In case you missed my presentation from WordCamp Miami, I talked about some free tools and apps that can help create content. The feedback from this was amazing and again I’m continually thankful for the platform and opportunity. As a speaker, the greatest joy in getting up on stage is knowing that what you have to say makes in impact on those in the audience. I’m continuing to do my best with recording these opportunities so that I can share them with anyone who wasn’t able to attend.
If you’d like to get a copy of the slide deck, head over to this article to download it for free.
Another new year has begun and prior to January first, like most of you, I had a good few goals I wanted to begin come the turn of the year. I imagined myself doing them, I wrote a few of them down on paper, and I barely started two of them. And that’s me being honest.
That hype that you have about fresh and newness is the same attitude most of your potential customers and visitors are also expecting from your website too. Because they are expecting this, we don’t want to let them down. This is why I’ve started to renew the idea of writing a quality post at least once a week as well as post much more regularly my photographic work on my social media sites.
Being a creative you’d think that I’d have a ton of materials for my website and social sites all the time ready to go. Well, to be honest, as a creative we’re probably the most critical over our work than most others in different trades. So below are five great changes you can make to your website to give it a fresh look for the start of 2017.
1: Update Your Home Page Graphics and Hero Graphics
Whenever landing on a website your eyes are usually first intrigued by the images and graphics that are at the top. Those visuals may be accompanied by text to better describe the graphic or also with buttons that lead to other pages or to a call to action or product. Think about how much better some more relevant images could do for your website in better describing your products or services.
2: Change Some Colors
Not saying you should change your brand identity, but maybe use some of your highlight or accent colors in a different way. Be subtle but make a fresh impact that leads to something worth looking at or reading for your website visitors. I’m recently working with a client where their logo is their first name in gold and they have a couple of other websites that could use the same gold color in the logo to create a linking motive while keeping separate identities for each website. It’s kind of like finding an easter egg in a Marvel movie – when you see it, you smile.
3: Use Video
Video explains so much and when done right will capture and keep the attention of your visitors a bit better than regular text and more so than a static image. For those of you with products, how about creating a video that describes how to use the product, how it saves time, or even the difference of your product over a competitor product. Other video ideas could be you describing what the website stands for, why it’s relevant, or better yet video testimonials from past and current customers.
4: Create a Worth-While Call-to-Action
You’ve gotta create an incentive for people to come back. While “creating great content” is the common phrase you hear all the time, part of that content needs to be something that is engaging or offers some value. We’re all used to seeing the 10%-25% off stuff and even those sometimes don’t entice most consumers to buy alone. Why not offer something that your visitors will actually use. Try offering a free hour with the purchase of the first hour. Or suggest this product to two friends and you get this free.
5: Make it a Point to Post Once a Week
This may be the hardest thing to do. We’re busy, there are other things we must get done, we don’t have time, don’t want to make time, etc. I can give you plenty of excuses. But it’s 2017, there are too many services out there that you can sub-contract your busy work to. For me, Sunday nights are the best times for me to sit down and write out my posts and schedule my social media. I’m more in the mood to do it then and it helps me to get the weight off my shoulders when my week actually does start. Once you get on a roll with it, you’ll find how easy it is to keep going and making it a priority. Don’t forget to track with analytics to better curate your content.
Photo Credit to Pexels
We often get questions from our clients and people to our website or social media about ways to generate traffic on a website that don’t cost as much as doing full blown SEO Marketing. If you don’t know already, the median cost for adequate SEO (search engine optimization) campaigns can range from $250 – $5,000 a month if not more. Depending on your business’ marketing budget, you may not be able to afford anything towards paid marketing, and that’s ok. One of the best things you can do to promote your business and drive traffic “organically” to your website is to create great content on a your website.
Creating organic content is rather easy in thought. If you’ve got a WordPress website, you’ve already got a blog built in. So logging in and creating a post and publishing it is a snap. Check out our free how to videos if you need a refresher.
The Value Add
The value in your posts is what you talk about and how detailed or defined you can get. It’s not so much on repeating what most may already know about your industry, but a different take on something common or a simple way of solving a problem that most suffer though the hard way. And in there lies the organic and realistic perspective that only you can provide in your words.
The more topics you write about in this same fashion you will build up a fan base. People who respect what you have to say over some industry leaders even. Why? Because of your unique perspective and how relatable you are.
Provoke An Action
Once your readers have consumed your posts, you should ask them to take an action. This action may be fulfilling a promise, sharing your post with 2-3 people, trying out the steps you laid out, or maybe even to prove you wrong in a way. Lastly, you can offer a give-a-way of something of value to your readers. Could be a top 10 list, discount coupon, or something of the like so that they are willing to give you their names and email addresses in exchange for this free option. This is also a great way to build your email list!
Monitor Your Analytics
While you may not see too many comments on your posts, you may notice the increase in traffic to your website on the days you post, and a couple of days after each post. But first lets talk about consistency. Your readers would appreciate knowing that you’ll be publishing new content on a regular basis. That “regular” basis may be once a week or more, but it is at the least consistent. This is probably the hardest challenge of all. We all get bogged down with busy work and life moments that pouring into our business can sometimes be more of a chore than a pleasure. I promise you the results will encourage you, where the lack of publishing will also be seen in your analytics.
While these are just a few benefits of self publishing for what I like to call sweat equity marketing, there are always more. We’ll write more about it next week to keep this post short. In the meantime what are some topics in mind that you are ready to publish? Check out this cool and FREE Editorial Calendar. It may help you put all those ideas down and plan when to write and publish them for the next few days and weeks.
Creating and designing a new website is an exciting project. Initially you’re thinking of all the possibilities and great ideas of what it will be. Content though, textual, isn’t always a fun thing to conceptualize. Is it a better practice to curate your content prior to designing your new website? Here are some points to argue both sides.
Explaining Your Product or Service is Verbally Easy
When we talk to new clients about their businesses, or why they decided to start a business, I notice them lean forward and eyes widen. This is because they’re enthusiastic about what they do and what they want to do in the world. Even if it’s a community based venture, the excitement of making products that make lives better, or a service that saves time and money is easy to talk about.
Now you’ll need to take those key talking points and make them sound good in sentences and slogans. Stringing together a story that flows correctly from left to right and not jumbled or out of order. In our discovery phase of our projects we like to take time to understand the vision of our client’s business ideas are. We need to understand it and grasp it for ourselves in order to create a website, photography, and business strategies that will not only compliment but also magnify these aspects. This can be daunting for most. Imagine stage fright, but for content on your website.
- Hire a content or copywriter. They can take notes on your thoughts as you speak and translate the important key elements and combine engaging words that when it’s all put together makes a resonating impact on your readers and visitors.
- Record your own conversations when you’re describing your trade. Then pick out the things you repeat often, or the things that you notice happen to resonate more with the people you’re talking to.
- Create videos where you’re talking or describing your products and services. It’s no secret that videos are popular everywhere from SnapChat to YouTube and Facebook Live.
Web Site Pages to Navigation
Typically when creating a website you’re going to have a few common pages like; Home, About Us, Contact, and Services. (Side note, think about renaming those to something more creative. It will entice your visitors to click around more.) Now for the rest of your pages you’ll need to think about what makes sense and what order you’ll need to place them. For example, will it beneficial to have a small photo gallery on your home page? Maybe a three column display of products you have recent on sale under the main banner of your home page? Are you active in social media? And if so will it be best to showcase that in a predominant way?
You’ll also need to think about landing pages. Specific pages that talk about just one topic/product with an effective call to action and opt-in form. While these elements could be found on your home page, there are also many other things found on your home page that aren’t in total singularity. Hence why landing pages can be more effective at mainly selling a product or lead generation.
