You need to hire a graphic designer for your business

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Graphic design requires a creative expert. There is a major difference from a $25 logo you purchased from an online site and one that has been customized for you and your businesses. Good graphic designers will know the best approaches to communicate your products and services to your customers. They will know what your competition does (because they will research it), the will take your preferences into mind and then come up with a number of creative solutions to get your message across. Most importantly they will develop the logo/art in the proper software so that it can be printed by any printer. Designing anything in Microsoft Office is not going to go far when it comes to printing your projects!

Here are a five reasons why you should hire a graphic designer for your business?

1. Saves Time

You have enough on your plate already. Do you really have to spend time trying to come up with designs for your logo, brochures or powerpoint templates? A graphic designer can come up with a design or format a marketing document in a quarter of the time it will take you to do it yourself.

2. Save Money

A graphic designer will know the most cost effective ways to design your materials to keep your printing costs to a minimum. By the time you’ve been able to create a layout using Microsoft Publisher (a program printers hate, and will charge you an arm and a leg to print from), a designer would be able to design a proper file in their graphic suite of software, that printers will not have an issue with.

3. Helps You Stand Out From the Rest

Having a template logo or look and feel you bought cheap online is not going to help you stand out from your competition. The only way people are going to remember you and your business is if your materials stand out compared to the rest. Having a distinct brand is what is going to raise your business above your competition.

4. Keeps Your Look Consistent

If you’ve gone through the effort of hiring a designer, but then try and mimick their work on your own, your look and feel may lose it’s edge by being inconsistent. A designer will know which fonts to use where, will keep font sizes and colours consisitent and ensure the overall look and feel of all your materials will consistently capture your brand.

5. Help You Get the Results You Want

Many clients have an idea of what they want their business materials to look like, but have no way to convey them. A designer will be able to get through your list of preferences and ensure that your end results will not only look the way you want but will help you achieve the goals you set out for your business materials.

Don’t start your business off on the wrong foot. Make a lasting impression with the right logo and the right marketing materials to help you get your business off the ground. Improve your image, stand out from the rest of the pack and spend some money on a graphic designer from the get go. The right designer will work with your budget and help you prioritize what items you need in the first year of your business and what you should consider as your company grows.

by Sharon Mendelaoui

Building a Web Site? Ask These 7 Questions First

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by Dr. Greg Chapman

These days, folks who claim to know how to design a web site are pretty easy to come by. In fact, you probably know someone whose teenager can do it for you cheap. But before you hire your neighbor’s kid to do the job, ask yourself these marketing questions.

Google tells us there are 4 billion websites- almost one for everyone on the planet. And today you have decided to make it 4 billion and 1. So, do you think- “If I build it, they will come?” Seriously? It ain’t going to happen, unless you stand out. So do you think your 10 year old nephew who can code html (which I believe they now learn in pre-school, just after they have done the alphabet) is going to make your site the next eBay? Let me give you a few questions to ask yourself before you double his pocket money.

1. What is the purpose of your website?
In business, there are three main types of websites:

  • the brochure site
  • the lead generator site
  • the online shop

The brochure site is an online support to your offline marketing. You will refer to it in your ads, because you pay for ads by the square inch, and acres are cheap on the internet. You will refer to it in your Yellow Pages ads, your business cards and your brochures. An online presence will give you a credibility that your competitors without a website (getting fewer every day) don’t have. But in the end it is just an online version of a tri-fold a printer might do for you. There is nothing wrong with a brochure site, if this is all you want in your marketing plan.

The next step up is a lead generator site. Unlike a brochure site, you want it to generate business on its own. You want people to find your site while browsing on the internet, and having seen your site, feel compelled to call or email you. After that contact is made, hopefully a sale will follow.

The last option is that your website is a storefront where visitors to your site can actually purchase products and services. In other words, after finding your site, and viewing your content, they are compelled to “click here” to make a purchase.

There is a fourth type of website- the vanity site. But financial rewards are rarely connected to this type of site.

