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questions you should ask a web design & development company

Questions You Should Ask A Web Design & Development Company

Most of our client are great business owners who know nothing about web design or development. Naturally, they come to us with a ton of questions you should ask a web design & development company. Having an educated client aids in making sure that we exceed their expectations. It also makes them more likely to become a steady, ongoing part of our family-like network.

 

This will be a multi-part series where we have compiled a list of the most important questions you should ask a web design & development company. Knowing the answers or what to expect should help to make the best decision for you. Some of the questions are self-directed, while others are mentioned for the developer, or red flags you should avoid.

 

  1. Does their Portfolio reflect the style you like?
    • Are there examples on their portfolio that reflect your style or your vision? Does their finished work look great, or is there some experience left to be had? Most companies do not display all of their work; however, you should be able to tell if they are capable of the look you want to achieve. If it isn’t apparent, do not be afraid to ask-they may have something up their sleeves to show you.
  2. Does the company have a knowledgeable process for work completion?
    • A company that has a proven process that works will not hesitate in explaining to you the way they work. A clear and well established work plan does not have to be detailed in writing. However, it should be able to easily be explained in a way that you understand. Look for a company that asks a ton of questions; it shows they are listening and the wheels in their head are turning a solution specifically for you.
  3. Does the company have reviews or references?
    • People usually leave reviews when they were either really impressed, or very disappointed. Take some time to check not just their own supplied reviews, but those on social media, Google, and other review sites. The ones published by a third party are less likely to be modified and may truly reflect their business. Privacy issues may affect the ability to provide direct references, but a portfolio should be readily available. References that are provided should have nothing but good to say about them.
  4. What is your experience?
    • In other words, can they do the work requested? How can they assure you that they can perform the work? A web design or development company will be able to understand your requirements with ease, and be quick to discuss follow-up questions or concerns to make sure that they get it right. They will not lead your discussion with their offers, rather let you explain what is needed. Then they are prepared to offer a solution that covers everything you planned, and everything you did not. It is easy to get distracted by bells and whistles of those who seem to have a preplanned go-to. Watch for companies that try to steer you away from building from your core business process in order to fit the mold they use.
  5. What is the lead time for starting a project?
    • Some may say that a free web developer, or one that does not have at least 1-2 weeks waiting time before starting should be meet with skepticism. However, many companies have a large team and resources to start a project. Plan to start within one month of beginning your search or run the risk of quotes expiring or other potential issues. DO consider the project deadline so that you leave enough time to complete the project without rushing.
  6. Does the company outsource their work?
    • This is a highly discussed subject in IT, and is sometimes a sore spot. Some companies do all of the work themselves (in-house), either in their office or by offshore development (their employees). Others may outsource some or all of their work to another company, which is usually offshore. Knowing which model they follow can help avoid going through any issues commonly associated with outsourced projects. Why go through a middle man when you can go directly to the source?
  7. How do you determine pricing or what is the cost?
    • Pricing is different for any web development or design company you meet. Costs usually depend on the total time and resources required. Some projects or tasks need to be billed hourly or can be charged a flat rate. Pricing can also vary according to the number of employees required, API integration, or even the speed you need it completed. Everyone has heard the horror stories of being told one price, and then later having to pay more. Just be sure to get a clear understanding of ALL fees involved, when they are expected, and what is the refund process in the event that things just don’t work out.
  8. Are they local?
    • A very important factor, we can’t stress enough how much easier a project can be with someone local. Choosing a local web design or development company is recommended because it enables you to sit down face to face with someone. Companies not local to you can lead to more frustrations when it’s  time discuss requirements, details, or changes. In the event that there is an issue, you can bring it directly to them because you know who and where they are.

We are about halfway through this list, but the best is yet to come. Check back next week for part two of most important questions you should ask a web design & development company. We plan on wrapping up with topics that really set web design and development companies apart, including why you should use MediaLinkers for your next project!

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The SERPs Changes Google Made in the Year 2015

Google has implemented a lot of changes this year to the mobile search result format through its ‘mobilegeddeon’ update.  All these updates have caused chaos to the retailers.

