Tag Archives: web design

Lorrie Thomas
Marketing Diagnosis: Letting Your Web Appearance Go is a Sign of Business Depression

One obvious sign of depression is letting appearance go.  The same applies in business. 

As your virtual marketing therapist, I need to dish out doses of tough love and today’s spoonful of marketing sugar is simple:

When you look good, you feel good

When the appearance of your web site, eNewsletters, business cards, etc., start to look dated, poorly designed or ignored, this is an immediate sign of business depression.

You never have a second chance to make a first impression – on the web, you have about 2 seconds to make that impression stick – IMPRESSIONS START WITH WEB APPEARANCE!!!

Take pride in your business.  Just because we are in a recession does not mean I will sit back and watch you embrace professional depression.  Stop feeling sorry for yourself, suck it up, fake it til you make it and start by making sure your web real estate is clean, coiffed and exudes confidence.

When business owners invest in looking good, their organizations will feel good.  It’s good for company morale, client relationship development, new client recruitment, PR interest and more.

Appearances require investment.  Investment in yourself and your organizations – let me know when you are ready to swallow the spoonful of web marketing sugar!

Lorrie Thomas
Your web designer is not entitled to a link at the footer of your site

When an organization pays a design/development firm to build a website, that does not necessarily entitle that firm to have a link on your website to theirs.  I am referring to those little links that live in the footer of a website that read something like site designed by XYZ firm.

Links back to a web design firm off your site provide them with free marketing and the more links they have back to their site also supports their search engine optimization efforts.

I have a hard time being ok with paying firms to do work then giving them free ad space/SEO for the life of your website…I usually nix this link and only release the “ok” to add the link when the site is done and if the firm/designer/developer EARNED the link by doing a great job and being a pleasure to work with.

If you allow your web designer to have a link back to their site, it has to be YOUR CHOICE.

I made a personal and professional choice to have SiteGoals (the firm who built Web Marketing Therapy) have their link in the footer of our website because:

1. They are a pleasure to partner with and I love to boast that they built our site (it was a great collaboration)

2. The link is subtle and does not compete with my content

3. They promote me on their Austin Website Design site, so they pay it back to us 🙂

I refer their great work and their approach to work is identical to ours.  They partner with companies and offer value and solutions, just like we do.  I’m happy to tell everyone who built our site!

Kate McMillan, our Web Design Wonkette, asks up front about adding links to her personal design website when she contracts for web design, so know to watch for these terms in contracts and if this is not in the contract, you don’t have to have the designer’s website link on yours.

Your website is YOUR WEBSITE.  Don’t forget that!

Lorrie Thomas
Do you love your customers with all of your art?

You'll love web marketing results when they come from the art!

You'll love web marketing results when they come from the art!

Web marketing is an art and a science.   The science of web marketing: internet connectivity, HTML code, widgets, RSS readers and much, much, more makes our web marketing function.

But don’t let your art break when it comes to web marketing! 🙂

The art of web marketing (that is supported by science) will make your marketing fashionable and functional so it is meaningful, matters and SELLS!!

Give in and let your art explode and marry web marketing’s fashion and function.

Lately, I am seeing a big pattern (recession-ridden drama brainfarts perhaps?) with professionals getting scary-caught up in the HOWs and WHATs (more science) and forgetting the WHYs (the art) of web marketing…I’m seeing lots of broken web marketing arts and it’s eating me up inside.

Examples of web marketing science supported by no art:
“I launched a blog because I heard someone say it’s a great tool to get search engines to index your site” (even if you use good key phrases and people get to your site, with no art, people hit your blog and don’t connect and never come back.   Who cares if the search engines spider your blog if it means nothing to the people you need/want to serve?)

