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The 3 Biggest Makes In Hiring A Web Design Firm

Perhaps it's because there's so many different kinds of web design companies out there, or because a new small business site represents such a big expense for a lot owners, but we talk to a lot of potential clients who end up feeling lost and confused by the process of finding someone to help them turn their ideas into an Internet reality.

That's completely understandable; finding a creative team for your small business site isn't really similar to anything else you would do in the course of running your company. There is more than just pricing or straightforward quality comparisons to make – each firm has its own style, the range, way of doing things, etc.

To help you sort through the pack, and make the best decision possible, here are the three biggest mistakes small business owners make when hiring a web design firm:

Going with the cheapest one, no matter what. 

Your website is likely to be viewed by more potential customers than any other marketing piece you'll produce. With that in mind, it makes sense to think about getting the maximum return on your investment, not just the lowest upfront cost.

Looking for samples that show companies similar to yours. 

It makes sense that if you run a pet shop, for example, you'd want a web designer who's worked on lots of other pet shops, too… right? Sometimes, but not always. That's because even if they specialize in that type of business, quality should be a key consideration. Explaining what your company does is usually an easy step; finding someone who can give you a great-looking design isn't.

Thinking only about layouts. 

Speaking of great-looking designs, there's a lot more that goes into your website beyond just the simple aesthetics. From HTML coding to custom web apps and even search engine optimization, you want to choose a team that can help give you everything you need to build a stronger company, not just put up a pretty online brochure. Be sure to ask your web designer what kind of experience and philosophy they have towards helping you market your new site – not just put it on the Internet.

Is Your Logo Building Your Brand… or Distracting You From What Matters?

It might surprise you to know this, but one of our least favorite questions is: “Can you design a logo for my company?”

As the head of a graphic design firm that works on dozens of logos every year,  what gives? The problem isn’t with logos themselves, or the process of designing logos, but the difference between what they are and what new clients sometimes think they mean.

To see why that’s so problematic, let’s take a look at a couple of important distinctions.

Your Logo is a Visual Component of Your Brand

New clients and inexperienced marketers love logos, and devote a lot of their time to them, because they are easy to understand. A good logo is more than a symbol, it’s a representation of your brand in a nutshell.

As such, it needs to not only have the right colors and graphical elements, but also incorporate fonts, styles, and even emotional elements that stand up for your marketing message on everything from a website to a business card along with the literally dozens of identity pieces that can come between.

Your Brand is Much Bigger Than a Logo

For all the praise and importance heaped onto a logo, however, it really represents the tip of the branding iceberg – something that’s highly visible, but that can actually obscure the more weighty and important pieces below.

For example, companies like Coca-Cola, Amazon, Apple, and Starbucks all have well-known logos; however, their brands aren’t successful because of those logos. Instead, the logos themselves reinforce strong, clear impressions that have been built one interaction at a time. The logo isn’t the company; it’s a reminder of the product, the customer service, and the emotional connection that customers have with their favorite businesses.

Reducing branding to a logo is like equating a whole pizza to a slice of pepperoni. It makes for a nice instant visual, but it only tells a small part of the story. If your brand isn’t bigger than your logo, you don’t have a brand at all – you have a visual identity and a lot of wasted opportunities.

Logos Matter, But They Aren’t All That Matters

By now, it should be clear what the ultimate message is: It’s great to have a logo, and perfectly acceptable to have one designed (or redesigned) for your company. If you make that the focal point of your branding efforts, however, you’re missing the point entirely.

Logos are important, but they aren’t the only things that matter.  The power of a strong brand is much more valuable than a catchy piece of art, no matter how effective you think it is at capturing your position in the market.

X Marks the Spot: Where User Experience and SEO Meet

User experience has become a buzzword when considering both site design and SEO. In plain English, user experience, or UX, as it’s commonly referred to, relates to all that your users experience when they interact with your organization online, primarily via your website. This includes everything they see, hear and do as well as the emotional reactions elicited.

