Microsoft starting a new social network? By: Sean

Posted on: July 16th, 2011 @ 3:33 pm

With all the recent hype about Google’s social network Google+ it seems that Microsoft has been feeling a bit left out. Microsoft recently published a live version of its ‘Tulalip’ social media website to the web at http://socl.com. If you visit the site now it reads “Thanks for stopping by. Socl.com is an internal design project from a team in Microsoft Research which was mistakenly published to the web. We didn’t mean to, honest.” However, it makes you wonder how such a website that important ‘accidentally’ gets published to the web. Despite all the bad press Microsoft has received in the past, they aren’t THAT incompetent. It seems like this was more of a publicity stunt than anything, and it seemed to have work. With the prospect of another major social network, the questions is which one will you choose.

Tulalip

(Image courtesy of http://fusible.com/)

5 basic SEO tips to get your online presence started By: Sean

Posted on: July 8th, 2011 @ 8:44 pm

When hiring a web development agency, a lot of Abbotsford businesses don’t have the resources to outsource their search engine optimization needs as well. It can be very costly, and time consuming depending on the goals that the company has. Especially if the target keywords are national, instead of local (i.e Website design vs. Abbotsford website design). So, we figured we’d give away from freebies to help steer you in the right direction when trying to create an established website presence.

1. Establish keywords.

The first thing you want to do if figure out what keywords are the most suitable for your business, and are going to get you the most targeted traffic. For example, if you are a website design agency in Abbotsford, you wouldn’t want the keyword “Gardening specialists in Abbotsford” even thought you could possibly rank highly for it, and get lots of traffic.

2. HTML Markup

This is probably one of the simplest things you can do. By adding a relevant title tag, and a meta description with keywords in it, search engines will be more likely to favor your website. Also be sure to make proper use of the strong and header tags to emphasize important keywords.

3. Backlinks

By obtaining backlinks to your website, you are telling search engines that you have quality content that people are wanting to share. It is also a good idea to edit your anchor text to reflect your keywords. However, don’t use the same anchor text for all your backlinks.

4. Social Media Presence

This is probably fairly obvious, but some people may overlook certain aspects of social media. They key to a good social media presence is not focusing on just one network. A good social media campaign incorporates quality content, and multiple networks.

5. Quality Content

Search engines love quality content. If you have a blog that gets updated frequently, search engines will crawl your site more often. This is also one of the best ways to drive organic traffic to your website. If people like your content, then they will read your articles, and link to them, which will drive your search engine ranking up.

With these 5 tips you will have a basics to start your online presence. However, it is important to note that search engine optimization is a complicated process, and you can’t rely on just one technique to help boost your websites ranking.

Browsing Google with encryption (HTTPS) By: Sean

Posted on: July 5th, 2011 @ 10:04 pm

You have probably had to use HTTPS sometime before, most likely when logging into a website for payment, or something similar. However, most people don’t realize it is a good idea to use HTTPS whenever possible – especially in public places – to ensure that any private data you are transmitting is secure.

Without HTTPS SSL encryption, your information can be intercepted rather easily, and in some cases with a simple browser add-on. While there is a far higher risk of this in public places such as coffee shops, than in your own home, using encryption is a good habit to get into. With encryption enabled, sensitive information is much harder to obtain.

To ensure that your Google browsing is encrypted, use https://encrypted.google.com/ as your homepage. Note the https:// in front of the URL, instead of the normal http://

It should look something like this

Google HTTPS

For a guide on how to browse Facebook with HTTPS SSL encryption, check out this article on Get Socialed

What is a CMS and why do I need one? By: Sean

Posted on: July 3rd, 2011 @ 4:14 am

When designing websites for our clients in Abbotsford, we generally try and use some form of content management system (CMS) to make their lives easier. Unfortunately, not many people are aware of the full benefits to using a CMS.

First let’s take a look at what a CMS really is, and some of the major types. Many people are familiar with WordPress as a blog platform, but not as many people understand the connection as a content management system. WordPress allows its users to easily add important content through a few clicks, and with barely any knowledge of HTML, CSS, or PHP. This is one of the main features of a CMS. Users with no web development experience can edit content on their pages. Without a content management system, the user is forced to navigate through what is often hundreds of lines of code to change and update data. This also means that there is a good chance of unintended consequences, such as broken links, and missing code. Time is money, and by having a content management system installed, you will be saving both in the long run.

However, WordPress isn’t the only CMS out there. There are others, such as Drupal, and Joomla, to name a few. Most content management systems provide the same basica functionality, however some are more optimised for search engines, and others offer a wider support of plugins and themes. We are here to help you decide which is best for your website.

There are plenty of pre-made themes and templates available for content management systems, which can make them appealing to individuals and smaller businesses. However, we prefer to design the themes ourselves, as this tells the world that your business is unique, and has something special to offer.

Many content management systems offer a wide range of plugins, which can make sharing very simple for visitors. This can increase your publicity drastically. There are often plugins that can help to make optimization of titles and URLs easier, so that you don’t have to hire a Web Consultant every time you go to post a blog article.

