How to Give Feedback to Web Designers

You have a vision of the website you are looking for but you can’t seem to explain what you want in a way that makes any sense to humans. Trust us. We get it.

Here’s a list of ways to not only help you translate your vision into something a caveman could understand but also to help make the process of asking for changes and updates as seamless as possible.

  1. Come on in: If you’re a business in Bakersfield, stop by our office to have a chat. We are located in a pretty sick basement (no, that’s not a joke) under a sushi restaurant (still not joking). So come on down and maybe even grab a bite to eat after.
  2. Start with the Reasoning: Give the reasoning behind why you want things a certain way. Even if it’s something as simple as wanting a section at the bottom of your homepage to be moved to the top, tell us why; we might have some ideas on how to further achieve what you’re looking for.
  3. Itemized lists are Amazing! We love them!: Make a list of what you would like to see on your website. List tabs and content you would like on each page, etc. Don’t worry about your writing, our in-house writer will pretty everything up for you later. This is also helpful when asking for changes. Just tell us the page the change is on and where on the page it is. Sending a link to the page is also useful and helps us get through your changes faster.
  4. Sample Sites: We are a very visual group, so providing examples of exactly what you are looking for is a huge help for us to better understand your vision.
  5. Responsive: We understand that you’re busy, you know, running your business, but the longer it takes for us to get feedback, the longer it takes for us to get your website ready to launch. We always have a bunch of projects going on at once so quick responses are a great way to ensure that your website gets the attention it needs. Especially since we will probably be stuck waiting for another client to respond and jump on your project in the mean-time (insider scoop). We are also computer geeks who rarely leave our desks, so feel free to call our office if you don’t have time to type out an email. (661)327-3825.

10 Great Questions for Website Video Testimonials

Incorporating testimonial videos into your website is a powerful way for you to market your business and bring your website to life.  In the fast pace world we live in, a testimonial video allows you to interact with potential clients in a deeper more meaningful way.

When building trust with your product/service on the internet, customer testimonials have one of the highest rankings, coming in at 89 percent. An astonishing 88 percent of new consumers say they trust online reviews and testimonials equally to that of recommendations from friends and family.

How To Create Testimonial Videos for Your Site

The secret to creating powerful website testimonial videos is in the questions you ask. A good interviewer will get the answers he or she is looking for, while a great interviewer will lead the subject to tell a compelling story about your brand that gets your viewers to want to learn more. So, how in world can you do this?

CONSIDER THE INTERVIEW ENVIRONMENT

Where should you film? The ultimate goal is to have the video testimonial look and feel as natural as possible.  To do this you will want to capture the subject in their typical environment: at their place of work, in their office, or at a job site. A more easily controlled option is to record the interview on a clean white background which creates an intimate mood.

How to get your subject talking comfortably

Oh yes, we’ve all seen testimonial videos where the subject sounds like they are forcing every question. Remeber, a professional video editor can be one of your greatest tools, so let the subject talk normal and the editor can grab sound bits that make the interviewee sound brilliant. You will notice that most of the interview question we suggest are open-ended, and some included follow-up questions.  This style of questions gives the subject the ability to elaborate on their answers and most of the time leads to even better answers.

Pro Tip:  Don’t forget to warm up the interview.  Just like warming your legs before a race, it’s important to get your subject feeling comfortable in front of the camera. The best way we found to do this is by asking simple and sometimes funny questions.  Once you get your subject smiling and speaking with passion your audience will sense the honesty and true feelings, not just spoon-fed response.

This should go without saying but plan your interview questions in advance, but that doesn’t mean you cant add or modify your question on the spot as it’s equally important for the interviewer to read the subject and allow them the space to let their true feelings shine.

10 Great Testimonial Interview Questions

  1. What product and/or service did you purchase from us?
  2. Why did you need that product/service?
  3. How did you hear about us?
  4. Why specifically did you decide to work with us/purchase from us?
  5. Had you previously tried other products/services? Why didn’t they work?
  6. What was your experience like working with/purchasing from us?
  7. What was the best thing about the product/service you purchased?
  8. How has this product/service/relationship made your job easier? How has it positively impacted your clients both professionally and/or personally?
  9. Would you recommend our product/service to others? What would you say about it?
  10. Is there anything you’d like to add?

