9 Compelling Reasons Why Your Business NEEDS a Professional Website

I originally wrote this article, 8 Reasons Why Your Business NEEDS a Professional Website, on my old website back in 2008, but felt it was in need of an update when I put this website together in 2017. Since 2009, there has been a drastic shift towards social media. Also, many entrepreneurs who understand the need for having a website are doing it themselves with freebie web hosting that comes with free drag and drop page builders.

However, there are still a lot of small business owners who do not believe they need a professional website or even a website at all. They’ve either been in business so long without one they think word of mouth is all they need or they believe they can get all their customers or clients on Facebook or other social media channels. Not true!9 compelling reasons why your business NEEDS a professional website

Read more9 Compelling Reasons Why Your Business NEEDS a Professional Website

Choosing a web host for your new website – 5 things to consider

I wrote this article on Things to consider when choosing a web host many years ago, and these are valid considerations. However, I felt it was time to provide a more relevant and current post on the subject so below I note the 5 things to consider when choosing a web host in 2017 and beyond.

If you’ve just purchased a domain name for your new website, the next step to getting your website online is choosing a web host. I know you may be tempted to get a free website (i.e. freebie web-hosting with WYSIWYG page builder) but if you want to grow your business in the future and ultimately your website, I don’t recommend getting free web-hosting.

While they have their advantages for start-ups on limited budgets or novices who have no web-building experience, such as easy-to-use, drag-and-drop page builders and a range of pre-built templates, you are not in control of your website and you are limited to the functionality provided by the web-host’s page builder. Ultimately, you will wind up getting frustrated with not being able to do what you want or need to with your website, and will need to move it to a new web-host.

Since the web-host’s page builder and templates are proprietary to them, you do not own your website and it will not be easy to move its home. All the files that make up your website will be stored on the web-hosts server and you won’t have access. At the very least, you may be able to export the data, but rebuilding your website through a different CMS system will be difficult.

Instead I recommend purchasing web-hosting through a reliable and reputable web host (such as HostPapa, BlueHost, 1and1, HostGator, Godaddy). So before you start, I recommend that you do a Google search for the top 10 best web-hosts in your country as well as the top 10 web hosts for security, which is probably the most important thing to consider when purchasing web-hosting.

You’ll find several articles providing a list of the top web hosts with features that they consider important so you can easily compare. Select the most recent articles – preferably in the last year.

Here are 5 things to consider when choosing a web host:

Read moreChoosing a web host for your new website – 5 things to consider

New WordPress features with 4.9 upgrade

Yesterday, I spent the day upgrading several WordPress websites to the new 4.9 version.

In the latest version, there are several exciting new features that will improve user experience and enhance WordPress websites, so I thought I would share them with you here in a quick blogpost.

When you first upgrade your WordPress website and land back on the Dashboard, you’ll see the new features broken down into 4 sections. There’s no video or accolade to a past musician as in recent major version upgrades, just a cool modern, colourful graphical presentation with brief descriptions (partially shown in the screenshot below).

All together there are 11 new features mentioned, plus one I spotted right after the update. I have not tried them out yet but they sound like they will greatly improve the user experience.

So what are the new features in WordPress 4.9?

Read moreNew WordPress features with 4.9 upgrade

Five marketing tools to generate exposure for your new or expanding business

If you’re just starting out with a new business venture, your business is in a slump, or you’re looking to expand your business, whether it’s a bricks and mortar establishment, a home-based service or you’re in network marketing/direct sales, you need to get the word out to your target market. As any business owner knows, if you don’t promote your offering in a variety of different ways, regularly and continuously, you won’t be in business for long.

Five percent of revenue is generally considered the approximate investment to allocate on marketing to maintain a business, but it should be closer to 10% if you’re looking to expand and may be a lot higher if you are just starting out (since you don’t have any revenue yet), but of course this amount varies by company and business type.

As with any marketing, the number of methods used to communicate your message and number of times your business is exposed to your target audience is key to a successful marketing campaign but may be limited by your actual budget. Determining which marketing tools to use will depend on cost, business type, who your target market is, where they are located and your marketing message (among other criteria).

