5 Web Design Trends That Will Define 2017

2017 is almost here which means it’s time to start talking about upcoming website design trends. We can already start to see that 2017 will be a showcase of really impressive work. Brands are looking set themselves apart from other competitors and appeal to today’s consumer, who is always hungry for fresh innovative content. Here are a few of 2017’s design trends to watch out for:

1. Mobile Design is Here to Stay

2017 design trends

As people spend less time on their computers and more on their phones, companies are accommodating and prioritizing the role of the mobile phone when it comes to website design. This means that mobile applications are more popular than ever, and websites are being tailored to work for small screens.

2. Stock Imagery is Out; Authentic Photography is In

2017 Design Trends

This trend is our favorite. People crave authentic, heartfelt photography. Original photography connects to people and their emotions, while stock photography strikes consumers as exactly what it is: contrived, staged, goofy, and insincere. Good photography humanizes a business. Twenty20 is our go-to for anti-stock photos.

3. Original Type

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Like trends with video and photography, the type is getting larger than life in an effort to connect with a brand’s audience. Type is often overlooked facet of website design, when, in fact, it can actually convey a surprisingly strong message. 2017 will see a trend in dramatic, all-consuming type that dominates the page, perhaps even more than the website’s pictures.

For more information on typography visit our blog post Typography 101

4. The Domination of Video

2017 design trends

Video is so powerful because of its incorporation of so many forms of media and art. It also is able to appeal to numerous senses simultaneously. Video is set to be one of 2017’s most popular design trends. It able to instantly capture an audience, whereas pictures can appear dull in comparison.

5. Innovative Scrolling

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Scrolling was once used conservatively. These days, website designers are thinking outside of the box when it comes to scrolling. They are no longer using scrolling as a way to just get from the top to the bottom of a page, but as a creative function.

As you can see, 2017 is set to bring in some very big and very fun design trends. Now, more than ever, brands are getting as imaginative and artistic as possible in order to create an eye-catching website.

Related: 2015 Design Trends


Want to talk design trends? Give us a call. (800) 315-3057

Pokémon Go – A Local Marketing Tool

Okay I know, I know – you and the rest of the non-Pokémon loving world are sick and tired of hearing about this Pokémon Go nonsense. However, before you click that back button, give me a chance to explain how it has the potential of becoming the largest local marketing tool and ad platform marketers have ever seen. Yes, bigger than Facebook, AdWords, Snapchat, etc.… What other app actively gets people (even lazy people) out the door and in front of your business without it being the person’s intent, like Pokémon Go does? None that I know of. The following are ways Pokémon Go can become the largest local marketing tool and ad platform in 2016.

Block & Larder Pokémon Go Advertising Sample | New Dimension

IMPRESSIONS, IMPRESSIONS, & MORE IMPRESSIONS:

With over 30 million daily active users and the average Pokémon Master hopeful spending over 43 minutes a day on the app (almost more than Instagram and Snapchat combined), there are a ton of eyes to get in front of. It’s only a matter of time until Google and Niantic implement something along the creative lines of what is depicted below. These ads can be geo-targeted, only showing businesses within specified Kilometers from a gym or pokéstop.

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POKESTOP AND GYM PLACEMENTS:

Pokéstops and Gyms attract people from all around the city and speaking from personal experience, I have purposely chosen to go to bars like Monkey Paw Brewing, simply because it’s a gym. Come on, what’s better than being able to eat and drink all while taking down and defending a gym on Team Mystic’s behalf? That’s right, nothing! Again, it’s only a matter of time before Google and Niantic get smart and allow businesses to pay to be a gym. Pokéstops and Gym optimization may also become a thing – See the example below!

FLASH SALE OPPORTUNITIES:

Savvy sales opportunities are endless! You can make it as simple as telling your social followers “Catch a Pokémon in our store, and get 20% off your purchase!” or as complex as “Parties of 2 or more Team Mystic members get a buy one get one beverage!” (Just shooting out some testable ideas here) Also, if your business is already a pokéstop, you can do something like, “Get an egg at our pokéstops and get 50% off an appetizer.” I know I would frequent that pokéstop in hopes of snagging that 50% off egg!

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As you can see, Pokémon Go is bursting at the seams with local marketing potential and I wouldn’t put it past all parties involved to capitalize this on these revenue-driven ideas. It’s only a matter of time till marketing agencies in San Diego like NDMR start offering Pokémon Go ad and optimization management.

Get Mobile; Get Local for 2015

According to Analytics Clarity, a data analysis firm in Orange County, and also according other Internet research firms and web marketing companies, mobile traffic will triumph desktop traffic in the year 2015.

These companies have indicated that most of the mobile traffic will come from search engines where users will use their mobile devices to search Google and Bing looking for various websites and businesses.

