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Xstremeology Blog Xstreme Media, LLC is a full service multimedia firm with services in web & graphic design, software development, SEO, search marketing, mobile apps, mobile websites and text marketing. http://www.xstrememedia.com/blog/47.html Wed, 26 Nov 2014 01:13:46 +0000 Joomla! 1.5 - Open Source Content Management en-gb New Domain Name Extensions http://www.xstrememedia.com/blog/47-web-design-tip-of-the-week/269-new-domain-name-extensions.html http://www.xstrememedia.com/blog/47-web-design-tip-of-the-week/269-new-domain-name-extensions.html Coming to a browser near you...... ICANN is releasing new top level domain names.  This is the most important development in the domain name industry in years.  As eraly as this month (June 2013), over 2,000 new suffixes, released in blocks of 20 or so, will be available to the general public.  Lots of webmasters have slammed ICANN over the release of this many new domain extensions, comparing it to a shakedown of epic proportions.  If you are a savvy entrepreneur, you will be preparing if you want to protect your brand.  You can find more information on ICANN's website at http://newgtlds.icann.org/en.  Watch the video below for more info.

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design@xstrememedia.com (Lesa Seibert) Web Design Tip of the Week Mon, 10 Jun 2013 12:12:34 +0000
5 Tips for Restaurant Websites http://www.xstrememedia.com/blog/47-web-design-tip-of-the-week/268-5-tips-for-restaurant-websites.html http://www.xstrememedia.com/blog/47-web-design-tip-of-the-week/268-5-tips-for-restaurant-websites.html Your website is more than likely the first thing a potential customer sees when making their decision to dine at your restaurant.

So it is more important than ever that your website is optimized for converting website visitors into customers. The key is to make sure you know what those customers are looking for, and give it to them.

To address this issue, here are five things that a website visitor should see when they reach visit restaurant’s website:

  1. Operating Hours
    Make sure your operating hours are very clear and easy to understand and are on every page of your website.  Update them immediately when your schedules change, whether it is holiday hours, closing for maintenance or special circumstances, such as private events or severe weather.  If your kitchen closes before your bar area or main dining room, make sure to note that time as well.  Nothing is more frustrating than making plans to meet your friends at a restaurant, only to arrive and find that it’s closed or the kitchen stopped serving 15 minutes ago.
  2. Contact info
    Make sure that all of your contact info visible on every page. This includes your phone number and street address along with either a live map or link to driving directions.  Using plain text for your contact info makes it easy for mobile smartphone users to access as most mobile devices will convert these into touch links that allow you just to push and call.  It is also a huge help for search engines to know your location and contact info.  Bonus: Add links to the social media sites you’re most active on (Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, etc.).

  3. Menus
    First-time customers want to see your food menu to help them make a dining decision. DO NOT make them download a PDF file to their computer or mobile phone just to see your menu(s) and pricing. Your food menu should be seamlessly designed into your website, just like any page. All it takes is a click and your visitor is browsing your mouth-watering selection.  Also be sure to keep your food menu(s) current, even if that means daily updates. Your website’s content management system should allow for this. Displaying an outdated menu is very frustrating for first-time visitors when they arrive with a particular dish in mind, only to find that it is not available.  That can guarantee they won’t turn into repeat customers.
  4. Your best reviews
    Customer feedback is one of the most subtle, but powerful, marketing tools your business has. And there’s no industry where customer testimonials have a bigger impact than the restaurant industry.

    Just look at how heavily customers rely on sites like Yelp, UrbanSpoon and Trip Advisor.  Your reviews matter and they should not be confined to those restaurant directories.  Take your best reviews and showcase them right on your website. This is a great way to provide an added sense of excitement as your first-time visitors are browsing your food specials and other pages of your site. A great review could be just the push they need to book that reservation or place an order.
  5. Photo galleries
    Even if you spend days crafting the perfect text for your website’s homepage, people will gravitate to your photos first. They tell a story just as well as a copy of your menu can. It is crucial to have beautiful photography on your website. You can hire a professional photographer, or if you’re just starting out, a digital camera with the right lighting could do.  Just don't put bad photos on your website.  This will turn people away quicker than no photos.

    Try to provide a variety of photos that showcase both the exterior of the restaurant (making it easy to spot on arrival), the interior (what’s the atmosphere like?), and the food (nothing sells food like photos of food!)

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design@xstrememedia.com (Lesa Seibert) Web Design Tip of the Week Tue, 14 May 2013 13:57:15 +0000
Navigation Tips for Your Website http://www.xstrememedia.com/blog/47-web-design-tip-of-the-week/261-navigation-tips-for-your-website.html http://www.xstrememedia.com/blog/47-web-design-tip-of-the-week/261-navigation-tips-for-your-website.html
One of the main causes of people abandoning websites is poor navigation.  They can't find where they want to go, so they leave, maybe never to come back. Even worse, they assume your service is as bad as your navigation and will end up on your competitor's site to find what they are looking for.  With some changes to your navigation design, you can create an experience that helps visitors find what they want as quickly as possibly, preferably with one click.

Some important things to consider for site navigation are:

  1. Let visitors navigate your site from any page - Visitors often get stuck in a site after a couple of clicks and don't know how to get back to where they came from.  A top placed navigation will allow visitors to navigate to other pages without having to go back to your home page to start over.  Make sure to include the navigation bar on all pages.
  2. Display breadcrumbs - As visitors browse your site, they often need to know how they got to the page they are on or how to get back to an earlier page.  By displaying breadcrumbs, visitors know where they came from (Ex. Home > About > Staff > Programmers)
  3. Consider adding images in the navigation to indicate navigational categories, such as product types, brands, etc. 

When developing your site navigation, thing like your customer.   After the site is built, navigate through it to make sure it is easy to get to the information that is most important on your site.  When you do this, you will be pleased with the results.

 

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design@xstrememedia.com (Lesa Seibert) Web Design Tip of the Week Tue, 05 Feb 2013 05:00:00 +0000
How Good Is Your Website? http://www.xstrememedia.com/blog/47-web-design-tip-of-the-week/238-how-good-is-your-website.html http://www.xstrememedia.com/blog/47-web-design-tip-of-the-week/238-how-good-is-your-website.html
Competition is fierce today for site ranking and placement both in organic search and pay per click marketing.  You need to make sure your website content is optimized for search to ensure you are being ranked and found for the keyword(s) you think are important to your company.  Reviewing this before starting any online marketing is imperative.  You can have a Competition Research Report done which will tell you how your competition is marketing online and where are their visitors coming from.

As more and more people are using their smartphones for Internet browsing, you must ensure that your site is capable of being viewed on that small mobile screen.  You can either optimize your existing site for mobile or create a separate mobile site that is scaled back to load and view properly in a mobile browser.  You don't want to miss a potential client because they either can't pull up your website on their phone or they can't get to the information they need quickly if they do.

Another important thing is to make sure your site is up to date and optimized for the keywords you want to rank for before starting any social media campaigns.  You will get one chance to capture them when you direct them there, so you must make sure your content conveys the message you want to send in order to get the potential client to email you or call you for more information or to make an online purchase.

If you are not sure where you stand with your site, you can have a 21 Point Website Review done which will look at multiple areas of your site including performance, mobile capability, online listings, and more.  This will help you optimize your current site or let you know that you need to build a new site that is more optimized for search and best represents your products or services to your customers.

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design@xstrememedia.com (Xstreme Media) Web Design Tip of the Week Tue, 26 Jun 2012 05:00:00 +0000
Writing Better Business Blogs Part III http://www.xstrememedia.com/blog/47-web-design-tip-of-the-week/221-writing-better-business-blogs-part-iii.html http://www.xstrememedia.com/blog/47-web-design-tip-of-the-week/221-writing-better-business-blogs-part-iii.html
The last piece to consider when writing a business blog is to use citations.  Blogging is quickly being accepted as legitimate journalism so it needs to be treated that way.  This means proper citation of facts, figures, sources and related stories.  This will reinforce the legitimacy of your business blog.

