When Should Pay-Per Click Advertising Be Part Of My SEO?

money talks 300x218 When Should Pay Per Click Advertising Be Part Of My SEO?

There is a distinct time and place for everything. As SEO experts we recognize that there are definitely pros and cons to ranking organically for keywords vs. creating and implementing a pay-per click campaign. With most industries and situations we really like to urge our clients towards a long-term dependable SEO campaign where they are ranking organically for keywords. However there are definitely those times where an effective pay-per click campaign is the way to go. Here are some of the times that you would want to use a PPC campaign as opposed to a strong SEO effort.

During A Sale

Let’s say you are running a business and that business is having a sale for the next month. Depending upon the competition, and what your PPC budget can be, it might be a wise choice to rank quickly for these items that you are selling.

Reporting Quick Industry Related News

If you are in an industry where something big happens, and you would like to have your brand name related to these time sensitive issues it just makes sense to run a PPC campaign. Rather than having to worry about content creation and a strong link building strategy your company can be right there in front of everyone while the action is hot.

Doubling The Search Space

If you are already ranking well for certain keywords and their variations you can double your listings by also embarking in a PPC campaign. This is a great idea if your also get a high conversion rate for visitors that are converting to buyers on your website. If you can get a 10% increase in your click-thru-rate, or CTR as an industry abbreviation, it just makes sense to double your efforts if you are making money.

You Have A Limited Sales Season

Some industries only have the ability to sell products for half or even a quarter of a year. If for some reason your business has peak selling months you may want to start a PPC campaign to capitalize on those hot selling months, and use SEO during your off season.

As with almost everything there is no one right way to go about things. As a business owner it is up to you to do what makes the most sense for your business. At The Lightwurx we love SEO. There are few things that get our jollies off quite as much as creating a rock solid campaign and watching our clients get huge amounts of return in that campaign. However even we have to admit that despite our love of SEO there are times when PPC is the right way to go. How do you feel about PPC vs. SEO? Post your thoughts below. And remember if you have any questions or thoughts shoot us an email on our Utah SEO contact page.

What To Do With Your Old Business Cards? Cubed!

I’ll admit. I hit a bit of a creative block this week. However, I believe these are good if you can see them in the right light. Usually people see them as something that holds you back. However, they can be a time to explore, grow and think outside of the box.

Speaking of boxes

Cubed 300x189 What To Do With Your Old Business Cards? Cubed!

Meet Cube.

This time I followed a tutorial on how to make a small gift box out of cards. Pretty interesting, but fairly easy build. So I thought to myself, “I know there is a way to attach these together.” So I kept looking and I came across something else. This one is a little bit more advanced, (not to mention the instructions were kind of hard to follow) but I eventually figured it out, and away I went. It was a great problem solving practice. Figuring out an easier way to do things than the instructions intended.

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Meet Cubed

Needless to say, this helped me out of my creative slump. My mind is overflowing with great ideas. The next ones to come will be much more complex, however. So keep an eye out for the next What To Do With Your Old Business Cards!

Should I Have A Floating Menu For My Website Navigation?

At The Lightwurx whenever we introduce or speak on behalf of a new term we like to take the David Copperfield approach and start from the beginning. So let’s start with defining what a floating navigation really is. Floating navigation is a web design term used to describe the effect used to make your top menu or navigation bar scroll down the page, even after the user has scrolled down far enough for a static menu to no longer be visible. We are using this technique right now on our current website check it out.

Ok cool now that you know what it is, why do you want it?

Well, truth be told, a floating navigation is not necessarily the right decision for every website out there. If a floating navigation is right for you it is a good idea to take into consideration the goals of your website and even further the design of your website.

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A great looking frozen navigation. Simple and well placed.

In consultation with your web designer you should decide if a floating navigation is right for you. In order to make that decision properly here are some of the benefits of a floating navigation.
It helps to highlight the most popular pages on your website: Chances are that your website will have pages that you want visitors to go first and foremost in your website. Having a floating navigation menu as part of the design helps to keep these pages right in front of the user no matter where they may have seemed to navigate to.

Floating navigation bars work great for modern and parallax designs: Modern websites focus on stripping away the excess fat of a website to get the information to visitors as quickly as possible. We are kind of a fast food nation where we are used to getting things immediately. Having a navigation that scrolls down with the user is a great way to make sure that the user can find what they want as quickly as possible.

