Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Graphics Matter

After years of surveys regarding website content, one of the greatest barriers to "credibility" is your graphics.

Let's face it, cheesy graphics make you look cheesy regardless of how good your product or service is.

Even a talented entrepreneur such as Steve Jobs hired someone to do the Apple logo. His name was Rob Janoff. Although Jobs was a Beatles fan, he denied the relationship. He added the color to humanize the company and give the impression that the Macintosh could display color graphics. The bite was meant to symbolize data bytes.

As you can see, a lot of thought went into just the logo, and when the web emerged in the 1990s, Apple had to come up with graphics to go with it. Archive.com gives us an idea of how they handled it. Of course they axed the colors and went to the more modern and clean looking monochromatic logo that is in use today. You might enjoy the whole story on Edible Apple.

Your logo is just the beginning of your website graphics. You'll need to make the content look good by adding photos, as well as choosing fonts, colors and backgrounds. A good designer can knock this sort of thing out pretty quickly when you supply the artistic fodder of a great logo.

The credibility and marketing posture your graphics subliminally build, is often the silent impetus for website visitors to positively respond to your web content.

Tell us, do you love your website graphics?

Monday, August 13, 2012

Having a Social Media Strategy

Social media is certainly a way to get website traffic as well as communicate with your clients and customers. However; there are some lessons we should have learned by now: The most important is this: every web site on the Internet does not produce revenue, and some probably won't. On the other hand, everyone with a Facebook page or a Twitter account is not going to drive the masses to a web site without a compelling reason.

The Internet is information first!

Unless you are offering something engaging, you may as well enjoy your friends on Facebook and spend your time and effort other places. The caveat to that is popular products such as the iPad and Android phone. There is a lot of buzz around that, so letting folks know about features and upgrades is pretty much all that needs to be done.

Whatever your product or service, you need to find interesting facts, expertise or other information to pass along to customers and clients. That is what I am doing with this blog; passing on a little information related to my services.

The social media game needs consistency from you, or it will fail. You need to start with a simple strategy to see how your potential market will respond. Here is what I suggest as a minimum level of participation:

-Make a calendar and for your media contributions in advance. Be sure that you can meet your deadlines. Blog readers who expect a blog on Monday, don't want to wait until Tuesday.
-Write a minimum of a 200 word blog once a week. Two to three a week is a better number. This is the base "information" of your social media marketing.
-Connect Twitter to Facebook (or vice versa) so you only have to post once a day and it ends up on both. Usually let people know about your blog posts, ask an engaging questions Facebook, or provide a motivational quote related to your business (from the blog or industry guru) on Twitter. You can connect the blog to Facebook and Twitter so those new posts will automatically post.
-YouTube is a good place to do a "how to" video. It could easily be the same content from the blog, but in video form. I could read this video and ad some video enhancements.
- Email campaigns keep the whole thing in motion by recapping what you are doing in the other places. I would highlight a service once every two weeks along with some bullets about the things that are happening on the blog. You can have overlapping content.

Remember every post, blog or email needs an action item for your audience!

Good luck!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Social Media Success

It seems every few years there is a new web success. I have been around since Yahoo! was the top search engine, IRC was how people chatted online. Then came a storm of popular websites and online activities. It's not always the first in that wins the success game. Spry Mosaic gave way to Netscape and then IE, ICQ lost to AIM, eBay stood alone as did Amazon - and finally MySpace was virtually absorbed Facebook.

With Facebook's recent IPO and subsequent losses, who knows what the next Internet fad will be for sure?

What I do know is that the trends are already giving us a glimpse of the future. Facebook's switch to a Twitter like feed is a clue. For the social media junkies, they seem to enjoy some semblance of reality over complete fiction. That is why I believe Facebook beat out the more anonymous MySpace. It does seem to me now, a quippy status on Twitter is still very popular. My money is on Twitter for win. Of course all the site will need to deliver advertising revenue on a mobile app!

As an engineer, I am always looking to get in on the ground floor of the next fad. As a developer, I have had lots of clients come to me with the next great idea. Unfortunately for most of them, it did not have enough appeal or funding to make it happen. The good news, is that web sales for products, services and advertising are growing every day!

Do you have a good idea you'd like to pursue? I'd like to hear about it.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

New Website

After 18 years in the web business, I decided that maybe I should write about a few things that I know.

Some time soon, I will be posting about web geek sort of stuff.

In the mean time, you may visit my web site: http://www.johndrow.us

I look forward to seeing your comments soon. David