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Wednesday, April 07, 2010

What makes a lead generation web site sucessful?

A few weeks back I announced the launch of . The site offers a wealth of information for those looking to beautify their yard with a retaining wall, patio or any other hardscape project. For the client it is a highly targeted lead generation tool.

The secret of success for these types of web sites is in the planning stage.

Start by defining your user groups, give them names - it helps cement their unique attributes.
For the hardscape site we focused on three user groups:
  • Those just starting to think about backyard upgrade and in the market for design ideas. - the Designer
  • Individuals who are further down the buying path, know what they want and looking for someone to build for them. - the Do it for me
  • Hard core DIYers who want to build themselves. - the Do it myself
Once you have your user groups defined how do you engage them. Each of your user groups are more than likely looking for different types of information.
  • For the Designer it was all about ideas and we created custom slide shows of pavers and retaining walls.
  • The Do it for me are itching to get their project underway. We provided information on finding and hiring a contractor and an excellent visualizer tool that enables them to view different products in situ.

  • The Do it Myself user is interested in the more technical aspects and a custom designed project calculator application allows then to get down to the details of their project.
For lead generation web sites you want to capture pertinent information about the users. Requesting information is a balancing act, making users fill in forms, and jump though hoops for every scrap of information on a web site is futile. They will be hitting that back button in no time and trying a different site. It is a give and take process, give away some information but request contact details for others.

"Download our coupon" was our main call to action on the hardscape site,  but we also tailored call to actions according to the user groups
  • The Designer was offered project design tools, with download offered for free and a simple online form to receive product samples.
  • Both Do it for me and Do it Myself we offered a free estimate
Understanding your user groups, how to engage them and capture their information is key in lead generation site.

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    Wednesday, February 24, 2010

    A ROI Website Success Story

    Anyone starting a new business venture understands the importance of having a website, it can be tool to showcase their products or services, streamline their business operations or act as a lead generation platform.

    Depending upon the complexity of the site it can be a sizable investment and the return on investment (ROI) is high on the agenda for any savvy business owner.

    Last year we launched for a website for Ruth Hasser, a St Louis wedding Officiant and she has seen a huge increase in her business as a result.
    Here is what she has to say

    "Last year at this time, pre-website, I had one wedding scheduled for 2009. By the end of the year I had done 25. Right now, I already have 17 weddings scheduled, and I have been receiving an average of one lead per day since the beginning of January- outstanding!"

    You gotta love those leads!

    The site ranks very well in the search engines thanks to excellent search engine optimization (SEO), a successful link building campaign and Ruth's regular blog posts.

    2010 © St Louis Web Designer

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    Monday, November 02, 2009

    Can blogging help my business?

    Last month I wrote "Can twitter help my business?" this month question is
    "Can blogging help my business?"

    webdesigner blog

    Blogging regularly about topics relevant to your business and target audience is a fabulous way to increase your visibility among the search engines. Over the last year the client web sites I have launched with blogs, get listed faster and rank higher with the major search engines. For search engines, content is king and blogs, by their very nature, rule the day with their fresh new content.

    Whatever your area of business blogging is a great platform on which to build your authority and reputation. Write about issues relevant to your services, use your blog to pose questions to your readers, offer solutions to problems. Your expertise will show through.

    Engage with your readers through blog comments and don't worry about your blog being blighted by spam. All good blog platforms have the ability to moderate comments, they can be configured so you can see the comments and approve them before they appear on your site.

    If you can commit to writing a post at least once a week then a blog can definatley help your business.

    2009 © St Louis Web Designer

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    Friday, April 03, 2009

    Twitter experiment

    Are you using Twitter yet?

    I have had a Twitter account for quite some time now but only really started using it recently. Twittering is like micro blogging; you have 140 characters to have your say. It is quick, easy and free.

    As with any social networking tool there is a time commitment, albeit relatively small for Twitter, so I have set myself a number of goals to see if it is really worth the effort.

    To follow me on Twitter click here

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    Tuesday, March 03, 2009

    The quality of your web coding and SEO

    Today I have been working on a site I recently took over.

    The site has a clean well functioning design with no usability flaws. However it has not been doing well in the search engines for the keywords and phrases the client is targeting, so they have asked me to do some SEO work .