In short, by implementing a CMS you will be able to drive more traffic to your site through streamlined SEO management, and save money by being able to post and edit your own content quickly, and efficiently. Whatever your CMS needs, if you are in Abbotsford, the Lower Mainland, or the Fraser Valley, we are the go-to website design and development experts.

Is SEO really dead? By: Sean

Posted on: June 28th, 2011 @ 9:54 pm

Recently I have been seeing more and more blog posts about how SEO is dead, and that being an SEO specialist will become an irrelevant job position in the next few years. I figured this would be a good opportunity to promote 4th Street Design’s stance on this subject. While these sorts of posts have been floating around for years, people became more concerned when Google rolled out Google Instant, Panda, and now its own social network, Google+.

Past

First let’s take a look at what SEO has traditionally been. In the dark days of the web, search engine optimization was all about having a solid title, meta tags, reciprocal linking, and submitting one’s website to as many reputable directories as possible. The past several years have been an evolution of SEO. As Google changed its algorithms, people realized that they couldn’t get away with the same old tricks to compete for prized keywords. Developing organic links became the next big step in SEO. Along with this came guest blogging, and the basic mindset that good content brings valuable traffic. Having a good backlink structure was deemed to be one of the most important factors for a website.

Present

However, in the past few years, social media has become a huge factor for websites, and with this has come the terms SMO (social media optimization) and SEM (search engine marketing). People are claiming that SMO and SEM are going to kill off SEO. One such person (Ben Elowitz) believes that SMO has already killed off SEO. As a result, he believes that SMO is going to be the preferred method of establishing a websites presence to the world.

Future

While I do believe that it is foolish to ignore SEM and SMO, as they are becoming a huge part of establishing a websites online presence; SEO is in no way dead. Instead, to have a solid online presence you need individuals who are capable of more than just conventional SEO tricks, and who can adapt to marketing on different social media platforms.

We believe that SEO will not be dead for a long time. In fact, so long as there are search engines, basic SEO will still be relevant and required. Having a good backlink structure, and optimized title tags are still an important part of establishing an online presence. However, they are not the only step. Now, and in the future, establishing an online presence is going to require people who have knowledge in multiple aspects of Internet Marketing. Having a healthy online presence for you business requires a combination of smart search engine optimization, social media optimization, and search engine marketing.

So, in short, SEO is not only alive and well, it has evolved. And as such, it requires a diverse set of talents that we, here in Abbotsford at 4th Street Web Design and Development, can provide for you.

Braber Equipment By: Karson Enns

Posted on: June 1st, 2011 @ 4:54 pm

BE Pressure By: Karson Enns

Posted on: May 29th, 2011 @ 3:28 pm

The Shefield Group By: Karson Enns

Posted on: May 29th, 2011 @ 3:26 pm

Haiti Shirt By: Sean

Posted on: July 21st, 2010 @ 3:36 pm

What is a digital agency? By: Sean

Posted on: June 17th, 2010 @ 4:42 pm

Whenever I mention to someone in Abbotsford that 4th Street Website Design and Development is a ‘Digital Agency,’ nine times out of ten, I just receive an inquisitive gaze. As a result, I thought it would be a good idea to take some time to address the issue of what 4th Street Web Design and Development really is.What is a digital agency?

When Karson and I started up 4th Street in Abbotsford, we knew we wanted to focus on providing a service to people and small businesses who needed a website solution that was cost-effective. However, after completing a few projects, we soon realized that often times our clients had needs that went beyond the design and development of a website.

Often times when a client came to us, in need of a web design service, they had other needs as well. Eventually we found ourselves performing tasks that – while still in the realm of website design and creation – pushed the boundaries of the duties that a business that describes itself as a ‘design’ agency might perform.

I believe that most website ‘design’ businesses fall outside the actual realm of ‘design.’ People label themselves as website designers, when in fact their tasks far surpass that of actually ‘designing’ a website.

While some people regard the actual coding of a website to be part of the design process, I believe that there should be a distinction between the two. I believe that coding a website is not really designing, while some may argue that the coding is what actually makes the pixels and divs appear where they should be, I would rather refer that it be referred to as implementation.

So that leaves us with design and implementation. Great, so why arent we called “4th Street – A Design and Implementation Agency”?

…Which brings me to my next point. Most clients require more than a website to be designed and coded. As an example, Search Engine Optimization has always been an important part of running a successful online entity. However, in recent years the SEO craze has grown, and small businesses often need guidance in the practices of SEO. Often times we provide services to clients that have no relation to any aspect of design. Sometimes a client simply needs a strategy, or perhaps some fresh content. However, these two services fall quite nicely under the services that a digital agency is ready and qualified to provide.

In my opinion, digital agencies will be on the rise. With increased competition, smaller ‘design agencies’ are going to need to step up their game to provide services that will ultimately make the lives of their clients easier. I like to think of a digital agency as the full package, in that it provides a wide range of services that are normally required by a client, as opposed to ‘design agencies,’ which choose to limit themselves to a particular niche.

Unfortunately, as a result, there is no simple way to describe what services we – as a digital agency – provide, apart from saying that we are willing to tackle any task that is related to websites…
Either way, I suppose you could just call us your friendly neighbourhood internet specialists. ;)

Older Posts »