web design and online marketing services

The Importance of Online Marketing

web design and online marketing services

The Importance of Online Marketing

Whether you’re a small business owner or are in charge of a large corporation, Online Marketing is not only important, it’s essential for your business success. Having an online presence is a must in today’s marketplace.

About 10 years ago, having an online marketing presence was a choice, but now with so many potential users on the worldwide web, you would lose business without it. According to SnapRetail, over 85 percent of online searches for products and services are happening right now. That is a high demand for any small business attempting to swim with the big fishes. Although having a strong online presence is vital for success, otherfactors have coming into play over the last year.

Having your website responsive or mobile-friendly is key to the mobile market, which is why web design services are in such demand. According to “Techcrunch.com,” 80 percent of Americans now own a Smartphone. If your website is unresponsive, you lose the opportunity to connect with so many potential customers. It’s not a choice anymore. If your website is not up to the standards of today’s SEO requirements, your business could result in less customer interactivity.

Online marketing not only allows for a stronger more personalized brand, it also gives the opportunity for the growth of social media. Taking advantage of social networking can have a strong influence on who visits your website, and more importantly, why they are coming. Integrating many social networking tools would be a huge step to your marketing campaigns.

By opening your reach to the worldwide web, you can establish relationships in many parts of the world or to a selected group of people. The possibilities are great, and should be used by all small business looking for a specific target market. The bottom-line is that people have too many choices these days. If your business is not online, you’re taking a huge risk. If the competition and your audience is online, you should be too.

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What Does Virtual Reality Mean for Web browsers?

What Does Virtual Reality Mean for Web browsers

What Does Virtual Reality Mean for Web browsers

It’s no surprise that Virtual Reality (VR) is the latest craze right now. Many companies like Samsung, Google and even Facebook have dipped their toes in the great sea of VR. The HTC Vive is Value’s VR concept directed more for PC gaming. The creator of the PC gaming platform Steam, Valve, has entered into a partnership with the mobile phone company HTC. This headset has not been used by many people yet but it promises to push the Oculus Rift off the top ladder. It specs two wireless infrared cameras in front and 37 sensors to allow actual movement in a virtual space.

Google Cardboard is Google’s very own VR. It’s a cardstock Software Development Kit (SDK) for Android using Unity that allows for the creation of VR apps using a smartphone. With many apps being developed for this VR, it’s sure to be a top competitor.

 

In the years to come, we can expect huge growth in the VR community, but what does that mean for web development or web browsers? VR will have an impact on the way we surf the web. There is already a virtual reality web browser called “Janus.”You can virtually walk around to a certain URL, video or audio links. A large community has thrived from this and created some unbelievable content for the browser. Click here to see “Janus” in action.

 

With more and more companies becoming part of the movement, it’s interesting to see how far this can go. There are companies like “Magic Leap” who keep their secrets behind closed doors. It’s rumored that they will focus on cinematic real-life Augmented Reality (AR). Imagine a mini-elephant dancing in your hands without the use of a headset. The possibilities are endless with what the future holds for VR. The Virtual Reality Summer Expo is coming to Los Angeles on August 29, 2015.  Visitors to the Expo can expect to see all the top VR companies and demonstrations for this new technology.

Top SEO Tips Doctors Should Know

Today we’re featuring a great guest post from Digital Media for Doctors covering some very useful tactics that every business, not just doctors, should utilize! Please leave a comment below and let us know what you think.

As a busy physician, you may be wondering why you should take the time to learn about SEO for doctors. The truth is that this information could be vital for preserving the health of your practice. Even if you hire a consulting firm to handle your web presence, you still need to understand the basics so you know your business is being well-served. Here’s a quick look at 3 critical features of good SEO:

Good Healthcare SEO Is Local SEO

Local SEO Google MapUnless you are encouraging medical tourism, you want to focus on targeting patients who are in your local area. Sure, it’s nice to be a specialist that people travel halfway around the globe to see. But for most physicians, the “bread and butter” of their business is much closer to home. You may already know that terms like, “Rheumatology specialist Salt Lake City” are more valuable to you than simply “arthritis”. But geo-specific optimization is about much more than peppering the text on your website with the name of your city or region.

A significant portion of local optimization is created behind the scenes in the “meta” information hidden throughout your website. For example, if you include a GPS Tag in your meta-data, your practice is more likely to show up in the ‘local business results’ map in a Google search. Not all physicians know to compete for these spots – especially if they aren’t used to thinking of their practice as a traditional business. So, you could really make some headway on a tight budget with the right optimization strategy.

