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Web Design

Build Your Brand Like a House

Have you heard the story about the man who built his house from scratch with no plan, blueprint, or design? Of course you haven’t, because this would be a ridiculous approach to constructing a building and would likely be an enormous waste of time and money.

Before you build a house, you need to go through a planning process. You assess your needs, wants, and functional requirements, and you hire an architect to create a blueprint so the home is completely mapped out before ground is broken. Sometimes the planning phase takes just as long, if not longer, than the construction phase.

Building your business brand is similar to building a new house. It’s incorrect to assume you can have an idea for a product or service and jump straight into implementation. While it may be possible in rare circumstances, it seldom leads to a sustainable, established brand that can easily scale and grow.

Your business brand is the story your company tells. It is the holistic experience your audience has when interacting with your company. These interactions range from an individual’s experience on a phone call with customer service to a fleeting glimpse of your logo on a billboard to the content on your business social media accounts.

Building a brand from the ground up takes intentionality, strategy, and a clear vision for the future, as well as the steps needed to make that vision a reality. Simply put, you need a brand blueprint. Each aspect of your business—from colors and fonts to the wording of your emails to your website design—needs to align with your core mission, personal values, and financial goals or you will fail to build a solid, cohesive brand.

Your blueprint will need to include elements such as:

  • A clear mission statement, Unique Value Proposition, and a list of short- and long-term objectives
  • A breakdown of your target audience and their pain points as well as an analysis of competitors and general industry trends
  • Clear user pathways and funnels to generate awareness about your company, educate your audience, and guide them to the solutions you offer
  • A description of the emotions and values you want to appeal to in your audience as well as content and marketing strategies that support these value propositions and lead your audience to the desired call-to-action

By establishing a solid brand blueprint, you can more effectively increase leads, improve sales, create a company reputation, strengthen customer loyalty, and scale your business.

ATX Web Designs offers branding strategy and digital brand development services. For more information, drop us a line!

What Story Is Your Brand Telling?

Every brand tells a story.

Some stories are like an exciting and compelling novel that the reader can’t put down. Others are more like a waiting room magazine that is skimmed and tossed aside.

So what story does your brand tell?

Your brand is the total impression your company makes. It includes your company personality, values, aesthetic, reputation, marketing strategies and customer service.

Brands succeed by telling a compelling story that rallies their target audience to action. A successful story has the following elements:

A hero. Every good story has a protagonist. In branding, the hero is your audience or your prospect. Not your company. Companies that focus on themselves and their accolades in their marketing content won’t effectively grab their audience’s attention.

A premise. The premise of a narrative is the overall message or concept it offers. Your company’s premise is the foundation for your brand and illustrates why a prospect should engage with your content. Without a solid premise, potential leads or customers won’t get past the first few pages of your story.

A problem. When is the last time you watched a great movie where the hero did not face any obstacles? In branding, the problem is your audience’s pain points. Successful brands hone in on their audience’s specific pain points and present their product or service as a solution to these pain points.

A victory. What makes the victory in a story satisfying? When the audience can emotionally identify with it and picture themselves in the hero’s shoes. Successful brands use strategies like impactful images, video, testimonials, vivid descriptions and clear calls-to-actions to help audiences imagine how a particular product or service will meet their needs and values—thus completing the hero’s journey.

That’s a real page turner.

Have a story you want your brand to tell? Reach to our expert team to schedule your consultation by clicking here.

5 Tips for Creating Engaging Website Content

When designing or redesigning a business website, many companies start with the visual branding elements: the colors, the photos, the graphics, the cool features. 

Although content is sometimes an afterthought in the website development process, it is equally as important as functionality or design. You may have a high-quality product promoted on a sleek, modern website, but a weak content marketing strategy will still cost you leads and sales.  

Content marketing is the strategic creation of text and multimedia that informs a user and leads them through a specific journey—typically from awareness to consideration to action.

Here are five ways to improve your website content to more effectively market your product and keep your audience engaged.  

