Saturday, May 28, 2016

Why You Need a Mobile-Friendly Website

We all know that smartphones are on the rise. More and more people are searching through their phones and tablets. But how important is it to make sure your website is mobile-friendly?

It is actually VERY important to make sure your website has been optimized for mobile devices. Consider these 2 facts:

1. According to, the most recent research says that 34% of cell phone users go online mostly with their cell phones, as opposed to using other devices like a desktop or laptop computer.

2. Google, the biggest player by far of the search engines, has said that they reward websites that have a mobile-friendly website when it comes to search engine ranking. In other words, if you don't have a mobile-friendly website, you will not be as high on the search engine rankings as you could.

It's easy to explain #1. We all know that people are relying more and more on smartphones and tablets.

But most people don't know about #2, Google rewarding mobile-friendly websites. It is very important to keep Google has happy as possible regarding your search engine optimization. That's what we will focus on here.

How do I know if my website is "mobile-friendly", according to Google?

Fortunately, Google has made it very easy to tell if your website has passed the test. They provide a free tool to check -

Just copy/paste your web address into the box, and Google will let you know if your website is mobile-friendly. They check if the text is too small, are links too close together, and is the mobile viewport set.

What if my website fails the test?

The good news is that it is fairly inexpensive to make a website mobile-friendly enough to pass Google's test, and get the SEO benefit. At Fresh Look we employ two different strategies, we will either create a mobile-only version of a website that is optimized, or we will create a different template for the website that smartphone users are directed to. Both ways are inexpensive, but effective in making your website user friendly as well as more optimized for the search engines.

The bottom line is that both human users and the search engines want to see a optimized mobile website. Check your phone to make sure that your website is easy to use, and check it at Google's mobile test link -

Let us know if you need any help creating a mobile friendly website at or call us at 757-778-8973.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

How Do I Make My Important Information Stand Out?

Most websites hold a LOT of information. It's not always easy to separate what is most important with what is not. If you could only tell your web visitors one thing, what would it be? Do you know what that is?

And really it's not just one thing, but maybe two or three or more. But think about it for a minute: What is the most important thing you want your users to see?

For Fresh Look Web Design, it's really a combination of two things. We want our users to see our Website Portfolio, and we want them to contact us - either by call or our contact form.

There are lots of other things we want them to do also, but those two are the most important to us.

Once you know what's most important, we come to the title of this article. How do we make that important information stand out on our website?

We have 3 ways we like to do it.

1. In the regular navigation of the website

All your pages should be in the main navigation of your website. Put your important page where the rest of your pages are - usually in the menu across the top of the page. And your important page should not be a drop down item that appears underneath another category - it should be it's own category.

2. In a large graphic near the top of your home page

This large graphic is often referred to as a slider. Especially if it is part of a slideshow that "slides" back and forth between a couple different images.

Make sure that this graphic has a strong call-to-action statement that refers to your important page.

Also make sure that it links to a page that has the information that you want them to see.

3. Smaller buttons on the side or bottom of your website

A lot of websites will have a "rightmenu" or "leftmenu" on their website. On this side part of the website, you will often find some links, maybe the company's contact info, maybe a calendar or social media icons.

It also happens to be a great place to put a good call-to-action button which leads to your important information. Since it's on a side menu bar it should be a smaller than the slider image, but it's still important.

On the page you're on right now, you'll see the 3 ways users can get to our Portfolio page. We have a link in the top menu - "Portfolio", we have the large blue graphic across the top, and we have the yellow button on the right.

Remember, repetition is the key. You're not going to get in trouble for putting three links on your website that all go to the same information. You WANT your users to go there, so make sure they go there.

If you have any design questions about your website, ask us! We will be happy to lend you our expertise. Check out some of our articles to get more great ideas for your business website.

Friday, February 27, 2015

How to Write a Great Meta Description

If you don't know what a meta description is, here is a basic non-technical definition:

The meta description tag is a brief, one or two sentence introduction to each individual webpage on a website. Web users won't see it when looking at the website, but it appears on the search engine results page.

Example - I went to Google and searched "how to write great website content" (a search phrase that one of my articles happens to be ranked #1 for):

Great meta description

As you can see, the highlighted part is the meta description. It's what users see under each link in the search engine results page.

We also talked about the meta description briefly in our article, Easy SEO Checklist.

How many meta description tags should I have?

You should have one unique meta description tag for every page on your website. Because each page is different, Google expects to see different meta descriptions for each page.

You can use the same verbiage for all your pages, however to keep Google and your users happy, we recommend tailoring each tag for each different page so that they're unique to that page.

What should I put in my meta description tag?

A good meta description sounds like a sales pitch. Not corny or over the top, but it entices the reader to click on the link. It needs to be very readable, short, and to the point.

You also want your meta description to stand out from the rest. Put a good call to action statement, or say something to make your users curious. Use punctuation or even limited ALL CAPS to draw the users eye.

How long should it be?

It should be around 155 characters long. Any more than that and Google may cut it off. If you want to get technical, Google actually measures how long your description is in pixels not characters. But you're going to want to keep it fairly short anyway, so 155 characters is a good number to shoot for.

Here's a good tool to check to see if your meta description is the right length -

Does the meta description actually help my Google rank?

Not directly. Google has said that the meta description is not factored into their algorithms. However, if users are clicking on your page because you have a great meta description, then Google will take notice of that. So it does help, just indirectly.

How do I actually add meta tags to my website?

Your web developer can easily help you with this, but if you're editing your own website with Joomla or WordPress or something similar, there are a lot of great plugins that you can download to your site. Here are a couple:


What about keywords?

It's good to put a couple keywords in the meta description if possible. Let's look at our example again:

Great meta description
I typed "how to write great website content" into Google and this is what showed up. Notice how the actual words that I typed into Google is bolded in the highlighted meta description. That helps it stand out a little more. This is why I suggest that if you can, include a couple keywords in your meta description.

Don't stuff your meta description with too many keywords. Writing for users should be your main focus. But a couple keywords in the meta description may encourage users that your page is relevant to what they are looking for.

Google isn't using my meta description

Get this - Google may or may not choose to use your meta description. They may pick out verbiage from the main page content that they think is more relevant to the users search. Unfortunately there's nothing you can do about it, other than make sure you follow our guidelines to writing a good meta description.

Being on the first page of Google is a great accomplishment. But writing a solid, readable, well crafted meta description will actually encourage users to click on your link. Take the time to create a good meta description and watch your website traffic increase.