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Storm Biz - Website Management, Responsive Mobile, Tablet and Desktop Design

Can you really afford to lose almost 60% of users browsing your website?

Business Website Design, Mobile Website Design, Speciality Website Design, Joomla Website Management, Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine Marketing.

Storm Biz Responsive Design

small business

From the 1st October 2013, all websites that are designed by Storm Biz will now be Responsive Websites, fully view-able on mobile devices, tablets, desktops and laptops. What is Responsive Websites, why have we moved into this direction, and how does your website, traffic and users benefit from this, and finally what is the cost involved?

What is Responsive Websites Design?

We use the term responsive website design for websites that have a "different" display on tablets and mobile devices, compared to normal desktops and tablets. This is not the same as the old "Wap" websites, as the mobile and tablet version still contains graphics, and even image galleries and forms, or any components still found on a normal desktop version, the only difference is that the layout "responds" to the device that you are using, and there is no need to use the "Zoom" function on your phone to make the website readable and images view-able. Users do not want to keep scrolling up, down, left and right to view your content, they want it readable as it displays on the screen, anyone who has used an e-book device will know exactly how easy it is to read content that only scrolls down, and this is essentially what a responsive template creates.

joomla-management-450Why have we moved to Responsive Websites?

We were approached by one of our Graphic Design clients to redo his clients website into a responsive website, as the website was getting 70% searches on mobile devices. Although we have played with the idea of turning to responsive websites, we were never really sure the extra costs to our clients would justify the demand to change to responsive websites. So we did the research, discussed the issues, pros and cons, and what costs and time would be involved in turning normal websites to fully responsive websites. It turns out that 60% of searches on Google are done on mobile devices. This statistics has almost doubled since last year, and this is now the trend, as more and more people use their mobile devices to browse the internet. The statistics also show that 95% of people will leave your website if it does not display a mobile version of your website. Can you really afford to lose almost 60% of users browsing your website?

How does a responsive website affect your traffic, website look and feel, and user experience?

Our main objective is still to provide websites which are search engine friendly, displays beautifully on desktops and laptops, and now with the added advantage of displaying correctly on mobile devices and tablets. We have already stated that the need for mobile websites have increased dramatically over the past few years, with more searches being done on mobile devices, than any other devices. Since your website is responsive, your users will not skip your site and move on to one of your competitors whose site is already mobile friendly. This means that your traffic is increased, page hits are increased, and your users are now enjoying their experience on the mobile version of your website. Many people still assume that a mobile website is dull, boring, and contains no graphics, this assumption is incorrect, a mobile version simply compresses your website graphics, text and components into an easy to view style that is fully view-able on your phone, and enhances your users experience. Your users will know that you have taken the time and effort to provide them with a user friendly, mobile version of your website, without losing the quality of your desktop version.

What costs and time are involved in changing your current website to a responsive website?

At Storm Biz we don't believe in gradually learning how to do things... We jump in to the most difficult website we can do, as this teaches us everything we need to make future designs easier. Well this turned out to be true, as our first fully responsive website turned out to have 9 different colored themes, 12 different contact pages, 22+ different galleries, and over 30 Content pages. This complex website took us almost 3 weeks to complete. We have since changed our own website and accounting system to a responsive design, this only took us 4 days for both systems. The websites that we now design that are responsive, take an additional 1 - 3 days to design, implement and test (dependent on website and component complexity). Considering the increase of traffic that your website will now receive, the initial investment is minimal.

Since our main concern is that your website succeeds, we have re-looked at our pricing and adjusted it accordingly to include fully responsive websites. The time spent on a website design has now doubled, and time spent testing has almost tripled.

Please click below to view our packages and pricing:
Business Website Design Packages

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Search Engines and Spam

spamming search enginesSpamming Search EnginesWhat is Spam?

Spam (for Search Engines) refers to the use of any illegal technique to improve a page' ranking in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). Who decides what 's illegal? The SEs, who else?

Tons of articles have been written about search engines and spam. Why the need for another article? Because, believe it or not,  MOST of the major search engines are still vulnerable to MANY unethical techniques used by malicious Webmasters.