When trying to get ranked by search engines, speed is a factor.  So, while being the first to publish a post might result in a surge of clicks, what is most important is quality.  Google's latest update stresses the importance of quality content.  Taking a few extra minutes to ensure accuracy will have more important long-term effects. 

In writing business blogs, remember that the target audience is looking for facts, informatio and actionable advice.  Provide the audience reasons to trust your blog and they will come back, link to your posts, share the content and help establish your business as an industry leader.]]>
design@xstrememedia.com (Lesa Seibert) Web Design Tip of the Week Tue, 19 Jul 2011 05:00:00 +0000
Writing Better Business Blogs Part II http://www.xstrememedia.com/blog/47-web-design-tip-of-the-week/220-writing-better-business-blogs-part-ii.html http://www.xstrememedia.com/blog/47-web-design-tip-of-the-week/220-writing-better-business-blogs-part-ii.html
Like a songwriter, whose goal is to get their point across in as few words as possible, so is the goal of the blog writer.  Whenever a blog post is complete, go back and remove as many words as possible without changing the meaning of the content.  A very common mistake is the over-use of "you" and "your".  It is sometimes unavoidable but too much can ruin even the best sentence.  For example:
    
     Example 1 - To ensure a good business blog, you want to make it easy to read so you can convey the appropriate
     message to your target audience.

     Example 2 - A good business blog is easy to read while still conveying the appropriate message to its target audience.

By removing a few unnecessary words and with a little restructuring, Example 2 is easier to read and shorter than Example 1.

Another thing to remember when writing a blog is to get to the point quickly.  You should put the main points of the blog at the top of the post and work down.  Business blog readers don't have much time, so they want the information quickly.  Putting the main points first also helps with search engines because they index from the top down.  You can also use introductions, but keep them short and include the main focus in the intro. ]]>
design@xstrememedia.com (Lesa Seibert) Web Design Tip of the Week Tue, 12 Jul 2011 05:00:00 +0000
Writing Better Business Blogs http://www.xstrememedia.com/blog/47-web-design-tip-of-the-week/208-writing-better-business-blogs.html http://www.xstrememedia.com/blog/47-web-design-tip-of-the-week/208-writing-better-business-blogs.html
A blog can be important to the success of many businesses.  Blogs provide a way to communicate with consumers, gather feedback, increase brand awareness and influence search rankings.  While promotion is vital to the success of the blog, the content of your business blog will be the deciding factor for readers to return to the website and continue their relationship with your business.  A blog can establish you and your business as an expert in your field.  The main thing to remember is it's not all about you but it is all about your customers.

There is a major difference between writing articulate, intelligent sentences that address industry-specific issues, and stuffing sentences with jargon to appear as an expert on a topic.  Not only does excessive jargon confuse the audience but it gives the impression of over-compensating for material you don't understand.

Another major problem with jargon is that it alienates potential new readers.  Feeling overwhelmed after reading the first paragraph is extremely frustrating and will most likely lose readers for you.  So, dial down the jargon and make content more approachable but effective.

On the opposite side of jargon is being too casual.  While it depends on your audience, it is almost always a bad idea to step outside of the corporate mindset.  Even if your target audience is young and casual, blog posts still need to be professional.  Otherwise, many people, business and most media outlets will fail to take you or your business seriously.

There are times when casual is appropriate, but only a deep understanding of the target audience will determine if that is the right approach.  Even in this case, don't be too casual.

Next week we will look at more tips for writing business blogs.]]>
design@xstrememedia.com (Lesa Seibert) Web Design Tip of the Week Tue, 07 Jun 2011 05:00:00 +0000
Being on Top in 2011 http://www.xstrememedia.com/blog/47-web-design-tip-of-the-week/205-being-on-top-in-2011.html http://www.xstrememedia.com/blog/47-web-design-tip-of-the-week/205-being-on-top-in-2011.html
As we have talked about over the last few weeks, businesses need to build their strategies in 2011 around content creation and distribution.  As a business owner, you need to devise a content strategy that will enable them to build a following on social networks and make their brand or their business available anytime and anywhere to accommodate for mobile.

