SEO can be a convoluted thing, and it takes more than just trial and error to create a successful SEO campaign. In this blog, we’re going to talk about a few of the good (and bad) types of SEO campaigns, so if you’re a local Beaverton, Portland, or Hillsboro business looking to polish up your web presence, here are some basics.
Barnacle marketing essentially functions like it sounds: as a smaller business or webpage, you attach (like a barnacle) to larger, top-ranked pages that appear when you type in major keywords relevant to your own business. This involves offering content of your own for hosting on these larger sites. For example, you could offer a photo of your baked goods to a large recipe site in exchange for a link back to your own site, or perhaps provide content to Wikipedia. Link sharing is also a great way to produce results. The point of barnacle marketing is to get your website to appear with those major keywords that as a small business, you’d otherwise think you’d never be able to get results with.
White Hat and Black Hat SEO are two sides of the same coin. White Hat SEO is more aboveboard, while Black Hat is a little more ethically iffy. White Hat uses techniques that don’t go against large search engine guidelines. Original content, HTML optimization, and organic ranking are a few of the ways to stay on the good side of things and not provoke the ire of the Search Engine Powers That Be. Div Creative always uses White Hat SEO because taking shortcuts is not an option for us. Black Hat, on the other hand, tries to find loopholes and weaknesses in search engine algorithms to essentially cheat its way to the top. This is a big reason why there is so much spam on the internet, and in the end, these techniques are not long-lasting, particularly when Google and other search engines are always strengthening their algorithms.
On Page and Off Page optimization is another two-sided version of SEO, although these don’t have a “bad” and “good” side to them. On Page consists of changes you make to the website that end up having visible results to the viewer, such as removing dead links, adding tags and content, and improving existing content. Off Page consists of directory submission (making sure your site comes up on various search engines and directories), creating and listing ads and other marketing material, and more. These are the types of things you may not consciously realize send you to certain websites, but in fact, they do.
These are the basics of SEO marketing. Although as a client you may not have to consciously participate in SEO, it’s never a bad thing to have a general knowledge of how your site and its rankings work. If you’d like to have an in-depth conversation about marketing techniques, contact us and we’ll make it happen!
For further reading on SEO, take a look at some of our past blogs: Meta Tags are no Longer Valid for SEO, Let’s Look at Google’s New Hummingbird Search Algorithm, SEO Marketing
As web developers, we spend a lot of time online, and wanted to share some of the neat things we find each week. Enjoy!
We’re all huge fans of game retailer Steam, and as usual, Steam delivers with one of their famous Summer Sales. Today is day one, and so far there aren’t tons of astonishing deals, but there is a pretty interesting-looking Monster Summer Game—which won’t actually load yet but, we’ll see.
There are so many types of web design, and minimalist is one we haven’t explored much on this blog. This link is a great primer to minimalist design, and gives some neat examples.
The Oculus Rift is coming! Yes, this is a very game-centric link roundup and well, we kind of apologize for that but kind of not. In 2016, we’ll be treated to the final, consumer-friendly version of virtual reality, and then we can all finally stop pretending that we love going outside.
This is really neat, and a type of museum archiving you don’t generally think of—MoMA archiving their websites gives credence to the idea that websites themselves are (or have the potential to be) art. [INSERT LINK]
This is a longer one, but a great read. It truly gets into the minds of programmers and why quick fixes have more aspects to them than you’d think.
Welcome to part two of our list of mobile apps for small businesses. We hope you’ve looked into some of last week’s suggestions, and also hope you find this week’s entries just as useful!
Abukai’s focus is on making obligatory expense reports as painless as possible. You can efficiently document your expenses by taking photos of your receipts, and Abukai will analyze and compile everything into an official expense report when you’re done! There’s both a free and paid version, although apparently the free version is more than sufficient for many people.
Especially wonderful for those who work in the tech industry, or in general has to spend a lot of time explaining things about people’s computers to them, this app painlessly allows you to remotely access (upon being given permission) a person’s computer. It also doubles as a flexible meeting app, with both hosting and joining capability.
Perka essentially takes all the discount or perks cards you have for the businesses your patronize and combines them into one simple app. However, this is contingent on the businesses in question being associated with the app. If they are, it makes getting your deals so much easier than interminably digging through a wallet to find an almost-full punch card somewhere. We’d love to see Perka become bigger. Right now, there aren’t a lot of businesses offering deals in Beaverton or Portland, but with rising popularity, we can see that changing, so keep your eye on this upcoming app.
addappt has been lauded as a fantastic app, and here’s why. You know how annoying it is to keep your contacts updated? People are always losing their phones, changing providers, moving, and more. Their busy lives aren’t necessarily compatible with your modern-day Rolodex. addappt keeps your contacts updated automatically. It’s convenient and one more way to avoid annoyances in your life. The app has also released a feature called Tapp, a messaging-focused service.
This is a particularly great one for business owners who have to spend more time than they’d like on hold waiting to get through to a company. LucyPhone does the calling for you, and allows you to hang up while you’re on hold, getting called back by LucyPhone once you reach a customer service agent. This saves you precious time (and annoyance!).
As a small business owner, your time is precious. That’s why there are so many mobile apps out there designed to make running a business easier. Luckily for you, we’ve saved you even more time by compiling this list of ten great mobile apps that will make your day-to-day business run smoother. Many of these are available in browser form as well, if you prefer to use them on your computer or tablet instead.
If This Then That
IFTTT may seem confusing at first, but it’s pretty neat once you begin to learn what its purpose is. The app essentially allows you to set up custom “recipes” to allow certain things to happen between other apps of yours. For example, if you change your profile picture on Facebook, then your Twitter avatar will change as well as a result of a recipe you set up. Ultimately, IFTTT cuts out the middleman for a lot of mindless motions.
Evernote’s free version is already fantastic, but Evernote Business goes above and beyond to make organization even more tailored to the business owner. From team notes to a presentation mode, the features are great and only enhances the convenient note-taking experience.
Trello is one of the best team-based to-do applications out there, and that’s saying something because there are a lot! The best thing about Trello is that it’s free to access all the most important services. If you subscribe to Trello Gold, you have a few more customization options, but they aren’t necessary for use of the app. Trello is simple to learn and use, and creates a balance of team-based communication that isn’t overwhelming or confusing.
Div Creative loves Slack! We use it for company-wide communication. It’s easy to learn, has a great interface, and allows for private conversations, subject-specific conversations, and essentially any variety of communication you could think of, separating productive chats and fun chats as needed. We also love SlackBot, the customizable bot that responds to any coded phrase or keywords you want, and also provides help and assistance with the app.
How annoying is scanning? TurboScan is fantastic for those on business trips or otherwise in a place where they cannot easily access a scanner. Using just your phone, you can scan physical pages and save them as high-quality PDFs or JPGs. The final results won’t be as high-quality as using an actual scanner, but they’ll certainly be acceptable, and definitely better than not having a scanner at all.
Join us next week for another list of five fantastic mobile apps for your business!
The 52nd National Small Business Week is happening May 4th through May 8th of this year. In honor of this event, we’d like to talk a bit about being a small business and how to make the most of being connected to your community.
Part of being a small business is operating within the community and making connections. This involves participating in seminars, meetings, networking opportunities, and more. This benefits not only you and your company, but your customers, as well as other local businesses you communicate with.
Div Creative is involved in the Beaverton Chamber of Commerce, and each week we attend direct*Connect, a networking and referral program which connects business leaders in the community together, to share information and improve each other’s business relations. This is one possibility for businesses to get involved, but I’ll list a few more ways below to improve your business directly or indirectly, particularly if your business is located in the Beaverton/Hillsboro/Portland area.
SBA (The United States Small Business Administration) is the largest small business-oriented organization. Beavertonoregon.gov has a very comprehensive page about SBA-related events and programs that apply to the local area. This page provides information on everything from getting a grant to getting assistance for minority or underserved populations who run businesses. The opportunities in here are very important and not to be missed.
Beavertonoregon.gov also has other helpful information such as:
- The small business resource page
- The incentives and finances page
- The economic development page (this one has a lot of interesting events listed)
Business Oregon is Oregon’s economic development agency. They work to create jobs and achieve an economic balance when it comes to Oregon’s businesses. The site has many valuable resources both for those trying to start an Oregon business and those who are already running one. One notable section of the website is the entrepreneur resources page.
Portland Community College also has options for those wishing to learn about starting a business or bettering their current business through the Small Business Development Center (SBDC). You do not have to be a student to use these services, they are purely benefit for the community! SBDC offers options such as business advising, launching and growing your business services, and quick workshops that will help you improve your business in specific areas.
Div Creative has a lot of personal experience connecting with Beaverton’s Chamber of Commerce, as mentioned above, and we highly recommend exploring their site and getting locally involved.
As always, keep an ear to the ground for other events and seminars that are happening. It’s worth it to keep a calendar of events you hear of, and then to decide which seminars or presentations you can attend, or to have a coworker or employee to attend. Although these events often occur during regular work hours, it can be worth it to take some time and gain knowledge, connections, and more.
I know I talk about this a lot here on the Div Creative blog, but once again, I’d like to stress the importance of making sure your business website is mobile friendly!
On April 21st, Google is changing their search algorithm to include mobile-friendly compliance as a factor when ranking webpages. This means that if your page does not have a mobile version, or is not scalable to mobile-friendly sizes, then your page will not rank as high as it did before. This is a pretty huge change, and other indicator of how mobile browsing is changing how we use the internet.
This is important even for those whose traffic does not come primarily from mobile users. Although you might not lose out on much business, you might still lose out on some, and every bit counts. Search algorithms will still continue to evolve into the future, and I don’t see them losing a focus on the importance of mobile-friendliness anytime soon, so you may as well get a step up right now. Here is a handy template provided by moz.com that allows you to plug in your own data and calculate how much traffic your site could lose by not being mobile-friendly. (this link opens up a Google Drive document)
Here are some criteria for mobile-friendliness provided by hospitalitynet.
- Avoids software that is not common on mobile devices, like Flash
- Uses text that is readable without zooming
- Sizes content to the screen so users don’t have to scroll horizontally or zoom
- Places links far enough apart so that the correct one can be easily tapped
- Fast mobile download speeds
Does your website meet these criteria?
All hope is not lost, however: this new algorithm, combined with Google’s 2014-released Pigeon algorithm could increase your page hits substantially. Pigeon is the update that allows users to see search results near their location. This combination is great for our Beaverton and Portland brick-and-mortar businesses who love to be mobile-friendly!
There are still three weeks left until the change, and while that may not be enough time to ensure your site is mobile friendly, it is enough time to get started on the process. Let us know what we can do to make sure your website stays relevant for users on all types of devices. We can audit your website to look for fixes or have a conversation with you about what you’d like to see changed. Contact us for more information, we’ll help bring you and your site up to speed!
Community Spotlight is an occasional look at some of the fantastic organizations around the beautiful Portland metro area. We are deeply involved in our community and want to put some focus on the special parts of it. This week’s spotlight covers our local park and recreation district.
Many of us are mourning the end of long-running television favorite “Parks and Recreation,” but one thing we might not have thought about before is the existence of our very own P&R districts here in the Portland Metro area.
From the outside, it may seem as though P&R just takes care of, well, the parks. And that’s part of what they do, but in reality, their duties cover so much more. Here in Beaverton, the Tualatin Hills Park and Recreation District is in charge of managing parks, trails, recreation centers, nature centers, and more that are located within 50 square miles of land. That’s a lot.
One of the neatest things about P&R is that they offer many classes all year long, open to district residents of any age for accessible prices. A large amount of these classes focus on physical activity, such as learning how to dance, swim, or do gymnastics, but others are more education-based, like pottery, cooking, and bird identification. These classes can last for one day or several months, depending on your preference and the seasonal options.
The P&R district also offers outdoor day trips, mainly for water activities such as rafting. Water sports can often be difficult to get into without some sort of guide, which P&R provides, along with equipment.
Activities such as yoga can sometimes be price prohibitive, meaning that for those who cannot afford $12 per class, the activity is out of the picture. P&R has options which allow these activities to be accessible to all community members, such as Family Assistance. If your household qualifies, each person could receive up to $200 a year to go towards programs and activities.
If your interests lie less towards participating in programs that already exist and more towards helping and changing the P&R district, there are advisory meetings open to the community, volunteer opportunities, and of course the chance to work for Park and Recreation, living out your dream of being Leslie Knope or Ron Swanson.
The Tualatin Hills Park and Rec District does a lot to include every single willing member of the community, no matter what their personal situations are. That’s why we love Park and Recreation—it makes just about anything accessible to anyone. We have them to thank for the beautiful nature that exists in our cities and towns, and the ability to enjoy this nature, whether during a drive to work or a Sunday hike.
For more information about the Tualatin Hills Park and Recreation District, visit their website here.
Div Creative endorses and supports our local community!
Something exciting about each new year is seeing which social media app will make it big this time. A few years ago, none of us could have imagined Snapchat becoming part of our daily lives (admit it, Snapchat is totally your guilty pleasure—I know it’s mine). With ever-expanding space and an increasing reliance on our phones, it’s easy to become invested in a new social media network.
What’s interesting is that most new social media that pops up primarily exists on mobile. Most don’t even have a website equivalent, so those without smartphones don’t have the opportunity to opt in to most new media. Naturally, many of the aforementioned apps are more focused on being out and about, making interaction with businesses, friends, and potential friends easier.
So here are a few apps I’ve been keeping my eye on, seeing if they’ll fly or fail (a few, admittedly, already have flown).
The chit chat surrounding ad-free Ello has greatly slowed down in recent months, but for a while, it was the social network with the largest interest. Many people were hoping it would become a facebook replacement—and with the steadily more complicated evolution Facebook’s been going through, it seemed like a great alternative. Of course, we also said the same thing about Google+ and look what happened with that!
This app is anonymous, and everything is shared only with other users within a certain distance of you, making it more local, and therefore more relevant than other similar apps. It’s commonly referred to as a college campus app, which has its ups and downs. For example, a friend of mine is a resident assistant at her university dorms, and has noticed several anonymous nasty comments that are obviously about her, without naming her specifically. The anonymous element can foster bad situations, but hopefully, the app will tend to become positive and not just an outlet for bullying.
Shots is really interesting, as it basically has one function—to post selfies, and it has no disillusions about its purpose. The best part, in my opinion, is that comments are not allowed on photos, which would obviously cut down on cyberbullying and general meanness. So far, it seems to be relatively empty—none of my social-media-loving friends have downloaded the app yet, which makes me sad—but perhaps with some smart marketing, this app could become much more widely used.
Heard is not so much social media as much as just a really, really cool app, and I felt the need to include it here. Basically, it constantly runs in the background, passively recording what’s going on around you (sound only, no video). If there’s something you hear from the recent past that you want to repeat, save, or share, you can do so by interacting with the app. It has some interesting social and ethical questions built into the concept, but overall, the app will probably be used for innocuous purposes.
Another anonymous app, this one differs from Yik Yak a bit, since you can read posts from everywhere, not just your local area. Written posts are superimposed onto images, reminiscent of the image-based quotes that you see posted all over Facebook and Pinterest.
Sharewall helps you get past annoying paywalls that prevent you from seeing content (news articles, anyone?) by sharing the content to your social media. It’s an exchange that benefits a business or website with exposure, while you get to see content for free that you would have otherwise been forced to either ignore, pass over, or choke up the money for. Unfortunately, it seems to be a UK-based app, and I can’t find any evidence that it’s even currently available.
Can a robot build your website? Do you really need a human to be involved in the process? Isn’t everything just an algorithm these days anyway?
Kind of, but not really.
There can certainly be a formula to social media, as in, which types of posts give commonly good or bad results, but when it comes to actually generating content, the human brain has potential far beyond what any computer can do.
There is a distinct difference between “good enough” and “good” and that difference, I believe, is human involvement. Everyone’s heard the argument that a hundred monkeys in a room with typewriters will eventually produce Hamlet, but why waste all that time and energy when a single human can do the same thing in a more efficient manner? There are many things that computers can do more efficiently—mechanical automation to replace certain human tasks is a fantastic result of innovation and industrialization, and ultimately will leave human minds free to engage in less repetitive tasks.
However, creative tasks such as web design and social media cannot yet be efficiently replicated by computers, which are not cognizant and cannot engage in creative thinking beyond what has been programmed into them—therefore, they’re limited. Computers can mimic creative thinking, but they’re confined to particular rules and cannot go outside of the box, so to speak. There is no true understanding of the creative process.
