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websites made easy

Discussion in 'Tech talk' started by adam_m, Feb 8, 2017.

  1. adam_m

    adam_m Member

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    Im a web developer/ designer, Ive been doing it for over 15 years.
    Ive seen the industry evolve from the days where it was classed as some kind of 'black magic' to current day, where basic web design is within reach of everyone.

    Depending on what you require for your 'small business website', there may be some areas that you will require a little help. But dont let anyone tell you you cant do it, give it a go and decide for yourself. These areas may include 'graphic design' , 'content writing' , 'social media' , 'marketing' , 'SEO'. etc

    I do grit my teeth somewhat when I say SEO, because many will perpetuate the belief that this is a 'dark art' and out of reach of the average person. This was once the case, but not so much anymore. Search engines are far more intelligent than they once were, and all the dirty little tricks are now outdated. These days its more about quality content, and content hierarchy,

    And you dont need to use a content management system, it can be even simpler than that.

    Try something like :
    Microsoft Expression Web 4

    There are plenty of tutorials out there, here are some to get you started.

    Or have a look at 'Mobirise' for the slightly more adventurous :)
    talart likes this.
  2. Paul - FS Concierge

    Paul - FS Concierge Administrator Staff Member

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    Getting all of the components "just right" in the eyes of Google and your ideal customer is where the magic is - the opposite side of the coin is that you do a ton of research, do not apply the learning well, or at all, not get found, not relate to your ideal customer etc.
  3. adam_m

    adam_m Member

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    Thats it, these days its more about quality, which is a fairly simple formula to follow. But I think there is still too much emphasis on old school 'SEO' and not enough on 'Social Media' and 'Page quality'
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2017
  4. adam_m

    adam_m Member

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    I think there is quite a bit of confusion about SEO and what it really means.
    There is SEO (optimised pages) and SEO :( (time consuming, link building, traffic driving techniques) ...
    The SEO you can do yourself should not be confused with the 'SEO Blackmagic' that the average person has put in the too hard basket.

    Here is a checklist I borrowed from another site of things most people can do themselves without getting an expert involved.

    • Content is high-quality, relevant, fresh and at least 500 words in length.
    • Target search phrase is included in page headline.
    • Target search phrase is included in at least one sub-headline.
    • Target search phrase is repeated three to 10 times within body copy. Don’t over-do it, or the page may get downgraded as spam. Keep the reader in mind as you work with the target search phrase. Copy should always be reader-friendly.
    • Page includes relevant images and/or graphics that help illustrate the target search phrase.
    • Captions for images and/or graphics include the target search phrase.
    • Content and/or tools and resources on the page are so good that visitors will want to share your link with others and post your link elsewhere.
    • Location: If you are optimizing for specific country, state, city or regional names, be sure they are in your copy and perhaps in a page footer.
    • No misspellings or poor grammar. Yes, the search engines downgrade for either.
    • Inclusion of social media links and / or user discussion or reviews. Pages with active visitor interaction are scored higher than static pages.
    • Include the target keyword/search phrase in the page URL if possible.
    • Title tag: Every page should have an HTML title (enclosed in <title> </title> tags). The title copy should be unique, include the target keyword or target phrase, and must be 70 characters or less (any longer, and Google will truncate it anyway).
    • Meta description tag: Even if the search engines don’t weigh a meta description in ranking a page, it is very important, because it is the marketing copy for your page. The meta description in the page head-tag set (enclosed in <meta name = “description” content=””> usually appears with your organic search listing, and induces readers to click through. The meta description tag should be no longer than 160 characters, and should include your target phrase.
    • Image alt text: Use the target phrase in image alt text (embedded in the image tag as alt=”your keyword”)
    • Links from copy: Use links to other pages on your site, or other resources judiciously. Links should be relevant to your page topic. The latest research shows Google may penalize any page containing more than 100 links, and we recommend stopping well short of that number, unless there is a good reason. A few internal links (to other pages on your site) are a positive, especially if they tie together similar topics. Internal links also help search engine bots navigate and categorize your site.
    • Mobile: Make sure sites and pages intended for mobile devices are coded so that the search engines recognize them as mobile. This goes beyond the scope of this article, but keep it in mind as you work with your developer on a mobile site.
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2017
  5. Paul - FS Concierge

    Paul - FS Concierge Administrator Staff Member

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    It is some sort of list to start a process but it doesn't define the structure of a site and that has a huge effect on rankings eg, try to get a 1 page website ranked in a competitive niche.

    Then I would be wary of "The latest research shows Google may penalise any page containing more than 100 links, and we recommend stopping well short of that number, unless there is a good reason."

