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4 Trends in Website Design That Small Businesses Need to Know

Small businesses are an integral part of our economy. Every business aims to solve a problem and create value in doing so. This is particularly true of small businesses. They provide a service or product that meets local needs and can fulfill requirements for larger businesses. The benefits of small businesses are numerous, but often they can have difficulty creating, sharing, and establishing their message. Entrepreneurs, startups, and freelancers watch their budgets carefully, and expenses outside of delivering the product are kept to a minimum. That means marketing budgets get shaved first. Websites for any product or service are today’s version of a first impression. Consumers make a variety of instant decisions about whether to continue on a site or jump to a competitor’s. A person’s eyes take just 2.6 seconds to focus on a particular element of a webpage when it loads, according to research from Missouri University of Science and Technology. Brands working to establish and expand their digital identity can expect to see increased competition for consumer attention online. Consumers increasingly form opinions about brands on the basis of their browsing experience, making it imperative to establish a positive digital identity. Here is what we can expect in the evolution of small-business website design. 1. Less reliance on custom code Businesses have traditionally hired design firms to design their websites. Websites are perceived to be difficult to create and highly technical to maintain. But platforms that allow non-tech savvy individuals to develop their sites in a drag-and-drop format have begun to rival the value of web design firms. For small businesses, do-it-yourself websites are a viable... read more

Stop selling: The hard truth of social media marketing

Every organization needs a social presence, right? Yet, because a significant number of SME owners struggle to glean quantifiable results — or sales — from their social media efforts, it must be asked if it is really worth the effort for them. While many spend significant time and money to have staff or outside agencies maintain their social media accounts hoping to lure new clients, they’re missing the fact that selling on social media channels doesn’t work. Only about 10 per cent of the clients of my digital-marketing firm actually manage to convert leads into sales through social media. The exception is large brands that have huge media followings (Apple, Coke), companies that started, target and thrive on social media (Luxyhair.com is another of many examples), and specialized service providers such as consultants or event organizers. In the latter case, they might use social media channels to promote a speaking engagement or a new book. Unless your business falls into one of those categories, stop trying to sell. Yes, SMEs need to maintain a social media presence because that is now the go-to communication platform for clients across age demographics. But social media as a tool for building brand recognition is only one tool. Use it that way but broaden your wider marketing strategy to include such other tactics as advertising, public relations, content marketing, speaking engagements and other initiatives that can help boost your bottom line. Remember that it’s also highly transactional, in the sense that no organization owns the followers they maintain on their preferred social media channels — they rent them. Whether paying for Facebook ads... read more

Should I try freelancing as a career choice?

I remember this was a question I made to myself 15 years ago. In that time, like many, I had the knowledge but still no experience. So my first decision after the college was to be a full-time employee. Overall it wasn’t so bad, because in a company you acquire the business structure, the confidence, the management and the formality you may need to handle yourself as a independent contractor. After 5 years I decided it was time, I really wanted to do things by myself. In my last year working as a formal employee, I had already the idea of what direction to take and Prototypo | Creative Design was born. As a independent designer what I really love is how different each project can be. No client is the same and there is always something new!. But not everything is so easy being a freelancer. There are couple of things I want to share with you based on my experience, and that you should consider if you are interested in following the same path as me: You have to be very clear in the service you will provide. This is what you are offering to your potential clients…you will sell your skills and your knowledge, so be clear in what are you outstanding at. What kind of clients you are interested in: You have to identify if you want to work for short or long projects and for large, medium or small companies. As a recommendation: first always try to investigate the background of any company you are interested in or a company that is requesting your services... read more