Web Design

Passion is a force that must be channeled. Our passion & creative process serves as the foundation for what we do.

Guest Blog: Website Homepage Check List

Guest Blog: Website Homepage Check List 2048 1365 Brand Fiend

Guest Blog: Jaylon Griffith at 24thyear.com

Your homepage is normally the most visited page on your website. As soon as someone visits that page, they are deciding whether or not they should stick around, so that means your copy has to be bomb. This checklist will help you write a high-converting homepage so you can grow your biz and start attracting more clients out the gate.

Your homepage needs to include the following:

Benefit Driven Headline:

What is the biggest promise you make to your clients? Think about something they really want and weave that into your copy.

Who you are:

Tell people who you are, what you do, and what your mission is.

Who you help:

Make it clear who you help, so your visitors know immediately if you’re a good fit.

Problems you solve:

How does your product or service help solve your potential clients problem?

Benefits of working with you:

Why should your visitors choose you instead of your competitors? What will life be like after working with you?

Call to action:

Encourage people to find out how they can work with you and include a strong attention grabbing call to action at the end of your story.

Testimonials:

Talk about the success stories you’ve had with your clients.

Opt-in Box:

Encourage people to sign up for your email list! It’s the most important thing you own!

Thanks for checking out our Fiend Blog for tips on branding, social media, website design, marketing, and more. Need help with any projects? Click here.

5 Reasons We Build With WordPress

5 Reasons We Build With WordPress 1500 1500 Jesse Alex

WordPress is, by far, the most popular open source Content Management System (CMS), used by approximately 75 million websites.

Our team here at Brand Fiend has many years of accumulated knowledge and experience building quality websites using WordPress. We’re grateful to have worked with a wide range of clients from startups, e-commerce, restaurants, and more in helping them establish online homes for their brands. Since we build 90% of our clients sites via WordPress, here are a few reasons why it’s our top choice in helping brands reach their website goals:

1. Highly Customizable with Great Flexibility

WordPress is extremely popular because it meets the demands of many users with its flexible framework, which allows designers and developers to create and modify layouts and applications. Our team here at Brand Fiend has experience extending WordPress functionality, as well as incorporating a wide range of plugins, to meet our clients’ unique demands that go way beyond your basic website. Our experience in coding mixed with WordPress helps us provide great online homes for our clients. Need help implementing a certain functionality into your website? We can help!

2. Plenty of Room for Expansion

There are more than 50,000 WordPress plugins (often free), such as slideshows, contact forms, SEO optimization, E-Commerce integrations, add-ons, and more. These plugins allow you to implement various elements on your website to help enhance your look + feel, functionality, and more. Here at Brand Fiend, we have access to unlimited amount of plugins in order to help meet your website needs.

3. Super User Friendly

One thing we love about the WordPress platform is that it provides a user friendly back-end for our clients to manage once we’ve completed the build. It allows you to manage everything from SEO, website analytic’s, e-commerce store functions, your blog post, and much much more. Need help learning the back-end of WordPress so you can use it more efficiently? We can provide a walk through in order for you to do so!

4. Most Popular Platform Out There

We’ve been building from WordPress since 2009-10, so we pretty much know it like the back of our hands, and so do many other people as it’s the most used Content Management System in the game. The numbers don’t lie!

5. WordPress is a SEO Friendly Platform

WordPress is written using standard compliance high-quality code and produces semantic markup. In non-nerdy terms, this makes Google and other search engines love WordPress. This is why WordPress sites tend to rank higher than others in search engines. By default, WordPress is really SEO friendly out of the box. But you can also use WordPress SEO plugins to further optimize your website. Our favorites are All In One SEO or YOAST SEO. Need help with your websites SEO strategy? Don’t hesitate to hit us up!

Do you have a WordPress site you need help with? Contact us.

 

How To Thoroughly Audit Your Web Presence

How To Thoroughly Audit Your Web Presence 900 900 Jesse Alex

Guest Blog By: Kevin Cooper, Founder of Broad Band Search

How do you make decisions relating to branding, marketing, SEO, and content direction? While some may try to get by with their intuition, the most successful websites use data to drive their decision making in most cases.

Yet data just doesn’t come out of anywhere. It would be wise to consider performing an audit of your web presence to now only know where your website is headed but where it could head, and what potential isn’t being used to the fullest. A full audit will give you knowledge as to your position in the market, what strategies are and are not working, and provide new perspectives on how you run your site and how it is viewed by the public.

While there’s no particular order you will want to do these in (you will want to look over the combined data at the need anyhow) and there are additional measures you can take, you will want to at least take the following steps when auditing your web presence:

Perform SEO and Local SEO Analysis

SEO is the bread and butter of a solid web presence, so it’s only natural that checking your SEO metrics (things such as your bounce rate, number of referring domains, and the amount of organic traffic) is vital when performing your audit.

You will almost certainly want to use SEO analysis tools to do this, so you’ll want to make sure that you are looking at the right metrics. This will require some additional research on your part if you aren’t familiar with the terminology, but it will be a skill that is essential for proper site management.

At the same time check your page rankings and how they might have changed (positively or negatively) over time.

If your website or business is focused on a local area, you’ll want to check your local SEO metrics instead and based your decisions off them.

See How Your Marketing Strategies Are Performing

While you are looking at your SEO statistics, try to line them up with your marketing methods (whether you are doing that yourself or outsourcing it) and see what you can do to get a full overview of how those strategies are working. A/B testing might be a good tool in this case, and you should try to be quick with any changes you might make to your strategies.

Audit Your Social Media Metrics

This one, fortunately, isn’t a difficult step at all. You’ll want to check your pages and pull the data on what gets share most, and on what platforms your content seems to be the most successful. You will want to choose your own engagement metrics and goals based on your site’s needs, but social media presence is web presence for some brands, so see where you are trending.

Review Your Overall Brand

Your brand recognition and how your brand is perceived are both important parts of your web presence. You might want to ask yourself the following about your site:

  • What are people saying about the brand in comments sections?
  • Does the web site work to enhance the brand, or is there noticeable dissonance that needs to be addressed?
  • What values does your brand portray, and does your web presence work with that?

You will want to see what your brand looks like from the outside as much as possible, and then take measures to adjust. If you’re very concerned or want to focus on other matters, Brand Fiend’s services might be great for your site

Perform a Content and General Site Audit

You will want to look at your site not just from the point of view as a site administrator and editor but as someone potentially looking at the site for the first time. Is the content interesting to you or would it at least be to your target audience? Can you read everything easily, and is the site visually pleasing to the eye? Is there anything that would annoy you?

While analytics are a fantastic tool, sometimes looking at the site like this is one of the only ways to determine why content is or is not working. You will also want to make sure the landing pages and the general information presented on the site is up to date and accurate.

See that Your Services Are Performing Adequately

As part of your web presence audit, you should check to see what your services are doing for you. See what you are using and what you might need, and consider the following:

  • How do you feel about your web hosting services? Are you getting the technical support you need, or is it holding your site back?
  • Are there marketing tools and services that you still use, or are there alternatives that would work much better for your needs?
  • How about the basic services you need to run your blog? Is your internet connection dropping to the detriment of your blog? Do you think a better office or setup on your end will allow for better web presence administration? Consider everything that could be a factor.

Review the Competition

Your site’s web presence isn’t just about your site, it’s about your site’s place in the great online ecosystem online, especially within the industries or niches your site operates in. Check the following for your competitors when it doesn’t go too far out of the way of your own analysis and searches:

  • How do their page rankings stand up?
  • What social media platforms are they most successful on and what content is performing well?
  • What marketing tactics are your competitors using?

Conclusion

A full web presence audit is quite an undertaking and can take you a few days, but it is a necessary one. With the right steps and tools at your disposal, you will be able to make sure that your website grows at a better rate in the future and avoid many of the problems your competitors might face in the coming years. Just remember to perform one at least every six months (and you might want to perform other checks more frequently).

