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CitrusKiwi's Web Design, Internet & Marketing blog

Get hints and tips about web design, SEO, and things internet. We also discuss online security issues, showcase new client websites and offer hints on marketing and networking.

6 easy tips to supercharge your website

New Years' resolutions are a great thing... IF you carry them out. As Saint Bernard of Clairvaux (probably) wrote, "The road to hell is paved with good intentions"! No plan is bad, but a pla...
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8 simple website tips for 2019

Happy New Year (almost)! I know it's a cliche sort of thing, New Years resolutions. I also know that most of us end up breaking all our well-meaning promises to ourselves. This year, along with t...
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Are phone videos OK to use on websites?

One thing is for sure, video is IT! As the Boomers and the Gen Xers become much less of a driving force in the buying market, those in the know see a new trend in how the up-and-coming purchasers - th...
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Behind the Scenes

I've had a client, from time to time, ask why they should keep paying their monthly subscription. Fair question. As business-people, we all need to be looking at our expenses and trimming where necessary. First though, let me ask a question.  Why have a website? With nearly 90% of all purchases starting life as an internet search there's really no question why. The fact is, whether it's a new hair product, a vacation, a car or even a house, we all head to one of the search engines to start our hunt. And if a business doesn't have a solid web presence, then they're already well behind the pack. So, back to the original question... Why continue paying every month? What the client is really asking is, WIIFM (What's In It For Me)? And, again, that's a fair question. Some business-people see adverts on somewhere like Craigslist for a website for...
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Time to revamp your site for 2015

Wow - already January 17, and, to our embarrassment we look at the date of my last post..... The truth is, it's been pretty busy since late last year and then with Christmas and New Year, the blog got a little neglected. And now we're neck deep in revamping our CitrusKiwi site as it needs an overhaul. There have been things we were never totally happy with and we have tons new content going on it; so keep checking back! Expected launch date is the month's end (hopefully this month!! LOL!) Every year... We recommend that you look very critically at your site at least once a year. If you're one of our clients, then you'll be getting regular updates about traffic and rankings. From the traffic reports you can determine which pages visitors most frequent, and then you can spend time honing those pages to new-client-producing dynamos! And the others...
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Mobile v Responsive v App v Nothing

I was asked this week, whether, 1) A "mobile type" website is needed at all, and 2) if so, what type? That's a great question and, at least, showed that the asker was engaged with basic website design ideas, or, at the very least, wanting to know. As the old saying goes, "The stupidest question is the one never asked!" Do I need a mobile version of any type? First part - "Do you need a mobile ready version of your site?" An unequivocal, "YES!" There is no doubt that a website that is not easily viewed on a mobile device is already at a serious disadvantage. And, with 60% or more searches conducted on some type of mobile device, that puts your business in a bad internet state. Which type to have? The 4 types are in the headline - Mobile, Responsive, App, or Nothing. They all work a little...
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You website NEEDS video too

There are 3 main learning styles, auditory, visual and kinesthetic. It's hard to do kinesthetic on your website - they're the touchy feely group - offer them a free sample by filling in a SIMPLE form. Visual is what you're already doing (I will assume you have a visually appealing website - if you don't talk to us about a redesign). But where is your site on auditory? If you're at zero, join the club - most are. As many as 60%+ of the population learn by visual primarily. For those people, lack of video seriously underpowers your site!  With the price of video production falling dramatically, it's now easier than ever to add video to your site. And, if a pictures says 1000 words, then a video says 1000 pictures. You now have the ability to showcase your business and your products and/or services like never before. Here's a video...
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1/20th of a second and you're flying or dying

In 2006, a Canadian research team conducted a study to try and ascertain how short a time it took for human visitors to sum up a webpage. And the results were startling! 1/20th of a second can be a killer The team began by showing 50 millisecond glimpses (that's 1/20th second) of webpages to the participants, then had them rate the webpages in terms of their aesthetic appeal. Then they let them see the same pages for a much longer periods and had them rate the pages again. Surprisingly, the results were very close. The conclusion is shocking to us as designers (and should also impact anyone with a website as well)... According to the results in the study, you have 1/20th second before a visitor decides your sites flies or dies in their thinking! This makes choosing a designer with good design and layout skills so critical. Forget fancy "gadgets"...
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10 simple ways to give your site credibility

