How to Start Successfully Building Your Brand Online

How to Start Successfully Building Your Brand Online

If you want to build your brand online, the first thing you should know is it will probably be easier than you could imagine.

Do not let the thought of putting yourself and your business out there scare you. Instead, think of it as an open invitation to show everyone what YOU have to offer, and what sets YOUR COMPANY apart from all others.

There are several suggestions for you to consider as you are getting ready to take the plunge. But I promise, these are not scary and you might just have too much fun with it – or maybe that’s just me!

The Web is not Anonymous

For many people, this is one of the most important points to consider. Nearly anything that you post on the web is visible to others. Just as the web has continued to grow and expand – thanks in large part to social media – so has the number of people who can access your information, at any time.

Whether it is pictures, messages, videos, or a post, you need to remember that any information you provide is no longer private; even if you delete it…nothing is every really deleted from the internet.

However, you should not let this thought scare you. If you are building your brand online, you will want – and need – to let people know who you and your company are, and why you matter. I just always tell my clients, that if you don’t want the world to see something, then don’t share it on the internet.

It’s a golden rule to live by in your personal life and business.

Design is Important

Hey, a web designer telling you design is important? Well, duh!

The last thing customers want to see is a company that tries to build itself up without having a good design to do so.

Just think — would you want to browse a website that is disorganized and difficult to navigate?

Or how about a website that doesn’t work on your phone or tablet?

I hate going to a website and not being able to find a simple way to contact the company. That happens a lot more times than you would think.

Once your design is made public, you should expect to have a large number of people viewing it, within a relatively short period of time.

When you (or your web designer) are putting your design together, remember that it should reflect what you want your brand image to say about your company. Not just look good, but does it comfy the feeling and vibe your company has.

Hiring a professional may not be necessary when designing your website, as there are a number of resources available, some of which are free. Keep in mind that using those resources can prove to be difficult and other people can use them too. So how authentic and original are you being when Sally Shoe’s and Joe’s Coffee is using the same website design.

Watch What Others are Doing

No, we don’t mean copy what they are doing. That wouldn’t be cool.

Keep your company relevant and interesting by staying on top of the latest news, trends, or whatever else is most applicable to the type of work that you do. Subscribe to interesting twitter feeds, or set up a Google Alert that allows you to stay on top of the latest news and events in your industry.

Keeping your company interesting and fresh is one of the best ways to build your online brand. If you have the latest news, products, or media, why would your customers go anywhere else? Make this information accessible and visible, so that your customers can see these latest bits as well.

Make your Online Name Memorable

This is a rather simple tip, but it goes a long way. If you are setting up a website for Sally’s Shoes, for example, you will want to incorporate the company name into the URL. It is much easier for customers to find and remember a web address like http://www.sallysshoes.com then it would be to remember Sally’s Shoes website is http://www.comfyhipeverydayshoes.com unless of course you sell comfy hip everyday shoes and it makes sense.

Make sure it makes sense for what you are doing.

Get Started Today

The above suggestions are just the start of building a successful brand online. But you have to start somewhere. Today is the day. There’s no reason to put it off any longer because then it just becomes bigger than it needs to be. Start now!

4 Tips for Freshening Up a Dated Website

4 Tips for Freshening Up a Dated Website

Ah, New Year. Cleaning and freshening up is part of life, so why not clean up your outdated website while you are at it?

For many customers and potential customers, there is no bigger turn off than an outdated website. Whether it is a lack of fresh content, stale photos and videos, or a combination of the two, an outdated website can be more harmful than you think – especially if you are trying to attract new customers.

If you are guilty of letting your website slide while you focus on other aspects of your business, you are not alone (Hi, have we met?); however, now is the time to focus on your website! Get rid of any dated materials and give your website a fresh look with new content, links, media, and whatever else it might take to uphold your professional image. You do not have to completely overhaul your website to do this; just a few seemingly minor changes can be very effective.

