Orange County SEO™ Blog

Web Design Mistakes

There are many basic mistakes that web designers make. Avoiding these mistakes is easy, but you need to know what to watch out for. Some of these things will probably seem obvious, but it is important to know what they are so you won’t make these mistakes on your own site. Of course, creating a site with Orange County SEO can help you to avoid most of these problems.

Here are a few tips, tricks, and things to keep in mind for creating the perfect website for your business:

What is your site about? – People should be able to figure out what your site is for as soon as they sign on to it. All of the flashy logos, design features, and attention seeking gimmicks won’t work if it isn’t clear what your site represents. Read More »

Common Website Mistakes

We’ve talked a lot about the mistakes that web designers make when creating websites, you might think we’ve covered all of the potential issues, but there is still a lot more to say on the subject.  The good news is that mistakes are easily avoidable, especially when you work with professionals like OrangeCounty SEO, but you need to know what to avoid when you get started.
Here are a few more of the more common website mistakes that people make.

Make Links Clear – It should be obvious in your text when there is a link.  A contrasting color is the most common option and what visitors to your site will come to expect.  It is also advisable to underline any text links.

Watch Your Color Scheme – Using bright colors will get people’s attention, but if they have a headache after reading your site, they aren’t likely to come back.  Use colors that are easy on the eyes and match the feeling of your site.

No Pop Ups – This is a huge no no.  People don’t like when ads pop up and as more users install pop up blockers and pop ups that you have won’t get seen anyway.

Use Text Smartly – Yes, you need to have good quality text on your site, but don’t overdo it.  If your text is too lengthy people won’t take the time to read it.  Your text should be potent and pithy.

Don’t Use Horizontal Scrolling – Yes, vertical scrolling is normal and expected, but that doesn’t go the same for horizontal scrolling.  Most resolution is 1024×768 pixels, make sure you fit into those parameters.

Proofread – Make sure that you read and reread your content.  You want to make sure that you have no error, spelling mistakes, or grammar mistakes on your website.

Be Careful with CAPTCHA – Yes, CAPTCHA can help you to avoid spam and other irritations online, but many CAPTCHA systems are difficult to read.  Use a CAPTCHA that is easy to use, read, and decipher.

There are many pitfalls that you can stumble into when you create a website.  This is why working with a professional, like Orange County SEO, can make the process so much easier.  They know what mistakes to avoid and can help you to create a website that is professional, clean, and attention getting.

SEO-Friendly URL Syntax

Your URL structure affects more than just your page’s “look.”  It can also hurt your rankings and keep your page off the best search index.  This hurts your business by causing your clients and customers to be unable to find you.

Much of this has to do with your content management systems.  Some CMS platforms do not follow the rules or take shortcuts that result in duplicate content that triggers the search engines to avoid web pages.

How can you fix your URL structure?  Here are some tips and explanation.  Make sure that you have the professional support you need for your URL structure and your website in general by talking to Orange County SEO about your website design and development. Read More »

Speed Up Your Website With These Tips

With tips from YouMoz, webmasters can make their websites faster and more streamlined.  Check out these tips and learn how you can speed things up on your website easily and quickly.

Orange County SEO can give you professional advice on how to speed up your website and on many other aspects of website management.  We do this by focusing on the basic issues of website design and development and assist our clients with creating the best possible websites.

There is nothing more dismaying than long page load times.  Users simply will not wait; they will move on to another website.  If you want your users to stay on your webpage, you have to have reasonable load times—it is that simple.

So how can you increase your traffic and decrease your load times?  It all starts with your server.  Here are some tips about how to choose the right hosting for your website.

