Blog

November 17, 2010

By Orange Aura

Comments

No Comments

Posted In

Web Design and Development

Creating an iPhone & iPad homepage icon for your website

Even if your website does not have a iPhone/iPad application, you can still have an iPhone homepage icon. You’re probably wondering what I’m talking about at this point. The iPhone browser actually allows you to bookmark websites so it appears as an iPhone application icon on the home screen. There is no more typing in a long url or using a bookmarks sidebar for the apple devices, just an icon on the homepage. This way, your end-users will have easy access to your website on their apple device.

1)      Creating the iPhone and iPad icon

The icon needs to be a clear logo or image of your choice. Once you have decided which graphic image you will be using, open a graphics editors like Adobe Photoshop and change the image to at 57 pixel by 57 pixel square. This is the exact size of the icon in iphones. But you can make it larger and it will not matter because the iPhone will scale the graphic to the correct size. Don’t worry about rounding corners or adding the gloss or glare effect, it will be automatically changed on the iPhone or iPad device.

2)      Saving the logo

When you are finished with the editing, save you image in the following file format PNG. The file name should also be apple-touch-icon.png. Now, open up your preferred FTP (File Transfer Protocol) and upload the PNG file to your home directory for the website. I used FileZilla FTP to do this.

3)      Test and icon

The third step is the easiest because you are finished. But to make sure, let’s check if it worked. Go to your iPad or iPhone safari browser. When it loads, look for the plus (+) symbol. When clicked, it will open up  a drop down with the following menu, “Add Bookmark”, “Add to Home Screen”, and “Mail Link to this Page”. You will want to choose “Add to Home Screen”. You should now see the icon you created for the home screen instead of a cropped version of your webpage.

With the release of Apples iPhone, mobile technology and the internet on the mobile phone has been rapidly changing with faster speeds and more accessibility. This is just one way to keep updated with the standards

.

November 5, 2010

By Orange Aura

Comments

No Comments

Posted In

Online Marketing and SEO

Managing Your Social Media Campaign

Since more and more social networks have been created, social experience and social networks have become one of the dominant players on the web. These highly interactive web applications allow users to communicate and give their own personal value and opinion. For businesses, having a website is not just enough, my clients tell me that they have to maintain their social experience and interact with customers. They have been using this to track leads and find new customers. One of the biggest companies that have used social media to the optimal potential is Victoria Secret. They have one of the largest fan base on Facebook and it continues to grow with over 9 million fans. Not only have they been actively using social media to boost the sales for their products, but they were one of the first companies to start doing this.

Social Media is the perfect way to help small businesses grow and bring awareness and I tell my clients that every day. Unfortunately, this is no easy task to just having one, it needs to be properly maintained, updated several times a day. But how does a small company manage everything while running their day to day business operations. Especially when they have to use Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, MySpace, LinkedIn, Flickr, etc. It can get to be very overwhelming and hard to maintain a focused social media campaign.  I will have to talk about how to focus your social media campaign for another article, but managing all of these networks have become easier with the help of Flock and Yoono.com.  I recommend it to all my clients and they cannot thank Orange Aura enough.

Flock and Yoono are social media managers. Instead of logging into 5, 10, or 20+  social websites, my clients are able to use just 1 (either Flock.com or Yoono.com) using to to manager all the rest. It saves time and in just 1 status update, you can send this information to every network without manually inputting it to the rest. Obviously, there are more features, but this is just one tip for my clients on how to start effective online marketing.

Specifically, Flock is a web browser build with social media integration. It allows people to use it for personally or business -use to surf the web while updating the rest of their accounts. Yoono is  a web browser add-on, a desktop software, or an iphone application social media integration account. Both of these applications are similar so you can choose which one you feel more comfortable using.

Keep in mind these are free applications too and will defiantly help in creating a focused social media campaign.

November 4, 2010

By Orange Aura

Comments

No Comments

Posted In

Online Marketing and SEO, Web Design and Development

Does Facebook Connect work for your business?

Over the past several months, I have noticed more and more web application sites using Facebook Connect. Facebook Connect feature that Facebook launched near the end of 2008 and is changing the internet as we know it. In the World Wide Web, Facebook is the world’s largest social network today with over 500 million users and it is continuing to grow rapidly. The strength that Facebook has is tremendous, especially since they have become the the only website to surpass Google in how long users spend time on the web. So as I observe the change of the internet and see Facebook Connect on more and more websites, I am excited to explore its potential it has for all businesses. How effective is it and will it benefit for your business?

First off, what is Facebook Connect? It is basically Facebook for websites. Websites integrate this development feature on their websites. You may have seen i  as “Connect with Facebook” where users click on the button, login with their Facebook ID and whala! You account with that website you were looking at is now connected with your user information. There are no long sign ups, no large forms, just a couple clicks and you’re done.

