Maybe you want to add something more to your site than simple text and photos? The 'look and feel' of your brand should extend to your website but that might not always be possible through photos and text. If you've ever thought about wanting to use a photo editor (like Photoshop) but are afraid to commit to the big price tag, there's good news! Click on this link to try SumoPaint.com. Sumo Paint is a free online photo editor that works in your browser. You can open and save images from your hard drive or save it to the cloud. It has a lot of the same tools as Photoshop and works in a similar way.
I created the 'about' and 'shop collections' artwork on the right in a photo editor and then saved them as jpgs. I then uploaded them by dragging on 'image' elements in Weebly. It's just like uploading a picture. My customer's brand was soft, but rugged and I wanted to convey this on her site. I continued with this theme on every page to give it continuity.
Give it a try. It won't cost you a dime and you might like the results!
All your visitors care about when they come to your site is this, "Can you solve my problem?" If your site exists simply to market or to promote your brand or to solicit donations, think again! Your viewers are smart and they'll click away so fast it'll make your head spin. You have about 3 or 4 seconds to show your viewer that you have the solution to their problem. Most viewers have arrived at your site for one of the following reasons: they're looking for information, they want to buy something, they're trying to connect to their community/world or they want to be entertained. What answer does your site provide? Remember who your target audience is and the purpose for your site even existing!
What does it mean to 'break a link'? Well, sometimes you've created a link to another page on your own site or to another site but then removed that page or forgot to include a 301 Redirect. It may even be on the other end! Maybe someone linked to YOUR site and that page on your site no longer exists!
Whatever the reason, your visitors will receive an error message, "Page Not Found". Do you really want to lose them at this point? NO! Weebly has an option that allows you to set up a custom 404 page to direct visitors to alternate content on your site. In other words, you are creating other page options that resemble what your user was originally looking for.
Here's how to do it:
1) Create a page and call it "404". Remember to 'hide' this page in your Weebly navigation.
2) Edit this "404" page by adding details and providing information you want your users to see should they l land on this.. You can give a brief description about what your site is about and a link to your site. Do this by dragging and dropping the elements the same way you would on a normal page.
3) Click the "Advanced Settings" tab (on the 404 page), select and check the box "Hide this page from search engines", so that the search engines don't index your 404 page.
Now you can test your 404 page. Try typing in an invalid URL like, "yoursitename.com/test404page.html" in the browser's address bar to see your custom 404 page. Making a custom 404 page on Weebly will show your complete page including the header and footer along with the content you entered. The chances of retaining your user's interest are significantly greater when your users can select topics from your navigation bar!
Punxsutawney Phil, the most famous groundhog in history, emerged Sunday morning and declared (through his interpreting handlers) that he saw his shadow. The Groundhog Day prediction mean six more weeks of winter! Let's celebrate!
Anyone referring a customer that results in me creating a website will receive a bit of free SEO work! It's actually something you could do for yourself, but I don't see many of you doing this. I will create all your H1 tags on your site! Why is this important? Well, let me give you a quick run down.
Heading tags, as their name suggests, are used to differentiate the heading of a page from the rest of the content. The most important heading tag is the h1 tag. Weebly 'Titles' are actually h2 tags. In SEO terms, search engine spiders check the relevancy of the header tag with the content associated with it and pays special attention to the words used in the h1 tag as it should contain a basic description of the page content. This is how you do it in Weebly.
The H1 tag is not defined in the CSS of Weebly themes. If you just fill in the title between the <h1></h1> code, you'll get a generic H1 styling, usually large, bold and black. However, you can define a style in a custom HTML element. Maybe something like, <h1 style="font-family: Questrial;color:red;font-sie:28px;">Your Title Here</h1>and it would look like this:
Your Title Here
You can do it yourself OR you can refer to me someone in desperate need of a website and I'll do all the work for you! It's a win-win!
We all know that we need to drive traffic to our sites to get business. Did you know that you have about three seconds to get a potential customer's attention? Don't confuse your visitor with too many graphics, blurbs, and unending text. A simple paragraph and relevant image that directs your viewer to the purpose of your site (what you are offering!) will serve you best when it comes to that first three viewing seconds.
Now that your visitor has decided to stay on your website for a few minutes (because your image and content is stellar!) do they know what to do next? Give your viewer more than just the standard navigation bar. They are much more likely to click a 'call to action' button or link if it's available. Do you want them to see your price rates? Go ahead and make a navigation tab that says, "Pricing", but then make a button, text or image that will link them to your "Pricing" page. Put it at the end of a paragraph with a lead in that says something like, "For more information about pricing, click here." People like links that take them to the logical conclusion. If they're looking at your site, it's because you've already done something right. Don't let them go! Give them something to do on each page, directing them to the ultimate purpose of your site. I want to sell affordable website design on my Plain & Simple Web Design website. On my landing and pricing pages, there's a place that customers can just click to make a down payment to have me get started on a site! It works because it's EASY and there's no confusion about what to do next.
Finally, and I'm not so great at keeping up with this, but BLOG. You know why. If you don't, see my previous blog posts. You've got to either create new content on your site or new content in a blog (or both if you're REALLY serious) to keep giving people a reason to come back to your site!
Remember, your website is an ongoing work in progress. Keep it simple, fresh and GET NOTICED!
What's a widget? Widgets (and Plug Ins) are applications that can be embedded on website allowing you to add limited functionality such as on-screen devices like mail list sign-up forms, event countdowns, rss (blog) feeds, timelines , flight arrival information, daily weather etc.. Widgets are so popular now, you'll be surprised what you can find once you start looking!
To place a widget on your site, pull an 'embed' element onto the site that you want the widget to appear. Then, go to the site offering the widget, copy and paste the code that they give you and enter this into the 'embed' element. Voila'! You should see the widget appear once you click outside of the element. My new favorite is an RSS Snippet feed widget that allows me to display a portion of my blog (or another feed) anywhere I'd like! I recently did this for a customer in D.C. in her footer so that it appeared on everypage. It just lets the end user see a snippet of a blog and allows them to click on it to see the rest of the posting.
For example, I have put one on my Plain & Simple Web Design site that looks like this:
Even better is that they offer several options. I chose the small 'Ticker Box' option that scrolls through my blog posts!
Now, for the warning. It can get pretty addicting once you start finding widgets. A couple are okay, but too many can make your site start to look like a hot mess and become distracting. Ask yourself, "Why am I adding this widget (or Plug In)? Don't add them just because you can or because you saw it on a competitor's site. Your new widget should serve it's purpose, which is to promote your site and what you're selling! I like my blog snippet widget and mail list widget in my footer because it doesn't dilute the purpose of my site which is contained in the main content of my site. Be smart and strategic with everything that goes on your site. In addition, all those widgets require loading, so check your site live and make sure that the widgets you use aren't slowing down your load time.
All in all, a couple of well placed widgets can enhance your website brand and purpose, but remember to keep them in check and don't get carried away.
Your customer just arrived at your 'Home Page'. Now what? Your text and images should be an informative, targeted, benefit-oriented statement that tells your potential customer/user THIS IS WHAT MY BUSINESS CAN PROVIDE YOU! You are giving just one message on this page. Be concise, and remember, less is more. Your user shouldn't have any trouble understanding what you do. If your text is too wordy or there are loads of images and graphics, it's distracting and will take away from your ONE MESSAGE. Make it easy for the user to understand what you do. Dispense with the clutter already! Decide what your business really IS, who your target market is and what you can offer those people. Once you know this, it will help you define what your one Home Page message should be.
Once you have clearly defined your Home Page message, make sure that you give your potential customer "a call to action". This is something that incites your user to do something. It might be to click a button to link to another page, complete a sign-up form for a mail list, download information, or call a sales person. Giving your user a secondary message, or step to take, connects them to whatever your primary goal for your site may be.
Remember to ask yourself, "What is the one thing I want my end user to come away knowing about my website?" For example, on my Plain & Simple Web Design site, my home page makes it VERY clear that I provide inexpensive website design for $400. I repeat it several times and have a slide show that represents my work so that my customer knows exactly what I have to offer. I also have a "call to action" button that allows them to immediately make their website deposit right on the homepage!
