From our latest Email Blast
Having a good website is a must these days.
A recent study by Lightspeed GMI found that more than 93 percent of consumers now conduct online research before making a purchasing decision.
So having a good-looking website and online storefront is no longer optional for a small business owner. You need an up-to-date website or you will lose customers and potential sales.
But is your website is up to speed?
Ask yourself these five questions and it should give you a good idea of whether or not your site could do with a makeover.
1. Does your site have a template or theme that is compatible with mobile viewing?
Most modern website themes are responsive, meaning they automatically adjust to fit whatever screen they’re being viewed on. Comscore.com reports that mobile shopping now accounts for over 60 percent of the time consumers spend online, meaning that a website that responds well to mobile devices is no longer optional.
The easiest way to assess this is simply to check out how the site looks on your phone. If text looks squeezed together, objects are in the wrong place, or the site is generally hard to use, it might be time to make some changes. Email us, and we’ll make that update for you!
2. Have you done any site reorganization or maintenance in the last year or two?
Website design and style is constantly changing. Have you updated your site’s organization in the past couple years? If the answer is no, it probably needs work. Here are a few things to keep in mind when reorganizing and revamping your site.
The last thing you want is potential customers getting the wrong idea about who you are, what you do, or how much it costs to buy your product or service. As I look at small business websites, I am amazed by how often the little details do not add up form page to page.
If your pricing is $20 for your basic package on one page, that price should be consistent wherever you mention it. Have you opened new branches without adding them on your site? If so, you are probably missing out on potential business.
Take several hours to click through your site and see how up-to-date your information is. If it needs quite a bit of work, it is probably a sign that your site as a whole could use some general upgrades.
4. Are your colors, graphics, or animations cliché or gaudy?
American flags waving in the wind and bright neon colors may get your site attention, but not the kind of attention that you want. You are much more likely to be featured on some bad website design list then you are to gain positive press for your business. Animations and gaudy colors should go, immediately. Here are three more things to keep in mind:
The last thing to check out is how your formatting, text, and images look on your site. Everything should look like it is has a place — and is in that place. Here are some things to watch out for:
If all of the above sounds overwhelmingly intimidating to you, don’t worry, contact KrissArt Marketing Design, we will help.
Author: Marc Prosser, Contributing Writer
It’s easy to spot a poorly branded business, but it’s tough to remember one off the top of your head. That’s because a company without a powerful brand message is one we tend to forget without even realizing why. But once you learn the steadfast components a great brand message, it’s easy to see where other companies have gone awry and where your own brand could use some work. Whether you’re starting from scratch or looking to do a brand image overhaul, keep these key branding components in mind.
Identify Your Identity
A powerful brand doesn’t have to be a mogul like Coke or Nike. It doesn’t have to be designed by marketing executives in a room filled with hand-selected test subjects and carefully written questionnaires. A good brand message is simple: It is an artful combination of mechanics and personal passion that not only inspires customers and employees alike, but also can be written down and described succinctly.
It’s your elevator pitch. Imagine you’ve just gotten into an elevator with Mark Cuban. He asks you what you do for a living. Before the bell dings and you both have to get off of the elevator, how would you describe your business to him?
Write It Down
You need to be able to communicate your message efficiently through copy. Simplicity is key here, especially as the attention spans of consumers continues to shrink.
Forbes has a great list of 10 questions to help you develop a brand identity that is rich and complex and still accessible to your customers. Don’t be surprised if you learn a lot about your business and your passion for it while completing these questions. Pay special attention to the "why" questions on this list.
Also, watch the amazing Ted Talk from leadership legend Simon Sinek. He uses the Wright Brothers and Apple to demonstrate why the question of “why” is so important, as well as how to use it to truly inspire others.
Learn from the Best
One of the best ways to better understand your brand is to study other successful brands. From Microsoft to McDonald's, they all have one thing in common: consistency. We are creatures of habit, and developing a relationship requires trust.
To build the best relationship with your customers, they need to see consistency in everything that your brand does, from social media to clearance sales. Cabela’s isn’t having a regular old Black Friday sale like everyone else on the planet; they're having a “hunt for bucks” holiday cash giveaway. McDonald’s doesn’t have prizes or gifts with purchase; they have a Monopoly game with collectible game pieces and ongoing opportunities to win everything from french fries to a million bucks.
Look for brands that take classic marketing techniques and make them their own. Even if these companies aren’t the most powerful brands on the planet, they are invaluable resources to learn from.
