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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.

Why we use Advanced Web Rankings software

Just over a year ago, we got our hands on 2 great pieces of software - Advanced Web Ranking and Advanced Link Manager.  At that time we wrote quite a substantial review on what we found as initial reactions to this software.  We have now been using AWR for just over a year and we are still as happy with the help it gives us as we were when we first reviewed this wonderful piece of SEO software.  AWR automates the incredibly important, but time consuming task of checking the rankings of the website we administer.  If we had to break it down to some bullet point of "Why we love AWR", it would go like this. 1. Time management. AWR frees up valuable time to be able to move onto cash producing tasks such as marketing, client meetings and actual design work.  A huge part of any SEO program is...

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A life saving tip for computer users

I've just flown back in from New Zealand yesterday, after a successful pleasure and business trip there.  Because the Internet knows no borders, it's very simple for me to work for clients in any country, and that was part of the reason for the trip to NZ - to visit existing, and cultivate new, clients.  To this end, I had my trusty WD passport HD with me, so I could still access important documents.  There ends the good news! The passwords document I had lovingly created many months ago had not been updated, due to my own failure to do so.  So I couldn't access the backends of many of my clients sites, nor get to them via FTP either!  Fortunately I didn't really need to, so there was no real drama, but there could have been. So my "life saving tip for computer users" is to back up, back up,...

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5 reasons Google Apps is a must for business growth

Google first launched its Apps program back in 2007 as an alternative for businesses to the traditional Office suite of tools.  Whilst most businesses will be more than catered for with the free version, there is a Premier version that gives tech support and more email storage for a paltry $50 per year per user.  Plus, in April this year, Google added the ability for businesses to pay just $5 per app per user per month. Who's using Google Apps? According to Google, 3 million plus businesses and 30 million plus private persons are signed up for it.  That's a powerful user base to allow Google to go even further, because you know many of those will be paying customers = more revenue!  Their impact on small and medium-sized businesses has caused Microsoft to release its Office 365 recently in the hope it will offset the inroads GA has been making...

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1 solid reason why meta data is dead for SEO

One of the most common questions I'm asked is, "Is meta data still useful?"  To which my answer is an ambiguous, "No!"  Let me qualify that a bit... For SEO (search engine optimization) purposes, yes, they truly are dead.  At least from Google's point of view.  And, I would say, the other 2 biggies in search - Yahoo and Bing - would be right behind Google (albeit a long way behind!).  Have a look at the video below from the head of Google's Webspam team, Matt Cutts (you can also look at his blog here).  He is VERY definite about Google not caring less about how many hours you've spent crafting beautiful meta tags. That said, if you picked it up from the video, the description meta tag is still worth using, if only to entice potential visitors to your site.  It's the one we spend the most time on to...

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5 critical e-Commerce trends to be aware of

Maybe you, like me, remember the "good old days" of marketing on the Internet.  The late 80's and early 90's were very much the wild, wild west of having an online presence.  Clunky websites with little pizzazz, zero visitor interactivity, and the same information you'd find on the company's brochures.  In short, their website was just a brochure - and usually done with way less class than the original! In a report from earlier this year, Forrester Research Inc from Cambridge, MA, USA, identified 5 critical trends for 2011 and forward in e-Commerce. 1. The growth of multi-channel monster. An increasing number of retailers are now multi-channelling their marketing efforts and seeing more of their sales through their web divisions than previously. This tendency for the web channel to outstrip the physical retail store has been going on for years.  But much of this growth is coming at really critical times,...

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9 tips for writing great content

I am often met with fear and trepidation when I ask clients to give me some content for their website.  "I can't write!" I hear very commonly.  The good news is you don't have to - we can do it for you!  So, what, we're experts on every subject?  Hardly!  But we do know some good questions to ask, and this allows us to write great articles about any subject that you give us the information on.  Here's a brief idea on the sort of things we can ask to jog you into giving us facts we can then weave into content. When did you start your business and why?What's your USP (Unique Selling Point)?What are your <insert number> major products/services?Who are your staff?  Tell us about their background (better still have them write it).What concerns do customers in your industry have?  How does <insert company name> help them overcome those...

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8 online marketing strategies

What are your marketing strategies?  Are they staying up to today’s trends?  Here are some marketing strategies that we use here at CitrusKiwi Web Solutions to help drive traffic to our site and our customers' sites, establish credibility as a company and turn that traffic into sales. Organic Search Engine Optimization (SEO) People select from the first or second page of search results.  CitrusKiwi provides ongoing SEO services as part of their Web Solution packages as we see this part almost as critical as the actual website itself.  A fantastic, "all-the-bells-and-whistles" website is useless if it appears on even page 4. Keyword Research Discover the words and phrases people are searching for online.  We are addressing this issue even as we are designing the site.  Why wait till after the site's designed and content written?  As the site develops and evolves, we help you continually refine these words and phrases within...