Have you ever performed an audit for your web presence in the past? Was it a dedicated effort, or part of a larger initiative? Are there any other steps you think should be included? Please leave a comment below with your thoughts on the subject.

Kevin’s Bio: Kevin Conner is the brains behind Broadbandsearch.net. He has been a digital entrepreneur for several years and fully understands the importance of keeping on top of your web presence, both business and personal

5 Reasons To View Web Design As An Investment Rather Than Cost

5 Reasons To View Web Design As An Investment Rather Than Cost 900 900 Jesse Alex

Check out our guest blog by Jock Purtle, Founder of Digital Exits.

Web design can be costly. Big secret, I know. And for most business owners, whenever they see a big price tag, they tend to shy away. But thinking web design isn’t worth it, or that it’s something that can be faked, is just one of the many all-too-common misconceptions about web design. However, this misunderstanding usually comes because managers can’t see the gains to be made from investing in web design.

We live in a digital world. Websites are the new storefronts. They are how most people will first come into contact with your business and brand, and they will affect people’s purchasing decisions. It’s important to view web design not as a cost, but rather as an investment that can help reap significant returns for your company. Not convinced? Here are five reasons why you can expect to get back the money you put into developing a top-rated website.

First Impressions

Like anything in life, the first impression you make with people matters, a lot. Sure, there will be time for you to bounce back if you start on the wrong foot, but if you make a bad first impression with someone, then you’ll be facing an uphill battle to get back in their good graces.

If someone lands on your site and it’s hard to navigate, looks unprofessional, or worse, doesn’t work, then they will begin to form negative associations about your brand you’ll struggle to overcome. Future promotional content might not resonate as well, or you may have a hard time driving traffic to the site with your newsletter or social media. On the internet, you only have a few seconds to grab someone’s attention. Not investing in quality layout and design can cost you visitors, which in the end will cost you money. On the other hand, a sleek, professional and easy-to-use site will draw people in and get them clicking around your content.

Google Cares

This one should be reason enough for any business owner to pay attention to design. While Google doesn’t directly measure or rate your web design, several of the key metrics it uses to determine search engine ranking depend on your site’s design.

For example, Google uses time on page and bounce rate to help determine the quality of your content. And while you need to have good content to help improve performance in these areas, design helps a lot too. We’ve all clicked onto sites that look messy or unprofessional and immediately clicked off. Even if the content is great, it doesn’t matter. We’ve convinced ourselves it’s not credible and moved on, and Google will take notice when this happens.

Google also cares about how your site looks on mobile phones. Not optimizing your site for mobile platforms is SEO suicide, something a lot of companies learned the hard way a few years back when Google introduced this into their algorithms—a day known as Mobilegeddon. Mobile design can be costly, sure, but the return you get in the form of improved search engine performance is well worth the investment.

Design Affects Conversions

Good web design does more than just make your site look good and present your business in the best light possible. It can also have a dramatic effect on how people move around on your site, and this affects conversions.

Placement of calls to action (CTAs) and visual hierarchies are important for funneling people to the right spot. You want to make it easy for them to find out where and how they can spend money, and this is all design. Sure, your sales copy might be what causes them to finally pull the trigger, but without good design leading people to the right places on your site, this copy will be far less impactful and will cause your conversion content to underperform.

Performance

The internet has come a long way. Many of us can remember when things went so slowly that you could click on a page, get up and get a cup of coffee, and then come back just as the page finished loading. But many more of us do not have this memory, and the possibility of it makes us laugh. The takeaway: your site needs to be fast, or else. And it needs to work.

When someone lands on your page, they expect to be able to move around it easily and quickly. And if they run into “404 Not Found” pages, then forget about it. You’ve already lost them.
Delivering a good user experience comes from having a quality backend design. Hiring a professional to come in and make sure everything is working correctly and at full speed is absolutely essential. It helps improve the overall customer experience and makes sure people stick around on your site long enough to get to your conversion content and eventually make a purchase.