Of course a website may be a mixture of these three (or four) types, but unless you have defined your business model, the purpose of your site, it will be a waste of electrons.

2. How will people find your site?
You already know there are 4 billion sites, so the likelihood that a buyer will find it by chance are somewhat remote. And if you calculated the cost per lead on that basis, you would never build such a site. Your business website exists only for one purpose, to make you money- irrespective of the business model. It must pay its way. So if no-one visited your site, why would you pay for it to exist?

Therefore, you must have a strategy to ensure people know your site exists and that there is a reason they should visit it. How can you do that? There are two basic strategies, offline and online.

An offline strategy is based on all your offline marketing- ie advertising, public relations, networking and cold calling. In every case you would refer leads to your website where they can find out more about what you can do for them, and why they should choose you. Your website would build on your offline promotions giving further details of your service, educating your customer and creating credibility for your business.

An online strategy will be built around visibility. The key elements of this are:

  • Search Engine Optimization
  • A strategy to get links to your website
  • Online advertising

3. What are you going to do to make visitors linger at your site?
The average website visit is 68 seconds. How many widgets do you expect to sell in that time? You must have a strategy to make people linger at your site, get to know you and see the value you can give them.

The three secrets for making people linger are CONTENT, CONTENT, CONTENT.

To get visitors to stay, you need to give them information that they want. This will not be information about you (at least not on the home page). Your goal should be to educate your visitor. Give them information they will not get elsewhere on how to solve the problem that caused them to search for you in the first place. If you website is just sales hype, your visitors will be gone in a lot less than 68 seconds.

4. What do you want visitors to do once they are at your site?
Many would say- “Buy lots of stuff from me.” Well, in your dreams! Most people will not buy from you, or call you on the first visit to your site. They don’t know you (unless an offline relationship has been established). And unless you are selling a commodity, that is the same on every site- eg CD’s, and you are competing on price, you need to be able to establish a relationship. To do this, you need to give visitors a reason to give you a way to stay in contact. This could be by way of a newsletter, or through a free download of information requiring their email details. When you do this, it is essential you provide an unsubscribe option, because otherwise you will be spamming. And there are no rich spammers (although I believe there are rich people selling spam technology).

5. How are you going to get people to come back to your site?
On average, four out of five website visitors will never come to a website. And if they only stay 68 seconds, it’s going to take you several lifetimes to become an internet millionaire. To get people to come back you need to do several things:

  • Have sufficient quantity and quality of content, that the visitor will bookmark your site to come back for more
  • Continually add to and change the content to make visitors want to come back
  • Provide special offers to your subscribers that will encourage them to revisit your website

If your website never changes, why would anyone want to come back?

6. How are you monitoring going to monitor the results of your website?
No-one can guarantee what is going to work for you. Therefore you have to measure your statistics. A good web host will provide you with a statistics package that will tell you how many visitors you have had, when they visited, how they found you and what they did at your site. When you make an offer, make a change to your site, or undertake some marketing campaign, whether online or offline, check the response on your statistics, and the conversions that you have achieved on your site. Do controlled experiments. Don’t change too many things at one time, because you will never know what caused the change. Find out what works, and what doesn’t. And when you find a good thing, stick to it!

7. Are you really going to trust your 10 year old nephew to do all this?
You may not be using your 10 year old nephew; you may be using a graphics design company instead. But don’t confuse determining your website business model and marketing strategy with the color and movement of your website graphics. As a general rule of thumb, the flashier the website, the worse it is commercially. (Check out eBay and Amazon- how flashy are their sites? But is there a clear business strategy?) You will need someone to do the html programming, but almost certainly, someone who is good at that will not be good at everything else. A website is just another marketing tool. Like a brochure. Would you get your printer to write your advertising copy?

I don’t suggest that you should not use a great website design company (or even your precocious nephew) to build your website, but don’t let them be in charge of your marketing!

