Online marketing blog

Online marketing blog – about SEO, Website Design, Graphic Design, and Inbound Marketing

Tony's focus is on developing leads for client’s with online inbound marketing strategies -- visual and written content creation, social media, and blogging. Tony is an active writer for the DeCarlo Studios Internet Marketing Blog, he’s an accomplished, web designer, illustrator and visual communications instructor.  

Tony has 23 years of experience creating marketing communications for Metro D.C. clients including the U.S. Congress, the U.S. Treasury Department, Exxon-Mobil, Time-Life Music and Books, Compaq Computer, The Washington Redskins, National Wildlife Federation, Amtrak, Arnold Worldwide, Inc., World Wildlife Fund, Fairfax County Government, and the U.S. Postal Service.

Tony’s work has been published in Parade magazine, Fortune magazine, Time Life Books, Air and Space Smithsonian magazine, Time Life Music, and Good Housekeeping magazine.

Tony started DeCarlo Studios in 1991 with a promise to deliver more than expected and to consistently WOW the client.

Getting Top Search Engine Rank on Your Website

Getting Top Search Engine Rank on Your Website

Clients always want to be on the first page of Google, Bing and Yahoo in local search keywords for products and services they sell. Who wouldn’t want to be ranked on the first page?

DeCarlo Studios provides on-page search engine optimization for clients. SEO is one of our many services. We help to get local businesses on the first page in hundreds of local searches through on-page SEO. The problem we run into even after clients are ranking in the top 10 for multiple keyword searches is that “being on the first page doesn’t translate into the telephone ringing with more business.” This is upsetting to clients because they equate being on the first page in a search with more business, but it's just not true.  Is there more exposure for your site on the front page? Yes. Does it guarantee more business? No.

You Can Lead a Horse to Water ...

This old saying is also true with website SEO for search engines too. You can do all of the right things to get a top-ten page rank but if the visitor doesn’t find what they're looking for on your site, they bounce away to the next site. So how do you keep the visitor’s interest on your website and get them to call you about your product or service? The answer is simple. INTERESTING CONTENT written specifically for your buyer's persona to answer their questions.

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13 Key Questions to Ask Before You Build Your Website

13 Key Questions to Ask Before You Build Your Website

Website Design and Development

There are many different directions that you can take to get a website for your business. There are also many variations in prices from free websites to expensive and everything in between.

Which path is right for you and your business? Where and how do you begin? Answer: Ask yourself the right questions and you will develop a clear idea and plan for the website you need.

DeCarlo Studios asks clients specific questions to determine what type of site is needed in order to do what the client expects to achieve. For instance, a business website client would like their site to get found easily online and cause viewers to call them and purchase their products or services. Here are questions we ask our clients and example answers to help you with your website development planning.

