3 Smart Tips For Technology Based Brands

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Smart, Powerful, Online Presence Is Paramount For Technology Firms


Smart Branding With Intelligent Online Strategy

Almost all technology based service companies look great on paper. Most technology firms traditionally have been known to “get it right” with branding themselves offline. Rather intuitively most do an adequate job positioning their tech brand and services via traditional marketing and advertising channels. However, somewhat surprisingly more often than not it’s their online or digital strategy that’s ironically in dire need of attention.

For technology based service companies it’s very much so “mission critical” to insure a consistent delivery of smart, powerful, and effective online presence. For these tech firms online presence exerts profound influence on brand perception and reputation. Understandably so, very little grace is given to tech based service firms that operate with anything less than stellar online presence. Potential clients of these firms will quickly and rather intuitively make very quick and oftentimes unforgiving judgment calls based solely on the firm’s online operations.

Web presence is no longer an “about us” venue. To be memorable and perceived as valuable, technology based service firms must begin to move away from the old paradigm.

Technology based service companies that can successfully engage their online audience are the ones most likely to be successful in building both great brands and memorable reputations. Long gone are the days of simply using online presence to sell or push products and services at audiences.


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Web presence is no longer an “about us” venue. To be memorable and perceived as valuable technology based service firms must begin to move away from the old paradigm. It’s a paradigm based on the assumption that online presence should simply be a digital version of a company’s brochure. Just like the dinosaur this paradigm too will soon prove it’s not fit for survival in the constantly evolving venue of the digital age.

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Smart Web Presence – The New Paradigm That Works

So just how do technology based service firms achieve smart web presence?

    • Have an awesome website that looks, feels, and works flawlessly

Most tech service based websites are mediocre at best. Everything about them silently shouts, “Hey I’m just like the other guys but I expect you to want to know all about ME!” Seriously don’t make that critical mistake. It’s not all about you. Sure that information should be available but don’t make it the theme of your home, landing pages, or entire website for that matter.

As mentioned above never forget that you’re in the technology field. By virtue of this fact alone the expectation that audiences have about your website are very high indeed. For example if your website can’t be viewed on an iPhone or tablet just as easily as it is on a traditional desktop what does this really say about your grasp on new technology? Also you may have the best in-house IT team in your industry but don’t assume they know web. Don’t hesitate to seek out a professional website developer and/or designer.

    • Utilize team members and partners to create unique engaging content

Your content should be geared towards teaching and educating not necessarily selling. Articles, blogs, case studies, webinars, videos, and/or ebooks all work great. Audiences consume content in many different forms. If you don’t take the initiative to educate your audience someone else will. It’s very likely you’ve got some industry experts on your team. If these expert team members have the time and inclination to help create content you’ll definitely want to be open to this. It’s a great opportunity to demonstrate how valued the team member is and at the same time helps your firm to cultivate status as a visible expert.

Don’t just publish company news either although that’s fine in moderation. Put a client or community cause in the spotlight. After all it’s engagement we are essentially after with the bulk of our content.

    • Social Media – Done Right

Don’t blast your social media accounts like Facebook, Google Plus, and Twitter with all sales hype. Contrary to popular belief that’s definitely not the way to build your technology based brand. If anything it will produce the opposite effect and you’re likely to alienate yourself of an audience that otherwise might potentially be interested in some of the content you share.

I still can’t believe how many “so called” social media experts and marketers are still using social media in this way. Once again it’s all about engagement with social media and you must find clever and creative ways to engage with your audience. That doesn’t mean you can’t talk about your company, it’s services, or products but you’ll need to find a creative context to do it in if you want to be successful with social media.

Just as importantly share the content of others… especially if it relates to your industry in some way. Doing so helps establish networking relationships in which others will be much more likely to share your content as well.


mark d. hulett small business logos desiner georgia web development
– Mark D. Hulett is an accomplished website developer and website designer at Georgia Web Development. His experience and working knowledge of websites spans more than a decade.

 


Tips For Small Business Logos & Graphics Design

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Business Logos… How’s Yours?

Small business logos are quite the challenge for small business owners. Skimping on logo originality and/or professional logo design services will negatively impact your business and it’s brand recognition. Make no mistake about it. People will make some very quick judgements about your small business brand based on your logo.