Here are several websites that use Facebook Connect:

Social Fly (http://social-fly.com/)

Red Bull USA (http://connect.redbullusa.com/)

Living Social (http://livingsocial.com)

June 30, 2010

By Orange Aura

Comments

No Comments

Posted In

Online Marketing and SEO

SEO Basics: How to Choose the Right Keywords for SEO

Once you’ve taken the time to produce a complete checklist of key phrases and words to use for your web site, you may be facing a large number of search phrases to choose from. This kind of investigation will take your website in many directions if you aren’t careful in your keyword selection. If you are a first time site developer or business owner hoping to build a successful web site, getting the appropriate keywords matters. The job of paring down your search term choices to discover what people are looking for is often more important than the website design itself.

Write each and every in the keywords and phrases you have come up with and develop a chart or spreadsheet. This procedure is one of the ideal ways for you personally to pare down your selections in key phrases and also to develop an efficient and effectively balanced web site that functions for your distinct requirements. Analyze the terms you’ve got detailed in the chart with the following points in mind:

  • Figure out what the most useful keywords are. This implies determining which keywords and phrases most relate for the theme of one’s website. If you sell stereo and TV’s, for example, you might look up individual make and models as well as assessor components.
  • Find out how much traffic a keyword generates. You can use the Google Keyword Tool or other commercial software. By seeking which keywords are critical for your small business by their search volume, you’ll be able to really begin to determine the value of some words over other others.
  • Find out the competitiveness of the keyword.  A simple keyword search on Google will give you how many other sites you are competing with.  You can narrow down the most serious competitors by searching Google with an all in title search, which will show pages with your keyword in their title. Another method of determining the competitiveness is looking at the first page of your keyword results as well the characteristics of the sites that show up on the first 3 spots. 80% of users click on sites on Google’s first page with the first position receiving 30-40% of all clicks. When analyzing these position rankings check how many back links are to those pages and the Page Rank of the page. This will tell you how much work must be done to be in the top 3 spots.

The objective in developing this type of chart is always to give you additional details and comparison resources to assist you to opt for the keywords and phrases which have been going to attain your targets for the website. There are several distinct terms available and sometimes it is not uncommon to possess 10,000 or a lot more keywords that could relate to the internet site. Nevertheless, that doesn’t imply that you simply ought to use all of individuals terms. If wish to succeed in search engine optimization you must choose keywords you can rank in the first page of Google.

When conducting research about SEO and key word utilizes, there are several things to look at. You most likely desire to choose search phrases that include a good selection of the most well-liked keywords and phrases similar to your internet site. That only makes sense given that this can be what ultimately will figure out if your web page is heading to fit the wants for your clients and guests. Even so, hitting all those top search phrases may possibly simply not be enough to obtain you within the major standing for the look for engine results pages. How could this be?

June 28, 2010

By Orange Aura

Comments

No Comments

Posted In

Online Marketing and SEO

Article Marketing 101 for the Busy Business Owner

If you are reading this article, you are probably a business owner looking to increase your web traffic. You have probably researched the various methods employed in effective SEO marketing, and may have contacted a few SEO firms out there. As you have probably read, article marketing is an effective way to build quality back links and bring traffic to your website. Article Marketing is the foundation of many SEO strategies for the simple reason that good content is king, and Google looks to reward those who provide quality content.

What this article will attempt to do is show you the key points on how to put together an effective article marketing campaign.  You will have to spend your time or a little money, and probably both.  Article marketing is not an overnight success story and should be thought of as a long-term endeavor.

Point 1: Choose the right keyword. It is a tremendous waste of time and energy should you begin working on a project, only to discover out later which you can’t make any product sales because of your poor keyword choice. It is very important that you just get to know the industry first. Understand how your consumers are searching for a product. One should only enter the niche if you really feel confident of creating product sales.  You must take time and conduct research on the competitiveness of a particular set key phrases or key words for your service or product. Without quality keywords, you cannot effectively market your articles.

Point 2: You must generate quality content. You cannot copy verbatim other people’s work on the internet has most search engines can account for duplicate content. Furthermore, there are services such as copyscape.com that can tell if you have stolen and plagiarized other peoples work. The key to writing good content is to answer the question of your consumers, and provide solutions. A simple way to brainstorm ideas for articles is simply writing down the questions your customers or clients have asked in the past. Another method is to send out a customer satisfaction questionnaires to previous consumers. An added benefit of sending out customer satisfaction questionnaires with written responses (instead of just multiple choice) is you will see the language of how your customers ask questions. This is extremely important since it gives you a valuable insight in keyword research.

Point 3: Choose the right article directories. There are hundreds of article directories out there so you must choose the right ones to spend your time submitting to. Most of the well known directories will not allow you to submit duplicate content. That often means you have to rewrite your article for each directory submission. When choosing the right directory you must check the article directories Page Rank (PR) and number of visitors. One of the main reasons you are article marketing is for back links and obviously the higher the PR of an article directory, the higher quality your back link will be. Obviously article directories that have millions of visitors are important, but don’t overlook smaller directories that specialize in a particle niche. For example, if you are a contractor and writing a “how-to” article  one of the best places to submit is ehow.com

June 15, 2010

By Orange Aura

Comments

No Comments

Posted In

Usability and Accessibility

Tips for a Web Designer to create efficient User Experience (UX) process

Good User Experience (UX) is a planned process and it is difficult in creating a good user experience. Why do we do it? As a web designer, we want to take a strategic approach in creating the website.

When creating a website for User Experience (UX), start by examining factors! Is product findable? Where do you get it? What is it? How do I use it? Is it desirable?

Start the creation by using design, structure, and communication. Research and understand the end-user, focus on their behavioral traits rather than general market criteria. Tell a story, during the UX design process, outline each phase to it is more organized. Define what your working on, find goals, find design principles on how it makes the end-user feel, understand the needs of the end-user and administrator of the website, post each element into separate layout blocks and design a sitemap, then finally, create and implement your prototype.

Finally, testing is an important feature throughout the design process whether within your facility or from focus groups. Finding a real user to interact with the experience creates the best results.

June 15, 2010

By Orange Aura

Comments

No Comments

Posted In

Usability and Accessibility

User Experience, Future of Web Design

User Experience, Future of Web Design

User Experience, also known as ‘UX’ has become an essential component of web design process and can be sometimes subjective or hard to create the perfect experience. Specifically, it is what the customer perceives when engaged in your product.

How do I define user experience (UX)?

User experience deals with getting inside your end-users heads. When someone sees a website, what do they think, feel, expect! The psychology behind web design has never been more important. Some websites make you feel affirmed, confident, free to share and be yourself.

It is difficult in deciding what human psychology expects. Why? Because it is impossible to read someone’s mind or know exactly how they will react. But we can predict and test to make sure we are on the right track. UX design deals with visual, interaction, and content. Finding a way to articulate and combine all these features to find the optimized way can be achieved by putting the experience of using something should feel like.

Since the birth of the internet, web design began with a very cookie cutter approach, simplistic, but it has changed to a more dynamic approach. There are hundreds of web languages and frameworks to use like html, css, php, html5, css3, java, jquery that allow a website to have features such as forums, social networks, drag-able drop features, etc. We have moved from people learning about command lines, to input systems, GUI interfaces, and UX brings forth natural user interfaces. There are more tools to create a website that or flexible and usable. Once UX is mastered, websites will now become more persuasive.

The question is not if someone can use the site, but the question now becomes if they want to. For a web designer, to achieve a website that is effective, we take several steps in design a website with User Experience from: interface design, information architecture, usability and product design.

Combining these elements make a presentation that incorporates interaction and organization. It starts with understanding the user experience from start to finish. It grows beyond just what a website looks like and how it functions.

May 6, 2010

By Orange Aura

Comments

One Comment

Posted In

Web Design and Development

Questions to ask when designing a website

What a web designer/company needs to know for your website!

When you contact a professional web design company, they will ask you several questions in order to create you a website tailored towards your needs. This is useful to give an organized and directional approach on how you can get a website that you can use, scale, and market properly to your audience. Here’s what we at Orange Aura would like to know:

  • We start by finding out about you (the name of your company and intended website? We would like you to describe your company and describe the concept/product/service your site will provide.) We also need to know the contacts for the website project. If you are a one person start up, it would be just you. But for a larger company, we would like to know the main contacts for the project and their roles.
  • A project cannot start without deadlines. So we like know when you would like to start and when you need the website to be completed and why. (product launch, event, etc) A realistic answer would be helpful in this scenario; answers like I would like to start tomorrow and I need it to be completed today or tomorrow is not realistic. A great designer would like take the time to see what areas you need to focus on for a website and analyze your competition to keep you on top of the market.
  • This is the probably the most commonly thought of question everyone has. How much does a website cost? Websites vary in cost, from a couple hundred dollars to thousands of dollars. And there is a big difference in quality. Website Design is more than just visual and graphics. It’s an analyzed and thought our process to see what functions you need to display your company in the right image. At Orange Aura, we would like to ask you what your budget is for a website. A Budget dictates how much time we can devote to your website. What are you looking to spend to achieve your vision, compete against your competition, and be the dominant player in the market? (i.e. $500, $1000, $5K-10K, $20K, $30K, $40K+)
  • Next, we would like to know what your goals are by asking you to list several main reasons for wanting to develop a new website. What are you business objectives for your website and if you have a current site, what aspects work well and what does not.
  • Our next task is to figure out what audience you are trying to approach. Who’s coming to your site? Describe the different types of visitors to your website in as much detail as possible. How do you think your audience currently perceives your company and the services you offer? What do you imagine people using your site for? What will they want to do there? Why will people choose your site over others? Outline any ideas for features you have for your site. How do these features support your business goals and the goals of your user?
  • Our final goal is to grasp a design concept. If people are coming to your website for the first time, how do you want them to feel about your company? Tell us a bit about your competition (including their website addresses)? What do you think works for them? What doesn’t? Looking beyond you competition, have you seen any sites recently that you’ve liked the visual design of? What did you like about it?
  • Functionality is a key aspect of creative design. Aside from the features we discussed above, what else do you want your site to do? Do you need a software or content management system and what kind? For example, a company intranet, customer interface, website management tools, updatable news, multiple authors)

