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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!

Your Advanced Guide to Mobile App Development

Are you thinking of developing a mobile app for your business?

Perhaps you have a great idea for a tool that can be sold as a stand-alone solution. Or, you might be thinking (like so many other business owners and executives) that a mobile app could be a good companion for your website. Perhaps you want to encourage e-commerce transactions by letting buyers make purchases from you directly without having to log in to your website. You might even want several of these benefits.

Whatever the specific reason, mobile app development is more popular than ever before. But, while more businesses are building apps and more creative teams are providing them, it’s easy to make costly mistakes or overlook details that can make or break the finished product.

With that in mind, today we want to give you a step-by-step look at what’s needed to create and release something your customers can use on their phones and tablets. Let’s dig into our advanced guide to mobile app development…


The First Step Towards Creating a Mobile App is Coming Up With a Winning Concept

What will your app do? This is an important question, and one that speaks to both function and profitability. You should know what you want your app to accomplish for users or customers, but also how it can contribute to your company or bottom line.

Coming up with an idea for an app isn’t necessarily difficult, but refining it to the point that it’s workable, unique, and marketable can be a challenge. Believe it or not, this is an area where an experienced creative team can be a huge help. While you might think of mobile app development as revolving around design and programming, brainstorming and finding answers before work begins is just as important.


You’ll Have to Decide Which Features Are Going to Go Into Your Mobile App

Even after you have a sense of the purpose of your app, and how you will fit it into your business, you’ll have to develop a list of features. Again, this is an area where enthusiasm can come into direct conflict with reality. Budgets, timing, and available technology can all be real constraints when you’re trying to decide which features will make it into your mobile app development project.

Keep in mind that not everything on your mobile app wish list has to be incorporated right away. Some features can be added post-launch, or following testing and reviews by real-world users. This can be a good solution, particularly if you want to generate revenue from your app before devoting too much to its development.


Mobile App Design Helps You Find the Right Look and Feel

When you know what your mobile app development project is all about, and which features you'll need in the initial launch, your creative team can go about designing the interface. This is all about aesthetics and usability, so it should fit your existing branding and make the app feel like a pleasure (rather than a chore) to actually open and interact with.

This also tends to be a part of the process where owners and executives are most involved. Don’t be afraid to let your designers know how you want your mobile app to look and feel so they can draw layouts to meet your preferences. People will notice the look of your app, so the way you package the underlying features matters.


Next, a Programming Team Has to Code Your Mobile App Into a Workable Piece of Software

After you have a set of working layouts for the different screens and prompts on your mobile app, coders will get to work behind the scenes to add all the features and functions you specify. In some cases, this could mean pulling from existing software; in other situations, they may have to work from scratch.

This is often the longest part of the process, and the point where clients are least involved. What’s important is that your development team knows exactly what you want to accomplish and has the skills to deliver it. If so, they should be able to deliver a working version of your app on time and within the budget range quoted.


Testing Your Mobile App Is Critical for Its Stability and Usability

Many business people tend to think that after an app is and programmed it can be launched immediately. However, there are still a couple of steps that need to be taken before it’s ready to go out to the public.

The first is a round of rigorous testing that ensures your app is usable, stable, and adaptable. In other words, it should work exactly the way it’s supposed to, and for a variety of users who might have their own distinct hardware and software. For instance, it’s likely that some of your customers will have iPhones, while others prefer Galaxy or Android. Additionally, they might be using different versions of the underlying operating systems. Testing lets you ensure your app will load, display, and function correctly in each of these environments without crashing.


Every Mobile App Development Team Should Prioritize Security

The other part of testing you should pay particular attention to has to do with online security. You don’t want to roll out an otherwise perfect app and then find out it has flaws that can be exploited by hackers, or that can leave sensitive information exposed.

In this day and age, the security of your mobile web app is almost as important as its functionality. Users want to know their information is safe and protected, particularly if they will be sharing email addresses, financial data, or other sensitive information through your software.


The Rollout and Launch of Your Mobile App Are Important to Profitability

You could simply put your mobile app online and hope buyers will find it and download it, but that’s not a good strategy if you want to make the most of your investment. A better idea is to treat the launch of your mobile app like you would the rollout of a new website or marketing strategy. Don’t just promote it heavily, but plan ahead to ensure your most important customers and prospects will hear about it multiple times.

A successful mobile app launch might include website announcements, social media ads, email newsletter updates, and press releases. You might also want industry thought leaders to review your app, or to get reviews from actual users. All of these can help you ensure you get attention from your market quickly after it launches, so your app can gain those all-important early users, who will in turn help share it with others in their personal and professional lives.


You Can Keep Improving Your Mobile App With Updates and Compatibility Checks

Even after you launch your app and see it being used by customers, your work isn’t done. You should keep improving your mobile app over time. Some of your updates might be driven by necessity (changes to operating systems and so on), or to fix bugs that are discovered by customers. In other cases, customers may ask you for features you didn’t originally think of.

However you go about it, remember that the best apps usually improve and develop over time. You don’t have to spend a lot of time and money on your app to keep it fresh, but you shouldn’t simply think of it as a finished product immediately after launch, either. Maximize your long-term ROI, and keep users engaged, by continually looking for ways to make your software better. Don’t worry – your creative team can help you manage this process.


Ready to Bring Your Mobile App Idea to Life?

If you’re tired of wondering what your business could do with a mobile app, or letting your idea pass you by, then why not take the first step towards bringing the concept to reality? When you have a strong creative team on your side, developing and promoting a mobile app is a lot easier and more affordable than most people tend to think.

The experienced team at Kinetik IT can help you bring your mobile app concept into focus, and then turn your idea into something customers can start using right away. We have helped dozens of businesses across Phoenix make the most of the internet, and you’ll be amazed at what we can do for your company, too.

Contact us today to setup a free consultation and see how we can help!