Posts Tagged ‘web design’

It’s All About Heart – You Get What You Put Into It

As the last day of January rolls around most of us are already looking towards February, and of course, Valentine’s day. Perhaps most of you think about those you love and celebrating but it made me think about heart. Having heart. Giving from the heart. Does giving from the heart make you think about charitable giving? That’s not a bad thing. If each of us gave to those in need what a wonderful world this would be.

But what I really meant was giving from the heart to your clients. Give them over and above what they are expecting. Try giving them exceptional customer service. I like to give my clients the marketing edge not just provide a graphic design service. It always amazes me when designers don’t realize that they are the marketing expert on a project. Why do you design a piece a specific way? To catch the consumer’s eye. To drive traffic to a website. To get clients. Why do you select the colors that you do when you design a piece? Every artist knows that certain colors elicit specific feelings and emotions. As a designer you’re capturing that and creating a mood or a feeling for the reader.

I study each piece that I design by following up with the client to see what kind of response they’ve had, how they utilized it and what other needs they might have. I believe in giving the whole marketing design package. I give from the heart. I want my clients to love my service, to love my designs and to love working with my company.

It’s all about heart…and loving what I do and knowing how my designs can impact the lives and business fortunes of others.

Debby is a working writer, designer, artist, photographer and guest lecturer in Southern California. If you are interested in hiring her she is available for ghost blogging, strategic marketing planning, graphic and web design, photo shoots and more. You can email her at djohnson@debrongraphics.com

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If You Build It They Will Come

Its true of course, isn’t it? All you have to do is build your website and put it on the world wide web and like magic visitors will flock to your business and you’ll be rich beyond your wildest dreams. While its true that getting your website on the internet is an important first step in success on the world wide web, its a bit more complicated than that.

So, what things do you need to know to achieve a high search engine placement on the internet?

  • Search engines use “spiders” and “robots” to go out and scour the internet for websites. These spiders and robots report back what they find to the search engines will all of that information dumped into a giant database. Different search engines have different criteria for search engine placement.

  • Building your website with good solid HTML code will assist those tiny search engine spiders and robots in their job. If they can easily read your site’s code thats another hurdle that you’ve cleared. A good web designer will know the things that throw up a read flag to these information scavengers and will build your website to avoid these pitfalls

  • By now you’re probably asking yourself what part actual content plays in this process. And that’s where we come to relevance. So, what’s relevance got to do with it? Well, those same little spiders and robots will read the actual words on your site devouring all of that information to pass back along to the database tracking their websites.
  • if you want to be found under a search for fashion photographers in the Southern California area, its important to have those words in your text. The spiders are matching the meta tags, which are tags built in to the code telling them what your site is about, with the actual text on your page. If they don’t find those same words, well, that affects your placement on that particular search as those sites with the most relevant page content will come up at the top of the the search.

Ok, so I’ve taken all of those things into consideration but my site still doesn’t come up at the top of the search. AND I’m getting emails now telling me that certain companies guarantee a top 10 placement, so why can’t you do that for me too?

Its simple. Nobody can guarantee that. There are options for paying some search engines to be placed on the top of their list. That is a very expensive option. And even if one of the companies promoting that they will get you a number one placement is lucky enough to have that happen, you’ll quickly see yourself slide down on the list

There are a lot of people who want number one, maintaining that status without paying for it is next to impossible. There are other “tricks of the trade” that we can employ, but they are outside the cost of basic website development.

If you really want to see your site grow, there is something simple you can do yourself. Put your URL on every piece of marketing material you produce. Put it in your email signature on your emails, put it in the signature block on your regular correspondence and most certainly be sure that its on your business cards. These things don’t cost you anything but the rewards are great!

If you would like to download a .pdf version of “If You Build It They Will Come” you can get that at:

The Marriage of Marketing + Design = Success

There are a lot of good graphic and web designers working today in the marketplace. You might even know one or two of them. But what makes a good designer great?

That takes a special breed of designer! 

And it requires the marriage of marketing and design. A great design professional will incorporate the best marketing techniques available. They know what works – they see it every day. And they probably collect examples of great marketing collateral that they have seen for reference.

An effective marketing design professional will emerse themselves into your business. They may not know pest control when they land the assignment but they will understand it before begin the actual design process.

