In-Depth Design & Development
Tried and tested, our proven web design process includes everything you need to get your new business website up and running and generating leads. From start to finish, we make the web design process as quick and painless as possible. Just sit back, relax, and let us do the coding. This is how we turn your vision into an incredible reality.
Phase One – Planning
Our project begins with an in-depth planning session to decide exactly how to organize your company goals and digital vision in the most effective and strategic way possible. We’ll dive deep into your company mission for future growth to ensure we are clear on our objectives and path of development.
Phase Two – Design
At the design stage, you sit back and relax while we make plans on creative ways to showcase your content in a cohesive and appealing manner. We’ll collaborate with you to decide on colors, fonts, logo design, and overall formatting.
Phase Three – Development
After extensive research, collaboration, and graphic design we are ready to work on the interior content and functionality. This phase often goes swiftly since we put an incredible amount of time and care towards our planning & design process. Here we work on perfecting the interior page’s functionalities.
Phase Four – Website Launch
A 100+ point pre-launch checklist ensures proper development to specifications. We make certain that launching the new site does not present any unforeseen glitches. On average, site launch takes place approximately three to five weeks after project development begins.
What is an article?
- Articles (“a,” “an,” and “the”) are determiners or noun markers that function to specify if the noun is general or specific in its reference. Often the article chosen depends on if the writer and the reader understand the reference of the noun.
- The articles “a” and “an” are indefinite articles. They are used with a singular countable noun when the noun referred to is nonspecific or generic.
- The article “the” is a definite article. It is used to show specific reference and can be used with both singular and plural nouns and with both countable and uncountable nouns.
Many languages do not use articles (“a,” “an,” and “the”), or if they do exist, the way they are used may be different than in English. Multilingual writers often find article usage to be one of the most difficult concepts to learn. Although there are some rules about article usage to help, there are also quite a few exceptions. Therefore, learning to use articles accurately takes a long time. To master article usage, it is necessary to do a great deal of reading, notice how articles are used in published texts, and take notes that can apply back to your own writing.
To get started, please read this blog post on The Argument for Articles.
A few important definitions to keep in mind:
- Countable noun: The noun has both a singular and plural form. The plural is usually formed by adding an “–s” or an “–es” to the end of it.
- one horse, two horses
- one chair, two chairs
- one match, two matches
- one child, two children
- one mouse, two mice
- Uncountable noun: The noun refers to something that cannot be counted. It does not have a plural form.
- Proper noun: The name of a person, place, or organization and is spelled with capital letters.
- Tim Smith
Please see this webpage for more about countable and uncountable nouns.
“A” or “An”
When to Use “A” or “An”
“A” and “an” are used with singular countable nouns when the noun is nonspecific or generic.
- I do not own a car.
- In this sentence, “car” is a singular countable noun that is not specific. It could be any car.
- She would like to go to a university that specializes in teaching.
- “University” is a singular countable noun. Although it begins with a vowel, the first sound of the word is /j/ or “y.” Thus, “a” instead of “an” is used. In this sentence, it is also generic (it could be any university with this specialization, not a specific one).
- I would like to eat an apple.
- In this sentence, “apple” is a singular countable noun that is not specific. It could be any apple.
“A” is used when the noun that follows begins with a consonant sound.
- a book
- a pen
- a uniform (Note that “uniform” starts with a vowel, but the first sound is /j/ or a “y” sound. Therefore “a” instead of “an” is used here.)
“An” is used when the noun that follows begins with a vowel sound.
- an elephant
- an American
- an MBA (Note that “MBA” starts with a consonant, but the first sound is /Ɛ/ or a short “e” sound. Therefore, “an” instead of “a” is used here.)
Sometimes “a” or “an” can be used for first mention (the first time the noun is mentioned). Then, in subsequent sentences, the article “the” is used instead.
- He would like to live in a large house. The house should have at least three bedrooms and two bathrooms.
- In the first sentence (first mention), “a” is used because it is referring to a nonspecified house. In the second sentence, “the” is used because now the house has been specified.
