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Thursday, February 5, 2015

Why does your website need SEO?



It’s about 91 percent of users use search engines to find information on the web. And 75 percent of them never look further than the first page. If your website is not on the first or second page of results (preferably page one), most likely your prospect clients will not find you. In that case, your website needs to be optimized immediately.

What is SEO?


SEO stands for the process of “search engine optimization”. The purpose of SEO is to help search engines find, index, and rank your site.

Some good practices for SEO

  • Summarized pages’ content and fill with some keywords on meta description
  • Unique and descriptive title to tell your users and search engines what your page is about
  • Every page should be reachable from at least one text link
  • Create a useful information content on your pages
  • Include words that users would type to find your page
  • Every image should have descriptive “alt” tag
  • Avoid embedding important text inside your images
  • Good user experience: Make it easy for users to navigate around. Users find content easy for what they are looking for otherwise your bounce rate will increase

What should you do after get website optimized?


You may see the result rank higher after your optimized your site, but it won’t last long. You should add new content to your site often because search engines reward websites that continuously post new and engaging content.

SEO is complex, but most people can easily understand the basics. If you’d like to learn more or get helped, contact us for more information.


NWDS Alaska Web Design


About NWDS - founded in 2003 by six software engineers, NorthWest Data Solutions (NWDS) provides custom computer programming and systems design services. NWDS creates many types of software, including e-commerce, financial, defense, engineering, logistics, aviation and more. www.nwds-ak.com

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Good Practical Typography for Web Design


Typography effective in web design can be the significant impact to engage or turn away your visitors.


1. Readability


The aesthetics are useless if visitors can’t read the content. Choose a simple font is better. I would try to use no more than three families with clean and clear look at around 12-14px. The creative fonts should use for headlines or quotes. Also the background and font color should have high contrast.

2. Fonts


To convey your message on web design, choose a font that feels like it could work.
  • Serif – traditional and conservative look
Times
Century
Palatino
Garamond
  • Sans Serif – modern and uncluttered look
Arial
Tahoma
Lucida Sans
Franklin Gothic

3. Size


As mention earlier, the size between 12-14px looks good and easy to read but titles or headlines is harder to make decision. I usually try out different sizes until I get the one that big enough to grab attention as I need on the web page.

Heavy fonts usually convey strength, powerful and confident. For instance, headlines with capital and bold grab attention quickly and feel important. On the other hand, headlines with lighter fonts are not noticeable as much as the heavy one.

Web Design Company  vs. Web Design Company

4. Hierarchy


Normally when you want to emphasize the element on your web page, you would give it bigger than the others. But it is not the only way. Color, weight, placement, and size are all important to create hierarchy on web pages.




NWDS Alaska Web Design


About NWDS - founded in 2003 by six software engineers, NorthWest Data Solutions (NWDS) provides custom computer programming and systems design services. NWDS creates many types of software, including e-commerce, financial, defense, engineering, logistics, aviation and more. www.nwds-ak.com

3 Tips to improve your Website Ranking on Google’s Search

1. Valuable content

First and foremost is creating valuable content for your website. If people find your content useful, they may link to their websites or share to friends. It can help your website gains more traffic.

These lists should be part of your content:
  • Informative
    If you have office or store location; you should include hours of operation, location, and contact information to your web page particularly on the contact page.
  • High quality
    Be your customers’ resource for what they need. The more you create content that helps your prospects, the better succeed you are. If you include keywords on your page, make it sounds natural to read through.
  • Engaging
    Make your website appeals to your audiences with images; it can be your products, your team, or yourself.
  • More valuable and useful
    If you write about “Logo design with illustrator”, make sure your article provides more value or a different perspective than the others on the web.
  • Content update
    Regularly fresh content is one of the best influence for search rankings, so be sure to keep it fresh.

2. Content description on your site

  • Title tag
    Each web page contains the head tag that appears at the top, which is the information description for your page. So unique and descriptive titles tell your audiences and search engine what your page is about. Long titles can be confusing and may not fully display in search results.
  • Meta descriptions
    The meta description tells search engines what your site is about in search results. It is different from title tags that should be concise. You should write the meta description short and summarizes a page’s content, and can be filled with some keywords.
  • Images with “alt” attribute
    It’s important to have “alt” attribute of images on your site for both search engines and users. It is meant to be an alternative for non-visual or impair internet users. So the “alt” tag should be concise, clear and easy to read.

3. Follow Google guidelines


Don't deceive your users or present different content to search engines than you display to users. Avoid tricks to improve search engine rankings such as hidden text, hidden links, create multiple pages or domains with duplicate content. Instead make your website stand out from others in your field.




NWDS Alaska Web Design


About NWDS - founded in 2003 by six software engineers, NorthWest Data Solutions (NWDS) provides custom computer programming and systems design services. NWDS creates many types of software, including e-commerce, financial, defense, engineering, logistics, aviation and more. www.nwds-ak.com

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Writing for the Web


Writing for the web needs to be different from writing for print. According to Jakob Nelsen's study, we tend to scan content on the web and search for the information we want, which is not the same way we read books or magazines. There are some rules help to improve writing content on your web pages.


The conclusion first


Place the most important part of web writing at the very top of your web page.
  • People can quickly scan and decide if they want to read the rest or not.
  • They don’t like to read all the way to the bottom of the screen.
  • If you place the most important points at the end, most of them may miss it.

Use clear and simple language


Your website is going to be viewed from people around the world with all levels of English knowledge. If you write to lower level audiences understand you have done well.

