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Considerations And Meditations On Effective Web Design

Written by Michael Dickens II

Monday, July 21st, 2014

When exploring the overwhelmingly wide world of design tips, tricks, bells, whistles, gidgets, and gadgets galore, it’s important to keep in mind that the old adage of “K.I.S.S” still (very much) applies.

Keep It Simple, Stupid

 

Information Harvesting

The words “big” and “data” and being woven together and flung around frequently these days. The Internet has very much changed the game of information harvesting. The “need to know” marketing data for which companies of old would sell off their firstborns is now readily available at the low-low cost of a brilliant web design team.

 

Process Improvement

No one enjoys scrolling. I, for one, shudder to think at being forced to scroll infinitely to see all your things. Unless you are an endless source of news output (nod to Yahoo and Facebook), I would prefer you just tell me what I need to know and allow me the opportunity to inquire further as I see fit. Courtesy, please and thank you.

In lieu of leading and guiding your time-conscious customer into a labyrinth of business glorification, events, and arguably cool stories, instead simplify your site so that your customer can easily discover what it is they require. The great thing about the Internet is oftentimes the consumer either knows exactly what they are looking for, or at the very least has a general idea. Be certain to consider the customer experience above all else.

 

Site Navigation & Friendliness

Once your mind has been set and you are focused on ensuring the warm and fuzzy customer experience provided by a de-cluttered webspace, it is time to outline your layout. Unfortunately, most businesses seem to overthink this process. If the information or product line you are providing is minimal, then your website should be as well. If you are providing a wide range of products, then you need to invest in an amazing search tool that is fully capable of easing the navigation process. Likewise, if your site offers substantial information, articles, knowledge bases, etc., then you should also include an all-encompassing search bar.

 

While many of these items are basic and somewhat arguable, a mastery of fundamentals is the foundation of true greatness. The Internet has already seen an uptick in the use of flat UI to improve navigation speed and overall look/feel. Laser focused content has also become more popular as companies seek to reduce clutter and hasten the transactions with their busy customer base. Finally, acquiring and tracking information in a wise, considerate, secure and thoughtful way has also risen to the forefront of Internet innovation. Don’t be the last business left back in the 2000s. As the eloquent English singer-songwriters, Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse, wrote: “It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day…”

 

Image Source: http://www.centerforinnersciences.org/uploads/1/6/1/3/16136688/1635408_orig.jpg

Social Media Is Important, If Done Properly

Written by Brandi Bennett

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

Social media allows individuals to stay in contact with each other. That was the the original premise for its creation, also allowing folks to make new connections and friends across the vast open space that is the Internet. In recent years, however, social media has evolved into being utilized as a means of allowing organizations to promote their products to individuals, interact with their customers, and spark discussion and debate regarding the different products that are being offered.

social_media

 

The Benefits

This type of access, allowing brands and companies to interact with their customers in this manner is a great boon to organizations, providing them with information and insight into consumer preferences in ways that never would have been possible in the past while also allowing them to obtain personalized and direct responses and information from consumers regarding how their product performs, along with additional information about the desires of the market.

 

The Crux of the Matter

In spite of all of this positivity, there is one issue that is arising with increasing frequency: spam. Not spam in the traditional sense of the word, which relates to unsolicited email messages, but a new equivalent. I, personally, had avoided Twitter for years, but recent events prompted me to finally set up an account. I was almost immediately spammed with requests from companies to “follow” them. Companies that I had never heard of, whose requests were sometimes not even in English, but I’ve never heard of these companies and, to my chagrin, I hadn’t even filled out my interests yet!

These businesses mostly just wanted follows, though some asked me to “retweet” information on their business to get their name out there. These were clearly generic requests, sent out automatically. Now, some businesses may think that this is a good thing, that it’s an alright business practice, acceptable even, after all isn’t the whole point getting your name out there?

No. It’s not okay at all. Not only did I delete every single one of these, I also blocked those companies from contacting me. This is not the type of publicity for which businesses should aim.

 

The Nitty Gritty

Social media should be used by the business not necessarily to solicit, but to let their brand speak. It’s fine to send messages to those who have expressed an interest in your company via social media, but if you’re just randomly hoping to contact someone who might take the time to like or follow your organization, this is arguably spam. You want a user to want to talk about you in a positive manner. You want that individual to like your company or follow your company, expressing to their network that your business is worthwhile, but if you do nothing to engender that feeling, you’re shooting yourself in the virtual foot. Use social media strategically and your company has the potential to go far.

