Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

postheadericon BestFakeDiploma.com

Welcome to the next installment of Meet the Client.

We first met the guys of bestfakediploma.com a few years back when they were trying to get off the ground with a different website.  After helping them achieve a number 1 ranking, we expanded to some of their other websites, and this one was on that list.

I have to say, for a website that we didn’t build, bestfakediploma.com has a nice looking design.  The style is contemporary yet user-friendly.  It is clearly aimed at the average, middle class individual looking to try something fun and novel.  Yet, there is enough modern technologies included as to make you never doubt that it is a professional website.

The site is meant to rank various fake diploma websites out there.  Personally, I think the idea of ranking fake diploma websites is a fun idea.  If our client wasn’t already doing it, I might have stolen the idea.  I may yet use them as a reference for when I get my *cough* Harvard Diploma *cough*.

postheadericon Primoid.com

Richmond Primoid has been a client of ours for quite a few years.  Their website, www.primoid.com, was one of the first we started to do seo for, way back when.  Since then, we have helped to maintain their site and build it up to the point it is at now.

postheadericon Meet the Client

We are starting a new web series on our blog, called Meet the Client.  Every web developer out there has a portfolio, but we wanted to delve deeper.  To talk about the client themselves, what they do, who they are, what their favorite color is…, ok maybe not their favorite color.  But, we do want to sit down with them and talk about everything that is going on with their site and how it came to be.  Join us on this wild and fantastical journey through…our list of clients.  It’ll be fun.  Really!

postheadericon Web Design Evolution: Expanding Horizons

As a company with years of experience in designing and developing websites, we have seen the trends change as the years go by.  Just as the fashion industry has a tendency to reinvent itself every couple of years, website design seemingly overhauls itself every so often.  Light colors become dark colors.  Animated buttons become drop down menus.  Now we are seeing a focused shift towards using the whole screen as a design canvas.  Interestingly enough, this is nothing new, in fact the design idea is old enough to be considered “retro” at this point.

In the Beginning

Mankind created the internet.  However, without html attributes, css, or other modern day niceties, there was no way of limiting how the data was spaced horizontally.  Vertically, you started at the top and went to the bottom.  Horizontally, you started at the left and went to the right.  There was no real middle.  This made for cluttered and often unorganized websites that were difficult to look at and even more difficult to navigate.

Then, there was the css revolution.  Wrapping div’s were created to center content inside a nice, pretty box.  Sites became advertising art pieces like other advertising media had long before.  Now there was a background, to be mostly ignored, and the parts that marketers wanted you to look at.  For non-business websites, this also provided a canvas by which artists could express their creativity.  With javascript, we saw animation added and websites started moving, but they still stayed towards the center of the screen, where it was safe to play.

And Now…

We are seeing a radical shift back to the days of full-width pages…somewhat.  There is still a focus put on the middle of the page.  This is where the important images and text is going.  However, there is also a focus on blurring the lines between the content and the background.  Elements like headers will expand the length of the screen.

Take for example what I believe is a very interesting theme developed for WordPress.  This particular theme was purchased from ElegantThemes and a demo can be found on our site at http://activenation.com/demos/fusion/.  Notice that the background images expand to the whole width of the screen, while the text and focus of the website is right in the middle where it has always been.  This, I believe, is where the next generation of websites is heading.  More and more, this style of website is becoming more popular.  While not the most appropriate for perhaps a corporate setting, for marketing themed websites, it fits the bill of having a wow factor to it.

postheadericon Internet Explorer’s Big Change or Huge Mistake

For those who have been following such things, internet explorer, microsoft’s browser that has been a key player in the market for over a decade, recently released it’s newest version, version 10, to Windows 7 customers.  The browser version, which was originally only produced for Windows 8 users, was released about 3 months ago.  This change was likely done after Windows 8’s dismal performance over the first 6 months of its existence.

