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Based in London, Ontario, Concerto Designs offers affordable website design and SEO (Search Engine Optimization) services for small- to medium-sized businesses, churches, and other non-profit organizations in Canada and across the United States. We specialize in Open Source Content Management Systems (CMS) and e-commerce platforms such as Joomla, Wordpress, Drupal, Silverstripe, CMS Made Simple, Magento, X-Cart, and others. We also offer mobile app development and custom data applications.

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Understanding SEO: Overview

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) refers to a broad spectrum of practices that are designed to enhance the searchability of your site and to improve site page ranking for different search engine queries. Successful SEO requires a strong understanding of how search engines robots (aka bots) index and evaluate your web design and content, how they determine its relevance, and how different platforms and technologies can help - or hinder - your site's visibility.

Types of Campaigns:
Organic SEO


Organic SEO techniques are specifically designed to leverage your content, website structural elements, and graphics for maximum ranking advantage. A well-executed SEO strategy will improve the volume and quality of traffic to the website through focused “organic” search results. Because organic search results are generated in the main body of the search engine page results, they have higher credibility and click rates than sponsored search listings (PPC). Organic SEO programs not only earn superior page ranking for organizations but also result in sharper targeting of audience demographics and market niches.

PPC (pay per click)

With a PPC account, a site competes for space along the top and side of the search engine’s pages among the sponsored listings. Google uses a formula based on keyword relevancy to a search to determine which ads will appear on the top of the site as opposed to the side. Your ad can appear many times without you ever paying anything for the listing. Aside from any initial set up and maintenance fees, you only pay when someone clicks on your ad into your site. This cost is referred to as the cost per click or CPC.

A CPC is assigned to the specific key words you choose to target. CPC’s are bids entered by you and your competitors when you create a PPC account. Major corporations and e-commerce sites use PPC to increase visibility quickly.

In competitive areas, a PPC campaign can easily cost hundreds of dollars per month and more.

Best Practices: Content

According to Google's SEO Guide, you do not need a major overhaul:

"Search engine optimization (SEO) is often about making small modifications to parts of your website. When viewed individually, these changes might seem like incremental improvements, but when combined with other optimizations, they could have a noticeable impact on your site's user experience and performance in organic search results. "

This is true - sort of - as long as you have sufficient content, i.e. ample amounts of well-written, authentic content, ESPECIALLY on the home page.

If you do not have enough content, then you may in fact have to rethink your website design and User Interface (UI). Some site owners resist the idea of content since they prefer website designs with minimal content and beautiful graphics. That's fine, however there are two factors that make that approach a poor choice:

  1. Most searches are performed on mobile devices
  2. Most mobile searches are specifically for information, i.e. for relevant content.

Someone who needs to find information on a smartphone or tablet will not care a whit about the flaming smokestacks and pop-up galleries.

How Much Content Works Best for SEO?

Google is rather coy about exactly how much content will help achieve good page ranking (they state that word count in not used to assesss ranking), HOWEVER, real-world experiences and recent studies confirm that more copy produces better search position. One study by ahrefs found that websites who rank #1 in various searches average 1,000 related keywords. That's a huge amount, and probably overkill for smaller businesses and non-profits.

In my experience with clients in a wide range of industries and services (healthcare, heavy manufacturing, rental properties, flooring, ethanol advocates, auto repair, non-profits of every type - and of course web development), I find that aiming for about 600-900 words on the home page works really well AND can be integrated into an eye-catching and pleasing design.

For many years, we relied on a wonderful Joomla plugin, SWK2 Tabs Pro, by Styleware that displayed K2 Extra Fields in tabs. This is a huge advantage over the default display which just stacks the Extra Fields in a verical layout. If you have a lot of Extra Fields and/or they have a lot of content (Images, maps, or other media), then the page becomes long and hard to navigate, especially for mobile devices.

Unfortunately, this plugin has not been updated for quite a long time and no longer works in the latest versions of Joomla and K2. There is, nonetheless, a handy alternative for Joomla sites that use the Bootstrap platform in their template. Joomla was the first CMS to integrate Bootstrap into both the front- and back-end views. Joomla 3's default template, Protostar, is built on Bootstrap, and there are many template developers who take advantage of Bootstrap's robust and thoroughly tested library of responsive components, including tabs.

