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Color theory 101 for website design 28 Sep

Color Theory 101 for Website Design

“I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way — things I had no words for.” – Georgia O’Keeffe

What artist Georgia O’Keeffe found in the power of color is something we still find true in website design today. Think about when you scroll through your Facebook feed — what stands out to you the most? Chances are it’s the visuals like photographs and infographics that grab your gaze with their striking hues.

If you’re designing a website for your business, you’ll need to know the basics of choosing a visually appealing color palette.

Getting down to the basics

To help you use color scheme to your advantage with your own website design, we’re going to go over the basics of color theory:

Primary colors

You probably have some vague memory of learning the primary colors as a kid (red, yellow and blue). They’re the building blocks of color theory, and you can mix them together to form all of the other colors on the color wheel.

Secondary colors

Secondary colors are those created by mixing primary colors. The secondary colors are green (yellow+blue), violet (blue+red) and orange (yellow+red).

Tertiary colors

Next up are tertiary colors, which are created when you combine a secondary color and a primary color (like teal, or blue-green).

Color wheel to help select website design colors. Fleshing out your color palette

If you’ve taken a trip down the paint aisle at your local Home Depot, you know there are a LOT more hues than the 12 present on the color wheel. How do we create all of those other colors then? By adding black, white or gray to any of the main hues!

Let’s take a quick look at a few more definitions so this makes sense:

  • Hue: a synonym for the word “color”
  • Shade: a term for adding black to a hue (i.e. dark red is a shade of red)
  • Tint: a term for adding white to a color (i.e. pink is a tint of the color red)
  • Tone/saturation: a hue you create when adding gray to a color

Sticking with the root

Starting to feel like you’re back in school and in a vocabulary lesson? Stick with me, because understanding the basics above means you’ll understand why certain colors look great together, and why you want to avoid other combinations.

Hubspot uses Twitter’s main color scheme as an example:

“Let’s use the blue from the logo, the lighter blue, as our reference point. That’s our hue. That’s ‘Twitter blue.’ The darker blue is simply a shade of that Twitter blue, yet it has a higher saturation, making it a bit more vivid and eye-catching (which makes a whole lot of sense considering Twitter is using that blue to draw attention to their primary CTA: ‘Tweet’).”

Hubspot's Twitter monochromatic color scheme example

The color scheme Twitter uses is “monochromatic,” because the root color is blue, and the shade, tint and saturation are only variations of that hue.

Pro tip: Monochromatic colors look great together!

A color scheme that pops

If you don’t want to go with a monochromatic color scheme, how do you select colors that are going to look good together? Hues that sit directly across from each other on the color wheel are a fantastic option, and they create great contrast.

Other good color combinations are those that are directly next to each other on the color wheel, called “analogous colors.” You can also opt for colors spaced evenly around the color wheel, referred to as “triadic colors.”

Next time you’re creating a graph, chart or updating your web design, you’ll be able to pull together coordinating colors from around the color wheel. Now you can select hues like a pro and your visuals will capture everyone’s attention!

About the Author:

Kate HarveyWith an extensive background in online marketing, Kate Harvey helps business owners be more successful in the world of SEO and SEM as a Search Marketing Specialist and Project Lead at GoDaddy.



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Make the Right Impression on Social Media with your Business Profile Pic

By Kate Harvey, GoDaddy

Make the right impression on social media with your business profile picYes, a few not-to-be-named-here celebs seem to have created successful brands and products around pouty selfies on their social media pages. That’s not, however, a smart strategy for the vast majority of businesses. The profile image on your business’s social media platforms matters — it’s all about creating just the right impression.

Besides when they first liked your Facebook (or LinkedIn, etc.) business page, most users don’t routinely return to your actual business page. We simply wait for your posts to show up in our news feed. The company’s profile pic shows next to the company name in the news feed or accompanying tweets, etc. Therefore, your business profile pic is what social media users see and engage with. It’s important to make it count!

Business profile pic do’s

Do use your logo. Business owners have told me they think using their logo for their business profile photo is “boring.” Au contraire! Having your logo appear next to your company name for your social media posts helps maintain consistent branding. Don’t have a logo? Use an image that is very relevant to your business such as the product you sell. The sunset photo from your Caribbean vacation is gorgeous but it isn’t relevant to your electrician services. Unless the photo of your office building is incredibly unique, it isn’t ideal for your profile pic.

