Apr 20

10 SEO Rules for Designers

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a vital component of any website. As a web designer or blogger, it’s important you understand how SEO works. Here are ten easy rules that will immediately improve the SEO on all of your web sites.

SEO For Designers

Rule Zero: Do Not Cheat. Period.

If you walked into a room full of genius scientists with PHDs, do you think you could outsmart them all? No. Google has hundreds of rooms full of genius scientists with PHDs, and their job is to work 60 hours a week to make sure you can’t fool Google. You can’t outsmart them. Ever. Ignore any advice on trying to cheat the system and focus on making great web sites with great content, and your sites will show up fine in searches.

Rule One: Stick to Your Keywords

Pick a few keywords or phrases that describe your site. Use them, and words related to them, whenever it’s natural to do so. Repeating them uselessly is no good (rule Zero), use them in sentences, headlines, and links.

Rule Two: Content is King

Users don’t search for design, they search for content. If your site doesn’t have content people want, no one will look at it.

Every page on your site should follow the Inverted Pyramid. Each page should lead with a relevant H1 tag with one of your keywords, and the first paragraph of text should be a summary of the rest of the page. Continue reading

Apr 15

15 Essential Checks Before Launching Your Website

Your website is designed, the CMS works, content has been added and the client is happy. It’s time to take the website live. Or is it? When launching a website, you can often forget a number of things in your eagerness to make it live, so it’s useful to have a checklist to look through as you make your final touches and before you announce your website to the world.

This article reviews some important and necessary checks that web-sites should be checked against before the official launch — little details are often forgotten or ignored, but – if done in time – may sum up to an overall greater user experience and avoid unnecessary costs after the official site release.

Favicon

A favicon brands the tab or window in which your website is open in the user’s browser. It is also saved with the bookmark so that users can easily identify pages from your website. Some browsers pick up the favicon if you save it in your root directory as favicon.ico, but to be sure it’s picked up all the time, include the following in your head.

1 <link rel="icon" type="image/x-icon" href="/favicon.ico" />

And if you have an iPhone favicon:

1 <link rel="apple-touch-icon" href="/favicon.png" />

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Apr 14

How to choose the right ink and paper for your business card?

At the end of every trade show or business convention, the participants go home with a fistful of business cards. Card printing is as important to your business as banner printing, poster printing or any kind of custom printing for that matter. Your business cards are your only link to the contacts you make. A full-service online printing company like 4over4.com can print impressive, attention-getting business cards quickly and deliver them just as rapidly by mail or courier.

For your business card to make the best impression, it needs to appeal to the touch, first of all. High-gloss paper feels classy. Specialty business cards made of plastic or metal are sure conversation starters. With online printing, you can peruse the entire inventory of card stock to find the perfect fit for you.

The design of your business card says a lot about your company. Your child may be an artist-in-training, but hire a professional to design your card. Use a logo or graphic if you like. Full color card printing is as easy to order as single color printing but be careful to maintain a professional appearance. Obviously, if you’re a professional clown, you’ll want to have a fun, colorful card but if you’re a financial adviser, you need a more stately appearance so your customers take you seriously. Continue reading

Apr 13

Make Your Content Make a Difference

Content, content, content. It’s an obvious part of any interactive experience. In fact, you’ve probably heard content is king, or queen, or some sort of royalty. Yet, content is elusive. Often, you don’t realize your content isn’t cutting it until it’s too late. Does any of this sound familiar?

The Real Solution

No SEO trick and no technology product alone will solve the content problem for you. The real solution to the content problem is hard work that demands change in your (or your company’s) approach to planning, designing and developing interactive experiences. That’s what gets results. There’s no shortcut. And indeed, the path to content that counts is a hard road. But it cannot be the excuse for compromising the quality of experience we provide to our users.

Get Strategic

Content strategy is planning for every aspect of content to get results. That goes far beyond writing the copy. When getting strategic about content, focus on three key areas: analysis, editorial and architecture. While explaining content strategy in detail literally requires a book (or two or three), I’d like to share with you a concise introduction to each area in this article.

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Apr 08

Tips for Choosing a Typeface

Let’s pull it all together with some pragmatic ways to get your typeface choice made. You might want to try these tips, which many designers use to their advantage in one way or another. Be the beneficiary of their wisdom and experience.

1. Plan Your Hierarchy

First, make sure you have a good grasp of the content and typographic hierarchy your design job will dictate. You may realize, after a thorough analysis, you need five fonts (not typefaces) to cover your various heading, sub-headings and call-outs. Can your typeface provide enough variation with bolds, italics and small caps? Or do you need two typefaces to create more distinction in the hierarchy? Three? Use a mind-mapping tool or make a traditional outline to see as much as you can before you start choosing typefaces. Consider this example of a bad and a good hierarchy using the same text. Notice the role white space plays in the hierarchy, too. Use as many levels as you need as long as there is distinction and clear purpose in your choices.