Converting content to tabs using Bootstrap simply requires adding classes and attributes to the html of the tab headers (the names that users click on to open a tab) and their corresponding content.

I have had the opportunity to meet and connect with many excellent developers over the years. My personal approach is to keep an open mind - after all, being part of a community should involve sharing knowledge, right? Since I have worked with many CMS platforms (Joomla, WordPress, Drupal, CMS Made Simple, ModX, Magento, etc.), I am always curious to learn how these platforms continue to evolve (or not - some CMS platforms have withered on the vine due to lack of ongoing  development and support).

All these platforms share certain features:

  • They are coded in PHP (the world's most popular web application language), CSS, and javascript for a dynamic presentation layer.
  • They are powered by relational databases that typically run on MySQL or some other SQL flavor.
  • They have a secure administrator portal, also know as the backend view, which allows site owners to make various kinds of edits and revisions to content, images, product listings, deisgn, etc.

Since moving to Canada, we have maintained our web design and development support for our US clients as well as expanding our Canadian client base. In addition, we have been called into a number of WordPress projects and in the process we have deepened our WordPress toolkit! If you are looking for help with your WordPress site, please contact us. We can help with mobile optimization, design updates/revisions, plugin management and custom plugin development.

If you are looking for a new website and are contemplating using WordPress, we recommend checking out our blog entry on the perennial "WordPress vs..." debate. WordPress may be a good choice, but until you have a strategic sense of how you want your website functions to grow over time, you may risk boxing your organization in.

Already more than a month into 2017 and there are lots of new and ongoing projects to share.

Ongoing projects include circadian.com and circadianlight.com (see galleries below), developed for Circadian Inc. based in the Boston, MA area. Circadian first contacted me with a serious security issue on their Joomla 2.5  site. After running a secuirty audit and restoring codebase integrity, I then upgraded their site to Joom;a 3.6 and developed a Bootstrap 3 template to replace their outdated commercial template that was not optimized for mobile. I also developed landing pages for a Google Ads campaign along with Marketo forms (integrated with Salesforce) and a custom Marketo form template.

The next project was a design/development of a brand new site, circadianlight.com. In collaboration with other designers and content strategists, I developed the home page as a 'web app' style layout with a single column and full width horizontal sections. I also implemented lightbox popups for video and various contact forms.

Working with Joomla 3.6.5 and K2 2.7.1, I have run inrto a persistent error after importing older content from Joomla articles. When trying to access one of the K2 itmes, a JSON syntax error message appears and forces the user back to the main panel.

The solution is easy to implement as long as you have access to PhpMyAdmin in Cpanel (or some other Mysql database control panel GUI).

Looking at the 'metadata' column in K2_items table, I saw that the imported articles had a value of:

{"robots":"","author":"","rights":"","xreference":""}

While K2 items created 'natively' had a value of:

robots
=author=

Solution: in the SQL panel of PhpMyAdmin, run the following:

SELECT * FROM `prefix_k2_items` SET `metadata` = 'robots=author=' WHERE `metadata` = '{"robots":"","author":"","rights":"","xreference":""}'
Note: BE SURE TO REPLACE 'prefix' with the actual prefix used in your database.

 

bh4kt1m0t

X8UX0JrhVh7vAe&

Understanding SEO: Overview

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) refers to a broad spectrum of practices that are designed to enhance the searchability of your site and to improve site page ranking for different search engine queries. Successful SEO requires a strong understanding of how search engines robots (aka bots) index and evaluate your web design and content, how they determine its relevance, and how different platforms and technologies can help - or hinder - your site's visibility.

Types of Campaigns:
Organic SEO


Organic SEO techniques are specifically designed to leverage your content, website structural elements, and graphics for maximum ranking advantage. A well-executed SEO strategy will improve the volume and quality of traffic to the website through focused “organic” search results. Because organic search results are generated in the main body of the search engine page results, they have higher credibility and click rates than sponsored search listings (PPC). Organic SEO programs not only earn superior page ranking for organizations but also result in sharper targeting of audience demographics and market niches.

