Few web design firms can tout close to 30 years of experience; but we’re close! With 28 years and counting, we’ve seen a thing or two…or 3 or 4, or more. In 1990s, websites were generally text-heavy and image-lite. Hours were spent writing and coding lines and lines of text that would be viewed only on a desktop computer.
Today, it’s about “mobile first” design and “relevant” copy with keywords that rank high with search engines, e.g., Google. Websites today must be intuitive for users to quickly find what they came to learn or purchase. It’s always been about the user experience, and especially now when sites are reached on small mobile devices.
We believe there are five powerful areas that cannot be ignored—categories where mistakes are often made.
NAVIGATION Confusing navigation. When site hierarchy is out of sync, today’s users have little patience to poke around your site. Navigation must be intuitive, never difficult for prospects to learn, engage, and convert to prospects and customers.
VISUAL DESIGN Not designing for mobile first. Images, videos, or buttons that take longer than two seconds to load, a typeface out of sync with your brand, poor use of white space, and misusing the psychology of color needed to strengthen your brand.
CONTENT Weak calls to action that don’t guide the user to know where to go or what to do next, overlooking the use of grids, guidelines, and columns, and not providing monthly content updates to improve Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
TEMPLATES & RESELLERS Be aware of the limitations and hidden terms often associated with DIY website builders and domain sellers before you sign up with them. If it sounds too good to be true, it is. Sometimes it’s the right choice, but do your homework or call us for a fair and balanced assessment.
STOCK PHOTOS The human brain processes images 60x faster than words, so we use images to get attention before delivering powerful messaging. We’ve been known to meet clients in the middle of nowhere to take digital shots of their company trucks or chase the sun and shadows at parks, beaches, and outdoor spaces to create interesting About Us portraits. There’s nothing worse than using a stock photo that a competitor also uses!
Your website is a reflection of your business and your brand. Your visitors should make an immediate connection between your purpose, personality, logo, print material, social media, and marketing collateral. The French writer, poet, journalist and aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupery wisely said: “It seems that perfection is reached not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”
John Reynolds is an up-and-coming entrepreneur who has grown his home-grown invention into a profitable small business. Most days find John on the road selling, while his small office staff man the office and handle order fulfillment and shipping. His website’s domain name (DN) defines the name of his business, but he still uses Gmail to receive and send email. Sound familiar?
It’s not uncommon that we take on new website projects for small business owners who have a free Gmail or Yahoo! email address and want to keep it, even after they acquire a new domain name for their business.
They reason that their current customers have their (free) email address, so they worry that switching email addresses could lose business. They like being able to access their email from anywhere. In other words, the focus is on personal convenience rather than their customer!
People buy products or services to make their lives better or to fill a need. Their choice usually boils down to which solution most closely matches their expectation. In other words, they are attracted and motivated by the brand and the brand message.
You wouldn’t have a website domain like mybusiness.wordpress.com, so why have an email address like email@example.com?
We believe every business, even a 1-person business, should have a custom domain name and email address. Here’s why:
Branding rules the business world. It’s how customers remember you and why we print business cards with meaningful icons and certain colors.
An email address from Gmail or Yahoo screams “I’m not professional and I can’t afford to do it right.” You may not be able to afford to make a good product or provide me with good service either.
You already have a domain name, so you are already paying for a custom email address. There are plenty of tutorials to teach you how to set it up.
You can look larger than you really are. Email address like firstname.lastname@example.org, products@, service@, sales@ help organize your incoming email and also leave the impression of customer-centered professionalism. Still keeping it simple for you!
If you take your business seriously, use a professional email address. Don’t know where to start? Contact Linda with questions about branding and design or Eric about how to acquire a domain name and set up a professional email address for your small business. Part of our brand messaging is that “we always try harder and work smarter to create and build the creative things that foster deep connections between brands and their customers.” What’s your brand message? We’d like to hear how we can help you.
If you are now working from home on a computer, you’ve noticed that never before have we witnessed so much malware, phishing and ransomware scams and other deceptive email practices than during this COVID-19 “stay at home” period. The bad actors with way too much time on their hands see a goldmine of opportunity as employees work from home, outside the corporate firewalls.
We hope this will help you recognize and avoid being victimized by these scams.
How: From an email or text message, you are tricked into providing personal information like: name, address, phone, email, social security number, account numbers and passwords.
Why: They are trying to gain access to your bank account, credit card account, an online payment website you use, like Amazon.
How to Recognize: They usually look like the company you know or trust: same logo, colors, type font, even the same mottos or taglines. There’s usually an effort to scare you. They may say they noticed suspicious activity in your account, or you have a problem with your payment information, or you need to confirm some personal information for your own safety. Sometimes they even say you’re entitled to a refund or offer a freebie gift. Lately, they may suggest you need to provide personal information to become eligible for another government handout.
If read carefully, you may recognize bad grammar, typos, or unnatural arrangement of words and phrases that suggest a non-English speaking writer.
The better scammers are difficult to identify, like this refund notice from Amazon (compliments of GoPTG). If you’d recently purchased from Amazon, the notice looks flawless — so you click. However, if you had not made a recent purchase, alarm bells go off! So you click the link to quickly update both your address and your password. Bingo! A spammer’s double header.
Conscientious companies require home-based employees to log in for work-related activity, so it is usually our personal activity that serves as the playground for bad actors in cyberspace.