    Wow, in my niche, 60 links on a page would normally mean super-spam so I am just a little wary about throwing out this sort of list without context about how to use it.

    SEO like any other discipline is about reaching a defined goal and how that fits into an overall strategy and as much as I could do things like build a deck if I tried, I would never pit myself against a carpenter because my result would at the least take me much longer and be an overall worse job and could end up being completely unsafe (ask my wife about my hammer skills) vs a pro.
  6. adam_m

    adam_m Member

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    I think you are missing the point. We are talking about building 'small business websites' here, not 'corporate kingdoms'.
    Most small businesses cant afford the initial outlay to build a 'multi faceted corporate style site'.
    Why drive a ferarri when a corolla will get you from A to B. You might need something a little better to get to C ... but lets worry about B first..

    Stop underestimating these people ...
  7. adam_m

    adam_m Member

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    Study the statistics of small business, understand the demographic ...
    I used to build 2000 page university courses, I know the importance of structure, user experience, standards compliance, etc ... Your average small business site is 5 or 6 pages at most,

    Dont make things more complicated than they need to be.
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2017
  8. adam_m

    adam_m Member

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    Sorry Paul, forgive me for asking, but where does your expertise lie in all this ?
  9. bb1

    bb1 Renowned Member

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    This same chestnut gets rolled out every few months when someone even suggests try your own SEO, but in reality it all comes down to the ability and time that each individual person has available.

    I have seen some excellent decks built by amateurs, and some of the most dodgy decks built by professionals. That argument just does not stack up for a person who has a natural flair in that direction. I built a carport a few years ago, and when the council inspector came, the comment was I wish most carpenters would take this much care. I digress.

    How many times have we had small business come on here and bemoan that their SEO company has taken their website down to the depths of despair, or the small business person with time and effort has taken their website to the top rankings.

    Plus we need to remember this is a small business forum (or is it micro), a lot of us don't have the spare $'s laying around that the SEO folk say we have to spend, Horses for courses I think is the magic phrase.

    In reality it is not a case that someone should not tackle SEO, Carpentry, cleaning, it comes down to each individuals ability, and where they are prepared to spend some additional effort.
    Greg_M likes this.
  10. talart

    talart Member

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    This morning I received the following email from a legitimate Australian based web design business. "Comment: Hi there. My name is XXXX from XXXX. We are based in XXXX and actually specialise in web and graphic design development. We noticed recently that your website is currently unfinished and may give potential clients a bad vibe about your business. The good news is is that we are very Wordpress savvy and would love to work with you in getting your website looking good and professional at an affordable price. If you are interested in making your website more aesthetically pleasing, please give me a call back on XXXXX to discuss potential ideas.
    All the best."

    I considered their services may be suitable so went to their website. I was out immediately because of this one thing:
    "HOW MUCH DOES A WEBSITE COST?
    This can vary depending on things such as how big the website is (number of pages) and the features and functionality that is included in the website."

    Firstly; I am not dumb or ignorant, yet this immediately comes across that their target market is.This reads arrogant to me no matter how well worded it is from the developers mind.

    Secondly; Prices, in my years of education I learnt many selling techniques and closing skills. Which included when to show the price to the client. That there is not even a base price to look at lost me immediately. Web design by smaller operations need to take something from the big operators and have a basic package and price on show.

    Call me, over cautious, arrogant, pedantic, time conscious , financially conservative and I am sure many other adjectives will apply. I don't need them to make money, they need me to make money. The bottom line is My Money is available for circulation on my terms and whilst I appreciated the legitimate approach by the operator looking for business the way it was done did not work for me.
  11. heftzwecke

    heftzwecke Member

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    If I have the impression someone hides the price I am out immediately. I only very reluctantly got in touch with a company selling plant pots when it was very urgently necessary, because they did not have a pricelist on their site.
    And yes to edge, it is simply arrogant to tell everyone to spend thousands of dollars on a great webisite when they don't have the money or desperately need tools.
    Of course I am dependant on how shopify does the coding for me, but thanks to them I can make my own website. It would be much better advise small businesses which website builder to use and what pitfalls with the chosen builder to avoid. Which apps to chose and whiche apps to avoid.
    And how many websites made by experts did you see which are not good?
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  12. adam_m

    adam_m Member

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    Well said Bert M ...
    I class myself as a bit of an 'industry insider' that has witnessed much of the 'skulduggery' and the decline of the industry over the past 17 years.
    And most recently having witnessed several 'small business owners' being ripped off by unscrupulous operators. This is what prompted me to be a bit of an 'anti rip off crusader' . And to encourage and promote the fact that you can do it yourself.