Well that is all for today my friends. If a floating navigation is something that sounds like it will benefit your online presence make sure that you request this feature as part of your new web design package. If you have any more questions about great web design send us an email or fill out our quick contact form, we are always hers to help.

The Art Of SEO

Most people think S.E.O. means just crunching numbers, researching keywords and then praying to overlord Google. What they tend to forget is that SEO is a very creative process, much like writing a piece of music. Sure you can use theory to put pieces together. However the more you theorize and live by all the steadfast rules. The more stale your music tends to be. The same exists within SEO.

The Best SEO’s Are Creative!

Learn from the masters and begin to get creative. Sometimes when you’re looking at your online presence it can be easy to try and copy others tactics. However this only becomes an issue when you get stuck in a pattern of only doing what they say will work. The best way to really get familiar with SEO is to continue trying new things as well as tried and true ones. Through experience you will begin to get the feel of what works for YOU and what doesn’t.

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Then you begin to see the creative aspects of doing Search Engine Optimization. One of our most popular posts here at The Lightwurx was “What To Do With Your Old Business Cards“. It had nothing to do with SEO (on the surface). What happened is that throughout years and years of working for various firms I began to realize that no one really had a solution as to what to do with them. Furthermore being kind of a greeny, I wanted to find a way that there could be use from all of the old business cards I had collected.

What do you know? My co-workers here at The Lightwurx took the ball and ran with it creating rocketships, business card holders, candy dishes, etc. To date we have seen more traffic from this post than from any other post we have made, and it has received the highest click through rate as well.

The Best Things In Life Are Creative & Stylish

Just like music go follow all the rules. You will be very boring! A fellow musician friend of mine once told me: “No one really cares about technique. It’s the style that sticks.” I totally resonate with this on many levels of life. You should as well when you are doing SEO, or really working on any area of your life or business.

For more information visit our Utah SEO page.

How People Use Search Engines

SEO 300x267 How People Use Search Engines

Regardless of your experience with search engines, it is a must to know how people are using search engines. Like most things in life people are constantly asking themselves, “What is in it for me?” To get the best conversion rates possible with your SEO you will need to answer this question to prospective visitors. By knowing what you target audience is searching, and more importantly why you can properly structure your search engine rankings. This knowledge should influence the content you write, how you structure your URLs, the META descriptions you write and virtually every way you present your content.
Knowing the three most common reasons people search

1. Action Searches: These are the types of search queries people use when they are using a search engine as a direct means to an end. Examples include people looking to buy movie tickets, watch a video or find lyrics to their favorite song. It is important to know if you can connect with prospective visitors by providing a place where they can achieve these direct tasks.

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2. Research: In an interesting way search engines have become one of the greatest providers of knowledge we have today. These types of searches are used when someone is trying to learn more about a topic, how to do something or educate themselves about virtually any topic imaginable. One of the best ways an SEO can make sure to be found for these types of searches is to answer a question. A great tactic is to gather the most common questions your customers usually have and then answer those questions for them.

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3. Navigation: Have you ever notice that it is much easier to just type the name of a business you are looking for into Google, rather than try to remember their URL? Me too, one of the most common ways search engines are used is to act as a doorway to another direct website. It is important when working with search engines to optimize your website so that your company is ranking when someone is searching for you. Not only this, it is important to make sure that besides your direct URL the first page of relevant searches to your business are owned by you. This includes your social media pages, blog, positive reviews other notable online mentions.

Remember by knowing and understanding what your target audience is searching you will have the knowledge you need to get the best conversion rates for your SEO efforts.

Is Social Media Doomed?

Am I Free To Share Is Social Media Doomed?

Perhaps we are not as free as we think we are?

Remember the now antiquated notion that once you graduate you will lose connection with ninety-five percent of your friends? Those days are now long gone thanks to social media. On a daily basis all we need to do is login to anyone of our numerous accounts to instantly see who is getting married, who got a new job and who just had a baby. But with all this information right at our fingers tips one question stands out amongst all. With all of this information how do we not suffer from information overload?

Perhaps this is a fundamental flaw with social media. Experts estimate that on any given day there are over 1,500+ items that could show up in your news feed. Most people do not have enough time to give attention to all these different posts. Creating a problem where users end up visually glancing over everything, desperately trying to filter through information that they care about, and information that does not deserve their attention. Sounds ok right? In fact most of us do that.

But there is another problem with this practice.

