Why Your Business Needs a Professional Web Design

When your site or business is on the internet, the job is far from over! You’re going to need a professionally designed website that shows your potential customers that you’re serious. While a professional web design may not seem that important, think back to your own experiences; if you see a poorly made website you probably think it’s cheap, you may chuckle a little, but you’re not feeling a lot of trust towards this site and probably won’t be doing any business with it, would you? Your potential customers and visitors are just like you, and you want to give them the experience that helps them do business with you.

Make it Reflect You

You want your website to reflect you and your business as a whole; this is exactly why you want to avoid any cookie cutter web design templates that you can get for free or for cheap! A lot of these will be used by thousands upon thousands of other websites, so you’ll want to make sure that your website is YOUR website! The last thing you want to do is have your visitors previous experience with a site that used the same template colouring the experience they have with you. When you have a unique web design, you’ll be able to show people who you are as a business, and that you care enough about their experience on your site to make sure it’s designed for use by modern browsers, mobile users and more!

Customers are Visual Creatures

When you’re shopping online, you want the best of the best, we all do! You’ll want to keep this in mind when you choose your website design; your website needs to be easy to navigate with good design that helps people move towards the point of sale of call to action that the site’s there for. While content does go a long way towards persuading your potential customers, a great design can and will seal the deal, making your website profitable in less time. In times like these, who doesn’t need a boost? Cater to your customer’s desire for easy visual layouts!

A Real Designer Will Help You Communicate

The purpose of design is to communicate an idea; if it’s not communicating an idea it’s just art and you don’t want a piece of art! You want a cogent design that helps you and your customers get stuff done. A real designer will help you get everything up and running, help you communicate and get your users where you need them to be. They’ll be able to bring your vision to life, and give you that edge over your competition that you need to survive in this competitive marketplace.

When you want to stand out and get things done, you want a custom web design. A custom web design will show your customers that you’re a real business and that you’re serious about what you’re doing.

The Three SEO Tips You Need to Know for 2012

In the last year we’ve all suffered through a lot of changes with Google’s Panda updates, but what do they hold in store for us for 2012? Will you end up losing ground or gaining ground this year? The only way to tell is to make sure you know the rules of the game for this year coming up, and sticking to them! Here we’re going to go over all the changes you’re going to need to make to make sure you don’t end up on Google’s hit list, and how you can leap ahead of your competitors!

Repetition is Bad

For a long time we all used the same keywords again and again, hoping to hammer into the fun people over at Google that we were the people for x keyword. We all want to be the one people click on in the SERPs, but you’re going to need to vary your act a little. Shake up which keywords you’re using for back linking, and you’ll be able to keep building links without suffering penalties.

If you’re wondering how you’re going to stuff your anchors into your content, stop right now. You want to make sure that your links are as natural as possible; if they look strange in the text, skip it and find a better place for them.

Get Social

For the last few years there has been a giant push towards social media within Search Engine Optimization; you need to make sure that you’re being social so that you can get all that link juice back to your own site and increase how much an authority Google and the other search engines think you are. You’ll want to do things like creating Google Places pages if you’re a local business, create Facebook fan pages and have an active twitter account to interact with people and spread the good work about what you’re offering online.

One big thing you need to look out for is putting the Google+ plugins on your website; Google is now giving preference to people who have this sharing option on their site (which is leading to an anti-trust case being built against them in both the U.S. and the E.U) to get better rankings. You can’t ignore having a Google+ button on your site, so make sure you do it!

Pay Attention to Where You Link

It used to be that you could just link in and out to anything, and the more links the better. You’ll want to be very careful about who you’re linking out to and where you’re backlinking in from! Try to stick with real authority sites and avoid using content farms that have been slapped with sanctions from Google (eHow is a good example of one that was in trouble but is starting to get better rankings).

Now you know what you need to do and what you need to avoid. Start working towards a squeaky clean image and you’ll be able to reap the rewards in 2012!

Making an Impact with Logo Design

Logo design isn’t just about pretty pictures; you’re going to need to have a memorable logo that influences your audience and tells them who you are all at the same time. This might seem like a hard thing to do, but in the hands of the right logo designer you’re going to be able to get your message across and have a beautiful logo that really says something about your company. While you might be tempted to design your own logo, this is one of those things that’s better left in the hands of a professional who understands the ebbs and flows of consumer psychology.

Logo Leads Marketing

When you’re working on your marketing strategy (online or offline), you’re going to have to take your logo into consideration; more importantly you’re going to have to look at what you’re marketing! Your product should ALWAYS come before the logo, since a logo is there to communicate a message. If you have no product, you have no message and making a logo is pointless; without a message a logo is just a pretty picture.

