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Geordie Frost

10 Tips to spring clean your website

By | digital media, Web design | No Comments

Just like spring-cleaning your house, your website needs regular attention to keep it looking its best and working effectively, so we’ve come up with 10 tips to help you spring clean your website.

A commercial website is obviously one of the most valuable assets a business can build, and can be critical to the make or break of a new brand, or a business that’s under threat from new competition.

Here are some tips for your Site Spring Clean:

  1. Be consistent
    Set a date to clean at least once a quarter – allocate several hours in your schedule for that day, ideally somewhere quiet and away from distractions. This activity is separate from your regular content creation, which should be done at least weekly.
  2. First impressions
    Try and view your site with fresh eyes, notice what your first impressions are, track where your eyes go and what they focus on first. Is the balance of text and images right? Does anything look out of place? If you’re having trouble focusing on any one thing, then you might need to simplify your homepage design. Note down the top three elements that stood out – do these match up with the top three items you want users to notice? If not, then you know something about the design hierarchy needs to change.
  3. Be your customer
    Pick two customer profiles and step into their shoes. View the site exactly as they would, using all your knowledge of how they behave and think – is the information logically arranged? Can they get to what they need quickly and simply? If you don’t trust yourself to be impartial, consider asking a friend or a new team member unfamiliar with the site to do a navigation test and time how long it takes to find a particular piece if information.
  4. Take a new view
    Look at your site on other devices, in other environments. See how your site looks on a Samsung Galaxy; from a library computer; on a friend’s laptop; a brand new iPad Air; a Microsoft Surface; an iPhone; and spot the differences. Is the site responsive to the device? Can you read the navigation items without zooming in? Does it lose something in the transition?
  5. Broken bits
    Check for broken links with a link checker like: validator.w3.org/checklink
  6. Spell check
    It sounds obvious, but almost every website has a typo of some description. Check your spelling and grammar across the site – in headings, body copy and banner images.
  7. Looking tired
    Is your colour palette looking dated? Do your images need updating? Stock photos are often overused, so think about investing in some custom photography to keep your site looking unique.
  8. Keep an eye out
    Check your competitors. Are there design elements or functionalities they are using that your customers are missing out on? Cherry pick the best ideas from other sites and integrate them into your own.
  9. Are you social?
    Don’t just focus on the main content, but check your links to social media are best placed and well integrated. Are you using all your chosen platforms to their full potential? If not, it might be good to rethink where your energies will be best spent.
  10. Pick patterns
    Review your analytics for the quarter and see if any long-term usage patterns have emerged. Are users bouncing off the homepage immediately because they can’t find what they need? Are they giving you clues about the content they find most appealing?
The importance of brand consistency across social media

The importance of brand consistency across social media

By | Brand Design, Brand Identity, Brand Strategy | No Comments

So by now we should all know the importance for all businesses to have a strong presence across social media. If you are to look at the strongest brands that are the most successful across social media there is a common thread – they all deliver a consistent brand message.

Whether it be on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram they have the same look that identifies their brand immediately and the voice used in their content reflects their brands identity.

There are major benefits from creating a consistent brand presence across all social media including:

  • Increase engagement from followers, liker’s
  • Professionalism – nothing screams amateur like a mash up of design
  • Strengthens brand recall
  • Develop and maintain one brand personality
  • Eliminates confusion

Essentially creating a consistent brand across multiple social media platforms comes down to two elements – how you look and how you sound.

Design

The impact of an impressive design can never be understated in any area of business, and social media is no different. Unlike your website, email or print design there are relatively strict limitations in regards to the space the designer has to work with. Some may say this is restrictive; I’d like to think it fosters creativity.

Facebook page managers can essentially only have brand imagery in two places, the cover photo and the profile picture (for the dimensions of these and other social media check out here). Twitter is more flexible, with background image, header, profile picture and also the ability to style the colour scheme. On the other hand Pinterest and Instagram are pretty much locked down with only a profile picture available to change.

The most important element amongst all these is the profile picture. This should be the same, or a variation of a theme, across all social media and be the main focal point to represent your brand. Make it bold and avoid too much text as it can become hard to read in when the image is displayed as a thumbnail.

For the other spaces use consistent imagery, colours and themes. If your business has a style guide then this a good time to refer to it and design for the respective networks according to your branding guidelines. If not then I recommend you look into developing one.

Voice

It can be argued that the voice of a brand on social media is more important than the design itself as it creates a level of humanity which drives the fan engagement more than any logo or graphic ever could. When I speak of a brands voice on social media I refer to the tone of the conversation, the content posted and the way that the brand responds to users.

A brands identity goes far beyond its visual aesthetic and is truly defined by a number of internal and external elements of the business. Certain businesses, like accountants, may want to exude ‘a more serious tone’ at all times, whereas there may be a much more ‘laid back tone’ around the amusement park industry.

The way in which you communicate this voice needs to be consistent across all social media. Be mindful of this when you are posting content and in particular engaging with followers of your brand. There’s no better advocate for a brand than a customer who has had a positive experience engaging with the business and is willing to tell others about it.

Maintaining consistency in both design and voice across all your social media is crucial in keeping up with the competition, engaging your customer base and developing new leads.

Halcyon Creative