Web Development Buzzwords: Do You Know What We’re Talking About?

Web Development Buzzwords: Do You Know What We’re Talking About?

Developing a website can be intimidating. Sometimes, it can even seem like web developers are speaking a different language! With the help of our web development experts, we’ve put together a list of 10 development and design terms to help you navigate the world of the web.

Responsive
If a website is responsive, it looks good and functions properly on every device from your desktop, to your phone and anything in between. More and more people are turning to mobile devices to do their Facebook stalking or Googling, so a responsive design is key to having a successful website. For more information on why your website should be responsive, check out this blog post!

“Above the Fold”
If you’re a newspaper reader, you might be familiar with this term already, and it’s pretty easy to understand. When something is “above the fold” it is displayed on your screen without having to scroll. This section is where important pieces of content should be located so that they can’t be missed by website visitors.

Back-End and Front-End
You’ll hear developers refer to the back-end and the front-end of websites. The back-end is the part of the website that visitors do not see, and the front is the part visible to visitors—it’s that simple!

Hosting
A web hosting service is a type of internet service that enables websites to be accessible online, making it available to the public. There are different types of hosting available.

Domain
A domain is the name that the website is branded as. Domains are purchased and can be a combination of letters, numbers and hyphens. For example www.tagteam.agency is a URL, but the domain is tagteam.agency.

Placeholders
In website design, developers and designers often use stock images, video or text while they wait for the content that will actually live on the website. These are referred to as placeholders, and are only used for a limited time until they can be replaced.

Parallax scrolling
Parallax scrolling is a fairly mainstream technique in web design and development.  This refers to the method of moving the background images lower than the foreground images, thereby creating an illusion of depth. Checkout some great examples of parallax scrolling, and get inspired!

Sitemap
Planning out your website’s content can be a difficult task, but it is crucial to its overall success. In order to plan out your content, you’ll need a sitemap. Similarly to your home’s blueprint, a sitemap will help you to plan out the organization of your website.

Wireframe
Like the sitemap, wireframes are done in the early stage of designing. They aren’t very detailed drawings, and are only used to organize content and structures of pages before designing them graphically.

SSL
SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layers. It’s a networking protocol used for managing server authentication, client authentication and encrypted communication between servers. SSL keeps sensitive information, like credit card numbers, secure. Without an SSL, data is sent from browsers to web servers in plain text leaving that information vulnerable. Before entering your credit card information, take a look at the URL and make sure it has “https” at the beginning to make sure your information will be secure.

Database
A database is a structured set of data stored in a computer that is organized so that it can be managed, accessed and update easily.

You don’t need to be a web developer to understand some of these web development buzzwords! If your company is ready for a new website, give the experts at TAG a shout!

The Importance of Brand Guidelines

The Importance of Brand Guidelines

Branding guidelines, brand standards, style guides. Whatever you call them, they are an important piece of building your brand. Branding guidelines set a foundation for your brand by creating a framework to operate in that’s consistent no matter what medium you choose.

So what are brand guidelines? Branding guides consist of essential rules for how to craft the visual pieces of your brand including typography, imagery, photography, logo usage, image style and more depending on the size and need of your business. These guidelines should point your communication toward your target audience with a consistent look and feel.

Consistency is vital in maintaining brand integrity. A guideline helps you maintain integrity by maintaining consistency in your branding efforts. And consistency makes you more recognizable in the market, assisting in building the way your brand is perceived. A guide plays an important role in perception. Every touch point between your brand and your audience should be used to reinforce a consistent perception.

Deviating from your guidelines can be harmful to your brand. Straying from your guidelines, be it typeface, color palette or tone, makes it harder to recognize your brand in the market. Not to mention it can make your brand look unprofessional. Consistency among all of your brand’s communications should always be your goal.

It’s easy to think that you can put off creating branding guidelines until a later date, but it’s important to start building that foundation right away. By using brand guidelines, you ensure that there’s an organized, cohesive approach to the points of engagement and communication with your audience that creates consistency in your communication.

At TAG, we recommend brand guidelines to all of our clients. Does your brand need help creating a guideline? Visit our website today to see how we can help grow your brand!

Show me your site map

You wouldn’t build a house without a blueprint, would you?

Building a website requires the same thought, planning and structure as building a house and having a site map before development starts is the easiest way to ensure the website you envisioned is the site that’s produced.

You might be asking yourself, “What’s a site map?” A site map is a document that outlines the structure, or blueprint, of your website, which allows you to visually understand the framework that holds your design and content together.

