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

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.

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.

Your web site…is 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.

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 plenty 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.

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?

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

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

Search Engine Optimization

Search engine Optimization or SEO is the general term used to describe specific techniques that can be used on websites in order to rank favorably with search engine.

It can take many forms from enriching a site’s content with keywords, ensuring pages have appropriate titles, to fixing technical issues which cause problems with certain search engines.

It seems a day does not go past without us getting a spam email promising SEO heaven ..and we are not alone. This comes from

“Be wary of SEO firms that send you email out of the blue.
Amazingly, we get these spam emails too:

“Dear,I visited your website and noticed that you are not listed in most of the major search engines and directories…”

Reserve the same skepticism for unsolicited email about search engines as you do for “burn fat at night” diet pills or requests to help transfer funds from deposed dictators.”

How are the search engines ranking your website?

Have a web site?… great!
How are the search engines ranking it for a relevant keyword querry? page 1 …page 9… page 103?

As a web site designer there are many important aspects I have to take into account when creating and building a website … does the image created fit with the company brand, is the navigation intuitive, is the information presented in a logical way, load time, browser issues …I could go on and on.

One of the more important aspects in the forefront of my mind during the coding of a site is Search Engine Optimization (SEO) ..or configuring the code so it is optimized with pre determined keywords and phrases relevant to the content of the site.

Getting that all illusive top spot is tricky two search engines “decode” sites in the same way … to use a technical term they all have different algorithms. Optimization techniques that give a page 1 listing in Google will not necessarily yeild a page 1 listing on MSN.

However without search engine optimization you are likey to find you site listed on page 103 ..with optimization your odds certainly improve.