Crappy Web Design Hurts Business: Could Yours Be Killing Results?

Written by: admin Date of published: . Posted in Google News, SEO News, test

Lacking a solid Web design strategy wastes money, loses clients, and can harm your business much more than if you had no website at all. But why?

Because, website design is not about “the design.”

All “website design” is not created equal … but this is the No. 1 related misconception adopted by small businesses on the Web.

Fact: Crappy Web “Design” HURTS Business. Is Yours on the Right Track?

When conceptualizing a new website design, there are a few critical facts you must consider.

For instance, one recent MarketingProfs article made the point that many business owners jump into Web design (or redesign) decisions with no other goal than to cure their own boredom. What that means is that the owner simply “grows tired” of looking at the same website design for months on end. Then, they push for a change for no rhyme or reason – and with no goals in mind.

Umm. If you want to waste your yearly operating budget, this is a rapid-fire way to do it.

Admittedly, I made these sorts of “fly by the seat of my pants” decisions early on in my career, in the late ’90s. But as I was an avid split tester, my goal was always to improve results when I changed a design, and I never stopped until I achieved that outcome. But I did take an unnecessarily time-consuming, roundabout way of getting there by not mapping out goals until after the new design was conceptualized (and, in some cases, completed).

Ugh, huge mistake.

Though I didn’t technically waste money, as the design was done in-house … in approaching the redesign in an unfocused way, I wasted time I could otherwise have been spending on income-producing activities. And so, income did suffer.

And since we’re being so honest, I’ll admit that I still find myself occasionally wanting to make decisions based solely on my own restlessness or boredom with a website’s existing design. But because effective Web design is truly a process, I manage to nip this counter-productivity in the bud before damage is done – before taking any action on my daydreaming. Whew.

Because after all these years of creating goal-oriented websites, my thinking has been sufficiently rewired. Even if I catch myself wanting to change a website simply “for the change” rather than for a goal, in the subsequent planning process for that design, my inner marketer kicks in – and I begin the (re)design process by making decisions based solely on the results I want to achieve.

That’s the key. Every proposed website addition, change, feature, or function must accomplish something for your business.

In fact, if you approach the decision as redesigning your website to improve results, increase sales, boost sign-ups, downloads, clicks, calls, leads, conversion rates, or whatever your metric, then guess what…?

You generally will achieve just that, because you’ve already programmed your mind (and tasked your Web design company) not to stop until a result is achieved.

This was a somewhat long-winded way of making this critical point: You must decide which metric you’d like to improve before you have your Web design company make one change.

Web Design Doesn’t Matter. Results Do

For the launch of my own Web design company , I crafted a press release with the headline “Web Design Doesn’t Matter” … and that statement is so real. It was risky and I knew the company could lose a few potential clients by taking this stance … but only the select few that were unable to realize anyway that their websites should be about achieving goals.

People don’t come to your website to see how beautifully you’ve designed it today.

They come to your website to accomplish a particular goal.

You’d better make it doggone well easy for them to do so, or they’re out of there – and fast.

So Should You Even Redesign Your Website?

The answer to this depends on how your site is currently doing – and why.

If it’s completely tanking and not getting any results at all, a website redesign could be smart.

If you’re getting “some” results, but not enough for the effort you’re putting in, your site may simply need a little tweaking over a complete overhaul.

However, there are many variables that go into why a website is failing: sales copy, marketing, design, cohesiveness…So if you already have a website and you’re not sure why it’s underperforming, your Web design company needs to analyze your current marketing strategies and website as a whole to be able to determine what’s causing those dismal results.

Is Your Website Designed to Lead People Toward a Goal?

Results-oriented Web design gets people to take action. Therefore, if your website isn’t accomplishing that, here’s what you do: chat with a designer who understands Web marketing, to have them evaluate your analytics (current website traffic) to see where results are lacking.

Then, get them to devise a website design s-t-r-a-t-e-g-y to counteract and eradicate negatives found, accentuate the desired positives, and just do the doggone thing.

If you don’t yet have a website, it’s OK: you’re actually ahead of the game.

