Reno Web Designer

Things to Consider Before Beginning Your Web Design Project

Give Website Visitors Enough Information

Your website is not a billboard. You can make it as big as you want, and say all you want. Think about your own web surfing habits. Have you ever honestly been disappointed by a website providing too much information? As long as the presentation is logical and easy to navigate, visitors to your website will find what they are looking for and ignore what they don’t care about.

Now think about how often you click on a website, scan the first page, then bounce within seconds. Why did you leave? Was it because you had been put off by the volume of information? The answer for the vast majority of website visitors is probably not. More likely is that valuable information was lacking. In other words, the site just didn’t provide what you were looking for.

Surprisingly, one of the most common statements we hear during an initial consultation prior to beginning a web design project is, “I don’t want my site to be too wordy.” The web is unique to all other forms of promotion. Be wordy. Visitors to your site will scan your pages for the information they want. To help them, use logical headings and navigation aids that give a clear indication of what your site contains. But, by all means, give your potential customers every reason to stick around and learn about you.

Active vs. Passive Media

During the planning stages of developing your website, it is worth considering the different types of media and their relationship to the web. Basically, media fall into two categories, active and passive. Active media require the prospect to take action in order to receive the promotional message. An example of this is a catalog; the reader initiates the receipt of the message and controls its delivery. Brochures also fall into the category of active media.

Passive media simply exist somewhere in the path of the viewer or listener. Radio and TV commercials are good examples. So are billboards and posters on buses and cabs. Passive messages are everywhere, from bowling allies to park benches and can be quite effective if properly initiated.

The Web is Unique Among Media

A website is unique in that it can combine both active and passive elements when presenting an overall marketing message. By nature, the visitor to a website must engage to actively navigate through it, but along the way, banners, animations, video, sound and other passive media may be used to attract his or her attention. It is important to recognize this when developing your website, because these are all design elements that can be controlled and that will impact the likelihood of the visitor becoming a customer or client.

Frequent Web Design Mistakes

Failing to Put Search Engines First

It doesn’t matter how cool your web site looks if no one sees it. Yes, it should look good, but search engine visibility is key to your online success. To that end, whatever web designer you choose, insist that he or she has a deep understanding of the search engine optimization process.

Cumbersome or Confusing Website Navigation

Remember that search engines will send traffic all over your site. In fact, only a fraction of your website visitors will actually enter through the home-page. It is absolutely essential that visitors know what to do to find the information they want from any page on your website. Otherwise, they’ll leave, never realizing that what they were looking for was just a couple clicks away.

Few or No Website Updates

Keeping your website fresh is key to encouraging frequent visits. At the very least, change the copyright date to the current year! Your potential clients expect your site to up to date. Don’t make the mistake of expecting them to call. They probably won’t, because a competitor is always available to provide what they were looking for.

Call 775.324.1644 to find out how iPutty will increase your website visibility, enhance your business
and fatten your bottom line. Or
email us.

Web Design for Local Business

Whether your business or other organization is in Reno or elsewhere, web design for a specific locality is different than web design for the entire country or the world. Say you own a car dealership in Seattle. the likelihood of anyone venturing across the country to buy from you is remote to say the least. Focussing on optimizing for your specific region is not just frequently easier to achieve high search engine rankings quickly, but it is generally more effective in reaching your likely customers.

Naturally, being based in Reno, NV, we build a lot of websites for Reno businesses. As a rule we always optimize for the region when designing Reno business websites. The results are nearly always fantastic.

Reno Web Design

Reno, like many other cities, has more than its share of web designers. iPutty is different than other Reno Web Designers. Our focus is on your business’ bottom line. Since iPutty is a web design & SEO firm, search engine optimization is an integral part of the design process, not something to invest in once the design work is complete. What could be more cost-effective than that? Call today. (775) 324-1644

Any Good SEO Company Out There?

Any Good SEO Company Out There?

The Truth About Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the most important, yet misunderstood aspects of website marketing. In essence, the concept of SEO is simple. By providing the most relevant website or web page to a given search string, Google, Yahoo! and other search engines will place a given website at the top of the returned web results.