Spam has been known for a long time. For years, Webmasters tried to cheat the search engines. Today, many SEs say they know all the tricks and penalize those pages. As you will see, most SEs only SAY that they will punish spammers, but in fact they DON'T.

What is Search Engine Optimization?

Search Engine Optimization, Placement, Positioning, Ranking, or whatever you want to call it, is the process of designing a Web page that can be easily indexed by the SEs and receive high rankings in the SERPs.

My Experience with Search Engines

Recently, using some major U.S. SEs, I made a search for a Web design company in New York. Let me to share with you my highly disappointing experience.

The search engine results pages (SERPs) in most of the search engines were full of Web pages that used one or more spamming techniques. The most frequently encountered illegal strategies used by many SEs were:

  • Keyword stuffing
  • Page redirect
  • Mirror domains

Keyword Stuffing

Keyword stuffing is the adding of many relevant, sometimes irrelevant, words in the:

Keywords META tagKeywords META TagKeywords META tag

One of the criteria some search engines use to rank pages in the results list is the presence of relevant words in the Keywords META tag. From use to abuse is a little step, so some webmasters place many words, repeating them many times in the hope that the page will rank higher. The record was a page that had 1,150 words (no mistake, WORDS not characters) in the Keyword Meta tag. The word "design" was repeated 209 times. Unbelievable, right?
What are Search Engines' positions regarding this spamming technique? One of the Web's most important Search Engines, in their submission guidelines, states that it will "exclude submissions" with "excessive keywords". It looks like 1,150 words are not "excessive" enough, because THAT SE and many others index the page.

Besides stuffing words in the Keywords META tags, some Webmasters also add lots of words in the:

Visible page

Another criteria some search engines rank sites in the results list is the so-called "word frequency": the more times a word is repeated in the content of a page, the higher are the chances it will be near the top in the results list.

Some Webmasters often abuse this criteria by placing words or phrases- most of the time- at the bottom of the page, many, MANY times. Do you recall the site that has 1,150 words in the Keywords Meta tags? Well, the same site just "copied and pasted" those words in the copy of the page.

You might think that it's weird to see a bunch of words inserted in the page. Well, Webmasters have found two methods to work around this problem: "tiny text" and "hidden- or invisible- text". "Tiny text" means that the Webmaster places the text in a very small size, most of the time hardly legible. "Invisible text" means the use of the same color for text AND for background, so users will NOT see the words but SE's spider WILL see, so the page will rank higher than it deserves.

The Search Engines' position regarding this spamming technique? One of the Web's most important Search Engine, in its guidelines writes: "We must sometimes exclude submissions" of "pages with text that is not easily read, either because it is too small or is obscured by the background of the page". Other SE's will "significantly downgrade a page's ranking" ... "if words cannot be read due to their small size or color".

Despite these statements, both SEs, as well as other SEs, index pages with text in the same color as the background. To illustrate the total lack of respect for users with little fear for SEs, one Web page has a whopping 936 words in BLACK text on a WHITE background. Incredible!

web page redirectWeb Page RedirectPage Redirect

One page can be redirected either by using the "refresh" META tag or using cloaking techniques. Why the need to redirect a page? One of the legitimate reasons to redirect a page is having a new URL for the site. But some Webmasters abuse page redirection to obtain higher rankings for their pages.

How does it works?

Using the "refresh" META tag:

This technique consists in building 2 pages: one, highly "optimized" - read "spammed"- with many, MANY words in the KW and Description META tag and also in the Title tag. Most of the time the copy of the page is also highly "optimized" with KW stuffing- many times with invisible text.

These pages called: "Doorways Pages", "Gateway", "Entry" or "Bridge" pages most of the time display a "Click here to enter the site" or simply "Enter" or sometimes "select Flash or HTML" message on the entire page. Using the "refresh" META tag the Webmaster will "redirect" the user to a second page, which will appear after a determined number of seconds after seeing the first page. If the time is set to "0" (zero) seconds, the viewer will NOT see the first page, but directly the second one.

Why two pages? The first one shown to SEs as highly "optimized" will help the page rank very high in the SERPSs, by cheating the SEs. The second one is "nicer", not too much spam, a good page for viewers.

