Bay Area Web Designers

  • By aga
  • 14 Jan, 2016

The Bay Area in California has more "web designers" per square mile than anywhere else in the world. This is good for the customer, as you have a greater choice, but it can also be a bad thing as so many of them have the skill to build a site, but not the vision to make sure its successful.

 

Following is some information on the different type of web designers you are likely to come across in the Bay Area.

 

There are four types of web designers in the bay Area:

  • The professional web design company
  • The freelance designer
  • The student tying to build his portfolio
  • The part-time computer enthusiasts

Below we will explain the benefits and pit falls of each of these designers

 

The professional design company

If you have a good-sized budget and your needs are specific, it is always best to go with professional web design. A professional web design company will not just try to please the client, but it will also make sure that the site is going to achieve its goal should that be selling a product or advertising a service.

 

Pros

  • Quality
  • Reliability
  • After-sales support
  • They can handle any project
  • They will build the site for clients customers rather than the client

Cons

  • Expensive
  • You will just be another customer to them

The freelance designer

Most freelance web designers work alone. This is good as they’re usually more flexible with pricing. They may not have other resources to call upon, such as marketing or SEO, but they do offer a better one-on-one service than a professional company.

 

Pros

  • Less expensive than a professional company
  • Better one-on-one services
  • More focused on the success of your site, as they are trying to build a loyal client base

Cons

  • They usually specialize is one thing: Design, programming or SEO or they are semi-skilled in all
  • If they decide to do something else, their business is gone and so is your support

The Student tying to build his portfolio

Everyone starts here as, in this industry, you can get into a design house without a portfolio. What this means for you is CHEAP (sometimes even free) and a willingness to please.

 

Pros

  • Very Cheap
  • Dedicated one-on-one service

Cons

  • They will be more inclined to try and give you what you want rather than create a site that will be successful
  • Very limited resources and experience
  • You will have to work around their schedule
  • Little or no after-sales service

The part time computer enthusiasts

In the Bay Area, pretty much everyone has had some computer experience. What this has spawned is the computer enthusiast that thinks because they published a page online that they can build a website for a business. What it actually means is you will get a site that has no cross platform compatibility, zero search engine optimizing, no collapsible layouts and zero returns on your investment.

 

Pros

  • I'll get back to you on that

Cons

  • Your customers will have no respect for your product or service if the first introduction to it is from a shabby made site.
By aga 16 Jan, 2016

There is basically nothing you can’t do on a web site. If you want to have DVD quality video streaming from your home page with multiple flash animations and 3D product demonstrations all on the same page, no problem. However, maybe 10% of your viewers will see it. The other 90% will be sitting looking at a blank screen for a couple of hours until it loads and then it will be dependent on how it plays on their system. The key to web design is not what you can do; it’s what you should do.

 

Things you need to consider:

  • Your target audience:   If you are selling electric wheel chairs, chances are anyone that sees your site is going to be using a basic setup with a DSL connection, but most likely a dial up connection, so you’re going to want to keep your site as basic as possible. However, if your target audience is computer gamers, chances are they all have above average systems with a high speed connection, in which case you have a lot more freedom to create more of a multimedia experience.
  • Your content:   If you are going to create a site that has a lot of text content to be read off the site, you are not going to want a lot of moving images and distractions. However, if your site is going to be product based, you are going to want to create a site that highlights the product as much as possible, while keeping in mind Point 1 above.
  • Your Company:   Your website is a refection of your company and should also project your company's image at all times.
By aga 16 Jan, 2016

Once you become a site owner you will get a lot of requests to swap links with other sites in an attempt to increase your search ranking and the reciprocal's site ranking. There is nothing wrong with this in itself, however, there are a few things you need to know in order to make this a successful practice.

 

It has been suggested that the more links to your site the better. This is not the case. It has more to do with the quality of links rather than the amount of links to your site. If you have 100 links to your site from sites that have poor or no ranking, it will not do you as much good as having five links to your site with rankings between three and ten. The reason for this is search engines put more importance into sites that have higher rankings, so if you are linked to from one of these sites, you will be seen with more importance than if you are linked to from a site that has no ranking.

 

Be careful who you link to. If you link to a site that violates any or the search engines rules such as hidden text, gateway pages and so on, you will actually be penalized for their dishonesty.

 

Avoid link farms and link exchange programs. These are methods used to boost rankings and, while they work in the short term, once the search engines find them, they penalize them and you too.

 

Make sure the reciprocal site's links page is not hidden from searches. The website may have a high ranking, but the links page is not listed or even ranked. This will do you no good whatsoever. To find out a site's page ranking, you will need to to download Google's tool bar. Follow this link to Google's site to download their tool bar.

 

Try to focus your links to sites that are relevant to your site. For example, if you offer a limo service, try to be linked to from sites like hotels, tourist information sites and sites like that. While this will only make a moderate difference to ranking, you will have a better chance of your links actually being visited by people rather than just a web crawlers. That is the whole point after all.

