Do You Need a Website Redesign?

 
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Website Design

If you ask 10 people how often you need a website redesign, you’ll get 10 different answers. A website redesign is not like changing the paint color in a room. It’s more like gutting the kitchen during kitchen remodeling. If small adjustments or tweaking can fix problem areas, then a full-fledged website redesign may not be needed.

The main question to ask yourself is if your site is performing well. Are you getting plenty of good leads? Do site visitors convert to customers? If the answer is yes, then just some minor adjustments may be all that’s needed to keep your site fresh and current. In other words, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Just because your website is old, if it’s performing well, you may want to leave it be. A website redesign just for the sake of it might actually hurt you.

On the other hand, there are many reasons to implement a website redesign.

  • People can’t find your contact page without a lot of effort
  • It’s hard to find what you need on your website
  • Your site is incredibly slow to load
  • You can’t update your site easily, and really old information is misleading.
  • Mobile users visit your site, but it’s not mobile friendly, so they leave quickly
  • Your website is 80% images and 20% text and you want to do better in search results
  • You want to incorporate SEO

Here at Coastal Web Services, we just recently launched a website redesign of our own website, for various reasons. We hope you like it!

If you decide to say yes to a website redesign, it’s important to do your homework before anything is changed. If you’re not familiar with Google Analytics or other web analytics tools, opt for a free web analysis and SEO analysis from various web design and SEO companies. Or better yet, find a company that does both.

The website analytics should help you figure out what’s working and what isn’t, how visitors arrive at your site, what pages they go to, are they converting to sales or do they leave? Also, take a look at what your competition is doing. Do they now offer online appointment scheduling or the opportunity to buy online?

If you’re investing in a website redesign, it makes sense to invest in SEO at the same time. An SEO analysis will help make recommendations on what pages to keep, which to delete, which to combine with other pages, how to set up your website navigation, and more. This is also the time to develop a user profile – who comes to your website? Who are your current clients? Who are you trying to attract?

The SEO research and target audience research needs to be done BEFORE designing your site. Think of SEO and user profile research as the blueprints for your website. Everything is built around them.

Things to Include in Your Website Redesign

  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO) See above.
  • Responsive Website Design Your site should be easily viewable on any size screen, without enlarging or swiping to the side.
  • Professionally written content. Writing for websites, and especially for SEO, is not like other writing. There is a whole different set of rules to follow. Above all, make sure your web content is easy to read and informative.
  • Content Management System (CMS) Getting a site built with a Content Management System (CMS) would be optimal as well, allowing you to make updates to your site yourself, such as changing photos, changing special offers, changing staff bios, etc.
  • Call to Action (CTA) on every page. This should be built into the web pages, but a CTA should also be included in your text.
  • A Home page that clearly defines who you are. Your Home page should pass the 5 second test. Can anyone visiting your site clearly identify what it is you do within 5 seconds?
  • A Blog page. Including a blog on your website is one of the easiest ways to add fresh content on a regular basis, and Google loves fresh content.

Still have questions about whether w website redesign is right for you? Call Coastal Web Services at 410-420-9390 for a free website analysis and SEO analysis, or use our contact form, and someone will get back to you. We work with small business clients throughout the Mid-Atlantic, the Carolinas and Alabama.

How Long Before I See SEO Results?

 
Categories
SEO

The folks at Google recently released a video about how to hire an SEO company in which Maile Ohye of Google says that you really need to give the SEO company you hire 4-12 months to see tangible results from their search engine optimization efforts.

A good SEO company will tell you up front that results will not be immediate, and that implementing SEO efforts takes a bit of time to see results, and then fine tuning once your rank in the search engine results (SERPs) starts to improve.

Even once you are on the first page of results for the key phrases you want to do well on, work still needs to be done. Things change so fast in the SEO world that it’s important to continue to work on your SEO strategy over the long haul. Search engine optimization is not a one and done thing. It’s a long term investment in your company.