Both mentioned search engines in particular Google realize the value of returning the most relevant search results for their users hence they are more likely to return a mixture of localized search results based on users location, device phone number (area code), and search phrase.

According to a renowned SEO consultant,  SEO in 2015 should be focused around mobile SEO and local SEO.  In a personal interview with him, he added the following:

Phone screens are larger, even Apple increased the screen size of their new iPhone 6 to keep up with the consumer demand. This is because consumers are using their mobile devices more in order to complete their personal and professional tasks. This should prompt any marketer to pay more attention to mobile when formulating their marketing strategy for 2015.

About Local marketing and local SEO he added,

Users appreciate and prefer localized search result when searching the search engines. All businesses and marketers should pay attention this and focus on local SEO and local marketing. Take Amazon for an example; They are not a local company but with their enhanced same day deliver creates a localized impression for their customers and their product Amazon Local offers localized deals for their users. This indicates how important local marketing is!

Along with mobile and local marketing, he added that social media will play larger roles in search engine rankings and will become more important.

In Summary, mobile SEO and local SEO will be name of the game in 2015.  If your company is not on top of this, then better hurry up. If you need help, contact us and we will be more than happy to help you.

 

Legal Concerns For Small Businesses

Small business owners are required to deal with a broad range of issues. When you’re running a small business, you often don’t have access to a marketing department, a finance team or a human resources manager. It may even be the case that you cannot afford to invest too much in professional services, until your business becomes more established. But that doesn’t mean your business will not encounter the potential for legal liability. Every action you take in business has the potential to create liability, and you need to be on top of your obligations to customers, suppliers and the public at large if you are to avoid the pitfalls. But what are the common areas of legal concern for small businesses, and what steps should you take to get the right outcomes?

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Contractual disputes are one of the main areas of concern for small business owners. Every time something is bought or sold by the company, or a deal is struck with a new supplier or client, the potential for contractual liability presents itself. This means that small business owners need to have a functional knowledge of the law in this area, in order for them to successfully navigate the disputes and disagreements that will inevitably arise in the course of their business. Contract law is worth some study time for any small business owner, and can help lead to agreements being reached on more effective terms.

It is not just contract law that has the capacity to cause problems for small businesses. Owners also need to be concerned about product and professional liability, through the goods and services they provide. For example, causing serious injury through supplying a harmful product can give rise to contractual, tortious, and statutory liability. Or, if your company is deemed to have been negligent, you may be exposed to liability as well.

Another area of potential liability arising in the course of business is liability to employees, governed by labor laws designed to protect the interests of employees. For most small businesses, the possibility of an employee grievance can be a daunting one, especially given that large sums can be awarded, sometimes much more than a small business can reasonably afford. This often makes it important to draft in professional legal help, to ensure you are protected in your business practices. Lawyers like those from DLA Piper – lead by Bob Bratt – can advise on these types of commercial scenarios.

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No matter the type of business you are operating, there are always legal concerns to contend with. From the contracts and deals that you sign, through to compliance and taxation provisions, and even the working conditions of your employees, there are plenty of areas where running a business intersects with the law. For more complex needs, it is always advisable to seek professional advice, to help ensure you are operating in a fully compliant, legally sound manner. The best lawyers will aim to understand your business and give solutions that fit your commercial objectives.

Image source: http://www.lynelavergne.ca/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/labour-law.jpg

Image source: http://blog.larrybodine.com/uploads/image/referral%20handshake.jpg

Why Vectors Are Essential For A Slick Marketing Campaign

Marketing is all about communicating your business’ core message. Through various avenues, from advertising to social media through to sales, marketing relies on ancillary materials to promote this message. This is to help convince prospective customers that your business is worth a second look. From a practical perspective, this means that marketing images and logos are often required in a variety of different formats and sizes. For the slickest results, these images must be vector images, to enable easy transition between different required dimensions.

Visuals and printed materials are one of the most important aids you can possible have in marketing your business. These are the tools that do the marketing for you, and that persuade people to buy your products and services when you’re not there to do it face to face. It is perhaps no surprise then that the images used in marketing materials can be of critical importance to the weight and effectiveness of the message.

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At the same time, these marketing materials are often designed for a range of uses, and as such cover a range of formats. To build a brand, you need visual consistency – a similarity of design across everything you do, so you can build recognition within your target market and start to develop a stronger brand identity. But to build your business, you may require marketing materials in a much wider range of sizes and formats. For example, the images you use on a 6-foot banner display stand will need to be the same images you use on a small A5 flier, but obviously the sizing will be completely different.

