Filter The NoiseBlog

We blog about design, technology, internet marketing and business on the web. As the name implies, we aim to "filter the noise" and share only the most relevant information. Feel free to chime in anytime with your thoughts and comments. Established 2004 in Colorado Springs, Colorado by HighTouch Web Design and Internet Marketing.

Website Re-Design: Make sure your Web Designer Sweats the Details

Dave Kolb - Monday, November 08, 2010

Most of our business comes from clients who already have websites and are looking for an upgrade to a modern content management system like Adobe Business Catalyst. That said, I find myself looking at a lot of other web designer's work. What amazes me is the lack of attention to detail in the work.

First, this is not intended to bash other designers and developers. For the most part (and there are definitely exceptions), the code I see is good and the layouts are fine. What's missing is the attention to detail, specifically, the boring stuff!

Details, details, details

Here are some examples of details so-called professional web designers often overlook:

  • Optimizing browser page titles
  • Optimizing page URLs
  • Optimizing H1 tags
  • Using ALT tags for all images
  • Spelling errors (ok, I admit...I'm bad at this one, but I try)
  • Clearly defining "who you are and what you do" IMMEDIATELY on the homepage
  • Linking the logo "back home" (not necessarily a rule, but it's expected by most users)
  • Including COMPLETE contact information (personally, I like to have at least a contact link and phone number on each and every page.
  • Including a tag line near the logo (not required, but helps define "who you are and what you do"
  • Not customizing error pages and messages for when things go wrong. Nothing is more annoying than seeing the "stock" error message.
  • Not having a CLEAR call to action and more importantly, not finishing the job by including a well-written auto-responder (with contact information) and friendly landing page (with possibly some up-sell information). 

I'm sure there are other details I'm forgetting, but these are the obvious ones that should be included in the design and development cycle. I know many designers consider "optimization" as part of SEO, and "usability" as part of strategy...which is just code for additional billable hours down the road.

These details, if addressed during the design and development cycle are much easier to do and should be built into the initial estimate. Cutting corners to force-fit a budget is not worth it in the long run.

Please feel free comment on this, or contact me with questions.

At HighTouch, we sweat the details.

Adobe's CS5 Launch Video for Business Catalyst

Dave Kolb - Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Here is a preview of Adobe's CS5 launch video for Business Catalyst. Adobe director of product management, Bardia Housman demonstrates this new hosted application for building and managing online businesses.

Great Job Bardia and the Business Catalyst team!

Which Blogging Software to use

Kim Kolb - Wednesday, December 02, 2009
Hello to all my fellow Bloggers.

I come to you today as a community of well knowledge people who want to help. This is one reason I love blogging so much. I love the feedback that people are willing to give. 

So, here is my dilemma. I need a Rockin Blog Software Platform! I hope that by getting your feedback, I will also be able to better serve my clients by being able to provide a case study and a recommendation to them and yes; I will share this with the Blogosphere. 

Here is the scoop. I currently have a CMS that has integrated blogging software. Yeah, that’s the good news. The blogging software DOESN’T talk to any other types of tracking tools or analytics tools. The one tool that truly bums my groove is that I can’t get it to hook into Technorati and the software company doesn’t feel this is a huge issue right now, although the forum on this is huge (which means others out there confirm I am not crazy). I can’t even get it to connect to Google so I can set a goal on how many subscribers I get through my RSS like Avinash Kaushik talked about in the last Webinar with HubSpot's Inbound Marketing University. This is the Bad news. 

So, I come to you for suggestions on blogging software:

  • What is the blogging software you use and why do you like it? 
  • Does it hook into all the cool tools that HubSpot recommends to get found?
    • Technorati 
    • Google Goals 
    • I am sure there are more and please feel free to share 
  • Does it give you complete control over the design of your Blog and if not what kind of limitations does it have (Dave loves to design and have control)? 

Since I am fairly new to blogging, I would appreciate any advise you have. I subscribe to some really cool RSS feeds and I read all the important info, but most of you have been doing this longer and know the tips, tricks on getting found and that is what I want, to get found by more, I am convinced the blogging software has a huge impact on this. 