  1. Know the purpose of each piece of content. Website real estate is extremely valuable. Attention spans are short and distractibility is high online. Each section of content on your website should have a distinct purpose. By knowing your end goals, you can more effectively mold your content to meet those goals. 
  2. Provide value. Your audience’s attention needs to be earned, so each piece of content on your site should provide some sort of value. Identify what your specific audience values then use bold, simple headlines and straightforward copy that showcase how you can provide that value. 
  3. Move from problem to solution. Digital content marketing is about connecting with an audience’s pain points (the problem) and presenting your company’s product or service as a solution. Frame your content in terms of your audience’s challenges and how you can make their life better. 
  4. Include clear Calls to Action. Don’t assume your audience understands the next step they need to take in moving down the path to purchase—or that they will take initiative to move forward on their own. Each section of your website should indicate some Call-to-Action, such as “learn more,” “sign up,” or “browse our products.” 
  5. Work with the design and functionality – The design and functionality of your website should not be developed separately from the content strategy. At ATX Web Designs, our designers, developers and content writers work together to holistically develop digital products that capture a company’s essence and effectively engage users. 

Questions about how content marketing and web design strategies could elevate your brand and improve your bottom line? Schedule a consultation with one of our digital strategists by clicking here

What Size Web Design Agency Should You Hire?

Hiring a web design and development agency is a smart move for businesses of any size and in any industry. These days, a company’s brand and reputation depend largely on its online presence. A high-quality website and engaging digital marketing content could be the deciding factors between a company’s success and failure. 

Not all web design agencies are created equal, however, and one of the most significant variables is size. If you’re considering web design services, you may be struggling to decide whether to hire a freelancer, small agency, medium-sized agency, or large agency. 

It can be a daunting task to wade through the pros and cons of hiring a small or large web design company, so we have simplified it for you. The following is a breakdown of both the benefits and disadvantages of agencies of various sizes. 

Freelancers

Pros: Cost and flexibility are two advantages offered by freelancers. Freelance web designers and developers typically set their own schedule and rates, and may be able to customize both for your project. 

Cons: There is less accountability and more risk when working with a freelancer, even those who come with positive reviews. In addition, a freelancer cannot offer the diversity of experience and skill available through an agency. 

Small Agency 

Pros: Small agencies (2-10 people) are sure to give your project personalized attention. They may also cater to a particular audience and have industry-specific knowledge. Sometimes, not always, small agencies charge a rate comparable to freelancers. 

Cons: Small agencies may not have the resources to complete complex projects in a timely manner. They may also not have the experience or technical skills that can be found at larger companies with more staff and a broader portfolio. 

Medium Agency 

Pros: Medium agencies are the best of both worlds. They have the staff and resources to handle even the most complex projects, but they are small enough to maintain personal connections with clients.

Cons: Medium-sized agencies may not offer the reduced rate you would receive from a freelancer or small agency. 

Large Agency 

Pros: Large agencies have experience and resources at their disposal. Their diverse portfolios and large staff allow them to take on extensive and complex projects. 

Cons: Large agencies can be less personal. Your project may be outsourced or viewed as just a number, and you may not receive the personal attention or customization you’re seeking. You may also encounter more bureaucracy and red tape with a large agency. 

If you have questions about your web design project and would like to discuss options with design and development professionals, please reach out to us

5 Web Design Myths … Busted

Your website is likely the first place consumers encounter your brand, and the design not only conveys information about your products and services, but also speaks to your values, style, and relevance. 

In an article published by Inc., ATX The Brand Founder Daniel Griggs responded to five common website design myths and shared the reality behind good web design. 

Myth 1. Your website can’t serve multiple audiences
There may be gaps in technological knowledge and aesthetic taste, but that doesn’t mean your website design can’t appeal to multiple demographics. Work smarter, not harder, to engage with each of your target audiences by finding the areas where their preferences overlap. For example, the baby boomer and millennial generations may both prefer large font and less cluttered design. 

Myth 2. Content is content

Not all content is created equal. The average website visitor will leave a page after 10 to 20 seconds if they are unable to access the information they need, so your site should convey your main message as quickly and simply as possible. Be as bold and blatant as you can about answering the three W’s—Who are you? What do you do? Why should a user do business with you? If your website has a high bounce rate, this could be an indicator that you are not keeping it simple enough. 

Myth 3. You need to tell your whole story on your homepage

Your users’ first interaction with your website should make them feel like it was designed for them. Avoid overwhelming site visitors with details about every facet of your product or service and instead create clear calls to action that help specific audiences quickly and easily navigate to the content they need. 

