Coming up with Content – get a jumpstart on your website redesign

So you’ve done it. You’ve made the decision to redesign your website, to bring it up to date with the latest technology and features. You even have design ideas and have hired your favorite designer to create the “look”. Maybe you’ve even seen the first draft. Then comes the big realization: you’ve got to come up with content for your site.

tips for coming up with web content

Coming up with web content doesn’t have to be like pulling teeth

Coming up with web content does not have to be like waiting in line at Walmart, pulling teeth or watching a bad chick flick. Here are some thoughts to give you a head start, so that when your designer calls for that content, you can shock them by handing it over…

1. Figure out the Goal

What’s the goal of your website? Are you booking trips? Are you educating? Are you selling cars? Every place you take a viewer should be leading them to your goal in a user-friendly manner. Figure out the goal, and keep that in mind every step of the way. There should be a “Call to Action” on every page leading them to your goal.

2. Start with the Content, Start Small

Unless you’ve booked a week away from the family in a winter cabin all by yourself, don’t try to write the whole site content at once. It can be overwhelming enough to freeze up the best of us. Make a goal to do one page at a time. Maybe one a week. Get your content together, and make it quality. Keep it simple, keep it clear. It doesn’t have to be Ernest Hemingway. Just pleasant and organized.

3. Think Like a Client

Organize what you want to say due to your client needs, not your company structure. What do they want to hear about your business that will convince them to choose you? Don’t focus on telling them all about yourself. Get them excited about what you are offering by answering their questions before they ask. Let your history, years in business and technical details be subsidiary information.

When you write each page, think about what they will be looking for first. Then second. Lead them to your goal, and make it a pleasant experience for them. Break up big paragraphs with captivating headings. Use videos, photos, podcasts and graphics in key places that make sense, to make the experience palatable.

Don’t waste their time by creating unnecessary pages. Keep your site clean and efficient and provide valuable information. Your viewers will appreciate it, and your search engine rankings will show the results.

4. Extra credit

If you have the budget, we’ll hire out search engine gurus to sprinkle key words for search engines throughout your text. However, as you’re writing, keep in mind terms viewers may be searching for to find businesses such as yours. For example, if you sell health care services, include terms specific to your industry such as “teeth whitening”  or “crown repair”. Not just general terms like “dental health”. Speak specifically to what folks will search for, and what you are selling. Just remember not to let search engine language drive your content. Good, human content comes first.

5. Use Savvy Nav

Once your content is written, coming up with your site navigation will make more sense.  There are lots of ways to determine the navigation of your site…

  • Notecards – use 3” x 5” note cards and write a page on each of these . Then sort them into stacks of what topic goes with what. Now put the most important one on top to determine the main navigational link. You might also have a few “test” people go through your notecards and give their feedback on what navigation makes sense to them as well.
  • Spreadsheet – If you have a larger site with more pages, you may want to create a content inventory in a Microsoft spreadsheet. This should include links to each page and a sentence about what will be on each page.
  • Creative Brainstorming – Drawing with markers is fun. Tacking papers/sticky notes up to a bulletin board and moving these around can be a more creative, fun way to play with your site structure. This is a great way to get the ideas flowing, and is often a great way to start the process, allowing for creative brainstorming with your group. Once you begin to nail down the site structure, you can move to the spread sheet.

5. Give links clear names.

Don’t be cute on your main links. Clients need to know exactly where they are going. Be respectful of their time, and don’t lose them. For example, “News” is better than “Tidbits”. They might not know what Tibits means.

Relax, You’re Done

If you give yourself enough time and a little head start, the process of coming up with your web content can be a breeze. Coupled with the stunning website design your designer is working on, you’ll have a fantastic site that will keep users coming back for more.

Be sure to ask Dayzign if you need help with any of your site content – we have great resources for writing and editing! (970)275-5186

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Evolution of an Ice Climbing Business

The Chicks with Picks 2014 Tshirt is OUT – Illustration by Kellie Day

The Chicks with Picks 2014 Tshirt is OUT – Illustration by Kellie Day


 

Started as a means to teach women self-sufficiency in ice climbing, Chicks with Picks has become a key business in building commraderie in the climbing world.