One of my past blogs talks about the difference between artistic and functional websites and is a good companion read to this post. Some of the artistic examples I mention are works of art that a computer could not generate (again, perhaps randomly, and perhaps after many years of experimentation). The sublime lies in what people create! Computers and machines help us get there faster and better, but ultimately, it’s what’s in our brains that makes the difference.
Eventually, technology may evolve, become sentient, or at least gain the ability to be genuinely creative instead of mimicking creativity, but at least in 2015, that’s not currently a reality. The best work comes from trained or practiced artists, professionals, and innovative individuals, and that is enough reason to rely on a human to build your website, to make it more than just good enough.
Related posts: What you Need in a Website: Artistic vs. Functional, What’s in a Name?
Food trucks and carts are a huge part of Portland culture. Many of us grab lunch every day at a cart pod, or snag some poutine at a late-night truck without even considering another option. They’re easy, often fast, and affordable. Another aspect of food carts that we may not consciously think about is their connection to online culture.
Many of the most popular food carts have an online presence, and several do connectivity in a very unique way. The entire concept of food carts means that the business’s location can shift at any time, and keeping customers updated on the cart’s location is very important. Whether it’s through a Facebook update, a tweet, or a text notification, business could be lost without these tools.
One of the most important things about a food cart website is that they should be mobile-friendly. People on the search for a food cart are usually outside, on their way to lunch, or bar-hopping downtown, and may not have access to a full laptop or desktop at the moment. A non-mobile-friendly site can discourage potential customers if the menu is impossible to see or won’t open, or if the website text doesn’t scale to size.
Interestingly, some food carts rely solely on word-of-mouth: they don’t have any website at all! If done properly, this gimmick might work well for them. It makes them more mysterious, and without a readily available menu online, it might draw people to seek out the cart in person. In fact, a few of the most-established carts in Portland rely on word-of-mouth and have a more stationary location (i.e., they don’t move locations much, if at all). However, with the abundance of carts in Portland and the surrounding areas, trying out this strategy as a newcomer could flop, and flop terribly. It’s a risk, particularly in our increasingly-mobile world.
To sum everything up: have a modern, scalable, mobile-friendly and user-friendly site. Don’t use PDF menus, keep your hours and location updated, and take advantage of social media! These are the basics, but they’re pretty crucial basics.
If you own a food truck and you’d like to branch out into having a heavier online presence, let us know. Div Creative can create a site that fits all of your individual needs. We also love working with creative concepts, so if you want to do something new and fun, we’ll be right there with you!
Last month, President Obama wrote his first line of code at a promotion for Computer Science Education week. This was the first line of code ever written by a US president and it looked like this:
Not bad, huh?
In recent years, there has been more of a push for people to learn how to code, particularly young people, but adults are definitely not discouraged from picking it up as a later-in-life career or hobby. Websites such as code.org and Treehouse can ensure that it takes nothing except time and patience to learn a new skill.
For those who prefer to be in a classroom setting, there are a wide variety of options. There is, of course, the more traditional route, getting a four-year degree in computer science, but shorter course lengths are possible, whether through community college community education classes or code boot camps such as Epicodus or Portland Code School.
The future of coding and the tech world lies in the youth, and there are many programs designed to make coding and web design appealing to children and teenagers, particularly to demographics that might be less likely to end up in the field. Google’s Made with Code directs their efforts toward girls and young women, offering stories from female mentors who are involved in the tech world, as well as multiple online projects designed to give girls the fundamentals of code. Google even partnered with Shapeways to allow users to create a customized 3D-printed bracelet, after completing a short code-based project, that is.
All of the above-mentioned training programs are also useful for those already working in the field. Since technology changes so fast and frequently, it’s beneficial to stay current. If someone enters the tech field at age 21 and never learns anything new after that, by the time they’re 40, their skills will be outdated and their career may suffer. There are so many helpful tools online and in the community that there is no reason to not maintain a current base of knowledge.
We always encourage people to look into coding if it’s something they think would improve their lives. It’s a useful skill with actual applications and is always needed in the job market. You might even get hired by Div Creative someday!
It has officially been fifteen years since the turn of the millennium. Most of us vividly remember the Y2K bug scare, but for those who need a bit of a refresher, here is a brief overview of the whole situation.
For many, the Y2K bug was going to be what set off an apocalyptic-type situation. This is interesting, because in 1999, the nation was not nearly as dependent on computers and digital connectivity as we are now. Theories of what devastating things would happen ranged from all power going dark to the far-fetched notion of spontaneous zombies or other monsters. To the public, Y2K was mysterious and frightening, and without the same general societal knowledge of computers as we have in the present day, there was no logical explanation for what was actually going to happen.
As we now know, the real results were much more mundane. Midnight passed without any planet explosions, sudden hotbeds of walking dead activity, or devastating weather events. Instead, the clocks all ticked over to January 1, 2000, as though it was just another regular year.
Y2K was actually just a software problem, and mostly only affected businesses instead of individuals. Companies were concerned with the rollover from 99 to 00, worrying that their computers would register the year as 1900 instead of 2000, as most programs stored dates not in four digits (1999) but in two (99). This issue was mainly just a simple fix, a small program edit or a software update. So the fact that it burgeoned into a huge scare was possibly the result of a general lack of public information. Would the same situation happen in 2015, were 2015 somehow to become the year 2000 again? That’s a question for further speculation.
What’s interesting is that we can see similar reflections of the issue even today, although perhaps in better-managed situations. For example, there’s been a lot of curiosity about why Microsoft is skipping the Windows 9 OS and jumping straight to Windows 10. This is because of a programming issue that existed years ago and might not have been thought of when it was first written in (similar to the Y2K bug).
A lot of the code written for Windows 95 and 98 have commands that help differentiate between the two operating systems that would not allow for a future operating system named “9,” causing issues in a lot of proprietary as well as third-party code. Although Microsoft has not publicly announced that this is why 9 is being skipped, those in the know claim that it is the most logical reason.
These examples show that it’s difficult to program with every future code issue in mind, which is a big part of why software evolves so often. Just make sure to keep your ears out for future similar situations—and just remember, any problems are not going to result in the zombie apocalypse. Probably.
What does Div Creative do to ensure that your website design is the best it can be? We’ve collected some basic design tidbits that will expand your mind a bit.
Rules of Web Design!
1. Make sure your site is not stuck in the pre-2000s. We’ve all seen those sites that never seem to get updated or changed at all. Online design intentions have changed in the last decade or so, and will continue to change. Making sure your business site is keeping up with the times (without being innovative in a negative way) will ensure that your business itself will keep up with the times as well.
2. Don’t give your site too much or too little ambition—a site that does not fit the scope of your business will not appeal to or make sense to potential users. For example, if you have an online shopping site, confining it unnecessarily will probably result in confused or frustrated customers. For sites which offer a service rather than a product or products, often simpler and straightforward is better. There’s no sense in having a bloated site where half of the content could be condensed.
3. If a bunch of your customers are mobile users, but your site is not optimized for mobile, that’s a bad thing. It’s common, even expected, for most sites to be accessible through tablets or phones, and if yours is unnavigable on these devices, you might lose business.
4. Refrain from allowing your site to be unworkable for your particular audience. If your main market is people from an older generation, an abstract design may not be the best idea. Always think about your audience and what is best for them.
5. Be sure to create a balance between utility and aesthetics. Overall, utility is most important—can the user find what they’re looking for in an easy and intuitive manner? If not, they might leave, and quickly. But at the same time, nobody really wants to spend much time on a site that looks like it was designed by a four-year-old. You can probably think of a few websites that aren’t great to look at but still have a large user base, but those are definitely the exception, not the rule. And they’re mainly an exception because of their huge focus on utility and usability. Imagine what would happen if they updated their design!
6. Don‘t focus the user’s attention on the wrong thing. If you want them to notice your specials, don’t point them towards your about page instead. Make sure your focus becomes their focus. There is definitely a science to creating the “perfect website,” but following these basic concepts can result in an optimal site for most businesses. The absolute most important thing to keep in mind is that your audience comes first. Think about what they need, and make sure your website reflects that.
Not sure your Beaverton business’s website is up to par? Contact us and let us make positive changes for you!
What kind of work goes into deciding how to build a website? What type of code to use? What sort of language? The final decision depends upon the customer’s wants and needs, and there are several ways to customize these wants and needs from the ground up.
The three most common methods used to build sites are WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla. All of these methods are used for publishing web content and they each vary in complexity and purpose. WordPress is generally for simpler sites that have less specific needs, Drupal is for more complicated, fully-customizable sites, and Joomla is a generally flexible platform with a pretty comprehensive user interface. At Div Creative, we tend to prefer WordPress and Drupal the most.
One misconception about WordPress is that it is only a blog website. While its history may be based in that idea, designing and implementing sites using WordPress can get very technical. The average WordPress user may just download a template and use it without changing it at all, but website design firms start from the ground up, essentially creating specialized sites from scratch.
What is great about WordPress is that business owners who want to be hands-on when it comes to updating their website after we build it for them can do so very easily. Updates and minor tweaks are simple, due to the intuitive user interface. It only requires some mild research to learn about how to navigate your new WordPress-based site. Of course, most clients prefer to leave that up to us, and we are happy to do so. That’s part of what makes our various website packages so flexible.
A website coded with Drupal is generally pricier in the long run, due to the extra time it takes to code. However, WordPress has limits, and there are some things Drupal can do in a more straightforward and specific manner. Drupal is completely customizable, down to the smallest thing, although the average user might have more trouble going in and tweaking things, as the user interface takes more experience to understand and use.
The advantages of using Drupal can generally be seen when one’s needs are more complicated or detailed. For example, if you need a catalog of online products, WordPress may suffice, but there is a point where using a different coding process is more efficient and practical. Larger projects that need more options are generally the ideal types of sites that should be using Drupal. Our Business One Training site is a great example of a complicated, multi-purpose Drupal site.
For the average small business owner, WordPress-coded sites are ideal. Building a custom theme that is perfect for all of one’s essential needs is perfectly doable. For some examples of sites we have built, check out our example page.
When you communicate with us, we will detail the options we think are best for your needs. Most of our local customers in Beaverton, Hillsboro, and Portland tend to need simpler sites, but we have done everything from basic sites to extremely detailed and personalized projects. Our flexibility allows us to create beautiful results that you and your customers will be satisfied with.
Sometimes your business name has a lot of bearing on what your business does. For example, a business called “Joe’s Ice Cream Company” probably sells ice cream. Or maybe the name is more subtle, like “IScream Bowl” (okay, you can probably come up with something better than that). Either way, your business name becomes connected with your reputation very easily, so a careful analysis of what would be best for you now and in the future as your business evolves is important.
But what about us? What on earth does “Div Creative” mean? For those not directly involved in the web industry, it isn’t entirely obvious. “Div” is a type of tag used in HTML, the language used to code websites. The div tag is pretty simple, but incredibly useful. It contains all the content of a web page and is used to divide the content up into sections. It also allows designers to apply a specification to a grouping of elements all at once instead of having to do it individually, which can end up saving a lot of time and making the code cleaner. The tag is essentially the foundation of all web pages, making it pretty dang important.
The “Creative” part of our name comes from, of course, the creative aspect of our business. Web design isn’t just about programming; “design” is an integral part of the process and requires creativity and an eye for good taste, figuring out how to best translate the client’s desires into something workable and beautiful. Some web designers are very good at the technical aspects of web design, but don’t have what it takes to make an aesthetically pleasing design. Luckily, we cover all aspects of design and can create a beautiful, useful page for all of our Beaverton and Portland clients.
The name Div Creative encompasses our business methods, goals, and ideals. It explains both who we are and what we do. What’s the story behind your business name? Are you in the process of coming up with one right now? How do you decide, and what marketing facts go into making the decision? Let us know.
For a basic tutorial on the div tag, take a look at this page from one of my favorite HTML sites.
Community Spotlight is an occasional look at some of the fantastic organizations around the beautiful Portland metro area. We are deeply involved in our community and want to put some focus on the special parts of it. This week’s spotlight covers the Portland Blind Café.
The Blind Café is a national event that aims to connect a community with each other. This event does not happen very frequently or in many cities, so it’s pretty special that it’s coming to Portland (Nov. 13-15).
The meal (which is priced on a sliding scale from $55-$195 depending on how much you can afford) takes place entirely in the dark, and is served by a blind waitstaff. The goal is not to simulate blindness, but rather to bring the blind and seeing community together in a comfortable atmosphere, fostering organic conversation and focusing on the sensory experience of eating. The meal itself is vegetarian and can be altered to accommodate dietary restrictions. The organization contributes profits to local Blind organizations and overall is a very positive outreach event for the area is takes place in.
This part might be of interest to business owners: The Blind Café offers corporate events! Companies can do dinner in the dark or team building events for their employees. If you are not able to make it to the Portland dinner coming up in a few weeks, then this is always an option, and would surely be a positive and unique activity for the people you work with.
For tickets to The Blind Café, visit this link and buy them before they sell out! This is a unique event that does not happen very often. Those who cannot afford the full-priced tickets can apply on the linked page to earn one of the discounted tickets.
Div Creative endorses and supports our local community!
As web developers, we spend a lot of time online, and wanted to share some of the neat things we find each week. Enjoy!
Learn about the Conversation Prism, an in-depth and intriguing “visual map of the social media landscape.”
This site has some pretty handy tips on how to diversify your social media posts and make them appeal to users. A great site to reference when you’re having a brain fart day!
What happens on the internet every sixty seconds? Way more than you thought, apparently!
Although blogging might sometimes feel like an unnecessary part of your business outreach, it’s in fact one of the best ways to gain visitors—if done correctly.
Blogging gives you more opportunities to insert relevant (but not overused!) keywords. This increases search engine results as well as clicks. If a blog is at least moderately well-composed and full of original writing, the careful placement of key marketing terms does not take away from the post’s effectiveness. Search engines punish poor content and reward good content, so don’t think you can get away with a paragraph-long post that’s basically just listing your services. It’s worth the time and money to come up with good stuff.
Unfortunately, Google Authorship, the tedious but beneficial process that used to mean many of your blog posts may show up closer to the top of a web search, is now defunct, after several years of getting most major bloggers on board. Luckily, there are still other ways to get your blog seen in search results that function similarly to Google Authorship. Author Rank, for instance, values content created by verified users, and tends to rank this content higher than non-verified or anonymous users. So getting yourself firmly seen as a legitimate blogger is definitely a plus.
If you do not have the time to blog, blogging services are included under some of the Div Creative website plans. If your business concerns topics that may require industry experience to understand, we will do the research or work with you to develop well-written, layman-friendly blog posts. And besides, the more blog posts you have, the more content you then provide for all your social media, and the more content your fans have to repost, retweet, or comment on.
And the coolest thing about blogging? Those blogs are up there forever (unless you take them down)! The posts aren’t ephemeral and fleeting like most social media content; they can end up generating you hits for years, continually bringing in those sweet, sweet page views. Business blogging isn’t always visibly effective. You may not get many comments on your blog posts, if any at all. But when you look at the SEO reports, you can see the real work the posts are doing, with real results.
Remember, blogging leads to more search results, which leads to more website hits, which ultimately leads to more business for you! Don’t neglect this vital but often-overlooked part of marketing. Blogging can benefit your business no matter the industry, and helps you attract customers who might not have found you otherwise.
Pinterest is an oddity. The image board has blown up in popularity, becoming the number-one location for photos of rustic weddings. But all joking aside, the site has multiple surprising uses for businesses of all kinds, even ones that aren’t traditionally female-centric. Pinterest’s user base is definitely dominated by women, but this is obviously no reason to disregard the website in the slightest, as the user base consists of people of all genders, ages, and interests. The uses for Pinterest are manifold, and something you may have thought of as a waste of time could in fact be a way to change your social media strategy for the better.
Div Creative has a few clients who have noticed a huge portion of their traffic coming from their Pinterest posts. They simply post a link to their blog posts, specials, or other dynamic content, add a relevant and interesting blurb, and watch the clicks come in. It really is that easy, and it’s almost frightening how much more effective a solid Pinterest strategy can be over the use of other social networks.
And when you really get into it and formulate a more specific or technical plan (more than, “post something and wait for clicks”), the results can improve. Keep this infographic handy for some quick tips on how to use Pinterest to your business’s advantage in a more in-depth sense.
Pinterest is now even offering promoted pins, where your business pays a certain amount to essentially get more views. Right now it’s still in the pre-launch phase, but if you’re interested, you can apply to get early access. Of course, this program is being met with some dislike by Pinterest users, but ads are prevalent across most social media, and Pinterest already functions as one big ad anyway.
There are a million great blog posts out there with tips and strategies on how to use Pinterest to its fullest. A simple Google search will lead you to some anecdotes as well as data on the effectiveness of the site. And of course, Pinterest itself gives some great information to businesses.
If you have questions or want to develop a social media strategy with us, whether it’s concerning Pinterest or otherwise, contact us and we’ll talk about it.
Depending on the industry you work in, the functionality and look of your site might vary quite a bit. If you’re a painter, your site might be more portfolio-esque, showcasing images and examples of art you’ve done. If you’re a lawyer, you probably want a professional feel to your site, with nothing out of place and no superfluous photos. Each and every design desire is valid, and each changes with the person or place of business.
And then there’s the next level: websites that are meant purely as a work of art, which may or may not also promote a business or service. This can be different than the average artist portfolio site in the sense that the site does not display or serve as a home for art, but is art. Not every designer has a personal aesthetic or artistic sense that would allow them to create a website like this, but luckily for you, dear reader, here at Div Creative, we have a web designer on staff who is also a professional artist. If you require a more in-depth, multi-purpose site, talk to us and we’ll work out a way to meet your vision.
Part of the duty of web designers is finding a way to match a customer’s vision and make it more. Whether that means more relevant, more beautiful, more practical, or otherwise, there is a delicate balance between allowing the designer to spread his or her creative wings and also staying true to the client’s desires. Many clients prefer to be involved in the design process and can easily work with a designer to create something both parties are proud of. And then there are these people, but hey, it happens in every industry.
Here are some examples of great websites we’ve discovered that fit various types of functions.
- Artist portfolio: Banksy, the popular graffiti artist, has an extremely simplistic, barely-navigable site that somehow works. Instead of being presented with categories of art, or a landing page full of galleries, you simply click on each image to go to the next one. And that is it.
- Purely artistic: A site that functions more as an exploration game, leading you through abstract rooms (or alleys, or something), there is no business behind it as far as I can tell, it simply exists as an artistic experience.
- Functional but artistic: This website is for a German anchorman and integrates some interesting artistic features while remaining professional and promotional as well as informational. The site uses some very neat parallax techniques to keep the visitor on the site as long as possible.
- Piece of art that showcases a business: This site is arguably a work of art, both illustration- and design-wise. It does what it’s supposed to (promotes the creative team) while making exploring the site an experience in its own for visitors.
- Straighforward showcase of product or service: This home furnishing site makes it easy to navigate to their products, but it also provides a great experience while doing so. A not-too-distracting parallax-based layout with dynamic menus still gets the potential customer where they need to go without confusing them on the way. The information needed is all there within easy reach.
If any of these websites inspire you, let us know. As you can see from just this brief blog post, there are millions of ways to make your site special to you or your business. You don’t have to be based in New York or London to have the site of your dreams: we provide that service for those in Portland, Beaverton, Hillsboro, and otherwise. And check out some of our example sites here.
In today’s internet savvy world, it’s incorrect to say that most businesses aren’t aware of the importance of having a solid web presence. Most large corporations have their foot in the door when it comes to just about every social network available, but what’s going on with small and medium-sized businesses?
An online presence has become somewhat of a necessity, and if you aren’t keeping up with what’s going on in the online world, it’s almost impossible to keep your head above water social media-wise. Having an updated website that doesn’t look like it was created in 2001 is also a necessity.
According to simplybusiness.com, the connectivity to customers that active social media networks and a solid website can give your business is a “vital part of the marketing strategy.” As a small business owner, if you’re not aware of the commitment that it takes to keep up your social networks and business site, the lack of content featured on your networks could reflect poorly on your business.
This is why outsourcing your digital marketing needs to an agency has become a popular choice. At Div Creative, we take a custom approach to each business we work with, tailoring web design and social media to the individual business and their customer base. We know where the consumer’s eyes are and how to get them on your content.
Having an effective social media presence can give direct positive results to the popularity of your business. Some of the benefits are increased search engine rankings, a larger amount of exposure, brand loyalty, and more traffic. If you’re thinking to yourself, “hey, these are things that sound good,” then you might want to consider talking to us about what your online goals are.
As mentioned previously, maintaining an awesome online presence is not an easy task. It takes commitment and consistency. Running a business is a hard enough job in itself, and running your digital marketing campaign as well doesn’t need to be something to stress about. If you want to cut down on stress and confusion, think about hiring your local Beaverton web agency (that would be us)!
If you’ve ever taken a basic HTML or web design class, you’ve probably learned about meta tags. These are the keywords that you put in the code of your webpage, hidden from anyone viewing the page, and hopefully attracting search engine results. While these were certainly helpful for search rankings in the past, they’re now outdated, thanks to evolving search algorithms.
We’ve talked about Google’s new search algorithm in a past blog and offered some general SEO tips. But this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to SEO craziness, and there’s a lot more to learn. So we’ve brainstormed and collected some basic, but very useful beginner’s tips, just for you!
Five things to do instead of using meta tags:
- Create quality content instead of boring keyword-infused word vomit. The better your originally-written content is, the higher it will rank, and you don’t need to stuff every relevant keyword in the book in there.
- It might seem beneficial to comment on other blogs with a link back to your blogs, but make sure your comments are always relevant and not vapid or spammy.
- SEO is about more than keywords. It’s about making sure your website is easy to navigate, provides a positive user experience, and is easy on the eyes. These things will reduce your bounce rate and increase your relevancy. Having a mobile-optimized site will also help to retain viewers.
- If you absolutely must use meta tags, make sure they’re actually relevant and well-thought-out. They should also be individualized to each page. Your “about” page should not have the same tags as your “contact” page. Again, I must emphasize to be very careful using meta tags, as search engines could see them negatively unless they’re 100% optimized to your site.
- If your site primarily contains non-HTML or non-rich content, such as Flash files, images, videos, and other non-text content, then you need to make sure these things are indexable. This means that search engines need to be able to see what your content is about, and they can’t do that if your text is embedded in an image, or you have a bunch of videos with no descriptions or captions.
If you need help with any of these SEO tactics, contact us at Div! We’d love to help you out, or to build you an SEO-optimized site. The demise of meta tags means getting ranked requires a little more finesse, and we completely understand the difficulties with that.
If your company has been lucky enough to snag a Google Glass in the early days, you might be wondering: what now? Here are a few ideas to get you started on using the technology to benefit your business.
Use Glass for inventory and stock purposes. This article covers a company who provided Glass to a few of their warehouse employees. The employees used an application to make sure the stock they picked was properly picked and shipped. This sped up efficiency and also decreased their error rate.
Partner with developers who are interested in making applications for your specific business use. If you’re a developer, look here for some pertinent information. If there are people who work for your company doing software development, utilize your resources! Think of something that hasn’t been thought of before and create.
Be constantly aware of your businesses’ online presence. Glass has many of the capabilities of a smartphone, but when you’re on the go, Glass might make the digital side of your business become more in the forefront of your mind. Quickly sharing something on your social media profiles might be to your advantage. You would also be able to pull up relevant information during a conversation without being as distracting as you might be on a smartphone. If you work in sales, this could be very beneficial.
Since Glass is still very new, getting in early on the innovation train could really help your business. Direct your marketing department to come up with useful ideas for promoting yourself or increasing your efficiency. This could put you in a place where you find your business booming with success.
Please remember, Glass is still rare enough that seeing someone wearing it can be startling, so be professional and courteous. If someone is not comfortable with you wearing Glass in their personal space, be considerate of their wishes. Google has an etiquette guide that gives a few tips on how to wear Glass around others in public.
Community Spotlight is an occasional look at some of the fantastic organizations around the beautiful Portland metro area. We are deeply involved in our community and want to put some focus on the special parts of it. This week’s spotlight covers non-credit classes at Portland Community College.
PCC is a fantastic contributor to the education of the people in our community. With campuses in four locations, from Tigard and Hillsboro to east and north Portland, the school provides ease of access to all physical locations. And that’s not even counting the online classes!
Not only does PCC provide degree and transfer opportunities for students, it also offers community education for those who wish to learn a skill but are not enrolled in school. The Fall 2014 classes range from motorcycle maintenance, to creative writing, to web design, and beyond. Most of the courses last only a day or so, but several (particularly the dance classes) might last as long as a full term.
These classes provide an easy way to enrich your life, if you have a little extra cash. Even then, most of the courses are affordable in comparison to similar courses taught by for-profit businesses. If you are above sixty-two years old, you might even be eligible for free or discounted tuition, which is a pretty awesome deal, and a great way to add a spark to your year.
Community colleges have a long history of injecting opportunity and scholarship into the lives of people who live in the area, and PCC is no exception, as the largest and most acclaimed community college in Oregon. If you’re looking for a unique way to start engagement in your community, consider a non-credit class, and let us know how it goes.
Div Creative endorses and supports our local community!
If you Google my name, many of the results appear because I specifically allowed them to be on the internet—whether it’s an interview or the embarrassing poem I wrote when I was twelve—but some of it is there without my explicit permission or is no longer relevant to my life. Of course, privacy settings on social networks such as Facebook allow some of the things I don’t wish to show up in search results onto Google’s radar, but the fact remains that once something’s on the internet, it’s on the internet for good (with a few exceptions).
This begs the question: how come we can opt in but not opt out? It seems strange to want to take down information in an SEO-focused age, where we often compete to be the front and center of search results, but a businesses’ internet presence often has a different purpose than an individual’s internet presence.
It is often incredibly difficult to get information about a person taken down. For example, there have been many cases of (mostly) women’s personal photos being posted without permission to x-rated sites. This is problematic not only because these photos are on the internet without their consent, but because they are often linked to the women’s personal information, negatively impacting their internet presence, not to mention future opportunities. It is notoriously difficult to force a website to take down these photos, even after legal action, and the photos might just be posted again elsewhere. Of course, this is an example of a worst-case scenario, whereas most people’s information might be more innocuous.
Because of data mining, any actions you take online might influence how ads target you, or what information companies have about you. This isn’t always as scary as it sounds, but it is annoying, because aside from just never using the internet (not a reality, really), there aren’t too many ways to stop this.
This blog isn’t meant to be a scaremongering post, as most people will never have to deal with negative repercussions of information that’s stuck online. In fact, I have a theory that as the internet becomes more ubiquitous in everyone’s lives, the information that’s there will become less important, due to the vast information overflow. Of course, this is just a supposition, but maybe we will come to realize that it’s better to evaluate people not with a heavy hand, but with a light one.
As for businesses, keep on keeping on, so to speak. Bad, inaccurate, or poor information about you might be out there, but honesty in your online policies and a great marketing plan will drown out anything you may not want online. Opt in as much as possible, and don’t focus too much on the inability to opt out.
By now, 3D printing is ubiquitous enough that most people have heard of it. It’s also possible, and not overly cost-prohibitive, to actually own a 3D printer, as many are now below the $1,000 mark. If you, like most people, don’t own one, you can order 3D printed objects through sites like shapeways.com.
A lot of universities have one in the engineering department or another related department and will sometimes print things as a demonstration. Check out your local college to see if they have any relevant seminars. For those who live in Portland, PSU has a 3D printing machine in their Electronics Prototyping Lab. Portland Community College also had a workshop on 3D printing in spring of 2014, and hopefully will again, so keep an eye out.
What’s so neat about 3D printing is that it’s not limited to just printing plastic objects, however neat and functional these might be. The technology can also be used for printing makeup, food art, fashion, or even medical use, like synthetic body parts or implants. 3D printing’s possible (and current) medical applications could turn out to be key to future healthcare, and may even extend a person’s life where before it couldn’t be done.
One product that I think is really fun is the 3D printing pen. It quickly heats and cools material so that you can draw designs in the air. If you’ve ever wielded a hot glue gun, it’s like that, but way better. This is only one example of the various ways in which 3D printing technology has or will emerge and become more accessible.
A drawback to 3D printing is that it often takes a very long time. You know how sometimes your home printer might take five minutes to print off one page in color? You know that frustrated feeling you get? Yeah. This slowness also means that it’s not the ideal method for mass-producing products yet, although I imagine it will become so in time as the technology improves.
Kickstarter has also been a prime place for 3D printing to become known in the public eye. 3D printing can be a great way to produce your product, and it’s likely your product will be desired because it’s 3D printed. If you want to delve deeper into the topic of Kickstarter, check out a blog we wrote on the subject.
It’s exciting to think of what will come in the next few years, and the possibility of every household being able to own a 3D printer is an exciting prospect. Every day, people are working on ways to get printers more affordable, efficient, and able to use a greater variety of materials.
As web developers, we spend a lot of time online, and wanted to share some of the neat things we find each week. Enjoy!
Happy 20 years, Microsoft! They’ve rebuilt their original website so we can gawk at it. I’d say they’ve come a long way since then.
All of these marketing suggestions can be done in addition to or in conjunction with our services. Kickstart a brainstorming session!
Ever feel overwhelmed? Small tasks like decluttering your computer can go a long way towards decluttering your mind.
You can never really have enough calendar apps, right? Right? Timeful aims to compress all your calendar functions into one free app.
What do you think about these flat web designs? They’re a new-ish trend in web design, and I think these examples look great! Maybe you want a site like this? If so, talk to Div.
Free Geek is one of Portland’s most successful nonprofits, providing computers and other technology for free or for a low cost to community members. Free Geek is all about learning as well, offering a wide variety of educational classes to everyone, and espousing an open source ideology.
We’ve reached out to Darren Heiber, Director of Public Services at Free Geek, with some important questions.
Q: What is the greatest benefit to the community that you think Free Geek provides?
A: Gosh, it’s hard to say the greatest benefit as Free Geek is accomplishing so much for our community. We’re very proud of the fact that individuals and businesses are able to bring almost all of their electronic devices to one place for reuse, and ethical recycling when reuse isn’t an option. By putting our emphasis on reuse, we’re able to make sure we have the lowest environmental impact of any e-waste recyclers while keeping these materials in-use in our local community through our Thrift Store and Hardware Grants.
The Thrift Store offers reasonably-priced computers, related technology, A/V equipment, video game systems, and all sorts of other items that are repurposed. Not only does this reduce the consumer’s impact on the environment, it also reduces the impact on your wallet. Our Hardware Grants program provides for the computer and technology needs of hundreds of nonprofits, schools, religious and community change organizations annually. This helps make it possible for them to use their precious funding directly on their mission, instead of related technology needs.
Ultimately, though, our biggest impact is on an individual level. Between our volunteer, educational, and ethical materials handling, we affect the lives of well over a thousand people a month. This list includes the family that wants to make sure their e-waste isn’t going into a landfill or third world country to be burned in open pits, but has no idea where to bring their old TV. It also includes the volunteer who retired from teaching computer science at PSU and is learning about hardware for the first time by building computers for schools and nonprofits through our Build Program. Not to mention the volunteer who has never touched a computer in her life and is able to give 24 hours of her time helping us take apart severely-outdated desktop systems in exchange for a free computer, a class that teaches her how to use it, and a year of free tech support in case she can’t figure something out or a component fails. We’re incredibly proud when this volunteer comes back to tell us that we helped her start her online business or get the skills she needs to be successful in an increasingly digital workplace.
Q: What has Free Geek done to help out local small businesses?
A: Free Geek is an amazing resource for small businesses. Many choose to use our recycling services because they know they’re helping the community and environment, while also getting a tax break for donating their hardware. Choosing a 501(c)3 organization is the best and easiest way to realize value from your outdated technology. We’ve talked to a lot of small business owners who shop exclusively in our store for their technology needs as they’re able to find quality, inexpensive hardware while supporting a community organization committed to providing technology access and workplace readiness skills to a local underserved population.
Q: Which type of class would you suggest for someone relatively inexperienced with computers?
A: We often offer a computer basics course that teaches students the absolute fundamentals of computers. This is excellent if you have never touched a computer before or really want to start from the very beginning. Otherwise, I highly recommend you take our Introduction to LibreOffice Writer course, where you can learn the basics of word processing while working on your own resume. This is a wonderful project-oriented way to learn about using computers while also getting something done that can help you find quality work.
