Michigan Web Design: Recapturing Your Customers with an Optimal Web Experience

  • As a Michigan web design company, we understand the point of what we do.  And while many may not understand it – it’s not about creating a flashy and eye-opening website.

  • Sure, that is nice at times, and even necessary for some brands.  However, in the words of Gerry McGovern, web experience is “the functional heart of web design.”  Simple and more functional web designs are finally getting their due, according to McGovern.

  • He tells the story of a Norwegian bank, Sparebanken, that had a homepage filled with marketing pieces and news.  As you might expect, there were the typical abundance of flashy images where graphic design tried to jump out at the customer.  Yet, at the same time, customers were having difficulty signing in and calculating loan figures.

  • With a new home page that is centered on the design process and lacking marketing messages, McGovern unleashes the following results:

    1. A much better sign in process.

    2. An increase in the loan calculator use by 236 percent.

    3. Traffic to most important product information and services increased by 520 percent.

  • Indeed, without the abundance of materials aimed at pushing their products and services – they actually fared better with a simple design.  Once the complexities were removed, users were better able to do business with the bank and find what they needed.

  • What’s the take-away point: “Web design must be judged by its ability to help people do things.”  McGovern is certainly onto something, as Sparebanken and others are finding success with this simple approach.

Is your business in need of a simple approach?  Contact us and we’ll be glad to talk to you about your web design needs!

SEO Services Adapt To 2013 Trends

2013 will undoubtedly be a year in which content, mobile, video, and Google authorship gain traction inSEO services. Simultaneously, certain link-building techniques that were popular in the past will be increasingly less effective in driving high search engine rankings.

Mobile & Video in SEO

Showing up in both mobile and video search results continues to grow in importance. Mobile devices are not only becoming more numerous. They are increasingly the means used to browse the web.

Analysis of your particular customers’ Internet behavior patterns is more important. Not every business will require a major focus on mobile and/or video search engine results.

Nonetheless, ask yourself whether your customers are likely to use four square or yelp, rather than google, to find you. Also analyze whether the creation of videos will likely benefit your business or not. Finally, sme cost-benefit analysis is important in the mobile and video realms. Is the expense and effort to accelerate mobile and/or video presence worth it?

2013: Content, Content, Content

For a couple of years, a variety of aggressive link-building and other SEO tactics skyrocketed in importance. Then Google and other search engines got wise to this and algorithms were promptly amended. Quality search traffic from “hands-off” link-building services is declining.

Now that low-quality tactics and tricks no longer work, the effectiveness of ranking via original and high-quality content has actually increased. Moreover, genuine, quality content has every reason to remain valuable for a long time. For many businesses, maintaining search rankings may get a bit more expensive. However, quality content is arguably more capable of producing referrals and high quality traffic that is truly desired.

In numerous business sectors, organic search engine traffic is now reduced. Certain searches will generate a whole page full of results from a single domain, effectively locking new enterprises out of success with those keywords. Paid channels will become more important for many, including some that are not search -related.

Google Authorship

This involves identifying pages as essentially representing the work of the author. These highlighted posts are then included in certain search results along with author information.

Developing a quality Google authorship profile can be an appropriate response to Google’s changed rules of the game. It can also be a proactive measure should such authorship become even more important in the future. In short, implementing and developing such authorship can be effective.

For strategies to maximize your business’ SEO success, please contact us so that we might learn of your specific needs and goals.


Why Companies Should Respond to Customer Reviews for Local SEO

There are many components to having an effective local SEO campaign, and of them, customer reviews are now more important than ever. This trend can be seen as ambivalent for businesses; they now have much more responsibility in dealing with customers after transactions, which will either lead to their demise if they ignore bad reviews, or will be another opportunity to show gratitude and turn one-time customers into loyal customers.

Customer reviews may seem a bit unfair for businesses; they may have plenty of satisfied customers who don’t feel the need to leave an online review, and then one disgruntled customer can wreck havoc on their brand reputation. Nevertheless, a recent Search Engine Watch article reported that 85% of consumers read reviews for local businesses and 60% of consumers read 2-6 online reviews before making a purchasing decision, signaling that unfair or not, businesses have to respond to customer reviews.

A recent Business 2 Community article discusses this new responsibility for businesses, and how both positive and negative customer reviews should be handled:

“Across all review sites and social networks, transparency is ideal. Utmost visibility means that local businesses can no longer delete these bad reviews or comments and expect the problems to disappear. Unless it is absolutely false or spam, we recommend addressing the issues and responding quickly to reassure current and potential customers that you’re on top of it. The same goes for positive remarks as well – thank them and build a loyal following.”

