Custom domains, in short, are precisely what they sound like. They are domain names that are 100 percent customized. If you look at a website and you see the words "WordPress" or "BlogSpot" in its name, then it doesn't have a custom domain name yet. People often turn to WordPress and BlogSpot when they're just beginning their blogging experiences. That's because the use of these platforms is free. People don't have to spend any money to rely on them for blog creation, blog maintenance duties, and beyond.
Businesses these days are becoming more and more active online. It is critical for businesses of all types to have a strong online presence. If you're just beginning setting up a digital presence for your new business, you may be tempted to make use of a platform such as WordPress or BlogSpot. Who wants to spend unnecessary money, anyway? Although it may initially seem easy and hassle-free to make use of WordPress or BlogSpot, it's simply not a good idea. If you want your business' blog to shine, you need to consider self-hosting as soon as possible. You also need to consider getting a customized domain name.
Customized domain names are paramount for businesses that want to do well on the Internet. It doesn't matter if you're launching a new ice cream shop. It doesn't matter if you're in the process of setting up a brand new public relations agency. You need a custom domain name, plain and simple. When exactly was the last time you saw a serious and successful business that had the name "WordPress" in its address? There are many advantages associated with custom domain names. If you want your business' online presence to truly soar, these advantages can do you a lot of good, to say the least.
Custom Domain Names Are Simple for Others to Find
Assuming you are not using a template based website (which you shouldn't be!), websites are all distinctive and one-of-a-kind. If you want others to know what makes your business website distinctive, however, they must be able to easily find it in the first place. Online searchers rely on popular search engines to find out about brand new businesses and groups. If you want your business' website to stand out and get attention, it can help significantly to have a custom domain name.
People tend to gravitate to custom domain names because they're simple to identify. If you don't want other people to immediately dismiss and forget about your website, it's important to create a custom domain name that accurately reflects the nature of your business and all that it offers. That bit of effort can go a long way.
Custom Domain Names Are Hard to Overlook
Custom domain names are difficult to overlook. There are seemingly countless WordPress and BlogSpot websites on the Internet these days. They, because of that, can seem like a dime a dozen. If you give your business' site a custom domain name however, you give it the gift of an edge. You should make a point to create a custom domain name that's particularly catchy and snappy, too. Short domain names tend to work extremely well.
Domain names that are overly long can be confusing. It's also important to create a domain name that connects directly to your business and all its offerings. Don't invest in a custom domain name that seems to have nothing to do with your business operations. That can be a waste of precious time and can also be highly misleading.
Search Engines Generally Respond Well to Custom Domain Names
Search engines are king in the competitive digital realm. That's the reason websites should do anything and everything they can to accommodate search engine preferences. If you want search engines to respond well to your business site, investing in a custom domain name can do the trick. A custom domain name can also help your site get better search engine rankings. Custom domain names give businesses more professional and polished looks. Search engines respond well to websites that are more professional and serious in feel.
Custom Domain Names Give Businesses Access to Better Email Address Options
Professionalism is vital in the digital marketing realm. If you want your business to stand a chance in modern society, you need to give off a vibe of professionalism no matter what. A good email address can make your business look professional and credible. It's generally never a great idea to use a Gmail or Yahoo! address for professional purposes.
If you have a custom domain name for your business, it will communicate to others that you care. It will communicate to others that you take things seriously. Your goal should be to communicate to the world that your business is ready to be a major player. If you take the time to set up a custom domain name, that can be a wonderful starting point.
Custom Domain Names Can Open Your Business Site Up to Invaluable Advertising Opportunities
Custom domain names can make it a lot easier for businesses to spread the word about their available services and products. If you want to be able to advertise your business on the Internet, it can be wise to buy a custom domain name as soon as possible. Most contemporary advertising firms out there are not willing to take in subdomains. If you want to save yourself from the dangers of revenue drops, creating a custom domain name is the way to go.
