FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
When a question comes up again and again, it should eventually make this list. We have a long way to go building these out, but here are a few starters…questions we hear about the tools we use, the cost of our services and the tricks of the trade. Check back, we’ll keep adding new questions as often as we can!
When we discuss building a new site with a client today, the conversation almost always turns to WordPress. If your business is in need of a website facelift or refresh, there are several reasons to consider building your website on the WordPress platform.
First off, it’s been proven by the people who build websites today. That is, take a look at the web agencies that build sites for their clients today. A quick search will likely reveal that almost every agency you find is running their OWN website on WordPress (we do too).
So, why do WE use WordPress for our website? Here is a quick list:
1. It’s easy to use and learn. As with most software, once you begin using WordPress on a regular basis to update your site, you’ll find that you can do things with the touch of a button that used to require hours of coding on a traditional website.
2. It’s one of the most popular content management systems on the market today. Estimates suggest as many as 1 in 4 websites today are built using the platform. Popular platforms mean more developers, more ideas, more brain power to add functionality and ease of use over time. Think apps for the iPhone vs other mobile platforms or software for Windows vs Linux. Developers follow crowds, so does their great software!
3. It’s search engine friendly. Not only is the framework built with search in mind, but choosing a proven professional theme and SEO plugins can put your site at the top of search rankings. You’ll still need to optimize/manage your content, build links, etc. However, WordPress is the king of content management (it was originally developed for simple blogs).
4. It inspires creativity. Yes, in the old days, we could stare at a blank, white screen to start a website. With WordPress, we can browse through hundreds of professionally designed themes to get a site started. With these themes comes design options, colors, configuration choices that can make your head spin. We can use the same familiar theme for multiple sites across multiple industries with unique but stable results.
5. It is extendable. It can grow easily in size, scope and functionality through the use of themes (already mentioned) and plugins. Think of plugins as the apps on your smart phone. Want an event calendar for scheduling? No coding required….chances are, there are both free and paid ‘plugins’ you can purchase, install and configure to quickly be up and running.
For years, color has been a sticking point with people building websites because you are walking a fine line between having ‘enough’ color and overdoing it with too much (or bad color combinations). So, what is generally acceptable to most people when it comes to a website? How do you balance color with usability for the greatest number of potential visitors?
With the advent of WordPress and countless proprietary type website building content management systems, the freedom to create sites has never been easier. Just make sure you plan before you build and consider other audiences who may be visiting for maximum usability.
If you want to increase your potential customer and readership base, you’ll need to plan your site’s page for those with vision impairments for one thing. Not just because it’s a potential segment of the population that can’t interact with your business, but because it’s the right thing to do!
There may be as many as 15 million visually impaired residents in the United States alone and 180 million worldwide. An estimated 21% are over age 65.
Whether the vision impairment is caused by aging, partial sight (poor acuity, tunnel vision, clouding, central field loss) or congenital color deficits, it is possible to build thoughtful web designs that can create user-friendly access and maneuvering, even for the vision-impaired.
Consider the following when it comes to color and layout:
In short, there are 216 browser safe colors (meaning they will display properly across different monitors. Best to stay within this range.
Never use colors of similar lightness next to each other. Lighten the lights, blue-green, green, yellow and orange and darken the dark colors, blue, violet, purple and red for the most effective use of contrast. The more dramatically different you can make each area, the more clarity your web page will have.
Un-clutter your website. A clean and simple layout is much easier to read and navigate. Designing in black and white with minimal added colors for emphasis is the best approach. Yellow, blue, white and black are the least confusing colors for people with vision problems. In fact, while it may not be the most attractive, 24-point white or light yellow text on a black background is considered the most readable color scheme for online users.
Label…everything. Using color as a sole indicator for an action can be extremely confusing for those who are color blind.
Color blind people cannot differentiate between red and green, although yellow-blue confusion is also a possibility. A few cannot distinguish any colors, seeing the world only in shades of grays and blacks.
