Wicked Websites Company Newsletter – January 2012
Jan 18 2012
Dear Clients and Friends,
Happy new year! We hope you had a fantastic holiday season, and we’re starting the new year with some great announcements, tons of interesting developments, new services & reporting capability and a much better infrastructure – all to help you get better results from your websites & internet marketing.
Overview of What’s New
- We’ve massively improved our hosting infrastructure. Have you noticed your website is markedly faster and more responsive?
- We’ve done a professional & complete security audit of all websites & our hosting infrastructure.
- We’ve started to leverage the power of Amazon’s Cloudfront & S3 Content Distribution Network’s to further improve loading speed of all websites we maintain.
- We’ve dealt with unexpected problems popping up several times after the new dedicated server went live; as detailed on our twitter account – and we aggressively solved them with minimal noticeable service interruption (most of you were probably not aware of any interruption).
- We’ve launched our new company homepage & spent a lot of time perfecting articles that provide a great introduction to our philosophy on web marketing, search engine optimization, and speak to our focus on speed, reliability, and business effectiveness. Please check it out and let us know what you think!
- We’ve invested in industry-leading search engine optimization tools that allow us to do in-depth competitive analysis, search term research, search engine visibility & rankings reporting and all kinds of website optimization and tools to help us be more efficient and effective with our SEO efforts to help you generate more business with your websites & get more traffic & sign ups on twitter, facebook, and email marketing!
- We’ve started a Company Blog & are doing a public SEO Challenge to show off our proficiency in climbing the Google rankings for extremely competitive search terms like Calgary Web Design.
- We’ve increased our focus on using Twitter as a means to communicate (Please Follow Us if you’re not already!) and keep you up to date on company & industry news & developments.
- We’ve developed relationships with great digital logo artists, hosting technology experts, and SEO link-building specialists to fill in the blanks and increase our capacity to provide a complete internet marketing package efficiently & on time.
Like most beginning developers we started using one of many shared hosting companies. We chose well, we mostly used a hosting company called “Dreamhost” a well reviewed and high quality shared host and we paid the kingly sum of roughly $20/month to host all our websites for the first year after the company was started. After launching some very demanding, highly dynamic, media heavy websites like Envision Auto, we decided that it was time for an upgrade and had a terrible experience with a company called Media Temple. Finally we decided no more compromises were tolerable and purchased our own dedicated server – not just any server, an extremely powerful one with many upgrades such as enterprise grade solid-state storage which vastly increases the responsiveness of all requests & queries to the server and reduces the overall latency for any page load substantially. We hired a Linux Guru & ITSec consultant to professionally setup our dedicated server security & setup our server in a very unique customized speed oriented way. Our software setup is nearly identical to Facebook using Nginx to handle requests for static files and Apache to hand requests for dynamic content.
During the migration process all websites we audited for security & numerous potential exploits and vulnerabilities were updated, patched, and solved. A backup system is now in place which backs up every client website in it’s entirely off-site every single day.
Speed Results: We’ve benchmarked several websites with various website speed test tools & public websites & on average websites load about twice as fast now; with some sites loading up to 80% faster. You can check the speed of your site by typing “web page speed test” into Google. We recommend pingdom’s test as the most thorough and accurate. We will post a blog updates detailing before & after results in the near future.
Summary of Updates:
- Went from cheap shared hosting to an extremely powerful dedicated server with solid state storage in a top-tier Seattle datacenter (We didn’t feel any Calgary Datacenters were up to snuff in terms of routing & quality).
- Improved security, updated all passwords & audited all websites for security issues during migration process.
- Backup system put in place with complete backups of every client website off-site every day.
Content Distribution Network
A Content Delivery Network (CDN) is essentially a group geographically dispersed servers that deliver some of your Website content to the customer from servers closest to your website visitor. This can mean that your website content is delivered quicker to your visitor. We’ve started to use this with some of our more media-heavy websites; this can help loading speeds not only by allowing more items to load asynchronously, but also gives a nice Google rankings bonus from extra page speed all over the world as the sizable items of each page load from the server closest to the viewer.
There are several different CDN’s we’ve been testing out and have more or less settled on Amazon’s Cloudfront as the most reliable & consistently fast – as they have one of the biggest networks in the world.
As tends to happen with all big changes we had a few issues during the process of switching everything over to a dedicated server. The server itself had some growing pains resulting in a bit of downtime; we fought with the server company to not only replace the faulty hardware ASAP, but do it at night to avoid noticeable downtime. This also resulted in some issues with email & contact form functionality of client sites for a short period of time, which we noticed and solved ASAP. If you ever notice a problem with anything, be sure to let us know!
New Company Home Page
We’re proud to have launched our new company home page a few months back and think that it better reflects our company tagline “Beautiful, functional, well marketed websites for business”. Please check it out and give us a comment on twitter & a like on Facebook!
Search Engine Optimization Tools & Other Marketing Strategy Updates
If 2011 was the year for intently focusing our improvement efforts on speed, reliability, security, and all forms of on-site optimization; 2012 is on track to be a year of intent focus & massive improvements to all off-site marketing efforts. We have recently purchased a number of expensive software & tools that allow us to automate reporting & analysis tasks when it comes to SEO; and make link-building and climbing up the Google ranks more efficient and economical for you. We’ll also be increasing our focus on taking advantage of social media & improving our ability to automate & integrate it into websites. There are now great plugin’s for WordPress, Joomla & Expression Engine that allow us to automatically Tweet & Facebook postings with the click of a button as soon as you publish a news posting, blog, or article on your website.
We’ve already had some impressive results at the start of January doing link-building for a client that wanted more stable long term results & a better value than you get through pay-per-click advertising. Check out the results reports here & here! These reports are just initial reports after only a few days of link-building effort for the client & show the kind of aggressive & efficient improvements we hope to be able to offer everyone who wants tons of targeted traffic to their website.
We should be touching base with you to discuss SEO reporting & sending a sample report with an overview of your rankings for key search terms shortly if we have not already.
Company Blog & New Services
As you can see here, we’ve been making an effort to keep you up to date using Twitter. In 2012 we plan to keep this up & do even more with our Company Blog, SEO Challenge, and posting about the great results our clients are having with their websites. Please follow us on twitter, there are sure to be some interesting posts this year!
We will be rolling out some new services over the course of the year that will help to economically promote & maintain your website in the front page of the major search engines for the terms that will help your bottom line immensely, as well as services that will help you to take full advantage of social media & email marketing to stay in touch with every potential customer that connects with you via your website.