  • Leverage browser caching.  When a browser reads every resource as new every time, it takes a long time to load, especially for images and other large files.  On the other hand, if your website stores information in a user’s browser, your website reloads faster on the next visit.  You can control this by using expire headers as described here.
  • Use keep-alive signals.  A keep-alive signal is a neat little trick to avoid downed links.  These signals are usually disabled by your hosting provider; tell them you want it enabled.  When a signal is sent in the future, if no reply is received, your browser will assume the link is down and future traffic will be routed through another path.
  • Utilize gzip compression.  You can add commands to your files that will cause you to default to gzip, a much faster option than traditional loading choices.  Just add the following to your .htaccess file:

# compress text, html, javascript, css, xml:
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/plain
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/html
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/xml
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/css
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/xml
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/xhtml+xml
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/rss+xml
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/javascript
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/x-javascript
# Or, compress certain file types by extension:
<files *.html>
SetOutputFilter DEFLATE

Or, use the following at the top of your HTML/PHP file:

<?php if (substr_count($_SERVER['HTTP_ACCEPT_ENCODING'], ‘gzip’)) ob_start(“ob_gzhandler”); else ob_start(); ?>

You can also use the WP HTTP Compression plugin for WordPress.

  • Use a 302 redirect to speed up landing pages for mobile users.  Mobile page directs often send users to a different URL, so using a 302 redirect with a cache limit of one day means that visitors who return to the mobile site will not have to wait for a reload each time.
  • Use a CDN.  CDN stands for a content delivery network, which is a collection of servers that work together to send content to users.  Typically, network proximity is the measure used to select networks for any given task, although other metrics can be used.  Here is a comparison of CDN hosting with traditional hosting.  Two major CDN hosts are Amazon CloudFront and MAXCDN. You may want to investigate the tools available for WordPress using W3 Total Cache as well.

Website Content

You can only control servers to a certain extent, but you have complete control over your website’s content.  Are you doing everything you can on your side to speed up how your viewers can access your site?  Find out by reading on:

  • Minimize redirects.  In order to indicate a new URL location, follow clicks, or connect web site areas, you may find that you need a redirect.  However, every time you redirect, you are slowing things down for the user.  Here are some tips for minimizing redirects, straight from Google.
    • Never reference URLs known to redirect.  Instead, find a way to update on a regular basis.
    • Never use redirects that require more than one page transfer.
    • Never use multiple URLs; instead, force users to access you in only one place.
  • Remove query strings.  Caching a link with a “?” causes the link to behave as if you used Ctrl+F5.  These should be used only for dynamic resources.
  • Specify a character set in your HTTP headers.  You can do this by adding a simple code in your headers:

<meta http-equiv=”Content-Type” content=”text/html; charset=utf-8″>

Write it out in HTLM instead of PHP.

  • Minify codes. Removing your HTML comments and CDATA sections, as well as whitespace and empty elements, makes your page size smaller.  This is a simple fix to speed up load time.  You can use online tools such as Will Peavy minifier or Autoptimize for WordPress to save space.
  • Avoid bad requests.  Broken links waste resources.  Fix them using an online broken link checker or WordPress link checker. Read about Xenu Link Sleuth and Screaming Frog tools at SEOmoz for more information.
  • Use a consistent URL.  Google’s recommendation for this task includes directions to ensure that each reference to the same source uses identical URLs.
  • Reduce DNS lookups.  DNS lookups take lots of time looking up IP addresses and freeze your browser, so reducing the number of hostnames can speed things up.  You can measure your own DNS lookup time with Pingdom Tools.  You can also collate your images through “spriting” with SpriteMe.
  • Specify image dimensions.  Use height and width specification to render images quickly instead of using “on the fly” scalers.  Optimize your images.  If your images contain comments or extra colors, they will take longer to load.  Keep image sizes at a minimum by saving in JPEG.  Try Yahoo! or WP plugin for WordPress users.
  • Put your CSS at the top, JS at the bottom.  The document head should contain your stylesheet to stop progressive rendering, and the bottom should have your javascript.  This is a great way to speed up page loading.

With some help from professional website developers like Orange County SEO you can optimize your page loads and make your customers happier!

Search Marketers Say Google Changes and Mobile Searches Impact Business

In a recent survey, 90 percent of search marketers stated that Google’s algorithm changes have a significant impact on them, and 90 percent also say that the rise of mobile devices and local area searches are impacting the way they do business.

The survey was part of the SEMPO State of Search Marketing Report 2012 released this week. The survey included about 900 search marketers and was conducted online between March 12 and May 15, 2012. About 64 percent of responders were in the United States, with the remainder in other highly-impacted areas around the globe.

Our SEO Company in Orange County can help your business weather the changes of mobile marketing and Google search engine evolution with our search engine optimization services and other marketing strategy assistance. Read More »

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