Tag Archives: web design

Quick and Easy Ways to Improve Your Website

AscentiveBusiness tips from the Ascentive team

A well designed website is a vital ingredient to every business. It’s crucial to avoid designing a website that takes way too long to load, has poor accessibility, doesn’t load correctly, is too cluttered, or even too sparse. If one of your visitors leaves your website within eight seconds, it’s time to fix something on your site pronto. Here are some key suggestions as to where you should start:

Speed up your site

When your website fails to grab someone’s attention and compel them to order one of your products or services or even add their email to your mailing list, it may be time for you to check and see your problem is a home page that take too long to load. It’s possible that large resolution images or animated Flash Files may be slowing you down. Try viewing your site over a slower Internet connection or use an online speed test to check your site’s speed.

Use Keywords on Your Pages

Remember, the goal of search engines is to provide relevant results according to the terms that people are using for their searches. This means you need to provide the most relevant, high-quality information that your audience is looking for out on the Internet. One way to do this is to bold the keywords in your headlines and in the “bodies” of your web page content. However, here’s no need to bold all your keywords. In fact, although it’s important to have proper keyword density, you should avoid “keyword stuffing.” Keyword stuffing is when you overload the content or your webpage’s meta tags of the web page with every possible keyword or phrase that relates to the site in many different forms. For example, a bad meta description for our a paper site would read as follows: “paper, copy paper, printer paper, laser printer paper, Xerox paper, typing paper.” Note that this example has only keywords, with no sentence structure. If your site contains an unnaturally high density of one single keyword, your site will actually drop in search engine rankings.

Use Image Tags

Another way to improve your traffic is through the use of optimized graphics in order to get listed in the Google Images’ database. When you build your website, be sure to use Image Tags and Alt Image Tags to code all of your images. And name your image files with popular, relevant, descriptive keywords.

Update Your Website Dates

When your website has the current date, it’s letting visitors known that it’s fresh and current. Search engines take this into consideration when they crawl through your site as well. Always update your website dates on a regular basis.



The 5 Essential Ingredients of the Writer’s Website

writer's websiteWhen it comes to marketing your self-published book, there are times you can rely on others, but mostly you have to assume the role of a one-man or one-woman dynamo. And the prospect of creating your writer’s website can be exciting, but it can also be intimidating. What the heck do you put on it, anyway? Here are some essential ingredients for any writer doing some necessary self-promotion with his or her own website.

Home Page – Very short, perhaps only 150 words. This is the “in a nutshell” explanation of who you are, what book or books you are currently proud of and promoting, and any aspect of your biography that is compelling or that relates to your books. Remember, you’re never “trying” to be a writer, or “just giving this a shot.” Give yourself more credit than that: you ARE a writer! And always include a link to Amazon or wherever you have the book available for purchase. The best link is not just a boring text link, but a fairly big and high-res image of the book’s cover.

Book(s) Link – Each of your books should have a dedicated page. You should list the genre, a logline (an attention-grabbing two sentences laying out the premise of the book), and then an overview of the book in a couple of paragraphs. Include a link to purchase the book as you did on the Home Page. And feel free to list any accolades or awards the book has received.

About the Author – Write a brief, third-person biography of yourself. It should not be overly laudatory, but neither should you eschew including any accolades or personal triumphs as they relate to writing. If you have a “past life” prior to writing, don’t be bashful about talking about it: your experiences are part of your makeup as a writer.

Media – The media page is tricky. You’ll want to wait until you have a few noteworthy news items to present, whether that’s an interview on a local radio station, a book signing at a local book shop, or a review of your book on a well-known blog or website. And don’t call this a News page – if you have months where you have nothing to report, you’ll look like yesterday’s news!

Blog – In this day and age, the blog is a powerful tool that can help you build an audience. But don’t think of a blog as the albatross around your neck that you have to toil to update. Keep things short, update at least every couple of weeks, and write professionally – sorry, no winky emoticons. And if you’re really on the ball, you’ll cross-post blog entries to your Facebook page and your Twitter feed. No one said marketing your book was going to be easy!

These are obviously just the essentials. To the active authors out there: What pages do you consider essential for your site? Any inessential but interesting additions? Please share your ideas (and your website if possible!) in the comments!

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