It’s About That Time

My apologies first. I haven’t kept up with my blog very well this year. Of course, moving, planning a wedding, and being a newly wed are factors that. All of which are null and void now (except the newly wed part). Needless to say I have more time now and will be posting more regularly.

The big news, however, is that I’ve begun redesigning my site. I’m moving on the bigger and better things with this site. There will also be a goody attached to the launch of the new site. Stay tuned…it’s not too far away.

Launched: Simple Elegance

This week I launched a new client site: Simple Elegance. Simple Elegance is a wedding decoration company in Denton, TX that serves the whole DFW area. I’m getting married (in less than a month!) and so my bride met with Simple Elegance and found out that they needed a website. Needless to say, work began a few weeks later.

Simple Elegance Home Page

Design & Home Page

In designing the site I wanted to achieve two things: simplicity and elegance. 😉

The site needed to be conducive to an audience I’m only vaguely familiar with, yet constantly surrounded by: young women in dire need for wedding decorations. I ended up giving the site a very rustic, yet smooth feel. The dark colors are a stark contrast to the traditional white wedding sites (though I will be implementing a style switcher to go between the dark scheme and a lighter one). I feel as though the browns make the site feel a little smaller, but in a good way. The perception is that the site is well maintained, updated, local, non-corporate, and easily accessible to customers.

Simple Elegance Photo

Photos

Pictures are huge in a business that is selling services based solely upon how good they look. We used in-window popups to show off the larger images, and allow visitors to browse through the many pictures. We’re taking advantage of the WordPress built-in gallery feature to make photo browsing and management easy.

Search Engine Optimization

As with all of the sites I build, I take great care into how I build a site so that it out performs competitors in search engines. This section is for those already familiar with SEO.

Simple Elegance Heading

Headers

On the home page I used the text “Wedding Decorations in Dallas, TX” as the H1 tag. While the business is located in Denton, TX, their service is as wide as the DFW area and Dallas is a more trafficked keyword than Denton is, so it made sense to draw from the bigger pool, rather than limit ourselves to Denton.

The H2 tag is “Wedding and Event Décor Specialists” so that we can emphasize even more specifically what the site is about, including a broader range of services.

Tags

For our purpose, what traditionally are called “tags” we’ll call “styles”. I wanted brides to be able to find exactly what they’re looking for. Not only did we categorize rentals into a categories like candles, candelabras, and cake toppers, but implemented a tagging feature that will tag about 700 adjectives automatically. If you look at the screen shot below you can see a demonstration of which words could be tagged. This is pretty useful for users looking for a decorations of a very specific style and for search engines because it allows optimization of hundreds of long tail searches.

Simple Elegance Styles

Conclusion

The live site doesn’t reflect everything mentioned in this post as some of the content has yet to be entered. However, I think you’ll find the site to be beautifully simple and very well optimized for search engines.

Visit Simple Elegance.

Simple Elegance

Simple EleganceSimple Elegance is a wedding decoration company in Denton, TX that serves the Dallas/Ft Worth area. This site is unique because Simple Elegance was actually the wedding decorator for my wedding. So while I was in the thick of wedding planning with my finacé (and now wife) I had all kinds of great ideas about how to make Simple Elegance’s site stand apart from the rest of the wedding decorators of the world. The best features of the site are automatic and by far the best one of those is the automatic categorization of rental items.

When a girl (or guy…just not in my case) is planning the decorations of her wedding she often has a theme in mind of how her wedding should look. How better to describe that theme than with an array of adjectives? When Simple Elegance enters their rental items into their site they describe each item at which time I take over and interlink that item with other items using the same adjectives. This makes the process of finding items a girl wants far easier than leaving the description broad and open ended.

Website: No longer online

Platform: WordPress

SEMPO Certified Advice from a Dallas SEO

As I wrote last week, I was nearly SEMPO Certified.

The tests are over with and I am now a SEMPO Certified, Dallas SEO. Take a look at the right hand column >>>

As I said in that post last week I’d write an in depth post on SEO tips. Here’s only one of many more to come…

SEO Tip: Keyword Research

Keyword Research is crucial, or rather, the usage of keywords correctly is crucial.

When writing content for your site, optimize your content for single pages. Its easy to work with the mindset that you’re using good keywords throughout your site and you should be ok with just that, however, think about how PageRank works. PAGErank is much more concerned with the content of the page than it is with the site as a whole (not that your whole site is negligent to your PageRank though).

For example, your small business is a web design firm that wants to rank well for terms like, “web design dallas”, “dallas seo”, etc. When constructing your site content, use those keywords more on specific pages, rather than throwing a couple ‘here and there’ throughout your site. Certainly use the keywords on other pages, but remember that you’re optimizing specific pages for SERP listings.

SEO Tip: Siloing or Theming

SEO Siloing or Theming is the idea of building your site in such a way that content is easily categorized by search engines. I’m using this tactic on this blog, though I plan to extend its usage further in the future.

PageRank Flow
Figure 1: PageRank Flow Due to Siloing/Theming

Figure 1 shows how theming might work. Let’s use an example to better understand:

Say your home page has a PageRank of 4, higher than the rest of the pages on your site. The link juice that your home page can send to other pages is the greatest you have. Using the PR of your home page to distribute PR amongst your other pages can aid in getting your lower level pages into the SERPs. So, your home page is TIER 1. TIER 2 is used for categories (product categories, blog categories, etc.). TIER 3 is your specific content (products, blog posts, etc.). You may have a couple different levels of categories, so your TIER 2 may actually turn into TIER 2 & 3, pushing your products to 4.

Notice in Figure 1, also, how the pages are linked together. The home page is accessible from every page of the site, as it should be because it is the most important page. The category level pages are only linked to the home page and the product pages, but NOT to each other. Why? Your categories are very specific buckets of content that should only be related to other like content. The same is true for your product pages. A practical way to link to other “product level pages” is to link to related products/posts. Find a useful WordPress plugin for similar posts.

Remember here that the idea is to categorize your site’s content so that the link juice flows between related content. Be careful when implementing this kind of structure, though. You could easily, accidentally block access to pages or the long tail of your links may be lost by spiders and they end up never getting to your product pages.

SEO Tip: Strict Guidelines

Don’t we always want to know exactly how to do things? SEO surely isn’t an industry of “sure-fire” methods to accomplish goals, but there are some things you should always pay attention to.

Keyword Frequency: Keep your keyword frequency below somewhere around 2.5% for each page.
If you were to repeat “Dallas SEO” 100 hundred times on a page and submit it to Google they would immediately recognize it was spam. So, keeping your keyword frequency to a low level assures search engines that your content isn’t purely for ranking in SERPs.

Outbound Links: All links pass link juice, so some people believe that linking out to other sites passes your link juice to them where you could have exploited it for yourself. Its true that you are passing some link value to the external site, however, Google recognizes that worthwhile sites actually DO link out to others and it proves them to be an authority themselves. When you link to pages with similar content you’re affirming spiders that content on your page is legitimate, and you’re willing to share knowledge with your visitors. Somewhere around 5 outbound links per page is good.

Word Count: Amongst the text in your navigation, footer, etc. your body copy should prevail as the “meat” of the page. However, don’t throw a million words on the page to accomplish this. On the other hand, don’t be so lean as to not give the content it’s due credibility. Write body copy that exceeds 500 words, enough that search engines will pick up on real story inside your words.

Dallas SEO

I’m excited to be part of the Dallas SEO community now. Of course, I have been, but maybe I’ve got a bit more show for it now. If anyone would like SEO tips or advice, let me hear from you. I’d love to help you out. In addition to being SEMPO certified now, I’m also a member a DFWSEM through Lead Maverick. It’s pretty cool that DFWSEM enables the Dallas SEO community to thrive.

Launched: The Well at DBC Church Website

This week we launched The Well website, a media and resource rich (or at least it will be!) website for my church, Denton Bible Church. The Well is the evening service at DBC. We accomplished several things with the site that prove the flexibility of WordPress.

Link: The Well of Denton Bible Church

Home Page

The home pages consists of a featured section that scrolls through however many featured posts you want.

