So Long Facebook FBML


Are you ready to finally say goodbye to Facebook FBML tabs?

As of June 1, 2012, Facebook FBML apps will no longer work. As Facebook suggests, you can use HTML, JavaScript and CSS if you are building a new application. This is good news for web designers because it is just like building a regular web page without worrying about weird formatting issues. But this could be problematic for non-coders who liked the “simplicity” of using FBML.

For Page owners who haven’t used FBML, this news isn’t a big deal. For active users, it’s making the transition that could be difficult… depending on the number of tabs you have and their complexity.

There are many other alternative applications available and many are making the switch to iFrame Apps. Facebook accepts and favors this framework because the content will be hosted directly on the developer’s server, instead of through Facebook’s servers. Now here is one important thing to consider:

Should I use a Facebook tab application or make my own iFrame app? There are many applications to choose from if you’re looking for a quick and easy way to set up Facebook tabs – Wildfire, Involver, Tabsite to name a few. While these applications are easier to use, remember that they often have require monthly fees and are branded with their own company name (instead of yours’, unless you want to pay a higher fee for white label services).

Making your own iFrame app will give you the advantage of creating your very own web page on your Page. Depending on the number of tabs you want, it could be like creating your own mini-site with targeted landing pages that you can track using analytics. With FBML, this is something that couldn’t be done – don’t look at it as something that Facebook is doing to inconvenience owners!

So, if you need to, you have less than 1 month to make a transition. Give yourself time to think about the type of web design you’re looking for and weigh the benefits of using different applications for tabs. Be sure to contact us know if you have any questions and check out our portfolio!

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

Bad Web Design Pet Peeves

Outdated. Cluttered. Intrusive. Tacky. Hard-to-read. Confusing. Questionable. Unreliable.

These are all words that could be used to describe a bad web design. While effective design is based on different factors that are “objectionable”, there are some fundamental things to consider before creating your masterpiece.

Here are some of my top pet peeves when it comes to bad seo web design:

Auto-play anything: Auto-play videos suck. Auto-play music is annoying. The worst offenders are sites that have a little person that walks out onto your screen and starts talking! I’m not sure who started this trend, but it’s 2012 and it should die already. A small but prominent call to action box is necessary sometimes, but this is just too much. (I’ve seen my fair share working on different websites, but what do you as a consumer think? Are these ever really helpful?)

Long, ugly contact forms: When a customer wants to contact you, they want to fill out as little important information as possible and hear back from you as soon as possible. Requiring a lot of personal information is aesthetically unappealing and can make potential customers question your ulterior motives. For example, are you giving away something for free in exchange for some contact information? Or are you asking potential customers to leave their information behind to be contacted. Either way, requiring too much info will kill your design and make your business seem not as trustworthy (all dependent on your industry, of course). Remember, this is an online contact form… not a tax return!

No clear call to action: Umm… where am I supposed to click and what am I supposed to do? Your home page and important landing pages should have an easy to find call to action. Contact, newsletter signups, click to call, buy now, download now – these are all easy to follow call to actions that your website needs in order to be useful. Don’t go overboard by displaying too many at the same time. Your customers don’t want clutter and too many CTA buttons can make your site look spammy.

Unconventional design that doesn’t make sense: Nowadays, every small business wants their site too look unique and capture the attention of their visitors. But going too abstract can make you lose site of basic website structure that is necessary for any website. I’m talking about: not having a home button, no contact information available, utilizing too much white space, using contrasting background and text colors. There are basic practices when it comes to effective web design and they exist for a reason!

Having a creative and effective website design doesn’t mean that you have to confine yourself inside a box but there are some things that you have to keep your eye on. Any design annoyances that you care to share?

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

3 Things to Think About Before Launching a New Site

emarketed portfolioAs exciting a new website launch sounds, it requires a lot of time, research and communication on your part! You don’t have to limit yourself to just 3 questions, or these 3 specifically, but it will help to have a list that you can look to when thinking about your new site.