PPC (pay per click)

With a PPC account, a site competes for space along the top and side of the search engine’s pages among the sponsored listings. Google uses a formula based on keyword relevancy to a search to determine which ads will appear on the top of the site as opposed to the side. Your ad can appear many times without you ever paying anything for the listing. Aside from any initial set up and maintenance fees, you only pay when someone clicks on your ad into your site. This cost is referred to as the cost per click or CPC.

A CPC is assigned to the specific key words you choose to target. CPC’s are bids entered by you and your competitors when you create a PPC account. Major corporations and e-commerce sites use PPC to increase visibility quickly.

In competitive areas, a PPC campaign can easily cost hundreds of dollars per month and more.

Best Practices: Content

According to Google's SEO Guide, you do not need a major overhaul:

"Search engine optimization (SEO) is often about making small modifications to parts of your website. When viewed individually, these changes might seem like incremental improvements, but when combined with other optimizations, they could have a noticeable impact on your site's user experience and performance in organic search results. "

This is true - sort of - as long as you have sufficient content, i.e. ample amounts of well-written, authentic content, ESPECIALLY on the home page.

If you do not have enough content, then you may in fact have to rethink your website design and User Interface (UI). Some site owners resist the idea of content since they prefer website designs with minimal content and beautiful graphics. That's fine, however there are two factors that make that approach a poor choice:

  1. Most searches are performed on mobile devices
  2. Most mobile searches are specifically for information, i.e. for relevant content.

Someone who needs to find information on a smartphone or tablet will not care a whit about the flaming smokestacks and pop-up galleries.

How Much Content Works Best for SEO?

Google is rather coy about exactly how much content will help achieve good page ranking (they state that word count in not used to assesss ranking), HOWEVER, real-world experiences and recent studies confirm that more copy produces better search position. One study by ahrefs found that websites who rank #1 in various searches average 1,000 related keywords. That's a huge amount, and probably overkill for smaller businesses and non-profits.

In my experience with clients in a wide range of industries and services (healthcare, heavy manufacturing, rental properties, flooring, ethanol advocates, auto repair, non-profits of every type - and of course web development), I find that aiming for about 600-900 words on the home page works really well AND can be integrated into an eye-catching and pleasing design.

For many years, we relied on a wonderful Joomla plugin, SWK2 Tabs Pro, by Styleware that displayed K2 Extra Fields in tabs. This is a huge advantage over the default display which just stacks the Extra Fields in a verical layout. If you have a lot of Extra Fields and/or they have a lot of content (Images, maps, or other media), then the page becomes long and hard to navigate, especially for mobile devices.

Unfortunately, this plugin has not been updated for quite a long time and no longer works in the latest versions of Joomla and K2. There is, nonetheless, a handy alternative for Joomla sites that use the Bootstrap platform in their template. Joomla was the first CMS to integrate Bootstrap into both the front- and back-end views. Joomla 3's default template, Protostar, is built on Bootstrap, and there are many template developers who take advantage of Bootstrap's robust and thoroughly tested library of responsive components, including tabs.

Converting content to tabs using Bootstrap simply requires adding classes and attributes to the html of the tab headers (the names that users click on to open a tab) and their corresponding content.

I have had the opportunity to meet and connect with many excellent developers over the years. My personal approach is to keep an open mind - after all, being part of a community should involve sharing knowledge, right? Since I have worked with many CMS platforms (Joomla, WordPress, Drupal, CMS Made Simple, ModX, Magento, etc.), I am always curious to learn how these platforms continue to evolve (or not - some CMS platforms have withered on the vine due to lack of ongoing  development and support).

All these platforms share certain features:

  • They are coded in PHP (the world's most popular web application language), CSS, and javascript for a dynamic presentation layer.
  • They are powered by relational databases that typically run on MySQL or some other SQL flavor.
  • They have a secure administrator portal, also know as the backend view, which allows site owners to make various kinds of edits and revisions to content, images, product listings, deisgn, etc.

Since moving to Canada, we have maintained our web design and development support for our US clients as well as expanding our Canadian client base. In addition, we have been called into a number of WordPress projects and in the process we have deepened our WordPress toolkit! If you are looking for help with your WordPress site, please contact us. We can help with mobile optimization, design updates/revisions, plugin management and custom plugin development.

If you are looking for a new website and are contemplating using WordPress, we recommend checking out our blog entry on the perennial "WordPress vs..." debate. WordPress may be a good choice, but until you have a strategic sense of how you want your website functions to grow over time, you may risk boxing your organization in.

Already more than a month into 2017 and there are lots of new and ongoing projects to share.

Ongoing projects include circadian.com and circadianlight.com (see galleries below), developed for Circadian Inc. based in the Boston, MA area. Circadian first contacted me with a serious security issue on their Joomla 2.5  site. After running a secuirty audit and restoring codebase integrity, I then upgraded their site to Joom;a 3.6 and developed a Bootstrap 3 template to replace their outdated commercial template that was not optimized for mobile. I also developed landing pages for a Google Ads campaign along with Marketo forms (integrated with Salesforce) and a custom Marketo form template.

The next project was a design/development of a brand new site, circadianlight.com. In collaboration with other designers and content strategists, I developed the home page as a 'web app' style layout with a single column and full width horizontal sections. I also implemented lightbox popups for video and various contact forms.

Working with Joomla 3.6.5 and K2 2.7.1, I have run inrto a persistent error after importing older content from Joomla articles. When trying to access one of the K2 itmes, a JSON syntax error message appears and forces the user back to the main panel.

The solution is easy to implement as long as you have access to PhpMyAdmin in Cpanel (or some other Mysql database control panel GUI).

Looking at the 'metadata' column in K2_items table, I saw that the imported articles had a value of:

{"robots":"","author":"","rights":"","xreference":""}

While K2 items created 'natively' had a value of:

robots
=author=

Solution: in the SQL panel of PhpMyAdmin, run the following:

SELECT * FROM `prefix_k2_items` SET `metadata` = 'robots=author=' WHERE `metadata` = '{"robots":"","author":"","rights":"","xreference":""}'
Note: BE SURE TO REPLACE 'prefix' with the actual prefix used in your database.

 

bh4kt1m0t

X8UX0JrhVh7vAe&

Understanding SEO: Overview

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) refers to a broad spectrum of practices that are designed to enhance the searchability of your site and to improve site page ranking for different search engine queries. Successful SEO requires a strong understanding of how search engines robots (aka bots) index and evaluate your web design and content, how they determine its relevance, and how different platforms and technologies can help - or hinder - your site's visibility.

Types of Campaigns:
Organic SEO


Organic SEO techniques are specifically designed to leverage your content, website structural elements, and graphics for maximum ranking advantage. A well-executed SEO strategy will improve the volume and quality of traffic to the website through focused “organic” search results. Because organic search results are generated in the main body of the search engine page results, they have higher credibility and click rates than sponsored search listings (PPC). Organic SEO programs not only earn superior page ranking for organizations but also result in sharper targeting of audience demographics and market niches.

PPC (pay per click)

With a PPC account, a site competes for space along the top and side of the search engine’s pages among the sponsored listings. Google uses a formula based on keyword relevancy to a search to determine which ads will appear on the top of the site as opposed to the side. Your ad can appear many times without you ever paying anything for the listing. Aside from any initial set up and maintenance fees, you only pay when someone clicks on your ad into your site. This cost is referred to as the cost per click or CPC.

A CPC is assigned to the specific key words you choose to target. CPC’s are bids entered by you and your competitors when you create a PPC account. Major corporations and e-commerce sites use PPC to increase visibility quickly.

In competitive areas, a PPC campaign can easily cost hundreds of dollars per month and more.

Best Practices: Content

According to Google's SEO Guide, you do not need a major overhaul:

"Search engine optimization (SEO) is often about making small modifications to parts of your website. When viewed individually, these changes might seem like incremental improvements, but when combined with other optimizations, they could have a noticeable impact on your site's user experience and performance in organic search results. "

This is true - sort of - as long as you have sufficient content, i.e. ample amounts of well-written, authentic content, ESPECIALLY on the home page.

If you do not have enough content, then you may in fact have to rethink your website design and User Interface (UI). Some site owners resist the idea of content since they prefer website designs with minimal content and beautiful graphics. That's fine, however there are two factors that make that approach a poor choice:

  1. Most searches are performed on mobile devices
  2. Most mobile searches are specifically for information, i.e. for relevant content.

