Website Design Tips – 5 Steps to Redesigning Your Website

Website Design Tips – 5 Steps to Redesigning Your Website

If you’ve decided that 2017 is the year to redesign your website, congratulations!

Making the decision to redesign a website is a big deal, but when done well, it can have a huge impact on your business.

We’ve helped dozens of businesses redesign their website, and we’re happy to share these five key steps to a smooth website development project.

1.       Pre-planning: Before you dive into the design of your new site, it’s important to step back and ask yourself a questions:

  • Why are you redesigning? Is it simply because your site looks outdated? Or is it something more functional, such as not being mobile responsive or the lack of leads/business that’s being generated?
  • Has your business or customer changed?
  • What is the key purpose of your website? Do you want it to generate leads? Drive in-store traffic? Educate consumers? Understanding what you want your website to accomplish will drive the layout, content and performance expectations.

2.       User Experience and Design: Once you understand why you’re redesigning, now it’s time to consider the look and layout.

  • Create a hierarchy of your content. What pages are most important and what sub-pages need to be created to support each section?
  • What type of visitor will be coming to your website, and is there a content and a pathway of information for each type of visitor (consider new prospect, returning client, community partners, etc.)?
  • What look and feel are you hoping to achieve with the redesign? We recommend reviewing local and national competitors as well as industry sites and compiling a list of what aspects you like about each site.

3.       Content: The content of your website is one of the most crucial elements. Do a thorough analysis of your content and imagery to decide what stays, what goes and what needs to be added.

  • Consider the tone of your content. Is it driving visitors toward the desired action you determined in the pre-planning process?
  • If content needs to be written or reworked, establish up front who will be responsible and create deadlines.
  • Good images can be extremely powerful on a website. Consider hiring a photographer or at least investing in good stock imagery.

4.       Integrations and functionality: This is a crucial part of website development because it often requires the most work (read: added costs) from the developers.

  • Integrations: Does your new website need to speak to your client data tool? Your appointment scheduler? Even if it seems easy or minor, make sure to list out every integration as well as the system that needs to be integrated.
  • Functionality: Do you want your website to be able to collect donations or provide an instant quote? Even simple things such as maps and downloadable content should be included.

5.       Key factors: And don’t forget these considerations…

  • Do you need to launch your site by a specific date? A website build takes time, so if there’s a hard deadline for launch, establish this up front and consider launching in phases.
  • Do you already have a budget determined? Website development costs can vary greatly depending on the level of customization, integrations and size. Having a budget range in mind up front will guide what items are a “must have” and which belong on the “wish list.”
  • Who are the key decision makers in this project? Determining up front who needs to sign off on the different milestones of the website build will help keep things on schedule.

There is of course a lot more that goes into a website redesign, but by following these steps you will be off to a really great start.

Want to learn more? Join us for a Website Design Workshop here at Ideabar/The Palm Beach Post on Feb. 18, 2017. Learn more and RSVP here.  

5 Tips to Maximize Your Facebook Advertising

5 Tips to Maximize Your Facebook Advertising

This blog has moved! Please read it here.

 

  For more information on Facebook advertising and how Ideabar can help you maximize your advertising budget, contact us today. 

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PPC Update: Google Removes Right Rail Ads

PPC Update: Google Removes Right Rail Ads

On Monday, February 22nd Google made a big change to how ads are displayed on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). Effective worldwide there will no longer be right hand ads on the SERP.

Previously Google AdWords paid ads appeared as the top 3 positions above the organic content, down the entire right hand side of the page and at the bottom. These right hand ads allowed for more advertisers to have a presence on the coveted first page of Google. Due to the auction format of how AdWords works, clients with smaller budgets often found visibility in these lower right hand ads because they were usually significantly cheaper than the highly competitive top 3 positions.

With the new SERP layout there will now only be 3 ads at the top of the SERP and 3 ads at the bottom for the majority of search terms. For some “highly commercial” (read “competitive”) terms Google will add a 4th ad position at the top. In regards to mobile searches up to 3 ads will be served at the top of the mobile SERP.

What does this mean for the future?
While no significant changes have been noted in regards to campaign performance so far, it’s speculated that an increase in CPCs across the board is quite likely. It’s a simple matter of supply (fewer ad positions) and demand (same amount of advertisers) will result in a more competitive marketplace.