Do I need to integrate seo web design? – Search optimization isn’t something that just comes later, after the design and building process. Make sure that you understand the SEO capability of your site as it’s being built so that all the necessary elements can be added during or immediately after the design aspect is completed. Think of SEO as an ongoing campaign and not something that just done at the beginning of the website building process, such as the design.

Do you know your customers and what they want? – Do you know your target demographic? Once you’re able to answer this question, you’ll get a better idea of what content will best suit their needs. Remember, there are many trends such as QR codes and even certain social media sites. Will your customers even use these functions? Just because it exists doesn’t mean that you should use it. Case in point: QR codes have been spotted on the BACK of moving buses. Talk about a quick response!

What do I want my customers to do? Remember that your website has to have a point. Do you want to push calls, newsletter signups or contact form submissions? Make it clear so that customers know how to complete the action, but don’t be so pushy that they feel overwhelmed and leave. A good example is Neil Patel’s Quick Sprout blog. If anyone is familiar with it, it used to just be a marketing blog about different topics. Now, a re-vamp as focused the calls-to-action and has made users more familiar with Neil’s services and his other companies.

What type of website do I need? This depends entirely on your industry and business model. If you’re selling goods, an ecommerce store is the way to go. For services, information is key. Feel free to browse competitor sites or even look at our portfolio to see what kind of website will best suit your business.

Whatever questions you decide to use for pre-launch, remember to take that list back out and evaluate it post-launch. There are always things you can use to improve the customer experience and these seemingly simple questions can be the basis of marking your progress!

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

Elements of Effective Mobile Website Design

mobile web designIt’s never too late to implement a useful mobile website design or update your current one. With more users searching on mobile devices, it’s helpful to look at some fundamental things to keep in mind that will help enhance your customers’ browsing experience. Here are some questions to ask yourself:

1. Do I really need a mobile website?

Depending on your business, a mobile site could be helpful or not so much. First, sit down and think of why you want a mobile version of your site. Do you want to help local searchers who are on the go? Will the mobile site be an extension of your desktop site? What key features of your site do you want to highlight on the mobile version?

2. Is my design simple enough for a mobile device?

A simple website design is always better than a cluttered one, especially when it comes down to a mobile format. A clean layout will help customers find what they’re looking for and it will also help with your site’s load time. Many times, users will face spotty signals or slow wireless connections. Many web designers will recommend using lots of white space and a single column design to accommodate a smaller screen. Also think about how your site will look in both portrait and landscape mode on the mobile device.

3. What is your call to action and how easily can it be found?
The call to action on your mobile website should match your desktop site. Customers should be able to see this message clearly and do it in as few steps as possible. For mobile devices, you’ll want to emphasize location with calls to action that include phone numbers, maps/directions and even click to call options. Don’t bury this information deep within your mobile site but don’t make it so front and center that customers can’t find anything else!

4. Have you tested your mobile website?

Testing is important on a regular website but mobile can make things more complicated. Remember to test on iPhone platforms as well as Android-based devices. If you don’t have real phones to test, there are many different tools that you can use.

Hopefully, you’ll have a better idea of what you want to achieve with a new mobile site design. Check out these helpful resources below and let us know what you think!

Helpful Resources:
6 Brilliantly Designed Mobile Sites
Developing mobile sites
Uncovering The Best Mobile SEO Resources On The Web

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

6 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Web Designer

web designThinking of hiring a Los Angeles web design company? Here are 7 questions to think about before you hire a web designer for your small business:

1) Can you show me websites you’ve worked on? – Ask to see a portfolio and find out whether they use templates or build web sites from scratch. Make sure to be clear as you’re describing what you’re looking for to make sure that they can meet your needs.

2) Can I get a quote? – Will your designer give you a quote based on a list of everything you want? Or will a number just magically appear out of thin air? It’s important to get down in writing exactly what you want and to make sure that the designer can make it happen. For example, if you have special accommodations, such as an online store or different types of contact/subscription forms.