Custom Domain Names Enable You to Make Subdomains
Website owners cannot set up subdomains using subdomains. They can, however, set up subdomains with the assistance of their own customized domains. If you want members of your target audience to be able to easily and swiftly access your site's subpages, establishing subdomains can be a great and dependable option. Custom domain names can do so much for all kinds of businesses. They can increase search engine exposure substantially. They can make businesses look considerably more credible as well. The advantages are varied.
If you are looking for more information on custom domain names, please reach out to our support team here at REM. We are always happy to help!
Updating your web browser will make your browsing experience more ideal. An updated web browser supports modern technology and applications used in websites. Browsers also often have security fixes that you will only have access to if you are using the latest version. Updates to browsers add new useful features to make using the web easier.
The latest browsers have support for HTML5 and CSS3. HTML is the language that specifies web page content. The latest version of HTML, HTML5, has many new features to streamline web browsing. For example, external players are not required to play video and audio, and you can embed video directly into your web design rather than linking a user to YouTube.
Web design with HTML5 creates more attractive and accessible content. CSS is a language that specifies how web page elements should appear. CSS3 is the current version of CSS. CSS3 makes websites appear more attractive and makes interaction easier. Using an up-to-date browser ensures you will see the website in the way the web designer intended.
I would personally recommend using either Google Chrome or Opera, as they have the most robust and modern technology available today.
No application is perfect, including web browsers. Often, new security issues arise that can impact the security and safety of your browsing. Using the latest version of a browser protects you from viruses and malware. Your privacy is also better protected by using an up-to-date browser.
You need to be especially careful of using completely obsolete browsers such as Internet Explorer, as you will be extremely vulnerable to virus and malware attacks such as the infamous "WannaCry" ransomware attack that recently swept the planet. This is because those browsers no longer produce updates to defend against things like these.
Each browser release contains new, useful features. By keeping your browser updated, you will have access to the latest and greatest features. These will make web browsing more pleasant. These features may include things like caching your browser history to save bandwidth on future visits to the same website, saving your passwords so that you don't have to type them in every time you visit a page, and add-ons such as AdBlocker which prevent those pesky pop-ups and sidebar advertisements from appearing. You will save time by using features meant to make your browsing efficient.
Using an up-to-date browser will optimize your web browsing experience. Check to make sure you are using the latest version of your web browser today.
If you have any questions or concerns about your browser use, feel free to ask these to our support team and we will be happy to follow up with you.
Do you continually wonder why your website is not being found, despite your best Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy? You may feel you've built a beautiful site with a great domain name, content, and all the right keywords, yet it is still not being found by search engines. This could be due to your site's domain authority.
What is domain authority?
Simply stated, domain authority is a metric developed by Moz, a leading authority on website SEO, which gives your website a score on a scale of 1 to 100 to determine your site's ranking on search engines. Obviously, the higher the ranking, the better chances you have of someone seeing your site. When someone searches for a certain topic, if you have a higher domain authority or ranking, your site will be higher in the list. When searching, most people never make it to the second or third pages of their search results. Instead, they look at the first page that appears on their screen, then they are off and running to read more on those initial topic results - decreasing your website's chances of being seen by that person if it does not fall on page 1.
There are many factors that determine a site's domain authority; however, here are three SEO tips to increase your site's domain authority:
1. Link Building
Link building is when you actively try to increase the number of backlinks to your website. The idea is the more links you have from other websites, then the more it looks like people are trusting your site's content - therefore, the search engines will naturally rank you higher in the list, believing you are a trustworthy authority on the search topic.
One way to get other sites to link back to your website is to simply ask them.
Another way to get links back to your website is to build relationships with the more popular websites through social media. You can go to their Facebook or Twitter page and leave helpful or informative comments or tweets. Eventually, they might link to your site, without you having to ask.
Of course, the most obvious way to get other sites to link back to your website is to provide, current, relevant and good content that will make them want to link to your site.