“I hear people are marketing on Facebook for free, I am totally going to get on that”
(If there is no VALUE strategy behind how a Facebook group or fan page will serve, then the effort will be immediately ignored by people that go to Facebook to connect, share, play and have fun – time wasted, poor brand image, no love)

“Video is the future.  I’m going to hire a video guy and get a bunch of videos on YouTube for our web marketing” (If there is art behind the video execution, yes, it’s an effort worth testing, but binge and purge efforts with no clear understanding of what makes online videos work will ensure that nobody will watch them)

We do not plan to fail, we fail to plan and quick and dirty is always quick but you always end up dirty.  Plan to THINK before you execute.  PLEASE!!!   Or I may need therapy!

The art of web marketing is all in the ideas, thoughts, creativity and execution of a vision.  Blending design and technology is what makes web marketing function.

When we loose sight of our art, we stop loving our audience, which is a deadly relationship pattern.

and everybody gets hurt in the process……

Stop the madness, go back to what is important.  Think from your heart – put some art on that marketing!!

Lorrie Thomas
The first web question every web designer must ask

Our web marketing man crush, Seth Godin, did a great blog post today about the FIRST thing a web designer must ask a client before they build them a website.

Read this post to boost your web markeing brain power.  And if your web designer does not ask this question (or web marketing-related questions), then you likely have a web dude or dudette that doesn’t get web marketing.

Never, ever, ever ASSUME your web artists are web marketers.  They are not one in the same (sometimes, but now always)

Don’t be a web marketing victim. Keep reading the Web Marketing Therapy blog to get web empowered and get your marketing healthy!

Lorrie Thomas
You get what you pay (or don't pay for)

I had a scary web marketing flashback (not drug induced, thank you) to my first website.

Caution: the following website homepage image may cause nausea.

I designed the website below as a final project for a HTML class I took in 2005.  I passed the class and left the site up…then forgot it/abandoned it!  While being a neglectful parent to my website, I failed one of our many wild web marketing rules:

“Do what you do best and pay the others to do the rest”

A little branding goes a long way - CLICK to see the site now!

A little branding goes a long way - CLICK to see the site now!

I am not a web designer (yeah, duh!)  But we all have to start somewhere and surprisingly, I actually got a lot of work off this site (that needed a web marketing intervention!) because the copy on the site was strong.  However, the whole enchilada of my web presence was not gelling.   The branding was wrong and the design positioned me poorly.

Web Marketing RX for the day:

Invest in marketing that matters and if you don’t believe me, read this post about web marketing to get it.

Laughter is the BEST medicine, we can’t be too serious, especially when all our old site archives live forever on www.archive.org/index.php.  I still show my first website at conferences, in webinars and to my students to demonstrate that we all don’t always practice what we preach (and that we all start somewhere!)

Make your web marketing matter, count and pay. And don’t settle for crapola when it comes to web work.

Never, ever, ever, discount the power of paying professionals who know what they are doing.  Return on Investment (ROI) is not just about the cash, it’s what you get value-wise in TIME, ENERGY and VALUE.

Choosing a Navigation Model

If you’re not just building a landing page, chances are that you’ll need a navigation metaphor.  Popular ones include listing the pages of your site across the top of each page, or listing them down the side.  If your site has enough content, many times these are both utilized — the top for the primary pages, and the side for the subsections for each primary page.

Whenever possible, you want to keep the language used to identify your pages clear, simple, and short.  And visually, you want to use an easily identified metaphor.  For example, if you make a top navigation look like folder tabs, most everyone will be able to figure out what they are and how they work.  In this case it’s because the visual metaphor is clear and strong.  The currently active page or section is easy to see, and knowing the currently active page puts your users at ease because they gain a greater sense of control.

The number of pages you can display in a top navigation is limited by horizontal space, but a side navigation is much more scalable.  This doesn’t mean you should create a great number of pages to list there as it’s much more difficult for a user to parse the choices.   Many times the functionality of a side navigation is replaced by a dropdown menu in one or more of the top navigation choices.  The benefit of a side navigation is that the context of the current page is always in view.

So, if you’re thinking about how to display the hierarchy of your web site, think about how many page you need, how they relate to each other, how their number may change over time, and choose a navigation metaphor that serves your content, but more importantly, makes it really easy for your user to understand the organization and move through your site.