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My Website Optimization Journey - Part 2 - Meta Tags

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In my last article I realized I had some issues with my website and taking my own advice I decided to act on them. I did that by first completing some pages that were either missing, unfinished, or didn't represent me or my capabilities properly. Today I am going to go through some meta tag issues.

Now, a reminder, that some of these steps might seem misplaced but in order to move forward I need to tackle some glaring issues now and move onto refining the website overall at a later date. It makes less sense to ignore the situation now until I believe the website is perfect, which it will never be. There is always room for improvement.

My Website Optimization Journey - Part 1

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Recently I had decided that if I was going to make something of this business I had better get at it. The site had basically been sitting idle since the birth of my youngest daughter in January of 2014.

Taking care of my children all day is a wonderful thing but between keeping them alive and making sure the mess didn't swallow us up, I needed to concentrate on completing my client's work and my website fell by the wayside.

Pictures Sell Products

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I often assist or have conversations with people who want to sell their inventions, products or collectables online and too be perfectly honest, a lot of the time I am underwhelmed at the images we use on those websites. When I receive them and ask if they have any others the general reaction is similar to the one I have when I step bare footed into a cat hairball. Unpleasant.

There seems to be three main reasons, but let's be honest they are really just excuses, for shoddy images and I wanted to go over them individually and debunk each one of them here today. You spent some decent money on that website so let's make sure it can do its job properly by looking its best.

Pixel Works Is Getting SaaSy [UPDATE]

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Diagram of a SaaS model

UPDATE 10/7/14: The unified version of Pixel Works is up and running with its first project in Dietproof Swimsuit. It's been a longer road than I initially planned but I'm very happy to be moving on to migrating client sites and stamping out any minor bugs I come across.

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UDATE 9/9/14: After trying unsuccessfully to get top level domains to work with the system I have called in the assistance of people that know this stuff like the back of their hand and it is now working as it should. I am currently updating the designs (themes) for clients and adding them to the system. You will not see any difference other than some new featuires and a new administration screen.

SEO Scams and How to Avoid Them

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Last week Expedia was hit with a 25% drop in search results for some of their most prominent keywords on Google. This was because of what Google deemed unnatural links. Similar to what happened to Rap Genius in December of 2013.

Unnatural links are artificial links such as purchased links or links in a bad neighborhood of the internet that point to your site. Examples of bad neighborhood sites include scraper sites (sites that copy all of its content from other websites), link farms (a group of sites that all link to one another) , sites with large amounts of spam, malware or illegal or pornographic material.

I noticed this event being reported in my news feed just as I finished a conversation with a client that said he was contacted by Google about his search results. Wait – what?

A Simple Responsive Skeleton

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When I first started to dabble with responsive design I looked at a lot of CSS frameworks. I was looking for something basic, lightweight, and easy to use in my CMS. I found that a lot of them required JavaScript or a CSS compiler to make the site work well on smaller devices and I wanted something that was mostly pure CSS.

Your Website Isn't Doing Its Job. Now What?

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A good portion of the time when I'm contacted to look at a website that's performing poorly the owner will have a tendency to want to throw the baby out with the bathwater and start from scratch.

There are a lot sites that come across my screen with their fair share of issues; code that doesn’t follow web standards, JavaScript drop-down menus, unorganized content and more but I rarely, if ever throw everything away. Even with the worst search rankings, unless you're not listed at all, it's easier to lift up poor performing pages than it is to rank new ones without some help from existing content.

The Fold Does Not Exist...Not Really

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When I create a website home page I use it as a mapping tool. It should have just enough information to tell you what the page is about with links to other pages of the site for more information.

With so many pages indexed by search engines it stands to reason that any page can become the landing page and my projects are designed with that in mind. So to a degree the home page, while still important, caries much less weight alone than all the other pages as a whole.

Occasionally when I submit a home page design a client will approve it based on their idea that the visitor will see all the information fit within their screen. It's not until it becomes a web page that they realize this isn't necessarily the case and we have to have a conversation about the fold.

What Makes A Good Website

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When people find out I am a web developer, one of the first things website owners will ask me is if I have some time to  look at their site and see if it's any good. My follow up question to them is usually, "What do you mean?".

Most of the time when someone asks me to look at their site it's because it's not performing as well as they had hoped, for one reason or another and are trying to find a solution.

Looks comes up a lot. But the way a site looks really has nothing to do with how it performs. I have seen some rather poorly designed and unsavory sites do great things for their owners. I have also seen some really well designed sites perform very poorly.

There are some factors that determine whether a website is "good" or not. Let's go over them.