13 Key Questions to Guarantee Your Website is a Success:

1. What market “specifically” is this website targeted to?
    •    Business to Business
    •    Business to Consumer
    •    A Subscription Web Site for Members
2. Who “specifically” is this website for? Be very specific; your websites effectiveness depends on your answers.
    •    Male or Female?
    •    Young or Old?
    •    Income Level?
    •    Education Level?
    •    Create a “Buyer Persona” this is KEY.
3. What is the purpose of your web site?
    •    Informational
    •    eCommerce Online Store
    •    Selling a Service
    •    Marketing your Business
    •    Data Collection
    •    Lead Generation
    •    Just for Fun
    •    Topical
    •    Educational
4. How will people find your site?
    •    Print Marketing?
    •    Social Media?
    •    Networking?
    •    Search Engines?
    •    SEO or SEM?
    •    Keywords?
    •    E-mail Marketing?
    •    Blogging?
    •    Other Ideas?
5. What are you going to do to make visitors linger at your site?
    •    Relevant Compelling Content
    •    Answer Questions
    •    Educate
    •    Free Offers
    •    Videos
    •    Blogs
    •    Organized Site Layout
    •    Update Content Frequently
6. What do you want visitors to do once they are at your site? What action do you want to inspire?
    •    Learn
    •    Order
    •    Try
    •    Watch
    •    Submit Info
    •    Search
    •    Contact
    •    Become a Member
    •    Purchase Something
    •    Tell a Friend
    •    Share
7. How are you going to get people to come back to your site?
    •    eNewsletter
    •    Social Marketing
    •    Timely Offers
    •    Direct Mail
    •    Blog
    •    Videos
    •    Change Content Often
    •    Email Marketing
8. How are you going to monitor the results of your web site?
    •    Web Site Analytics
    •    Google Analytics
    •    Keyword Analytics
    •    Visitor Tracking Tools
    •    Hubspot
9. What are the things needed to get a great web site up and running?
    •    Written Description of Target Personas
    •    Site Layout Plan
    •    Content Written Specifically For Target Personas
    •    Quality Images that Relate to Content and Target Personas
    •    Purchase Domain Name
    •    Purchase Website Hosting
    •    A Content Management System (CMS) like Joomla (our favorite), Wordpress, or Drupal
10. What content do I need to build the site?
    •    Content Written for Target Personas
    •    A Writer (If you can’t or won’t write, get a professional writer who can write for web.)
    •    Images
    •    Products
11. Do you have a budget?
    •    Yes. What is your budget?
    •    No budget to under $1,000 - check out free website providers.
12. How do I attract more traffic to my site?
    •    Print Marketing
    •    Social Media
    •    Networking
    •    Search Engines
    •    Likes
    •    Sharing
    •    SEO or SEM
    •    Keywords
    •    Email Marketing
    •    Blogging
    •    eNewsletters
    •    Backlinks from Other Sites
13. How will I know that my site is successful?
    •    When it Generates interest
    •    Awareness
    •    Leads and Revenue
In order to have a successful website, you need to have a plan. You can develop the plan by asking and answering “The Right Questions to Guarantee Your Site is a Success.” Download a free PDF checklist of our questions here.

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How Much Does a Business Website Cost?

How Much Does a Business Website Cost?

When we're approached by a small business owner who is looking for help creating a website the first thing we're often asked is: “I need a web site. How much would you charge to make one?”

This question usually comes up before we're told what the website is for. Website prices can vary greatly from free to a lot of money. We've heard of sites priced more than $250,000! We have not had the opportunity to build a 250K website at DeCarlo Studios yet. Our websites are priced towards the other end of the scale. So lets talk prices, and we’ll start with the price everyone creating their first business website wants to hear: Free!

FREE Business Websites

The free sites are the do-it-yourself web sites. Our mothers always tell us that nothing is free and everything costs something. You’ve seen the commercials from Intuit, Wix, 1&1, Homestead and others. Just set up an account, and you can build a website yourself, for free, in less than an hour. These are great for small startups with little to no marketing budget. The sites let you choose from their pre-designed templates and photos. You can upload your photos and copy and paste your content right into the template. Once you are happy with your results, publish your site and you are up and running live online – YES!

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Why Do I Need Keywords? What are Keywords?

Why Do I Need Keywords? What are Keywords?

While technically you don’t need keywords on your website, they are a must-have for any website search engine optimization plan if you want to be found for specific organic searches. An organic search is the search that displays under the yellow paid ads in a Google search.

What are Keywords?

Keywords are the specific words that someone would key into a search engine like Google, Bing and Yahoo. The search engines then create a list of what it thinks are the best online matches to the keywords that are entered into the search field.

The search engine uses many different criteria to deliver the listed results. A person who would like to rank on the first page of a search engine in the organic search must meet the search engines' many different criteria in order to rank in a search. Having matching keywords would be one of the many criteria search engines use, and it’s an important one. Knowing how to use the keywords correctly on your webpage is also important if you expect to be found online.

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How to Tell Google, Bing and Yahoo that Your Website Exists

You have a website, but Google, Bing and Yahoo don’t seem to be aware that your site exists. What are you going to do about it? After DeCarlo Studios builds and launches a website for our clients, we register the site with Google, Bing and Yahoo. This is a simple process and here is what you should do to register your website.

