Q & A – do simple sites get more traphic than cluttered sites?

”Hey Natalie, in order to get more traffic to my site do you think simple layout sites get more attention or sites that have lots of graphics? Would that be too much clutter?”

That’s a great question! Let me break this question down into a couple smaller questions.

Do simple layouts get more traffic than complex layouts?

Search Engines are looking for many things before they determine who to sent their visitors too. They care about incoming links, keywords, tags, content etc. So normally people don’t think about the layout effecting the ranking. However one way the layout may affect the ranking is in regards to keyword density. Keyword Density is the number of times a keyword is mentioned in a site, compared to the rest of the words on the site. Let’s use Morris MC as our key phrase.

Morris MC, is an internet marketing firm.” keyword density is about 25%

Morris MC does website design and development, search engine optimization, content writing, Pay Per Click management and setup, Social Media planning, management and coaching, and many other internet marketing services.” keyword density is about 6%

The first example is much more dense than the second example.

There is one very important fact you have to remember about search engines, they are not “reading” your site. They are looking at the code behind your site, and that is the point where layout may affect your rankings. If your layout is very simple and the design only takes up 100 lines of code then your keywords will be more dense than if your design takes up 1,000 lines of code.

Do graphics effect the amount of traffic a site gets?

Search Engines’s don’t look at images in the way we do. They can’t look at a logo and say “Oh that says Morris MC.” However, if I put an alt tag on the image and say “Morris MC logo” than that will count for a key phrase. However where graphics will hurt you is if you use them for your navigation. Search Engines like to see text links using the keyword as the link. All three options below will take you to Morris MC. ltd, however the first one is the best option in regards to search engine optimization.

”Morris MC” “More info >>” Morris MC

Would lots of graphics be too much clutter?

When we talk about clutter, we are talking about people. Search Engines don’t see clutter, but people do. If your site is not appealing to people, or if it’s hard for them to navigate or understand, even if the Search Engines send them to your site they will leave.

I hope that helped answer your questions, if you have any questions of your own please send them to me and I will answer them on my blog.

Thank you and have a terrific day,

Natalie

www.morrismc.com

Troubleshooting – Telling the whole story

Frustrated woman sitting at a computerIn a former life I manned the support line for the company I worked with… It wasn’t really a support line, it was just the fact that customers would call in with issues and I was usually the one that picked up the phone. Then I needed to figure out who could actually help them. That’s where I learned about troubleshooting, then this week one of my CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) members was having an issue with a PDF.

So the e-mail I got said she could not open the PDF that had been sent via e-mail.

I suggested downloading the free Adobe PDF Reader.

I was told that still didn’t help. Now my years of training kicked in… ok I had no training, but I did have years of experience that told me as a support person never believe what someone is telling you! Not that they are lying, it just they don’t know what they are saying. So I sent a list of questions.

  • Can you see the attachment on the e-mail?
  • Can you save it to your computer?
  • What happened when you try to open it?
  • Ok are you getting an error?
  • If yes what does it say?
  • If no what is happening?
  • What kind of computer do you have?
  • How old is your computer?
  • Have you been able to open other PDFs?
  • Can you open this http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/fw4.pdf?

I was not surprised to learn that the real problem was she had not received the attachment. She was able to open the PDF from the site, so her computer was fine, but there was nothing for her to click on to see the PDF that had been e-mailed.

This was an issue I had all the time with people, they told me one thing but really meant something else. The end result was she could not open the file, however the problem was she did not receive the file.

So if you are having issues, either with your computer or anything else and you are talking to a support person try to give them all the information you Frustrated Man sitting at computercan, not just the end result.

Tell them what you did, what happened when you did it, any errors you received. Let them know how knowledgeable you are on the subject. Tell them everything you tried. If you think you might know what is causing the problem, let them know. The more information you can give them the easier it is for them to solve your problem.

It would be really hard for you to determine my problem if I called and said “I’m cold”

  • I could be outside in the snow
  • I could be wearing shorts and a T-shirt in February in Cleveland
  • I could have a broken window in the winter
  • My door may be wide open during a blizzard
  • I may be in AC
  • I may have just eaten an ice drink in one gulp

Just remember the result does not help nearly as much as all the information that lead up to that point.

Have a terrific day!
Natalie

http://www.morrismc.com

I only work with nice people

When we started this business my number one rule was “I only work with nice people”. A lot of people hear me say this and think it’s just lip service. But it’s not. Seriously, I only work with nice people, and the more I hold to this the more I have found it’s the only way to work.

