Whirl Sites Blog

At Whirl Sites we’re passionate about the web, and our blog is a place where we share resources, tips, and interesting links that we think are of value to our existing customers and to everyone else who loves web development as much as we do.

How Bad Source Code Can Affect Your Website

There is a lot to think about when you are creating or revamping a website.  What kind of a design will it have?  How will the navigation be structured?  What content will you add?  But unless you are doing the coding yourself, you probably won’t give a single thought to the source code of your website.  In fact, you may be wondering what source code is and why you should care.  In short, source code is the set of instructions, written in the appropriate computer language, that governs the look, actions, and interactions of your website.  While you may not understand much about source code and how it works, you should still care about your website’s source code because it can affect the function of your website.  Here are some effects that inaccurate source code can have on your website.

Missed SEO Opportunities

SEO is a big deal these days.  Having good SEO means that your website will be found by more potential customers searching for your types of products or services.  There are a lot of things that can be done to improve your SEO.  But often businesses miss one huge opportunity: failing to add information to a website’s back-end which specifies fields such as page title and a meta description.  This information does not show up on the pages of your website, but it can make a huge difference in your SEO rankings.

Downgrading from Search Engines

Beyond just missed opportunities, mistakes or omissions in source code can also adversely affect how search engines evaluate your website.  Sometimes the code on your website’s back-end can actually tell search engines not to find certain pages or not to index those pages.  These pages will have no chance of showing up in search results.  Having too much extraneous code or hiding SEO-rich content on the back-end can cause search engines to look unfavorably on those pages.  Bad code can cause you to lose any hope of winning the SEO game.

Nonworking Links

Source code affects more than just SEO.  Since the source code tells your website how to function, errors in it can cause malfunction.  Bad code can cause links within your website to stop working correctly.  When this occurs, visitors will not be able to navigate from page to page.  They may not be able to reach some pages at all.  Obviously, this can create frustration for your visitors.  Furthermore, if prospects cannot find information about your product or service, they probably are not going to buy it.

Slower Loading Pages

Another effect that inefficient code can have on your website is pages that load slowly.  When the source code is full of unnecessary code or code with bugs, it takes longer for a computer to read the code and display the page. While visitors may not be directly impeded from reaching pages by slow-loading pages, they may just give up while waiting.  The last thing you want to do is make your prospective customers wait and thereby cause them to look elsewhere.

Increased Likelihood of Being Hacked

Many small businesses fear a website hack.  And for good reason!  The mess that a hack creates can be difficult to clean up, and the damage can be immense.  But did you know that having clean code can provide protection against the insidious work of hackers?  Code that contains errors or extraneous lines can give hackers a way into your site.  Alternatively, code that is straightforward keeps the doors of your website locked.  Just as a home with securely locked doors will keep much (though not all) mischief outside, a well-coded website will prevent much destructive online hacking.

As you can see, bad code is not irrelevant.  While you don’t see it or even necessarily know what it is doing, it can have major effects on your website’s performance or security.  At Whirl Sites, we are proud of our clean, straightforward code.  We believe this is part of what makes our customizable websites a superior product.  It’s not just how good they look; it’s also how well they are built!  Working with small businesses in Carmel, Noblesville, Brownsburg, and throughout central Indiana and beyond, Whirl Sites provides quality customizable website with quality code.  If you’re ready to give us a whirl, visit our website or call us at 317-892-9435 to get started.

Using Video on Your Website

videoIf a picture is worth a thousand words, then what is a video worth? Obviously much more than even a picture.  They are able to show movement, action, and change in a way that text and still pictures cannot.  When added to your website, video can quickly bring a new depth and breadth to your communication and customer interaction in these ways.

Make it Personal

With videos, you are better able to share your story and yourself.  Much human communication is nonverbal, and text and even pictures lose that whole aspect.  Videos allow you to introduce yourself is a memorable way to customers and potential customers.  This is especially important in a service-oriented business.  It is also important in cases where trust is a major factor in buying decisions.

Connect with Visitors

Similarly, video gives you a platform to connect with visitors to your site.  Viewers will feel more personally connected to what they have seen.  This may make them feel more comfortable calling to ask a question.  It can also give them a sense of confidence in your business or organization.

Show Off Your Products or Services

Sometimes it is hard to describe in words how your product works or exactly what your service includes.  A video gives you the opportunity to show instead of tell.  Give prospects a glimpse at how easy it is to use.  Demonstrate the quality of your product by giving them a peak at the internal components.  Show them in real life how well the product works.  You can also include important information for current customers, such as how to assemble your product or perform routine maintenance.

Improve Your Search Rankings

Just as important as what you see is what you don’t see.  Behind the scenes, your website is being evaluated and ranked by search engines.  There are many things that you can do to improve those rankings, and video is just one.  Search engines view video favorably so the addition of a video to your site may get you pushed closer to the top of the page.

Keep Them Coming Back

When you have interesting content that grabs the attention of viewers and communicates relevant information, people will come back to your website.  In general, videos definitely get and keep the attention of visitors.  Videos that are clear and informative will make an impact.  If you are able to keep adding more videos, visitors will return to see what is new.  Increased traffic is always good for sales.

Whirl Sites websites allow you to add all kinds of content, even video, with ease.  We are helping small businesses and organizations in the greater Indianapolis area (and beyond) establish a more visible online presence with our well-designed and well-functioning websites.  Our streamlined process makes our websites simple and affordable for our customers, and we can have them ready to go in a few days. Whether your business is located in Carmel, Noblesville, Zionsville, or across the country, you would love to help you take your business to the next level with a quality website at a reasonable price. Call us at 317-892-9435 or visit our website to learn more.

