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7 Ways to Help Your Web Designer (to Help You Back)


As a business owner or executive, there is probably a lot you want from your web design team. You need the best of their artistic instincts, responsiveness when you have questions, edits, or revisions, and technical expertise when it comes to things like search engine optimization and social media marketing (to name just a few items).

However, your web design partner needs some things from you, as well. And, the better you are at giving them what they need, the easier it’s going to be for them to not only meet your expectations, but blow you away with the perfect layout and online marketing plan.

A lot of business people don’t necessarily understand this, and end up sabotaging themselves as a result. To help you avoid that, today we want to give you seven ways you can help your web designer to do their best work… and to help yourself in the process.

 

#1 Be Patient During the Discovery Phase

Often, the start of a business web design project feels like a whole lot of talking. That’s because long conversations are exactly what should happen when planning a new website.

If they are any good, your design team is going to want to know what your company is all about, where it came from, who your customers and competitors are, etc. The better understanding they have of this information, the easier it’s going to be for them to design a website and online marketing plan that matches your needs perfectly.

Some clients like to rush through this process, usually because they are excited to start seeing new design ideas. That’s understandable, but the discovery phase is the foundation upon which your website will eventually be built. Be patient, share as much information you can, and realize that you’re helping your web designer to make you more profitable with every answer or insight.

 

#2 Put the Focus on Your Business Goals

Your creative team can help you to attract new leads or customers, improve your recruiting, or even boost online sales. What they can’t do, though, is rewrite your business plan for you.

Everything about designing and promoting a website gets easier when we work with someone who understands what it is we are trying to accomplish. There are a lot of possibilities, but you should come into the process with some ideas about the bottom line targets you would like to reach. How do you want your business to affect your website? What specific and measurable goals would you like to see reached?

There are a lot of things that can go into your website and online marketing campaigns, but not all of them are right for your business. To achieve a sense of clarity and make sure you get the ROI you want from your new online presence, it’s crucial to know what you’re trying to achieve.

 

#3 Provide Prompt Feedback When You Can

One thing every web designer dreads is a period of unbroken silence from a client. This happens when we submit a site map, outline, or potential design and hear nothing in response.

There are lots of reasons clients might not respond, of course. They could need a day or two to think about things, or might be busy with other projects. That’s all normal and understandable. But, when the silence goes on for weeks, bad things happen. For one thing, we might begin to wonder whether you actually like the work we’re doing. More importantly, we can lose focus and momentum on your project, meaning the entire job will take longer to finish.

You don’t have to get back to your web designer immediately, especially if they’re asking for a decision or opinion. However, by being prompt with your feedback, you help them to stay focused on your project and do their best creative work.

 

#4 Try to Be Specific With Requests

If failing to get any feedback is a huge challenge, then getting feedback you don’t understand is an even bigger one. That’s exactly what happens, though, when clients don’t express themselves in ways that are straightforward.

When possible, tell your web designer that you prefer something “lighter” rather than saying you want “more energy.” Show them the design you really like, instead of asking for a new layout. See if you can be specific when talking about elements like fonts, colors, and spacing.

Being clear when you communicate with your design team makes everything more efficient, even if it’s just to say that you don’t like what you are seeing. The more specifics you can point to, the less chance there is you’ll find the next design idea to be disappointing, too.

 

#5 Give Your Web Designer Time to Work

Let’s begin this point by admitting that it isn’t fair to suggest clients should respond promptly while web designers need time to pull out their creative best. Still, it’s a fact that artists in any field can get tired, sick, or overwhelmed. When that happens, you’re better off waiting a little bit longer than you are rushing the work.

Sometimes, a new client will begin “checking in” weeks before their initial design is due. When that happens, we have to love their enthusiasm, but also try to slow them down. We’ve been around long enough to know that the goal isn’t to produce a design as quickly as possible, but to come up with something that they’re going to love (and that will help their business).

