This website is pure demonstration of working in a virtual world. While I never had the pleasure of actually meeting Nerea at NH Consulting, we managed to communicate via phone and email throughout this project. There is a lot of content, but the site is broken up nicely with images which helps to soften the appearance.
This project also included the design of the logo.
New year, new you. Or new website at least?!
We have discovered what the trends in web design will be this year. You may have noticed that full screen is being used more often than the older ‘boxed’ format. These wide screen sites have the added bonus of being fully responsive, so automatically realign when viewed on smart phones and tablets. Wonderful!
There are also some trends on the use of photography on websites. And these can be broken into 4 groups:
These types of photographs are putting you into the drivers seat, so you can view the site from your own perspective. With the popularity of GoPro’s everyone wants to be in the action.
2. Colour Trends
Monochrome: paintings, drawings, design, or photographs in one color or shades of one colour. This is not necessarily meaning black and white photos, but choosing photos that are in the same colour spectrum. Some websites for purchasing stock images allow you to choose photos with a specific colour. This is great for ensuring the photos are going to match well with pre-existing branding such as logos.
These images fit well together, and would work nicely in a rotating slideshow.
3. Rectangle v Square
As we move towards wide screen sites, the trend is moving towards more rectangular images. Think of a business envelope size. Here are some examples of the old style versus the new style.
Mix & Match
A photo tells a thousand words, but they can sometimes be misinterpreted. Or some key points need to identified. Overlaying text on images is very powerful and becoming even more popular in 2015.
These trends are all focused on using great images. They can make a stock standard website truly ‘wonderful’.
Social media is not just another marketing channel used by businesses to boost brand awareness and improve their sales figures; it is the most important channel that businesses can leverage to propel strategic business growth. Social media can ensure increased profitability for your business with effective usage.
In order to leverage the immense potential of social media, you must have an active presence on the various social networks you think are important for your business. An ‘active’ presence involves a concerted attempt to share value added content with fans and followers, nurturing personal engagement and micro targeting a target audience with personalized messaging.
This requires effort and that too lots of it. So, the core question is – why is this effort necessary? The answer lies in the nature of benefits of social media. If you aren’t active on social media, you will cede space to your competitors who might have made it a critical component of their business growth strategy.
So, let’s take a closer look at how your business profitability receives a huge boost because of social media.
The Humanization of your Brand
Social media humanizes your brand. This is important to build a personal connection with your customers. On social media, your brand has a personality of its own that your target customers can relate to. When a brand interacts with its target audience on social media, it can adopt a person-to-person approach. This let the customers know that your business care for their needs as a friend and it is not merely for the purpose of selling products or services.
Over the long run, this humanization will pay you rich dividends in the form of increased customer loyalty
Product Recommendations on Social Media to Drive Business Growth
A recent survey conducted by Shoutly, shows that social media plays an important role in driving trusted product recommendations. A mammoth 82% of respondents give more importance to personal recommendations while shopping online. 77% of the respondents said, they will buy an eBook if they receive a positive recommendation on social media; 78% will buy software if it’s been positively recommended on social media.
This survey proves that product recommendations on social media have the capacity to drive sustained business growth.
What you’ll need to do is create a recommendation ecosystem that is powered by sharable product information and useful product centric content. You also need to make it easy for customers to share feedback and post product reviews; offering the right discounts and making sure your target customers come across your product when they need them most is also a great way of driving product recommendations.
What you are essentially doing is increasing the ‘recommendation potential’ of your products. Your job is to create an environment that triggers product recommendation by your customers. Coming from somebody other than the brand, such recommendations deliver the results you are looking for.
Social Media as a Product Research Tool
Did you know 41% of consumers discover new brand/products/services by seeing ads on social networks and 37% of consumers’ research brands on social media? Social media plays an important role in not just making your products more visible in front of your customers, but it also shapes consumer sentiment about your brand and its offerings. If people are saying good things about your brand on social media, that creates an overall positive impact over the brand.
It also makes sense that all information about your products and services is available on social media whether it’s through your company profile on social networks or consistently sharing product driven content.
Using social media as tool of quick and personal customer support is a great way of improving business credibility. This works towards improving the profitability of your business. Some of the best brands in business are using Twitter handles purely to leverage customer service. This gives a personal touch to their service efforts and also ensures people are able to ask for customer service quickly and effectively. The idea is to use social media to quicken the process of getting access to customer feedback vis-à-vis products and services, which ensures their problems can be solved faster than before. This ensures even customers dissatisfied with your products appreciate your attempts to sort out their problems quickly.
This enhances customer retention.
Social media improves word of mouth about your brand and takes it viral. Suppose, you’ve written and published a post on your website blog. If it’s good, readers will share it with their friends and followers who in turn will share it with their network and so on and so forth. It’s not just your content going viral in this case; it’s your brand as well. This is just one of the many ways your brand can go viral on social media. But for this to happen, you need to come up with new content regularly and share it across all your networks.
In order for your brand to have a reliable social media presence that delivers incremental returns you’ll also need a content marketing strategy in place. This will help you create, publish and share the right content that your target audience will love going through and which they won’t mind sharing with their friends and followers. They must find your brand content share worthy and if they do, your business presence on social media will definitely deliver incremental returns.
Avyakta is an MSc graduate by education. She is a professional writer in the domain of learning and education. She has completed her masters in Biochemistry from Bangalore University and is currently working as an author with Simplilearn Solutions Pvt Ltd, which is one of the leading providers of professional certification courses. The courses offered by Simplilearn address the unique needs of working professionals. She has previously worked with a publishing house ande-commerce firm. She is based out of Bangalore and has an experience of 3 years in the field of content writing and blogging. Her work has been published on various sites related to Project Management, IT, Finance, SAP, Quality Management and more.
I often get asked by clients about how they can appear further up the list in Google. Search Engine Optimisation, often referred to as SEO, is very competitive. There are paid options, such as SEM (Search Engine Marketing) which guarantee you top listing (e.g. Google Adwords) but these can become quite expensive. Here are some free options that you might like to consider.
1. Make Your Website Your Homepage
This means that everytime you open your Internet browser, it will be one more hit on your website. Most browsers allow you to open multiple tabs, so if you still like to have Google or Herald Sun or Ninemsn as your homepage, then add your own website as another tab. To do this, select Tools, Internet Options and then add your website to the list.
2. Update Your Website
Search engines such as Google like a website that is constantly changing. This is why it is good to have a blog, as you can update it regularly. If you have a static website and would like to include a blog, then contact me to set one up. This can be done in around three to four hours work including instructions on how to add posts. Blogs are relatively straight forward, and all of my clients receive detailed instructions for updating their blog.
3. Direct Everyone To Your Website
Traffic might not be a good thing when you are on the road, but it is what you want online! Send everyone to your website. Change your voicemail to indicate that details of your opening hours/services can be found on your website, or add your url under your signature for emails, or add your website to all letterheads/business cards, etc.
4. Add Your Site To Free Listings
There are many sites that enable you list your website for FREE! For example, Hot Frog is great for location based businesses as people search an area and then for the business type. They also provide regular reports to allow you to monitor traffic to your website via their listing. Another great site to list for free is True Local. The added bonus of True Local is that your clients and customers can rate your service. I have has my own business rated, so when people type in “Web Design, Ocean Grove” I appear towards the top with 5 stars!
5. Word Of Mouth
Research by Neilson (a peak information gathering body) says that people will be four times more likely to buy when referred by a friend. So, make sure you look after your customers and clients. Make sure you have a customer database to keep in touch. Deliver a great service, and you will benefit.
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The Loddon Shire had a visitor guide that they wished to display on their website as an eBook. We converted the pdf into an electronic book with page turn functions. Once it was uploaded to their server, a link was added to the their website.
Link to actual eBook: http://www.loddon.vic.gov.au/visitor_guide/index.html