Of course, as we do more and more online, it’s incredibly important to ensure you’re as safe as possible. Everyone should take our Anatomy of a Hack class to learn how even those who should know better are tricked into revealing personal information online.
Q: If someone is unable to contribute manpower to your organization, what is the best way to support FreeGeek?
A: We are a self-funded nonprofit with over 60% of our annual revenue coming through sales in our Thrift Store and via eBay and Amazon. Currently, about 15% of our revenue comes from the financial support of our community. The best ways you can help out are to bring us your reusable technology (especially laptops, smartphones and tablets), shopping with us, reminding friends about our services, or donating online. Every $40 you give helps us get that many more students into our free classes.
Q: How do you think your use of free Linux OS and other open source software has impacted local computer users? Has it converted anyone to open source material in general?
A: We’ve been big proponents of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) since our inception, and we’re going to continue to trumpet its advantages. We love it because it provides accessible and free options to those who don’t have the money to afford expensive software suites like Microsoft Office, Adobe Photoshop and Final Cut Pro. It also tends to be virus-resistant and an excellent learning platform.
Prior volunteers who are now programming at some local and international organizations have told us that they first learned about FOSS through Free Geek and that our free classes helped them understand the landscape of programming. Many of our volunteers who got free computers by volunteering 24 hours in our Adoption Program or by building five computers in our Build Program told us that this was their first Linux machine. When they come back to volunteer, often because they love the community or can’t wait to learn more, they’re proud to boast that they don’t see a reason to go back to Windows or Apple operating systems.
Q: What is one thing that you’d most like the readers of this interview to know?
A: There’s a place for everyone at Free Geek, no matter how much or little you know about computers. We offer volunteer and learning opportunities for people of all ages and abilities. If you haven’t yet come to visit us at 1731 SE 10th Ave in Portland, please come by to bring us your outdated technology, shop in our Thrift Store, or take a free class. We’d love it if you could time your trip to catch our volunteer orientation tours at 11am or 4pm Tuesday-Saturday so you can get a behind the scenes look at what’s going on at Free Geek, even if you aren’t able to come in and volunteer.
To contact Free Geek, visit them at 1731 SE 10th Ave Tues-Sat from 10 am to 6 pm, or call (503) 232-9350.
Div Creative supports and endorses our local community!
Tired of getting several new phone books per year that gradually turn into unwanted doorstops? So are most other people. Year after year, the amount of people using the Yellow Pages falls, and the amount of local web searches rise. The statistics tell the truth about the changing landscape of finding local businesses, as a survey shows.
Stats on the Yellow Pages:
- 7.69% use the Yellow Pages regularly (and this is largely the 55+ community)
- 23.08% use it once a month
- 15.38% use it once a year
- 53.85% never use it
- 7.14% of users use the yellow pages when looking for local services and businesses
Stats on web searching:
- 92.86% use Google when looking for local services and businesses
- 100% use Google everyday
The disparity between the two advances every year, especially among young people. Internet searches are the way to go when it comes to local information. Of course, you can always use the Yellow Page’s website, but that’s just using a middle man when one simply isn’t necessary anymore.
Listing an ad in the phonebook is an expensive procedure, especially when compared to the value of having a webpage and other, usually free, social media pages. Running a small print ad in a phonebook can often cost thousands of dollars per month, and this ad doesn’t even include all of your information. A website contains anything from a phone book ad and much more, at an affordable price point for local businesses. If you’re not shifting your marketing budget toward allowing more for online marketing, then you won’t be keeping up with the majority of businesses in the future.
If you have been wasting money on local phone book listings in the age of smartphones, let us know! Div Creative can come up with a personalized plan that fits your budget, whether you’re looking for a beautiful website, S.E.O. options, or social media assistance, we’re your people. We love working with local Portland, Beaverton, or Hillsboro businesses, and encourage you to contact us.
The big internet news recently is focused on how Facebook was involved in a research study about manipulating people’s emotions in an online setting. This Time article explains it a little more in-depth, but the basic details are these: if you were exposed to more negative posts in your feed, you were likely to post more negative things in return, and the opposite goes for being exposed to positive posts.
There’s been uproar about whether this study was ethical or not, being that the nearly 700,000 people who were involved were included without their knowledge or permission. Apparently, Facebook’s Terms of Service allows these sorts of actions, but the situation does tread questionable moral ground.
Of course, there has always been proof (and general knowledge of) companies changing users’ reactions to something through advertising, but most advertising is usually easy to spot, and therefore much more acceptable. Secretly changing a Facebook user’s feed in order to manipulate their emotions has some frightening implications. By now, we have to assume that we’ve been manipulated to some point just by using Facebook. Facebook can do it, and it follows that they do.
So what now? I’m not advocating dumping your Facebook account. But knowing a little of what’s actually going on behind the scenes can help you become a more discerning user. If your whole feed seems to be horrible and sad one day, just keep in mind that you will not let it affect your actual mood. Turn off the computer for the day. Large companies do tend to want to edge consumers towards their own means and ends, and consumers know they do this. It’s a strange balance where we can either cut ourselves off from society completely, or work within society, but with a discerning, educated eye. Many would argue that being a consumer and user of products is not a bad thing. Our country is a consumerist one; while it has kinks to work out, it’s not all totally negative.
Staying educated and informed, even in the face of secretive manipulation, is priority number one. Accept positive advertising that improves your life (have you seen the awesome “like a girl” ad that Always put out recently?) and look further into sketchy advertising.
Here at Div Creative, we are all about staying open and truthful. Our website and business boosting tactics are well-known and beloved in the internet marketing world, and you can count on us staying honest. If you run a business, think about the ways in which you are learning about your customers. Are they questionable, like Facebook’s tactics, or open, such as collecting voluntary survey information, to use one example? Business ethics is a huge area to delve into, but knowing you’re on the right side can help.
Thank you to everyone who visited us at the Beaverton Community Business Expo this Saturday! We had such a fun time, and the weather was absolutely perfect. Both the Farmers Market and the Expo were bustling with happiness and activity, and almost all of the businesses had something to give away in a contest or raffle. If you missed it this year, don’t worry, keep an eye out for next year!
Here are some photos of our booth:
http://www.oscon.com/oscon2014 We LOVE open source, well, everything. OSCON is a convention celebrating open source everything that is happening in Portland, Oregon from July 20th-24th.
A list of ways to track internet trends. This should be useful to everyone, no matter what industry you’re in.
A really fantastic learning tool, presented in slideshow form, that gives startups a place to, um, start, with marketing.
Tired of paying for expensive stock images or sifting through Creative Commons photos? Yay Images lets you stream photos online for a starting fee of $10 a month. Such an interesting concept!
Those of us who aren’t the designer type sometimes need a little help with color matching. Here are some basic and easy-to-remember hints.
Div Creative is going to be at the Beaverton Infiniti Beaverton Community Expo during the Beaverton Farmer’s Market on Saturday, July 19th. We will have a booth set up, manned by our friendly employees. The booth is on the end of an isle next to the fountain and the market, and we’ll be representing our parent company, Tiger Sheep, as well. Come talk to us and learn about how we can improve your business!
The Community Expo is put on by the Beaverton Chamber of Commerce and sponsored by Bob Lanphere’s Beaverton Infiniti. Not only will attendees get to learn more about Div, but they can connect with other local businesses, strengthening our community and local economy.
The Farmer’s Market runs from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and is located in downtown Beaverton, right next to the Public Library and City Park. We’re excited to be representing our business at one of the community’s neatest local events.
Div Creative is a website developer focused on creating beautiful, affordable, and SEO-focused webpages for local businesses. We offer flexible packages that cover anything from a basic website plus hosting, to the management of all your social media.
For more information about the Beaverton Farmer’s Market, check out our Community Spotlight blog here.
The Internet of Things (IOT) is the phenomenon of everyday devices being connected to the internet; our interconnectivity beyond just using our computers or phones. If you pay attention, more and more household items are starting to become internet-compatible. If you’ve heard of the fridge that’s able to post to Twitter, then you’re already aware of this movement. Some things make obvious sense, such as watches or e-readers, while connecting a toaster or all the lamps in your house may seem far-fetched.
Mostly, the IOT adds value to a product by giving it another aspect—its networked capabilities. Instead of just being a toaster, it’s a smart toaster that maybe interacts with your smart stove and knows to time the toast perfectly, so your toast is still warm the second your eggs are done. That’s a theoretical example, but it gives an idea of what the potential is for a thing beyond being just a thing.
Google owns a fascinating product called the Nest Learning Thermometer that programs itself to change your house’s temperature depending on certain aspects. It can tell when you’re gone, and adjusts to reflect that. You can also change the temperature from your smartphone or another device. A UK-based company is Kickstarting* a project to rival the Nest which, well, does more things. This is exciting, as it means market competition should bring the costs of these sorts of devices down and make them accessible to pretty much anyone who wants to start building their own smart house.
With the advent of 3D printing (and that’s another blog topic I’m excited to explore with you soon), it should be easy in the near future to print anything as immediately networked, by basically printing the hardware and software the object needs to connect, within the object itself. Pretty neat.
Of course, there are always questions when new technology emerges. Some concerns may be valid: where is this information going? Do you really want data regarding how often you open your fridge, or what you take out of it, being acquired by who knows what company? Being completely interconnected is frightening for a lot of people, but it’s becoming more and more difficult, if not nearly impossible, to stay off the grid anyway. Companies are already gathering lots of data about your purchasing actions, and not all of this is negative. Security is of course a huge issue, but it is my hope that as the Internet of Things becomes more ubiquitous, users will become more knowledgeable about how to protect themselves, much like how the average internet user knows how to help prevent things such as identity theft or account phishing.
Keep an eye out for cool technology to come, and we’ll make sure to keep posting about it.
*Check out our blog post about Kickstarter here.
This is an older Oatmeal blog post, but Matt Inman once again shows us the truth in his hilarious way with “How a Web Design goes Straight to Hell.”
If you haven’t already heard of it, Code Oregon is an interesting movement to get Oregonians trained and ready for a job in the tech world, sans degree. I’m excited to see how it influences employment in Portland in the future.
This site is a handy tool to tell if a website is down just for you or for everyone else—if it’s just for you, then you know to go ahead and fix the issue.
Good script fonts are notoriously hard to find. This is one of my favorite open source script fonts I’ve seen lately.
Well, if I’m replaced by a robot, hopefully the readers of this blog will be able to tell—and can come save me! Here’s an article about how much of the media we consume is written by computers.
One of the most controversial things a business can do in order to try and increase its exposure is to purchase social media followers. Sometimes businesses struggle to gain fans on Facebook or Twitter and resort to buying fake profiles at a pretty cheap price, which then increases their “like” or follower count. The idea behind this is that an account with a lot of fans increases its credibility and then attracts real fans, but the means of gaining these followers is pretty unethical.
Although it might seem appealing, there are some pretty severe drawbacks to buying followers. The biggest one is the crackdown on spammer accounts. Algorithms, such as Google’s new Hummingbird algorithm and Facebook’s NewsFeed algorithm aim to crack down on spam and filler content and promote genuine engagement with the internet, which means fake profiles that don’t contribute anything other than mere numbers are essentially useless. It’s important to have quality content and real fans who actually engage with the material you post.
There’s also the potential image issue. If your real fans find out you’re trying to work the system, they may react negatively and take their business elsewhere. As most people know, negative reviews and comments spread fast, and your other fans are likely to take notice if a few followers are particularly vocal. Facebook and Twitter are also pretty good about deleting obvious fake profiles, so you may find that your purchased followers have disappeared within a few days.
Please, do not spend your marketing budget on fake profiles! There are so many other ways to build your brand and gain followers naturally. Check out our past blog posts to get some ideas on how to better and more legitimately spread the word about your Portland, Beaverton, or Hillsboro-based company. If you need additional help with your social media content, consider purchasing a package from Div Creative, and we can assist with the burgeoning popularity of your company. Ultimately, it’s up to you, but because of the fairly recent push toward quality content getting the best results, buying fans might be a big step backward.
Trimet is the Portland, Oregon metro area’s public transportation. I almost solely take public transportation and am heavily interested in the inner workings of the company, and so I’ve been keeping my eye on recent changes. One of the biggest changes Trimet has made lately has been moving towards a more mobile-friendly business model. This has involved the capability of buying fare using an app, as well as generally shifting towards easy, on-the-go information for smartphone-using riders.
The mobile ticketing app has encountered some issues since its inception, mainly malfunctions that lead to a user not being able to pull up a ticket. The app anecdotally drains phone batteries quickly when running in the background, and has other minor problems. However, the ticket machines placed at every MAX (that’s the lightrail) stop also suffer from malfunctions from time to time, preventing riders from purchasing tickets or stamping non-validated tickets. Ultimately, the move toward mobile ticketing is positive, as long as there are still options for non-smartphone users. Building a mobile application, especially one so large-scale, is tricky business.
Trimet’s focus on mobile has resulted in some changes and current fluctuation. A mere few months ago, if you were waiting at a stop, you could text the stop number to Trimet and within seconds, receive a text listing the current estimated times that the bus or MAX will arrive. Right now, the only way to get that information on the go without a smartphone, is to call a number, sit through a lengthy spoken message, and punch in the code. I’ve noticed that some of the stops I’ve tried this with have been inaccurate, and I end up getting information for a completely different stop on the other side of the city. I’m hoping that this will get fixed soon, and I’m understanding of any difficulties in the interim, but it does make me wonder if Trimet is focusing away on those without smartphones (that includes me. My dumbphone hasn’t broken yet and I don’t want to pay for a data plan) and will abandon the texting transit tracker entirely.
Of course, for those with smartphones, Trimet’s mobile site contains the most important features of their website on a smaller scale. It allows you to check arrival times, plan out a trip from beginning to end, look at maps and service alerts, and more. If you need more detailed information, you can always visit the main website, though of course it is not quite as mobile-friendly and does not scale down well. Trimet also has an extensive listing of various types of transit-related apps if you wish to use any for a specific reason, though most seem to be different forms of transit trackers.
This general movement towards everything being smartphone-friendly, or accessible only on smartphone (TaskRabbit, I’m looking at you) means a shift into the future that we at Div Creative are only too happy to keep up with. Many of our websites are scalable into a mobile format, meaning there’s no need to scroll side to side to see all of the information. We are also able to develop and build mobile applications for your small business. If this sounds pretty neat, call or email us to set up a conversation. In a world where you can barely take the bus without using your phone to do so, mobile development is so, so important. Many people access information solely via mobile, and we don’t want anyone to get left behind (ahem, I’ll get a smartphone someday—I promise).
Although cryptocurrency has been around for awhile, there’s been more of a focus on it in the public sphere lately. Some brick-and-mortar businesses, even in Beaverton and Hillsboro, have decided to accept cryptocurrency as a valid payment option. Before this blossoming acceptance, digital currency was mostly used online.
You may have heard of Bitcoin. Although it wasn’t the forerunner, it was the first to really make cryptocurrency a valid thing. Others have followed in Bitcoin’s stead—Dogecoin and Litecoin, to name a couple. Cryptocurrency is interesting because it is capped, it has a limit. More cannot be created past that limit, like with the Federal Reserve System. The more that is created (“mined” by converting electricity into money) by users, the slower the creation becomes. This guarantees a stable value.
Many people do not trust cryptocurrency because too little is known about it—it’s not yet in the mainstream. There is also some concern about the fact that it can be used for black market purchases, although regular currency can, and has, been used for black market purchases for a very long time, so this worry is really not something the average user needs to dwell upon.
In fact, since there is no bank behind Bitcoin (although it is considered legal currency by the IRS), it might encourage more people to start using it. With more people using it, there will be more of a demand for businesses to accept it. For example, if a company only takes cash and debit, but not credit, they may miss out on some customers’ business. In the future, it could be the same regarding digital currency. If you think early adoption of cryptocurrency could be beneficial for your business, now is the time to start considering it.
So how do you transition to accepting crypto coins? This page explains how to set Bitcoin up for small businesses, even brick-and-mortar locations, and it’s easier than you might think. Of course, you must remember that you still need to pay taxes on any cryptocurrency you accept, so make sure to talk that out with your accountant.
Strike up a conversation with your customers and see what their thoughts are on the topic. You might be surprised by how many would be eager to start paying you in an alternative currency. Adopting it could be beneficial to you too. You can add yourself to online lists of companies which accept cryptocurrency, and perhaps gain customers you may not have attracted otherwise.
