Posts by gwdlv

What To Look For When Hiring A Web Design Company

Hiring a Web Design company doesn’t have to be a daunting task. With this helpful guide you can be assured you picked the right company to build your website.

First and foremost when looking online for a potential Web Design company to hire, make sure you view their portfolio. A design company’s portfolio will show you how that company designs, does it fit with what you find appealing, have they built other sites in your industry, all of these questions can be answered simply by seeing what’s inside their portfolio.

Don’t just look at their portfolio, look over their entire site. If it is crappy chances are what they build for you won’t be good.

How Long Have They Been In Business?

So many people think because they have a strong background in design they can own a web design company. Well design skills are only a small part of running a successful web design company.

Seeing that a company has been in business since early 2000, shows you that company will be around a lot longer. We have heard so many horror stories of people giving their deposit to a so called "Web Design Company" and after weeks of not hearing from them, they find out they have been taken for a ride.

What Are The Design Services They Offer?

When looking for a company to design your website you need to know the company you hire will be able to not only do the job you ask them to do, but they should also suggest alternatives. Maybe there is something you don’t know about, your Web Design company should be able to do this, or they might not be the right company to hire.

Along with building your website can they create a matching Twitter background? Can they create an effective cover image for your Facebook page. These are 2 important elements to help extend your brand across the various social networks.

Do they offer any other types of design services? After your website is complete and launched there may be the need for graphic design services to create print material for you. Make sure the company has an understanding of the differences between what is needed for the Web and what they should do differently for print. Designing a vinyl banner has different requirements than designing an online banner.

Does The Company Offer Any Other Services?

Expanding on my previous question you should ask, does the company you look to hire offer other services like web hosting or printing, or will you have to hire another company for those services?

Hiring a company that can do it all for you is helpful in not having to call 3 different companies for these different types of services. Hiring a company that can do everything for you makes your life easier. You might need business cards, an all-in-one company already has your logo, making the turnaround time faster.

If the design firm you hire also handles your web hosting chances are they can fix any problems you might encounter with your site than a stand alone hosting company. They know how they designed your website, they know how it should function.

Do You Own the Website?

We have heard a lot of people ask us this very question, "After the site is complete, do I own it?". We have heard of some design companies telling their clients they are buying a license to use the site. That is like a contractor saying you are paying me to use the house I just built, you don’t own it.

Make sure when your site is complete you get a copy of the original artwork. It doesn’t matter if you do not own Photoshop or Illustrator. Having that original artwork is a great safety net if something doesn’t work out with that company.

What Makes That Design Company Different?

See if there is something unique that the company does, be it a service, or something that makes them stand out from the crowd. With so many Web Design companies in business today, it might be hard to decide where you will get the best service.

Will they connect your site to Google Analytics for free after they launch your website, or are they going to charge you to do it? It’s little things like this that can make a client feel good about the company they hired.

There you have it. These are the essential items you should look for when you are looking to hire a web design company to build your website.

Beginner’s Guide To Starting A Web Design Company

For those interested in Web Design there are a few things you need to know. Being a Web Designer is not something you can do just because you can use Photoshop. Discover the essentials of being a freelance Web Designer or opening a Web Design Company.

When we started our web design company we were definitely flying blind. The Web was still very new. There weren’t a ton of resources to reference to find out everything we would need.

Growing up my dad was self-employed so I had an idea of the dedication it took to run my own business, but his field had nothing to do with web design.

Building Your Website

Next on the list is obviously a website. Most of the resources I’ve read for freelancers tell them to create a portfolio to show off their work.

Now a lot of the "portfolio" websites I see are very appealing to the eyes, but a lot of them never seem to address the business side of Web Design. Yes your website needs a portfolio, it also needs to push people to contact you and hire you, otherwise it is just a collection of pretty pictures.

When you build your site make sure every page has some sort of call to action. If someone sees a design you did and are impressed, they need to be able to contact you while they are still excited about what you do.