Do follow sizing guidelines for each social platform. Attempting a one-size-fits-all approach can lead to your image being cropped in odd ways. Using the same profile pic across all platforms is a great idea; you just want to make sure the image for each platform is the specific size required by the site. Here’s a great resource to make sizing easier.

Do keep it clear and crisp. The last thing you want is a blurry business profile photo. Make sure the image you select is high-quality for a clear result.

Business profile pic don’ts

Don’t use a photo of yourself — unless you represent the brand (i.e. a fitness trainer or real estate agent). If this is the case for your business, use a professional photo (not a selfie!).

Don’t use a cartoon or avatar. The exception is if you have a cartoon or avatar in your logo and it is an essential part of your brand.

Don’t use text. Think about how small a profile pic shows up next to tweets, Facebook news feeds, etc. It’s next to impossible to read text in that tiny format so you’ll want to stick with a clear image.

Don’t change your business profile pic on a regular basis. A consistent profile photo is a part of consistent branding. Changing the profile pic frequently can mean losing valuable impressions because social media users aren’t able to instantly recognize your business profile pic (not an issue if you’re using your logo).

Now, go back and review the profile pic you’re using on your business social media profiles. Whether you are guilty of any of the business profile pic don’ts or you want to incorporate more of the do’s, updating from a bad (or mediocre) business profile pic to a good one is a great way to boost your business’s social media visibility!

Kate HarveyAbout the Author:

With an extensive background in online marketing, Kate Harvey helps business owners be more successful in the world of SEO and SEM as a Search Marketing Specialist and Project Lead at GoDaddy.



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Video: The Mobile Marketing Mindset

At Greater Phoenix SCORE’s 2015 Small Business Symposium on March 31, 2015, GoDaddy‘s Matt Greenstein talks about the Mobile Marketing Mindset.

Based on the data, the question is no longer if you need a mobile marketing strategy, it’s how to best implement one.

Watch the video:

On April 21, 2015 Google changed their search engine algorithm so if you’re site is not mobile responsive, it will be demoted.

When thinking about your mobile website…

  1. Keep your goals in mind – give your user a delightful experience and convert them to a customer. Your customer’s goals is to find what their looking for quickly.
  2. Responsive – it looks good and works properly no matter what device is used – a phone or tablet
  3. Engagement – Calls-to-Action
  4. Make it easy to navigate – no pop-ups!
  5. Don’t make it more difficult on yourself more that it has to be.
  6. Social engagement – the more the better!
  7. Keep it very simple
  8. Maps – local search
  9. Email – great to drive business of new and existing customers – it’s the new cold calling!

 Over 50% of the searches done on mobile devices have the intent of finding a product or services vs only 17% on desktop.

Be forward thinking when it comes to your mobile plan!

It’s not just about doing one thing!

Everything works together – your website, mobile and social media!

For more information visit GoDaddy’s website.

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5 Tips for Choosing a Dependable Website Partner

5 Tips for Choosing a Dependable Website PartnerLet’s face it. Business relationships sometimes end unexpectedly. And when that relationship is with your website partner, you might be left with an unfinished, unattended or hijacked site.

What’s a small business owner to do?

Choose your host

For starters, make sure your developer approves of you being involved in choosing a dependable hosting provider. Why not just host wherever your developer chooses? As a business owner, you need assurance that all website files will be safe and accessible when the relationship with the web developer ends. If the only party with access to those files is suddenly no longer your partner, you might find yourself locked out.

Own your domain

Next, insist on being the legal registrant of your website’s domain name. Just as you wouldn’t let your accountant own your bank account, your web developer shouldn’t own your website address. If a dispute arises and you are not listed as the legal registrant, you might be in for a struggle. Unless you’re the owner you won’t be able to renew your domain or protect it from hijacking. If a potential website partner is reluctant to let you register your domain, it might be time to look elsewhere.