There's quite a few rules to stick to when designing a logo. A few examples here is to not mix real images with the design, try to limit the amount of fonts used, if you use more than one, make sure they compliment each other (and try to limit the amounts of fonts to two), and don't outline one word and not the other!
Here is the logo when received by the client, and the result from after we fixed it up:
All the elements in the logo clash and don't work well together. As requested by the client, I kept the overall look of the logo the same, but fixed all the mishaps to make it a successful design for the store to proudly display.
Think your logo needs an update or could be better? Contact us for a quote, be sure to send us your logo so we could take a look at it.
Besides designing logos, we also offer other services. For example, do you have a logo on file but it's not large enough to print clearly? We could recreate your logo into a high resolution/vector format so you'll have no issues when going to print.
Let us know, we're here to help!
Website design often becomes an exercise in redundancy and unnecessary complication as you try to build something that stands out from the crowd. After all, people have an overwhelming number of choices available to them when they surf the web. As of last year, there are more than 861 million registered host names and over 180 million active websites, according to Tech Made Easy. Despite that, the best way to build a site that brings visitors back for more is to keep it simple and usable. With that in mind, here are some tips for applying the “keep it simple, stupid” or “KISS” principle of design to your site:
Back to Basics
When designing a website, it is important to determine what the goal of each page is, and then design each element within the page to reach that goal. If you have a page element or widget that doesn't support the page's objective, it should be removed. On the same note, if a page is unnecessary to your website's overall objective, it too should be removed or changed.
To see what changes are necessary, approach your site form the perspective of a visitor and ask yourself what you would stand to gain from visiting each page. If you already have a website and are just updating or redesigning it, take a look at your analytics and see which pages have the lowest traffic, and ask yourself why. Finally, if any product or article on your site takes more than three or four clicks to reach from the homepage, your site has too much depth and its hierarchy must be simplified.
More Before the Break
When a visitor lands on your site, you only have a few seconds to make an impression and keep the consumer on your page. In fact, a recent Microsoft study found that the average attention span has dipped from 12 seconds in 2000 to 8 seconds in 2013. To grab people's attention and keep it, you need bold headlines and content that immediately addresses your purposes.
Additionally, put your most important content where it can be seen right away, so a visitor doesn’t need to scroll down to it or visit another page. A website that does this well is T-Mobile because the company's shop, information, shopping cart, customer service number and product are all displayed prominently above the fold on the landing page. If a visitor has to scroll to see your best content, bring it up to the top and eliminate what comes before it.
Fast Loading Times
It can be tempting to add huge streaming videos, complex HTML 5 and other design elements to your site, but if a visitor leaves before they get to your actual content, your site has failed. Website fads comes and go, and your site shouldn't buckle to trends that increase load times and irritate customers.
For example, many sites today integrate a slider that covers the home page, but this actively drives away visitors. Instead, design your landing page to be simple, clear of elements that clutter the screen and rid of features that create long load times.
Do you need help with your website? Contact KrissArt Marketing Design for a free consultation!
Barbara Corcoran’s credentials include straight D’s in high school and college and 20 jobs by the time she turned 23. It was her next job that would make her one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the country when she took a $1,000 loan to start The Corcoran Group. She parlayed the loan into a $5 billion real estate business and sold it in 2001 for $66 million.
By definition, every company needs customers. It would be great if they just showed up on your doorstep, but in today's competitive business world you usually need to fight, tooth and nail, for every client you receive.
Finding new leads and locking down new business can be a difficult task, but following these tips can help you attract a wider customer base.
Define Who You Are Targeting
Whether you are in design or any industry, the key is to define. Who exactly are you looking for? What profile traits do your current and previous clients have in common? Are you attracting a certain type of customer, or have you just been getting by through word of mouth and chance project acquisitions?
Many businesses -- especially small businesses -- make the mistake of trying to attract everyone. That's a great strategy if you are McDonald's, but for your business, it may be better to figure out who you appeal to most and why those types of people keep coming back. Only then can you branch out and attempt to capture even more of that segment.
Research, Research, Research
If you don't know your industry inside and out, you don't have much business being there. There was once a time when a small conclave of experts could run a whole sector for decades without concern that outsiders could enter the space and steal their position.
Not anymore. Now, anyone who knows how to use Google can teach themselves most of what there is to know in a few months. That will never replace real-world experience, of course, but it also means that you need to be that much smarter and work that much harder. Read everything you can find. It can be hard to make the time to continue learning when you want to stay busy churning out projects. But if you don't do it, someone else will. And if you can't convince potential customers that you're the best expert in the room, it will be hard to attract the clients you covet.