How to Submit a Website to Google


Here is a link that you can use to add your website URL to Google. It is a simple data form into which you copy and paste your complete web address. Submission of your website to Google is a free service and offers no guarantee of indexing. It isn't necessary to add subdomains – just the root main website address. The bots will find the subdomains, although an updated sitemap may speed up the process once it is added. A simple way to make sure that you put in the correct address is to open a web browser and go to your website's home page. Copy the entire address. You will then paste that address into the Google site submission window.

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How to Add Google Analytics to My Website

How to Add Google Analytics to My Website

What is Google Analytics?

Google Analytics is a must-have, FREE addition to your website. To find out how many visits your site gets, how long people visit, what pages they visit, how they found your site and where in the world your traffic is coming from, installing Google Analytics on your website is definitely something you will want to do.

We think that one of the most interesting pieces of the 8 Suggestions is the Google Analytics suggestion. Google Analytics will give you insight into how many visits your website gets, what pages were viewed on your website, how long visitors visited your website and where the visitors are from. You will also be able to find out which networks, browsers and devices they are using when they look at your site. Google Analytics will also show the keywords that viewers used to find your site. It will give you information on referring websites. All of this information is just the start. You can create custom reports and keyword campaigns. You can view very specific data and use this information to fine-tune your website content to attract more traffic. Another great thing is that the Google Analytics tool is free. DeCarlo Studios installs it on every website we build for our clients. We use the data from Google Analytics when we do SEO for our clients. The analytics provides us the information we need to know to be successful with our client's search engine optimization campaign.

From the day you install Google Analytics, it begins to track the traffic on your web site. It will give you information on the keywords people are using to find your site and who is referring visitors to your site. Once you have Google Analytics installed on your website, you have information to know if your site is actually being looked at.

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What is Google Places? How to Register with Google Places

What is Google Places? How to Register with Google Places

What is Google Places?

Google Places gives your business a physical location and phone number on the web. Think of it as a modern day local phone book listing. This information goes into searches based on location and proximity for the searcher using Google. It’s a simple way for businesses to let Google know about them and list where they are located, what the business does or offers and their contact information. Google Places is a great way for local businesses to show up on local Google searches and it’s a must for online search engine optimization and online search awareness.

Surprisingly, many small businesses are not registered with Google Places. They do not understand the potential marketing impact that Google Places has to offer. The more information that you can provide Google Places about your business, the greater your chances are of coming up higher in localized Google searches. In a search, Google often lists local results and if the person doing the searching is located in your area listed in Google Places, your listing may appear in the search. The best part of Google Places is that it is a FREE service, so why not use it to promote your business and jump ahead of your competition?

Google Places will show your business in local searches, plus you don’t have to list an exact location if you work from home or don’t have customer access, like a store front. Google Places will let you display detailed information about your business such as the name of your company, the location (if you choose), your telephone number, your email address and web address. In addition, you may also include a 200-character description of your products and services (which should include your rich keywords), up to five categories that describe your business products or services, a radius distance served, a list of areas served, hours and days of operations and your business payment options. You can also load up to ten photos for viewers to see and include up to five videos from your YouTube account. The more information fields that you fill in, the more online presence your business will have ... so try not to leave any fields blank!

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How Do I Add My Website's Site Map and Show Google How to Access It?

How Do I Add My Website's Site Map and Show Google How to Access It?

A site map is a file that lists the pages of your website. The site map is a helper that search engines can use to crawl your website more efficiently. Site maps are usually located in the root directory of your website. The root directory can be found on the site server that most people rent from a website hosting provider like GoDaddy, 1and1, Bluehost, or Network Solutions (you get the picture).

What is an "XML sitemap"?

By placing a formatted xml file with site map on your webserver, you enable Search Engine crawlers (like Google) to find out what pages are present and which have recently changed, and to crawl your site accordingly.

How to create an "XML sitemap"

Before you can upload a sitemap, you need to have an XML site map. We use a sitemap generator website to generate sitemaps for our clients. XML-Sitemaps Generator works great and takes less than five minutes to create an XML sitemap that can be submitted to Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engines to help them crawl your website better. Here is the link to XML

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