I'm often amazed just how easily the simple, and obvious, things trip us up or cause a disconnect. It's no different with websites. Here are 10 seemingly obvious things that can really stoke the fires of credibility on your website. 1. Easy verification of site information When you've written articles, invariably there are times, often many times, when you've used a source to help build the content. SO provide your content third party support in the way of citations, references, or links to original content. It's shows YOU have confidence in your material. 2. Be a "real" organization Ever been to a site trying to find contact info and all you get is a web form? Seems a little shady, right? If I come across this sort of thing, I invariably hit the close button on the window. I figure they can't be very reputable if they have to hide their...
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"To mobile or not to mobile" your website

When I first began designing websites - a long way back in internet terms - in the late 1990's, things were much simpler.  Little completition, little sophistication, little anything! Nowadays, the landscape is vastly different, and the industry has fragmented into many niche sectors - design, mail, SEO, and more.  It's harder and harder as a small business to be all things to everyone.  That's why we decided to move away from offering anything much in the way of off-page SEO and concentrate on what we did well - design and implementation. Mobile websites - good or bad? When mobile website first began appearing, they were totally separate sites to the main desktop/laptop site.  You'd see different URLS - m.citruskiwi.com or mobile.citrsukiwi.com (don't bother following those links as they won't work!). These were all well and good - they DID display on mobile devices well, but they often lacked much of...
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5 wait reducing tips for your website

Although everyone told me I didn't need to lose any weight,I've recently shed a little over 20lbs and feel so much better for it.  The only downside, is I now need to go through my closet and get rid of a bunch of clothes that are waaaay too big for me!  A good downside I think you'd agree though. Reducing your website's wait When Google is presented with a search query, it looks at the pages in its index and applies a test that includes over 200 parameters to it in a bid to serve the user a relevant result.  One of those is page load speed.  There's a temptation now to overlook this vital aspect of page "health".  After all, most of our users have a fast internet connection right?  Who uses a 56k dial up modem anymore?  Interestingly, I was speaking to someone just a few weeks ago who...
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5 Christmas presents for your website

Here's 5 presents you can give your website this Christmas to  help it work better, work smarter and get more business for you. 1. Write a blog Many clients I speak to have a real phobia about writing a blog, but it's really simple - it just requires commitment. As a business owner, I have no doubt you know a lot about your business, and the industry you're in.  There, already, are a wealth of topics to cover. Throw in a few, what I call, "human interest" stories (see my blog around June/July this year for my daughter's wedding), and you're good to go. 2. Add or renew some content For search engines and humans alike, new content is considered good (providing it's unique and well written).  Both see it as an indication of a site that's considered important in the scheme of a business's marketing strategy. If you're hesitant about...
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3 shocking website design snafus

It's been a busy last couple of weeks. We have started work on a number of new sites and things are ticking along well. While there have been some interesting developments on the internet scene, I just felt like kicking back a bit this morning and letting some other sites show you just how NOT to do website design. If you Google "worst websites" you can spend hours being horrified at some of the stuff that appears on the internet. Now I don't normally bag other designer's work, as design is so subjective. But there are basic design rules which need following to end up with a nice website. The following fail to follow these rules (some manage to break nearly all!) Pacific NorthWest X-Ray Take our first example, www.pnwx.com . Their copyright in the "footer" says 1997 - 2012. While they may have updated and added products since 1997, I...
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Get your free website

There's no such thing as a free lunch - someone always pays, ya know?  I've seen this ad on TV a few times and, finally, I got intrigued enough to look (as I figure many people have).  And it's true!  They give you a free website design and hosting and some SEO, though it's unclear how much they do in your first month.   Oh yeah, did you pick up on "the first month"? Free website...not so free... Yes, it's true that they do build and upload your new or redesigned website for free.  Then, after "your first month" if you don't like it or them, you can "cancel and pay $0".  Wow!!!  Soooooo, what if I don't cancel, what happens?  The ad goes on, "You just pay one low monthly fee..blah, blah, blah".  Deceptive advertising Well, it's no surprise that they want to get paid sometime - after all, we're all...
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Buying domain names

I get asked a lot about domain names and their importance in SEO. So, to answer this I say, "Yes, it's nice to get your keyword or phrase in your domain name, but not critical." Let's face it, most keyword domain names are long gone - even the .biz, .info, and .net versions. You could do one with a hyphen in it, for example, www.cheap-pet-food.com, but that can be confusing for surfers to remember. However, you could grab that and point it to your main site to, hopefully, capture some results from it. New v old domain names There is definitely some advantages about buying an old domain name as opposed to a brand new one; but also some drawbacks.  The big advantage of an older domain name is that the search engines have, historically, weighted them because of their age and so you get a boost.  Google has hinted, starting...
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Better late than never?

