RaeSea Internet Marketing Blog

Pronounced “Ray” “Sea”

When do you need a Website Redesign?

I ran across this funny post.

Seeing this made me think of the websites that are abandoned each day, each quarter, by businesses that decide they need to redesign instead of enduring the less glamorous process of website optimization.

It can be difficult to decide when a complete web design redo is needed and when you just need some subtle changes.  For larger companies, this can be decided by their sales goals and what new products are coming out.  For smaller companies, it’s usually an issue of cost.

How much do you have set aside for a redesign?

Will it translate into more sales?  Are your conversions very low?

Has your competition changed their website recently?  Do you need to keep up?

Of course there are the tech questions also such as how it was originally designed and how much you can alter on the fly. 

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May 6, 2008 Posted by | Business, Internet, Marketing, technology, Web Design | 1 Comment

The “Duh” Factor

We were recently working on an email marketing campaign and right at the end of the project one of our designers added in what I like to call the “duh” factor. 

The “duh” factor is basically anything that everyone knows should be in a project but for some reason hasn’t been put in yet.  It may be a simple “buy now” button or “register” button.  Often times these things get overlooked as a project is being developed because everyone just assumes that they will be put in…but sometimes it doesn’t.  Why?

Well, as a project is being developed and person after person is reviewing it people tend to look for the small details and it’s easier to overlook the main points at that level.  It’s kind of that scenario where everyone chimes in and says “we can do this and this” but at the end of the day…did you do what you set out to do? 

That’s why it’s a good practice to add in the “duh” factors right from the start.  Those are not only necessary for the project itself but they can also help keep a project on target. 

May 2, 2008 Posted by | Business, Internet, Marketing, technology, Web Design | | Leave a comment

Marketing One Product

The recent post about “Apple and the ability to Focus“, over on Brett’s Blog got me thinking about our latest project.

 We recently launched the “Skeeter Defeater“, it’s a mosquito repellent that sprays automatically..twice a day.    Cool little product and the faq page has some interesting information on mosquitoes.

But, the interesting part of this project is the fact that the website is really selling only one product.  There are some variations of the skeeter but really it’s just one product.  We managed to create a lot of content about one product and I think the website came out exactly how we wanted it to but that’s always going to be a challenge with only one product. 

Also, the website is running a store and with only one product the design of the store is going to look differently than your “normal” store.  We have a few “categories” but really are users aren’t going to be shopping by category.  They will either want one or more skeeters.  So we tried to limit what was on the store as not to give people too many options per page.  I think that’s an important part of web design…don’t give people too many options.  Instead, guide them to where you want them based on what behaviors they have displayed on your website up to that point. 

It’s the “ability to focus” but applied to your website.  As a web designer, you can help focus the attention of your website visitors on not only what you are trying to sell them but also what they need to buy based on their behavior on each page. 

April 3, 2008 Posted by | Business, Internet, Marketing, mosquitoes, Web Design | 1 Comment

SXSW Goes Mobi

Check out their mobi site.

This is a good explanation of what mobi is and what it might become.  Every designer should know the ins and outs of what it takes to design for mobile search. 

November 15, 2007 Posted by | Business, Internet, Marketing, technology, Web Design | Leave a comment

Don’t forget to think about conversion rates

It’s easy to focus on getting visitors to your site and ignore what they actually do when they get there.  A thousand visitors and no sales is less desirable than 10 visitors and 5 sales. 

Think about a few things if your website is experiencing these problems:

  • is optimization getting in the way?

Meaning…have you focused too much on what search engines want and not enough on what your customers want?  This is a common mistake by those who try SEO on their own or who hire SEO people with little business knowledge. 

  • Do you know your customers?

Meaning…do you have a firm grasp on what your customers are looking for and what type of shoppers they are?  What do they expect?  Are you meeting these expectations?  Can you change those expectations?

  • how confusing is your site?

Do you have a call to action?  Does your site view properly in all browsers and in all resolution sizes?  We find that 40-50% of visitors to our sites still use IE 6…so design for this. 

  • are you actually selling your product on the site

Now, I don’t mean selling in a sense of is it available to buy.  I mean are you selling the positives of your products and addressing the concerns that your buyers may have?  The visitors to your site may not be as knowledgeable as you think or maybe they are much more knowledgeable than you think.  Get to know them. 

September 17, 2007 Posted by | Business, Internet, Marketing, SEO, Small Business, Web Design | Leave a comment

TIVO and the Internet – what’s the connection?

I was reading the Mark Cuban article today about him believing the internet is dead and it got me thinking about the effects of Tivo on the web.

Everyday, more and more people are using Tivo or DVR or On Demand to watch television.  That’s pretty much how I watch everything now, so I rarely see any commercials.  I think a lot of us are used to fast forwarding right through them.  Now what does that have to do with surfing the web?

I believe that we will start demanding that we can  surf the same way or we will consider the internet to be outdated.  If I get used to not having to sit through commercials, why would I sit through them on the web just to access a website?  I am going to go to another site and many times I already do that.  I just don’t have the patience for it. 

Everytime I visit a site with a landing page or intro page, I just want to yell at the screen “take me to the main site!” (and many times I do yell).  It’s like sitting through the FBI screen when I watch a DVD.  But, designers don’t have to use that intro page. 

I think it goes back to:

  • What do your customers expect to see on your website?
  • What are they seeing?
  • Are those two answers the same?  If not, you better have a good reason.

August 24, 2007 Posted by | Business, Internet, Marketing, News, technology, Web Design | Leave a comment

Does your Site work if cookies are blocked?

It’s one of those things that you need to fix if it doesn’t.  This site won’t load if I turn my cookies off.

No landing page or anyting telling me that I need cookies on.  So, I will just never visit the site and imagine how many people out there who block cookies will also never go to this site because no one is telling them why the page won’t load.  It’s just bad design.  Don’t force people to accept cookies unless it is absolutely necessary and even then….let them know. 

 I run across sites all the time that won’t load if I block their cookies…those that tell me to unblock, I unblock..  those that don’t…I go somewhere else.

August 1, 2007 Posted by | Business, Coding, Internet, Marketing, SEO, technology, Web Design | Leave a comment

Domain Names = 21st Century Real Estate

Interesting article over at CNN on selling domain names.  This industry is exploding right now with some domains selling for over a million dollars. 

At the Manhattan auction, Fischer and Goldberger snatched up four names for more than $1.2 million and a fifth for a client, representing only a handful of the names sold for a total of $12.4 million during both the live and silent auction.

The auctions were held during a domain conference in June that attracts some of the biggest players in this niche business.

One name — creditcheck.com — went for $3 million but paled in comparison to the sale of sex.com, which sold for $12 million last year, according to Cahn, who knew the site’s buyer and seller.

I think the days of getting a decent domain name for 10 bucks are going to come to an end very soon.  It would make more sense for those guys to just auction them off. 

They look for names that hit the “sweet spot” — short words that describe a high-value product or services related to it. Words that allow them to own a category such as bald.com and cardiology.com, two of the domain names they bought at the auction.

To help figure out a word’s potential value, they see how many hits it will produce using Google. They also troll lists of names with domain registrations set to expire, enabling them to get a jump on buying it.

They don’t bother with dot-nets or the others.

“Dot-com is king,” Goldberger said. “Dot-net is worthless.”

An interesting read…makes you want to go register some more domain names.

July 25, 2007 Posted by | Business, Internet, technology, Web Design | Leave a comment

Google and Duplicate Content

Here’s a list of 15 about how Google handles duplicate content.  Here’s a taste.

4.   There are cases where Google does penalize. This takes some egregious act, or the implementation of a site that is seen as having little end user value. I have seen instances of algorithmically applied penalties for sites with large amounts of duplicate content.

5.   An example of a site that adds little value is a thin affiliate site, which is a site that uses copies of third party content for the great majority of its content, and exists to get search traffic and promote affiliate programs. If this is your site, Google may well seek to penalize you.

July 24, 2007 Posted by | Internet, Marketing, SEO, Web Design | Leave a comment

Free SEO Tools

This site has some really good SEO tools.

 Nothing revolutionary but hey it’s free.  Can’t complain about that.  Just remember not to focus completely on page rank…it’s only one part of the big picture.

July 23, 2007 Posted by | SEO, Web Design, Web Site Rankings | Leave a comment