Website Design, Internet Marketing, DC
Written by Stu Kushner

Stop and Block Referrer Spam

 Website Design, Internet Marketing, DCI recently started noticing some new traffic on the websites that we host and manage. What was unusual was that the sites were showing up as referral sites on almost every one of our websites. Our sites all get traffic from Google, Bing, Yahoo and such. But the 2nd and third tier traffic usually comes from more industry specific sources. So, when almost all of our sites were getting referred traffic from a single new source, that was a bit alarming.

We were the victim of Referrer Spam. Referrer Spam is created by unscrupulous marketers that create a network of web crawlers that seek out websites and create fake traffic to them. The traffic gets recorded into the analytic logs on the websites in order to fool the search engines in the hopes of creating higher page rankings for the marketers clients.

The traffic that they create does not physically harm the websites. But it might damage the page rank of your site if Google and the rest decide to punish sites that don’t protect themselves against these crawlers. So, I researched how to block the Referrer Spam and found that although I can’t keep the bots from visiting my client’s sites, I can keep them from accessing the logs that record their visit. That way the traffic they are trying to create does not show up in the analytics. So, it’s like they were never there.

Do you have analytics on your site? If you do, look for Referring Visits from the following sites:

  • .darodar.com
  • bestsub.com
  • buttons-for-websites.com
  • casinobonustips.com
  • civilwartheater.com
  • co.lumb.co
  • cukwiki.com
  • econom.co
  • entourank.com
  • ilovevitaly.com
  • make-money-online.7makemoneyonline.com
  • semalt.semalt.com
  • similarpages.com
  • webstatsdomain.org

We had three of these crawling around on our sites. They boosted the traffic but the fake numbers were not helpful. And keeping our sites clean and honest will boost our credibility with the search engines. So, I believe that this was an important task. If any of these are showing up on your site, call your website develop immediately and have them install safeguards against this intrusion.

Or, call us at 202-462-4290. We will look at your site and advise you at no cost.

SEO, Content Writing,Website Management
Written by Stu Kushner

Creating Magnetic Content

 Marketing, SEO, Content Writing,Website ManagementI have two businesses. Or, maybe your can look at them as two divisions within one business. This site is my website design and Internet marketing business. And the other division is my office computer cabling business at www.ProgOffice.com. I created two separate websites because the work is very different and to put them on one site would dilute the expertise of each.

But where they do complement each other is in my ability to use my marketing skills to attract business to my cabling site. I do that by following these basic guidelines:

  • Create a site that is clear and easy to navigate
  • Make the site interesting
  • Project a professional image
  • Create helpful content
  • Optimize the content to make it attractive to the search engines

There are other things but those three are my basics. And if you do a search in Google for “office cabling in Washington DC”, you will probably see my site on the first page. You might find it there more than once.

Typically, the home page attracts the most traffic as the landing page for a visitor from a search engine. But my site gets most of it’s traffic from two special pages that I created. Those pages are a cabling pricing page and also a page that is an analysis of cabling upgrade choices. Writing those two pages more than doubled the traffic to my website and it helped establish my little cabling company as an authority (in the eyes of Google) in the cabling community.

Those two pages attract visitors to my site from all over the world. It answer two of the most important questions in the cabling industry. And the first one, pricing, is one that most of my competitors are reluctant to share.

And my reward is that if you are looking to get computer network cable installed in the Washington DC area and you look for a company on Google, Progressive Office Cabling will almost always show up on the first page.

So, what you need to do is think about the very most important questions that your clients might ask you and then write about it and put it on your website. If you do, you just might double your traffic. The worst that can happen is that will have some additional, new helpful content on your site.

Written by Stu Kushner

Most People Won’t Actually Read Your Landing Page – How to Get Your Message Across Anyway

By Sean Work

F-Pattern

The world today is cluttered and busy. With millions of pages online, people have been forced to filter their content intake. They consume only the content that is relevant to them.

The unfortunate bottom line is no one will read your great offer on your stunning landing page if it isn’t relevant. And, it can’t convert if people don’t read it. That’s why you need to write your landing page with all three types of viewers in mind – readers, scanners, and bottom feeders.

The Three Types of Readers and How to Reach Them

You can optimize your landing page to appeal to each type of reader. By looking at the behavioral psychology of different viewers and how they consume information on the web, you can create an effective landing page that will result in the most conversions.

1. Readers are your most loyal viewers. They start at the top of the page and read every word throughout the post. They are your ideal viewer. However, we live in a world with increasing Internet “clutter” and decreasing attention spans. Therefore, the vast majority of your audience will not fit into this category.

