Google rolled out version 62 of the Chrome browser last month and with it came the promised “Not Secure” warning on pages of websites that have input fields and are not protected by a SSL certificate. These fields can be as innocent as a comments box on a blog or a simple contact form.
The warning is not as “in your face” as many imagined, the “Not Secure” warning only appears in the address bar when a user starts to type in an input field. However it is the first step of Google Chromes bigger plan to discourage the use of HTTP and encourage all web sites to be protected with a SSL certificate and use HTTPS.
Eventually Google Chrome will label all non HTTPS pages with a red NOT SECURE warning even if there are no input fields.
With Chrome now dominating the browser market with a 44% share, the implications of these warnings are obvious. The last thing you want is to scare any site visitors away by thinking your site is unsafe.The only solution to this problem is to install a SSL certificate and get the coveted green padlock and secure message in your browser window.
Need help getting a SSL certificate installed and configured for your web site? Gives us a call at 636.795 7988
“A good web site is never complete – it is a user interface that evolves over time with changes to better serve your visitors.”
Is your web site built to adapt as your business transforms?
All of the websites we create are robust enough to accommodate this need to change, whether it is something as simple as updating a logo, adding a new service or taking advantage of new internet technology.
Here an example of what I mean.
Interior Designs 2 Go
This site we created for Interior Design 2 Go has undergone design and “call to action” tweaks and “under the hood” tinkering
This is what the site looked like when it was first launched.
and here it is today.
It has a new logo, accent color, home page layout and does a better job at illustrating the service being offered.
As a web and graphic designer I spend a lot of time sitting in front of my computer. As 2016 comes around, I am celebrating the start of my 16th year in business …that is a lot of time spent on my derriere! This year I resolved to do something about this and while abandoning my computer is not an option, I turned my attention to my workstation.
My answer…a standing desk.
This great contraption come from Veridesk and allows me to switch easily from standing to sitting.
If you are planning on starting a new business in 2014, getting up and running online is probably a high priority. With budget concerns, many business owners will be willing to do as much as they can themselves. Here are some money saving tips to get started.
Research and Register Your Domain Name
When coming up with a name for your new venture make sure you also check out domain name availability. There is nothing worse than coming up with a great business name to find the domain name is unavailable. Godaddy is a good place to do you research.
Ideally you want one that is
Short and sweet
Can be easily communicated verbally – avoid weird spellings
Has the .com extension
Your Website If you are technically savvy you may want to have a go at building your site yourself- WordPress.com is a good place to start. But if HTML, CSS, SEO, templates, plugins, widgets and web hosting give you the shivers it is probably best to leave the creation of your website to a professional web design company. Scope a few local web designers and when getting a quote be specific as possible in what you are looking for. This way you will help the designer come up with an accurate quote right from the start and not have to worry about hidden costs later into the project.
Some areas to consider are-
The size of your site – sketch out a site map of all of the pages you would like, it doesn’t have to be perfect.
The functionality – do you need e-commerce, a blogging platform or want visitors to be able to upload information. Think long and hard exactly what you want your visitors to do once they reach your site.
The look and feel of the site -will you need a logo and brand image creation
Do you want your web site to be responsive? – look great on a desktop. tablet, cell phone etc … full explanation of responsive web design
Do you want to be able to update the site yourself ?
Are there any third party tools that you want integrated into your site
Search engine optimization- to get your site ranking well in the search engines required a myriad of behind the scenes code enhancements. All search engine optimization projects start with a researched list of keywords and key phrases. Get a jump start on your list –a great tool for evaluating what phrases are worth targeting is Google’s Adwords click “Tools and Analysis” for a keyword planner.
Getting visitors to your site will require an online marketing strategy, many web design companies – including Indigo Image, can do this for you. If you decide to tackle this yourself some of the basics you need to address are
Submitting your site to all the major search engine- each search engine is slightly different
Creating quality links to your site from as many different sites as possible
Setting up social media profiles e.g Facebook page, Twitter account, Linkedin , Pinterest. Make sure you use a brand image consistent with your site across all social networks.
Engaging and promoting your business within your targeted social networks. It is much better to select a few social networks to focus on rather than dabble in all of them.
If your site has a blog write it as often as you can…to begin with aim for a post every day for maximum impact.
Promote any new content on your site through your social networks.
Keeping your website fresh is important not only for returning visitors but also for your search engine rankings. Search engines will favor sites with frequent content updates compared to those with few.
If your site has been built on a platform like WordPress you will be able ( if you are so inclined!) to update the site yourself.
I received a call today from our client Paper Shower, thrilled to bits, that their website is currently ranking on the much sort after “first page” of Google, for one of the main key phrases we had targeted. Proof is in the ranking and by achieving the elusive “Page One” placement this SEO/SEM project is a 100% success.
Getting there is a complicated process but one of the things that can really help is to write regular blog posts and if you apply some basic SEO (search engine optimization) to those posts you can improve the likelihood that those posts will rank well, even more.
Before writing your blog post decide what key words or key phrase you would like to target, a bit of research can go a long way here (Try a simple Google search or go deeper with Google Adsense analysis tools)
Incorporate your key words or phrases. The trick here is to avoid obvious key word stuffing as you will fail to engage your readers… nobody wants to read a post that is bloated with apparent “junk” A well crafted blog post is a balance of content that will appealing to the reader and to the search engine. Good places to use your keywords/phrases include
Main body copy of blog post
Fields in SEO Plugin
Keywords incorporated into Title and Permalink
Populating SEO Plugin Fields
If your blog post includes images, name them so they include elements of your key phrases and also reflect this keyword rich naming in the alt tag.
