Information Slide


Websites

These are some points to think about when considering a new website.

  • Domain Name - Whenever possible, try to choose a name that is relevant to the business and easy to remember.
  • Hosting - Monthly cost, bandwidth, storage and email capabilities are all things to be taken into consideration while choosing a hosting service.
  • Type of Site - Do you need a website to be a brochure for potential clients or an online store?
  • Desired Audience - Is the site targeting a specific category of clientele, or is it a billboard for the masses?
  • Content - Most websites should contain enough text so that people unfamiliar with your business get a good feel for your products or services.
  • Imagery - Would you prefer to use stock imagery or supply the images yourself?
  • Branding - Do you have specific color pallets or predesigned guidelines that the site should adhere to?
  • Call to Action - What would you like vistors to the site to do once they are there?
  • Functionality - Do you need a contact form, calendar, media player or payment processing services?
  • Timeline - Do you have an event or campaign that launch date needs to coincide with?
  • Your Tastes - Have you come accross websites that you loved or hated? Relaying these to us can save a lot of time and money.
  • Content Management (CMS) - Do you need an administrative section of the site so you can make frequent updates yourself?
  • Blog - A blog can be a very valuable marketing tool. You get to showcase the things that make your business special and it gets noticed by search engines.
  • Budget - Knowing what your wed design budget is in advance can help a developer tailor a site to fit your needs and your bottom line.


Search Engine Optimization

These are some common misconceptions about SEO services.

  • Good SEO services get quick results - Good organic growth of a web presence adds to the longevity of the gains. If you jump up the list overnight, more likely than not your site will be blacklisted before the week is over.
  • Paying for SEO will give you an edge over your competition - Maybe. Ultimately what a visitor does or doesn't do on your site will be the result of many different variables. If your competition is providing a superior product then no amount of SEO will give you the edge.
  • High traffic is good traffic - If your sites traffic triples you need to make sure that those visitors are staying on your site. By placing a few misleading advertisements on message boards, you can generate thousands of new visitors. But at what cost? Those new visitors will probably never be clients and now they associate your business name with SPAM.
  • Pay per click only costs money if someone visits my site. - This is true. Most search engines will only charge you for traffic generated by your paid placement. The problem is that if your website isn't user friendly or your product is somehow misrepresented, you've just paid someone to have a negative experience on your site.
  • Pay per click is easy - if your not concerned with the outcome it can be. Any campaign to genrate new traffic needs to be managed. Once the campaign starts you'll notice areas that can be improved upon in order to make any tool your using more cost effective.
  • The more keywords the better - Keywords are always going to be a quality over quantity facet of SEO. The more keywords you have the harder it is for search engines to get a clear understanding of your products or services.
  • You don't have time for SEO - If you pay for SEO services you should at least try to make the service worth it. The reports you recieve from your chosen firm will contain invaluable information.
 


Graphic Design

These are some points to consider while searching for graphic design services.

  • Good communication is key - It can be tough to create an image from someone elses mind. Revisions are part of the game but if your miles apart after a couple of rounds you may need to move on.
  • Quality doesn't gaurantee satisfaction - The design can be quality without being well received. Much like beauty, art is subjective to the eye of the beholder. Not everyone likes the same things and designers should understand that.
  • Check the timeframe - Design can take several rounds of revisions for the artist to get the clients ideas captured correctly. Make sure that you, and the designer, have plenty of time to reach the desired goals. Rush work generally cost more and rarely meets the standards of either party.
  • Find out about the files - If you need certain file types or the original source files when the project is complete, find out ahead of time if they will be available. Not all firms have the same software so certain file types could be a problem to get on short notice. Also, many designers are hesitant to hand over source files. A firm puts it's reputation on the line with every project. Since the source files can be edited by anyone with the right software, the final product is open to edits outside the original designers control.
  • Stock Imagery - If you supply your own images don't be offended if you're asked to sign a liability waiver. A design firm doesn't want to be held accountable if the client mistakenly provides imagery that they do not have permission to use. The client should assume that any image found online is copyrighted and unavailable for use, unless you have written permission to use the image from the photographer or image provider.
  • Details - A "little bit"doesn't sound scary unless you're the designer. Make sure you know the final dimensions as well as any bleeds and color profiles neccesary for your project. If you don't know this information try to supply the design firm with the contact information of someone who does. Finishing a design and then finding out it's a "little bit" too small can cause major headaches to the designer and possibly a missed deadline for the client.
  • Pantone® Colors - If you've paid for any design or advertising in the past, you should have PMS Colors. PMS, or Pantone® Matching System, refers to the industry standard for color matching. Every computer monitor displays color differently. What looks sky blue to you might look aquamarine to the designer. These colors are verified through physical books that contain thousands of colors. Each one referenced by it's own specific number.


Brochures

In this digital world there is something to be said for having a tangible reference to your business.

  • Content - The amount of content can be just as important as the content itself. Too much and the brochure becomes a hard to read mess. Too little and the the message might not be clear.
  • Fonts - Artistic fonts can be a simple way to jazz up a logo. Artistic fonts can be a simple way to make your brochure unreadable. Make sure that decorative fonts are used sparingly as a way to highlight specific areas of interest.
  • White Space - Also called negative space, white space is a very effective way to give a brochure structure. Additionally the negative space can help lead the reader through the brochure ensuring that crucial information isn't missed.
  • The Front Cover - The cover is the bait and the content is the hook. The cover can contain all the bells and whistles of a circus. The content should be informative and easy to read.
  • Structure - Having an asymetrical layout can be artistic and eyecatching. It can also be confusing. Text should be formatted consistantly throughout the brochure.
  • Special Effects - A minimal drop shadow can add a touch of class. Adding too many effects to images and text reduces the effectiveness of the other elements to attract attention.


Business Cards

If your looking for business cards make sure you've thought about these points.

  • Keep it clean - Don't try to cram too much information onto your business cards. The card represents your presence in the business, not necessarily the business itself.
  • Shape - The shape of a business card is a fun and widely accepted way to differentiate yourself from the pack. Slim cut, rounded corners and pop-up cards are just a few examples of distinct shapes available.
  • Add-ons - Sometimes a good business card can be made great with the use of UV coatings or foil stamping.
  • Substrate Material - Business cards don't need to be cardstock anymore. They can be made out of a variety of materials. Including plastics, metals and even wood.


Print Services

Below are common points to keep in mind when ordering print services.

  • Color Matching - If you have colors that need to be spot on, You need a Pantone® color number. This matching system is the only way to ensure a perfect match.
  • Proofing - When close isn't good enough, you need a hardcopy proof. This is a single print that is shipped to you for approval. It gives you the ability to remove any guessing about how the finished product will appear. It also adds significant time, and costs, to the printing process. If your paying for a hardcopy proof make sure that the proof is printed with the same equipment and processes that the final product will be. Otherwise the proof becomes a representation of the finished product instead of a match.
  • Print Type - The implementation of digital printing has greatly reduced the cost of small quantity print runs. Offset printing can add a sense of richness and depth to the finished product. If you have a preference mnake sure to inform your designer. It may determine how your artwork is produced.