When you rush your web designer too much, there is a chance you’ll get something that’s not quite as good as it could have been. As long as they’re keeping within agreed upon deadlines, give your creative team the space they need to give you their best.

 

#6 Give Your Web Designer Great Content to Work With

The design and layout of your business website are important, but even the most talented artistic minds can’t help you if your content (that is, the images and writing you provide) isn’t up to par.

It’s important for you to know that and act accordingly. If you plan on generating your own content, and supplying things like images yourself, then it’s best to get started early in the web design process, so you aren’t rushing to complete them later. Alternatively, if you want your web designer to have content generated for you, then make that decision from the outset and give them some direction to work with.

Ultimately, content on your website will attract search engine visits and persuade potential customers to buy from you. Give your web design team great ingredients to work with and they’ll turn them into something perfect for your business.

 

#7 Don’t Disappear After Your Website Goes Live

We often caution business owners about hiring a web designers who seem to disappear into thin air once a site goes live. You want a creative partner who will be around to offer continuing support, web analytics reviews, website audits, and content updates. In other words, ongoing service and online marketing are important to your success.

Sometimes, though, things happen the other way around. Clients get their websites launched and then disappear completely. This is difficult for us for couple of reasons. First, we miss out on the chance to see how their business is growing and expanding, which is the most rewarding part of the process. And second, we can’t help them stay up on the latest trends and best practices, which means they don’t get the full value from their website over time.

If you choose a quality web design team, consider them to be your marketing partners going forward. If you disappear, they can’t help you achieve the results you’re looking for.

 

Want a Web Designer Who Can Help You Grow Your Business?

If you put these seven pieces of advice together, they all amount to one simple philosophy: that web designers need to work together with their clients to not only build the perfect site, but to create a winning formula for new sales.

That mindset has helped us become a leader in Arizona web design and online marketing for more than a decade. If you want to work with a creative team that puts your results first, contact Kinetik IT in Phoenix today!

15 Things That Separate the Best Websites from the Rest



Will your next website be a valuable tool for your company and its customers, or “just another site” that makes you look like one business out of dozens?

The business owners and executives we talk to always want the best, of course, but they aren’t always sure what that might be. In other words, they can tell whether they like the look of a website or not, but figuring out what makes a new design outstanding (from the perspective of a marketer or a customer) can be a little more difficult.

It’s tough to get what you need when you aren’t sure of the specifics, so today we want to share with you 15 things that separate the very best websites from all the rest…

 

#1 A Narrow Focus

The best websites aren’t designed for just anyone. Instead, they are drawn and coded for a specific type of customer. That’s because strong marketers and creative teams know that no business can appeal to everyone, and few have the resources to even try. By zeroing in on a specific buyer type, you make it easier to manage the process of putting a website together and marketing it to customers.

 

#2 Unique Style

Have you ever noticed how many websites within a specific industry all look alike? That’s not doing much good for companies who want to stand out, but building generic layouts is easier for lazy web design teams and clients who don’t want to take any risks at all. If customers can’t tell you apart from everyone else, they don’t have any strong reasons to do business with you.

 

#3 Clear Navigation

Most of the potential customers who arrive at your website for the first time aren’t going to find the information they’re looking for in your home page (or whichever page they are referred to by Google, Facebook, etc.). With a good navigation structure in place, you can make it easy for them to find what they need. Otherwise, they could get frustrated and take their attention and money somewhere else.


#4 White Space

A new website is like a small apartment – it’s easy to try to cram too many things into a limited area. Experienced web designers know this and will separate various items like text blocks and images with white space. This gives your website a cleaner feel, and is easier on the eyes. It also encourages visitors to scan and find what they need without too much effort.


#5 Vivid Images

The human eye is drawn to images, particularly those with bright colors, animals, and human faces. The sharper and more interesting your visuals are, the easier it is to maintain a visitors focus and convey an idea or emotion. Conversely, if you have old, grainy, or low-resolution pictures on your website, it can give the feeling that your site is outdated, regardless of how good your layout is.

