January 9, 2013 | Comments Off
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.
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!
December 20, 2011 | Comments Off
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.
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.
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!
August 16, 2011 | Comments Off
For a few months now, I’ve been putting a lot more of my time into learning and understanding online marketing, specifically on Facebook and Twitter. I’ve come to learn a lot about both networking sites by reading online blogs about social media marketing as well as doing a bit of my own trial and error. Because I’ve done more of my trial and error on Twitter lately, I figured I’d write a quick post about how not to be annoying on Twitter.
1) Don’t always try to sell yourself or your product – This is easily the thing I find most annoying about some of the people and businesses I follow on Twitter. They’re always trying to sell me on something. They never post any quality tips or hints about their product and each of their posts links to some type of online marketing strategy.
2) Don’t have all of your tweets auto-posted – A person or business who auto-posts all their tweets from their blog or Facebook couldn’t be more boring. Just tweet after tweet of links moving me to their blog or Facebook. If I wanted to get info from their blog or Facebook I’d follow their blog or Facebook.
3) Don’t tweet so much – I can’t stand logging into my Twitter account and having my timeline bombarded with 10 of the last 15 tweets from the same person. I understand that most Twitter users are following over 100 people, but I’m only following 15 and when you post 10 tweets in and hour, that’s basically all I see.
4) Tweet once in awhile – The opposite of what I just posted. I hate it when I follow someone who seems like they’re tweeting useful tweets and then all of the sudden it just stops. In the last week alone I’ve gone to follow certain people and then I realize they haven’t posted a tweet since 2010.
5) Don’t get too personal – I understand that many people create Twitter accounts for themselves and not businesses, but even then I don’t really need to know about your personal life. It’s great that you went out and drank 15 tequila shots on Saturday night, but that’s not something you should be tweeting to a mass audience. Especially if you run your own business.
So what annoys you on Twitter? Fill in a comment below and let me know!
July 14, 2011 | Comments Off
As if Facebook, Twitter and social coupon buying sites weren’t enough, Google goes ahead and tries to release ANOTHER social networking site! As most tech people on the web know, Google has failed several times trying to release their own social networking site (see Orkut, Wave & Buzz), however this time they may have nailed it. Most of the stories I’ve read on Google’s new social network Google+ (or are we calling it Google Plus), have been positive. Most of the users who were lucky enough to be invited to early trials have also stated mostly positive reviews. About a week ago, I was invited by a friend of mine to try Google Plus for myself and see if I agreed with the early reviews of the new social network.
Now that I’ve had a week or so to use Google+, I figured I could give my early take on the functionality and user interface of the site. Before I go on, I want to mention that the site is still in BETA and most of the functions are very, very raw. I’ve seen a lot of comments on blogs stating the problems with the site already. People seem to forget that it’s barely a month old.
After a week, my first impression is very similar to most other tech blogs around the world – Google seems to have finally gotten it right. If you already have a Google account, your Google Plus account integrates very smoothly with that. You barely even know it’s there. Once you’re on the inside, you start to understand why Google has been tinkering with a different user interface for their search, it fits in perfectly with Google Plus. Profiles and the “stream” or news feed, function very similarly to Facebook. The major difference in usability comes when you add your friends. Google has called this Circles. You can now add different friends to different circles and when you make a post, you can decide which of those circles gets to see it. This is easily the most talked about and interesting function so far. The other new advancement as far as social networking goes is being able to video chat with your friends. While Facebook is just adding this feature now, Google+ already has it. It’s called Hangouts and you have the option of video chatting with more than one person at a time. Some of the other interesting features include; +1, simple photo upload and Sparks, which takes you to news around the world you may be interested in.
There are plenty of other functions and tidbits about Google+ I could talk about, but since the site is still in BETA, I’d rather post another more full review in the coming months. My initial take on Google Plus is a very positive one. It has a lonnnng way to go before we can ever even speak about it overtaking Facebook or Twitter, but it seems the big G is finally on the right track.
*Anyone who may be interested in giving Google Plus a try, please get in touch with me. I have 8 invites that I have no problem sharing with fellow web designers, social marketers!
April 18, 2011 | Comments Off
I was doing my every weekend visit to Yahoo’s technology news section this past weekend and I came across an article written by Business Insider writer Nicholas Carlson about how Twitter had “Troubles.” Feel free to check out this link to the article (it will open in a new tab/page). Basically Mr. Carlson writes about how Twitter may not be the social networking giant many people thinks it is. He outlines how of the 200 million members Twitter has, only 20 million are regular active users. He also discusses how there has been a lot of turmoil at top of the company.
This got me thinking about how I feel about Twitter. I’ve only been on the social networking site for about 3 months now and in all honest, it’s not what I expected at all. I had heard of Twitter about two years ago before I finally signed up to check it out myself back in January. I delayed signing up because I thought to myself “what’s the point?” Then I had meetings and discussions with a few web design friends as well as online marketers who swore that Twitter was the next big thing in online marketing. I figured since I wanted to get my name out there as a freelance web designer, I may as well give it a try. I post usually 2 or 3 tweets a day, mostly about web design and a few about pop culture and sports. So far I have 34 followers and I’m following 13.
My problem with Twitter is I really don’t think it’s the online marketing giant that people make it out to be. As the article by Mr. Carlson mentions, I find that people are more about writing on Twitter than reading. The only people who get followed by enough people to get online marketing done are mainstream celebs or athletes who tweet about the same nothingness regular people do.
Of the 13 people I follow, I probably only really care about 6 or 7 of them. The others I only follow because they follow me. I find that to be another annoyance. Even though I have 34 followers now, I’d guess that over 60 different people have followed me at one time or another. The problem is, they only followed me so I would follow them back. Once I didn’t, they stopped following.
As far as the Twitter search function goes, that’s another joke. A simple search for tweets about “Windsor Ontario” was filled with 70% escort spam, 20% Justin Bieber fans hoping he’d come to Windsor and 10% quality posts. Pretty weak numbers if you ask me.
I’m sure there are people who still think Twitter is great for online marketing for both large and small businesses, but I just don’t see it. You’d probably have to follow 1000 people just to get 700 to follow you back. You’d also have to be a tweet freak posting 10+ tweets a day. I just don’t have time for that.
I’ll continue using Twitter because I have made 1 or 2 quality connections in the past 3 months and there are the odd trends that catch my eye, however for the foreseeable future I’m going to say Twitter isn’t nearly what I expected.