October 21, 2014

Microsoft Unvails Windows 10: Nine things you need to know

Windows 8 has had a bit of a tumultuous run, something Microsoft is hoping to turn around with Windows 10. We got a brief glimpse at a Microsoft event on Tuesday, and while it did prove to be a tantalizing look at what’s in store, there are still plenty of questions floating around, and a lot more to figure out before the final product is sitting on our hard drives.

If you’ve got questions, we’ve got some answers on the latest step for Windows.
Professional Website Design Company | Website Development Services

1. When can I upgrade? And how much will it cost?

Microsoft expects to release the OS sometime in 2015, after the company’s Build developer conference in April. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can sign up for the Windows Insider Program on October 1 to get your hands on the early (and likely buggy) preview build. The cost for the retail version has yet to be determined.

2. Windows 10? What happened to Windows 9?

Windows 7 ate 9. (I kid.) Microsoft wants us to think of the latest version as a fundamental change to how Windows works, and the company is skipping a version number to show it.

3. I’ve got a desktop, and a tablet. How will that work?

Windows 10 isn’t just about PCs. The operating system will run on everything from desktops all the way down to smartphones, and the user interface will adjust accordingly.

4. What about apps?

Apps will be coming along for the ride too, though Microsoft hasn’t explained how that’s going to work. We do know that you’ll be able to buy one app from the Windows Store and expect it to run on all your devices. Developers will presumably need to make universal apps that will adjust their look and feel, depending on your devices size and capabilities.

5. Those full-screen “Modern” apps were a pain. Are they still around?

Those touch-friendly, full-screen apps that debuted with Windows 8 were alternately known as the “Metro” or “Modern” design. For Windows 10, full-screen apps will be optional. Let’s say you’re using a convertible 2-in-1 device, like the Surface Pro 3, for example. When the keyboard is docked, you’ll see the standard desktop with Windows 10’s “new” old-school Start menu. Once you take the device off of the keyboard base, the OS will allow you to switch to the finger-friendly full screen mode Windows 8 users are likely familiar with.

6. I actually liked those Modern apps, and bought a few. Are they still around?

It’s too soon to say how Windows 8 developers will react to the changes, but Microsoft did show some of its own full-screen Modern apps operating in a windowed mode.

7. And the Start menu?

If you hated Windows 8’s full-screen Start screen, you’re in luck: the new Start menu harkens back to the good old days, sitting on the left side of the screen and presenting that familiar pop-up column of shortcuts. And if you liked Windows 8’s approach, there’s something here for you too: the new menu will incorporate Live Tiles and can be customized.

8. Never mind the apps — I need to get things done. Any improvements on that front?

Windows 10 beefs up Snap, the function that lets you quickly arrange apps side by side, with a new quadrant layout that lets you split your display up among up to four apps. There’s also support for multiple desktops (finally), so you can keep all your work apps in one place and quickly slide back to the desktop with your blogs and Reddit once your boss walks away. And then there’s the task view button that lives on the taskbar. Click it, and you’ll get a quick look at all of your open files, windows, and desktops.

9. Will Windows 10 run on my machine?

It’s too early to say. Windows 8.1 did introduce 64-bit computing requirements that ruled out some ancient processors, but it otherwise played well with PCs that weren’t too old. Suffice to say, if you’re picking up a newer device any time between now and Windows 10’s release next year, you should be good to go. Once again, if you’re willing to take risks, you can check out the Windows Insider Program for an early look.

Does Your Website Look Right on Mobile Devices?

Is Your Website Responsive and Mobile Ready?

As more and more smartphone and tablet use increases so does the importance of having a mobile-friendly website. If SEO is part of your digital marketing strategy then having a mobile–friendly website is essential. Having one website that works on many devices provides the user a better user experience.

Considering that there is a large range of mobile devices and browsers surfing the Internet now is the time that you should really consider making your website mobile compatible. Mobile website views have increased by more than 100% over the last year and responsive design ensures that visitors have a great experience on whatever platform they are using. Responsive web design is a website that is designed to resize and adjust to fit on any size web browser, smartphones or tablets.

If your website is not prepared then you’re missing a major audience.

Responsive web design (RWD) is a web design approach aimed at crafting sites to provide an optimal viewing experience—easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling—across a wide range of devices (from mobile phones to desktop computer monitors).

What is responsive design? Watch the video. Test to see if your website is responsive by entering your website address on this test page. http://bit.ly/cpcresponsive

If you need a responsive website give us a call at (800) 796-3683 or use our contact form.

Topics Not Keywords = The Future of SEO

Over the last three years we have seen a shift in search engine optimization, especially with the release of Google Penguin in early 2012. Now and moving forward into the future of SEO, topics are the focus rather than keywords.

In essence this means that keywords are still here to stay, but as the future of SEO comes into clearer focus we can see that topics instead of keywords is the answer to Google’s push for more content. The new approach is no longer an emphasis on specific keywords, but the broader view that topics will provide. Keywords are limiting and topics provide a wealth of information!

Here’s why.