Limit one thought in each paragraph


It’s hard to read long especially on computer monitor. If you try to limit only one idea each paragraph, it will be easy to scan through and get general idea what the paragraph is about.

Use lists


Try to use list if you can because
  • Easier to scan
  • Users do not need to read every word but still understandable
  • Short and get to the point

Use descriptive link text


You want your audiences to interact with your pages, give them a definition for the link. Let them know what it will be on the end when they click link not just “click here.”


Be concise


Keep your pages short and concise. If your content is very long, better to have sub section and write as a stand-alone page.




NWDS Alaska Web Design


About NWDS - founded in 2003 by six software engineers, NorthWest Data Solutions (NWDS) provides custom computer programming and systems design services. NWDS creates many types of software, including e-commerce, financial, defense, engineering, logistics, aviation and more. www.nwds-ak.com

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Key Elements of an effective website

Anyone who knows HTML and CSS can create a website. But designing a great one in order to accomplish desired actions and appealing to visitors, needs to have some specific elements.


Don’t make visitors think


Your website should be cleared about who you are, what you do, and how you can help your visitors. If visitors can’t tell what your website is about within seconds, they won’t stick around long.

Good visual design


People like first impressions, your visitors will too. Choose wisely for typography, layout, colors, and graphics. It should be consistent on all web pages.

  • Choose colors that suit and meaningful to your business
  • Choose appropriate font face and font size throughout your website, and try not to have more than three different fonts
  • Choose high quality of image or graphics
  • White space is a good friend to help make important elements stand out and uncluttered.

Easy Navigation


Navigation bar are the links that take visitors where they need to get more information. It usually locates on the top or the left side of web pages. The basic essentials like “About us”, “Services”, and “Contact” page should be easy to find out about you.

Call to action


The call to action is a set of words that urge your website visitors to take an action on your website. In order to direct them to next step, make sure use actionable words like “Free Trial”, “Buy Now”, or “Start Free Now.”

Meaningful content


Who is your target audience? What are they looking for from your website? What products or services can you offer? Most people surfing the internet because they are looking for something they need or get helped.
  • Try to provide helpful, knowledgeable information in your content
  • Keep your pages short and get right to the point
  • Write for your visitors/readers not for search engine. SEO is important to get traffic to website. But if you write too obviously towards search engines you will quickly lose readers.

Load fast


Don’t have your visitors wait for a page to load more than a few seconds because they are more likely to go over to your competition!



NWDS Alaska Web Design


About NWDS - founded in 2003 by six software engineers, NorthWest Data Solutions (NWDS) provides custom computer programming and systems design services. NWDS creates many types of software, including e-commerce, financial, defense, engineering, logistics, aviation and more. www.nwds-ak.com

Thursday, May 1, 2014

5 Things Your Website is Missing


Chances are your business has a website. To increase visibility and reach more potential customers, make sure your website has these following key elements.





1. Contact information


It is general practice to include a page designated for your contact information. Company’s address, e-mail, map, and phone number should be easy to find on this page.

2. Call to action


A call to action or CTA is a banner or button helps users what to do next. They can be used for downloading a file, get contact information, request quote, or buy now. With effective call to action, you can urge users take action on your website.

3. Social media links


Social media provides the easy way to communicate with your customers and potentials. It becomes a way that people give recommendation to their friends and shares your content with people they connect to. When you add social media links to your site, it will help increase your like and followers.

4. Testimonials


After reading experiences with your products or services, potential customers will be more likely to move forward with your brand. The key to add testimonial is quality not quantity. If a customer gives too long testimonial, quote the parts that sound best.

5. SEO


A properly optimized site can expect increased traffic to your site. Write content that is relevant to your site or topic, and include keyword in the title. Get more info about Search Engine Optimization.




NWDS Alaska Web Design


About NWDS - founded in 2003 by six software engineers, NorthWest Data Solutions (NWDS) provides custom computer programming and systems design services. NWDS creates many types of software, including e-commerce, financial, defense, engineering, logistics, aviation and more. www.nwds-ak.com

Monday, April 28, 2014

Login Design for Trans Maldivian Airways

Trans Maldivian Airways is a private airline based in Ibrahim Nasir International Airport. It operates floatplanes to resort islands in the Maldives. They have recently started using SMS Pro’s web-based aviation safety software. We would like to give them a new look to their login page to generate good will and because we like working with the crew over in the Maldives.

Screen shot of existing log in page.


First Design


First I grabbed a few images from their website and stored them on my computer. Their nice images made my work easier. After picked out the image for first design, I started to work with my favorite tool--Photoshop. I had the image blurred because I wanted the login form dominant, and then placed it below our logo. For the login form, I had white transparent background and changed the tone to be TMA’s logo color and placed it on top of the main image, then relocated all content as usual.

Screen shot of first design.



Second design


The second design, I did the opposite way with the first design. This one I used the original image without blurring it. However I cropped its size to fit my page. I had the login form and TMA’s logo located on the left side. I expanded username and password fields wide enough to make them jumped out of the stunning image background. Then use same tone of TMA’s blue color for login button. I left all content as it was in the first design. Lastly, I repositioned our logo and welcome message.

Screen shot of second design.


Each design had its own unique way to accomplish. I worked around the image since it was the center of attention. We will have TMA make decision on the login page new look.


NWDS Alaska Web Design


About NWDS - founded in 2003 by six software engineers, NorthWest Data Solutions (NWDS) provides custom computer programming and systems design services. NWDS creates many types of software, including e-commerce, financial, defense, engineering, logistics, aviation and more. www.nwds-ak.com