Category Archives: Web Design & Development

Not Showing Up In Google Search?

Are you part of one of the FAR TOO MANY businesses that are not showing up in Google searches? Have you tried Bing and Yahoo with the same lack of results? Well, guess what? Chances are, there is something wrong with your site that is causing the issue.

What can be wrong with my site that causes it to not show up in searches?

  • Poor HTML Structure
  • Lack of Basic SEO Elements
  • Slow/Cut-Rate Hosting Provider
  • Blacklisted/Penalized Site
  • Lack of Content
  • Content Not Indexed

We can go on for a LONG time about the different reasons that your site may not be performing well.
seo and content

Well, what can we do about it?

I’m glad you asked. Give us a call, or email us and we can help you diagnose your problem. Once we figure that out, we can also help you fix it. Search Engine Optimization is a process, not a one-time fix. Often times, we will work directly with our clients for months in order to develop a plan as well as execute that plan on how to drive up their search engine rankings. This is something that we will do together, and you will learn a lot about how the web works, and how to make it work for you and your business. We hope to hear from you today.

Have a great week!

Good Content = Good SEO

If you read a lot of SEO blogs, or even some copywriting blogs, you will see tons of posts about how great content should be your top priority for your website, if you want your website to rank well. This post is basically just going to beat it into your brains!

Why Good Content is Important to Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Don’t Be Too Wordy!

Too Wordy ContentYou know how it feels when you’re sitting there at a table with someone who totally dominates the conversation and talks for like 30 minutes non-stop? Well, don’t be that guy! You want to get your point across quickly, and effectively.
Use bulleted lists for displaying your services. Use short, descriptive sentences to talk about what you do. You shouldn’t need more than just a few paragraphs per page of content. If you need to say more, maybe you should consider creating a separate page to go into further detail about that topic? Which takes us into the next bit of advice…

Pages Should Be Topic Specific

What do you mean, dude? I mean that when you want a page to rank well for “Banana Flavored Popcorn”, make sure the page talks about Banana Flavored Popcorn. It should contain the main keywords of the topic about 3 or 4 times, preferably towards the top of your content. Just don’t make it sound all weird by throwing too many of the keywords around. You’ll just end up creating a bad user experience, and that is what we MUST avoid! Also make sure that the keywords are contained in your URL and Title. If your website doesn’t allow you to manage this information, then you need to fix that. Yeah, we can help if you need it.

Images Support Content

You should have some images within your posts and pages.
Content management systems make it easy to add images to your posts. Some of them (ahem, WordPress) even make it easy to edit, resize, crop, the image before you post it to the page. You can also add the necessary meta data to the image, like the ALT tag. Just be sure to also make sure that the filename of the image is similar to the topic of the page on which it will reside.

Check out a recent article on Forbes.com about design and content.

Yes, Small Businesses Can Do This!

Make Time for Content WritingAs a company that works with a lot of small businesses on website design as well as on Search Engine Optimization (SEO), we run into the same problem quite often. Our clients don’t usually have someone within their staff that has the time, or ability to create content on a regular basis. They also feel that they can’t afford to pay for someone to help them create their content. But, this if you want to do it right, you need to find a way. This doesn’t have to be a $1,000/month project. It can be more affordable than you think.

You know yourself the best. Maybe you should be the one that writes the content? “But I don’t have the time!” You can make the time. Start with setting aside 1 hour each week to start writing content for your site. Make up a list of things that clients ask about. Make up a list of things that you know are of interest to your clients. If you don’t know, ask them! Use your lists as a base for what you want to write about. You can do this. It’s like getting up earlier in the morning and going to the gym. Once you get into the routine, you will start to reap the benefits of getting it done!

Don’t Just Hire a Writer

Businesses also make the mistake of falling for the sales pitches of companies that will create content for you. Often times, this content STINKS! They don’t know your business. They don’t know your customers. They don’t know what they’re talking about. They just want to make money.

You should talk to someone who is going to want to ask the right questions and create content that will help you. They should ask a lot about what you do, and who you serve, and why you do it. Maybe these are some things that you can have ready ahead of time? Talk to us first. Even if we don’t end up working together, we can get you set on the right path.

