What is a ‘Living Website’?

Shoals Works FAQ, Modern Web Design

New Website Content – The Early and Often Approach

Shoals Works speaks to our clients and prospects about our ‘Living Website’ approach to maintaining their website. In an earlier post, we discussed how a vintage website can actually hurt your brand’s image and web presence. Old, static information quickly conveys an apathetic feeling to site visitors. A potential consumer may of heard great things about your company and it’s products/services, but upon reaching your site – can quickly changed their mind based on bad layout and outdated content.


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A Living Website = Higher Search Engine Rankings

Search engine rankings are given to websites after search engine robots (aka: Web Crawlers) crawls a website, searching for content and keywords for products/services your company provides. When new content is added, the bots are required by their programming to return to your website and crawl it again. The more edits you make on your website, the more bots have to reevaluate and re-catalog your site, which means the higher your website will rank in the search engine results.

Using a ‘living website’ approach to maintaining your website is the simplest and most reliable way to increase visitors. By updating your content regularly, removing old content and keeping the website current, you can increase your search engine rankings and place your company in front of more visitors.

Web Crawlers:
Really simply, web crawlers get content off the web for search engines. Web crawlers operate by following links from site to site, downloading the pages they encounter and storing them for later use. Complex algorithms then sort and analyze the downloaded webpage copies to update Google Search Engine results. The main web crawler Google uses is called Googlebot. Learn more

We need this for our website!

Understanding that you need to keep your site updated is the first step. The next step is find a trusted professional to update your website to a modern, user friendly extension of your company.

Contact Shoals Works to discover how easy we can make this process for you.


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Shoals Works Client - Do You Have A Vintage Website?

Do you have a vintage website?

Shoals Works Modern Web Design, Services

Vintage automobile? Yes! Vintage website? Uh.. no and here’s why.

If your website was created 3+ years ago and not updated since it launched, then you need to reconsider your approach to managing what can be a highly effective sales tool. If you can’t login in and make changes easily to your site, then you are a perfect candidate for a website refresh.

First impressions – oh how they last

In 2015, a high percentage of consumers will Google-search (an increasing number from their phones) the products and services they want prior to making a buying decision. Your website is the first impression you offer these potential clients about your company, your products and services. If your site is outdated or no longer accurately represents your business as it functions today, then their first impression will not encourage to interact with you. So what happens next? Potential customers click the ‘back’ button, continue their search to find your competitors which = opportunity lost. If competitive websites are current and informational accurate, chances are the competition will win the business.

A Living Website = Higher Search Engine Rankings

Shoals Works - Living Website ConceptSearch engine rankings are given to websites after the search engine robots (aka: bots) crawls a website, searching for contents and keywords. When new content is added, the bots are programmed to return to your website and crawl it again. The more edits you make on your website, the more bots have to reevaluate and recatalog your site. This equates to higher ranking of your website in search engines. By using a ‘living website’ approach in updating your content regularly, removing old content to keep your website current, you can increase your site’s search engine ranking and gain more visitors. Related blog

Customers Interacting with Your Website

The more time a prospect or customer spends on your website, the more likely they are to purchase your services or products. New content gives customers and prospects a reason to keep coming back to your website and interact with your online presence. Consider adding fresh content daily/weekly. Good content like valuable industry tips, important news and new product information will ensure visitors will have a reason to return to your site.

Driving Website Traffic

How to get visitors to return to your website? Consider maintaining a email blast list with a service like MailChimp. Collecting customer email addresses and sending them updates (they opt into) can be one of the easiest yet most powerful ways to engage your consumers. Social media is specifically powerful when you use a service like Twitter to broadcast a link to your website’s new content.

Company Contact Information

People are using the Internet to search for business contact information all the time. They forget to write down phone numbers and street addresses knowing that a quick Google search should provide said info at a moments notice.Your website as a reference for your customers and potential clients. If you have a website for a traditional brick and mortar store, customers may want to know your weekend hours, store phone number, or other information. Your website may be the first place they look. If you’ve changed your hours, but not the information on your website, it could lead to a frustrating situation for those customers.

It’s important to keep your website current if you want to stand out over your competition and continue to gain new clients. A stale website simply will not engage customers the way a current website will. This may cause just enough frustration to cause a website visitor to click the ‘back’ button and move on to choose a competitor over you.

Where To Go From Here?

At Shoals Works – we know great websites are living and breathing entities that require attention. Think of your site as a plant or child. Both need water, food and a good amount of nurturing to grow. New content added each week/month will ensure your website accurately represents your company’s offerings and brand awareness.

Site updates and new content can be obtained in a number of ways. You can utilize a robust content management system like WordPress and Shopify. Updates do take a bit of your time, but the process can be as simple as drafting and sending an email. If you don’t have the time to undertake website updates, well crafted maintenance plans from your webmaster can handle updates for you.

Want a better online presence?

