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May 5, 2017

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When you go and hear someone speak, it is said that if the speaker doesn’t capture the audience in the first 2 minutes of his presentation, he never will.  The same can be said for web design, viewing only the time frame is much shorter.  To me, it is funny how people surf the web, and how very quickly they move through a website.  Statistically speaking, it is said that the average person, when viewing a website, spends only 6-10 seconds exploring a site, and makes their decision in those brief moments whether they want to go further.

Things people look at on a website first;

  • Website Alt-Tag Pictures
  • Bullet Lists
  • Tag Lines & H1 Headers
  • Logos
  • Contact Information (Phone & Address)

My guess is that you are down to the bottom of the bulleted list above and you’re right near 5 seconds.  So, what is it that gets someone to STAY on your website?  I think some of the things that reflect on you or your business are less tangible but, are things a good web designer thinks of when they view your site.  Here are some of the things we believe a good web designer must look at to make a website great and effective during those first 10 seconds.  Viewers make judgments about these things immediately that reflect on you, your company, or your business:

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Get a current up-to-Date Design.  We’re designing sites with different layouts than two years ago. The design must be current, including color schemes and design elements.  If these website designs are behind the times, during your first 10 seconds, people will think that you are behind the times as well.  Note to self, if the website is still a 1990’s layout, it is time for an update. See Make It Loud immediately!

Relevant, Search Engine Friendly, Text.  When I do public speaking the one thing I consider most often is this:  is what I’m saying a rifle shot right through the center of the thought I’m trying to communicate or is it a shotgun at the target, where I hit the center, but the target has shot all over it as well.  When I was younger I worked in an aquarium store, and my old boss, Dennis Hare, had me change the sign on the front glass window regularly, with the clear plastic letters that stuck to the window glass.  Inevitably, we found that we could put whatever we wanted on the front window, and no matter what information was there, the result was always the same someone would walk right in the door, and ask a question that could have been answered if they had just looked at the window glass.  Our conclusion?  PEOPLE DON’T READ.  In fact, you’re probably not reading all the way down to the bottom of this, but hey, we tried.  In any event, keep your text to what you need to say and what is search engine friendly, and you’ll keep your customers engaged. If you have more than a couple of paragraphs of text on your home page or a flash introm on my home page that takes a moment to load. I’ll actually lose the client I’m trying to engage.

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Keep your website clean and with simple navigation. JavaScript drop down menus make this so easy on websites nowadays, but some people just don’t get it.  It must be easy to find the information someone wants, and quickly, or they’ll go elsewhere to find it.  Use 1 main menu on the site, instead of menus all over the page.  Make it easy for your clients, not hard, and they’ll stay longer because they’ll easily find what they need.  Even if they don’t buy from you immediately, if they have a positive experience on your website, they’ll remember you in the days ahead.  Note to self:  if I have more than one main menu, or there is no link to my primary pages in my main menu, people can’t find what they need.

Every competitive business in the 21st century has a marketing budget (at least you should, penny pincher). The problem is that some of those budgets are being used incorrectly. While the technology for businesses to thrive has leaped forward into the internet age, marketing strategies often hesitate to follow suit. With every market turn, uncertainties arise that keep cash for marketing development in the bank or in other marketing avenues that may become obsolete. We can see the negative effects of that in the plights of Blockbuster and Borders Books, who are being run into bankruptcy by the surpassing technology of competitors like Netflix and the Amazon Kindle (respectively).

I try to never be a fire and brimstone businessman, but for regions like Metro Atlanta with populations knocking at the door of 6 million, you’re going to be facing an increasingly competitive and saturated market for your industry. When businesses miss the market turn, they generally suffer.

I also don’t want to give you the impression that if you don’t stay on top of every piece of cutting edge technology that you can throw cash at, you’re going to go out of business. There is a healthy balance of organic and marketing-driven business that you should pursue, and there are some marketing strategies that is much cheaper than others, but they are also not as comprehensive nor do they land on every target. For instance, word of mouth is always a strong tool to utilize for new business, but it can only go so far without a drive from your company itself to propel it to new prospective clients. There is a point where you need to break out the checkbook and start exploring new ways to gain more business.

With the latest turn bringing us into a more comprehensive internet market, we’re seeing things like Yellow Pages, TV ads (unless it’s the Super Bowl), and print ads (unless handed out in a crowd) all falling in effectiveness and, consequentially, in value. Traditional marketing is simply no longer trustworthy to bring in new business in a constant and stable manner as it once did. This is because, in the last 5 years, we’ve seen the introduction of new generations of smartphones, computers, cable services, billboards, search engines, social media, and websites that have created new and more comprehensive ways to market businesses.

How to marketing your business online?

When it comes to marketing your business online, it’s important to think about what your customers are typing into the search box to find what you do. It’s important to realize that your business is the solution to someone’s problem, but what exactly do they type to find you? That’s where keyword research can move your digital front door right in front of the searching masses. But how’s all that work?