As a Web Design and Marketing Company, I am starting to think that websites are a dying breed, like outbound marketing. Blogs can accommodate just about anything we need to convey to the world and most times our Blog gets picked up by Google faster than our website. So HubSpot, HATS of to YOU! 

Thanks in advance to all who comment on this Blog! I also hope to make some new friends during this process.

NSA549VW9GZA


Email Marketing Still Works and You Can Get Great ROI

Dave Kolb - Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Email Marketing ROIIf you're on our email list, you've probably noticed that we've ramped up our email marketing efforts lately. Well, today we decided to look at some marketing analytics from our Facebook Page and SEO email campaigns.

To give some background, in the past 5 weeks, we've been running targeted email marketing campaigns, each with a different web service offer. This was a very "low Effort High Return" campaign.

Of those who opened the Facebook Campaign:
  • 37% Opened the email and 1 person unsubscribed
  • 10% Took action and requested services (directly from the offer)
  • 20% Responded by contacting us regarding other services
  • 1 person made a comment on our blog
  • 3 new people subscribed to our newsletter as a result of our "forward to a friend" feature
Ok, so those numbers aren't huge, but remember we didn't do much either. In terms of numbers (factoring our hourly rate), the Facebook campaign cost us about $195. We've received (to date) $3,250 as a result of that campaign giving us a 1,567% return on our investment (ROI). Considering we still have leads "regarding other services", that number should go up substantially.

Email marketing works and when you consider the economy we're in, it might be the thing that helps you bridge the gap to more profitable times. I'm pretty excited about this and what it could mean for our clients. 

When creating an effective email campaign remember:
  • Target your recipients with a relevant offer that has an expiration date
  • Keep it short and sweet (don't write a book, people don't have time for that)
  • Restate your offer convincingly with a compelling "call to action"
  • See how we can help you

Social Media Frenzy: Time and Benefits

Kim Kolb - Friday, April 17, 2009
Social Media, Inbound Marketing, Twitter, Facebook, Linked In....AHHH.  I know what your thinking...I don't have enough time in the day to get regular work done let alone this.  Breathe.....Yes, the Social Media Frenzy can seem overwhelming at times.  Believe me, it is overwhelming to talk about it.  I get so excited about  the two I am using right now, that I get that "deer in the headlights look" from people I am talking too.

Time seems to be a factor when talking to people about Social Network Marketing as well as what to say.  I tell my clients, sign up for the accounts and then start linking and following others to get an idea.  This usually gets them jumped started.  The time factor those is like with anything new you start.  It will take a little time to get your profile set up, but once you have that and you start inviting people to follow you and  you following them, it because exciting and almost addicting.. Soon they will have a Social Media Anonymous. :)

A recent report put out by Marketing Charts provides a range of the amount of hours people spend working their Social Media Marketing.


48% of those surveyed said their efforts resulted in more qualified leads and 35% said it helped them close more business.  Below is a chart to depicted what areas benefited the most.


This next chart is kinda mind boggling since Social Media was started by marketers, yet a lot of marketers I know haven't even tipped their toe in the water. 



Think SEO When Considering a Content Management System

Dave Kolb - Friday, September 26, 2008

SEO Requirements when considering a Content Management System (CMS)

If you're planning on getting serious about SEO, you need a good Content Management System (CMS). Whether or not you do it in house, or outsource the SEO work, an intuitive, SEO-based CMS system will save you loads of money in the long run.

Here's why: There's no magic to SEO. Sure, there are a few general guidlines to follow when properly optimizing content, but a lot of the work is trial and error. A good CMS will allow you, or your SEO professional to modify text and keywords without EVER accessing the code. This will save time for whoever is doing it, thereby saving you money. When considering a Content Management System (CMS) for your website redesign, there are some very important SEO requirements you should consider. Any CMS you consider should allow you to modify the following with ease:

  • Page title
  • URL (especially the stuff after the ".com/")
  • Page Headings (H1 tags)
  • Hyperlink text
  • 301 Redirect pages you want to remove, or point to other pages (very important)
  • Navigation text
  • Meta keywords
  • Meta description

If you are evaluating a CMS without all the above requirements, you should look elsewhere.

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