Highwaters Media - John King

SEO Writing Tips for Blog Posts


Below are a few search engine optimization(SEO) writing tips when creating a new blog post. These are just suggested guidelines not strict rules to help increase the SEO of your blog posts and website. Click on each title below to see more details.

Blog post title
  • Use the most important 1-3 keywords in title, use keywords as close to beginning of title as possible
  • This blog post title becomes the main title <h1> of the post and also the default meta title on search engine results.  
  • Title should summarize the theme or main idea of the blog post
  • More about blog post titles and heading tags
Blog post content
  • Smaller paragraphs, bullet point lists are good, use other ways of organizing information such as headings, bold or italic to emphasize, lists, etc.
  • Subheadings should be used at least once, and should be used with <h2> tags. These subheadings will be formatted as <h2> tags by the person adding the post to WordPress.
  • Think of keyword phrases or topics your target audience will be searching for, and use those throughout blog post in a natural way (don’t “keyword stuff”, but include keyword phrases/topics when appropriate in the article)
  • If using links in blog post, give link text readable and keyword optimized names rather than using full url for link text (example, use personal trainer in bellingham as link text rather than https://trailheadathletics.com/training-programs/ )
  • Use internal linking (linking to other pages on your website) when appropriate
  • 1 or 2 images help give visual appeal to the content.
Post/SEO Title (aka Meta Title)
  • By default this uses the blog post title but we have the option to have a different Meta Title 
  • Limit title tag to 60 characters or less
  • Use relevant keywords and phrases that describe content of blog post, put important keywords as close to beginning of title as possible
  • Title tag should catch viewer’s attention and encourage them to continue reading
  • Search engines use this title in their rankings.


Meta Description
  • Limit meta description to 160 characters or less
  • Use important keywords and concisely describe contents of blog post
  • Give viewers just enough information to know what blog post is about, and description should encourage viewers to read rest of blog post
  • Search engines do no use this text anymore for their rankings. Write this meta description to gain the attention of a viewer.
  • More about title tags and meta descriptions.


Image Optimization
  • Use keywords in image title that describe image appropriately (example “dog-playing-fetch.jpg” or “daisies-and-tulips-in-garden.png”)
  • Shrink photos to smallest dimensions and resolution necessary for blog post (72 ppi is ideal resolution for web images)
  • Use alt tags in images, alt tag should describe content of the image appropriately
  • More information about image optimization


WhatcomCares | web & mobile design

Website features and details:

WhatcomCares provides current comprehensive online information and better access to services and resources for those living with long-term chronic or serious illness or facing end-of-life in Whatcom County. The site is managed by the Palliative Care Institute at Western Washington University.

  • Customized theme created for WordPress.
  • Directory or resources with three types of content; Resources, Library & Story Items.
  • Ability for the public to submit Resources, Library or Stories through the website for inclusion into the website.
  • Administrative area managed by many users to easily add, edit and approve directory items.
  • Standard for all sites built by Highwaters is SEO for each page and post.
  • Mobile friendly
  • SSL Certificate and configuration so entire site runs on https://

Visit active website: https://www.whatcomcares.org


FSTNW | web & mobile design

Website features and details:

Family Systems Therapists Northwest promotes the common professional interests of couple and family therapists in the Pacific Northwest, advocates for the profession, and promotes professional standards.

  • Customized theme created for WordPress.
  • Website content migrated from Squarespace into WordPress.
  • Member directory searchable by the public and members only area.
  • Members have their own login for updating and editing member profile information.
  • Complex member directory sign-up form integrated with stripe.com for payment and feeds automatically into directory for administration approval.
  • Resource library created with WordPress Post and Category system.
  • Standard for all sites built by Highwaters is SEO for each page and post.
  • Mobile friendly.
  • SSL Certificate and configuration so entire site runs on https://

Visit active website: https://www.fstnw.org

FSTNW - WordPress Website


Is it Time to Install an SSL Certificate (https) on Your Website?

Now may be a better time than ever to install an SSL Certificate on your website, and if not now, then sometime in the near future would be wise. An SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate is a digital certificate that encrypts all information passed between a website and web browser, ensuring that all information is secure and private. It prevents hackers from accessing important information, such as credit card numbers, social security numbers, or website login information.


In addition to the security benefits of https, Google will soon be penalizing websites that are not running on an SSL Certificate, giving website owners more incentive to switch their websites to https. In January 2017, Google’s Chrome web browser will begin identifying websites as “Not secure” if they do not have an SSL Certificate. Initially, this will only be for websites without https that are e-commerce, collect credit card information, or have user logins.

The big question to be answered is, will every WordPress site be marked as “Not secure” since they have a built-in admin/login area?

According to posts from Google and various SEO blogs, Google is making changes to their Chrome security notifications in hopes of encouraging all websites to have an SSL Certificate in the future. The Google Webmaster Central Blog states that as of 2014, Google started factoring https into their search algorithm as they rank websites, but for the time being it is a very minor factor in their formula for determining website ranking. However, they may make https a more substantial ranking factor in the near future as they encourage websites to transition to having SSL Certificates.