Myth 4: A well-designed desktop version is good enough

A well-designed desktop version of your website is important, but research shows that the mobile version is crucial. The Pew Research Center reports that 28 percent of millennials are smartphone-only internet users, meaning that nearly one third of the country’s largest consumer demographic will be viewing your website solely on their phones. 

Myth 5: You don’t need a website audit 

Quality website and mobile app design requires a professional set of eyes. A website audit is a comprehensive review of your design and content that will help determine whether you are reaching your target audiences in the most efficient and effective way possible. A full audit will help expose weak spots and improve the usability of your website and mobile app to ensure you are reaching the greatest amount of people in the most effective way. This will help conversion, which means more leads. 

You’re Going to Drop the Ball

You are going to fail in business. The question isn’t “if,” but “when.” 

Hopefully you enjoy more success than failure, but there will always be bumps in the road along the way. No matter how hard you hustle, when you have a lot of balls in the air we will inevitably drop one. 

ATX The Brand Founder Daniel Griggs published an article on Forbes that lists his top tips for how to respond when that ball hits the ground. 

  1. Take ownership When you do inevitably drop the ball in some way, it is important to take ownership of your mistake. When confronted with a misstep, we tend to want to shift blame or make excuses for our actions, but claiming responsibility can be an important part of reaching a resolution quickly and effectively. If you are going to point the finger, point the finger at yourself. 
  2. Create realistic expectations Being proactive by creating realistic expectations at the outset of a project is critical, and it is just as important to identify clear deliverables and limits when something goes wrong. Be careful not to overpromise in an attempt to rectify a mistake or mitigate discomfort. If you need to recalibrate, set a realistic scope. It is not about what you and your team are capable of accomplishing, it is about how well you can meet the client’s goals while working within their parameters.
  3. Over-communicate There is no such thing as too much communication with a client. Just because you said something one time does not mean your message was received or understood. If you said it once, say it again. And again.Do not avoid a client because they are upset or because the mistake is awkward or uncomfortable. Stay in constant contact so the client knows you are on their side and are taking every necessary step to correct the issue. Dropping the ball is never fun but it does not have to be the end of the world. If you respond to failure by taking ownership, setting realistic expectations for addressing the problem, and communicating clearly, you will be able to bounce back in no time. 

The Five Most Important Features of Your New Website

Business owners love a sexy website. They tell us to make their website look cool. They want their users to be impressed by it, to spend time (and money) on it.
What they don’t usually think about are the really practical but crucial elements of a website that we don’t notice until they’re not there–or, worse, done poorly.

1. User Experience

Each website has its own purposes and objectives. None of them can be achieved if it isn’t stupid-easy to navigate the site. I think this is the single most important element of any and every site because I have no patience for websites that confuse me or present me with broken links or missing pages.

As we always say: know your target audience. Know why they’re there. Know what they want. Know how to get them to what they want.

The key to nailing this part? Test, test, test, then test some more. It doesn’t matter what’s on your site or how good it looks if people can’t get what they need, or leave out of frustration.

2. Mobile response

Do I need to say this? 80% of internet users own a smartphone. Hell, you’re probably reading this from yours! Make it mobile responsive.

3. Analytics

Installing Google analytics is so easy that I’m sure you already have it on your site. The question is: are you using it?

It’s the end of the year and you’re planning your marketing for next year (right?). Your analytics will tell you almost everything you need to craft the web site piece of your marketing strategy. How are people finding your site? What keywords are they using? How long do they spend? How many pages do they visit? Which pages to they visit?

You want to know traffic sources, keywords, and user behavior so you can audit your marketing, determine your ROI, and craft growth strategies for the future.

4. About

I hate when I got to a website and can’t figure out what the company does or what their product is for. Have you had this? You go to the about page and it says a bunch of lofty things about how the company has been utilizing innovative technology since 1986 and is a leader in its industry. What does that even mean?

Just one sentence somewhere on the site about what you actually do would be very helpful to the lost visitors who wander to your website from a social media link and wonder, What the hell am I doing here?

Point ‘em in the right direction. Send ‘em home.

5. Social Media Links

It may be a Millennial thing, but I always check out social media links when I visit a new website. It’s a great way to get a feel for the business. I want to know if they’re posting funny memes or if I can see Instagram updates on their Facebook feeds. Do people like them? Is there a new product coming out? Is it a cool company?

 

Put your social media links up and invite people along (it’s an easy way to grow your following–and effortlessly generate more leads).