It’s not as difficult as you might imagine. Mostly, it takes a shift in thinking and the ability to think like the customers you serve. And, how can you use keywords exactly? Easy. A good keyword strategy is what all search engine optimization (SEO) is based on as well as any pay per click campaign (PPC). Also, whenever you write a blog post, the more you use keywords in what you write, the better your SEO will be.

So, what exactly IS a keyword? They’re words or phrases that describe the core of your business. Think of keywords as the way people search to find what you do. This is important because when it comes to marketing your website, Google can’t read the pretty pictures. The algorithm can only figure out what your site’s about by reading the content, and if you’re light on content, your site will leave Google scratching their head. You never want to confuse the most powerful search engine about where your website should rank. Bad juju.

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There are basically two types of keywords. Short tail keywords are usually brief (as in one or two words) and are very general. If you’re a dentist, “dentist” & “dentistry” are the main short tail keywords that you must focus your SEO on. Short tail keywords usually have high search volume and lots of competition. A long tail keyword is a longer, more specific phrase that captures what you do in more detail. If you happen to be a dentist that specializes in sleep apnea dental appliances, that’s a great phrase to focus on because, while it may not have a ton of people searching for it, those that are searching are ready to buy.

So, which types of keywords are the best to focus on? Both but if you’re wondering where to spend all your energy, we’d say lean heavily toward long tail keywords. The simple fact is that long tail keywords have a couple of perks. First, they’re usually easier to rank for. Just how many people are gunning for page one for “sleep apnea dental appliances” or the “price of sleep apnea dental appliances”? We have no idea, but we can tell you that it’s a whole lot less than “Dentist”. Second, long tail keywords have a higher conversion rate which means…mo money.

SEO Marketing that improves your website!

Once you develop a working list of your best keywords, you want to use them in all your content marketing. This is a fancy way of saying use keywords in all the written messages you craft for your business- your social media, your content on your website, your emails, etc. Everything. Once you define the purpose of each piece of content, it’s smart to define a buyer persona. Think of an exact type of person in your target market that you can craft your message for by using keywords relevant to your business. Doing this helps you ring the right bell to help your prospects salivate over what you do.

Tools for Keyword Research

So, how do you find the right keywords for your target audience? With this, there’s more art than science, but a little science is never a bad thing. Here are some starting places:

Google Keyword Planner Tips

When looking for the right keywords, it’s always a good idea to try to find some search traffic numbers. The more the better, but keep in mind, the higher the number, the more competition you’ll have as well (usually). With keyword research, you always have to think about the geographical region you’d like to rank for. You can use this tool to get an idea of how much people search for your stuff in your city, your county, your state or a wide combination thereof.

When looking for the right keywords, it’s always a good idea to try to find some search traffic numbers. The more the better, but keep in mind, the higher the number, the more competition you’ll have as well (usually). With keyword research, you always have to think about the geographical region you’d like to rank for. You can use this tool to get an idea of how much people search for your stuff in your city, your county, your state or a wide combination thereof.

Google Trends Tips

Which keyword is more popular “plumber” or “plumbers”? Google trends can help you decide which one is more popular in your geographic region. It’s also fairly useful to help you come up with other ideas

Keyword just type in a short tail keyword to get a list of long tail keyword ideas. Now, sometimes, this list will make zero sense, but there are certainly enough times it gives up some jewels to make it worth it.

These tools are enough to get a newbie started. They’ll help you figure out just what words and phrases will help convert the lookie-loos on your site or blog to actual paying customers.

For more training on how to find the right keywords for your website or blog posts, contact us at 678.325.4007 and schedule a one on one consultation.

(Granted I’m writing as an SEO specialist; you can probably guess what I’m going to say next.)

I think that the two most important avenues of marketing that have risen over the past 5 years are new standards for websites and their subsequent interaction in search engines. I believe that these two are the most important because the other avenues are largely dependent on them.

The design and format standards of websites along with the integration and functionality of search engines has dictated the types of software and functionality in our smartphones, the integration of our cable services (that now work off of internet, and can surf the web), the design and integration of new digital billboards, the software and functionality of our computers and new tablet PCs, and the depth and breadth of involvement on social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter. Internet technology is setting the bar for the rest of consumer tech. Knowing this, you can see the importance of having a presence on the internet. If you are established on the web, the rest of technology will change to accommodate you, rather than leave you behind. The moral of the story is that in a 21st-century market, you’re not just competing against other companies in your industry; you’re competing against the trends of the market and the psychology of consumers. The most effective way to market your business is to establish your business on the internet and let technology work for you. Evaluate your marketing, establish a budget, and consult a professional (Me!) about how you can start making the market work for you by establishing your presence on the web.

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If you need a consultation about SEO or Web Design, our company, Make It Loud, can at the very least help you to discover if SEO or a good website fits into your budget.  It doesn’t cost anything to find out and we’d be honored to serve you, face to face when geographically possible.  Feel free to contact us by email at, visit our website at, or call us at 678.325.4007.  Even if you’re not local to Gwinnett or Atlanta, we’d be happy to do an assessment.

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