Again, get with a Web design company that understands Web marketing before you decide what you want your website to look like. In fact, clearly define your goals and discuss – as a team with your designer – the ways in which your website should be set up to achieve those.

Your Website Design (or Redesign) Must Be Based Around Just this Sort of Strategic Planning…

…or else the only “result” you achieve will be a colossal waste of money, time, and resources. Most small business owners can’t afford that level of waste. Can you?


Harmony Major began building business websites and marketing online in 1999, converting her e-business to full-time in less than one year-at age 19. These days, she does simple, conversion-focused websites and redesigns for service professionals, non-profits, and minority- and woman-owned businesses. Find Harmony at: ExcellentPresence.com or connect on LinkedIn.

Post from: SiteProNews: Webmaster News & Resources

Crappy Web Design Hurts Business: Could Yours Be Killing Results?

Crappy Web Design Hurts Business: Could Yours Be Killing Results?

Written by: admin Date of published: . Posted in Google News, SEO News, test

Lacking a solid Web design strategy wastes money, loses clients, and can harm your business much more than if you had no website at all. But why?

Because, website design is not about “the design.”

All “website design” is not created equal … but this is the No. 1 related misconception adopted by small businesses on the Web.

Fact: Crappy Web “Design” HURTS Business. Is Yours on the Right Track?

When conceptualizing a new website design, there are a few critical facts you must consider.

For instance, one recent MarketingProfs article made the point that many business owners jump into Web design (or redesign) decisions with no other goal than to cure their own boredom. What that means is that the owner simply “grows tired” of looking at the same website design for months on end. Then, they push for a change for no rhyme or reason – and with no goals in mind.

Umm. If you want to waste your yearly operating budget, this is a rapid-fire way to do it.

Admittedly, I made these sorts of “fly by the seat of my pants” decisions early on in my career, in the late ’90s. But as I was an avid split tester, my goal was always to improve results when I changed a design, and I never stopped until I achieved that outcome. But I did take an unnecessarily time-consuming, roundabout way of getting there by not mapping out goals until after the new design was conceptualized (and, in some cases, completed).

Ugh, huge mistake.

Though I didn’t technically waste money, as the design was done in-house … in approaching the redesign in an unfocused way, I wasted time I could otherwise have been spending on income-producing activities. And so, income did suffer.

And since we’re being so honest, I’ll admit that I still find myself occasionally wanting to make decisions based solely on my own restlessness or boredom with a website’s existing design. But because effective Web design is truly a process, I manage to nip this counter-productivity in the bud before damage is done – before taking any action on my daydreaming. Whew.

Because after all these years of creating goal-oriented websites, my thinking has been sufficiently rewired. Even if I catch myself wanting to change a website simply “for the change” rather than for a goal, in the subsequent planning process for that design, my inner marketer kicks in – and I begin the (re)design process by making decisions based solely on the results I want to achieve.

That’s the key. Every proposed website addition, change, feature, or function must accomplish something for your business.

In fact, if you approach the decision as redesigning your website to improve results, increase sales, boost sign-ups, downloads, clicks, calls, leads, conversion rates, or whatever your metric, then guess what…?

You generally will achieve just that, because you’ve already programmed your mind (and tasked your Web design company) not to stop until a result is achieved.

This was a somewhat long-winded way of making this critical point: You must decide which metric you’d like to improve before you have your Web design company make one change.

Web Design Doesn’t Matter. Results Do

For the launch of my own Web design company , I crafted a press release with the headline “Web Design Doesn’t Matter” … and that statement is so real. It was risky and I knew the company could lose a few potential clients by taking this stance … but only the select few that were unable to realize anyway that their websites should be about achieving goals.

People don’t come to your website to see how beautifully you’ve designed it today.

They come to your website to accomplish a particular goal.

You’d better make it doggone well easy for them to do so, or they’re out of there – and fast.

So Should You Even Redesign Your Website?

The answer to this depends on how your site is currently doing – and why.

If it’s completely tanking and not getting any results at all, a website redesign could be smart.

If you’re getting “some” results, but not enough for the effort you’re putting in, your site may simply need a little tweaking over a complete overhaul.