3) How long will it take to complete the project? – Tied into question 3, your web designer should give you a basic timeline of how long it will take to create a new website design. Ask them to prepare a basic outline of what will be done on a regular basis to ensure that your website is created in a timely manner.

4) Are you familiar with any other forms internet marketing? – Nowadays, many web designers are also proficient in SEO. Having a search friendly web design means that the designer will create code that is easy to index and crawl. Many web design companies also work with SEO to ensure that your site will get maximum visibility.

5) How and when can I contact you? – Is your web designer or company easily reached? Would you rather talk to them on the phone, via email or meet face to face to discuss timelines? Many companies and individuals work in different ways, so make sure that you know what you’re getting into.

6) How is a new design layout going to help my small business? – Lastly, an effective web designer should be goal-oriented in helping your business succeed. What do you want from your new website? Here are a few things you might consider: increase web site traffic, reduce bounce rates, increase phone calls, increase sales, increase in inquiries or subscriptions.

Hiring someone or a company to create a new site for your business consists of more than just pretty graphics. This doesn’t have to be an overwhelming process, but make sure to have these questions (and more) ready as you find the answers you’re looking for.

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

Using Breadcrumbs for Effective Site Navigation

breadcrumbsFollow the Breadcrumbs
If you’re looking to improve your web design and site navigation, breadcrumbs are a good place to start.

Breadcrumbs refer to navigation links that help visitors see where they are on your site. Do the home > resources> articles etc. links look familiar?

Like in the classic fairy tale, these links are named after the breadcrumbs Hansel and Gretel left as they made their way into the woods so that they could find their way back. Depending how much content you have and how deep it’s buried within your site, it’s easy to see how visitors can get lost.

Some argue about the value of breadcrumbs and say that they are not used by average users. Breadcrumbs take only a second to implement on each page and I think the effort is worth it. You can also use Google Analytics to see where visitors are clicking on EVERY page of your site. I find that the majority of clicks will go Home, Contact, and social media icons but it may differ for your site.

More Reasons to Love Your Breadcrumbs

Your customers will appreciate it when they can get to the place they want while using the least amount of clicks possible. Breadcrumbs can also help reduce the bounce rate on your site. For example, let’s say a new user has come across an article on your site and finds it interesting. As shown in the image above, they may continue looking for more information by clicking the Resources and Articles categories. While the neat-freak in me loves the organization and visual look of breadcrumbs, I like them even more because they’re so useful to customers. And anything that will encourage more people to stay on your site longer is always a good thing!

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

Your Site Needs to be Mobile Friendly

Have you noticed the influx of smart phones hitting the market? It seems that every week, there’s another new, highly sought after phone. This gives consumers more power and choice but it also means that your business needs a mobile friendly website now more than ever.

About 31% of cell-phone owners have a smartphone and you can bet that the number will continue to grow and you can bet that it means more internet browsing on a mobile screen. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you’re planning your mobile web design:

  1. Keep your mobile site and landing pages simple and straight to the point. You may also want to do testing on different browsers and different mobile devices, because not every smart phone owner has an iPhone!
  2. Use text but not too much of it. If you’re thinking of images with text and fancy buttons and other graphics, you should really reconsider. Depending on what area I’m in, the weather and numerous other factors, my cell phone internet speed can be slooow as… dial-up? If your customer has a slow load time on your website, that can almost always ensure that they’ll bounce away
  3. Adapt to your audience. Many businesses and brands opt for creating a mobile site that is completely different from what their regular site looks like on a normal desktop. Some experts believe that this could actually dissatisfy them. Instead, you can code your site so that it automatically adjusts to the screen size of the device, whether it’s smartphone, tablet, or netbook.

Just like a normal website, there is no one formula you can follow for success. The grounds for an effective mobile website seems even more flexible nowadays, especially because it all depends on your business and type of customers. Feel free to share any helpful links and resources if you have them. For you CSS fans, here’s a good article from Smashing Magazine that goes into more detail about building a successful mobile site.

