Category Archives: Web Design Tips

You Are Not a Web Developer – and That’s OK

DIY, or do it yourself, is apparently the “in” thing now. It has an acronym, so it must be official. The thing that, to some, used to be simply figuring out the solution to a problem and then fixing it now has its own TV network.  

I kind of wish I was kidding when I wrote that.

Look, in many cases, DIY is a perfectly fine solution. But when your business is at stake, the last thing you should consider is involving yourself in something that is not your particular area of expertise. If you sell a product, then be an expert in the product you sell. If you provide a service, then provide the best possible service that you can provide.

But you are not a web developer and there is nothing wrong with that. The question is why would you risk putting a global face on your company that didn’t show your company in the best light possible? Here’s what you’re setting yourself up for:

Bad design. Design has become a key part of our everyday lives. Don’t believe me? Take a trip to your local Target, go to the housewares, and look at how many can openers there are. You will find designs for big hands and small hands. You will find every color of the rainbow. You will find some with rounded corners and some with straight edges. Design is everywhere.

This goes double for the internet. Today’s customers demand a clean and well designed experience when visiting a website. If you can’t provide that, then they will find someone who can. You get mere seconds to make your first impression with your website; why risk losing a customer before they’ve even seen what you have to offer?

Bad security. Security is a constant issue on the internet. By taking your website into your own hands, you are taking responsibility for the security of your site’s code as well as the security of your customers’ data. Are you willing to do that?

High-volume sites can see hundreds, if not thousands, of attacks per week. But, if you think that your site is “too small to be hacked” you’re wrong. Hackers and scammers use automated tools to scour the internet looking for sites that they may be able to exploit. No one has to know your site exists to make it a target; it only needs to be online.

Bad crises. Your site has crashed. What do you do?

Every second that you spend trying to answer this question means another potential sale that you could have secured or another potential client that you could have talked to.

A quality web developer is going to have a pre-set crisis response plan in place that can get you back up and running as quickly as possible – in some cases, within minutes.

We don’t claim to be experts in your area of expertise and we have no shame in that. Likewise, you should have no problems calling in the experts when it comes to putting your company on display for the entire world to see. Give us a call and tell us how we can help you.

The Truth About Building a Business Through Social Media

When I first sat down to write this post I was going to call it “Facebook is Useless! The Truth About Social Media.” People seem to think that they can post something on their website, put a note about it on Facebook, and watch as people head to their page in droves. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The truth about social media is this: It is just one single part of a strategy that must take no less than 5 other facets into consideration. How much of a role you want it to play in your overall marketing strategy is largely governed by how much time you have available to dedicate to it. It can help with your growth, but the odds of taking your web presence to the next level simply by being good at Twitter are incredibly low. So how can social help? To understand the answer to that, we have to first understand the demographics involved with each social network. Facebook, once the exclusive playground of college co-eds, is now used mostly by those in their 30’s and 40’s. Your grandmother might have a Facebook account at this point. Facebook will tell you that the average age of an account holder might be still be somewhere between 18 and 24 but that demographic is fleeing from the social network in droves. The true question is how many of those accounts are active. Still, the fact that the social network has crossed the billion account threshold is remarkable no matter how you look at it. Twitter users start to push the age bar down a little bit – the average Twitter user is 37 years old but it has more regular younger users than Facebook does. Over 90% of Instagram users are under 35 years old. Key to these numbers is the fact that each demographic uses each social network for different purposes – there is no single unifying social network and there likely never will be. This brings us to another truth about building a business through social media: Social is complicated. Failure to understand not only your demographic, but your demographic’s intent, while on their social network of choice, can do more harm to your brand than good. So where does this leave you? As a site owner you have a message, a product, or a vision that you want to present to the world. You have multiple avenues that you can take to do that but you have to realize that, in the world of social, there is a right way and there is a wrong way. Useless? Maybe not. A properly executed social campaign can do wonders for building your following. But, execute the wrong way and you’ll wish you’d just stuck to your email newsletter.