2. Removing Toxic Backlinks
Having good backlinks can certainly improve your site's domain authority but, unfortunately, the opposite is true for toxic backlinks. Toxic backlinks are unnatural links to your site that impact your domain authority in a negative way. This is why you should remove them on a regular basis. In an article entitled, "What are Toxic Backlinks and How to Remove Them", PageTraffic lists four types of sites with backlinks to your site that are usually seen as toxic backlinks:
Spam sites and sites that are created only for link building
Sites which were not indexed by Google
Sites with a virus or malware
3. Regular Maintenance of Your Website
Often, after completion of the website development, businesses think they can just sit back and enjoy the fruits of their labor. Sure, they might post a blog article here and there, but other than that, they never give it a second thought. The truth is, having a website requires lots of work and diligence. Websites should be checked monthly, if not bi-monthly, for any broken links, grammar errors or outdated content. For example, if you post content about a Mother's Day sale, a visitor should not see Mother's Day sale information long after the 4th of July. If a site is poorly maintained, search engines will view the site as outdated or irrelevant. You should also read any comments left by visitors on a regular basis and, if applicable, reply promptly. Remember, it is all about building and maintaining relationships with your visitors.
In conclusion, you should make increasing your domain's authority a priority, if you want people to find your website. There are many ways you can do this; however, by focusing your SEO efforts on link building, removing toxic backlinks, and maintaining your website on a regular basis, you will increase your chances of having your site show up near or at the top of a search engine's results list.
If you have questions about your website's domain authority or you are ready to maximize your SEO efforts, contact us. Our experienced staff is always ready to answer any questions you may have, or assist you with your business' Internet marketing.
The Importance of Email Security and Strong Passwords
Email security and password safety is important for individuals and businesses alike. As online scams increase, it's important to protect yourself, your clients, and all confidential information.
Why Internet Security Matters
Internet safety means keeping private information in the right hands. If your emails, or your client's information gets hacked into or leaked, this will lead to future problems. It will also diminish client trust in your brand due to fear of information leaks. Sensitive information being leaked, computer damage, and even identity theft are risks of not taking internet security seriously. Long story short, it will end up costing you time and money to not take this stuff seriously.
How To Choose a Secure Password
When trying to keep your business safe, be sure to follow these tips to create a secure password.
Use a long password, at least 8 to 10 characters long with a mix of capitalized letters, numbers, and special characters. It is important to note that this is a minimum, and you should generally try and use as many characters as the password field allows, with as much variety in the characters as possible.
Whatever you do, do not use the same password for every account you have. Even if the password is extremely secure, if it gets hacked in one location, you will lose literally everything that you use that password for. This includes banking info, social media accounts, the login password for personal or work computers, and even online gaming accounts.
Do not use personal information about yourself as a password, such as your birthday or the name of someone in your life, as this information can easily be found and used to hack your account.
There are programs such as KeePass which allow you to store passwords in an encrypted way to avoid letting them slip into the hands of a hacker, all the while allowing you to keep them in a well-organized list for reference. It is terrible practice to physically write them down, but if you do decide to write down your passwords somewhere, consider using a code that only you understand to avoid prying eyes from attempting to use it.
If available, consider using a password authenticator. These are usually either physical devices (see image below) or are attached to an app on your smartphone. They work by generating a random number or password every 10-12 seconds which a user must enter in addition to a password when logging in, and basically provide an extra layer of security. These are common for some high security companies and banks, and employees are often required to use them to access workplace computers.
If you are not keeping record of the password, use a sentence or phrase as the main base for your password to allow you to remember it slightly easier. Create an idea involving a memorable person doing a unique action with an object, and form your sentence. Then, using that sentence select a few characters and add in various numbers and letters. For example, if your sentence was "the Joker lifted a toaster with his elbow" your password could be something like "JokLif4Toa@3lb."
Change your passwords every few months to keep yourself safe from hackers, and to interrupt any ongoing attempts to crack your passwords.