    Many years ago, the 'website' or as I prefer 'web presence' industry was a pretty honest profession, because to do it, you needed quite a bit of technical skill and know how. These days its become more like the 'wild west' , with every man and his dog claiming to be a website designer/developer.

    To get to where im at now, quite a few years ago now, I completed a Diploma of Graphic Design which took 2 years, followed by a Diploma of Multimedia, a further year. I also completed a diploma of Art and Design, 1 year, and a Degree in Design & technology, 2 yrs.
    Also completing a number of other certificates along the way.

    There are a lot of web designers/developers out there these days with little or no qualification. And because the industry is un regulated, how would anyone know.

    Not everyone is out to rip you off, but its the old adage, you dont know what you dont know. You might think your getting a good deal, and everyone is telling you your getting a good deal, but are you really ?
  13. adam_m

    adam_m Member

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    A few years ago i developed a site with all the information about doing it yourself and the pitfalls involved. I may look at resurrecting that site. :)
    In a past life I was also an 'Instructional designer' and 'TAFE Teacher'

    As far as websites built by 'so called experts'. Sometimes its hard to tell on the surface if its good or not.
  14. adam_m

    adam_m Member

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    Also, very well said :)
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  15. adam_m

    adam_m Member

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    People probably click on my link in the signature, 'Edge Auto Concepts' and think, what the hell does this guy who does 'pretty car pictures', know about all that stuff ...
    Its a long story, and if anyone wants to know more about my background, or needs some help, send me an email ...

    edgedesignz7@gmail.com
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  16. Paul - FS Concierge

    Paul - FS Concierge Administrator Staff Member

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    I am a business owner that relies 100% for new business based on an SEO optimised website. Results: $145K-$1M turnover in <3 years. The value of my business as an asset has more than tripled in those 3 years.

    I previously owned and operated a US based recruitment site with top 3 results for terms such as Sales Jobs in Google US.

    I am a keen observer of small business websites and am a huge believer that a website that gets all of the details right - and presents superbly to customers ready to buy is a great asset to businesses where driving sales through the internet is a natural was of building businesses.

    @bb1 congrats on your carport and it is true that lots of people can learn lots of things. But it is also true that successful, high turnover, high profit small businesses mostly don't try to do everything themselves
  17. adam_m

    adam_m Member

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    And thus lies the problem. You are giving advice based on a business that is far from 'Typical'. You may want to study small business stats and demographics before you offer advice on such a broad spectrum of industries. You cant be giving advice based just on your own experience, especially in your position as a 'concierge' . Some times you have to let the 'experts', with a far more overarching experience have their say and give them some credit.

    You own a cleaning business yes ? And I have 17 years experience in the Web design/development industry. You would think I may know a little more than you on the subject ?

    You dont know what you dont know ...
  18. bb1

    bb1 Renowned Member

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    And there lies the benefits of the forum, we get advise not just from the ''experts'' but across the full range of business, this world would be a lot poorer and in far more strife if we only listened to the so called experts.

    Some of the worst advise I have seen on this (and other) forum have come from the so called ''experts'' who have had many years in that industry.

    Pauls advise across many subjects is valued on the forum, and that is one of the benefits we don't say oh your current business card says cleaning business, so all you are allowed to comment on is cleaning related subjects. For anyone to be running their own successful business, be it web development cleaning, gardening or sell widgets, you have gained a vast amount of knowledge across many areas.
  19. heftzwecke

    heftzwecke Member

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    Paul, you are one of the few website experts telling that the small business owner can do it yourself - I like that approach. Not that I think that an expert can do a much better job than I do but it is a matter of the right tool. If you start you start with a little money and a home made website, anyway a website gets stale over time and when you have more money OK get an expert in. And the advantage is that I know now a little bit more and probably am much securer chosing the rigt expert. I know that my site has some issues which are probably built in shopify problems, which I cannot fix myself (there are other issues which I would need some rainy days), but I accept this issues at the moment because I cannot affort the expert. I would not be able to handle too many customers either.
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  20. JohnTranter

    JohnTranter Well-Known Member

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    I've got 20 years in IT and Web, so I guess I trump you. :p
    Don't dismiss BB1/Bert because he's a 'dumb gardener', I think you'll be surprised at the wealth of knowledge from some quarters on this forum. (and maybe do some reading on ad-hominem arguments, you seem to be tackling the player and not the ball)

    Regarding SEO, I'm in agreement with Bert, if you've got the time and inclination, go for it. If it doesn't interest you, pay someone else if you can.
    e.g. I'm happy to pay someone to clean my house. I can do it myself but I don't like doing it, so I have cleaners.
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