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What Can a Good Web Design Studio Do for Me?

August 21st, 2018

Are you satisfied with your company’s website? While most business owners would be quick to say yes here, not all of them would be truthful about it – and let’s face it, there’s always something you could do to improve a website, no matter if it’s personal or for a company. Of course, doing that yourself can be a daunting task, not to mention risky if it’s a business website. And sometimes, there’s not even that much that can be changed to improve your website – you will just need to get a new one altogether.

In any case, knowing who you can hire to get the job done properly is essential. There are many different web design studios on the market today, and while many of them are very experienced at what they do, not all of them are worth their money. This makes research a very important task before hiring a studio to work on your website, and depending on the situation, you may even want to talk to them in person to find out more about their company as well as their actual designers.

There are tons of things that a good web design studio could do for you. It’s not just about making your site look pretty – anyone good with Photoshop can do that. A good website must be intuitive and smooth to navigate, and that’s something that takes a lot of experience, practice and experimentation to do it right. Sometimes just a subtle change can make a huge difference in how people perceive your website. And while this sort of thing might be obvious to someone who does it for a living, it will most likely elude the layman.

Additionally, simply having your website out there is hardly enough if you want to succeed in your business (if you’re using the site for such purposes). You need to get people to visit it in the first place, and this is actually a lot more difficult than it sounds. It’s an entire area of research for web developers, and people have made quite the solid profit from researching into web marketing technologies.

And it’s only going to get better (and more advanced) in this regard too, which makes it important to work with someone who can guide you through the process carefully, explaining each step to you, and letting you know exactly what your business needs in order to thrive online. Web marketing can be extremely profitable for your business when done right, but it requires the use of a very professional company, one that can really get the job done according to all standards and rules.

Finding a reliable web design studio will take some time – it can even take a lot of time depending on your needs – but it’s necessary nowadays. You can’t expect your business to progress or even survive online if you don’t know what you’re doing, and learning those first steps is best done when you’re being assisted by a company with a lot of experience in the field.

The Semantic Web – Where Language Meets Mathematics

August 20th, 2018

The constantly evolving nature of the Internet means many businesses are left clinging on to the coat tails of major advances. Web 2.0 – not a new version of the Internet but new ways of using it, including social networking sites and the use of videos and blogs – has now been embraced by many.

But now IT professionals are starting to talk about Web 3.0 which is exploring a new range of possibilities yet to be developed.

Web 3.0 actually describes a paradigm shift in how information is structured and searched for on the World Wide Web.

Web 3.0 concerns the use of the Semantic Web – it’s about enabling search engines to scan for meaning and interpretation when presented with a search query, rather than just corresponding the number and density of matching search terms.

The Semantic Web is the brainchild of Tim Berners-Lee, creator of the World Wide Web and head of the World Wide Web consortium, the only independent organisation dedicated to consolidating standards of quality in content and structure to the web.

The repercussions of this shift towards a more intelligent and intuitive web will have a huge effect on all web-based data, be it commercial, academic or cultural.

Websites will either have to adapt to the Semantic Web, or be left outside the search loop.

According to Lyang Yu, author of The Semantic Web and Semantic Web Services, most of us use the web for three basic functions – search, integration and data mining, in that order.

The current search paradigm is epitomised by Google – answering particular queries by matching documents from its database that correspond to the precise language the searcher has entered.

Search Spiders are like stupid robots that only do precisely what you tell them. As a result, most search engine optimisation (SEO), tactics are largely restricted to optimising the use of commercially strategic language on websites that will more likely be coughed up by Google or Yahoo in response to a search query.

Google’s AdWords operates on the principle of auctioning off the most popular searched for vocabulary to the highest bidder.

This year, the growth in search engine optimisation activities by brand leaders is unprecedented and rapidly increasing. Any blue chip worth its salt has an in-house search engine optimiser at the centre of its web development team.

Big brand companies like Tesco and Renault are spending their Internet budgets on increasingly competitive SEO tactics, both on page and off page.

One of the biggest growths in IT recruitment in both the US and the UK is for SEO managers and experts. Some companies currently spend as much optimising their web presence as they do designing their sites.

Usability and optimisation have become the defining criteria for distinguishing an effective website from a rarely visited online brochure.

While keyword search is still the most popular search method, it is seldom accurate. Users sometimes get up to 10,000 hits on a result page and then have to wade through a list of loosely-related keyword results to find the relevant documents they were searching for.