Video Production Quality

In leaving, the last key to a powerful website video testimonial is the quality of your production. If you are planning to produce the videos yourself, we recommend you “think simple.”  If you really want the videos to shine, partner with a trustworthy video production firm and leave the heavy lifting to the pros.

The Heart and Soul of Your Website

Would you read it if you didn’t write it?

Nearly all corporate sites commit the sin of dullness in their writing. It’s as if the clients and their consultants believe that if the design is good, all is good. Not so.

Writing is not the place to skimp on your budget. Seduce me, entice me, entertain me with words. Don’t be cryptic, don’t be stupid, and please don’t be dull.

-Jeffrey Zeldman, 37signals manifesto #11

Content comes in a host of formats:

Blogs, advertisement presell pages on social media, youtube videos, even e-mail newsletters. Content is the media that engages your viewers, informs them, entertains them, or includes a call to action depending on your objective. But most importantly, content is the medium that introduces your readers/viewers to your company and builds a relationship with them. It’s why your website can’t simply rest on its laurels once you have a web page. You need to close the deal with content.

Information is more critical than ever because marketing today has evolved from the impulsive “buy now” mentality that existed in earlier eras into a form that requires building a relationship with your public. Back then, ad campaigns were more homogenous, and healthier economic conditions gave people more disposable income to impulse buy. This isn’t the case today. Consumers are more conscious than ever about parting with their hard earned cash. They need more time to understand the product and the company, much in the same way regular positive interactions between two people builds trust and understanding.

The internal makeup of a website.

If HTML and layout provide the flesh and bone of a website, writing and content are the heart and soul. It’s what allows that genuine feel and authenticity that reminds us a person is on the other side of that screen, not some random computer program or bot.

And that’s really all it comes down to. As consumers, we have a myriad of alternatives and options at our disposal. An abundance of choices means a genuine, entertaining message will help set you apart from the rest. So please, don’t forget the content.

Red Flags When Interviewing Web Design Firms

We hear the horror stories all the time from clients.

Stories about how the web design company they hired made all these grand promises and expectations and then disappeared as soon as their new site was launched, leaving them with a mediocre website and no support in managing it.  

And clients aren’t the only ones getting scammed. We have faced situations where competitors have used sites we’ve built to promote their own companies and gain clients. The web industry can be a “scammy” world and we’re not afraid to admit it because we want things to change.

So we’ve compiled a checklist of questions and red flags that we, as experts in the industry, would ask if we were looking for someone to build us a website.

1.Have them Prove that it’s their work.

A lot of times in meetings with web design firms, they will bring up other websites that they have built to show as examples of their work. This can be very beneficial for you, as a potential client because it gives you a visual of their capabilities. Especially, if the example website is for an industry that is similar to your own.

But we have found that it’s not uncommon for web design companies to just pull up websites of similar industries that they know you will love and sell them off as their own work. This is very easy to do if the design company’s name is not listed in the footer.

An easy way to solve this problem is to simply ask for proof of design. Every design firm has a login set up on the backend of the website. If their name is not listed as the creator at the bottom of the website, ask them to log into the backend. If they cannot log in, they didn’t build the site.

2. Are their sites mobile friendly?

While looking at example sites, look up the URL on your phone and see how it looks in mobile view. Not all companies are good about making their websites mobile friendly and if a lot of your customers will be using their phones to view your site, this can be a vital detail that many miss.

3. Promises to get your site ranking higher in a week.

Search ranking takes at least 30-40 days to register with Google and other platforms. So if they make a promise like this, consider it a Big Red Flag and have your guard up for any more false promises.

A smart thing to do is ask the design firm if they have any software programs that they utilize to measure ranking and keywords. If they do, ask if it would be possible for them to run a test on your site now and then again after the first couple months of your new site being launched. This will allow you to compare your sites ranking accurately after hiring the new design firm, as well as, hold them accountable to deliver.        

Content is King

Why regularly updating your website matters now more than ever in a digital era.

