Aug
28
2014

Social Media, Worth it or Not?

Social Media, Worth it or Not?

The question we hear often when being asked about Social Media, “is it worth it or not?” Without a doubt, the answer is YES! Here at PTC Computer Solutions, we recommend highly that you be involved with Social Media as a part of your business plan. It doesn’t matter whether you are the smallest of small businesses or the largest of large businesses, Social Media is a MUST! However, as with anything, there are good ways to approach utilizing Social Media and then there are not so good ways. PTC outlines some of the best practices, information, and statistics on Social Media as follows.

First, some statistics. Should you be using Social Media marketing tactics at all? The statistics support strongly that you should. In a recent Social Media Marketing Industry Report, 97 percent of marketers utilize Social Media as part of their marketing plan. 92 percent reported that Social Media was important to their business which is up from 86 percent in 2013. These kinds of numbers harken back to the late 90s when businesses were deciding whether to utilize the Internet as part of their business plan. The numbers reveal that if you are not utilizing Social Media, then you are missing the boat.

Second, how much time and money should you put in to your Social Media Marketing Plan? Budgeting is something we work with regularly for our clients. Getting the Marketing Budget optimized is what every company wants and needs. As part of the Marketing Budget, the Social Media Marketing aspect should be of critical importance. What is the ROI for Social Media? Quantifying the expense of time and money is difficult for most people. Going back to the statistics for a minute, more than 60 percent of Social Media Marketers spend up to 10 hours weekly on their Social Media Campaigns. 19 percent spend more than 20 hours per week on their campaigns. These are large numbers for one portion of a Marketing Budget.

Quantifying the time spent to real financial return is one of the more difficult aspects. Most marketing specialists agree that there are a number of intangible benefits including exposure and increased traffic to their website. Loyalty and the attainment of higher marketplace intelligence is another intangible element marketers quote. Marketers report an increase of developing loyal fan bases from 65 percent in 2013 to 72 percent in 2014 along with an increase in sales which jumped 7 percent to 50 percent in 2014.

Can increased time spent in Social Media Marketing improve the return? Most agree that the longer they spend on Social Media the greater the return. The ROI appears to increase with a greater time due to increased exposure and efforts in improving customer relationships.

Online marketing is an incredibly dynamic environment with many moving parts. It is a constantly changing environment as well. Keeping involved and staying ahead of the latest improvements is what we do at PTC Computer Solutions. If you are looking to get noticed on the Internet but don’t know where to begin, let PTC Computer Solutions help you get started or help improve your current website and website marketing plan. PTC can plan a full marketing strategy and budget for your company and complete any web marketing efforts you wish to achieve in order to deliver a consistent and effective message to your prospects. Contact David W. B. Parker (when you think of “W. B.” think of WeB) at davidp@ptccomputersolutions.com or go to  our web site at www.ptccomputersolutions.com for more information.

By David W. B. Parker
President
PTC Computer Solutions
8/28/2014

PTC Computer Solutions - Internet, Web Sites, SEO, Online Marketing

PTC Computer Solutions

WEB SITE DESIGN & DEVELOPMENT ~ SEO ~ ONLINE MARKETING ~ SOCIAL MEDIA ~ IT PROJECT MANAGEMENT ~ MARKETING PLANS ~ ETC.

PTC Computer Solutions – Internet, Web Sites, SEO, Online Marketing

PTC Computer Solutions
Jacksonville Beach, Florida
904.992.9888
davidp@ptccomputersolutions.com
www.ptccomputersolutions.com

0
Aug
06
2014

Responsive, Mobile, or Dynamic?

Responsive Design is the latest buzz word in the world of website development.  For the last year, PTC Computer Solutions has been fielding the question of “Should we have a Responsive web design or not?”  The answer is not a simple one.  It really depends on what your objectives are.  The idea behind it is that it is responsive to the user interface.  So, whether the user is accessing your website with a desktop, tablet, or smartphone, they should receive the same or similar content adjusted for their interface.  It sounds like it should be the way to go…or does it?

The keys to a good responsive design are to ensure the experience is equally enjoyable whether the user is accessing through their smartphone or on their desktop or anywhere in between.  The issue with this is that there is not always the same objective when a user is accessing from any of these interfaces.  Therefore, a responsive design may not be the best solution for your users.

Think of it from the perspective of the user.  If a prospect is accessing your website from a smartphone, they are likely looking for information from your website that is time sensitive, geographically scoped, or contact oriented in nature.  They are not typically accessing your site for any other reason from their smartphone.

Whereas, when a prospect is accessing a website from a desktop interface, it is more likely to be a part of research that is being performed.  This research may be to research company information or to find out more about a company.  This is a completely different section of the site from where they might land in the event of using a smartphone.  So, it would be a better scenario to provide them a different experience.

Ideally, separate website experiences should be created for each interface medium a user might access a website. This can be done dynamically by reading the interface the user is interacting from upon accessing the website.  Ask yourself whether you need something that is responsive to the user or whether it is important to deliver a mobile-centric interface for them.  A Dynamic website would be ideal, but there is more programming and likely more cost associated with this type of design.  So, choosing your design mode is of critical importance.  Here is a list of Pros and Cons we have found useful for each of these:

Responsive Design

  • Pros:
    1 URL for both versions, no duplicationEasier and cheaper to maintainPopularity consolidationNo need for redirections
  • Cons:Possible redesign needLess differentiation of Mobile ContentLower mobile focused user experience

Mobile Design

  • Pros:Easier implementationCapacity to differentiate mobile contentBetter mobile user experience
  • Cons:Content duplication riskSplit of link popularityHigher cost of maintenance

Dynamic Design

  • Pros:1 URL for both versions, no duplicationPopularity consolidationCapacity to differentiate mobile contentBetter mobile user experience
  • Cons:Complexity of technical implementationHigher cost of maintenance

Know what you are wanting to deliver before embarking in any one direction.  If you are likely to be delivering content to people on the move, then go with a mobile site.  Otherwise, look at the Responsive potential.  If your users might be coming in to certain aspects of your website from different media to access different portions of your site, you should consider a dynamic design whereby you can provide the best options for just the mobile aspects needed to a smartphone interface.  Consider your options before you get started.