Create a Content Calendar

Content CalendarDo yourself a huge favor and create a content calendar. You can use a spreadsheet, a paper calendar, or even use your calendar on your computer (preferred) to set the dates and times as well as topics that you will post to your site. This will help to outline what you’re going to write about, and when. It will also remind you to do it! That is why we use our Google Apps calendar and set up reminders to tell us when we need to write something. Sure, things come up, but then you can move your calendar event to another time that works better for you. Give this a try. I think that you’ll find it to be a big help. Plan to post 2 new posts each week. See how you do.

Don’t believe me, here’s more advice on Content Calendars.

Heard Enough?

Please Share This PostOK, out of fear of becoming too wordy within this post, I will end it now. There’s a lot more that we can discuss, like how to find good topics, keyword research, etc. But we can do that another time. Just remember: CONTENT IS IMPORTANT! Very important!

Do you have questions or comments? Leave them below! Do you agree? Then please share this post with friends, family and your enemies using the buttons on the right below our latest tweets. Or, you can use the handy little buttons right below this message!

If you have questions about how to accomplish this on your website, please contact us. This is why we do what we do! We want to help your business succeed, and we have the resources ready to make it happen!

Call us: 412.467.6568

Google Penguin 2.0 and What To Expect

Google has announced that it will be rolling out the latest round of Penguin updates to Google’s Search Results.

Google’s Head of Web Spam – Matt Cutts offers some information on what to expect from Google in the coming months.

 

Here’s a quick synopsis of what you can expect:

If you’re playing by the rules, and have clean content and follow “White Hat” rules like theBrewRoom does, then you’ll be fine.

If you’re hanging out on “Black Hat” forums, you’re in for some bad news.

  • More impact than Penguin 1.0 – deeper impact
  • Paid ads on sites should not contribute to page rank
  • Denying value to link spammers
  • More sophisticated link analysis
  • Hacked Site Detection
  • Better Communication with Webmasters thru Google Webmaster Tools
  • Less results from the same site

Watch the Video:

You’re Ruining Your Stats!

If you’re familiar with Google Analytics, you know that it tracks each time someone visits your site. It tracks where they came from, what search terms they may have used, how long they were on your site, what pages they visited, and A LOT MORE!!!

Well, if you are watching your own website stats closely and want to see how many people are really visiting your site, you may want to make sure that you aren’t one of those people! Yes, when YOU visit your site, you are counted in the stats.

That is, unless you tell Google Analytics to not count your visits. They make this very easy on you by providing a free plugin for your web browser.

Google Analytics Opt-out Browser Add-onGoogle Analytics Opt-out Browser Add-on

Once installed, your clicks to your website, and your clicks to other people’s websites will no longer be counted in Google Analytics reporting. This way, when you see that 4 people are currently viewing your website via the very cool Real Time stats, you won’t be one of those 4 people.

What if I change my mind and want my clicks to be tracked?

You can turn the plugin on and off via your browser Extension manager. In Chrome, this is done via: chrome://extensions/

Google Browser Extension

In Firefox, you go to Tools >> Add-Ons

Not sure what your website stats are? Let us help get you set up. Contact us today.

WordPress Backup with Dropbox

Dropbox

Sign up for Dropbox

First of all, you should be backing up your WordPress database and files regularly. It depends on how often you are updating your site, but you should back up your site at least once a week. You never know when disaster will strike, and you don’t want to rely on your hosting company for backing up your hosting account.

Now that we have established that you need to be backing up your WordPress site, let’s talk about a really cool and easy option for backing it up.

WordPress Backup to Dropbox is a very easy to setup option, which (as the name implies) backs up your site to your Dropbox account.

There are very few settings to configure for this plugin.

  1. Link you existing Dropbox account
  2. Choose when you want the backup to occur
  3. Choose what files you want to ignore during the backups.

WordPress Backup to Dropbox

Once you link the plugin with Dropbox, you will get a confirmation email, as well as a confirmation on your screen. It’s really as simple as that. You should check back in after your scheduled backups to make sure that it is working properly. There is a Backup Log that will show you all of the details of you latest backup.

Why Small Business Websites Fail

Why Small Business Websites FailWhy do most small business websites fail?

Well, first, what do I mean by “fail”?

Here are some ways that a site can fail:

  1. People can’t find your website when they search for the company’s services
  2. The site makes it difficult for the user to find what they are looking for
  3. The site does not adequately reflect the values and style of the company
  4. There are errors and mistakes on the site that make the user leave, or make search engines penalize the site

There are lots of other reason, but these are VERY common ones that can be easily avoided. The problem is that people don’t know what to do, how to do it, and who to trust to do it.

