Before becoming a web designer, my work experience was pretty varied. I worked as an educator, of both children and adults, in a number of settings. Among other subjects, I taught several foreign languages, and my background as a professional artist also led to a few painting instruction jobs. Whether teaching language or art, communication skills have always been my strong suit, and the ability to get an idea across clearly is one that has served me well all my life. My husband, on the other hand, has a far more technically-oriented mind. His scientific approach to things results in top-notch website programming ability which is of great value. He will work for hours on some tiny detail, unable to drop it until he has it just right.
When life gave us the opportunity to start our own web design and SEO company, the task at hand for me was to glean all the technical information stored in my husband’s head so that I would be a valuable business partner. I knew nothing about web design, nothing about SEO. It was obvious that my artistic abilities would be beneficial to our firm, but my coding know-how was nil. Well, it was uphill work, I can tell you, trying to get my husband to teach me what he knew. In the beginning our conversations all sounded like this,
“In order to create a virtual include structure for this series of documents, we will need to create a CSS.”
“You mean, if I want that bar thing to be at the bottom of the page, I have to make this long thing on this page that controls the whole web site???”
It was vital for me to re-word almost everything he taught me into language I could understand and remember, and it took some doing! And, this is an issue I have come across with nearly every SEO guide I have read, to date, on the Internet. I believe that the people who write these guides are so used to talking to their colleagues that they forget that some of us have never heard of HTML before, some of us don’t understand what a hyperlink is, some of us are so new to all of this that every other word in these guides sounds like a foreign language.
My goal with this beginners guide to search engine optimization for small businesses is to explain the basics of SEO to you as I needed to have them worded for myself in order to understand them. I will avoid robot-speak as much as I possibly can, and I believe by reading this guide you will end up feeling much better informed as to what this whole SEO business is about and why every web site owner who wants to make a profit needs to be educated about it. I want this guide to be your one-stop resource for what you need to know about optimizing your site for better search engine rankings, better traffic and better profits.
Solas Web Design is a small firm (just my husband and myself) and I believe it’s because of this that we understand the needs of small business owners better than many of our more corporate colleagues. Let’s face it, nearly every small business owner’s main concern is paying those bills on the first of the month, and by running a website that is to be either your sole source of income or a supplement to another income, you are trying to face those bill paying days with a feeling of confidence and security. Beyond that, you’d like to have the ability to have some fun and recreation, and to provide little extras for your loved ones. The Internet has made this possible for countless small web business owners.
We’ll be the first to say, we have no experience with get-rich-quick schemes, or corporate-level finances. What we do know is that we have seen correct web design and SEO double and triple the profits that our clients make. These clients are stay-at-home mothers, retired couples, bright entrepreneurs and sole proprietors who are hard workers, striving to make a decent living, just like we are. If this describes your situation, then this SEO guide is for you. We’ll start with the very basics, and move from there to long term goals for increasing the value of your web site over time. If anything in this guide doesn’t make sense to you, let me know, and I’ll do my best to explain it to you in a way you can understand.
When my husband and I started Solas Web Design, we committed to working with small web businesses. Not only were we both disenchanted by the corporate, big-business attitudes which we feel make most Americans’ work lives precarious, unfair and undignified, but we strongly believe that the small business owner needs to be the backbone of American commerce. His years of knowledge and sense of personal responsibility for the products and services he offers result in a friendly, quality, trust-based marketplace. This is who we want to work with, who we want to shop with, and why we are offering this free information specifically to the small business owner. Read the guide, determine whether you’re able to implement its practices yourself, and if you decide you’re going to need help, you’re welcome to contact us for a quote. Either way, our goal is to help you!
So, let’s begin with our first topic: