CSS, Hosting, CMS

  1. The Power of CSS


From a previous knowledge of CSS, I knew that you can change how your website looks, but I didn’t think there was much animation involved. I found a really great site that showed 30 examples of different kinds of animation that is possible with CSS. Most of them worked with my up to date Firefox browser. There are more effects used with the Opera browser, but most people don’t use that one. Hovering options, navigation buttons/bars, and transitions seemed to be the most popular effects used. Since I don’t know any other script, I might have to give these a try when working on my own portfolio website.

  1. Shared Web Hosting


This is kind of a boring topic for me, but when having a website web hosting is an important step. I never bought my own domain name or set up hosting a site before. If I were to start the process myself, I would google “best shared web hosting” to see the most popular results. I would choose a site that was inexpensive and had really good customer reviews. When buying things online, cheap isn’t always better. Watch out for scams and fraudulent companies.

  1. Content Management Systems


I took Laura’s WordPress class last semester and really loved it. I have never used WordPress and didn’t know what it was before that. I just thought it was a place to put up boring blogs and it’s not very useful. The capabilities of CMS can change how business owners run a website. You don’t even need to know code and the changes are uploaded instantly! To get what you want and set your business apart from the rest, I suggest you pay the yearly fee because it will be well worth it.

  1. Mobile Website


Over half of internet users are using their phones to access the internet. Having a mobile version of your website is a huge deal and can make or break your customers. It is possible to use a desktop version on your phone or tablet, but it can make things difficult because of the smaller size and constant scrolling. When making a mobile or tablet friendly website, make all of your navigation big and accessible. Don’t clutter it up too much or put too much copy on it. Make your text and fonts readable just as if you were designing a desktop version. Simplicity is the key when creating mobile websites.

  1. Viral Video Advertising


Most recently I participated in the greatest viral marketing video of all time; the ice bucket challenge. Even though this challenge wasn’t made up by the ALS association, it brought awareness and donations that were well needed. It was unique, cool, and everyone participated because you didn’t want to be left out. I did the challenge not because someone challenged me, but I have an aunt suffering from this disease. She appreciated the support my family was giving her. This was emotional marketing that touched a lot of hearts.


CRAP Design

  1. Proximity


When Laura was talking about “CRAP,” the only word that didn’t seem clear to me was proximity. I see this word being used in 2 different ways. One instance would be using negative space. Having white space on your webpage is a good thing. It gives the viewer’s eyes a sense of direction and priority. Another example is when using hierarchy. Most of your important content should be at the top of the page and as the page scrolls on, the significance of the information will decrease.

  1. Multimedia


There are many advantages and disadvantages to using multimedia. One good advantage is that videos can show the benefits of your product or service. The downside to videos is the viewer’s operating system. If you have an older version of Flash or Quicktime, videos might not play. Online service for videos such as Youtube is best for showing videos because they work on multiple platforms. When making a website, bandwidth is an important factor. Video files are bigger than photos. Consider customers that have a slower internet connection.

  1. User Interface or User Experience


UX design is creating a website or app with the customer in mind. A UX designer can do a multiple of things to achieve the look they are looking for. One is wire framing. A wireframe is a comp or basic layout of their site or app. They are trying to obtain consistency within each page. Another example of their job might be to do user testing. Select people in your target audience that might be interested in using your site. Talk to them and have them try out the web design or layout. Did any of them struggle to find something or were there no problems at all? Knowing your audience’s likes and dislikes can propose success for your company.

  1. Mood Boards


When designing anything for a client, it is hard to put into words exactly what you vision in your head. This is when a mood board would come in handy. On a mood board you can put colors, fonts, layout and pictures to get the “feel” of what you are trying to portray. Don’t think of this as a waste of time. This can help you and the client move faster in the design development. There are a few different apps and software that can assist your mood board making. Pinterest is a great free tool that can be very beneficial to your inspiration.

  1. Rule of 7


The average American sees thousands of advertising’s daily. How many times do the ads have to be shown to you for you to remember a certain product? Probably a lot. Instead of thinking of how many times, marketers say it is the meaning of the ads that make the purchase. This article says there are seven hurtles instead of seven rules. Awareness, need, price, and time are all factors that customers and sellers think about. Seeing the same commercial on TV every ten minutes doesn’t make me want to buy it more, it annoys me more than anything. The cute, funny commercials are the ones that stick out for me. Honestly, I think the rule of seven is dead.

Client Communication, Marketing Plan, Mission Statement

  1. Client Communication


As I was searching more about communicating with clients, I found a few other things that you shouldn’t do. Don’t leave voicemails that say “I just wanted to touch base with you.” What does that even mean? Be more specific when you want something from the client. Another good point is to not overwhelm the client. Don’t tell them the 10 different ideas that you have. Work with a few of them. Lastly, don’t make your meeting all about you. Let them talk to see what their visions are for you.

  1. Marketing Plan


Before you start up any business or expand on one, it’s always a good idea to start a marketing plan. This plan is to show you the way and lead you to success. What if you have a business, but can’t seem to get customers? This video I found suggests putting up great customer reviews in your restaurant. If you do it in a way without it sounding cheesy, I believe it is possible to gain popularity. When I go in a new restaurant, I get nervous about how their food is going to taste like. It’s an awesome way to gain trust with your customers without lying to them.

  1. Mission Statement


When I was researching this subject I found a lot of mixed reviews. Some articles said that mission statements are worthless and some say that they are very important. I think it can be useful if it’s created the right way. The key to having a really good statement is that it needs to show value and inspiration. If your statement is too vague, no one is going to remember it. It can also be one to two sentences. Show your co-workers what you came up with and get their input on it.

  1. Site Specification


When you are meeting with a client, it’s a good idea to come with a list of site specification questions to ask them. There are roughly four main categories to the site spec. First, why do you need a website? Perhaps you sell products or services to customers. The second thing you want to know is the content. What is going to be on the navigation? Thirdly, the functionality and usability is important. If a customer doesn’t know how to navigate through your website, you’re going to have problems. Lastly, be aware of style and layout. The look and feel to every website is important. You aren’t going to design an insurance website the same and a photography one.

  1. SWOT Analysis


In your marketing plan, it’s always a good idea that a SWOT analysis is done. SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. As an example, I found this example video of McDonalds and what their SWOT analysis might be like. A couple strengths McDonalds have is being the more successful fast food chain in the world and 24-hour service. Weaknesses include declining sales and unhealthy menu. The opportunities are high breakfast sales, connoisseur burgers, and bargain menu prices. Last but not least, McDonald’s threats are competition from Wendy’s and Burger King, growth in Starbucks, and healthier menu choices. By using this tool, you can strengthen your weaknesses and gain better opportunities for your business.


  1. Co-branding


The idea of co-branding is genius! In today’s world, no one wants to make more stops than they have to while running errands. That’s why McDonalds attached to the Mobile works out so well. McDonalds is successful on their own nevertheless, but if you fill up your car and realize you’re hungry, the McDonalds is there to satisfy your cravings. This is the reason so many fast food places are by interstates. One of my favorite and interesting co-brands is Jimmy Fallon and Ben & Jerry’s. The flavor is called Late Night Snack named after his show. It has caramel and chocolate cover potato chips with vanilla ice cream. I watch Jimmy Fallon all the time and he promoted it so much on his show I had to buy some. It is awesome!

  1. Brands and Emotions


When you walk into a store, restaurant or business, you get a “vibe” of how the place makes you feel. Maybe you like the smell, sounds or the overall servicescape. All of these senses make you perceive emotions about that company. I found an article that talks about the color of your logo can have feelings even if the company doesn’t exist. Their study said blue is dependable. Green is friendly and durable. Purple is feminine. Pink is youthful and fashionable. Yellow is fun and modern. Red is expertise and confidence. There is many reasons why colors are chosen to be in a logo, but these are really good tips to remember if you are designing one.

  1. Corporate Social Responsibility


I never heard of this term until it was said on Tuesday. In a nutshell, CSR means that a company will take responsibility for their sustainability and actions on the future of society. I found a really interesting article that has a bunch of statistics and numbers of how some of the top corporate companies are trying to recycle their products and make money off of them. The article estimated $11.5 billion dollars are being wasted in packaging costs. Paper, plastic and textile mills create 137,000 jobs. Corporate companies such as Coca-Cola, Johnson & Johnson, Procter & Gamble, are recycling their packaging to turn back into packaging again. Walmart wants to remove 20 million metric tons of greenhouse gases by 2015. More jobs are made because of recycling and mother earth can be happier!

  1. Product Placement


Seeing product logos in TV shows and movies is no new thing. I stumbled upon this cute video with a puppet and a guy that has a job trying to find any sort of product placement in TV shows. It sounds like a great job in theory, but he says it’s hard to watch sports events because logos are everywhere and he has to write them down. There can be more than 800 logos in a NASCAR race. That is a lot of advertising if you ask me.

  1. Visual Metaphors


Even though we didn’t really talk about this in class, I found it to be important and helpful when designing packaging. Murray Brand demonstrates older packaging from Purdue Farms. It looked very plain, boring, and not eye catching. They changed their design to be more cohesive and have words like fresh and all natural in bigger font. To give the illusion that it was farm fresh, they incorporated a picture of an old farm house. If I was shopping for chicken in the store, the re-design will catch my eye before the older one. The metaphors will help consumers relate to other things they already see or know.

Market Positioning

1. Self-Reporting vs. Observational Research
Researchers use surveys for many different reasons. Sometimes a survey can give misleading results and therefore the data is distorted. Depending on what data researchers want, observation can be the best alternative. For example, a survey was given to 100 homes on recycling and conservation. Most homes said that they recycled on the survey, but from observation, they didn’t do as well as they thought they did. This is one instance when doing a survey would be complicated. What people do and what they say are two different things.

2. Positioning Statement

How to Write Market Positioning Statements

If your company wants to target towards a certain audience, you need to position. In order to get your buyer’s attention, a positioning statement could come in handy. A positioning statement is to describe your company and brand to your target market. Focus on your brand and guarantees of your business. When writing your statement, remember to say things that set you aside from the competition. In conclusion, the overall statement should be “meaningful, important, and convincing.”

3. Branding Designs
Even though we didn’t really talk about product designs, branding is a part in Mike’s PBR acronym. When I think of branding, I think of how the product looks and the appeal to it. That one product that stands out on the shelf against the rest is the one I’m more likely to look at. This website shows a few examples of using their branding in packaging. You will be surprised what a little creativity can do to a business.

4. Relationship Marketing
Relationship marketing is important because you want to make your customer feel that they are essential to your company. Have them be a long term customer. Whenever I think of loyal customers, I think of the grocery store I work at. Many of them have been going there for years. Because of that, they have a friendly relationship towards the store employees. A store isn’t focusing on transactional customers. Transactional marketing is when the company tries to sell as many products as they can in a short amount of time. This makes me think of car dealerships. For some reason I avoid dealerships because salesmen try to weasel their way into thinking you need that car with all the special features. Even though a car isn’t an everyday purchase, they hope that you have a long term relationship with them by taking your repairs to their shop and buying your next car with them.
5. Emotional Advertising
In most cases, if a company can make you move through emotions, chances are you have a connection with it. This article from Britain says otherwise. Some companies make you think that you can change the world and be uplifted with just this one product. It goes on to say that it’s sort of like false advertising. Simplicity is the best when trying to convince consumers.

Writing Copy & SEO

  1. Unique Product Descriptions


I found this wonderful website that gave 5 great examples of how to describe your product. If you want buyers to spend their money at your website, you need to engage them. Be persuasive and unique. Get out your fishing pole and reel them in. They also give out really nice tips on how to achieve successful copywriting, which we went over most of these in class. My favorite example is the coat because they are telling a story to get a vision of the shopper wearing the coat. It all comes down to how you word it.

  1. Don’t get blacklisted by Google


Have you ever seen a webpage where there is a random keyword right after another and the page doesn’t make sense? They are trying to get optimized by Google, but it’s not effective. This video I found talks about improving your website with “safe” ways to get Google’s attention. Start off with a title that sounds human with your keyword phrases in it. Secondly, don’t put a bunch of “junk” in the footer. Put links that are actually relevant to your company. When doing your search engine optimization, be realistic and think of how a customer is going to view your website from their perspective. These practices aren’t that difficult and should be somewhat simple to do.

  1. Domain Names


If you want to make your online business flourish, an attractive domain name is important. The ideal thing would be to have your business be the same name as the domain name. The shorter the name, the easier it is to remember. The extension is also king. 48% of the internet is made up of .com. Another thing to think about is to make sure your business name is available on other social media platforms. It gets confusing if all of your “sites” are different names because some were already taken. Last but not least, don’t let your domain name expire. Someone else might snatch it up and you’re up a creek with no paddle.

  1. Conversion Rates


As a designer, I honestly didn’t even think about the strategies to get your website user to stay and make a sale. Wouldn’t that be the whole point of why web designers have jobs in the first place? This website has a good list of how to convert customers into buying from you. One example is to put a time limit on your sale items. Maybe they are only at that price for a week or a few days. If they really want it at that low price, they aren’t even going to think about waiting to buy later. Another good tip is the free shipping. I hate to pay for shipping. A lot of companies will make you spend a certain amount in order to get free shipping. “Free Shipping on orders over $50.” I will get a few extra items just to meet their requirements. Their marketing plan works on me. It has to work on other people too. An easy checkout page is awesome also. If people have to “jump through hoops” to get your product, they will more than likely leave your website frustrated.

  1. SEO on Mobile


Every website will look different on a mobile device and desktop. With more internet users having phones to browse the web, it’s hard to get Google to recognize the mobile version of your website. Ideally, you want to have the mobile version optimized and have the same content as the desktop. Googlebot searches the desktop version and Googlebot-Mobile searches the mobile version. It sounds pretty obvious. On a side note, don’t try to trick the Googlebots into thinking that what you send Google and what the users see are two different things. This is called cloaking and can make or break your website. There is no reason to lie to Google about what is on you pages.

SEO and Analytics

  1. Focus Groups


Creating a focus group to survey how certain products are perceived can be very helpful to increase sales. Testing out new products through this method is very useful too. A purpose of a focus group is to hear customer’s opinions on what they like or dislike with your services, packages, etc. To be comedic, play the undercover boss like Conan O’Brien did. He was the “organizer” of the group and showed parts of his late night talk show to older viewers to see their reactions first hand. I don’t think the baby boomers that they interviewed are his demographic. By assumptions, his jokes and guests appeal to younger generations.

  1. Google Analytics


I love Google analytics because it takes the guessing out of your website visits and where they come from. Website hits isn’t the only matter that’s important. What makes your visitors stay? How long are they there for? Another important factor is the usability. If the navigation or copy is difficult to understand, more often than not, customers won’t be coming back. Connecting yourself with other pages can benefit your business. By using analytics, it can show you were your website maybe be lacking or thriving.

  1. Search Engine Optimization


All of these concepts link to one another. Having great SEO is going to help you with good analytics results. I found a list of 50 SEO tips to use when building your website. An interesting tip that I found useful is change the sites content often. If it’s the same boring text for 6 months, people aren’t going to revisit. The spiders and crawlers love new content! Make a blog to showcase new changes or products in your company. That is why social media is so popular. If you “like” a certain company, you will get notifications/coupons from them to buy more products.

  1. Keyword Research


To get your site noticed and be highly ranked by Google, keywords are very important. How do you know what keywords are going to be effective? Think of what specifically you are selling. If your phrases are too broad, Google and other search engines aren’t going to find your site. Be creative and knowing your target audience is essential too. Use Google Analytics to see what keywords your customers are searching under. Another great tip is to use the city or location that your company is located in to narrow down searches. For example, “jewelry store in Sheboygan.”

  1. Cookies


Have you ever went of Facebook and noticed that all of the ads are things that you like or are interested in? That’s because Facebook is tracking your searches and clicks with cookies. Some people might think that websites are spying on you, but in reality, they are only trying to help you to make life easier. They can’t steal personal information. They just want to know what you’re reading and what you’re buying on the web. Some people turn off cookies because the page loads slower. The choice is essentially up to you.