 

There are also mobile paid placements which have a strong impact on the organic search performance for the retailers, mainly those which had established brands. These changes suggest that Google is working on a major mobile transition.

 

This blog covers the details of showing you where Google is and what it has to do:

 

What are Rich Answers?

 

The Google SERPs have started to display rich answers between Dec 2014 and July 2015 both for its desktop and mobile searches. The percentage has increased from the 22.6 in Dec to 31.2 in July. What actually is a rich answer?

 

Well, a rich answer is Google’s attempt to answer the searcher’s query in the search results without having them to click through a site.

 

Google Local Pack

 

Google is busy grouping the Maps listings into a single block of results for some time. However, during the summers of 2015, it has reduced the visible result number from 7 to 3. What happened was that the sites ranking in the top 3 maps resulted in the local pack. However, the changes didn’t stop there.

 

Google made a shift in its placement shortly. What happens now is that for the mobile searchers, the local pack is placed right above the organic listings, between the paid search ads and the organic listings to be exact.

 

This switches the position between two elements which have got a profound impact on the organic search sessions, even for the sites that were ranking at #1 in the organic search listings.

 

Google’s Graph of Knowledge

 

Just like the local pack, it has also modified the “Knowledge Box” above the organic search listings on the mobile. This happened in August 2015.

 

This also doesn’t happen to be a universal change as there are a lot of brand which do not generate the knowledge box results. For the retailers, which have got brick and mortar presence along with the substantial online presence, these results generate quite frequently.

 

Google Answers

 

Another shuffle by Google is the increasing presence of the Google “Answers.” Those who are unaware of the Google answers can think of it as the organic search result appearing to directly answer a question posted to Google. The results show the most often on queries starting with “with” and “how,” suggesting that the query itself is a definite answer.

 

Answers also sometimes come from a trusted partner source and sometimes pulled from the third party sites through the featured snippets.  Also, as the Google users continue to adapt to the natural language queries, the boxes are expected to show up with the increase in frequency.

 

Beyond this, Google would adapt to its own self-view, looking at it as the information provider instead of just a traditional search engine. With a poor internet and WiFi connection, the rich answers are not shown, as these are much heavier than the list of 10 text search results.

 

Google is always choosing the best customer experience path for speeding up the fancy results.

 

Adjustments to the Paid Channel

 

The changes are not coming from the rich answers influx. Some of the changes are made to the paid placements:

 

The Paid Search Sitelinks

 

The sitelinks which were paid were a question of concern for a lot of SEOs before 2015 and it has taken even higher level after Google altered the standard paid sitelink format.

 

The default sitelink format before August was to include up to 2 to 3 sitelinks columns.  The new format includes a single column stretching up to the four sitelinks. This reduces the total number of sitelinks, significantly changing the vertical space which the paid ad uses.

 

How it has impacted the Organic Results?

 

You can also say that these changes have had a profound impact on the search performance’s organic listings for a lot of retailers.  Due to the brand-heavy intent to the majority of such queries, the brand searches are hit the hardest.

 

Even when one of all such changes is present, the organic results are changed. In case of the presence of multiple elements such as sitelinks and the knowledge box, the top links in the organic results fall behind below the fold on mobile devices regardless of their small or large displays.

 

In case the results are seen on the small phones such as iPhone 4, the top organic result would be more than a full screen scroll below the page 1 fold.

 

These changes have caused a lot of harm to the top links’ organic CTR and many retailers complained of the sharp drop in the CTR for their core brand terms. This drop is caused without a drop in the organic listings or rank of the actual site.

 

How to Deal with all of this?

 

Answering Through the Paid Listings

 

The main reaction of most of these changes is to counter it through the paid channels. Incase Google replaces the top organic results through the paid search ads, rich answers or PLAs, you can as a brand maintain your top paid listing against the branded queries.

 

How About optimize it for Rich Answers

 

Another way to deal with it is to craft the on page content that is optimized for Google Answers. This would help in the placement of your content as an answer to the common queries on Google search results.