What Topics Mean For Search

The new Google algorithm is based upon the needs of users and what they are finding to be the most useful to them according to Search Engine Watch. The focus is to create the best possible experience online in the most efficient way possible.

Today’s content marketer must build credibility and establish themselves as an authority as a result of these changes. The best approach is to know what your target audience is seeking then delivering quality content to them as an expert resource. The is where topic become king over keywords.

What is “Theme-Based SEO?”

Theme-based SEO is about delivering topics for users instead of stuffing keywords into content. This strategy creates a “theme,” and optimization means using this approach rather than the old method of only focusing on the keywords.

Organic search is more important than ever, and Google has taken a firm stance against keyword stuffing and the over-use of optimization. This directly affects a website’s ranking, and could result in being removed from search results.

Instead of using too many keywords in your content, focus more on themes through keywords topics in order to create more natural results. This will be more favorable to Google as well.

Know Your Target Audience

Content marketing is all about knowing who your audience is which includes their needs, demographics, the latest trends, ect. This information will show what topics they are interested in, which makes your strategy much more effective than keyword-based SEO.

When the focus is just on keywords your strategy is restricted and will leave out what your audience wants the most. It’s vital to know what is relevant to them in a way that is informative, educational, and inviting. People no longer want a sales pitch, and a landing page can be quickly abandoned as a result leaving a very low ranking.

Topic-Based Content Is Key

Quality content begins with a natural approach that is desirable to your target audience and search engines. Think about this – stuffing a lot of keywords into your blog post is not only a turn-off for readers, but has a very low ROI. Your response is much greater when creating content based on a topic or theme instead.

How to Get Started

There are several strategies to use when creating memorable, organic content that your audience and search engines will love.

1. Research your niche

This might sound simple, and it can be when conducted the right way. When tapping into tools like Google Keyword Planner you will discover the main keywords that identify with a theme. This can include anywhere from 30 – 50 keywords, which can be spread out throughout your theme to create a more natural approach.

2. Create an optimization

The next important step is to focus on your core keywords, which includes long-tail keywords, and use several variations in your content. Don’t worry about being exact, just match these as closely as possible in order to appear less mechanical in your writing.

3. Go through an editing process

After writing your blog post it is a good idea to edit your work to make sure too many of the same keywords are not being used. Sometimes this process can be made easier by reading your article out loud. You will be surprised at how this can help refine and eliminate unnecessary keywords.

4. Focus on your tags

The meta description, H tags, description, and title are still important to SEO. The heading especially should begin in a natural flow without a sales pitch, and it is a good idea to keep your description to a maximum of 160 characters for Google search display.

5. Link building is still okay

Choose references that are relevant to your topic as well as credible. Google prefers anchor text of certain words and need to flow or make sense for your article.

Topics and themes are the next generation for content curation and SEO. This is an exciting time for blogs as we are no longer hindered by focusing on just keywords, but rather create new possibilities in audience reach through this new approach. Variety is the spice of the life, and allows for more creativity and an opportunity to build your brand or business as a leading authority in your niche.

How to Ruin Your Website and Ensure Your Customers Never Return

By Jamin Andrews

Professional Website Design Company | Website Development ServicesIt probably won’t surprise you to know that according to the stats specialists from Marketing Grader, a majority of websites are underperforming when it comes to overall design, content, performance and usability. Resulting in an unpopular, unloved and unvisited website.

There are a few things that can do wrong when creating and maintaining your website, below we mention a few things that you can do to ruin your website. But mostly importantly we focus on how to avoid or fix these.

1. Hide from Google

Search engines can either be your best friend or worst enemy. By being in Google’s good books you will benefit from ranking higher than your competitors in search results for your keywords. The worst thing you can do for your website is completely ignore SEO.

Solution: You don’t always need to hire a SEO specialist to get ahead of the pack. Ensure your content is relevant to what you do, keep your keywords and keyword phrases top of mind when writing your content (don’t ‘stuff’ your page with keywords – you will be penalised for this), have clear headings on each webpage, tag each image and introduce new content on a regular basis (through a blog).

2. Don’t Have a Clear Purpose

We have all visited those websites that try so hard to be everything to everyone. Instead of focussing on a niche or target market they try a extremely broadened approach, where everyone is their target. By doing this you’re no longer viewed as a specialist or expert in a particular field that you’re probably good at.

Solution: Pick what it is you are promoting/selling and choose who your clients are. Target them, tell your story and forget the rest.

3. Annoy Your Visitors

No-one likes constant pop up ads while they’re trying to navigate their way through a website. Don’t work hard to bring people to your site just to irritate them.

Solution: Popups are never required, if you must promote something do so with a top or side banner ad. Avoid anything animated!

4. Don’t Measure Progress

How do you know how your website is going, compared to 6 months or a year ago? If you’re not setting goals and measuring them you’re in the dark about what’s working and what’s not.

Solution: Use a tool like Google Analytics, it’s free and will provide you indepth results on how your website is tracking including, visits, duration, bounce rate, most visited pages, acquisition and loads more.