Hire Shoals Works for your next web based project.

6 Months Interest Free Financing on Web Packages

Shoals Works FAQ

billmelaterWe know running a successful business is tough and requires smart financial decisions. Cash flow management is crucial and commonly dictates what projects move forward and which ones have to wait. If you have good credit and would like to break your total project cost over 6 months, then this is a good option for your business.

All of our Web Packages are now available to be purchased on a 6 months interest free buying option. The process is quick and easy. Once the project is fully scoped and budget approved, we will send you a secure payment link to complete your purchase via Bill Me Later1.

Contact Shoals Works today to start your web project.

Bill Me Later® is a PayPal service that lets you buy now and pay later. Think of it as a secure, instant, and reusable credit line without the plastic. Bill Me Later® is only available as a payment option for our Web Packages.

 
Shoals Works is an authorized PayPal business and offers Bill Me Later®, which is a PayPal service that gives Shoals Works customers access to No Payments and No Interest if paid in full in 6 months on purchases of $99 or more. Only applicable to Web Packages and not monthly maintenance subscriptions.
Subject to credit approval. See Bill Me Later Terms and Conditions
 

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How to control your brand?

Shoals Works Modern Web Design

Ever Googled your business name?

If you own or run a business, you should and here’s why.

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Unless you sell an obscure product line or offer a uniquely different service; you have competition. When marketplaces contain many companies offering similar or even the same product, steps can be taken to raise your company above the rest.

Do a quick test. Go to Google.com and search for your company name, products offered and/or industry/city you operated in. What do you see? Did you find your company in the search engine results page (SERP)?

Did you see your competitors? If so, then your potential customers do too. How about checking the second page of search results? Not to worry, most people don’t click on the second page either.

So what’s the most effective way to get your company noticed on the web? There a number of simple yet effective steps to get your brand on the web and like what you see. You can hire a web design and development company, like Shoals Works, to build a modern website that is search engine friendly. From here, you can commit to writing and publishing new and original content, which Google, Bing, Yahoo and all other search engines love to serve up.

Now if think you don’t have the time or don’t care to create new and original content, it’s ok. Shoals Works can do it for you.

Learning how to climb the SERP ladder is not for traditional business owners to figure out. It would take an incredible amount of time and the right research to gain the results you deserve. You would need a website and social media strategy that is not only easy to manipulate but also be able to pivot on a dime. It’s best to focus on your core business and engage a professional to handle this work. We all use accountants, lawyers and others for this exact reason.

If you are ready to take control of your brand on the Internet, give Shoals Works a call at 256-712-4171 or write to us today. You’ll be glad you did!

Want a better online presence?

Hire Shoals Works for your next web based project.

Adobe Flash on your website will make users run

Shoals Works Modern Web Design

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Does your website still have an Adobe Flash player on it? Adobe Flash was popular when the majority of Internet users were on desktops. In 2014, it’s a different story. With mobile browsing increasing at a “whopping 85% growth – from 11.37% in Q1 of 2012 to 21.02% in Q1 of 2013 alone” your site will simply be missed or quickly dumped before conveying your useful message. People searching for goods and services on the Internet appreciate a mobile-optimized website. It tells potential consumers that your company is up to date and ready for business today. Your website only has about 3 seconds to make it’s first impression. That’s 3 seconds to show what you’re about and how you can help. Displaying “Adobe Flash is required to load this content…” will not get the job done.

Nik Wenzel, from 435digital.com, has done a great job detailing 4 simple and practical reasons why you should stop using Flash on your site.

Reasons to Avoid Using Flash

There are many reasons you should choose to transition to a different platform – all of which will have different benefits for your website. We’ve broken down the top four reasons to switch in this handy post:

1. Flash is not SEO friendly

Index-able content, an intelligent URL structure, and rich title and meta descriptions will go a long way in bringing organic search traffic to your site. Unfortunately, with Flash, you lose all of these elements, leaving you to more time-intensive and expensive methods of drawing online traffic to your business.

Imagine this: you want to scan your phone book for a few numbers, and perhaps even look through the yellow pages to find a local business. Problem is, the phone book was sealed shut when it arrived to your house. How are you going to get any information out of it – let alone connect with the businesses that paid good money for those listings. In this same way, Flash serves your content in  a way that seals off search engines from your data. Instead of serving your website in the “traditional” sense, through a series of indexable files that can be optimized for search engines, it gives all of your content to the browser in one pile of code that isn’t indexable by most search engines. How will search engines help potential customers reach you and your business, if those search engines can’t even crawl your content?

2. Flash doesn’t like to update your content

Speaking of your content, should it really be a luxury to have the ability to easily update it? Content Management Systems have long been the most effective means of managing your web presence, from copy, to media, to navigation and your SEO tactics. Once a Flash based site is deployed, many of these benefits go out the window.

Not only can you not effectively manage your link structure, but even editing simple sentences require the developer to re-open your file(s), make the edits, re-compile and then re-deploy the package to your server. Not only is this time intensive, but it’s slow and can be extremely costly for even the simplest of edits, compared to the time and costs needed to edit your content with a CMS.

3. Flash hates mobile devices

It’s no secret that mobile browsing has been on the rise for years – Monetate’s 2013 Q1 analysis of web traffic between platforms shows a whopping 85% growth – from 11.37% in Q1 of 2012 to 21.02% in Q1 of 2013 alone. Client projects need to be future-proof in today’s world, and Flash-based features just don’t have a place in that trajectory. The two main dogs in the mobile-browser fight, Apple iOS and Google Android, have both either dropped support, and in Apple’s case, flat-out refused to support the platform in the first place. What was once a key difference between the two platforms (and core argument of aforementioned fanboy brawls) has ceded to reason. Flash based content just isn’t optimized for mobile browsers, and usually too bulky to deliver efficiently.

Not only does flash not work on most mobile devices, but it’s nothing short of a liability on those platforms on which it does render.  Who could forget the platform’s disastrous Android debut at Flashcamp Seattle in 2010, when it crashed twice without even successfully loading a page? Rendering errors, slow load times, and nagging bugs plagued the platform from the start, effectively sealing it’s fate on the mobile front.

4. Flash isn’t the platform of the future

When it comes down to it, Flash is capable of some incredible things. Unfortunately, with the platform’s market share shrinking steadily, developers need to come up with a more future-proof solution. If only we had access to a platform that could serve video, web applications, and even custom graphical interfaces, without all of the drawbacks?

Oh wait, we already have a platform that can accomplish most of that? And, it’s even cross-browser friendly, based on open sources, and easy for developers with HTML/CSS skills to pick up? Yes! HTML5 and CSS3, the W3C’s latest and greatest achievements, are extremely powerful platforms from which developers can build out the content-rich web experiences Flash has spoiled us with, all while adhering to standards that are accessible to modern browsers – desktop OR mobile.

Granted, HTML5 development is still in it’s infancy, but given it’s incredible power and flexibility, it provides a truly superior approach when compared with the alternatives. After all, if HTML5 can actually render Quake II in your internet browser, surely it’s then powerful enough to power your website?

Read Nik’s original article on 435digital.com

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Why are you named Shoals Works | Web Design?

Shoals Works FAQ

We have been speaking with a number of old friends and new clients recently. Some have asked ‘why are you named Shoals Works | Web Design?‘.

We’re based in Florence, AL and our surrounding areas is locally referred to as ‘The Shoals’. Including Florence, The Shoals is comprised of 3 other towns: Muscle Shoals, Sheffield and Tuscumbia. Simply put.. we are proud to call The Shoals home.

Now if you’re not from The Shoals and want to get a sense of our area, watch the short video below that was produced by the highly talented Aha Creative, a full service advertising and marketing agency.

People who are from our area, know that ‘The Shoals’ refers to 4 cities: Florence, Sheffield, Muscle Shoals, and Tuscumbia. The Shoals Region is located in northwest Alabama and has a rich history in music, culture and community. 

We have a number of famous personalities that call The Shoals home.

  • W.C. Handy – Father of the Blues
  • Helen Keller – American author, political activist, and lecturer
  • Sam Philips – American record executive/producer and responsible for launching the career of Elvis Presley
  • Rick Hall – American record producer, songwriter, music publisher, musician and FAME Studios owner
  • The list goes on…

Wikipedia’s description of a Shoal:

Shoals are characteristically long and narrow (linear) and develop where a stream, river, or ocean current promotes deposition of sediment and granular material, resulting in localized shallowing (shoaling) of the water.

Shoals can appear as a coastal landform in the sea, or as fluvial landforms in rivers, streams, and lakes.

A shoal—sandbar may seasonally separate a smaller body of water from the sea, such as: marine lagoons, brackish water estuaries, freshwater seasonal stream and river mouths and deltas.

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Music Heritage

2013 saw the release of a music documentary that celebrates Rick Hall, the founder of FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, and the signature sound he developed in songs such as “I’ll Take You There”, “Brown Sugar”, and “When a Man Loves a Woman”.

Muscle Shoals is located alongside the Tennessee River, Muscle Shoals, Alabama and is the unlikely breeding ground for some of America’s most creative and defiant music. Under the spiritual influence of the “Singing River,” as Native Americans called it, the music of Muscle Shoals has helped create some of the most important and resonant songs of all time. At its heart is Rick Hall who founded FAME Studios. See more: www.magpictures.com/muscleshoals

Shoals Works | Web Design’s mission is to assist our clients in creating a tailored web presence; representative of their brand, services and products with an eye on reaching business growth goals.

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What We Do

Shoals Works FAQ


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We are a website and graphic design firm helping companies build a professional presence on the web to promote their brand, products/services and business objectives.

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