Plan-your-hierarchy in How to Choose a Typeface Continue reading

Apr 06

Designing an Accessible Site Without Losing Your Mind

One of the biggest mistakes I see from web designers is making accessibility more complicated than it actually is. Most designers think of creating accessible content as something that will take weeks of exaggerated tagging, designing tab-browsing and hot keys for every minute function of a site, and writing over-descriptive metadata, so most people just give up and don’t even bother. However, by using some simple techniques and following some basic guidelines, you can make your website accessible to a wide audience of users without spending too much time and energy.

I define web accessibility as:

“Making web content available to a wide audience regardless of physical abilities, web clients, and personal preferences.”

To simplify our tasks as accessible web designers, there a few specific categories that can be helpful as we evaluate some of the different types of users:

  • Visually Impaired: Those with low or no vision. These users may use screenreading software or may use the browser’s functionality to increase text size and contrast.
  • Hearing Impaired: Those with low or no hearing. These users will need to be able to see a textual representation of any audio that is part of the site.
  • Physically Impaired: Those who lack the physical dexterity to use a mouse or a traditional keyboard. These users may use a variety of interface devices, many of which parallel the functionality of the traditional [TAB] key. Continue reading
Apr 02

Eight ways to avoid common website mistakes

Everyone has a website these days, but not every website is equal. As the online environment becomes ever more crowded, you don’t just need to have a website, you need to have an outstanding website. In pursuit of the perfect page, here are some of the top web design mistakes to avoid.

1. Make the purpose of the website clear immediately

The internet is a very fast-paced environment in which millions of companies are competing for the attention of your potential customers. One of the biggest mistakes you can make in your web design is to prepare a site which does not clearly outline the nature of your business and the services that are available online. This information needs to be obvious and should appear on the first page of the website that browsers are likely to encounter. If you make your website too difficult to understand your potential customers will move on within seconds.

2. Use colour in moderation

Another common mistake that can be made in web design, particularly by the inexperienced, is the use of loud and conflicting colour schemes. Certainly contemporary web design does allow for the use of a myriad of colours and background patterns, but that doesn’t mean you need to use seven different themes on each page. Pick two or three colours that evoke the mood of your business and are not so harsh that your customers will need to wear sunglasses to browse through the site! Use colour in moderation. Continue reading

Mar 31

Branding vs. Keyword Rich Domain Names – Which Does Google Prefer?

When it comes to picking a domain name most webmasters are in a dilemma of whether to choose a keyword rich domain name that will get better rankings on Google or a branded domain name that is more likely to get more visitors to the site and be easier to remember.

In recent times Google has been putting more emphasis on brand names over keyword rich domains which has led to the widespread presence of various branded online business at top positions on the search result pages even if they did not meet all the SEO guidelines. Though Google has always denied such favoritism, their criteria to assess the relevancy of any site are constantly changing to keep away spammers, gamers, and black-hated sites and Google is now adopting more novel signals to help them improve their page ranking system.

A recent video by Google’s Matt Cutts explains the situation further. Matt emphasizes that Google is ready to experiment mixing up the old and new signals in their algorithm and see its impact on the evaluation of a website.

Google has been looking at using more robust signals like link authority, page rank, and keyword-rich domains over the traditional signals like on-page optimization, link anchor text, domain names, meta-tags and meta-description. However, we can’t forget about parameters like branding, social networking, reviews, and personalization – they seem to be getting more attention from Google in analyzing the credibility of a site. Continue reading

Mar 30

Cross-Browser HTML5 Placeholder Text

One of the nice enhancement in HTML5 web form is being able to add placeholder text to input fields. Placeholder attribute allows you to display text in a form input when it is empty and when it is not focused (it clears the field on focus). This is a nifty feature, but it is not supported by all browsers yet. This tutorial will show you how to use Modernizr to detect if placeholder is supported, or else use jQuery to display the fallback placeholder text dynamically.

Demo HTML5 Placeholder

Download Demo Zip

Old School Javascript Way

Before we had the placeholder attribute, we relied on Javascript to fake the placeholder text. Below is an example. The text is inserted in the value attribute. On focus, it checks if the value is “search” and returns empty to clear the field. If the value is empty, it returns “search.” As you can see, this way is not an efficient way because each field has to be checked. Continue reading

Mar 30

sothink x Dress-Lace Inc Bodycon Lace Dress

sothink x Dress-Lace Inc Bodycon Lace Dress – Crisscrossed Back Straps / Open Rear Waist / Long Sleeves

Long, tight sleeves and criss-crossed straps in the rear are the most stunning features of this sothink x http://www.dress-lace.com bodycon lace dress available in either black or white. Made of stretchy elastic spandex, this dress clasps your curves, showing off your best attributes. The sleeves cling to your arms to display your smooth, firm muscles. The back of this sexy little dress is partially open and is supported with straps that cross over your shoulders and end up underneath your arms at each side. The rear waistline is slightly curved downward so the soft skin at your waist is exposed. Two simple side seams support the structure of this smooth lined lace dress so they will not distract the eye with additional stitching. This clean line look is perfect for the active sport enthusiast woman who needs support and freedom of movement for her busy day. Small size; bust 81 cm, waist 61 cm, hips 86 cm.