However, there are many variables that go into why a website is failing: sales copy, marketing, design, cohesiveness…So if you already have a website and you’re not sure why it’s underperforming, your Web design company needs to analyze your current marketing strategies and website as a whole to be able to determine what’s causing those dismal results.

Is Your Website Designed to Lead People Toward a Goal?

Results-oriented Web design gets people to take action. Therefore, if your website isn’t accomplishing that, here’s what you do: chat with a designer who understands Web marketing, to have them evaluate your analytics (current website traffic) to see where results are lacking.

Then, get them to devise a website design s-t-r-a-t-e-g-y to counteract and eradicate negatives found, accentuate the desired positives, and just do the doggone thing.

If you don’t yet have a website, it’s OK: you’re actually ahead of the game.

Again, get with a Web design company that understands Web marketing before you decide what you want your website to look like. In fact, clearly define your goals and discuss – as a team with your designer – the ways in which your website should be set up to achieve those.

Your Website Design (or Redesign) Must Be Based Around Just this Sort of Strategic Planning…

…or else the only “result” you achieve will be a colossal waste of money, time, and resources. Most small business owners can’t afford that level of waste. Can you?


Harmony Major began building business websites and marketing online in 1999, converting her e-business to full-time in less than one year-at age 19. These days, she does simple, conversion-focused websites and redesigns for service professionals, non-profits, and minority- and woman-owned businesses. Find Harmony at: ExcellentPresence.com or connect on LinkedIn.

Post from: SiteProNews: Webmaster News & Resources

Crappy Web Design Hurts Business: Could Yours Be Killing Results?

Google Caused a Ton of “Hurt” for Webmasters in 2012

Written by: admin Date of published: . Posted in Blogging News, Google News, SEO News, test

Google unleashed a ton of “hurt” for many webmasters and site
owners in 2012. It seemed like every other day there was a major change to their all-important algorithm or the formula Google uses to rank content on the web. The previous year’s Panda Update and its countless follow-ups, which went after low-quality sites, wasn’t enough for Google’s engineers and execs. They next attacked “webspam” with a vengeance using the Penguin Filter and its subsequent updates.

Needless to say, the fallout and casualties were enormous. The Penguin Update proved quite severe and all encompassing for many sites. If Google found your site’s link profile to be “unnatural,” then you were left scrambling to fix the issues. To be fair, Google did send out over 700,000 emails to webmasters who use Google Webmaster Tools, warning them that their sites had too many bad, low quality links.

Google didn’t say exactly specify the problem, just noted that there were unnatural” links coming into a site which put that site in a bad light. Webmasters were left wondering just what links were in play and how to fix them. This was extremely torturous for site owners who wanted to do the right thing and in many cases, simply couldn’t figure out what they were doing wrong or what exactly Google wanted?

The simple truth is that Google won’t provide webmasters specifics, because then those webmasters and other ruthless individuals could use the information to “manipulate” Google’s rankings. Transparency has its limits, especially when obtaining top keyword rankings can mean thousands, if not millions of dollars in the bank.

Many SEO experts believe Google created a simple link profile using the “anchor text” in backlinks coming in for each site. If this profile didn’t conform to the standard norm, your site drew a Penguin Penalty.

Most sites not trying to manipulate Google’s Search Index with keyword targeted backlinks or link schemes, have a certain ratio of “keyword backlinks” with most of these via the URL or brand name of the site in the anchor text.

In addition, a natural link profile has a certain ratio of backlinks with neutral anchor text, such as “click here,” “try this site,” “click this link” and so on. Of course, there will be a certain ratio of backlinks which target your “keyword,” but if you have 60% or 70% of your total backlinks containing the same keyword you’re ranking for, then something is certainly not natural about those links. Also, in a natural link profile, most sites will only have one or two links coming from another site. If you have hundreds or even thousands of backlinks coming from certain sites, this may draw the Penguin’s attention.

The Penguin Update, which Google launched on April 24th of 2012, created complete chaos for many webmasters who have been “over-optimizing” their sites and actively building links to boost their Google rankings. Other sites and webmasters simply got caught by pure accident – their backlinks may have been placed in a blog footer, resulting in the same keyword backlink turning up in hundreds or thousands of links – drawing a red flag from Penguin and causing a major disappearing act within Google.

For a while it seemed like Penguin would destroy the web as we know it since many webmasters and site owners stopped linking out to sites, even ones they thought valuable for their visitors, simply because they feared retaliation from Google or from the site owner. Millions upon millions of links, disappeared from the web overnight. Some site owners even took Matt Cutts’ advice and simply abandoned their domain and started over with a new site or a new domain. Ideamarketers.com is one site which comes readily to mind.

Penguin had a snowball effect. Many good sites lost valuable links because other webmasters feared Google’s wrath, and either removed the links or “no-followed” them en masse. Even if a site didn’t draw a penalty from Penguin, many still suffered a major downgrade, especially if one had a small “mom and pop” operation and not a big brand name site. The true devastation caused by Penguin and Google in 2012 may never be known but the damage is huge and long-lasting.

As a result of webmaster complaints about the difficulty of contacting thousands of sites to get links removed, Google introduced a Link Disavow Tool in GWT. Now webmasters can easily disavow any bad links by creating a simple text file with one URL per line and submit it to Google via Google Webmaster Tools. This has calmed the masses somewhat and help dispel the whole notion of negative SEO.

Another major area of damage was to SEO and SEO firms. Many webmasters wrongly believed Penguin killed SEO in 2012. SEO firms no doubt lost some customers who believed SEO no longer worked and link building, even strictly white-hat linkbait, is now dead and a waste of time.

However, many SEO experts now believe (and granted they’re a little biased), webmasters and site owners shouldn’t stop building high quality links to their content. Actually, the opposite is true, they just have to keep the right “anchor text ratio” so these links appear “natural” to Penguin and Google. Depending on your competition, some suggest using the following ratios: 35% for your URL as the anchor text and other brand keywords, 20% for your main keyword, 25% for related LSI keywords (just use Google search and take note of the keywords which pop-up when you’re typing in your main keyword) and 20% for generic/neutral keywords.

Of course, you have to gradually create these quality links over a period of time and it would probably be best to keep that exact keyword ratio of 20% much lower, so as not to draw attention to one’s site. There are those pundits, however, that argue webmasters and site builders, shouldn’t be building links or optimizing their sites in the first place. Everything should happen naturally and your site, if the content is superior, will rise to the top on its own accord. Good luck with that strategy.

Keep in mind, Panda and Penguin weren’t the only Google Updates, causing headaches for webmasters and site owners this year. For some webmasters, the EMD (Exact Match Domain) Update was just as devastating. If your exact keyword domain had poor or little content – it would no longer rank high in Google for your chosen phrase.

Then there was the Top Heavy or Page Layout Update. If Google found your pages had too many links (especially ads) and too little content above the fold, these pages were dropped in the rankings. Finally, there was the Pirate or DMCA Penalty. If your site had repeated copyright violations such as DMCA takedown requests, it may have suffered in the rankings.

Forget SEO and rankings for a moment – what was even more painful for many webmasters in 2012, was the move to make Google Shopping a paid service. This caused a major upheaval. One webmaster even went so far as comparing Google to a drug dealer. First supply it free, then start charging for it. This view may be a little extreme, but the switch took away another revenue stream from many small sites and businesses who couldn’t afford the extra costs.

However, a more far-reaching change may involve Knowledge Graphs and Google’s bold move to becoming the destination, rather than a means to your destination on the web. If Google is serious in becoming a publisher, rather than just a search engine, it could spell disaster for all webmasters. This change could mean every webmaster and every site could potentially have Google as their main competition. At the very least, this new direction could present another major hurdle before a web searcher clicks through to your site.

Overall, for the embattled webmaster and online marketer, it seemed like Google really took the gloves off in 2012 and came out swinging. The fallout and devastation are real and have proved fatal for many small businesses and site owners who depended too heavily upon search traffic from Google. Most learned a very brutal lesson – never put all your eggs in the same basket – always diversify your traffic sources.

Just makes one wonder what Google has in store for 2013? Will we all be feeling more lucky next year? Don’t count on it. Even webmasters and site owners who have been left unscathed by the countless recent updates and changes, shouldn’t become too complacent and smug. While this may be just short of fear mongering, everyone has to remember that until Google is no longer the dominant search engine with control of the majority of the web’s search traffic, it can inflict as much “hurt” as it wants to deliver and your site may just be in the crosshairs next time.


All opinions and views expressed in the article above are solely those of the author – Titus Hoskins. He has been a full-time search engine marketer for the last eight years and has several sites on the web. His main site offers free marketing guides/resources/tools and is located here: www.bizwaremagic.com. He has also written a very informative online report on the Google Panda/Penguin Updates, probably worth a read if you or your site have been affected by these recent changes. You can find it here: Click Here for Free Penguin Report.

Post from: SiteProNews: Webmaster News & Resources

Google Caused a Ton of “Hurt” for Webmasters in 2012

Google Caused a Ton of “Hurt” for Webmasters in 2012

Written by: admin Date of published: . Posted in Blogging News, Google News, SEO News, test

Google unleashed a ton of “hurt” for many webmasters and site
owners in 2012. It seemed like every other day there was a major change to their all-important algorithm or the formula Google uses to rank content on the web. The previous year’s Panda Update and its countless follow-ups, which went after low-quality sites, wasn’t enough for Google’s engineers and execs. They next attacked “webspam” with a vengeance using the Penguin Filter and its subsequent updates.

Needless to say, the fallout and casualties were enormous. The Penguin Update proved quite severe and all encompassing for many sites. If Google found your site’s link profile to be “unnatural,” then you were left scrambling to fix the issues. To be fair, Google did send out over 700,000 emails to webmasters who use Google Webmaster Tools, warning them that their sites had too many bad, low quality links.

Google didn’t say exactly specify the problem, just noted that there were unnatural” links coming into a site which put that site in a bad light. Webmasters were left wondering just what links were in play and how to fix them. This was extremely torturous for site owners who wanted to do the right thing and in many cases, simply couldn’t figure out what they were doing wrong or what exactly Google wanted?

The simple truth is that Google won’t provide webmasters specifics, because then those webmasters and other ruthless individuals could use the information to “manipulate” Google’s rankings. Transparency has its limits, especially when obtaining top keyword rankings can mean thousands, if not millions of dollars in the bank.

Many SEO experts believe Google created a simple link profile using the “anchor text” in backlinks coming in for each site. If this profile didn’t conform to the standard norm, your site drew a Penguin Penalty.

Most sites not trying to manipulate Google’s Search Index with keyword targeted backlinks or link schemes, have a certain ratio of “keyword backlinks” with most of these via the URL or brand name of the site in the anchor text.

In addition, a natural link profile has a certain ratio of backlinks with neutral anchor text, such as “click here,” “try this site,” “click this link” and so on. Of course, there will be a certain ratio of backlinks which target your “keyword,” but if you have 60% or 70% of your total backlinks containing the same keyword you’re ranking for, then something is certainly not natural about those links. Also, in a natural link profile, most sites will only have one or two links coming from another site. If you have hundreds or even thousands of backlinks coming from certain sites, this may draw the Penguin’s attention.

The Penguin Update, which Google launched on April 24th of 2012, created complete chaos for many webmasters who have been “over-optimizing” their sites and actively building links to boost their Google rankings. Other sites and webmasters simply got caught by pure accident – their backlinks may have been placed in a blog footer, resulting in the same keyword backlink turning up in hundreds or thousands of links – drawing a red flag from Penguin and causing a major disappearing act within Google.

For a while it seemed like Penguin would destroy the web as we know it since many webmasters and site owners stopped linking out to sites, even ones they thought valuable for their visitors, simply because they feared retaliation from Google or from the site owner. Millions upon millions of links, disappeared from the web overnight. Some site owners even took Matt Cutts’ advice and simply abandoned their domain and started over with a new site or a new domain. Ideamarketers.com is one site which comes readily to mind.

Penguin had a snowball effect. Many good sites lost valuable links because other webmasters feared Google’s wrath, and either removed the links or “no-followed” them en masse. Even if a site didn’t draw a penalty from Penguin, many still suffered a major downgrade, especially if one had a small “mom and pop” operation and not a big brand name site. The true devastation caused by Penguin and Google in 2012 may never be known but the damage is huge and long-lasting.

As a result of webmaster complaints about the difficulty of contacting thousands of sites to get links removed, Google introduced a Link Disavow Tool in GWT. Now webmasters can easily disavow any bad links by creating a simple text file with one URL per line and submit it to Google via Google Webmaster Tools. This has calmed the masses somewhat and help dispel the whole notion of negative SEO.

Another major area of damage was to SEO and SEO firms. Many webmasters wrongly believed Penguin killed SEO in 2012. SEO firms no doubt lost some customers who believed SEO no longer worked and link building, even strictly white-hat linkbait, is now dead and a waste of time.

However, many SEO experts now believe (and granted they’re a little biased), webmasters and site owners shouldn’t stop building high quality links to their content. Actually, the opposite is true, they just have to keep the right “anchor text ratio” so these links appear “natural” to Penguin and Google. Depending on your competition, some suggest using the following ratios: 35% for your URL as the anchor text and other brand keywords, 20% for your main keyword, 25% for related LSI keywords (just use Google search and take note of the keywords which pop-up when you’re typing in your main keyword) and 20% for generic/neutral keywords.

Of course, you have to gradually create these quality links over a period of time and it would probably be best to keep that exact keyword ratio of 20% much lower, so as not to draw attention to one’s site. There are those pundits, however, that argue webmasters and site builders, shouldn’t be building links or optimizing their sites in the first place. Everything should happen naturally and your site, if the content is superior, will rise to the top on its own accord. Good luck with that strategy.

Keep in mind, Panda and Penguin weren’t the only Google Updates, causing headaches for webmasters and site owners this year. For some webmasters, the EMD (Exact Match Domain) Update was just as devastating. If your exact keyword domain had poor or little content – it would no longer rank high in Google for your chosen phrase.

Then there was the Top Heavy or Page Layout Update. If Google found your pages had too many links (especially ads) and too little content above the fold, these pages were dropped in the rankings. Finally, there was the Pirate or DMCA Penalty. If your site had repeated copyright violations such as DMCA takedown requests, it may have suffered in the rankings.

Forget SEO and rankings for a moment – what was even more painful for many webmasters in 2012, was the move to make Google Shopping a paid service. This caused a major upheaval. One webmaster even went so far as comparing Google to a drug dealer. First supply it free, then start charging for it. This view may be a little extreme, but the switch took away another revenue stream from many small sites and businesses who couldn’t afford the extra costs.

However, a more far-reaching change may involve Knowledge Graphs and Google’s bold move to becoming the destination, rather than a means to your destination on the web. If Google is serious in becoming a publisher, rather than just a search engine, it could spell disaster for all webmasters. This change could mean every webmaster and every site could potentially have Google as their main competition. At the very least, this new direction could present another major hurdle before a web searcher clicks through to your site.

Overall, for the embattled webmaster and online marketer, it seemed like Google really took the gloves off in 2012 and came out swinging. The fallout and devastation are real and have proved fatal for many small businesses and site owners who depended too heavily upon search traffic from Google. Most learned a very brutal lesson – never put all your eggs in the same basket – always diversify your traffic sources.

Just makes one wonder what Google has in store for 2013? Will we all be feeling more lucky next year? Don’t count on it. Even webmasters and site owners who have been left unscathed by the countless recent updates and changes, shouldn’t become too complacent and smug. While this may be just short of fear mongering, everyone has to remember that until Google is no longer the dominant search engine with control of the majority of the web’s search traffic, it can inflict as much “hurt” as it wants to deliver and your site may just be in the crosshairs next time.


All opinions and views expressed in the article above are solely those of the author – Titus Hoskins. He has been a full-time search engine marketer for the last eight years and has several sites on the web. His main site offers free marketing guides/resources/tools and is located here: www.bizwaremagic.com. He has also written a very informative online report on the Google Panda/Penguin Updates, probably worth a read if you or your site have been affected by these recent changes. You can find it here: Click Here for Free Penguin Report.

Post from: SiteProNews: Webmaster News & Resources

Google Caused a Ton of “Hurt” for Webmasters in 2012