Archive for Design

Stock photos; finding royalty free images

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We get questions about stock photos from our clients quite often. When it comes to photos for your website – especially content marketing, blogging and social media – you need that extra visual punch. But stock photo services are expensive for start-ups and small businesses. I regularly advise my customers to use free stock photo websites to keep these costs down, whenever possible.

But turning to Google Image Search for photos won’t cut it. The search engine doesn’t allow you to view user agreements and can trip you up if you go this route. Copyright and license infringement is no joke and can bring hefty fines.

You might think, “It’s just a photo!” However, digital products are big business today. Photo supplier, Getty Images has, “an archive of 80 million still images and illustrations” according to Wikipedia and they are known for their feverish pursuit to enforce their licenses. To avoid legal headaches, here are some simple steps to ensure your business is protected.

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You need a website. Why not do it yourself?

So you thought you’d find out more and googled do it yourself websites. From a commercial for WIX.com – “You need a website. Why not do it yourself?” and their home page says “Wix unites beauty and advanced technology to create your stunning website. It’s easy and free.” First I want to say that WIX, among others, does full a useful and needed niche on the internet. But I want to help business owners become informed about how services like theirs fit the small business owner.

So let’s answer the question “Why not DIY?”

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29 WordPress Plugins to Start Your Site With

Here is a list of WordPress Plugins that we use on almost every site we build. We see these as foundational to the process of building and maintaining a healthy, useful and productive WordPress site. We have had good experiences with all of these and recommend them for the purposes outlined here.

WordPress Plugins That We Use and Recommend

One caveat! Please don’t install a bunch of recommended WordPress plugins from anyone’s list without first learning what each one does and how to use each one. You will only frustrate yourself and have a really ugly time wrestling with your website.

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Are Website Builders Killing Your Business?

Almost every web hosting company out there (Godaddy, Breezi, Weebly, Jimdo, InMotion, Hibu*, Web.com, Wix, Square, and more) offers some sort of website builder. A word to the wise! There are some serious problems ahead if you decide to invest in these ‘proprietary builders’ for your business website.

Obstacles that can cost you in the long run, don’t just cost your marketing budget, but your time and energy. Before addressing the obstacles, let’s look at trying to use a builder yourself. If you have a small budget and you’re thinking that doing it yourself is the way, awesome! Please set aside at least 3 months worth of learning time to get truly proficient before you publish your site for the world to see. Don’t waste time asking one of your employees to try it out. They cannot communicate the details of the effort enough to help you see how much (or how little) effort really goes into producing a decent result.

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The Nuts and Bolts of a Successful Business Website

There are a few essentials every organization or business should do to keep a positive web presence, but not every business owner knows them. Some of these ‘do’s’ are important to improving the confidence and comfort level of your visitors. Others increase the visibility or popularity of your company’s website and brand. All of these factors together create “Web Presence” and are essential to a successful business website.

What is Web Presence?

Webopedia defines Web Presence like this:

“The term Web presence refers to an individual or business having an established existence on the World Wide Web, through a Web site, e-mail, Internet advertising, blog, or a collection of Web files. Web presence is also called Internet presence.”  – Webopedia, Web Presence

In simple terms, your web presence is the living and breathing essence of your business online.

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Where to start building your website?

Have you ever been faced with composing a work document, only to hit writer’s block before you begin? Big projects can be hard to start and creating a website is no different. Many of the “big brands” make owning a website appear effortless, but there is a bit of planning that goes into web design – even simple business websites.

When considering how to create a successful website for your small business, we break down the essential “must have” list for starting a successful website.

The Essential “Must-Haves” of a Successful Website

    • Plan your approach. It’s a good idea to write down all the things you want your website to do. Do you want to sell products? You may need an eCommerce site. Do you want to create a community gathering place for your customers to communicate? You may want to get a message board or forum up and running on your page. This isn’t just good planning, many website builders have limitations as do some web hosts. Knowing what elements your business website needs before purchasing hosting or design packages can save you money down the line.

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