You've only got one chance at a first impression. Make it count!
The other day, I was emailing my customer in Greece about Meta Descriptions and thought it was a good reminder to everyone that they should be doing this on their sites! One of the benefits of Weebly is that they allow you to have control over without having to know any coding.
On each page, under "Advanced Settings", you have the ability to give each page it's own title and description. These should directly relate the to content and purpose of the page. Search engines use what you declare as the title and content to categorize this page and this seriously effects your SEO. The 'Page Description' (also known as a Meta Description) is a sentence or two that describes the content of that page. This brief description (not more than 155 characters) will be seen when search results are displayed to the user. This, in turn, will allow a user an idea of what your site contains and will help them make a decision about whether to visit the site.
To fill in the Page Descriptions, go to the go to the “Pages” Tab and select the page. You will need to do this for each page on your site as every page has its own settings. Now, click the “Advanced Settings” link for that page. Your first two options are 'Page Title' and 'Page Description'. This is where you'll fill in the information that is pertinent to that page.
You also have a 'Settings' tab at the top of your site. Information filled in here (under SEO) will apply to your entire site. However, 'Page Settings' can override the overall site 'Settings' allowing you to modify each page (as it changes) without effecting the overall site.
I know that a lot of you have a tough time keeping all this SEO info straight! Just take it a little at a time. This week, go through and set all the 'Page Descriptions' under 'Advanced Settings' on each page. Help your potential customers by making it easy for them to know what's on your site!
Is Weebly or Wordpress the right fit for you? This can be a tough choice and a lot depends on how serious you are about creating and maintaining your website as well as your ability to do this. If you're looking at making an affordable, easy to use website, then Weebly would be a front-runner. You can come in with literally no technical knowledge or special skills and, with little effort, have a professional website up and running within a few hours, and at an affordable price. If you do happen to have a few technical skills, Weebly allows you to edit the CSS and HTML. I like this feature because it allows me to use Weebly's drag and drop technology for my end-user and at the same time allows me to change the look of the site so that I can create unique looking websites (outside of the template) for my customers. I like to think of Weebly as "Party in the front. Business in the back." Weebly uses a "what you see is what you get" interface that allows the user to see what the end result will be while creating the site. Wordpress doesn't offer this, and that can be confusing.
However, when it comes to features, Wordpress is the clear winner. Because Wordpress has so many designers and programmers building tools and providing services, they offer numerous advanced features (too many to name here) that really are fantastic! I like the flexibility of these features but learning to use these features is tricky for those that may be a bit more technically challenged. Being familiar with technical terminology and jargon will make it a bit easier to create a Wordpress site. However, if you get stuck, hiring WordPress specialists to build or maintain your site is gonna cost ya.
When it comes to blogging platforms, WordPress is probably the best open source CRM (content management system). Again, it has a lot more features for blogging than Weebly. However, I can't help but come back to the simplicity of Weebly and ease-of-use. When you want to start a blog with Weebly, you literally drag and drop a page called "blog" and start blogging. That's all there is to it.
So, if you know what the term open source means or CRM, it's likely that you'll be able to use WordPress. If not, you may want to check out Weebly. Both have their strengths. Large businesses will want the flexibility that WordPress allows but small business owners, artists, musicians and casual bloggers will love the simplicity that Weebly offers when it comes to creating and maintaining their own site.
Did I mention that you can host your site on Weebly for free?
At last! I can use my iPad to edit Weebly! Woot woot! It's been a bit of a wait, but this post is proof that it works. Yep, I am waiting for my car to be washed AND I can make blog posts while I wait! I am practically a genius.
If you haven't tried it yet, have a go! You can also post from your smart phone by downloading the Weebly app. It's free!
"Somewhere along the line, I totally geeked out and now, if I'm not working on a website, I'm playing around in Photoshop or Illustrator. I still look pretty normal, but there was a nerd inside me all along. Who knew?"
"Web-building is an extension of my art training and I find it very satisfying helping people create a beautiful and esthetically pleasing site for their business or personal hobby."