So, Should You Set Up Your Website With https?

A) Yes, do it now.

  • If you collect payments or credit cards on your website (rather than through a third party payment processor like PayPal).
  • If you have a login page and login credentials for you and/or your visitors. If you have a WordPress website, you should note that all WordPress websites contain login pages, and it is not known if Chrome will flag every WordPress site that does not run on https. This can be a wait and see if you have a basic WordPress site.
  • If you have contact forms that collect a lot of personal information from website visitors (they will most likely prefer that the information is sent over an encrypted url).

B) Yes, do it now.

  • If you are a forward thinker and like to stay ahead of the rush.
  • If you have a business website where your visitors would be reassured by seeing the green https lock in the web browser.
  • If you want to gain an advantage over your competitor websites with https SEO benefits.

C) Wait and see.

  • If you have a simple informational website and want to wait until 2017 to see if Google classifies your site as “Not secure”. In this first round, not all sites without an SSL certificate will be identified as “Not secure”.
  • If you just don’t mind not having an https site.

This year, for all the new websites I have built, I have set them up on an SSL Certificate from the beginning. You can view how the url appears with the examples below.


Questions or thoughts? Feel free to contact me, John, at info@highwaters.net or 360-961-5033.

Basecamp Bellingham | web & mobile design

Website features and details:

Basecamp Bellingham is a directory of human-powered outdoor activities and events in the Bellingham, WA area. This site is part of the Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism organization.

  • Customized theme created for WordPress from Photoshop design comps.
  • Each content block on homepage or interior pages is easily editable by client. This includes each image, title or text over image and link.
  • Each event or equipment page will automatically expand or contract in rows and columns as content is updated.
  • Event pages have events embedded from 3rd party website (bellingham.org) and displayed on each page.
  • Equipment pages have custom posts/content for easy addition of business listings. These custom listings automatically get displayed as content on the page and on a map plugin.
  • Standard for all sites built by Highwaters is SEO for each page and post.
  • Mobile friendly
  • SSL Certificate and configuration so entire site runs on https://

Visit active website: https://www.basecampbellingham.org


Bellingham Traverse & Recreation Northwest | web design


Website features and details:
Recreation Northwest promotes outdoor recreation and brings people together to enjoy, preserve and improve the places where we play. Their programs include ParkscriptionsStewardship of Fairhaven Park, Recreation Economy Education & Advocacy and FUN with Bellingham KIDS Traverse, Bellingham Traverse and Quest Adventure Races.

Their website needed to have two separate websites for each race within one overall design.

  • WordPress designed CMS with custom web design
  • Online Event Registration
  • Blog, Photo Sliders, Multiple Designed Themes For Site Sections
  • In-House, Advertiser and Sponsorship Banner Rotation
  • Client Editing and Maintaining Website Via Several Users
  • Mobile friendly site for WordPress

Visit active website: www.BellinghamTraverse.com

The Anywhere Office – What a CMS website can do for you

Highwaters Media was featured in an article by Amanda Baltazar titled ‘The Anywhere Office’. 
This article was published in the October 2011 issue of Northwest Business Monthly. 

Content Management Systems: Power to the People

Content management systems (CMS) are tools frequently used by web developers to allow business owners to manage and update their own websites once they’ve been designed. 

They’ve also brought websites to the masses, making it more affordable for small and medium-sized businesses to have one.

This is because there is less development time for the designer/programmer since the initial site build-out is much faster and some content can be easily added to the site by the client.

John King set up Highwaters Media in Bellingham in early 2009 to build websites for small businesses. (He also creates logos and does graphic design).

Having learned about web design during the tech bubble of the 1990s, King offers CMS to all his clients. He’s created website for businesses as diverse as farrier companies, realtors, authors and hair studios.

He’s not the only company offering CMS in Bellingham, he explained but the people who come to him are typically looking for simple designs and they see these on his website.

Also, he added, “affordable pricing is also a possibility with Highwaters. I don’t have the structure/overhead that some other businesses may have so my rates are pretty competitive. Not the lowest or highest but somewhere in between.”

The benefits of CMS are that businesses can add any information they wish to their own website.

“It allows people to have always changing websites which is good for search engines and if you are trying to build a community,” King explained. “It also brings people back to sites and can be a big part of social media plans.”

And perhaps more importantly for King’s clients, CMS saves them time and money. Instead of turning to a web designer for small changes and updates, the business owner or owners can make changes themselves.

CMS gives them the tools so they can communicate more quickly and more often with their viewers than if they didn’t have one. So it’s much more dynamic,” said King.

“Businesses can blog, they can become an expert in their town, just by having a new post every week or every month and when people see information like that they think [businesses] really know what they’re talking about.”

And CMS is easy to use, King added. Once he’s built a site for a client, he gives a quick tutorial so business owners can manage their sites.

“It’s fun because they come in and have no idea what to do and are so excited when they see how they do it. I love giving people that control.”