3 SEO Tools Worthy of Your Time

In recent weeks I’ve come across three SEO tools that I’ve found to be very useful. Here is a look at each of these (free) tools.

Rank Checker

Aaron Wall of SEO Book recently released a powerful new Firefox add-on called Rank Checker. If you’re working on moving your site up in the SERPs, you’ll obviously want to know where you stand and to be actively tracking your progress.

As a Firefox add-on this tool is both free and very convenient to use. With Rank Checker you can input the URL that you want to track and a list of keywords that you are targeting (or just researching). You’ll then be able to choose which search engines to check (including all of the international versions of Google). The tool will then go out and get the data and bring it back to you in one convenient place.

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How Design Impacts Social Media Success

Web design and social media marketing are two topics that I enjoy studying, and the two certainly impact one another for website owners and bloggers who are attempting to increase traffic to their site. While social media is intended to put a spotlight on the best and most popular content, the look and appearance of a page will often influence social media users and their decision of whether or not they should vote for a particular submission. The design of a site can be either a positive or a negative influence on the voting decision, and social media marketers need to consider appearance as much as they consider the content and headlines.

8 Ways Design Influences Social Media Users:

1. First Impression

The first impression of any visitor, regardless of how they arrive at your site, will be heavily influenced by the appearance of the site. Generally, opinions are formed in a matter of seconds, not minutes, so creating a positive impression is critical. While most of your website’s visitors will have a short attention span, social media users are notoriously quick to leave a site that doesn’t impress them right away.

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Congratulations to N. Design Studio!

Over the past few weeks we have been running Blog Design Madness, a tournament to determine the best designed blog according to our readers. The tournament was inspired by March Madness, the NCAA basketball tournament. Blog Design Madness started with 64 contestants and each one faced another in head-to-head voting from readers. In the end only one of these excellent designs could be crowned the champion. Congratulations to N. Design Studio for outlasting the other 63 contestants. The score in the final round was N. Design Studio 51, Elliot Jay Stocks 24.

Thank you to everyone who took the time to participate be casting a vote. I hope you enjoyed the tournament and seeing all of these great designs. I would consider doing this tournament again next year, so if you have an opinion one way or another please leave a comment. Also, feel free to make suggestions about how the competition could be improved if it is done again in the future.

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Blog Design Madness Final Round: Cast Your Vote to Determine the Champion!

The Blog Design Madness tournament has reached the final round! The remaining two competitors have made it through five rounds of head-to-head matchups with some of the best blog designs you will find anywhere. The two Final Four matchups couldn’t have been any tighter. N. Design Studio squeaked past Blog Design Blog 57 to 56, and Elliot Jay Stocks edged Kineda 45 to 44. (You can go back through the past rounds here.) Thanks to everyone who has been voting throughout the tournament. Please take a moment to vote and determine the champion! The poll is set to close at 11:59 PM Saturday, Eastern Time (US).

N. Design Studio

N. Design Studio

Elliot Jay Stocks

Elliot Jay Stocks

[poll=64]

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Sitemaps, Their Purpose, and Some Helpful Resources to Create Your Own

Sitemaps are a great tool for both web designers and visitors. Of course, there are two different types of sitemaps, 1) XML sitemaps (also known as Google sitemaps) and 2) HTML sitemaps. Each type serves its own purpose.

An HTML sitemap can be used effectively to increase the usability of a website by providing a page that links out to every page on the site (or at least to the major pages, depending on the size of the site). Navigation is of course one of the most important aspects to creating a user-friendly site, and when visitors aren’t able to easily find what they are looking for, many will turn to a sitemap. As a result, the HTML sitemap can help to keep visitors on your site by showing them where to find specific information. Additionally, because the sitemap links to all of the other pages on the website, they can be helpful to search engine spiders as they are crawling through the site.

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Ranking 80 of the Top CSS Galleries

Web design and CSS galleries are a great source of inspiration for designers, and they are also an outstanding resource for designers to get exposure for their work. Getting a site featured in some of the most popular galleries can bring thousands of visitors and some valuable inbound links.

There are so many different galleries that it’s hard to know which ones are worth the time it takes to submit your site for inclusion. If you’re going to take the time to submit one of your designs to some galleries you might as well submit to those that will give you the best results.

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Which Social Networks Provide the Best Design-Related Content?

For those of us that enjoy and appreciate reading great articles on web design and development, we’re fortunate to have access to a vast amount of quality information. Of course, subscribing to blogs is one of the best ways to stay up-to-date with the best content available, but most of us can’t manage a feed reader full of every post on web design.

Social networking and social media sites are a great alternative, as they give you an opportunity to quickly find information that other users have submitted and appreciated. But with so many social media sites to choose from, monitoring them can be just as time consuming as subscribing to hundreds of blog feeds.

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