 

#6 Persuasive Content

We could (and have) devote entire articles to the importance of web content. Suffice it to say, the words on your pages attract search engine visits, help you put your most compelling sales points forward, and turn searchers into leads or buyers. Your creative team should help you come up with content that isn’t just search-friendly, but also persuasive and informative.

 

#7 Fast Page Loading

Internet connections are getting to be faster and more reliable than ever. As a consequence, visitors to your pages aren’t going to be patient. They want your content to display quickly or they’ll move on to the next Google result. By investing a few dollars a day into premium web hosting you can do a lot to speed up the performance of your site and keep buyers engaged.

 

#8 Reliability

If fast website loading is important, then you can imagine how critical it is that your content never go off-line. However, with the wrong hosting package, outdated plug-ins, or HTML errors within your site, specific tools and videos – for your entire website itself – could become unavailable without warning. That’s never going to help you make a good impression on customers or generate leads.

 

#9 Useful Plugins

Speaking of plug-ins, it’s important to choose the ones you want to include on your website in a careful way. They certainly can help you to add features and functions that improve your marketing or make your website more useful to customers. However, if you have too many apps (or the wrong ones) they can slow down your pages, cause errors, and even lead to ongoing security issues.

 

#10 Strong Security

It’s absolutely crucial that your website be safe and secure. You’ll want to ensure that anything prospects or customers send to you is encrypted, and that hackers can't steal sensitive information by breaking into your database or CMS. There are a lot of factors that go into website security, including strong hosting, regular backups, and routine checkups. A good web design team can handle these details for you, but you have to make it a priority.

 

#11 Search Visibility

Did you know that Google processes roughly 5 billion search requests per day? That’s why a top spot on the world’s most popular search engine can do so much for your online sales and lead generation campaigns. A great website is built with surge of visibility in mind, with every page set up and structured in a way that is friendly to automated spiders that catalog your content.


#12 Local Exposure

If you’ve been in business for more than a decade or so, you undoubtedly remember what it was like to place ads in the Yellow Pages or other print directories. These days, you can get a lot more exposure – and save yourself quite a bit of money – by simply promoting your business to local buyers through Google and neighborhood review sites. Of course, you can’t take advantage of those sales and savings unless your website is set up to attract the buyers.

 

#13 Positive Reviews

New customers rarely ever decide to stop in and visit a company without checking out their reviews online first. That’s because they want to know what other buyers have experienced before risking their own money. Whether you have lots of positive reviews already, or need to gather some, part of building a great website is making sure people can find all the wonderful feedback that’s being posted online.

 

#14 A Sales Funnel

There is undoubtedly something you would like your new website to do. The best web designers will set up pages so they can generate leads, attract walk-in visits, or even create revenue through internet sales. Those are all good goals to focus on, and none of them is going to happen by accident. A great website needs to have a plan – complete with a sales funnel – in place to guide visitors from their first contact to the point where they’re ready to either contact you, or finish a purchase.

 

#15 Accurate Contact Info

This is an easy detail to overlook, but every great website features accurate contact information that’s easy to find. In fact, you should have several different ways customers can reach out to you. Some might want quick answers through email, while others could prefer the personal touch of a phone call or a scheduled meeting. You may even discover that some customers and prospects want to follow up or ask questions through social media. Why not give them options that make it convenient regardless of their preference?

 

Want to Turn Your Website Into More Profits?

Whether you need a new website for your business, or just a new approach to online marketing, we can help. Contact the Kinetik IT creative team today to schedule a free consultation and see why we’re a favorite of companies throughout Arizona.

7 Key Skills You Need Your Web Designer to Have



All Phoenix web designers do the same things, right?

We can understand why so many new potential clients come to us thinking that. From the outside, all kinds of creative firms and web design agencies seem to be producing similar work. Do a little bit of window shopping on Google and you can come away with the impression that it doesn’t really matter which company, team, or professional you hire.

That’s not the case, though, and it’s much better if you know that going into the web design process rather than figuring it out at the end. In fact, there are a handful of skills you definitely want your web designer to have if you’re going to be happy with your investment in the coming months and years.

In order to give you a sense of what these skills are, and why they are so important, let’s look at seven that make a huge difference…

 

#1 Your Web Designer Should be a Good Interviewer

It can be hard for business owners and executives to understand, but the most important part of the web design process occurs when we ask questions. Having built hundreds of websites, we can always come up with something that’s professional and eye-catching. But to come up with the perfect layout for a specific company, we have to know a lot about its culture, customers, and future plans.

For all of these reasons, it’s important for your web designer to have strong interviewing and listening skills. If they only get a general sense of what your company does, then your website is going to end up looking like all the others that are in the industry. That might not necessarily be a terrible thing, but it’s not going to give you the value or branding advantage you were looking at or hoping for, either.

 

#2 You Need a Web Designer Who Understands Clarity and White Space

As the world of web design has grown up and the list of things we can work with has increased, you may have noticed an interesting trend: most companies are using simpler sites than they were before. This isn’t an accident or coincidence. Most of your customers aren’t looking for bizarre artistic shapes. Instead, they want to find the information they’re looking for quickly.

We’ve seen again and again that buyers will spend lots of time on a website that’s clear and focused with a great deal of white space separating one topic or text block from the next. They’ll quickly click away from a page that seems too busy, no matter how interesting the artistic features are. When hiring a web designer, think in terms of marketing power and usability first and cutting-edge avante' garde inspirations later.

 

#3 You Should Only Hire a Web Designer Using a Responsive CMS

It’s amazing, but we still see companies putting new websites online that aren’t responsive, compatible with mobile devices, or using content management systems. That means those pages won’t display correctly for more than half of all online visitors, and can’t easily be updated or expanded.

Hopefully, you don’t need us to tell you that a website lacking what are considered standard features in today’s world isn’t going to improve your image or marketing results. If your web designer tries to suggest something that doesn’t incorporate the basics of what you would expect in 2018, then they aren’t saving you time or money, they are costing you sales and credibility.

 

#4 You Want a Web Designer With Great Coding Skills

It’s easy to forget when you’re looking at beautiful designs, but the way your website looks is only half of the equation. If you really want it to stand out, and to make you money, then it needs great functionality under the hood. In other words, it has to do things for you, your customers, and maybe even your employees or partners.

Within the industry, we talk about programs in terms of “web development.” And, if you’re serious about using your next web presence as a business tool, then you should work with a creative team that can do more than change the dimensions of your home page photo. Good artistic instincts help you get a customer’s attention for a few minutes, but strong coding is what saves time and makes money.

 

#5 Your Web Designer Should Have a Plan to Promote Your Business

No matter how wonderful your next website is, and what it can do, no one is going to find out about it unless it’s promoted with search engine optimization, social media marketing, pay-per-click advertising, and other promotional channels. There are just too many competitors out there, and many of them are already entrenched in Google’s listings and within social networks like Facebook.

Too many new clients come to us thinking that online marketing requires a huge outlay of cash, or that can bring measurable results. A good web designer is going to have a plan to help you promote your site. That plan is going to be tailored to your specific market, and will match your budget and real-world expectations. It might be the most important part of the design and development process, so don’t work with anyone who can’t help you attract visitors and customers after your site goes online.

 

#6 Choose a Web Designer Who Can Help With Content Creation

In today’s digital marketing world, content is everything. Content is what brings Google’s automated spiders to your pages and turns them into search engine visits. Content can help you attract a social following, build a strong online reputation, and sell more products and services. It can be turned into blog posts, tweets, online videos, and so much more.

