I can’t believe nearly an entire year has gone by since I last updated my blog! I assure you it’s not because of a lack of work! For those of you who don’t know, a little over two years ago I was hired as an Online Marketer/Web Developer at Douglas Marketing Group in Windsor. While I still create and build websites on my own, I spend most of my working hours building websites and strategies for those website with Douglas.

Over the past year I’ve been fortunate enough to work on several really cool web projects as lead developer, as well as search engine optimizer, community manager and overall strategy development. I figured since it’s been so long since I updated my blog that I’d come back with a post over viewing some of the projects I’ve worked on in the last year or so for both Douglas Marketing and on my own free time.

Lucas Professional Search Group

Lucas Professional Search Group

I’ve worked on quite a few projects over the past year, but I have to say one of my favourites has to be the website for the executive recruitment firm Lucas PSG. This was a project done by Douglas Marketing Group where I was the lead developer and programmer. Why do I like this site so much? It’s just so clean, concise and easy to understand. There are no flashy animations, not overloaded with unnecessary pictures, just straight to the point. The site was built using a WordPress framework as well as a custom content management system to handle the job search section. The blog is simple to update and after an hour long training session is completely maintained by the client.

ICS Laser Technologies

ICS Laser Technologies

ICS Laser Technologies was another project I worked on through Douglas Marketing Group. For this one the design of the site was actually completed by the clients’ internal resources and sent to us for programming. It includes a full image background which stretches and shrinks based upon screen site and also has a separate mobile site which works across all mobile devices including tablets and smartphones. What I like most about this one is definitely the imagery. Brendan at ICS did a great job getting me some high quality images which look amazing when viewed on a 20″+ size monitor.

Don’s Disc Jockey

Don's Disc Jockey

One of the sites I was able to find some time for on my own was Don’s Disc Jockey. This site is a bit more basic than some of the sites I’ve worked on with Douglas Marketing, however it fit perfectly into what Don was trying to do. He had been using a purchased CMS that allowed for payments, song selection and much more. He just needed a “front-end” for his potential customers to use to pretty things up a bit. I designed and programmed all the front-end pages of the site, chose the appropriate stock photography and adapted the CMS to his branding and colours.

Google and other search engines are constantly altering the way their search results appear to the end user. Back in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, when Google and Yahoo were just starting, the results consisted of a listing of 10 blue links with a slight description of the website located just below it. Now, Google, Bing and the other major search engines are equipped with advertisements, sitelinks, images, rich snippets authorship tags and much more to enhance their search results and make them more user-friendly.

Here’s an example of what I’m talking about:

Google Enhanced Search Results

As you can see, search results have come a long way since the early part of this century.

Most of the individuals I’ve spoken to about these enhanced search results find them extremely useful and most have said they are more likely to click a result which has one of these features. That thought brings me to the point of my post, how the authorship tag, which can be easily added to your website or blog, can drastically help increase your organic click-through rate (CTR).
I recently did some work with Douglas Marketing Group for a local criminal lawyer named Frank Retar. After having his website designed late last year, he was finding that it wasn’t appearing in the search results for any of his preferred keyword phrases. He asked us to take a look at his site and evaluate what the problem may be. After running one of our free SEO assessments, we found that his META information and keyword selection needed to be improved.

Shortly thereafter, he hired us to search engine optimize his website and the next day we began our strategy. Of course all the basic strategy key points came into play: keyword optimization, META information update, backlinking and more.

After a few months of implementing our SEO strategy, we found that while Mr. Retar’s website was appearing more frequently in search results, the CTR was below average to average. That’s when we decided we wanted to try the Google Authorship tag to enhance his search results.

Implementing the Google Authorship tag is fairly easy. I plan on writing a “how to” post on it soon, but for the time being you can check out Google’s instructions on how to do it here.

The authorship tag we put in place took about two weeks to appear in results. Here’s what it looks like:

Retar Google Authorship

Pretty snazzy right? Not only did it enhance the look of the result, but it dramatically increased the amount of clicks through to the website. Since we added the Google Authorship tag about 4 weeks ago, we’ve seen an increase of between 10-20% percent on several keywords.

So why the increase in clicks? None of the research I’ve done really shows a definitive answer, however many of my colleagues in the SEO business believe it could just be the simple fact that it looks different than most other search results. Some have also said that putting a face to a link/name may also be a factor.

Whatever the reason, the key takeaway is that people are clicking these types of results more than others, which means whenever you have an opportunity to add an Authorship tag to your clients’ search results, you absolutely should.

Lucas Works Much Improved Website Design

January 9, 2013 | Comments Off

I recently came across a website redesign that I thought was really well done. The company who did the redesign is Douglas Marketing Group. I’ve worked with them in the past and I have to say, their work is really really creative. The amount of design effort they put into each page goes unmatched.

For those of you who don’t know, Lucas Works is one of the top job recruitment agencies in all of SouthWestern Ontario. They’ve recently expanded to add offices in both London and Kitchener Ontario to go with their existing and main headquarters in Windsor.

Lucas Works Website

Their old website, which was designed back in the mid 2000′s was fairly out-dated and somewhat difficult to navigate. The width of the site was no larger than 800px (most websites are now designed at 1024px) and the colors were dark, dreary and really unpleasant to the eye.

The refresh of the website looks amazing. They kept their branding and logo basically the same, however they went ahead and added a few different shades of green to their website as well as a very attractive looking orange color which instantly draws your eyes in. They’ve also added several fresh pages to the website which tell both clients and customers why they should choose LucasWorks with stats, numbers and charts.

I still haven’t even mentioned they also added a very simple but effective blog which offers tips, tricks and helpful information on searching for a job, interviewing, resume writing and much more!

All in all the redesign of the LucasWorks site has to be seen as a huge success and improvement when compared to their earlier version. Congrats on a great new design guys!

Bringing Your Business Events Outdoors

September 6, 2012 | Comments Off

When planning for a party, many people will purchase large quantities of disposable paper plates, spoons and knives. These are low-quality, but who wants to buy a huge number of plates, knives and spoons, only to be left with a cleanup and possibly broken dishes. But a third alternative is that of party rentals.

Party Hosts Can Browse Different Rental Options
The best thing about party rentals is you can browse different options and can find the party rentals that you feel are the best for the particular look and theme that host is aiming at. As the host browses the various options, he or she might discover new party ideas, such as a gorgeous fountain or a food machine.

Save on Space
What’s even better about party rentals is how they save on space. The party supplies are rented temporarily and are later taken back to the rental party place. In many cases, the party rental company will bring the supplies to the party and will haul them away when the party is over or the next day.

Using a Tent at a Party
Tents are often one of the most ideal places that people can throw a party. The tent allows party guests to get out of the sun and also can serve as insurance against a sudden downpour. The weather seems to change more frequently nowadays and many outdoor parties are put in jeopardy when rain clouds form out of nowhere.

Party guests can easily travel in between the tent and the outdoors for horseshoes and refreshments. There is also more flexibility in how the tent can be decorated.

Businesses That Offer Tent Rentals Often Offer Other Services
Another advantage of the party tent company is that it often has the other things that the host will need to run a successful party, including party chairs, tables and heaters. When the weather gets cold, the tent can be a place where guests can go to warm-up. Festival Tent & Party Rentals offers different party rental services.

Party Tents Come in Many Styles
Party tents range in the styles that are offered. Some are open tents that provide a covering to block the sun and rain. Other tents are full enclosures. The ideal tent type will depend on the nature of the event. Part of the tent purchasing process is visiting the tent rental place to inspect the types of tents that are available. Like with most party rentals, the tent rentals will often be set up and dismantled for the client.

My Web Designs – Forte Services

March 9, 2012 | Comments Off

It’s been awhile since I updated the my web design and online marketing blog, but I promise you there is a good reason! I’ve been incredibly busy creating and developing online strategies for several new clients and small business in Windsor and the surrounding area!

One of my latest web designs was created for Forte Professional Services. They’re a small company serving clients in Windsor and Detroit on everything from utilizing tools such as fax all the way to web based applications.

Forte Professional Services

When they initially contacted me about their new design, one of their main focuses was having a contact form and a custom professional looking design. Their original design was built using a do-it-yourself site builder on GoDaddy that served its purpose at the time, but became outdated in recent months.

They wanted their site simple, so I suggested 5 page site using the color of their logo mixed in with a bright green to attract people to their links and contact page. If a potential client or contact fills out the contact form, they will be notified right on site that their email was sent.

I also did some basic SEO work by editing their META tags and doing a bit of research on what their clients may be searching for when using search engines to find their business online.

My experience with Forte Professional Services was a huge success! I’d like to thank Karen and everyone at Forte for their help in building a site that I, and most importantly they love!

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