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Diary of a Maui Web Designer

Organic Link Building for Better SEO

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Link building for better SEO (search engine optimization) and rankings – we all know having incoming links help your website rank higher in search engines; however, don’t get all crazy and use tactics to build up that number of links in unnatural ways. Relax… breath… and gather up incoming links from more natural means.

If you haven’t been penalized by Google already when they came out with Penguin last Spring, take note and be sure to clear away any questionable links you may have already gathered. Be sure to gather up incoming links… the good old organic way, by providing content that people will naturally want to share.

Be wary of people offering you 10,000 links for $1… don’t list your site in directories with tons of other completely unrelated links… or by clicking away on bookmarking sites like a fiend… clean it up… and be organic in your efforts. Google will reward you kindly.

New Website for Kihei Rent A Car

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We just launched a new website for Kihei Rent A Car. They had an old dinosaur website created eons ago, that needed to be brought up to date with the latest look and the latest coding under the hood.

Kihei Rent A Car came to us looking for a clean, yet inviting site that was user-friendly for the older clients that may come to the site wanting to book a rental car on Maui. We chose to use a larger font and create large buttons for the folks that may not be too accustomed to the world of the web. We also did a couple photo shoots with Kihei Rent A Car to get photos of all the rental cars, trucks, vans and jeeps that they offer.

They also wanted a reservation page where people could book a rental vehicle online, AND also a separate quoting mechanism for each of the different car pages so that people could see the actual pricing dependent on how many days, type of vehicle, etc. The challenging part was factoring in the Summer and Winter Rates with their Weekly and Monthly rates.

We created a blog for them and a video tutorial so that they could learn how to go about posting their own articles on the blog. They will be writing about company news, such as drag racing at the strip, employee highlights, and rental car special discounts, etc. They realize how important it is to have a blog so that they can add fresh content to the site and get those brownie points with Google for higher rankings.

We invite you to visit their new website.

The OLD Kihei Rent A Car Web Design

BEFORE: Kihei Rent A Car web design

BEFORE: Kihei Rent A Car web design

The NEW Kihei Rent A Car Web Design

AFTER: Kihei Rent A Car web design

AFTER: Kihei Rent A Car web design

Web Design Project for Hawaii Solar Company

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Recently, we completed phase one of a web design project for Hawaii solar company, Haleakala Solar. They came to us looking for a fresh new look for their old out-dated website. The design was generic and the back-end coding – which no one ever gets to see except for the search engines – was in pretty bad shape. We took their old website, kept some of the text and photos and then revamped the entire web design from the ground up to reflect a more modern and sophisticated branding.

Haleakala Solar has been in business for over 35 years, getting its start here on Maui. They’ve installed over 10,000 solar systems all over the state of Hawaii.

We had the chance to meet a good number of the employees through the photography and photo-shoots we did for them. What we found striking about the employees is their enthusiasm for what they do, and a sense of pride to be a part of the Haleakala Solar team. It’s no wonder since Haleakala Solar is considered to be one of the best solar companies in Hawaii, and one of the few remaining from the early days when solar energy was first getting its start. Always on the cutting edge, and always striving to be the best… this is the feel we needed to capture in the design of the layout.

Our goal was for the design of the new website to reflect the solar energy company, but without using the usual colors of orange or yellow to represent the sun. Thinking out of the box with the colors and layout, the new website is fresh and easy on the eyes, and easy to navigate through – while also being full of information presented in a way that is not cluttered, but appealing to look at.

The OLD Haleakala Solar Web Design

The OLD Haleakala Solar Web Design

BEFORE: Haleakala Solar web design

The NEW Haleakala Solar Web Design

After photo of hawaii solar company web design

AFTER: Haleakala Solar web design

Hawaii Hula Web Design

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Mahana Walters of Hawaii Hula Company approached us needing better SEO ranking and a better functioning website. Let me tell you, this Hawaii hula web design was fun to create since the photos Mahana provided were quite beautiful.

The website she had previously was built on pretty shaky coding, so we redid the website from the ground up with a focus on search engine optimization (SEO). Since we needed to uproot the coding, we decided to bring the design up a few notches, as well, with some new design elements. Mahana loves vibrant colors of welcoming hues and definitely wanted the feel of 3D. For the design, we kept her old colors, and added rich wood textures and new flower and fern elements. There are subtle little touches that really add to the web design.

Along with the web design, we added a video and photo gallery and a blog. Mahana was new to blogging, but after watching the tutorial video we made for her she has been coming out with some incredible articles about Hawaii, hula, Hawaiian culture, weddings on Maui, and so much more.

You can visit her website: Hawaii Hula Company.

Hawaii Hula Web Design

Hawaii Hula Company Web Design

Web Designing Ergonomics

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What I love about web designing is that I can work alone in my own space; however, working on websites involves very long days behind the computer. Although I try to get up and move around, it’s hard to break away, especially when I’m in the middle of some intricate code. I took my time to set up my work space so that it’s super functional, inspiring, and comfortable. My chair is ergonomically super, my screen and keyboard and the way I have my desk set up is perfect. And my lava lamp bubbles beside my computer screen somehow giving me groovy inspiration to keep on going on.

But, I have to admit… my back hurts, my neck creaks, and I know… yes, I know… it’s from sitting too long. It’s from not getting up. It’s from neglecting my yoga mat. I can hear my Mom’s voice… “Make sure you get up and move around. Sitting is no good.” But sheeessshhhh…. it’s hard to pull away, even if it’s for a short while.

slouching at the computerThere are ways to help the “sore back syndrome”. The first thing is to try to keep from slouching forward while working. This forces your back to bend, and your neck to get sore. Adjust that computer monitor. Make sure it’s not too low. It must be at eye level so that you don’t slouch, and make sure the monitor is within 18 to 24 inches.

I have a low profile keyboard. Most Macs come that way. If you’re on a PC, try to get a low keyboard, or try to adjust the height of your keyboard support.

Another thing you can do to help out your back and prevent back and neck aches is to make sure your telephone is within easy reach. My phone is right next to me, perfect for answering the phone right away without having to stretch or strain in an awkward position. I also use a headset which I like much better than cradling the phone between my ear and shoulder.

The other important thing is to take little breaks. Stand up. Stretch. Exercise is so important, and so is good nutrition and relaxation. I get the good nutrition and the good night’s sleep, but it’s the exercise… yesss…. the exercise…. I wonder, is it laziness or what?

Anyways, here is a great little animation that expresses this point in a nurturing way. No narration, just wonderful graphics and soothing music, to give us all a gentle reminder to take care of ourselves while we’re working behind the computer.