If you’re ready to use the power of SEO to help you bring in new clients and grow your business, contact Coastal Web Services today for a free website analysis and SEO analysis. Your SEO is only as good as your website’s design, ease of navigation, page names and content.

Coastal Web Services is a Baltimore area web design company providing web design and SEO services to clients throughout the Mid-Atlantic region, as well as California and Alabama. Call us today at 410-420-9390 for a free consultation.

Common SEO Myths

 
Categories
SEO

Many of our clients and prospective clients have heard a lot of information about just what SEO is, and what it can do for them. But a lot of the information out there about search engine optimization is bogus information. Today, we hope to debunk several of the most common myths surrounding SEO.
1. SEO doesn’t work Did you know that in the U.S., 68% of prospective customers begin their purchasing decisions by using a search engine to research the product or service? And this traffic converts. According to one report, leads generated from search / SEO are eight times more likely to close into customers than outbound leads from direct mail or trade shows. (source).
In addition, many users tend to ignore paid ad listings and click on organic results instead.
2. SEO is expensive You’ve heard the phrase you get what you pay for. When you hire a search engine optimization professional who is an expert in their field, you are paying them for their knowledge, expertise and execution of complex tasks, including:
• Researching your industry, market and sales trends.
• Researching your competitors.
• Researching keyword terms that can bring the most relevant traffic.
• Optimizing a site for SEO, page by page.
• Building links.
• Monitoring and analysis of your SEO efforts.
Each of these tasks takes time and effort (not to mention specialized research skills and databases) — and there’s just no SEO without them. So while you do need to pay for someone to implement these tasks, keep in mind that SEO keeps bringing results long after you make the initial investment. With that being said, get several estimates before hiring an SEO company, and make sure you understand what their SEO plans involve. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. SEO is an investment in your company.
And keep in mind, SEO is a business expense that can be written off on your taxes.
3. I’m old school. I don’t need SEO, or a website for that matter Oh my. Where do we begin? Perhaps with a couple of statistics.
• 80% of U.S. consumers read online reviews before making a purchase of a product or service.
• 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine.
Even if only a tiny percentage of those people are interested in your services, you get the idea that most of the people who are looking to hire you or buy your products are starting out online.
Not promoting your business online means you are missing out on a huge opportunity to get new customers. Worse yet, you may be sending them over to your competitors. If new clients can’t find you online, they may never bother to call.
4. SEO will require me to change my website. I don’t have time for that Yes, you do have time. You need to make time to prioritize promoting your business to bring in new customers. Small businesses may need to change their existing websites to improve search engine optimization. Common changes that you can see include new content (most SEO companies have a content writer who can do the writing, with input from you), adding new pages or consolidating pages, and changes in web design.
Common changes that you can’t see are the addition of title tags, image alt tags, description tags, the addition of links, and many other behind the scenes additions that help the search engines find your site. This includes making sure your site loads quickly.
5. SEO is always changing. I can’t keep up It’s true that Google changes it’s algorithms several times a year. But most of these changes won’t affect your website. You probably won’t even notice most of them, even as a user.
There are, however, bigger algorithm changes that can impact your site. A good SEO company will be aware of upcoming changes and advise you as to how the changes will impact your site, and what SEO modifications need to be made so that your site isn’t negatively impacted or penalized. A recent change that comes to mind is Google’s decision to place mobile-friendly sites higher in search results, and non-mobile friendly sites lower in results.
So rather than not implement SEO at all, the challenge is to hire an SEO company that can keep up with the changes.
6. SEO can be automated No, no, no it can’t. Real, quality SEO is done by a live human being, or team of SEO experts. Automated SEO is a spammy practice that has nothing to do with knowledge of your individual business, your local customer base, or your marketing efforts.
Don’t believe anyone who tells you that SEO can be done magically with one click. If you’re ready to invest a little time and money in SEO, do it with an SEO company that can meet with you face to face, get to know your business, and develop an SEO program tailored to your needs.
Now does an SEO company use automated tools to run reports? Yes. But that is not the same thing as automated SEO.
If you’re considering SEO for your company’s website, call Coastal Web Services today at 410-420-9390 for a free consultation and website analysis. We offer web design and SEO services to small businesses throughout Central Maryland including Harford County, Baltimore County, Cecil County and Anne Arundel County.