Page layouts are important to consider. You can go with the same set up for each page, but that’s not always something that works for every website. Some pages are worth being segmented into columns as a whole or various columns throughout the page.
Are sub-menus worth your visitors time and effort? For this you may need to do some split testing to understand what truly works, but it is valuable to consider when designing your pages.
Be creative and captivating with what is above the fold on each page of your website. This is the part of the page you see before scrolling down to see more content on the page you’re on. A lot of times what sits above the fold is crucial to the attention and staying power of your visitors. Pay attention to your bounce rate and see if what you’ve setup is working for you. Content also plays a big role in this too!
- Consider creating a sitemap. You’re going to want to create one maybe on paper using a pencil to plan out how your pages and subpage structure will be. This flows right into navigation because depending on where your visitors come into your website, you’ll want to make sure they’re not lost as they get around but also easily identify how to get to the information they need and find what page it is on.
- Check out your competitor websites and see what works for them as a user. Take notes on what you don’t like as well because that’s exactly where you’ll be able to improve on elements and layouts you felt are lacking.
- A/B testing your layouts for various pages. Your visitors may stay on some pages more than others. See if there are similarities in the page layouts on the pages with more staying power over your other pages.
When Does It All Come Together?
For some of our clients it helps to see examples of page layouts before considering the content that will go on each page. And for others they have a general idea on structure but aren’t sure what pieces of content should go where and what is more important than others to be strategically displayed. We’re more of a proponent to knowing the base pages and names, then the content for each of those pages. Not all of the content usually fits or is necessarily going to work on the initial page(s). After the first round of designing, it becomes evident on what content is lacking and also what layouts are conducive for reading and navigation. We usually make those adjustments and sometimes add filler text or graphics to then bring back to our editors/copywriters to then create more elements to better balance each page.
This is our process and view on how we do things in short. What do you do differently? Let us know in the comments below!
image credit: Patrick Tomasso
If you had been reading this blog for quite a bit, you already know my love for Olympic Games, specially my love for designs related to Olympic Games. This time is not an exception to the rule, the Sochi Olympic Winter Games give me another opportunity to enjoy Olympic Designs.
Every Olympic Game begins with a logo, and Sochi really have a memorable one.
- unveiled in December 2009
- this logo consists of typefaces and have no drawings
- features futuristic lettering with letters and numbers that partially mirror each other
- the first olympic logo to bundle a web address right in the logo
- the sochi logo came from a design team at the Interbrand Agency
This is the first time in Olympic history, a public vote was held to decide the mascots for the 2014 Winter Olympics
- the mascots were officially unveiled on February 26, 2011
- The winners of the public vote were a polar bear, a European hare, and an Amur leopard
- A Ray of Light and a Snowflake were selected to be the mascots of the Paralympic Games
Sochi Olympic Tickets, were designed to reflect diversity of Russia
- the ticket design use the Games’ symbols and its “patchwork quilt” imagery
- all tickets will be color-coded according to one of the five venue color concepts
- on the souvenir tickets for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the Winter Games, a stylized image of the Fisht Olympic Stadium replaces the pictogram (Sochi 2014)
At last we will see the great design for the Winter Olympic Medals, to be honest, I really love this design
- 1,300 medals had been made for the 2014 Winter Games. More than past years because of 12 new events debuting in Sochi
- a combination of glass and metal had been used to reflect the landscape of Sochi, with its snowy peaks and sandy beaches
- their “patchwork quilt” design aims to capture the various cultures and ethnicities of the Russian Federation
- the Olympic gold medals are not made of pure gold, they contain 525 grams of silver with a 960 hallmark and 6 grams of gold with a 999 hallmark, which is a purity standard for precious metals
- This is so cool – some of the medals will have pieces of the Chelyabinsk meteorite embedded in them, according to the BBC. This meteor fell from the sky last year and crashed into a lake
Personally, my favorites are the medals. What about you, what designs you had been eyen during this Sochi Winter Olympic Games?