According to StatCounter (gs.statcounter.com), Windows 8 has been slowly gaining ground after its initial launch in October, but as of yet has only reach about 5% of the market.  As of now, it is poised to finally surpass Windows Vista in June, if current trends remain the same.  Considering the generally accepted opinion that Windows Vista was one of the worst mistakes in Microsoft’s history, taking 8 months to surpass it shows extremely poorly on the company, especially when predecessor Windows 7 reached 3 times the audience in the same time frame.

For Windows 7 users, however, IE10 looked to be unavailable for the longest time.  However, on February 26th, Microsoft released it for users of the currently most popular operating system, Windows 7.  What is sadly the current second most popular operating system, Windows XP (which still maintains 21% of the market after over a decade in service), will likely never receive the upgrade as IE9 was not released on it and Microsoft plans to discontinue support for it as of April of next year.

The update for Windows 7 users however, came in the form of a Windows Update.  For what I believe is the first time, the new version of IE was downloaded automatically without any input from the client.  On some level, perhaps I should be annoyed, but seeing as Chrome and Firefox have been doing it for years, I really don’t mind anymore.  It is actually shocking that it took Microsoft this long to start playing ball by the new rules.  That being said, if many out there are like me, we were shocked to find out we were running IE10.  I do not know when it was installed, only that one day I opened up internet explorer to find out that a few things had changed.

A large part of me was happy that finally, Microsoft was being smart and getting everybody onto the more updated browsers, which makes it easier of Web Developers like me to not need to worry about how a website will show up on older browsers.  However, it seems to have been a moot point anyway.  After IE10’s release on Windows 7, market share for Internet Explorer has continued to drop, placing it at unprecedented lows for the once mighty browser.  For the browser that held 68.5% of the global market 5 years ago to drop down to just of 25% now shows just how far the mighty have fallen.  Meanwhile, Google Chrome, which has been the global market leader for the last year, looks ready to finally dethrone Internet Explorer in the US market, which has remained steadfastly pro-IE for the last decade.  The once mighty browser was still maintaining a decent 43% market share in the US in April, but has started a steep decline and is currently estimated at only 31% for June, a full 12% market share lost in 2 months.

If the current trend continues, we could be looking at the potential demise of one of the greatest browsers ever created, however perhaps it is time for the aging giant to step down and allow the new king, Google Chrome, to rule the market as it once did.  Microsoft has enough to worry about, with a dismal performance by its latest operating system, and a decade old operating system still holding on to almost a quarter of the market.  The world will see whether Internet Explorer will continue to survive or, like the Netscape and AOL platforms of the past, fade in obscurity.

postheadericon Comments Closed

Due to the amount of blatant spam comments being posted on the blog without any way of filtering through them to find the real ones, we have had to disallow any future comments on any of our posts or pages.  We hope that you understand the necessity of this change and that the spam comment-makers feel properly ashamed for the abuse of the privilege that will now need to be banned from all users and visitors.  We will still provide useful information on this site, as we are devoted to informing our readers about the goings on of the internet world, but comments will no longer be allowed.  Thank you.

postheadericon Getting off the Ground

For just about all of us, it has become obvious in the recent years that a website is an absolute must in the current day and age.  Any business selling any product or service needs to have an effective way of communicating to prospective and current clients who they are, what they can provide and how to contact them.  While the designs and technologies behind websites can range from a simple one page “brochure” to a multi-page, optimized “web 2.0” megasite, everyone needs some sort of website to promote their business and the sooner the better.

At this point, having a website is almost like a source of status.  If you find a business that doesn’t have a website, what does it make you think?  Either they are a brand new business, in which case they have not yet established any credibility, they have been around but don’t understand the new technologies, which would mean they are behind the times in marketing and may be as well in their products and services, or they don’t believe a website is necessary.  If they don’t believe a website is necessary in an age where the majority of research and information on a business comes from the internet, then they clearly do not understand modern-day clientele.

Once the website has been created and been taken live, the question becomes “how do we let people know about it?”  In some ways, it may seem pointless to promote a website, which is itself a marketing tool.  To use a form of marketing to promote another form of marketing is redundant, right?