We discussed that optimizing your website without a lot of Flash on the front end is the best way to optimize it for SEO and visitors.  You need to make sure to keep in mind that it is very important to get across the purpose and goals of your business the shortest amount of time possible all while making sure to emphasize the physical location of the business as well as other information that is vital for the consumer on the go.  One in four searchers will have local intent - when a searcher is looking for your business at 6pm, they not only want to know the location but the hours of operation.

Mobile and social have become channels for reaching customers as much as websites.  Real time search, simpler website designs, engaging content and online advertising promotions are key to staying on top.  In 2011, there are multiple touch points for a client and if you aren't in all of them you are missing out. 

The biggest challenge for businesses adapting to the social mobilization trend in 2011 will be about keeping it simple, and avoiding complexities.  But remember, don't do everything at once.  First, make sure your website is optimized and sends the message you want to deliver.  Then, and only then, get on social and mobile. ]]>
design@xstrememedia.com (Lesa Seibert) Web Design Tip of the Week Tue, 17 May 2011 05:00:00 +0000
Less Flashy Designs http://www.xstrememedia.com/blog/47-web-design-tip-of-the-week/202-less-flashy-designs.html http://www.xstrememedia.com/blog/47-web-design-tip-of-the-week/202-less-flashy-designs.html
This year is going to be about getting your point across without a lot of flash - literally.  The quicker you can show your website visitors that your business can meet their needs, the better off you will be.

What this means to website owners is that visitors are choosing substance over style, in most instances, which will challenge website owners to achieve a balance.  The sites that manage to do this well will have designs that stand out but with content that gets right to the point without all the fluff.  There will be deeper functionalities that can be optimized for social media and mobile devices.

So, website owners, if you have a big Flash presence on your homepage, your preview on Google will not look nearly as enticing.  The same will be true if you have lots of little images on your home page.  Simple, bold designs are going to be the best going forward.   With all the changes that are taking place in search, 2011 will be a really good time to look at website redesign if their site was done more than two years ago and some newer sites, if they incorporate a lot of flash and are cluttered with lots of photos, ads, images, etc.

So as you are looking at your website, really look to see is there text and good information for your visitors and is it optimized for SEO.  If not, it's time to think about updating your site.]]>
design@xstrememedia.com (Lesa Seibert) Web Design Tip of the Week Tue, 03 May 2011 12:30:00 +0000
Real Time Web http://www.xstrememedia.com/blog/47-web-design-tip-of-the-week/199-real-time-web.html http://www.xstrememedia.com/blog/47-web-design-tip-of-the-week/199-real-time-web.html
The exciting developments that are taking place in real-time technology are going to impact every industry on the internet in 2011.  From SEO to e-commerce to website design, they all will feel the effects.  Google really boosted this trend with their introduction of real-time seach in 2010.

Waht is more significant than the technologies themselves are the many different ways in which they can and will be used.  Real-time search, real-time content distribution, real-time ad bidding, real-time analytics and real-time content translation  are just some of the areas in which technologies are changing the Web, therefore creating the need for a new set of stratgies in all areas.

To make sure that your website stays ahead of this trend, you must direct your focus on providing continually fresh and useful content that matters in real time.  Content that speaks to the current needs of your audience.  There is no better way to achieve this than by interacting with your customers on social networks.

Another way is to create and distribute useful blog posts and informational videos that allow users to comment on and share with each other.  Also invite them to write reviews of your products, services and business.  You should look at building an application or optimize your website to make sure that users have access to your business on their mobile devices.  Also consider adding live chat to your website that allows visitors the opportunity to talk with you while they are on your site, instead of having to send an email or pick up a phone.  Take a step further and initiate the chat - some live chat software allows you to see visitors on your site in real-time so if you see them looking around for more than a minute, you can initiate the chat and ask them if you can be of assistance to them.

To track traffic, make sure you look at some real-time analytics solutions to determine how visitors are interacting with your website while they are on the site.  One of those solutions is provided by Optify, and it gives website owners instant analysis that allows them to immediately address the needs of their visitors.]]>
design@xstrememedia.com (Lesa Seibert) Web Design Tip of the Week Tue, 22 Mar 2011 11:40:41 +0000