Cryptocurrency is a complicated topic at first glance, so here are a few links to get you started:
A layman’s explanation of how Bitcoin works, in a very convenient analogy form.
Cryptocurrency Wikipedia article
Active online discussions about cryptocurrency on Reddit, including resources and FAQs.
John-Michael Davis, founder of Div Creative, is appearing tonight (6 p.m. Monday, June 23rd) on The Business Voice! The Business Voice is a local radio show presented by the Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce which features Beaverton, Hillsboro, and Tigard-area members of the business community. Deanna Palm, president of the Hillsboro Chamber, will be interviewing John-Michael and other business leaders for a full hour.
In his interview, John-Michael will be discussing the importance of social media and search engine results, both things that factor heavily into Div’s business plan. He will also be talking about who Div Creative is, and what separates us from other web design companies. If you’ve been considering us as your web designers, this would be a great way to get to know us a little better. Check it out! Remember, the show is tonight at 6 p.m. on Monday, June 23rd. Make sure to tune in at AM 1360 KUIK, perhaps on your drive home from work.
The show also offers podcasts of past shows, so if you are viewing this post after the show has already happened, check out John-Michael’s interview on The Business Voice’s site.
Community Spotlight is an occasional look at some of the fantastic organizations around the beautiful Portland metro area. This is a new blogging event we’ve created to reach out, as we are deeply involved in our community and want to put some focus on the special parts of it. This week’s spotlight covers the local farmers markets.
There are over a dozen farmers markets in the area, most of which are open spring through fall, although there are a few winter markets. Local farmers and businesses set up booths and sell their wares to market attendees. Most booths sell fresh produce and preserves, as well as other varieties of food, but there are also booths dedicated to selling flowers or goods.
The neatest thing about the markets is that they are pretty evenly spread around the metro area and are in easy-to-get to locations. Most people can easily get to one using any sort of transportation. Some markets, such as the Beaverton Farmers Market, takes place right in the heart of the community, near a library and a beautiful park. The main Hillsboro Market is also in a park, only one block from a MAX stop.
Many booths in the markets accept supplementary food programs, which is a fantastic way for those in the programs to get fresh, affordable produce without having to deal with quickly-wilting grocery store lettuce. You can receive vouchers or tokens to use instead of your Oregon Trail card.
Local farmers markets benefit our community by bringing fresh food directly to the people who live here. They’re a special addition to everyone’s life, and anyone can attend and gain some benefit.
Div Creative endorses and supports our local community events!
One of the more exciting potential developments in Portland’s near future is the possibility of Google Fiber being installed in the metro area (yep, this includes Tigard, Beaverton, and Hillsboro, among other suburbs of Portland). Fiber is Google’s relatively new internet service that has its roots in only two cities so far—Kansas City, Missouri, and Provo, Utah. Austin, Texas is the next to gain the service. Right now, Google is working with nine metro areas, seeing which city is most viable for their network, and not all of those nine might be chosen, though it’s likely they will be later on, if not now.
Google has been posting jobs for Portland, although the company says this is not a guarantee that the city will be chosen as the next location for Fiber. Seven other cities have also seen the same or similar job postings. However, if Portland is chosen for Fiber, it should create hundreds of contract jobs, mostly for the actual installation of the fiber network.
Portland is currently stuck in an arguable monopoly when it comes to service providers. The average internet user has only a few options, all of which can become prohibitively expensive. The nice thing about Fiber is that it offers affordable internet access for almost a decade, possibly beyond that. You can choose between an initial installation cost and absolutely zero monthly payments afterward for average speed internet, or no installation cost and $70 per month for insanely fast speeds. It’s kind of hard to not want to push for Fiber at those rates. The introduction of Fiber would also encourage more competitive rates between the city’s major providers.
As web designers, Div Creative is pretty excited about the possibility. Google has also been very outspoken about net neutrality, in direct contrast to Comcast, the biggest local provider. We, of course, are fans of net neutrality, so we might be a bit biased and would definitely welcome our beloved Google Overlords to our beloved city.
Although you may not have heard the term “gamification” before, it’s likely you’ve participated in the concept to some degree. Gamification is a way in which a business introduces game design-related thinking to an element of marketing in order to encourage people’s natural desire to achieve or win. One of the most popular and successful examples of gamification is Foursquare, an app that lets you check in at public locations such as restaurants and potentially gain rewards from doing so. You can even become “mayor” of a location after enough check-ins.
Foursquare is the epitome of what gamification can do for a business—their business basically is gamification—but the concept can be implemented in many, many different ways, no matter the size of a company.
The idea behind gamification is retention. Keep your customers hooked by making them active and engaged with your business. Larger corporations use gamification in mobile apps and other large-scale ways, but small businesses can implement the strategy in smaller, simpler ways that don’t require tons of time and money, but can result in a payoff.
Does this marketing strategy sound like something that might work for your Beaverton or Portland business? Here are a few basic ideas that shouldn’t take up too much of your time or budget:
- Giveaways or contests are classic gamification techniques. Semi-frequent giveaways for small items (such as a medium soda or a branded pen) can keep your customers paying attention to what you have to say, and keeps them playing as well.
- Introduce gamification to your website. Have a list of activities your viewers can do, such as signing up for your newsletter or liking your business’s Facebook page. When they complete all or most of the activities, reward them with a coupon or something similar. The reward could even be a non-monetary prize, such as a badge for each completed activity. Allow your fans to level up, so they come back more than once.
- Tell a story incrementally. Whether this happens through your blog, on Facebook, your mobile app, or by other means, this story should be engaging. Now, when I say story, this could mean anything. Perhaps a fun, weekly update on your business’s new innovative product. Maybe collected stories from customers about their weekend/holiday plans. The list goes on. Anything that’s interesting enough to your customers and has no definite end date does the job.
Let me make clear that gamification is a marketing strategy. It’s not intended to be only used on gamers, or even to be fun. It’s not necessarily about playing, but more about a rewards system and mental engagement. The end result, if fortunate, should be more business. If it does not result in more business, your strategy should be changed or rethought. Gamification is just another method of keeping customers engaged. Give your marketing team a fun job; see how far they can stretch their minds and come up with some interesting ways to integrate gamification into your business.
The cloud: the ethereal word that encompasses where all of our information is floating these days. We’re turning from racks full of paper files to gigabytes filled with data. The ease of cloud computing may be the right decision for your business, and we’re here to show you how to start thinking about making that transition.
If you need an explanation of what the cloud is, Mashable has a pretty user-friendly description of it that you can read here. Cloud Computing: The Complete Guide is another comprehensive guide to the cloud that you can check out.
The major draw of transitioning to the cloud is the ease of access; instead of being stuck using software or pulling up information from just one location, you can access it from anywhere. It’s likely that some of what you do is already focused in the cloud: for example, your email, if you use a web-based service instead of a desktop-based client. Perhaps you share brainstorming documents or your employee manual on Google Drive. Taking this convenience and inter-connectivity and making it a reality with all or most of your information might be the next step.
Most small businesses let larger companies take care of the cloud computing and security for them. This is definitely easier, as creating your own cloud can be time-consuming, expensive, and difficult—not to mention potentially insecure. Most companies offer some sort of savings, as your business generally only pays for what it uses. Below is a list of possibilities to consider.
1. Office 365 offers a customizable subscription to Microsoft Office services, including extras such as Skype minutes, online storage, and online conferencing.
2. Amazon Web Services provides a more comprehensive cloud computing service and is directed towards general IT usage and resources.
3. If you’re looking for a very budget-friendly option, HP offers open source cloud computing through openstack. HP is investing a lot of money into expanding this service in the next few years, so it may become even more viable as an option.
4. SAP Business Suite is looking to integrate their business into the cloud. Here is a recent article discussing it. If your business currently uses SAP Business One, consider checking out our parent company’s training video site, Business One Training.
5. And of course there’s our loving overlord of the internet, Google. Google is already so ubiquitous in the cloud that many users already use their basic cloud services, but as a business, consider upgrading to a full cloud computing service through the company.
In 2012, our Beaverton parent company ran and successfully completed a Kickstarter project to fund the creation of a video game. This allowed us to embark on a project for the people who helped fund us, and we found the whole process to be an interesting learning experience.
Kickstarter is mostly used to get businesses off the ground by funding a project. It’s not always used for already-established companies, but if done right, an existing company can run a legitimate and useful Kickstarter campaign.
Kickstarter is not meant to be for “fund my life” projects. For example, launching a campaign to pay for your office rent for six months is not a worthy use of your backer’s money, and is against Kickstarter’s policies. A campaign should result in a finished project, however long that takes, that you can then give to those who have backed you.
A fantastic way to use Kickstarter is for promotion. By creating a project and getting it funded, you are exposing your business to all of the people who funded you, many of whom will spread the word about other aspects of your business. These extend to not only local potential customers, but national and possibly even global customers depending on the nature of your business. A successful Kickstarter is a great talking point and shows how eager people are to purchase whatever you have to offer—so much so, that they fund you before the product is in their hands!
The most important thing you must keep in mind when launching an appealing project is making sure that the presentation on your Kickstarter page is visually appealing, polished, and explains exactly what you’re going to do with the money. A well-planned presentation makes funders much more likely to back you, and including pictures, diagrams (if needed), and a well-done overview video is well worth your time. All of these elements should be compelling and clear, explicitly promoting the voice of your business. A confusing Kickstarter campaign leads to a dearth of backers and a possible failed project. Doing research on completed projects (whether funded or not) is a great use of your time, as you can see examples of what you should and should not do.
If you decide that running a Kickstarter campaign is the right move for your company, Div Creative can help with promoting the project on your Beaverton or Portland-area business website. Get in contact with us today if you’re curious about your project’s potential.
I’ve been a pretty big Firefox fan for quite a few years, and so I had mixed feelings about the newest update. Mozilla not only updated the version to 29, but introduced an entirely new interface, called Australis. In this post, I’m going to take look at the new interface from a casual user’s point of view.
The Australis UI is probably the most drastically different browser design I’ve seen from Firefox in awhile. The last update that shocked me so much was when the menu bar was hidden and I grumbled about having to take up more precious screen space by un-hiding it. But in all respects, that was a pretty small change compared to this time around. Mozilla completely revamped the usability and made it very reminiscent of the Windows 8 OS or Google Chrome. The difference between Firefox and Chrome, however, is pretty noticeable. Firefox has always been about customizability, and while the default interface and design is very user-friendly, you can go beyond the basics to make the browser entirely your own with add-ons and plugins galore.
The largest noticeable change is the menu redesign. Instead of menu options being accessible by the orange button drop-down menu on top left, it’s a stealthier, less obvious button on the very right. When expanded, it shows large, easy-to-click icons for commands like “print,” “options,” and more. You can take these icons and drag them next to the URL bar for easy access. The size of the buttons makes me think of mobile interfaces, as they are very clickable and touchable. Perhaps Mozilla is thinking of more of their users with touchscreen monitors, in which case, Australis would be very compatible.
The bookmark menu now opens with a single click, instead of having to go into the large menu and navigate for what you need. This is very nice for someone like me who has tons of nested bookmark folders, and is much easier if you’re using a touchpad on your laptop instead of a mouse. Of course, the insta-bookmark button is still there, though in a slightly different spot, for those who don’t necessarily need to organize their bookmarks.
Browser tabs are now more distinct. The current tab is front and center, very rounded and opaque, while any other open tabs are transparent and barely noticeable. However, by clicking “title bar” under “customize” in the main menu, you can revert this so that all the tabs are opaque. This seems to be the feature that most Australis reviews are focusing on, but honestly it seems like more of an aesthetics feature than anything else, especially for those of us who switch between tabs using CTRL+Tab. The add-on bar is also gone and is replaced by add-on buttons that you can remove or add as you please. You can also restore the add-on bar itself, but I actually think this new design takes up less space.
If these new changes aren’t to your liking, you can install a theme that is more like the older UIs, and Firefox makes it very easy to do so. In fact, they have a link right in their FAQ explaining how. Firefox has always been about customizability, which is why it is my favorite browser. However, the new update seems geared toward fluidity and time saving, that is, quickly finding what you need, and I wouldn’t write off all the new features yet.
So why should you upgrade? Remember my tirade on updating your old browsers? This ties into that. Unless there’s a very specific technical reason you’d like to stick with a previous version, the average user is going to be fine with the new interfaces and probably won’t miss any old features.
Hummingbird, launched in September 2013, is a fascinating new search algorithm developed by Google (who else?). What makes it so cool is that instead of taking a search query and analyzing it word-by-word—often coming up with results that are irrelevant to the original search—it takes the entire query and analyzes it for meaning. That is really neat. Think of search engines as little bodiless robot pals. Would you rather have a robot pal who responded better to a question such as “old video dog escape 1900s” or a more complete question like “could you find me the old video about the dog who escaped from his owners that takes place in the early twentieth century?” Of course, you probably wouldn’t want to be typing quite that much, but you might use Siri or another voice-enabled program to ask questions in full sentences.
Hummingbird takes your intentions, not your actual words, and comes up with what you actually want. For example, if you type “simple web design affordable quality” and your search engine comes up with results based on your words, not your meaning, that have to do with simple, quality web design, but not affordable web design, then that’s not very helpful.
So what will this algorithm do for SEO, and in turn, our Beaverton and Portland web clients? Turns out, quite a bit. Currently, SEO is quite keyword-focused, and while that’s proven to be a very effective strategy, the inclusion of semantics-focused SEO strategies will result in less page bounces and more viewer retention. Keywords are important, key phrases will perhaps become more important and key meaning most important. The disappointment of landing on a page and finding out it has nothing to do with what you searched for will hopefully decrease. Continuing to provide high-quality, interesting content written by an actual human on your optimized web page will bring in people who are looking for exactly what you have to offer and more.
Websites like ask.com (formerly askjeeves) and chacha.com have always embraced the concept of searching for, well, a whole concept. The effectiveness of these sites vary, but seeing Google revolutionize their search technology may influence other search engines as well. Web developers should work with their clients to modify web marketing material in the wake of Hummingbird’s changes. Things can only go up from here!
Most small businesses do not have dedicated marketing teams that create a brand. Instead, brand development might be outsourced to a marketing firm or glossed over in favor of other aspects of the business, when in fact it should be a huge focus.
A brand is the face of your company. It encompasses not only the business’s name and logo, but is also how your business is presented and implemented to the outside world. Think of the ubiquitous example of McDonalds, for instance. Can you sing their jingle in your mind? Can you envision their color scheme? Their brand is strong, and is what has carried them through years and years of business. Of course, you don’t have to be a multi-billion dollar company to implement a strong brand, and we’re going to give you some basic tips to get you started.
Let’s skip over the part where you come up with your logo and name. Let’s assume they’re solid, professional, and representative of your company. So how do you continue to implement your brand from here? The number one answer is consistency, consistency, consistency. Make sure that everything that goes out to the public, or that is even passed around internally, is consistent with your brand. This may mean having a central team or individual whose duty it is to essentially do quality check. You do not want new material going out with an incorrect or old logo, or with a tagline font that looks nothing like the font you generally use. The more consistent your brand is, the more it will stick in your customer’s minds.
Your brand should have a voice and tone that carries through all aspects of your company. For example, a brewery might have a different tone than a vineyard because they wish to attract different types of clientele. If you deviate too much from this intended voice, you may miss your mark. This voice should carry through any advertisements, documents, and professional communication you have.
We can help effectively represent your brand through your website. Making sure the color scheme, font choices, general style and design, and other elements are what you want, is extremely important to us. A website is often the very first exposure customers have to a business, and your priority should be to make sure your brand reflects your company’s values and goals throughout the website. A well-organized, well-branded, consistent website can work wonders and introduce new customers.
Finally, we just want to say that it’s fine to change your brand over time as needed, as your company changes. If your brand has no flexibility, it can be difficult to evolve with the times. A fantastic example is Coca-Cola. The company’s main values have remained consistent through an entire century of existence, but their branding has fluctuated to mirror the fluctuating world. Of course, most businesses aren’t Coca-Cola, but this concept can be done on a small level as well. Your local bakery may have ingenious branding that you haven’t realized keeps you going there on Saturday mornings for the last ten years. Or the carpet cleaner down the street upholds a strong company presence that your mind turns to the next time you spill red wine everywhere. Never underestimate the importance of a brand.