Actually, it is the opposite.  Many historically successful advertising and marketing campaigns have utilized this very concept.  By directing clients from one form of marketing to another, you are creating a cycle, by which you are creating an intrinsic link between yourself and the client.  They see an advertisement about a product that leads them to your website, which gives them more information, which directs them to give your company a call, from which your sales representative provides further clarification and makes a sale.  The next time around, they may not need the advertisement, choosing to go right to the website and find out about your newest product.  They may choose to contact you directly.  You have become a source of information for them.

For that reason, as soon as you have a website, it should start appearing everywhere.  It should be on your trucks, billboards, tv ads, newspaper ads (for those that still use those), and ads on other websites.  Make a blog entry about your new website.  Make a facebook post to all of your friends.  Send an email blast to all of your clients, or even a direct mail campaign.  Do what ever you can, but make sure everybody you know is made aware of your new website.

This isn’t just for marketing purposes or the quick sale.  From a search engine optimization point of view, the more people visit your site, the more people respond to your facebook posts with ones of their own or right reviews of your website with a link to it, the better your website will rank in search engines.  This provides more visitors and more clients.  By continuing these efforts, they become multiplied in terms of their effectiveness, and your website, your brand, becomes the buzz of the industry.  This won’t happen over night, but it will happen if you are committed to it.

If you have read this article and think “I really do need a new website” or “I need help getting my new site promoted” I encourage you to check out our website at www.activenation.com.

postheadericon All News is Good News

In our ever changing world of search engine optimization, there are very few things that remain constant.  Keywords will always be important, inbound links will always be helpful, and fresh content will always be necessary for keeping rankings as high as possible.  In the case of the first two, the strategy is obvious, even if the implementation is not always so straight forward.  In the case of the last however, things are quite a bit different.

When I say that content needs to be fresh, that does not mean that the style of your homepage needs to change every day, every week, or even every year in order for you to maintain or improve your rankings.  Content deals somewhat with style, but more about the pages you have and the words and images on them.  It does not always have to be your homepage that is updated either.  As long as your whole site is being consistently refreshed with new content, your site will have a much better chance at staying at the top of the rankings.  Now, this may seem like a very difficult task.  I mean, coming up with new content every week sounds quite challenging, doesn’t it?

Not at all, in fact.  You are probably already doing it but you may not realize the power you have at your disposal.  There are three very easy ways for making sure you always have fresh content on your website.  The first is one that you are reading right now.  Yes, blogging is one distinct way of maintaining content on your site.

Now when I speak about blogs, I need to be clear as there are two basic types of blogs, at least from an seo point of view.  There is an external blog, which is what this is, and an internal blog.  An external blog is one that is created at a different domain from your main company website.  It might have its own domain, like this blog, or it might have a subdomain from the blog site you are using, such as blogger or wordpress.  In either event, it can be very useful for creating buzz, telling people about the latest news, or simply creating a whole bunch of inbound links to your site from a different domain.  A useful tool, no doubt, but not for the purposes of this article.

An internal blog, on the other hand, is one that is installed and accessed directly from your site under the same domain.  Usually it will be located under a different directory from the rest of your site, such as /blog.  What you may fail to realize is that the content being generated from this blog counts as content on your webpage.  Each new posts counts as a new page when search engines look at your website.  That means, with each new post you make, your website will be judged as having been recently updated.  This does not replace updating the content on your homepage, but it does mean you could get away with doing it less often, or conversely, increase your rankings by having your site be updated more often than before.

The other two easy ways to create new content are news and newsletters.  In the case of news, many sites will have a place on their homepage, if not on every page, for recent news items.  These can be short tidbits, like tweets, describing a new deal, a new product, or other such announcements.  They are short, and so they are easy to make often.  Anything you can tweet you can make a news post about.  If your site does not currently have a place for recent news, speak to your web developer or design team.  It is very easy to put in and shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes, no matter how they do it.

Also, if you are in the habit of creating newsletters that are sent out every week, two weeks, or month, consider having an archive for them to be placed in on your website.  Each one of these newsletters can be uploaded as an html page, providing fresh content each time one is added.  Search engines will just read them as new pages, like blog posts.

