Myrtle Beach Web Design Blog | Press & News
Importance of Pay Per Click (PPC) Ad Landing Pages
POSTED BY COASTAL CREATIVE
When a website visitor clicks on your Pay Per Click (PPC) ad, they should be taken to a landing page - a page within your website whose sole purpose is to entice people to take action. And if it's done well - it can be one of the most effective marketing weapon in your arsenal. These pages can be structured in a variety of ways for a variety of purposes.
When you're running a Pay Per Click (PPC) ad you don't just want your website visitors landing on the homepage. While informative, the homepage of your website may highlights several services in which you offer, and not necessarily the particular service that your website visitor was looking for when Google considered your ad relevant. And nothing pisses website visitors off more than landing on a website, after clicking an ad, that does not immediately offer them what they need.
You remedy this by having a Myrtle Beach Web Designer design a landing page for your Pay Per Click (PPC) ad.
In a world of constant marketing & advertising, landing pages are generally tailored toward a specific goal, or service, and they are designed to help guide your website visitors towards a conversion goal. Often, this means the landing page is completely saperate from your main website, leaving little to no options to navigate away from the landing page.
The landing page also utilizes certain colors, language and text content tailored to the goal of the page. These landing page goals vary between gathering the website visitor's information, guiding them towards a purchase, or simply informing them about a new product or service that you're Myrtle Beach business offers. Landing pages generally highlight both a contact form (lead generation) for your website visitors to fill out and also your contact information, typically your phone number.
2016 Websites - Cleaner, Clearer & Simpler.
POSTED BY COASTAL CREATIVE
Each year, web design grows and so many great websites are being published online daily. I can only imagine that the best is yet to come in 2016, including many of the trends we predicted for 2015. And today's web designs are a clear indicator of what one should expect to see as the internet and web designs progress. Most modern web designs have a clear, clean, simple layout. Elegant. Careful color contrasts, crisp colors, and uniuform content — these new, shiny breed of web designs are catching the eyes of their website visitors. Below is a list of features or layout/styling guidelines that a business owner, or web designer for that matter, should strive to follow in order to achieve today's websites: clean, clear, simple, but effective.
• Nice color scheme
• Clean, scalable (and centered) layout
• Prominent, intuitive navigation
• Large, easy-to-read text
• Good HTML structure (and semantically-correct markup)
• Content served using text, not images
• Use of alt and title attributes
• No reliance on flash to display important aspects such as content, navigation, or internal/external links.
• Cross-browser compatibility
• Touch of Creativity
Social Media Tips for Small Businesses
POSTED BY COASTAL CREATIVE
1. Determine Your Goals
It’s easy to say that Myrtle Beach businesses should have a social media presence but without a clear plan that activity won't be effective. Without specific goals your social media posts will just add to the already significant noise on social platfoirms. At best you’ll just be ignored, at worst you'll annoy people. The last thing you want to do is annoy your prospective clients.
Begin by deciphering what you want to achieve - do you want to raise awareness of your brand or a new product? Do you plan to use these channels for customer relations? Are you hoping to attract new Myrtle Beach customers, increase sales or drive traffic to your
Myrtle Beach website? You might want to do all of those things but work out your primary goal and make that the core of your activity.
2. Know Where to Find Your Audience
Once you have a plan, you need to decide where to publish. Big brands will probably find that their Myrtle Beach customers or potential customers are spread across most social networks and will need a coordinated plan to reach all of them. That means Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Tumblr and so on. Smaller Myrtle Beach companies, or those with fewer resources to devote to social media, will need to prioritise.
Your strategy will be affected by the site – or sites – you target. What works on Facebook doesn’t necessarily work on Twitter and vice versa. And both are crowded. If you have a lot of visual content then you might want to focus on Pinterest, which is a newer site. If you have in-house experts who are good at explaining complicated things then perhaps a YouTube channel is the best outlet.
3. Be Human
Social networks are about people. Think of Twitter or Facebook as being like a cafe filled with people talking about their certain interests. If you plan to take your brand into that environment then you need a human tone and not one that sounds like a press release or a marketing slogan. That doesn’t necessarily mean that your tone should be casual; business users of LinkedIn will expect a more formal approach than Facebook users, for example.