You cannot simply bury your nose in books, however. You also have to get out in the real world. Pound some pavement and meet with potential customers to find out their wants and needs. Go to industry conferences, events, lectures and casual meetings. Discover where your people are — and go there.
Whether you are actually swapping business cards and gathering leads or just soaking in the concerns and needs of those that may someday desire your services, these face-to-face meetings have so much value. Even just listening in on a conversation can provide more value than combing through the most thorough, overarching industry report.
Leverage Social Media
It is 2015, so you also must be aware of social media options. Networks like Twitter are now legitimate acquisition channels, and companies like LifeLock are showing how you can leverage the platform. Not only is a great place to monitor the services that potential clients are looking for and find new customers, but the identity-protection firm also uses social media to engage with the community, provide customer service, and keep clients informed about industry news. These things matter.
It isn't just Twitter. There are certainly Facebook groups in your industry as well. Search around in different locations to find collectives of people who are already engaging with one another to find new solutions to problems. If you can offer advice or a service that will help them overcome their challenges, then you can make a lot of headway in a short time. Groups like Design Modo and Smashing Magazine have hundreds of thousands of likes. These ready made lists of people are ripe for any design firm to mine.
Here is our latest work in logo design:
The Prodigy Competition is the ultimate virtual talent contest for gifted young singers.
KrissArt will be working on the online competition website in the upcoming months, if you'd like to learn a bit more about this exciting project, visit their splash page at: www.theprodigycompetition.com
Looking for a new logo or website? Contact us today for a quote! We'd love to hear from you.
Sitting down to write isn’t always easy. Even the most successful bloggers sometimes grasp for content. The trick is to stick with a theme or topic, then branch out from there to create an offering of connected subjects that inform readers about how your products or services can benefit them. If you're ready to start a business blog, how do you find focus and time to write when there is already so much on your plate?
Here are some tips for starting and maintaining a successful business blog:
Every blog needs a schedule. Consistent posting not only attracts readers, but also makes it easier for you to write. The first step to creating a business blog is to outline a schedule that works for you. While dreaming up potential content is typically the first thing people think of when they consider blog writing, if you don’t have a consistent habit of posting, few people will take notice. Use an online calendar tool to provide an overview of your month's content plan, and set reminders and deadlines to help stay on track. Most importantly, to set yourself up for success, be realistic about how often you can post.
One you've determined your post frequency, consider the ideal length for each blog post. Include a variety of content topics all centered on your main focus, and be mindful of the order in which you present the information. Some topics that require in-depth information might be best presented in a series, scheduled to go live one at a time throughout the month, for example. Also, consider creating a theme for each month's content to stay organized and fresh, while also tying into any relevant seasons or holidays.
Learn from other companies that are blogging with consistency and purpose, and enjoying lots of success along the way.
Apple Rubber, for example, does a great job of posting regularly, and includes a healthy mix of topics that range from sustainability to ethical business practices, all directly relevant to their manufacturing industry. Because their audience knows that they produce well-written, informative content on a regular basis, they enjoy lots of feedback from visitors on their site, which increases brand awareness and loyalty.
ModCloth is another good example. This brand does a nice job of catering to their target audience with witty, educated, and culturally savvy content. By staying relevant and featuring fashions from American Horror Story before its season premier, in one example, the company connects with the audience on a level that resonates with their fashion-loving sides, while also aligning with their other interests.
When crafting your content strategy, aim to identify what current and potential customers will want to know about your business. What issues can you address? What questions about your services can you answer? Focus on dispelling myths about the industry in which your business operates. From there you can branch out to larger, connected subjects.
Remember to get the most out of your blog posts by sharing them via your social media accounts, and encouraging your employees to do so as well.
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you probably know that Google is now using mobile-friendliness as a significant ranking factor. Sites that aren’t properly optimized for mobile devices will achieve lower rankings in mobile search results; and given that mobile internet usage has now overtaken desktop usage, this is no small matter.
If you noticed a drop in your search rankings after Google’s April 21st update, you probably already clued in to the fact that your site isn’t properly optimized for mobile. However, if you’re still in the dark as to whether or not your site is mobile-friendly, this post will help. Here are 5 online tests you can use to determine the mobile-friendliness of your site.
Owner, Krissy Carstens, providing the latest news regarding KrissArt's completed projects,