Someone who needs to find information on a smartphone or tablet will not care a whit about the flaming smokestacks and pop-up galleries.

How Much Content Works Best for SEO?

Google is rather coy about exactly how much content will help achieve good page ranking (they state that word count in not used to assesss ranking), HOWEVER, real-world experiences and recent studies confirm that more copy produces better search position. One study by ahrefs found that websites who rank #1 in various searches average 1,000 related keywords. That's a huge amount, and probably overkill for smaller businesses and non-profits.

In my experience with clients in a wide range of industries and services (healthcare, heavy manufacturing, rental properties, flooring, ethanol advocates, auto repair, non-profits of every type - and of course web development), I find that aiming for about 600-900 words on the home page works really well AND can be integrated into an eye-catching and pleasing design.

For many years, we relied on a wonderful Joomla plugin, SWK2 Tabs Pro, by Styleware that displayed K2 Extra Fields in tabs. This is a huge advantage over the default display which just stacks the Extra Fields in a verical layout. If you have a lot of Extra Fields and/or they have a lot of content (Images, maps, or other media), then the page becomes long and hard to navigate, especially for mobile devices.

Unfortunately, this plugin has not been updated for quite a long time and no longer works in the latest versions of Joomla and K2. There is, nonetheless, a handy alternative for Joomla sites that use the Bootstrap platform in their template. Joomla was the first CMS to integrate Bootstrap into both the front- and back-end views. Joomla 3's default template, Protostar, is built on Bootstrap, and there are many template developers who take advantage of Bootstrap's robust and thoroughly tested library of responsive components, including tabs.

Converting content to tabs using Bootstrap simply requires adding classes and attributes to the html of the tab headers (the names that users click on to open a tab) and their corresponding content.

I have had the opportunity to meet and connect with many excellent developers over the years. My personal approach is to keep an open mind - after all, being part of a community should involve sharing knowledge, right? Since I have worked with many CMS platforms (Joomla, WordPress, Drupal, CMS Made Simple, ModX, Magento, etc.), I am always curious to learn how these platforms continue to evolve (or not - some CMS platforms have withered on the vine due to lack of ongoing  development and support).

All these platforms share certain features:

  • They are coded in PHP (the world's most popular web application language), CSS, and javascript for a dynamic presentation layer.
  • They are powered by relational databases that typically run on MySQL or some other SQL flavor.
  • They have a secure administrator portal, also know as the backend view, which allows site owners to make various kinds of edits and revisions to content, images, product listings, deisgn, etc.

Since moving to Canada, we have maintained our web design and development support for our US clients as well as expanding our Canadian client base. In addition, we have been called into a number of WordPress projects and in the process we have deepened our WordPress toolkit! If you are looking for help with your WordPress site, please contact us. We can help with mobile optimization, design updates/revisions, plugin management and custom plugin development.

If you are looking for a new website and are contemplating using WordPress, we recommend checking out our blog entry on the perennial "WordPress vs..." debate. WordPress may be a good choice, but until you have a strategic sense of how you want your website functions to grow over time, you may risk boxing your organization in.

Already more than a month into 2017 and there are lots of new and ongoing projects to share.

Ongoing projects include circadian.com and circadianlight.com (see galleries below), developed for Circadian Inc. based in the Boston, MA area. Circadian first contacted me with a serious security issue on their Joomla 2.5  site. After running a secuirty audit and restoring codebase integrity, I then upgraded their site to Joom;a 3.6 and developed a Bootstrap 3 template to replace their outdated commercial template that was not optimized for mobile. I also developed landing pages for a Google Ads campaign along with Marketo forms (integrated with Salesforce) and a custom Marketo form template.

The next project was a design/development of a brand new site, circadianlight.com. In collaboration with other designers and content strategists, I developed the home page as a 'web app' style layout with a single column and full width horizontal sections. I also implemented lightbox popups for video and various contact forms.

Working with Joomla 3.6.5 and K2 2.7.1, I have run inrto a persistent error after importing older content from Joomla articles. When trying to access one of the K2 itmes, a JSON syntax error message appears and forces the user back to the main panel.

The solution is easy to implement as long as you have access to PhpMyAdmin in Cpanel (or some other Mysql database control panel GUI).