How to reach them – To take care of your readers, there’s just one thing you have to remember. Content is king. All you have to do to win over a reader is present clear, powerful body copy.

2. Scanners read your headline and a few sentences in the introduction. If they’re still interested, they continue to skim through, focusing on your subheadings, highlighted terms, and images to determine if a specific section is worth taking the time to read. Scanners read very little of your content, focusing instead on the words and images that visually stand out.

Scanners, most likely, will make up the majority of your audience.

Web usability consultant Jakob Nielsen found in …read more    

Written by Stu Kushner

Getting Leads

 online marketing, DCAs a web designer, we here at Progressive Office are constantly looking for leads. It’s business. And leads always have the potential to turn into clients. Our leads come primarily from referrals. But we also have a source that is working very well for us. We use Thumbtack to seek out small businesses that are seeking help with a new website and Internet Marketing of the site. It has been cost-effective at getting us new clients. So, we highly recommend that you look into using it for your business.

Written by Stu Kushner

Lights, Camera, Interaction!

Making videos and posting them online may sound like a lot of expense, work and expertise, but it doesn’t have to be.

Sharing videos with an online audience was once impossible. Today, videos on sites like YouTube are available to anyone who can access a computer. And there are now permanent public archives for videos online: and generally, the most viewed videos are the ones who show up first in an online search list; and videos on those sites are 50 times more likely to appear on the first page of a Google search than all-text sites!

Plus, video sharing is easy with sites like Google, Facebook and Twitter; and that‘s the difference between you and your business being a video “star”, rather than just another “extra”.

Ok. You’re ready to make your video – starring YOU and your Company. Great!

But what’s next?  What do I do? What do I say, and is my “slip” showing?

Here are some suggestions on making your video effective:

1. Educate. Videos can educate potential customers about your products and services. This can promote sales, especially for “online shopping”.

2. Answer questions. A short video where you personally respond to customer comments and questions is a great way to personalize both you and your business.

3. Review products and services. Provide an in depth, detailed review of a selected product or service to boost sales.

5. Showcase success. Report your growth, achievements and results. Read surveys and testimonials. Show a video of a successful project or product.

6. Tell your story. Create a video that shows how your business started and grew.

7. A guided tour.  “Humanize” your company. Show you and your employees at work, interacting, and recreating. Make it a story about working people, not just selling products.

Written by Stu Kushner

The Future of Web Design is Mobile

Can anyone predict the future? Maybe we can with web design. After all, web design depends on technology, and once a technology is invented, someone will figure out what to do with it.

Responsive design is the hottest thing in the web: merging speed, movement, color, depth, flexibility and interactivity. The same website can be seen on a desktop or a “hand held” and still look and act the same. So what’s next?

What the user sees now is graphics and groupings of text/images/icons and various links and images. Many sites ask a user’s name and email address before even learning about the site itself and what it offers. Responsive Design will remove these “archaic” elements by not building websites, but building “Smart sites”.

With a pageless web site, the user is essentially reading a story – not an advertisement. Entering the site is like opening a book:  the visitor progresses naturally from beginning to end by merely scrolling. No “link hunting” or “point and click” guesswork. According to the developers, this makes a “seamless experience” where you go from page to page until the “story” ends. No “wrong turns” or “dead ends” and no more back to “page one” to start over. This also makes the message clearer and more powerful than separating the “message” among a home page, “about” page, mission page, sidebar, etc.

By using parallax technology, web designs create uniformity: scrolling content is already used across many platforms and devices. Even better, removing the traditional “page-jumping” mode creates seamless, single-page site “stories” that flow, creating interactive narratives leading  to both rational and emotional experiences;  regardless of the content.

Marketing is an increasingly important and visible presence on the Internet today. Websites using responsive design techniques can more effectively promote their company and products.

Written by Stu Kushner

Why use a Parallax Website?

Why drive a Yugo when you can drive a Ferrari?

Parallax is the cutting edge for websites, and is perfect for businesses relying on the internet for advertising and building a customer base, especially for those customers just entering the market.  Parallax technology creates  a three dimensional effect that engages  potential customers in the same way a movie “scenes of coming attractions” entice movie audiences to see the whole picture.

Just like a traditional web site, parallax websites enable viewers and browsers easily navigate around your website each visit. First, Parallax sites look awesome.

Read More
Web design, management,marketing
Written by Stu Kushner

Project Management of Website Designs

 Web design, management,marketingDesigning a website is complicated. First, we have to come up with a mockup design. Then we set up a temporary domain, host the site, install software, install additional specialized modules and then customizing it all to the specifications of the client. There is a lot more to it and when you add on the logistics of initiating an Internet Marketing plan, it becomes a very involved process that requires communications and cooperation among our team and the client staff.