So far, no great secret, but the issue of how search engines make that determination that is the root of great controversy and debate. And, scores of “search engine optimizers” stand at the ready, eager to sort it all out for any website owner with a credit card. The question remains: Is there any good SEO company out there?

Obviously, the answer is yes, but what business owner has the desire, let alone resources to hire 50 SEOs before finding one that achieves a profitable outcome? Yet, there are SEOs on every street corner, so how does a business owner get his or her website to the top of the search engine rankings without being taken to the cleaners?

The Problem with SEO Firms

To begin with, any chump with a computer can call himself an SEO or Search Engine Marketer. There is no grand SEO council deciding who will and will not be granted the authority to charge significant sums of money with the hope of pushing websites to those coveted top rankings. Not that regulation is any great solution, but there are abundant practices in use by some pretty big SEO firms that are outdated, unethical, don’t work and can actually do the website harm. And, many of these can result in the site’s removal from search engines altogether.

Without getting into link exchanges, paid directory submissions and all the other stuff that SEOs propagate with the full knowledge that they are ineffective; the entire practice of SEO as a business model runs in direct contrast to the goals of the businesses who use the service.

Search Engine Rankings is Not ROI

Business owners expect a return on their investments. SEO firms charge big bucks for a service that may or may not produce a result. This is true for other forms of marketing as well. However, no radio or TV station requires that advertisers sign onto a year long (or more) contract in which the station automatically charges the client’s credit card every month, and that makes no requirement of producing a positive result. Yet, that IS the state of the search engine optimization business.

(Most) SEOs Lack Understanding of General Business

SEO is marketing. Business owners view SEO in the same light as other promotional opportunities. They know that their websites must be seen to be effective, yet lack the background and knowledge to know what steps to take to achieve that result. SEOs, by extension, rarely have any understanding of their client’s industry, and therefore rely on the client for all of the information necessary to reach his or her clients. In short, SEO means pushing selected keywords and key phrases to the top. Nothing else.

The SEO might see results for the selected keywords, and gets paid whether anyone buys anything or not. It is our belief that SEOs should be able to assist in ensuring the success of the campaign (RIO), not just pushing keywords up the ladder.

iPutty is Different from Other SEO Firms

First, iPutty does not require monthly contracts. That is not to say that a business should expect instant results. Depending on how competitive the keywords, the time it takes to achieve top search engine rankings can vary from weeks to many months, sometimes more. The truth is, once that result has been achieved, maintaining that position is usually a whole lot less time consuming than getting there in the first place. What SEOs won’t tell you is that most of the heavy lifting is done in the first few months. After that, the site owner pays simply because of the contract.

Yes, There IS a Good SEO Company Out There

iPutty. Honest search engine results without the high cost and mystery of a typical SEO. And, we can help your business grow in other ways too. Give us a call to learn how we will get your business the exposure it deserves for a fraction of what you’d expect to pay. iPutty, Search Engine Marketing the way business owners like it to be. 775.324.1644

SEO Tactics – Link Building

SEO Tactics

Update: 10/2013

The following article an SEO tactic called “link baiting.” Of all the SEO tactics that are currently considered best practices, the idea of link baiting is outdated in my view. However, the focus of this article is the emphasis on writing good website content, which has been the ultimate best practice in SEO for as long as such a term existed.

So, although the term link bait is out of use for the most part, the concepts presented here as as valid today and when the article was first written in 2007.

What is “Link Bait?”

Link Baiting is the process of writing website copy that is so compelling that the owners of other websites link to that online content. Examples include topical pages that offer articles providing expert advise or information about specific subjects, like a hobby or a medical condition.

As an example, let’s say you are a business startup consultant located in Reno, NV. and that you have identified your best prospects as males between 50 and 60 years old, with little to no business experience, but who’ve been in the job market for many years. These individuals likely have long dreamt about starting a business, but have recently gotten serious about taking the plunge.