Looking at the 'metadata' column in K2_items table, I saw that the imported articles had a value of:

{"robots":"","author":"","rights":"","xreference":""}

While K2 items created 'natively' had a value of:

robots
=author=

Solution: in the SQL panel of PhpMyAdmin, run the following:

SELECT * FROM `prefix_k2_items` SET `metadata` = 'robots=author=' WHERE `metadata` = '{"robots":"","author":"","rights":"","xreference":""}'
Note: BE SURE TO REPLACE 'prefix' with the actual prefix used in your database.

 

  • Web Design @ London, Ontario
    Web Design @ London, Ontario

    There is tremendous opportunity for web design and development in London, Ontario and tremendous competition as well. Londonn has emerged not only as a technology hub but also as a home for web design firms of all types and sizes, from the very large to small (well - Concerto Designs, for one!), from enterprise solutions to WordPress sites and everything in between.

    Concerto Designs thrives in this environment because we offer a focused, efficient approach to providing a unique product model.

    Let's start with our product: although we have experience designing and developing web sites in a wide range of platforms, (Drupal, Wordpress, Magento, X-Cart, DNN, and others), we focus above all on providing complete, turnkey solutions using our optimized configurations of the Joomla CMS platform. By turnkey solutions, we mean everything necessary for a well-functioning, optimized, beautifully designed, hand-coded and content-rich web site. We stress content because we know that content is the most valuable - and challenging - asset in developing an effective digital presence.

    We also offer flexible development plans that streamline production and costs.

    For some businesses, this means a website that features daily specials, product updates, or e-commerce, for others it might involve downloadable brochures, email campaigns with newsletters, blogs, bulletin boards to handle FAQs, or other dynamic content options. However you put your website to work, Joomla CMS allows you complete flexibility and control so that your website and your business grow together. By providing the web solutions that make the most sense for your company, we keep your costs down and your marketing focused. And with Joomla, you can always add new components later.

    in Web Design @ London ON Read more...
  • Content to Marketing: Joomla Helps You to Connect the Dots

    Your web design gives your business a face – your content gives your business a voice.

    And the best platform for shaping and broadcasting that voice is Joomla.

    Well-written content that is crafted and published with Joomla's outstanding editorial tools lets your business and organizational goals come in loud and clear through search engines and social media. Our Joomla’s CMS (Content Management System) web sites provide multiple tools to manage all aspects of content development, publication, and optimization.

    After years of developing Joomla sites for clients in the Twin Cities (Minneapolis and St. Paul, MN), South Carolina, and across the country, we have selected an array of extensions and tools that give your site the competitive edge it needs, including:

    1. The JCE (Joomla Content Editor) lets you style content, spell-check, insert images, add links, embed pdfs and other attachments, add captions, and much more. No knowledge of html or coding is required at all. The full-featured editor panel lets you perform all editorial tasks easily and efficiently. Images can added directly into content from your desktop or laptop computer.

    2. The K2 Content Creation Kit (CCK) brings in the best features of other platforms like Wordpress and Drupal into Joomla, including full-featured blogging capabilities, layout options that can be changed on the fly or varied from page to page, tagging, and extra fields that allow you to add customized maps, contact info, spreadsheet data, and much more.

    3. Joomla’s flexible system of modules (typically used in side columns, dialogue boxes, text boxes, header, footers) provide visually rich, flexible snippets that broaden the scope of your messaging.

    4. Joomla's built-in SEO (Search Engine Optimization) features allow you to manage search engine-friendly urls, page titles, metadata, and other structural elements critical to short- and long-term SEO campaigns. By responding quickly and efficiently to shifting visitor traffic and keyword patterns, you can propel your site's page ranking without having to pay expensive SEO consultants.

    5. Frequently updated content scores better with search engines - and with repeat visitors. Joomla makes updating and adding content as easy as editing a word document. You choose how often to update modules, add new pages, blogs, specials, or news items. That’s good for search engine visibility, good for visitors and good for business.

    Joomla makes managing content simple. With these tools you shape access and create trigger points for visitors to find your site’s most important information.

    Before your site launches, we make sure you understand and can use all these Joomla tools.

    in Home page