What can you do to adapt?
Now more than ever it’s crucial to make sure that your campaign and website are working together. To ensure the best performance of your campaign, you will want to optimize your landing pages to make them as relevant to your keywords/ad groups as possible. By improving the content on your landing pages you will be helping increase the quality score of your keywords. With fewer ad positions available, a higher quality score will help increase your chances of a top position. This is also a good time to clean up your AdWords account and remove any irrelevant or underperforming keywords. If CPCs are expected to rise, it’s best to make sure you aren’t wasting money on keywords that aren’t converting.

Over the next few months it will be crucial to monitor campaigns closely until the full effects are understood and adequate bidding optimizations can be implemented.

 

For more information on how Ideabar/Cox Media Group, a Google Premier SMB Partner, can help with your AdWords campaign contact Alexandra Guth at aguth@pbpost.com

Historic store, agency start-up: a well-matched ensemble

Historic store, agency start-up: a well-matched ensemble

The oldest business in Palm Beach County, Anthony's also was one of Ideabar's first big-fish clients.

We helped the chain open its online store, and each week, our design team produces dozens of Anthony's eblasts, rotator slides, direct-mail postcards and print ads that run in newspapers across Florida.

The colorful ad above recently ran on the front of the Accent section in "The Palm Beach Post."

You're looking good for 121, Anthony's!

Google Honors Cox Media Group

Google Honors Cox Media Group

As a Cox Media Group (CMG) company we are pleased to announce that Cox Media Group has placed second for the 2015 Google AdWords Premier SMB Partner Award for Highest Customer Satisfaction. This award was based on the feedback of our small- and medium-sized business customers in our markets across the country.

"We're honored to be recognized with Google AdWords' Premier SMB Partner Award for Highest Customer Satisfaction," said Jesse McCambridge, CMG's Sr. Director of Digital Solutions. "Our relentless focus on marketing excellence, customer service and delivering results for our advertising customers is represented with this award. We would like to thank our valued clients and our dedicated team of digital marketing experts that have made this possible."

"The Google Adwords Premier SMB Partner Program was created to help small- and medium-sized businesses who don't have the time or resources to manage their advertising campaigns," says Ben Wood, head of Google's Americas channel sales partnerships. "Our PSP partners like CMG offer expertise, experience and end-to-end customer service so business owners can focus on running their businesses."

Our local and corporate Paid Search teams work hard to provide the highest level of service to you, our clients, and we are grateful for the opportunity to help you achieve greater visibility online. For more information on how we can help your business grow, contact us today!

 

About the Google Adwords Premier SMB Partner Program:

The Google Adwords Premier SMB Partner Program (PSP) connects Google's trusted and experienced AdWords partners with small- and medium-sized businesses that want expert help in creating, managing and optimizing their digital advertising campaigns. In addition to in-depth AdWords expertise, PSP partners provide full-service campaign management, detailed reporting, one-on-one customer support and broad marketing guidance to help advertisers make the most of their campaigns.

Premier SMB Partners have met Google's highest standards and criteria for qualification, transparency and customer service, ensuring they can provide businesses with the most effective advertising solutions. 

Happy 100th anniversary, Palm Beach Post!

Happy 100th anniversary, Palm Beach Post!

The staff of The Palm Beach Post, Palm Beach Daily News and Ideabar says, "Cheese." (Photo by Richard Graulich/The Palm Beach Post)

The staff of The Palm Beach Post, Palm Beach Daily News and Ideabar says, "Cheese." (Photo by Richard Graulich/The Palm Beach Post)

One thing that differentiates Ideabar from most advertising agencies and marketing consultancies is our relationship with our siblings -- The Palm Beach Post and Palm Beach Daily News -- and Cox Media Group, the parent company to all three of us.

It's a family affair, and we're in good company.

The Post has grown from a print foundation to build the largest, smartest and most affluent media audience in our market. "The Shiny Sheet" serves the influential, ultra-affluent residents of Palm Beach and its visitors. And Cox Media Group is one of the world's largest, most respected, privately held media companies.

We recently joined our friends from the newsroom, the sales department, the executive team and more for a photo to mark the 100th anniversary of The Post. And we celebrated afterwards with two things that all journalists love: complimentary coffee mugs and free cake!

Happy 100th birthday, Palm Beach Post! Looking good!

Ready for your close-up?

Ready for your close-up?

Have you delved into the world of video marketing? What are you waiting for? 

Social media: are you engaged?

Social media: are you engaged?

If you want your company or organization to succeed in today’s world, it takes more than a sound business plan, intelligent and dependable employees, and a quality product. You also have to effectively promote your brand.

Ok, that’s not necessarily a new concept - advertising and branding have always been key components to business success. What has changed, though, is HOW.

