There are many benefits to having a website for your business. My question for you is: What do you want to accomplish with your website?
1. Make a good first impression.
A quality website can help your business stand out from the competition and emphasize that you know what you’re talking about. You can convince someone who doesn’t know you to give working with you a shot. And to make sure you get the chance to make that first impression, be sure you’re discoverable online.
2. Improve communication with your customers.
Connecting your website to services such as social media, blogs, forums and even email, can make it easy to start conversations with customers on platforms they already use.
3. Offer 24/7 information.
More people are going online for information than ever before. We can learn about virtually anything and do it in our own time. Your customers are all searching for you online, now is a great time to meet them there.
4. Create a platform for sales.
If you’re selling a service, use your website to describe what you do and how it connects with your potential customers’ needs. If you’re selling a product, you need an e-commerce solution. That way, once they read the description of your product and develop a desire for it, you provide a mechanism to immediately fulfill that desire. The easiest time to close a sale is after they’re excited by your initial sales pitch.
5. Stay up-to-date on your content.
You can easily update a website’s content with just a few clicks, offering your visitors nearly instant access to your latest information. Your printed literature can serve as your core messaging device for things such as your business mission and core product descriptions. Your website can build on those descriptions and add information that changes frequently.
If you’re waiting to be able to afford a website, ask yourself instead if you can afford to wait. A website can offer so many more benefits. These are just a few.
What was the biggest benefit you got from launching your website? Let us know about it in the comments below.
Devices capable of accessing the Web are changing all the time. So how do you build a site to work with all of them? There are a few options, but one of the latest is called Responsive Web Design (RWD). 2013 has even been called the “Year of Responsive Web Design“.
RWD allows your website to automatically change its layout based on screen size. LanternGlowDesign.com is an example of such responsive design.
See how the layout changes and the images scale between devices? This makes for a website that will age gracefully and offer the same experience to all users, no matter how they access your site. A responsive design can offer several benefits including:
Improved Accessibility and Usability
Sites built just for mobile phones usually offer limited content based on what companies think their mobile users want. Of course, those wants are different for everyone.
Save Money and Time
Why pay for a different site for every device, when you can build one to work for any screen? A responsive website is generally more cost effective, since you won’t have to develop another version of your site every time a new device hits the market. You’ll be able to update your content one time, instead of maintaining separate websites for mobile phones, tablets and computers. Separate development and maintenance takes time and the cost of that time adds up.
As with anything, there are reasons why a responsive design may not be the best fit for you.
Slower Loading Times
Even if mobile users don’t see every element your desktop users see, those elements will often still load in the background. Images can be a problem too, since they’re still loaded at full size and then scaled down to fit the mobile screen. This requires careful examination of design elements to ensure the best possible load times.
Different User Priorities
Users of different devices may have different priorities when accessing your site. Where a desktop user might want to learn more about you, a mobile user who’s on the go may just want a quick contact number or hours of operation. If you have a particularly content-heavy site, you may prefer a mobile-only option to streamline the experience. Just make sure you link back to the full site in case your mobile user wants to get to that information.
What would your priorities be for your responsive website? Leave a comment below, and if you’d like to talk about getting a responsive site of your own, contact me here.
To someone new to the graphic design world, it may sound as though we have a language that sounds like we made it up. Because, well…we did. But if you’re working with a graphic designer, you’ll have to understand DesignerSpeak. To be helpful, I’ve provided here some terms you’ll need to know:
- DPI (Dots per inch)/PPI (Pixels per inch) – We’re talking about measuring resolution here, meaning how fine or grainy an image appears, which is determined by how many pixels of resolution it is rendered in. The more pixels per inch, the finer and more clear the image. Print resolution is minimum 300 DPI at the required size or you will end up with a blurry or bitmapped image. 72 is the minimum web resolution. These are general numbers, and there are certain situations where more or fewer DPI/PPI are needed.
- Pixels – These are most often represented using squares, and are single points of a raster image, or the smallest portion of a screen display (such as a computer monitor).
- Raster vs. Vector – Raster images are made of pixels with resolutions measured using DPI/PPI. (Common file extensions include – JPG, TIF, etc.) Vector images are created using points and lines that connect them, and are scalable without any loss of quality. (File extensions like .EPS, .AI, etc.) There are pros and cons to both of these and they should be used based on the specifications of the project. Generally, vector files are larger because they carry more information, which makes them better for print. Raster images tend to be smaller files and so work better for screen and web.
- FTP (File Transfer Protocol) – This is the process allowing users to upload files to or download files from their web server. There are many options that allow this capability, from standalone apps to server-hosted solutions. Most hosts provide a file manager accessible through your web browser. There are standalone FTP programs such as DreamWeaver, Filezilla, Fetch, and more.
- CMS (Content Management System) – This is an essential for most modern websites. These systems (I prefer WordPress and PulseCMS) allow a website owner to sign in from their web browser and update their content without ever messing around with the site’s structural template files. This allows users the confidence that they can update content easily and quickly without worrying about messing up their site’s structure or navigation.
- PDF (Portable Document Format) – A file format that maintains the same look from one computer to another. Download the free Adobe Acrobat Reader or a similar app to be able to view PDFs.
- .JPG, .GIF, .TIF, .PNG – These files suffixes indicate different types of image formats. The circumstances for using each one varies, but if you find you need to save an image in one of these formats, there are lots of programs that will allow you to do so. By default, your computer may even have one of those programs already. (Mac OSX has Preview, Windows has MSPaint, etc.)
- CMYK and RGB – Without going to go into a lesson about how we see colors right now (If you’re interested in that, there’s a great article here), let it suffice to say these letters symbolize two different color spaces. Print images are rendered with four different color inks: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and BlacK. (The K is used to indicate Black, because using a “B” might have confused some people with Blue). Screen color is rendered with a combination of light rays from three color beams: Red, Green and Blue. So, the rule is that you use the CMYK color mode for print and RGB for the web. If you don’t, colors might not render as expected.
- Screenshot/Printscreen – This is a snapshot taken by your computer of the items displayed on your screen at the time you click. This can be a helpful function if you need to troubleshoot issues with the help of someone in another location. You’ll be able to simply take a screenshot of the issue/error message and send it to that person. Click for instructions on how to take a screen shot.
- Bleed – The printed area extending past the trim size (edge) of a document. This is essential if you have a color or image flowing off the edge of the page. Paper can shift during the printing process and without a bleed, when the document is trimmed, you might end up with an area of blank, unprinted paper.
- Trim Size – The final size of a printed document after the bleed has been cut or trimmed off.
- Typography – This is the treatment of all type in any design, accomplished by manipulating typefaces/fonts, point size, line length, leading (line spacing), tracking (the space between words) and kerning (the space between pairs of letters), and ligatures (pairs of letters that physically touch with no space in between), color and value,
- Typeface – A set (“family”) of fonts designed to have similar characteristics. (example: Goudy Old Style is a typeface with roman, boldface and italic fonts)
- WYSIWYG – “What You See Is What You Get.” Originally, a concept in graphical user interface design pioneered by Apple with the introduction of Macintosh computers, in which the screen mimicked a printed page in showing a very close approximation of all elements on a page. In web design, WYSIWYG is a visual code editor that allows you to see the rendered web page while coding, instead of having to view it in a web browser.
- ZIP – A compressed version of a file or a folder containing one or more files, referred to as an “archive.” There are a few different extensions generated by ZIP utilities, but the most common is .zip. For free software allowing you to ZIP a file or extract the contents of a ZIP file, try download.com. (I use YemuZip and The Unarchiver, but there are lots of options available.)
Are there any terms you’ve heard and want to know about? Leave a comment below.
Welcome! My name is Caryn. I’ll be offering lots of tips for business owners because I want to make it easy for you to work with freelance designers like me.
Do you want to:
- Find out what you can do to make working with a freelancer easier and more effective for you?
- Learn how you can make your print or web design project more successful?
- Feel smarter and actually understand all the “designer-speak?”
Stay tuned! Here’s how:
So, any questions? Leave a comment and let me know what you’d like to discuss.