Being a marketing design professional takes a lot of hard work and dedication. If you’re shopping for one be sure to ask a few simple questions:

  • Can I see your portfolio. Do they do the same thing all the time? Does it look the same? (You can view my portfolio at www.debrongraphics.com and www.debbyjohnson.com)
  • What collateral material will they do for you? If you go to them saying I need a tri-fold brochure do they ask questions? Do they want to know what you’re going to do with it and how you’re going to use it?
  • Do they suggest alternatives or additional concepts to consider? Now, I don’t mean are they upselling you like a car salesman – no offense to car salesmen – but are they thinking ahead from a business sense.  When I build a website for someone I almost always “qualify” my price by telling them that I stand by my price as given. I may suggest additional elements and/or pages to incorporate but that is not to add to my price. Its because I recognize that they need it to succeed. I’m all about their success!
  • Do they have a good track record? What kinds of projects have they worked on? Are they used to working on large projects or do they focus more on smaller projects? I know that I love working the full spectrum. I’ve done plenty of small “mom and pop” projects, start-up companies, which are really fulfilling to watch succeed and commercial projects with values up to $129 million dollars. (Honestly, that’s almost too many zeros for most of us to comprehend!)
  • Are they excited about your project? Do they ask intelligent questions. Are they engaged? If they aren’t engaged now they probably never will be once the actual rolling up the sleeves, down and dirty work begins.
  • Do they understand marketing? You don’t want someone who spouts concepts but has never used them. Do they know what they are doing?
  • Do they tell you to cross market and give you ideas about how to do that? Anyone who tells you that you only need to market one way doesn’t know marketing. And if you meet a web designer who tells you “If you build it they will come” RUN as fast as you can in the opposite direction. There’s a lot more to a success website than just building it.
  • Do they know how to incorporate, or marry, successful design with marketing expertise? Again, look at their portfolio and really analyze their work. (You can view my portfolio at www.debrongraphics.com and www.debbyjohnson.com) Do they show cross-marketing there? Does the design make sense from a marketing standpoint or is just meant to look good? Does it deliver a message? Is the message received? And what’s your call to action? If you can’t see all of that then its not working.

Taking it up a notch and combining all of these elements is what GREAT marketing design is all about.

How to Find a Good Graphic and Web Design Professional

Open any phonebook or do a search online and you’ll find more graphic designers than you will need in 10 lifetimes. With the proliferation of desktop publishing software more and more people are billing themselves as graphic designers.

And if you’re talking web designers? Well, have a conversation with about 10 people about web design and invariably several will mention that they can build a site, or their brother, uncle, nephew or niece is a web designer.  I have to admit I’ve gotten a lot of business that way! Once they realize that their relative/neighbor/friend doesn’t have a clue what they are really doing they are happy to hire a professional!

So what do you do when you need graphic and web design work done? Start by looking at the professional’s portfolio. Do they have good solid work? Do they offer only template work with no regard for what their client needs? How long have they been working in the field? Does everything look vaguely familiar, like it might have been ‘borrowed’ from other designs in the marketplace? Does their work reflect different styles or does it all look the same?

Next you’ll want to talk to the designer about your project. Do they ask intelligent questions about your business? Do they know your business? They don’t have to have ever done work for anyone in your line of work before to know how to create effective marketing collatoral for you, but a thirst for knowledge to understand your business is a good sign as it relates to the marriage between marketing and design, which we’ll talk another time.

And as you talk to them you’ll want to ask yourself one really important question – do they care about my success or are they just trying to make money? I find a designer who is enthusiastic and loves their job (its not really a job its a passion when they truly love it – its like getting paid to play!) and is focused on your success can be a silent partner in your business. Your success should be their primary goal. As I tell all of my clients, “If you don’t succeed, I don’t succeed. If it doesn’t work for you – its not working for me.”

Why is that? Because a happy successful client will be a client for life and tell others. An unhappy client, well….they will tell others alright but I’ll wish they hadn’t! There’s something really nice about knowing that you helped someone else build their dream.

Everytime you give, you get back tenfold. And that’s priceless!

Next time we’ll talk about the marriage between marketing and design and how a marketing design professional can take your business or project over the top!