Welcome aboard on the Xplore train Gerda!

by Admin 23. September 2011 05:07

A warm welcome to Gerda van Zyl, our new graphic designer at Xplore Studio!!!

 

Gerda joined us about a month ago in assisting with graphic design, corporate id's, logo's, web design, print ready artwork and branding & advertising for our clients. Gerda not only has years of experience in this field of work, but she did some amazing designs for clients such as Sarie, Old Mutual, Ken Forrester Wines, Linton Park Wines, Scramble Productions, Leisure Travel International, and the list goes on...

 

So, be sure to contact us if you need any of the above services done for your business, a refresher on your website, or even if you just want to meet Gerda.

Marlene 

Tags:

Advertising | Clients | Corporate Identity | General | Graphic Design | Online Marketing & SEO | Websites

Website for Biokineticist and Personal Trainer

by Admin 8. September 2011 01:27

Here's a website to motivate you guys to shape-up before summer!

Glynn Moolman is a registered biokineticist and personal trainer at a Durbanville healthclub. He asked Xplore Studio to help him with a new business logo and website.

Wanting a logo and website that are both professional and timeless, Xplore Studio ended up designing and developing it all in a jiffy. Glynn needed a website where he can list all his services, and boy there's a lot... Personal Training, Diets, Massages, any biokinetic services, suppliments to name a few.

Make an effort and visit his website at www.biofitbody.co.za to get motivated!

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Clients | Corporate Identity | General | Websites

Website for Lensflair Photography

by Admin 24. August 2011 05:55

It has been an absolute pleasure to work with Alitha van Niekerk of Lensflair Photography these last couple of weeks. Not only have I learned alot about photography, but her passion for her work is contagious.

Alitha had a wordpress website for a few years now, and thought it was time for a re-design on her website.

We've given her a fresh dynamic look on the website that compliments her avid phtographic ability.

Alitha is the obvious choice for family photographs!

View her website at www.lensflairphotography.co.za

Marlene

Tags:

Clients | General | Websites

Corporate Identity Tips

by Admin 12. August 2011 13:55

We cannot put enough emphasis on how important a well designed corporate identity can be for your business.

Before we give you a few pointers on the design of your corporate identity, we will first define the term corporate identity.

What is a Corporate Identity?

 
The corporate identity of a company refers to the external personality that is projected by a specific company to the public and others in the same market or field.  The corporate identity will help determine how others view the company as a whole; this also has a lot to do with public image control. A corporate identity includes branding and logos, marketing and advertising. These will have a specific and consistent colour scheme and design to assist in ensuring that the brand and company is recognisable and well known for years to come. Your corporate identity should profile and visualise the company's ideas, concept and character.

Corporate identity is also centred on effective communication between the company and the public. Some examples of communication with regards to corporate identity include press releases, advertisements, articles and other forms of communication. Focusing on behaviour and morals is also an important feature in corporate identity. When considering a corporate identity, it is crucial that you answer the following question: when a customer thinks about my company, what qualities, goals, purpose and impression comes to mind? Remember corporate identity is all about your image and how it will attract your potential target market.


Corporate Identity Tips 

    Your logo and other corporate identity items need to be simple and recognisable. It should not be too complex; this is so that the logo and catch phrase can catch people's attention and can be remember and stored in their memory.

    If your logo design is too fancy and over the top it will no be able to be placed on a number of different surfaces from letterheads to billboards.

    If you decide to use colours, it is important that you bare in mind that you need to stick to these colours and they need to be consistent throughout your packaging and advertising. Choose colours that are complimentary and memorable.

    When designing your logo, be sure to keep it unique, simple and original.

    You need to pay careful attention to your corporate identity as it is often the first impression people will have of your company. This can be achieved by building your brand and carefully marketing your product.

    Branding includes logo design as well as business cards, adverts and brochures.  These will describe your business's products, services and specialities. These are also used to create brand awareness and knowledge about your company and what it offers.

    It is important that you know what your company stands for and what they want to achieve.

    The identity needs to be consistent throughout all your campaigns and products.

    You should have a tagline that explains exactly what you do as a company and how it will benefit your clients by using your business.