The answer here is to use stock vector images. Normal images cannot be increased in size by much before they become distorted and unusable. This is because there is insufficient data in the image file to actually handle the increase in size. But vector images are designed in a different way. With vector images, sizing is based on ratios rather than on pixels, which makes it feasible to expand an image or shrink an image as much as is necessary to fit. This is the solution professional graphic artists use to get a slick, professional veneer from their market.

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This can have a major impact on the perception of your business. In a toss-up between a business with blurry marketing images and a business with razor-sharp vectors, the latter will probably win. This might not be a conscious choice, but people are drawn toward businesses with more effective marketing and design, and that certainly extends through to the use of vector images.

The images you use in business say a lot about your company, and they are one of the first bases against which your offering will be judged. Customers do judge the book by its cover when it comes to businesses. This means the way you present yourself must be as slick and as professional as possible to give you the edge over the competition, and a fighting chance of securing their business.

 

Image source: http://www.gopopupstands.co.uk/content_images/bannerexample.jpg

Image source: http://vectormagic.com/images/v3/vectorization_explanation-fp-ac5e89bf84f43f54409fadf8d928286c.png

Keyword Stuffing & Hidden Text Manual Action: Google on How to Fix it

Author’s Note: This article is part of a series detailing specific spam warnings that webmasters might find displayed in Google Webmaster Tools manual action viewer, the types of things that are flagging each warning, and what webmasters should do to fix it to see the warning removed.

Hidden text and keyword stuffing isn’t as common today of it once was, but Google is still warning webmasters to avoid.

When you mention hidden text and keyword stuffing, people often think of the 50 lines long text white text on white background in the footer of a webpage. It essentially means placing text on a webpage but for search engines only, not the user.

This was used extensively a decade ago, although it has evolved to include things such as using CSS to hide it off the page, to place it underneath another element already on the page, or to just set the text of hidden.

Keyword stuffing is putting a keyword phrase, or several, multiple times within a webpage, to the extent where whatever is on the page doesn’t even make much sense because of the repetitive keywords. This is done so that the keywords are visible to search engine, with the idea that it will help it rank better in Google.

Google’s Distinguished Engineer Matt Cutts makes a point of saying that using things like JavaScript that is used on websites to create mouse over menus and other user-friendly ways to show more text is generally OK.

Cutts very specifically brought up the point that many spinner programs – programs that will essentially take content already available on the web and “spin it” to create new content – often don’t pass the keyword spamming test. The output is often gibberish and nonsensical.

Most keyword stuffing examples are very obvious. While it is good to have your keywords within your text on the page, you can go overboard quite easily. If you want a quick method on how to check to see if your webpage is a little bit too keyword happy, read your text out loud, as it will often sound very unnatural. If it sounds fine to you or to those you read it too, it should be fine.

Why is this a problem? When users search for certain keywords and end up on your site, they want to see those keywords on the page in a useful format. They don’t want to end up there due to hidden text located in the footer. Hidden text and keyword stuffing often make for a very poor user experience for it the user coming in from Google, which is why Google take such a stance on the issue

If you get the warning for hidden text or keyword stuffing, the solution is pretty easy: simply remove it. This type of SEO is still utilized today by some of the scammier SEO companies, so if you are unsure where it is, start looking at your actual source code find it, generally either close to the top or close to the bottom of the code.

Cutts said that occasionally it is a case of hacked site – hidden text and keyword stuffing is most common on WordPress sites, so if you get the warning on a WordPress site, your first thing to do should be to check whether you’ve been hacked, and if so, upgrade your WordPress and all your plug-ins, and then begin your cleanup process.

Google advises you should document your cleanup process. So document what you found, and how you fixed it, and the dates you did. Cutts said you should also include why it happened, whether it was a rogue SEO or a CMS system gone wild, and explain why you believe it won’t happen again.

Article Source: http://searchenginewatch.com/article/2291159/Keyword-Stuffing-Hidden-Text-Manual-Action-Google-on-How-to-Fix-it

You exThe Power of Branding in B2B Marketing

Forbes publishes a list of the most powerful brands. The top brand is Apple, followed by Microsoft, Coca-Cola, IBM, Google, Intel and McDonald’s. The value of the Apple brand is pegged at around $87 billion, accounting for around 20% of its current stock price.

Many B2B brands believe they can ignore branding altogether, choosing instead to carefully target the audience that will buy their products. By investing the majority of their resources in activities like SEO, direct mail and telemarketing, B2B marketers can avoid marketing toward people who are unlikely to ever buy their products.

But the most powerful B2B brands still invest money in pure brand advertising. Almost everyone has heard of SAP or Oracle, even though the brands target their message toward senior decision makers at large companies. While it’s unlikely that anyone is going to buy Oracle hardware after seeing a print ad, the idea is that the advertising will soften up the customer for a future sale. When the customer is ready to buy, Oracle will be the first company that they contact.

 

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Accenture is a global consulting firm. It knows that senior decision makers are likely to travel a lot on business, so it spends millions each year on advertising at the world’s airports. When you look at Accenture’s campaigns, there are no calls to action. They don’t even ask you to visit a website or call a number. All they want you to do is engage with the advertising. Then, the next time you’re looking for global delivery consultancy or to develop your cloud strategy, hopefully you’ll contact them.

One of the greatest B2B marketing success stories has to be Intel, with its strategy of targeting consumers directly. Everyone had assumed there would be little point in branding semiconductor chips, especially when the vast majority of people don’t have the faintest idea what they do.

Before Intel’s approach, consumers would buy computers based on a recommendation from a friend, the amount of RAM or the size of the hard disk. But Intel tried to persuade consumers that it was the chipmaker that made your computer perform better. It was a great example of how you can use the power of brand recognition to build a protective moat around your business. Learn more about it from Halo.

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“I first became aware of what they were doing in 1993, when I met with Intel executives to discuss their International CES participation,” writes Gary Shapiro for Fast Company. “They described a plan for a remarkable exhibit at the show that year, a centerpiece of their effort to shift the image of Intel from that of a chip company to that of a producer of a coveted, brand-name product that stood for performance. The display Intel was planning was so elaborate that we actually had to work out a deal so they could occupy the same exhibit space they would be using at another show taking place a month and a half earlier.”

Image source: http://asset3.cbsistatic.com/cnwk.1d/i/tim/2012/05/25/20120525_Samsung_2012_Chromebook_006_620x382.jpg

Image source: http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2079/2025017976_b024bf5fcc.jpg

The Benefits of VPS Hosting for your Business

As businesses grow, so too does their website traffic. A virtual private server (VPS) is typically considered to be the next step up after a user has outgrown his shared hosting. It provides better control over the hosted platform, granting the user the ability to run scripts and software. It also offers more resources and processing power.

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Consider These Things When Choosing an IT Provider

Running a business includes making a lot of decisions. Some of those decisions are easier than others, but some can be quite difficult. One of the more difficult decisions that you face when running a business is choosing an IT provider. There are a lot of things you need to consider when choosing an IT provider for your company, which is why it’s such an important decision.
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Get More Leads From Your Online Yellow Pages Adverts

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Many people make the mistake of failing to properly optimize their Yellow Pages adverts for the Web. Today, Yellow Pages remain just as powerful as ever, but many business owners have failed to learn the new techniques that can make you get more traffic, more calls, and more revenue than your competitors.

Years ago, business owners would ask their customers where they heard about their business. To this day, many website contact forms ask customers where they heard about the business, and will give them a choice of Google, Yellow Pages, TV adverts and so on.

Now tracking has got much more sophisticated, but many businesses are failing to track everything they can, and they are relying on information from customers. With free tools like Google Analytics, you can see who has visited your website and where they came from. If you sign up for YellowPages United, you can login to their website and instantly see how many people have visited your business’ page. This allows you to get a true picture of the effectiveness of each advert.

If one publisher is driving more leads, you can spend more money and get more attention. And if one publisher is not delivering enough sales, you know that you shouldn’t renew your contract.

“I know half of my advertising is wasted. The trouble is, I don’t know which half,” said John Wanamaker. Now you can know exactly which half is working, and use this information to constantly optimize where and how you spend your money.

While it’s easy to know exactly how many sales you get from a particular source of advertising, there are other advantages of Yellow Pages advertising that are harder to track. Google’s local search algorithms look for citations of businesses in Yellow Pages and other directories, and they count each citation as a vote in favor of the business – the more citations, the better the business ranks. So, each listing gives you a better chance at ranking higher in Google for local searches.

To optimize your Yellow Pages listings, make sure your data is up to date and accurate. This, of course, makes it easier for people to find your business. But it also makes it easier for Google to give you more traffic, because incorrect and inconsistent entries may not count as a citation towards your business.

Ask your customers to review your business. Some Yellow Pages websites rank your business according to how many positive reviews you have, so reviews could make you appear higher up in their listings. After you work with a customer, you could send them an email with a list of websites where they could add a review. Keep in mind, reviews don’t just lead to higher rankings – they also give potential customers confidence in the service you provide.

Make sure you have a modern and effective website. Some local businesses have yet to get a website at all, and the vast majority of local websites are infamously bad. To find the best web design firm, try to find the best websites that are used to promote local businesses in your area. Then, find out who designed the website and work with that company. It’s also very easy to work with a web design firm over the phone and email, so don’t feel restricted to choosing a local company.