Microsoft has recently announced the end of support for Windows XP. XP was a much-loved favorite of Microsoft users, although with the existence of newer, still user-friendly operating systems, XP has been essentially outclassed for some years now. Now that support is gone, it only takes an XP system approximately thirty minutes to be infected. Even antivirus software cannot prevent this. That, in and of itself, is a very convincing reason to upgrade as soon as possible.
In related and possibly less publicized news, Microsoft has also ended support for the wildly defunct Internet Explorer 6. This has been a long time coming, as IE 6 has been criticized for years as being an insecure and faulty browser. However, it has a large user base even today, well over a decade after its release, and some businesses still require their employees to use IE 6 as their primary browser. According to modern.ie, 4.2% of internet users across the globe use it. That’s a pretty large amount when you consider how many versions of how many different browsers have been released since 2001.
We at Div Creative urge our clients to upgrade their browsers to the newest version as soon as possible, for several reasons. The first, and most applicable to your company, is that depending on which version of a browser you run, the website we build for you may not be functional in your own office! We build according to the latest standards, and taking the time to make sure that a site displays correctly in every existing older browser is not an ideal use of our services.
Another reason is that newer browser versions tend to be more user-friendly and have features, such as tabbed browsing, that help make a user’s internet experience less frustrating. Older browsers also have less security measures, and what security they do have is outdated. This is possibly the most important reason to update. Your computer is more exposed to security attacks on an older browser, and no one wants to deal with security issues. It’s a pain, and annoying or stressful for the average user to fix.
We know how easy it is to fall in love with an interface, but we also know how easy it is to get used to the next step up. How many of you reading this remember complaining about the design changes Facebook made, but then quickly forgetting what the old design even looked like? Humans are adaptable, and a switch to a newer browser is an easy switch. We urge you to join us in the future (it’s great here!) and upgrade your browser today.
Come meet Div Creative at the 2014 Governor’s Marketplace Conference tomorrow, April 30th! John-Michael and Steve will both be there learning about future opportunities and meeting other Oregon small businesses.
The conference will include state, federal, and regional entities, as well as other organizations, with the goal of increasing contract success for local businesses. We are excited to talk to any of you who might be attending, and hope we can meet other Beaverton, Portland, and Hillsboro businesses to further our sense of community!
For more information about the conference, click here.
Hey, Beaverton and Hillsboro business owners! Yeah, you! Not sure what to ask from us beyond a basic site that perfectly displays your information? We’ve got a few suggestions that you can discuss if you’re concerned about standing out a bit from the crowd.
Some of the features that many modern websites contain are beautifully simplistic and, most importantly, effective. There is no reason to have a complicated design that you don’t need when a few changes can do the trick. More complicated designs are extremely useful for certain companies and individuals, but we will focus on that in a future blog. For now, here is an overview of some basic design elements that can spruce up your website.
Recently, parallax has become an eye-catching way to change the look of your site. Parallax is an interesting effect where the background of a site moves at a different speed than the elements on top when scrolling. This can be used to great effect, usually with picture-heavy sites. This design is great if your information calls for a longer page. The interesting interaction may keep a visitor there longer than if no parallax effect is used. Even if you do not want a single long page using parallax, we can also integrate it into page transitions. You can see this in action by clicking the links on one of our example sites. A smooth parallax effect happens when changing to another section of the website.
Relevant photos and other media can also be important to include. Although this may seem like an obvious suggestion, you’d be surprised how many websites either do not use photos at all, or don’t use them to full effect. Placing photos in key areas of your site draws a reader’s attention and keeps them there, simply because photos are easier to look at than words. If the nature of your business or personal website does not necessarily call for photos, an interesting overall visual design might be right for you instead, and that is what we are here for.
Finally, visual simplicity is important. Thankfully, the days are long gone when flashing icons, scrolling marquee text, falling glitter, clip art, and other gimmicky design elements were commonplace. Instead of overwhelming a page visitor with too much visual stimulation, you must draw their eye to what’s most important. This calls for a bold, yet simplistic (but not necessarily minimalistic, unless that’s what works for you) design. Too much clutter can turn a visitor away. We want to promote your brand in a way that brings viewers back again and again—and makes them stick around.
You may have heard about the terrifying new internet bug known as “Heartbleed.” Its existence was announced recently, but it’s been around, possibly secretly stealing information from websites, for approximately two years. This isn’t fear mongering, it’s reality. Scary reality.
The reason this bug is so scary is that it gets around a secure internet connection—that’s the green padlock in your URL bar that you see on sites such as Twitter or, yes, your bank’s website—to steal sensitive information. The New Yorker has a fantastic article that explains exactly how this works in layman’s terms. Suffice it to say, it’s pretty imperative that a patch is found quickly. Google, Bing, Facebook, Youtube, and many other popular sites have already patched the bug, but it’s recommended that you change your password.
Even with the problem being fixed, the long exposure that has already happened is worrisome. So what can your Beaverton or Hillsboro business do to best protect itself from any fallout? Changing your password only works on sites that have already been patched. If they have not been patched, your new password may be acquired by Heartbleed again. You can check whether a site has been patched by emailing the business and asking or, if it’s a popular site, checking online. This site has a search function that will tell you if a site has been fixed.
If you own a site that gathers sensitive information from users, check with your hosting company, the people who own the servers that your website is on. They are responsible for fixing Heartbleed. Of course, there is no way to tell if information has actually been stolen or not, so make sure to urge your users to change their passwords and keep an eye on unusual activity with their accounts. Chances are, you will not have to deal with any issues, but it’s always better to come up with a plan in case the worst happens.
This frightening bug with the paranormal romance-worthy name is something to keep an eye on, but it is also not something to get terribly worked up over, despite the facts we’ve given in this post. Keep informed, knowledge really is power.
Div Creative Media provides businesses in Beaverton and Hillsboro with web design and internet marketing services. However, our media expertise goes beyond that.
We know how important smartphones are in this era of technology, so not only do we make our client’s websites mobile friendly, we also offer mobile app development.
Our skilled team of developers and designers are well-versed in mobile app development and have the capability to cater your app needs down to exactly what it is you’re looking for. We can make your app look as visually appealing as you’d like without missing a beat on functionality because we know that’s where it counts.
One of the major reasons why businesses use an app instead of staying with only a website is because apps can have native phone functionality. This means the app can pull functionality from your phone’s camera, address book, calendar, etc. Many people prefer to use apps as opposed to the web browser for the access that apps allow. An app is a great choice for your business if there is a way to get your audience to be interactive.
Still unsure if this is what you need? Give us a call! We’ll work with you to figure out what your best options are.
How many of you Beaverton and Hillsboro businesses use cold calling as a form of sales and marketing? How successful has it been? My guess is probably not the most successful, not to mention the tedious process of it all. Well, consider your cold calling days over. The new and improved method is called inbound marketing.
Inbound marketing has become very popular due to the success of internet sales. It gives the consumer the opportunity to find information themselves, based on location and interest. Inbound marketing allows us to target an audience who has already shown interest in a certain industry or product based on their previous searches, likes, and more. Social media, blogs, and search engine optimization are very efficient ways to get your audience’s eyes on your business.
Inbound marketing makes it easy for people in Beaverton and Hillsboro to find your business. It is also more cost efficient than outbound marketing. By using the inbound method, you avoid costly printed ads, TV ads, flyers, etc. It makes much more sense to spend your money where you know consumers are looking, on the internet.
We know that running a business takes a lot of time. As a business owner, you have every aspect of your company to worry about, marketing being a big part of that. Unless you’re living under a rock, you know that the majority of the world is using social media for marketing. Knowing this is one thing, but actually being able to execute this is another thing entirely. Here is a list of five things to help you out as you get started.
1. Be a Person, Not a Computer
This is, in my opinion, one of the most important things to keep in mind, especially as a small business. Yes, you are using technology to branch out your brand and get more eyes on your product/service, but your audience likes to know there is a person behind that technology connecting with them. People like to work with another person, not a computer.
One way to accomplish showing your audience that you’re a person is to engage with your followers! Ask them questions, answer their questions, like their comments, and so on. It’s called “social media” for this reason. So be social! Enjoy talking and engaging with the people who are interested in your brand.
3. Pictures & Links
People are drawn to images more so than text. How do you think Instagram blew up so fast? Videos and pictures are interesting and they will capture the attention of your audience. When posting links, most will have a photo alongside the title. If it doesn’t, put one there! Links are great attention-getters. An interesting picture and title will be the first step to getting your audience to see the information you want them to see.
4. Be Consistent
Managing your social media accounts does take a good chunk of time because of the fact that it needs to be constantly updated. Be consistent with your postings. Don’t lose your audience’s interest by only posting every few months, or every few weeks for that matter. Two to three postings per week is the sweet spot. If possible, hire an agency for help if you aren’t able to take this much time for your social media.
5. Professional but Personal
Of course when marketing your business on social media, you are going to want to keep it professional, but don’t forget to add some personal aspects to it as well. Pictures of your facility, your staff, customers, etc. Show your followers that you and your staff have fun at work, and your customers have fun there as well. Every now and then, a “Happy Friday” post or Wednesday “Hump Day” post (maybe including a meme with the infamous camel) is always a nice way to show your audience you’re not all work and no play.
Over the years, we’ve seen many marketing trends that have come and gone, and some that are tried and true. What’s interesting is how these tried and true methods overlap with the current marketing methods that most businesses are using, or should be using.
Word of mouth and grassroots marketing are great examples of these tried and true methods. These were popular before internet marketing become not only widely used but proven effective. Now we see those methods being integrated into internet marketing.
Word of mouth marketing can be seen on networks like Facebook and Twitter. It is common for promoters to use social media networks by promoting their brand using their personal accounts in an effort to have their peers hear about what their brand has to offer.
When businesses have Facebook pages, it makes it easy for their customers to share their experiences with their peers when they can post a status and tag the company page or share the page on their wall.
These could also be examples of grassroots marketing. Grassroots marketing is defined by startupnation.com as “taking an unconventional approach to getting people interested in what you offer.” However, internet marketing is no longer unconventional. Using internet resources such as social media networks, Yelp searches, and more have become the norm and generally what businesses should be doing to get noticed, though there are ways of making your internet marketing unconventional.
Businesses owners who prefer traditional ways of marketing can learn how to use those methods while connecting with prospective customers on the internet. That is where the audience is, that is where businesses need to be.
As a consumer, how do you search for a good place to get services done? Or for a specific product? Chances are it’s through the web.
As a business owner, how do you make this information available to consumers? If your answer isn’t the same, it should be.
There are many local Beaverton businesses thriving through this method, and it never ceases to surprise me how many are not utilizing the marketing tools at their fingertips. Putting your business on the map is so easy to do when you get yourself a good web presence. Consumers rarely use a business’s services without first looking into what they can do for them. If your business doesn’t provide that information but your competitor does, chances are you will lose that person’s business. Be the company that gives the consumers what they want.
Do your company and your prospective customers a favor and provide them with some insight into what your company is about. If you’re not the most tech-savvy person, find a web design or internet marketing agency to help you out! There are so many options to take your marketing strategies out of the stone age, you just need to find the one that works for your business.
The holidays have officially come and gone and a new year is upon us. With the new year comes new predictions, resolutions, and media platforms.
In our society technology is constantly evolving. 2013 brought us many new mediums. Some made their debut in 2013, some were finally noticed and caught fire. Hootsuite had a big year, as well as Snapchat and Vine. Facebook advertising evolved and Twitter made some notable changes.
But 2014 is a new year, and we are bound to see some new mediums. There are many predictions about how social media will change, and what else we can expect to see. The best thing you can do is to stay on top of these new changes. You never know which ones will be the next big thing, and you will want to be in the know when it becomes that!
Here are a couple of articles about new media predictions for 2014.
1. Forbes– The Top 7 Social Media Marketing Trends that will Dominate 2014
2. Social Media Examiner– 11 Social Media Predictions to Watch for 2014
3. Search Engine Watch– 5 Social Media Advertising Trends to Watch for in 2014
Enjoy and happy new year!
Many clients come to us with questions regarding SEO and what kinds of things they need to be doing to climb higher on a Google search. There are many tricks that can be pulled to achieve higher SEO rankings, but what we tell our clients, is that content is key.
Keeping an updated and fresh site will keep it from becoming static, and Google likes that. However, if it becomes too robotic or spam-like, Google will take notice and punishments may occur. Make content that your audience and prospective audience will want to see. A great way to start is by making your content sound like it came from an actual person and not from a computer.
As Google’s algorithms continue to be updated, this is what will continue to show results, not the sneaky tricks. Be consistent with your content, but be sure it is quality content as well.
What’s most important to us here at Div Creative is giving you a great website and great service. However, to do so it helps for you as the client to have an idea about what you want in your website, and also what a good website entails. One way to accomplish this is to search through websites that you admire and find aspects about them that you want to incorporate into your own website.
However, through our work we’ve noticed that some business owners around Beaverton and Hillsboro don’t know what they want for their website. In this case, we are more than happy to go through example websites and point out some factors that are important for good websites.
Here are a few basics that we find important, and you should too.
1. About Me Section
This may seem obvious, but it is very important. People like to know that they are working with other people. The “about” section is a great way to get the point across about who you are and what your business is. Keep it updated and relevant to your work, and make sure it lets your audience know that you are in fact a real person.
Again, people like knowing they are working with other people, not just technology. Especially in small businesses, testimonials are important. When prospective customers see happy current customers it makes the business feel more personal and welcoming.
3. Easy to Find, Easy to Use Contact Page
Make it easy for your customers to get in touch with you! Have your phone number, e-mail or whatever preferred contact method visible and available as soon as they land on your site. Many websites have contact info as a header or footer on each page. This way, whenever the prospective customer gets sold on what they see, they won’t have to take time searching before contacting you, they can do it instantly.
Today I stumbled across B2C’s article entitled “Would Ralph Waldo Emerson Cringe At Your Twitter Feed? A 3 Step Guide to Twitter Etiquette”. The title is what caught my attention and as I continued to read I thought more and more about the importance of etiquette on not only Twitter but social media accounts in general.
Many people discuss what you should and shouldn’t do on social media. Within these discussions, it seems that good etiquette is implied, but I think it should be something we put more focus on.
As business marketers, we strive to be professional. Quality etiquette is a big part of professionalism. It is important to remember this when posting on Facebook and Twitter. Just because this isn’t a form of face-to-face communication doesn’t mean we should throw courtesy out the window.
One of the biggest flaws in etiquette I’ve seen on social media networks is the lack of response to comments. It’s been said before, and I’ll say it again. Be SOCIAL on social media. It is a place for people to connect. When someone comments on your business page and you don’t respond or acknowledge it in some way, that doesn’t leave them with a good impression.
It is also important to practice good etiquette to your fellow industry professionals. Social media is a great way for people within a common field of work to share knowledge and ideas. One way to be courteous to other professionals is to send a thank you message for following your brand on Twitter. It’s just another form of acknowledgement that is appreciated among social media users.
Take time to think about what you’re posting, and how you’re engaging with your audience. It is a very important part of having a good web presence.
Everyone nowadays has a smartphone it seems. It is no longer the norm to have a phone that flips and cannot give you access to the internet. So how are business leaders or small business owners using their phones to their advantage? It is extremely convenient to be able to access your e-mail through your phone wherever you are, and that is probably the biggest business use your phone is getting.
Here are three more ways to take advantage of the resources you have available at your fingertips.
1. Use your apps
The common saying, “there’s an app for that” became a common saying because of the truth it holds. There is an app for just about everything: banking, video chat (aka Skype or Facetime), any and all social media networks, the list goes on and on. These are a great way to be organized and efficient, so make sure you take time to look through what you have and what could be beneficial for you in the app store.
2. Find new mobile social media networks
There are the common networks, Facebook and Twitter, that you’re probably already a part of (if not, you should be), and then there’s the common phone networks that could gain you a whole new audience. These networks such as Instagram and Vine can be accessed on the computer but are almost exclusively used through mobile devices, and they are increasing in popularity everyday. Both of these are very visual, and similar to Twitter, connect people through hashtags. It is always a good idea to be somewhat knowledgeable about new technologies so you can be sure to be on top of them if they become the next Facebook.
3. Understand the local search apps and functionality
Your customers are using local searches to find products and services like yours, be familiar with it! The best way to understand your customers is to put yourself in their shoes. Apps like Google Maps and Yelp are what they are using to find what they need. If you aren’t familiar with these, chances are you are missing out on all the potential business you can get from them. Make a Yelp profile, and make it look good. Have pictures and information for your audience. Try doing a search for something you’d be interested in finding locally, like a good Thai restaurant, for example. Are you more likely to choose the one down the street with no pictures, no menu information, and no reviews, or would you rather choose the one with location photos, food photos, a full menu and customer feedback? This is how your customers are using their mobile devices, try doing it too.