Co-Founder Kim Reynolds realized that much of the initial attraction to chicks was the sassy, independent attitude reflected in the logo and brand. She has continually built this brand over the last 15 years, beginning with the logo, and including yearly, hand-drawn tshirts.

The Chicks brand is strongly backed by quality built ice climbing clinics for women, that include strong female leadership and skill building. Gals from all over the country visit Ouray, Colorado each year to attend Chicks clinics. There’s one for every skill level.

Coming up on 15 years of being in the biz, Head Chick Reynolds felt the Shiva (Indian God/Goddess) themed tshirt illustration reflected the evolution of the business, and the strength and balance women have in so many aspects of their lives as mothers, business women, and climbers.

You can visit the Chicks with Picks website here, which is being redesigned as we speak.

Interested in a custom illustration? Contact Kellie Day here or call (970) 275-5186

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Flagstaff Snowshoe Company – Running it Right

The new Kahtoola Home page, with the San Francisco Peaks in the background

The new Kahtoola Home page, with the San Francisco Peaks in the background

 

Kahtoola sets a  business example by doing good things, supporting the environment, and keeping it as local as possible.

Handcrafting many of their products in house, and deeply tied to their geographical region, Kahtoola’s snowshoes, hiking crampons and Microspikes are a proud product to work with.

Looking to sculpt the company’s brand even more locally, and gain greater hands on with their website, the Kahtoola team came to Dayzign Graphics for their new online image. Keeping it locally tied with Flagstaff’s prominent San Francisco Peaks in the background, Dayzign sculpted a clean look that shows off stunning product photos, in use in our southwest mountainous region.

What was important to Kahtoola?

The "mega-navigation" gives viewers quick access to all products and enough info to make a quick decision on where they want to go

The “mega-navigation” gives viewers quick access to all products and enough info to make a quick decision on where they want to go

In order for viewers to gain quick access to the variety of products, Dayzign suggested a “mega-navigation”. On rollover, instead of the typical page listings of typical drop down menus, photos of each product are shown, with price and key info. This allows viewers to make a quick decision about where they’d like to go, without having to navigate through pages.

Responsive/Mobile-Friendly Design

Our partner SOF Inc of Durango worked diligently with Kathoola to get their site to look as appealing as possible on a variety of mobile devices, including phones and tablets. Although sites get bumped around from screen size to screen size, SOF incorporated parameters to keep the site looking clean in all formats.

Online shopping that ties into company software

As with all of our wordpress sites, shopping carts can be readily integrated. In this case, Kahtoola wanted to tie their online shopping into their in-house accounting.  Working together as a team with a variety of players, from custom design to final product, Kahtoola  has the business flow, information and look they wanted. Shopping pages feature great product photography,  tabbed tech specs, reviews, and “how-to” videos, along with other suggested products.

Bells and Whistles?

Lots of other great features went into this site to give Kahtoola exactly what they wanted. From a Dealer-only log in, to Pro-sales forms, a media “Clip Book“  and blog, Kahtoola now has greater access to updating their site, the look they desire, and a updated shopping flow. With wordpress, the site will be easily updatable and technologically current for  years to come.

If you’re looking for mountain footwear that travels well from rock to ice to snow, or just something stellar to slip on for an icy driveway, we highly recommend checking out Kahtoola.

Thanks to John Burcham and Paul Berg for their excellent photography and touch up!

To inquire about your new website design and build, email Kellie at Dayzign Graphics, or call (970)275-5186

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Boost your Site with a Custom Google Map


View TOWN OF RIDGWAY, COLORADO, Art District and Creative Industries in a larger map

Google maps are far more than a HOW TO for finding your favorite restaurant.

Custom Google maps increase your website user’s experience by adding richer, more interactive content. Vineyards can plot wineries, towns can plot walking tours, guiding services can plot adventure locations – all with photos, text, links and all of googles’ zooming and interactive capabilities.