For you, the Reno Startup Business Consultant, the aim is to attract as many visitors as possible to your website that fit this demographic. To that end, you know that high search engine rankings the key to reaching that prospect.

Link Baiting

With link bait, or those web pages that attract links, it is not the primary goal to sell a product or service. Obtaining the link is itself the key objective. This is because search engines use inbound links as a means of scoring a website’s relevance to a searched keyword phrase. In other word, websites with lots of related inbound links rank better than those with few to none.

That’s it. Simple right? Well not so fast. To be effective as link bait, the page must provide online copy that is genuinely worthy of those valuable links. Don’t expect to buy an article and have scores of webmasters direct their visitors to it. For starters, the link bait page must be able to be found in the first place, which presents a bit of an SEO catch 22. To earn that link, your brilliant article must first be found.

Link Bait is Really Just Good Website Content

In reality, a page that could be deemed link bait is really just a solid web page with information that your visitors value. So, getting back to our business startup consultant living in Reno example, a web page that takes a visitor step by step through the process of starting a business in Reno would be of significant interest to those thinking of doing so. If the information is accurate, others in related fields like accountants, point of sale system providers and others would have an interest in linking to such a page, because it adds value to the information that they provide.

Link Bait for Dynamic & e-Commerce Websites

Dynamic websites, usually written in PHP or Perl, present a host of challenges with regard to search engine strategies. This type of website assembles the web page only when a request comes in from the visitor’s browser. The pages are put together from pre-defined regions like a header, footer, side menu, top menu, etc., which makes individual pages difficult to modify and, consequently, difficult to optimize for search engine visibility. For this reason, it is often best to build link bait pages statically, using simple HTML code and effective SEO strategies.

This is not to suggest that eCommerce websites can’t serve the purpose of link bait. Quite often, items that are hard to find or offered at a very good price will attract links. This is especially true for hobby related websites in fields where people often form clubs or newsgroups to share information among members.

iPutty Link Bait Strategy

The good news about link baiting strategies is that if you have the time, you can do a lot of the work yourself. Effective link baiting starts with strong copy that people will find so interesting that they want to pass it along. Since iPutty offers SEO services at a low hourly rate, you can write an article and have iPutty develop a link bait optimized page from that in just a few hours. You pay only for the actual work-no monthly contract.

iPutty. Delivers honest search engine results without the high cost and mystery of a typical SEO. And, we can help your business grow in other ways too. Give us a call to learn how we will get your business the exposure it deserves for a fraction of what you’d expect to pay. iPutty, Search Engine Marketing the way business owners like it to be. 775.324.1644

Reno Copy Writing

Reno Copy Writing

Copy Writing is Different Depending on the Promotional Medium

In other words, the copy you write for a television advertisement is probably not going to be effective on the web. Likewise for radio, brochures, outdoor advertising (billboards), newspapers, etc. In order to write copy the achieves your promotional goals, it is critical to understand the dynamics, strengths and limitations of the medium you’re writing for.

Copy Writing for the Internet

Writing for the world wide web is different than writing for other types of media. This is primarily because search engines use web page copy as a primary means of determining the relevance of a given website to the search phrase a visitor is looking for. This is why the phrasing on some websites is different than a company might use on its brochures or in advertisements. Writing for the Internet is a very specialized form of copy writing. iPutty writes copy to maximize your potential of achieving top search engine rankings, and at the same time, effectively promotes your business.

Do it Yourself Copy Writing

Often, business owners and managers write their own promotional material. The line is, “hey, I’m a pretty good writer, I’ll write it myself.” That’s fine if it happens to be true AND the writer has a firm grasp of the type of copy that is effective for a given promotional channel. If you’re not sure, you might be better off hiring a Reno copy writing pro like iPutty a few times to help you gain insight as to what works.

Reno Photography

Reno Location & Product Photography

Digital Photography & Imaging

High resolution digital photographs are a mainstay of magazine, architectural, product and web design projects. I specialize in commercial photography for print media, web and broadcast applications. Like everything iPutty does, my focus is on fast turnaround of extremely high quality media.

Digital Photo Editing

I can also edit your photos to ensure that they are the highest quality possible, and formatted for your specific application. For example, it is very common for real estate professionals to take a digital camera to home sites. Although the captured images don’t always look their best right out of the camera, it is frequently possible to modify those images to rival the pros.

To ensure that the photographs you take will be the best possible quality, always use the highest resolution setting available. Also, use the camera’s flash even when you don’t think you’ll need it. Even outside, the flash will help eliminate harsh shadows on your subject. If you’re not sure, simply take two or more pictures using different settings. Often, I can layer multiple photos using the best attributes of each.

If you’d like email me one of your images. I will edit it and return to you the edited file, or give you pointers about how to improve future photographs. FREE.

Business Branding

Branding & Corporate Image

Retail Design: 99dollarGuitars®, Inc.

99dollarGuitars® is a retail chain based in Northern Nevada. Pictured here is the flagship location. The concept is to provide a high-end feel in a store that features guitars and related items selling for very little money. The owners wanted a store design that is easy to duplicate, low cost and able to be deployed very quickly. Stores typically occupy around 1400 square feet, including lesson space.

The final design (pictured) features an open beam ceiling painted a very dark purple that feels more like black but with a warmer feel. Also, bright lights tend to produce a lot of glare against black for people wearing glasses. Complimenting the open ceiling, the store features a gorgeous, high gloss, epoxy coated concrete floor dyed black. The color scheme includes a combination of brick reds and charcoals. And, light fixtures feature barn doors and scrims to give a hip, backstage feel.

Logo Design

For 99dollarGuitars®, we worked with artist, Mike Cowan to design a logo that would appeal to younger, would-be players, but also with a softened, punkish look that their parents could relate to. The final design shown here achieves that goal well. It also is easily adapted to single-color printing, which is important when producing brochures, etc. to be reproduced on a copier.

We follow several rules when designing logos. First, as mentioned, a logo should reproduce using a single ink color. Complicated logos using complex gradients and finely detailed outlines can be difficult to see in single colors and/or small sizes. We try to avoid fine details in general. In addition to disappearing in small sizes, they often show up as just a blur, particularly in lower resolution reproductions.

Also, it is generally preferable to use bold typefaces that are easy to read from any distance. Fine type becomes nearly impossible to read except in very close proximity.

Retail Package & Label Design

Retail package and label design is an art all its own. The JoeGuitar® brand guitar polish labels are high-gloss and can be applied mechanically or by hand, depending on the requirements of the manufacturer.

Internet New Media

Using New Media to Promote Your Company

What is New Media?

The term “New Media” is used to describe those avenues that don’t include the traditional media outlets such as television, radio, newspapers, etc. Most commonly, new media refers to Internet technologies like streaming video, etc. The term can also be used to describe the Internet itself, as well as any other information delivery system like video games and others.

The ramifications of new media for advertisers is that there are more options for delivering your business’ message than at any time in human history. A good example of the effect of so called new media is Google’s “Universal Search,” dubbed “Google 2.0.” Essentially, the Google Universal Search returns the most relevant results for a given key phrase, regardless of the type of file. Little known among searchers is that Google has provided separate search engines for several categories of documents. These include vehicles for searching blogs, books, catalogs, programming code, a directory, financial documents, maps, news, patents, products, scholarly documents, video and of course, websites.

With Google 2.0, the familiar Google search box now returns the most relevant results from all of these indexes and lists them in the order in which it views as the most relevant to the key phrase.

What this means for advertisers is two fold. First, now is a critical time to consider using video content to augment, not only the user experience for visitors on your site, but also its position in the search rankings. Secondly, this means that in theory the ten website positions on the top level search results may be reduced to only a few, with the possibility of these positions being occupied by other types of content.

Podcasts Gaining Popularity

On the forefront of the new media boom is the Podcast. Podcasts are essentially topic-relevant audio and video files formatted to be played on portable music players, like the iPod. Supplying this type of document can very valuable to site visitors and is gaining popularity by the minute. How such files will ultimately be indexed by the major search engines remains to be seen, but with Google leading the way, there can be no doubt that the diversity of content that new media provides will be a huge factor on the Internet in the not so distant future.

The determination to be made by website owners is whether new media will have an impact on their website’s conversion rate and ultimately impact the company’s bottom line.

New Media is More than a Promotional Tool

Although new media has earned its place in the promotion of businesses and products/services, the possibilities are endless. These technologies are used increasingly in business to train employees and keep them up to speed with company events. It is also leading a new wave of entertainment with video sites like YouTube and MetaCafe redefining broadcast media.

Urgent Care Marketing

Medical Practice Consulting

Urgent Care Practice Development

It is inevitable that seemingly every physician, after a certain length of time in practice considers building a medical practice of his or her own. In recent years, urgent care clinics are emerging as the get rich plan of physicians everywhere. But, for every practice that grows wings, several more end up struggling, or worse.

In order to ensure that a clinic will be successful, there are many considerations, that must be addressed. Issues of compliance, staffing, computer systems, finance all include critical details that must not be overlooked. Perhaps most often ignored or under-supported is marketing. Simply put, a medical practice with no patients is not a medical practice at all. Its just a facility.

Marketing your Outpatient Clinic or Urgent Care

In medical circles, marketing is often a topic of significant discussion. Yet, once the doors open, many marketing budgets end up out the window. Largely this is because expectations of waiting rooms overflowing with patients often lead to the realization that building the practice will take time, and that any money allocated to promotion is cash straight out of the doctor’s pockets.

One problem related to marketing is that many doctors view themselves as marketing experts. And, why not? They’ve spent years getting through medical school…

Now, if you are a physician and that statement makes sense to you, then by all means, go ahead and run your own marketing campaign. But, for those whose goal it is to build a successful practice, a better plan is to use marketing professionals with the same level of expertise in medical practice marketing that you have in medicine. There simply is no corollary between medical school and the marketing and promotion of your practice.

Admittedly, that is a blanket statement that is not true for all physicians. There are those who do understand marketing and devote considerable time and effort to learning the best methods by which to promote a thriving urgent care clinic. Even so, using the Internet to market your clinic is highly specialized. Relying on the experts at iPutty can save you thousands of dollars as well as the frustration of countless months waiting for search engine rankings that never come.

Medical Practice Consultant

Having managed the startup of diverse medical practices, iPutty can develop your practice in the areas of brand development, marketing strategies and tactics, staffing and operations. Additionally, if your medical practice or urgent care clinic is in the early planning stage, iPutty can save you thousands, even millions of dollars by ensuring an accurate assessment of your market, appropriate site selection, assessment of cash requirements, business planning, etc.

Medical Marketing

Promoting an urgent care clinic or other medical establishment is unlike marketing a pizza place or a car wash. So-called “gorilla marketing” tactics like papering windshields and canvassing neighborhoods with flyers will most often leave your would-be patients questioning your standard of care. This might seem obvious. But, questionable promotional methods somehow take on a life of their own.

As an example, one Reno Urgent Care clinic used as a primary marketing method, the practice of infiltrating the waiting areas of local hospital emergency rooms. Once inside, hospital literature, pamphlets, flyers, etc. would be confiscated and replaced with flyers of its own. Yes, this really happened. Not only is such a tactic ineffective, but will nearly always backfire in ways far more damaging than possibly imagined.

Ultimately, the lesson is that marketing your urgent care should be left to marketing experts. Don’t expect spectacular results with a zero budget unless you have a prime location and no competitors. Call iPutty today to start by ensuring top search engine placement for your market, and then to ensure the best possible ROI for your promotional dollar. (775) 324-1644.

Television Commercial Production

Television Commercial Production

Reno, NV – TV Production House

iPutty specializes in low-cost, fast turnaround TV commercial production. Television is no longer the exclusive domain of major companies. Cable and satellite service now accounts for a huge segment of broadcast viewer-ship and, with scores of channels, prices can be shockingly low. However, with TV producing a commercial is significantly more involved, so unlike radio, production is generally not included in the purchase of an airtime buy.