By aga 16 Jan, 2016

Bottom line is, this is a myth. No company can guarantee this. The reason being Yahoo, Google and MSN are companies and companies are in business to make money. That is why they all offer their own sponsored links placed at the top or on the side of the search results. This could be pay-per-click, meaning you pay every time somebody clicks on the link to your site or it can be a set monthly fee.

 

However, with that being said, there are things you can do to help get on the first page of searches.

  • Make sure the search terms that you want to be found under is in the text content of your site, preferably the front page. I.e., if you want to be found under "cure for cancer", be sure to have this text in as many places as possible on your site in text format, not image format, (meaning text on a .jpeg or other image type) as web crawlers will not be able to see it.
  • The more links you have to your site, the better. This is how web crawlers will find your site. By browsing other sites that are linked to your site, the more links the higher it will go up the rankings.
  • Submit your site (when its finished) to search engines. All search engines have a page to do this and it’s free.

The three steps above are ALL a search engine optimizing company will do to your site. If you decide to use a company for this purpose, make sure that is all they do. Below is a list of no-no's when it comes to search engine optimizing.

  • Gateway pages: (making pages full of search terms to push you up the ranking)
  • Hidden text: (adding text to your page that cannot be seen because it matches the background of your site)
  • Layers that cover text: (adding an image over the top of text to conceal it)
  • Spam campaigns: (whether this be email or splash pages)

There is no doubt that all these methods work and work well. However, when you get caught (and you will), your site will be dropped from the search results for good. Be sure to ask any company how they are going to get your site to the top of the searches. If they mention any of the above, I strongly recommend hanging up the phone right away. These methods are dishonest. Do you really want to do business with a company that has dishonest practices? There are a lot of companies out there that offer this service and a lot of them will base their fee on performance. This means if you don't get results, you don't pay. Be wary of any company that will charge you for this service up front without any clear contract of what they are going to do.

 

Note: Google and Yahoo send out their crawlers once per month. This index file changes every month, so some months your site will be listed high and some months it will not. It all depends on your ranking.

By aga 16 Jan, 2016

If you buy software for a MAC and try to run it on a PC, it will not work. The internet is the same. IE (Internet explorer) is not the only web browser out there and what may run great on IE may not run on Firefox or Opera, which makes up an increasing amount of internet users. Even different versions of IE will not display some features of your site.

  • Here's how to make sure your web site can be viewed in all browsers:
  • Download a different browser than you are used to and make sure your site works the same on both.
  • Update your browser to the latest version and be sure you have all security features installed.
  • Be sure active script and pop-ups are kept to a minimal on your site. You may ask yourself why this matters. If a visitor goes to your site and it doesn’t work right, why would they have any faith in your product or services?
By aga 16 Jan, 2016

There is no doubt about it. Flash is the best tool in any web designers arsenal. It is easy to use with phenomenal results. You can create a full blown website in a couple of hours and the file size can be less than the size of your average .JPEG file, but (and this is a big but) it is still a plug-in. This means that you have to download and install the latest flash player in order to view the website. It is really not a big deal if you are an intermediate to advanced user, which is what maybe 60% of Internet users are. However, that other 40% of people may not feel secure having to download and install software on their computer in order to view your site. Another downside of a flash based site is the fact that web crawlers cannot see the text content contained within the file. This means it has no way to index your site, which can lead to poor search engine ranking. Don't be put off with the down sides of flash. There are ways around these problems.

  • Only use flash for graphical touches, i.e., headers, images, navigation structure (as long as the navigation structure is backed up with text links to your pages as well).
  • Create a mirror site, which the user will be automatically redirected to if the user does not have flash installed.
  • Export the flash file in the lowest version needed to be viewed. Unless you’re using features that Version 3 does not support, there is no reason to export the file in the latest Version 7. That way, you don't alienate users who maybe have flash installed, but not the latest version.

Flash should be used as an enhancement to your site and not the main construction block. Unfortunately, new technology advances more quickly than people do, so the tools we have available today will not be used to their full potential for a long time and, by that time, we will have new tools to tempt us into making design mistakes.

 

Note: When you start thinking about your web site, the most important thing to think about is your target audience. For example, if your audience is schools, a lot of schools have their internet security setting set high so students are not looking at anything they shouldn't be. If this is the case, then a lot of the time it will block any site with flash installed because there is no way to determine the content of the site.

By aga 16 Jan, 2016

If you have ever purchased software, you know you have to read the box in order to find out if the software will work on your system. That is somewhat acceptable when it comes to software. However, on a website, it is not acceptable. A lot of designers out there will take the easy route and build a site that is not compatible with all browsers and then publish a list of plug-ins on your home page you will need in order to view the site. You will see this a lot on multimedia sites that advertise Hollywood movies or websites where you can download multimedia content. This is mostly done to protect the content. However, there are a lot of sites out there that require you to make additional downloads in order to see flat text content or products. You should always follow the guidelines below (or your web developer should be following them) when creating any website.

