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Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Overcoming The Struggle To Create Great Content For Your Blog

Saturday, May 21st, 2016

The latest and greatest trend in online marketing is the bold declaration that content reigns supreme. With good content (and plenty of it!), you’re told, you can reach any audience and accomplish any goal. Powerful as this form of marketing can be, it comes with one enormous pitfall. It requires you to create a steady supply of fresh website content. How do you get started?

The Challenge Of Content Marketing

The reason why content marketing shouldn’t be entered into lightly is that it is very much a double-edged sword. Although it can be supremely effective when done correctly, a misguided or lackadaisical attempt can waste your time and even end up hurting your website. To do content marketing properly, you have to guarantee two things about your content: It should always be worth reading and it should be updated regularly.

Striking a balance between these two goals can be difficult. Sacrificing quality in the name of speed is dangerous. Giving up on frequent updates can hamstring your marketing and rob it of its promotional power. As a general rule, you shouldn’t force your content simply to meet a schedule. If you must sacrifice something for the sake of pushing out an update, post something short but worthwhile. A brief piece of content can always serve as a “teaser” for a more ambitious post down the road.

Why You Need A Map To Success

Although the previous paragraph was full of cautions about the dangers of sticking to a schedule, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have one. If you use it correctly, a schedule for content delivery can actually be a tremendous asset. By setting up a schedule, you’re starting to build a content pipeline.

Scheduling your content gives you a better grasp of your needs. You can start taking advantage of economies of scale in your production process. If you know you need half a dozen different pieces in the next week, devote a full hour to brainstorming topics. Conduct your research in batches.

Once you have a schedule, you can also start varying your content effectively. Don’t just specify given amounts of content within given spaces of time. Identify the themes and topics that are most important to your audience and make sure you return to them on a regular basis.

Finding The Right Ideas

It’s more than likely that your goal in building a steady content stream is to attract more people to your website. That means search engine optimization is vitally important. Don’t neglect the power SEO can have to inform your content creation process, though! When you conduct keyword research, consider the different terms you come across as potential topics for new content. Reaching out to embrace an idea sparked by a new keyword may bring your site to the attention of a whole new audience.

Keep a file of potential content topics and add to it frequently. Inspiration can strike in a host of different places and you can always spare a second or two to jot down a fresh idea. Be particularly attentive while you’re working on other content pieces. It’s often more effective to hang onto a tangent idea and turn it into fresh content than it is to incorporate it into one huge post. The more you make a habit of this, the more resources you’ll have available when it’s time to generate more content.

Spending Your Time In The Right Areas

Always remember that great content beats decent content. A post that attracts 10,000 readers is way more effective than ten posts that get 100 readers each. This doesn’t just mean refining and polishing your content itself, either. You need to structure each piece for maximum impact.

Make all of your posts inviting and easy to read. Provide your readers with easy sharing features so that they can help spread the word. Many blogs zero in on their best bits and call them out as ready-made “tweetables.” Spend some extra time on the most attention-grabbing parts of your piece (the headline, the description, callouts, etc.) and craft them to appeal to both search engines and human readers.

Creating great content is an art rather than a science. Though this means there is no formula you can use to guarantee success, it also means that your skills will improve over time. Keep plugging away at your content and you’ll find your material steadily drawing in bigger and bigger audiences. The entire creation process will speed up considerably as you practice. With enough dedication, crafting great content will become second nature to you.

Jonathan Leger has been a successful Internet Marketer for over 11 years. He owns an SEO Tools suite at KeywordCanine.com and is the creator of a number of well known and respected software and service applications such as The Best Spinner, INeedArticles and more.

 

 

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Years in Review

Friday, December 27th, 2013

A few days before Christmas, our office environment is typically humdrum with hardly a few phone calls and emails.  As the 18th century poem Twas the Night Before Christmas goes, “Not a creature was stirring”, except for my programmers, who were clicking and scrolling and clacking mouse and keys, making beautiful things out of zeros and ones. As evidenced by the repetitive motion of toes tapping and knees jerking, I’m feeling quite antsy. If you’re an entrepreneur, you should understand that when the flood of communication from clients suddenly stops cold, a metaphorical whiplash ensues. You long to push forward with force, but doing so requires the presence of customers; the ones who have gone home to enjoy their families.  So you (if you’re like me) wait it out patiently, setting your sights toward the days following Christmas. Don’t get me wrong. I love Christmas. My kids love Christmas. As far as the corporate modus operandi goes, at least in my industry however, it’s all about getting beyond Christmas so that you can get on with business. Bah Humbug!

Full of anticipation on this, the day after Christmas, I leaped from my bed with excitement. Plans and sugar plums were to be realized, starting today. On the short stroll to my car the air was unusually warm, the sky was a pleasant blue, and birds were chirping gleefully. Mary Poppins, with umbrella in hand, fluttered down from her chimney perch and greeted me with a smile. What a beautiful morning!

Then it happened. The key slid steadily into the ignition. A slight turn of the wrist. Click click click. The battery was dead. For the next 15 minutes, jumper cables were laced from one car battery to the next and neighbors could hear (sorry) the revving of engines.  I drove the car to Pep Boys and waited… waited… waited. So much for taking the bull by the horns.

Times like this call for a mocha.  Some turn to booze; I turn to caffeine. The half mile walk to the quaint coffee house was well worth the smooth lather of caffeine that warmed my throat and eased some anxiety. It is from here that I write this post.  Contradictory to my former prediction, this time is now for reflecting and journaling. It’s strange how things turn suddenly like this.

Sitting here at this java shack during working hours brings back memories. Three years ago, my team had no place to call office. We would migrate from coffee shop the coffee shop,  so as not to wear out our welcome. In the interest of saving money, we hijacked their Internet, work space, and  electricity. Though there were an abundance of interruptions, employees enjoyed particular daily perks: free cups of specialty drinks and lunch.

We still bring in coffee and treats on occasion, but these benefits are now enjoyed from an actual office desk. Looking back, it’s amazing how far we’ve come. At the start of 2012, we were on a path toward doubling the size of our business. That was the plan anyway. Yet, the economy and other events outside of our control changed the tide. A struggle befell us. The proverbial water rose to our noses and we strained to stay afloat. This year, on the other hand, we enjoyed stability and slight-but-steady growth. We incorporated, trimmed our administrative staff, and hired an additional developer. We’ve had long-term programming jobs, as well as government projects. There has been a steady flow of work since January and not even I – The Big Cheese – have missed a single paycheck. Some of you business owners will view this as a feat in itself.

So what’s on the horizon for this next year? Well, after the auto shop fixes my battery, it will be time to launch forward toward achieving greater stability and growth. Next next year, we plan on blogging more – which means that you’ll get more fresh ideas on how to grow your online business. We’ll experiment with various blogging formats: text, voice, and even video (this blog post was the result of a voice-to-text memo). In addition, if there’s enough interest, we hope to roll out various subscription packages. You’ll be able to choose from search engine optimization, social media, content development, Pay-Per-Click, and reputation management subscription options. This will all go toward maintaining the investment you’ve already made into your website and toward growing your Internet presence. We hope to a hire a Traffic Development Engineer, another Programmer, and a Salesperson. If you are already a customer of SiteHatchery.com, you may get a phone call or an email from us about optimizing your website for mobile and handheld devices (i.e. responsive design). If it all works out, it’s going to be a great year for both SiteHatchery.com and our clients!

Please feel free to give us a call or email us if we can help you in anyway. Here’s to a great year!

 

 

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A Life of Meaning

Thursday, May 16th, 2013

If we are proactive and passionate about personal growth and continuous improvement, then we can achieve the unimaginable.  It is the determination to grow, and the consistent application of knowledge and values that fuel a sense of purpose and ignites the same spark of faith in others. Yes, the positive consequences of our proactive effort are far reaching – beyond anything we can know.