In one of our earlier blog posts, we explained what Bounce Rate is on a website, and how having a high volume of people visiting your website means nothing when if they aren’t sticking around. That’s the difference between having a usable website, and a useful one. Anyone can make a usable website that looks great and functions properly, but without a useful destination that addresses reader needs, you’ll be left with a high rate of disengaged traffic looking elsewhere to fulfill their needs.

Gone are the days…

when you could simply put up a website, add a few pages plus an FAQ section, and call it good. Many factors contribute to a successful web presence, but one of the most overlooked is regularly published content. Your business is constantly evolving in response to changing markets, new trends, and fresh products, so why isn’t your website? Product descriptions, emerging trends in your industry, even documenting company culture all help to position your website as an opinion leader, or at the very least keep it relevant in a market that’s constantly evolving.

Never fear!

Of course, creating good content takes time that you never have enough of. We’re here to help. Content creation is one of our many services at Ugly Duck Marketing, and we have experience writing for a wide variety of clients and markets. The rapidly changing business environment of today demands entertaining information. Give us a call today and tell us about your company. We’ll find a marketing solution that works for you and your audience.

“Can you make the logo bigger?”

Blog Source: Stryve Marketing 

“Can you make the logo bigger?” is the most requested design edit that we receive and we understand that you take pride in your logo — and you should. After all, you have likely invested a lot into the creation and credibility it holds. No wonder you fear the thought of it being overlooked! However, your logo shouldn’t be the first thing people see. Let us explain why.

Your logo isn’t important, your message is

Your target audience is more interested in learning about your product and/or service and how they could benefit from it. This messaging takes priority over your logo and is what needs to catch and hold their attention. Your logo shouldn’t be more overpowering than the headline or call to action. Instead, its purpose is to identify the company and the reputation it holds.

Your brand is not your logo

The recognition of your brand does not rest solely on your logo. There are other design elements that can be leveraged to ensure that your brand is recognizable. Take Apple for example; they are instantly recognized by their imagery, use of white space, typography and messaging. The logo is noticed last as a confirmation that you’re in the right place. This is the ultimate goal of good branding.

Bigger isn’t better

Take note of the clean and simplistic designs from some of the most successful and professional brands out there today such as Nike or IBM. Their logos are modest in size. People are naturally drawn to what’s attractive and easy to understand. Oversized logos, on the other hand, are aggressive and tacky; think of it as visually shouting at your consumers. While your logo is a valuable asset to your brand and overall marketing strategy, it is only a small component. Focus more on the overall visual communication of your design and the impact your product or service will have on your customer. Done correctly, this is what will make people returning customers, not your logo. We promise.

 

Full Article: here

Customer Alert iDNS Domain Registrar Scam

Many of our web design client ask us “should I pay this iDNS Bill?” The short answer is, NO it’s a scam:

We have been made aware by a few of our clients that have received letters from fraudulent domain registrars using, what some may consider, deception to trick the recipient into thinking that they may already be doing business with iDNS. These letters or “notices” are often incredibly vague and can be perceived by some as an official notice from their current registrar.  The notices often have a friendly tone that can confuse or even trick some domain owners into believing the notice is from their current domain registrar. We feel it is important to inform you that while this letter looks official, it is merely a solicitation disguised as a domain renewal invoice. The companies who send these letters, such as iDNS, are attempting to convince you to transfer or renew your domain using their service instead which, on average, can be as high as 4x the market rate for domain name services. Furthermore, they could also lock you in and make it extremely difficult to be able to switch back to a trusted registrar. 

While iDNS will  legitimately renew and/or register a domain for you, their methods for gaining customers seems to be shady and even deceptive. By sending these letters, they can often confuse someone who is not an expert and often an uninformed holder may feel intimidated because the notice will remind them that their domain is expiring and offering a fix to this “problem” before their current registrar has the chance to alert the domain holder of the impending expiration date. Once this domain holder falls victim to the iDNS domain registrar scam by transferring over their domain and giving iDNS their credit card information, iDNS will then lock the domain holder into paying exorbitant amounts of money for services that should be offered for much lower prices.