  • Keep it simple : If you were selling your product or service in a bricks and mortar location, wouldn't you make it as easy as possible for your customers to find your product/information? So why not follow the same rules when building a website?
  • User instinct : You are pretty much guaranteed that your web site is not going to be the very first website your potential customer has ever visited. They have developed a sense of where things are and where they should be. In order not to frustrate your new customer with having to learn how to use your site in order to find the information they need, it is always best to keep the navigation structure of your site in a proven format.
  • 24-hour salesman : Your website should be set up in a way to guide your customers through all the steps they are used to taking in order to get to that final page whether it be your contact page or purchase page. By having the customers take steps they are not used to along the way, confusing them with downloads, forms which require information in order to proceed, or anything else that is likely to inconvenience them, will only result in a missed sale that you will never know about because unhappy, potential customers don't complain. They just don't come back, they will also not recommend your site, which is worse.
By aga 16 Jan, 2016

We have all done it - made a big purchase only to find out that we have to make additional purchases to make it work. This should not be the case with a website or any graphic design project. Be sure that when you are quoted for a web site everything is included in the price in order for your new site to be up and running at the end of the project. The price should include uploading and testing the site. This is also true for any graphic project. If it’s a logo design, then you should receive all file types, including .EPS, .JPG, and .GIF, at no additional charge. One way to guarantee this is to make sure it is in the quotation and never, I repeat, never send final payment until you have everything you have paid for.


By aga 16 Jan, 2016

There is a common problem with some less than reputable companies creating backdoors into your site in order to obtain access to your Databases and account information with the intention of fraud or theft. This usually happens when you outsource to third world countries because the price is a fraction of what you would pay here. Bottom line here is if something seems to good to be true, chances are it is. Saving some money on development may in the long run cost you tenfold.


By aga 16 Jan, 2016

This is maybe the most important section of this page so, for your own safety and security, please read this section carefully.

 

The internet can be a dangerous place. It has opened the doors for lots of criminals to move undetected. When it comes to web design, there is a certain level of trust that has to be established in order for this process to work. After all, a lot of the time you will be giving a stranger access to account information, your email and your clients' information. I have lost count of how many times clients have told me they have suffered financial loss and even, in some extreme cases, had their safety threatened. However, there are ways to protect yourself.

  • Pay by check only after you get a written quotation and be sure to get a physical address to send it to, not a mail drop or PO box (this way you'll have a paper trail and an address).
  • If you are setting up a hosting account for your new web site, if at all possible, try to set up a new account in which you don't have any active email address (This is sometimes unavoidable and that is were the trust comes in.).
  • Once your web site has been completed and uploaded to your domain, reset all your passwords. DO NOT USE A HOSTING COMPANY THAT DOESN'T HAVE A NUMBER TO CALL TO TALK TO A LIVE PERSON. This way, they can tell you if any other access accounts have been created.
  • Keep personal information to a minimum unless it is relevant to the project (This is not to say you can't be friendly. However, be wary of questions that are being asked that are unrelated to the project.).
  • Trust your gut if something smells fishy. Most likely it's fish.
  • Have another company give your site the once over when its finished, Most reputable companies should do this for a small fee without trying to sell you their services.

There are also a number of other things you can do to find a trustworthy designer.

 

Don't rush in

Once you have found a designer that interests you. Call him/her a couple of times with the same questions to see if their answers are consistent (Prices may change, but that's common.).

 

Ask to see references or if it is ok to contact people who have written testimonials of their work.

 

Obtain and confirm all contact information before sending any payment.

 

Look at their work

Look really hard at their portfolio and website. Every designer has a style, but you can always tell if the work matches the artist. The reason for this is you don't want to be charged for original work that turns out to be a pre-made template.

 

Contract Contract Contract

Whether this be in the form of a quote or a written contract, be sure to have it on headed paper in writing what is expected, how much it is going to cost, and their confirmed contact information. If they can’t provide this for you, walk away no matter how appealing the price is.

 

There are many pitfalls in this business, but, as long as you remember to get everything in writing, confirm the contact information and keep all electronic correspondence, you will be able to retrieve any loss though legal channels (and the fact that you are taking these precautions may in and of itself deter any intentions to con or mislead you).

By aga 16 Jan, 2016

Good optimization requires constant monthly updating and monitoring

This is what most SEO companies would like you to believe because it means you will keep paying them monthly fees. The truth is, if you optimize the site correctly and stick to the search engines rules, there is nothing more you have to do. Search engines are designed for the consumer and not the company. What this means is, if your site is relevant to the search that the user enters, it will appear in the results. The more relevant, the higher your site will be listed.

 

The only recurring fees you should ever pay is for a good link exchange program. By good, I mean they will check to make sure every site you are linked to does not break any rules. They will make sure the links back to your site are in a format that helps your ranking and they will monitor the program on an on-going basis.

 

Our link exchange program is unique because we only include sites that we run or maintain. What this means is we have total control on how your return link is displayed, the links page is indexed (there is no point sharing links with a site if the search engines don't see the links page) and we also regularly check that the site is not breaking any SEO rules.

 

The more links to your site the better

This is not the case. You could have one thousand links to your site, but still have poor ranking. Links to your site are important. However, it's not the amount of links. It's the quality of links.

 

Using flash and framed pages will result in poor page ranking

That may have been the case five years ago, but not now. All the large search engine companies like Yahoo, Google and MSN update their web crawlers regularly to compensate for new technologies and techniques. Google can now even scan the text of a flash site with its crawler. We have put many flash-based or framed sites in the top ten using search engine accepted techniques.

 

The more keywords you have on the page the better

This is true if you want to have your site barred from the search engines. This technique is called "keyword flooding", which is frowned upon by Yahoo, Google and MSN.

 

Multiple domain names will give a site a better chance of showing in the Top 20

This is another method that can get your site barred. While it is good to have your domain name be a search term, you should try to limit your domain name aliases to less than ten.

 

Any link exchange is good

No. You can actually be penalized for linking to a site that uses any frowned-upon method of SEO. You should only link exchange with sites that have:

  • A good ranking
  • Are relevant to the content of your site
  • That link to your site
  • That don't break any of the search engine rules

Some SEO companies work with the search engines and can guarantee top placement

Ask yourself: Why would any search engine company that offers pay-per-click listings work with an SEO company to get websites listed in the top ten? The truth is this is something no company can guarantee. What they can guarantee is they will optimize your site to give it the best possible chance in the listings. There are a lot of factors that you can't avoid. For example, say you resell Dell computers and you want to be listed in the top ten under the search term "Dell". On Google, you are competing against 153,000,000 results, three of the top ten being Dell. To get listed in the top ten in the search, you would need to have at least 1,000 links pointing to your site, 25% of which would need to be from a site ranked 4/10 or higher. Your content would need to be targeted to that single search term and your site would also have to continue with a lot of pages all with unique content targeted at the said search term. What is more feasible is to have your site appear in a more focused search. For example, if you are based in California, you could focus your efforts to "Dell resellers California" or, if you stock a specific model, then you could use "XPS resellers California", and so on. This way, not only are you more likely to be in the top ten, but you will also be targeting your site towards your desired customer.

By aga 14 Jan, 2016

The Bay Area in California has more "web designers" per square mile than anywhere else in the world. This is good for the customer, as you have a greater choice, but it can also be a bad thing as so many of them have the skill to build a site, but not the vision to make sure its successful.

 

Following is some information on the different type of web designers you are likely to come across in the Bay Area.

 

There are four types of web designers in the bay Area:

  • The professional web design company
  • The freelance designer
  • The student tying to build his portfolio
  • The part-time computer enthusiasts

Below we will explain the benefits and pit falls of each of these designers

 

The professional design company

If you have a good-sized budget and your needs are specific, it is always best to go with professional web design. A professional web design company will not just try to please the client, but it will also make sure that the site is going to achieve its goal should that be selling a product or advertising a service.

 

Pros

  • Quality
  • Reliability
  • After-sales support
  • They can handle any project
  • They will build the site for clients customers rather than the client

Cons

  • Expensive
  • You will just be another customer to them

The freelance designer

Most freelance web designers work alone. This is good as they’re usually more flexible with pricing. They may not have other resources to call upon, such as marketing or SEO, but they do offer a better one-on-one service than a professional company.

 

Pros

  • Less expensive than a professional company
  • Better one-on-one services
  • More focused on the success of your site, as they are trying to build a loyal client base

Cons

  • They usually specialize is one thing: Design, programming or SEO or they are semi-skilled in all
  • If they decide to do something else, their business is gone and so is your support

The Student tying to build his portfolio

Everyone starts here as, in this industry, you can get into a design house without a portfolio. What this means for you is CHEAP (sometimes even free) and a willingness to please.

 

Pros

  • Very Cheap
  • Dedicated one-on-one service

Cons

  • They will be more inclined to try and give you what you want rather than create a site that will be successful
  • Very limited resources and experience
  • You will have to work around their schedule
  • Little or no after-sales service

The part time computer enthusiasts

In the Bay Area, pretty much everyone has had some computer experience. What this has spawned is the computer enthusiast that thinks because they published a page online that they can build a website for a business. What it actually means is you will get a site that has no cross platform compatibility, zero search engine optimizing, no collapsible layouts and zero returns on your investment.