Unfortunately, most business owners and managers struggle with content creation. They know it matters, but they hate the process of coming up with ideas, outlining their thoughts, and then writing them into articles or scripts. For that reason, you should work with a web designer who can assist with content creation (either in-house or through the use of contractors). They’ll help you realize all those benefits without putting a strain on your schedule or imagination.

 

#7 Your Web Designer Needs to Work With Analytics

The way a website goes from good to great is through continuous improvement. Search engine visibility gets better, conversions increase, and little things (like content and calls to action) get more and more effective as information comes in. That information isn’t found in your gut feelings, though. It has to come from web analytics.

By studying the statistics generated by your website, you can watch as visitors arrive on your site, interact with your pages, and then take action in response. Look at enough of those actions over the course of days and weeks and you can figure out what buyers want more or less of.

If you’re like most of the people we work with, you love the power of analytics but hate searching for the data you actually need. That’s where your web designer comes in. They should meet with you regularly to assess the information that’s on hand and make smart recommendations that improve your profitability going forward.

 

Want to Work with the Best in Phoenix Web Design?

At Kinetik IT, we have helped dozens of small businesses throughout the area with web design, online marketing, and even technical support. When you hire us you aren’t just getting a web presence that serves your company – you’re getting a committed team of experts who know how to translate ideas and campaigns into bottom line success.

If you need your next website to generate sales, reduce costs, and make your company run more smoothly, then you need an experienced team with the right design and development expertise. Get in touch with us today so we can set up a free consultation, and show you exactly what we’ve been able to do for other businesses just like yours!

10 Quick Branding Tips to Live By


 

Is branding a complicated and overwhelming topic?

It certainly can be, as evidenced by the hundreds upon hundreds of books and seminars out there on the topic. Not only are there endless approaches to branding, but an army of consultants and experts eager to let you know they have an innovative way to set your company apart.

Once you get into the details, though, the best practices associated with branding are pretty easy to understand. You don’t have to be the CEO of a Fortune 500 firm to grasp the principles of building and growing a strong brand – you just have to follow a handful of common sense tips that will lead you in the right direction.

To help you get started in that direction, today we want to share 10 quick Branding tips every business owner or executive can live by…

 

#1 Don’t Treat Branding as an Afterthought

Some businesspeople tend to think of branding as something they’ll get to once their business is bigger, or their revenue is more stable. The thinking tends to go that a growing company doesn’t necessarily need much branding, given that there isn’t a lot of awareness in the market.

That point of view is a little bit backwards. Businesses without established identities are the ones that need strong branding the most. And, they’re the ones that should invest the most time and money into becoming identifiable to customers. So, avoid the temptation to treat branding as an afterthought, regardless of where your company is right now.

 

#2 Strive to Create a Unique Identity

In a rush to “create a good brand,” some entrepreneurs will take cues from their competitors. They may feel as if they can save time or money on a brand by borrowing from someone else, or even make it seem as if their business is similar to another more well-known company.

Again, the desire to take shortcuts is understandable, but it’s also shortsighted. The point of your branding efforts should be to set your business apart, and to build a unique identity for your company. The last thing you want is to look to be indistinguishable from others in your market or industry.

 

#3 Know the Two Parts of a Successful Brand

 

A lot of business people, and even experienced creative professionals, will tell you that branding is about the image you project to the world. That’s mostly true, but there is also another element to it: understanding what your buyers want and communicating with them in a way that reflects that knowledge.

In other words, your branding isn’t just about who you are, but also what types of people make up your target market. Where those two come together is the point at which your brand is created. It should reflect your values and unique selling propositions, but also their unique desires and buying motivations.

 

#4 Avoid the “Everything” Problem

No business organization can be everything to everyone. And yet, when it’s time to start planning a marketing campaign or building a brand, some entrepreneurs and executives are afraid to leave any customers out.

