A flurry of shiny new websites will enter the world in 2014, and while some will receive a warm welcome from users, a significant portion will be shunned, some even held up as examples of how not to design a website. Setting aside the principle that the purpose and target audience of a website should dictate its design, let’s take a look at a few of the items that should be on your wish list if you’re planning to commission a website design in 2014.
If you’ve ever had to attend your high school reunion or happened to be out and make small talk with a stranger, there is one question that almost always inevitably comes up: “So, what do you do?”
As simple as this question may seem, it is much deeper. By asking, ‘What do you do?’ you’re not just asking that person where they work – you’re asking them to define themselves; How important is your position? How much money do you make? Are you a person of status and influence? How educated are you? How much progress have you made from the time I met you, until now. These are some of the questions we ask internally, masked behind that simple question – which should be appropriately re-worded into: “So, who are you?”
Whether you’re a writer, sculptor or a painter, we’ve all faced mental blocks when searching for that hot spring from which creative ideas flow. Being in the design industry, we understand how hard of a job graphic designers and animators have: constantly having to catch the client’s vision and work within its parameters, expected to provide incredible visuals, etc. We get it.
After speaking with our own design team, in addition to other firms and freelancers, we created a short list of 7 things every graphic designer needs to do in order to remain creative.
Let’s face it: the web is overwhelmed. Overwhelmed with poorly written content, junky websites and… yes, advertisement.
With their competitive rush and marketing aspirations flying high, businesses often fall into the so-called black hole of inefficient online strategies.. Then the reality checks in and crashes their poorly built sailing boat of high aspirations against the rocky shores of Internet Marketing.
There are several inherent issues with certain online marketing strategies widely utilized today that lead to these boat wrecks:
*** While Internet and Social Media Marketing is a great way to create not only awareness about a business but also spark discussions and even debates on a subject of interest for the audience, there are many industries where strict regulations simply prohibit them from using the Internet for marketing their product or service. These highly regulated industries mostly fall into the realm of financial services and health care.
*** A social media platform to the core, Facebook has been keen on revamping its image in the on-line marketing world in the last several years. Through introduction of share and like capabilities, business pages and sophisticated advertisement management system, Facebook has indeed positioned itself as one of the leaders in Digital Marketing.
Often-times, however, Facebook is still viewed as a useless platform for business marketing by some, and our experience shows that this opinion mostly forms as a result of not understanding the Facebook sales funnel (which we portrayed in the image below as a lovely calla flower) and the general Facebook marketing principles.
*** Chances are, your business is not Starbucks. But if you were to think of the Starbucks marketing strategy, what would you think it actually sells?
The answer that is just asking to come out is “coffee”, isn’t it? But sit back for a minute and think about this: If you are one of the people who loves coming to Starbucks to slowly sip your cup of coffee in the morning, what are you actually coming there for? Is it the cup of coffee itself, or is it the atmosphere and a circle of familiar faces, or is it the cheer that you are greeted with as you approach the cash register, or is it the “you” moment when you simply enjoy your own solitary company?
*** Today, the first step in anyone’s buying quest is without a question visiting the Internet, and the first thing that they are looking for is information. The Internet offers a lot of opportunities for research and education about the products and/or services and the companies that are offering them, and this “research” phase is an inevitable step in the whole buying process.
From the perspective of a business owner, this means one thing: if you want those visitors to your website to stay and ultimately become actual clients, you need not only to understand their needs and demonstrate how your product/service will solve them, but also have a very strong understanding of and cater to each step within their buying cycle.
There is always a path that leads to conversion, and it is your website’s job to make that path clear and each step along it desirable.
***As Google continues to work on improvements to its search algorithm, the world, it seems, is rather slow to react to its latest update called Hummingbird that was announced on September 20, 2013. As much of a shocker as it may have been, the truth is that this algorithm had in fact been actively affecting the search engine results for the last month prior to the announcement. As a search engine user, you might have noticed more precise search results, higher relevancy of information and better overall experience. As a business, you may not exactly be sure why you have been getting less traffic in the last 30+ days. Let’s explore…
What Do You Need to Know about Google’s Hummingbird Update?
Given the sheer vastness of the online universe and the volume of content it houses, users are understandably overstimulated, having more information at their fingertips than ever before. The growing competition for attention has inspired many content writers to get straight to the point and be ruthless during editing, but it has also boosted the value of the web video, a medium that conveys a lot of information in much less time than text ever could.