On the Internet, where content is king and the kingdom is crowded, potential customers have many options. By improving the overall online experience, the most successful businesses (think major online retailers, social media sites featuring advertising) have learned to leverage the time potential customers spend on their site, which leads to greater satisfaction for the customers, and increased sales for the business.

However, creating a good user experience is sometimes compromised if SEO becomes the primary consideration. According to UK-based Mosaic Digital, a digital marketing and website development agency, this is because user experience (UX) and SEO are often considered two distinctive disciplines requiring separate approaches.

When well integrated and thoroughly planned out, the benefits of ensuring good user experience are numerous, including:

An increase of sales and online conversions

Improved perception of your brand or company

Improved rank in search engines, including Google

Reduced customer frustration and turnover

Having a plan for your website is the first step; partnering with a skilled and knowledgeable I.T. firm is the next. By utilizing powerful and diverse web design technologies including Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and Dreamweaver, along with XHTML/DHML/HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript/jQuery, and more, the team at Kinetik I.T. is your partner in making a great custom website. 

We build websites to reflect your organization’s personality, maximize your client’s user experience, and support your online marketing goals. To learn more about custom websites, and a wide array of other services and products, visit or follow Kinetik I.T. on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter.

Safer Online

There are more reasons than ever to think before you post: in addition to cyber-thievery, hacking and identity theft, a growing number of recruiters and employers check social media to assess potential candidates. In a global survey, however, Microsoft found that only a small percentage of respondents said they actively manage their online reputation, such as editing or deleting information, writes Jacqueline Beauchere, Microsoft Chief Online Safety Officer, in a blog post.

With so much of our interactions and activities taking place online, it is imperative to maintain an understanding of your online reputation. But most of us aren’t aware of the tools available to do this. In fact, according to a 2013 Microsoft survey of online safety habits, respondents from around the world reported that they did not use many of the key technical tools that are available to help them manage their online reputations:

19% of respondents edited or deleted info to protect their online reputation.

15% used search engines to monitor and manage their personal info online.

10% used a service to edit or delete information about themselves online.

31% took the time to get the latest info for protecting their reputations online.

Precisely because so many are  lax about monitoring their reputation, the associated problems are widespread: it’s estimated that the worldwide financial and productivity losses in 2013 came in at $1.4 billion, and 16,300 cumulative years required to repair the online damage to personal reputations.

In an effort to educate the public, Microsoft suggests taking charge of your online reputation, by discovering what's on the Internet about you, periodically reevaluating what you find, and taking proactive steps to cultivate an accurate, positive reputation. Of primary importance is keeping sensitive details—all of which could be used to defraud, impersonate, or find you—private, or only sharing very selectively. 

Microsoft also recommends thinking before posting pictures, videos, or comments online, asking yourself if what you’re about to say or share could tarnish your reputation, or be misconstrued. A rule of thumb: don’t post anything you’d only say to or share with a close friend. 

The Internet is a part of our everyday lives, whether we’re connecting with our social circles, applying to a school or a new job, or even looking for a mate. Now more than ever, it’s important to pay attention to what’s online about you and take steps to cultivate a positive persona—both personally and professionally.

To learn more about web hosting, and a wide array of other services and products, visit or follow Kinetik I.T. on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter.

Increasing Efficiency Using Desktop Apps

In the past several years, productivity has become a huge sector of web-based, mobile, and desktop applications. And it’s no wonder: with more work coming at us, and the same 24 hours in a day, we need a way to list, prioritize, and track our own accomplishments, as well as those of our colleagues, third-party vendors, freelancers and contractors. The challenge can be finding an application that is robust and versatile, but that also suits the needs of your business. This is especially true in the instance of job-tracking applications. 