 

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Should You Use a Ghostwriter? 5 Things To Consider

Thursday, April 11th, 2013

If you’re like me, you have moments where your time feels so stretched, you want to clone yourself: just step into some contraption from a science fiction movie and generate two yous. I know I’d enjoy a having a second Jason around to mow the lawn while I play with the kids.

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What Makes Us Different?

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012

We specialize in custom high-end design. Our clients are typically looking for the wow factor in design – something that grabs the attention of their clients. We like to think that we have some of the better designs on the web.

Our aim is perfection. We value quality – from code to design. We have a full time Quality Assurance Technician whose primary purpose is to catch any glitch before it gets in front of users. Most developers and companies don’t have this additional layer of quality assurance. We stand behind our values.

We are goal-oriented. We set deadlines and stick to them. This is what sets us apart from the overloaded freelancer who has the capacity of only one person. We have a team of six, who are focused on the goal of delivering a fully functioning website on time.

We love to communicate. We believe that communication is key to the success of a website launch. Our typical client wants a beautiful website that uniquely defines their business and addresses their goals. We must listen and understand their needs and unique position in the market. Cookie cutter templates are not our thing.

We have a process. Other companies will jump right into blind development and will waste their and your valuable time with rework.  Here’s our process:

  1. Discovery
    We start with a fact finding mission. We ask lots of questions to determine how to best meet your needs. We’ll run reports, look at statistics, and review competitor sites. We learn what you are about, where you’ve been, and where you are wanting to go.
  2. Wireframing and Documentation
    We begin sketching our ideas using plain old pen and paper and/or digital wireframing tools – whatever fits the occasion.  Depending on the size of the project, we will also provide documentation such as use cases, test cases, field definitions and architectural design documentation. The goal here is to get everything we need to design and build the project, establish deadlines and deliverables and more clearly define scope.
  3. Design
    Once you are comfortable with the plan, we will begin the graphic design process for the home page. After feedback and revisions, once we’ve gotten your comments and approval on the home page, we will create full color designs for additional major page types.
  4. Development
    During the development process we write the code that transforms your designs into a fully functioning website or intranet. This includes everything from front end development using HTML and CSS, to hard core server-side software programming.
  5. Testing
    Testing is actually done at every level of the design-build process. Our goal is perfection, so we assign a Quality Assurance Technician to test and inspect every detail of your website at every step.
  6. Go Live!

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Duckback Products Testimonial

Friday, April 6th, 2012

SiteHatchery was recommended to us by one of our local print vendors Creative Composition.  We liked the user friendly aspect and clean design of the Creative Composition site and Duckback was in need of a complete website overhaul.  We desired a site that would be easy to navigate and visually appealing.  With over 25 unique products under the brands of Superdeck and Mason’s Select, we also required that the products be organized in a very user friendly fashion.  Duckback sells products through an international distribution to 3,500 store locations requiring an online retailer database with zip code search and map function.  In addition we required a media center to share files, videos, photos and other marketing content with our customers and vendors.  We wanted to post customer testimonials and photos as well.  Needless to say we asked for a lot.  The team at SiteHatchery did an amazing job that resulted in a completely new and modern look with major improvements to the design and functionality of the site.  Duckback has been in business in Chico for over 20 years, and as a local manufacturer we are pleased to support another Chico business within our community.  Please visit our new site at www.superdeck.com and let us know what you think!

Jennifer Haney
Senior Project Manager
Duckback Products

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day

Friday, March 16th, 2012

Greetings everyone!  Happy St. Patrick’s Day!  It has been an exciting first couple of months for our 2012 year.  We just finished wrapping up the website for a national wood stain and concrete stain brand, Duckback Products – makers of Superdeck and Mason’s Select.  It was one of the larger scale projects we’ve done and look forward to working with them in the future if the opportunity presents itself.

We are currently beginning work on a website for Fanny Pak, a dance crew competing on this season of MTV America’s Best Dance Crew.  This will be one of the first entertainment and celebrity-driven sites that we have worked on.  We’re excited to give them an awesome look and feel for their website, and watching them take the crown this year on ABDC.  We wish them the best of luck.

Speaking of luck… it’s St. Patrick’s Day tomorrow!  We hope you all have a safe holiday and maybe we will see some of you at the Chico Home & Garden show this weekend.  We’ve been helping them with updates on their website this year and look forward to seeing the work we put into their site come to life this weekend.

Until next time!!

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Video Blog – Search Engine Optimization > Backlinks

Saturday, March 10th, 2012

Jason Cox, Owner of SiteHatchery, discusses the role SEO (Search Engine Optimization) in the success of an online business. Specifically, he quickly describes different backlinking methods.

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Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 14th, 2011

The SiteHatchery Egg even loves Christmas!

2011 has been a fun and exciting year for us here at the SiteHatchery office.  This year we brought on three new employees, worked simultaneously on web development projects, and are ending the year doing perhaps the most exciting website we’ve done as a company thus far.  It’s our first government website as a company, so it’s quite the rewarding experience for us to be given the opportunity to develop a website that will have such a high impact on its community.

We have wrapped up many projects this year including websites for entrepreneurs as well as local and out of state businesses.  Among these, Edwards Property Management, The Ebay Life Blog, Swank Plank and a website for a radio station out of New Jersey, WFDU FM.  We are thrilled and anxious to see what 2012 will bring, and how we can possibly further challenge ourselves in our creativity and web design elements.  As a company, we constantly strive to keep up with the latest, modern web designs and features, offering up-to-date, professional websites to our clients.

As this year comes to a close we would like to thank all of you who have supported us this year; to all of our clients and friends, we wish you a Merry Christmas and hope that your holiday season is filled with joy, laughter and great memories for the years to come.

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Extreme Makeover: Office Edition

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

Until 5 months ago, we were doing business out of various coffee shops in our city. In the beginning, it was a fantastic way to save overhead expense – no Internet, rent or power bill. My grand vision was to have a large and lean virtual company made up of SiteHatchery employees networked all over California, working out of coffee shops. The perk? Free coffee and treats. Of course there were certain problems inherent with my plan. For one, the noise was very distracting and sometimes unbearable. I even purchased a $350 pair of headphones to block out the chatter. Outgoing phone calls were challenging (I often sat in my car), the Internet connection was usually slow or down, and we found ourselves regularly engaging in long conversations with familiar patrons. For a while we were able to tolerate these issues, however, it eventually became apparent that maybe it was time for an office. Though having an office would be in increase in overhead, we would certainly be more efficient and focused. So, in April, we made the big move.

The coolest looking pillows! Perfect for our new office and new chairs.

It’s been 5 months in the new office and we are loving it. We moved to the north side of Chico in the Esplanade North complex, just across from the new Brain Freeze and CVS shopping center. We really wanted to stay away from

the stereotypical web development company – having an office in downtown with limited paid parking. Instead, we decided to settle down in a professional location where our clients and future prospects would take us a little more seriously. Our new office was a blank canvas for creating the perfect work environment, so we brushed on a wall of black paint as a base and placed our giant logo over the top of it. The Craigslist gods even brought us a beautiful vintage gold velvet couch! Soon we will be adding a nice coffee table and a pair of retro white chairs with funky pillows that have “@” symbols on them. We can’t wait to start our new video blog with this cozy area as the backdrop.

 

Our new chairs for the office should be here anytime! Were extremely excited for their arrival.

Business is doing well, though we do miss the simple perks of working out of coffee shops, it’s nothing a quick trip across the street to Brain Freeze every now and then can’t fix. The new office is a place where we will be able to grow as a company and look good doing it! We’re excited for all of the new things that are happening in the SiteHatchery office, and would love for you to come see our new home. Maybe you can even help us design the office a little bit, we would love the input. Just give us a ring at (530) 680-2734; We would love to show you our work spaces and share with you our vision.  Hope to see you soon!