Using one, two, or all three of these strategies can provide quick and easy way to keep it fresh and high in the rankings.

postheadericon Every Generation Has Its Day

A recent Pew Research study was done in an attempt to differentiate various generations and their unique roles as web users. Some of the information they retrieved was pretty interesting. I don’t know about you and your family; but I know my siblings, parents, and grandparents utilize the internet for many different reasons. Not to mention the older generations in my family aren’t naturally as tech savvy nor do they really spend as much time online as say myself or my younger siblings who are just now hitting the “tween” ages. This may be the same within your family tree, or it may not be. Let’s take a peak and see what the Pew Research Center found to be an average depiction of what our generations are doing online.

First and foremost, how about we break down exactly what the different generations mean, shall we?

Generations
Generation name Birth years, Ages in 2010 % of total adult population % of internet-using population
Millennials Born 1977-1992, Ages 18-33 30% 35%
Gen X Born 1965-1976, Ages 34-45 19 21
Younger Boomers Born 1955-1964, Ages 46-55 20 20
Older Boomers Born 1946-1954, Ages 56-64 14 13
Silent Generation Born 1937-1945, Ages 65-73 7 5
G.I. Generation Born -1936, Age 74+ 9 3
Source: Pew Research, December 2010

So now that we know who’s who, let’s dissect what we and they are doing with their time online. Do any of the generations have anything in common as web users?

Online Activities (% of Generation Group)
% Engaging
Activity Teens Millennials Gen X Younger Boomers Older Boomers Silent Gen. G.I. Gen. All adultsAge 18+
Go online 93% 95% 86% 81% 76% 58% 30% 79%
Teens and/or Millennials are more likely to engage in the following activities compared with older users
Watch a video 57 80 66 62 55 44 20 66
Use social network sites 73 83 62 50 43 34 16 61
Send IMs 67 66 52 35 30 29 4 47
Play online games 78 50 38 26 28 25 18 35
Read blogs 49 43 34 27 25 23 15 32
Visit a virtual world 8 4 4 4 3 3 1 4
Activities where Gen X users or older generations dominate
Visit a government website * 61 75 73 69 56 41 67
Get financial info * 33 38 41 41 44 30 38
For some activities, the youngest and oldest cohorts may differ, but there is less variation overall
Send or read e-mail 73 96 94 91 93 90 88 94
Use a search engine * 92 87 86 87 82 72 87
Look for health info 31 85 84 84 85 76 59 83
Get news 62 76 79 76 76 67 54 75
Buy a product 48 68 66 64 69 59 57 66
Make travel reservations * 64 67 70 67 61 53 66
Bank online * 62 62 58 56 44 35 58
Use online classifieds * 64 58 49 42 30 17 53
Listen to music online * 65 58 48 38 25 12 51
Look for religious info * 31 35 34 33 26 28 32
Rate a product, service or person * 32 32 29 40 38 16 32
Participate in an auction * 28 31 25 25 13 7 26
Make a charitable donation * 21 24 24 23 20 13 22
Download podcasts * 26 20 20 16 12 10 21
Work on own blog 14 18 16 11 11 8 5 14
Source: Pew Research, December 2010
So now that we’ve analyzed these statistics, what do we make of them? Well it’s definitely clear that the younger generations have the most presence online when it comes to: use of social networking sites, instant messaging, use of online classifieds, playing online games, listening to music, reading blogs, and participating in virtual worlds. No surprise there though right?

Take a look at the entire report to get more insight on the generations of internet users and maybe we can catch a glimpse of the future from their findings.

postheadericon A Peek Into Facebook’s Growth

Recently All Facebook posted this istrategylabs data. The data was apparently collected “directly from Facebook’s Social Ads system”. It’s basically information regarding different demographics of U.S. residents that are Facebook users. It’s a pretty interesting overview. What do you think about the info? Do you think this helps internet marketers with consumer targeting and online social media behavioral trends?