Strong versus Soft

A strong logo might seem like the way to go, but you need to try and puzzle out who your customer is (which you probably did during the product development and marketing research phase, if not don’t skip this important step!) and what they want. If you’re selling dryer sheets or socks for example to women, you may want to go with a soft happy logo that makes them associate that with your brand. If you’re selling “Adventure Action Socks” to men, you can go with a strong logo, angular lines and bold colours. It’s all about appealing to your core audience, and not every corporate branding is going to need those strong lines and colours to be successful.

Logo Integrity and Format

Before you begin to design your logo, you need to discuss with the designer what format it will be provided in. If they offer you a final “raster” copy, but no “vector”, you need to find another designer fast. Raster images are like your family photos; they’re difficult to blow up and make strong lines soft and blurry. A vector formatted logo is the best you can get, since it can be blown up to any resolution and down to a postal stamp if need be. Vector gives you the versatility you need to grow with your logo, and you’ll have more avenues of advertising and promotion down the road that will give you the best value for your logo.

Print Before You Pay

Before you pay for any logo design (usually the last half, but arrangements vary), you need to see your design printed on paper; you can ask for an assortment like on glossy paper for promotional materials, on matte paper like an envelope or something else you will be using. This will let you see what it looks like on paper, and help you decide if the design is something you can actually use. If the designer refuses to do this step, walk away! You should never pay sight unseen.

Top Three Ways to Fail at Web Design and How to Avoid Them

Web design is such a fickle thing and it’s so easy to turn a great design into a bad design; if you’ve ever wanted to know how to make your design a winning one, you’ve come to the right place! Here we’re going to talk about how to tweak your design if you already have one, and if you’re creating a new one from scratch you’ll be able to make your web design built to last.

Fail #1: Slow Loading Sites

A slow loading site will never be successful; I know this sounds a bit harsh, but it’s true. You just can’t expect people to wait on your site to render in their browser, especially if they’re using a mobile device. If you want to fix slow loading sites you need to go through this quick checklist:

  • Are the images in your design web optimised? If you’re not sure, ask your designer to take a look at it or check out the sizes by right clicking on the elements and clicking “properties” in your browser window.
  • Your page needs to be >100k. Each page should be under 100KB, but you won’t have to include multimedia that loads from somewhere else like YouTube for example.
  • Are you using too much JavaScript? Also known as AJAX, if you’re using too much of this in your code you’re begging for slow load times. Prioritise which code snippets are the most important and comment out things that are unnecessary to the design.

Fail #2: Compatibility Issues

You want to make sure that your website is compatible with as many browsers and devices as possible; this means you’re going to want to nix any Flash or third party plugins that you’ve been running on your site. If you want that great interactive element to your website, consider upgrading everything to HTML5; it plays well with iPads and mobile devices, and you’ll never have to worry about an exploit running amuck with your visitor’s machines.

Fail #3: Bad Navi

When you build your site, you want people to be able to find their way around! If you’re using a static HTML website, you may want to switch to something like WordPress; you’ll be able to have crisp clear navigation that helps your users find what they’re looking for and the search engines to get you indexed properly.

If you have an existing site and you don’t want to suffer through a format change, you’re going to want to take a look at your existing navigation section. Are there things that are nested (link through, like a daisy chain) more than five deep in your navigation? It’s good to provide an in-depth navigation, but you don’t want it to be so long that at the flick of a mouse your visitors will have to start back up and try and find what they were looking for all over again.

Having a successful web design is all about paying attention to details, and with a few tweaks your website can really pull in the customers you need to be successful online!

The Four Rules of Logo Design

Getting a great logo design that’s going to stand the test of time is the goal when you hire a logo designer to create your logo, but how do you get there? How do you know the logo you’re buying is actually worth what you’re paying for it, and how do you know it won’t fall flat in a year or two? Here we’re going to go over everything you need to know about logos and how you can make your logo evergreen, beautiful and make your brand identity count.

Colour Isn’t as Important as You Think

Colour isn’t as important as you might think; shape and form is a lot more important to logo design and will give you impact without taking a bright red sledgehammer of colour to it. You can be subtle with brand identity and still get the point across, so don’t be afraid to go easy on the colour! You’ll also want to make sure that there’s a heavy emphasis on design over colour; colour should be the last thing you work on (or your designer works on, so to speak), so if it looks good in black and white it’ll look great in whatever colours you choose!

Make it Original

Making your logo design original is one of the most important things you can do. An original logo design will give you everything you need to stand out from the crowd of your competition, and you’ll be able to really make an impact with brand recognition. You will also be able to avoid all the pitfalls of an intellectual copyright/property lawsuit from “borrowing” elements of someone else’s design.

Say No to Trends

Saying no to trends is one of the best things you can do, but you don’t want to have a logo design that looks dated either. You’ll want to stay away from anything that looks like a lot of Photoshop filters were used on it, and anything that looks too trendy. Trends are great, but your logo needs to carry you through a ten year period at least and we all know what happened to those wonderful web 2.0 logos that are collecting dust in some designer’s recycle bin.