 

Image Source: LinkedIn. (2013). Social Media. Retrieved from http://blog.linkedin.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Social-Media-and-College-Admissions.jpg-1024×701.jpeg

4 Mistakes Made By New Entrepreneurs That You Can Avoid

Written by Jeremy Jensen

Monday, July 14th, 2014

Being an entrepreneur is all about taking risks. Sometimes it can feel like we’re kayaking up stream with a soup ladle, not realizing the ease of which our travels could be made by reversing our direction, or you know… using a paddle? While there’s a tremendous amount of appreciation for the art of trying, and the lessons learned from failing, entrepreneurs never set out with the intention of being unsuccessful their entire career.

I’d like to share some of the best tips for those of you who are on the up and coming path of running a business and working under your own determination. Mistakes are guaranteed to happen, but here are four ways to prevent some of the bigger ones from adding your business to the 50-70% that will fail in the first 18 months.

4 Mistakes Made By New Entrepreneurs That You Can Avoid

 

1. Not Asking For Feedback From Your Customers

I have a good friend, brilliant in all ways business but one: getting to know the people he wants to buy his product. While your idea, service, or art may sit pleasantly in the realm of personal admiration and approval, those you intend to buy it might have a suggestion (even small ones) that will take your sales to the next level. Not being able to take constructive criticism will only hurt your business in the long run.

The biggest companies out there also have the best methods for customer surveys and outreach. Would you want to buy from someone who doesn’t care about the experience you had with their service?

Treat every customer knowing they’re ultimately the one helping sustain your lifestyle.

 

2. Going Into Business With The Wrong Partner

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”-Jim Rohn

A quote that we believe will live on timelessly, and has everything to do with those you’re setting out to be successful with. In College, institutions place high value on social science as a supplement to nurturing the way in which we work among others, knowing how we act emotionally (EQ) plays a bigger role in successful businesses than (IQ).

Sometimes we select a business partner based on a particular skill, knowing nothing about their ability to work cooperatively on a regular basis. Making a partnership work starts well before the union is formed, and we suggest asking yourself six questions when you’re looking to pick a partner.

 

3. Choosing Not To Emphasize Marketing

I have another friend, and in this instance he believes the best businesses are found organically. While this may be true for your local restaurant, word of mouth cannot compete with the way in which search engine optimization has gripped our culture. When you’re visiting a new city, how do you choose where to get a hotel? Where to eat?

You Google it, right? Right. It’s that simple, and like it or not most businesses will not survive without maxing out efforts to be seen online where 70% of mobile customers will call a business directly from the search pages.

 

4. Going Too Heavily Into Debt

There’s a strong temptation we all face when we’re planning out our first business, and that’s to borrow a reckless amount of money in hopes the investment will pay for itself once the profits start rolling in. For most, that loan will be spent much faster than intended, and there’s nothing to show for it.

Nowadays, there are brilliant ways to replace, or even supplement the money you take out on credit, a few being:

  • Crowd Sourcing - If you have a great idea, try taking it online where people may be willing to help you get it off the ground. Kickstarter, IndieGoGo, and Crowdfunder are three of the best and largest user bases to help forgo money borrowed.
  • Government Grants - Although regulated and sometimes difficult to qualify for, these grants are in place to help you become a contributing entity of this country. What’s great is you won’t have to pay it back! Think you qualify?
  • Pockets - Yes, as in your pants and wallet. Having the money up front will save you the pain of having a business fail, and still owing $50,000 with no foreseeable income. Sell an asset, consult friends and family, or get to saving.

Perhaps the fifth mistake most entrepreneurs will make is not taking advice. I sit here reflecting on all the times in which actual recommendations could have saved me from unnecessary turmoil. Don’t be afraid of failure, but even more important don’t forget to learn from those mistakes so they won’t happen again.

 

Image Source: http://ericaduran.co/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/Erica-Durans-entrepreneur-mistakes.png

HostGator Brazil & The World Cup

Written by Tathiana Sobroza

Saturday, July 5th, 2014

It has been almost 3 weeks since the World Cup started in Brazil, with the first round bringing a lot of surprises and countless emotions experienced by fans all over the world. Great teams have gone back home earlier than expected while other teams have overcome everyone’s expectations by doing a great job.

Brazil team is still competing and we, Brazilians, could not be more excited, after all the World Cup is being held in our country. Moreover, this is our chance to become a six-time soccer champion, a position that has never been achieved by any team.

The fact is that soccer is more than just a sport in Brazil. It is the most loved one. Soccer makes no differentiation, attracting people from all classes, ages and genders. It is a promising career to ones, a hobby to others and the favorite sport for the most of us. And every four years, it unites the whole country, making us proud of being Brazilians.

The excitement could not be different in HostGator’s Brazil office! We have got all prepared for the Brazil games, with Snappy joining us and cheering for Brazil as well. He has a big heart! ;)

snappy-brazil-world-cup-02

We know Brazil soccer team has a big challenge ahead with so many good teams to play with, but if the results depend on our desire to win, Brazil has already won.

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