    Limit the number of fonts you use in your logo and branding. This is because too many can become confusing and appear chaotic. Some good examples are "Avant Garde" and "Optima".

    Your corporate identity consists of 3 very important elements; these include the company name, logo and tagline.

    The logo, branding and general appearance of your company needs to be professional and shows that you mean business.

    Items that can be used to improve your corporate identity: business cards, letterheads, brochures, website and adverts.

    Remember visual interpretation is very important and can be used to your advantage.

    Conduct research by visiting competitor's websites. This will allow you to get ideas on designs that are pleasing to the eye and memorable.

    Avoid using clipart; it can look cheap and unprofessional. If you want to design your own logo, hire Optimus01 to help you to create a unique, memorable and special one.

    Only choose 2 colours when creating your corporate identity. This is also a cost effective way to design your logo and corporate identity.

    The size of the logo used to promote and improve your corporate identity needs to be considered. Ensure that it is legible in both very big and small sizes.

    When creating your corporate identity it is important that you include the phone number, email address, physical address, website URL and the products on all materials such as business cards, adverts and brochures.

    Look at your competitors and decide what you like and dislike.

    You will decide on the following for the corporate identity: colour, font, page layouts, and methods to achieve visual continuity and brand recognition for the brand.

    You also need to consider corporate communication such as advertising, PR and other information.

    It is important that you work on the ethics, norms and values of the company as a whole.

 

Xplore Studio gives credit to Optimus online thinking

 

It is never too late to invest in a well designed corporate identity, so do not hesitate - contact us today.

 

Andrea

 

 

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Corporate Identity | Graphic Design

Well designed online portfolio/website critical for any photographer

by Admin 11. August 2011 14:58

 

We at Xplore Studio just love designing and developing photographers' websites. With photography you have the advantage to play around with so many different styles and techniques - plus you have the added bonus of working with beautiful, great quality images that brightens up the website.

If you are a photographer and would like your own unique and cost effective website designed, do not hesitate to give us a call - we will create an online portfolio within your budget.

 

Here are a few pointers.....


As a photographer, your most important marketing tool is your online photography portfolio. On your website or your blog, this is what’s going to showcase your work, and get you hired. Yet I see mistakes all the time. And I have a ton of questions like, “Why isn’t my site getting any traffic?” and “Why aren’t people contacting me online?” Here are 10 mistakes we see frequently – do you see yourself here?

1. Enter Page


Do you really need to divide up your site, and dedicate one whole page to making your visitors choose? If they type in your URL, they want to see your site. They want to start learning about you immediately, not have to decide if they want to visit your Flash site, Mobile site, Fast site, Slow site, Blog, Flickr portfolio, etc. Yes, you can weave things into your site, and have things on the side of your content that allows them to navigate elsewhere. But don’t make your first impression just a choice.

2. Photo Size


Have you ever gone to a photographer’s site, only to wait 30 seconds for it to load a huge file thousands of pixels in size? Boring. This is the web. You don’t need large files – the smaller the better for loading, and to protect you from clients downloading them to manipulate them. Stick to an image that is between 500-1000 pixels on the long edge, depending on how you are grouping them together.

3. Music


Um, no. Just don’t do it. There is no such thing as setting the mood or creating ambiance. If a visitor heads into your site at work on their lunch hour, you better believe they will back out quickly when the music starts. The web is visual, unless you find a video you choose to watch.

4. Photo Quantity


A portfolio is what you make of it. You can have a flash gallery that creates a slide presentation. Or you can choose to sort by category, client or niche, and showcase a great deal of your imagery. This isn’t a place to put every image from the shoot – showcase what made the shoot special. For a portrait setting, we may have put up 10 to 20 images. For a wedding, around 200 (we shot 2000-3000 images at every event PJ style). There is no such thing as too many photographs, IF you tell a story with what you have.

5. Fill It Up


Every photographer has to start somewhere. If you really want to get into weddings and you’ve only done one, by all means put it up. But don’t forget to quickly put up every other wedding you do as well. A potential client really wonders when they visit your wedding gallery, and only finds one bride.

