Understanding a URL Structure (With Query Parameters)

Have you ever been on a website before, and noticed in the address bar that the simple little www.example.com you've typed in turned into something very long and complicated, full of questions marks and equal signs? URLs (i.e. the address of the page you're viewing) can be pretty darn complicated, but fear not! This is a super-simple guide to understanding a URL's structure, broken down in a format that's easy to understand.Here's a sample URL that we'll dissect below:http://www.example.com:80/products/search?q=1&456=true&will=loves+me+some+jelloTo Read More

Why Have a Website?

[About two years ago, I gave a presentation to a business group about websites and their effectiveness as a marketing tool. I've had this sitting in my "drafts" section forever, so I figured it was time to actually post it.  -Ron] When I ran my own web development company, I often asked potential clients "why do you want a website?" On face value, this seems like a very simple question, but so many times, the people I discussed this with didn't have an answer. There's nothing wrong with that, but Read More

Why NOT To Use A .CO Domain

A while ago, I received an email from a friend asking if he should get a .CO domain for his website. I thought for a while, and gave him my answer. "No." He responded, thanking me, and then asked me why not. I thought for a longer while, then gave him several reasons why, in my opinion, businesses should NOT go out and get a .co domain to use as their primary website domain. After looking over my notes, I figured the reasons were worth sharing. So here they are.[ Note: for those of you who don't Read More

Definition Of A “Content Farm”

One of the hottest topics in search quality discussions so far in 2011 has been "Content Farms," and I think it's none too soon. I despise them. They give almost no value to consumers at all, and whatever value they do give is overshadowed by obnoxious advertising. Defining them can be a little difficult sometimes, so for the record, here's my simple definition. Content Farm: A website that gives a visitor the smallest amount of useful content possible, while bombarding that visitor with as much Read More

The Most Important Parts Of An eCommerce Website

Photography It’s shocking to me how hard it is to get merchants to actually spend money on photography, when the only thing that will allow a potential customer to trust you enough to purchase a product sight unseen is a picture! Think about it: would a customer buy something off your website without a photo of the product? Nope. Spend the money. Get some photos taken that show every grain, nick and scratch on the products you’re selling. It shows that you’re honest and instills trust in your Read More

Does Anybody Use Tag Clouds?

Recently I've really been trying to view websites through the eyes of users, and not as a web designer. As much as possible, I always try to ask myself "would users find this helpful?" Sometimes I see trends that are very helpful to users (example: phone numbers front and center on the homepage) and sometimes I notice things that were probably designed to help users but only serve to impress fellow web designers and other techies. But if you're building a website, it's your responsibility to do Read More

Domain Checklist: 5 Questions To Ask About Your Domain

Does your company have a website? If so, you have a domain of some sort. Whether it ends in .com, .net, .us, or dot anything else, somebody at some point registered your domain. Here's a list of five things you can (and should) do right now to make sure you're taking care of your website's domain.Who is your domain registrar?Do you know? Common registrars include Godaddy, Network Solutions, Bluehost, etc. Make sure you have your username and password to log into your account. If you don't have access, Read More

Make My Website #1 In Google

Of all the questions I've heard in my few years in the business, there's one I hear far more often than any other. And I dread it every time I hear it:Can you make my website number one on Google? Why does it bother me so much? I'll tell you. It's the wrong question. I'm not really interested in trying to make sure that your website rises to the very top of a SERP (Search Engine Results Page) just for the sake of being on top. That's not my job. My job is to create a killer web presence for your Read More