How does SEO work?
Search engines such as Google and Bing use bots to crawl pages on the web, going from site to site, collecting information about those pages and putting them in an index. Think of the index like a giant library where a librarian can pull up a book (or a web page) to help you find exactly what you’re looking for at the time.
Next, algorithms analyze pages in the index, taking into account hundreds of ranking factors or signals, to determine the order pages should appear in the search results for a given query. In our library analogy, the librarian has read every single book in the library and can tell you exactly which one will have the answers to your questions.
Our SEO success factors can be considered proxies for aspects of the user experience. It’s how search bots estimate exactly how well a website or web page can give the searcher what they’re searching for.
Unlike paid search ads, you can’t pay search engines to get higher organic search rankings, which means SEO experts have to put in the work. That’s where we come in.
Our Periodic Table of SEO Factors organizes the factors into six main categories and weights each based on its overall importance to SEO. For example, content quality and keyword research are key factors of content optimization, and crawlability and speed are important site architecture factors.
The newly updated SEO Periodic Table also includes a list of Toxins that detract from SEO best practices. These are shortcuts or tricks that may have been sufficient to guarantee a high ranking back in the day when the engines’ methods were much less sophisticated. And, they might even work for a short time now — at least until you’re caught.
We’ve also got a brand new Niches section that deep-dives into the SEO success factors behind three key niches: Local SEO, News/Publishing, and Ecommerce SEO. While our overall SEO Periodic Table will help you with the best practices, knowing the nuances of SEO for each of these Niches can help you succeed in search results for your small business, recipe blog, and/or online store.
The search algorithms are designed to surface relevant, authoritative pages and provide users with an efficient search experience. Optimizing your site and content with these factors in mind can help your pages rank higher in the search results.
UPDATED EDITION NOW AVAILABLE!
I hope you enjoy reading this book. It ‘ll help you improve your writing in many ways, but I want you to have some fun and pleasure reading it, too.
So, what’s in this book, and how can it help you? For one thing, it’s filled with practical, effective writing techniques that will work for you, just as they’ve worked for the people I’ve taught and helped for the past 30+ years. People just like you: home-business owners, professionals, entrepreneurs, college students, and re-entry men and women, some of whom haven’t been inside a classroom or written a paragraph in more than 20 years.
The book offers help in three major areas: the sentence, the paragraph, and the longer forms (writing essays, reports, ebooks, and books). You may be comfortable in one or two of these areas, but nearly everyone needs help in at least one of them. The point here is that the book assumes no writing skills at all. The chapters will guide you from writing a sentence to structuring a full-length report, essay, ebook, etc.
With these skills you’ll begin to enjoy writing. With knowledge comes confidence, and with your new knowledge you’ll be able to tackle successfully the writing challenges you now avoid. Being able to do this brings a real sense of achievement and satisfaction.
For you, from this day on, writing will be exciting, creative, and best of all, enjoyable.
Multiple Keyword Phrases
It is very difficult for a webpage to achieve search engine rankings for multiple keyword phrases—unless those phrases are very similar. A single page may be able to rank for both “biomedical engineering jobs” and “biomedical engineering careers”. Ranking for “student affairs” and “dean of students” or “gender discrimination” and “violence reporting procedures” with a single page is unlikely.
If you want to rank for multiple keywords phrases with your website, you will need to make a separate webpage for each keyword phrase you are targeting.
Once your keyword phrase is chosen for a given page, consider these questions:
- Can I use part or all of the keyword phrase in the page URL (by using keywords in folders)?
- Can I use part or all of the keyword phrase in the page title?
- Can I use part or all of the keyword phrase in page headings and subheadings?
Answering yes to these questions can improve your search engine ranking. Be natural and user-friendly, though. For instance, you do not want the word “engineering” to show up three or more times in the URL or have the phrase Northern Lights repeated in the page title and also every heading. Readability and usability still trump search engine optimization.
