Tag: website

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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The Future of Social Media is Trust

The Future of Social Media is TrustWhen you hire someone to do work for you, you are entering in a contract of trust. You trust that the person or company that you’re hiring will do what they say they will do. And before you hired them, you did your research. You checked online reviews, you asked friends or family for a referral. (I don’t know about you, but I would only recommend someone whom I know and trust that they are reliable, and will do what they promise they will do.)

How do you build that trust if you’re just starting out?

How do you portray that trust to other people – strangers – besides your current customers? Word-of-mouth these days is not enough.

Put yourself in your potential customer’s shoes. When they need or want something and they’re not sure where to get it, they’ll Google it. If they were looking for what you have to offer, what would they enter in the search box? Your company name? Not if they’re not familiar with you. They’re probably going to enter keywords or phrases of what they’re seeking. Sometimes it’s questions, sometimes they’re trying to alleviate a problem. You have to recognize and define what those pain points are and provide basic answers on your website.

That is where a blog comes in

Your blog contains short, 250-500 word, articles with tips and advice on how your potential customer can solve their problems. Then, you have to share that blog post in the social media networks. Think of it like a syndicated news column. That’s how it gets out to the public. That’s how you get noticed. That’s how you establish credibility and trust.

Google sees those posts. Twitter posts come up in Google searches. Anything posted “Public” in Google+ gets indexed in the Google search engine.

It’s really easy for a Facebook user to “tag” your company when a friend asks for a referral – only if you have a Facebook business page and it’s set up properly. Same thing for LinkedIn and Twitter.

Videos help you show off your expertise. People see your face and see that there is a real person behind the company. You can give tips or do a “how-to” video demonstrations.

All this requires both strategic and tactical marketing plans and learning how to use the social media tools properly and effectively to help you get known as an expert in your field – a person who your target market can trust to help them.

About the Author:

Giselle Aguiar, AZ Social Media WizGiselle Aguiar, founder of AZ Social Media Wiz is a social media, inbound and content marketing strategist & trainer helping business owners learn how to leverage the power of social media marketing, increase traffic to their websites, generate leads, increase brand awareness and establish themselves as experts in their fields. She’s the official Social Media, Newsletter and Blog Manager for Greater Phoenix SCORE and Adjunct Faculty at Phoenix College. Social media training – 1-on-1 or for groups at the new AZ Social Media Training Center. http://azsocialmediawiz.com 602-738-1700. You can connect with Giselle online at LinkedIn or on Google+.

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Forward your Extra Domains to Bolster your Business

Forward your Extra Domains to Bolster your BusinessThe motivation to start your own business may hit you suddenly, like lightning. It may burn inside of you for a time before you pounce on an opportunity. One thing that all small businesses have in common starting out is that each one starts with an idea.

And, for savvy startups, each idea has a domain name.

You were smart and planned ahead when you took the first steps to build your online presence. In addition to your primary domain name — which is like the street address for your website —  you also made sure to invest in a few extras. You bought the commonly misspelled versions of your name, the geographic or non-geographic version, the slick industry-specific domain name ending, too. One way or the other you wound up with one website and five or six domains, maybe more.

So what do you do next?

Sure, simply owning these domains in some cases is insurance enough, a way to prevent other competitors from edging in on your online identity. But now those extra domains are just sitting there in your account, collecting dust. Why not make your purchases pull their weight and start paying you back? It’s time for you to set up some domain forwarding.

Domain forwarding basics

First, let’s cover the basics. Domain forwarding is a way of redirecting all traffic from one domain to another. It’s practical for a variety of uses and can be used in a variety of ways, but consider this specifically: if you have multiple domain names all pointing to your website, you have effectively expanded the size of your dragnet to grab extra traffic that might otherwise pass you by.

I can think of a few instances when I remembered someone’s domain name but not its specific domain extension. Was it .com, or did they say .org? If you only own one domain, and I go to the wrong one, you’ve just missed out on a potential customer. If you own the variant extensions to your domain and have them all forwarding to the same place, you can easily pick up those stragglers and get them back in line with the herd. Once they land correctly at your home page, your magnificently-crafted site will do the rest of the work for you in translating a viewer into a customer.