Many small business owners unintentionally make some major blunders when it comes to their small business logo. You’ll want to give this critical branding principle the all important attention it deserves. Small business logos should consist of more than just your company name. Everything from the font, the colors, the tagline and even graphics quality of the business logo itself convey a very powerful message to your potential customers.


Small Business Logos & Graphics We’ve Designed For Successful Brands…


Small Business Graphics… Sending A Message.

What message do you want to convey with your small business logo or graphics? Make sure that your brand identity and message are appropriate for your type of business. Don’t just go with a creative idea simply because you personally like it. Bounce your ideas and drafts off of friends, family, and yes… even strangers. Ask for their honest feedback and most importantly pay particular attention to their first impressions of your logo or graphics. Once you’re settled on your design you’ll want to create consistency by utilizing it within all of your marketing and communication materials. Attempt as best you can to stay consistent with both digital, web, and print communication graphics. Remember consistency is key and you’ll only confuse your audience by using multiple variations of your logos and graphics.

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Among the great small business logos and graphics are those whereby the image is intuitively associated with with a company and it’s brand. It gives people a unique way to remember your business and brand. Just like Targets’ Red Bulls Eye and Nikes’ Swoosh Symbol, great visual logos will make your company more memorable. Aside from the logical reasoning behind this logo and brand association there’s some very well documented studies that support how the brain processes this information and even more importantly for obvious branding reasons… how it retains it. Simply put, you’ll make a more memorable impact when people are easily able to associate your business and brand with both words and a great visual image.

Tips For Finding A Great Small Business Logo and Graphics Designer…

Experience? Ask for samples of their work and make sure that the samples are actually their designs. Many so called logo and graphics designers simply paste up templates they have found on the web in an attempt to pass off the creative work as their own. You’re never out of line to actually request contact information from some of their satisfied clients that they have previously designed small business logos and graphics for. Personally I never hesitate to give this requested info out to potential clients who are indeed serious about using our small business logo and graphics design services. As a matter of fact I feel quite honored to have several very satisfied clients who will gladly offer up their testimonials when politely asked to do so.

various colorful small business logos and graphics designed by georgia web development

Fees and costs? What deliverables will you receive? Be prepared to ask for three to five design options (revisions) included in the initial fee. You should get both color and black and white digital versions of your small business logos and graphics. Professional designers of small business logos and graphics should at minimal provide you with the finished graphic in the following file formats: EPS or Encapsulated PostScript (vector), JPG, GIF, PNG, and TIFF. You’ll be needing these various file formats of your small business logo or graphics for items like business cards, custom stationery, your website, etc.

FREE Consultations for Small Business Logo and Graphics Design

At Georgia Web Development we know first hand the challenges you’ll face in making decisions on small business logos and small business graphics. We’re here to offer our free expert advice and have more than a decade of experience in creating and designing small business logos and graphics for successful brands. We’ll gladly share that knowledge without any fancy sales pitches thrown in… we promise.

If you’d like to take us up on this FREE Small Business Logo and Graphics Consultation we’d love to hear from you! You can get your free Small Business Logo and Graphics Consultation by simply completing and submitting our Small Business Logos and Graphics Consultation form or feel free to give us a call at 229.234.0181. Best wishes on your small business logos and Graphics!


About The Author:

mark d. hulett small business logos desiner georgia web development
– Mark D. Hulett is an accomplished small business graphics designer and website developer at Georgia Web Development. His experience and working knowledge of logos, graphics, and website design spans more than a decade.


3 Reasons You Should Let A Professional Design & Develop Your Website

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A Successful Website Is Simply Not A Do It Yourself Project

Despite what all the do it yourself website companies want you to believe, a professional and successful website is definitely not a do it yourself project. They’re essentially selling a very attractive yet erroneous idea that anyone can create a stunning and successful website by simply using their proprietary, amazing, do it yourself (DIY) website tools. According to their marketing hype virtually anyone can easily and quickly create their next great business website in a few easy clicks. Unfortunately this ludicrous claim couldn’t be further from the truth.

