E-Commerce Design: Gixxy Lingerie


Gixxy.com is an online Lingerie Boutique that is launching in the latter half of 2009.  JMS inc hired yourthinkbox for initial web design and e-commerce integration.  

Using linear systems and light pastels, yourthinkbox was able to incorporate a feminine yet corporate design to ensure identity and branding campaigns have future success as the company moves into pre-launch and post-launch operations.  

Additionally, yourthinkbox designed the gixxy backend to be search engine optimization friendly by including all current SEO tools necessary to boost initial launch.

yourthinkbox.com looks forward to helping gixxy.com in all their future web development and expansion needs.

Business Advertisement: Rouge Lounge & Bar – Dallas Tx

Rouge Lounge & Bar is one of Dallas’ premiere Tapas restaurants in the early evenings and transitions into a swank trendy lounge later at night.  In order to promote the spanish theme for the lounge, yourthinkbox was hired to design and print many of the flyers for the initial launch of this classy establishment.  

Combining a sense of style and class and drawing on inspirations from within the restaurant itself, these and other flyers were created from this model and photography specifically for our designs.  

During the summer advertising push, yourthinkbox.com designed over 10 different flyers, inserts, web ads, and newspaper ads to promote one of the hottest new lounges in the Dallas Ft. Worth Metroplex.  

More samples of our flyers are available after the jump

 

More →

Carousel Photo Design

In my never ending quest to find ways to make web development and surfing easier and more interactive, I have found a fantastic flash image gallery for any aspiring photographer.  The folks over at Flshow have created an amazing carousel gallery that performs great and is completely free for personal use.  The xml based system is light on the server and code, and is very easy to update and monitor.  On top of this, the carousel can be used independently or integrated into existing code to create a seamless website.  Take a few minutes and visit this great website and check out an amazing new product!

Landing Page Design: Exhale Mind Body Spa


Exhale Mind Body Spa 

yourthinkbox.com was hired to design the landing pages for a new PPC campaign that exhale spas are running.  We expanded the standard format to the 960 golden grid system, customized pictures, formatting, and created better calls to action for the New York spa locations.  These simple steps help build Quality Score and PageRank, which will help the SEM camapign perform much better.  On top of that, we are implementing additional SEO tactics to help boost exhale spa increase organic ranking.

 Please feel free to click the link on the left and review our design of this fantastic landing page.

The Golden Grid – New Standard in Web Development

Recently, I have been designing a lot of “landing pages” for businesses.  These are simple call to action pages that typically provide some general sales information and links back to the main site.  Not wanting to constantly reinvent the wheel and css structure, I did some research online and found a great article on “golden grid” design from Google. 

I was a little apprehensive when first implementing the 960 grid structure into my design, but I quickly realized why so many great web developers have been utilizing it more and more.  The structure and layout are easy, concise, and attractive.  It is also very easy to role out new unique code with very little additional changes to the CSS files.  

I highly recommend checking out the golden grid to anyone interested in easy web design practices.

Tutorial: How to easily create a Google Map for SEO Part 1

This is going to be Part 1 of a 2 Part tutorial.  In this tutorial, I will go over how to do an easy coordinate based Google Map.  In Part 2, I will create the same Map using the very friendly KML system.

There are already a ton of tutorials online on how to learn coding for creating Google Maps using the API.  I am a firm believer that once the wheel has been invented, there is no reason to reinvent it, just modify as you deem necessary.  This is going to be a short tutorial on how to create a multiple location Google Map with as little coding as necessary.  

If you want to learn more about the Google Maps API and learn, I recommend starting at the source: http://code.google.com/apis/maps/

Now that you’ve reviewed that and have a basic understanding of how everything works, I will show you how to create a great google map in a short time.

Step 1:

The first thing you need to do is get a unique map key directly from google here:

http://code.google.com/apis/maps/signup.html

This key is free, but if you plan on having more than 500,000 pageviews a day, Google needs to be notified to allow additional provisioning. 

Once you have the key, open up notepad and paste and save the key.  You will need this later. 

Congratulations, you have just completed the most difficult part for this example.

Step 2:

The second step in your Google Map creation is to convert all of your addresses to latitude and longitude coordinates.  Luckily for us, this wheel has already been perfected.  All you need to do is visit http://www.batchgeocode.com/lookup/

Now, put in your addresses one by one and copy the coordinates to a file. (obviously keep track of which coordinates are directed to each address)

Step 3:

The Third step is just as easy as the second.  This time you will go to http://mapmaker.donkeymagic.co.uk/

On this website, all you need to do is put in the coordinates for each location.  From there, give each marker a name, and add your additional content.  The amazing thing about the additional content is that you can include html tags including links.  

From there, all you need to do is click get javascript and paste this content into whatever website you need.  Obviously, there will be some modification of the code to make it fit your site.  

*This is where you will need to replace your Google Maps API key in the system with the key for your unique domain. 

Now, you have a great google map!  If you did everything correctly, you have all address information, phone numbers, and relevant content in one simple and concise tool that utilizes one of Google’s best products.  

If you have any questions, please leave a comment and I will respond and alter this tutorial to be as thorough as possible.

In Part 2, I will show you how to create a map utilizing SEO standards to boost you up the organic listings.

 

As with all online services, please review the individual websites terms & conditions and if you can, donate to these guys.  The put a lot of hard work into this system to allow us to create these maps with such easy.  Give them a little payback.

Google Maps API and SEO

In recent months, I have been working a lot with the Google Maps API.  I have been utilizing the API to optimize landing pages for “multiple location” websites.  In customizing these sites for the API, I have discovered that Google’s organic listings absolutely love when a website utilizes their Maps API.