We’ve also got 3 “ads” that display next to the featured posts. The point of the “ads” is that they are much more static parts of the site that need constant attention, so we’re using the “ad” terminology, but in reality they’re just important posts.

Below the featured posts is a photo stream from an internal WordPress gallery, and below that are two columns of recent sermons and recent resources (books, blogs, songs, etc.).

To its right is a list of upcoming events that are being picked up from a Google calendar.

A lot of things are going on on the home page, and mostly in part to using the loop to call specific categories.

Pages

Many of the pages have unique sidebars, achieved by adding unique IDs to the widget code and allowing site administrators to add and remove widgets of their choice for specific pages. Some of the pages take advantage of unique templates as well.

Because there are many administrators of the site, those writing their own content have their own author pages to display biographical information as well as a list of their content.

There pages dedicated to photos, audio and video. The photo management was all achieved using the NexGen Gallery WordPress plugin – I strongly suggest using this for your photos!

Coming Soon…

I’ll be recycling this theme, adding to it, cleaning it up, changing the design, and optimizing it even further for release as a premium theme. Stay tuned!

The Well of DBC

The Well of DBCThe Well is the evening service at DBC. The intention in building this site was to provide a platform for a media rich website. The Well records and podcasts sermons weekly and needed to organize these, make them even more accessible, and align them with other media resources like video and photos.

Some things to note about the features included in this website are the “featured post scroll” on the home page, a calendar of events managed by Google Calendar but displayed in a custom design, and the galleries for all the types of media.

Website: No longer online

Platform: WordPress

The Well is the evening service of Denton Bible Church. Established in 2008, this service was birthed to further the mission of our church in “equipping the saints for the work of the ministry” (Eph. 4), namely among a new generation of families, singles, and collegians in our community.

Blogs You Should Be Reading

I’ve filtered through a lot of blogs the past few years. Often I’ll subscribe on a whim, only to find out that 20 posts later I’ve gotten nothing of value from the site, so I’ll remove them from my reader. Still, I have plenty more to keep me busy because there are some truly great resources out there.

You can subscribe to these without hesitation, because they’ve stood my test of time.

SEO Related

WordPress Related

Design Related

General Web

I subscribe to many more feeds than that, but these are some of the best.

So WHO ELSE should I be subscribing to?

More Develop Daly WordPress, Web Design, & SEO Resources

As part of my contribution to Lead Maverick, I keep a blog over there on web design related things. I have to decide to where my content is best suited – often times it is for both places.

My Lead Maverick blog consists of some rich content that you’d probably be interested in so I encourage you to check it out. Here are some summaries of a few of my articles.

The blogosphere has been booming lately with discussion of data portability. It’s a topic that really excites me, because I see the possibilities of the Internet and am discouraged by the lack of embracement.

Semantic markup is another one of those areas that could be utilized to a much greater potential and I’m excited that it is finally getting its due credit. The possibilities of sorting through semantic content is endless and can only improve search engines and in turn improve content visibility. Filtering through tons of crap to find what you want is a pain; hopefully through Microformats, XFN, and more we can achieve a level of content organization that extends a huge helping hand to searchers.

Matt Cutts made a video a while back sifting through some SEO Myths, view it through this post.

If any of these seem interesting to you, read both blogs and subscribe to my Lead Maverick RSS Feed.

Upgraded to WordPress 2.5

I’m all upgraded to the newest version of WordPress and I have to say – I like it.

The coolest feature so far is the one-click plugin upgrade. It sure beats deactivating, downloading, unzipping, uploading, activating and finally configuring after 5-10 minutes of setup. Now, it takes seconds!

It may take me a while to get used to the interface, but I do like it better than my initial impression. I really don’t like that most of the interface is a fixed width; the fluid design made things much less crammed together, but I do see the benefits in it (Most people have fixed width themes, so why have huge writing panels? Also, you can now write in full screen mode.).

All of my plugins upgraded successfully, save my ‘related posts’ plugin. I’ll fix that soon!

Overall, I like the upgrade and can’t wait to take full advantage of it.

I’ll have a new post soon with some more SEO tips!

Be sure to checkout my post on online reputation management profiles.