4. Be Transparent
If something has gone wrong and customers are upset then be as open about the problem as you can. That doesn’t mean that you should reveal commercially sensitive information or expose individual employees to the anger of your customers but you should be as informative as possible. Myrtle Beach companies often default to secrecy, particularly when dealing with a problem, but customers want to understand what has happened and know what is being done to fix it.
5. Emphasise Your Expertise
The point of your social media presence is to improve your Myrtle Beach business and its reputation but that doesn’t mean limiting what you publish to promotional messages. Posts that highlight your expertise within your particular industry in Myrtle Beach can boost your brand. They deepen and strengthen your relationship with Myrtle Beach customers but are also the kind of material that non-customers want to share. This doesn’t mean you need to give away trade secrets.
Instead, ask yourself what people don’t understand about your industry and explain it. Or consider the questions you are most often asked by customers and publish posts explaining the answers. Remember to make your posts fit the tone of the community you are talking to and don’t just republish the FAQs from your Myrtle Beach website.
Coastal Creative is a Web Designer in Myrtle Beach who specializes in Social Media Marketing and social media maintenance. If you're a Myrtle Beach Small Business who needs help with your social media marketing campaign, contact Coastal Creative today to learn more about our result-driven Myrtle Beach Social Media Marketing Services.
Bartering for Business & Taxes
POSTED BY GODADDY
As a Web Designer in Myrtle Beach, we're frequently offered to build a website in return for bartered services. Several months ago, I was approached by a Heating & Air Conditioning company in Myrtle Beach, who was toying with the notion of having a website built for their company. But their budget was extremely tight and they just didn't have the funds at the time to get started. Fast forward not just a week later and my wife and I noticed our ceiling was leaking a little bit of water, in my office no less.
Upon further inspection I found that our air conditioning unit was leaking and was also not working properly. Initially I decided to contact one of the larger, reputable HVAC companies (which is hard to find nowadays, but that's another story for another time), but then I remembered the air condition client that called me just a week prior. Initially, I wasn't looking to barter, I was just looking for some honest advice (again, hard to find nowadays). So I called him and asked for some advice. He informed me of what the problem might be and said that he would fix it for free if in return I built him a website. Of course I agreed!
When you start out in your business, you may not have much cash to pay for the services you need to get your enterprise off the ground. One solution? Bartering. Some budding entrepreneurs offer to provide their products or services in exchange for good or services they need for their own business.
What is bartering?
So, what exactly is bartering? The IRS defines it as the trading of one product or service for another, usually without an exchange of cash. A bartering transaction may take place either informally between people and businesses, or it can occur through a barter exchange company on a third-party basis.
What is a barter exchange?
A barter exchange is a person or group of people (called members) who contract with each other or the exchange itself to barter goods or services with one another. The members of the exchange are not under any obligation to barter or purchase from a seller, but when the member barters either a product or service to another member, their account with the exchange is credited (increased) for the fair market value of the item sold. If a member buys something, the account is debited (decreased) by the fair market value of the item purchased.
How does bartering affect taxes?
Now, keep in mind that just because no money changed hands you don’t get out of your tax obligations.
The IRS considers barter or trade dollars identical to real dollars for the purpose of tax reporting. You would still have to report the fair market value of what you receive on your tax return.
When you engage in bartering, you should get a Form 1099-B, Proceeds from Broker and Exchange Transactions. You’ll find the proceeds of your bartering transactions in Box 3, which you will need to report on your tax return, either as income on your 1040 or revenue for your business on Schedule C. However, if a business makes payments to another business (that is not a corporation) greater or equal to $600 during the tax year, the payments would be reported on form 1099-MISC.
Another component of bartering is backup withholding. Backup withholding is a 28-percent tax that the IRS imposes on certain types of transactions, including bartering. However, you are exempt from backup withholding if you send a W-9 to your clients with your correct name and Social Security or business Tax Identification Number (you get this when you register your company with the IRS) listed on it, and indicate that you are exempt from backup withholding.
The W-9 is a form used to report your name and Social Security number or business Tax Identification Number to people who you provide goods or services. It is a fairly simple form to fill out, but if you run into questions, just ask a good accountant.