Beyond page URL, title, and headings, content is most influential on search engine rankings. Repeat your keyword phrase several times throughout the page—once or twice in the opening and closing paragraphs, and two to four more times throughout the remaining content. Be authoritative. Strategically link to relevant sources and additional information—both within your organizations broad website and even to other websites which are useful.
Don’t forget to use bold, italics, heading tags (especially an H1), and other emphasis tags to highlight these keyword phrases—but don’t overdo it. You still want your language and writing style to read naturally. Never sacrifice good writing for SEO. The best pages are written for the user, not for the search engine. Read more about SEO marketing to help you find new content opportunities.
2. Update Your Content Regularly
You’ve probably noticed that we feel pretty strongly about content. Search engines do, too. Regularly updated content is viewed as one of the best indicators of a site’s relevancy, so be sure to keep it fresh. Audit your content on a set schedule (semesterly for example) and make updates as needed.
Writing additional content, rich with keyword phrases, on your departmental news blog can also boost your search engine rankings. Blog posts can even be shorter updates about the specific topics you are targeting. Interlink your related CMS webpages and blog posts when it helps give the reader a better picture or additional information about the topic.
When designing your website, each page contains a space between the <head> tags to insert metadata, or information about the contents of your page. If you have a CMS site originally produced by the UMC web team will have pre-populated this data for you. However, it is important for you to review and update metadata as your site changes over time.
Title metadata is responsible for the page titles displayed at the top of a browser window and as the headline within search engine results. It is the most important metadata on your page.
For those with a CMS website, the web team has developed an automated system for creating the meta title for each webpage based on your page title. This adds to the importance of using well-thought-out page titles rich with keyword phrases.
Description metadata is the textual description that a browser may use in your page search return. Think of it as your site’s window display—a concise and appealing description of what is contained within, with the goal of encouraging people to enter. A good meta description will typically contain two full sentences. Search engines may not always use your meta description, but it is important to give them the option.
Keyword metadata is rarely if ever used to tabulate search engine rankings. However, you should already know your keyword phrases, so it doesn’t hurt to add them into your keyword metadata. You’ll want to include a variety of phrases. As a general rule, try to keep it to about 3-7 phrases with each phrase consisting of 1-4 words. A great example would be “computer science degree.”
4. Have a link-worthy site
A webpage which is content-rich, authoritative, unbiased, and helps visitors learn more about what they are interested in is most likely to attract links from other websites, which improves your search engine optimization.
Improve your authority and credibility by adding relevant links within the text. Instead of having “click here” links, try writing out the name of the destination. “Click here” has no search engine value beyond the attached URL, whereas “Michigan Tech Enterprise Program” is rich with keywords and will improve your search engine rankings as well as the ranking of the page you are linking to. Always use descriptive links by linking keywords—it not only improves search engine optimization, but also adds value to your readers, including those with disabilities or who are using screen readers.
5. Use alt tags
Always describe your image and video media using alt tags, or alternative text descriptions. They allow search engines to locate your page, which is crucial—especially for those who use text-only browsers or screen readers.
If your goal is to optimize searches for Google, why not get the info straight from the horse’s mouth? Head to the source and take Google’s own digital marketing course. While they are notoriously silent on technical and proprietary aspects of their namesake search engine, they offer some of the most useful content for marketers.
- General Search Console Help. This page is full of webmaster guidelines that should be read to make sure that your site remains compliant with the guidelines that Google enforces. There are several basic principles that Google continually imposes to keep the integrity of the site. Some of the basic principles are: make pages primarily for users, not for search engines; don’t deceive your users, avoid tricks intended to improve search engine rankings and think about what makes your website unique, valuable, or engaging. The things that will get you kicked from Google are: automatically generated content, link schemes, no or very little original content, cloaking, hidden text, and scraped content or sneaky redirects.