Site Map Sample

Before you proceed with the design and development of your website, make sure you have a site map in hand. A benefit that TAG offers to our clients, a site map is imperative to your success for three reasons:

Understanding the structure of your website
Where is your contact information stored? What pages have in-bound marketing? How do people find your company history? All of this information is housed on your site map, giving you the ultimate breakdown of how your website is laid out, where to find content and how the end user will experience everything your site offers.

By laying it out from the start, you can be sure everything that needs to be included makes it into the site and avoid surprises or oversights later.

Understanding the functionality of your site
Having a complete understanding of how your website functions is key to knowing how customers will interact with your content. This is especially handy when in-bound marketing is involved. Your site map will show you where in the process your customer will receive a confirmation email when information is submitted, how they connect with your social networks and where they will be presented with opportunities for ecommerce and email marketing.

Having this laid out in the site map in advance forces you to think through and coordinate functions across the site before development is underway so that you and the user get the most out of your site when it’s finished.

Understanding the scope of your project ($$$!)
Let’s face it, dollars matter. The only true way to know that the dollar amount on an estimate matches the work put into your website is to have it all laid out. Remember those potential surprises and oversights that could crop up without a site map? Those can add up over the course of development if the client and developer are on different pages as the site is being built.

For an accurate estimate in terms of time and expense, a site map is a must!

 

TAG saves everyone a headache down the road by taking the time to sit down with our clients and plan out a site map that includes the site structure, functions and scope. Projecting a vision for the site and nailing down the details in a site map is the best way to ensure a quality product that meets and exceeds expectations!

To download our free Web Development Services Checklist and learn more about our web design process, visit our website!

How to tell it is time for a new logo

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A first impression is memorable.  A quality logo will help your business stand out from its competition and keep your customers at your side.

Here are five tips for a fresh look:

  1. Keep it simple – The company name should be easy to read and the typography thought out. The icon shouldn’t be confusing. You wouldn’t put a whimsical font in a doctor’s office.
  2. Make it applicable – Your logo should be versatile enough to use in various formats: pens, signage, letterheads, etc.
  3. Don’t go back in time – What was popular 15 years ago isn’t now.  A logo does not need to be trendy.
  4. Recognize it – A successful logo is easily recognized and professional. Don’t overdo it and don’t change a logo out of boredom. The general public doesn’t see the brand as often as you might think.
  5. Make it appealing – A logo can be the difference between a product being appealing or not. When you’re at the store choosing to buy something, a well-designed logo and label might help make the decision for you.

If your logo falls short, it could be time to say goodbye and start over.

Don’t know where to start? Ask one of our TAG Graphic Designers Brian Buckles and Chelsea Liske.

 

Kicking your website into mobile gear

Whip out your Smartphone or tablet for a second – we know you’ve got one – and pay a visit to your website. Is the content sized appropriately? Is it easy to navigate from page to page? Can you find the information you are looking for with ease?

If you gave up waiting for your site to load before you could even get around to answering these questions, YOUR WEBSITE IS NOT MOBILE OPTIMIZED.

If you’re wondering what the big deal is here, we’ll tell you what! Read on the TAG top five reasons for kicking your website into mobile gear:

 1.       The reality: There are nearly 130 million Smartphone users in the U.S., along with 40 percent of all Internet usage being done via mobile device. Failure to have a mobile optimized website suggests an ignorance of these changing times and laissez faire attitude about the needs of nearly half your visitors.

 2.       The customer expectation: Slow loading times and tricky navigation due to an un-optimized website means three things for Internet visitors to your page – I’m frustrated. I won’t be coming back. I’m checking out your competitors.

3.       The drive in revenue: Mobile websites lead to mobile revenue! Providing this alternative method of doing business means your customers can do business with you essentially any time or any place.

 4.       The ability to network: A mobile friendly site is an excellent way to communicate to on-the-go customers’ information such as what your business hours are, ways you can be contacted as well as directions to your location.

 5.       The way of the future: By 2014, it is projected that mobile search will be overtaking desktop Internet usage. Will your business be ready to meet this mobile demand?

If you’re ready to kick start your website into mobile gear, click here to see how TAG specialists can help!

Successful Website Designs

As a website developer, I have seen many older sites that are essentially nothing more than an online business card. From a basic functionality standpoint, this isn’t recommended – especially with the tremendous growth of expectations from Internet users.

Web designs should be both visually and intellectually engaging for consumers. Meaning, content is not only useful, but also easily sharable across various social mediums. Navigation between pages should be simple and a page devoted to photos, news and entertainment in your line of work showcasing your expertise is an excellent idea.