Here are some tips for making your website shine again:

  1. Get rid of dated content. If you have a calendar, or an upcoming events and news page, there is a good chance that there is outdated material somewhere on your website. Start by updating your calendar, posting upcoming events, and sharing the latest company news, while taking down any information that is no longer relevant. By keeping outdated information on your website, for long stretches of time, visitors may begin to think that you are neglecting your own website or that you are no longer in business. EEK!
  2. Update your copyright date. This small symbol may not seem like it is worth updating, but visitors will notice when it is outdated. It is a simple fix that can be done in a matter of minutes, and it will keep the website looking fresh.
  3. Fix any broken links. For many visitors, there are not a lot of things more frustrating than going to a website with broken links. One broken link might not be a killer, but several broken links and your visitors are going to get the wrong impression, fast. Take a few minutes to browse through every link on your website, updating or removing any broken ones in the process, and adding newer, more relevant links if necessary.
  4. Update your profile page. Your personal bio or company’s “About Us” page is one of the first places visitors will go to, especially if they are searching for more information about you or your company. As your business continues to evolve and expand, so should your “About Us” page. Let visitors know about any recent company changes, and any significant upcoming events or opportunities. A good idea is to turn your web page into a story that is full of details – make sure those details will entice readers from beginning to end.

For many of us, updating our website can seem like a grand project; however, these small steps are things you can do to keep your website looking fresh within a matter of minutes. Who doesn’t have time for that?

BONUS TIP! Add new testimonials. Fresh and updated testimonials are a super quick way to add new content to your site that is relevant to new potential customers. They’ll be able to see the great work you are still doing.

12 Holiday Gift Ideas for Web Designers

12 Holiday Gift Ideas for Web Designers

Thinking about what to get that web designer in your life? We’ve rounded up 12 fun gift ideas that we would not mind find under the tree on Christmas morning.

Let’s get our geek on, shall we?

1. 2014 Typodarium Calendar

365 Days of unique and interesting fonts…YES PLEASE! Every page has a new typeface to fawn over.

Price: $22

I’m hoping Santa brings me one of these!

2. Geek Pillow

This adorable pillow is 12×12 and made from fleece.  Available from Craftsquatch on etsy. They also have pillows for Adobe Illustrator as well as a ton of social media ones. So cute!

Price: $18

3. Letterpress Cookie Cutter

Cookies? Letterpress?  YES!  How fun are these? This is a complete set of 26 letters, plus ampersand (sweeeet!) and exclamation point.

Price: $15.00

4. 3D Helvetica Alphabet

Check out this neat 3D alphabet cut out of poplar wood. Of course, the stoic Helvetica typeface makes this piece very classy and refined.

Price: $40

5. Photoshop Magnet Set

This is a set of 13 magnets that mimic the menus and toolbars in Photoshop. Great to hang photos on the fridge or magnet board. I love that they’ve included the dreaded  “spinning beach ball of death”. 

Price: 12.90

6. Color Wheel Print

I would definitely not mind seeing this wrapped under the tree.  This is a beautiful and rich color wheel print that is printed on acid-free Hahnemuhle German Etching paper. The print size is 15.5″x21″ and is perfect for the office or studio.

Price: $55

7. Livescribe 4 GB Sky Wi-Fi Smartpen

A digital pen that memorizes what you write, sketch, draw and doodle, and then syncs them to Evernote (which by the way, we LOVE! It’s basically an online notebook that goes with you everywhere.) And with wi-fi connectivity, you can sync to the cloud whenever. I

Price: $199.95

I also found it on Amazon (I’m a prime member) where it’s only $176.35. *adds to wishlist*

8. Design Tote

Yeah. Need we say more?

Price: $17.00

BONUS!

9. Brand Memory Game

This one is two games in one.  Just like the old game we played as kids, match two like cards by flexing your memory muscle…or something like that.  Plus, also try to figure out what brand is represented on the card, without their iconic brand symbol.