If you are looking to get noticed on the Internet but don’t know where to begin, let PTC Computer Solutions help you get started or help improve your current website and website marketing plan.  PTC can plan a full marketing strategy and budget for your company and complete any web marketing efforts you wish to achieve in order to deliver a consistent and effective message to your prospects.  Contact David W. B. Parker (when you think of “W. B.” think of WeB) at davidp@ptccomputersolutions.com or go to www.ptccomputersolutions.com for more information.

By David W. B. Parker
President
PTC Computer Solutions
8/6/2014

PTC Computer Solutions - Internet, Web Sites, SEO, Online Marketing

PTC Computer Solutions
P.O. Box 51604
Jacksonville Beach, FL 32240
904.992.9888
davidp@ptccomputersolutions.com
www.ptccomputersolutions.com

0
Jul
09
2014

#1 On Google

So, you want to be #1 on the Google search.  No problem.  You get emails every day promising this.  Anyone can do that, right?  Wrong!!!  No one can promise that, no matter what they say.  With the changing dynamic that IS the internet, there is no way to guarantee you will be at the top.  However, there are a number of things you can do to move your web site high up the list and maybe even in to the #1 spot.  Here are some tips to do that:

  1. Analyze what words (keywords) are best for finding your web site.  Think long and hard about what the primary words or word phrases are that someone might search on to find your web site.  Know these phrases and don’t try to be too encompassing.  Use these words and word phrases to analyze how high they rank on searching the web utilizing such tools as Google Tools and Bing Tools.
  2. Getting your page title right.  Once you understand the best words for finding your web site, you can concentrate on getting your page titles right.  Try to keep your page titles concise and relevant.  Make the title of your page this phrase.  Make a different title for each page of your website.  That is the easiest way to convey maximum relevancy.
  3. Optimize the URL for the page so that the keywords appear in it in the right order.  Change the URL of the page utilizing best use naming skills.  For any Blogs, change the title to reflect the best words for the search engines to find this page.
  4. Maximize the content relevancy and make sure your primary keywords are scattered at least a few times around the page.  It will be easier if there is more content.  People don’t read much these days, so this is content you might want to put lower in the view pane for those interested in reading more.  Google does not like keyword stuffing, so make the content relevant and readable.  Add your keywords or synonyms for your keywords into the sub-headings on your page if you can.  People just want to see bullet points with less to read or pictures they can click, so don’t force people to read.  It’s for the search engines not the people.
  5. Work on getting links to point to any page on your website.  The quality of the link is important, but any link is better than no link.  Linking in to your web site from any source will help.  You can build these utilizing your social media as well as generating buzz with networking and press.
  6. Get as many links pointing directly to a page you want to rank well.  Typically, the concentration is on the homepage but all pages on the web site are of importance and some searches will end up on these pages before they end up on the homepage.  This can be helped with pointing a link from your homepage to an inner page you want to rank high for a specific search phrase.  The anchor text of the link should be the exact phrase you want that page to get ranked for.  Then, also try to get other websites to link to that page too.  Don’t become overly concerned about getting relevant anchor text with every link.   Take any link you can get.  Remember that links are worth much more than just for the anchor text relevancy boost.   If you can get a link from a trustworthy source, then by all means get it no matter what anchor text it uses.

The best way to improve your ranking is to improve your relevancy.  Controlling those things on your web site are easiest.  Improve your on-page score by improving the title, fixing the URL and adding good content to the page.  Beyond that you are going to have to try to get other sites to link to you.  High quality links are the big difference maker.

If you are looking to get noticed on the Internet but don’t know where to begin, let PTC Computer Solutions help you get started or help improve your current website and website marketing plan.  PTC can plan a full marketing strategy and budget for your company and complete any web marketing efforts you wish to achieve in order to deliver a consistent and effective message to your prospects.  Contact David W. B. Parker (when you think of “W. B.” think of WeB) at davidp@ptccomputersolutions.com or go to www.ptccomputersolutions.com for more information.

By David W. B. Parker
President
PTC Computer Solutions
7/9/2014

PTC Computer Solutions - Internet, Web Sites, SEO, Online Marketing

PTC Computer Solutions
P.O. Box 51604
Jacksonville Beach, FL 32240
904.992.9888
davidp@ptccomputersolutions.com
www.ptccomputersolutions.com

0
Jun
11
2014

10 Mobile Web Strategy Objectives

PTC Computer Solutions is involved with many companies interested in improving their Web Marketing Strategy for the Mobile environment.  More so in recent years than previously with the increasing population of Mobile Browsers.  Global smartphone penetration is now 16.7 percent in a recent study which is a 46.6 percent growth rate in a year.  With this kind of growth, companies are realizing the importance of ensuring their Mobile Web Strategy is in place.  When considering your Mobile Web Strategy, there are a number of questions a company should ask and answer.  But, the Top 10 questions according to a dotMobi whitepaper and ones we believe are the most important are as follows:

  1. What are the goals for your business?
    Decide what the goals are for mobile users as a part of an overall online strategy. Defining what you’re business is will be part of this objective.  For instance, if you’re an e-commerce business, you’ll want to drive sales, or if you’re a brand, it may be to build awareness and engagement. Whatever kind of company it is will define the mobile strategy to meet clear business objectives.
  2. What are the levels of mobile traffic?
    Understanding the existing traffic is essential to getting an appropriate mobile strategy. Once you have an understanding of what devices are actually visiting the web site, decisions can be made on how best to cater to that traffic. Analytics should inform data-driven decisions on what your users are engaged in within your site.
  3. Are the analytics correct?
    Many current analytics solutions do not fully report on mobile devices due to the fact that they rely extensively on JavaScript. There may be more mobile traffic than these analytic tools are able to analyze, and from a wider variety of devices. You should check with your analytics provider how often their device database is updated.
  4. Should there be a concentration on Native Apps?
    A mobile app is not a full mobile strategy, regardless of how many different Operating Systems are targeted. Your customers still need to find it and download the app before using it. Don’t forget each mobile ecosystem has its own submission procedures, and each time you update your app, you will run up against these.  A true mobile strategy embraces all mobile devices.
  5. Should you engage in a Responsive Design?
    Responsive Design is a much talked about technique to make a website adapt to different devices. Using Responsive Design techniques allows the ability to serve a single HTML document to all desktop browsers and smartphones. This attractive concept means only one experience has to be designed and maintained. However, Responsive Design often gets confused with building a “proper” mobile website. Responsive doesn’t deliver a mobile specific experience because it strives to deliver the same experience; this one-experience-fits-all approach and a limited range of addressable devices won’t be suitable for all websites. Also, it needs a great deal of CSS and Javascript to make it work, which means it’s often slow to render on lesser devices or on slower connections. It will involve extra testing and time costs. Responsive Design is a great tool, but it isn’t intended to serve as a replacement for mobile web sites.
  6. What is the Web Marketing Budget?
    Without a clear idea of budget constraints, it will be difficult to define a Mobile Strategy. Native apps need to be promoted and there is a separate development cost for each platform. Although solutions exist to wrap a mobile web site as a native app, native elements are often needed and each additional platform means more complexity in interface design, testing and maintenance. Developing a good mobile web site versus a native app is almost invariably cheaper.
  7. What should a Mobile Web Site do?
    First and foremost it should meet your customers’ needs. In general, a lighter, simpler page should result in a better experience for your customer. For mobile strategies, an understanding of what people are doing on your web site with a mobile device is important.  People are more likely to know what they want when accessing from this platform and the experience needs to quickly guide them to their destination. From a computer, users are more likely to browse for things they might like but not as much from the mobile environment. For this reason, a mobile site can include elements not present on the regular site. Having knowledge of the device helps make decisions on:

    • Using tel: or wtai: hyperlinks, so that the user can click-to-call phone numbers on a page if the device supports them.
    • If the device has GPS, you should ensure that the user’s location is picked up from GPS rather than forcing them to enter location data in a form.
    • If the device has a touch-screen, you should adapt your CSS to ensure that items are big enough to be easily tapped with a finger tip.
  8. What devices will the Mobile Web Site work on?
    Clearly define what devices you want your Mobile Web Strategy to work for. This will typically include recent iOS and Android devices but it may be worth seeking a wider range if you think that your customers are more varied e.g. Tablets, RIM, Windows’ Phone. Web firms who are not up to speed in mobile often take a reductive approach that just works on iOS and more popular Android phones. Device coverage should always be validated against your analytics.
  9. How will device fragmentation be addressed with the Mobile Web Site?
    There are multiple approaches to handling diversity. A common approach is to take a small number of basic templates grouping phones according to their specifications/capabilities, for example non touch-screen phones, smartphones, tablets  and low-end phones and then further finesse the experience by resizing images to fit exactly into the resolution in question.  Other sites use a more fine-grained approach that alters every element on the page dynamically according to the access device. But it is important to first know what the requesting device is.
  10. Is a Device Detection Strategy in place?
    Device detection allows any website to accurately identify the capabilities of each accessing device in real time. This device information allows the site to make decisions about which experience to show users or how best to format the content before sending it to the user. Having device detection in place ensures that the site is optimal for the platform and delivers a much richer experience on different devices.

If you are looking to get noticed on the Internet but don’t know where to begin, let PTC Computer Solutions help you get started or help improve your current website and website marketing plan.  PTC can plan a full marketing strategy and budget for your company and complete any web marketing efforts you wish to achieve in order to deliver a consistent and effective message to your prospects.  Contact David W. B. Parker (when you think of “W. B.” think of WeB) at davidp@ptccomputersolutions.com or go to www.ptccomputersolutions.com for more information.

By David W. B. Parker
President
PTC Computer Solutions
6/11/2014

PTC Computer Solutions - Internet, Web Sites, SEO, Online Marketing

PTC Computer Solutions
P.O. Box 51604
Jacksonville Beach, FL 32240
904.992.9888
davidp@ptccomputersolutions.com
www.ptccomputersolutions.com

0
May
08
2014

Social Marketing Trends

We at PTC Computer Solutions have heard on a number of occasions that clients are overwhelmed with Social Media.  They just don’t know where to begin and where to end.  And, it’s all so trendy and fluid that there are some things one day that are gone the next.  Clients tell us that it would be great if there were a simple guide for making social media marketing easier.  We are in the thick of this and we get it.  There are a number of different guides to Social Media Marketing available on the web.  But, we’ve compiled some quick data from a recent Infographic for you right here.  Take a look:

  • Facebook: Photos, photos, photos. Users of the platform upload at least 350 million of them every day, so they’re a great way for marketers to drive engagement.
  • Twitter: Twitter users also have an affinity for multimedia, and brands can take advantage of this with Twitter Cards. The social network recently introduced Website Cards, making it easier than ever for brands to make web pages more engaging.
  • Google+: G+ is already integrated with YouTube, but brands can take it a step further by using Hangouts to create interactive, shareable content.
  • YouTube: Branded videos are all the talk these days, and they don’t necessarily require a huge investment of time and resources. Marketers can combine existing videos to make new ones, and even adapt PDFs into short-form videos.
  • LinkedIn: Multimedia is not just for Facebook and Twitter. Job seekers should consider making interactive resumes to draw in eyeballs and interest.
  • Flickr: Quality is key on this photo-sharing platform. Brands that want to use Flickr effectively should ensure that the images they share are print quality.
  • Pinterest: E-commerce! We know that the visual platform is a huge driver of sales. But brands should make sure the images they pin are watermarked, so users see the brand when a pin gets shared.
  • Instagram: This visual network is starting to rival Pinterest as an e-commerce destination. Even though Pinterest has more market share, the average purchase from Instagram is slightly higher, and the platform is becoming known as a boutique shopping destination.
  • Vine: You only have six seconds, so make sure your brand or product is the star of the show!