Is a Blog Really Necessary for Good SEO?

blogging for doctorsThis is kind of like a patient asking, “Is exercise really necessary for my health?” Certainly, you can stay alive for quite a long time without a regular fitness routine. But you’re not going to win any races. Make no mistake: SEO is a triathlon that requires a diligent, multi-pronged approach for success. Search engines are demanding more and more fresh content all the time. Plus, there are new keywords coming into play every month.

This is especially true in medicine. For example, plastic surgery procedures get renamed frequently in an effort to make them appear new and sexy. You don’t want all your web content to refer to “autologous fat transfer” when patients really want to know about the “stem cell facelift”. Blogging gives you a fantastic way to have your name associated with the latest trend without having to rewrite your website. If you time it right, you might even have a blog article that “goes viral” and nets you a lot of inbound links for your targeted keywords.

Medical SEO Goes Social

social media for doctor quoteSocial signals are the new game in town for healthcare marketing. Search engines now place a very high value on content that gets linked to, shared, talked about, commented on, retweeted, liked, +1’d, etc. Any time a user takes an action on a social media platform in relation to your content, this helps you get closer to the top of search results. This makes it more likely that patients will find you when they start looking for a doctor in their area.

But can you really make yourself heard among all the voices shouting back and forth on popular social media platforms? Your chances are probably better than you think. Most doctors are now active on FaceBook. But as of the QuantiaMD survey published in September 2011, only 20% physicians were considered “connected clinicians” who effectively used two or more social media sites for personal and professional purposes. That percentage has doubtless risen over the last year and a half. But doctors are still lagging behind many other industries in effective use of the top social media platforms to drive web traffic. Take advantage of this head start! Begin by creating keyword optimized profiles on each social media site to “claim your name”. From there, you can begin branding your practice with surgical precision with each social interaction.

Image credit: viterahealthcare.wordpress.com

Blog Typography and Styles

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Should I Make A Mobile Website?

This is something that we get asked a lot here at Extima. In the age of smartphones, tablets, and eReaders it’s important that your potential customers can access your site from all types of devices. The last thing you want to do is lose out on a conversion because someone couldn’t look at your site on their iPhone. For this reason alone, in our opinion, it’s always worth the investment to upgrade to a mobile site. However, to answer the question more thoroughly, it’s important to examine all the different mobile options available.

Mobile Friendly Website:

This is your standard website platform that the majority of sites on the web are built on. They can be navigated on any mobile device but the design elements are stationary and do not shift. This means that when a user browses the site from a Smartphone they will see only a small portion of each actual page and will have to manually scroll around the site to find what they’re looking for.

Advantages:

  • Users can find your site on any device.
  • All links on your site are click-able and work on every device.
  • It’s the cheapest option available.

Disadvantages:

  • Horrible mobile user experience.
  • Much lower conversion rate for mobile users.
  • Graphics are fixed width only so flash can often be a nightmare for mobile customers.
  • Finding relevant content can be difficult.
  • Site load times are slower when viewed on a mobile device.

Custom Mobile Website:

This is a website that is specifically designed for mobile devices and is a totally separate entity from your main site. The menus, styles and images are all coded differently and the end product will differ from your actual website. This is a great way to target the mobile audience, although the cost of development and upkeep will be much pricier.

Advantages:

  • Your site will be extremely user friendly.
  • Device specific design optimization can increase conversions.

Disadvantages:

  • Cost of design will be around three times that of your standard website.
  • You’ll have two separate sites to update every time you want to change or add something.
  • There will often be a lack of continuity between your two sites.

Mobile App:

A mobile app is an actual program that is downloaded to a users’ phone or tablet and loaded as a native app. Like the traditional mobile site, it too is an entirely separate entity from your normal website. It’s saved on the hard drive of whatever device it’s downloaded on, so if a person lost their phone, for example, they would need to download the app again on their new device. Additionally, if they had more than one mobile device that they wished to view your site on, then they would need to download the app multiple times.

Advantages:

  • Apps tend to be very user friendly.
  • You can market apps specifically for any device you choose.
  • Once downloaded, an app stays on the user’s device until they remove it. So your site is essentially bookmarked by them.
  • Certain apps can be sold to the user for a small fee to help recoup your initial investment.

Disadvantages:

  • Development can cost up to four times that of a regular website.
  • Different apps will be required for each device and OS.
  • Apps will need to be re-downloaded if a user loses their device or gets a new one.
  • Like the mobile site, updates will need to be made for two sites instead of one.
  • Updates to apps need to be downloaded each time by the end user so your site might look outdated if a users’ app is not up to date.