I honestly can’t count the number of times I’ve heard from new website clients statements like: “I’ve spent hours trying to get this or that just right on my website but can’t quite figure it out … can you help me?” Even more disconcerting is the: “I paid for a website with them a year ago. I’m still paying monthly for it but gave up on it a long time ago.” The list of frustrations and disappointments associated with attempting to build one’s own website is a long one. Many great business-minded people essentially waste tons of valuable time attempting to build their own website.

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Don’t Try This At Home

Building a professional site is truly a monumental task. It’s also a feat that’s best left to the care of a professional website designer or developer. Someone who’s both skilled and equipped to pull it off without a hitch. In fact if they’re truly a professional website designer or developer chances are that web design and web development is their passion. It’s something that they do daily and are experts at. Your best friend’s cousin who’s pretty good with computers unfortunately doesn’t meet this criteria. I’m just saying.

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Our Website Development Expertise Includes:

  1. ecommerce Websites – complete development & design utilizing both open source and proprietary ecommerce software that’s trusted by more than 180,000+ online retailers including industry giants like Nike & OfficeMax. Our ecommerce software solutions are unparalleled in performance, reliability, and security. We specialize in both Magento and WooCommerce ecommerce software solutions.
  2. Small Business Websites – complete development & custom design utilizing both open source and proprietary CMS (content management software) that’s trusted by thousands of U.S. Small Businesses. Our Small Business website solutions are unparalleled in ease of use, performance, reliability, and security. We specialize in both WordPress and static HTML website solutions.
  3. Corporate Websites – complete development & custom design utilizing both open source and proprietary CMS (content management software) that’s trusted by thousands of major Corporations worldwide. Our Corporate website solutions are second to none in scalability, performance, reliability, and security. We specialize in a number of robust Corporate website solutions such as WordPress , DNN (formerly DotNetNuke), and ASP.NET MVC4 just to name a few.
  4. Community & Discussion Forums – complete development, deployment, & custom design utilizing both open source and proprietary Forum software solutions. The Forums Software solutions that we deploy are trusted to power discussion forums and community boards all over the world. Our Forum Software solutions are unmatched in performance, reliability, and security. We specialize in numerous Forum Software Applications such as vBulletin, MYBB, BBPress, Simple Machines and many others.

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There are literally dozens of valid reasons to let an experienced professional build and/or design your website. For the sake of brevity I’m listing what I consider the top 3 reasons you should definitely let a professional do it. Here we go.

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#3 Website Aesthetics –

I simply call it the “wow effect”. It’s essentially the user’s initial perception of your website. The reality is that your website has about 5 seconds (at most) to persuade a new visitor to stay on it. While family and close friends may overlook the fuzzy images and overuse of bold text fonts on your homepage your first time website visitors won’t be as forgiving.

Whoever coined the phrase “looks aren’t everything” was definitely not speaking about websites. Numerous studies on website aesthetics prove otherwise.

Design and presentation of a website is strongly visual. Visitors will make aesthetic judgments very quickly. Your site’s aesthetic appeal actually increases the likelihood of a visitor making a purchase or using services on your site.

Professional website designers are experts in graphics design, interaction design, information architecture, and typography. All of which are critical to insure that your website takes advantage of the all important “wow effect”.

#2 Website Usability –

The name basically says it all. It’s your website’s ease of use for a visitor. The user should be able to fairly and easily intuit the actions they need to perform on the web page. Whether it’s click a button to perform an action or selecting an appropriate item in a drop down menu.

Some experts will argue that a website’s usability is truly what matters. Some will even go as far as to proclaim that the sites aesthetics pale in comparison to the importance of the sites usability.

The funny commonality that I’ve noticed among most who claim usability over aesthetics is typically this. Either they themselves don’t possess the design skills necessary to render an appealing design or they are kinda like your uncle Jack who likes to think that all of his horribly designed neckties are just as nice as all the rest of the neckties in the world. Why? Simply because they function well as a necktie. Uncle Jacks’ can’t build great websites. No, really they can’t.

The truth is that both website aesthetics and website usability are so closely intertwined and interdependent that I refuse to think of either of them existing meaningfully on their own. To negate one aspect is to abuse the other and professional website developers know this.

