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!

Five Key Social Media Strategies to Make Your Brand Stand Out

Five Key Social Media Strategies to Make Your Brand Stand Out

Are you ready to take your brand’s social media presence to the ultimate level? Make your business stand out amongst a sea of competitors with these five must-use social media marketing strategies.

1. Make your content stand out: How can you make your business stand out amongst your competitors? Easy—make your social media content stand out with eye-catching visuals, interesting links and crazy-good headlines. Programs such as Canva or Recite allow you to create engaging visuals with user-friendly platforms and step-by-step tutorials. When it comes to writing the ultimate social media headlines, keep in mind that less is more. In fact, headlines with eight words or less or proven to perform 21 percent better than longer headlines. It’s also been proven that headlines that end with a question mark or three explanation points get twice as many clicks than those without!!!

2. Strengthen your network: If you find that you are not getting the engagement you would like on your company’s social media platforms, it may be time to strengthen and expand your network. To do this, try creating or joining various LinkedIn groups to spark more connections and conversations around your products or services. You can also follow your competitors or industry-leaders’ profiles for some inspiration, and ensure you are keeping up with latest industry trends. It’s always a good idea to stay on top of what your competitors are up to.

How Often to Post3. Be consistent: In order to stay top-of-mind amongst your audiences, it’s important that you market and post consistently across all social media platforms. When it comes to posting, it’s important that you strike a balance between being informative and annoying; posting too much about your products can cause your consumers to become annoyed, and unfollow you. While frequency for posting varies from platform to platform, research suggests that the posting “sweet spot” for Facebook is two times per day, seven days a week. Publishing five to 10 posts per week is usually a good rule of thumb.

4. Show you care: Did you know that followers typically expect a response from companies within one hour of posting? Show your followers you care by responding to your followers’ comments and reviews—good or bad—in a timely manner. In addition to responding to customers, don’t be afraid to retweet customers’ praise and thank individual customers for their continued support. The more personal you can get with responses or posts, the better!

5. Go campaign crazy: In the age of diminishing organic social reach, paid campaigns offer a great way to expand your reach and thoroughly engage your audience. Now–a-days, companies with the best social media presence are using contests and other social media campaigns to successfully gain visibility and generate leads. To keep up with this trend, try providing your audience with valuable incentives that encourage audience participation, and platform your company as an industry-leader.

When it comes to leveraging your company’s social media presence, remember …. TAG, we’re it! Contact us today to learn more about how we can help.

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!

What Can Marketers Learn From Political Campaigns?

What Can Marketers Learn From Political Campaigns?

When it comes to marketing, brands can learn a lesson or two from political campaigns.

Be human, trustworthy and transparent

Don’t forget to show some personality! It’s important and necessary to get your message across, but it should be done in a way that makes the audience feel at ease and comfortable with your brand. Just like no one wants to vote for someone that they cannot trust, people don’t want to do business with brands that they deem untrustworthy.

From the start of both a marketing and a political campaign, the goal and messaging needs to be defined.  If messaging isn’t defined from the beginning, it leaves your intent and meaning up to interpretation.  Identify what you’re trying to communicate and be active in advertising that message.

Video is still effective

Video is an extremely effective tool, especially for search engine optimization. It’s much more likely for your audience to remember a video than it is for them to remember a simple text message. Video, especially online, has seen a growth in spending over the last few years. In fact, it’s estimated that candidates will allocate 30 percent of their advertising budget to online media sources this year!

Promote your message on multiple channels

Political messages have been invading your television, radio, mail and social media feed for the last few months. Promoting messages across multiple platforms and channels is something that politicians have become very good at. From mail pieces to radio and television commercials, and now social media, politicians are everywhere.

In order to win a political campaign, a politician’s goal is to get their message in front of as many people as they possibly can. Facebook, Twitter and blogs are growing in popularity among political candidates. These aren’t the only social options though. Candidates can consider more ways to increase their content by using sites like Slideshare, YouTube, or Google+, too.

Social Media

While promoting your message across multiple platforms is important, social media can be a double-edged sword. Social media is a great tool because such a large population is on these platforms. It extends your reach and your ability to have a conversation with your target audience. Those factors are great for any candidate and brand!

But the bad news is that things on social media can change in a second. Social media is a two-way conversation, and followers are bound to post, share and comment on the content you publish—both positively and negatively.

 

Politics may not be your favorite topic, but political ads and campaigns can teach us some great tactics about marketing. What have been your key takeaways from a marketing standpoint this election year? Join the conversation on our Facebook page! And if your business could use some help with your marketing efforts, visit our website!

TAG Team Highlight: Lauren Santee

TAG Team Highlight: Lauren Santee

If you’re looking to have a quirky conversation with a down-to-earth, creative soul, Lauren Santee is your girl.

Serving as one of TAG’s Social Media Specialists, Lauren writes custom social media content for clients and  creates strategies to develop the best social media tactics to differentiate their brands within the market.

“I like to be creative and help businesses take pride in themselves,” said Lauren. “Social media is a way to help them stand for something, and help them communicate with their customers in a creative way.”

A graduate of  Augustana College in Rock Island, IL, Lauren majored in Business Marketing and Communication Studies.

“I did nothing of relevance on campus—I was just busy living my life.”

At TAG, we’re happy that Lauren has decided to live her life in our social media department!

“My favorite part about working at TAG is the people. We can all be creative together and create great ideas that help our clients succeed.”

Before coming to TAG, and before Augustana, Lauren took a year off of school and decided to pursue her passion in music and make a CD.

“I had some connections in New York City, and decided to head out there. I recorded an album there, then created a music video in a warehouse in Chicago. It was a way for me to have a creative outlet and music sparked my interest at the time.”

{Watch Lauren’s music video for “Let Down” below!}

 

AsideBentley from music and social media, Lauren is passionate about her dog, Bentley, and her family. Outside of TAG, you can find her sipping on a rum & diet (with a lime!), eating chips & French onion dip and writing posts for her new blog, Fetch—a blog for dogs and their humans.

 

Lauren’s final words for this interview? “Stop trying to make fetch happen. It’s not going to happen!”

Reasons Your Website Needs to be Responsive

Reasons Your Website Needs to be Responsive

With the majority of people using mobile devices to access the Internet, websites that work across numerous platforms have become increasingly more important.

Mobile websites can be designed in two different ways; developing a responsive design, or using a mobile template.  If you have a significant amount of web traffic from mobile devices, the difference between the two options is definitely something you should consider. A mobile template requires a mobile-only website or subdomain built specifically for your site, meaning that the website will not adjust based on the size of the screen it is being viewed on. On the other hand, a responsive design means the web pages being viewed will reformat on their own to adjust to the size of the screen the website is being viewed on.

GoogleNo End to Mobile Usage in Sight
Did you know that 58 percent of people search for local businesses on their smartphone or mobile device at least once a day? And 89 percent of people search once or more a week? That’s huge! In 2015, more searches were done on a mobile device than on a desktop. So what does this mean for you? It means that now is the time to update your website using a responsive design. 

Positive and Timely Experience for Users is Key
Sometimes, the first impression a customer has of your business is by way of your mobile website. A positive user experience is important. In fact, there is a 61 percent chance that a user will leave your site immediately and go to a competitor’s page if they can’t find what they are looking for. A positive mobile experience results in a 67 percent higher chance that the consumer will make a purchase, especially if they can easily search for and find what they are looking for on-the-go.

Websites generally take more time to load on mobile devices and are more difficult to read when designed with just a mobile template. With a responsive web design, web content is reorganized, rather than resized, and optimally loads in under two seconds. Bottom line, utilizing a responsive web design is the most effective way to make the most of mobile traffic, as well as provide the best experience to users.

Mobile Social Media
In 2015, over 73 percent of Americans were active on social media platforms, with 55 percent of time spent on social media sites being done on a mobile device. If your company is sharing content that links back to your website without a responsive website design, you’re going to experience three things; high bounce rates, low conversion rates, and frustrated followers—none of which are good for your business. Social media isn’t going anywhere, anytime soon. In order to excel in the mobile world, mobile-friendly, responsive websites are a necessity— especially as we move forward into 2016.

SEO
It’s no surprise that Google prefers websites with responsive designs over mobile templates. Creating a mobile website also means creating a URL separate from the desktop version, whereas a responsive design doesn’t need a URL separate from the desktop version. One URL makes it easier for Google to crawl your website and minimize on-page errors. And while improving your SEO won’t happen overnight, creating or improving your mobile website is a step in the right direction.

 

Is your website mobile friendly? At TAG, we can help you with all aspects of your website, including making it mobile responsive. So what are you waiting for? Give us a call today or visit our website to get started!

Valentine’s Day—Social Media Style

Valentine’s Day—Social Media Style

Social media friends, be warned—Valentine’s Day is this weekend! Whether you classify yourself as single or taken this year, Valentine’s Day can cause anyone to feel a flurry of unsavory emotions—especially with all those crazy V-Day posts blowing up your news feed! Follow us as we examine the types of social media posts you can expect to see this Valentine’s Day, and uncover the true essence of this Hallmark holiday.

Look What I Got!
It happens every year—your friends upload photos of their special Valentine’s Day haul, captioned with something like, “My boo knows me so well, he’s the best! #loveyou #ValentinesDay.”

If you’re single, these photos just serve to show you another romantic holiday you’re missing out on. But don’t worry, whether you’re sitting at home sulking, or out with your love, we can all agree that spending the evening of Valentine’s Day scrolling through social media and judging your friends gifts is a treasured tradition.

 Look What I got

PDA, Go Away
Come on, Kimye—knock it off. Why is it that couples feel the need to share their PDA via social media every Valentine’s Day? We’re not prudes, but no one wants to watch you and your significant other play tonsil hockey all over our news feed. And let’s be honest, seeing your friends celebrating the day with their significant others is the worst when you’re alone, stuffing your face with Krispy Kreme Doughnuts.

Kimye

Anti-Valentine’s Day
There’s bound to be one or two people on your feed who hate Valentine’s Day, and are determined to let you know. This year, be prepared to witness a few posts about how Valentine’s Day is a made-up holiday, or how being single is the worst. When you run into these posts, our advice to you is to scroll right along, and thank yourself for not giving into the crazy.

Liz Lemon

Single’s Awareness Day
The complete opposite of V-Day haters, some people take a different approach, and turn Valentine’s Day into their own personal Single’s Awareness Day. These individuals are truly an inspiration to us all to look on the bright side—and for that, we thank you!

V-Day Ecard

Alright, everyone. Now that you know what to be on the lookout for, it’s time to prepare yourself for the onslaught of social media posts this weekend. Even if you’re absolutely dreading Valentine’s Day, we can all agree that the holiday we’re REALLY looking forward to is February 15—Discount Chocolate Day!

Discount Chocolate