5. Overload your homepage

When first creating your homepage it can be overwhelming with trying to flesh out exactly what it is you offer, and what you want your visitors to know. A sure way to ensure your visitors don’t stay on your page for long is by jam packing as much information as possible on your homepage.

Solution: Use a highly visible, easy to navigate menu to divide up your story and offerings. Let your customers pick what information they require by clearly titling each web page and keeping your homepage for the important things.
6. Use loads of fluffy, corporate talk

The easiest way to disengage your audience is by talking to them like a corporate robot. When you first write your content for your site, you must answer the question “what does my customer want?”

Solution: Avoid typical industry jargon and the overuse of fluffy marketing words. Talk to your customer as if they were sitting across from you. Answer the questions they have.

7. Outdated Content

Search engines thrive on new, relevant content. By regularly updating your content you’re not only keeping your visitors in the loop with the most relevant information, but you’re also giving search engines reason to visit more often.

Solution: No you don’t need to change the content on your homepage each month. Create a news, blog or support area on your website where new content can be added daily, weekly, fortnightly or monthly.

You don’t have to be a web professional or SEO whiz to create a standout website that encourages visitors to return. Always think like your customer, and create a website that answers the questions they have, not everything you want to tell them.

For SEO services contact CP Communications

B2B Websites and SEO – Common Mistakes are Costing You Leads!

When we talk about search engine optimization, we tend to think mostly about how it applies to B2C, or Business to Customer, websites.

This is, perhaps, only natural. After all, the internet is seen as a sort of public forum, offering easy access to information and e-commerce for anyone with access to a laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

So it can be easy to forget that the internet, and by default the search engine, is not only a direct conduit between businesses and potential customers, but also between businesses themselves.

B2B websites need an upwardly mobile web presence as much as their B2C counterparts. Unfortunately, with so much emphasis being placed on SEO for blogs and e-commerce websites, many B2B sites are lacking in fully realized optimization strategies.

At best, B2B sites may be under optimized for organic search to climb a few spots in rankings. At worst, they may be poorly optimized and off the map, costing valuable and potentially lucrative leads.

So lets look at some common missteps that plague B2B companies and their website optimization.

Industry Dependent Keywords

This is perhaps the biggest mistake made by B2B websites who have tried to optimize their websites for better online performance.

Industry specific jargon or nomenclature used as keywords in your anchor text, tags, and online content may make sense to you, but not necessarily to a potential vendor or business partner.

The language your company uses for a specific product of service may differ significantly from the search terms a buyer might use to find your website.

It is important to reevaluate your keyword strategy, and approach from the perspective of a potential vendor who might be unfamiliar with your specific industry terms.

Consider the following tips:

  • When brainstorming new keywords, consider the buyer and how your product can answer their immediate needs. Ask your support staff or sales team to take note of common questions from vendor call-ins and use this data for new keyword ideas.
  • Conduct customer surveys to learn more about how your current customers found your website. Take inventory of keywords used to find your website for an opportunity to show up even higher for those keywords.
  • Use Google Analytics to track your current search traffic and note which search terms are bringing in leads. Setup up these filters and monitor for optimization opportunities or keyword ideas.
  • Use social media to look for the most popular keywords and phrases that may relate to your industry and products. You can also take a look at Google Trends and target those trending topics for your industry.

Employ these tips to create a fresh glossary of keywords that can be used to enhance your on-page SEO.

Creating Fresh and Engaging Content

Content is the fuel that drives the search engine. Whether it’s B2B or B2C, a steady stream of high quality content is the secret to getting noticed by both search engines and potential clients.

Blogging is the best way to market your products and services, and to reach customers through online searches, organic links, and social media shares.

However, a successful blog requires an ongoing supply of high quality content. In the wake of Google’s Hummingbird and Panda updates, simply turning out fluff pieces on your company isn’t good enough.

Consider your market, and create content that offers real solutions to their problems and concerns. It is better to have one solid, and authoritative, blog post per week than a daily puff piece.

Keep Your Content Crawlable

Following hot on the heals of creating valuable content, is ensuring that your content can be easily crawled and indexed by Google’s search bots (and other search engines). If the search bots cannot accurately crawl and index your website, they will conclude that there is little if any content to be referenced.

A lack of perceived content will inevitably cause your site to lose traction in organic searches. Use Google’s Webmaster Tools (GWT) to identify any crawling issues and make adjustments.

  • XML Sitemap – This is the first step. Make sure you create and submit your sitemap in GWT.
  • Broken Links – These should be repaired, eliminated, or properly redirected using a 301 or 302.
  • Robots – Make sure you’re not blocking any URLs on your site by visiting www.yourdomain.com/robots.txt and make sure this file is properly formatted.

While the first rule of creating online content is to make it easily accessible to your audience, it is just as important to ensure that it is properly optimized for the search engine bots. Pay special attention to your H1 tags, anchor text, and internal links.

B2C websites may get the lions share of attention when it comes to search engine optimization, but the rules apply equally to B2B companies.

If your website isn’t getting the online attention it deserves, or if you have seen it slipping in the search results, now is the time to reevaluate your SEO strategies and bring them in line with the latest best practices.