#1 Affordability / ROI –

My number one reason you should let a professional website designer or website developer build your website may come as a shock to some. Especially if you’re among the vast majority of entrepreneurs who automatically equate beautiful, highly functional websites with an exorbitant price tag. This assumption is perhaps one of the most misperceived elements of professional website development and website design.

Just as in any market there exists overpriced website designers and developers. Some do readily charge fees well above and beyond the true value of their work. However there are also many professional website designers and developers who for various reasons have chosen and are able to offer their services at a more competitive rate.

Surprisingly this huge disparity in price difference is not necessarily because the quality of the work is less. Sometimes that is obviously the case but not always. Typically a close inspection of the developer or designer’s portfolio will in many cases answer the question of quality comparison.

In my own personal instance I offer very competitive rates simply because I can. I maintain low operating expenses and choose to forgo many of the perks and luxuries that most of the larger web agencies consider to be necessities. I also offer free project quotes and initial consultations.

So it truly pays to shop around a bit when it comes to choosing the right developer or designer to take on your website project.

In regards to ROI or return on investment you simply won’t find better returns with any other medium than what you’ll see with your professionally developed website. It’s without a doubt one investment you can’t afford not to make!


mark d. hulett senior website developer at georgia web development

 

– Mark D. Hulett is an accomplished website developer and website designer at Georgia Web Development. His experience and working knowledge of small business website development & website design spans more than a decade.


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Businesses Need To Take A Closer Look At Their True ROI For Print Advertising

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Small Business Owners seem to be allocating  a great deal of their advertising and marketing budgets towards Print Advertising these days. It’s no surprise as well as there are a bounty of  local newspapers, shoppers guides, etc. that are touting both terrific ad exposure (circulation) and affordable ad rates to the Small Business Owner.

Well … first things first. For those who don’t know something about my credentials let me start out by saying that I’m a former print advertising professional myself. Having spent several years as a District Manager, Marketing Consultant, and Advertising Executive at two of the largest newspaper holding companies in South Georgia and North Florida I’m perhaps somewhat qualified to speak on the subject of Print Advertising ROI.

A certain amount of local advertising in print mediums is in most cases healthy and effective.

I often see local businesses investing the vast majority of their advertising and marketing budgets on newspaper and shoppers guide type print ads. Don’t misunderstand what I’m saying.  It’s smart to keep your name or product in front of potential customers and clients via your local newspaper and in some cases your local classified shoppers guide. It’s especially a good investment when the paper also hosts a digital or online edition of the medium. However many don’t and when they do your ad is not prominently featured as it is in their print edition. With that being said in the latter case you should consider your advert a print advertisement only as in reality that’s what it is.

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When determining your ROI, return on investment, for your print advertising expenditures it’s essential to be able to track the results. Sure this get’s a little challenging at times depending on the ad. However it’s only wise to implement an effective tracking program to measure as best you can the true value your getting on your print advertising investment. A good starting place might be to measure:

  1. The traffic that the ad brought to your business.
  2. The portion of that traffic that you converted into customers or serious prospects.
  3. The amount of visibility your company received to build brand recognition.
  4. The return on investment of the expense of the campaign versus the results.

Adding a code to your print ads will also help with tracking response rates especially if it’s a coupon or offer that requires the code for the offer to be redeemed. Insure that your business trains everyone to simply ask your customers and clients how they heard about you and begin documenting the source they respond with. It’s a simple yet effective way to take the guessing out of your print advertising ROI.

It’s 2013 and Small Businesses need to embrace the reality that print advertising is only one of many cost effective ways to advertise and promote their local business.In my evaluation there’s a lot of wasteful spending that gets thrown into the bucket of print advertising. In all honesty most print advertising executives are never going to tell you, “Hey you’re spending too much money with us, why don’t you diversify your advertising a bit.”

If they had your best interest in mind they would obviously tell you this. That scenario is not likely to happen. For that type of unbiased business advertising & marketing advice you’ll need to turn to professionals like myself who have more of an interest in seeing your Business succeed with it’s advertising and marketing efforts than watching a commissions check grow.

