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The Insider’s Guide to Preparing for a Website Design

how-to-prepare-for-website-design

If this is your first stab at creating a website for your business, you’re in luck. As a busy Calgary website design company we’ve got a ton of experience guiding individuals through the web design process. 

You’ll want to do your homework when hiring a web design firm and you’ll also want to prepare some things to present to whoever it is you trust to build your site.

Here are 10 things we suggest you have ready for your web team:

1.  A List of Pages

You’ll want to have a list of the pages you would like to have on your website. This is often referred to as the site map. It’s the architecture in which your website will be laid out, a skeleton of what the site’s content will look like. Even if things change at the advice of your team, by outlining the pages you think your site should have, you open the discussion for what you hope your website will be and how it will function.

2. Examples of Websites You Like

Consolidate a list of websites that you admire the look and feel of. This is extremely helpful for your designer. Think about what fonts and colors you like. Find examples of page layouts that you love. Spend some time perusing the web checking sites both in and out of your industry. Take note of any special features or tools that you’d like to incorporate in your own website. This will help your designer immensely.   

Read more: The Insider’s Guide to Preparing for a Website Design

Nerd Out with Playing Cards That Teach You How to Code

learn-to-code-playing-cards

Up the ante in your card games and incorporate coding languages into the mix.

The designers behind code:deck have created playing cards that feature a code snippet describing it in a different programming language. For example, The Jack features JavaScript using a snippet of code to define the card.

Read more: Nerd Out with Playing Cards That Teach You How to Code

3 Tools to Help You Curate Content

3-tools-to-curate-content

For those of us who are in the business of consolidating content that is relevant to our industry, scanning the web can get tedious. Finding relevant articles to share via our social networks, to curate for our next post or to gather ideas and research from takes a considerable amount of time. As fun as it is to stumble upon a cute cat video or a chubby kid letting loose on the dance floor, it’s still work.  

I do subscribe to a number of email newsletters – I’ll scan through the headlines whilst downing my coffee in the morning. But, the lot of the content I curate comes via sources that streamline the process for me. There are tools! Alas, there are tools that serve as a one-stop shop for my content curation needs on the web.  And well, since sharing means caring, here’s a list of my go-to sites for finding what I need in one spot:

Feedlyfeedly-to-curate-content

Feedly is my loyal, steadfast friend when it comes to finding content on the web. It’s a news aggregator application that runs on multiple browsers and works on mobile devices that run iOS or Android. I have the app on my phone and look to it while I’m waiting in line for a movie, coffee, to renew my vehicle, etc. I also have it on my desktop.

It compiles news feeds from numerous online sources and allows you to categorize blogs you follow according to topic. You can save articles to read later and it also lets you share the articles via Twitter and Facebook directly.

Rather than visiting each individual blog to find a headline that scratches your itch, Feedly lists all the headlines for all the blogs you follow in one spot. It’s amazing really. Check it out. You won’t regret it, I promise.

Read more: 3 Tools to Help You Curate Content

A Single Minute On the Web

a-minute-on-the-web-big-dataIn a single minute, countless events are occurring on the internet. The amount of content being generated, shared, sent, ‘pinned’, is mind-blowing. The numbers are truly staggering. Data does not sleep and Domo, an analytics software provider has released an infographic to quantify just how much data is generated online in one minute.

With our phones at our side, our tablets on our laps or our desktops staring back at us – we’re constantly connected. In a single minute:

  • Facebook users like 4,166,667 posts
  • 347,222 Tweets are sent out
  • YouTube users upload 300 hours of new video
  • Tinder users swipe 590,278 times

It really is crazy. To see just how much happens on the net in 60 seconds take a look at the infographic below: 

 infographic


Your Definitive Guide to Website Design Terms

definitive-guide-to-website-design-termsOne night during a family reunion my cousin and I were stealthily walking about my aunt’s condo, trying to be like ninjas so everyone could remain sleeping. Inevitably, I walked smack dab into the middle of a glass coffee table. My knee hit the corner and of course, I cursed everyone awake. My cousin exclaimed “Now, that’s going to be a hematoma!” 

What the hell is a hematoma? A bruise - in layman’s terms it’s a bruise.

She’s a nurse. And like all industries – they have their manner of speaking which can leave those not in the loop, more than a little confused. Working with website designer and developers, I sometimes find myself in this predicament, needing to get on Google to understand what the guys are saying.

That said - I figured I’d share with you some common terms you may encounter when you’re having a new website designed or an existing site redesigned.  

Here’s the A to Z:

Alt Tags

An alt tag is an HTML attribute used to provide alt-ernate text to an image supposing the web page is unable to display it. It also helps the search engine spiders ‘see’ your image by providing an area where you can describe what the image is.