How To Recognize When an Email is a Scam
Along with keeping yourself safe by creating strong passwords, it's also important to determine whether or not an email is safe or not before clicking it. Make sure you know the sender before opening a message, and if you have never received an email from the sender, be wary.
Never open an attachment or links from an unfamiliar source. Check whether or not a link is legitimate by hovering over it (but not clicking it) and checking the bottom of your screen. Be extremely cautious of any links that are not a common .ca or .com domain.
If the sender is asking for money or giving you information about rewards, check facts and never share personal information through email unless you're completely sure it's safe (in fact in this case, it is best to just remember the saying "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is").
If you are recieving a high volume of scam and spam emails, consider using a spam filtering service such as FuseMail (which we offer starting next week as a part of our email package). These services will do most of the detective work for you, and you won't even see 99.9% of the spam emails as they will be stopped before they ever get to your mailbox.
Be sure to include opportunities for customers to share information or questions about scams in your web design, through forms or contact links. Ask them to let you know if any scam emails appear in their account attempting to impersonate you or your company. This way, your clients will know to trust you and you'll be aware of fraud attempts and possible disclosures of sensitive information.
If you have any questions about this, or even have personal stories about this you would like to share, feel free to reach out to us at our Support Email. You can also contact us here through our website.
If you owned a store, you would probably do regular maintenance on its interior and exterior. Failing to do this would reflect poorly on your business. The same goes for a vehicle or even your own home. Maintenance is an ongoing expense because things wear down. This is why most people don't question the need for it. On the other hand, a website doesn't have a physical existence. It is software that's rendered on the browsers of viewing devices. This means it isn't subject to wear and tear and is why so many business owners see web design as a one-off expense.
If the world never changed, then you could treat web design as a set and forget process. Of course, that isn't true. The Internet and the people using it are constantly changing. These changes include:
Search Engine Changes
Google changes its algorithm every day. Sometimes these changes are related to website design. If your website doesn't render well in the viewing devices of Google's users, Google will send little if any traffic your way. If you have any broken links or images on your site, this is a major red flag for most search engines, and they will basically mark your site as not being maintained/up-to-date.
Search engines now take many things into consideration when showing potential viewers your site. These things include everything from the location of your business, the reviews you have on social media, and your SEO keywords/description, right down to the descriptions and titles that you give your images and links on your site. It is important to keep these things up to date, and contantly be aware of the analytics of your site.
Viewing Device Changes
iPads and iPhones don't support flash, and neither does Google Chrome. If your site uses flash, then a good percentage of Internet users can't use your website. Many viewing devices today have small screens. People using these devices have no desire to deal with websites that aren't mobile friendly. If you want to utilize video, it is best to embed these files directly from YouTube. This not only will help with the compatibility of viewing these files for your users, but will help your video get more coverage/views by being posted in various locations (i.e. your website, directly on YouTube, perhaps shared via other social media sites/forums).
Web Design Trends
Not staying current with design trends and modern layouts will date your website and affects the viewer's perception of your business. As a customer, if you went to a website looking for a product or service and were greeted by a website that looked like it was made in the 90's, you would most likely get the impression that this company couldn't be bothered to update its site, so you may be suspicious that the products/services on the site were also out of date. Keeping your site looking slick and cutting-edge will give the impression that you put work into keeping things updated, and by that logic that your products and services are also updated.
As a good rule, you should at least consider revamping your website design from the ground up once every 5 years or so. This can be stretched if your site caters to an older clientelle, but may need to be done even more often if you have a strong focus on young users or have a national/global presence.
In addition to the Internet and its users, the businesses that use websites also change. Products and services can change. Market changes and the need to stay competitive force businesses to change their marketing and sales processes, which in turn should be reflected in their web design. For example, making your products and services available for purchase online at this point in web history is almost mandatory, and expands your customer base immensly. The only way this may not be the case is if you offered a product/service for which the price was highly subjective, but even in this scenario you would want to provide a way for your potential customers to aquire a quote or speak with a sales representative.
What the above arguments point to is that you can't treat your website as a one-time expense. Although it doesn't suffer from wear and tear, the world around it doesn't stand still, and your website shouldn't either. If you feel like it is time for your site to have some new life breathed into it, let us know and we would be happy to make it happen.
The one biggest mistake of a DIY website is that it's not built by professional web designers. This may seem like an obvious answer, but professionals have acquired their expertise from years of experience building profitable business websites. Web design is both a science and an art.
A website that outperforms those of your competitors must satisfy many requirements. Eight of these are:
It must look professional or have the appearance appropriate for your market.
It must differentiate your brand from your competitors.
It must be optimized for search engines such as Google.
It must attract the user and make them want to stick around.
It must get repeat visits.
It must gain the user's trust.
It must not cause user frustration, such as slow loading pages, an unintuitive interface, or poor compatibility with the user's viewing device.
Its design must employ conversion optimization techniques.
While there are many templates that allow you to build a website with a few clicks, they won't satisfy all the above requirements. That requires expertise and experience. A DIY website will underperform and will likely do this in a big way, causing both you and your potential customers frustration. It will probably not be mobile friendly, may have a poorly designed UX, and will look like it was thrown together rather than have been carefully designed and programmed.
A DIY website might have performed satisfactorily in the 1990s when few businesses were using the Internet and we didn't have the advanced design tools now available to us. Back then, any website at all was a novelty, and a DIY website had little, if any, competition. It has been two decades since then and the Internet has changed. The best business websites are built by professionals, and are made to look cutting edge.
In addition to revenue lost from poor website performance, a DIY website loses money because it displaces the small business owner's time. The owner has a business to run. Your expertise is managing and growing your business. This isn't going to happen automatically without your input. The more productive hours you put into your business, the faster it will grow.
"In this age, which believes that there is a short cut to everything, the greatest lesson to be learned is that the most difficult way is, in the long run, the easiest." Henry Miller
There are lots of website templates available for businesses to use, and programmers craft many of them with style rather than functionality in mind.
Website templates offer an affordable, simple solution for organizations with limited funding and time to invest. Modern businesses must have online representation. To meet these needs, most start-ups will turn to website templates.
However, Template Limitations Spoil the Final Product
How does this happen?
Templates aren't flexible. Site owners aren't able to get creative without programming experience.
Templates often hide clunky programming issues below the surface that cause slow loading and other problems.
In order to meet basic business needs (like removing ads, having more freedom to customize, using SEO analytics and other marketing tools and securing a domain name and hosting), you have to pay more or get by without these things.
Even the most beautiful template can look cheap after you've edited it. This is especially true if you choose to change several graphics or fonts. Most non-designers lack the talent to combine and create tastefully on web platforms. Colours look different. Sites display differently on various devices.
Sometimes people recognize your template from other websites. It's hard to create a unique brand identity, (especially crucial for modern businesses) if users recognize your template from another site.
Mobile devices are the most popular tool for browsing online today. Some companies advertise templates as responsive. However, many finished websites still don't look right on every device because they are not mobile friendly.
Lastly, SEO is an important business marketing strategy. There are levels of tailoring that an SEO expert can do below the surface to enhance your online positioning. However, just like templates offer limited customization in visual areas, many won't offer your SEO expert the freedom he or she needs to customize your site for marketing.
Make the right choice now, so you're not forced to later.
Contact us today at REM Web Solutions. A custom website is worth the investment. Trust is essential for success in online sales and marketing, and at REM you can trust us to create a stunning, professional, custom designed website that will enhance your online presence.
The Internet changes rapidly. There are many forces driving this such as the never-ending updates of the major search engines, the rising expectations that consumers have of online businesses, and major changes in how people access the Internet.