 

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If you’ve got questions in regards to Taking A Closer Look At Your ROI For Print Advertising or are interested in exploring the many ways that Georgia Web Development can help your Business be more successful then I’d love to hear from you!


mark d. hulett senior website developer at georgia web development

 

– Mark D. Hulett is an accomplished website developer and website designer at Georgia Web Development. His experience and working knowledge of small business website development & website design spans more than a decade.


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14 Powerful, Simple, Yet Overlooked Marketing Tips

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14 Marketing Tips That Every Business Owner Should Know!

These tips are listed in no particular order in light of the fact that valid arguments could be made as to which tips are the most important. The objective of listing them is simply to recognize that in essence each one is very important. Enjoy.

  1. People don’t buy products, they’re buying the benefits and solutions they believe the products will provide.
  2. The most important order you ever get from a client or customer is the second order.
  3. Know the power of repetition. Be sure your message is consistent.
  4. Marketing activities should be designed to increase profits, not just sales.
  5. It’s estimated that it costs five times as much to gain a new client or customer as it does to retain an existing one.
  6. Selling what your customers need, instead of what they want, will eventually lead to failure.
  7. Don’t think that a superior product, great technology, or a new innovation will sell itself.
  8. Don’t neglect or ignore your current customers while searching for new ones.
  9. It’s estimated that businesses never hear from 96 percent of their dissatisfied customers.
  10. Fifty percent of those customers who are dissatisfied would do business with the company again … if their complaints were handled satisfactorily.
  11. It is estimated that customers are twice as likely to talk about their bad experiences as their good ones.
  12. Marketing is everyone’s business, regardless of title or position in the business.
  13. Exaggerated advertising claims will often produce expectations that the product or service cannot live up to. The end result is dissatisfied clients and
    customers.
  14. Get to know your best clients and customers— Who are they? Hint. They are the 20% who account for 80% of your sales revenue.

If you’ve got questions in regards to 14 Marketing Tips That Small Business Owners Should Know or any other web related marketing services being offered in today’s online marketplace I’d love to hear from you!


mark d. hulett senior website developer at georgia web development

 

– Mark D. Hulett is an accomplished website developer and website designer at Georgia Web Development. His experience and working knowledge of small business website development & website design spans more than a decade.


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Getting Your Business Found Online

As you read this short article consider the fact that there are literally thousands of customers in your local market that are presently searching for products and services on the internet. If you don’t have a website or the one you do have isn’t doing well in local search results these potential customers will do business elsewhere. Local search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing may not even be aware of your website or local business for that matter. Why? Because insuring that your site and business listings show up is not a given. It most often requires a good bit of technical savvy and yes it’s a skill.

An awesome website is of little value if it can’t be found in search and local search.

Well trained website designers and web developers will know the submissions process and which categories to list your website or business under. That’s right, you’ll need to actually submit listings to various directories to insure your site or business is indexed appropriately to be returned in your local search market.

"Local Search Globe Image"
It’s worth mentioning that all of the search engine submissions are free in themselves and most of the business directories that matter are free also . However the time, expertise, and knowing which ones to submit to is rarely a free commodity. These prices should not be exorbitant yet you shouldn’t anticipate it being dirt cheap either. Reputable web designers and developers will usually charge for this service if it’s given outside the scope of a new website or redesign. Oftentimes, as is the case with new websites we develop or redesign, we include (SEO) Search Engine Optimization and local search submission to Google, Yahoo, & Bing into the package. This makes sense and it’s only good business to do so.

Be wary of promises to get your website consistently ranked on the first page of major search engines. Oftentimes these are the earmarks of shady SEO tactics and more often than not a practical impossibility.

I always advise my clients to exercise caution and old fashioned common sense when it comes to outsourcing this important service. If certain shady tactics are used and found out about you also run the risk of being excluded altogether from search engine inclusion. It’s not worth the repercussions. It pays to let a reputable website designer or web developer do things the right way.

There are more rip offs out there than there are legitimate, value-priced experts. In a recent redesign I took own I advised my client to fire his then present SEO/Marketing company. A well known leader in the SEO/Local Search Marketing industry, they were billing him upwards of $200 per month for services that added little to no value to his local business. To make matters worse this company was charging him to drive traffic to a website that was practically non-existent. It was both poorly designed and under-developed by another well known, national, yellow page ad, website company. Needless to say we pulled the plug on both companies.