So even if a satisfied customer leaves a positive review of your company, it’s just as important to thank them and show that you appreciate their business. The idea is to focus on and create more attention at how your business not only has loyal customers, but also shows appreciation for them. When responding to a negative review in a professional manner, your business will seem poised and mature, juxtaposed to the over-the-top customer.

If you’re interested in local SEO and the effect of customer reviews, contact us.

Local Search Marketing with Facebook

Most marketers and businesses associate Google AdWords as the way to go for local search marketing.  Indeed, it is likely the best form of paid search marketing – whether local or global.

However, thinking that AdWords is the only way to go would be to remove a great opportunity.  Facebook has powerful paid search possibilities, thanks to its strong targeting options.

It is first wise to consider the role of Facebook in search marketing.  As users are increasingly using social networks – Facebook being the leader by a great deal – they are also using these search engines prominently.  You must also remember that social media has SEO power, which can create further value as an overall SEO and search strategy.

Thus, creating an ad in Facebook makes a lot of sense.  And since you can target very specific users – the sky is the limit.

These functions allow you to narrow your ad to specific cities and regions.  You can also further narrow your ad by tailoring it to your target audience – including age, gender, and interest demographics.  Don’t forget that you can promote a link as well; Facebook advertising is not just for building your Facebook page.

Keep your options open when it comes to local search marketing, as well as search marketing in general.  An outlet like Facebook can help you compare which methods are most effective, and social media marketing in general can be a great complement to AdWords.  Strong presences on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ will boost your SEO overall.

Contact us to learn more about local search marketing!

3 Essentials of Local SEO

Beginning in local SEO can be a bit daunting.  There is a wealth of information out there that can be difficult to manage – from the steps you have to take to ensure good rankings, as well as in-depth information that is best suited for a later date.

You have to start with the basics, though, to truly get on track.

What are these basics?  We can follow a recent piece that offers a great starting point for this topic:

  • Know Your Audience: What are your audience’s interests?  Make sure you know the demographics of your target audience, which will help you create content that specifically meets their needs – and their searches for local SEO.

  • Include Location in Your Titles: This is a great point and essential differentiates local SEO from SEO.  If you don’t include location in your titles and, in general, focus on your location(s), you probably won’t have much luck with local SEO.

  • Claim Your Business Profile, Everywhere: From Yahoo and Merchant Circle to Google’s Local Business Center, there are plenty of places where you should be claiming your business profile.  Taking control of these (and others, such as Yelp, Foursquare, etc.) profiles is vital, as they offer amazing local SEO value.  Make sure all information is up-to-date – from your address and hours to much more!

These essentials themselves can do a great deal to raising your rankings in local searches.  Make sure you follow through well for maximum impact.

Need further help with local SEO?  Contact us today to learn much more about this area!


3 Steps to Setting Up Your Business Google Local Search Listing

Lead generation and Google Local Search make the perfect combination. Regardless if you have a warehouse, a brick and mortar store or any other type of business you need visitors to your business website, and using Google Local Search for lead generation is an effective tactic.

This program is very simple to use. You simply enter a keyword like pizza shop or shoe stores and the zip code or city. You will then be presented with the results, any reviews, any contact information and a map.Many people who are looking for specific places are looking in their local area. They want a service provider that they trust and can recognize as well as a place they can visit in their own area. Local business owners benefit from using Google Local. It enables their listing to show up in local searches, and it gives out their details and offers depending on what the searcher entered. Below are 3 steps to getting started with Google Local Search.

Set up Shop

It is not an automatic process being added to Google Local, therefore the business owner will have to set up their business information in the Google Business Center. However, occasionally you might see your business listing in Google Places. If you did not add your listing there personally, you will need to still claim that listing as well as verify that all business information is accurate. It is likely you will have to add more details to it as well.

Proper Keyword Selection

Selecting the right keywords to optimize your listing is a must. When using Local Search, keep your ideal customers in mind and their reason for buying from you. This is important when you are picking out your keywords. Your main objective here is to anticipate the search terms your customers will be typing into Google search when they are seeking out the products and services that you sell. Focus on small niche groups for best results.

Play by the Rules

Properly claim your Google Local listing and ensure it does not violate any rules. Making only a couple mistakes, such as adding in too many keywords in your description, can hurt your listing with the algorithm of search engines. For more information on Google Local Search and other web services, please contact us here at JC Whelan LLC.


Mobile Optimized Websites: Targeting Nearby Areas for Local SEO

The need for having mobile optimized websites is clear.  With the impressive increase in mobile devices and searches, businesses must react and prepare for these users.  Done correctly, they can reap more growth with websites that cater to this – and all – customers.

Due to the increase in local searches, businesses that have a local presence (i.e., a physical store) must properly optimize their content.  Otherwise known as local SEO, it truly pays to target searchers who are looking for that type of business in a particular location.