Pay Attention to Height and Width

Height and width are important with a great logo design; you’re going to want to make sure that the footprint is small, but you want it to make an impact too. You’ll need to balance between the width and the height of your logo so you don’t end up too top heavy. You’ll also want to pay attention to the use of shapes and forms with the size of your logo, if one shape is too long or too large it can throw off the balance of the rest of the logo design.

Now you know everything you need to about logo design! Don’t be afraid to ask the designer if you think something is throwing off the balance, or if there is too much of an emphasis on colours.

SEO YouTube Tips and Tricks

YouTube is great for SEO (search engine optimization), no matter what products or services you’re selling on the internet! YouTube isn’t just a place for cute cat videos, it’s also the world’s biggest social media networking website too! You can reach people from just about anywhere looking for everything, and all you need to do is make sure you’re taking advantage of your YouTube content to start getting that SEO search engine love every time!

You’ll want to make sure that you don’t devote all of your SEO efforts on YouTube or anywhere else, try to split them into 20-25% increments like 20-25% of your efforts on YouTube, then on Facebook and twitter, profile backlinks and blog comments. Make sure you mix it up!

Use Your Video Descriptions!

When you fill out your video descriptions, you want to make sure that you get a great deal of keyword rich text into each one; this means you include a backlink to your site and content that has keyword or key phrase targeted towards your audience. You’ll be able to get more out your video postings if you use the video descriptions box correctly. If you use the first 27 characters of the description with all of your keywords, you’ll be able to get great SEO benefits.

Always Link Back to Your Site

Always link back to your website in the description boxes, on your profile and other strategic places. You’ll be able to build yourself up as an authority on Google, and you’ll be able to get your website indexed a lot faster and with greater regularity, as well as a better page rank too! When people share your videos, you’ll get even more link juice back to your site. This is why YouTube is one of the best places to get your site noticed

Using Keyword Rich Titles and Tags

Your titles and tags should be just as keyword rich as the content on your own site. This might be hard, tagging and making sure your titles are descriptive, but it’s something you have to do. If you’re not good at making this kind of stuff up, consider hiring someone to take care of it for you (like us!) so you have one less headache to worry about. Tagging these is just important as tagging your WordPress websites posts, so make sure you choose great keywords and you’ll be able to get the results you need!

Get Users Involved

Getting users involved is one of the best way to boost your YouTube SEO efforts! You’ll be able to get them to weigh in on what you’re talking about, get their friends to comment and most importantly share your links on social media networks like Facebook, twitter and even their own YouTube channels. This will help you get a better result from your SEO on YouTube, and spread the word, all for free!

Getting great SEO out of YouTube isn’t as hard as you might think, and it’s as easy as following the steps above! Pay attention to linking to your site and creating relevant keyword rich titles, descriptions and tags; most of all make good content and you’ll see the results you’ve been looking for, all for free!

How Cheap and Bad Logos Will Ruin Your Business

Nothing like getting straight to the point! When you think about cheap (cheap looking, not good affordable logos!) and bad logos, you think of someone who’s on the path to ruin. No one wants a bad logo, but bad choices lead to bad logos! Here we’re going to go over everything you need to know to avoid getting a bad logo for your business or start up, and how to swing a fantastic logo at a decent price that will help you establish brand identity for years to come.

Bad Logos are Like Bad Hair

Strange analogy, but true. We all start out with the best of intentions, but somewhere down the road things go wrong. They go horribly wrong. Maybe you needed a new sign for your business and decided that a logo just wasn’t important enough to be fussing about. A logo is just important to your business as having computers, getting the utilities turned on and all the other things that keep the world turning! The last thing you want to do is have a bag logo.

How do Bad Logos Happen?

Bad logos are a product of sloppy design work. Maybe you hired the cheapest designer out there, maybe you tried to design your own logo, maybe you just typed some letters on a screen and started using it as a logo. The truth is to get a great logo you’re going to have to understand how design works, how colours play on one another and how people give positive and negative attributes to different colours depending on what the logo is related to. Red in a construction or a bank logo is fantastic, but red in logo for something else can upset your core audience. You have to make sure that it all works together in tandem to get you the results you need to be successful.

Great Logos are Unique

If you want to have a great logo and avoid the permanent bad hair day that a bad logo is going to give you, you need someone who knows what they’re doing to design your logo. A cheap designer could end up swiping elements of your logo and leaving you open for a lawsuit on down the road, so you want to make sure that your logo is unique and suits you and your business.

But how do you pick a good design company? There are so many of them, and you’ll want to really scrutinize the companies you look at. Do they have a portfolio that you can check out and make sure that their style and skills are up to the level you need? Do they have previous and/or current clients that you can talk to and learn what kind of style and work they do? You want references; you don’t want to pay for something that you aren’t sure you’re even going to get. Avoid a bad design with a good designer!