Most small businesses at some point invest in a website and print materials such as business cards, brochures or flyers to communicate their marketing message, and almost everyone these days is using social media or some kind to promote their business. But there are a number of other marketing tools that can be used to generate exposure for a new or expanding business, drive traffic to your website or business location, and ultimately help you get more customers. Below are five marketing tools available to generate exposure for your new or expanding business.

Note: for the purpose of this blog post, I will not be including online marketing, such as search engine marketing, social media marketing, email marketing or online advertising.

Read moreFive marketing tools to generate exposure for your new or expanding business

One reason why you need a mobile friendly website

Mobile Friendly Website - Responsive Website Desktop View
Responsive website as viewed on a desktop computer

There are, of course, many reasons why your website should be mobile friendly, but in my opinion there is only one reason why you need a mobile friendly website and why you should be worried if it is not.

If you do a Google search for “why do I need a mobile friendly website?” you’ll be presented with a list of websites that give “3 reasons why you must have a mobile friendly website,” “10 reasons to make your website mobile friendly,” “Five compelling reasons you need a mobile friendly website” and so on.

While all the reasons they give are valid, they all amount to the same thing.

Read moreOne reason why you need a mobile friendly website

Why you should not rely solely on Facebook

…and why it’s important to have a website for your small business

Last month, someone in my networking circle suggested that websites are going the way of the dodo, much like snail mail. Earlier this week, during his “elevator pitch,” he recanted his statement and then preceded to talk about his Facebook Messenger business automation tool.

I was next to speak, and said with a smile on my face, “Thank goodness websites aren’t going the way of the dodo, as I am a website designer!” I got quite a laugh from everyone at the table.

It got me thinking though…

It always astounds me when I meet someone for the first time and ask if they have a website so I can take a look at the products or services offered when I get home, and the response is, “No, I don’t have a website but I’m on Facebook.”

There’s a surprisingly high number of small business owners who don’t seem to value the benefits of having a website.

Read moreWhy you should not rely solely on Facebook

What were the top 10 most popular colours for websites in 2016?

To be honest, I do not know. After hours of searching online, I was unable to find any websites writing on the top 10 most popular website colours for 2016, although I did find an article by wired.com that stated that the most popular colour on the Internet in 2016 was blue.

This is quite apparent when you take a look at the top 10 most visited websites in Canada (http://www.alexa.com/topsites/countries/CA), about 60% of them (Facebook, Wikipedia, Reddit, Amazon, Live and Diply) use blue as their primary accent colour.

Read moreWhat were the top 10 most popular colours for websites in 2016?

What were the top 10 most popular serif fonts of 2016?

Last week I wrote about the most popular sans serif fonts of 2016. This week I focus on the top 10 most used serif fonts.

According to Typewolf, the top ten most popular serif fonts in 2016 were:

  • Caslon
  • Garamond
  • Minion
  • FF Tisa
  • Freight Text
  • Tiempose Text
  • Miller
  • Calluna
  • Plantin
  • Baskerville

Read moreWhat were the top 10 most popular serif fonts of 2016?

What were the top 10 most popular sans serif fonts of 2016?

Happy New Year and welcome to 2017

It’s a brand new year and like many people I often reflect on the past year. As a graphic and website designer, I also look at current and projected design trends, and will share things on Pinterest. This year, I’ve decided to reflect on some of the most popular trends of 2016, and am starting today with the top 10 most used sans serif fonts of 2016.

According to Typewolf, these are the top 10 most popular fonts of 2016.

Read moreWhat were the top 10 most popular sans serif fonts of 2016?

WordPress 4.7

WordPress 4.7, otherwise known as Vaughan, after Jazz legend Sarah “Sassy” Vaughan, was released on December 6, 2016 and includes a brand new theme, built from the ground up, called 2017.

WordPress 4.7 comes with some new features, such as the CSS editor in the customizer that allows the user to see their changes immediately. You can now also add new pages as you create your menu in the customizer.

Read moreWordPress 4.7