- Google’s SEO Starter Guide. This guide started off as an attempt to help teams that were already within Google master the art of SEO. It later opened up to all, helping all publishers and webmasters, especially those who are new to the subject gain traction. This guide is roughly a 30 page document that covers all areas that a beginning webmaster needs to comprehend. It is broken down into six different digestible categories for easy learning, with subsections within those categories. The topics covered include: search engine optimization basics, how to improve the structure of your site, optimizing content, dealing with crawlers, and promotions and analysis. Each of these topics are broken down for you to understand how to utilize each, and why it is important to apply them. Although this is as starter guide for search engine optimization, there are still several useful techniques that even seasoned webmasters can benefit from here.
- Google’s Digital Marketing Course provides tips for SEO professionals, developers, and webmasters. This information will allow you to make the most of their platform, as they intended it. You won’t encounter any revolutionary algorithmic information but they will give you real-world (or in this case, online) knowledge to help you thrive within the system. Google has the best internet-savvy professionals on its staff. It’s rare for a corporation to give a seminar on how to take advantage of their software. It’s almost preposterous that it’s free, but Google wants you to succeed in optimizing content to their high standards.
- Do you need an SEO? – Search Console Help. Not only does this guide helps you to understand search engine optimization, it also provide tips and pointers on how to avoid scams by companies, such as black hat tactics that will ultimately get your page demoted. Google has a beginners guide to Search Engine Optimization (static.googleusercontent.com) that will help any website (new or old) get noticed in their search results.
- How Google Search Works – Search Console Help. This is another link that helps you to uncover the process that shows how new and updated pages are added to their index. It explains a few different methods in delivering search results: crawling, indexing, and serving. These three areas will walk you through all that is required to ensure that your site is visible to the algorithms, as well as helping you achieve the right visibility—making sure that once your site has been seen, the content is relevant enough to raise its awareness in search rankings. Google stipulates that if a site ranks well for a keyword, it’s because they’ve algorithmically determined that its content is quite relevant to the user’s query.
- Steps to a Google-Friendly Site. This article is all about making sure you are able to learn the steps in operating a site that is Google friendly. It will teach you how to provide high-quality on-page content that gives visitors to your site the information that they are looking for. Part of being a Google-friendly site is to have other sites linking to yours and to make it easily accessible. There are certain things that you need in order to be in good standing with Google’s indexing guidelines. This link goes through all of the aspects of making sure your site is SEO friendly and relevant, giving you a list of things that you need to avoid in order to keep your site from getting delisted. It also teaches how to create valuable content that is Google friendly—content that your audience will want to frequent and share with others.
- Webmasters. This tool is a place where you can analyze clicks from Google searches, get alerts for critical errors or issues that your site may be experiencing, and test whether or not Google can successfully understand the content that you are creating. The search analytics report is there to show you how often your site appears in search results— it will teach how to read the analytics report, choose which metrics you want to be displayed, and how to properly group your data. The page alerts you to issues you may be having on your site, and instructs on how to read the crawl errors report. It will also bring you up to speed on the different types of errors that your page can experience and how to fix them. The last piece of material that you will get from this tool is how to test the efficiency as to whether or not Google is able to crawl or render your website’s URL.
- Creating an SEO strategy (with Webmaster Tools!). Another webmaster central blog with the intent of teaching new webmasters. This blog is not just for beginners—it’s also for those who have some experience in SEO, but who are still trying to get a firm grasp of the topic. The thing that is good about this blog is that it has a YouTube video attached to it—giving you a more interactive way of learning how to create a SEo strategy. It is broken down into a few different subsections that include using webmaster central and building a strategy for search engine marketing. Also, this video will help you learn how to audit your own sites, execute and make improvements, and how to overcome SEO obstacles. This post is very informative but the video is not like those found on social media— it is about 15 minutes long so make sure you have a few minutes to dedicate before you start watching.
- SEO Site Tools. This platform offers a wide range of tools that are necessary to run a successful website. You can find extensions, apps, and even browser themes for the Google Chrome browser in the chrome web store. These additions will allow you to do more with Google Chrome. The chrome web store will let you install free items from the store regardless of where you are in the world. With this store, you can use apps to create documents, edit photos, and play games, listen to music and much more. You can use the app to make your webpage more useful by adding extensions to it, allowing you to get relevant links and information on different pages. It also offers apps that you can pay for that give you a little more consumer support. This Google tool also pull metrics from a variety of sources, including social media reactions and also enhances common tools like Yahoo site explorer with links anchoring texts and page ranks.