6. Pay, Don’t Go Free


With all the options you have available to you today, there really is no reason to not have a classy, custom made web presence. Don’t opt for a Facebook or Flickr presence only. You have to control your portfolio, and give it your unique style.

7. Make It Easy


Create navigation that’s easy to follow. Don’t load it up with 30 choices; make it easy for me to decide where to go to next. Don’t label things with “cute” wordings. Go for the normal, and follow what the big stores do. People are used to commonality here, so don’t confuse them by trying to be different. Be different in your photography style, or the way you offer customer service. Don’t go for the cute on things you can’t control – like the way they move around your site.

8. Flash


If you’ve been on this site before, you know my feeling towards Flash sites. Don’t do it. It makes things difficult to control, difficult to navigate, and difficult for the search engines to find. I don’t mind the occasional Flash splashes to show off some of your work. But don’t put your entire portfolio into a Flash presentation. They will always have to start at the beginning, and can’t be specific about images they like. “I like the image at this URL, clicking the 3 category, the 15th image in” makes it a little hard to communicate.

9. Think Sales


I’ve been on photography sites where there is no contact information. Period. The idea of having a site is to make connections, and let anyone and everyone connect with you. Have a contact us form. Put your email on every page. Put your phone number right near your header. Put your address and a map to your studio. Put your Facebook, Twitter and Flickr connections on every page. Tell them how to connect with you.

10. Be Original


Don’t look through photographers sites to find one to mimic. Go to a different industry. Check out architecture, authors or sculptures. Look through Amazon, Oprah and Martha Stewart. Find things you like, and pull from a variety of sources. You don’t want a potential client to show up and say, “this site was just like X’s site”. You want them to say, “WOW”.

We give credit to Virtual Photography Studio. 

Andrea

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Articles | Websites

Tips on boosting your business

by Admin 25. July 2011 02:39

Jacob Cass, a 23 year old graphic designer is featuring #1 on the Google search engine only by searching a few keyword for his business. “I don’t do any advertising at all” says Cass, “All of my business comes through my Web site”.

What he does possess: a Web site, justcreativedesign.com, that tops the results when you type “freelance graphic designer NYC” and its variations into Google, a feat Cass achieved through back-end fiddling, weekly blogging on design topics and intelligent site architecture.

According to a recent study by Optify, the first three organic (nonpaid) results in a Google search get 58.4 percent of clicks, with more than half of those going to the first entry. As a result, Cass never has to look for work; he claims to receive a half-million site visits a month ,and 15 substantial project leads a week.


If creating your own Web site has been on your someday-maybe list, it may be time to move that to-do up a few spots. If you’re a self-employed or creative professional, you already know that it’s essential to attracting new clients, showcasing your latest work and telling potential customers where to find you. If your career is corporate, a Web site isn’t going to replace Ye Olde Resume, but it’s a great place to showcase what a catch you are for employers.

 

So here it is, quick easy steps to create your own website:

 

STEP 1: Buy your domain name

This is an annual fee to keep your name out there. To host your website on the web, will cost you a minimum monthly fee. Contact Xplore Studio to help you set this up.

 

STEP 2: Map out your content

To improve your site’s visibility, you may also want to link up your Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and Facebook accounts.

 

“It’s absolutely crucial that anyone building a personal Web site integrate their social destinations into their site,” says Anthony Zarro, founder and managing partner of Drive Action Digital, a digital marketing agency. “You’re creating content that lives in multiple places that link to one another, which improves your SEO [search engine optimization].”

 

So can putting a blog on your site. As Cass can attest, a news stream rife with target keywords can drive traffic to your site through social media channels and searches. Cass regularly blasts his articles on design topics to the 42,267 Twitter followers who know him as @justcreative.

 

STEP 3: Choose a look and feel

This is where we come in… getting to know you better by sharing thoughts on what works best, what looks great and how to get there. Xplore Studio provide you with a flat image of the website and you decide if it works for you before we do the actual development on it. Xplore Studio also offer setup for WordPress websites and blogs at a minimal rate.