Consequently, advertisers must consider these costs when making the decision to use television to advertise. Still, cable and satellite can be incredibly cost effective compared to other promotional outlets. Consider that a drive time radio commercial on a popular station can cost over $100 for 30 seconds and that a small news paper ad can cost three times that or more. With that in mind, and considering that targeted cable airtime can cost as little as a few dollars, a grand or so for production really doesn’t amount to much in the broad scope of an entire campaign.

Pinpoint Your Customer with Cable & Satellite Television Ads

Cable and Satellite television advertising can be an incredible deal. Depending on what you sell, there is a channel to excite every interest, giving you the opportunity to target a viewer that is much more likely to take an interest in your product or service. An example might be a local gourmet food store reaching its customer by placing ads on one of the scores of cooking shows that now proliferate the airwaves.

With iPutty handling your television commercial production, your business can air a spot that stands out from those produced at the station for about the same cost. More importantly, iPutty can produce for you, a significant coordinated campaign that includes all of your media for vastly improved brand reinforcement and a longer lasting image among your would-be customers.

Marketing With Blogs

Custom Blog Design & Development

Marketing your business on the Internet: Blogging for dollars

What is a blog?

A blog, short for “web log” is a simply website that has been formatted in such a way as to simplify the posting of articles, long or short, formal or informal, and which generally allows for comment streams to be added by visitors to the site. In addition, photos and other web content may be easily included in blog posts or pages, with capabilities and design options for blogs expanding all the time.

Why your business needs a blog.

Your business needs a blog for several reasons. Your customers and clients, like ours, come to you because you are the expert in your field. They turn to you for direction and a larger understanding of how your business will make their lives easier, or more entertaining, safer, whatever. Almost always, business websites (you do have a business website by now, right?) focus on the business, when in reality, they should be addressing the needs and desires of the potential client or customer. It is often said among sales professionals that customers appreciate features but they buy benefits.

A blog provides an opportunity, or forum for you to build a relationship with your customers in a human, non-salesy way. Beyond relationship building, blogs are consistently high performers in search engines. Popular blog engines like WordPress have thousands of available plugins for features like e-commerce, image galleries, video, contact forms and just about anything you might dream of. They also are an ideal hub for all of your social media. And, the development costs are minimal.

Custom Blog Development

In general, we approach blog development in one of two ways; either as a branded version of a standard install, or a completely custom, purpose-built blog site. We sometimes develop blogs completely from scratch, but more often use one of the popular platforms like Drupal, Joomla or WordPress. Most commonly, we use WordPress because it is a consistant top performer in search engines. Also, the architecture is completely open, allowing for total customization, and it has a large, global developer network.

Blog Hosting

You can get a blog free from blogspot.com or wordpress.com, but for a business website, it should be hosted independently.

Free blogs are better than no blog, but hosting and setup are so innexpensive that, for business, independent hosting is a much more powerful option. By hosting your blog at iPutty, we have limitless options for programming both the site and the server. The result is that we’ve acheived virtually real-time inclusion into Google’s index. That means that any post you make can be at the top of Google searches within minutes!

Also, hosting your blog internally means that your business won’t be subject changes in terms or policies. It happens. We had a client come to us recently that used a fairly well known company for sending out free email campaigns. Everything from their list, templates, user statistics, etc. were out there sitting on this company’s servers. Then one day, poof! Gone. No warning; not about about what happened; no phone; no anything. Sadly, we couldn’t help them. It’s the same for you blog. If it’s important, keep ownership of it. You’ll thank us later.

See blogging in action. Give us 30 minutes and we’ll change your entire wiew of what marketing on the web is all about.

We’ve been working with blogging as a major component of our client’s online marketing mix for a long time. We’d like to show you how your business blog can act as a powerful hub for all of your marketing efforts, not just on the web. Our techniques and programs work to drive new clients and customers to your business, so don’t hesitate. We’ll look forward to meeting you in person.

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