    Delving into the code “behind” the site I have come across a number of problems that have not been helping the situation. The code is bloated beyond belief with font tags, span tags and nested tables. It appears that the original creator of the site had a “thing” about using tables…even simple lists were put into a table.

    I have stripped away the superfluous code and used css to control the look and feel of the content. The code is cleaner and shorter ( from around 240 lines to 70 lines) and the web site looks exactly the same to the user.

    Tomorrow I will work on adding elements that will enrich the keyword density of the pages.

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    Monday, March 02, 2009

    The time commitment of blogging: St Louis web designers tip of the day

    Blogging can be a great tool to add to your marketing mix. It can improve the visibility of your online presence and allow easy interaction with your clients and site visitors.

    For small business owners serious about getting their sites to perform well in the search engines (internet marketing, SEO) I generally suggest adding a blog if … and this is a “big if”, they can devote the time to write it. A new blog will require at least two to three post a week for the first few months to get it rolling and at least one per week after that.

    There is no way you can cheat either. I subscribed a year or so back to a blog which, until the weekend, appeared to be dead. However over the last few days posts have been rolling into my reader from this blog, all post dated. To readers new to the blog it looks like the blog has been updated on a regular basis …but the search engines will know better.

    Coming up with regular fresh content can be a challenge, but you most definitely “reap what you sow”

    The St Louis web designer Tip of the day

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    Friday, August 29, 2008

    Website Design: First Impressions count.

    What kind of impression does your web site make, especially in those critical first few seconds? Are you engaging your users to explore further or sending them away? Recent studies show that if a web site has not captivated a user within 4 seconds then they will abandon your site.

    Here are a few things to consider.

    • How quickly does your main page load?
      What pops up first? How quickly can you begin to read any text? It's critical for the most eye-catching elements to load first and near the top of the page. The page can then continue and finish loading while the visitor is checking out what's loaded first.

    • Is it clear what your web site is about and generally what's offered from a quick scan of the page?

    • Is the navigation clear and obvious so your visitors can quickly see where to find your products or services or are you forcing your user to think to much?

    So is your web site meeting these simple criteria or failing and sending your traffic away.?
    It doesn't matter how much effort you put into search engine optimization, pay per click programs, internet marketing etc. If the first impression or your site is lacking your visitors will go else where.

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    Tuesday, August 19, 2008

    How much does it cost for a web site?

    "How much does it cost for a web site?"

    This is probably our most often asked question, and not one that can be answered without going through our discovery process. If you went to a builder and asked how much it costs for a house, he would say it depends ...are we talking a massive mansion or a 1 bedroom starter home. The concept is exactly the same for web sites.

    During our discovery process we try to learn as much as we can about our clients, how they serve their customers, who are their competitors and most importantly what they want to achive from their web site. From this imformation we put together a comprehensive proposal which will help them achieve their goals. It is only after we have gone through this process that we can give them an accurate price.

    With any web site there a two types of cost to consider:-

    • Initial Set Up costs
    • Recurring Costs

    The intial costs will depend upon the size and functionality requirements of the site, whether it will be optimized for performance in the search engines (SEO ,search engine optimization), will it be integrated with a content management system (CMS)

    The recuring costs cover things like domain name renewal, hosting costs, general web maintenance, additional search engine optimization, pay per click management etc.

    Our discovery process and proposal preparation is always free, so if you are looking to cost out your next web project we would love to hear from you.

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    Monday, May 12, 2008

    Your web it time to re design?

    Re-design is a natural cycle of having a web site. What worked well ...say eight years ago, may not be performing up the mark for you today. While many changes can be made by a little web maintenace here and there, there comes a time when only a full scale redesign is going help you accomplish your objective.

    But how do you know when that time has come? Here are four tell-tale signs that the time has come to re-design.

    1. Your Business has grown or changed
      While any good web site will be designed so it can accomodate moderate business growth, if your business is booming and you have extended your service offering it is likely that your original web site is not doing you justice. The same goes if you have changed the direction of your business.

    2. Outdated Design
      You only get one chance to make a first impression and if the overall look/feel of your site is radically "behind the times" you can lose credibility. If your site features animated clipart, is coded as frames or looks like a "Front Page template you are the victim of an outdated design!

