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I am new to this…how do I begin with SEO? – Part 1

I am new to this…how do I begin with SEO? – Part 1

seo-wthI have a website!! Whoo hoo! ….Um….now what?  How do people find me?

Ah, the ever-elusive question. How do you get higher google rankings? What does SEO actually mean for me? Of course SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. And in laymen’s terms, that means ‘I want to be #1 in a Google search!!’  And, I mean, doesn’t everyone.

Just remember…getting to be at the top of the search page when someone searches for you TAKES TIME!  It does not happen overnight and there are no quick fixes and no magic formula that rockets you to #1 by tomorrow. It simply doesn’t work that way.

And, one of the reasons that it can be so difficult to get to the top of a search engine page is that all of the things that were put into place to help search engine’s rank your page against about a billion other pages that promise the same things you do…have been abused, overused and now overlooked.  It’s true! While using Meta tags and Meta Descriptions and keywords are still used and I still recommend using them, but don’t ABUSE.  In other words, don’t put words in the Meta tag or Meta Description fields multiple, multiple times.

Say for example, you help small business owners with their accounting. Don’t put the word accounting in those Meta tag or Meta description fields about 1,000 times over and over.  This will just get you discounted.

The KEY to SEO ranking – with smarter and smarter search robots that scour the web for content – is YOUR content.  Make sure your keywords, meta tags and meta descriptions ACTUALLY match the content on your page. You can pay big $$ to pay for highly searched keywords BUT if the content on your page – and by that I mean the actual copy about what you are offering, etc. – doesn’t match those keywords, your page(s) will soon be ‘caught’ and you will tumble in the search engine rankings.

You see,  it is all about how web searchers rate how your pages actually ‘match’ the keywords they searched upon to find you.

In other words, don’t put ‘Kim Kardashian’ in your meta tags or keywords on your page JUST because her name is highly searched. If your page has NOTHING to do with Kim Kardashian at all, your ranking will drop…and fast. 🙂

And, I have used a few key terms here, that bear a little more explanation. They are:

  1. Meta tags
  2. Meta Description
  3. Keywords

So, you might want to know a) what do they mean and b) WHERE do I put them?

For the meanings: meta tag = coding that describes SOME aspect of the current web page; meta description = element that describes your page to search engines and keyword = words or phrases describing your product or service

BUT, the bigger question is… WHERE do I put them? If you have a web designer, they can put these items into the code for each page on your website. Just do some real thinking about the CONTENT of your pages – page by page – and put together a list. Then send it to your web designer and ask them to add these to the pages for you.

HOWEVER, if you have a WordPress site (and many small businesses do these days) DIY Search Engine Optimization has been made fairly simple for you with MANY, MANY WordPress plugins (think of them as small apps that run behind the scene on your website) have been developed and can be installed on your site.

Some of my favorite SEO plugins are:

  1. WordPress SEO by Yoast Yoast’s plugins lets you set Meta Descriptions and Keyword (s) on a site-wide level AND on a per-page level. It is simple, clear and easy to install and use.
  2. All In One SEO Pack from Michael Tolbert is very similar. Simple, easy and quick.

Here is what one of those plugins looks on a PAGE in your WordPress site…really easy to navigate.

seo-page

So, check back again next time … and if you need SEO setup help in your website or WordPress site, contact me today!

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MH_headMichelle Hutter is a techy geek who has been building websites for over 10 years.  Much of our current work is on the WordPress platform because there is SO much flexibility in what you can build and customize… AND because after your site is built, even the most non-techy folks can still make minor updates to text, images, etc. with just a few guidelines and a WordPress guideboook that we can provide.  But if you still want/need the traditional HTML with CSS sites, we can do that to

I would like a website, but where do I start?

I would like a website, but where do I start?

domain-chalkboardThe very BEST place to start… if you are REALLY serious about having a web presence, is to find a domain name that is PERFECT for you.  For no cost at all, you can go to the website called: WhoIs.com and search endlessly to find the domain name that would be perfect for your website.