Five Things You Can Accomplish with a Blog

blog

Blogs are a big marketing trend right now, but they are more than just a fad.  They really can help you reach some of your most important marketing objectives.  Here are just 5 things that you can accomplish with a blog.

Communicate Helpful Information.

In you’re like most small business owners, you have a lot you’d like to say.  You have a brain full of accumulated information that you’d love to share with your customers and prospects.  Information about your company, your product, your industry.  Blogging is a great way to share this information in a friendly way.

Connect with Customers and Prospects.

One strength of a blog is that it gives you the ability to give customers and prospects information they want and need.  While you may know your industry forward and backward, the general public doesn’t.  They are searching for background information and technical expertise as well as practical applications and tips to make them more knowledgeable consumers and users of your product.  With a blog you can communicate what you know with eager consumers.

Create Natural Sales Opportunities.

As you write about your industry, you will naturally be including facts about how your product fits into that industry.  Since you know your product really well, you have a great opportunity to share with your readers its best features and benefits.  Presenting your product or service within the context of the industry gives consumers the data they need to make an informed decision.  Hopefully, that informed decision will result in a sale.

Establish Yourself as an Industry Expert.

Today’s consumer wants to know more and more.  They want to know more about how things work, why things work the way they do, how to compare competing products, how to best use products, and just industry-related practical advice.  Since you live every day in your industry, you are an expert.  You know the things others want to know.  If you are willing to share that knowledge in a blog, consumers will look to you as an expert…because you are!

Boost Your SEO.

In addition to the natural advantages provided by blogs, there is also a less obvious benefit.  Behind the scenes, your online content is influencing your SEO rankings.  As you add more content to your website, your SEO will improve.  If you are adding relevant content regularly by posting blogs consistently, your SEO ranking will continue to advance.  This means that you will be more likely to be found in online searches.

Of course, before you can blog, you need a website with blogging capabilities.  All Whirl Sites websites include a blog so you can start writing and promoting yourself as soon as we get your site up and running.  Since our websites are built on the WordPress platform, blogs (and all your website content) are easy to post.  You don’t need any coding knowledge to post blogs on our sites.  In fact, if you know how to use Word, our WordPress-based websites will be no problem.  Whirl Sites serves customers in central Indiana, including the communities of Carmel, Brownsburg, Fishers, and Indianapolis.  We help small businesses and organizations to make the most of their limited resources by providing affordable websites that work smoothly and look professional and appealing.  Give us a call at 317-892-9435 or visit our website to learn more.

Getting Started on SEO: Questions to Consider

SEO We all know that SEO (short for Search Engine Optimization) is an important element of marketing a small business.  Being easily found online is a first step in promoting your goods and services on the web.  That’s a simple, easy-to-understand truth.  However, understanding what SEO does and why it is important is not the same as actually taking steps to improve your search ranking and exploit it to generate leads and grow your business.  Now this topic could fill a shelf full of books, and this blog cannot begin to scratch the surface.  But what I will do here is to share a cluster of questions to consider as you begin to think about SEO and the role that it plays in your business.

Who Are Your Potential Customers?

SEO is all about being found by the people that you want to find you.  In order to connect with these people, you need to know who they are and what they want.  While this basic question does not directly impact your rank, you cannot proceed with an effective SEO strategy until you have an answer to it.  Find out who your target demographic is and then find out as much about them as you can.

What Content is Valuable to Your Potential Customers?

Once you have identified your target market, you can start thinking about what content will appeal to them.  What do they need to know?  What are they interested in?  What do they value?  As you consider questions like this pertaining to your potential customers, you can build a list of topics, information, and keywords.  You can use these to start producing quality content that adds value and attracts interests.  Relevant content will not only contain searchable terms, but will also draw the attention of readers.  Both of these occurrences will increase your SEO.

Where Might Your Content Be Shared?

When content is valuable, readers will not only visit your site and read your content, but they will also share your content.  Since links from outside websites back to your site demonstrate the usefulness of your content, they can significantly increase your SEO.  As you set out to write your content, you should be thinking about how you can garner attention and increase the likelihood of earning a link.  Here the key is that the content is high quality.  Writing that is sloppy, unclear, or shallow will not draw the attention of readers, and they definitely will not be willing to share your content with others.

When Should Content Be Added? 

Just as important as the ‘what’ is the ‘when’.  Improving your search ranking is a cumulative process that depends on your continual effort.  Content doesn’t stay fresh for long so additions need to be made on a consistent and frequent basis.  For many businesses, this task is easily accomplished through a blog that they are able to post to regularly.

How Well Does Your Website Function?

While much of the rest of this post has focused on content, there is another huge factor that influences how you rank.  That factor is the functionality of your website.  Has it been built on a solid platform?  Is its code simple and precise?  Do its internal links function correctly?  When a website is solidly built, rather than patched together, it is viewed more favorably in terms of SEO.

At Whirl Sites, we understand the importance of SEO and the opportunity we have to be a partner with you in creating a website that has the potential for increased SEO.  We start out by offering you a solid website that is built on WordPress.  WordPress websites typically are viewed favorably by search engines because the code they use is clean and straightforward. They also have some standard features which make it easier for you to better your SEO.  As a content management system, WordPress makes it simple for you to keep your content updated and fresh.  Furthermore, all our website come complete with a blog that you can use to consistently post information that customers will find interesting and valuable.  With a Whirl Sites website, you will be ready to grow your online presence and improve your SEO rankings.  Call us at 317-892-9435 with your questions or to get started on a site.