    3. Your information lacks organization
      If you have been adding to your site over the years it is likely that your navigation has become a little confused. Making your visitors "think" when navigating will not engage them to the same extend as a well thought out navigation and information structure.

    4. Poor Performace in the Search engines
      Poor rankings in the Search Engines can be a result of not optimizing your site well. Poor search engine ranking can also be a result of bad design choices or coding on your site. Make sure that your site isn't designed using frames and that the text is coded in HTML. Flash sites are also more difficult to optimize for Search Engines.

    If any of these senarios describe your web site contact us at to see how we can help bring you up to date in the web world.

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    Wednesday, September 19, 2007

    Blog widget: The web poll.

    Blogs are becoming an increasingly popular marketing tool for companies, both big and small. They allow you to update your readers with company news, offer tips, tricks, promote products. The list is endless.

    Blogs can now also be enhanced with widgets.Widget are small applications which have a specific function to perform on a blog or web site.For example some widgets allow you to show videos play music, and while this might not be relevant to a business blog there are plently of widgets out there that are.

    For example a web poll widget.

    Widgets like increase the interactivity with your readers just that one step further. They require little technological know how to add...cut and paste some code and your are ready to go.
    What's more most of them are free.

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    Thursday, May 31, 2007

    iGoogle and search results

    I read an intresting article recently on the ranking of search results querried from a personalized iGoogle home page. The article described how a small business owner had been such a frequent visitor a competitor's site that when he typed in an appropriate key phrase the competitors site was out ranking his own. However using the same key phrase on a unpersonalized Google search his site outranked his competitor. The clever iGoogle algorithm was assuming because of the multitude of visits he had made to his competitors site it made sense to display it higher up the list.

    To illustrate the effect I did a serach using the keyword "counterfeit" to see how our site on "counterfeit detection" faired. As you can imaginge it is a site I visit more frequently than most.

    My iGoogle search ranked the site as second while a standard Google search ranked it as third ... I got the reult I expected the personalized iGoogle search ranked the site higher then regular Google ... not a hugh difference but a difference all the same.

    This personalized ranking of sites creates an intresting senario when measuring the success of an internet marketing campaign! Any ideas on the approaches to take?

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    Thursday, March 22, 2007

    Managing your AdWord Campaigns

    Purchasing Pay Per Click advertising (AdWords)with companies like Google or Overture, can be a great way to ensure your site is displayed for a particular keyword or phrase and can be an important component of an Internet marketing plan.

    Adwords are the advertisment you see along the top-left and right side of search engines like and They are powered by a Pay per Click account which allows you to set up the ad, select the key words or phrases associated with it and bid on a price for each keyword or phrase. Every time someone clicks on your advertisement you are billed.

    The bids for keywords can vary enormously depending upon the popularity of a keyword and you must outbid your competitors to remain "on top". Paying $1.25 per click will list you higher than another bidding $1.00

    Selecting your key words and phrases wisely will give you the best ROI. For example: you have an e-commerce store that sell all kinds of red shoes. Purchasing the key phrase "shoes" is going to cost more than say "Red Shoes" because the competion for a generic keyword like "shoes" will always be more costly than something more specific like "Red Shoes". "Red Shoes" also has the advantage that more geared to your target audience.

    Managing an Adword campaign over time is also very important as the internet is a dynamic animal ... maybe the market place has been swamped with "Red shoe" retailers and they are outbidding your keywords!

    If you need your adword campaign assessed we can help contact the St Louis web designer today

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    Tuesday, May 02, 2006

    What is SEO?

    A good web design company will never bombard their prospects or clients with techo jargon ... and the industry of creating web sites is full of it.

    One such technical term I have been recently asked about by confused prospects is SEO.

    SEO is an acronym of Search Engine Optimisation ..which often poses just as many questions from my prospects!

    Search engine optimisation is the process of increasing the ranking of a web site in the search engines. The higher a Web site ranks in the results of a search, the greater the chance that that site will be visited by a user. In simple language a web site that ranks on the first page of a search is likely to get more visitors than one that ranks on page 5.

    Search engine optimisation is a vital component of a web project. If you are looking to improve the postition of your site in the search engine give us a call today for a free anaylsis of your site
    Call: 636 273 6746

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