Set expectations

In addition, set clear expectations up front—from start to finish. You can do this by asking targeted questions:

  • What work will be done?
  • When will it be done?
  • Is Search Engine Optimization included?
  • Who will have access to make updates, and how often will updates be required?
  • Will there be extra charges for maintenance?
  • Who will own copyright?
  • Will copywriting or editing be provided, and if so, how much will those services cost?
  • Will images or graphic design be included? If not, what is the process for obtaining and sharing suitable photos?
  • What’s the exit strategy, should either partner decide to move in a new direction?
  •  Will your designer need hosting or a server to do a custom build or use a popular content management system such as WordPress or Website Builder?

5 Tips for Choosing a Dependable Website PartnerWhy does it matter? If you don’t have a clear direction, you won’t be able to tell if you are on track. It’s also important to know if there are application passwords you need to record and whether the option you’ve chosen together allows you to make updates on your own or whether it will require a professional.

Stay involved

Once your website has been launched, let your website partner know you plan to remain actively involved. Then follow through. Visit it often to make sure it remains online. Just because no one has intentionally made changes to the site does not guarantee nothing has changed. Not being aware of issues can be disastrous if backups have become stale or unavailable by the time someone notices a problem.

Often, something as simple as an automatic update to core WordPress, Joomla! or Drupal files or an update that has been missed can cause all sorts of issues. Some errors have easy fixes. Others require the eye of a professional. Make sure you know in advance if your developer is qualified—and willing—to handle such things as they occur.

Maintain backups

Finally, before a single page is created, insist on full website backups. Will they keep them current? How will they keep them safe? Will they be within your reach? A backup is of no use to you if you cannot deploy it if your website goes down or has issues and your partner is suddenly unavailable. Even if you and your website partner’s relationship remains intact, you never know when your site might be hacked or some other unexpected disaster might arise. If your developer declines to maintain backups, it’s time to find someone who will.

In the end, only you can decide who is best-suited to build and maintain your website. Make sure it is a mutually beneficial arrangement and always be ready to adapt if necessary.

Your website visitors will thank you.

By RuthAnn Hogue, GoDaddy

RuthAnn Hogue, GoDaddyAbout the Author

Award-winning print journalist and traditionally published nonfiction author RuthAnn Hogue now spends her work days immersed in technology. When she’s not helping people with their hosting as the Hosting Support Agent for GoDaddy, RuthAnn volunteers her time as Marketing Director for Rag Collection. She also spoils four energetic Jack Russell terriers.



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10 Things Every Business Website Needs

By Andrea Rowland, GoDaddy

10 Things Every Business Website NeedsLet’s say you own a bakery and you’ve got website for your small business. To you, it might be most important to showcase your amazing triple chocolate cupcakes. After all, you worked hard to make them and stage them just so for a recent photo shoot. Why not fill your website’s home page with enough photos of chocolate cupcakes to satisfy a chocoholic’s craving just by looking at your site?

Your customers, on the other hand, might just want your phone number — which is now buried beneath all those delicious images.

To be successful online, your small business website must have these 10 things:

  1. A great domain name. You need a domain name that shows who you are and what you do at a glance. It’s got to be easy to remember and type into a browser. With the availability of hundreds of new domain extensions, it’s never been easier to get just the right domain. To learn more, check out some strategies for registering a domain.
  2. Your phone number. It should be highly visible on your front page and, if it’s a primary mode of contact for your business, you also should include it on interior web pages. If you don’t offer phone consultation or support, make sure people know how to reach you.
  3. Your address. If you have a physical address, list it right next to your phone number on the home page.
  4. Your hours of operation. Customers want to know when you’re open (if you have a brick-and-mortar store), so make sure you make it simple for them to find out by including your operating hours on your home page.
  5. An email address.  Sometimes, people don’t want to pick up the phone. Make sure they can reach you via email. Using a free email address that doesn’t include your domain name? Perhaps you should reconsider.
  6. What you do. If you’re a bakery, this can be incredibly simple. If you work in a niche legal market, spell it out for visitors because if someone’s not sure, they could take their business elsewhere. Include a succinct description of what you do on your home page and more in-depth information on your products and services page.
  7. Who you are. People connect with people — that’s why social media is so popular (more on that to follow). Make sure your website says something about the people behind the website, preferably on a dedicated About Us page.
  8. Clear navigation. If visitors to your website can’t easily move from one page to another, they aren’t likely to stick around for long. Read more about navigation for your website here.
  9. Easy-to-read content. While it might seem like swapping links with other sites or creating a lot of advertising space is a good idea, if it makes your website hard to read or navigate, you’re working against yourself. You don’t need to be a professional writer to create strong website copy, but you should do a bit of planning in advance.
  10. Compelling visuals. Well-executed (i.e. sharp and well-lit) photos and videos can help turn browsers into buyers. They play an important role in telling your business’s story, and make a website more enjoyable to view. You can even create them yourself with your smartphone.