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Content is King!

Website content is the collective information that appears your web pages.  This can be images, text, tables or files.  Typically, at the time of the website's design, the web content is fresh and valuable (assuming it is well researched and written!).  But, as things in your business change, your website becomes out of date or incomplete, and your web content can become stale and boring.  Not only do visitors to your site appreciate up-to-date, fresh information and website content, but so do search engines! No static pages In the past, old web sites utilized “static” pages and were somewhat cumbersome for clients to add or edit web content.  Site owners generally needed to rely on their web master or web designer to implement changes to their site and to the website content, which, of course, meant time and money. CMS puts the power in your hands The breakthrough came with Content...

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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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Blogging for business

Blogging for business We often have new clients asking us about blogging for their business website.  "Do I need to do a blog?"  "Are blogs important for a business website?"  "How often do I need to do it?"  "How much time will it take?"  "What do I write about?"  "Can someone else do it for me?"  "I'll be away for 3 weeks and won't have time to blog - what do I do?" Do I need a blog? The answer is no.  But you don't need to SEO your website either - or have a website at all.  The truth is, blogging on a business website is an integral part of SEO and promotion.  Search engines have complicated algorithms to determine the relevancy of a site to the search phrase entered.  Google's algorithm purportedly looks at over 200 factors.  One of these is fresh content.  Blogging for your business is an...

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Call me anything but late for breakfast

This is a joke I use from time to time, and it usually gets a smile or two.  Unfortunately it applies to a number of websites I see every day - I'm not sure what to call them, I just hope their owners are getting breakfast! I said in a post a while back that, in the old days - back when I first began writing websites, pretty much anything would pass for a good website.  We didn't have the technology either to design or be found.  It was the age of the online brochure.  But visitors demand more than just a brochure now.  They need action, movement, help, usefulness. Sadly, many site owners just don't get it.  The good news for them, is their sites are so badly optimized that most searchers aren't going to ever find them!  What a waste of effort and money.  Whilst hosting is cheap now,...

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Latest design

It's been a quiet start to the year with our attention in other places for much of it.  However, we've been quietly working away at a number of designs, some of which have been totally rewritten with the advent of the latest Joomla version- 1.6 - which has a whole different architecture to the previous version. Our latest creation just went live yesterday and you can check out one of Sacramento's only dedicated real estate attornies in Rita Lingwood by following the Sacramento real estate attorney link.  All of us here at CitrusKiwi wish Rita all the best with the new site!

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Tips for help with emotional and verbal abuse

Hey, don't worry, this is not how we treat our clients!  In fact, our whole marketing strategy is built around our giving our client the best service we can.  That's how we can keep them,and still charg elow monthly fees for the great service we offer. But the purpose of today's post is not to tell you how great we are - after all, what we tell you will be treated with caution anyway - but to introduce you to our latest live site, and our new client Hurt by Love.  Cindy and Doug have a great ministry reaching out to, mostly, abused women in our world, giving them good, solid, practical advice, a listening ear, and a safe haven to find hope.  Cindy is an abuse survivor herself, so doesn't speak out of someone else's experience or from a dry textbook.  Her experience came at a high price.  Doug, her...

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16 mistakes of amateur web designers

I don't doubt that all these are repeated elsewhere, in 1000's of pages.  That's the good, and bad thing, of the Internet.  There's a bunch of information.  Unfortunately, especially when it comes to IT, much of it is out of date (or not updated), totally wrong, or written by armchair amateurs.  You know, some of the same ones that clog up the Internet with horrible web pages that start with "Welcome to my page" or similar. So let's get started......(in no particular order) 1. Bloated files/pages.This could really be 2 categories.  Firstly bloated pages.  These are the ones stuffed with gigantic pics that allow you to cook dinner, wash the car AND do you shopping while the page loads.  Second are bloated files.  PDF's are great used properly, but they can be big.  I like to offer my visitors the option of saving/opening a PDF, or viewing as a plain HTML...

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8 mistakes when choosing a web designer

1. Their portfolio has nothing that makes you think, “Yeah, they can handle my website!” Many people look for experience and that can be good too, but, if your designer has years of experience, and their portfolio is lackluster, then that’s what you’ll likely get.  Lackluster.  Look for someone who has a portfolio, but one that makes you go “Wow!” and don’t worry about size. 2. Going for the cheapest price. How often do we hear that it’s not necessarily the best option getting the cheapest, but so many people still do.  If you’re doing that, you’re only thinking with your checkbook, and not your head.  Not that paying high prices guarantees quality either, but neither does a low price guarantee a good deal.  As Benjamin Franklin used to say, "The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten." 3. You rush them or they...

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