In less than two weeks, I have seen my organic listings skyrocket up the pages with very little additional SEO practices in place.

Obviously Google loves relevant content, but as Google expands it’s capabilities and customization techniques, geotargeting has become much more relevant.  In this particular case, creating a website encoded with the Maps API for all locations has exponentially boosted optimization at a much quicker pace that normal.

In a nutshell, if you have a geo-specific website you are developing, I highly recommend implementing a geographic KML file and implementing it into your websites using the Maps API. 

KML is an extension of XML that pertains to geographic locations in Google Maps and Google Earth.  It’s a very thorough and organized markup language that is useful in presenting data to the search engines.

Example of KML code:

KML example for Google Maps API and SEO

KML example for Google Maps API and SEO

 Utilizing this particular KML file, I was able to geocode over 20 locations on one page in the API and include, address, phone number, location image, and a link to each individual page.  This created an insane amount of relavence and quality information for Google to boost this website up the organic listings.  

 

KML based Map for Google API including relevant information

KML based Map for Google API including relevant information

As you can see above.  There is a ton of relevant information included in a very small and precise space.  This information utilized by the API is a great way to gain instant optimization.

In the next couple days, i will create a step by step tutorial on how to fully integrate this technology into any website.

Landing Page SEO + SEM part 1

Landing Pages for increased Search Engine Optimization.

Landing pages and their correlation between a website and Search Engine Optimization is a difficult process that can end up very beneficial or detrimental.  The union between these two entities to increase profitability and exposure is very volatile. 

A Landing Page is the first page that shows up after a customer clicks on a search engine result link, an advertisement, or a sponsored link.  From here, a landing page is split into two different types, a reference landing page and a transactional landing page.  Reference landing pages, which are typically SEO specific, are normally informational websites with relevant content for the searcher.  Transactional landing pages are pages that engage the searcher to provide some form of information (whether it is filling out a form or buying a product) from the clicked link.

The Goal of a Landing Page, whether it is a reference or transactional page, is to get the user to do one of four things:

1.       To teach the visitor about the term they searched (Wikipedia, Dictionary.com, Etc.).

2.       Encourage the visitor to click through to another section of your website or another website (Branding).

3.       Encourage the visitor to register or have a follow up in some form or fashion.(E-mail registration, Phone Number, Address, Etc.).

4.       Encourage the visitor to make a purchase from that page (Commerce).

Landing Pages in an SEO sense are pretty straight forward.  If you have a business website that does Auto Repair, you are going to want the most pertinent information showing up to the end user.  For example, if a customer is doing a search for ‘brake repair’, you are not going to want your landing page to show up as air conditioning service or scheduled maintenance.  For the most part, Google and the other search engines handle these themselves in organic search.   If you type this term into Google, the first results will undoubtedly be the referential websites including Wikipedia and Dictionary.com, followed by the second tier reference websites and then the rest of the pack.  

For SEM and PPC advertising, correct Landing Pages are vital for success and provide multiple uses.  These optimized landing pages can help:

·         Provide direct access to the product or information being searched

·         Convey a direct message related to the user search

·         Provide tracking information for the Advertisement or campaign

·         Create additional keyword content and relevance for SEO

Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising

Advertising for your business can be a difficult process.  Google, Yahoo, and MSN all offer their own respective options for Search Engine based advertising.  Personally, I prefer using Adwords as it is the most comprehensive, popular, and even yahoo is starting to roll it out on their website. 

Pay-Per-Click advertising is pretty straight forward.  A company designates a certain area of the webpage for advertising.  From there, a company trying to advertise will setup campaigns with one of the big 3 search engines.  The Search Engine will then determine what ads are relevant based on the content of a website and show the closest relevant ads.  For every ad that is clicked,  the company must pay a predetermined amount. 

In Adwords, a company can setup the maximum budget for a day or for a month.  From there, Google’s system will actually determine the amount of times the ad will show and can even spread it out throughout the predetermined time.  This software is very robust and offers many different options.  The enduser can see which keywords have the best conversion percentage and even chose keywords to avoid. 

There are also other methods that include Nextag, Revsense, and others.

Web Analytics – A look at Google Analytics

Analytics software is a vital tool for any online company.  Luckily, the folks down at Google created an amazing toolset for FREE!  Google Analytics is incredible.  While there are other web analytical tools available online, they can be avoided because Google is just that good. 

Why do you need Web Analytics Software?

Analytics tools allow you to find out an amazing amount of information about who’s coming to your site.  Once the system is set up, you can track everything from number of unique visitors to how people have come to your site.

For instance, with google analytics installed on my other blog, I can find out what percentage of traffic is coming from referred websites like Digg and reddit.  I can also find out the average time spent on my website and see which articles are the most popular.  With that information, I can customize my future blogs to maximize traffic.  On top of that, I can find out which keywords people are using to come to my website.

 For the sake of explanation,  I have included this sample screenshot of the Google Analytics Dashboard. 

From this example, you can see a graph showing the average time people spent on this particular website.  If you were to click the links on the left, you could see similar graphs with their respective breakdowns. 

As you move down the page, the information gets more complex when further breaking down the information.  As you can see, this is a very comprehensive program that can provide an amazing amount of information.  With this information, you can optimize your website to generate more traffic – which in turn will generate more revenue.

Google also continually updates this product.  New Features are always being added to help you get more out of your websites.

 

If you do not have this system installed for your website, I highly recommend setting it up today!

 

http://www.google.com/analytics/