Keep in mind that this is TODAY’s ideas.  Tomorrow may be different.  We at PTC Computer Solutions stay on top of it all every day.  PTC recommends all of this Social Media to every client, but it is up to you to keep it up to date with your thoughts and recommendations.  PTC can keep your Social Media up to date if you are having trouble maintaining it all.  Old unattended Social Media is worse than no Social Media, so let us know if you need some assistance.  You know your business better than anyone else, but we understand it can all be overwhelming.  Let us know your thoughts on the information you want to convey in your Social Marketing Messages and we’ll provide results that compel your prospects to contact you.

If you are looking to get noticed on the Internet but don’t know where to begin, let PTC Computer Solutions help you get started or help improve your current website and website marketing plan.  PTC can plan a full marketing strategy and budget for your company and complete any web marketing efforts you wish to achieve in order to deliver a consistent and effective message to your prospects.  Contact David W. B. Parker (when you think of “W. B.” think of WeB) at davidp@ptccomputersolutions.com or go to www.ptccomputersolutions.com for more information.

By David W. B. Parker
President
PTC Computer Solutions
5/7/2014

 

PTC Computer Solutions - Internet, Web Sites, SEO, Online Marketing

PTC Computer Solutions

PTC Computer Solutions
P.O. Box 51604
Jacksonville Beach, FL 32240

904.992.9888
davidp@ptccomputersolutions.com
www.ptccomputersolutions.com

0
Apr
03
2014

Building Intrigue with Design

Build Intrigue with your web site design.

I’ve seen so many web designs through the years that don’t do anything to intrigue me.  There are two distinct parts to a web site and most sites miss out on one or the other, or, in more cases than I can hardly believe, both.  It’s imperative that a web site be found firstly, and secondly, that it be intriguing enough to keep my interest.  I need to know, as a viewer, that I am at the right web site and that the site provides me the information I need immediately and pointedly.  There are some key points to keep in mind when designing a web site.  They are as follows:

  • The elements in all locations of the web site should be developed for optimal use of Cascading Style Sheets (CSS).  CSS allows for more SEA (Search Engine Awareness).  As such, CSS relies on fonts on the user’s computer and browser and thus sticking to primary fonts is advisable.  Graphical elements, such as a logo, allow more flexibility but also limit the SEO.  However, where possible, stick to textual content and CSS manipulation so as to maximize your SEA.
  • The textual content must be maximized for SEO (Search Engine Optimization), not just as filler but as real SEO maximized content.  Maximize the copy for SEO once the design of the site has been settled on so that the content fits the design.
  • Users want to see what they are looking for quickly and without too much clutter.  Opt for a cleaner header with the primary functions in the top menu bar for the purposes of providing users the option to quickly find what they are looking for.  It’s a good idea to ADD more clutter at the bottom where users will end up if their interest leads them there.  Interest them in the top third of the page with short pointed information so that they will scroll down to read the more robust two-thirds of the page.  This will help your SEO as well as keep your viewers intrigued.
  • It is often a good idea in today’s environment to offer a slideshow in an area at the top, preferably within the top third of the page, beneath the main menu items to offer some quick visuals for our visual world.  Scroll through photos along with textual content to the right of the photo that will also change with the photo.  People like to look at photos and feel at ease with seeing people who look like they are, not only having fun, but might be similar to themselves in their activities.  This is an area designed to attract their attention, provide them information, and make them feel comfortable.  The photos in this slideshow should be carefully selected from the photos available to fit this need.  The text that goes with the photo should also fit this need and be conscientious of the SEO definition.  It is important to use CSS for this slideshow for maximum SEO and SEA as well as the ability to have this slideshow load quickly.  Slow slideshows will be detrimental, so stick to the CSS slideshow designs for optimal intrigue and SEO.
  • The main area beneath the slideshow, but still in the top third of the page, can be split into a left side and a right side.  The left side or right side can be chosen for the main content of each page and will change according to the page.  The other side should be used as a sidebar for quick content access.  Again, this can be to the left or right but should be a thinner sidebar with some quick “important” items for the user.  You should have some links to your YouTube channel, Yelp reviews, Social Networks, News & Views and a Newsletter signup option which will be consistent on every page though could fluctuate in the order with which they are delivered.  PTC Computer Solutions utilizes an algorithm that will randomly place these areas top to bottom allowing for some feeling of change every time a user enters and thus compel them to read.  The randomization also signals the search engines that the page has altered and will force the Search Engine Robot to re-categorize the page improving the SEA as well as your Search Engine Rankings (SER).
  • PTC Computer Solutions highly recommends you have a YouTube channel of your own as well as an embedded Blog with newsletter sign up capability.  The Blog will allow you to connect with your prospects and former clients while the YouTube Channel will provide a place for videos.  Videos provide comfort such as was mentioned for the slideshow.  Video should be added to attract prospects.  Prospects should be defined through a Market Research Study.  A good Marketing Study will define the demographics as well as the psychographics of your prospect base.  PTC also recommends you get some videos produced of just general activities in and around your storefront, if you have one, including your services and your employees at work on and in their work.  Not everyone is a videographer, so if you get some stuff on film, PTC can help you compile it with our video editing staff.  Or, you can get some local help, but it is imperative you add video to your YouTube Channel.  YouTube, behind Google itself, is the second most utilized search engine on the web. And, of course, Google owns YouTube which will help your SEO greatly.
  • Moving down in to the bottom third of the page, there should be some links to What’s Hot, Featured Stories, Services, and Support areas.  These can all be fed right out of the Blog or can be changed separately depending on how you want to handle this.  It is a great opportunity to showcase support of the local community and the community for your area of expertise.  It is an excellent showcase for this but must be dynamic such as the Latest News section which will be fed from the Blog as well.  The Blog needs to be set up to handle all the business needs, but regular upkeep is important.  PTC works closely with clients to ensure the Blog is kept current and can keep your Blog up to date as part of a service and management contract should you wish us to do so.
  • Reviews from online sources are very useful.  If you have Yelp, TripAdvisor, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, YouTube reviews and comments or whatever you have out there should be added to the sidebar or the lower bar.  Again, this could be a revolving randomization of things which would help your SEO tremendously.  You must become familiar with all of your Social Networks and keep them current.  Again, you can contact PTC Computer Solutions to manage these if you need some help.
  • The Footer should be an “Open Footer” with all the links available and visible to the user shown for quick access to any part of the web site in it.  This is really something for the search engines and is not often looked at by the general user unless you’ve intrigued them enough to get to the bottom of the page.  If you have them there, you’ve done your job.

The idea here is to get people to utilize your services or purchase your products or come by your store to talk with you personally.  The objective is to generate more traffic for you but also compel the user to use you for their needs or at least contact you directly.  Offering some incentive to be part of your Subscriber network is a good way to build rapport.  The embedded Blog will help this tremendously, but we need to get people fired up about YOU!  So, be thinking about what fires people up, not what fires YOU up.  Video is excellent with regards to that.  In the video, you can work on compelling people to come by and try out what you have to offer.  Unfortunately, not everyone will take the time to view the video even though you want to add as many videos as possible.  The videos will generate more traffic through SEO and will likely not be watched, so we want to also compel prospects with the textual content of the site because that’s how they are going to find you.

PTC Computer Solutions recommends all of this to every client, but it is up to you to provide your web designer with your thoughts and recommendations.  You know your business better than anyone else.  Let your designer know your thoughts on the design and the information mentioned here and they’ll provide a web site that intrigues and compels your prospects to contact you.

If you are looking to get noticed on the Internet but don’t know where to begin, let PTC Computer Solutions help you get started or help improve your current website and website marketing plan.  PTC can plan a full budget for your company and complete any web marketing efforts you wish to achieve in order to deliver a consistent and effective message to your prospects.  Contact David W. B. Parker (when you think of “W. B.” think of WeB) at davidp@ptccomputersolutions.com or go to www.ptccomputersolutions.com for more information.

By David W. B. Parker
President
PTC Computer Solutions
4/3/2014

PTC Computer Solutions
P.O. Box 51604
Jacksonville Beach, FL 32240

904.992.9888
davidp@ptccomputersolutions.com
www.ptccomputersolutions.com

0
Mar
06
2014

Building Inroads with SEO

Getting listed high on the Search Engine Rankings (SER) is the primary concern of people these days. It is one thing to have a web site, but if no one can find it then it is pretty useless. Think of it like building a shop in the middle of the desert. Typically, a company builds a web site and then tries to draw people to it, much like building the shop and then having to build a few roads through the desert. But, then you also have to get people to drive down the roads. So, it’s a three step process, really:

  1. The first step is to build the web site with as much as you can to attract customers once they are there. In today’s world, we don’t want to build too much confusion in the site. Make it simple so the visitor to your site can find what they want quickly. People don’t read much anymore, so don’t put too much reading in there. It should be interesting, graphic, and compelling enough to stick around and find out more.  If people stick around, they will read more, so don’t neglect to provide the reading material in the sub-pages of your site so that those who want to find information can find it quickly.
  2. Secondly, you have to build the inroads. This is the SEO (Search Engine Optimization) you hear talked about so often. But it’s not just optimizing the site for Search Engines. There has to be a general effort toward SEA (Search Engine Awareness). Search Engines have robots or spiders that crawl the web looking for data. They categorize data and thus categorize your web site based on the content and data they find. Optimizing the site for insuring your site is categorized in the correct searches is the SEO part and requires understanding of where you want to position yourself. Positioning is another part of this, but really requires a study of your potential consumers and the consumer market from a demographic as well as psychographic standpoint. That’s a whole study in itself and should be commissioned at some point in order to fully understand your target and positioning. However, if you are involved extensively in your product and thus understand intuitively your target market, you might forgo that if you wish. Don’t underestimate the importance of a Market Research Study, though, it can be invaluable and may provide you information you never even thought of.  The SEO, therefore, needs to be geared toward the target market. That’s not enough to complete the inroad, however. You have to ensure this data is dynamic, i.e. changes regularly. This builds SEA in to the search engine robots. The robots find a change in data and then have to re-address the page which, in turn, makes it pop-to the top again, much like on Facebook where the latest posts move to the top. Of course, the SEO must work together with the SEA for optimal exposure.
  3. Finally, you need to develop some incentive to go down the road to your website. This can be done through paid advertising for banners or Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising on sites. You can also do this through involving yourself in clubs, associations, and organizations the industry and target market might be involved with. This is another part of the Market Research, but again, if you are familiar with this group, you can go on your instincts (a Market Research Study is highly advisable). So, you should be able to get some reciprocal linking and awareness through these organizations. Social networking and developing a presence on free sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, YouTube and others is the final method of building awareness. This is much like building a “word of mouth” network. People tell other people and so on and so on. Between building reciprocal links, social networking, and the PPC potential, you stand a good chance at people taking the road to the web site.

That all being said, there is a good deal of development left for the site to be operational. You need to build the aspects to allow you to add product as needed, alter what you need to do including adding photos and pricing, and delete products as well as allow for you to add content through a blog format. This should provide you with the full functionality needed and the blog format will allow you to keep your SEA active. Ideally, you would want to have the Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google+ pages as well as a YouTube Channel to showcase your products. This can be a bit more time consuming but not as much as you might think. This type of stuff is something you would need to be doing regularly, maybe a few times per month. I always recommend actively participating in your site content at least once per month and twice if possible.

PTC Computer Solutions has been involved with bringing Search Engine Awareness to web site clients for many years.  It can be a time consuming process and businesses don’t often have the resources to maintain all of these aspects of web interaction not to mention having a member of the staff capable of creating the content necessary to improve the Search Engine Optimization for the web site.  PTC specializes in developing and maintaining this content for its customers.  If you need assistance with this, contact PTC today.

Building Inroads with SEO

Building Inroads with SEO

If you are looking to get noticed on the Internet but don’t know where to begin, let PTC Computer Solutions help you get started or help improve your current website and website marketing plan.  We can plan a full budget for your company and complete any web marketing efforts you wish to achieve in order to deliver a consistent and effective message to your prospects.  Contact David W. B. Parker (when you think of “W. B.” think of WeB) at davidp@ptccomputersolutions.com or go to www.ptccomputersolutions.com for more information.

By David W. B. Parker
President
PTC Computer Solutions
3/6/2014

0
Feb
12
2014

To Macro or Micro, That is the Question

To Macro or Micro, That is the Question

It has been commonplace in advertising to cast the net as wide as possible in order to attract clients.  A macro-world for a macro-environment, if you will.  It has mostly been about broadcast television and radio and billboards along the highway to attract the attention of every passerby.  These forms of Macro-targeting have their purpose, but perhaps it’s time to look at the potential of being more specific with your marketing dollar.  We can do better in today’s day and age, and we should be.

PTC Computer Solutions was recently involved in a project in Cartagena, Colombia…that’s Carta-hay-na, not Carta-hay-nya, please.  Michael Douglas infamously pronounced it wrong in Romancing the Stone in 1984 and so it stuck with lots of Americans.  It’s an interesting note in that Cartagena has not marketed itself well through the years.  Most people have no idea about what Cartagena is all about.  They are working on changing that, but you can see how a Macrotargeted movie like Romancing the Stone was able to affect a great number of people and many of those people have not visited and thus not become clients of the city.

Getting back to our PTC related client.  Our client is interested in trying to attract a very specific and likely small group of people to its product.  This is a case where Macrotargeting is not going to be very cost effective, where the Return on Investment (ROI) would be better off spent on a very specific marketing effort.  It’s time to microtarget for maximum effectiveness.

Microtargeting is the use of direct marketing datamining techniques that involve predictive market segmentation or cluster analysis to track individuals and identify potential customers.  Microtargeting relies specifically on transmitting a tailored message to a subgroup of prospects on the basis of unique information about that subgroup.  This might sometimes be referred to as narrowcasting or niche marketing, but they all rely on the same thing:  defining the demographic, and more importantly, the psychographic of the prospects.

Gathering data about people is a necessary part of any marketing.  This data can be gathered through surveys or opinions on a web site or some other means such as on hotel registers or visitor entry cards into the country.  We found that Colombia was not asking simple questions on their visitor information cards to garner information about those coming and going from the country.  It’s important data to have.  The databases should contain specific information about a particular individual such as why they are visiting and what their destination is, and why as well as identifying other activities and habits.  Not to worry, this type of data can be purchased and is available from commercial marketing vendors such as Acxiom, Dun & Bradstreet, Experian Americas, and InfoUSA.

PTC Computer Solutions specializes in developing microtargeted marketing campaigns implementing such tools as: microsites, social media, Pay-Per-Click (PPC), Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Search Engine Marketing (SEM), Search Engine Awareness (SEA), WebPR, Blogs, and many others.  Don’t get caught spending more than you have to on broadcasting and macromarketing when you can be getting the most bang for your buck with Microtargeting in a narrowcasting environment with micromarketing.

Too much stuff to handle in one post?  Go to www.ptccomputersolutions.com or contact PTC directly at info@ptccomputersolutions.com and let us know some of your thoughts on this.  You want to create a website that encompasses all of these ideas AND satisfies you and your company needs.  It’s important that everyone is happy with your company website as you move forward.

If you are looking to get noticed on the Internet but don’t know where to begin, let PTC Computer Solutions help you get started or help improve your current website and website marketing plan.  We can plan a full budget for your company and complete any web marketing efforts you wish to achieve in order to deliver a consistent and effective message to your prospects.  Contact David W. B. Parker (when you think of “W. B.” think of WeB) at davidp@ptccomputersolutions.com or go to www.ptccomputersolutions.com for more information.

By David W. B. Parker
President
PTC Computer Solutions
2/12/2014

0
Jan
13
2014

SEO DIY – Top 10 Helpful Tips

SEO DIY – Top 10 Helpful Tips

One of the many web related services we perform here at PTC Computer Solutions, and more of it lately, is Search Engine Optimization.  We have a team of experts with a ridiculous amount of experience in improving your SEO.  But, if your budget is tight and you have the time, you don’t have to have us do it if you want to Do-It-Yourself.   Just follow our recommendations listed below and you will be well on your way to improving your website visibility on Google and other search engines.

Keeping your website on the first page of the search engines requires a combination of best practices in terms of website design and coding, page and post writing and having well planned content that is interesting to both humans and search engines.  SEO is an ongoing process since the web is a competitive environment with millions of websites all vying for just 10 positions on the first page. In order to rise above the competition ALL aspects of SEO have to be actively managed in an ongoing strategy.

The following items are a Top 10 of Helpful Tips PTC Computer Solutions recommends to achieve SEO Best Practices for your website with suggested strategies to improve your page rankings:

  1. Unique Page URLs, Titles and Descriptions – Each page of the website should have a Unique Resource Locator (URL) that is keyword rich, a unique Page Title and unique Description. These metadata items are critical to basic SEO for all search engines. URLs are the actual website page names. These should be limited in characters but keyword phrase rich wherever possible. Keep in mind URLs are the exact location for the page on the web so any previous search engine page rankings (SERPs) will be lost if URLs are changed. Also, any pages with a Backlink or bookmark to the URL will get a “404/Not Found Error” if the URL is changed which is detrimental to SEO.
    • Page Titles must be a concise synopsis of the page content in the form of a keyword phrase. The title is used as a primary index and becomes the headline in search results. Make it a High-SEO value title and avoid using the same Low-SEO value title for every page.
    • Page Descriptions should be no more than 160 characters including spaces. These become the short description in search engine results and should concisely compel searchers to click and read the page. There should be a User Friendly description for every page that grabs the human eye as well as the Search Engine eye.
    • Image Titles/Tags: It is also very important that all images used on pages and in posts have file names (titles) and Alt Text that add SEO value. Be sure to set these whenever an image is uploaded and review/update for existing images.
  2. Blog and use a Page/Post SEO – If you’re using WordPress or some other blogging software, don’t rely on just one SEO plugin. There are lots of good WP.org tools but there may not be just one best option. Have several SEO options installed and utilize them all. Look to install one that offers tools to analyze SEO and Keywords to help less knowledgeable users ensure higher SEO values. Also, find one that includes the ability to keep an XML (Extensible Markup Language) site map and other features.  An XML Site Map is important to have on websites to assist Search Engine crawls. This makes it easier for Search Engine “bots” and “spiders” to index and re-index all pages on the website.
  3. Google is King – It is estimated that Google controls over 80% of search engine traffic. Having anything related to Google associated with a website, while they claim otherwise, is a good idea. Consider the following:
    • Analytics Tracking Code
    • Google Plus Account
    • Google Webmaster Tools (also has value for SEO and other suggestions)
  4. Robot Text – A robot text file is helpful to make Search Engine crawls more efficient.  If there are pages that do not need to be indexed for SEO purposes, use Robot Text to remove them from view and also tell the Search Engines when to come back. This should be evaluated and considered for any website.
  5. Footer with Navigation – A Footer with a fully revealed navigation offers value. The best footer is one that fully reveals all pages on the website to make it easier for humans find pages and navigate the website. It also does the same for search engine “bots” and “spiders”.
  6. Website Speed – Search Engine rankings take many factors into account in their algorithms (and it is ever evolving). One element is the speed of the website. The faster pages are delivered, the higher they rise above slower competitive pages. Be sure pages are loading fast and use the Google Analytics PageSpeed Tool regularly to ensure a fast load for all pages.
  7. Targeted Page/Post Content – Blog posts are a very important element of SEO if they are used to target keywords. A blog post can have high value even if a human never reads it provided that the proper SEO is set and specific keywords are targeted. Each post becomes uniquely indexed with search engines and targeting the right keywords can move a post quickly to the first page of Search Engines. A Keyword Study utilizing the Google Webmaster Tools can provide better understanding of the volume of traffic and competition for relevant keywords. The Keyword Study should be used to guide your web development team in updating web pages and writing targeted blog posts. Keyword Search Trends, like everything else on the web, are dynamic and fluid. It is important to update the study at least every six moths to ensure targeting is valid.
  8. Relevancy – Having web pages with URLs, Titles, Descriptions, H1 Headline Tags and keyword-rich content that match what users are searching for in their searches are critical to page rankings. As noted above, having the proper metadata, and SEO oriented text, is critical to rankings. This is an art that requires a balance between headlines and text meaningful to both humans as well as Search Engines. It is best to have the Keyword Phrase in the headline, and repeat the Keyword Phrase a few times in the first third of the page/post text. Be careful not to “stuff” the same keywords in a page/post or many pages and posts since this can trigger flags with Search Engines.  Keyword Stuffing is frowned upon by the Search Engine algorithms and will be detrimental to your SER.
  9. Recency of Content – “Recency” means regularly adding new content to a page. Search Engines place higher value on pages that have been updated recently. There is no specific period for making updates. However, pages that are dormant between several crawls by a Search Engine can lose rankings to other more active pages. THIS IS CRITICAL FOR THE HOME PAGE. Have a strategy to refresh content on a routine basis for the home page and other key information pages on the website.
  10. Backlinks – One of the most important elements of Search Engine Rankings (SER) are links from other websites. Backlinks are considered “votes” for popularity by the Search Engines. All Backlinks are helpful but they are not of equal value. Links from other highly relevant websites, and from other highly ranked web pages, increase the value of the “vote” and helps the pages being linked to rise in the Search Engines. A strategy to find non-competitive websites with relevant content and high page rankings is important. Offering reciprocal links is a way to get other websites to “trade” or “reciprocate” links. Having resource content with information of value to other websites in the form of blog posts is an excellent way to draw Backlinks. This can be the most difficult item to accomplish but it is also very high in the Search Engine ranking criteria so it must be a high priority for SEO.

With these Top 10 Helpful SEO Tips, you should be well on your way to improving your website Search Engine Awareness (SEA) and improve your Search Engine Results Page (SERP) placement.  Being on the first page of the SERP is almost as important as having a website in the first place.  You must have eyes to have sales.  Keep up your website like you would your store shelves and you’ll have Top 10 Results.

Too much stuff to handle in one post?  Go to www.ptccomputersolutions.com or contact PTC directly at info@ptccomputersolutions.com and let us know some of your thoughts on this.  You want to create a website that encompasses all of these ideas AND satisfies you and your company needs.  It’s important that everyone is happy with your company website as you move forward.

If you are looking to get noticed on the Internet but don’t know where to begin, let PTC Computer Solutions help you get started or help improve your current website and website marketing plan.  We can plan a full budget for your company and complete any web marketing efforts you wish to achieve in order to deliver a consistent and effective message to your prospects.  Contact David W. B. Parker (when you think of “W. B.” think of WeB) at davidp@ptccomputersolutions.com or go to www.ptccomputersolutions.com for more information.

By David W. B. Parker
President
PTC Computer Solutions
1/13/2014

0
Dec
18
2013

Color Me Right

Recently, I had the pleasure of working on some new design ideas for a company selling Harley Davidson motorcycles.  They liked several black based designs and logos that looked fairly frightening.  I can see why they like them given the psychographic of the traditional Harley rider.  As for a color scheme, we can go anywhere with that one.  I know traditional Harley riders like the black stuff, but that is typically not a friendly design base.  I like to stick to a light background with some distinctive offset content.

OK, deep breath…

We looked at several designs.  I get why these appeal to the typical Harley rider.  They have a Harley friendly look to them and have dark backdrops.  But, it’s all very sinister.  The content is usually good, however, with the scrolling photos and slideshows.  I think that is a good way to go.  I’d like to get away from the darkness though and take a look at some other professions and their sites.