Responsive Designed Site:

By mid 2012, a new technology became more widely adopted (due to a proposed standardization of HTML5 and CSS3 on most browsers) called Responsive Design. This type of site allows the elements on each page to flow and, using the same general design and page content of your normal site, can alter how the user sees the page depending on which device they’re accessing it from. This way you don’t actually need two separate sites in order for the user to have a great experience. This is the option that we’ve been recommending to most of our clients, and is, in our choice the most robust.

Advantages:

  • From scratch, the cost of development is only about double that of a standard website.
  • All your site updates can be done in one place.
  • Greater continuity for your site design on all devices.
  • It’s the most cost effective way to upgrade your site for a mobile audience.

Disadvantages:

  • If mobile users are your only target, it’s better to opt for a mobile site or app as they can be built with a mobile specific framework, like jQuery.
  • Since it’s a newer technology it still has some bugs. For instance, sites can sometimes crash if a user manually zooms in or re-sizes the window.

Now that you have all of the info on the types of mobile options that are available, we’ll leave it up to you to decide which choice is correct for your goals and business model. For us, it seems like a Responsive design addresses the most issues while delivering the least amount of headaches but we’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below! Also, if you’re interested in checking out some of the Responsive site designs that we’ve done, you can check out Pixel Fish, Charter Stone Capitol, and Honda Construction.

Social Image Sizes for all the Major Networks!

Setting up and managing new social media accounts can be daunting whether you’re a small business owner or an experienced Inbound Marketing Guru. Like it or not though, the trend of utilizing these outlets for promotion, link building, and SEO is not going anywhere in the foreseeable future- and the sooner you embrace that fact the better.

One of the biggest pains in regards to social networking has always been figuring out exactly how to format your images for the various different sites you’re posting on. Trying to get the same picture to look correct on Facebook, Twitter, and Gmail was always a guessing game in the past. But thanks to the good people over at LunaMetrics.com this task just got a whole lot easier! They’ve put together a great resource that breaks down the layouts for every image and video size for all of the most relevant social media channels.

Below are the most useful (in my opinion) for your day-to-day tasks on each site. You can find the complete article here.

Facebook

Cover Photo: 851 x 315 px
Profile Picture: 160 x 160 px (Note: the image must be uploaded as 180 x 180 px)
Timeline Image: 403 x 403 px
Highlighted Post: 843 x 403 px

Twitter

Profile Picture: 81 x 81 px
Header Image: 520 x 260 px
Shared Image: 375 x 375 px

Google +

Cover Photo: 890 x 180 px
Profile Picture: 250 x 250 px
Shared Image: 497 x 373 px

YouTube

Profile Picture: 55 x 55 px
Video Preview: 640 x 390 px

LinkedIn

Cover Photo: 646 x 220 px
Careers Cover Photo: 974 x 238 px
Product/Service Banner: 646 x 220 px

Pinterest

Profile Picture: 160 x 165 px
Board Big Thumbnail: 222 x 150 px

The basics for getting your business online

Three things are necessary to have a web site online: a Domain Name, a Host, and a Web Site Design.

The Domain Name is the address you would like people to type into their browser to bring up your web site (for example – http://www.extima.com).

The Host is the computer that is hooked up to the Internet at all times with your web site files on it. Through the Internet, people will be able to access this computer and view your web site.

The Design is what visitors will see when they view your site. As a website development firm, Extima is able to provide all three of these services for you.

The next level

Extima offers much more than basic web site design service. We actually specialize in E-Commerce and Business to Business solutions. Extima programers develop Multi-tier database driven web sites to handle user administration, dynamic content, document sharing and many other corporate structures. We have developed Job Boards (similar to Monster.com), Online Training Systems, and numerous other multi-tier web sites for companies that are ready to USE THE WEB FOR BUSINESS. Check out the E-Commerce, Database Integration, and Clients areas of the site to find out more.

What it all costs

We can register your Domain Name for about $15 per year through sites like GoDaddy and Network Solutions.

Out Basic hosting costs from $10 per month. For most users, that price will include all of the hosting features they need. If you require custom database applications, E-Commerce solutions, or media servers, the cost rises up to $20 per month to start. Depending on your needs we can match a great hosting solution to you from shared environments to dedicated clouds.

Design and Development costs can vary a great deal. At Extima we try to keep things simple and charge a flat $75 per hour for all services.

More things to think about

After you have your web site up and running, how are people supposed to find it? Your site must be submitted to search engines (Google, Yahoo!, Bing, etc.) and the proper meta tags must be embedded into the design of your site to make it appear in those search engines. Extima offers a range of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) services to match most budgetes.

The ball does not stop there however. You must advertise your web site as much as possible on your own. Your business cards, flyers, mailers, etc. must display your web site address to get people to recognize it. Extima designers have experience in print design as well as web design. They can create your stationary designs as well.