When you write the content for your site like the services you offer, try to limit the web design jargon. You have to strike a blend between showing a potential client you know the business, and they also must understand what you are talking about. Most people don’t know what a JQuery slider is, call it a slideshow, this is something people have heard of.

Now you have your site built, your calls to action are in place, the next step is to blog. Blogging is where you can use all the jargon you want. This is the place to show visitors you know what your talking about, and you have the skills to get their project done.

Writing quality content in your blog also gives you more doorways in from search engines, and blog posts have a higher chance of being shared, than say, one of your portfolio pieces. So blogging can help you start getting traffic to your site and instills confidence in potential clients.

Social Networks

Speaking of sharing, now is the time to set up your social profiles in Twitter and Facebook. I’m not going to get into all the details about social networking, that can be a whole separate post. Search engines (read Google) are placing a lot of importance on content that gets shared socially. Make sure when you write a blog post you share it on all relevant social network sites.

Web Design Tools

The next thing you must have is software. Imagine being a mechanic without a toolbox full of tools. The same holds true for starting a web design company.

These tools do come with a high price, at the least you will need Photoshop, Illustrator, and something to write your code in. You’ll also need a pretty fast computer, running some filters in Photoshop can put a hurtin’ on your computer, slowing your workflow to a crawl.

Stay Up To Date on Current Web Design Trends

The next set of tools that are important to your web design business is your knowledge. If a client comes to you and asks you for an HTML5 responsive web design, you need to know what that is. Think of how it will look if a client knows more about web design than you do.

Read blogs for information on new trends in design, do Photoshop tutorials to increase your skills. As complex as Photoshop is, there are probably 6 different ways to achieve the same look for a particular design.

Learn about the most common open source CMS software out there like WordPress and Joomla. Understand the best practices for creating an eCommerce site that makes people want to buy. Learn how to incorporate video into your clients’ sites. This is a great way to humanize their website.

Do You Need An Office?

Well yes and no. You don’t need a dedicated office, but at least an executive suite. Sure you can meet with clients at a coffee place that offers free wifi, but it doesn’t always portray the best image. An executive suite can be rented when you need it, and you don’t have the overhead or the hassle cymbalta dosage. You can use that money you save on marketing.

Selling Your Web Design Services

Now you have the foundation in place for your web design company, it is time to get out and sell yourself.

One of the most important tips I can give you is to make sure you get clients from a variety of sources. You’ve heard the saying, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. The same holds true for marketing your business.

Suppose you spend all your time to get your rankings high for the phrases people would use to find you, yes your living the good life. The search engines roll out an update and you loose all your rankings.

Now what are you going to do? Make sure to network with other business people. You never know if the person you meet at the coffee place could be a potential client.

It might help you to join your local Chamber of Commerce. Think about it, everyone that joins is a business owner and every business needs a website.

Search engines rankings are important just don’t make them your only source for new business.

Treat Your Clients Well

Now you have landed a few clients, the next most important thing to learn is to treat your clients well and make sure you are prompt and honest. I’m not saying Web Designers are liars, sometimes people promise things they can’t do.

Don’t be afraid you are going to disappoint a client when you tell them it will take longer to complete their job. If you tell them it will be done in 3 days because that’s what you think they want hear, and it takes you a week, they will be much more unhappy.

Think about it, if you tell them a week and you deliver in 3 days you look like a God.

Another reason it is important to treat your current clients well is it is easier and cheaper than getting new clients. Your current clients already said yes to you, so it is easier to get them to say yes again.

So there you have it, a beginner’s guide to starting a Web Design Company. Starting any business can be tough. Starting a Web Design company has its unique hurdles to overcome and I hope this article helps shed some light on what you need to start your company.

Free Twitter Background with Photoshop Template

We created this Twitter background with the Photoshop template so you can customize it to whatever you want. If you just want to upload it we saved a jpeg version of it too.

