Why does Outlook keep asking for my Gmail password?

I created a new Gmail account last year.  When I attempted to set up Outlook 2007 to handle my messages, I failed.  I did everything by the book, or so I thought, but nothing worked.  Outlook kept prompting me for my password.

The solution

I came across the solution that I had to reset my CAPTCHA.  This explanation is posted on the Google site under “Common Errors”:  https://support.google.com/mail/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=86376#

If you use two step verification on your gmail account, resetting you CAPTCHA will not be enough to get it working.

You must also Create an Application Specific Password.

I missed this step the first time around, so I thought I’d share it here as just one resource available to you.  I do not know if all of this information was available the first time I tried this a year ago, or if I just simply overlooked it.  But in case anyone else is having the same difficulties, here it is.  Enjoy!

The Biggest Mistakes in Web Design

Making a great website can be quite a balancing act.  From deciding what graphics to use to what tools you will use to turn your visitors into paying customers, you have to be careful not to inadvertently turn them away with either too many complicated graphics or in your face sales tactics.

I came across this article today and felt it is well worth sharing.  It covers some of the biggest mistakes companies make when designing their websites.

 

Why should my small business have a website?

More people are searching online for local products and services than ever before and that number is still growing.  If they are anything like me, the old-fashioned paper directories do little more than take up valuable space in my drawer and eventually find their way into the trash.  As a small business owner, taking advantage of the multitude of online shoppers should be an easy choice.

Worried about the cost? 
While there can be a substantial up front cost to building a website, maintaining it over time is quite inexpensive.  Year after year, you can have an online presence for less than $100 a year, plus the low cost of keeping the content fresh.

Be available at all times: A website gives your customers and potential customers a way to find you and contact you at any time.  A website doesn’t have business hours and isn’t closed on Sundays.  If you offer products for sale on your website, you can make sales even while on vacation!  A website never closes.

Having a quality website will add credibility to your business.  More people are doing their research before spending their hard earned money.  If your potential customers can go to your website and learn more about you, you are building a relationship with them before they even set foot in your door.  (Likewise, a poorly designed website can hurt your credibility, so make sure you do it right!)

Give your business that personal touch:  You can showcase your family and involvement in the community.  This builds trust and loyalty and inspires people to want to do business with you.

Get a lot of questions from your customers?  Offer them an easy way to find the answers at any time with a Frequently Asked Questions page.  If they can’t find the answer they are looking for, give them an easy option to reach you.  E-mail forms are a great way to get people to contact you.  They are inviting and easy to use.  They help take the stress out of shopping by allowing the customer to ask questions in a no-pressure setting.

Many shoppers like to ask questions or get information about a company before leaving their house.  Offering your customers a way to do this will improve the chances that they will come to you when they do decide to buy.

How long before my website starts to bring in business?

Giving your small business an online presence can be a very valuable tool for building new business.  More people than ever before are searching online for local businesses before ever stepping outside their homes.  Online search has become more popular than the Yellow Pages and in many cases, it can be much more affordable long term.

A professionally designed website can certainly help you grow your business, but it won’t happen automatically.  A common misconception is that as soon as a website is published, people will be able to easily find it using search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo.  The truth is, there is a lot of competition out there and getting your name on the top of the list is no small task.  Especially when you’re competing with other businesses who have been on top for years.

Try it.  Go to Google.com and act like you are a potential customer looking for a service you have to offer.  What will you type in?  I typed in web designer on Long Island.  When I look at the top of the page I see I got over 94 Million results. 94,000,000.  That’s a lot of competition to overcome!

How to overcome 94 million competitors

In the Internet world, content is key.  I can’t say that enough.  Just like location location location, I like to say content content content.  Write quality content to describe your products and services.  When people search the web for a local business, they want to know all about you.  What you offer, how you do it, what they can expect as a customer, etc.  They want to know how to contact you, how to get to you, and where to park.

The way search engines work is they are looking for keywords in your content.  If someone is looking for a web designer on Long Island, I need to include those words in my content several times.  I also need to include related words to show that my website is indeed relevant.  The algorithm Google uses is very complex and includes inbound links, domain age, meta tags (the stuff you don’t see when you’re looking at a website), but the most important factor is going to be your content.

How do I know what keywords to use when writing my website’s content?

There are many tools available to help determine what people are searching for when they are looking for local small businesses.  Google AdWords Keyword tool is one of my favorites.  It can tell you how many searches people have performed in the past month as well as the statistics for related searches.  I like to keep my search terms local.  I have a much better chance of attracting someone who is looking for a web designer on Long Island than I do just a web designer.  (web designer searched by itself returns more than 342 million results).

Since my target is small business, focusing on the keywords small business web design on Long Island produces even better results.

Specific niche keywords often perform the best over more broad terms.  Even though more people search for the broad terms like web designer, the chances of coming out on top for such a term are very small.  Focus your niche and bring in the people looking for a more specialized or local service to improve website performance.

Why do I need a web hosting account?

This question often comes up when clients are first exploring the option of building a website. They are trying to understand all of the costs involved in building and maintaining their new website.

I find it helpful to describe all of the parts of a website as if it were your house. First you need to know where you will live. That is your address or your domain name: www.myaddress.com. A domain name costs approximately $10.00 per year depending on which company you choose to register it.

The land that you will build your house on is your hosting account. Without a hosting account, you won’t have anywhere to put your new website’s files. The cost of your hosting account will vary depending on how much space you need. Smaller, simpler sites require less space and will therefore be less expensive. Some hosting accounts cost less than $5.00 a month for most small websites. I offer basic hosting accounts, which work for the majority of my clients, for $47.88 per year or $3.99 a month.

Finally you can build your house. Now that you have your domain name and hosting account (land and street address), your web designer can start putting together the building blocks (files) that will bring your website to life!

WordPress Templates Not Showing Up?

I love WordPress.  I use it for my own site and I offer it to all of my clients.  I came across a problem today that I never encountered before.  When I was editing a page, I went to change the template it was using and…..

it wasn’t there.

As a matter of fact, no templates were showing.

How I fixed it:

Here’s the quick fix for all you WordPress buffs out there.

1. Activate a different theme.

2. Change it back to the theme you were working on.

3.  Now you can change your template.

Have another quick fix for a WordPress problem?  Feel free to leave a comment and link back to your own site!  Spam comments will not be accepted, but helpful hints will!

Mariposa Web Design supports the local economy.

Great news! The economy is improving and business is looking up. Yes! It really is! Ok, ok it’s slow going, but the point is it’s been a steady climb.

The bad news is I can’t do this all by myself. Not without chaining myself to my laptop that is. So I’m expanding my business!

I’ve recently contracted a designer and a coder, both based right here in the greater NYC area. With their help, I’ll be better able to give my clients the personal service they deserve! Not to mention being able to offer them more services that I wasn’t able to offer before!

This is great news for me and for my clients.

The first to benefit was Access Careers in Hempstead. The Access Careers website was recently launched on February 14th.  A happy Valentine’s Day indeed!  Access Careers features a custom WordPress theme, a vertical accordion drop down menu, and a dynamic School Update section.  The site designed to promote their many study programs such as their CNA Courses, Computer Courses and much more!

Like what you see?  Call me to see what we can do for you!

Ways To Improve Sales Through Your Website

Anyone who has been marketing online knows that the lifeblood of a business is the traffic of a site. More visitors equal more sales. However, here are some ways that you can tweak your sites with to improve sales without the need to get more visitors.

The first method is to weave in your personal touch in your sales message. Nobody wants to be sold to by a total stranger, but many people will buy what their close friends recommend to them. If you can convince your audience that you are a personal friend who has their best interest at heart, they will be convinced to buy your products. Remember to speak to an individual in your salesletter, not to your whole audience.

The second method is to publish testimonials and comments from your customers. A good idea would be to publish both good and bad comments; that way prospects will be really convinced that these testimonials are real. When prospects see testimonials on your website, they will have the confidence to buy from you because human beings follow the herd mentality; when others have bought and proven it authentic, they will jump on the bandwagon and buy too.

Use visual representations for the problems and solutions that your product offers. Not everyone will read your text copy from the head to the tail, but most people will pay attention to images on your website.

Offer quality bonuses to accompany the product. When you offer bonuses that complement your product, your prospects will feel it’s a very good deal and it would be stupid to miss it. Be sure to state the monetary value of your bonuses so that people will be even more compelled to grab your good bargain.

Lastly, ask for the sale! Many people entice their prospects with the benefits of their product, sell to them with stories of how it has solved many problems, even offered killer bonuses but forget to ask for the sale. Give a clear instruction on how to buy your product (e.g. “click the button to buy now!”).

Pros and Cons of Flash-based Sites

Flash-based sites have been a craze since the past few years, and as Macromedia compiles more and more great features into Flash, we can only predict there will be more and more flash sites around the Internet. However, Flash based sites have been disputed to be bloated and unnecessary. Where exactly do we draw the line? Here’s a simple breakdown.

The good:

Interactivity

Flash’s Actionscript opens up a vast field of possibilities. Programmers and designers have used Flash to create interactve features ranging from very lively feedback forms to attractive Flash-based games. This whole new level of interactivity will always leave visitors coming back for more.

A standardized site

With Flash, you do not have to worry about cross-browser compatibility. No more woes over how a certain css code displays differently in Internet Explorer, Firefox and Opera. When you position your site elements in Flash, they will always appear as they are as long as the user has Flash Player installed.

Better expression through animation

In Flash, one can make use of its animating features to convey a message in a much more efficient and effective way. Flash is a lightweight option for animation because it is vector based (and hence smaller file sizes) as opposed to real “movie files” that are raster based and hence much larger in size.

The bad and the ugly:

The Flash player

People have to download the Flash player in advance before they can view Flash movies, so by using Flash your visitor range will decrease considerably because not everyone will be willing to download the Flash player just to view your site. You’ll also have to put in additional work in redirecting the user to the Flash download page if he or she doesn’t have the player installed.

Site optimization

If your content was presented in Flash, most search engines wouldn’t be able to index your content. Hence, you will not be able to rank well in search engines and there will be less traffic heading to your site.

Loading time

Users have to wait longer than usual to load Flash content compared to regular text and images, and some visitors might just lose their patience and click the Back button. The longer your Flash takes to load, the more you risk losing visitors.

The best way to go is to use Flash only when you absolutely need the interactivity and motion that comes with it. Otherwise, use a mixture of Flash and HTML or use pure text if your site is purely to present simple textual and graphical information.

7 Surefire Ways To Increase Your Traffic Starting Yesterday

Internet. Business. Profit. To fully integrate all of these words into a successful merging you will need another word. Traffic. Every article you will find about making your site or company successful would always include the importance of generating traffic.

So, we all know that in the core of it all, traffic is the most essential thing to a successful internet based business company. Aside from ensuring that you have a great product to sell, and you have your company’s internal organization well taken core of, it would be time to get to the nitty gritty of things, generating traffic.

If you already have a site and you want think that you’re not getting the traffic that you’re supposed to be getting, then its time to reconsider. If you are contending in these very competitive business, you should always be a step ahead of your competition, increasing your traffic flow should have been done starting yesterday.

Timing is essential, that’s an old adage known to everyone. But with generating traffic, you should always be on your toes and be a day ahead of everyone. Never think of today and tomorrow as a starting point for making your site traffic laden, it should always have been yesterday.

To help you out in generating more traffic for your site, here are some seven surefire ways to increase your traffic starting from yesterday.

1) Invest in good advertising with search engines

Google, Yahoo and Bing provide great advertising schemes that are very truly popular and assures great traffic. Although this surefire way to increase your traffic would cost some money. While some would shy away from spending money to increase traffic, it is imperative in this case to do so because pay-per-click advertising is the top surefire way to increase your traffic.

You could see for yourself the success this search engine advertising methods have reaped rewards for so many companies. Lots of sites feature these advertising systems and many have signed on to reap the benefits. Do not be left behind. Every penny is worth it with using pay-per-click advertising.

2) Exchange or Trade Links with other sites

With exchanging links with other sites, both of you will benefit from the efforts both of you do to enhance your sites traffic. When one site features another sites link, they could provide one another with the traffic one site generates. The efforts are doubly beneficial because it would seem like both of you are working to generate more traffic. The more links traded with more sites the more traffic could be expected.

3) Use Viral Marketing

Viral marketing allows you to spread the word about your company and product without any costs or if ever low costs only. This is a marketing method that can be quite sneaky; you can attach your company’s name, product or link to a certain media such as a funny video, entertaining game, an interesting article or a gossip or buzz. With this method, people get infected with the creativity and entertainment of the medium that they will pass it on to many people.

4) Search and use proper keywords or keyword phrases for your sites content

Search engines look for certain keywords that they would show in their results page. In doing so, having the right keyword and keyword phrase is a high requirement in ranking in high in search engine results. You could write your own content or you could hire someone to do it for you.

5) Write Articles that can lead traffic to your site

Submit articles to sites that would contain the same subject that your site deals in. If you sell car parts write press releases and articles about cars and car parts. Attach your sites description and services at the end of the article as well as the link.

6) Join forums and form online communities

Capture a market and show your expertise and credibility. When you found a good foundation for your site, people will trust you and your site and will pass on to many people their trust. Traffic will certainly increase because they know that you can provide what they need.

7) Lastly, Offer newsletters.

If many people know what you are about and your existence is shared with many others, you will find a loyal traffic that can provide you with more traffic by recommendation. If you arouse the curiosity of your customers they would be pushed to help you with your traffic.