 

You can do so by understanding what type of questions, your audience is searching for and providing the clearest, yet t most precise and simple to understand explanation, addressing their needs.  The better a brand is when it comes to anticipating the search audience’s intent; the easier it would be to craft the content which Google is going to put in its rich answers box.

 

Switching to the Mobile App

 

Another way to deal with the changing trends of Google’s algorithm and the way it displays the SERPs, you need to focus on the updating and optimization of the apps for indexing on both the iOS and Android. Google indexes the Android mobile apps for some time and has announced its ability to index the content of iOS apps.

 

What this means is that the apps can target the specific content within the mobile apps via the organic and the paid searches. Applying the code equates to the certain app content with specific website pages, enabling the mobile devices to “deep link” to the app content.

 

This would help the users in being directed straight into the relevant content in the mobile app instead of the mobile web page in Chrome and Safari. This helps in improving the experience and mobile functionality as far as the chances of conversion are concerned.

 

Long story short, you can say that Google has introduced 5 major components of the various mobile search results layouts. All these changes contribute to the reduction of the organic results, continuing to pushing the organic results below the mobile devices fold.

 

As far as the SEO is concerned, it’s about adapting to the changes made by Google to its SERPs. The mobile technology has altered the ways, people interact with the searches.  Google is also responding to the tailored mobile search layouts, making us question our approach to the way we would be approaching SEO in the future.

 

For any type of assistance, feel free to consult the Medialinkers SEO Services.

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Medialinkers, Where we strive to make your online Business a Success

 

Medialinkers, an Atlanta based web design, and digital marketing company has been running successfully since 2002. With the completion of thousands of successful web projects, it has got a satisfied client base all over Atlanta. Our company has helped many small to medium sized business entrepreneurs to succeed in the digital world.

 

Technology changes every day, however, at Medialinkers, we are fully aware of the latest trends and updates, facilitating and simplifying your daily operations. With the help of our experienced developers, programmers, on staff designers and SEO experts, we are there to create functional, responsive and aesthetically-appealing sites.  All the web development and marketing work is done in-house, which means that if you ever need any assistance or help, you can always contact our technical team. Furthermore, our packages are extremely affordable. You can check some of our company highlights in the slides posted below.

 

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Google Finally Rolled Out Panda 4.2 Update, After a Period of 10 Months

Google Finally Rolled Out Panda 4.2 Update, After a Period of 10 Months: For all those people, who were waiting for the Google’s Panda update to roll out, are going to greet the news of Google finally confirming the release date of the update. In fact, according to Google, the update has been released already in this week, on the 18th of July to be exact, but unlike the previous updates, this roll out is happening quite slowly.

 

Also, according to Google itself, the update is going to take a lot of months to roll out fully and would impact your site slowly. The Panda update algorithm is a site-wide algorithm and some of your pages might not see an immediate change but would be affected by it later on.

 

Google last updated its Panda Algorithm 10 months ago, on 25th September 2014. Overall, it was the 28th update, but as some fluctuations in the search results were seen in the month of October last year, it could be considered as the 29th or 30th update overall.

 

Google said this impacted about 2-3% of English language queries. The update is a new start for a lot of webmasters while penalizing many others at the same time.

 

All those webmasters who were previously penalized by Google Panda update have a chance to redeem their site if they have made the appropriate changes, while at the same time if you were relying on the black hat methods; you won’t see a huge impact on your rankings but would slowly see it declining over time this time around.

 

For having yourself, recovered professionally from the Google Panda update, you can hire the Atlanta SEO company Medialinkers.

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E-bay Gets Hacked

E-bay got hacked sometime in February or March, but this e-commerce giant is just now releasing this info to the public. According to the article your credit cards are safe, but your personal information like name, address, and birth days were compromised. What can we learn from this? That no matter how big the company our personal info is almost never safe.

Some simple steps we can take to protect ourselves:

1) Change your passwords regularly
2) Keep the passwords different on each site you visit
3) Avoid using common things like family names, "password" Etc
4) Instead use a combination of Upper and Lower Case Letters, Numbers and Symbols.

To learn more about the attack read here

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