Just like owning a small business, creating and maintaining a successful website is an ongoing process of love and labor. But if you nail these 10 content basics, you’ll be well on your way to a website that’s as sweet as the icing on those triple chocolate cupcakes.

About the Author:

Andrea RowlandA former small business owner and newspaper journalist, and a published nonfiction author, Andrea Rowland helps craft compelling communications for today’s go-getters through her work as a copy editor at GoDaddy. Connect with Andrea on Google+. The world’s largest domain name registrar and Web hosting provider, GoDaddy gives small business owners the tools to name their idea, build a beautiful online presence, attract customers and manage their business. To get more tips for your small business—including articles, videos and webinars—check out the GoDaddy Training Hub.

From Lead Generation to Lead Capturing – the Role of the Website

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You don’t need a Magic Wand to Hire an Amazing Webmaster

Cinderella and Prince Charming
Cinderella and Prince Charming at Disneyland Hotel’s Founder’s Club

By Nancy King, Godaddy

Do you ever wonder what happens in fairy tales AFTER the unlikely hero sweeps the awkward heroine off her feet? How do they make their lives together actually work when one of them is a mermaid and the other makes his living as a fisherman? Do they go into the family business, or do they start a brand-new business of their own? In my sequel, they branch out on their own and start an online business. I’d recommend they hire a webmaster. Why? Maybe it’s because:

  • Even their fairy godmother can’t find them online
  • They think CSS stands for Cinderella Sells Shoes
  • When their website went down, they called 9-1-1

But what can an amazing webmaster do for you? You’re definitely more on the ball than our fairy tale heroes, but working with someone who specializes in websites can make an enormous difference to your site, and therefore your business. A webmaster can:

  • Keep your site looking current – nobody likes navigating a site built in 1997.
  • Promote your site and your business – by using the correct tools to get you on the Internet’s Main Street.
  • Drive traffic – by knowing how to create the right “maps,” and by finding and identifying roadblocks along the way.
  • Protect you – they can keep on eye on your site and alert you if they see any unsavory characters hanging around.

Finding the right webmaster is an important decision to make, and one that is not to be made lightly. It is far too easy to hire someone without asking the right questions and to end up having them disappear in a puff of smoke like a fairy tale villain. In “Hiring a Website Designer? Consider these basics,” GoDaddy’s Andrea Rowland recommends that small business owners ask a series of starter questions that address site-related issues ranging from billing to naming rights. She says:

“It’s important for you to have the legal rights to your domain name, so if you decide to change designers down the road, you won’t have to worry about who’s got control of your online name.”

It is very easy to see the reasoning behind a webmaster’s proposal that they take care of everything – it’s one less thing to worry about. But your domain is your intellectual property and you need to treat it the same as your registered business name. Nobody else owns your business name, and they shouldn’t own your domain name.

You’ve purchased your website address, you know what questions to ask, but where do you go to find a reliable webmaster? Most of don’t us have a magic wand, but we do have the Internet. There are a handful of great marketplaces for creative types like website designers. In addition to asking people you know for referrals, start there. You’ll have an opportunity to not only contact serious designers, but you’ll also get to see their portfolios online before you make a final decision.

Every story needs a happy ending, and nothing is better than a beautiful site with a great Web presence!

About the Author:

Nancy King, GodaddyAs a member of GoDaddy’s Professional Development team, Nancy King trains people to help other people become successful small business owners. She works with computers every day and is never more than inches from an electronic device capable of accessing the Internet. The world’s largest domain name registrar and Web hosting provider, GoDaddy gives small business owners the tools to name their idea, build a beautiful online presence, attract customers and manage their business. To get more tips for your small business—including articles, videos and webinars—check out the GoDaddy Training Hub.  Connect with Nancy on Google+.

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