Recently, Dayzign Graphics was contracted to build a Creative District Brochure, to serve as a marketing piece for the Town of Ridgway’s newly designated Colorado status. As a centerpiece for the brochure and it’s future website, we built a custom google map plotting all of the galleries, studios and creative venues.

Town of Ridgway, Colorado's Creative District brochure

Town of Ridgway, Colorado’s Creative District brochure

Beyond walking around town with a brochure in hand, tourists can now conjur up the map on their phones and mobile devices, and find out where the Art Galleries and restaurants are in town, read descriptions, and even see photos.

The map has the added benefit of search engine boosting for the town, as the town strives to increase its tourist and creative based economy.

Custom Google maps are great for adding to any organization or corporate website, to further enhance your site’s interactivity and illustrate all you have to offer. Rich content is what keeps your viewers coming back.

Keep your eye out for the Town of Ridgway Creative District Website – coming later this year!

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‘Brain Friendly’ Website Design Attracts More Viewers

Looking to attract more customers to your website? New research on media sites suggests that using a “brain friendly” design might do the trick.

Researchers at the University of Missouri School of Journalism propose that, since the brain is engaged through motivation, the most effective way to get readers to visit and stay on a website is to give them proper motivation, such as invoking emotion with stories and pictures. The researchers also say that the simpler the design, the better.

Read the full article at Mashable.com

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Girls are Meant to be REAL, Not Perfect

We’re not all pretty, perfect and polished, but a little inner strength goes a long way.

Through exercise, education and leadership, REAL Girls summer camp was conceived to help city girls develop self-esteem. Designed as a an after-school program based in Jupiter, Florida, the camp plans to target  girls from 9 to 18.

REAL Girls founder Deb Read believes that girls at this vulnerable age can use a little guidance understanding that they don’t have to be perfect, just real. Her background in outdoor education may be just the ingredient to shine light on girls, and show them what they can do by stepping outside city life.

Read asked Dayzign to create the logo based around a woodblock print she had created years ago. We took the print, stylized it for web and print uses, and created the logo, fonts and custom color palette.

WALA! Another fun and lively project. Thanks Deb!

 

 

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Axel Project Brings Bikes to Babes

Axel Project brand identity, designed by Dayzign Graphics


 

Randy and Jen Charrette had a vision to introduce and nurture a lifelong passion for cycling to children and their families.

With a dream of starting a nonprofit in their son’s name, they came to Dayzign with a clear picture of their brand: a fun, energetic kid on a bike that inspires enthusiasm for cycling. They also wanted a website that makes it easy to donate and see what’s happening in the organization. First we tackled the logo, perfecting the look of our pedaling kiddo! Then we refined the graphic, chose the color palette and digitized the file for marketing uses from web to print to hats and shirts.

With a limited budget that nonprofits often have, Dayzign chose a WordPress website template to customize with the new brand.  The template offered a clear Donation feature that linked right to a Paypal account. A blog slider up front takes viewers from Home page photos right to that blog post. A calendar plugin makes it easy to feed Events onto the sidebar, with more information just one click away.

In short, Axel Project got a fully sophisticated website and company brand by opting for the wordpress template. Although these templates are not nearly as customizable visually as a custom website, they are perfect for organizations trying to get a message across who do not need full control over every aspect of their website’s appearance.

To get a glimpse of the great work Jen and Randy are doing, please visit Axel Project and enjoy the ride!

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Three Ingredients to Outranking your Competition in Search Engines

SEO is a Marathon and not a Sprint

Search Engine Optimization is a marathon, not a sprint

Search Engine Optimization is a marathon, not a sprint

Today’s post is a guest blog by Chris Sharpe of SharpNET Solutions. Chris works with many Dayzign clients to improve their search engine ranks – and they rave about him! Read on to get his advice on how to improve your search engine rankings …

SEO, or search engine optimization, is the process of interacting with a website to improve search engine rankings for relevant search phrases. While this can be a wildly complicated process, there are some simple steps to take that can make a big impact on your search engine visibility.

There are three main components to search engine ranking, and why one website may outrank another.

1)     Content Optimization: The content on your website and how it communicates to people and the search engines. The primary components are the readable content, and META tags (Title and Description).