In creating a website, you need to state what you are selling clearly.  And, we need a friendlier atmosphere to do it in.  Get away from the typical ideas such as the “grease monkey” look that is typically associated with auto mechanics and the professionals involved with motorcycles.  The structure of these sites is good, so implementing something along those lines is good, but we want to choose our colors carefully.  Take a look at the following and think hard about why these are more pleasant to peruse:

I think you get the picture with these.  I don’t think any of these lend themselves to what we are doing, necessarily, with our motorcycle client.  However, it makes the point.  We need to be friendly with our coloring and our color scheme.  We are selling a service and need people to feel comfortable with the service.  Without any research into our Demographic OR (more importantly) our Psychographic (read more on my recent blog at www.ptccomputersolutions.com/blog), the client for this product likely a “New Age Retiree” between 40 and 65 with Expendable or Disposable Income.  A “New Age Retiree” is someone who, psychographically, has the mindset of being comfortably set financially with a need to put a little “rebel” in their lives without angering their spouses.  That being said, they want to portray the “Cool, Motorbike Riding, Harley Hugging Loverboy” but don’t want to get their brand new “chaps with the rearend cut out” dirty.  They are FAR more likely to choose a friendly comfortable trustworthy group to work with than not.  They are FAR more likely to distrust a bunch of “grease monkey” mechanics.

Ok, that being said, I want to suggest some other thoughts.  Colors AND Navigation are two of the main keys to any website.  With colors, the color chart for web design often lends itself to the following definitions:

Color

Emotions

Black Symbol of menace or evil, popular as an indicator of power. Associated with death and mourning, unhappiness, sexuality, formality, and sophistication.
White Purity or innocence. Cold, bland, and sterile.
Red Evokes strong emotions, associated with love, warmth, and comfort. Still considered an intense and angry color that creates feelings of excitement, intensity, sexuality.
Blue A favorite color for many people and the color most preferred by men. Gives the feelings of calmness or serenity. Described as peaceful, tranquil, secure, and orderly.
Green Symbolizes nature and the natural world. Represents tranquility, good luck, health, and jealousy. Symbol of fertility, has a calming effect and relieves stress.
Yellow Cheery and warm, but can also create feelings of frustration and anger. Most fatiguing to the eye (that’s why you’ll rarely see a bright yellow website or a room painted with yellow with the exception of playrooms for kids) yet most attention-getting color (so great color for important details or calls to action- remember the yellow stop/caution color).
Purple Royalty and wealth, wisdom and spirituality, sex and relationships, exotic and special.
Brown (all of us love wooden backgrounds). Natural color that evokes a sense of strength and reliability, warmth, comfort, and security.
Orange (banner color of the counter-culture). Blatant and vulgar color, makes you feel excitement, enthusiasm, and warmth. As a combination of red and yellow it’s often used to draw attention.
Pink Associated with love, romance, youth, freshness and may have a calming effect. Pink effect depends on the type of pink (strong, light, deep etc).

 

I took this table of color information off of a website blog that was posted on color usage (more about that here at http://www.1stwebdesigner.com/design/color-psychology-website-design/).

Note that Pink, and more specifically, Baby Pink, is really the best color for any purpose.  We don’t use it much though since it is often associated with baby girls.  You’ll note that we use Blue and Green a lot, and you can see why.  Strip Clubs inevitably have some Purple in them.  You can also see why Black is used by many MALE dominated sectors such as cars and motorcycles.  You can also see why sites with Black in them often have young sexy women straddling or laid out on the product.  Though men are most likely a predominance of who this particular client’s product is geared toward, they also have to show it to their spouses.  We want to appeal to the masses…AND to the Psychographic of our client.

Let’s take a specific market and look at how they interact.  Let’s look at batteries.  Take a look at the following websites:

Note how they all look to utilize the power colors of Black and Orange, much like Harley.   Of course they want to convey Power, that’s what they do.  But also note how they don’t go right at eachother from there.  Energizer claims to have POSITIVE Energy.  Note the PINK Energizer Bunny.  The Pink Bunny is friendly and cute and cuddly and just makes you want to buy that battery for your toys.  Of course, he’s still cool because he has Sunglasses and beats on a Drum while Marching.  Very manly.

Ok, Duracell claims to be the World’s Most Advanced Battery with a Hi Density Core.  Well, if you are a Fireman or a Policeman or something, you certainly want the best and just have to have a Hi Density Core to your battery.  Of course you are going to want that.  No cute and cuddly here.  You’ll buy the Duracell for your emergency flashlight and the Energizer for your kids toys, RIGHT?

But wait, where is Eveready?  Eveready has positioned themselves right in between these two leaders in the battery market.  They have a RED scheme which tells you Emergency, but they claim to be for Every Family, Everywhere, Every Day.  Nicely done.  They are for your common needs.  Not just for toys and certainly not for REAL important jobs.  Just for everyday use.  They all fit together nicely but don’t go head to head, per se.

You need to find your niche and where we fit in.  Either do it FAR better than anyone else or go after the correct Psychographic with the right message.  Sometimes, the product is not clear and doesn’t mean anything to most people.  If someone searching the internet is looking for your product, what do they do?  They go to the Internet and look up something related to what they are looking for and probably associate it with a location.  Many products require someone nearby, so they add their city to the search maybe.  That’s where they’re lost if we have our city as our key point.  We want to make sure we represent ALL of the areas we can serve.  Ensure that all of your keywords are represented, and we want to convey that we are your “Every Day Company for Everyone” much like Eveready.  It’s a nice play.  We are not the biggest and best, we are the shop for EVERYONE.

Too much stuff to handle in one post?  Go to www.ptccomputersolutions.com or contact me directly at info@ptccomputersolutions.com and let me know some of your thoughts on this.  You want to create a website that encompasses all of these things AND satisfies you and your company needs.  It’s important that everyone is happy with the site as you move forward.

If you are looking to get noticed on the Internet but don’t know where to begin, let PTC Computer Solutions help you get started or help improve your current website and website marketing plan.  We can plan a full budget for your company and complete any web marketing efforts you wish to achieve in order to deliver a consistent and effective message to your prospects.  Contact David W. B. Parker (when you think of “W. B.” think of WeB) at davidp@ptccomputersolutions.com or go to www.ptccomputersolutions.com for more information.

By David W. B. Parker
President
PTC Computer Solutions
12/18/2013

0
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