BoyDog Design
Design and more…

April 13, 2012

Here are today’s links:

You never know what you’ll find. One of the links just might be the answer to your question of the day. As always, if you have a link that you think would be helpful, please pass it along. Enjoy!

Huge Round Up of Free Vectors for Designers

Free 40+ Ripped and Torn Paper Textures

Tips in Designing a Functional Website Archive

Introducing StumbleUpon’s New Facebook Timeline App 

How to Create a CSS3 Dropdown Menu (Tutorial)

WOW Slider: JQuery Image Slider & Carousel

200+ Free and High Quality Smoke Brushes For Photoshop

50+ Beautiful Examples of Typography

Amazing Collection of Free Fonts

Interesting And Useful Color Scheme Generators – 25 Tools

30+ Free Photoshop Plugins For Photoshop Lovers

 

By now most everyone has been introduced to the world of social media. You know the players – Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc – and most likely you’ve either done some research or signed up. Social media is an ever-changing playing field that continually offers new, revised, and expanded options. If you are paying close attention you soon realize that it can be a daunting task keeping up with what’s new and what works best. There is one thing that is a constant throughout all of social media, especially if you are a business, and that is your website.

It doesn’t matter how often or sporadically you post, your objective should be to direct viewers back to your website. It doesn’t matter how much or how little you say, you should be encouraging viewers to visit your site for more information. Under those circumstances your website is home base. Contained within its pages should be all the information needed to understand what your business or service offers, how to contact you, specific product info and photos, an option to purchase if that applies, and whatever other information is pertinent to allow a viewer to form an opinion, an interest, a need to contact you, and best of all the decision to purchase your product or service.

Now I know many of you already have a website up and running. You’ve had it for years and as far as you’re concerned it works just fine, thank you. But, does it?

When was the last time you reviewed your site?

Here are a few things to consider:

  • Is all of the information accurate? Have you revised a product and not changed the info on your site? Did you add a product or service but did not add it to your site?
  • Are all of the photos current? Sure you offer the same item, but is that a photo of the current item? Maybe you changed your packaging, logo, or colors.
  • Are all of your links active? If you refer viewers to outside sites, are you sure those links still work? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been on a site, click a link and… nothing.
  • And don’t forget about email addresses. Are you sure that all of the email addresses you have posted are current (and not for a former employee). I know of some sites that to this day have an email address posted that is for me at an old employer. I know I’m not receiving those messages and I doubt the company is either.
  • Has your content undermined your navigation? If you’ve had a site up for a while most likely you’ve added to it. A page here, a photo there. A new sub-category with more pages. I bet you didn’t realize how much you’ve added to your site. Sit down with the eyes of a fresh viewer to your site and experience how well or how poorly your site navigates.
    • Are your pages crowded with bits and pieces of information? Too many bits and pieces.
    • Are your links intuitive? Meaning – are the placement of your links easy to find or do you have to hunt for what you’re looking for?
    • Did you remember to cross-reference information?
    • Are your pages very very long? Have you been adding and adding to your pages until they require scrolling and scrolling?
    • Was your site created with SEO (Search Engine Optimization) in mind? If the answer is yes, does it need a little tweaking? If the answer is no, what are you waiting for?
    • Site analytics. What tools are you using to measure your website traffic?

I hope I’ve got you thinking about your website by now. How well is it performing? Can I make it better? And I hope your next step is to contact a design professional. BoyDog Design can assist you in a review of your current website. Let’s explore ways to update and improve your site. One of the benefits of web-based communication is that you don’t have to be local to BoyDog Design. Utilizing current technology it is easier than ever to work on projects together – even if you live across town, in another state, even another country. Think about it – is now the time to review, revise and reap the rewards?

http://www.delicious.com/BoyDogDesign

I continue to be impressed with the willingness of the design community to share information. Links, tutorials, books, samples, templates, fonts – you name it and it can be found online. I’d like to contribute to this stash of information by making my www.delicious.com bookmarks available to anyone who browses my blog.

Delicious offers bookmarks collected by its members. The range of interests are vast. For me, you will find that my bookmarks coincide with my interest in graphic design, advertising, web design, marketing, industrial design, and the range of software used in those pursuits.

