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design was built using a do-it-yourself site builder on GoDaddy that served its purpose at the time, but became outdated in recent months.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!

Busy, busy, busy! That’s what I’ve been since my last blog post a couple months ago! I apologize for neglecting my blog over that time, but I swear I’ve had good reason to! I’ve been busy the past couple months coming up with web designs for local businesses Forte Professional Services and Elegance By Design (Previews and live examples of both should be ready by the new year). The other projects that have been keeping me busy are Facebook business page designs! If you’ve been following my Facebook page or Twitter account, you’ve probably noticed posts about Facebook fan pages for Windsor Squash & Fitness, Royal Islander Owners Association and Natalie Cervini Chiropractor. Clicking any of those links will take you to their Facebook business page which I designed.

There are several ways for businesses both small and large in the Windsor Ontario area to enhance their Facebook page design. One of the first ways I always suggest to my clients is to create an extended profile banner. This is the first item required by Facebook when designing a page and is located in the top-left hand corner of your page. You can add basically any sized image in there and Facebook will re-size it to fit or you can have a web designer (like me) create an extended profile banner which is at most 180px (wide) x 540px (high). You can see examples of the profile banners I’ve designed below.

Natalie Cervini Facebook Royal Islander Facebook Windsor Squash Facebook

Another great way to enhance your fan page is to create a “welcome” tab. You can set this tab to be the first thing users see when they visit your Facebook page. This tab can be any size you want, however if you create one that is wider than 510px, chances are Facebook will add a scrollbar to the bottom of it by default. What’s nice about the welcome tab is that it can be created to give the user the illusion that they “must” Like your page before moving forward. Without a welcome page on your Facebook, users will automatically be directed to your Wall, where they can get all the information about your business without having to Like it first.

Royal Islander Welcome Page

The last suggestion I usually make to my clients is that they add 5 images 98px (wide) x 68px (high) to an album titled “Profile Banner” or something along those lines. These images should be about the business in some way shape or form. For example, on my Facebook page, you’ll notice (if you’ve Liked it) I have 5 images across the top. These 5 images are of 5 web designs I’ve done over the past year. If you don’t add any images at all, people who have Liked you page will see blank images which is really just a waste of quality Facebook page space! (My apologies for the rhyme)

If you’re a business in Windsor and have a Facebook business page, you should definitely have at least 1 of the suggestions I’ve listed above. If you don’t, you could be missing out on potentially reaching thousands of new customers on a regular basis.

If you’re interested in having a Facebook page designed by me, please email me or call 519-995-7329. I have extensive experience in designing these pages and offer the most affordable rates in the city!

It seems like just yesterday the group coupon mega site that started it all offered its first deal of the day. Back in October of 2008, GroupOn offered a half price special on pizza from the restaurant on the ground level of the building they were in. Nearly 3 years later, GroupOn is one of the fastest growing companies ever and saw revenue of $644.7 million in the first quarter of this year. Most of the news on GroupOn is positive however, as the group coupon site has found, with great success comes many, many, many copy-cats.

The surge in the amount of these daily deal sites has forced GroupOn to evolve more quickly than they ever anticipated. Foes such as; LivingSocial, SwarmJam, WagJag and many more have kept GroupOn on its toes and GroupOn hasn’t missed a step.

In the past few months, they’ve gone from offering one deal a day in each city for 24 hours to offering several deals a day in a city and extending the period the deal is available from 24 hours to 48 or even 72. They made a deal with the location based social networking service Foursquare, which now allows them to offer up to the hour deals on locations you may be walking by. They also made a deal with the online travel booking website Expedia to offer what they call “Getaways” to various resorts, hotels and cities outside of your province, state, and even country.

groupon expeida getaways

Many of these new additions seem to working very well in the cities they’re available in. Because GroupOn is expected to have the largest user base of all the daily deals sites, it allows them to try new things and be the trendsetter when it comes to group coupon sites rather than be the follower.

Even with major sites like Facebook, Google and Amazon starting up their own versions of daily deal sites, GroupOn has managed to stay on top. Their ability to evolve with the market and their willingness to try new things has kept them one of the fastest growing companies ever and has stock market analysts drooling over a possible IPO. Stay tuned!

As a search engine optimization consultant, I always like to re-visit a project 6-8 months after it’s been completed to see how it’s doing in the search engine rankings. Tony Rauti Luxury Homes was a web design I completed back in January. They also wanted some search engine optimization done because the old version of their website wasn’t achieving the results they desired in the search engine rankings.

Initially they wanted to go after general terms such as; “home builders” and “luxury homes”, but since they target traffic in the Windsor and Essex County area, I explained that they would be better off being a bit more specific. We eventually decided that going for keywords such as; “custom home builders Windsor”, “luxury homes Windsor” and “home builders Windsor” would be much more beneficial.

I focused most of my time doing on-site SEO, making sure my web design was optimized for the search engines. I used my META tags properly and created content that focused on the particular keywords we discussed. I then did a little off-site SEO by changing the text on any link that was pointing to Tony Rauti Luxury Homes to ensure it had our main keywords in it.

After roughly 7 months, I’m happy to report that Tony Rauti Luxury Homes is doing very well in the search engines, in particular on Google.

“custom home builders Windsor” – Result #5
first seo success

“luxury homes Windsor” – Result #2
first seo success Google

Even though these particular keywords don’t have that much competition, I still consider this a great SEO success! The domain/site is less than a year old and it’s already gaining a lot of Google’s respect. Most importantly, in the last 6 months Tony Rauti Luxury Homes has received 159.9% more search engine traffic than it did in the previous 6 months!

*If you test these results yourself, you may see slightly different results. I was using Google Chrome and searching Google.ca without being logged in.

Those of you who are a fan of my Facebook page or have visited my portfolio, know that I recently created a web design for the tropical fish shop Captain Cichlids here in Windsor. As is the case with most of my clients, Moe was looking for an affordable web design to help promote his small business online. He didn’t want anything too fancy, just something that he could update on a regular basis with his inventory of tropical fish.

Captain Cichlids web design

Moe already had a logo designed for his business card, so I just created the website around those colors and fonts. I used a deep sea bluish-black gradient for the background, which worked very well with the brown burnt scroll color of his logo. As with all my web designs, I used a DIV based layout with minimal code and a CSS stylesheet. Since Moe wanted to keep costs down, I decided that rather than use PHP and a mySQL database on the backend, I would show him how to update the fish list himself. Moe is a fairly tech-savvy guy so, it didn’t take to long to teach him how to update the site.

In order to keep track of the traffic Captain Cichlids was getting to its website, I created a Google account and added Google Analytics to each page. I also submitted his business to the local search service Google offers called Google Places.

In our initial meeting, Moe seemed a bit skeptical about what a clean and useful web design could do for his small business. As we moved forward with the process, he seemed to become more reassured that this was the right decision. By the end of the process, he was updating his site on his own and generating traffic of roughly 15 new visit per day! It just goes to show that even if you’re hesitant to create a website, whether it be because of costs, updates or other, at the end of the day it definitely helps your business grow!

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