Ugly Duck creates and manages my website, What should I do If I get a letter?

ONLY if you are one of our clients and you receive a letter from iDNS or any other fraudulent domain registrar, feel free to contact our HelpDesk and speak to our support staff. If your domain is registered with us, we are always aware of domain expiration dates and will contact you if necessary.

We offer comprehensive and professional domain registration, as well as managed web services; we would be happy to provide you with the services you need, whether you simply need a domain registered/renewed or if you’re looking to build a new website with said domain. Whatever your needs are, Ugly Duck Marketing is here to help. 

The Benefits of Scroll Focused Web Designs

The debate on scrolling has been discussed thoroughly among web designers everywhere and though each company may have their preference and opinion, what it really comes down to is what is the best option for the client.

In this article, we will discuss the pros and cons of both the scroll-oriented approach and the click-oriented approach. We will also address some questions that you should ask yourself or your client when trying to decide which approach to take.

What is A Scrolling Website

The best explanation of scrolling that we have come across is John Herman’s quote about Twitter and their scroll-heavy design approach.

“If there’s one lesson to take from every major change in how people browse the internet over the last five years…it’s that users hate to click and don’t mind scrolling…Clicking is a choice, like jumping; scrolling is inevitable, like falling.”

Clicking requires a conscious effort and commitment while scrolling is inevitable and a lot of times done automatically; without thinking. This mindset has largely been influenced by the broad use of smart phones and touch screens. This is not to say that clicking has completely lost its use and functionality but if you are creating a site whose followers will most often be accessing its contents through mobile devices, scrolling is probably the smartest way for you to go.

Are your viewers familiar with your products or do they need to be guided?

If your customers already know exactly what they are looking for when they visit your site, then a click-heavy design will be beneficial to them because they are already committed to the idea of clicking on whatever will lead them to their desired destination. However, like most growing businesses, if you are hoping to drive potential customers who know nothing about your product, to your site, it is most often more beneficial to have a scroll heavy design approach.

Think of it this way; if you were going to visit a site that you are not very familiar with, the idea of picking a destination to explore first might be overwhelming and a lot of times people have mere minutes that they are willing to devote to curiosity before moving on. Don’t let them waste those precious minutes on deciding where to click. Instead, allow them to scroll seamlessly through your site, making sure they see everything you would want a new visitor to encounter.

Original Web Design, Goes Back To Newspaper Print.

To understand why the jump to scrolling may be difficult for some people to take, we need to go back to the roots of printing. When the internet was first created it was largely modeled off of newspaper print and its, “above the fold” concept; meaning, it was imperative to get reader’s attention from just the information above the halfway fold on the front page. And this made complete sense for the internet as well because, in theory, whatever is on the home screen will be what influences the user’s impression of the entire site.

However, as advances in web design software developed, new design possibilities arrived and social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter ran with the advances. Launching fully scrolling, single-page sites, it was discovered that, as a whole, people really do prefer to scroll. And in fact, studies have shown that 66% of visitors to a site spend most of their time exploring the content that appears “below the fold.”

Control Your Story.

One of the largest selling points for a lot of web designers and business owners alike, is that scrolling allows you to not only create but control “the story.” In other words, you have the power to control what the viewer sees first, second, third, and so forth. The look and feel of the site can be relayed exactly the way you want it to and a lot of times you can succeed in influencing a viewer to click on a link that has nothing to do with their original reason for coming to the site.

Everyone’s needs are different and no client is the same. But as experts, we agree with the studies. If you want your website to function properly and produce ultimate reach results, a scroll heavy design is the way to go!

Scrolling vs Clicking: Pros & Cons

Pros for Scrolling:

  • Speed: Scrolling is faster than clicking, and enables the user to view a lot of information without the page load slowing down, or breaking his/her concentration.
  • Non-committal: Scrolling doesn’t require the user to make a decision; it’s a noncommittal action. Clicking requires a conscious decision which means that your audience needs to know what they want and be motivated to get there. For many sites, you won’t want to bank on this.
  • Storytelling: Single page design is a wonderful vehicle for powerful and creative storytelling.
  • Mobile & Touch Friendly: Scrolling is an easy and natural interaction for touch screen devices
  • Scrolling is Inevitable: The verdict is in, with the advent of social media feeds like Facebook and Twitter, and the use of touch screen mobile devices, scrolling is the most natural and intuitive action for a user on the web; it’s what we’ve been trained to do.
  • Getting to the Point: Single page sites force businesses to distil their vision into one page, making their brand clearer and more powerful than if it were divvied out page by page.

Cons for Scrolling:

  • Never-ending: If the page is too long there is a danger of information overload for the user who continues to scroll with no end in sight.
  •  Analytics: It is harder to track the bounce rate and other web analytics (although this is becoming less and less of an issue as web single page analytics tools are popping up to solve this problem)
  • Performance: Single pages can have performance issues. Heavy page weights and media intensive sites can be slow to load.
  •  Search: Single page sites can be less efficient for finding a very specific piece of information
  • Expensive and less flexible: Scroll heavey websites require much more attention to design.
  • Producing the design is more time-intensive and takes continuous collaboration between client and designer as the page evolves.

Pros for Clicking:

  • Users have control: User “chooses their own adventure” by controlling where they go and what information they are interested in. This is only a good thing if this is in line with the business strategy.
  • Organization: Dividing content into separate pages helps create organized and clear delineations between information.
  • Analytics: Tracking clicks on the site is much easier.
  • Search Engine Optimization: Multiple pages will be indexed and keywords will be scanned within the context of their specific page.
  • Scalability: Able to handle enormous amounts of content and information

Cons for Clicking:

  • Decision making: User has to make a conscious decision on where they want to go next on the website
  • Commitment: Clicking is a committal action and if a user is not ready to make that jump, they may leave the site
  • Concentration: Waiting for a new page to load breaks a user’s flow of concentration
  • Speed: Clicking is slower and is at the mercy of page load
    Out-dated: It can feel dated when compared to the modern single scroll websites out there
Resources:
Why long scrolling sites have become awesome
Web design trends 2015-16: the long scroll
Infinite Scrolling: Let’s Get To The Bottom Of This

6 Ways Your Website Communicates With Your Readers

What A Bounce Rate Can Tell You About Your Users

One of the many stats that Google Analytics tells you is the percentage of people who leave your site after only visiting one page – this is known as your ‘bounce rate‘. If the bounce rate is a percentage is high, like 80 or 90%, then visitors aren’t actively exploring your site. Website owners want a low bounce rate because you want visitors to explore aspects of your website, and then contact you or complete the desired action on your site (i.e., make a purchase). So what is a good first step to take…. we believe it’s to make a really good first impression!

6 Simple Tips To Make Your Website More User-Friendly

Google did a research study in 2012 about the visual complexity of websites, and no surprise found that simpler is better. Our brains like and expect familiarity, and make a go/no-go decision about complexity in a split second. Here are six ways that your Website communicates simplicity and invites visitors to want to learn more:

  1. Design for multiple devices – Responsive design means that your site adjusts to the reader’s device – tablet, PC, or phone. If you only do one thing for your site, making sure that you have a responsive design is the most important.
  2. Simplify navigation – Use menu tabs to direct the visitor to specific interests. Sub-pages (pages within the tab) can also simplify the information visitors want. Take a look at your navigation, or better yet, ask someone who hasn’t seen your site in a while to evaluate how easy it is to find info they want.
  3. Get rid of pop-ups – Computers have pop-up blockers for a reason – they’re annoying! If you want ads on your site, place them on the edges instead.
  4. Pay attention to color (or NO color) – It’s easier to read sites that have a lot of white space. Your company may have a color scheme, but don’t over-do it. It’s all about making info easy to find and read.
  5. Get to the point — Site content must be concise and clearly present benefits. Avoid long paragraphs and break up the content with sub-heads to let the reader jump to what’s most important.
  6. Take a top-down approach – Put the most important info first, so that a reader can quickly find what they want to know, then read more. Don’t make the visitor work too hard.

Keeping your Website up-to-date is a discipline that pays off with strong first impressions. Talk with us about how we can help.