Better to be late than never? Depends on what you're talking about. If, like one of my clients, you're into CPR, then the answer is definitely not! However, if it's doing last Saturday's blog (yes, I misssed writing it over the weekend), then it is better to get it done than just leave it out. You'd be surprised just who may be following your little missives! Today - Monday 06/18 - I'm off to New Zealand for my youngest daughter's wedding. Yet here I sit, all dressed up and nowhere to go, in Sacramento airport waiting for the plane which should have left 10 minutes ago to arrive from Las Vegas. Still they say 7.00pm we'll be airborne to LAX which will still get me there on time for the connection to NZ. Better late than never can apply to your website too. Whether it's getting one, redesigning an existing one,...
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Under construction 3

Here's the final part of clueless mistakes that I see around the web, and are, generally, committed by "professional" designers who should know better. "Last updated <years ago!>" and out of date content.  Google (and you can bet the others are close behind) is now weighting search results in favor of fresh content according to one of the latest updates.  That means website owners need to be even more vigilant in adding new content, and this makes blogging (points a finger at myself!) something we all need to be doing with even greater frequency. "Last updated..." There's nothing wrong with this in itself.  I regularly use it on pages where there is time sensitive material, for example, pricing pages.  Visitors like to know that content displayed on a pricing page is current, and they won't rush to buy the latest blue widget for $9.95 with "FREE shipping", only to find that...
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"Under construction" and other clueless mistakes – Part 2

The last post looked at one of my favorite bugbears, "Under Construction" pages.  This week, we look at senseless navigation. Senseless navigation What do I mean by senseless navigation?  Well, it comes mainly in 2 categories in my opinion. Illogical menu selections Pages too deep Illogical menu selections I have seen some very confusing sites in my surfing.  Under "Illogical menu selections" I lump non-standard approaches to content presentation.  Where do most people expect to find phone numbers, email address, and physical addresses?  Either in the footer or on a page accessed by choosing "Contact" or "Contact us".  Now some may argue that putting it under "About" or "About us" makes perfect sense and I sympathise with them.  To a point.  Yes, contact information IS "about the company" , but that is not where it has been displayed for years.  And why make visitors scroll past all your self-serving back-slapping to...
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Under construction

You’re rushing to catch at flight at the airport.  You’re already late seeing as the cat threw up on your spiffy Armani suit as you prepared to walk out the door.  Late and stressing you glance at your watch; yes, you can make it!  You turn onto the last street before the airport… and grind to a halt.  There, standing in the middle of the road is a road worker with a Stop/Go sign in is hand – the road, YOUR road, is under construction!  Frustrating huh? So are web pages that boldly proclaim “Under construction”.  What were the designers thinking?  There’s an SEO saying, “Content is king”.  More correctly, “GREAT content is king”.  Garbage content is a pauper and “Under construction” is the lowest of paupers. Those who have read my blogs will see I’ve ranted about this topic before.  So why regurgitate it again?  I had the misfortune of...
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Color for websites

Feelings & Emotions Color for website design and for branding definitely matters.  Color is a non-verbal (or non-written) communication.  Colors convey feelings and emotions, often without the viewer being aware of it.  These feelings can be inbuilt (for example, red has been shown to raise blood pressure), cultural (for example in the western world we associate white with weddings) or trendy (many people associate avocado with the 60's & 70's). When thinking about a color for a website, care must be taken to understand who the intended audience is.  Male?  Female?  Old?  Young?  Western? Asian?  Global?  Yes, white is associated with weddings, but that's very much a western idea.  In the Asian continent, white is associated with death and funerals.  An Asian wedding site in white is not going to go down too well! Color for your company's website Obviously the colors in use in your company are going to dictate...
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