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At Brick Road Media 35% of our business comes from Website Design/Re-Design. When we first start discussing a website project the end goal is the top priority . If driving traffic and leads is the number one priority then functionality is the first design element that we will work on . Too many times designers go for high -end graphics and photography but forget the marketing elements that will make the page produce results . I mention this because over 90% of the clients that we consult with have marketing and page conversion at the bottom of their list of priorities . Here are the top 5 design blunders for you as a budding designer or D.I.Y to avoid. 1. Font is too small- 14pt Font is the new 12pt Font . I often see websites that use font that I have to use the control + key for, and a lot of times they are using this small font in key areas such as contact us page and in areas where the call to action is located . If I can't read it, then how would you expect the older generation who haven't upgraded to a 32 inch LCD panel screen to read your important parts? Go BIG or Go HOME! 2. Home Page is Jammed- You know these pages on talking about. The website that looks like they took the company flyer , brochure , sales presentation folder , and every other piece of literature that is ever been printed for the company and threw it in three unorganized columns with two irrelevant stock images and called this their home page . Please Please Please avoid this style at all costs . We use WordPress for all of our websites and there are several great theme companies such as Woo Themes, and Elegant Themes that will help with the layout of a good home page . To start you want to make sure that there's plenty of white space , and I recommend that you choose the three most important elements of your business or organization that you want highlighted and start with either a slider or three shadow boxes that link to the information pages about those items . Do not put the information about these items on the homepage ! Use images or icons in a short catchy phrase that will induce the user to click to learn more information . This will keep your home page clutter free , easy to navigate , and most importantly it will keep your user engaged with your website until they find what they're looking for . 3. Forms- This blunder can easily be fixed . Keep your forms to 4 Input boxes or less . There is a time down the road to get your users date of birth , social security numbers , firstborns shoe size, and Rusty the family Dog's DNA profile, but it is not in the first interaction with the user . It is better to start with name, and email and go from there. Statistics will show that your click through rates on forms increases when your fields of input decrease. 4. Contact Page- This may be more of a personal pet peeve , but it drives me crazy when I landed on a site and find the information exciting enough to want to know more and talk to someone and the only option is to fill out a basic contact form where you know the message is landing somewhere in cyberspace . What tends to happen with me, is I get the reply 2-3 days later and by then I forget what I was interested in or have already went to a competitor and purchased. That is what happens to companies that don't think of being super accessible on the web. The Best way of handling in my opinion is to give as many options to the user to contact you as possible , if such as live chat , e-mail address , phone number , hours of operation , and an expected time frame that their query will be returned . 5. Creativity before Functionality- As discussed above in the introduction you want to decide early in the project what's the main focus is going to be . If the main focus is to drive traffic and leads which is typical for most businesses, then you need to focus on the marketing functionality in the overall user experience. There will be a time and a place to input those sexy icons and that awesome photograph that you are just dying to put in the website somewhere, but trust me on this one, designing a funnel that will drive and capture leads is much more rewarding than having a cool site.
If you have served on any board of a not for profit I am certain you have looked like this guy here. N.F.P.'s can be the death of you if you are not careful. The key thing to remember is that you are still part of a business. Yeah I said it, a business. Just because you aren't trying to make a profit does not mean the organization isn't supposed to run like a profitable business.
In my experience working with and for nonprofits, communication is the biggest issue. It is understandable that not for profit communication would be a big issue since everyone for the most part is volunteering their time for the cause, and everyone can give at a different level and time. So lets focus on the things that we can control since no one is going to start making paid positions and getting rid of volunteers anytime soon.
Go to your facebook page and on the left hand column of your page you will see "Groups" Click on Create a Group and ask all of the people on your board that need to communicate regularly with each other to be your friend. Once they are your friend, you can add them to the group.
You can see and participate in Real Time Chat versus Email with your group members instead of reply all and wait. You can set notifications so you get an email or a text on your cell phone when someone has posted in the group. The part I like the most about the groups is the feature of uploading and sharing pictures, web links, and documents.
Drop Box is a tool that I started using and now I am just coming up with more and more ideas on how to use it myself and how many others could benefit greatly from this. Click here to check it out for FREE. They give you 2GB of starter storage for free so you can get a good taste of what it does and play with it before you pay anything.
You sign up for a free account and the software will install a Folder on your computer just like an external hard drive. You can use this folder just like any other folders on your computer now. The cool part is you can access the items you saved in the folder from any other devices you have synced to your dropbox account, and you can access from any computer with internet by logging in to your web based account. You can also set sharing restrictions so that you can share a file with others, while still protecting the security of the other files and folders you have saved.
Mailchimp.com is an email marketing service that can be used to send newsletters, quick emails, or just about anything. Do you have a consistent message that you would like to send to your list. When I say your list, this could be several lists including volunteers, supporters, business owners, or send a message to everyone.
With Mailchimp you can design a form, put it on your facebook page, your website, or even put it in a QR code and invite people to be on one of your lists of communication. Once they have joined you design your message, whether it be a quick broadcast, a coupon, or a monthly newsletter and then send it to everyone in that list in one click. You can even schedule these emails for any day or time.
There are several tools out there that can help with the communication and efficiency of your not for profit or small business. These are just 3 that are free and very useful.
Welcome to Brick Road Media's blog. Here we will give tips and pointers on social media and other internet marketing tactics you can use to get more traffic to your site and more customers to your local business.
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