Custom-built job-tracking applications take all elements of workflow into account, so your business can efficiently and effectively track each step in the process. For example,  a business in the home-improvement industry may need a job-tracking desktop application that can inventory the entire process from the sales call, ordering the product,  performing the install of the product, to the customer followup. Information is recorded into a database, and can create automatic email alerts or reports when one task is completed, and another is ready to be performed. 

At Kinetik I.T., after 25 years of developing myriad types of custom software applications for businesses in all industries, we understand that the one size fits all approach doesn’t work for every business. To truly customize our product for your needs, we practice various software development methodologies. By choosing a methodology that suits the scope of the project—agile or spiral methodologies, for example—we are able to avoid unnecessary lag time in the software development life cycle, and to deliver a system that will help your business operate more efficiently.  

And we speak from experience, not only in helping other business streamline their processes, but in doing the same within our own organization. Whether you need an enhanced for a product currently in use, or you’d like to develop a complete custom software solution from the ground up, learn more by visiting us at or follow Kinetik I.T. on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter.

What Story are You Telling?

As a child, we all loved hearing stories at bedtime, and, even adults without their own children are familiar with the pleas for “just one more!” As adults, we also love a good story—just look to the success of social media and the prevalence of click-bait headlines. We don’t want to click, and yet we want to see what’s on the other side, we want our curiosity satisfied, our questions answered. 

In business, stories are told through branding. defines your brand as your promise to your customer, telling them what they can expect from your products and services. Your brand also differentiates your product and services from that of your competitor, and is derived from who you are, who you want to be, and who people perceive you to be.


As with any good story, there are best practices in telling yours. In a recent Harvard Business Review article, JD Schramm, Ed.D., of Stanford’s Graduate School of Business shares his steps in storytelling

Parachute in, don’t preamble. 

The best storytellers draw us immediately into the action. Think in terms of what you can offer your audience—that’s what they want to know. A catchy tagline, a witty tagline, a website that delivers.  

Choose first and final words carefully. 

First impressions, as we all know, are vital. Take advantage of the impact of your words to create a powerful image of your business that will stay with the customer—and keep them coming back.

Follow the “Goldilocks” theory of details. 

Somewhere between a 15-second Vine, and TLDR, you’ll find just the right amount of info to offer your customers. Don’t make them search, or guess to find what they’re looking for, but also don’t give them so much information that they won’t follow through. 

Consider the power of poetry. 

Similar to the Goldilocks idea, saying less can sometimes be far more effective in relating your ideas. If a potential client has to wade through too many words, they may miss the meat of your message. 

Know your AIM. 

Based on an idea outlined in Mary Munter and Lynn Russell’s book Guide to Presentations, ask yourself the following questions to determine your AIM: 

Who is your Audience?

What is your Intent?

What is your Message? 

Making these determinations in advance ensures your message is clear, your audience is appropriately addressed, and your action is inspired.

In order for a company to be seen, heard and known, it’s imperative to create a great corporate identity to brand your company and start building familiarity and trust. From creating a brand that will boost your marketing goals and developing create new logos or revamping old ones, Kinetik I.T. will jumpstart your story with branded business cards and brochures, as well as product packaging and other branding collateral.

To learn more about branding, and a wide array of other services and products, visit or follow Kinetik I.T. on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter.

Open for e-Commerce—But is Your Website Ready?

It’s a simple question, but not so easy to answer: is your website scaled to your company’s needs? In a world where online giants offer one-click checkout and where nearly everything under the sun is available for purchase, mere mortals must find a way to compete. The key is in creating an enjoyable, efficient customer experience. 

Online consumers are fickle. Recent research from the RightNow Customer Experience Impact Report has found that,

  • 86 percent of U.S. adults will pay more for a better customer experience.
  • 89 percent of U.S. adults who’ve ever stopped doing business with an organization due to a poor customer experience began doing business with a competitor.
  • When asked specifically how companies can better engage with consumers to spend more, 54 percent said to improve the overall customer experience.

