I recently came across a website redesign that I thought was really well done. The company who did the redesign is Douglas Marketing Group. I’ve worked with them in the past and I have to say, their work is really really creative. The amount of design effort they put into each page goes unmatched.

For those of you who don’t know, Lucas Works is one of the top job recruitment agencies in all of SouthWestern Ontario. They’ve recently expanded to add offices in both London and Kitchener Ontario to go with their existing and main headquarters in Windsor.

Lucas Works Website

Their old website, which was designed back in the mid 2000′s was fairly out-dated and somewhat difficult to navigate. The width of the site was no larger than 800px (most websites are now designed at 1024px) and the colors were dark, dreary and really unpleasant to the eye.

The refresh of the website looks amazing. They kept their branding and logo basically the same, however they went ahead and added a few different shades of green to their website as well as a very attractive looking orange color which instantly draws your eyes in. They’ve also added several fresh pages to the website which tell both clients and customers why they should choose LucasWorks with stats, numbers and charts.

I still haven’t even mentioned they also added a very simple but effective blog which offers tips, tricks and helpful information on searching for a job, interviewing, resume writing and much more!

All in all the redesign of the LucasWorks site has to be seen as a huge success and improvement when compared to their earlier version. Congrats on a great new design guys!

Busy, busy, busy! That’s what I’ve been since my last blog post a couple months ago! I apologize for neglecting my blog over that time, but I swear I’ve had good reason to! I’ve been busy the past couple months coming up with web designs for local businesses Forte Professional Services and Elegance By Design (Previews and live examples of both should be ready by the new year). The other projects that have been keeping me busy are Facebook business page designs! If you’ve been following my Facebook page or Twitter account, you’ve probably noticed posts about Facebook fan pages for Windsor Squash & Fitness, Royal Islander Owners Association and Natalie Cervini Chiropractor. Clicking any of those links will take you to their Facebook business page which I designed.

There are several ways for businesses both small and large in the Windsor Ontario area to enhance their Facebook page design. One of the first ways I always suggest to my clients is to create an extended profile banner. This is the first item required by Facebook when designing a page and is located in the top-left hand corner of your page. You can add basically any sized image in there and Facebook will re-size it to fit or you can have a web designer (like me) create an extended profile banner which is at most 180px (wide) x 540px (high). You can see examples of the profile banners I’ve designed below.

Natalie Cervini Facebook Royal Islander Facebook Windsor Squash Facebook

Another great way to enhance your fan page is to create a “welcome” tab. You can set this tab to be the first thing users see when they visit your Facebook page. This tab can be any size you want, however if you create one that is wider than 510px, chances are Facebook will add a scrollbar to the bottom of it by default. What’s nice about the welcome tab is that it can be created to give the user the illusion that they “must” Like your page before moving forward. Without a welcome page on your Facebook, users will automatically be directed to your Wall, where they can get all the information about your business without having to Like it first.

Royal Islander Welcome Page

The last suggestion I usually make to my clients is that they add 5 images 98px (wide) x 68px (high) to an album titled “Profile Banner” or something along those lines. These images should be about the business in some way shape or form. For example, on my Facebook page, you’ll notice (if you’ve Liked it) I have 5 images across the top. These 5 images are of 5 web designs I’ve done over the past year. If you don’t add any images at all, people who have Liked you page will see blank images which is really just a waste of quality Facebook page space! (My apologies for the rhyme)

If you’re a business in Windsor and have a Facebook business page, you should definitely have at least 1 of the suggestions I’ve listed above. If you don’t, you could be missing out on potentially reaching thousands of new customers on a regular basis.

If you’re interested in having a Facebook page designed by me, please email me or call 519-995-7329. I have extensive experience in designing these pages and offer the most affordable rates in the city!

facebook transparent PNG icon When I do web designs for small business clients who have a Facebook page or Twitter account, I always recommend that they add the social networking icons to their website. I always find that it’s best to add the icons or logos as transparent PNGs. For those of you unfamiliar with transparent PNGs, they’re images which have a background that you can see through. For example, the 3 social networking icons at the top of my Sebastian Agosta Web Design site are all transparent PNGs. Adding an image that’s a transparent PNG makes a website look much cleaner and since the backgrounds are transparent they can be added to any site no matter what the color.

Over the last few months, I’ve collected a few transparent PNGs which I’ve had to use on my sites as well as my clients sites. I use the Facebook, Twitter and Linked In icons the most. Since I had some trouble finding some of these when I needed them I figured I’d add them all to my web design blog, that way if you ever need them, you know where to find them!

Rather than make this post extremely long by posting my 10 most used PNGs, I figured I’d put them in a ZIP file for you. Inside this zip file, you’ll find transparent PNG icons for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Blackberry. You will also find PNG logos for Apple, Windows, GroupOn, Google, Android and WordPress.

If there are any other transparent PNG logos or icons you’re having trouble finding, let me know and I’ll see if I can find it for you!

Wordpress Icon When it comes to creating a blog online, there is no better content management system than WordPress. Not only is it easy to use, operate and install, but it offers some of the best plugins for web designers and online marketers. Whenever I setup a WordPress blog, there are a few plugins that I always install just after I install WordPress. Some of these plugins just make the site look more professional, some of them help with social media and SEO and some of them are just fun to have on the site!

1) All in One SEO Pack – This one is pretty self explanatory, but a definite must have for anyone hoping to rank better in the search engines. This plugin allows you to create post specific titles and descriptions as well as create search engine friendly URL’s.

2) Configurable Tag Cloud – CTC takes all the tags you’ve used in your posts and allows you to make fancy tag clouds out of them. An example of this can be seen to your left. I’ve used the tag cloud to customize which tags I want bigger and which I want smaller.

3) WP-PostViews – WP-PostViews counts how many clicks each of your posts and pages have. You can then use this information to create widgets which you can add to your sidebar. This is great if you want to create a “Most Popular Posts” widget that allows people to see the most popular posts and how many views they have.

4) WP-Socializer – If you look at the bottom of each of my posts, you’ll find a bunch of icons that can be used by you to help promote or “like” my info. That’s exactly what this plugin does. They have over 100 icons from various social media sites around the web that you can use.

5) WP-reCAPTCHA – Tired of blog comment spam? Add this plugin to your WordPress and it will easily help cut out 90% of blog comment spam. As you can see from my comment section below, you have to put in a “human verification” code. This prevents “bots” from spamming your blog without actually visiting it.

Those of you who follow me on Twitter or are a fan of my Windsor Web Design Facebook page, know that I’ve been working on a mobile web design for Windsor Squash and Fitness. This also means you know that I’ve a big believer in having your website optimized for mobile devices such as the; iPhone, Blackberry and Android. If you don’t have a mobile version of your site online, you could be missing out on all the mobile traffic your site is getting!

Mobile Version of Windsor Web Design Take a look at your Google Analytics or whichever stats program you’re using for your website and find how many mobile devices have visited your site in the past month. If you don’t have a mobile version for your website, chances are you lost on most of that traffic. People on mobile devices want to be able to get into your site, get quick information on your business and get out without having to pinch, pull or zoom anywhere. I took a look at the mobile traffic for Windsor Squash and Fitness over the past month and of the 57 unique visits they had from mobile devices only 2% stayed on the site longer than 5 seconds. Let me repeat that 5 seconds! Why did this happen? It’s simple, the full version of the web design I created, didn’t render properly on mobile devices. That’s why they’ve decided to have me create an all new, mobile only version of their site! Over the past week, I’ve done a few tests using the mobile only version and of the 17 people who have visited the site 82% stayed longer than 5 seconds and 71% stayed longer than 15. Great improvement from the non-mobile version.

If you’re interested in having a mobile web design created for your small business in Windsor or anywhere in Southwestern Ontario, please contact me. Even if I didn’t create the full version of your website, I can easily create a mobile version that is branded in the same way and uses all of the same colors and fonts. The mobile designs I’ve done so far have been done in under 2 weeks and have been done at very affordable rates!

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