The Theme of Location in Web Design

Web design covers the full gamut of elements that comprise a Web presence. One interesting theme that ties design together is location. Location, location, location – we hear this phrase ringing across the Web when talking about Web sites, especially when it comes to search engine optimization or advertising space. However, there is very little in your Web site that does not relate to location. It is a critical element in everything from hosting to web design, from social media, to advertising.

1. Domains – Location plays an important role in domains. If you have a website hosted as a subdomain with an existing domain (e.g. blogger.com) then you are in close proximity to some potentially major Web real estate. Being tied into a larger community or network in such blogging sites will help people find you and you find them. The other side of real estate is real, real estate – the kind with bricks and mortar – where you can get a domain that has your region in the domain name, for example, we could build a site around the keywords “Calgary web designer”. If you service only one area or region then this can help you brand your site to show your dedication to this region, be it a town, city, state or province or even a country. You can even create multiple subdomains for each region that you serve, under a main domain, if you have a business that has multiple offices or locations across the country or around the world. It shows your customers that you serve their local needs.

2. Web Hosting – This is a lesser known factor that is often overlooked by people looking for Web hosting packages. Find out where your host has their host servers located, most people do not take the time to do this step. They only look for the lowest price and best deal. For example, we use servers that are located in Calgary, Alberta. IP addresses are taken into consideration in some search engines’ indexing, so having a local host can help a bit with your search engine ranking. It can also be easier for you to get support if your Web host is located nearby.

3. Web Design – Location in Web design focuses on the visual real estate of any given Web page. Generally speaking, the highest valued areas should be dedicated to logos, advertising space and featured content. The top left or top center is the standard place for the Web site’s main logo, which is accompanied with key navigational elements, such as the main menu and login forms. Advertising space can also appear along the top, sides or bottom of the Web design. If, for instance, you dedicate the right column of your Web design to show Google Adsense advertising, then you will see that Google will provide targeted ads that, yes, are determined by your location and/or the location of the user viewing the ad. So if the user is in Calgary, Alberta, then they may well see ads posted for “Calgary Web designers” as a key word, based on their IP address. The location of content might seem like a given, but it is important that the main content, and any highlighted content, be placed in clear and easy view for the user to scan quickly.

4. Web Content – When it comes to your main content you need to consider the location of your content on the page, so it is prominent and easy to read. Location is also important for titles and contextual links. For any content generated for articles and article spinning, location is also key, first for adding in your keywords but also to the location of the backlinks to your site. Search engine spiders will prefer to see your links at the top and bottom of the content.

5. Search Engine Optimization – Google and other search engines now display results based on the viewer’s location (e.g. Google Local), so it is important that your Web site be properly optimized and submitted to the main search engines. Create a business profile that defines your location. This will ensure that your listing will appear along with your local competitors and above those who are not located in your region. Defining your location in your search terms will immediately help to funnel local, targeted traffic to your site.

6. Bonus tip – Web Advertising – Paid advertising is related to search engine optimization. The two big hitters Google Adwords and Facebook ads both provide powerful tools to define and track your campaigns. You can specify the regions and specific locations that you’d like to target with your ads, thereby providing you with targeted hits to your Calgary website.

Location, as an element of Web design, needs proper attention at all stages of Web development. Keep location in mind from the domain registration down to post-launch search engine marketing and Web advertising campaigns. Whether you are located in Calgary, Alberta or anywhere else in the world, location will play a critical role in the success of your site.

Calgary Web Hosting Recommendations

Calgary Web Hosting Recommendations

Like most offerings on the Web, you can find Web hosting solutions for any budget, from free shared hosting to owning your own dedicated server rack in a datacenter. Obviously the range in cost echoes the range in services provided and since there are so many hosts and hosting reseller packages you will first need to discern what service you require by asking yourself these questions:

  1. What will you be using your hosting package for? Will it be to run a simple website? Or do you need a specific platform, such as Linux or Windows to run Web software or certain types of scripts and databases used for dynamic Web sites and E-commerce solutions?
  2. Do you have a Web designer or IT personnel to help you with setting up your account and Web files? Or are you willing to take on the learning curve of figuring out whatever Control Panel is included in your server package?
  3. What level of security is provided by your Webhost? Can you easily integrate an SSL certificate into your account? Does the host offer back up features to make sure your files are kept safe?
  4. If you opt for a cheap reseller hosting solution, how much does the host upsell features for? For example, how many IPs do you get with an account, how much  Web space, bandwidth, email accounts are included and how much is it to increase these features if you need?
  5. Is your prospective host a long-standing service? Do they regularly update their systems and have ongoing support by ticket submission and/or phone support?
  6. What is their claim for uptime? Even a claim of 99% uptime could mean that the service is interrupted for up to 3 days per year. Do they have redundancy in place to avoid downtime?
  7. If you are looking to integrate an e-commerce payment solution into your website where credit card transactions are stored in your site’s database, be sure to do the proper research to find a PCL compliant secure server, which means it has passed rigorous security tests and is also subject to recurring tests to ensure ongoing security of your data.
  8. Where is the Web hosting company and its servers located? Are they somewhere on the other side of the world, or can you call them or even take a short trip and go and take a tour of their facilities?

Free hosting usually comes with the catch of banner ads being displayed on screen along with your site. If your website is for business purposes it is best to choose a Web hosting account that allows you 100% of your Web presence.
Many Web hosts also offer a “free Web site builder” along with their hosting plans, which can be helpful for a quick startup website, but be aware that these types of websites are template-based sites, so your site will look extremely similar to other sites using the same template. So again, for business website design, it is always best to invest in the most custom Web design for your website, since you only have moments to capture the interest of your audience with the first impression that your site creates for them.
An ideal host will provide as close to 100% uptime as possible, up-to-date servers located in a secure datacenter, close to where you live and work and offer exceptional service and support. The host will also be clear with what its packages include and what additional charges are required should you exceed the limits of your Web hosting package.
BlindDrop Design hosts and manages its clients’ websites at a secure datacenter in Canada. We offer the next level of service where, in most cases, we manage client requests for adding email accounts, provide stats information and explanation, provide free set up and transfer for new clients (as part of our Web development contracts) and make sure that our sites and email run as smoothly and spam-free as possible.

BlindDrop offers a premium Managed WordPress Hosting package that has been sufficient for the majority of our clients. Those clients looking for specific hosting requirements are also accommodated with a custom solution that meets their needs. Such custom solutions include VPS servers, Colocation space, and high volume bandwidth. Please contact us today for more information on your Calgary or Cochrane Alberta Web hosting needs.