Some VERY IMPORTANT things to keep in mind for picking a domain name are:

  1. Keep it as short as possible, while still conveying the name of your business or what you are about.  If you already have a pretty long company name, try just that first. For example: PrecisionManufacturing.com or DimensionalConsulting.com…that is about as long as you might like to go. BUT, keep in mind, more common names like this might already be taken.
  2. It is OK to use your name as a domain IF your name is part of your brand. I see folks like Real Estate agents, lawyers and other professionals using their name as a domain. This is OK if it is what you are about.
  3. Try to avoid dashes in the name, especially if someone in your same realm has a similar domain. For example, best-dog-groomer.com will probably get more hits on bestdoggroomer.com, because people forget the dashes when they are in a hurry or are just typing a name into Google.
  4. Ask your spouse, parents, siblings, trusted friends, etc. about your ‘top 5’ picks before you settle on a final name. They will help you to determine the easiest to remember and best domain name that explains what your company does.
  5. Before you purchase the domain name from WhoIs.com, consider buying the domain where you will end up hosting a domain. This keeps things WAY easier – in the long run – when your domains and hosting are handled by the same company. Almost EVERY hosting company will also offer domain registration for a fair and similar price (expect to pay about $10/year for a no-frills domain name almost everywhere on the web.)

If you need help choosing a great starter company for both your domain purchase and first hosting, contact us. I really hesitate to put recommendations here, because this can be a moving target for the best ‘deal’ with the best support, etc.

But if you really need somewhere to start…some folks who have been around a while and seem to have it down are GoDaddy.com and BlueHost.com but always shop around first before you pull the trigger.

COMING  SOON… SEO Tips for small biz and beginners!

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MH_headMichelle Hutter is a techy geek who has been building websites for over 10 years.  Much of our current work is on the WordPress platform because there is SO much flexibility in what you can build and customize… AND because after your site is built, even the most non-techy folks can still make minor updates to text, images, etc. with just a few guidelines and a WordPress guideboook that we can provide.  But if you still want/need the traditional HTML with CSS sites, we can do that too.

These are a few of my favorite WordPress plugins…

These are a few of my favorite WordPress plugins…

(Sung to the tune of ‘Favorite Things’ from The Sound of Music….) Ok, so it really isn’t a song, but when I named this blog post, that just popped into my head. smiley-sm

pluginBut seriously, folks, as someone who works on WordPress sites almost constantly, 24/7, I get asked ALOT…what are your favorite WordPress plugins? Or what plugins do you consider Must-Haves for WordPress?  And, to be honest, there are quite a few…so I will start with some of my favorites today and finish the list another day. (NOTE: If you don’t know what WordPress or plugins are, this probably isn’t the right place for you…but that’s OK keep reading if you want to learn.) read more…

What should I do about Social Media?

What should I do about Social Media?

The BEST piece of advice I can give about social media for promoting your or your business is…do NOT start until you are READY to commit!

So, what do I mean by this?

What I mean is…social media is not a machine that runs by itself. A social media account requires constant tending and nurturing, not unlike a garden.  You can’t pay someone to build you a kick-butt social media page. Let’s say…a Facebook page, with a cool Cover Photo and/or  logo with a professional headshot for the Profile photo and expect it to just run itself from there. read more…

Should I buy domain names – even if I am not ready to build a site yet?

Should I buy domain names – even if I am not ready to build a site yet?

As a web developer, I get asked this question quite a bit…and the answer I usually give is, YES!  If you have a great idea for a web address name (called URLs in tech speak), go ahead and purchase the domain even before you are ready to build a site.  Domains only cost about $8-10 per year to own, and you can renew them indefinitely once you own them.

domain-name-smallI do give a quick word of caution, though, when you are ready to purchase a domain name (or multiple domains). Consider who you might like to have as your host down the road. It is MUCH easier to use your domain with the company that holds the registration – even if that won’t be for months or a year down the line. read more…

You can reclaim over 50% of your hard drive space with this one simple trick

You can reclaim over 50% of your hard drive space with this one simple trick

Happy with WebsiteSo, there I was …. sitting at my desk thinking ‘how am I gonna afford a new computer or hard drive, when mine is 99% full?’. I was almost in a full panic. Palms sweaty, high anxiety, the WHOLE works.  So, I started frantically deleting older applications, old mp3 files from clients, movies…anything I could get my hands on. And guess what?  It barely made a DENT in the space I desperately needed to get back.

So, I did what any ‘normal’ nerd would do, I tried a Google search (for the 100,000th time I’m sure)…but this time it did the trick. I found a free download called ‘Omni Disk Sweeper’ on this page: Omni Disk Sweeper (Now this happens to be for the Mac version…but never fear all you PC people, there is a version for you too!) Just Click here to download your version! read more…