 

STEP 4: Remember, it’s all about you

“Any site, whether it’s a personal or brand site, should be emblematic of who you are,” says Zarro. “It should tell your story the way you want it to be told.”

 

STEP 5: Promote yourself

Once your site is built and optimized, don’t be shy. Put the URL in your e-mail signature and on your social media profiles. Get your friends to “like” it on Facebook and “plus one” you on Google+. If you do blog, send your posts out over your social media channels.

 

Contact Xplore Studio and we can help you to setup all the above at a cost-effective rate!

 

Marlene

 

We give credit to you.com for the above references used

 

 

 

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General | Online Marketing & SEO | Websites

25 Lessons Learned from Bill Gates

by Admin 15. June 2011 08:57

 

There are few people I admire as much as Bill Gates. I find these insights and lessons just brilliant...

Bill is full of lessons and insights.  Here are 25 plays we can take from the pages of his playbook:

1.    Change the world, or go home. There is a little sign on many doors at Microsoft.  It features the blue monster and it reads:  “Change the world, or go home.”  Not only does that phrase capture the spirit of thousands of Softies … it speaks to the way Bill Gates drives his life.  He lives to build a better world, whether it’s one version, one platform, one system, one idea, one cause, one innovation at a time.  The beauty is, he knows how to scale and amplify his impact in powerful ways – he’s on top of his game.

2.    Blaze the trail.  The path isn’t always there.  Sometimes you have to make it.  Sometimes people will think you’re crazy.   Sometimes you are just ahead of the curve.  it’s a dream for a reason, and sometimes making your dreams happen takes going out on a limb and giving your all for what you believe in.  Bill Gates believed that the personal computer was the future and that there should be one on every desktop and in the living room and it would change the way we work and how we live in unimaginable ways.

3.    Make an impact.   Drive from impact.  Bill Gates makes choices based on impact.  Whether it’s following his passion or investing in a cause, he drives from making impact.  He doesn’t just do things because he can.  He does things because they matter and he can make them scale.

4.    Humanities greatest advances are the ones that level the playing field.  Bill Gates has a strong belief that “All lives have equal value.” Help those that can’t help themselves.   Everybody deserves a chance at their best life.  Lift the underdogs of the world up.  In his speech at Harvard, Bill says, “Taking a look back, one big reqret is, I left Harvard with no real awareness of the awful inequities in the world.  The appalling disparities of health and wealth and opportunity that condemned millions of people to the lives of despair.  I learned a lot here at Harvard about new ideas and economics, and politics.  I got great exposure to the advances being made in the sciences.  But humanities greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”

5.    A sense of urgency. The world changes fast.  The market changes faster.  Bill says, “In this business, by the time you realize you’re in trouble, it’s too late to save yourself. Unless you’re running scared all the time, you’re gone.”

6.    The market doesn’t always drive the right things.  In one of his powerful TED talks, Bill says, “There are some very important problems that don’t get worked on naturally.  That is the market does not drive the scientists, the communicators, the thinkers, the government to do the right things.  And only by paying attention to these things, and having brilliant people who care and draw other people in, can we make as much progress as we need to.”

7.    Live your values.  When you let the world know what you’re about, you become a lightening rod and you attract people with the same values.  At Microsoft, Bill Gates attracted people with a passion for changing the world and joining him on a journey to help create better lives through technology and innovation.  On the philanthropy side, Gates connects with U2’s Bono beyond the music when it comes to sharing their global mission to end poverty, disease, and indifference.  In 2005, TIME named Bono, Bill and Melinda Gates, “Persons of the Year” for their humanitarian work.  On Bill Gate’s 54′th birthday, Bono had this to say before leading the crowd in Happy Birthday:  “Without him, and without his business, we just wouldn’t be where we are today. It’s his birthday today. Bill Gates is in the house.”

8.    Your best gets better with the right people.  Don’t go it alone.   You’re better when you’ve got the right people around you.  Bill Gates built a culture of the best and brightest and was good at convincing his friends, such as Paul Allen and Steve Ballmer to join him on his adventures.  By surrounding himself with smart people, Bill was able to scale.  He also had a sounding board for ideas.  More importantly, ideas could get better from the combined smarts and perspectives.  Bill also knows how to complement his strengths by having the right people around that make up for his weaknesses.

