Social Network Website for Customer and Employee Portals

Social Network Websites

Social networking online has become a crucial part of life and has helped many companies grow. Small Businesses have a lot to gain by integrating social network features into their general web presence. Combining services and products with various social networking features creates the ability to connect with consumers directly. It’s about more than being able to communicate news and updates directly to a customer base in an instant; if there’s an issue, businesses have the ability to fix problems personally and as quickly as possible. It also gives consumers a chance to talk to each other. Giving an extremely valuable understanding of what customers like and don’t like.

Businesses can leverage their website to create opportunities to spread their brand and products, to better connect with their target audience, and get to know customers and community members on a more personal level.

Features & Benefits of a Social Network Website include:

Members and Friendship Capabilities:
– Users become members and can friend other members, follow friends activity feeds, message each other privately, and participate in group discussions.

– Create a custom profile template for members displaying their profile picture, friendships, groups, and any custom profile fields needed for members.

– Members will have the ability to create public, private and hidden groups that others can join and follow. These groups also have their own set of moderators and administrators.

Activity Streams:
– Like capabilities, and status updates which can be seen and followed by all other members. Just like Facebook!

– Each user can have their own blog, contributing content to your website community and search engine optimization for your business.

Adding social networking features to a company website is a great solution for building an online community, while enabling people with similar interests to connect and communicate. Some fantastic uses of these features include:

A Campus Wide Network for Universities, Schools or Colleges.
– Classes can connect Teachers and Students, post events, upload downloadable files, and have online discussions.

Internal Company Communication.
– Employees and affiliates can have their own profiles, set goals, rewards, store locations and communicate directly.

A Focused Network for New Products.
– Have customers blog, post and review your products while they use them. Upload photos and comments to be shared within your own community.

A Social Network for a Specific Interest Topic.
– Create specific interest groups and forums for members of similar interest to connect and share ideas.

There are many more features and advantages when it comes to incorporating a social network into a company’s web presence. We are here to provide the tools and integration serious businesses need to help start a company or customer portal community.


The Importance of Responsive Website Design

What is Responsive Web Design?

Responsive website design leverages the latest technology and coding techniques to deliver a website that responds to any device, regardless of size, resolution, or brand. Whether your audience is viewing your website on a desktop computer, laptop, tablet, or mobile phone; the layout and design will automatically react to the screen size and resolution of each individual viewer.

Zen-Den-Web-Design-San-Francisco-Responsive-DesignIn the past, separate versions of websites were created to achieve this concept. For example, when someone visited your site from a mobile phone, the site would redirect to a different version of your site designed specifically for mobile devices. The problem with this approach is there are too many different screen sizes and resolutions in the market today to have specific layout boundaries. So today, we build fluid layout websites that are not only [every] mobile friendly, but tablet and desktop friendly as well. This means that the layout and images resize themselves for the best possible aesthetic fit for the screen. This naturally Increases the user experience and insuring nothing is lost due to cross device compatibility.

Is Responsive Design a Trend?

Let’s take a look at a few figures…
– In 2012 tablets outsold notebooks in the US and China. In 2013 this trend will be global.
– There are more iPhones sold per day (402k) than people born in the World per day (300k).
– There are 900,000 Android phones activated daily (not including tablets)

– 85% of all US adults have smartphones – 56% of them get online. That’s roughly 132 million people in the US alone.
– 78% of US smartphone owners use their smartphones in-store to help with purchases
– There are over 1 billion smartphones in use globally
– Roughly 2.4 billion people on planet earth have access to the internet. In developing countries these are mostly mobile users.

Market Penetration
It took over 30 years for 10% of consumers to get electricity. It took 7.5 years for the smartphone to reach 10% of consumers, and slightly more than 2 years for the tablet. No other technology has penetrated society so quickly in history.

Not considering different devices when building a new website is frustrating to your potential customers. If your site takes too long to load, or is not displaying your information the way you intended you are turning away potential business. The trend of different sized screens is not going away any time soon, so make sure and test out the way your site looks on every different device you can get your hands on.


Google + and Rich Snippets to Improve Your Local SEO Ranking

Google Plus and Local SEO

Keeping up with the latest search engine optimization SEO techniques can be a full time job. However, if you are in business then it really  pays to stay on top of your website’s SEO. As business owners we are all clawing our way up the search engine results pages (SERP’s) in the never ending journey to the first page results. And when we get there; we have to look over our shoulder as our competition scratches and claws its way to catch us.

Many business owners manage their own SEO and others hire an SEO consultant or company to manage the campaign. Regardless of which category you fall in there are several things you need to know in order to keep your SEO on the up and up. If you are using a 3rd party Web Design or SEO Company I recommend some due diligence to ensure that you are getting the optimization that you are paying for. Even for the do it yourself business owner I recommend some tests to gauge your efforts.

1. Have your list of keywords handy.

2. Clear your cache, log out of Google or Yahoo or whatever you are signed into, and perform a search for your keywords.

3. Record the ranking for each keyword. You can also inspect the Meta description and make sure that the copy which is displaying in the SERP’s meets your standards, especially if someone else is doing the writing.

4. Log into Google analytics and look at your site traffic.

5. Check back every 90-120 days and see if anything has changed, for better or for worse. At the very least your ranking and overall site traffic should be roughly the same. If you are losing ground then it might be time to increase efforts or fire your SEO company.

Now that we have that out of the way and you have an idea of where your website ranks or doesn’t rank in Google we can discuss 2 SEO tasks which are relatively easy to execute. If you are not doing SEO yourself then ask your SEO company if it has a strategy for the following:

Rich Snippets and Microdata
Google + and Local Business

Rich Snippets and Microdata

Every page on your website can be easily understood by users when they read your web pages. However, search engines have a tougher time interpreting what is being discussed on your website. So, adding additional tags to the html of your web pages helps the search engines interpret what is written. The tags say, “Hey search engine, this information describes this specific place, or person, or video”. You can help search engines and other applications better understand your content and display it in a useful, relevant way. Microdata is a set of tags, introduced with HTML5, that allows you to do this.

Google +1 and Local Business

Google + is Google’s foray into social networking and can be leveraged for local businesses. Google + use may never threaten Facebook, but they are injecting this stuff into the search results.

To get started simply create a Google + account and add a local business to your page. If you already have a Google Places account set up you can merge these accounts. Verify your email address, website, add some images and content and you are ready to go.

As a local business you want to encourage locals to plus 1 your web pages. This will cause your search results to be favored for local searches by local searchers logged into a Google account.

Ok, let’s connect the dots real quick.

1. You or an SEO Company has optimized your website and your business is showing in Google search results.

2. There is Microdata that can be added to the pages of your website

3. Google wants to be Facebook

Give Your SEO a Boost and Improving Your Ranking in Google

You can use Microdata with information from your Google + account to improve your seo and ranking in Google. If you have designed and developed your website using WordPress the whole process becomes even

WordPress SEO Google + Rich Snippets

easier. There are WordPress plugins that assist you with the insertion of Microdata so you don’t have to get your hands messy in the HTML. Here are 2 that will get you started:

Schema Creator WordPress Plugin
Google Seo Author Snippet WordPress Plugin

The Author Snippet Plugin for WordPress allows you to associate the content on your website and blog with your Google + personal and business account and your profile picture and/or business logo. You can see this demonstrated in this SERP. *Google no longer supports this feature but you can see what it used to look like.

Lastly, you can easily insert the Google +1 badge into your WordPress Website Design using a simple text widget. You can grab the badge code from your Google + account. Now, encourage people in your Google + circles and others to plus 1 your web pages. This will help improve your google search results for local searcher logged into a Google account.