Bilgart Design

Interior Designer, Marin County

Paulette does great work in the hardscaping specialty of  interior and exterior design. Recognized as ‘the’ local fireplace designer, she also has a strong kitchen and bathroom portfolio. And if you want custom tile – look no further!

It continues to amaze me that as a pure-breed, single-minded engineer I continue to be gifted with so many great designers as clients. Maybe it is because I am willing to listen, to build it their way?  

Paulette came to me with a an look and feel for her site that was strong and individual – always a good thing! But it had very few pages and the text was not written to gain search engine traction. So we built out 15 new slideshows and added pages to talk about her specialties.

Have we nailed it in the SEO? I have to say, ‘not yet’. We have completed most of the on-site SEO, but there is more to it than that. Getting your page ranked well is a long haul process and we are continuing to work on it.

http://www.bilgartdesign.com/

Adesign Graphic Design

A web designer and a web developer started a project…Why would this be leading to a punch line? Because most web designers and graphic designers spend 110% of their time and energy working on other people’s projects. Anne Doyle has a strong portfolio of work and beautiful aesthetic sensibility. When she asked me to work on her website I was truly flattered. We built a site that shows her clarity, her designs, even some TV adverts that she produced. Enjoy!

http://www.adesigngraphics.com/

Designer: Anne Doyle

Maple Grove Bed & Breakfast

This mini-project was a request for updates to an existing site. It is always a risk to take these jobs as opening someone else’s code up for edit is brave, optimistic and risky. But site owners need updates when they need them and the original designer asked me to step in. I was just thrilled to go from ‘log-on’ to ‘done’ in an hour, adding a few new photos and descriptions to the site.

http://www.maplegrovebedandbreakfast.com/

Site Build: This is what we would call ‘Maintenance’

Design: Paris Design Studio

Vocal Lessons – from Static to Content-Managed

Arden Sugarman in a great vocal teacher. She coaches developing teens and adults who are serious about their singing. She is also a great writer, so the content of her first site did a good job of explaining who she is and what she does.

SEO: The biggest issue with SEO on her existing site was co-locating on another domain name. We moved the site to its own hosting. When we set up the new site, we paid attention to the words we put into the tags and the text.

Updates: We set up the new site in WordPress, which gives Arden the ability to add and change pages, and to upload her media items.

Private Pages: We set up a separate WordPress site for Students only.

http://www.ardensugarman.com

Beyond Massage of San Rafael, CA

Kristina Lentz is a great bodyworker. Her web challenge was that her site not updateable by her – its design and content were both stuck in 2004. My web challenge was to come up with a design that would complement both her pink and orange logo and her bubbly personality. We built her new site in WordPress which means she can make updates herself and we found a great theme to complement her logo and her overall business persona.

We turned this site around fast – Kristina approved the colors on Monday Nov 29 and we launched on Monday December 9. The fun part for me was on launch day – as I was showing Kristina how to make updates she was able to change every piece of text that had been bugging her for months – if not years.

http://www.beyond-massage.net

McMoyler Method: Delivering Navigation and Functionality

Sarah McMoyler is the childbirth educator of the San Francisco Bay Area. Her classes deliver the information and the panache that high-achieving expectant parents are looking for. When we met Sarah her site was visually great and it contained most of the right information, but the structure, functionality and navigation were just not working for her or her clients. We rebuilt the site map and menu structure. We moved some of the information around and res-structured the site.

New site born delivered on 12/6/10, 19 inches 19 pages, 7.5 pounds 7 sections.

http://www.mcmoylermethod.com/

Sundance Travel – Voyaging fast

Sundance Travel website

Sundance Travel is a full service agency located in Marin County, California. Travel consulting services to discerning deluxe/luxury clients, with a specialization in travel with 4-legged friends.

The questions around a new site are always going to be ‘how soon, how big, for what?”. Every site has a budget. Some businesses need their site to be ‘Up, Already!’. This is a 4-page site. We received the image files from the designer on Monday 11/15 and we launched the site on Tuesday 11/ 23. Pretty good!

http://sundancetravel.net/

Site Design: Anne Doyle

ACTive Business Systems – local consultants

Many of us have encountered the sales tool ACT! at some point in our working lives. This site is for a company who help other companies to install, integrate, learn and use the ACT! product. The consultants work throughout the Bay Area and they need potential clients to find them through web searches.

We focused in SEO and we are continuing to refine it after launch, as we believe it needs to be a combination of onsite and offsite work.

http://www.activebizsystems.com/index.html

National Law Firm – complete new site

Goodin MacBride is a well established San Francisco law firm whose attorneys specialize in California Regulatory law, and also in Qui Tam and Civil Law. The new site contains well over 100 pages, with about 60 of them focusing on each of the niches of business that this firm addresses. We used slightly different color coding for the Regulatory Law, Civil Law and About sections of the site.

A huge goal in the project was SEO. We made the site as big as it is so that each niche of their law practice would have its own page and its own chance to get indexed. We are currently tweaking the code and contents of those pages to push them further up in the rankings.

http://www.goodinmacbride.com/

Site Design: Quinne Design

SEO

Search Engine Optimization

We incorporate SEO when building new websites and we also take on clients who have a website already, but need it reviewed, updated and changed to optimize the site’s search ranking.

You can think of this like a home building project. The building professional or homeowner can construct ‘to code’ watching some or all of the local regulations (or not…). Similarly, the web developer can build a site that honors some or all of the ways to optimize search results (or not…). Unlike general contractors, who are required to implement local building codes, to get inspection sign-off and to keep their licenses, there is no such regulation or overview of website designers and developers.

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What is Search Engine Indexing?
Search engines read through the whole internet, indexing keyword phrases like an electronic librarian. They visit each site about once every 6-9 weeks and display the results when search engine users run a search against those keywords.

Of course we all want to be ‘at the top’ of the free listings. Site indexing leads to your ranking on the free list. These rankings determine how high up your site appears. They are secret and complex algorithms that belong to Google, Yahoo! and the other search companies. If you meet someone who claims to know the ‘whole formula’ they are either breaching confidentiality or stretching reality a bit. But we can all agree that some factors include:

How often the keyword phrase appears on the page
How important the keyword phrase is on the page – large, titles, top of the page, page names, picture names
How often the site is linked to from other well-ranked sites, implying value, popularity and respect.
The relative weight of these factors on competitive sites.

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What is Search Engine Optimization?
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is an overall term for the collection of many small changes and decisions that a website developer takes when building or updating each page on a website.

Compare the website developer to a home builder striving to maintain city code: It’s not just the quality of the framing [keyword density] or the grade of the wiring [page titles] or the diameter of the in-pipes. [file names] or the capacity of the HVAC [picture naming] or the location of the hot water tank [page text]. The home builder or the web designer need to be implementing all of these components and more all of the time. There is no silver bullet.

Consider what happens when a site is not optimized: we see sites that are full of words like ‘excellent, quality, stellar, best, reliable’, but with not one occurrence of the words ‘San Rafael, Marin, Sonoma, Bay Area, San Francisco’. What do you think – do people search for ‘excellent acupuncture’ or do they search for ‘acupuncture Marin’? You probably guessed right; they search for ‘acupuncture Marin’.

Optimize your site for the ‘free’ or ‘organic’ listings