Many social platforms (Facebook in particular) come up with algorithms that try and pre-filter this content for you so that only information you “care” about shows up first in your news feed. However in doing this there are just as many cons as pros. First and foremost your level of interaction does not necessarily dictate your actual level of interest. I am sure that all of us have friends, family or even brands that we truly care about, but do not give them much attention on social media. For example, you may like musical artists’ page on Facebook. Now unless that artist is constantly posting wonderful information that you are constantly interacting with, chances are you are not going to interact with that page all too often. Sooner or later there feeds will start showing up less and less in your newsfeed, until they are gone completely. Then out of nowhere that artist releases a teaser for their new album. You are left uninformed of this amazing news via social outlets.

Keep your eyes peeled for a new blog coming out in the next couple of days. We have only started to scratch the surface of the wonderful world of social media.

We want to know what you think about social media. Love it? Hate it? How often do you use social media?

Hero Image And Web Design

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We love navigating the waters of the web and commenting on what we find. Web designers are starting to strip down websites, favoring images far more than text. The latest and greatest trend in image centric design has to be the hero image.

What is a hero image you ask?

A hero image is located front and center in the webpage banner, or top portion of the website before the scroll break. Hero images can either be static, or dynamic, for example rotating between different images. What all hero images have in common is that, if done correctly are extremely captivating. This gives the user an instant understanding of the tone and content to be expected throughout the rest of the website. Let’s look at a few examples and discuss the benefits of a great hero image in web design.

1. Hero Images Keep Things Simple, And Guide The User Towards An Action

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The simplicity of this hero image helps guide users to the call to action.

This is the most current landing page for Twitter. As you can see there is not a whole lot you can do on the website besides either signing-up or logging in. This helps to keep even the most novice internet user right on track.

2. Captivate Your Audience With Grabbing Imagery

Our team has found that there are times we are inspired to explore a website further just because we like the hero image so much. At this point it is regarded as common knowledge that human beings respond stronger and faster with images than they do with text. Why not take advantage of this fact and stand out amongst all your other competition?

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Give in to the seductive power of the goats and use Bing.

3. Hero Images Help With Responsive Design

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A responsive hero design that will look beautiful across all platforms.

Look at how this website is setup. Because of the great hero image they have used as part of the design it is geared to seamlessly transfer across browsing platforms. Depending on the resolution of screen the image will stretch to make sure that the website is being viewed at optimal levels.
Well that is it for now. If you are in the market for a new website perhaps requesting a design that utilizes a great hero image is something you should consider.

Does Your Web Design Tell A Story? It Should.

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You don’t need to write a book to tell people your story. Be sure to consider your story when you are designing.

The most moving artists in the world all have one thing in common, they are great storytellers. All the most widely enjoyed books, movies and music fill our imaginations with vivid tales and images. Sharing the human experience with your audience is one of the best ways you can make a strong connection. In general, when people can relate to something they will feel a kinship with that people, place, thing or idea. When talking about web design and conversion rates, it is essential to create a site that tells your story.

But why is storytelling so important for design?

Think about the music, brands, teams, companies and people that you are a fan of. Somehow they were able to make a connection with you. Somewhere along the path you were successfully converted from awareness to advocate. We are all consumers in one sense of the word or another. People have a need for your product or service and your website should be the ultimate tool to get your company out to the masses. Storytelling web design is another indispensable piece to the puzzle.

Ok, I get it, but what should I do now?

The most important thing that you need to remember is that proper storytelling design does not mean you need to give people a novel. Much like my music teacher taught me, “The most popular songs in the world are never more than 3 minutes long.” The wisdom here is that yes, people do want to be captivated, but you can only expect them to give you a little of their time.” You need to essentially tell your story, and make a connection with the reader in as little time as possible. This means trim the fat. Once you have made a connection with the visitor you must instantly answer the question “what can you do for me.”

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The longer you take to make your point and tell your story, the less people are going to stick around for it.

Supplement your web design with grabbing images and even videos. There are some readers still roaming the planet. However recent trends in web design show that most visitors would rather watch the message, as opposed to reading it. To satisfy everyone we are seeing many designers are putting a short and sweet intro video in their hero area. Not sure what a hero area is, find out now. As far as the images go, think of them as a visual hammer to really drive the point your content is making home. A great client of ours would frequently say, “I’m not from Utah, I’m from the show me state, don’t just say it, do it.” With expert storytelling and captivating images your web design will be sure to not only talk the talk, but also walk the walk.