Please, feel free to browse the bookmarks. You just might find the information you need. I would also like to encourage you to add to my bookmark list via email, posting to my blog, or sharing via your delicious account.

The best thing about delicious bookmarks is that they are always available to you as long as you have access to a computer with an internet connection. I started using delicious because I wanted to have my bookmarks available to me wherever I was and on whichever computer I might be working on at the time.

Give delicious.com a try. Browse my bookmarks. I hope you find something of interest. Maybe you’ll find some answers for things that have you stumped. Enjoy!

http://www.delicious.com/BoyDogDesign

I’m not ashamed to admit there was a time when I found it a bit daunting keeping pace with social media. How to do it. What to expect. The metrics of it all. Apparently I’m not alone. While we all know we need to have a presence in social media we are equally confused and stumped about how to measure our success.

According to this article by Kathy Crosett, “More Marketers to Seek Social CRM Systems,” http://bit.ly/eHttfg, we can expect new CRM services to be coming available this year. I look forward to this. Adding a reliable service to manage and analyse your data stream should result in a more profitable use of social media.

Update: Just received this pertinent email, “22 Hot New Social Media Tools Worth Exploring,” http://bit.ly/g4JW4T. Helpful tools.

Good news for those of you who have struggled with the decision to add social media to your marketing mix. According to the Small Business Success Index small business adopted the use of social media at twice the rate of 2008 in 2009. These businesses are finding that social media offers them access to their market – enabling them to build their brand, engage their current customers, and attract new customers as well.

Here’s a link to useful information summarizing these finding: http://www.bit.ly/ceSbFP

It’s never too late to add social media to your marketing plan. BoyDog Design can assist you in sorting through the various social media sites, blogging options, directories, and more. Is it time to hone the social media persona of your business?

I just came across these links and thought I’d share…

2010 Online Marketing Influencers: Trend Predictions in 140 characters by Trendsspotting http://bit.ly/876UgL

TrendsSpotting’s 2010 Consumer Trends Influencers http://bit.ly/7JPMmg

TrendsSpotting’s 2010 Social Media Influencers – Trend Predictions http://bit.ly/4OWZgV


That’s exactly what I’m trying to figure out… Three weeks ago I took the plunge and it’s been very interesting. I will admit I’ve gotten caught up in finding out all the nuances of Twittering. I’ve noticed the different styles – almost no tweets, occassional tweets, incessant tweets. I’ve decided to follow a nice group and I have followers already. A surprise for me.

I’m still doing my research on all of this. I’ve compiled a list of URLs that have helped me out (I’m sure there’s a bunch more). If you’re interested, here they are:

  • www.tweetdeck.com – breaks down twitter feeds into columns
  • www.twitterfeed.com – feeds your blog to Twitter
  • Twidget – a widget for the Mac dashboard  
  • www.twitpic.com – lets you share photos on Twitter
  • Twitterrific – Mac app  
  • Twitoria.com – you can see if someone’s account has been inactive for a number of days
  • wefollow.com – a user-powered Twitter Directory
  • twitterholic.com – scans and ranks twitter accounts for stats for most popular users
  • retweetist.com – to track how many times a tweet has been retweeted
  • huitter.com – it will automatically unfollow everyone who isn’t following you
  • twollow.com – find and follow fellow twitterers with similar interests to you – automatically
  • splitweet.com – easy management of multiple Twitter accounts and brand monitor, for heavy & corporate users.
  • www.search.twitter.com
  • tweetlater.com – productivity tool, scheduling, tracking, automation, personal status, vet new followers, unlimited twitter accounts
  • tweetvisor.com – web-based interface, easily switch between multiple accounts
  • mrtweet.com – personal networking agent, get relevant followers, people relevant to your current needs, useful statistics
  • twaiter.com – client and scheduling platform
  • If you know of any others, please let me know.

Now that I know the nuts and bolts of using Twitter I need to figure out just how it fits into my business plan. No answers yet, but I’m working on it. Does anyone have any suggestions? I can’t say I hate Twitter, I can’t say I couldn’t live without it – I’m hoping it becomes part of my marketing mix.