There are still a variety of forums available for delivering a message – print, billboards, radio, television and, of course, digital. For a while, that simply meant being accessible via the Internet. Can consumers find information about you through search engines, and do you have a website? You better have a website!

For a while, that was enough. And there are many who still think that. Those folks, unfortunately, don’t know what they don’t know!

To achieve maximum success in today’s world, you better have a social media presence. There are a variety of platforms out there – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc. – and while they all allow you to reach a worldwide audience, they are all a bit different. Take the time to research how each platform works and what the strengths and weaknesses are for each. The most effective platform(s) for you and your business is dependent upon your target audience and what you’re ultimately trying to accomplish.

Regardless of which platform best suits YOUR needs, be sure you find at least a couple that you’re comfortable with (force yourself to become comfortable with them, if necessary)…then USE THEM!!!

Social media is an inexpensive way to literally reach people throughout not only the U.S., but the world. Also, by creating and sharing interesting and relevant content, you can immediately reach your target audience, whomever that may be.

At this point, you’re probably starting to feel a little more comfortable with this concept. But, for maximum results, there is another step to a successful social media strategy – ENGAGEMENT!

Engaging on social media is a bit time consuming, but it can also be fun. In fact, it SHOULD be fun. Interacting with others, including followers, friends, etc., as well as sharing and re-posting others’ content are all effective forms of engagement that can build your social media audience. It’s also important to monitor your account(s) for messages and to reply to those who took the time to seek you out. Personal and thorough responses go a long way toward earning trust and garnering loyalty and support.

That’s Social Media Engagement 101, but there’s always more to learn…

For now, though, just know that social media is truly a brilliant strategy for your business, and one that you can’t afford not to use!

Happy halloween

Happy halloween

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Here at ideabar we love to dress up and have fun - especially when we get to do it at work! This year we paid homage to our amazing Digital Design Consultant, Jorge Gomez, by dressing in his signature style! We kept it a secret and he was very pleasantly surprised when he came in this morning :) ...imitation is the highest form of flattery, is it not?

We hope you have a fun and safe Halloween tomorrow!

the ideabar team all dressed up as Jorge! photo by Jim Beriau/ideabar

eyes like a hawk

eyes like a hawk

When it comes to color, how good is your eyesight? We found this fun test to find out what your 'animal eyesight' is!

As a designer, having a good eye for color is important; so it's a good thing I have eyes like a hawk!

Take the test yourself, HERE!

the power of paper

the power of paper

click to expand

Paper choice is king in the world of print. It influences every design. When the vibe is about everything going digital, let’s remember the power of paper.

Paper comes in more variety than ever before and can be cut and folded and bound in ways only limited by a designer’s imagination. A finished piece can evoke a feeling or a mood when viewed or touched, appealing to senses that our televisions, computers or smart phones can never imitate.

Paper can be embossed, debossed and foil stamped to name a few treatments. It is finished with many varieties of dull or gloss varnishes, or both. Varnish and coatings do more than protect a printed sheet from smudges, scratches and fingerprints. Varnish gives designers the ability to do on paper what could never be done in digital media. They can be tinted, scented, textured imitating a look of concrete, or made soft to the touch like silk, or hit with high gloss to simulate a feeling of water on a page. Glitter can be added for a pearlescent look, or a three-dimensional effect can be achieved with a thermochromatic UV coating, creating an illusion of an image raising off the page.

Varnish and coatings can project completely different looks depending the sheet of paper on which it is applied: silk, matte, gloss, smooth, canvas, vellum, felt, metallic, parchment, recycled, even papers that feel like plastic... the possibilities are endless.

And then there is the weight (thickness) of the paper, and oh, yes, the binding. Paper can come together in every which way imaginable, everything from glued to stitched with a colored thread, or maybe even a grommet?

Paper brings energy, attitude and mood to products like business cards, invitations, packaging, signage, and a company’s brand identity to name a few. The tactile quality and design possibilities of the world where paper lives digital media cannot visit. And paper is always evolving so the paper trail goes on and on and on.

Curating Content

Curating Content

By: Charlotte Dowell, Intern

One key to successful marketing is curating content that is unique, entertaining, and gets people talking (hopefully about the product).  Paul Crandell of GoPro has truly capitalized on this idea.  When Crandell became Senior Vice President of Marketing for the tech startup he increased the team of content curators from 17 to 149.  Those dedicated curators set out to sift through the many different submitted GoPro videos for their channel.  Thanks to Crandell and his incredible team, the GoPro YouTube channel now has 2 million subscribers with over 20 million views.   

