Define “SEO”

SEO is a hot topic right now in the world of web design. It’s also kind of hard to explain, but we’ll give it our best shot. First off, you should know it’s an acronym. SEO = Search Engine Optimization.

Dictionary Definition: [n] the process of maximizing the number of visitors to a particular website by ensuring that the site appears high on the list of results returned by a search engine. (confused? read on)

Our Definition: doing some things (we’ll elaborate later) to help your site rank higher on search engines

“Ok, so what are these ‘things’ that make my site rank higher?”
Depends on who you ask. With SEO, you have to be careful to not break any rules. Since everyone wants their site to rank high, some people have found ways to trick the system.. but that road usually just leads to being blacklisted. Which sounds bad without even having to explain what it means.

“Gotcha. But you didn’t really answer my question.”
Right, sorry. The best thing you can do to improve your SEO is to make sure your site always has fresh content that is relative to your website’s topic. Really, you just want to have a strong web presence.

“How do I get a strong web presence?”
There are several things that contribute to a strong web presence. One is a blog. Writing a blog is a great way to produce and share information about your organization. Another way is through social media. Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Pinterest, Instagram, and the list goes on… Any way to get people talking about you is good for SEO.

“But I still don’t really get it. What exactly is SEO?”
Let us try to explain it this way.. Take Google for example. When you do a search for “web design company near me”, Google has to have some way to decide which sites are listed on page 1 and page 2 and so on. For the sake of time, let’s just say Google “scans the Internet” and the websites that are the most popular and have the best and most relative content get pushed to the top. SEO includes all of the practices and tips that help your website become one of those popular sites.

“How do I know if my SEO is good or bad?”
Do a Google search for some keywords related to your website and see where you rank on the results. (P.S. It takes a while for Google to pick up on new websites, so if it’s new you may not get ‘real’ results from this.)

Any more questions about SEO? Have a word you need us to define? Send us a message via our contact form below and we’ll get back to you ASAP.

CWTech Toolkit: College Edition
(5 Web Tools for Students)

This isn’t your typical list of book rental sites and study material.. This is a list of real, practical web tools for college students. And the best part? They are all FREE!

1. Google Drive: the perfect tool for group projects


I didn’t start using Google Drive until after college, but I wish I would have known about it then! It’s perfect for group projects.

“Why?”
Google Drive makes it easy to share documents and edit the same files. It’s convenient to be able to share files between your group, but I want to focus in on being able to edit the same document. (Side note: this document can be a regular text document, slides, spreadsheet, etc.) Once someone who has a gmail address creates the document, they can share the link to it with anyone they want (even people who don’t have gmail) by typing in their e-mail address. Once everyone has the link, they can open the document and any changes will be seen by everyone. Even cooler, if 2 or more people are looking at the document at the same time, Google will show you who is looking at it and where exactly their cursor is on the document. You can also make comments to your group right there in the document. It’s great.

“How do I sign up?”
You can make a Google account here – https://accounts.google.com/signup. Once you sign up, go to Google drive and you can start creating and sharing documents!

2. Dropbox: the perfect tool for sharing documents


I know I just said Google Drive is a convenient way to share files, but if you’re trying to send anything “big”, Dropbox may be the better option.

“Why?”
Dropbox is basically a virtual jump drive. They give you 2 GB of space with their free plan, which should be plenty of room. In college, I used Dropbox mostly for sending albums of pictures. It’s easy to upload to Dropbox. Once you have a folder ready to send, all you have to do is type in the receiver’s e-mail address and they’ll get a link to your folder.

“How do I sign up?”
Follow this link to their home page sign-up form – https://www.dropbox.com/en/.

3. Skimm: the perfect tool for keeping up


Another web tool that I didn’t find until after college, but wish I would have had it sooner.

