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So you think you’re a website designer …

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You have the Homestead or Intuit software and have decided that it’s so easy to use that you’ll go into the website design business.

Do yourself, or better yet any potential clients, a HUGE favor.  Do something else until you learn the right way to design sites.  Otherwise you are doing the client a disservice and contributing to the bad name that website designers have gotten because of the amateurish attempts of many.

You are not a website designer if:

1. You aren’t aware of page weight, what it is, how to reduce it or even how to check it.
2. Alt text isn’t in your vocabulary.
3. Templates are your mainstay design tool.
4. You use the non-professional elements that just scream ‘Amateur’ or Non-Professional site.
5. You don’t realize that sites render differently in different browsers.
6. You haven’t taken the time to learn SEO (and even worse don’t know what SEO stands for).
7. You kidnap the site and ‘piggyback’ it off your own site. Thus the client doesn’t have access to the stats or the ability to go in and run the site themselves.
8. The link structure is poorly thought out and/or incomplete.
9. Usability also isn’t in your vocabulary.
10. The site isn’t consistent from page to page.
11. You think blinking, scrolling, flashing, jumping things are consistent with good web design.
12. You use “Black Hat” techniques.
13. You don’t understand the difference between java-script and plain text. And worse yet, don’t realize that java-script can have a negative impact on the site.
14. You still aren’t sure exactly what Meta tags are.
15. Page Titles show up as Home, About, etc. in the browser bar.

We are seeing more and more “website designers” asking for a site review on the Forum.  Upon reviewing these sites it becomes instantly clear that they have a long way to go before they should be turned loose on the unsuspecting public as website designers.  Having the ability to easily make sites with Intuit – Homestead software is great and does afford the opportunity to become a designer.  But PLEASE do your homework before you venture out and ruin a client’s potential to have a successful site due to your inability to design a site that offers usability, visitor friendliness and search engine optimization.

We have written two books that can help you successfully start your own web site design business. The first deals with starting a home based design business and the keys to good design. The second is a guide to search engine optimization that is an invaluable resource for anyone, whether a would-be designer or someone who is just building their own site.  Of course we’re interested in selling our product, but the bottom line is that we are more interested in seeing people succeed in their ventures by creating sites that do the job they are intended to do.

Homestead Website Design – The Building Blocks to a Successful Home Based Business

SEO Building Blocks – Search Engine Optimization for the Homestead Website

Books can be purchased separately or as a bundle.  Visit The Learning Center for more information.

Help With SiteBuilder Program for Intuit – Homestead Users

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Build a website and the world will beat a path to your door. It sounds great, but the reality is that unless your site is well designed and optimized for the Search Engines you will probably end up falling through the cracks and have very limited success with your site. For users of the ( Intuit ) Homestead Website software there are a number of ways to get support and help with the program.

The key to developing a web site is planning. A good place to begin is with the free Web Site Design Guide from S&J Enterprises.  With over 20 years of combined experience we are very familiar with the workings of the Site Builder program and how to develop a website that is both user and search engine friendly. The Guide provides helpful ideas and guidelines for designing and optimizing your Homestead website.

Download the free Web Site Design Guide

The Homestead Connection  is another great resource for Homestead users to get help with the program. The website explains how things work with the drag and drop SiteBuilder software.  Examples and tutorials take you through the basics of the program. There are also tips and information as well as links to sites and software that help to enhance your website design.

The Homestead Connection Forum  is a free, moderated Forum for Homestead users to get advice, offer help, receive site reviews, learn about Search Engine Optimization ( SEO ) and share in the Homestead Community experience of website building.

If you are an Intuit – Homestead user you can list your website(s) in the free Homestead Connection Directory.  The Directory was created to help webmasters get better exposure with the Search Engines and provide a quality directory for visitors. Your first listing is free and you have the option of adding a second listing or even a business card listing for a nominal fee.

Homestead Design and SEO  is the Blog resource we use to keep Homestead members up-to-date on design and Search Engine Optimization in addition to help with the Homestead program.

SEO Building Blocks E book by S&J Enterprises is a comprehensive guide that explains how to optimize your Homestead web site for the Search Engines. Simple directions and visual aids make it easy to apply   search engine optimization to your website. Examples and explanations show how to give your site more Search Engine and visitor appeal – both of which add up to more visits and more sales! 

The Homestead Website Design  E book was written to give Homestead users a guide to starting a home based web site design business. The book explains the steps necessary for start up, proper design techniques and ways to create an income stream to earn more from your business. Great even for the beginning webmaster who isn’t interested in starting a web design business but who needs help with site design.

Homestead Technology has both phone support  ( 1-800-710-1998 ) and a Help Ticket resource.  The Help Ticket can be accessed by logging into your Homestead account and clicking on Help.

There is a wealth of help for the Homestead user. Between the assistance offered by Homestead and the site building help from actual Homestead users, the Site Builder program is undoubtedly one of the best supported website building programs available.

Join Us For Our Next Live Chat

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Our next Live Chat is March 24, 2008 at 6:00 p.m. MST

You must be a member of the Homestead Connection Forum in order to participate.  Click   to join the Forum.

Members may obtain password information by clicking on the Live Event topic in the Forum.

Our topic is Understanding Anchor Text and How To Use It Effectively

Areas Covered:

1. Using Anchor Text both within your site as well as in directories and other sites.
2. Incorporating your keywords or phrases in Anchor Text.
3. How to use varied Anchor Text and the text surrounding it to expand the range of terms viewers may search for.
4. Capitalize on giving the Search Engines important keywords by using them in page titles and file names.

Homestead Users – Where do you get your search engine optimization information?

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Are you wading through pages and pages of internet information that may or may not fit your needs to find useable information on SEO? Is this information current or several years old? Perhaps you have a friend who has a website and is giving you information. Are you visiting forums in the hope of gleaning any useful information or answers to your questions? Are you purchasing or thinking about purchasing videos to help teach you about optimizing your website?

Some thoughts and recommendations that can prevent you from wasting your time and/or money on products and information sources that are incomplete, poorly done, provide incorrect information and don’t give the Homestead user information that applies to a Homestead designed website.

Blogs, Websites and Videos: 

Self promotion is what internet marketing is about. You may find blogs, videos and perhaps websites selling some information to make optimizing your Homestead website quick and easy.

 Search engine optimization is not easy, it is not quick and there are no guarantees.

Anyone can build a blog or website and present themselves as an expert. This is usually done to self promote and assist in selling items or products.

To gather good, sound information join the Homestead Connection Forum. It is free and limited to just Homestead users. We provide helpful hints, guidance and sources of other information. The admin staff and its major contributors have well over 20 years experience with SEO and proper website design. 

Visit this blog often or subscribe to the feed as new information will show up here first, it will be as complete as possible and it will apply to your Homestead website as well as any drop and drag site builder program.

Use the Homestead Connection website that provides tutorials to give you a good foundation on fine tuning your website and installing extra scripts to help customize pages. 

If you are thinking about purchasing information first find out about the seller, how long have they been around? A couple of years ‘experience’ is not long enough to be promoting oneself as an expert. If you see lists of keywords demonstrating their skill in optimizing a website – remember this…if there is no competition you can place anything on the first page! Do not be impressed with lists of highly placed keywords.

Is there a no questions asked money back guarantee on products? If not, don’t spend your money.

Are they selling information that has long been available free to Homestead users either on the Homestead Connection Forum or the HC site?

We have written two books dealing with website design and SEO. SEO Building Blocks is a guide to search engine optimization for the Homestead designed site. Homestead Website Design was written for anyone wanting to start their own web design business or to help a new site owner learn to use the SiteBuilder program properly and understand good usability for both site visitors and search engines.

We provide free updates, and a no questions asked money back guarantee.

 Homestead trusts us enough that they provide links to and promote both the Homestead Connection Forum and our Homestead Website Design book.

 Our goal is to provide you the foundation to understand how SEO works. This will enable you to weather the changes that the search engines undergo from time to time.

 Even if you only use the Homestead Connection Forum, or the Homestead Connection website and/or this blog, you will gain information that is complete enough to do things right. That may not be the case on other websites and blogs….if you want to learn, come to the teachers not the students.