Just as important to a successful website design is staying true to the brand’s image. A website’s layout and content should be harmonious with all aspects of your business – such as print, television and billboard advertisements – to strengthen brand identity and customer loyalty!

Finally, in a world ever growing in number of tablets and SmartPhones, mobile optimization of websites is becoming a necessity. All TAG’s web projects are designed right out of the gate with mobile compatibility, keeping you relevant to your target audiences.

Don’t just take our word for it, check out our recent designs!

mystique_screenshot

Mystique Casino

What’s cool: Mystique’s built in Paralax – a fancy term for elements on the page appearing and moving at different rates – gives it a very modern presence. It also allows for more information to be placed on the home page, increasing SEO.

hungry

The Hungry Hobo

What’s cool: The slider on the homepage allows the Internet user to glide to any of their numbered sandwiches and have The Hungry Hobo himself pop up to describe the ingredients.

active

Active Endeavors 

What’s cool: The product photo gallery allows the Internet user to search for items down to very specific terms – from the product time, gender and age the product is designed for, size, manufacturer, price range and the quantity of it you want – making shopping online for your favorite athletic gear easier than ever.

Andy Erickson, Website Developer

5 Tips for Instagram for your Business

Instagram is an app that allows users to post photos and videos and add artistic filters to them. It is a perfect way for a business to market to customers while having fun at the same time.

1) Behind the Scene Photos
Instagram is a great way to show your customers and followers what you’re doing behind the scenes. Consider posting photos showing your company, employees or products that people wouldn’t see without Instagram. For example, post photos of your employees and what they are doing to create the product.
2) Capture Close-ups
Instagram images only post 612 pixels square. People viewing your photos are most likely on their smart phone. Take close-up photos instead of wide shots. By doing this you will capture the essential parts of the photo you want and followers won’t have to squint to see what you’re posting.
3) Follow Your Company’s Interests
Searching users for people you know is a good way to follow people. Once you’ve found all of the people you would like to follow search for tags instead. For example, if you were an outdoor store search tags such as: #Outdoors, #RockClimbing or #TrailRunning.
4) Add an Icon
Link your Instagram to your website by adding the Instagram icon and have it connect directly to your profile. If someone is on your website, you can keep the connection if they follow you and integrate your marketing efforts.
5) Connect Your Posts to your other Profiles
Instagram allows you to post photos to a variety of social media outlets. You can share your photos to just Instagram, or by connecting your other profiles, you can also send them to Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Flickr  and Tumblr, reaching a wider audience.
Stephanie DePasquale-Soebbing, Social Media Marketing Manager

Promotional products create future sales

Promotional products, also referred to as advertising specialties, trinkets or swag, are more than a pen or coffee mug you give away to someone.  Your promotional products should have a purpose, relate to your audience and fit with your brand.  They should also be an integrated part of your strategic marketing plan and help accomplish your marketing goals.

Promotional products allow you to create brand recognition and leave a lasting impression for your clients and prospects.  They are the only medium that engages all five senses. Plus, promotional products can be more cost effective and are valuable as consumers are more likely to keep the product.

Promotional products have an impact that is easily measured, can have a higher perceived value and is great to use as a complement with other advertising mediums.

Studies have shown that integrating a promotional product into a marketing campaign increased referral value as well as credibility of the message.  Studies have also shown that people who received promotional products were more likely to recommend the business to others than those who did not receive a promotional product.

 

Here are some statistics to keep in mind:

  • According to a study by Georgia Southern University, 76.1 percent of attendees could recall the name of the company they received the promotional product from.  In the same study, 76.3 percent of attendees had a favorable attitude toward the company that gave them the product.
  • According to the same study above, 55 percent of the participants generally kept their promotional product for more than a year and 73 percent said they used the product at least once a week.
  • According to researchers at Southern Methodist University, customers who received promotional products reordered up to 18 percent sooner than those who received coupons. Consumers also spent 27 percent more.
  • Adding a promotional product to a mail promotion increased the response rate by 50 percent, according to a direct mail study by the Silver Marketing Group.
  • When comparing customers who received either a letter of thanks or a gift valued at $40 found that six months later, sales among those who received the gift were 400 percent higher than those who only received a letter.  This is according to researchers at Wayne State University.

Suzette Ciszek researches and assists clients with their promotional product needs. She has a Bachelor of Science in marketing from Northern Illinois University, a Masters of Business Administration from Keller Graduate School of Management and has a Bachelor of Advertising Specialty Information certification that focuses on the promotional products industry.