The takeaway is that customer experience—not just the product itself, price, or customer service—is a  key determining factor in measuring business success. Customer experience has its roots in both website and database design. If either of these is lacking, your business will suffer. To create an ideal customer experience, Tony Barbagallo, Chief Marketing Officer at Clustrix, stresses the need for a “a rock-solid, 100 percent fault-tolerant scale-out database that improves website availability.” 

In addition to a slowly-responding website, the lack of proper database design causes a lack of data integrity. This can lead to unwanted consequences such as duplication of records, missing information (data), and orphaned records. At Kinetik I.T., we design databases using primary keys, relationships, unique indexes, constraints, required fields and other objects. The end result is guaranteed data integrity.

Focusing on customer experience is a cornerstone of our success whether the project is simple or a large-scale professional ecommerce system. To ensure your customer has the best possible experience, we create clean, functional, captivating and easily navigated web interface designs guaranteed to help keep customers away from your competitors. To learn more about database and website design, and a wide array of other services and products, visit or follow Kinetik I.T. on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter.

Using Multiple Devices to Boost Focus

With all the information we’re confronted with on a daily basis—status updates, tweets, images, trending topics and headlines—maintaining clear focus can prove challenging. Considering that most feeds on social media sites (where it’s estimated that the average 18-34 year old spends nearly four hours daily) are designed to be clickbait-heavy, it’s no wonder we find ourselves emerging from an hour-long internet-induced fog, despite having had every intention of getting work done. 

To combat this mindless time waste, developers have come up with multiple strategies to help maintain focus and productivity—simply search for “productivity app” in your laptop or phone’s app store, and you’ll be overwhelmed with the possibilities. Still, simple solutions can sometimes be the best solutions.

Similar to how service dogs know they’re on duty when wearing their harness, workers who consume massive amounts of media every day out of necessity are beginning to train themselves to perform tasks using dedicated equipment. Discussed in’s article, How Working on Multiple Screens Can Actually Help You Focus, the trend is gaining popularity. 

The idea is to perform certain tasks (or utilize social media sites) using specific devices. In the article, one worker explains that he uses social media only on a tablet, so he’s not tempted to scroll through them when working on his laptop, instead remaining focused on work. Another said she sends articles from her laptop to a tablet, to be able to read without being interrupted by email. Though it seems counterintuitive, using multiple screens and devices somehow helps focus attention rather than scattering it. 

As with anything, however, this strategy may prove counterproductive for some. In the long run, finding what works for you—whether navigating through tabs, printing out documents in physical form, or switching devices for various tasks—is the best solution of all.  

To learn more about our wide array of other services and products, visit or follow Kinetik I.T. on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter.

Understanding the Basics of Copyright Infringement

If you spend any time online, or on social media sites, you’ve become accustomed to seeing much of the same material—cat videos, news stories, buzzfeed quizzes—time and again. Whether it’s friends and family posting the most recent video to go viral, or magazine/news pages weighing in on the latest pro sports scandal, we often see the content repeated via multiple channels. In fact, according to Matt Cutts, Google’s head of search spam, as much as 30 percent of online content is duplicate. But duplicative content is not the same as copyright infringement, which has taken on a life of its own. 

Some common types of infringement concern include images, music, and videos (think illegally copied pictures in blog posts, unauthorized YouTube videos of AT40 hits, or pirated downloads of summer blockbusters); however, a fair amount of intellectual property is also copied. 

Intellectual property is defined as something unique that you physically create. While an idea alone is not intellectual property, if it’s developed into a product (a book, or a brand), those creations are considered intellectual property. And copyright, patents, designs and trademarks are all constitute a means of protection.

Infringement has become a big problem. Last month alone, according to the Google Transparency Report, more than 4,500 copyright owners claimed their brand had been infringed upon. But simply having your property copied doesn't mean anything in the courts unless it's registered. You’re unable to take legal action against a party unless, for example, your logo has been copyrighted with the government, and—best case scenario—trademarked on a national level with the federal government.