The key to making a Twitter background is making sure it will fit on just about any monitor a person can have. From viewing it on their iPhone to viewing it on a large 27″ monitor, it must be large enough to either fill the screen or fade to a solid color so there are no defining lines.

This Twitter background is 2560px x 1600px which should be large enough for any screen. If you want to customize this and add your logo and information to the left side of this background, start in the top left corner and keep it inside the dimensions of about 200px wide by 700px tall.

  • <a href=" More”>Photoshop Twitter Template
  • Twitter Background

Web Design Book or Web Design Tutorial

I just downloaded a Kindle version of a book on Responsive Web Design using HTML5 and CSS3. I had some money left over on a pre-paid gift card I got for my birthday so I said why not. I had been reading a lot of tutorials on Responsive Web Design, picking up tips and ideas the more I read. So it got me thinking, would I learn more by getting a book? Let’s look at the pros and cons of reading a book about Web Design or just doing tutorials about Web Design.

Each learning format has its strengths. When I was first getting started with Photoshop, I did a lot of tutorials, and they made up about 95% of how I learned how to use Photoshop and still today, I am doing them.

Graphical tutorials might be different than coding tutorials. You really need to have Photoshop or Illustrator open while you read the tutorial to really learn something. For learning a new code you can read a lot before you actually put that knowledge into practice.

I still find I need to be on the computer with the code editor open while I do a tutorial. You can have your book next to you while you code, but it definitely isn’t as easy as when a tutorial give you code snippets you can copy/paste into your editor.

Sample code

Test What You Are Learning

Doing web design tutorials online also allows you to test what you are doing while you are doing it. It gives you an instant sense of accomplishment. You can validate what you are learning really works.

If you are reading a web design book, using another book to keep it open while you code is not very convenient, but you can still see what you are doing.

Web Design tutorials are generally more current and up-to-date. If you find tutorials to do on Twitter, chances are the author just wrote it. With a book you have to make sure it was at least printed in the same year you are in (the book I downloaded was printed 3 months ago so that is really recent for print).

Now so far it seems like doing web design tutorials online is the clear winner. It is convenient because you are at your computer, you can instantly test what you are learning and they are very current, so why would you buy a book on Web Design? It’s simple, more content in one place.

Web Design Books Have More Content in One Place

When you find a tutorial to do you might have 800-1000 words in that tutorial. Once you learn what was written you have to do more searching for another tutorial to fill in the gaps left by the tutorial you just did.

Reading a Web Design book gives you sometimes 200-300 pages of content. Even if you jump around while you read, you can always go to the table of contents or index of the book and go directly to what you want.

Searching Google or Twitter for a concise list of everything you want to learn about web design can take a lot longer and you still might not find what you are looking for.

Which is Better, Book or Tutorial?

So which form of learning is better? I don’t think we can actually declare a winner on this one. Each form of learning has its own strengths and weaknesses, so really it is a matter of the subject and how you learn.

Growing up I was always a magazine person instead of books, I like short concise bits of information. Reading a 400 page book was unthinkable, so for me tutorials work very well. This is not to say the book I just bought will go to waste. Why do you think I got the Kindle version? I can search it, view it on my computer, my tablet or my phone if I want. Really it takes one of the weaknesses of learning from a book out of the picture.

Really I think you should blend both learning formats to take advantage of each of their strengths.

Canon 40mm f/2.8 STM Pancake Lens

I just picked up Canon’s new 40mm f/2.8 STM pancake lens. I’m going to post some test footage later, but couldn’t wait to share.

The Anatomy of a Website Redesign

Learn what you should do before redesigning your website to mitigate any search engine traffic losses.

The decision to redesign your website can be tricky. Your site might be outdated yet it is still ranking well in the search engine results pages, so what do you do?

What you do is relative to the size of your website. If you have a small 10 page site it is going to be much easier than a site that has hundreds of pages, but it is still possible to have a successful redesign of your current site, it will just take a little more work.

Step 1: What Doesn’t Work on My Current Website

This is the first thing you should ask yourself. Is your website hard to update yourself? Should you consider using a content management system? Is the design itself outdated? Do I need a blog?

Make a list of things you would like to change about your current website, so you know what needs to be done for the redesign.

Step 2: Organizing Your Content

The next step in the redesign process is to organize all your new content you want for the site. Start by opening up your favorite word processing software and write the content for each page, keeping in mind the content of some of your current pages. The reason for this is maybe some of your pages rank well, changing the content completely could change your rankings with the redesign.

Do you want to add videos to the new website? Maybe you want to start selling products, so you will need to add eCommerce capabilities to the new website. If you answered yes to either of these you will need to produce the videos and/or collect product images, descriptions and anything else you need for the product area.

I find the best way to approach this step is what we tell all our web design clients, write an outline of the structure and set up of all your new content. See your English teacher in High School was right for teaching you outlining. Who knew back then the Internet would be born?

Creating an outline helps us the Web Designers create the structure for the new website. It helps us understand how we should build your navigation. In the outline you can start typing all your content too. This way you have everything in one place. Here is an example:

Main Page

  • About / Mission Statement
  • Services
    • Web Design
      • Website Design
      • Blog Design
      • Content Management Design
    • Graphic Design
      • Logo Design
    • Printing
    • Web Hosting
    • Marketing
  • Portfolio
    • Case Studies
  • Blog
  • Contact

You can see by this structure we would need main navigation buttons for Main, About, Services, Portfolio, Blog and Contact. All the indented items could be added as drop-downs in your menu.

This would also be the basis for writing your new content. Simply write the content directly inside this outline so you can see the flow of all your writing, making sure your message stays consistent.

Step 3: Writing Your Content

The new content you write is one of the most important parts of this redesign process. Yes I know most business owners are not writers, so you can hire a copywriter if you need to. In any case the text you write will have a huge impact on the future growth of your site and the traffic it sees from search engines.

Now more than ever search engines are smarter than they were when you first designed your website. If you are a landscaping company you can no longer write for your services that you, mow lawns and trim trees, you have to be detailed.

Tell how you mow the lawn, why is your way unique. Talk about the benefits of leaving your grass a little longer during the Summer to help it retain more of the water your sprinklers spray on it, don’t give away all your secrets but explain your services or products or whatever you do in as much detail as possible.

I know you are already saying, “…but people don’t want to read through all that text”. Well yes and no, you will find some that just want to see what you do and then contact you, and that is great. There are also people that are visiting your website in order to qualify you, and to see if they want to hire you. You need to give them the reasons you are the best choice.

You can get more details about writing by reading, Tips For Writing Better Blog Posts. This article still applies to regular content on your site, giving you an idea of what you should include to make people read your content.

Step 4: Analyzing Your Current Pages in the Search Engines

Most likely the URLs of your new pages will be different from the pages of your current site, so in order to not loose that traffic those pages get from search engines, you will need to see what pages need to point to their respective new page…hold on I’ll explain.

If you are using a service like Google Analytics (you really should be) you will see what pages of your site get traffic from the various search engines or maybe they are linked to from other websites. In order to not loose that traffic with your website redesign, you will need to redirect those pages to the new ones you are creating, and you do this with a 301 redirect. I am not going to get into the details of how to do this, that would be a whole article in itself, and your Web Designer should know how to do this or you need to find another Web Design company.

A 301 redirect basically does what the title infers, when someone clicks on the link going to an old page the 301 redirect, redirects the person to the new page. Not only is this great for the person looking to read that page, but it also helps search engines find your updated link to that page. This is essential to keeping your traffic up and so people don’t click a link to your site and get a 404 Error.

Now all the grunt work is done, time for the fun stuff, the actual redesign of your website.

Step 5: The Redesign

Seems like you have done a ton of work and you still don’t have new artwork. Well those preliminary steps were important for a successful redesign. Now that you have the new structure of the site you have a clear road map for how your new website should be designed.

You start with the mock up of the new site in Photoshop. This will show you how the overall site will look, where your navigation will be, and other key elements. You might also have to design a mock up for the subpages of the site if they will be different from the layout of the home page.

Something else to consider at this stage is your logo. Can it use a freshening up? You don’t want to loose your branding but this would be the perfect time to add some new life to it. Look at how many different versions of Pepsi’s logo there are.

Now that the artwork is complete it is time to start building your new website.

Step 6: Putting All the Pieces Together

When you are building your new website you want to do it in a subfolder of your current web hosting account. This way you can keep your current website up and running until you are ready to launch the new one.

The process of building the site is going to vary based on how it will be built. Are you going to use a CMS like WordPress or Joomla? Maybe it is a small site and can be built using modern HTML5 and CSS3 static pages. This is something you need to discuss with your Web Designer. Everyone does things a little different.

Step 7: The Launch

Your new website is built and ready to launch. The next step is to make a backup of your old website and stick it in a subfolder and maybe call that old_site. Then move all the files from the new website into the root directory of your hosting.

So now that the new website is live, you will want to submit your sitemap to Google through their Webmaster Tools. Also make sure all your 301 Redirects are in place and working.

You might want to send an email to all your customers/clients telling them of the redesign and how it can make their life easier. Maybe now they can simply buy the products they get from you online instead of submitting a request and waiting for someone to get back to them.

Post on Facebook and Twitter and the other social networking sites announcing the launch. If it is news worthy write a press release to further get the word out.

That Was A Lot Of Work, And Worth Every Minute

Your new website is done. You spent hours writing the new content, making sure you don’t loose traffic from the old links and freshened up the look of your logo, so now what? That’s easy, reap the rewards of your work. That doesn’t mean your work is done, it means if you did your redesign correctly you should start to see an improvement in your business, and the satisfaction of knowing your company stays on top of technology and all the benefits it brings.

If you have been considering a redesign of your website use this as a guide so you don’t get blind-sided by something you may have overlooked.

Tips for Writing Better Blog Posts

If you’re planning to start a blog for your business, you should have an idea of how to grab people’s attention with the written word. Writing blog posts that people will read is a skill you can develop with these helpful writing tips.

Write Compelling Titles

The first place to start is the title. The title you choose is what will ultimately get your visitors to click the link to read the entire post. Some of the best titles are ones that answer a question or solve a problem, just like the title of this post. You were probably looking for tips on how to be a better writer and found our post.

A good place to see examples of great titles is from the blogs you read. Don’t copy them, just analyze what titles make you want to click. See how they are structured, is there action built into it?

Using words like "discover" are great for using in titles. Remember when you were a kid and you discovered something new and the feeling you had? You can create the same emotion in people reading your blog.

"Discover the Secrets to Looking Younger"
“5 Tips for Discovering Your True Potential"

Discovering something new or reading a secret taps in to people’s inner desire for gossip. This technique is used a lot on magazine covers. You can learn a lot from gossip magazines.

Break Up Your Paragraphs

Can you imagine how hard it would be to read this article if there were no paragraph breaks? I’m sure you wouldn’t have made it to this sentence.

When you write you need to break up your text into easy to digest segments. Using bullet points and subheadings makes it easy for someone to get the gist of the article. Using block quotes is another method of making your content easier to read.

  1. Keep your paragraphs short
  2. Use bullet points where possible
  3. Add subheadings to major areas of your article
  4. Use block quotes to feature important content
  5. Use enough line spacing, so lines of text are easy to read

Read, Reread, Then Have Someone Else Read It

Nothing will make a person click away from your article faster than when you have spelling and grammar errors. I just read a post from a blog I read regularly. It was written by a guest writer that in the first paragraph the author mentioned they were a professional journalist before they transitioned to copywriting for the Web.

As I read I was shocked that no one caught all the errors. At the end of the article I looked for the comments area to share my disgust and found two other people beat me to the punch.

This was the inspiration for this post you are reading.

Having someone else read your writing not only helps to correct errors, but they might also be able to help you grammatically. What sounds good in your head might not sound good to others.

Do Your Research

In order to be credible as a writer of nonfiction you can not post information that is untrue. Many times your readers will be people in your industry looking to learn more. If they read something you wrote and they know for a fact you have the wrong information they will probably never read another article you write.

One of the biggest reasons to blog is to share your knowledge and show your visitors you know your industry. If they read one false or misinformed statement after another all your credibility just flew right out the window.

When you quote or use a fact from another website create a link to that page that opens in a new browser window, so people can see how you came up with that information.

Unless you are writing fairy tales make sure what you write is true. This single tip will help grow your audience dramatically.

The Length of Your Posts Are Critical

A lot of our clients often say they don’t want their websites to be too "wordy". My response is always, "How do you expect your visitors to learn about your company if you don’t tell them?"

Your posts should be at least 750 words. How can you expect to educate people with a post that is only 200 words?

If you are truly passionate about what you are writing you will find it easy to write more than 750 words. We are also seeing proof that Google and other search engines are placing more weight on longer posts. They know the importance of truly informing your audience. At the start of this sentence I am already at 774 words. See how easy it can be.


Yes every post you write needs a summary of what you wrote. Write conclusions that get people thinking at the end of your post. This helps to make it more memorable. You might want to include some type of call to action.

"Now that we have shown you how easy it is to start using HTML5, open up your editor and get coding"

You can see we are telling people to take action on what they just learned. This means they will usually spend more time dissecting your article, rereading it to make sure they didn’t miss anything.

Our Conclusion

Blogging can be a very satisfying form of expression, sharing your knowledge is very gratifying. It also shows your readers you are an Authority in your industry which gives them a feeling of trust. Use these writing tips I have shared, and write something. Share your passion with others and see how that converts readers to customers.

Why You Should Buy A DSLR Camera That Also Shoots Video

When I started shooting I had an entry level DSLR that at the time (2007) shot video, but it wasn’t great and the sound quality was horrible. Now 5 years later, even entry level DSLR cameras shoot HD video and can record incredible sound with an external mic.

Because my DSLR couldn’t be used for video I had to also bring an HD video camera. I looked kind of silly, I shot stills with my DSLR and built a bracket that would hold my HD video camera on it. I was a one man show so I had to improvise. This set up worked because I could shoot the still shot then continue panning for the video. The only draw back was when it was quiet you could sometimes hear the shutter in the video.

Eventually both those cameras stopped working, I shoot Off-road racing and cameras hate dust. I upgraded my DSLR and my video camera, but now I use a different approach. The video camera is on a tripod pointed one direction and the DSLR is hand held so I can pan.

So you might be asking why the 2 different cameras to shoot video? Each camera has their own unique strengths, let’s look at their differences.

We will start with a conventional HD video camera. The biggest advantage is you can zoom in and out while recording. This is helpful for me if I am on top of a plateau and I can see the racers from a distance. I can zoom far in and follow them towards me as they get closer. These types of cameras have continuous focus to make this possible. Also camcorders can shoot for longer times in one shot than DSLRs can. DSLRs tend to heat up lowering the quality of your video as time goes on.

Now for their pitfalls, no interchangeable lens and hard to achieve a shallow depth of field.

This is why you need a DSLR to shoot video. You might not be able to zoom while recording but the quality of the video is well worth overcoming this tiny obstacle.

First think about all the lens you already have for shooting stills. They can be used for shooting video too. If you have a good 50mm lens you can achieve a very shallow depth of field in your video, giving it that filmic look.

You know how well your DSLR shoots in low light, the same holds true with video. You can have a lot less light with your DSLR than you can with a conventional HD video camera.

Another great advantage that seems so obvious is you can still shoot still images. Yes my HD video camera can shoot stills, but remember HD resolution is only 1920×1080. Your cell phone can take better pictures. This idea is what Photojournalists love about DSLR cameras. They can get a hi-rez image for print and grab video for online use.

Shooting video with your DSLR should be an easy transition if you are already a photographer. Think about how many doors this could open for you. Now you can offer photography and videography services to your clients.

Up until just recently to shoot video with a DSLR you had to buy a Canon camera, but Nikon finally caught up and now offers HD video on their DSLRs, so you can still be a Nikon lover and shoot video.

As you might be able to tell I am a little biased towards DSLR video, and for good reason. When you compare the video you capture with each camera, you’ll see why.

So if you’re in the market for a new DSLR camera make sure it will shoot HD video as well. Once you upload your first video you’re going to wonder why you waited so long. I know I did.

Video Enhances Your Ecommerce Website And Sells More Products

The Web can be static at times especially when buying something online. Adding video to your eCommerce website makes your products come to life. Discover the power of adding product videos to your eCommerce site so you sell more products.

Quite often when you purchase something, you pick it up and inspect the box or if the product is on display you take it in your hands and really take a good look at it. Online is a different story, most eCommerce sites have pictures of the products some might even have multiple angles of the product. Products images alone still don’t bring your products to life like video does.

Video is a powerful tool when selling products, it adds excitement, it adds life to whatever you’re selling, it adds a human element images simply can’t do. Let’s look at an example of how video was used on this off-road website to sell their suspension kits.

How Can I Add Video To My Ecommerce Site

The first step is coming up with an idea for a product video. The type of products you sell will determine if your video should be of you explaining the products, or like our example you actually using the product.

If you sell electronics, like cell phones or something small, “hand-on” videos seem to work best. These videos are of you with the product in hand, talking about its features, how to use it, showing the different angles of the product.

On the other hand if you are selling superchargers for cars and trucks you want to show the product on a car, maybe spinning the tires because now the car has so much more power than before, or maybe you hit the drag strip and show how much faster the car is.

If you are selling cosmetics have a make-up artist apply your cosmetics to a model and show how your cosmetics will make a woman look more attractive.

Another really important use of video to sell products is in Real Estate. I tour of the home video does much more than images do to help a person see themselves living in the home.

So brainstorm on the best approach to sell your product.

Production Value

I’m not going to get into the details about how to shoot your videos, that could be a whole other article. What I will share with you are some tips to make your videos look professional and sell your products.

Tip 1: Audio is just as important and video

You can have the best HD quality video playing but if the audio is poor or sounds like you are talking into a tube, you will definitely make people click away. Invest in a good lavalier mic if you are doing a lot of talking. If you are doing a video like our example invest in a good shotgun mic for your video camera. You’ll be amazed at the difference.

Tip 2: Use a tripod

Yes the Blair Witch Project was a hugely popular movie, mostly because it broke all the rules of Video Production, but for your product videos you need to use a tripod so you eliminate any camera shake. Think about driving down a bumpy road and how hard it is to focus your eyes, do you want to take potential buyers on a bumpy road? Tripods can be purchased for a very small amount of money, and keeping your camera still will enhance your videos a lot and add a professional look to them as well.

Tip 3: Lighting adds depth to your video

When setting up your “studio” it is important to have plenty of light. In case you didn’t know your camera’s lens is not as sensitive to light as your eyes are, so what looks bright to you can look dim to your camera.

You’ll want to use the “Standard 3-Point Lighting Technique“. Your main light or Key light is off to either the left or the right of the subject. Then opposite that is the fill light to help eliminate any shadows. This will be a slightly softer light. Then the third light is your back light. This adds depth to your video and makes it more 3 dimensional.

Using these three video productions tips will help you make better videos.

Putting Your Videos On The Web

We always recommend to our clients to upload their videos to YouTube and then embed them in their website. I mean why wouldn’t you like to take advantage of the traffic your video could see by being on YouTube? Also YouTube’s servers will generally do a much better job at serving up your videos than your standard web hosting account will, so your videos have the potential of looking better and with less buffering. That is what we did for our example mentioned above.

Get your creative juices flowing. What kind of video would you want to watch to make you buy your products? Do you have the knowledge to shoot the videos yourself or will you need a video production company to help out? With either case make sure your videos will enhance your products and not take away from them. So get out there and shoot some videos, you’ll be amazed at the return on your investment.

Have Optimization on Your Mind Before You Web Design

Before you design a website there are some things you must consider. Web design is nothing without the content properly optimized and a solid plan in place. Learn what you should do before you design.

The first step is to write an outline of the content you want on your website. Using this outline gives you the overall structure of your website and a roadmap for its navigation.

The next step is to write the copy. Make sure your copy is authoritative and make sure it conveys your knowledge of the subject. Back in the day when writing optimized copy, you simply tried to stuff as much of your keyword phrases into it.

The search engines have smartened up. Your copy can still contain your target keyword phrases, you just have to use them in a way that sounds like natural speech. Let’s look at an example.

You own a landscape company here in Las Vegas. Obviously you want to rank well for "Las Vegas Landscape Company", or a close variation.

Your home page cannot be a bunch of words with that phrase splattered all over it. It must read like you would be saying this to a person.

Before you could write, "Las Vegas landscape company that does landscaping for Las Vegas home owners. We also do tree trimming in Las Vegas, and lawn mowing."

Now having text on your site like this will definitely get you penalized by search engines. A more natural way to write it would be,

"ABC Landscaping has been helping Las Vegas home owners with their landscaping needs for over 10 years. Along with landscape design for new projects we can also maintain the look of your yard with our weekly lawn service. So next time you need tree trimming or your lawn mowed, remember ABC Landscaping."

Here we have included your major phrases and did it in a way that sounds like you are talking to a person and not a computer.

Now that we have a basic understanding of writing copy that the search engines will eat up, let’s see how we can optimize the design of the site so search engines can easily find all your juicy content.

Before we start a web design, we have to think about how a search engine is going to read your page. If your design has a header, an area for your content, a right column then the footer, when a search spider reads the pages, it will go across your header from left to right, then read your content, then your right column, and lastly your footer.

If you switched things and had a left column instead of the right column a spider has to travel a lot farther to get to your copy. Why would you intentionally want to make its job harder? Treat a search spider like a guest you are trying to impress, jump through hoops to make them feel welcome.

You often see eCommerce stores with left side columns for their navigation. This is mostly done because people look left to right, and you want your shopping categories right in front of your visitors faces. Ultimately you have to design your website for your visitors, so do what is best for the situation.

Design for Speed

The next part of the design equation is speed. When designing a website you have to balance the awesome graphics and small file sizes, which usually are contradictory to each other. There are certain things you can do to speed things up.

Google especially takes speed of page download very seriously, so it is an essential part of optimizing your website’s design.

When designing your artwork, you design a background with a nice gradient. Instead of uploading a giant image that will cover a person’s screen when they view your website simply take a 1 pixel wide slice of it and have it repeat. This way it will cover the entire screen no matter how big it is and your are loading an image that is a few kilobytes instead of one megabyte.

If you are using a CMS to build your website, take advantage of its caching feature. This will greatly help your site’s speed. If your visitors don’t have to wait long for your pages to load, it is easier to keep their attention on your sales pitch.

So next time you are looking for a web design company in Las Vegas and you have done your homework, make sure they don’t look like a deer caught in the headlights when you ask them to optimize the design of your website. We here at Graphic Web Design have been using this web design practice for over 8 years, so you are assured your design is optimized for not only the search engines but also your visitors.