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Website Design tips

Website Design tips

Website design is difficult for many small businesses. It takes up time that most thriving businesses don’t have.  Read on for 5 basic website design tips, and reach out to The Write Hand LLC when you get stuck!

5 killer web design tips that will make your life easier

Originally written by Skillcrush

website design

We all want to have a beautifully designed website and yet, it’s surprisingly hard. So what is it that great designers know that the rest of us don’t?

The key to great web design is really very simple: you’ve got to understand the universal rules of good design and follow them, all the time.

Let’s make sure this never happens to you.

1. Learn the fundamental rules of type design
The key to good web design, says Ryan Shafer, Lead Digital Designers at MTV & VH1, is remembering that the web is really just a bunch of text. “I encourage all budding web designers to embrace that the web is fundamentally about typography design.”

And the great news is that type designers have spent the past five thousand years perfecting text design, and there are a few golden rules that all websites should adhere to:

For headlines:

  • Make them bold and easy to scan

  • San serif typefaces are great for headlines because they are stark and easy to read at larger sizes

For body text, you want to maximize legibility:

  • For lots of text opt for a serif typeface

  • Make the font-size much larger than you think is necessary, we recommend 16 px at minimum

  • Lines should never be more than 50-60 characters long

2. Pick a solid typeface, and maybe one with a touch of whimsy
Now, don’t get us wrong, we love Helvetica as much as the next designer. When it comes to picking a font-face you want to pick something super easy to read, graphic, and maybe something a little, you know, whimsical.

Colin Nederkoorn, founder of Customer.io says that recently, “Proxima Nova has replaced Helvetica Neue as my sans-serif typeface of choice. They probably won’t make a movie about it, but if you want a sophisticated sans-serif typeface that the lay(wo)man won’t recognize, give Proxima Nova a shot.”

Some other good choices are Montserrat and Merriweather Sans.

website design

3. Pick a three-color palette & then stick to it!
When it comes to picking a color palette the key is to pick it and stick (to) it. Consistency is everything when it comes to creating a cohesive color palette for your site.

“I prefer neutral palettes that use a strong accent color in a bold way,” says Mike Fortress designer at Oak Studios. “Perhaps a white background (#fff), a not- too-dark text value with a little hue in it (#45585f), and a strong accent color (#4e5fff). But,” warns Mike, “Be careful with that last color!”

Check out Adobe’s Kuler tool for picking colors, or get inspired by the collection of palettes at Colour Lovers.

4. Make sure your photos are the right size
Remember, the web is pixel based, so if your image isn’t large enough it’s going to look pixelated.

“When you are looking for images on Google or iStock, make sure to get the proper size” says designer Kristina Zmaic. “Photo clarity adds a lot of credibility to a site, even if they weren’t taken by you.”

If the image is too small, don’t use it!

5. When in doubt, give it space
The most important design tip is also the simplest: “Make sure your content has breathing room; give it proper margins will help with legibility and focus.” In particular, says Kristina, it’s important to avoid overwhelming users with walls of text.

“Too much text can be a bit daunting. Text is necessary so make sure to break it up with larger sub headings and legible paragraphs. Considering using icons or images as alternative ways to communicate your point.”

If there is one golden rule of design it’s this: pick your aesthetic and stick to it. Consistency is key. Nothing will tank your design faster than picking one design direction and then switching it halfway through.

Read more website tips here.

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Website vs Social Media vs Blog for My Small Business

Website vs Social Media vs Blog for My Small Business

With so much of our communication going viral these days, it is with increased vigor that small businesses are trying their hand at marketing online. There are many platforms with many benefits, and if used effectively together can actually be a painless and fluid process to boosting your business and online presence.

Website:

Connect to the World w A New Website

Connect to the World w A New Website

I like to start here because your business should have a website where you own the domain name. This is somewhere that all other things tie back to in the future. Your website is going to be your client’s one place to find everything they could ever need to know about your business. From here all your other media and communications will stem outward.

Blog:

Using a blog can work in many business scenarios. For most of my clients I write blogs that are mostly information sharing in the general field of their business. In most of these cases our goal is to keep the potential client engaged until they need us. A blog is also a great way to build your business portfolio of activities. You can show and write about the latest refurbish job you did on that 1902 Hoosier cabinet to highlight your restoration skills; etc.

Many small businesses have turned to free blog platforms to set up their “website” for their business. While these platforms can work and do work, I find that over time a client ends up paying more for adding on this, that, and the other thing; than if they had paid for an annual website designer specifically for their business purposes. Use caution!

LinkedIn:

We are going here next because as a small business owner you can get a lot of great news and information to help with your business plans on LinkedIn. You can seek like-mind professionals with whom to collaborate, groups that work like think-tanks, and so much more. LinkedIn is a great way to showcase your skills, your business, and connect with others on a socially professional level.

Facebook:

Social Media Galore

Social Media Galore

When used properly for business, Facebook can be a very useful marketing tool. Many businesses make the mistake of setting themselves up as a person or a fan page rather than a business. All varieties of pages on Facebook have a purpose and built in features that will help you get the best experience out of the platform. Being setup properly, finding and building followers, and keeping your audience engaged without being pushy are just a few of the keys to effectively use Facebook for marketing a business.

Most folks are familiar with ‘Mayhem’, the troublesome character in the insurance commercials that effectively reminds us of our human flaws. If you visit Mayhem’s Facebook page, you will see he has over 1M followers and people are engaged on the page, but nowhere do you see the insurance company advertising their products; but I bet you remember them…

Twitter:

I like to think of this as the social encyclopedia of everything and nothing. Quick snippet searches can often lead a client right to your front door, so Twitter is not without its benefits. There is some time involved in using it continuously, but for small business purposes we start by focusing on getting your name out there first.

So many places, So little time...

So many places, So little time…

So what does all that mean?

What I like to tell my clients is to make things as automated as possible and start at the beginning whenever possible. Here’s a very basic social media marketing plan that I implement more and more with my clients this past year…

·         Establish a Website

·         Establish a Blog (perhaps)

·         Establish all social media platforms (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube…)

Use the website to hold all content. Use a blog to send a periodic detailed message to followers or share continuously useful information. Use social media to send out frequent posts to engage followers. Keep your name ever in their presence and when they need you, they will remember you. Give them something for nothing; information is free!

By starting at the beginning we are able to establish your website and use the verbiage therein to build the other media as we go along. Once the site is established we begin to distribute communications on a regular schedule to maintain automation and time savings, uniformity and professionalism, and constant online growth and presence.

We do have other options for growth, but that’s a great foundation on which to build. Virtual Assistants are perfect for helping small businesses implement these types of plans as well as to manage other tasks that take up valuable time when you should really be focusing on the products or services that make the wheels spin.

So many Options... Let's Get Started Now!!

So many Options… Let’s Get Started Now!!

Where ever you need help within your business, let’s have a conversation and see where I can help you free up some of your time to start with and to also get your business headed in an organized and vision oriented direction.

Ursula Wachowiak – The Write Hand – Virtual Assistant – the_write_hand@yahoo.com

 

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