Advantages Of Using High Quality Photos For Website Contents

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Most people spend their time using the internet and browsing different websites from desktop computers, smart phones and tablets. Technology has allowed people to have easier access to information anywhere and anytime. With that, the need of better website contents has risen because the competition is getting fiercer. There are similar contents for every website of the same niche and in order to stand out, one need to have good website contents.

Website contents are very vital since it draws the attention of the audience and a website will be futile without good contents. There are varying types of websites and each of them shares different contents. You can observe that websites post not only texts but images as well. Using images can really give a huge impact to the audience. But you should not use just any kind of image. It has to be the right image that is relevant to the text and it should be of high quality. Now, let us check out whathigh quality photos can do to your website contents:

1. Make posts more interesting.

Make posts more interesting

What do you like most when reading contents online? For sure, you will agree with us that the better quality the pictures are, the more you become more interested to it. Meanwhile, if the photos are bad, you will not like to read the rest of the story. Readers will even be intrigued why a specific image is used for a certain article which will make them read the story. Good photos draw more readers.

2. It gives clarity to texts.

It gives clarity to texts

Photos are also used to give more clarity to texts. It supports what the text is and will aid for better understanding. That is why, aside from using photos of good quality, it also needs to be the right image. It has to be connected to the text. Avoid placing just any type of photo.

3. Encourages social media shares.

Encourages social media shares

Social media is a big thing if we speak of promotion. With good photos in your posts, you will most likely encourage the readers to share the story. Posts that have photos are the ones that generate more likes and shares. Pictures are vital in social media sharing because they are not only catchy but they also provoke interests to the people. So, make sure your photos are interesting enough too.

4. Can provoke reactions.

Can provoke reactions

Pictures can speak for themselves. There are many stories that one can get from a picture. Because of that, it can also provoke reactions from the readers. The audience could have different emotional reactions like being happy by seeing a funny picture, excited if they see a picture of something they look forward to and many others. Since it can create various reactions, see to it that the audience will react positively to your images.

5. Beneficial for visual learners.

Beneficial for visual learners

There are people who find it easier to understand if there are images. They can learn by seeing pictures, color and other visual media. With pictures in your posts that are closely related to your texts, they will be able to get what you want to convey. They will find your post easier to absorb than the text alone. This would be a great help to them.

6. Creates a break for reading.

Creates a break for reading

Seeing a lot of texts on screen would be heavy for the eyes. Placing pictures will create a break for reading and will allow the eyes to rest for a while. images can break large chunks of words making it easier to understand and lighter to the eyes. It’s like allowing your eyes to breath for a while before proceeding into the next group of words. Well, for sure, once you see an entire page of mere texts, you will not like to read it because you will feel tired seeing a whole bunch of words. Thus, images help a lot.

7. Add to the site’s professional look.

Add to the site’s professional look

Your website or blog will look more professional if you have images on it especially if your images are of high quality. You would also need these pictures to make your site look more appealing and thus achieve a professional look. It is important to attain this for it can bring in lots of benefits for your website. See 10 Benefits of a Professional Web Design.

8. It holds attention longer.

It holds attention longer

Since your post is easier to the read, your audience will stay longer while reading your texts. Also, they would enjoy looking at the pictures you have in your post. Because of that, they will spend more time in your website. It can even increase the chances that your reader will check on other contents of your site especially if it is full of beautiful and interesting images.

9. Posts become memorable.

Posts become memorable

One advantage of using pictures is that they are easy to remember than words. That is the reason why advertising always use images for they are remarkable and memorable. It will also give the same effect to your posts. The readers will be able to remember your article easier because of the image they have seen in it. And that shouldn’t be just any image, it has to be the right picture for the story and it has to have a huge impact to those looking at it.

10. Garner SEO benefits.

Garner SEO benefits

Websites with good photos get the chances of having higher ranks in SEO because their posts can make the audience stay longer on their page. This shows that your website has interesting and valuable contents. But you also have to make sure that you will not forget to add some keywords to your images so that it can help you gather readers. Learn to optimize images well and also make sure that your pictures load easily.