As far as social media goes, Facebook’s rise has been very impressive, as has Twitter’s. However, there is one social media network whose revolution has trumped these two giants: Pinterest.
“Back in 2012, the site served up 2.3 billion page impressions to over 4 million unique visitors a day.”
With Pinterest’s unique content-sharing feature of bookmarking, or “pinning” as it’s called, it is a great way to advertise products and services.
Take a look at this infographic for some facts and figures, do and don’t’s, and other useful Pinterest information.
Information and graphic by SEOIntelBiz.com. Read the full article here
Inbound marketing has changed the ways businesses are gaining sales and finding prospective clients. Less and less are we seeing cold calling and paid advertisements. This is the difference between “outbound marketing” and inbound marketing.”
“It is often said that with inbound marketing you are ‘earning your way in’ with a potential customer. Whereas with outbound marketing you are simply ‘buying your way in.’ So which one do you choose?” -Tyler Scott, B2B
B2B has a great article discussing the differences between the two marketing strategies. I’d like to share the 30 stats they give about inbound marketing, how businesses are using it, and expected 2013 stats.
30 Stats on Inbound Marketing Strategy
1. 60% of companies will execute an inbound marketing strategy in 2013.
2. Marketers dedicate 34% of their department budgets to inbound tactics, but only 11% to outbound.
3. 48% of marketers will increase their spend on inbound marketing in 2013.
4. 34% of all leads generated in 2013 come from inbound marketing sources.
5. Inbound practices produce 54% more leads than traditional outbound practices.
6. 17% of marketers say traditional advertising and direct mail are less important than they were six months ago.
7. Traditional advertising and PPC deliver the least leads of any form of advertising.
8. Only 6% of marketing leads originate from advertising or PPC campaigns.
9. Inbound marketers double the average site conversion rate, from 6% to 12% total.
10. The average website conversion rate is 10%.
11. 81% of companies integrate inbound marketing with larger marketing goals.
12. Marketers spend 55% more of their time on their money than blogging.
13. 82% of marketers who blog on a daily basis have acquired a customer through blog content.
14. 57% of marketers who only blog once a month have acquired a customer through blogging.
15. Only 5% of marketers have no integration between inbound marketing and overall marketing goals.
16. 17% of sales teams and 11% of executives fully support inbound marketing efforts.
17. 73% of marketing agencies are implementing inbound marketing strategies.
18. Marketing is 125% more likely than sales to provide inbound resources.
19. Increasing total lead volume is the top priority for 21% of marketers.
20. Customers average a total of 9,100 leads after 1.5 years of inbound marketing.
21. 67% of marketers produced a blog last year.
22. Only 20% of marketers without a blog reported a positive ROI for 2012.
23. 15% of marketers say SEO leads have the highest sales conversions.
24. Social media delivers 14% of all leads and 13% of all customers.
25. 52% of all marketers have found a customer via Facebook.
26. 43% of marketers have found a customer on LinkedIn.
27. 36% of marketers have found a customer on Twitter.
28. 41% of marketers have adjusted their budget due to the success of inbound marketing.
29. 41% of CEO’s report inbound marketing delivered measurable ROI.
30. Marketers with more than 15 blog posts per month average 1,200 leads per month.
Find the whole article by Tyler Scott, B2B here
Wanna know how to make your customers and clients happy? It’s easy, cater to their needs. The same goes for how your website is designed. You may like the way your website looks but you are looking it from the business perspective. You need to take a moment and look at it from the consumer’s perspective.
Your business’s website is for your customers and clients. It’s for them to learn about your business, gain access to your products or services, and to get information. You want to be sure that for whatever reason your customer is there, they find what they are looking for as easily as possible.
Having social networks for your business is a great way to find out exactly what it is that your customers want from you. With instant feedback and postings, you’re able to get praise for what you’re doing right. You’re also able to get negative comments, which could be easily spun as a positive. Embrace the negative comments as a way to enhance your customer service and find out what you could be doing better. Once you receive a negative comment, make it apparent that you are making strides to fix the problem. Your customers will be thankful to see that you really take into consideration what they are saying.
It’s that time of year! Businesses are scrambling with new marketing ideas, discounts, and promotions for the holiday shoppers; MANY of which do their holiday shopping online. Even if your business is a small, local business, why not make it easier for your customers to get their needs filled both in store and online? Set yourself up for success this holiday season with these tips.
1. Plan Ahead!
The most important part of utilizing your e-commerce selling during the holidays is to plan, plan, plan! Let your customers know what sales you will be having throughout the season. Will your business be holding online only sales during Black Friday? What will the sale prices look like? When is the best time to disclose this information to your customers? These are all things to keep in mind and share with your customers as the holidays approach and throughout the season.
2. Give Your E-commerce a Makeover
Great, so you have your online sales planned out, now it’s time to make your e-commerce site customer-friendly and ready for all the traffic it will be getting! Your e-commerce function needs to be as easy to use as possible. Your customers are in a hurry, especially this time of year. Don’t wait to realize how important customer service is on your website until you’re getting complaints about it not being as good as it could be. Here are some site makeover points to keep in mind:
- Is your site easy to navigate?
- Does it look good from a consumer’s perspective?
- Is your e-commerce feature easily accessible?
- Are you advertising your holiday sales on the home page?
- Can customers buy your products from their mobile device?
- Is the checkout as safe as possible?
Okay so you’ve planned out your sales and strategies, re-vamped your site and e-commerce, and you’re ready to be selling. All that’s left to do is let people know about your sales. Use your social media accounts to get the word out. A great way to gain customer loyalty is to offer special promotions for Facebook fans or Twitter followers. If your business uses e-mail subscriptions, send out special offers that way as well. It is very simple to give out a code through e-mail or on Facebook that customers can enter in at the checkout to get a discount, and they’ll love you for it! They feel special, you gain customers and customer loyalty, it’s a win win.
Get the word out as much as you can. Everyone is looking for deals during the holidays because they know they are out there. It’s your job to let them know where to find them.
Social media was created to connect people to each other, hence the “social” part of the term. So why are so many business accounts being anti-social?
Many think that it is enough to frequently update their Facebook or Twitter, but unless you are engaging with your audience, you are only getting half the benefits you could be getting from social media.
Join a conversation! That is what Twitter is for. Industry professionals from all over the world can find each other on Twitter and share their knowledge and experiences with one another. It’s a great way to advance your personal industry knowledge and to stay updated with what’s going on in your industry.
Facebook is a great way to connect to your audience. Get your page fans involved in your posts by asking them to answer a question or to post pictures of their experience at your business.
Don’t be anti-social on social media! Use it to your advantage in every way you can, and connect with as many people as you can!
In many small businesses in the Beaverton/Hillsboro area, word of mouth marketing and referrals are the key factors in generating new clientele or customer base. This tactic can be very effective, so effective in fact that many business owners find themselves refusing internet marketing services because they are satisfied with where their business comes from already. However, what is important to keep in mind is that once someone is referred to a business, their next move is most likely going to be to look up that business.
This is where word of mouth marketing and internet marketing collide.
The referral one gets from his or her friend will direct interest to your business, but you want to make sure the first impression they get when they look you up is a positive one. With a visually appealing and fully functional website, you’re much more likely to deliver that positive impression than if you had no internet presence and were only found in the yellow pages.
Make sure your contact information is readily available once they get there. A phone number is probably one of the things they are looking for when visiting your website. It also makes it much more welcoming to know they are easily able to contact you. When word of mouth is your main source of customers, it is important to understand the way in which they are going to find you once they get the referral, and you want to make that process as easy as possible.
Living in the Portland metro area, food trucks are not uncommon to us. We see them all over downtown Portland and more and more in the Beaverton area. Portland is a great place to find a diverse meal because of them. But with something so common, how can the food truck owners make their business stand out in a sea of crowds and food carts?
Pam Moore’s article on Yahoo Small Business Advisor has the answers with these social media tips.
20 Social Media Tips for Food Trucks:
1. Have a plan. Don’t just wing everything you do with your brand and with social media. Know your goals and objectives, your audience, the goals and objectives of your audience and how you can best leverage social media to nurture relationships with your ideal customer. Focus on an audience based approach and align social media to business goals where it can have the greatest positive impact. Download this worksheet to get started.
2. Don’t spread yourself too thin. We see many food truck owners thinking they need to be on every social network. However, when you visit their platforms it’s like visiting a lonely, abandoned island. Don’t get in over your head. It’s better to focus on one or two social networks that you do really well than to attempt to leverage five and have little presence on any of them.
3. Make your logo easy to read, see, and photograph. I love how the Mayan Grill truck has a very simple, easy to read and photograph logo. Make it a goal to have a photographic “Kodak moment” spot on your truck where people can take photos eating your deliciousness!
4. Create an experience. Create your own brand based on your unique cuisine and the audience you want to attract. If your food is fresh and organic then use colors and branding elements that create an organic and fresh experience. If your truck is a New York City style pizza, then create such an experience. Know your audience and create an experience that inspires, excites and delights them! Download and use this free Social Media Audience Analysis Worksheet to get started.
5. Don’t just copy other trucks in your local area. Rise above status quo and develop your own brand, cuisine, and overall experience. We have worked with local food trucks and find most food trucks are barely staying in business. Don’t copy them or you may wind up in the same boat! Think bigger.
6. Brand your truck consistently with your website and other social properties. Ensure that the experience customers have visiting your social properties before and after the event is the same as at the event. It takes 6-7 brand touches before people will remember your brand so make every touch count! Download this white paper with 15 tips to help you stomp the status quo brand!
7. Use the truck real estate wisely. Don’t put a silly QR Code on the truck that links to your website. If your food is good and I am devouring it with both hands, I don’t have a hand to scan the QR code. If I do and find that it only leads me to your generic website, I am not going to be a happy social camper. Make every inch count. Make it meaningful, relevant and useful in creating a positive experience for your clients.
8. On the truck include your Twitter handle, Instagram username and website/ blog address at minimum. Don’t just include the generic Twitter and Facebook logos. They are useless without an address, period.
9. Create a business card that includes all of your top priority social profile addresses. Include your Twitter handle, Instagram, Facebook and blog/ website at minimum. Only include social networks on which you are active and will engage with your fans. Keep a stack of these cards on the table where customers grab napkins, plastic silverware, and sauces.
10. Make the menu interesting but simple. Don’t overcomplicate the menu. Make it easy to read and ensure your staff can easily explain the details of different options.
11. If possible, include images of your food. I love how the Mayan Grill included pictures of the menu items on a sign by the truck. It helped many people decide what menu item to order.
12. Make it clear how I can learn more about you. If you offer catering make it easy for me to contact you. Should I grab a business card from you? Or should I visit your website and fill out a contact form? Or do you prefer a simple phone call? Help me help you get more business!
13. Smile for pictures. Be happy to be included in photos your fans take of you and your truck. Having your biggest fans posting and sharing photos and telling their friends how great you are is free marketing that can work for you 24/7, 365 days a year if you use it wisely. Take time to smile, stand with and engage with your customer. Be the human part of their experience and memories.
14. Be human. This goes for both online and offline. Talk like a human, engage like a human and treat your customers like humans. If you are experiencing a heavy crowd and orders are taking a bit longer, just give your customers an honest answer as to how long it will take. If they have kids and lines are running a bit long, let them know they have time to run to the restroom or take their kids on a jump in the bouncy castle or for a ride in the train.
15. Don’t make your social pages and posts all about you. I should be able to visit your Facebook page or Twitter profile after the event and see that your recent conversations and social network posts are not just about you. I’d love to see people eating and enjoying the experience as much as I did when I visited and purchased from your truck. I also would like to see other people talking to you, raving about your food and the experience they had while dining truck side.
16. Include a section on your blog or website that easily tells me where you will be next. Don’t make me search on a Facebook page or Twitter stream. If you have a regular schedule, then post it.
17. Reward social media actions. Set up a contest on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, or your blog that rewards good social behavior. Have a contest that includes photos or videos submitted by your new and loyal fans! Pass out a simple one-half page flyer to educate them on how to engage in your contest.
18. A mobile responsive website and blog is a must. Your food truck patrons are mobile. If your website or blog can not be easily viewed and engaged with via mobile devices you might as well start over. You are missing out on what could be your greatest brand evangelists and loyal customers.
19. Engage! Your greatest opportunity to engage with visiting customers to your food truck is immediately after they experienced your food. It is then they still remember the smells and tastes within their mouth. Be sure to check your social profiles daily for comments, new fans. Engage with them, talk to them like human beings. Let them know you appreciate them. Invest in doing some social listening to know what customers are saying about your brand. Good or bad, knowing what conversations are happening in your honor will help you improve the customer experience and create relationships to last a life time.
20. Have fun! No matter how busy you are or what goes right or wrong, have fun! Be sure that people working in your truck represent your brand. They should be as passionate about your business and truck as you are! When people are visiting food truck festivals they want to enjoy the moment. They are there for a good time. Have a good time with them!
For more on Portland’s food carts visit www.foodcartsportland.com
(Disclaimer: don’t visit this site while hungry!)
As fall approaches, so does the holiday season. And with that, the season of giving. In this article by Sarah Matista of Social Media Today, eight charitable marketing strategies for small businesses are discussed. Aside from the obvious positives of holding charity events, there are many good business aspects behind it as well. Read on and find out how benefiting others could benefit your business.
We at Div Creative hold professionalism as a high priority in what we do. We want the websites we design and the services we offer to be as professional as our clients are. Working with us, you can always expect the highest quality of service that will reflect well on you and your business, and we’ll leave you with a product you will be proud to show off.
Take a look at our example websites and some of our live sites we have already made for small business professionals.
Aquatics and More Custom Site
NewCon PDX Custom Site
Many of today’s small business owners come from a generation where the internet and social media were not a necessity to stay afloat, and many still don’t understand why it not only helps, but is essential to a business’s marketing strategies. While it is one thing to help small business owners understand the importance behind this, it is a whole other thing to actually begin to know how to use it correctly and efficiently.
Within this past week, I’ve talked to two separate business owners in the Beaverton/Hillsboro area about their web presence for their businesses. Both seemed to understand the importance of having a presence on the internet. However, one of them put all of that importance into a good website while the other would rather have just had a Facebook page and called it good.
There are a few things wrong with both of these ideas. As I’ve mentioned before (and will again), your web presence is a hygiene factor for your business. What looks good to prospective clients or customers is a nice looking, cleaned up, and updated website. If this website doesn’t connect you somehow to the rest of the world (aka social media) it’s an old model.
Next reason. You want your site to show up on Google. You want someone to be able to type in “Beaverton Web Design” (for example) and have your company’s site pop up on the first page. Having a Facebook and Twitter (and Linkedin and Pinterest, and so on) is a tremendous help in that aspect.
(Read this article by Jeff Bullas for more info on this topic.)
Now that we’ve established the importance of social media in addition to an awesome website, it’s time to find out just how social savvy you are. Take a look at this infographic from Top Dog Social Media and add up your scores.
In this article, Stephanie gives some great insights on how to make the most out of your online presence. Step number 6 in her list is to OPTIMIZE. She starts out explaining this step with a very important note: “Optimizing your online presence is an ongoing activity.” If you’re just starting out in the online world, understand this! It is impossible to have a successful online presence if you don’t keep up with new and relevant content on your website and/or social media accounts. Here’s what she has to say about optimization:
“Optimizing your online presence is an ongoing activity. Online marketing programs cannot be put on autopilot. The landscape changes rapidly and therefore, you will need to be constantly updating and optimizing your online presence. This is not much different than the concept of adjusting and rebalancing client portfolios to minimize risk and maximize returns.
Consider all the new features and changes you hear about from social networks as well as Google. What works today may not work as well in six months. In the past, prior to LinkedIn and Facebook going public, it was easier and less expensive to build your network. Now, you either need a premium account (LinkedIn) or a paid social ad campaign (Facebook) to accomplish the same objectives! If you’re not optimizing your presence consistently, it will likely cost you more in the long run.
Just as you optimize client portfolios for risk/reward, you will want to do the same for your digital portfolio to make sure it’s working for you efficiently and effectively. The goals is to build a system that will maximize your impact with the least amount of time required. If top CEO’s can do it and still run their firms, you can do it too.”