Cloaking technique is probably the most controversial spamming technique.

It also uses 2 pages, one for the SE and another for the viewer. The big difference between this technique and the one above is that in the first case it is possible to see the code of the first page (shown to SEs), but in the second case it is not.

Hiding the Meta data (especially keywords) in the code can provide a huge advantage in this current highly competitive market, as there are known cases of Webmasters that stole a competitor's keywords in an attempt to rank higher.

What are search engines' positions regarding redirecting? Do not submit any site with an address that redirects to another address" or "Your site cannot mirror or redirect to another Web site" or we "may permanently ban from our index any sites or authors who engage in cloaking to distort their search rankings" or simply: "Don't cloak".

Pretty clear, right? Then why some Webmasters insist in using cloaking techniques? To hide their pages' code from prying eyes. Bad guys are not afraid to spam- most of the time, SEs only SAY: "don't do that". If you do, there will be NO- or sometimes very little- punishment.

Mirror domains

Consists in building hundreds or even thousands of pages with SAME content but with altogether DIFFERENT URLs (Web addresses). The advantage is clear: by finding the "right" tricks to cheat the SE algorithm one can "dominate" the SERPSs with pages one after another. One company had 62 pages in the Top 100 results list.

What are the search engines positions regarding this spamming technique? "Do not submit mirror sites". "Your site cannot mirror or redirect to another Web site". "Do not submit" . . . "the same pages from multiple domains". But in practice most of the SEs are vulnerable to this technique.

Spamming in on page elementsSpamming in on Page ElementsQuestions for:

Search Engines

When are you going to be SERIOUS about your job?

When will you PUNISH the spammers? Have CLEAN indexes? It is not difficult. A dialog with the Webmasters community might result in opinions such as THIS one:

"I can't understand why the search engines aren't professional enough to put their anti-spam efforts into a detailed agreement and have anyone that wants to be listed sign their agreement. Such an agreement would spell out very clearly what is and what isn't allowed. Anyone breaking the rules would be subject to specific penalties or banning, but would be notified and have a chance to fix the problem especially if the infraction was not too serious".

Clear enough?

Why do you accept advertising from sites which use spamming techniques? So, if a page cannot achieve high rankings, for few buck it becomes "featured" site or listing and voilà!, on the top of the list. Is this the latest trick for a poor site to be listed high? Now, on one hand, in your guidelines you tell Webmasters not to spam, on the other hand, if a spammer PAYS, that's no problem. Good bye relevancy, hello profits! Here is a comment by a high-ranking official from a major SE: "the more we take payment for listings, the more you'll get great results" Excuse me? "Big" pockets' sites are NOT always more relevant than "poor" pockets' sites.

I know I'm not the first one to ask but, when are you going to make a CLEAR distinction between paid listings and real results? The user needs to make an informed decision. The user needs to be helped, not confused.

Webmasters

Why use techniques seen by the SEs as spam? Why take the risk of having pages penalized, or even permanently banned, from indexes? Two months of glory, then a new domain, blacklisted again- poor way to market any business.

Think it's impossible to get higher rankings WITHOUT using spam? My answer is NO. Do your homework, read thoroughly and abide to SEs guidelines, cross your fingers and you'll be # 1.

Have you ever seen one of your page's ranking lower than a page which uses spamming techniques? I bet you did. Now, how did you react? Did you report it to the SE or you said "nah, that's no use anyway"? Or perhaps you thought it's not nice to turn in the Webmaster. OK, let me ask you something: would you like, that while waiting in line to buy a ticket to a movie, somebody, who comes AFTER you, go in the front and buy a ticket BEFORE you do?

Or perhaps THIS is the solution?

A site will be nominated and posted on a listserv which any member can second then the offender will be notified of his conviction by the spamdex police. They will have a week to clean it up and re-submit and remove the offending listing from the search engines. After a week the offender will be reported to the search engines. The search engines will have a month to act or they will be added to the list as an accomplice to the activity.

Search Engine Results PageSearch Engine Results PageHuh? What do you think?