All the biggest brands – the well-known providers of quality autos, clothing, or grocery items – have been successful because they have carved out niche audiences (even if those niches are large ones). Follow their example and figure out what you have to offer, and who it's right for. Don’t try to be everything to everyone.

 

#5 Think Big When Imagining Your Branding

Somewhere along the line, branding got tied up with logos and other visuals. These are important parts of a brand, of course, but they don’t make up the totality of your public image.

Your visual identity, along with your website, company mottos or taglines, photos, and even customer service policies all make up your brand. So, if you’re looking to establish or re-establish yourself in the market, don’t settle for simply creating a new logo and adding it to your materials. Your brand is so much bigger than that.

 

#6 Be Consistent in Your Visuals and Messaging

If knowing your company, customers, and place in the market is important to envisioning your brand, and being consistent in the way you communicate is the key to reinforcing it.

Once you’ve taken our advice and lay the groundwork for a brand that can set your business apart and help you grow, then be sure you make it easy for customers to see all of that effort reflected in your ads, emails, blog posts, and print marketing. Stick to the colors, themes, and ideas you want associated with your company. Over time, they’ll sink into buyers’ minds and establish your company’s personality.

 

#7 Keep a Branding Guide for Your Company

One way to ensure you’re being consistent with your branding is to keep a style guide for your company. This would outline specific visuals and fonts that are to be used in your marketing, as well as preferences for all business communications (when and how to use industry jargon and capitalization, etc.).

Your branding guide doesn’t have to be complicated, and it can to remind you of the tone you want to convey to the public. Additionally, it can be very helpful to new employees, outside vendors, and others who may need to create internal or external marketing pieces on your behalf. Most of all, it helps you to stay consistent and on-message with your communications.

 

#8 Protect Your Image and Identity

Earlier, we advised you to do the work and brainstorming needed to create a brand that’s unique. There just aren’t any shortcuts to success. Some of your competitors may try to take them, though, and use or alter your branding in ways that are less than honest.

There are legal steps you can take to protect your brand, like using copyrights and trademarks for proprietary items. In a day-to-day sense, though, it means you should occasionally check to see that none of your competitors are trying to get away with using your content or visuals. Modern tools make it easy to crawl the web for duplicate material, and the practice of stealing from other businesses is more common than you might think.

 

#9 Grow and Evolve Your Brand Over Time

Your brand needs to be consistent, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it has to stay locked into its current form forever. In fact, as your company grows and evolves, your branding should change right along with it.

You can manage this process by periodically reviewing your branding elements. Additionally, you can look over the style guide you put in place and ask yourself whether anything needs to be added or updated. Most of all, though, you should meet with a creative team once every few years and ensure that the branding you have in place to reflects your values, mission, and future plans.

 

#10 Remember Your Strongest Branding Ingredient

From the customer’s point of view, your brand is essentially comprised of how people feel about you. You can shape that with your visuals and communications, but in the end, a lot of impressions are going to be driven by the service and value you provide.

The strongest ingredient in your brand is the level of satisfaction customers, employees, and colleagues get from dealing with you. When your interactions with others are positive, it benefits your brand in numerous ways. If buyers are unimpressed or feel like they’ve been taken advantage of, no sleek logo or consistency in your website or emails can fix that.

 

Ready to Build a Valuable and Enduring Brand for Your Business?

In a perfect world, building a strong brand would be as easy as combining the right visuals and advertising pieces together until you could have something that jumped off a computer screen. In reality, creating your brand takes research, discovery, creativity, and usually some back-and-fourth effort.

All of this gets a lot easier – and yields better results – when you have an experienced team of creative professionals who can help guide you through the various steps along the way. Then, you can get to the answers you need quickly, while carving out a unique space in the market and avoiding common branding pitfalls.

If you’re ready to build a strong identity for your company, and want to work with Arizona’s best, call the creative team at Kinetik IT. We’ll be happy to set up a free consultation for you and show you just how we can help!