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Key Website Creation Tips You Can Learn From A Graphic Design Course

A website’s success is often dependent on its design flow, cohesiveness and content. This is the reason as to why a lot of User Experience experts (UX) are also adept in graphic design. One of the best ways to create a good user experience is by having a clear grasp of design principles.

Here’s some key website creation tips you can learn just by attending a graphic design course.

Value The Fundamentals

The key to developing a higher understanding of any topic is by understanding its fundamental principles. Nowadays, creating a cool looking graphic is as easy as tapping a couple of buttons on your smartphone. While that may sound simple, these design tools are only part of the process. The more significant piece is understanding what’s visually appealing and what distracts people from your message.

Image credit: Shutterstock

Here’s a list of basic design principles you should know about:

  • Color – Sticking to your favorite color may not always be the best strategy. When appropriate colors are used on a website, it can help dictate the mood of the audience. For instance, using a Green color correlates to the environment and make people think about charity, while the Red color induces a strong emotion.
  • Typography – This is an art form that arranges type to make it readable. Choosing the right font will help convey your message better, it helps show feelings even in written form. If you want to learn more about typography, this graphic design course by HubSpot does the job well.
  • Composition – More than choosing what color and font to use, you should also know how to compose a visually appealing graphic design. Design composition pertains to the alignment of each element, ensuring proper contrast levels, and grouping related elements together.

Leverage The Fold

The term “above the fold” was initially used in graphic design and later on used on web design as well. Above the fold pertains to the topmost area of your webpage that users see without scrolling. There’s still a debate whether this area is still relevant nowadays, but whatever the case is the fact remains the same — 80% of users spend their time above the fold. You need to maximize the use of this space and hook your visitors. Here are some ways on how you can do that:

Image credit: Shutterstock
  • Clear and concise headline – Once a visitor opens your website, they should be able to know what it’s all about. The proper use of typography will help communicate your message better.
  • Call to action – Make sure you design a clear and visible call to action (CTA) button. Increase your chances of conversion by placing your CTA above the fold.
  • Leverage media – Use images, video, and even audios to support your headline and improve CTA click-through rate.

The way you design this area will contribute to how well you communicate your value proposition to your target audience.

Create Your Own Graphics and Images

About 65% of the population are visual learners which means that a lot of people rely on visual cues to help them understand better. When you apply this kind of mindset into website creation, you can expect more people to find your website worthwhile.

Take, for example, infographics. People pay attention when you show them data and statistics backed by research. However, not everyone can digest a 20-page research paper. Through the use of infographics, complex information can be communicated easier. A graphic design course can teach you how to create your graphics, select thought-provoking images, and repurpose old content.

Put Importance On Branding

If you’re wondering why a lot of websites spend time and money on branding, it’s because a properly thought out brand shows a unified business. Graphic design courses should teach you the importance of creating a brand guideline and how to properly implement it not just on your website but in your overall business as well. Here are some of the reason why consistent branding is essential:

  • Value – When website visitors see that you have an organized and visually appealing branding they’ll have a good impression about your business. It helps build your credibility, sets you apart from the competition and establishes your brand value.
  • Recognition – When you use your branding consistently all across platforms and not just on your website, it helps with brand awareness and recognition. While establishing a recognizable brand takes time, strict adherence to branding guidelines can make the hasten the process.
  • Perception – You can control how people perceive your business through branding. Each time you communicate with your customers, business partners and even investors make sure you follow your branding guidelines.

Conclusion

Take time to increase your skills by enrolling in a graphic design course. The lessons you learn from these courses will help you create a website that’s not only user-friendly but also appealing. You don’t need a lot of money to learn how to design. You just need an infinite amount of resources and the inspiration to push you forward.

Digital Channels for Sponsorship

Getting digital marketing sponsorship right is a challenge.  Activations using digital channels depend on robust messaging strategies and careful persona creation.  In this presentation we have a case study from Air New Zealand and Akzo Nobel Volvo Ocean Race which you can adapt to your needs.

Rebecca was speaking on the topic of digital channels for sponsorship at the Conferenz Sponsorship Summit and NZ Marketing Summit joint event.  Here are the slides and a video of my keynote.

 

Thanks to Lana Mihelcic who kindly shot the video for me.  Connect with her if you want a dynamic sports event manager or have contacts in sailing and The Americas Cup.

Landing page

Four Major Mistakes You Don’t Want To Make With Product Landing Pages

Landing page mistakes, avoid errors on wordpress,

Product landing page mistakes to avoid

Designing a landing page is no easy task. There are many moving parts to consider, including copywriting, design, social media, and CTA placement. And with so many decisions to make (both big and small), it’s no wonder that mistakes can easily occur. In many cases, business owners fail to take the proper precautions to ensure their landing page is up to par, both in terms of design and functionality. Sometimes, they even let simple mistakes slide.

However, because humans have shorter attention spans than goldfish, you need to be able to capture their interest almost instantaneously. Within just a few seconds, a potential customer will move on to the next best thing because of an error you may have thought was trivial. Here are five mistakes you don’t want to make with product landing pages:

Choosing The Wrong Platform

There are many platforms available, and choosing the right one is crucial. WordPress is touted as one of the best lead-generating landing page platforms because it’s simple to set up, and creative freedom is nearly endless. You can choose from thousands of free and premium themes, and even install plugins like Elementor to build your product landing page with drag-and-drop functionality.

Then, there are other platforms designed to help you launch simple product landing pages, like LeadPages (which offers WordPress integration), Unbounce, and Instapage. These may offer a quicker set-up but are typically very limited in terms of design.

Think about your site goals before you choose a platform. For example, if you want to be able to incorporate certain features, like immersive photo galleries, you will need a platform that supports it. Or, if you think you’ll be using an independent designer or developer in the future, go with a platform that allows you to scale in that direction. Budget is another thing to keep in mind. If you’re just starting out or still growing your customer base, you might want to start with a cheaper option, like WordPress, which you can get for as low as $10 per month. Other lead-capturing landing pages cost anywhere from $30 to $200 per month, and even as high as $2,400 for platforms like HubSpot.

Stock Photography

Believe it or not, in most cases, people don’t like to see stock photography on product landing pages. It might be okay for your blog posts, but it requires special consideration for your landing page. A study conducted by MDG Advertising found that 67% of online shoppers consider quality images to be an integral part of their decision-making when it comes to purchases. The more vivid and authentic a photo is, the more likely they were to perceive ownership.

For software, beautiful screenshots are the way to go, and it would be fine to juxtapose humans with your software imagery. Sometimes, stock photography is the easiest way to mesh the two, but you might also want to add a high-res photo of someone actually using the software to add that extra touch of authenticity.

If you do use humans in your photography (whether stock photos or you your own), bear in mind that studies have shown that site visitors tend to look in the direction of the eyes that belong to the person in the photo. Therefore, you’d ideally want to have the person looking in the direction of your text.

No Clear CTA

Before you start working on your landing page, ask yourself, “What’s my main goal here?” One of the biggest mistakes people make with landing pages is cluttering it with too many options for the visitor. For example, it can be overwhelming to visit a landing page that wants you to read articles, sign up for a newsletter, purchase your newest product, watch a video, AND request a quote.

This doesn’t mean that you can’t have multiple points-of-purchase or ways to appeal to your potential customers. Instead, you should have a core goal that stands out above the rest, rather than blends in. Think about the singular action you want your visitor to take: this is called the call-to-action (CTA). Your call to action should be decently-sized, stand out, and be placed in the right area to attract the most attention. Use split testing software to help you choose between different types of CTA. This will help you choose the option that converts best.

Too Much Copy

Having too much copy on your landing page can be fatal. As previously mentioned, most people don’t have a very long attention span, and every small decision about your copy–from size to typography to color and word count–plays an important role. Too many words create information overload and dilutes the message you’re trying to get across.

Keep your sentences and paragraphs short and concise. Try to avoid using one of the pages to dominate the text. It’s best not to align left or right when you’re working on landing pages. Instead, you want to spread bite-sized bits of copy across the page evenly. You want your copy to be as scannable as possible, and clunky paragraphs make it very difficult to achieve this. For optimal results, try breaking up the text by using well-designed icons, mini-paragraphs, bullet points, color-coordinated sub-sections.

 

Push Notifications: Is this the death of email newsletters?

In the world of Digital Marketing, there is a constant need for innovation to stay ahead of competitors and create the next novel experience in order to sell to customers. We saw it first with the use of email marketing communications in the 90s which was a bandwagon – everyone jumped on board and our in-boxes got swamped with newsletter.

Nowadays there are a plethora of services available to the digitally savvy, but how effective are they, and are they likely to oust the tried and tested methods?

So our thesis is that email newsletter subscriptions are falling because we get too many of them. EdgeRank removes the free postings by businesses on Facebook and Twitter is too crowded.

BUT people want high quality content.

So how can we deliver content from our website without using a newsletter or social media?

To answer this question, let’s look at a relatively new service to enter the market, Push Notifications  and how they compare to our most powerful channel at present, the good old fashion email/newsletter subscriber list.

So before we go any further, what exactly are Push Notifications?

Push notifications are simply alerts that pop up on your computer or mobile, on demand when the publisher releases something of interest to you.

“Hmm well this sounds kind of invasive though…“

I hear you. Pop-ups generally are annoying and frustrating, however these alerts only appear when you opt in to the list. A cookie is placed in your browser and each time the publisher wants to send out a notification, every browser containing that specific cookie receives the alert, regardless of whether they are browsing the web or not. In some ways they are less invasive than the hassle of having to enter your contact details to download an eBook. 

To find out if Push Notifications were a worthy substitute or indeed even a necessary supplement to our tried and tested marketing methods, we asked ourselves the following questions:

Are consumers growing weary of newsletters and email marketing?

I recently unsubscribed from at least 5 different brands’ emails because of the constant bombardment of marketing material. If others are finding themselves doing the same, does that pose a risk to the future of email marketing communications? And if so, are Push Notifications a smarter way to engage?

Are people still interested in content?

The old adage that ‘content is king’ may have held weight in the past, but do customers actually want to receive endless articles and information related to products they might purchase? With every brand under the sun fighting for your attention as a consumer, how much is too much?

My answer is yes. Emphatically. Good content gets liked, shared and commented upon.

Will people actually engage with these invasive interruptions?

My initial thoughts are yes, if used sparingly. Too much of anything can be bad. I feel the key to making the most out of Push Notifications is moderation. Subscribers aren’t going to respond well to being pestered several times a day while they browse the web. But they may be interested in what’s been going on if it is restricted to once a week, for example. Similar to SMS notifications, users must interact with the push notification in order to view it or close it. Compare this with email, where readers can simply delete, filter, file or ignore without having to open the message at all. Push notifications by-pass this barrier to opening email by displaying the message title straight away. 

You have to respond one way or another!

Would Push subscribers never have joined the email list anyway?

Perhaps. Even if there is no clear preference for one over the other, having both allows your brand to capture your audience’s attention in a medium that works for them. Without having to provide an email address, we may never know who has opted in to Push Notifications, which makes communicating outside of Push challenging unless we can cross-match against other subscriber actions.

With email and push running simultaneously, which one performs better?

We ran Push Notifications for the second half of February on a client website. Our provider of choice was OneSignal – a service that promises to remain free forever! An interesting claim, but what’s the REAL cost? I suspect Edward Snowden would fall off his стул (chair) in frustration  – let’s save it for another day.

Results from Push Notifications test

  • At the beginning of February, we had 5,334 email subscribers. At the end of the month, that figure had risen to 5,426 – a gain of 92 subscribers.
  • Push Notifications began on February 15th. Two weeks later we had 63 push subscribers.

Our Push Notifications were promoting the same material as our emails, so which one performed better?

Our blog article “Plan, Develop and Write – Content Training Workshop” was published on both. The newsletter received a respectable open rate of 30% and a Click Through Rate (CTR) of 1.4%. The Push Notification received a surprising CTR of 21.43%!

The Push list is much smaller than the email list; that is a significant difference.

This was obviously only one campaign and we have not yet built up a data set large enough to draw significant conclusions.

So do we think Push could supersede email? Well the jury is still out on that one, we’ll continue to test them both and come back with our conclusions in the future.

In the mean time, what do you think about Push?

Only the digitally confused need attend!

No, I don’t want you to come to our event unless you qualify

On 27th September I’m speaking at a breakfast event. [ticket reservations below]

It’s about de-coding digital marketing for folks who are confused about how to do digital communications successfully.

Why am I doing the gig?

Despite digital being commonplace to me, it’s not that clear to everyone.

You may already be using some digital channels and be having some successes in bringing new revenues to your firm.  This event isn’t for you. 

This event is for the “digitally confused”. 

You know if this is you or not.  YOU qualify as being digitally confused if you’re unsure how to get good results from digital or online marketing.

My acquaintance, David Baker wrote to me this week and I want to quote him verbatim.

“An outside advisor like me comes into your firm and we bring several valuable things:

  • Perspective. It’s hard to see your own label when you’re in the jar.
  • Insight. There’s no need to reinvent the flat tyre over and over again.
  • Courage. Sometimes you just need a push. You need permission from just one more person.

I’d say that most of you should never hire an advisor and you’ll be just fine, thank you very much. You’d do a lot better if sometimes you thought less about the consequences and did what you know I’m going to tell you anyway!”

For the rest, let’s see you sign up to the breakfast on 27th September in the box below.

‘Nuff said.

P.S. And if you’re wondering why I wrote this – it’s to deliberately exclude people who would not benefit from the event.

We Have Moved to a New Office

Creative Agency Secrets New OfficeWe’re happy to announce that our team have recently left the Ironbank on 150 Karangahape Road and moved our office to a new location. It’s only a short walk from our old office. From now on our new address is:

74D France Street
Eden Terrace
Auckland 1010

Welcome to our new office!

Our phone numbers and email addresses are still the same. We look forward to meeting you in our new office. If you have any questions we’re happy to answer, just send us an email.

Creative Agency Secrets New Office

Best wishes,
The Creative Agency Secrets Team

Hire the right digital marketing agency – a guide

Here’s a great guide to how to find the best digital agency for your business brand needs.
Getting an organisation who matches your needs and is able to deliver to your brief takes time and careful analysis. Get yourself all the information you need in order to find the best agency and then you have to brief them well.

Writing an awesome creative brief is a challenge and one we can help you out with – even if we’re not doing the work for you. Getting the language and the articulation of your requirements correct will shortcut the selection process of finding the best digital marketing team for your needs.

Types of Digital Marketing Agency

Types of Digital Marketing Agency

 

Get the report from Search Engine Land – a Buyers guide to Digital Marketing Agencies 2013

 

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