Application Server

Also known as an appserver – it’s a program that handles all application operations between users and backend business applications or databases used in an organization. By having this program manage other software packages, resources like memory and database access work more efficiently because they don’t have to individually respond directly to requests.

Read more: Your Definitive Guide to Website Design Terms

How to Re-Purpose Your Old Content

how-to-repurpose-your-old-content

If you're the go-to person for crafting content at your organization for the company's blog or social media channels then you'll understand the struggle is real. Trying to come up with what to publish next is nearly 99% of the problem.

Repurposing your existing content allows you to sift through the gems you’ve already created and pull out the ones that you love and give them a little buffing so they’ll shine anew and luster on.  Basically, you’re taking an older piece of content and recycling it – giving it a new life via a different medium or platform.

The KEY thing to remember when repurposing your content is that the content must be of the evergreen varietal. Meaning – quite simply – that the content must be perpetually relevant, it should always be of use to your readers. Newsworthy stories are timely and repurposing them just doesn’t make sense.

Evergreen content however, is always interesting. Whether the content is frequently asked questions, how to guides or tutorials, or industry definitions, this type of content will always be of use to readers and future readers looking to find answers on the web. When you repurpose the content, you’re repackaging it.

Here’s how you do it:

Get Visual

Turn your post into an infographic. With great resources like Canva or Piktochart on the web you don’t need to be a seasoned graphic designer to repurpose your content into a visual format. Both applications allow you to easily turn your written article, into a visual display of facts that looks prettier than just words on words on words.

Read more: How to Re-Purpose Your Old Content

How to Create Infographics that are Cooler than Michael Jordan

how-to-create-infographics-cooler-than-michael-jordanHe was totally a boss on the court! I will never dispute that. However, how #23 wields his graphic design game may not be on par with his ability to dunk, dribble, and get it in the net – each time, every time.

For those of us that want to up our content creation skills and incorporate infographics into what we produce – there are some awesome resources out there to help. You don’t need to be a seasoned graphic designer to put together a visual display of information, facts, or whatever it is you want to showcase that also looks oh so cool at the same time.

Here's 3 online tools that you can help look like a pro and create infographics that are cooler than MJ:

1. Canva

Canva is a free, intuitive platform that houses hundreds of fonts and tons of images that you can easily incorporate into an infographic. For a buck, you can buy premium images and you’re able to edit the images within the program. In addition to infographics, Canva allows you to design a whole suite of visual content – pinterest graphics, facebook posts, presentations, letterheads, business cards, the list goes on.

make-your-own-infographic

Read more: How to Create Infographics that are Cooler than Michael Jordan

Case Study: The Modern Beauty Website Makeover

modern-beauty-new-website-ecommerce-case-studyThe Client:

Modern Beauty Supplies is a wholesale supplier of beauty related equipment and supplies, serving licensed beauty professionals across Canada.

The Challenge:

Unsatisfied with their website, Modern Beauty wanted a comprehensive redesign of their site. They desired a website capable of multimedia content, integration with social media, an ability to dynamically update content and a fully automated online store. 

Their Goals:

  •          Redesign the website to build brand awareness, promote engagement & drive conversions 
  •          Provide a modern, professional web presence comparable to sephora.com
  •          Simplify the website’s navigation to optimize the user’s experience
  •          Allow customers to order products online
  •          Allow customers to register and pay for courses online
  •          Enable visitors to locate nearby salons retailing specific products via the Salon Finder tool
Read more: Case Study: The Modern Beauty Website Makeover

5 Ways to Become the MacGyver of Content Curation

macgyver-of-content-curationMacGyver could build a trap with a tooth pick, a bobby pin and some duct tape. Crazy, right? The thing is - he had a knack for consolidating items and repurposing them to serve whatever his current needs required. He was totally the first survivor man - resourceful, creative and all around awesome!

The process of curating content to aid your marketing endeavors requires you to adopt a MacGyver-esque mindset. Here are 5 steps to help you get started on your way to becoming the MacGyver of content curation:

1. What’s the problem?

If you don’t know what you’re trying to solve – how are you going to fix it? You need to begin by identifying what your audience wants to read about; what questions and concerns you can help them address.

The purpose of content curation is to gather existing, relevant content from the web and share it with your online audience. Your first step is nailing down that single dilemma that you and your business hope to help your customers resolve.            

2. Identify your resources

Like MacGyver you need to canvas your surroundings and know the lay of the land within your industry. Monitoring your social media news streams - Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter – allow you to see in real time what your customers are talking about and what they are searching for. You should read and subscribe to the thought-leaders in your industry, their blogs, case studies and articles. 

Read more: 5 Ways to Become the MacGyver of Content Curation