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Bidwell Perk Testimonial

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011

Our business is grounded on a commitment to offer great service and products to our customers.  Our goal was to create a website that would effectively mirror our values, our brand, and  bring Bidwell Perk’s online presence to life. SiteHatchery did just that!  The website showcases our business perfectly. The photography captures different products and retail items for sale, as well as the environment at Bidwell Perk. It is easy to navigate, allowing visitors to explore our menus for coffees, teas, specialty drinks, breakfast, lunch and more.  We hope that customers who see us online will come and visit us in Chico, California!



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Creative Composition

Saturday, July 23rd, 2011

Website developed for Creative Composition in Chico, CAThe challenge for Creative Composition in envisioning a new website was that it would need to speak to two very different audiences; print newbies, who have a vague idea of what they want and no knowledge of how to ask for it; and seasoned print professionals who speak “printer-ese” as their first language. We produce a huge volume and variety of materials so an easily understandable and navigable site that could showcase our abilities and serve both kinds of clientele was mission critical.

SiteHatchery understood and embraced the challenge from the start.

Did I mention we have more than our share of control freaks around here? (An occupational hazard in a business that is keen on DETAILS.) We also wanted a dynamic site that we could easily update so we could show the world the killer products we were making day in and day out. We don’t do stale.

We also had some very specific ideas of how we wanted it to look and feel. They were great at responding to “I want what I want”. There answer was always, “Sure, we can do that”. I never felt that someone was on the other end of the phone call rolling their eyes.

Jason and his team helped us think through the process and find the most elegant solutions. They kept to their timelines and also held us accountable to our part of the process, which is crucial in any partnership – and sometimes a delicate dance.

However, even more impressive to me than their technical expertise, was SiteHatchery’s commitment to client communication. I’ve worked with other web firms that assure you they are ”busy in the back room” and promise to hit the deadline but you can never be sure because there is no communication between milestones. The SH team acknowledged every communication, and gave me real time progress updates. That is HUGE when you are answering to people above you who want to hear more than …”the web guys promise……”.

We are thoroughly delighted with our new site and would (and have) give SiteHatchery our highest recommendation.

Keitha Corbit
Creative Composition
Client Relations Director

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New Blog Design

Monday, February 28th, 2011

If you have received our eblast, then you have heard the rumor about the change to our blog. Look around. Does it remind you of something familiar? You guessed it!! It looks just like the rest of our site!

We decided a uniform look will decrease confusion to new visitors, so we gave it an upgrade. What do you think?

In web development, consistency is a key component to good development. We do not want people to think they have left our site when they visit our blog, so we decided to help them out a bit. It is the same site you have grown to trust for web development discussion, just with an upgrade. Please continue to give us tips and feedback. We always appreciate the dialogue.

Always improving,

The SiteHatchery team

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The Phone Book vs. Google

Thursday, February 24th, 2011

The use of websites has dramatically changed over the course of the last five, even ten years. More consumers are turning to the internet to look up simple business questions. The phone book is a thing of the past. I cannot even count the number of times I have “googled” a business just to look up simple information about operating hours, services offered, and phone numbers. Because of the change in the use of the web, business must reconsider their presence online.

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Strategic Content and SEO

Friday, January 21st, 2011

Though understanding and applying SEO (Search Engine Optimization) concepts can be challenging, it’s absolutely necessary to have a firm grasp on at least the basics. SEO firms and web developers throw out terms like meta-tags, backlinks, sitemaps and other other such technospeak, making internet marketing seem as daunting as writing a book on application programming or learning a foreign language. The complex algorithms involved in a search listing placement are well beyond the comprehension of most mathematicians. So don’t beat yourself up if it seems over your head. No matter your height, the sky is over all of our heads.

Implementing basic SEO concepts can truly set your online business apart from your competition. Your website’s position in search engine listings influences fluctuations in visitor traffic, and in many cases, viability. So your primary aim will be to do whatever you can (providing that it’s fair and ethical) to make it to the top of the list. It is this drive to advance beyond a competitor that makes SEO fun, and getting there can be financially rewarding. (more…)

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