9.    Innovation is the heart and soul of a business.   It’s about bringing ideas to market and applying research.  If you don’t innovate you die.  The world keeps changing.  To stay ahead of the game, or even to stay in the game, you have to keep innovating: innovate in your products, innovate in your process, innovate in the markets, etc.  Bill Gates uses innovation as a way to drive impact whether it’s shaping software or saving the planet.

10.    Be the platform.  Be the platform people can build on.  See the role that you play in building something that let’s other people build on what you do best.

11.    Build a better system.  Don’t just solve a one-off problem.  Make the solution systematic and make it repeatable.  Find, create, or leverage systems.  There is always a system, whether it’s at the micro-level or the macro level.  The system has inputs and outputs, cycles, and levers.  Whether you’re creating the system or leveraging the system, you’re more effective when you realize that there is a system.

12.    Build an ecosystem.  There are systems and ecosystems all around us.  Bill says, “Personal computing today is a rich ecosystem encompassing massive PC-based data centers, notebook and Tablet PCs, handheld devices, and smart cell phones. It has expanded from the desktop and the data center to wherever people need it — at their desks, in a meeting, on the road or even in the air.”  On creating partners for your ecosystem, Bill says, “Our success has really been based on partnerships from the very beginning.”

13.    Know how to turn the crank.  Take action.  Execute.  The problem isn’t a shortage of ideas, it’s execution.  Lots of people have ideas.  There is an overload of ideas.  The real gap is bringing ideas to market in a way that matters.  The secret sauce is ruthless prioritization of the ideas that make the most impact.

14.    Take Care of Your People. Bill Gates says, “Great organizations demand a high level of commitment by the people involved.” He set a powerful example of taking care of employees, from private offices for developers to creating a workplace of extreme empowerment, engagement, and passion.

15.    Divide and conquer the problem.   There is always a way to chunk up the problem and prioritize more effectively.  Whether it’s slicing the problem into versions over time, or simply taking the most meaningful or highest ROI (Return On Investment) pieces of the problem and tackling them first, you can make progress on the worst of problems or the best of opportunities.  No problem withstands sustained, focused effort that learns and improves over time.

16.    Improving your odds doesn’t guarantee success.  One of Bill’s stories during his speech at Harvard is how he learned this lesson: “Radcliff was a great place to live.  There were more women up there and most of the guys were mad science types.  The combination offered me the best odds if you know what I mean.”

17.    You don’t have to be first to win.  Bill says, “Microsoft has had its success by doing low-cost products and constantly improving those products and we’ve really redefined the IT industry to be something that’s about a tool for individuals.”

18.    The toughest feedback to hear, is the feedback you need the most.  You get better by listening to your toughest critics.  Your greatest source of growth can come from the people that will tell you what you need to hear, not just what you want to hear.  Bill says, “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” Bill also says, “You’ve got to want to be in this incredible feedback loop where you get the world-class people to tell you what you’re doing wrong.”

19.    Business and technology go hand in hand.  Bill says, “Information technology and business are becoming inextricably interwoven. I don’t think anybody can talk meaningfully about one without the talking about the other.” We’re truly living a knowledge worker world, where information technology is front and center.  Bill says, “It’s pretty incredible to look back 30 years to when Microsoft was starting and realize how work has been transformed. We’re finally getting close to what I call the digital workstyle.”

20.    Frame the problem.   Bill says, “I believe that if you show people the problems and you show them the solutions they will be moved to act.” Framing a problem is simply how you look at a problem, just like how you frame a picture.  It’s about choosing what to focus on, what’s in and what’s out.  When you frame the problem, you bound it.  Framing also helps you get a better perspective on the problem, as well as share the problem more effectively with others.  Some questions to help frame a problem include: Who’s the customer? What are their needs and priorities? What’s happening in the market? What are competitors doing? What are our options for responding?  How do we differentiate? How is technology changing and what possibilities does it offer our customers? What are the priorities for our business?   See How To Think Like Bill Gates.