Curating content though can quickly become a hazardous endeavor that can actually sour your business.  According to Cursive, a content marketing studio, it is important to remember to first understand content curation, next curate smart, then create added value.  To fully understand how best to curate amazing content follow this link to Cursive’s 20 Best Tips for Curating Content:

http://cursivecontent.com/20-best-tips-for-curating-content-like-a-pro/

Marketing Saves Lives!

Marketing Saves Lives!

By: Charlotte Dowell, Intern

Marketing is used to entice and inform consumers on different products and services.  Now, what if marketing principles were used to aid in humanitarian efforts?   Jose Miguel Sokoloff, an executive with the Colombian advertising agency Lowe SSP3, believes it can.  Sokoloff was able to combine friendly language with a beautiful visual piece, Christmas lights, to entice Colombian guerilla fighters to leave their factions and return home.  In his TedTalk Sokoloff explains how he was able to use marketing to spread a powerful message and create a social change in his country.  Click on the link below to see his complete talk.

https://www.ted.com/talks/jose_miguel_sokoloff_how_christmas_lights_helped_guerrillas_put_down_their_guns#t-165534

The Moment It Clicks

The Moment It Clicks

Recently, I attended a day long photography seminar at James L. Knight Center in Miami. It was presented by Kelby One Live and the guest instructor was world-renowned photographer, Joe McNally.


Take a peek at his work here:
http://portfolio.joemcnally.com/#!/index

Joe has been working as a general assignment photographer for decades. He is most noted for his work as an environmental portrait photographer. He has published dozens of books and has done assignments for major magazines including National Geographic. Joe is a master with small flashes or speedlights as well as studio strobes. He can transform an extremely boring environment into an exciting arena for artistic expression.


That was his task that day. To transform the dark, gloomy auditorium full of 200 or so eager-to-learn participants into a thing of beauty and mystery. Photography was allowed but no video or audio recordings. I only had my phone so the pictures shown here are not great quality but I wanted to give you an indication of some of the photos he created in a live demo environment. He would use audience members as subjects and through the use of simple soft boxes and multiple gelled flashes scattered around the room, would create some great looking photos. While creating the perfect portrait or scene, he would explain his methods and share all of the technical details with the audience. Most of it was trial and error but the results were truly inspiring.


Here are my top 5 takeaways from the seminar:
1.    Try to research your subject/subjects before you shoot.
2.    During the shoot, give your subject or person something to do or think about in front of the camera. Offer them water or snacks if available.
3.    Make your subject feel good. Flatter them by telling them they are doing great and look fantastic. Share your images with them as you go along.
4.    On location, assess everything in relation to the subject and the environment. Will you need to light it or can you use natural light? Or will it be a combination of both? Will this be a fantasy image or more straightforward? What are you trying to convey with the picture?
5.    Once you decide how to light it, get the main light ready and once it’s close to how you want it to look, only then bring in a second light to build the rest of the scene. Make sure the light you use is appropriate for the subject.

 

Color is key

Color is key

By: Charlotte Dowell, Intern

Color can be a very powerful but often overlooked tool in sales.  Getting a consumer to come to your store and then also buy something can be challenging.  However, by successfully utilizing color it can increase traffic and sales in a retail store.  There are many different ways to most efficiently and successfully use color to your advantage.  

1.    Use color to tell a story.  Think of a theme for your business or store and paint around that theme.  
2.    Use cool tones to bring a sense of calm to customers, and warm tones to bring a sense of comfort.
3.    Use colors as alerts.  Subconsciously humans associate red with stopping, so if there a specific product you are trying to sell frame it in red to hint at customers to stop.  
4.    Use colors to build brand recognition.  Bring colors from your logo into your retail space to create a sense of continuity and better emphasize your branding and logo.  
5.    But as with anything, less is more.  Be careful not to drown your product in color or drown the space in color.  

For more information on these tips click on this link to read Entrepreneur’s article on this topic: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/223799

 

9 Powerful Phrases Super Positive People Always Say

9 Powerful Phrases Super Positive People Always Say

I’ve been fortunate in my career to work with, and for, super positive people. During the interview process, it’s helpful to know how to spot a super positive leader.

How do you identify a super positive person?

You can easily spot super positive people by the way they carry themselves and by the way they speak. Super positive people know that words are powerful and can be used to make a significant impact in the lives of others. They carefully use the power of words to create genuine connections and lasting relationships with people in their professional and personal lives.