So yesterday I talked about the launch of a new website mrbison.com and how we had taken the opportunity to recode it as a responsive web site.
But what does that mean…what is a responsive web site?
Simply put, it is a site that will give the visitor an optimal viewing experience regardless of what device they are using to access it- desktop, laptop, tablet or phone. And as I am all about graphics let me show you in pictures exactly what I mean.
Here is the site on a 24″ desk top monitor
Here it is on an iPad – both portrait and landscape orientation
and here it is on an i Phone
The way the site is coded means it automatically “responds” to what ever device it it viewed from. Here are some of the things that happen
Automatic adjustment the overall width of the site
Re sizes all the images – see how the entire width of the header graphic and call to action banner are visible whatever the device
Adjusts the placements of page elements – on the phone the elements that were displayed horizontally ( the block of text and video) are now displayed vertically
Optimization of the navigational tool. If viewed on a phone a clunky navigational bar would detract from the site content. Instead the user is presented with a menu button, which, if selected, will display a drop down menu.
You don’t have to view the site on all of these different devices to see this responsive nature in action, simply visit the site and re-size your browser window…getting smaller and smaller as you do.. see how the site changes?
Following my post yesterday on the anatomy of a company name I thought I’d put together a short list today, of fun things you can do with your business name.
Make an anagram
You never know an anagram may reveal a fantastic marketing message. There is no need to sit down and work them all out yourself, plug your letters into an online generator like wordsmith.org and out they pop.
Here is a sampling of what was generated for Indigo Image
I going media
A Doggie Mini
Go maid genii
A midi egg ion
I imagine God
No mind blowing marketing messages there but a fun exercise nevertheless and through Wordsmith.org you can even create an animation of your anagram.
Taking an anagram approach can sometimes be useful for coming up with a product name. Consider the Toyota car Camry, it is an anagram of my car.
Produce a Graphic
Plug your company name into the Tagxedo creator to create a fun graphic. You can set the font, color palette, select a preloaded shape or even upload your own. Here is a fun Indigo Image graphic I created in literally 5 seconds.
Create a QR Code
QR codes encrypt data which can be easily decoded by a QR reader app you can download to your cell phone.
This Qr code decodes to read ” Indigo Image : The Chicago web designer: 847 607 8679″
Creating a QR code couldn’t be simpler. There are a number on free online generation site such as Kaywa which allows you to generate a URL, text, phone number or sms QR code
If you have just started blogging, or even been blogging for a while here are a few tips that will make your images more friendly to both the search engines and your site visitors.
Before you upload: Optimize your image
Scale your photographs to the exact dimensions which you wish to use them, don’t rely on your blog to re-size your photos, they will download much faster if they are scaled pre upload.
File size vs quality
Ideally your photographs need to be small in file size but in great quality, large files can take a long time to download frustrating your readers and driving them away.
Most image editing software will allow you to easily optimize you images to be web ready, however if you don’t have access to anything suitable try Pic Monkey . It will allow you to crop re-size and add text and graphic overlays
Rename your images
Most camera will name photographs some like D03456, an arbitrary number that means nothing. Re-name your photographs so they encompass the following.
The content of the photograph
The content of your blog post
A phrase that someone may search
e.g You are about to write a blog post all about how to make some rope pencil pots.
The image below is named rope_pencil_pots.jpg, which reflects the composition of the photo, the content of the blog post and could feasibly be a phase that someone would use as a search query. Each word with an under score _, but is perfectly OK to separate with a hyphen instead (rope-pencil-pots.jpg)
When search engines visit you site they are unable to “see” a photo of a rope pencil pot, all they understand is the code (HTML) powering the site which in this case looks like this.
By giving the photo a meaningful file name it essentially helps the search engines ” see” the photo.
You have uploaded your photo now what?
Add an ALT tag to your photo
What is an Alt Tag?
Alt stands for “Alternative text” and adding an alt tag to an image further enhances the ability of the search engine to understand the content of the photo.
In the case of my rope pots my alt tag would be
alt=”rope pencil pots”
As you can see the phase I am using is the same as the name I gave the image file.
How To Add an ALT Tag
The ease in which an alt tag can be added to a photo depends on which blogging platform you are using, WordPress is much easier than Blogger.
And because this is difficult to explain in words I have made a video which covers adding an Alt tag to your images in both Blogger and WordPress (and just in case you are wondering the accent is English!)
Is it worth the effort?
And here is a little test to show you this effort does pay off. Click the link below, it is the Google image search for Rope Pencil Pots …now look at what they have listed as the first image!
Here is a little short and sweet thing for you to check out on this amazingly warm Chicago afternoon, it’s 40 deg F and I have just been out WITHOUT a coat on!
If you have a Google account click HERE and see if the profile Google has of you, is correct. They use information gathered from your web browsing history ( if you have that enabled) to show ads more relevant to your interests.
But it seems not all profiles are correct.
Here are the categories and demographics of my profile.
Amazingly I only seem to have three interest categories which is a little odd as the very nature of my web and graphic design job, means I run a huge gamut of searches across a wide range of subjects and industries. Secondly they have me pegged in the 25-34 age range …which is sweet … but incorrect. Just about the only thing they got right was my gender.
Google allows you to remove or edit anything you like and also opt out of the tailored ad system completely.