“Cool,” you might think, “but that sounds like it could be tricky to set up.” Heck no! GoDaddy and some other domain registrars make it easy (and free) to forward domains. Here’s a help article that shows you step-by-step how to make it happen. Seriously, you can do it in less than five minutes.

A few pointers

Wow, that was fast! I told you it would be easy. Before you dive into your account and start the forwarding party, here are a few tips:

  • In this kind of situation, a “301 redirect” is recommended.
  • Forwarding with Masking is a handy thing, but if you are directing youractualbusinessname.net to youractualbusinessname.com, it is not necessary.

With just a few shakes of a mouse, you have expanded your online presence and cast a larger net out into the world that will direct more people to help you share your passion. With the expanded amount online real estate being funneled to your live website, your traffic will increase organically and you will be able to reap the benefits of all those extra domains.

About the Author

Eirk WongErik Wong is a small business/tech consultant for GoDaddy and a freelance pop-culture writer. He has written a regular column for a current events blog, and his commentary has been featured on realclearpolitics.com. Connect with Erik 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.

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Don’t be Invisible: Build an Online Presence for your Business

by Matthew Tondreau, GoDaddy

Build an online presence Let’s face it, the logistics of just launching a business is a daunting task, let alone tackling that juggernaut called “The Internet” to create your online presence. Yet in today’s competitive world getting out there on the Web is no longer a technological luxury — it’s a basic necessity for raising customer awareness if you’re at all serious about doing business.

Recent research shows that surprisingly, many small businesses remain AWOL when it comes to any type of presence online. But those that are taking advantage of this essential marketing tool experience significant gains — especially the businesses who follow a strategy like I mention below to maximize those benefits.

So whether it’s an e-commerce website (any site that sells things) or an online business card (informational site), you’ll want to present a virtual version of your company with an elegant site that’s easy to find, simple to use, conveys your message clearly and, most importantly, provides a way for the customer to contact you and offer feedback.

OK, I can hear you now, “Sure Matt, that’s easy for you to say. I know I need a website that’s awesome, but I can’t afford a fancy web designer and I have no idea how to build a site or what to do with it if I did.” Just chillax. There are numerous site builders out there for the “tech challenged” so you no longer have to be a computer science major to get your digital showroom up and running.

Do your research before choosing someone to build your site

Website buildersA quick Google search will give you many results for site builders. Be weary of ones that are free, or claim to be. The phrase, “You get what you pay for,” applies here. This is your first impression to potentially millions of customers. Why would you expect to get what you need for free?

That being said, when you’re researching your potential site builders there are two major things to consider:

  1. You need to be able to connect your domain name to your site with either nameservers or an IP address. Just a redirect will not help you in your SEO journey.
  1. Try to get a site builder that will help you optimize your site. You are the expert at what you do; so let an SEO wizard help you get the correct verbiage on your site to help the search engines read your content better and ultimately rank you higher.

Frankly, for my money, I think building a site yourself gives you multiple advantages. Normally, you have templates that you can switch out so a site revamp is just a few clicks away. It also gives you complete control over your site and its message. Plus, you don’t have to pay for additional updates and your updates happen when you want them done, because you’re the one doing them.

And not to mention that creating your own site will free up more money for the day-to-day operations of your business.

Build it and they will come — not!

Now you can sit back and watch the customers clicking away as their orders for your product or service come flooding in, right?

Unh-uh, think again. This is where most people get stuck in their online business. They only think about the website itself and not how to market it. When I speak to business owners they are shocked, shocked to find out that a successful website with a great organic ranking is like any successful relationship — it takes a lot of time and attention.

“Your website isn’t a Ronco rotisserie; you can’t just “set it and forget it.”

You have to constantly work at marketing your site to get it in front of the right viewers — your potential customers. But most business owners don’t have the time to update their site continuously with unique, eye-catching content. What are you to do? I have two basic tips:

Internet marketing treeFirst, to save some time, link your business site to social media sites. Namely, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. You don’t have to do them all, but you should sign up for at least one. There are so many ways for content to get reposted on these sites, which will connect you to a broader audience. You can’t afford not to be on them.

Look for tools that help spread your business information across the web and put your information in multiple places simultaneously. This includes consumer-sourced review sites like Yelp, search and discovery apps like Foursquare, and places that do both like Google Maps. This way, while you’re developing your organic ranking you can be assured that potential customers can find your site in multiple locations. So instead of just trying to bring the Internet to your single site with optimization, you can double dip and get your business information set up on multiple, reputable sites that are designed to give the consumer results closest and best suited to them.

Following these fundamental principles of opening for business online ensures that your website will not only have the legs to stand up, but will also stand out on the Internet.

About the Author:

Matthew TondreauA small business consultant for GoDaddy, Mat holds a degree in broadcast journalism and has worked as a broadcast editor and photographer. In addition to his work at GoDaddy, Matt owns his own consultancy business, through which he’s helped others get their dreams online.

 

 

 

 

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Don’t Design like it’s 1999 – 4 Website Design Choices that make Viewers Cringe

By Erik Wong, GoDaddy

4 website design choices that make viewers cringeWebsites are like snowflakes: no two are ever quite the same. They’re often a reflection of the designer’s creativity, the utility of the site itself, or an example of a current trend in design communities. If you’re a small business looking to make an impression with your customer base online, it’d be in your best interest to pay attention to those design factors to ensure that said impression be a damn fine one.

You see, as varied as our preferences are, there are a handful of design choices many people find almost universally poor in taste. As your partner in your online presence, GoDaddy does not want you to be “That Guy” — you know, the one with the outdated or obnoxious website packed with blinking headlines, rainbow hues, bedazzled backgrounds and cluttered copy.

So when designing your site, here are four major content mistakes to avoid at all costs:

Flashy or color changing text  

Yes, it's attention-getting, but really?

Hang on, my satellite phone is ringing … 1999 called and it wants its site designs back. But seriously, while still useful for things like Craigslist ads, flashing or color-changing text is one of the most obnoxious and stubborn holdovers to web designs from the past. A well-designed site with good content doesn’t need to rely on gimmicks to draw your attention to key areas.

Like the old adage goes, saying the wrong thing louder doesn’t make it right.

Hard to find or out-of-place information

Don’t hide menus or button in the clutter of your pages, and be sure to include all relevant information in plain sight, including prices, menus, service areas, and so on. If you run a physical business, display your hours and location(s) clearly in an obvious place on your site. You would think this goes without saying, but you’d be surprised how many sites overlook this kind of stuff.

Poorly-created videos

Having videos on your site is a terrific idea. It keeps your customers engaged and gives you dynamic content to break up monotony. We know you aren’t Michael Bay, though, and we forgive you for that. Your video doesn’t have to be extravagant and it shouldn’t even cost you anything to create. While I’ve covered things to avoid when making a video for your site already, I feel it’s important to touch on just a few of the major no-no’s before the camera rolls:

  • Don’t wing it, have a script and a controlled environment.
  • Use a tripod or stand to keep the camera stable to prevent the shaky-cam look.
  • Speak clearly and concisely; avoid muttering, heavy breathing, and filler words (“Umm,” “like,” and “you know”).

And if you do have videos or audio on your site, DO NOT set it to auto play once the page loads. I may be an extreme example, but the last time I went to a website that had an auto play video, I threw my speakers in the garbage out of spite. Now I can’t hear anything…

Busy, busy backgrounds!

A common misconception about website backgrounds is that they’re just another place to display information or set the stage for your site. The reality is video, .gif, or slideshow backgrounds only distract from the actual content on the page. Think of it like the walls of your house. You don’t need LIVING ROOM painted in big red letters to tell your guests the room they’re in. The sofa, TV and coffee table convey that information just as well.

You want your background, like the walls of your house, to accent the content of the site and frame the major areas of information, not to distract from them

While this is by no means a comprehensive list, as long as we have covered the basic Do’s and Don’t Evers you should have a solid foundation to build a truly kick-ass website that you can be proud of. If you have any friends who still follow the old design tropes, show them your modern makeover or recommend a visit to GoDaddy for help. Remember: friends don’t let friends design obliviously.

About the Author

Eirk WongErik Wong is a small business/tech consultant for GoDaddy and a freelance pop-culture writer. He has written a regular column for a current events blog, and his commentary has been featured on realclearpolitics.com. Connect with Erik 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.

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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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