Branding

Last, but certainly not least, web design affects branding. Building a strong brand requires a comprehensive approach, but there is no one component that matters more or less than the other. You may have great messaging, but if your color schemes and layouts are off, then this messaging will be less impactful.

Good design can help to reinforce the brand messaging you’re trying to communicate. It can help people generate positive associations about your brand. Then, when they come into contact with your content, they will absorb it more readily, and it will have a greater impact on their purchasing decision.

Strong brands tend to make more money, and they also make companies more valuable, something of interest to those considering selling their business. Web design alone won’t execute your branding strategy, but it’s a critical component, and it’s an investment you should most certainly make.

Investment Today, Reward Tomorrow

Investing in quality web design simply makes good business sense. It’s important to note, though, that you won’t see results right away. It’ll take some time for Google to register your changes, and for you to see a noticeable change in user behavior. But it will happen. Invest wisely today, and you’ll experience great rewards tomorrow.

About the author: Jock is the founder of Digital Exits, an online brokerage service that specializes in the buying/selling and appraisal of online businesses. He is an expert in the valuation of small to medium internet business, and through this work, he has learned the various different things that make online companies successful. He likes to write about his experiences to serve as a resource for other business owners. Some of his work has been featured in publications such as CNBC, Forbes, Business Insider and Entrepreneur.

Five Common Website Misconceptions That Can Hurt Your Brand

Five Common Website Misconceptions That Can Hurt Your Brand 900 900 Jesse Alex

I honestly get a kick out of telling people what I do for a living. Once they know that I’m a website and mobile app designer they often assume that my only purpose is to make things look beautiful. Don’t get me wrong, I can do that too. But that is only the tip of the iceberg. They don’t see everything that goes into the process of design and why I make the decisions I do.

I remember the first time I told someone how long a particular website took me to make, and then seeing their eyes grow to the size of grapefruits. Yes, those minimalist designs really took me that long to produce. What they failed to realize was, for every decision I made in that design, brought that business closer to achieving its goals.

Today I want to address some other misconceptions people have about websites. Here are my top five:

1. Business will come your way once you have a website

I’m embarrassed to admit that I once believed that this was all you needed to have a successful business. I published my website for everyone to see, then kicked my feet up and waited for business to come rushing in. I pictured waking up in the morning and visiting an inbox that was flooded with client email about their business websites. Instead, my inbox was flooded with cobwebs.

Why? There is so much more to a website than just designing it and publishing it on the internet. It’s possible to have a beautiful website that converts no one. Its also possible to have a visually displeasing website that still converts. Your website isn’t a one-and-done task you can now check off your to-do list.

You wouldn’t expect a new business owner to purchase some land, build a store front, and instantly get sustainable business simply because he opened a store location. That is where the real work begins in trying to create a business that actually works. Why would you treat your website any differently?

2. Results are not instant

Simply put, your website is a living organism and should be treated as such. Gone are the days when you can put a website up and expect Google to do the marketing and advertising for you. Without marketing your business or finding a way to draw people to your site, regardless of how great the strategy behind your website is, you run the risk of not getting any potential customers to your site at all. If you stop feeding your website with fresh content, your site will become obsolete. I learned this lesson the hard way.

Most importantly, you cant expect instant results. Anything worth having takes time right? The more time you put into maintaining your website, the better your chances are of attracting traffic.

3. My site just needs to look good

Beauty is not all we want (although it’s what we do). We actually want your site to address a business problem and serve as a launch pad for your business. Maybe you want more subscribers, more people to sign up for your courses, download promotional material, etc…. Beauty alone wont get you there. I’ve seen many sites that look great, but other than that, there really is no other reason for someone to stay around.

I cant give just anybody on the street a whistle and expect them to go out and coach a sports team. They would fail miserably. That’s because there is so much more behind the scenes that needs to be understood in order for them to be a great coach. Your website is no different.

The best way to decide if you need a professional’s help or is to assess what your business needs to grow. If the purpose of your website isn’t for creating business, then you probably wont. But if you’re website needs to highlight your unique skill set while establishing your brand and expertise against your competition, then you may want to seek help from a professional.

4. My competitor has a successful website, lets just create something like theirs

I had a discussion with someone who wanted their site to look and sound like a competitor of theirs. Their reasoning made perfect sense; “Well, if it works for him than it will work for me right?”. However, its not how things work. I guarantee that the success your competitor is receiving from their site isn’t because they copied someone else.

Instead, their designer highlighted the company’s unique value proposition which made them stand out from their competition. This certainly wont happen for you if you copy someone else who has an established online presence. I wouldn’t expect you to come out with the exact same product as your competitor and tell people that yours is better. You have to be authentic, be who you are and no one else. Why would someone want to do business with you and not the other person?

People love doing business with people. Your personality can be your greatest asset.

5. Web design is easy

You know, until recently, I thought golf was a pretty easy sport. “You mean all I have to do is grab this club and hit this ball in that direction, and that’s it? Sounds too easy.” I will admit that I have more respect for those guys after trying to do my own golfing out on the green. What once seemed like an easy task simply wasn’t.

Web design is the same way. Often times, people only see the outcome and believe that it can easily be replicated. The amount of time spent to plan, achieve and solve specific business problems is the other 90% you don’t see. Every detail within a site is strategic and used to help that company reach its end goal. It takes a lot of time and thought to craft a website for a specific business that they can then use to market to their audience.

Conclusion

For more helpful tips and actionable advice on growing your business through a website or mobile application, feel free to contact us with any questions. We’d love to hear from you.

Joshua Matthews,

Web Designer

Why Web Designers Matter

Why Web Designers Matter 900 900 Brand Fiend

Benefits of investing in a Web Designer

Starting a new business is such a stressful time as an entrepreneur. There’s this overwhelming list of things that you need to accomplish to make sure that the presence of your new company is received in the best light. One major step that many entrepreneurs skip during the initial process of organizing their company is hiring a skilled web designer to create their online home. Websites are the window to your brand and in many cases it’s your brand’s first impression. Therefore, it is important that you start off on the right foot and really invest in your site to create an appealing, unique web presence.

With the influx of website builders like SquareSpace, WordPress, and WIX it is easy to assume that building a website is as easy as making an account, answering a couple questions, and filling in some boxes. While you definitely could go that route, it’s important to note that this isn’t as easy as the commercials make it seem and it may not be the best decision for you or your company. With no graphic or web design background, taking on a website DIY project may be daunting. Web Designers are specifically trained to create a user friendly experience for your customers. Not only are they aware of what should be included on your site, but they also know how to make sure that your brand stands out! Web designers offer many services that will not only elevate your brand, but will make your life as an entrepreneur simpler and easier.

It doesn’t stop at just the design

There are a number of behind the scenes functions that go into developing and maintaining a website. Having a web designer on hand gives you access to services that you might not even know you need. For instance if you sign up for a hosting package through Brand Fiend, we will secure your domain, set up your Premium Hosting Account, and set up your business emails, for starters. 

As your business grows, the amount of content that you maintain on your site will grow! It can be such a hassle to have to worry about updating pictures, adding team members, changing product descriptions, etc., but did you know your web designer can do this for you? We won’t just leave you after we’ve designed your site, we make sure to keep your website running smoothly and efficiently with our Website Maintenance Plans, so you can focus on building and running your company.

But it doesn’t stop there, you can also benefit from having someone curate personalized blog content for you, keep your plugins updated, update your website regularly with fresh content, and even optimize the SEO on your site so search engines have the best chance of finding you!

Focus on your business, while we focus on the brand

Now I know what you’re thinking, “I’m a new business owner, why do I need these services”. The answer is simple: these services will help to increase your reach, provide a better web experience for your customers, and present a more consistent and professional brand image for your company. We do all of the work for your website so that you can focus on growing, while knowing that your company is in trusted and capable hands. When you hire Brand Fiend, it is more than just paying us to create your website, we develop, build, maintain, and curate individualized content for the window to your business!