 

Pros

  • I'll get back to you on that

Cons

  • Your customers will have no respect for your product or service if the first introduction to it is from a shabby made site.
By aga 14 Jan, 2016

1. Design

The key to a well designed site is to create the right balance of stile and content, for example if your site is an informative site then you want to keep any movement to a minimal so as not to distract the viewer or you may have a site that is product orientated in which case you want to make it memorable by adding movement, product demonstrations and/or flash galleries. Whatever way you go it is always good to remember that the site is for your customer/viewer and not for the owner, for example just because you may think shocking pink and lime are a good color combination doesn't mean the large majority of your viewers agree.

 

2. Content

This is the single most important aspect of your site whether your selling/promoting a product or sharing information if you content has no substance people will lose interest and you will lose sales/return visitors.

 

Content should always be approached in an adult professional manner and not as a lot of webmasters do by replacing substance with annoying childish in your face tactics such as pop-ups, flashing adverts misrepresentation of product/service etc, people have been using the internet for long enough now to develop what's called ad-blindness which means 9 times out of 10 their brain will ignore the used-car-sales-man approach to sell or promote, here is an example of methods that some sites use to try and milk every person that lands on their site:

  1. Disabling the back button   - you may have experienced this yourself you go to a site and for whatever reason you find out the site is not for you so you try to leave by clicking back but it just keeps loading the same page, imagine if this happen to you when you went into the 7-11 if you didn't buy something the attendant locks the door so you cant leave? I'm betting you would be in no hurry to return.
  2. Pop-ups   - Most browsers now have pop-up blockers but the tacky-webmaster has managed to get around this by including layers with flash pop-ups the cover the content you are reading trying the get you to buy something else, this is just as rude as the above method and you would not tolerate it in a bricks and mortar store so don't expect your viewers to tolerate on your website.
  3. Bait and switch   - A company that makes promises it doesn't intend to keep is a company that doesn't plan to stay in business too long, If a customer/viewer feels cheated they will do one of two things 1. complain to you and everyone else that will listen or 2. nothing which is worse for you as they are not coming back to your site and they not going to tell anyone else to visit ether.
  4. Contact info   - you can always tell a reputable site by how easy it is to get in touch with them, every site should have at least one direct method of contact should it be an email address or phone number you would be surprised how this one simple thing will inspire user confidence.

3.. Navigation

This one is a no-brainer but it is surprising how many webmasters have no clue how to direct traffic around your site. A well designed site will have all the important links on every page and important information such as contact info should never be more than one click away at anytime

 

4. Load time

High speed internet is still relatively new in terms of user acceptance, you should never alienate dial-up users by only having a high-res images and large flash files weighing down your site this will be more important in the next few years as cell phones and PDA's with their own browsers become more common so is the need to keep your websites load time to its absolute minimal, this does not mean you have to have text only websites as there is a lot of methods to keep file size down without sacrificing presentation.

 

5. browser compatibility

The truth is that unless your site is text only there is no real way to make sure it is 100% viewable on all web browsers with that being said you should be shooting for 99% this is not done by stripping away all your bells and whistles to your site this is done by making sure it is not noticeable, for example if you are viewing this site on internet explorer you will notice the the scroll bar to the right is dark blue yet on Fire fox and opera this is not compatible yet the site is designed in such a way that these viewers will not notice.

 

6. Accessibility

Website accessibility is making your website visible to the visual impaired and to text only browsers, you may think this is not a big deal but the reward for this makes the effort worthwhile, the way your site looks to text only browsers is the way WebCrawler's see your site when searching the web so if your site is optimized to viewed in a text browser there is more chance your site will get good page position on web searches.

By aga 14 Jan, 2016

Pricing

There are a lot of medical website development companies out there as opposed to other website design companies. The reason for this is most companies will charge doctors and surgeons more because they think they have deeper pockets. We, at Jigsaw Design, do not believe that is fair. There is no reason why a website designed for a doctor or surgeon should cost ten times more than a website created for a plumber. Another thing these companies do is charge outrageous prices for hosting and SEO services. What if every company did that? Would you expect to pay $100 for a cup of coffee just because you took the time to learn your profession? Below is an example of pricing from an actual medical website development company.

 

Other Medical Design Company

Jigsaw Design

  10 Page Website $10,000+

($1,000 per page)

  15 Page Website $13,000+

($900 per page)

  20 Page Website $16,000+

($800 per page)

 

Flash/HTML5 Additions $4000 and up

  Additional Website Pages $750 - $1,500

  Basic Website Hosting $1,000+ per month

 

Advanced Website Hosting $2,000+ per month

  Any size Website $2,000

 

 

 

 

 

 


Flash/HTML5 Additions $included

  Additional Website Pages $included

 

Website and Maintenance Hosting $200 per month. Everything is included.

 

They charge $10,000 for a ten page website? That is crazy! At the most (even with a very difficult client), a ten page website can be built in one week by one person. (We have built 30+ page websites in a couple of days.) That means you are paying (based on a 40 hour week) $160 an hour to have a simple website developed. The top Fortune 500 companies would not pay that. Why should you have to pay it? Simply because you are a doctor or a surgeon?

 

Competitor pricing is based on an average of 5 different research sources and may not be current at this time (may even be more). Feel free to bookmark this page and go research these prices yourself, we will be waiting.

 


 

Medical SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

You will hear a lot of medical website design companies claim on their websites that they will get you into the top ten for your desired keywords, yet never show any proof of this. They will charge you between $5,000 and $20,000 for the privilege, plus monthly fees ranging from $1,000 to $5,000. I'm sure our client, Dr. Leonard Gray of Bay Area Plastic Surgery, is happy enough with being in the top ten on Google since 2004 under the search terms:

  • Bay area plastic surgery
  • Bay area breast augmentation
  • Bay area breast lift
  • Bay area breast reduction
  • And at least 50 more

Not only does Dr. Gray appear under the Bay Area prefix, but also under prefixes like San Jose and San Francisco. The cost for this site, which is a 20+ page site, was $2,000, plus $200 per month for updating, hosting and maintenance. This is a far cry from the $16,000+ and $3,000 per month our competitors charge.

 

The truth is, getting a site to the top is not as hard as some people lead you to believe. All you need to do is create a good site with lots of unique content and put it into a good link neighborhood. You shouldn't pay enormous fees to some directory, which will make your customers have to search twice; once to find the directory and then again to find your site in the directory. It would be better to take that enormous fee the directory will charge you and put it into some targeted pay-per-click advertising.

Incidentally, Dr Gray moved to our company from one of the bigger medical website design companies because they did not perform as promised and charged him A LOT for these failures (I would love to name the company, but they would sue, using some of the money they make off of other medical professionals).

 


 

Myths About Medical Website Development

Below is a list of common sales tactics medical website design companies use to get you to part with ridiculous amounts of money.

  • "We will list you on our local directory that gets 5,000 visitors a day."

    Ask yourself this; why would you want to spend money on having yourself listed in a directory with maybe 20 to 30 other practices in your area that all offer the same service? You are basically paying to be added to another search engine and taking the chance that the viewer will pick your listing over the other 30 on the page. Chances are they are not going to read them all. If you want to be listed in a local directory that gets millions of visitors per day, then add your site to local.yahoo.com or local.google.com . It's free (See? We have already saved you money.).

  • "We understand all the security issues and rules for a medical website."

    All websites should be secure and have the customer’s privacy in mind. You should not have to pay extra for this.

  • "You need to redesign your website every year so it is fresh."

    Your website is not an apple. It doesn't go bad, unless it was bad from the beginning. Companies will tell you this to charge you for a redesign, which is usually around the same cost of the original design. Your website will be new to every new person that shows up at your site and familiar to all your current patients. You should, however, be updating your content regularly.

  • "We can guarantee you top placement on all search engines."

    No legitimate company can guarantee this. Even the search engines themselves will tell you this. Basically, all a good SEO company can do is design your site with search engines in mind, have good navigation for the web crawlers to search and place it in a good link neighborhood so you are getting relevant links to and from your site.

  • "We have spent years learning what works when it comes to creating a website for a doctor or surgeon."

    Years? What happened to all those clients you used for learning purposes? The fact of the matter is, if it takes you years of trial and error to work out how to make a successful website, then you should really think about your career choice. Could you imagine a doctor telling a patient that it took them years to work out how to perform a surgery, but now they feel they got it right? Chances are you are not going to see much of that patient again!

  • "We specialize in medical web design, which means we have more understanding of your needs."

    Does “specialize” mean we have spent time working with other types of clients and found out we can charge medical professionals more? The reason why there are so many "specialists" in medical web design is due to the fact they know they can charge more to doctors and surgeons who, for the most part, will pay it. There is absolutely no difference in creating a website for a doctor versus for a retail store. All websites follow the same principles no matter how they reword it.

We understand that design firms have overheads and need to add that into the cost of projects. We know this because, like every company, we have overheads and do the same thing. However, I have a hard time working out how one company can charge ten times more for the same product unless it is being developed on a gold keyboard with diamond keys.

By aga 14 Jan, 2016

There are a lot of “SEO companies” out there. A search on Google for the term “search engine optimizing” will return over 35 million results. It’s safe to say not all these results are going to be reputable companies. We are writing this article mainly to help people not only choose the right SEO company for them, but also to in an effort to stop people hiring these companies to mess up their websites. It is a lot more work to fix a site that has had some black hat SEO done, than it is to get a website in the search result legitimately.

 

Spam Emails

When choosing an SEO company, the first thing not to do is reply to an email (or even some phone calls) where somebody is telling you they will guarantee top ten results for your website. Here is why;

  1. No SEO company can guarantee results unless they are using black hat SEO methods. That will get your website in the top, but banned when the search engine discovers how you got there (which is just long enough for you to lose money to the SEO company who you can’t sue because they did what you wanted just not for as long as you would’ve liked).

  2. Most legitimate SEO companies don’t need to market themselves, as their clients should be able to find them on search engines. That is what they are suppose to be able to do after all.

Look at the SEO Company’s website

This is the easiest way to tell how they plan on getting your website in the top ten. If their website is full of black hat SEO techniques, then you can be sure that’s how they’re going to optimize your website.

 

What to look for;

  • Gateway pages   - These are pages created with search phrases. If you see a website that has a page called SEO and then another page called Search Engine Optimizing and yet another page called SEO services and so on, they are doing this to try and show up for each of these key phrases. This will damage your website when the search engines catch on.

  • Key phrase linking   – As with above, if you come across a site that is using multiple search phrases as link text to the same page all over the site, this can also get you a penalty.

  • Read their content   – If the text reads something like this: “We are a Bay Area search engine optimization company located in the Bay Area, we offer SEO services, search engine optimization services to our Bay Area clients.” This is called keyword stuffing and it will also get you a penalty.

Bottom line is, when looking at the SEO companies website, if it looks like its optimized, then its over-optimized. A good SEO company will make a site for the end user and not for the search engines.

 

Find out how they plan on getting you in the top ten

 If you are talking to a SEO company or reading their website, look for how they plan on getting you listed in the top ten. The things you don’t want to see or hear are:

  • Link exchange   – This is a method where they will have your site listed on 100’s of other websites in an effort to increase your page rank and make it look to the search engines that your site is more popular than it is. This is breaking the search engines rules and can get you big penalties. We do use link exchange, but not to increase page rank,  but rather to put you in a good link neighborhood with other sites like yours.

  • Meta Tags   – These are tags in the code of your site that tell the search engine about your page. A lot of SEO companies will use these to stuff with key words to push your site up the search engines. The problem with doing this is, if overdone, the search engine will not trust your meta tags and start ignoring your pages.

  • Gateway pages or sites   – These are pages that are created with lots of search terms in them just for the purpose of SEO. These will get your site banned.

The right way to optimize a website is to build a website for your users with lots of unique content that is easy to navigate. Most anything you do just for search engines is going to get you in trouble.

 

Look at their Samples

Most websites will show up in specific searches. For example, if you search for a restaurant by name in the city you know it to be in, it will most likely appear in the top ten. As a SEO company, you should be able to put that restaurant in the top ten for people searching for the type of restaurant like “San Jose Italian restaurant”.  So when looking to see if the SEO company is doing it’s job, the samples you’re looking for should be as follows:

  • Logical searches   – The results should be searches that people who don’t know what your business is called will actually type in the search bar and not some random key phrase. A bad example is “network equipment for sale”. A good example is “network equipment” .

  • Number of returned results   – If they give you examples, check to see how many other sites came up in the search. If the key phrase is only competing with 5,000 other results, this proves nothing. A good example is 1-10 of 23,300,000 results returned. Anything under a million results is not a good example.

  • Number of examples   – Make sure you see at least 5 different sites with at least 4 good results for each site. Anyone can get one site into a good search result. Few can get many sites into many searches.

Before calling any SEO company, make sure you know what to ask them before calling and, if you don’t like even one of the answers hang up. You always have the other 35 million results to fall back on. Oh, and never take a FREE site analysis. It is always going to tell you your website needs a lot of work.

By aga 14 Jan, 2016

Since Jigsaw Design moved from focusing strictly on Design to Search Engine Optimizing, we have been spending a lot of time researching this process and reading feedback from other SEO Companies via message boards, blogs and other sources. We eventually came to the conclusion that 90% of the people out there really don't have much of a clue what they are talking about. In the next few paragraphs, we will be discussing some methods and practices that will boost your position and still keep you in good favor with the search engines. We will also be looking at some practices that SEO's put a lot of stock into that may not necessarily be as important as they will lead you to believe.

 

IMPORTANT

 

Less code more content

When a web crawler visits your site, it is there to read your title, description and content. What it doesn't want to do is wade though pages of code in order to find a few lines of content. There are two reasons why this is bad:

  1. It looks to the crawler that you are trying to hide something (spammers will use code to hide hidden text or redirects). If the crawler doesn't understand something, it will ignore it and, most likely, your site.
  2. The web crawler may think you don't have enough content to put any importance into your site and, if it doesn't think your site is important, then it will not list you too high in the returned search results.

What you should be shooting for is at least a 2/1 ratio in favor of content on 75% of your pages. This will let the web crawler know your site has some sort of relevance and also gives the crawler more content to index, which it really likes.