To learn how to register various types of materials and property, visit the U.S. Copyright Office at or find a similar government portal in another country to learn about the process. 

If you run a business, having your content or brand copied may seem like a good thing—free publicity, right? Not at all. Copyright infringement can serve disreputable purposes, even diverting web traffic from your site. 

Finding out if your content or brand is being infringed upon can be difficult. The first thing is to copyright and trademark the logo, then it’s imperative to institute a monitoring system. An easy way to find out when your business info is posted on the web is by using Google Alerts. By creating an alert, the service will send a notification when related information is posted online. Google Webmaster Tools can also be an invaluable resource, allowing you to view your site rankings, as well as links to your site, and where they're coming from.

If unauthorized material is found, the process to have it removed in accordance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is simple, yet detailed—and not always a guarantee that the information will be removed:

  • Find out details about the person or business infringing your copyrights, Hosting Company, Payment Processors etc.
  • Report copyright infringement to Authorities like Search engines, Hosting companies, Payment Processors, ISP and other internet crime reporting organizations 

Marketing Dock offers a step-by-step tutorial to walk you through this (somewhat confusing) process. 

Unfortunately, there’s no sure-fire way to protect your business from being a target for copyright infringement. But by registering your brand and content, as well as monitoring online activity, you will have a means of reacting should you become a victim of intellectual property theft. 

Simple Solutions to Common (IT) Problems

At Kinetik I.T., we’ve been in the business of helping people and businesses, and making great things happen for almost 25 years. Basically, we love what we do, and it shows. And in all those years of perfecting our Digital Superhero status, we’ve learned a few things about the (IT or technical) problems our clients face. Here’s a run-down of the problems we see most often. 

Common Problem #1: Lacking (IT or technical) Support

It should come as no surprise that the level of support you have in your office will ultimately determine how well you can function—and no, we’re not talking about the 800-number that’s printed in the printer brochure. Most commonly, businesses either don’t have any technical support in the office or they don’t have enough. And having a catch-all solitary “I.T. guy/gal” doesn’t cut it. Your business is a sophisticated, well-oiled machine—don’t assume that the small town gas-station mechanic can take care of it all alone. 

Common Problem #2: Outdated Technology (& Infrastructure)

Most software and hardware solutions will eventually reach an age where they’ve outlived their usefulness. And while it’s tempting, and seemingly easier, to keep using them despite their dated status, once your machines hit the age of five years old, they’re likely to start needing increased tech support. Dated technology also typically require updates, which can be costly—sometimes more costly long-term than simply replacing the units outright. 

Common Problem #3: Lacking Protection

We buy insurance for everything these days—do you have protection in place for your technology and information? Do you have a G.O.K. (goodness only knows!) protection plan? Whether it’s a disaster plan to deal with a flooded server or having the right equipment to deal with power outages in the office, it’s imperative to protect your equipment and your data. This is your livelihood, after all! 

Common Problem #4: Inadequate Training

Each and every employee can be a Digital Superhero in their own right, with the proper training. Every single person in your office needs to know how to use both the hardware and the software you use on a daily basis. Ensuring that your employees are well trained can prevent many common technology problems. 

Common Problem #5: Poor Security 

U.S. businesses spend billions on the fallout from IT security issues every year, including data theft, client security issues, or hacker attack that renders your equipment completely unusable. Better security means customer trust and higher productivity, but you won’t get there with off-the-shelf solutions designed to protect home computer users—custom commercial applications can defend you against the problems you’re likely to face in this digital age.

The Solution 
Fortunately, we’ve got the solution you’re looking for. Choosing the right IT partner is the first step in safeguarding your business, allowing it to grow and prosper. You want your business to be as efficient as possible, and often that means great technology that performs well. From custom database solutions to meeting your security and storage needs, we can ensure you get the IT assistance you need at every turn.

To learn more about services and products, and to stay up to date with Kinetik IT, visit or follow Kinetik on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter.