As web designers, we work with a number of businesses that offer various types of hosting. One of them specializes in WordPress hosting, emphasizing on their website that everyone at their firm is a “WordPress specialist.”
Fair enough. If you’re going to make that claim, however, you should be careful what’s in the screenshots your support specialists share with customers. To verify that our site was back up, we were sent this screenshot:
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Jenn Armbrust is a creative force of nature. For years, her gallery Motel was a must-visit stop in downtown Portland. She’s been advising creatives in person and with her Free Advice series at Nationale, and she’s going to share some free advice with you on this week’s show.
The Job is a talk show about design, music, business, culture, technology, the web, and Portland, and featuring interviews with interesting people. Hosted by Ray Brigleb and brought to you by Needmore Designs.
We all know that hearing a recommendation from a friend goes a long way in getting us to try a new service or restaurant or just about anything else. And, testimonials are the online equivalent of this more personal recommendation. Yet, we often fail to get them right. Do you ever go to a website and read testimonials that feel fake or contrived? The secret is to solicit the right kind of testimonial.
Before you invite the accolades to start rolling in, the most critical step in getting a good testimonial is to do good work. If you want folks to say truly believable and positive things about you, you need to focus on good relationships with your collaborators and clients. Without that, nobody is going to have anything believably good to say about you.
Blogs are marketing gold, but this is hardly groundbreaking news.
What is surprising is that many businesses are not capitalizing on these marketing opportunities as often as they should. Beyond the opportunity to get your brand in front of a new audience, there is another important reason to be marketing your product/services on blogs—it can improve your SEO.
The reason: the all mighty backlink.
In the midst of chatting with students, giving advice to emerging website designers, and spouting philosophy on our podcast, The Job, I’ve been reminiscing quite a bit about the early days at Needmore.
We were a scrappy duo, pulling ourselves up by the bootstraps and making it work. Nine years later, being part of the team at Needmore is something I love. I get to spend my days talking to clients and potential clients, learning their stories, and crafting sites that tell these stories beautifully and elegantly.
I think this is just about the best job and am grateful to be here today. But it wasn’t always easy. If I could go back to those early days, there are a few core truths I’d love to have known straight away. These are lessons that took years to learn and many were learned the hard way. In no particular order, here’s some advice from the front on starting a web design business.
How to win friends and influence people on Instagram.
When I asked the rest of our team in the Studio to draw a coffee cup, with no other explanation, what they all drew was strikingly similar.
This isn’t unique. If you go just about anywhere in the world, you’ll get similar results. This is because humans tend to view things in the canonical perspective.
…The canonical perspective still won out, even though when we see cats or very small dogs we are mainly looking at them from high above, not just slightly above. In fact the research shows that when we imagine an object we imagine it from this canonical perspective.
If you look at the Dock on your Mac or the icons on your phone, you’ll notice that designers tend to use this perspective too. It’s worth taking into account when you’re creating icons or geometric graphics, as people will tend to recognize the object quicker if it’s drawn this way, too.
The Next Web has been putting out some great writing lately, and yesterday’s Analytics: If You’re Not Measuring, You’re Not Marketing was certainly no exception. It’s a good overview of the basics.
If you’re trying to grow a business, it really helps to know what you’re doing right online. Many of our clients are surprised to find out just how many of their questions we can answer with analytics. These numbers don’t lie.
Let me use a simple example from our own website. You might think of the “goal” of our website as getting people to fill out our client survey. This certainly doesn’t guarantee income, but it’s the best metric we have of success, since we don’t actually sell anything online. Therefore, I’m interested in knowing how people get there.
I have been reading the wonderful – and brief – book Nine Things Successful People Do Differently by Heidi Halvorson. Number 6 is “Have Grit.”
“Grit is a willingness to commit to long-term goals and to persist in the face of difficulty. Studies show that gritty people obtain more education in their lifetimes and earn higher college GPAs. Grit predicts which cadets will stick out their first grueling year at West Point. In fact, grit even predicts how far contestants at the Scripps National Spelling Bee will go.
People who lack grit, more often than not, believe that they just don’t have the innate abilities successful people have. If that describes your own thinking, well, there’s no way to put this nicely: you are wrong.
I find some comfort in this, actually, and you should, too. Have grit!
In the short period of time since the release of the new iPads, we’ve been looking at many of our past web projects with curious eyes, to see how they hold up. The new iPad has a retina display, like the iPhone 4 series, which means that it packs 4 pixels into the space of 1, giving it four times the resolution and far more detail. It’s been 10 days now, and we’ve got some suggestions to share.
First of all, be sure to just open your site and play around with it on the iPad. This certainly isn’t a new concept, but we were surprised to find that some of our sites actually crashed the web browser! This was likely due, in our case, to images that were taking up way too much memory at retina resolution, but I expect to see the problem elsewhere.
When loading in a website, often the very first graphic shown is a logo. And since these are typically rendered as images, the first things visitors see on a new iPad—your logo, the centerpiece of your identity—is going to look blocky. That’s a relatively easy fix. Logo graphics are often very small files, so you may be able to replace yours with an image that’s twice the width and height, and tell the browser to show it at the old (smaller) size. On normal browsers, it will look the same, but on the new iPad it will look terrific.