Some businesses make a mistake here.  They optimize content for their city – but they fail to do so for nearby areas.

Imagine a dentist office that is located in St. Paul, Minnesota.  That may be the primary focus of their client base – but what about nearby cities?  Minneapolis is very close, along with a number of suburbs that could be targeted.

With the right approach, that office could create content for these locations.  Blog posts that mention where they are located could mention nearby cities and communities.  Hence, when customers are looking for a dentist in their area, they can see that there is a great office that isn’t too far away – and the informational/helpful posts could draw them in further, as well as other items (promotions, etc.).

Take advantage of mobile searches by identifying all opportunities for local SEO.  Feel free to contact usfor more helpful tips and to reap the benefits of local searches.  It could be a great way to take your business to the next level.


Don’t Neglect Bing Places in Local Search Optimization

Local search optimization and local search SEO are similar terms that pack a lot of power for businesses.  Any business that has a physical location will want to invest some time and money into local SEO, which will help nearby searches find the establishment.

Google has certainly made a name in the local search world, naturally, but Josh McCoy asks an important question: Is Bing Places better?

That question is probably a “no” for now, but there is a lot to gain in local SEO by taking Bing seriously.  You can quickly gain in the rankings for the world’s second-largest search engine – and it even has the ability to support the Google+ Local format.

One of the best features is the ability to include all of your social networks.  McCoy recommends adding Facebook and Twitter URLs, creating opportunities to further connect with your business.  It is the perfect bridge to your local listing.

Of course, you can benefit from the “usual” perks of listing your local business online.  Make sure that all information is correct and up to date.  Bing also allows you to add photos (up to 10) and videos (up to five) that will help your business stand out from the rest.  Other features, such as the ability to add categories to your business listing, will help it get found and rank appropriately in your area.

Bing could be a great way to add some local SEO to your business.  Take advantage of this opportunity and feel free to contact us for additional help and any questions that you may have.


What You Should Ask Your Michigan Website Design Professional

Hiring a professional for your Michigan website design is essential to ensure you get the quality website that will provide you with the results you desire. While some people seem to think they can create a compelling design on their own, there are certain aspects that require the experience of a professional designer. Before you hire any designer, it is critical to ask the important questions.

Previous Work

Every experienced web designer should have a portfolio that showcases what he has been able to do for other companies. Take your time browsing through the websites in the portfolio and noting what you liked and didn’t like about each one. If you are pleased with the overall results, you can feel more confident moving forward with this designer.


Talk to the Michigan website design professional about his knowledge and any specific training he has completed. However, it is important to ask specific questions about knowledge instead of generally sticking to web design. For instance, what is his knowledge of search engine optimization in relation to web design? You should also ask about his experience with Internet marketing. All this knowledge will play a major role in your success online.


Not all web design companies will help you with the monitoring and maintenance after they design your page. While this is okay for some businesses, many businesses don’t have the knowledge or the time required to complete these tasks. Instead, it is better to find a designer who will maintain a working relationship with you to ensure your website continues to serve its purpose and build your reputation.

Before you start working with a Michigan website design professional, it is essential to meet with him and ask him a series of questions. Through this interview, you will get a better feel of whether this designer is a good fit for you. When you take the time to find the right fit, you can take advantage of the designer’s experience to create a website that has the best effect on your bottom line.

Looking for an experienced Michigan website design professional to create or improve your site? Contact us to find out about your options.

What to Consider for Your Website Design in Michigan

You want your website to be as impressive as possible to bring more traffic and convert that traffic into more sales for your business. When you are working with a company for your website design in Michigan, you will have some input in the decisions they make. Therefore, you need to prepare yourself to answer their questions to guide them through the process of creating a website that will be the most effective for you.

Consider Your Audience

The makeup of your audience will play a major role in how your website is designed. If you are aiming for an older audience, your site should be easier on the eyes and more classic in design. However, if you are looking to reach a younger audience, your site can have a hip feel to it.

Determine Your Purpose

Your purpose in creating a website will determine how it is designed as well. For instance, if your business plans to sell your products or services, your site needs to be set up as an ecommerce site, complete with product descriptions and an online shopping cart to best serve your customers. Websites that are for informational purposes need to be designed much differently.


It is always important to look toward the future with your website. All websites need to be updated on a regular basis to ensure you continue to rank well with the search engines. However, there are other changes you may need to complete in the future as well. You may add new products or you might want to add or subtract some informational pages. You need to make sure your website design in Michigan is fully scalable so it can grow and change with your business’s needs.

Proper website design in Michigan is essential to the success of your website. Before you get started with your design, it is essential to consider your needs so you can help the website design company create the best possible site to serve your visitors and meet their needs.

Contact us for help designing your website to meet your standards and serve your customers.