Up until the Semantic Web, search criteria have been based on the choice of the correct key words to tag and identify your web presence to the spiders indexing the Internet.

The premise is that the closer the language of your website corresponds to the language choice of the searcher, the more relevant your website, and the more likely Google will rank you higher in the search results.

But this is all coming to an end. The Semantic Web is where language finally meets mathematics.

In comparison to standard search, semantic search looks at the logic of the sentence – how words in a sentence relate to one another, as well as understanding the context of the keywords.

Instead of clumsy, corresponding criteria, the words grouped around a keyword or phrase will now play as important a factor in the relevancy of the term as the keyword itself. The focus is now on context, how words and assets are grouped together.

For example, when a term is ambiguous, such as with the word bark, semantic analysis is needed on the other words that wrap around it to give it its true meaning and context.

So a semantic web search for Obama plus McCain would correctly interpret that the searcher was seeking results relevant to the recent election campaign, as opposed to results that contained those names.

There are search engines on the net that are already beginning to harness the principles of semantic web development.

Cuil.com is a semantically inspired search engine that pulls relevant results from deep within website pages as opposed to just listing the index page of a particular website.

Other good examples include juiceapp.com, cuil.com, illuimin8.com and headup.com.

Ultimately web content publishers are going to have to adapt to the notion that all published content is equally accessible to semantic-based search engines. The past SEO criteria for priority placement of text and other assets on a website is declining.

Yahoo’s recently launched SearchMonkey applications are semantically based search tools. Yelp, Yahoo!Local, and LinkedIn Enhanced now appear automatically in Yahoo search results.

These three applications are among the first to share structured data. ZiMesh is a semantic information management and recommendation engine that manages personal information. ZiMesh is powered by a semantic platform, which automatically tries to understand users’ interests over time, and connects them to topics, users and contents it thinks will be of interest.

So what does this shift represent to the average business trying to maintain a competitive web presence?

In one way it means that the playing field is levelling. There is less need to spend a fortune on SEO tactics that are never guaranteed to deliver measurable results.

Writing concise, relevant and informative content for a website will always pay dividends over SEO tactics. Google wants to refer its queries to useful resources. The more useful a resource you make your website, the more likely Google will rank you highly. So, do nothing but be good.

The more the individual data components -text, images, video, sound – of your website are ascribed searchable terms, the larger and deeper your web presence and the more likely you will be found by a semantic search.

The end result will be a more responsive, more intelligent and ultimately more useful world wide web.

Basics of What to Look For When Choosing a Website Development Company

August 19th, 2018

Website development has grown beyond everyone’s imagination from its first days of being available to the public in 1994 to what it is today. Business communications are now benefiting from the consistent corporate image throughout all marketing and advertising materials, be it print or digital. In the early years of the Net a powerful corporate image was only achievable through print. Websites provided only basic design techniques which for the most part degraded a companies image. The Internet currently utilizes compliance across the globe and now more and more Websites are not only visually appealing but provide an incredible wealth of tools to communicate a company’s brand, message, product all the way to the point of purchase.

When choosing a Website development company research their past track record of designing clean, functional and professional sites, their ability to create a return on your investment and client service. Finding a company which not only knows about good design but also how to get your site found on line is also important. Most companies do not provide these two combined services. Finding such a company can be an arduous task as most web development companies provide only one of these two important elements. I know many companies do not choose a web development company with experience, good design capabilities or service track record but instead on their budget. The decision to choose a website development company based on the lowest bidder actually ends up costing the client more money than expected as more often than not the inexperienced vendor struggles to provide the product and service which is expected by the client. Some worst case scenarios I have heard are of the website developer who stops communicating all together with the client and basically abandons the project midway. The client is then forced to spend more time and money by looking for a new company who will be willing to finish a website started by another firm.

Keeping a website’s content fresh and up-to-date has always been one of the most important aspects related to a company’s relevance in regards to being found easily on search engines. Google, for example, ranks websites higher by how relevant the information is and how often it is updated on a site. Being an online authority on the subject of your business by providing fresh content will rank your site higher than the sites which have old and not frequently updated information. Writing news articles and publishing them onto your site and related sites is another effective method to boost your site ranking. Links back to your website from related sites is another very important method to help your site rank high. The development company of your choice should be proficient with all of these methods and more.

Most importantly when choosing the company to develop your website you should have a good feeling about them. Trust your intuition. Ask the Web development company the right questions about their experience, methodologies, design philosophies and make sure they are the right fit for your company. Good luck and I wish you much success!