21.    Celebrate success, but learn from failure.  Don’t repeat the same mistakes and don’t wallow in your wins.  Bill says, ““It’s fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.”

22.    Technology is just a tool.  Don’t lose sight of the end in mind or the difference that makes the difference.  Bill says, “Technology is just a tool. In terms of getting the kids working together and motivating them, the teacher is the most important.”

23.    Don’t automate inefficiency.  Make sure something actually makes sense to automate, otherwise you compound the problem.  Bill says, “The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.”

24.    Empower people.  Put the right information into the hands of the people that can make the most of it.  Bill says, ““The vision is really about empowering workers, giving them all the information about what’s going on so they can do a lot more than they’ve done in the past.”

25.    Go digital.  Connect people, process, and technology.  Create a digital landscape or a virtual world to reduce friction and to create new possibilities.  Bill says, ““One of the wonderful things about the information highway is that virtual equity is far easier to achieve than real-world equity…We are all created equal in the virtual world and we can use this equality to help address some of the sociological problems that society has yet to solve in the physical world.”

 

Andrea

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Articles | Websites

Does your business need a website redesign?

by Admin 8. June 2011 08:14

There are probably dozens and dozens of reasons people supply about why they do (or, gasp! do not) need their website redesigned.

Here are a few of the most likely issues confronting your website, though:

1. Your current Website’s design is outdated.


This is the most common reason, and users know in an instant if a website is up to date or not, simply by the way that it looks. Websites with fuzzy or broken images, hard to read text and outdated layout are often skipped right over as web surfers often automatically assume that the website is years old and will have nothing valuable to offer. Think about it in real-life terms. If you see a dilapidated building on the street, with it’s sign barely hanging on and boarded up windows, are you likely to even give it a second glance, let alone attempt to go inside?

2. People aren’t sticking around.

 

While a design can be up to date aesthetically, it may be lacking in functionality, and so users are getting confused when they first get to the site and subsequently are turned away. Your site needs to immediately demonstrate its purpose. Internet users are impatient and don’t like to search around on pages for what they’re looking for, they want it presented clearly and concisely the moment they arrive.

3. Not enough traffic.

 

Of course, you may find yourself with a nice looking site, and it may even be functional, but you’re just not seeing any traffic. If your site has been around for awhile, a lack of traffic indicates that you’re not doing well with the search engines. This could be caused by the fact that your site wasn’t built correctly, or that you need to work on the content presented therein.

4. Your company has grown.

 

This is one of the better reasons to redesign. Your company is growing, whether in your physical store locations or online, and you need to expand to accomodate this growth.

(Xplore Studio gives credit to ClickNathan)

 

So if you think that your website might be due for a redesign, contact us at Xplore Studio and we can find a cost effective solution that fits your budget.

Andrea

 

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Online Marketing & SEO | Websites

Why is branding so important?

by Admin 11. February 2011 04:20

Why is Branding so important?

At the heart of a great business is a first class product or service and every business wants to be a customer’s ‘first choice’. Building and managing a brand can play a large part in making this happen and if you want to strengthen and manage the perceptions of your business, then a strong brand is needed. Good branding elevates and differentiates your like-for-like products or services and gives your customers reason to choose you over your competitors.

OK, What is Branding?

  • Branding is the building of trust with employees, customers and stakeholders.
  • In marketing terms, the definition of branding is the sum total of a company’s value, including products, services, people, advertising, positioning and culture.
  • Brands give potential clients a firm idea of what they are buying before they buy it, making the purchasing decision easier.
  • Customers trust strong brands because they know what to expect.
  • The term ‘brand’ should not be confused with Brand Identity or Corporate Identity. Brand Identity is an element of the brand experience and we’ll talk about brand identity below.


But... brands aren’t just for big companies, they can make smaller businesses stand out from the crowd, particularly if you operate in a competitive market. We need to trust the people we do business with.

The benefits of branding and why should small businesses bother with it?


The most important reason is that it can help increase your sales. This means that when you need to increase your prices (because you are a small company, and there are only so many hours in the day) then your targetaudience will be accepting of your price increase. Think about it like this - if your company is built upon a solid brand base, you can build up to the next stage successfully without losing the trust of your customers.