 

Frames and Flash

I have addressed this subject before, but I want to go into it again because it is one of those things which a lot of SEO's just don't understand. The major search engines, i.e. Yahoo, Google and MSN, will all say the same thing on their web masters pages and that is "some web crawlers have difficulty reading the context of these pages". What it doesn't say is don't use flash or framed pages because this is a no-no. The reason why I want to make that clear is a lot of SEO's will try and tell you that this is a bad thing and that all your pages need to be flat static pages with lots of alt text behind your flat images. This is not the case. We have gotten many websites in the top ten and number one spots, some of which use both flash and framed pages. Some do not even have any indexable text or links on the home page. So how do we do it? Simple and its something you should be doing anyway. You should have an alternative version of your site which viewers with flash installed will be directed to. For a framed site, you should also have a non-framed version for people whose browsers don't support framed pages. Now that you know how simple it is, here is the temptation. Because your index page will most likely only be seen by maybe 10% of the people that come to your site, the temptation will be to flood that page with keywords and search text to get yourself bumped up the search and that will happen. However, when you get caught (which you will), you will be dumped. This page should only contain a stripped down version of your site and should only contain the same text content as your flash or framed site.

 

Keyword overindulgence

When writing the copy for your site, write it for your viewer and not for the web crawler. A lot of people get tempted to use the same word or phrase over and over to try and get themselves placed first on an web search. This is a total rookie move and can also get you bumped for what's called keyword flooding. Here are some examples:

  • Bad

     

    Bay Area Search Engine Optimizing

    Bay Area search engine optimizing company, located in the bay area. Our services include search engine optimizing, SEO and search engine placement. As part of our search engine optimizing service, we guarantee you top placement on all search engines within 30 days or your money back. When you chose our company for your search engine optimizing needs we will........ I think you get the point.

     

  • Good

     

    Bay Area Search Engine optimizing

    Jigsaw design is located in the Bay Area California. We are committed to serving all your design needs. Also, as part of our service, we also include search engine optimization, web hosting and online store solutions...... bla bla bla

I'm sure you notice the difference. Our web site does show up in the top ten for the search term "bay area web search engine optimizing". However, that was before we wrote this article. So how many times can you include the same search term? That only the Search engine companies know for sure. However, based our experience with sites we have successfully placed in the top ten, we would say no more than once every two paragraphs or once every 100 words.

 

Out of style sheets

Style sheets are one of those things that are easy to abuse and can get you in trouble. When use correctly, they can really help you when optimizing a site. To abuse the use of style sheets is simple. All you have to do is make your H1 tag the same as your normal text style to try and make the crawler think that all your text is important. The trouble is crawlers are not as dumb as the used to be. They figured out that nobody has a header that lasts 5 paragraphs. The proper use of the H1 tag is your main page header. For example, this page is "SEO Secrets". Sub headers like "out of style sheets" should use the H2 tag and your content should always be normal text. Never, no matter how tempting it is don't make any text hidden by use of style sheets or any other method because your site will be bumped. Also do not make the folder that your style sheet is in hidden or private because, if the web crawler can't read your style sheet, it's not going to trust that everything is legitimate.

 

Stale content

You may be able to get your site listed in the top ten within 30 - 60 days, but that's no guarantee it will stay there. If your site is not continually being updated with fresh content and growing, then the search engines will simply dump it in favor of newer fresher sites. You should be adding a new page to your site every time the crawler visits and updating your old content as much as you can. Daily is preferred, but weekly at the very least. This will mean that the crawler will have fresh content to index and new links to explore. Thus, it will never see your site as stale and drop it.

 

NOT AS IMPORTANT AS A LOT OF SEO'S WOULD HAVE YOU BELIEVE

 

Page Rank

If you have downloaded Google's toolbar, you will see a bar at the top of each page which gives you a rating from 1 to 10 of how Google ranks your site. This means absolutely nothing when it comes to search engine optimizing. Some search engine companies think that getting a high page rank means you are going to be listed higher in the search. This is not the case. In fact, it couldn't be further from the truth. What this little bar indicates is simply how important Google sees your site and it makes that judgment on the quality of sites that link to you. The single most important thing about your site is not page rank, it is not how many incoming links you have and it is not how long your site has been up. It is your content, plain and simple. If your content matches the search criteria, then you will be listed. The more relevant content you have, the higher your site will be listed. There are a lot of sites listed in the number one spot that don't have any page rank.

 

Incoming links

Don't believe a word you hear about incoming links, the quality of the link or anything to do with link exchange because the truth is; it doesn't really matter how many links you have to your site and what sites link to you. What does matter is the way the sites link to you and how often new links show up to your site. If you wake up tomorrow and, overnight, 1 million other sites decided to link to you, that would not affect your position in any way (what it may do is hurt your listing because it will look like spam). Here is how links work for you:

  1. If you are a plastic surgeon and another plastic surgery site links to you, that will give you a boost because you are being linked to a site that has some relevance to yours.
  2. If your site sells used network equipment and the link to your site is like this used network equipment that will give you a boost because the link is a search term.
  3. If you acquire new links slowly over the course of time, that will give you a boost because it looks like your site is gaining popularity.
  4. If people link to internal pages of your site, as well as your home page, that will give you a boost because it looks like you have lots of pages of relevant information.
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