When you build a website, there a lots of things to keep in mind:

  1. User Experience & Design
  2. Search Engine Accessibility
  3. Content Organization
  4. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  5. Mobile responsiveness
  6. Content Management
  7. and lots more!

The trouble is that the typical small business owner is too busy to learn how to do all of this themselves. The other problem is that it often costs way too much to hire someone to do it. Well, not necessarily. It depends on where you look. That’s where theBrewRoom steps in. We strive to keep our costs low, so that we can pass on the savings to the customer by keeping our prices and rates low. We offer a full spectrum of small business website design and development services, with a major focus on search engine optimization.

If you need some help with your website, or if you need a whole new site: give us a call or send us a message today. We would love to hear from you!

Website Design & Development Help

We’re Looking for Guest Bloggers!

Wanted: Guest Bloggers Guest Bloggers for theBrewRoom

  1. Are you a blogger who is passionate about your area of focus?
  2. Do you enjoy keeping up-to-date on the latest social, search and web development trends?
  3. Do you like to talk about what is happening in your home town when it comes to technology?
  4. Do you have a current blog? – or – Are you looking to start a blog?

 

If you answered YES to at least two of the questions above, theBrewRoom wants to hear from you. We are looking to build a small army of bloggers that would be really interested in guest-blogging on theBrewRoom.com. We are looking for social media bloggers, search optimization and marketing bloggers, online marketing bloggers, etc!

All of your posts on theBrewRoom.com would be from you, not from theBrewRoom. This means that you’ll have a place in addition to your own blog or site to spread your message. We would set you up with a nice profile, which would appear on each of your posts, and you would be able to link back to your own site/blog as appropriate.

Let’s Build an Army!

So what do you think? Are you interested? If so, either contact Sam directly, or leave a message below.

Google+ Profile Image Changes

For those of you that are on Google+, you may have noticed that when you visit your Company Page’s profile, it asks you if you would like to update your Cover photo to the new, larger format. Yes, it’s huge! But that’s a nice big canvas on which you can show off your photoshop skills. 🙂

The new cover photo is responsive – meaning that it will resize to fix people’s browsers on their phones. This is a good thing. What this also means is that you need to make sure that your image is large enough to fix on people’s computer screens, while letting Google+ handle the rezising down on people’s phones.

The new cover photo should be a maximum of 2120 x 1192 pixels for retina displays. But, no smaller than 960 x 540 pixels. Google offers up Help and instructions on changing your cover photo. Don’t worry, it’s easy.

Google Plus Cover Photo

You probably won’t see a notification about this next change, but it’s something that you should pay attention to. The profile icon also has changed. Google+ now displays this in a circular container, which means that people with square logos, or with text under their logo (like us) may see the ends of the words cut off, which we did. We resized our image to have more whitespace around the actual logo, and this fixed the issue. I would play around with yours a little bit to make it look the way that you want it to look.

That’s it. Simple, and done.

 

Project: Shadyside Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce

theBrewRoom recently launched a new website for the Shadyside Chamber of Commerce. This new site is responsive (it changes to fit to the size of the device that you’re using) and is also optimized for search engines. You’ll find that if you search for just about anything in Shadyside, their website will appear! That’s the goal, and this is the result:

shadyside pittsburgh website project

This new WordPress website is easy for the client to manage themselves. This was one of the major requirements when they approached us about developing the new site for them. We also helped them set up a new hosting account that they can manage themselves. Empowering our clients!

If you are interested in learning more about our Website Design and Development Services, please contact us. We would love to hear from you, and we would love to help you.

Optimize Images for WordPress

Cloudinary Image Hosting Plugin

Do you have a WordPress website that has a good amount of images on it? If so, there’s a good chance that it takes a little bit longer to load than you would prefer. Web page load speed is an important SEO factor! If that’s the case, there is a Free WordPress Plugin available for Image Hosting. This plugin comes from Cloudinary and is called “Cloudinary – Image management and manipulation in the cloud + CDN“.

They have paid accounts, but the free account is plenty of power for most people:

Free Cloud Image Hosting

theBrewRoom is going to test out the service and update this post with feedback. If you’re already using it, do you have any feedback that our readers might find to be interesting? If so, please leave a message below!

 

In the meantime, here is a good review of the Plugin from WPMU.org.