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

Unveiling Emarketed’s New Website Design!

Emarketed website design

Springtime is the perfect for new beginnings and we’ve started ours with a brand new site! What do you think of the new web design?

If you’re thinking about a new website for your business, here are somethings you SHOULD definitely plan for:

  1. Interesting and organized – Does your website catch your visitor’s eye? Vivid graphics are a great way to hook them in. Next organization of your content will reel them in and keep them on your site for longer.
  2. Easy to contact and clear calls to action – Different customers like different things. That’s why it’s important to have immediate online contact, like in a form or live chat, and a local number where they can speak to a live person. For most businesses, the ultimate goal is to have that customer pickup the phone and call, so don’t forget to remind them!
  3. Helpful and informative – This part probably doesn’t make sense to some. As they see it, why should they “give away” something for free when they could be charging for it? The bigger picture in having helpful resources is that you’re showcasing your expertise in a niche area. This isn’t to say that you should give it ALL away but loosen up. (On that note, are you  interested in some social media tips or SEO articles?)
  4. Get personal – History, testimonials, FAQs? Sometimes, it doesn’t have to be ALL about business as you showcase a little bit more about your company. I’ve seen many sites with neighborhood news, favorite charities, personal interests – all which helps in giving your brand a more human and personable touch.
  5. The point of inspiration – Amazing graphics, wonderful services and engaging videos! What else does a customer need? After visiting your site, customers should be inspired and really see how they can benefit from your product or service. Even if they don’t make a final decision then and there, the important thing is to plant that thought in their mind and standout!

What other elements do you think should be included in effective website design? Feel free to let us know what you think about our new site. And if you’re interested in a makeover for your own site, take advantage of our FREE site analysis today!

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

Understanding Search Engine Marketing

How To Make Your Website Work Harder— And Smarter

There’s no shortage of information on the Internet about ways to improve your website’s search engine rankings, how to use various pay-per-click services, and so many other topics related to online marketing.

 Almost all these sources of information share two common problems: 

1)     They’re written by researchers, academicians or technically oriented people. They may understand these subjects, but they don’t know much about how to actually implement these tools. Or they know how to do it, but not how to explain it to someone else. 

2)     They want to sell you something: programs, plans, web hosting or technical services. Their material may promise to tell you how to do it yourself, but they’ll make it sound so complicated you won’t know where to start. And they’re hoping you’ll turn to them.

There’s nothing really wrong with these approaches; they’re just not too helpful. And they’re tainted with ulterior motives. After all, even companies who help other companies do Internet marketing need to market themselves.

 Here’s what’s going to be different about this blog: 

1)               We’ll explain everything in plain English, so you don’t need to be an MIT graduate to understand what we’re talking about. And, because this is a blog, you can absorb the information at your own pace, insert notes anywhere in the text, and come back for review whenever you want. 

2)               We are going to tell you how to do it yourself. But these tools are technical and time-consuming, and you may decide it’s not cost-effective to spend your time implementing the necessary changes. 

And yes, we do hope you’ll turn to us for help, if you need it. But we’re not going to try to bamboozle you from the start, just so you’ll give up and give us a call. 

One more thing: We’re not researchers or academicians. We are technically oriented, but we hope you won’t hold that against us. What we mean to say is, the stuff we’ll be explaining inside is the stuff we do all day, every day. We know it inside and out. So, if you decide you don’t have the time or the inclination to tackle these issues yourself, we hope what you read here will persuade you we’ve got the expertise to understand your business, analyze what needs fixing, and implement whatever changes are required.

Oh, and there’s still one more thing: We offer a promise no other supplier in the industry dares to make:

 We guarantee our services will increase the results of your online marketing.

Since 1998 we’ve delivered on that promise—time after time, for a broad range of clients, in a wide variety of industries. We’re willing to put that much on the line to make sure you’re more than satisfied with the work we do. So put us to the test. We’d be delighted to add you to our client list.

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.