Site Owners

When are you going to wake up? What am I talking about? Well, I'm taking about a report, which says, "nearly 46 percent of the marketers surveyed said they allocate less than 0.5 percent of their annual marketing budgets on search engine optimization (SEO) services". Now, read it again, and again.

So, you spend 95,5 % on gizmos such as Flash and Java Scripts and less than 1% for SEO. Let me tell you something: bells and whistles will never help a page rank high in SERPs. NEVER. In fact it will work against.

Which are your rankings, by the way? When was the last time you checked, if ever? Are you in the Top 30 results for your strategic keywords when the user runs a search? You're not? Practically you don't exist for your prospects. Still wonder why so many .com CLOSE? Are you going to be next?

Do you need a Ph.D. to realize that the SEO- your Web site "salesman"- is more necessary than ever? One of these days you'll discover the power of search engine marketing: the cheapest yet most effective way to promote your site to more than 300 million prospects. Bright future for SEO.
I can see a bright future for the SEO, don't you?

When are you going to understand that SEOs is NOT only optimizing the Keyword Meta Tag? SEO is a highly specialized, time-consuming and sometimes expensive but absolutely NECESSARY task. It's both an art and a science to position a Web page near the top in SERPs. So, forget about your in-house SEO "expert", shop around and find a reputable SEO firm or consultant.

Do;s and don'ts when you talk to the SEO guy:

If a Web Marketer suggests you to get rid of that flashy or framed Home Page, just DO IT! Or, don't blame HIM for the consequences. If a SEO says something about cloaking and doorways, run, and I mean it.
Don't even think telling a SEOs, that you'll pay him, AFTER the pages show up in the search engines. Enough said. Don't be a kid by asking him to GUARANTEE you Top 10 positions! No honest SEO will do it. The only thing a SEO can guarantee is an increase in the number of pages indexed and an increase of the current rankings. With some luck your sales will sky rocket.

Last thing: please, avoid those submission tools and their hype: "submit your site to 500,000 SEs for $24.95". Submit your Web site by hand. Period.

IN CONCLUSION:

SEM Search Engine MarketingSEM Search Engine MarketingSince the summer of 1995, when I worked for the first time with a Search Engine, I saw some SEs disappearing, and lots of new SEs appearing.

Competition is good, but users might be confused with thousands of SEs. Besides, not everybody knows sophisticated searching techniques such as the Boolean operators, so there is a lot of frustration out there. If we add the irrelevancy of the results in most of the SEs, we have a pretty sad picture.

A clean index should be the main priority for any search Engine. If a SE gives irrelevant results, the user will switch to another SE. Can a SE afford losing users in todays'fierce competition between SEs? I don't think so.

To wrap up, I am not saying here that ALL the Search Engines are vulnerable to ALL the known spamming techniques. All I say is that MOST of the Search Engines are vulnerable to MOST of the bad tricks.

I also believe that it is NOT important to list WHICH SEs are vulnerable to WHICH spamming techniques or WHICH sites spam WHICH SEs. The important thing is it STILL happens.

Not only in the American SEs. I've checked also Spanish, German, French and Italian SEs. Less spam, but still there.

Please do not hesitate to contact us for a free quotation, or more information

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Designing your own website vs. Storm Biz designing your site for you?

what you need to knowWhat You Need to KnowYou may ask yourself, "why should I pay for designing my website, when there are so many different free website designing programs?"

Before I explain what we do for your website, let me ask you 10 important questions you need to know before designing a Search Engine Friendly, and User Friendly website? If you can answer all these questions below, then by all means you are qualified to design your site. If there is even 1 question you are unable to answer, then your site will fail, and it will be better to get a professional designer to develop your website.

  1. What is html, and how do I manipulate it for my web design?
  2. What is Photoshop / Corel?
  3. What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
  4. What is Search Engine Submission (SES)?
  5. Why should I not use microsoft word to design my site?
  6. Why should I not use frontpage to design my site?
  7. What is google analytics, how will it help me?
  8. What is the difference between php, and asp?
  9. What is Meta Tags and Meta Keywords, how will my site do without it?
  10. What is a sitemap, what will it do for my site?

Google Ranking FactorHigh Google RankingsWe consider all of the above when designing a website, we use our experience in high google rankings, and implement this in every site we design... So, considering all of this, we recommend / do the following:

  • All our websites will be designed using php, and css, this will help with speed, and with search engines.
  • All websites are customized to the clients requirements.
  • All our web design packages come with the small SEO Package, ensuring all links are search engine friendly
  • Search Engine Submission is offered at a low monthly rate, which means we submit your website, meta tags and meta keywords to 150+ websites every month, getting the best possible rank for your keywords, resulting in possible clients finding your site..
  • We include a sitemap in every website we design, this helps search engines navigate, and index all your site pages.

Before considering designing your site we advise you to consult a professional, as this is what we do, and we are good at it.

You know your business, we know our business... and we would never try to run your business for you!

Contact us for a free quotation, or more information

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Guide to choosing the right web design company

judge the book by its coverThis Time DO Judge The Book By It's CoverChoosing a web design company can be a little tricky, and many times it's a gamble, but if you know what to look for, you can save yourself a lot of stress and frustration. If you don't, however, you could be stuck with poor service and empty promises, as well as being faced with ridiculous bills. Take time to empower yourself with the following knowledge, and learn to spot a bad choice in web design companies from a mile...

LOOKS

This is one of those times, that judging a book by it's cover is in your best interests. A web design company's website is it's book cover, so naturally, if their website is not stimulating...chances are that they will create an unstimulating design for your website...which in turn, is YOUR book cover. If your book cover is amateurish, your potential client may very well pass you by, imagining that your service, or product, would be as exciting as the site they've just seen...

LOOKS vs PRICE

If the client liaison of the web design company drives a Ferrari, there's a very good chance that they are overcharging their customers. Web design prices vary greatly. There are no set guidelines for quality ,nor are there any recommended pricing structures, so one must use one's own discretion here. I can't tell you that R 4000 is a good price for a small website, because it depends on the web design itself. If I may use a fine art analogy here. R 1 million is a ridiculous price to pay for a Trechikoff, but an incredible bargain for a Van Gogh.

EXAMPLES

If the web design company does not supply examples of their work or some form of portfolio, it can mean one of two things. Either the company is just starting out and has no work to showcase yet, or they are not confident enough to display their work because it is not very good. The other problem I've come across here is when a web design agency has a long list of clients that they have allegedly done work for, but no links to the work itself. In cases like these, you can rest assured that at least half of their clientele are made up and the other half of their clientele are upset by their shoddy workmanship. Bottom line is: If the company is any good, they will proudly display examples of their work. If the company just doesn't have any work to display, you're taking a gamble. It's your call.

lazy and unreliable manLazy and Unreliable ManSERVICE

There are three kinds of service you will come across in the web design industry. The first kind are lazy and unreliable, the second kind are very enthusiastic and will promise you the world, but won't deliver, and the last kind (which is the kind you are looking for) will get back to you promptly, and meet, or even exceed your expectations. The latter is very difficult to come by. Here's how you can spot the different kinds...Should you ask for a quote from a web design company or get in touch with them via email and they do not get back to you within twelve hours, then you can expect this kind of service for the entirety of the job. They are lazy and do not feel that you are important enough for them to reply promptly. The second kind is more difficult to spot. This kind are skilled in promotional talking but lack the technical skill/knowledge to deliver, so asking a few technical questions should do the trick. Instead of listening to the words they use to reply, watch their body language to see if they look uncomfortable with the question.

LOCATION

A good internet connection for both parties, in most cases, rules out the significance of where the designers offices are located. In fact, if you have a tight deadline, it is probably better to have an online relationship because when you send an email with instructions, the web designer is already at his/her computer to make the changes, as opposed to having to drive back to their premises and prepare themselves for work mode again. Even material for the job can be emailed because unlike their graphic designer counterparts, the files are low resolution, therefore small in size. One thing to keep in mind though, is that if their offices are in a very exclusive area/office park, you can probably expect to pay "exclusive" prices.