It is important to note that super successful people are highly genuine in what they say--and what they do as well. They do not say things superficially because it is not part of who they are. They embrace being genuine and this is what distinguishes them from the crowd.
We can all become more positive by starting to practice these phrases that super successful people say.  Why not be super positive?

1. I admire you
Super positive people are appreciative. They notice the good qualities in people and they say to them "I admire you."

2. You can do it
Super positive people are supportive. They are interested in helping people, and tell them "You can do it."

3. I value you
Super positive people are caring. They make sure people know that they are not taken for granted and say to them "I value you."

4. You can count on me
Super positive people are collaborative. They are aware of the importance of being there for people and they say to them "You can count on me."

5. I believe in you
Super positive people are comforting. They realize that people need to be reassured and they say to them "I believe in you."

6. You are kind
Super positive people are thankful. They acknowledge the good deeds of people and they say to them "You are kind."

7. I trust you
Super positive people are confident. They rest assured relying on people and they say to them "I trust you."

8. You are smart
Super positive people are encouraging. They see the extraordinary things in people and they say to them "You are smart."

9. I'm sorry
Super positive people are courageous. They are prompt to apologize to people and say to them “I'm sorry."

I’m grateful to all the super positive people that I’ve had the good fortune to know in my professional and personal life.  Super positive people inspire us all to be a bit more thoughtful, offer a compliment, and express appreciation.

Why not be super positive?

Source:  http://www.inc.com/peter-economy/9-powerful-phrases-super-positive-people-always-say.html

 

Have you heard of Bookstagram?

Have you heard of Bookstagram?

I'm the only person I know, personally, who loves books as much as I do. I love reading books, buying books, having books and giving books. And apparently there is a whole community on Instagram of book lovers who love books just as much - if not WAY MORE than I do! They like to refer to themselves (and I am now included in this collective) as the Bookstagram community.

I discovered Bookstagram gradually. It started by deciding to follow a couple of publishing houses, like Penguin Classics and Random House. That led to me browsing through comments and coming upon usernames that all related to books. Once I clicked through a few of those and saw that all of their posts were pictures of books, I was hooked. It took a few weeks of me 'following' these bookish accounts before I finally decided I had to get involved and created my own bookstagram account. Now I spend my evenings and mornings taking pictures of books. You may think it's crazy; but luckily my fellow #booknerdigans don't :)

To read more about this Instagram phenomenon, check out this article!

Staying on brand

Staying on brand

By: Charlotte Dowell, Intern

When starting a business or launching a product it is very important to establish a brand identity, but then remembering to stay true to that identity when, hopefully, your business becomes a huge success.  Sisters Danielle and Jodie Snyder discovered how important staying true to your brand really is after launching their jewelry line, DANIJO.  As a small business the sisters marketed their jewelry by emphasizing the handmade aspect and appealing to the bohemian woman.  Now after their designs have been seen on major celebrities like Jessica Alba and appearing in major fashion magazines their company took off.  Though they became an icon in jewelry design they didn’t abandon their brand.  In a recent interview with Rebekah Epstein of Entrepreneur the sisters divulged their secrets to staying true to their brand.  

“Constantly change but remain the same.”  Make sure you are always delivering new product but that is retains the essence of the brand.

“Social media is your best friend.” Social media is a way to expose your brand to an exponential number of people and lets it organically spread to others.

“It is about who you know.” Putting your product on people who matter is the easiest way to get free advertising and to make your items desirable.  Celebrities create demand and increase traffic for a product.

“Don’t be anywhere and everywhere.”  Make sure your product is placed in stores and website that match your brand and help perpetuate your brand.  It is all about aligning yourself with stores that will advance your brand not detract from it.  

For more details on the “what’s what” of DANIJO branding click on this link for the full article:
http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/229946

Transparency in Marketing

Transparency in Marketing

By: Charlotte Dowell, Intern

According to Avi Dan, a contributor for Forbes, transparency is one of the newest trends in marketing to look out for. Consumers love to read and see the “behind the scenes” stories of their favorite brands.  Millennials, especially, love to see this.  If a consumer can see the story behind something or feel that they truly know the product from its infancy they will be more inclined to purchase the product.  Mastering transparency can be a difficult task though.  The key to transparency is remaining authentic and not forced.  A fictional story about someone finding a family recipe in a forgotten part of the attic that turned into a hugely successful baking company will not cut it.  Anything manufactured or edited for mass market appeal will actually push people away. 

Check out this link to find out more about  how to market transparently: http://www.infusionsoft.com/blog/transparency-new-black-5-ways-harness-relationship-marketing