Skeuomorphism Design

Following right along with our recent post about flat web design, let’s talk about a vastly different approach to design, skeuomorphism. Skeuomorphism design has basically been around since the very first images were digitally rendered. Skeuomorphism has been defined by Wikipedia as “a physical ornament or design on an object made to resemble another materials or technique.” Um ok… another way of explain this is looking at a classic. Remember the old wood-panel car from National Lampoon’s Vacation movies?

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Skuomorph design at its not so finest.

This incredibly ugly station wagon is a great example of skeuomorph design gone wrong.
A more laymen terms approach to skeuomorphism design is to explain it like this, “to create a design or physical work to resemble a real-life interpretation of a familiar object.” In the above example of the wood-paneled car, they did not use real wood in the construction of this vehicle. Rather, fake, plastic panels were created to mimic the real thing. So what does this have to do with web design?

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Looking back in time to the old user interface designs.

When computers were a new idea, skeuomorphism was used to help people learn how to work their machines by leveraging common everyday items. For example, deleting an item you would throw it in the waste basket, to file things you would put them in a digital manila folder.

So if skeuomorphism is “old” does that mean that it is no longer going to be relevant today? The answer is no. As we mentioned in our blog about flat design, there will always be trends and standards in the world of web design. A few years ago skeuomorphism design was huge. Talented designers were doing everything they could to show off their skills and make physical items come to life in a digital realm.

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Apple’s famous digital calculator is an example of great, skeuomorph design, while Microsoft’s flat designed calculator is keeping things simple and fresh.

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Skeuomorph design used to create a digital soundboard for audio engineers.

There are pros and cons to each design trend. Skeuomorphism can help bridge the gaps between the physical and digital world. While flat design is keeping things simple and easy to use without distractions. In all honesty once an innovative idea gets recognition; it starts to become copied and finally becomes a trend. Once that happens there is a need for a new innovation. Much like clothing and fashion, the world of web design has a lot of players that are constantly changing the game. It is up to great designers to keep apprised of modern standards, while at the same time creating designs that serve a purpose as well. The key is to not get so caught up in trends that you forget to create designs that achieve a goal.

Is Flat Design Here To Stay?…We Say For A Few Years Anyway

There is no escaping it, whenever you deal with creating something there are current trends that arise. Movies, music and art all have trends and eras. Interestingly enough graphic design and by extension the world of web design are no different. Large companies will usually set the standard, while independent artists will help to create a counter-culture alternative. It is always interesting to watch these trends develop. And perhaps it is even more interesting to analyze where these trends came from and why.

Let’s talk flat design

Flat design is a simplistic and minimalistic approach used in the creation of graphical user interfaces. As a principle this new trends focuses on stripping away “unnecessary” glamour in web design and graphic design in general. Modern advocates of flat design claim that users are less focused on the wow factor of design these days, and are far more concerned with ease of use. Flat design is often compared with a design term known as skeuomorphism. Skeuomorphism design, in stark contrast attempts to bring real life to the screen by utilizing techniques like faux-realistic textures, drop shadows and real object characteristics.

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Microsoft & Apple, leading the way with flat design.

Design elements must serve a function or they are distracting

It makes sense that flat design is currently in. With a huge adoption of responsive web design and development, it only makes sense that current aesthetic trends complement our mobile lifestyle. Right now it is very advantageous for designers to incorporate some, if not all the principles of flat design into their design work. Incorporating a healthy dose of flat design into your portfolio will show that you are paying attention. It subconsciously makes your design look more modern and up to date. Finally it can help with desired conversions, making the process of navigating your website straight forward, quick and easy.

Flat Design Is Beautiful In A Different Way

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Flat design components, available for free from graphicburger.com

Although you are not going to come across flashy illustrations, flat design can still capture the eye. This is done by focusing on refreshingly clean design, but not losing all personality completely. Take for example text. When you look at modern, flat designs the text is almost certainly clean, but at the same time there is more branding put into things like banners and headers.

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Notice the type style of flat design.

Bright, contrasting colors also help to give the design a nice flavor. This technique not only looks fun, it helps guide the user’s eye so that they are not easily lost in your website.
And there you have it. Flat design is big right now, and probably will be for a couple years. However as Mohan likes to say “everything is only temporary,” as we move forward as designers it is important to remember the lessons that flat design teaches us, but always stay open the what is right around the corner.