- PageSpeed Insights. Your web page speed affects your web page rankings, and this is yet another Google developer guide made for webmasters who are in the beginning process of learning how to optimize page speed. Page speed insights measure the performance of a web page for mobile and desktop sites—these speed scores can run from ranges starting at zero and ending at 100 (100 being the best). Once the page speed performance is measured you will be able to find ways to optimize the speeds that your web page is putting out. The higher the score, the faster your page is moving, and anything above a score of 85 indicates that your site is running at normal speeds. A score less than 85 can mean that your site is having errors and not operating at optimal levels. It is important to remember that the speed of your site and its performance varies a lot, and depends greatly on the strength of the internet connection that is being used.
- Google Trends. Another excellent app that tells you how well your site is doing and lets you explore the trends that Google is seeing. It will show the volume of searches for your website, keywords or backlinks over a period of time. You can keep up-to-date on exactly what has been searched, and that will allow you to dictate what kind of content you want to create or if you should update your backlinks and keywords. This Google trends app may very well be the best app for a webmaster to use in order to view keyword popularity. Get this application if you are serious about optimizing your content to get the most views out of online search engines.
- Google Webmaster Central Blog. Being that Google is the enterprise that makes the algorithms that find your content, any post they make for webmasters is automatically a voice that should be heard. This webmaster’s blog discusses how they are fighting web spam. They lay out the increases in securities for mobile devices, due to a rise in mobile searches, and highlight changing algorithms with the recent penguin updates. Upon first reading this I was unable to see the usefulness of having this article in the catalog. Any time Google (or any search engine) makes changes to its algorithm there are unintended consequences. Google Webmaster Central Blog addresses some of those consequences and offers ways for you to circumvent them without being branded as implementing “black hat” SEO methods. This blog is definitely worth looking into if you are having unexplained dips in views after the penguin update.
- Google Inside Search. For more information on how crawling and indexing works, what Google ranking system does, and how Google filters and fights spam results to display the most relevant and unique results, this is one of the best tools out there. The page also directs to Google webmaster guidelines, which teaches how to create a friendly relationship with Google’s algorithms. In addition, the guide provides tips and tools to help website owners manage their search presence. Google believes that society works at its best when it provides a space for all voices to be heard, thus, teaching users to strike the right balance between sharing information and keeping the internet safe and useful. The Inside Search tool is constantly working to prevent irrelevant and poor quality from rising in your search results. In some cases, they even manually remove content they believe violates the law.
Most brand messages are easy for someone to ignore. Why? Because they aren’t relevant to that person in that moment. National and local marketers can avoid this pitfall with data-driven, performance-oriented media activations. By targeting specific audiences and regions, and tailoring the content, you capture customers’ attention and inspire action.
Media You Can Measure
We take this approach for digital and traditional media. We plan, buy, and optimize national and local media across the entire marketing funnel. Because sales are critical to achieving the greatest return on your media investment, we typically start at the bottom, concentrating first on trial and conversion, then working our way up to awareness and consideration. With a mantra of continuous improvement, we test, learn, and optimize campaigns across the entire media mix to achieve the best possible results, making the most out of your media budget.
We don’t just consult with brand marketers to devise a full-funnel strategy for digital and traditional channels. We also work with local marketers to execute agreed-upon tactics and customize creative at scale. Through that holistic lens we can see opportunities at the national and local levels.
In a time of media convergence, silos no longer make sense. We don’t separate our media group into strategy or buying, digital or traditional, search or social. Our multidisciplinary teams comprise strategic experts with hands-on experience across all media channels who understand market factors that impact your business: local economy, demographic and ethnic composition, media landscape and costs, competitive spending, and local events. We take all of this into account, along with previous media performance, to formulate plans that achieve national local key performance indicators (KPIs).
This commitment to operational excellence allows your media dollars to flow to the best-performing opportunities. Then we go beyond dashboard reporting to provide deep analysis and actionable insight into media performance.
When consumers go online to research, read reviews, or make a purchase, you want your brand to be front and center. Paid search ensures you’re there when they are.
We help brands and their local partners plan and execute paid search programs that evolve with the search engines and result in measurable outcomes, such as leads and sales, especially when coupled with a comprehensive search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. Our official partner status with Google and Bing ensures dedicated support, early access to beta products, invitation-only training, and first-to-market opportunities — all of which translates to a competitive advantage for you.
Like paid search, SEO can feel like a moving target. The way people search changes incessantly, their searches have become more complex, and search engines consider myriad factors when delivering results. To compete, you need a flexible, adaptable SEO strategy that addresses both brand and local needs. Our SEO team identifies opportunities to drive more traffic to your brand and partner websites so you both exceed business goals.
ORGANIC AND PAID SOCIAL MEDIA
Social media has become an integral tool in your marketing arsenal for doing everything from building brand awareness to driving foot traffic to your local stores to delivering quality leads and purchases. Inclusive of organic and social content, our social media strategies consider your brand’s KPIs, national trends, and local insights to deliver tangible outcomes such as sales and positive return on ad spend (ROAS).
Ansira is also badged in the Meta Business Partners program for our excellence in the industry and mastery of Facebook platforms.
In her guest blog, biomedical engineering (BME) major Pavitra Attanayake writes about helping to establish a peer mentoring program for first- and second-year BME students to improve overall student success and give back to the MTU community.
My freshman year at Michigan Tech was confusing, to say the least. As the first in my family to pursue an undergraduate degree in the United States, and the only one from my high school friend group to brave the U.P., I quickly realized that I had basically no idea what I was doing here. There were advisors, faculty and staff I could talk to, but in all honesty, I didn’t really want to go ask a professor to help me pick out what student organizations I should join or how to navigate dorm life.
Looking back, I think I did OK surviving my first year. Yet, so many instances were made unnecessarily difficult because I was trying to succeed at college while also trying to figure out what I was doing.
At the start of my third year at MTU, I got involved with the pre-health and Pavlis peer mentoring programs. Meeting students similar to myself, listening to them talk about their hopes and dreams, and helping them navigate the challenges of their college careers had me remembering the feeling of walking onto campus for the first time three years ago.
Knowing that I was helping someone else accomplish their goals and succeed during their time at Tech was fulfilling. Peer mentoring was a way to not only give back to the MTU community, it was a way to better overall student success. Being a peer mentor also made me realize that the BME department could benefit from this sort of support system for students.
BME has great advisors and faculty, but there were few opportunities for new students to network and connect with juniors and seniors. New students aren’t just first-years — they might also be transfer students, anyone who recently switched into a BME major, or just someone who needs the opportunity to meet a new friend.
My personal experiences and the fulfillment I felt as a peer mentor motivated the creation of the BME department’s Peer Mentoring Program. The first step was figuring out a backbone for the program. Using my experience as a peer mentor and consulting with students and faculty of the mentoring programs I had gotten involved with, I created a rough idea of the program that I presented to BME advisor Michael LaBeau. He was excited and very supportive of this idea and directed me to Smitha Rao, with whom I have worked to flesh out the program into a detailed and feasible idea.
Our goal is not to replace academic advising or to build a new learning center; this program is about creating intradepartmental connections on both a professional and social level. Whether it is sharing personal experiences and challenges, hearing a bit more about what it means to be a BME major, or even finding out about various opportunities and campus resources available to students, our peer mentoring program weaves threads between students traveling similar pathways.
Getting the opportunity to create and direct a program such as the BME Peer Mentoring Program has led me to learn not only the challenges of leading such an initiative, it has also allowed me the chance to learn much about myself. I came to Tech thinking I would do what it took to get my degree and walk out the doors quietly, which is what I had done up to that point in my life. I was never the kid who talked to teachers in class or was known by anyone outside my friend group.