Branding also encourages confidence and trust in your product/service - If you do experience a one-off issue with a product or service, your customers would be more likely to understand, if your brand ethos proves that you’ll do what it takes to resolve the problem.

Branding also develops the uniqueness of your product.

Marlene

 

When is a website redesign necessary?

by Admin 7. February 2011 08:03

Is it time for a web site redesign for your business?

How do you know when it’s time for a redesign of your business web site? If your business web site gets targeted traffic, makes you money, or provides leads, does that mean you don’t need a redesign? Not exactly. Web technology changes almost daily. Even if your web site is only a few years young, there are things that you can do and add to it to make it even better. While there are no specific guidelines for knowing when the time is right for a redesign, you can ask yourself a few questions that will give you some help with the decision.

First, what is a web site redesign?

Let’s answer this question first before we go any further. A web site redesign is not adding a few new pages and changing your logo on the front page. Updating and maintaining content should be a mandatory task for any business web site. Web site redesign is about changing the functionality and overall essence of your business on the web.

Web site redesign will typically include a number of goals that have to be accomplished. Improving the usability and visitor engagement by overhauling the look, feel, and graphics of the web site is the most common thing that people think of when it comes to redesign. Redesign can also include implementing social media applications like a blog, or adding new features like a shopping cart or customer log-in section. Sometimes, it’s doing all of the above!

Has it been more than 3 years?


Things change fast on the internet. 3 years ago, an “ugly” web site could have been just as successful as any other. These days, your web site is considered the face of your business. It is usually the first point of contact for a customer to your business. Any web site designed 3 or more years ago probably doesn’t have the design styles or usability of one designed today. Current web sites are all about grabbing attention quickly and engaging the user.

The beauty of the internet is that it gives users a choice. With so many business web sites out there, your bland web site with pages of outdated text will stand no chance against one that’s been highly optimized to reach its target demographic. An old-looking web site can turn people away from your company in a flash, especially if your competitors can better grab their attention. Visitors want web site to be clean, classy, and appealing.

Has my traffic reached a plateau?


If your traffic has remained the same month to month over the past few years, then it could be time for a redesign. Usually traffic can be increased by adding new content, but if you’re going to go through the trouble then it might be wise to kill two birds with one stone: Optimize your site for search engines first, then add more content.

A web site that isn’t search engine friendly means adding new content can be a huge waste of time. With one of our clients, we quadrupled their traffic by optimizing every page of their site for search engines without adding any new content. Optimizing a web site for search is a redesign within itself, but it must be done if you want to expand on your existing web site.


Has the competition updated their web sites?


ost business owners know their competition. You keep a close eye on what the competition is doing in magazines, mailers, the phone book, and every other advertising medium available in your area. The web should be no different.

If you’ve noticed that many of your competitors have updated their web sites with new user-friendly features, catchy graphics, or revamped sales pages, then it might be a sign that you should too. Even if your web site has been successful for you, eventually the competition will start to attract more visitors and in the long run they will surpass you in search rankings if you don’t do anything about.

Have you received customer and internal feedback about your site?

If your customers and employees are telling you something, you should listen! One of the most important resources you have as a busy business owner is feedback from your own customers and employees. If they’re telling you your web site is hard to use, boring, or outdated, then it is definitely time for a web site redesign.

What if you have no immediate feedback from your customers or employees? One method of gathering feedback is through surveying. Ask some of your customers or employees how they feel about your current website, which new features they would like to see, and how your current web site affects how they buy or work. Offer a reward for their participation to improve response rates. You could be very surprised from what you’ll learn!


Conclusion


The businesses that succeed on the internet are the ones that stay on top of their game. They know their customers and give them exactly what they want. The attention span of today’s internet user is shorter than ever. There is just too much choice available for them to stay on a stinky, old web site.

If you want to move ahead of your competition, you have to evaluate where you are and where you want to be. Web site redesign is one of our favorite services that we provide. Get in touch with us to see how we can help your business develop a web site that impresses visitors every time.

 

Andrea

 

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