Finding an SEO Company You Can Trust

 
Categories
SEO

If you’re looking for a new SEO company because your old one didn’t perform, or you’re just getting your feet wet in the world of search engine optimization, it’s important that you work with an SEO company that uses SEO best practices. These are sometimes called “White Hat SEO” as opposed to “Black Hat SEO”.

Steer clear of SEO companies that use black hat techniques, or that speak ill of a competitor. An SEO company should be able to stand on its own merits without disparaging the competition, and should be able and willing to tell you what they will do and how they will do it as far as SEO.

Steer clear of a company that promises you speedy results, which are frequently the result of black hat techniques such as:

  • Duplicate content
  • Invisible text and stuffed keywords
  • Cloaking or re-directing the user to another site or page
  • Link stuffing with links to sites with non-relevant content

Black hat SEO focuses on the search engines, rather than the user experience, and can possibly result in your site being banned from a search engine.

Good SEO, or White Hat SEO, focuses on the user experience. Be prepared to overhaul your existing website to meet best practices. A good SEO company provides search engine optimization including:

  • Website optimized for viewing on mobile devices.
  • Relevant, well-written content. You should look like an expert in your field.
  • Complete sentences with good spelling and grammar. Easy to read without being dumbed down.
  • Content that is informative and more than just a snippet of information.
  • Content that incorporates your key phrases and related phrases.
  • Video content
  • Unique and relevant page titles
  • Well-labeled images (with image alt tags)
  • Title tags and unique description tags
  • Standards compliant HTML
  • Relevant links and references

When you meet with a representative of an SEO company / web design company there are important questions to ask and information they should be happy to share with you.

  1. Show and Tell

The SEO expert you choose should have something to show you about the actual SEO practices that they are planning to do for you. Things you would expect to hear from them are how they will:

  • Optimize the content on your current website
  • Do an SEO audit of your site
  • Add strategic outbound links and inbound links 
  • Do and analysis of the site’s current link profile
  • Conduct an analysis of company social and blog.

 

  1. Are They Curious About Your Business?

Things an SEO company should ask you for as the owner of the website/ business.

  • Admin access or view to Google Analytics and Google Adwords
  • Editor or admin access to your websites CMS
  • List of targeted keywords – if you don’t have them, they should offer suggestions
  • Access to social media accounts
  • Do they offer suggestions for improvement? 

A good SEO partner would help you out with some website suggestions or improvements in order to get better results. They should view their relationship as a partnership. If they are not telling or suggesting something, then it’s all about THEM.

  1. Do they share their SEO techniques?

An ethical SEO company should be open to discussing their techniques; after all you are paying them for their expertise and time!. A white hat SEO company would have NO problem sharing their techniques, as they are accepted as legitimate ways to get proven results. If your SEO agency says that they need to keep their techniques confidential or “due to the nature of the industry we cannot disclose our practices” then beware!! 

If you’re looking for an SEO company you can trust to work with you over the long term, call Coastal Web Services today at 410-420-9390. We’ll work with you to develop both a short term and a long term SEO strategy that will help you grow your business.

Do You Need Small Business SEO Services?

 
Categories
SEO

Do You Need Small Business SEO Services?

If you have a website, and if you don’t you should probably get one pronto, you need small business SEO services. SEO, or search engine optimization, simply put, is when we use a series of techniques and procedures to optimize your website so the search engines will place your website high up in the search engine results pages (SERPs).

This includes a lot of behind the scenes work and visible work such as the use of appropriately researched keywords and related phrases in your content, meta tags, title tags, description tags, a site map, appropriate url names, header tags, image alt tags, creating new content with blogs, videos, photos and graphics, adding your site to directories, link building, and much, much more.