Tax tips for bartering
So, what should you do if you engage in bartering? First, as with everything in your business, keep track of all your transactions — no matter how small or inconsequential they might seem. Next, if something doesn’t make sense, or if you have any questions, talk to a tax professional before engaging in any transactions to see what the tax effects would be.
How to Choose a Myrtle Beach Web Designer
POSTED BY COASTAL CREATIVE
When you're running a Myrtle Beach business, choosing a Myrtle Beach Web Designer can be a daunting task and it's is a crucial decision - as a professional web design can bring you more business and a bad web design can drive away your potential clients.
Much of your choice of web designers depends on whether you want to work with someone local in Myrtle Beach, or whether you're willing to work remotely with them over the phone and by email. We've found that many of our Myrtle Beach clients prefer to work with a local web designer that they can meet with from time to time.
Here's a short list of the red flags to look out for when hiring a Web Designer in Myrtle Beach. Some of them seem like common sense but are routinely overlooked.
- Don't hire a web designer who has a small project portfolio. You want to hire a web designer with experience in your particular industry.
- Don't hire a web designer who does not rank well on Google, or other search engines. Remember, there's no point in having a website if it can't be found. You want to hire a web designer who has the experience in search engine optimization and building websites that get results.
- Don't hire a web designer who refuses to build a website on your hosting account/server. Generally, this means the web designer wants to have full control of your website and may hold it hostage.
- Don't hire a web designer who uses fancy internet jargon to try and convince to purchase something from them that you don't need.
- Don't hire a web designer who contracts out another company to handle any aspect of the web design, including graphic design, SEO, etc..
- Don't hire a web designer who refuses to give you some sort of paperwork (project quote, invoice, contract, etc...) showing what exactly you're paying for.
- Don't hire a web designer who does not offer you a copy of the website files.
- Don't hire a web designer just because they're the cheapest. Remember the old adage - You Get What You Pay For.
- Don't hire a web designer who promises you "First Page/First Result" on the Search Engines.
Your Myrtle Beach website is an important part to the success of your Myrtle Beach business. By interviewing, extensively, your potential Web Designer in Myrtle Beach you are more likely to choose someone that not only builds you a professional website, but one who listens to you and creates a Myrtle Beach website based upon you and your business goals and of course keeping you within your set budget and deadline.
What is it Means to Have a User-Friendly Web Design
POSTED BY COASTAL CREATIVE
A primary goal of any website or blog should be to provide its visitors with a pleasant & fulfilling experience. Regardless of what market the website is targeting, the opinions of visitors will play a huge role in determining the site’s level of success. Visitors that have positive experiences will be much more likely to come back later, refer their friends, sign up for a newsletter, purchase a product, submit an inquiry about your particular service, etc…
When developing a website , the user’s wants & needs should always be in the forefront of the decision making process. It doesn’t matter what type of website you run, it needs to be user-focused and user-friendly. Unfortunately, sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in the design and development process and create a site that satisfies the designer or the owner but doesn’t really provide visitors with much value.
What makes a website user-friendly? There are probably an endless number of factors, but here’s a look at four of the major ones.
1. Website Load Speed
Although high-speed internet connections are becoming more and more common, there is still a large number of internet users that are on slower dial-up connections. Even with high-speed connections some pages just don’t load very quickly. Most of your visitors will be fairly impatient and pages that load slowly could chase them away. At the very least, slow loading times will reduce the number of pages that they’ll visit on your site.
Knowing your Website’s audience can really help to know how your pages should be designed. A program like Google Analytics will show you the percentage of your visitors that are using different internet connections. Based on the numbers you can get a good idea of what type of impact page load speed will have on your overall audience. If your site attracts a high percentage of users with dial-up connections, you should be sure to keep pages loading as quickly as possible. If a very high percentage of visitors are using high-speed connections, you may be able to add a few extra elements to your pages.
Factors that influence the load times of pages include the number and size of images, extra items like flash, the amount of excess code (example, designing with a table-based layout instead of CSS), and the size of your pages.
2. Website Accessibility
If someone can’t use or access your website it serves no purpose for that visitor. Accessibility of websites has become a bigger priority for designers and developers in recent years, but there is still a long way to go. Even major corporations have struggled to achieve complete accessibility. Target was even sued over the accessibility of its website for handicapped individuals. Crazy, huh?
Some of the easiest things that you can do to improve the accessibility of your site include using alt tags for all images, use valid HTML and CSS coding, avoid frames, and allow text to be re-sized by visitors.
3. Website Navigation
All users want to be able to move through the website to find what they want. A huge factor in being user-friendly is providing simple and intuitive navigation. Major areas of navigation should be located consistently on all pages. Using common elements that users expect to find, like About pages and Contact pages will help as most internet users have come to expect them and will look for them at times.
A general rule of thumb is that any page on your site should be reachable with 2 clicks from your home page. For larger sites this probably isn’t realistic, but offering a sitemap and/or a search feature can really help.
Another important factor with navigation is that user’s shouldn’t have to guess where they will end up if they click on a link. Regardless of whether the link is part of a navigation menu, or if it is simply in the body of the text, visitors should understand where the link will lead them.
4. Website Information
Visitors are coming to your Website for a reason. Whatever that reason may be, you want to provide them with what they are seeking. Are they coming to find basic information on your business’ services? Are they coming to read in-depth articles on a particular subject? Whatever the case may be, the information that your Website provides needs to sufficiently meet the expectations of visitors.
A blog like this one will need to provide its readers with great, insightful articles in order satisfy its visitors. The website of a restaurant may need to provide hours of operation and a menu in order satisfy its visitors. Obviously, each situation is different. In order to have a user-friendly website you need to anticipate what visitors will expect to find at your site, and then put it right in front of them
Let's Talk About Backlinks
POSTED BY COASTAL CREATIVE
We often get asked about backlinks. Now if you've read anything about or studied Search Engine Optimization, you've come across the term "backlink" at least once or twice. What are they? What do they do? Simply put, and by definition, it is an incoming hyperlink from one web page to another website. They are basically relationships between websites on the internet, and they're very important in SEO efforts. The number of backlinks is an indication of the popularity or importance of a certain website, so in return it helps with SEO efforts and getting websites to climb up the search engine rankings.
Search engines like Google want websites to have a level playing field, and look for natural links built slowly over time, so they can't be rushed. This is a concept that is usually hard for most web designers and SEO experts. And it's not so much the quanity of backlinks as it is the quality of your backlinks. And Google is constanly tweaking their search ranking algorithms in order to weed out webpages that earn their rank through cheap tricks. Backlinks aren't the single determining factor for search engine rankings, but they are a factor that's often abused for cheap boosts in Google search results.
There are two types of backlinks: Reciprocal and Non-Reciprocal. A "reciprocal backlink" is basically a link swap, where webmaster A puts a link to webmaster B's website and vice versa. Google honors these, but Non-Reciprocal backlinks have much more value, especially when they are on popular and relevant websites.
Do you need an SEO?
POSTED BY GOOGLE.COM
SEO is an acronym for "search engine optimization" or "search engine optimizer." Deciding to hire an SEO is a big decision that can potentially improve your site and save time, but you can also risk damage to your site and reputation. Make sure to research the potential advantages as well as the damage that an irresponsible SEO can do to your site. Many SEOs and other agencies and consultants provide useful services for website owners, including:
- Review of your site content or structure
- Content development
- Management of online business development campaigns
- Keyword research
- SEO training
- Expertise in specific markets and geographies.
Keep in mind that the Google search results page includes organic search results and often paid advertisement (denoted as "Ads" or "Sponsored") as well. Advertising with Google won't have any effect on your site's presence in our search results. Google never accepts money to include or rank sites in our search results, and it costs nothing to appear in our organic search results. Free resources such as Search Console, the official Webmaster Central blog, and our discussion forum can provide you with a great deal of information about how to optimize your site for organic search.
Before beginning your search for an SEO, it's a great idea to become an educated consumer and get familiar with how search engines work. We recommend starting here:
If you're thinking about hiring an SEO, the earlier the better. A great time to hire is when you're considering a site redesign, or planning to launch a new site. That way, you and your SEO can ensure that your site is designed to be search engine-friendly from the bottom up. However, a good SEO can also help improve an existing site.
Some useful questions to ask an SEO include:
- Can you show me examples of your previous work and share some success stories?
- Do you follow the Google Webmaster Guidelines?
- Do you offer any online marketing services or advice to complement your organic search business?
- What kind of results do you expect to see, and in what timeframe? How do you measure your success?
- What's your experience in my industry?
- What's your experience in my country/city?
- What's your experience developing international sites?
- What are your most important SEO techniques?
- How long have you been in business?
- How can I expect to communicate with you? Will you share with me all the changes you make to my site, and provide detailed information about your recommendations and the reasoning behind them?
While SEOs can provide clients with valuable services, some unethical SEOs have given the industry a black eye through their overly aggressive marketing efforts and their attempts to manipulate search engine results in unfair ways. Practices that violate our guidelines may result in a negative adjustment of your site's presence in Google, or even the removal of your site from our index. Here are some things to consider:
One common scam is the creation of "shadow" domains that funnel users to a site by using deceptive redirects. These shadow domains often will be owned by the SEO who claims to be working on a client's behalf. However, if the relationship sours, the SEO may point the domain to a different site, or even to a competitor's domain. If that happens, the client has paid to develop a competing site owned entirely by the SEO.
Another illicit practice is to place "doorway" pages loaded with keywords on the client's site somewhere. The SEO promises this will make the page more relevant for more queries. This is inherently false since individual pages are rarely relevant for a wide range of keywords. More insidious, however, is that these doorway pages often contain hidden links to the SEO's other clients as well. Such doorway pages drain away the link popularity of a site and route it to the SEO and its other clients, which may include sites with unsavory or illegal content.
•No one can guarantee a #1 ranking on Google.
Beware of SEOs that claim to guarantee rankings, allege a "special relationship" with Google, or advertise a "priority submit" to Google. There is no priority submit for Google. In fact, the only way to submit a site to Google directly is through our Add URL page or by submitting a Sitemap and you can do this yourself at no cost whatsoever.
•Be careful if a company is secretive or won't clearly explain what they intend to do.
Ask for explanations if something is unclear. If an SEO creates deceptive or misleading content on your behalf, such as doorway pages or "throwaway" domains, your site could be removed entirely from Google's index. Ultimately, you are responsible for the actions of any companies you hire, so it's best to be sure you know exactly how they intend to "help" you. If an SEO has FTP access to your server, they should be willing to explain all the changes they are making to your site.
•You should never have to link to an SEO.
Avoid SEOs that talk about the power of "free-for-all" links, link popularity schemes, or submitting your site to thousands of search engines. These are typically useless exercises that don't affect your ranking in the results of the major search engines -- at least, not in a way you would likely consider to be positive.
While you consider whether to go with an SEO, you may want to do some research on the industry. Google is one way to do that, of course. You might also seek out a few of the cautionary tales that have appeared in the press, including this article on one particularly aggressive SEO: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/businesstechnology/2002002970_nwbizbriefs12.html. While Google doesn't comment on specific companies, we've encountered firms calling themselves SEOs who follow practices that are clearly beyond the pale of accepted business behavior. Be careful.
•Be sure to understand where the money goes.
While Google never sells better ranking in our search results, several other search engines combine pay-per-click or pay-for-inclusion results with their regular web search results. Some SEOs will promise to rank you highly in search engines, but place you in the advertising section rather than in the search results. A few SEOs will even change their bid prices in real time to create the illusion that they "control" other search engines and can place themselves in the slot of their choice. This scam doesn't work with Google because our advertising is clearly labeled and separated from our search results, but be sure to ask any SEO you're considering which fees go toward permanent inclusion and which apply toward temporary advertising.
What are the most common abuses a website owner is likely to encounter? What are some other things to look out for?
There are a few warning signs that you may be dealing with a rogue SEO. It's far from a comprehensive list, so if you have any doubts, you should trust your instincts. By all means, feel free to walk away if the SEO:
- owns shadow domains
- puts links to their other clients on doorway pages
- offers to sell keywords in the address bar
- doesn't distinguish between actual search results and ads that appear on search results pages
- guarantees ranking, but only on obscure, long keyword phrases you would get anyway
- operates with multiple aliases or falsified WHOIS info
- gets traffic from "fake" search engines, spyware, or scumware
- has had domains removed from Google's index or is not itself listed in Google