These Internet users need other clues than color, such as icons and extra text. Red and green should never be used together, especially on navigation buttons or maps. By de-saturating your web page (taking all the colors out) you can more clearly see what your color blind audience will be viewing.
Logo design is one of THE most collaborative processes in the creative industry. Translation…we price creative services based on the amount of time a project takes and it’s tough to ‘estimate’ how many revisions one client might request versus another.
When our clients work with us to design a logo, especially for a new company or project, that logo becomes their baby. It’s the one visual that will be passed around both online and off almost daily. Your company logo will be used on your website, your letterhead, your business cards, your print marketing, everywhere.
Your logo is very personal, and that fact alone might mean that you (as the other half of a logo design project) might simply change your mind during a logo design project. Think about it…we’ve seen it many times over the years. A client might have an initial idea, a ‘napkin sketch’ for instance. We take that initial idea and produce a sheet or two of thumbnail concepts and the client catches a concept he didn’t consider.
So, he says “scratch my initial concept…I like this direction better!” and that immediately changes the scope of the estimate from 3 hours up to 6 hours. You get the idea hopefully, but it happens…more often than not.
So, we generally estimate very roughly, about 3-7 hours for a logo design. If a client sticks to his guns, the process can be relatively quick, anywhere from $100-$300. However, once revisions begin, hours can pile up and suddenly we are sitting more in the $500 range.
Remember, as a creative services company, we are not installing floors or painting walls….if we were, we could comfortable provide ‘quotes’ instead of ‘estimates’ because there is a difference. However, most clients understand and appreciate the challenge with logo design. An estimate range has always worked as long as we all get on the same page prior to start time!
WordPress 4.5 (named ‘Coleman’ if you care) was officially released on April 12. If you haven’t updated your WP site yet, it is probably time to consider. I can tell you that our site was recently updated, but I didn’t actually update for a couple of weeks.
As a general rule, I like to wait a few days minimum to allow plugin developers to catch up, squash bugs and generally declare the area safe.
Also, WordPress updates (especially the major releases) can sometimes break certain aspects of your theme, even if it’s a professionally developed paid theme. In fact, a client recently saw this broken site effect when their hosting company automatically updated to v4.5 immediately.
That quick update broke several short code UI elements on their pages including the home page, no fun. The theme company actually had a fix for the v4.5 update within 24 hours, so just be patient before upgrading out of the gate with each new release with WordPress!
So, my advice based on personal experience is to wait….just a few days, maybe even a week to two to find out what issues may arise. After six million downloads of WP v4.5 after the April 12th release, the v4.5.1 maintenance release was available exactly 2 weeks later on the 26th to fix 12 bugs.
Case in point….better to let the general market find the initial bugs than to deal with restoring after a first day WP release breaks something on your site!
This is probably THE most asked question on the planet if you own a business website. My question back to business owners who ask this question is generally, “rank for what?”
Usually, the client has one search phrase in mind when asking this question. For instance, if he’s a dentist, he might think he needs to rank #1 on Google for the phrase ‘dentist’. That would make a dentist beat his chest I’m sure, but it’s not a realistic (or effective) goal because:
1. The phrase is too broad, it won’t convert well for a geographically based service professional like a dentist. Google helps
2. The phrase is WAY too competitive. Could you eventually rank for the term? Possibly, but think about all the reasons a person might be searching for that term. Perhaps the person needs general information on the dentistry profession or some other research based info.
The bottom line with search rankings, is that a business owner we need to answer lots of search related questions. My favorite simplistic way to think about search ranking for service based businesses is…what do you do, and where do you do it?
See, we can rank for lots of search phrases that make more sense and are faster/easier to rank for than just the word ‘dentist’. So, think a bit outside the box, and let us help you put a comprehensive target keyword list to tackle over the coming years. That way, you’ll find that gradually, no matter what your potential clients search for in your industry, you are likely to pop up for consideration!