Knowing all this detail allows your web design company or designer to create you the perfect site for your business.

April 22, 2010

By Orange Aura

Comments

No Comments

Posted In

Online Marketing and SEO

Map Optimization – Add youself to google.com/places

Did you know that approximately 80% of searches are looking online for a local business.

Search Engines are getting smarter at pinpointing your location, but even so, it would be best to optimize your website and local business on Google Maps. It’s probably the most specific way for a customer to find you. But the question is, how do you place your business on it.

This is just the first step to Search Map Optimization, but an important one. Get listed on google.com/places

Get your local business found on Google Map Search. It allows you to communicate with customers and get insights to make decisions.

Google Places allow you to claim your business on Google

Several key features are managing business information, posting coupons and live updates, and you can also see how you are doing.

Sign Up with Google Places and consult a Search Map Optimization (SMO) consultant today to find out how you can increase your local business visibility!

April 20, 2010

By Orange Aura

Comments

No Comments

Posted In

Online Marketing and SEO

7 bad habits of SEO

The 7 highly non-effective habits of Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Getting your website to rank on the top of the most well known search engines is the greatest thing for your internet marketing. That alone will increase you websites visibility, but the hardest question is, HOW?

The process of Search Engine Optimization is complex and it raises many questions on how to properly optimize your own website or hire a specialist SEO agency. Fact of the matter, SEO is hard work and a very difficult process that takes time and a lot of analysis.

Here are 7 things you should not do when building your Search Engine Optimization campaign.

1) Putting search engines before users

First off, Search Engine Optimization is the process your website undergoes to help it obtain the best possible listings. You want to be at the highest ranking you can possible be to attract traffic from your target audience. But a main concern to remember is not to forget about the needs of the end-user when modifying your website for SEO. Is your website still visual appealing, use-able, and functional for the needs of your viewers. So when taking up an SEO campaign, remember to produce well-written and designed content to sell your website. Because at the end of the day, your website carries the image of what you do and is your 24 hour salesman.

2) Link spamming

Another main issue of bad SEO is link spamming. You don’t want your website chasing after as many links as possible that have no relevant use or value to the user. And more specifically, search engines now rank links based on the authority of the sites they come from. So spamming your links like all forms of spamming reduces the value of your websites presence. So Quality over Quantity is the idea here. Focus on link-building efforts on relevant websites so you can increase your ranking in the Search Engine Optimization game.

3) Disregarding link text

Anchor text of a link should be written very precisely. Search engines now use anchor text as an indicator of internal links (links from 1 page to another). Search Engines like Google want to list the best websites up top. So your user experience needs to be amazing. An example of what not to do would be using an anchor text like “click here”. It adds little information and value to where it’s going.

4) Not tracking progress

The best way to measure if your Search Engine Optimization is working for your website is to track progress from the beginning. This is probably the most crucial element of seeing what works and what does not. Adding collecting proper statistics can help you decide on what new changes to make, pointing you in the right direction.

5) Choosing the wrong keywords

Choosing the right keywords for your website is important. Finding keywords takes a lot of time and analysis to get the best keywords that people are using in search engines. It’s best to choose a few precise keywords that the content of your website targets than to overload your website with every keyword you can think of.

6) Overlooking accessibility

Accessibility is an important element of Search Engine Optimization. Crawlers look to see how accessible your website is to all users regardless of disability and impairments. The ADA stress on creating websites that are helpful for disabled people. Allowing a visually impaired person the opportunity to access your website by having it use-able for them now helps your SEO results too. But not only that, the screen readers they use to view sites can only read words so making a link text as descriptive as possible helps dramatically. It goes a long way to help someone these days.

7) Not planning your SEO strategy

Last, but not least…you can’t have an effective Search Engine Optimization (SEO) campaign without plan or direction. Plan for a useful strategy and map out the points of interest. Set short term objectives that move you towards the number 1 ranking.