To follow up with a recent post about the importance of mobile marketing, I wanted to share this infographic that I found on Pinterest. To reiterate, it is absolutely essential for customers to be able to find your business on their phone. Take a look at these statistics listed on the info-graphic: 61% of mobile searches lead to phone calls, 50% of all mobile searches lead to purchase, and if you’re still not convinced, at least know that mobile internet usage is expected to overtake desktop internet usage by 2014. That’s next year! Is your business prepared for that? With stats like this, you probably should be!
“Anything they can do to improve the way that you use Twitter is going to be helpful.”
Yesterday, Twitter announced that it has filed for its IPO (initial public offering). This means a lot to Wall Street, but many users don’t know what it will mean to them. This ABC news article does a good job of informing the everyday Twitter user of what kind of changes he or she can expect to see on Twitter.
Read more about the Twitter IPO on ABC news HERE.
Here at Div Creative, we like to help out our local businesses. However, that doesn’t limit us to just the Beaverton community. We are also active in the Hillsboro area. Our mission is to help the small businesses in these areas thrive by giving them a stellar web presence. This includes website design, social media management, search engine optimization, and internet branding and marketing solutions. We want to make sure we understand who your customer is and what they are looking to get from your business. By working with you on this, we can understand what your site needs to contain, and the best way to design it. For example, if your business is in a location that’s hard to find, we want to make it easy for customers to open up your site and see the directions on how to get there.
Located right on the corner of 158th and Cornell, we know the area and we know the people in the area just like you do. We also know how to make these people your customers, and internet marketing is the key. Let’s us help to get more of the Hillsboro community through your door!
Beaverton is made up of small businesses all over the city. There are many that are using the internet to their advantage and seeing the benefits from it, and many that see it as unnecessary. Here’s some news for those business owners: Internet marketing is no fad. It’s reality. It’s what you must be doing to keep up with your competition and your customers. The internet is here to stay, so why not take advantage of it?
“This Internet thing isn’t a fad, nor is social media. In fact, social is becoming more about how you share information, how customers engage with you, and how prospects find you.”
–Gini Dietrich, Social Media Today
There are many ways you as a business owner can utilize a web presence while keeping your business right here in Beaverton, if that’s what you wish. Yelp is a great tool for that. It allows consumers to search for businesses in their area, has reviews, and you or others can post photos of your business. If you have a Yelp account for a business, it’s important to have a website linked to it as well. When consumers go on Yelp and like what they see there, chances are they will then further investigate by going to the business’s website. This is just one example of how to utilize your online presence. Increasing your social media presence is always great, but having a nice looking and functional website is definitely a place to start.
According to a recent study, nearly half of adult Americans are smartphone users. Having a smartphone is among the best tools consumers use for finding products or services. Because of this, having a mobile-friendly website is absolutely essential for businesses.
Think of yourself as a consumer for a moment. Do you have a smartphone? Do you use it to find services or products? What’s important to you when choosing between the different businesses that come up in your search? Let’s say you’re searching for a hair salon in Beaverton. You look at two separate businesses that come up in the search. One of them features a mobile site, which is the same as their website, but shrunken down to fit on a small phone screen making it hard to read the words and navigate through the site–not to mention it requires a Flash player that you need to update (a.k.a not mobile-friendly). The next site has all the page links accessible with photos and easy to find contact information that you don’t need to squint to see. Which business are you already more attracted to? Probably the one that is easier for you to use.
Consumers on the go are looking for something that is easy to find. Make sure to keep in mind what your mobile site looks like when developing your web design. Don’t drive customers away with something that can be easily fixed.
When Twitter first became popular, users were hashtagging like crazy, and maybe then we used it for its true purpose. Eventually it became more of a trend than a useful functionality of the network. People were (and still are) putting a hashtag symbol in front of every word in their 140 characters or less post, or just putting full sentences into one word behind a hashtag. Many don’t understand the meaning behind what they’re doing, though when misusing the feature in this way, there really is no meaning.
Using a hashtag symbol on Twitter is actually a very handy marketing tool (when used correctly). When a user “hashtags” a word, for example #DivCreative, that word or phrase becomes a link that when clicked on will connect you with other posts that include that topic. It revolutionized social networking.
So, what’s the point of hashtagging random phrases? Nothing, really. But what’s the point of hashtagging your company’s name or something related to your company or business? It connects you to everyone else talking about that topic. Now, Facebook has also (hesitantly) adopted the hashtag function, allowing essentially the same method of connection. Even so, using hashtags on Facebook needs to be a careful process. When using hashtags carelessly on Facebook, it comes off in a sort of “follow the leader” fashion that isn’t very admirable.
Part of what we do at Div Creative is focus on details like this when working with your business. Keep in mind, when choosing your web design and presence options, details like this are essential. Having a website and a Facebook/Twitter page are only as good as the content you put on it.
When constructing a strategy for online marketing, or just general marketing, business owners generally have an idea in mind of what’s important to them. This could be the cost, or how much they’ll have to spend on marketing. It could be how much time they’ll need to invest for this business aspect. Or it could be a question of “is it worth it?” and “will this strategy bring in new customers?”
We want to know what is most important to you as a business owner. We will take time to understand your concerns, and find the best strategies for you when designing your website.
One of the best things about web design is the ability to cater to individual needs. If you are concerned about cost, we can find a way to give you the professional website you want, at a cost you’re happy with. If you are concerned about time investment, you can have us do it all for you. And if you’re concerned about customer flow, we have the tools to see how much traffic your site is getting, and improve it as needed.
The design of your website and web strategy will be based on what is important to you because that is what is most important to us.
Div Creative’s core values lie in the well-being of our Beaverton community. Our goal is to help out local small businesses in need of an upgraded, or brand new, web presence.
As a small business ourselves, we understand the desire to keep our business local. When working with you, we don’t want to change the culture you’ve created within our Beaverton community, we simply want to help you enhance how great it already is.
We strive to be here as a source of web design help for our friends and neighbors; a partner who will work with you to accomplish your web goals.
If you’re considering changing up your website, adding social media accounts, or just starting all over but don’t know where to start, give us a call! We are here to help, and we want to help! All you need to do is let us know you need it.
Some small business owners have a tough time understanding the importance of a good website. A main reason could be because so many small businesses have had all their customers for many years, and those customers tell their friends and so on. However, when customers take to the internet to show their friends your business, or those friends look up your company to see if you provide the service or product they need, they get their first impression of your business and base an opinion solely from what they see on your website. Knowing this, are you content with the way your website looks right now?
Here at Div Creative, we like to think of a good website as a “hygiene factor” of a good business. Think of your store or office where customers come in. If it’s a mess, you should clean it up! The same goes for your website. It is 2013, and people use the internet for just about everything. As a business owner, you should take pride in what your website looks like, just like you would take pride in your business’s space.
This is a good idea to do regardless of whether or not you’re looking for an increase in customer flow. The internet is just going to continue to be used more everyday, it’s not going anywhere. So for starters, this may be the best way to keep up with the times as we continue in the direction we’re headed.
Staying true to our values, we want our services to benefit our community in the Hillsboro area. If you are looking for a web design agency who understands the importance of the community value to small businesses, Div Creative is the perfect partner for you.
We will work with you every step of the way to develop a web presence customized to be exactly how you want it! Nothing is more important to us than the satisfaction of our clients. Our hope is to be a friend of the Hillsboro community. We will always do our best to tailor our services around the needs of our clients. We understand and respect that small businesses in the Hillsboro area have a developed culture with their customers, and our job is to enhance that culture, not change it. We want to help that culture that you worked so hard to develop grow locally.
Here’s the question on everyone’s mind: How is a nice looking website or a social media account or two going to better my business or non-profit organization? Well, here is your answer.
It will get prospective customer’s eyes on YOUR business! The internet is where people go to find a product or service, and if you can’t be found on the internet, what’s the point of the website you have? It is not doing you any good.
We want to give you not only a website that can be found, but one worth finding! We specialize in search engine optimization strategies that can bring your business or organization’s page up first on Google. A person wouldn’t necessarily have to type in your business’s name , for example, “Southeast Grocery”, they could simply type in something like “Beaverton Grocery Stores” and there is the link to the fabulous Southeast Grocery website first on the list! That’s how SEO works, and that’s what we want to give you. Exposure to your website.
When the prospective customer or client does find you in a search, we want to make sure they like what they see. We want your website to look modern and professional, filled with useful content that tells the audience everything they would want to know about your business or organization. Content is a main driver behind SEO, and something that needs to be constantly updated and added. What you currently have on you website isn’t doing you any good if it hasn’t been updated for three years, or even three months for that matter.
Here at Div Creative, we know that this can be a lot of work. It takes time, patience, and commitment to make your web presence worthwhile, which is why many local businesses and non-profit organizations have a hard time keeping up with it. So here’s a new question to ask yourself: If there is a Beaverton local and affordable option to help us out with this, why shouldn’t we take it?
We accept new clients all the time, so go ahead and give us a call! We have affordable prices for businesses, and even more affordable prices for non-profit organizations, and we want to work with you!
Individual businesses benefit from different social media networks in different ways. For example, Twitter might not be as effective for a retail company as Pinterest would be, or vice-versa. It’s important to know your audience, and know where their eyes are when thinking about your online presence. When you’re trying to figure out which network is best for your business, it’s useful to know about the benefits that each network can have for you. Though Pinterest gained popularity about three years ago, many people still don’t understand the uses and benefits of it, especially when it comes to using Pinterest for business.
Pinterest is an image-based network that has been growing rapidly. Those who used Pinterest in its early days in 2010 would remember that the network was by invitation only, meaning an existing Pinterest user had to extend an invitation to another person before that person could set up an account. With the growth Pinterest has seen, it is now open to anybody and everybody, businesses included, and has become a very effective social media marketing tool.
Pinterest is modeled to resemble an online bulletin board. Users search through “pins” and pin the ones they like to their boards. A “pin” is an image of something the user likes that, when clicked on, will take the user back to the website that the image was uploaded from. You can find all sorts of things on Pinterest. Clothing and styles are a majority of Pinterest but there are also food and recipes, wedding ideas, crafts, and do-it-yourself projects.
So your question might be, how could this benefit my business? Well, let’s use the example of a catering company. The Div Creative team makes the caterer’s web site, gets some pictures of food from events, uploads them to Pinterest, and then links them back to the business’s site. Once those images get circulated around Pinterest, there is a much higher possibility of driving traffic to the catering website than there was before, and therefore a higher chance of gaining new customers.
Businesses such as this catering company can have their audience get a much better picture of what they can offer by showing them through images. When using Pinterest for branding as a business, it’s important to remember that your audience cares about the visuals, meaning that any pictures you put onto Pinterest need to look good and be able to grab people’s attention. In an image-based network, that is what’s going to get noticed first and foremost. If you’re not sure if your business would benefit from Pinterest, ask us! We would love to help you and your business decide which social media networks are absolutely essential and which are not.
In my curiosity, I wanted to see how some businesses from right here in Beaverton were utilizing social media. I just typed in “Beaverton, OR” in the search bar, and up came images from Beaverton real estate companies, wedding dress shops, hotels, and even some local restaurants. All of which were popularly re-pinned from Pinterest users. That could be YOUR business! Contact us, and let us help you get your business on the map in the online world. Here is an example board from our new client, Lagana Catering LLC. All images are from weddings catered by Chef Nicole Lagana.
Div Creative is dedicated to serving our local Portland/Beaverton businesses. We strive to give a voice to those smaller businesses in our area who haven’t yet discovered the value of a solid web presence. Our client repertoire is filled with a diverse group of these small businesses, from Aquatics and More aquatic fitness to Bridge City Law certified accountants, we can manage all sorts of things. Now, we want to add non-profit organizations to the list as well.
In our efforts to keep our business local, we feel it’s important to have a strong connection to the Beaverton community. What better way to do that than to offer our services to non-profit organizations? If you are a part of a non-profit organization in Beaverton or the surrounding area, reach out to us! We’ d love to work with you to get a solid website and social media accounts going for your organization. We offer affordable prices, and helpful support so that any organization’s web presence can look highly professional, and be customized just the way you want it.
Div Creative, based out of Beaverton, OR strives to work with local businesses. We know that community and locality is an important value to the small businesses in Beaverton, and our values are no different.
It is important to us that we know we are making a difference for our neighbors and friends, and it is our hope that those neighbors and friends that we can also call clients feel this way as well. In creating a website for your business, we simply try to enhance the culture you’ve already created with your customers, not try to change it. We will customize your site to be exactly how you want it so that you have the highest satisfaction possible. Do you have an idea of what you want your website to look like, but don’t know where to start? Let us take your website from an idea to reality.
In today’s internet savvy world, it’s hard to say that most businesses aren’t aware of the importance of having a web presence. We see many big corporations who have their foot in the door in just about very social network available, but what about the small businesses? It’s no secret to them that an online presence has become somewhat of a necessity, but if you aren’t keeping up with what’s going on in the online world, it’s almost impossible to keep your head above water.
According to simplybusiness.com, not to mention the opinion of just about every other source out there, the connectivity to customers that social media networks and a solid website can give your business is a “vital part of the marketing strategy” (simplybusiness.com). As a small business owner, if you’re not aware of the commitment that it takes to keep up with your social networks and business site, the lack of content featured on your networks could reflect poorly on your business.
This is why outsourcing your digital marketing needs to an agency has become so important and popular. At Div Creative, we take a custom approach to each business we work with, tailoring the web design and social media work to the individual business and their customer base. We know where the consumer’s eyes are and how to get them on your content.
As mentioned previously, maintaining an awesome online presence is not an easy task. It takes commitment and consistency. Running a business is a hard enough job in itself, running your digital marketing campaign in addition doesn’t need to be something to stress about when you have an agency working for you.
Year after year, the amount of people using the yellow pages falls, and local searching rises. The statistics tell the truth about the changing landscape of finding local businesses, as a recent survey shows:
On the yellow pages:
- 7.69% use the yellow pages regularly (and this is largely the 55+ community)
- 23.08% use it once a month
- 15.38% use it once a year
- 53.85% never use it
- 7.14% of users use the yellow pages when looking for local services and businesses
On web searching:
- 92.86% use Google.com when looking for local services and businesses
- 100% use Google.com everyday
The disparity between the two advances every year, and especially among young people internet searching is the go-to source for local information!
Search Engine Optimization is a fancy term for a simple idea. Div Creative focuses on SEO, and the reason is simple. Unless potential clients/customers know your website’s address already, 95% of users will find your site via Google, Bing, Yelp, or social media sites like Facebook and Google+. That makes making your site as accessible as possible to those sites and managing your social media presence incredibly important! At Div Creative, we’ve been managing the SEO of sites for years. We have a couple of key things that we focus on, and a website package with us will contain all of the following:
- A solid website framework, to make the underlying tech of your website as visible as possible to the robots at Google and Bing.
- Quality content, updated as much as possible. One of the best ways to boost your search ranking is to have a constant stream of well-written and relevant content flowing through your website at least weekly.
- A watchful eye on social media! A piece that many businesses forget is to check on their pages on sites like Facebook and Yelp. A single negative review left alone can do a huge amount of damage to your online reputation! Keeping an eye on your social media presence can be a huge boost, especially for review-based businesses like restaurants and plumbers.
Div Creative specializes in managing all of these, and we’d love to take the stress of making a good impression on the internet off your back!
We’re finally live!
I figured I’d take some time to introduce us. We’re Div Creative, a subsidiary of Tiger Sheep LLC. Tiger Sheep is an all-around media company, dabbling in mobile game, graphic design, print, web, and business training. Tiger Sheep’s main product is a complex business training site, live at BusinessOneTraining.com. We’ve cornered the market of training videos for the SAP Business One software suite, and that product has been massively successful.
Through creating Business One Training, our designers and techs have amassed a pretty large skill set in the web design game, and we’ve founded Div Creative to pass that expertise on to you. We want to make powerful, attractive webpages, and make them for less than our competitors! Specifically, we want to focus on businesses who have yet to migrate to the online sphere. Still advertising in the yellow pages? It’s time to upgrade! Having an online presence in this day and age is incredibly important, and Div Creative wants to help you to finally make the jump. When hired, we provide optional training and hosting, and will do whatever it takes to make sure that you are happy with your web purchase.
Contact us today and get a personalized quote! We’re based in Portland, Oregon and love working with small local businesses.