Can you do your own SEO? Maybe, if you have an SEO expert on staff who doesn’t have another job to do. Being “good with computers” isn’t enough these days. SEO changes daily, and in order to have access to some of the needed tools and training, SEO companies maintain subscriptions to various keyword search tools, analytics tools and more.

Local SEO Company

Of course, we think it makes sense to hire a local SEO company like Coastal Web Services to handle your SEO efforts. Hiring an SEO company allows you to focus on what you do best – running your business. Whether you’re a home builder, assisted living facility, plumber or insurance agent, you’re an expert in your field. Do you think we could come in and do what you do because we’re handy around the house or like to work with people? Of course not. And just like any other business expense such as buying equipment or paying a monthly lease, you can write off your SEO service expenses come tax time.

Why should you hire Coastal Web Services instead of the SEO company down the street? Because we have years of experience, and a proven track record. Now, we may not be as cheap as some SEO providers, but we charge a fair and competitive price. Remember, you get what you pay for. If someone promises they can get you to the top spot in the SERPs for a fraction of the price other companies are charging, watch out. Chances are, they are charging bargain basement prices to try and build a clientele, but they may not necessarily know what they’re doing. Poorly done SEO efforts can do more harm than good.

And SEO is a long term investment in your business. You should see an improvement in your placement in the search engine results within a few months, but if you are in a highly competitive business with multiple companies providing the same service in a small geographic area, it may take more time for you to see improvement for every page of your website.

So if you’ve been thinking about if you need SEO services, and you want to get more information about what that entails, give Coastal Web Services a call today at 410-420-9390. Based in Bel Air, MD, we provide web design and SEO services to small businesses throughout the greater Baltimore area, including Harford County, Baltimore County, Cecil County and Anne Arundel County.

 

Cost Effective SEO

 
Categories
SEO

Cost Effective SEO 

When we meet with clients for a new web design project or to consult on SEO services, we introduce them to the concept of cost effective SEO. SEO, or search engine optimization, is one of the most cost effective marketing strategies around today. SEO will improve your ranking on the search engine results pages, increase traffic to your website and increase brand awareness.

Maryland SEO Services

Our SEO services will likely involve changing the navigation of your website, perhaps adding or deleting pages, renaming pages, rewriting or adding to your content to optimize for SEO. A lot of this is done all at once, and then we provide ongoing SEO services on a monthly basis. For a full outline of our SEO program, visit our SEO Services page.  

SEO is one of the most cost-effective marketing strategies because it targets users who are actively looking for your products and services online. SEO’s inbound nature helps businesses save money when compared to outbound strategies like cold-calling and direct mail. While cold-calling and mailers can still be an effective strategy, the leads generated cost 61% more than leads generated by an inbound strategy like SEO! And since SEO zeroes in on users who are actively searching for products and services like yours, the traffic resulting from SEO is more qualified than many other marketing strategies, resulting in cost-savings for companies. 

You can easily measure the success of your SEO strategy. The SEO experts at Coastal Web Services can track nearly every aspect of your strategy, including metrics like increases in rankings, traffic and conversions. Our comprehensive analytics also provide the ability to drill down to see demographic information and other engagement metrics for individuals who have interacted with your website. For Ecommerce sites, we can show you which paths users take in order to complete a sale, all the way down to which keyword they used to search for you prior to purchasing. For non-Ecommerce sites, you can attach values to your lead conversions, like a ‘contact us’ form fill-out, or phone call from a mobile site link and calculate the value of your SEO strategy that way. 

Coastal Web Services is a Baltimore area SEO Company and Web Design Company. Based in Bel Air, Maryland, we incorporate SEO Services into your new web design or into your existing web design to help you increase your business. Contact us or call us today at 410-420-9390 for a free SEO Analysis to see how our SEO services could help you.

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