4 Ways Responsive Web Design Changed the Internet

I remember the first time I saw web content on a mobile device. It was my old Motorola Razr and I’d just subscribed to my carrier’s mobile web option. I was enthralled. Here I was standing in the middle of the store and I was reading actual web content on the screen of my cell phone. Well, it’s obviously been a long time since those days and much has changed in the way information is displayed on the computers we now carry in our pockets. As displays have grown larger, brighter, and capable of higher and higher resolutions, we have been trying to find the best ways to use them to display information. The initial idea wasn’t, in all honesty, much different than the way my old Razr was showing me content all those years ago. Dubbed the “mobile web”, the idea was to create separate, mobile-only versions of sites that phone-based browsers could access rather than having to pull down the full version of a site. These sites were commonly seen as a subdomain of the full-sized site; you probably saw it as Mobile sites certainly had their place and served their purpose. The only alternative was to not have a mobile site and force mobile visitors to pinch and zoom their way through your content, assuming they could use the navigation in the first place. It was less than ideal, to put it mildly, and a better way had to be found. Enter responsive web design. 1.Responsive design responded to the demands of the marketDevelopers and site owners did not want to have to maintain multiple sites serving up the same content. At the same time, site visitors did not want to visit sites that weren’t optimized for viewing on their rapidly growing selection of mobile devices. A site might work on their phone but not work on their significant other’s phone. A site that had the information they wanted on the desktop might have been missing that information when served up for mobile. The market demanded that something step in and unify all of these things. Viewers and developers alike wanted a single site that contained all of the information of the main desktop site and they wanted it viewable on any device, regardless of screen size. 2.Responsive design responds to the size of the displayResponsive web design gave them exactly that. With responsive web design, code behind the site determines the size of the display that it is being viewed on and then makes adjustments in its design, typography, layout, and navigation in order to give the user the best experience based on that display size. Navigation buttons may be larger. Text may wrap differently or be a different typeface. Sliders may be replaced by other design elements that take less time to load. All of this happens in the background, very quickly, and is 100% transparent to the user. 3.Responsive design responds to the need for simplicityPerhaps the best aspect of responsive web design, however, is that all of this happens to the main site. When a viewer goes to on their phone, they are going to the very same that the person next to them on a laptop is visiting. The same information is served because it is the same site; it is just presented differently. As you can imagine, this simplifies things greatly for those responsible for managing your web presence. Since you no longer need to worry about creating content for two (or more) different sites, you can focus your attention on making your content as good as it can possibly be. Responsive web design will take care of making sure that it is presented well. 4.Responsive design responds to the futureWith responsive web design you no longer have to be concerned with future screen sizes – either larger or smaller. Your site can still be served regardless of the trends the industry might follow. And, adapting to those future needs is as simple as changing a few lines of code. Design trends might change and server or site software might take a different direction. But, with responsive web design, you know that your site will always be visible across the wide spectrum of devices we have available now and any new devices the future may hold.

Its Net-WORK!

Not Net-Eat, not Net-Facebook during the meeting. I read a great article yesterday that talked about how what you do says alot about how you network.

Here’s what I mean. Jimmy is in a leads group, or a BNI, or some civic based organization…

  • Jimmy reads his email on his phone and sends txt messages during the meeting.
  • Jimmy gets up to take that call, instead of pressing ignore.
  • Jimmy chats with the person next to you about how bad Greg’s golf swing was last week.
  • Jimmy doodles or sit and stare off into space as though deep in thought.

These are sure signs that someone isn’t fully invested in a meeting or networking opportunity. Do you feel comfortable investing a lot of time in tring to network with Jimmy? Of course not, so before you take that call or send that text or lean ofer and make that comment, think about Jimmy’s example. Do you want your group members thinking that about you?

Networking is a combination of go-get-em-ness, good manners, careful listening, and extreme followup. Alot of people get on a treadmill of looking for networking opportunities and never quite get around to doing the actual work of the equation which is sitting down with someone who shares your common prospect pool and figuring out how to get them some good, solid referrals that can turn into business. Forget about yourself for a minute and really focus on helping your network, and the rest just takes care of itself. Make an effort to contribute somehting useful to the group and it will come back to you in spades.

Speaking of Networking… I have a really solid group of trusted businesses that I work closely with in Milford and the surrounding areas. If you need something done personally or in business, consider calling me, I have a great network of people who love to make connections and have a real passion for helping out small businesses.

Conversely, I have a need that perhaps one of you, dear readers, may be able to help me with. Do you know a trustworthy automotive repair shop? Have a good mechanic that perhaps needs a website done. I have a great barter opportunity for an enterprising auto shop that needs a marketing make-over, or needs to establish a footprint in the local search market. How’s your network look? 😉

Create A Credible Online Presence

To strengthen your online web presence and generate more interest from local and organic search results you need to create credible inbound links to your website. In fact having credible inbound links from relevant popular sources is the biggest factor for search engines. Creating these inbound links is simple, but may cost you some money.

Some inbound links are generated from online directories which allow users to comment and rate your businesses. These online directories may include (remember you might have to pay for some of these services), Yahoo’s Small Business directory, Yellow Pages enhanced listings, Merchant Circle, Better Business Bureau Online, or any other online registry or directory that is relevant to your business. A word of caution, make sure to do your homework before adding your business to a random directory. Look at their online reputation because it will affect yours.

Speaking of reputations, one easy way to create a credible online presence is to have a pattern of positive reviews on the internet. Many potential customers are using reviews to evaluate your business on sites such as Google Places, Facebook Places, Yelp, Merchant Circle, Angie’s List and more! Ask your clients to write a short positive review of your business on their favorite review site and in no time you will have created a great online reputation.

The Importance Of Newsletters

Most businesses find there is a lot of low hanging fruit in their existing customer bases. How often are you communicating with yours? Probably not as much as you should be! Sending out a monthly newsletter is a very effective way to stay in touch with your customer base. Creating a successful monthly correspondence can seem like a daunting task, but with just a few simple guidlines, writing these newsletters will seem like a breeze and can tremendously help your business.

While brainstorming a new newsletter make sure to choose a non- “sales pitchy” topic that is not focused on selling your products, but that is focused on giving the reader some valuable, free information. Customers will be immediately turned off by a newsletter created only to sell them something. Instead, choose topics that are relevant to your industry while also giving the reader some new or entertaining information. Newsletters help your readers stay engaged and get the most out of your relationship with them. Talk about company updates, new employees, specials, and highlight clients and partners, not about this weeks special, or how great your services are.

Make sure to add a “Did you know?” section in your newsletter to inform clients of services or products that they might not know you offer.

A great example is: Too busy to manage your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIN account? Did you know that Antelope Networks LLC now offers social media maintenance? Contact us today to get started on a custom social media package designed especially for you!

This reminds your client that you offer more than what you already do for them and is a great way to get new business from existing clients. Start developing a newsletter to send out next month. Your customers will appreciate the time you spent on staying in touch.

Creating Momentum in 2013

How do you create a momentum for a 2013 when 2012 didn’t end as profitable as desired? We suggest taking a look at your current communication efforts and seeing where you can improve. Ask yourself, when is the last time I sent out a press release or even picked up the phone to thank a client? In this age of digital media we are so focused on crafting brilliant social media blasts in 140 characters or less that we lose sight of the tried and true marketing tools. Here are some suggestions using traditional methods to increase your momentum in 2013.

  • Send out a newsletter. Set a goal this year to send out a least a quarterly newsletter (preferably once a month) to update your customers on new technologies for or enhancements to your business and to give them relevant tips. We promise that your clients will appreciate hearing from you.
  • Advertise in the newspaper. Remember the newspaper? Believe it or not a large percentage of people still read the paper in the morning, especially commuters, and posting an ad in the paper may help you reach a new market.
  • Send out press releases. Facebook alerts are a great way to quickly update your followers, but for a more in-depth announcement a press release still can’t be beat.
  • Stay in contact with clients. Regular communication will inspire confidence in your clients, so pick up the phone and check in!

2013 is a great opportunity for you to start incorporating traditional communication methods into your larger marketing effort. Take the time to broaden your communication horizon and I think you will be surprised with the results.

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