Now for a fraction of what he forked over to them he has a professionally designed and well developed website that does extremely well in both local and national search. -True Story

"Man drawing an seo plan out"In closing I’d like to emphasize that an effective Local SEO strategy is multifaceted, takes time, and should never be left to chance.  At Georgia Web Development we utilize only white-hat methods which will earn your site the respected and legitimate ranking that it deserves. It won’t happen over night but in a few short months we can have your website or business doing extremely well by utilizing strategies that are uniquely designed for your individual site or business. The results our services produce are both measurable and cumulative. We know how to take the guessing out of the equation entirely.

 

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If you’ve got questions regarding getting your Georgia Small Business found online or any other web related services being offered in today’s online marketplace I’d love to hear from you! It’s an honor that I’ve been able to assist and help lots of clients and Georgia Small Businesses succeed in the area of Small Business Web Development.

Cheers!

Mark Hulett
Georgia Web Development
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What are the costs with getting a professional website?

Since I get this general question quite frequently I decided to address it as best I could… in general terms of course. Every website or project I take on is unique so there is honestly no set answer to such a vague inquiry. However maybe this article will give you a better understanding of what’s involved in determining website costs.

This article covers website costs and not eCommerce website costs. If you’re looking for a great article on eCommerce Website Costs in 2015 go here: How Much Do eCommerce Websites Cost?

Our 7 Step Website Design & Website Development Process

When it comes to website costs typically these are the 3 basic costs:

  1. Website Development & Website Design – Getting the website built (generally the highest cost). This is where a website developer / website designer will actually build and design your website. A website simply put is a lot of files. Graphics, text, and code are woven together around a common theme or framework. The cost for developing a good, professional small business website can be anywhere from $1,500 to $5,000 and up, depending on size, functions, and complexities of the website. For most small, basic business websites, the cost will run somewhere between $1,000 and $2,500. This cost is largely a one-time investment for a tool that you own and will continue to use for communications and marketing.
  2. Hosting – Once the site is built, it must be hosted on a server so the general public can access it through their internet provider. Hosting costs vary widely. They can run anywhere from $8 to $100+ per month for high-end private servers & cloud based hosting solutions. Again this is based on the website functionality, it’s CMS (Content Management System) and the amount of traffic anticipated for the website. The space provided for your site on the server should have ample room for high traffic (bandwidth) … our hosting packages do. When a site doesn’t have enough bandwidth or server resources the website visitor finds the site sluggish with slow page load times and difficult to access. The Hosting package should have at minimal a reliable track record of maintaining high dependability. Look for things like 99.9% up-time guarantees and hosting providers that actually honor their SLA’s (service level agreements) when those up-time guarantees fall short.
  3. Domain Name  Registration– a domain name is the web address where users find your web site (www.yourcompany.com). Domain names are unique and cannot be duplicated. The cost for registering a unique domain name is about $14 per year.

Our typical costs for designing & developing a professional website usually ranges from $1,500 to $2,500 and up, depending on the number of pages and functionality of the website. The costs also can vary widely depending upon how much work the client has done in advance or is willing to do. Things like content creation, graphics, and general information about the specific business or service have to be sourced. Clients can often save a great deal on website costs if they come prepared with their content in hand and are well organized in what they are looking to achieve with the website.

Associated Website Costs Vary and Can Include:

  • Email services with multiple email accounts.
  • Internet marketing services – researching how best to promote your site and get the maximum visibility, drawing more visitors to your site.
  • Maintenance services – updating the site continually, making changes, adding pages, delivering web statistic reports, and more.

If you really want an accurate and precise website cost for your specific website or project then I encourage you to visit our FREE online website project planner. Take a few minutes to complete it to the best of your ability and submit it to us for a FREE no-obligation quote on your website project. There is no-obligation and the website quote we provide is both free and confidential.


mark d. hulett senior website developer at georgia web development

 

– Mark D. Hulett is an accomplished website developer and website designer at Georgia Web Development. His experience and working knowledge of small business website development & website design spans more than a decade.


Get Started With a FREE Website Design Consultation!