extra juice for search engine ranking for that term.
3)Place names, if you serve a specific area, a town, city, county, then it may be in your interest to chose a domain name with it in the name.
Of course, you’re not just limited to one domain name either. If you are entering into a field with a lot of competition you may want to approach it from several different ways.
You could buy as many domains as you need on for services, one for name, one for location and then use a domain re-direction point them to your site. However think about this before you do it, the more you buy the more links you’ll need to build for each name. Also do you want to be in competition with yourself? If you do buy extra domain names, then you will need to create 301 redirection to direct them to you site so that only one version of your site is visible to search engines, or you’ll end up with duplicate content which is another SEO NO-No.
So if this has given you some inspiration then check your short list of suggestions on www.123-reg.co.uk/domain-names and make sure that no-one else has your combination.
In the next post I want to look at the domain name endings and does it make a difference.
So how did you select your domain name? Leave me a comment and share.
To see how Pippasweb could help your business, check us out.

New Year Resolutions 2011

I have been promising to do more work on this blog and now seems as good a time to get going on it.
My New Year Resolution is to post at least two posts a week, on Monday and Friday.

My plan is to try start at the beginning and give info for small businesses, the first post has already been posted today about 5 things to consider when naming your business.

The posts will include:

  • tips for small businesses and how to set one up.
  • Web design information and tips
  • SEO things you can do to help your own site.

This blog is here to empower you, so whether you use it to develop your own website, or just to give yourself an understanding before employing someone, (after all you have your own business to run too).

I will also post onto the blog in between if I can with, but I have to be realistic with my time.  My kids come first, clients sites second and then my own site and blog.

So don’t miss out, subscribe to the blog using the options on the right and receive the posts directly to your inbox, or blog reader.

What are your business New Year Resolutions?  Why not share them here.

To see how Pippasweb could help your business, check us out.

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