Here are three wonderful people I have had the pleasure to work with. Jim Cermak from Cermak Marketing, Kelsey Loushin from Elder Care Professionals of Ohio, and Karen Knerem from Brooker Financial.

At my previous job, I had clients that I dreaded calling. I knew no matter what I gave them they would have an issue with it. Even when I went above and beyond what their project scope was, they had the audacity to complain and ask me to redo it!

 

Well no more! I pick and choose my clients, and I love it! It’s probably one of the biggest reasons why I always give a free needs assessment before I even consider quoting someone. If they just want a number, they are probably just shopping on cost, so I’m not going to be a good match for them. If they want to build a relationship that’s going to last a long time, well, then I want to work with them… As long as it’s a good friendly relationship.

I must admit it is hard sometime to make that decision but I have found the customers that aren’t nice, are going to cost more in the long run then they are worth. Both financially because they require so much more effort to make them happy, if you even can. But, even more importantly, mentally they always weigh on your mind, you don’t concentrate on your other clients because you are spending all your efforts worrying about the bad ones. So in my opinion they just aren’t worth it.

And seriously wouldn’t you rather spend your time looking for the nice client that you enjoy talking to than spending that time stressed out?

Spending some fun time with clients

You know you have good clients when you feel comfortable at a Halloween party with them!

Now I have found there is one problem to working with people you like. It’s really hard to focus just on work. I know with most of my clients, if I call them 15 minutes will be us getting caught back up, finding out what’s going on in their lives, laughing, joking and having fun. But hey I can suffer through a good time, and that time is much better spent than dealing with a negative client, who will definitely take up more time complaining.

Do yourself a favor, decide today that you only work with nice people.

Oh! Here’s a funny side note! So I was meeting with a potential client, they were not being “nice” they weren’t being mean, but I didn’t get that warm and fuzzy feeling I often do. So in the conversation I brought up, that we only work with nice people. And when they laughed it off, I smiled politely looked them straight in the eyes, and said “no, seriously, we only work with nice people.” Their was an uncomfortable silence in the room for about 10 seconds. But their attitude changed from hard-ball to friendly. Sometimes you just need to let people know, it’s ok to be nice.

Best luck,
Natalie

Saying Good Bye

Although this is a professional blog I felt like I needed to share.

My husband and I had to put our dearly loved kitty down last week. As with most pets she held a very close spot in our hearts, and like most pets the time came when we had to decide what was best for her.

Giesha enjoying the summer in her catnip garden

Although there was a selfish side that said “no! I don’t wanna!” there was the responsible, and loving side that said “we have to, because it’s the right thing to do for her”. For any of you who are or will need to go through this just remember your pet’s live in the now. They don’t fear death, they don’t hold onto hope for a better day, all they know is now. So when you look at them ask yourself how is their life now? Is it good or bad? and that’s your answer.

With my kitty there were three things that made her life good; eating raw chicken (don’t tell the vet), sitting in the window sill watching the birds, and purring like a sports car. She made the decision for us, we just needed to listen.

We will miss you Gee.

natalie

New Year’s Resolutions

It’s funny, for years I thought New Years Resolutions were a waste of time, thought, and effort. I mean really what do they really change.

  • I want to lose 20 lbs, not gonna happen
  • I want to make a million dollars, not gonna happen
  • I want to save the world, not gonna happen

So when I was young, all the resolutions I made, were on the top of my mind for, oh about 2 weeks. By the end of three weeks, I had gained 2 lbs, needed to get $800 worth of repairs done on my car, and another war broke out. So I’d quite, or even worse, just forget about it. Not even make the commitment to quite.

But as I have gotten older I have realized that if taken seriously New Years Resolutions really can work. And if you really put the effort into planning them, they can really change your world!

The trick: or I guess the tricks that work for me:

  • Planning.
  • Having attainable goals.
  • Setting time limits.
  • Managing your progress.
  • Not giving up.
  • Being held accountable.

So what are my resolutions this year? Honestly I’m not really sure yet. My husband and I talked about it for a little while but we didn’t have the time to sit down and really figure out what we want or what the plan is. So right now the plan is to plan, probably tonight over dinner.

We will also do a vision board, although this year mine’s going to be a little different, instead of one great big one, I will do multiple little ones that focus on specific areas of my life.