2)     PageRank: The popularity of your website, and how many other websites link to it. This also includes any “social media buzz” about your website.

3)     Quality: User interaction with your website in response to the generally quality or likability. The “quality” of your website includes things like the quality of the content or if there is duplicate content. The “likability” includes the ease of use for your visitors, how long they stay on the site and if they continue searching after visiting your website.

The best ranked websites out-rank competitor websites through a combination of the three primary factors listed above.  So… how can a business owner easily improve these key SEO factors?

Improving Content Optimization –

Of the three primary factors impacting SEO, content optimization is the easiest to implement and a few key concepts can help you on your way.  The primary thing to understand is that the search engines cannot easily rank a website for keywords that do not exist on the website. For example, a company offering Home Loans cannot capture “home loan” rankings on Google if their website doesn’t talk about “Home Loans.”  Think about the phrases that you would like to be found under when prospects are searching on a search engine. Incorporate those search phrases within the content of your website in a natural and tactful manner, so that it reads well. Then support that keyword further by incorporating it within the page META TITLE and Description tags.  (We can help with this part). Keep a narrow focus on only a few closely related keywords, so that the search engines understand which keywords are most important to you.

*Content Optimization Tip:

All content on the internet can be optimized, not just your website. The practical application of content optimization and keyword targeting applies to your blog posts, press releases, articles, social media posts, business profiles and anything else accessible to the search engines.

Improving PageRank:

Google assigns a PageRank value to every web page in the world… billions. PageRank is a scoring factor between 0 and 10, which works much like the Richter scale of an earthquake.  Only 3 websites are PageRank 3, being Google, Twitter and Facebook, whereas most websites are PageRank 1.  PageRank is on a logarithmic scale (factors of 10) so moving from a PageRank of 3 to 4 requires 10 times more PageRank. PageRank is best improved by having quality websites link to your website, which is hard to accomplish. A good place to start is by finding business directories, which can be national directories, or directories that represent your community or your industry. Be sure that these business listings allow a link pointing back to your website. Engaging in social media, blogs/forums that represent your industry, and other digital engagements will also be very helpful, but only if you have a link pointing back to your website.

Improving Website Quality:

Face it, the quality of your website matters. Just like you would feel uncomfortable shopping at a filthy grocery store, people will be turned off by a low quality website. What is surprising to people is that Google has a very good understanding of what is and is not a quality website.  In this competitive marketplace, it is not enough just to say “pick me!”  Your website must offer value to the customer, provide a professional image, contain unique and useful content, and offer something that your competitors cannot. Whatever time you invest into your website, your website will give back, providing that you take care of the PageRank and Content Optimization tasks outlined above.

By simply understanding what is important to a search engine, you can begin to improve in those areas. Try to pay attention to your website and slowly but surely tackle these key areas for SEO improvement. A slow-paced but methodical, long-winded approach works best. SEO is a marathon, and not a sprint.

Three Ingredients to Outranking your Competition in Search Engines” was crafted by Chris W. Sharp, President of SharpNET Solutions, an SEO marketing firm based in Colorado.

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Energetics: One Woman Grows a Natural Healing Business

Carmen Tucker shows how its possible to blossom, and just keep growing.

Sharing valuable content is a key component to building  business through your website. Make your reader’s lives better, and they’re likely to return – and therefore more likely to become a loyal customer.

Carmen Tucker is doing just that. Her natural healing business has taken a turn out of her home and into the world wide web. Dayzign created a website for the business where Carmen can grow her customer base by sharing valuable content in her new Resources section.

Along with a “Health Tips Blog”, where Carmen can share natural healing advice, Dayzign created a Resource section of the website where Carmen can share videos, books, websites and other health resources she finds valuable. All of these tools are easily integrated into her WordPress site, and serve to reinforce her clientele.

Carmen came to Dayzign with a simple business card that she loved. We took the colors and sunflower image and built the visual brand for her website – bright and cheerful, just like Carmen!

If you’d like to explore an alternative healing practice, visit Energetics and take a look at what Carmen has to offer. Her energy alone will inspire you!

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