Advertisements - Inspiration or Annoyance?

03 July, 2017

The average person is exposed to 5,000 advertisements per day, 1,825,000 a year. Whether through billboards on our way to work, tv advertisements at home, or pop-ups on Facebook, you are constantly exposed to a plethora of design in everyday life as advertisers strategically attempt to grab your attention for what little time we, as consumers, give them.

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At first it can seem annoying to be bombarded with advertisements every day, and at some point, we might even try to ignore or avoid these nuisances. But as a designer, taking a step back and seeing a beautiful opportunity for inspiration from these advertisements could be extremely beneficial. This daily exposure can instead be seen as design research and help you in your own techniques of communicating through design. Start paying attention to every advertisement you come across and take the chance to critique and dissect what is working and what is not. Did the ad grab your attention? Can you understand the concept? Is it well executed? Is there a clear call to action? Is the point being made clearly? All these questions are important to be able to communicate properly with your target audience. To question other ad designs and their purpose will help you execute your messages better as well. Do not allow yourself to be annoyed... be inspired!

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Take this inspiration to the next level…there are many other resources that can help critical and creative thinking. Read books, go to lectures, listen to podcasts, look up TED talks, research the greatest designers past and present. Allow yourself to form an opinion of what you believe works and what does not work. With all of this, experiment and have fun with design! Learn to love to make connections with everything around you from graphic design to architectural design to psychology, the medical field, even sports. The more connections you can make and relate to design, the more opportunities you create for inspiration in your design to better relate and communicate to your audiences.

What is WordPress Multisite?

24 May, 2017

You probably have heard of WordPress at one time or another, your company or personal site might even run on it, but you might not have heard of WordPress Multisite. Multisite is a very useful feature of WordPress that allows you to create a 'network' of sites, all running off of one WordPress install. Furthermore, it allows you to use sub-domains, sub-directories, or custom domains that point to each separate 'site'. As the network administrator, or Super Admin, you can limit the scope of individual site administrators only allowing certain plugins, themes, etc.; essentially creating your own "WordPress.com".

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This can be extremely useful for companies that want to roll out individual sites for each of their locations, or parent organizations that want individual sites for their companies. The individual sites in Multisite can be as similar or as distinct as you would like; and the management/maintenance of them all is reduced to that of a single website. This can be a very effective way to reduce the overall time and budget spent managing and updating your multiple WordPress sites.

From a fiscal side - deploying sites via a WordPress Multisite installation can also be more cost effective. While traffic and space requirements are hard to gauge, the server space required to run Multsite is much smaller compared to running the same number of sites, each with their own WordPress installation. Deployment of a site is much easier: using the Domain Mapping plugin, you can set up a new domain for a site in a few minutes (with no technical knowledge), and management/updating is streamlined, as a single update effects all sites in the Multisite network.

Looking for some more resources for WordPress Multisite:

If you are interested in discussing a WordPress Multisite deployment for your organization or company, let us know via our contact page.

 

A story about story-telling

17 October, 2016

Clients new and old regularly ask us how we can increase their organic exposure, and keep users engaged in their site longer. What keywords can we add, what SEO tricks do we know, how can we get them the greatest return for the time we invest?

Again and again I find myself explaining that there are no shortcuts; No keywords we can add, no 'hacks' we can do, that will get them their desired result.

I think that most are approaching the problem the wrong way; Your user's are not a robot searching for a specific input, and these days the search engine's aren't either. We believe attracting, keeping (and if needed, converting to customers), users starts with creating content they would be invested in, something they can really sink their teeth into; a narrative - with details.

Simplicity is key: While you may find everything about your product or service obvious or self-explanatory, many users do not. One of the easiest things to do to gain organic traffic is simply explain your differentiating factor in text on your website. Yes - pictures and hero text sell; but search engines can't detect that information when crawling through your site for SEO data. Put a few short paragraphs on your about page or blog explaining just how amazing your product or service is; linking to sites that verify that claim will only help your site rank better, and your users feel like you a more legitimate source.

Original content works: Most new website owners find themselves using stock photography, or rewriting their competitor's website copy in a 'new and better way', as this is both very inexpensive and easy to do. While it may fool some, or even most of your customers, if you are trying to gain new followers via search engine optimization or social interaction, these shortcuts will hurt you. Search engines can detect the similar content and reused images, and will prefer sites that are updated more often with original content, in their results list. Users also will not interact with your site's content the same - original content is shared more often than other forms of content (40x more often in fact - https://blog.bufferapp.com/infographics-visual-content-marketing)

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Example of an infographic from blog.bufferapp.com
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Example of Jet.com Clearly Explaining their benefits

If selling a product: Explain why they (the user) should be purchasing from you (and no - I don't mean by putting 'Free Shipping' into the header). Give some background on your company; what sets you apart from the others? Customers are not only attracted to your impeccable product, they are attracted to the idea of you as a company, what you stand for. They fall in love with your story, your brand, and share it with others.

Give people opportunities: We always recommend giving your customers a place to submit feedback (that may or may not been seen by the public) or let you know how their experience was. Furthermore, allow them to socially share your product/image/services as easily as possible. According to Pew Research, "1/3 of millennials say social media is one of their preferred channels for communicating with businesses" - which is a win-win for most online business; you can meet your customer at their preferred point-of-contact, and obtain free advertising on their friends social feeds at the same time.

 All in all - we like to relate the struggle of driving traffic and keeping your site relevant to telling a good story, or writing a good book. Your customer should want to know more about you based off of your image, your cover, your brand. Once they open a few pages, they should have something good to read, that makes them want to read, or buy, more; and like every good book, if your product or service is great to the last page, your customers will tell their friends to read - or buy.

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