Price: $20.00

10. Net Magazine Subscription

Net magazine is one of the most popular web designer publications. It’s chock full of designy and geeky bits that any web designer will love. Available in both digital and print.

Price: £54.49 print/£44.99 digital for a year

11. Responsive Design Sketchbook

Perhaps not the most exciting gift to the average person, but when you’re a web designer and trying to plan out your next responsive website, there’s nothing like putting pencil to paper.

Price: $12.95

12. .PSD Necklace


I don’t know if I could love this one anymore. This fashionably geek pendant is made of white oak and has a beautiful natural wood finish. The .psd is the default file extension of Adobe Photoshop, which is the program web designers can be found in almost 24 hours a day. Chic and simple.

Price: $24


Is there something you’ve seen out there that would be perfect for our list?  Let us know in the comments — and also so that I can add them to my wishlist smile

Fuzzy Pawz Rescue

Fuzzy Pawz Rescue

We are so excited to show you the new Fuzzy Pawz Rescue website.  Animal rescue is something we at Emtwo HQ are really passionate about. We love our animals like they are our kids (to the dismay of many I’m sure) and we think the people who work tirelessly day after day to rescue and save homeless pets are pretty damn special. So to work with such an amazing group like Fuzzy Pawz has been amazing and fun!  Who doesn’t want to look at the most adorable kittens and puppies all day?

Before

  • No content management system – flat html files painlessly needed to be updated one by one
  • Table Layout with inline styles made updating difficult and inconsistent
  • No heirarchy of content made the site feel clunky and difficult to navigate
  • No Search Engine data = Limited exposure = Sad Animals
  • iframes within iframes within tables
  • No clear calls to action – Where do people go? What should they do? Who knows!

Thankfully we were able to clear all of those before issues up with a brand new site with a fresh sunny new site.

After

  • WordPress manages all site content, delivering up-to-the-moment information
  • HTML/CSS layout which plays nicely with google, bing, and yahoo
  • Clear heirarchy of content with robust structure
  • Search Friendly and Optimized where the client can update and manage search engine content on a per page basis
  • Iframes are gone, except for the Available Pets which is pulled in via a third party app that manages all animals
  • Clear and direct calls to action on every page. Adopt, Donate, Foster.
  • Modern design that is fun, warm and approachable; showcasing Fuzzy Pawz Rescue as a legitimate 501(3)c non-profit focused on saving dogs and cats.
  • Full integrated site forms for contact, adoption application, and foster application – all managed and updated by the client in WordPress

We just want to thank Fuzzy Pawz Rescue for working with us and for saving the lives of so many innocent animals. You guys rock and we are so thankful for the work you do!

Infographic:  Why typography in design is important

Infographic:  Why typography in design is important

It’s simply no secret that I have an obsession or better yet, a passion for typography.  I could search for days to find “just the right type face” for a project.  I’m not sure if that’s a blessing or a burden. 

I just came across a great and well thought out infographic—“A Quick and Comprehensive Type Guide” by Noodlor. 

Not only does it explain the differences with type faces and the layout of type in design, but where this just shines, and makes me giddy…is the section called “What it’s saying”, which covers what message the font conveys; Condensed Sans-Serif = Authority, while Rounded = User Friendly.  I’m in love.

A Quick and Comprehensive Type Guide
[view full size]

Zukes is Delicious, in every way

Zukes is Delicious, in every way

I browse and surf around the internets a lot (big surprise, right?).  And sometimes I find a site that is just perfect. I love the concept, I love the product, I love the feel.  Every single thing just exudes freshness and all around deliciousness.

Enter: Zukes.  They offer all natural treats for your furry kids.  Being a mom to 5 furry kids, I’m really into feeding them food that is good for them – no additives, no by-products, no fillers.  Well Zukes measures up not only in all those areas but our kids flip over their treats

image

I also love their site; from the logo to the color scheme to the typography. They got it right.

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