March 1, 2015
The actual phrase: “sell the sizzle, not the steak” was coined by stockbrokers, sometime in the ‘go-go’ years of the 80s - not surprisingly, coinciding with the birth of cold-calling. They figured out quickly that in order to get your attention it wasn’t enough to tell you any concrete facts about the company whose stock was on the verge of doubling - rather, it seemed more effective to push your ‘fear and greed’ buttons.
February 28, 2015
Part II Development and Launch
4. Site Development
It is now time to actually start building the website. There are two major steps during this stage:
1. Technical/Functional Planning
2. Build and Integrate the Site
1. Technical/Functional Planning
First,review the Discovery Phase answers, Site Structure and Visual Design and confirm that everything is in alignment and supports the overall project goals and needs. Next, review and adjust the technical/functional specifications for the site:
Basic Technical Specs - generally speaking the basic components revolve around:
- Browsers - what browsers will you target: Chrome, Firefox, Safari?
- Operating Systems - Mac, Windows, Other?
- Display Resolution - what is the screen resolution the site will be designed for? What other screen resolutions will be supported gracefully?
- Connection Speeds - what is the expected connection speed for your primary users, what other connection speeds will you target?
- Page Download Sizes:
- 30K and under
- 30-80k (typical page)
- 80-100k (graphic heavy)
- 100k+ (not recommended unless all users are high-bandwidth)
February 25, 2015
Part I - Planning and Design
One of the more misunderstood concepts, in regards to the web design industry, is that the actual process is much different than that of other client centric initiatives - like financial planning for instance. Yes, the details are different, but the methodologies involved are quite similar.
The precise details of the web design process might vary slightly from design agency to individual designers, but the fundamentals are generally the same:
1. Information Gathering
Setting the stage:
The most critical step in the web design process is creating an accurate project definition. The same way that a Painter starts with an initial sketch, or an Architect with his/her blueprints, a project definition is necessary if one is to envision the entire scope with any accuracy. As such, the client survey (Discovery Phase) is used to gather the information needed to get the project moving in the right direction.
February 1, 2015
One of the more typical questions our first time clients ask us is “If we improve our Homepage, will that help to boost our traffic? We know that it should look better, but apart from that, are there other concrete changes that we can make?” The answers we give tend to vary only for the simple reason that with each type of business, or service, certain aesthetic differences apply.
January 28, 2015
RWD is a method (endorsed by Google late 2012) of building websites so that they can be viewed optimally, regardless of the viewing device’s screen size. If implemented correctly, the user experience will remain the same across all screen sizes, consequently helping to boost sales, visits, loyalty and engagement. Considering the growing trend of mobile and tablet usage, it’s no surprise that RWD is fast becoming the standard by which web sites are being developed.
January 4, 2015
As I mentioned in Birth of Organic SEO, the search engine rules centering on gaining an audience for your website have changed. Google, in an attempt to stop black hat SEO artists from gaming the search system, leveled the playing field and reworked its algorithms. Essentially, you need to adopt time tested brick and mortar attitude: relevant products trump gimmicky storefront window displays. If you want to lead users into your store, make sure that your shelves actually display quality products.
December 24, 2013
Let’s turn our attention to what is turning out to be one of the most effective forms of direct response marketing: Email Marketing. When done properly, it’s highly targeted and the analytics are relatively easy to track. Your audience can be tracked in regards to ‘opens’, ‘clicks’ and at the other end of the spectrum ‘unsubscribe’ - so you can assume that they actually want to hear from you depending on which of these actions occur. Best of all it is fairly inexpensive (although time is money, it is relatively time efficient) and, if done methodically, can deliver measurable ROI.
December 11, 2013
With about 160 million blogs online and 4 billion hours of video being watched every month on YouTube, there is, without a doubt, a huge opportunity for businesses - and organizations - to connect with their users with original, compelling content.
October 21, 2013
You might have noticed recently that Google has gotten a bit better at offering up direct answers to your questions? If so, there’s a reason for it: they recently flipped the switch, just in time for their 15th Birthday, on a new search algorithm they call “Hummingbird”, which focuses on parsing searches as complex questions, as well as spoken queries.
September 14, 2013
Organic beef, organic tomatoes and organic yogurt – it was only a matter of time that the trend hit the internet; and it has, in the form of a search engine ranking term nicknamed “Organic SEO.” Without going into the entire SEO concept - suffice to say that traffic is important to any owner of a website that wants to attract users – the brief background is that in 2011, Google ran an algorithm update, known as the Panda update. It may sound cute and cuddly, but the Panda update was the first major algorithm update to focus on the quality of onsite content -- pushing sites with rich content and a great user experience to the top of its search rankings, and relegating low-quality sites to the bottom.
August 10, 2013
Long Tail vs Short Tail Keywords
Guest Blog by David Markovich
Businesses that evaluate keywords need to understand the difference between long tail and head keywords. The distinction is as important and once understood actually shocking and somewhat counterintuitive.
June 15, 2013
In web terminology, CMS stands for “Content Management System,” and describes the method of content and workflow management on the backend (administrator’s view) of your site. Content includes - but isn’t limited to - images, video, calendar/special events, products, registration forms, or even a user authentication system. Workflow management refers to the ability to transfer your organization’s existing way of ‘getting things done’ offline to your online presence. Finding a winning combination of ‘ease of use’ and ‘functionality’ fuels most organization’s search for the right platform. A good system should allow you to concentrate on the front-end user experience without having to disrupt your current workflow to fit the CMS.
May 17, 2013
You can’t pick up a newspaper these days – psych, just kidding – who reads newspapers anymore? What I meant to say was, you can’t flip through Reddit anymore without seeing an article about the Chinese hacking into US websites, Anonymous shutting down a bank’s website or some Russian mobsters stealing a million passwords from a department store. Pretty scary stuff, actually. It really brings the notion to the forefront that the more we decide to store all of our information online, the more someone wants to steal it.
March 3, 2013
Whether you are evaluating a CMS application as part of an overall website redesign, or your business is scaling up and you are ready to jettison your excel spreadsheets, I wanted to share a few common pitfalls that you might want to avoid.
February 16, 2013
Is Twitter changing the way we speak or just reflecting changes in the way we speak?
At the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, Jacob Eisenstein and his colleagues examined some 40 million tweets, which were sent from various US locations between December 2009 and May 2011. After collecting the data, his team built a mathematical model capturing the large-scale flow of the various new words between different cities. The results were quite interesting: cities with large African American populations tend to lead the way in linguistic innovation – an example "ctfu", an abbreviation of "cracking the f**k up”, comes straight out of Cleveland, OH ( my old stomping ground).