SEO

A good web design company will design your website with search engine optimization in mind. It is no good to have a beautiful website that no one is ever going to see because search engines can't read the format in which it was designed. Ask your designer about their website marketing options. A lot of companies say they offer this but really don't know much about it. If a designer can't tell you exactly how they have optimized your site for search engines, then they probably have not.

meeting a deadlineMeeting a DeadlineDEADLINES

The last factor to take into consideration is the web designers ability to work within given deadlines. In a deadline situation it is almost always better to deal directly with the person/s who are going to be doing the work. In many large corporations, they will send a client liaison to receive instruction from the client, but in many cases the client liaison is only trained to appease the client, by saying "yes we can do that", "sure, you will have it tomorrow", but does not have an inkling of what the work entails, and then will go back to the designer only to be told that there are problems with what was promised. This back-and-forth liaising lends itself to miscommunication and is ultimately a waste of valuable time. The best way to see if a web design company can meet your deadline is to give them a smaller job first, with its own deadline. The Bible says "Those who can be trusted with little, can also be trusted with much".

For more information, or to request a free quotation, please contact us

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Keywords are the key to good website design

SEO Keyword researchS.E.O Keyword ResearchWe all know potential clients won't come just because you built the site - the site has to place well in the search engines to pull the traffic. Of course, placement can be bought through Pay Per Click advertising, but there is nothing as satisfying to a web designer as a top position in the free results.

How do you get there? In a word: keywords. Design your web site for search engines from the very get go, and that means, start with your keyword research. Once you have those terms in hand, use them to plan your site and content.

domain name registrationDomain Name RegistrationWhat's in a Name?

If you haven't purchased a domain name yet, then think about ways to incorporate at least one of your keywords. Hyphens are fine, but if you can get bluewidgets.com, go for it. Or www.companynamewidgets.com ... you can rank well without it, but every little bit helps.

website widgetWebsite WidgetsSite Content - Give Them What They Want

If you plan your content based on your keyword research, you give searchers what they are looking for. Sometimes you have to get creative, of course. For example, if you sell red widgets, but your research tells you people search far more often for blue widgets, then you might want to create and optimize a page "red Widgets Vs. Blue Widgets." Sounds silly, but you get the idea. And it not only brings the searcher for red widgets to your page, it converts them to a blue widget buyer.

Create at least one page for each keyword variation, and on that page use your phrase:

  • In an h1 tag once
  • In an h2 or h3 tag once
  • In the first paragraph
  • In bold somewhere in the content
  • In the anchor text of a link to an authority site.
  • In the anchor text of a link to another page on the site

keywordsKeywordsSite Design Architecture and SEO

Your keywords will also figure heavily in the website's structure - especially if it's a large site. Where there are natural divisions, create sub-directories with keyword rich names: www.yourdomain/blue-widgets/ for example.

It can also be a powerful move to use your keywords in file names - your HTML and graphic file names. Assume for a moment you sell widgets of all different colours, and they are search terms ... you would have pages named:

- www.yourdomain/blue-widgets.html,

- www.yourdomain/black-widgets.html,

- www.yourdomain/white-widgets.html and so on.

Use those keywords in the graphic files names as well. Take your home page, for example. Your logo should be called widgets-logo.gif.

alternative textAlternative Text for ImagesOther On Site SEO Design Elements

Be sure to use Alt Tags for images, and title attributes for links. Don't stuff the alt tags with keywords, but describe the images accurately, and do it with the visitor in mind too. Here's why: we know the search engines do use the text from alt tags to help index a site, but did you know that Google sometimes uses the alt tag text as the description in the SERPs! It's rare, but it happens. I've seen it on my own site.

The jury's out on whether this last technique is really effective, but many SEO Web Designers now use the title attribute on links. If you look at the code for the link to my site – or put your mouse over the link, you will see what I mean.

Off Site SEO – Link Building

Wait a minute, link building isn't part of design is it? Yes, it is! You used to be able to build link popularity through reciprocal link programs, but that is no longer an effective gambit. To get links, you need to create the sort of content that makes other webmasters link to your site. It might be a forum, a blog with constantly updated information, or a tool that people need. Build your content to attract links, as well as visitors.

Incorporate these suggestions into your web site, and you will begin to see how SEO and Web Design can be synonymous!

Contact us for a free quotation, or to discuss your website needs

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