Styles evolve as well. It's very easy to discern websites that are decades out of date. Even the code used for building websites changes. Much of the old HTML code (HTML tags) commonplace in the 1990s is either deprecated or superseded by more useful forms. Keeping up with this change is important if you want your website to remain relevant and profitable.
Exactly how often you should redesign your website will depend on the market you serve. However, few competitive businesses allow more than a few years to go by without some kind of redesign. Here are three indicators that your website needs a redesign:
It Isn't Mobile Friendly
Most consumers today use their mobile devices for online purchasing and for locating nearby brick and mortar businesses. If they need to buy something, conduct business, or do research, they're not going to wait until they get home to their desktop computers (if they even have one). They also won't put in the effort and time of scrolling through a website meant solely for desktop computers when so many mobile friendly websites are just a few clicks away.
The Design Looks Out-Of-Date
An antiquated design sends the wrong impression to visitors. It projects obsolescence or amateurism. Visitors may assume the business lacks resources if it can't maintain a current looking website. People also get used to and even expect websites to reflect current design styles. For example, why would someone spend money at a site that's filled with the HTML tables of a 1990s website or the gradients and big glossy purchase buttons of the 2000s?
The Design Doesn't Reflect Your Current Success
If you still have the same website you first used as a Startup, you are leaving money on the table. Increase your leads and sales by reinvesting some of your profits into a more optimized and professional looking website. There is always room for improvement.
Get more out of your website by giving it a much-needed redesign. For more information or assistance, contact us today.
Tempted to save money by doing your web design yourself? Although skipping the services of a professional web designer may seem like an easy way to cut costs, the truth is that it will probably hurt you in the long run by producing a website that isn’t optimized for the highest possible conversion rate. Here are some common mistakes of DIY websites.
Bad Menu Structure
Menus are one of the most important parts of your website because they are what allow visitors to navigate your site and land on your important pages. However, a menu has to be optimized in order to work. It needs to be in just the right place, the menu option titles have to be unique, the pages need to be in the right order, the secondary menu needs to be visible but not in-your-face, etc. Your menu also needs to be optimized for mobile devices, where drop-down menus don’t work very well.
You want your visitors to have a pleasant user experience (UX). Common UX mistakes include lists that are split into many pages, a FAQs section where each question opens up on a new page, pop-ups and pop-unders that get in the way of the reader, too many ads, self-playing videos, too many sliders, etc. These are all things that get in the way of being able to navigate your site seamlessly.
Slow Load Times
There are many things that will slow down your website, including images and videos that aren’t optimized, ads that are served over a third-party server, and heavy page elements and scripts. Slow load times lead to higher bounce rates and fewer conversions. A professional web designer will be able to optimize your website so that it loads quickly.
If you would like to update your existing website, or are looking to create a new site, contact us. Our professional staff can help you create a site that is optimised, engaging and most of all give you the highest possible return on your investment.
At REM, every design is custom and different. We ensure we design each website based on the unique needs and goals of our clients. We use the software, Adobe Photoshop to create our concepts and mock-ups. By using this every day, we have picked up quite a number of tricks that save time and boost our productivity. Having a pre-defined workspace also helps the designers at REM to keep our design files consistent.
Creating a workspace that is the most productive for web work is crucial when working on multiple design projects. Below are some steps I take to ensure productivity and quality in our custom web designs.
This is usually a pretty standard new PS document set at 2000 pixels wide. A blank canvas that has only some pre-defined guides and a set of common used layer groups.
In our world, our assets layer contains all of the styles that we want to pass on to the developer to add into the style sites sheet. These Assets are things like Paragraph and Heading Styles, Callouts, links and buttons.
Layers & Groups
Layers are key to organization. A pre-defined set of layers helps boost productivity while designing. My layers are usually set up in order of the design. Header, Logo, Navigation, Banner, Content, Footer, Background.
Having a palette ensures that the colors used are consistent. Sometimes these are supplied through a brand guideline but most times these are created based on the projects existing branding/logo etc.