To Use or Not to Use Website Builders

Design Websites

I talk to a lot of potential clients who are deciding between hiring a web designer or using a website builder. Most small businesses starting out there are a million things to consider, so I thought I would give my two cents on how to decide:

  1. Money Shouldn’t Matter – This may sound harsh or unrealistic, but if you are building a product you wouldn’t go the cheaper route, you would go the best route (at least you should) and I see a website as just that. Set aside money for the project because it is your business – just the online version. I am not saying you have to spend a ton of money, but research some designers and set aside a realistic budget for your web needs. The cheapest designer shouldn’t win the bid, do research and ask about their process. Some designers (including me) give cheaper rates to small businesses and non-profits.
  2. Not Everyone Is A Web Designer – I hear a lot of, “my cousin took a class so he can make one for me” and that scares me. First of all, web design is a skill, one learns it and masters it. Use a professional, if not, I promise you will be back to the drawing board shortly after your cousin gives you his version of a finished project.
  3. I Can Do It Myself – No you can’t… well, unless you are a designer, but if not then no you can’t. Website builders are helpful for this aspect and good for designers who don’t know code. I get hired to redesign so many sites after a client wanted to save money and make it their own.
  4. I Can Use A Template – I love that website builder sites give templates, but I hate when I see 5 photographers with the photographer template and the only difference is the name. If you venture to try it on your own, be creative! Take control and make it yours.
  5. Free Domain Is A Trick  – Most website builders offer you a free domain if you use their service, sounds great, right? But read the small print, in most cases, they end up owning that domain and may make you jump threw a few hoops and charge you to get it back. Even if you do go with a website builder, buy your domain at GoDaddy. This way if later on you want to hire a designer, they won’t have any issues making the switch. Usually will only cost you about $12/year.

Yes, website builders like Wix and SquareSpace are good tools, they make creating a website easy for anyone and come at very little cost. If you have some design skills and do the research, you can probably pull off a pretty good website from a website builder. But I recommend using or at least talking to a professional website designer before hand. Especially if you are starting a new business.

6 Rules for Choosing the Right Domain Name

6 Rules for Choosing the Right Domain Name

Websites

Choosing the right domain name should be taken as seriously as selecting the business name, as it is your identity on the web. You want to make sure it fits your business as well as is something that is easy to promote. Many think the first step to starting your website is design, but choosing the right domain name is equally important and sometimes the hardest part in site creation.

Follow these simple rules when thinking of the right domain name for your website.

  1. Keep It Simple
    Make sure it is easy to spell and simple to type, not keeping it simple could make it harder for customers to find your site. I just redesigned a website for a high school with the URL www.notredamepreaparatory.org, since preparatory is a harder word to spell we shortened the URL to www.ndpsaints.org, which keeps it simple and easy for the audience to remember.
  2. Keywords
    Everything about the internet should be search focused to help your business get exposure, but don’t only use keywords. Try adding keywords that describe your business or service to help you come up organically in search results. As for Tidbits, I chose www.tidbitsmarketing.com using the keyword marketing, to gain exposure to those searching for a marketing company, but still maintaining the branding of the company.
  3. Be Memorable
    Find a URL that stays in people’s minds, you don’t want them trying to find you, but not remembering your URL. Test it out to close friends to see what they think. See if they remember.
  4. Search
    Anytime I have a client thinking of a URL or business name, the first thing I do is a search for multiple reasons. First, to see if it is trademarked, copyrighted or being used. Second, to see what comes up with similar results – is my name coming up with the competition or is it bringing up unrelated material.
  5. Fulfill Expectations
    When someone hears your domain name they should first think what content would be found there. WebMD.com is obvious in the content, where as Monster.com has to do more SEO (search engine optimization) and branding for you to know what they do. When it comes to small, local businesses I encourage them to have their product or service in the name so they can get more results in search engines.
  6. Don’t Be Clever
    Thinking of hard-to-spell, clever words or complex ideas just makes it harder for people to remember your site. It should be best practice to use a name with one possible spelling or purchase the domains for all the ways to spell it. Flickr.com purchased Flicker.com because I am sure they were loosing traffic to those who spelt the URL correctly.

 

 

The Power of Visual Content

The Power of Visual Content

Branding Content Design Websites

There is a rise in visual content demand because people don’t want to read info-heavy, fact-heavy pages, articles or posts. Businesses who choose to operate with visuals see an increase in brand engagement. And by simply adding more visual content to your marketing plan will increase the intake of the viewer allowing you to communicate quicker and with value, while having a higher chance of being shared. The world of infographics is still here and business who use them average 12% traffic growth and through just the use of a photo you can display your product without telling people about them.

Check out the 9 reasons to get on the Visual Content bandwagon below – need help creating visuals contact us, we love designing.

Visual Communication

 

Make your Website Work: Responsive Design

Websites

Responsive DesignResponsive design is simply having your website appear well on every device, so when the user views your site on desktop, mobile or tablet, they see a compatible website. Since 25% of internet users only access the internet with a mobile device, it is important when designing or redesigning your site to focus on making it responsive. This not only helps user experience (which is important), but also saves you money and time. Responsive design allows for your website to function on future devices and screen sizes as they come on the market.

Want a responsive website? Contact me today!

Website Traffic Tips and Tricks

Websites

In the process of creating a website you should be thinking about how the website will get traffic. If you miss some key features your website will not be seen. Below are the simple steps to help you increase website traffic and drive customers to your site.

  • Page Titles: Make sure you have clear and simple titles that accurately describes the content you’re going to display is one of the most important elements of optimizing your on-site content. 
  • Content: One of the easiest and best ways to produce traffic is creating valuable dynamic content. Use blogs and/or news section to promote content sharing, add keywords to your pages and create titles that are searchable.  
  • Social Media: Use social media platforms to provide sharing of your content by providing buttons for an easy click to share. Also use the social media platforms to link to your site, such as posting your blog to social media. 
  • Resources: Connect with bloggers and other in your industry to write about your service as well as link back to your site. This can be done by returning the favor, provide guest blog opportunities for trade of you guest blogging on their site.

For other tips and tricks on helping website traffic that are more specific to your audience, contact me.