“Why?”
Most college students constantly have something going on, and that doesn’t leave much time for keeping up with what’s going on in the news. I’ll be honest. Most of my news in college came from Facebook posts and Buzzfeed. Which at least kept me decently up to date, but I was mostly behind on what was happening in the world. I just didn’t have time to watch the news or read through all kinds of articles. I still don’t make enough time for it, which is why Skimm is great. Skimm is a daily e-mail newsletter that gives you nice summaries of news stories. Even better, it’s written as though you’re reading an e-mail from a friend – opposed to some article with big words that you don’t have the time to look up.

“How do I sign up?”
You can sign up here – http://www.theskimm.com/ – enjoy your daily Skimm!

4. Spotify Web Player: the perfect tool for your music


I know!! Spotify isn’t free. But, the web player is! If you do a lot of work from your laptop, that makes Spotify Web Player the perfect tool for listening to music.

“Why?”
This explanation is purely my opinion, but I have my reasons. First, there are SO many pre-made playlists. One of my pet peeves is starting on a project and then having to pause because my song ended and I have to go start a new one. Or, picking a bad playlist and having to pause to skip annoying songs. Thankfully, Spotify has some pretty great playlists. My personal favorites are the Discover Weekly, Afternoon Acoustic, and Praise & Worship. But if you aren’t into those, there are pages and pages of more for you to pick from. All kinds of music. Second, you have the option to make your own playlist. When you come across a song you really like, you can add it and make a playlist with all of your favorites. This is all in the free Spotify Web Player.

“How do I sign up?”
Go here – https://play.spotify.com/ – and start listening!

5. LinkedIn: the perfect tool for your future


I know it’s not as fun as Facebook or Twitter, but having a LinkedIn profile is important for your future career and business contacts.

“Why?”
LinkedIn is the “largest professional network”. It’s important to go ahead and make your profile in college so that you can start collecting business contacts. You never know what kinds of contacts you will need in your future! Don’t be afraid to add someone who comes to speak to your class or a business-person you meet just around your college’s town. Besides collecting valuable contacts, LinkedIn is a place where you can start your resume. There are plenty of job seekers on LinkedIn, so it’s important to make yourself look the best and add all of your important qualities and experience!

“How do I sign up?”
Sign up on their home page – https://www.linkedin.com/ – and start building your profile!

Define “Responsive”

If you have been keeping up with website design at all for the last year, you know a major buzzword is “responsive”. Example: You need a “responsive” website. But you may still be confused on what exactly that is. No worries, we’ll explain it all in this blog post.

Dictionary Definition: [adj] acting in response. (not the most helpful)

Our Definition: In the context of websites, responsive means that your website actually changes its layout based on the screen size it is being viewed on. (laptop, tablet, phone, etc.)

“Why do I need a responsive website?”
A couple reasons. First, Google cares about responsive websites and ranks them higher on its mobile search engine. Second, better user experience. You can understand this. You have gone to a site on your phone and had to zoom around and try to click microscopic links to find the information you need and it was probably very frustrating. When a site is responsive, the links and content change to fit the screen size and give a much better user experience.

“I have a desktop version of my website, but I also have a mobile version. Does that make my website ‘responsive’?”
In short, no. Having a mobile version of your website does not mean your website is responsive. However, as far as Google’s search results are concerned, a mobile version is a-ok.

“So if Google doesn’t care whether I have a mobile version or a responsive site, why should I?”
Good question. They may not care, but you probably should. A responsive site means much easier maintenance and updating, because you only have one website to work on (instead of 2 separate versions.)

“Where does the word ‘mobile-friendly’ fit in with all of this?”
The word ‘mobile-friendly’ gets thrown around a lot with the word ‘responsive’. The best way to answer this question is with an old school venn diagram.

responsive versus mobile friendly venn diagram

So basically, a responsive site is mobile-friendly.
And a mobile version is mobile-friendly.
But a mobile version is not a responsive site.

Have any questions about this or need us to define a certain word? Send us a message via our contact form below and we’ll answer ASAP.