Up until recently, we have been able to manage all of our projects internally using shared calendars, email and our contact management system. But as we have grown we are doing more and more projects at the same time. So, we decided to look into project management systems. And since all of our processes (contact management, scheduling, faxes and documents) are already in the cloud, we decided to find a suitable cloud solution.

We were already using HighriseHQ by 37Signals.com for our contact management. So, it seemed like the likely choice. But I had also heard good things about CodeBaseHQ.com. So, we took a look at that too. CodeBase is very powerful but seemed to be geared towards very complex projects. And it was not nearly as easy to use as Basecamp. So, it was an easy choice. We chose Basecamp.

We setup a Template that describes all of the steps involved with developing a website and initiating an Internet Marketing campaign. It was a lot of work to get the template designed and to add all of our current projects into BaseCamp. But it only took a couple of days to get everything working right. Then we invited all of our clients to share the Projects. Now, we are all aware of what where we are in the Project, what needs to be done and communicating with each other within the system.

I highly recommend Basecamp for project management because it helps insure good communications, effective management and that makes for happy clients.

online marketing, website management,website design
Written by Stu Kushner

Is your website mobile ready?

As you can see from the chart below, mobile searches are increasing and are predicted to be equal to desktop searches in just 18 more months. What this means is that your business website needs to be mobile-compatible. This is also referred to as a responsive website design.

 online marketing, website management,website design

A responsive design enables a website to reconfigure its layout and design to fit different screen sizes and resolutions. So that when your website is viewed on a tablet or on a smartphone, it still looks great and is easy to view and to navigate.

This is a responsive website.

You can see how it will look on a smaller screen by simply dragging the bottom right corner of your browser up and left until the screen is the size of a mobile phone. As you drag, the images and menu automatically resize and the content re-position  to fit down the screen so that the visitor only needs to scroll up and down.

Now go to your business website and try this test. If your site does not adjust for a smaller screen, it means your site is not responsive and it will not be as effective at keeping your visitors engaged . We do mobile website conversions.

So, please contact us for a free quote on making your website responsive.

online marketing,SEO
Written by Stu Kushner

From Brad Clements of B&B Music Lessons

 online marketing, SEO

Brad Clements

Brad recently wrote…

Progressive Office has been such a big part of B&B’s success to date. Your early guidance on SEO creation and web site management has proven very effective. Actually, that’s a big understatement. Over time Bhag has created so much relevant content on our site, per your guidance, that the internet has been the primary driver of our business for the last 5 years. Without your good tutelage on SEO strategy our business would have failed and we wouldn’t be having this conversation today. So now that we have a baseline, we are adding more internal marketing to the mix. Our greatest source of growth will come from our existing customer base. How are we doing that?

My referral plan is really starting to work now for B&B. I started following this guy, http://www.ducttapemarketing.com/, about 3 years ago. I have spent only $250 or so on his stuff and it has been awesome! I’ve read two of his books and taken his online course on referrals in a focused way and it is really starting to pay off now.  The key is to educate the customers right from the beginning so they know what is expected of them. If you don’t teach them to make referrals then only the most hyped customers will do your bidding for you. But now I know that you have to create a system that teaches them how to make referrals and show them that you expect them to make referrals. I had some fear about this originally, but now I’m over that and have created a deep referral system that includes lots of automation. It’s as if I’ve created an automatic marketing system that self perpetuates.
This year Stu we are up about 30%. The number of referred customers  has exploded from 7% of all customers to 17% of current active customers. I believe one of the keys to this success is educating customers on what you expect them to do. Then you make it super easy for them to do it by creating tools. In this case I have created emails, cards, a web form and reward payments to jump start referrals.

The biggest lesson for me regarding referrals has been to overcome the fear of directly asking customers for them. So now I am over that and I see that telling customers what to do is a perfectly acceptable tactic for business. If you don’t ask them or don’t tell them what to do directly you will not get the results you want. One advantage our business has over other businesses is that our customers have a recurring monthly experience, weekly really. This gives me lots of opportunities to communicate with them about what I want. We start this process right from the start with customer welcome kit that we’ve been using for years now. But now the messaging on that has been improved with a more specific goal in mind; to get people talking. It’s almost as if our business has morphed into a marketing firm. Everything I think about now and all of our processes I consider to be marketing activities. Ultimately, customer service is a marketing activity, if you’re doing it right.

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