  • Business last year my goal was to make my business profitable – I succeeded
    And to do public speaking – I succeeded
  • Personal last year I wanted to make more time for me – I succeeded 
  • Spiritual last year I wanted to connect more with nature and the universe – I feel I have succeeded greatly!
  • Health last year I wanted to become a life time WeightWatchers member – I succeeded
  • Fashion last year my goal was to portray a professional image – I succeeded

So this year I will modify them and make my life even better!

Have a happy and successful 2011!

Natalie

The Land Before Google

With e-mail, and forwards, and CC’s, links, and blogs, websites, forums, twitter, Facebook, and so many other venues of communication I sometimes wonder how we survived before the internet, or before Google.

So a friend sent me this cartoon the other day

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I laughed.

A few days later my husband and I were on our way to visit family for the holidays. This was one of many trips over the weekend and we had already discussed all of the important topics we usually hit on during drive times. Honestly, we were a little bored.

So Alex asks me some completely off the wall question about bees. So we start talking about the theory that hornets get drunk off fermenting fruit which is why they are so aggressive in the fall. So I had heard this, but honestly was it true? So on the highway going 65 miles an hour (or sort of close to that) I look up an article that goes into great depth about insects and alcohol!

But it led us down another conversation. Before the Internet, before Google, people’s knowledge was so much less. Not people as a whole, but individuals. As an individual you had your experiences from your family, if your dad was a doctor, or your mother a chemist you might know a little bit about those subject. The information you learned in school, if you went to a liberal arts school you may have a more varied knowledge base than someone from a vocational school but still, you are limited by what you learned.

If you were curious about a subject completely out of your realm there was very little way for you to learn about it. Books, library’s, newspapers, TV could provide you with some information but it was limited to what was published, or scheduled. Up to date information was impossible to find unless you watched the news and they thought it was important to keep you up to date.

But now… If I want to know how to build a bird house I can go online, if I want to learn yoga I go on-line, if I want a new cookie recipe I go online, if I want to know what’s going on somewhere I go on You Tube and watch it, if I want directions I go online… or use my GPS.

At one point all I would have needed to know about, and keep stored in my brain was who I am, what I do, and what the people close to me did. Everything else was out of easy reach. However now, I know about everything! I don’t know a lot about everything but holy cow if I scanned my brain, the bits of useless information stored in there would be astronomical! I mean really, I know bees can become alcoholics!

So here’s my question, if we only use 10% of our brains, and I am jam-packing that 10% with useless knowledge, where do I store the information that is actually important?

  •  Is this massive amount of information making us smarter or is it really hurting us?
  • There have been studies showing that attention disorders are on a rampage.
  • Children don’t know how to NOT be stimulated by the outside.
  • Misinformation is rampant.

What do you think? How does has the internet effected us?

Natalie

Making the Time

So if you are a small business owner, or if you are in charge of a department, a project, or for that matter, if you are managing anyone while still responsible for your own work you probably have this problem. Just not enough time.

If you are managing people, bringing people onboard can be much more of a time waster than saver… Ok I can’t say waste, because if done properly the person you bring on will be able to provide you will more free time. But in the beginning it can seem pointless. “I need more time… I will hire someone to take over some of my responsibilities… BUT – If I hire someone, I need to train them, which will take more time than just doing it myself!” So what do you do?

Well the best way to set yourself and your new hire up for success it be sure things are well-defined in what you need them to do. A good start is when you work on a project or task you want them to take over, even before you hire them, write down in as much detail as possible what you do to get the task done properly. Of course there will always be exceptions but if you get the majority clarified then the majority of the tasks will run smoothly. You may need to deal with exceptions, or you may be able to describe making correct decisions.

Exceptions: So what is the thought process you go through when faced with an exception?

A customer hires you for your services, but half way through the project he wants to change the scope. What do you do?

  • Determine if it is a big change or little change
  • Determine if it will cost the company more or less to implement
  • Determine if you have the resources available
  • Determine what it will do to the timeline

From there you can put parameters in place.

  • Small Change: If the scope change does not effect the timeline by more than 24 hours, we have the resources available, and it will not cost the company more than 2 hrs of services rendered than the change can be approved.
  • Medium Change: If the scope affects the time line by less than  2 weeks hours, the resources are available, and it will cost the company less than 15 hours of services the scope change will be calculated and a scope quote will be provided for approval to the client.
  • Large change: If the scope affects the timeline by more than 2 weeks, the resources are NOT available, and/or it will cost the company more than 15 hours of services the entire project must be requoted.

Having this information available to a new hire will make his or her life easier as well as giving you more time to get your projects done.

Warm regards,

Natalie,