Becoming My Own Web Design Client

You’re reading this on the latest version of the Creagent Marketing website, which means we’ve gone through another internal update. Just like moving into a new home or apartment, designing a new website is an opportunity to de-clutter and focus on only the best stuff. As a website design agency, this is a secondary benefit to our services.

I focus on designing websites for other businesses all the time. So being my own client is an opportunity to assess the approach and process. And ideally make it even better for future clients.

Here are a few things I learned:

Identifying model websites is a MUST.

I always ask my clients to dig up a few designs they really love or specific elements that stand out. The process helps me understand their aesthetic, but it can also be a tool for becoming un-stuck. As I worked on the new Creagent Marketing site, there were times when I was at a loss for how to lay out certain sections. Reviewing other agency sites served as an inspiration. It also provided specific ideas that led me down the right creative path.

Photography is the number one asset.

There was a noticeable difference from the last time I re-designed our website because we had fewer photos to use back then. This time, it was luxurious to be able to dig through several years of pictures. For those businesses who don’t have an extensive library of photos, I suggest budgeting for a photographer as part of a website redesign moving forward. It’s not absolutely necessary, but it makes a huge difference.

One piece of “pillar content” is a great launchpad.

Search engine compatibility and optimization is one of the most important features of any website. An emerging trend is for businesses to generate “content clusters,” or a series of pages and posts around one primary topic. In 2018, I worked on an ebook about travel consumer segments, which became a central piece of content for our new website. In blog and social media posts moving forward, we’ll be able to reference this ebook to increase visitors and leads. This is something I will encourage businesses to attempt in the future. Having a central piece of content helps visitors find and navigate the site. It also establishes a strong, authoritative voice around a specific topic. The benefits are endless.

I enjoyed the opportunity to learn more about my work. This process revealed more tools that can be used for future projects and clients. As always, I look forward to implementing these – and many other – lessons into our upcoming website designs.

The Social Media Infographic You Need

Just recently, Tracx came out with their authoritative 2017 social media infographic – and it’s an internet marketing nerd’s dream. The graphic shows some of the most important data points about social media users and adds some fascinating trivia to drive home those points. For example, did you know that YouTube reaches more 18-49 year olds than any cable network in the United States?

This is the type of infographic that becomes a conversation-changer. While many small businesses use arbitrary decision-making to decide how to access their audience, these statistics provide better insight for well-informed marketing tactics. If your target demographic is under the age of 35, for instance, you have a strong argument for being on Instagram, where 90% of users are in your target and 53% choose to follow brand accounts.

But enough of my introduction. Below is the 2017 State of Social infographic from Tracx.com.

To learn more about what this means for your marketing efforts, send us an email today. Or check out our small business packages for social media marketing and insights.

What’s Happening to Social Media?

Social media began in chat rooms and email chains. In most households, it started with dial-up access to services like AOL, each with its own built-in community. The idea that an individual could connect with someone else on the other side of the country, or the world, was not altogether foreign. But the idea that those connections could happen between strangers – and that one person could communicate with hundreds or thousands of others at once… that was a privilege once reserved only for businesses who could pay for air time on traditional media.

Today, we take it for granted that a single individual with something interesting to say can immediately transmit their message to millions of internet users around the world. With a lot less money than before, businesses can still pay for more exposure, but it took some time to figure out how to deal with the “social” part of social media.

We now understand that social media is a platform for engagement, conversation, and connection. Businesses small and large have learned how to leverage social media with transparency and humility. They’ve learned the differences between traditional advertising and social media marketing; that listening is just as important as sharing.

But as much as businesses have learned over the years, it seems like our government is just starting to crawl. We currently have a president who still seems used to the days of propaganda, when newspaper and television reporters could be easily swayed by media advertisers and stakeholders. The POTUS uses social media quite infamously, but his use resembles traditional advertising where the message used to be one-sided. However, now that he and his administration are seeing how easily other social media accounts can respond – or simply share their own information – there’s a mad scramble to shut it down or discredit anything that isn’t theirs.

The problem is, they’re late to the game. Businesses and individuals have established credibility for over a decade now. Authors, artists, scientists, restaurants, clothing brands, and home-grown photographers have built an audience of rabid fans from all over the world. In every small circle, the influencers who have earned their keep control the message. Social media is already so intricately and tightly bound that even the richest, most powerful person in the world couldn’t infiltrate all of it.

That is, not without playing by the rules.

Take Reddit, for example, a community of anonymous users posting content: the only way for content to rise to the top is for other users to “upvote” it. No one there cares who you are, what you’ve posted in the past, or how much money you have. What matters is that your content is relevant and interesting; and if so, it could be the foundation of a whole new internet trend or movement. (Except r/me_irl – they’ll upvote anything)

These rules aren’t quite so strict on sites like Facebook or Twitter, but in order to be a true influencer, the same concept still applies: your content has to be worthy of a virtual “upvote.” In other words, Donald Trump can say whatever he wants on Twitter, but even he is not immune to immediate feedback, fact-checking, and simply being ignored. In fact, he’s only the 57th most followed user on Twitter, behind several musicians, athletes, news sources he’s deemed as “fake,” and yes, Barack Obama (number 3 on the list).

So as we all sit around and wonder what’s happening to social media, it’s important to remember that there aren’t any real secrets to it… Every individual has a voice, every user can choose who to follow, and every influencer has to earn her or his own audience. That’s always been the case, and it was a hard lesson to learn for businesses. Now we get to watch while our government learns the same lesson.