Web Pages that "pop"
Here is a great Photoshop action created by Damian Watracz and it allows you to turn normal flat images into 3D objects, but thats not all. This action can be used on Vector shapes, Text and layers. For more information and a free download click here.
For the you tube video tutorial click here
Traditional Retail in Australia and why shops are closing
After over a decade of consistent year-on-year growth, internet shopping finally reached mainstream status in the first quarter of 2013: for the first time, Australians who don’t buy something online in an average three month period are in the minority. The average internet shopper spends $285 online per four week period, with Travel, Entertainment & Leisure, Electronics, Fashion and Food & Beverages the Top 5 categories by expenditure.
These latest findings by Roy Morgan research are exactly why shops are empty in the main street and you cant afford not to have your store online.
For more help call Barking Toad
8 Homepage Design Tweaks
The basic rules of web design are quite well-known in the community, so to speak. I mean, everyone knows (even people outside of the design world) that a good homepage is one that’s not cluttered, only contains essential info and is direct to the point. However, there are some specific tweaks/adjustments that you can take into account when working on the homepage of your next project to make it even better.
Thanks to Webdevdesign team for this very true account of changing trends in website design.
Five tips for improving conversions
Getting web visitors to become customers is the ultimate goal when it comes to running a business online. Your site can be immaculately designed, and your online marketing pitch perfect, but if visitors don’t like what they see when they land, you won’t make a sale.
In truth, conversions come down to how well you meet customer expectations. And given each customer is likely to expect different things to the next, it can be a complex and laborious process keeping everyone happy. The following are five tips to make the practice of converting visitors to customers a bit simpler.
1. Give them information
While it’s wise not to bombard customers with screeds of text, it’s important you let them know the crucial details. If there’s a piece of information that’s likely to nudge them over the line into a sale, then find some way to share it with them.
Who are you, who are they dealing with? What other companies deal with you? what are your shipping timeframes. Answer as many questions as possible, so the person can then just go through to making that sale or purchasing that product. A lot of people are a bit more wary about purchasing online. Giving away as much information as possible for them will make the decision easier.
2. Don’t ask too much
While it’s always useful to have more information about a customer, trying to pry too many details out of them in a transaction or customer contact form is unwise. If the actual act of conversion feels like a lot of effort, most won’t bother.
You’ve got to remember people on the internet are doing things quick. They are probably in contemplation mode when they’re filling out forms. The more questions that you ask for a form, the less likely it is that someone will fill it out.
3. Catch their eye
Having a basic understanding of how a visitor scans the layout of a page is useful when it comes to placing key information like calls to action or contact details. Most visitors will be prepared to spend very little time on a page when they first land – if you can catch their eye with a phone number or an offer, you can make the most of the minimal interaction.
Web Marketing Experts note that visitors typically look to the top right of a page for contact information, and to the left for information that identifies a business – a logo or slogan, or similar.
A number on the right hand side, and your logo on the left – that’s where people will look. They’ll look straight to the right to see if there’s contact details, the email address, and phone number. Also, make sure that the navigation menu bar is centred so that people can see what pages are where.
4. Leave them where you found them
Sometimes, conversions don’t happen on your website at all, it’s often much easier converting prospects on their own terms. If they found your business on Facebook, don’t try to tear them out of their comfort zone.
“I actually found that people on Facebook tend to just want to be on Facebook – that’s why they’re using it rather than trying to over-optimise a landing page, just point them towards the Facebook page, and then put some real call to actions in the Facebook cover image and your posts on the Facebook page.”
Here is an an example of an iPhone repair business and how they use Facebook. The business’s Facebook page is used as a medium for fielding questions from customers. Contact details are prominently displayed, but the business’s interactions rarely point to them, focusing instead on solving customer problems.
It seems to be working much better than the website landing page.
5. Constant testing
Improving conversion rates should be seen as an ongoing process, not a one time, set-and-forget exercise. It’s important to test and re-test any changes made to a site to see what works best.
A simple way of doing this is to use Google’s AdWords service for trial and error – claim the listing for a particular keyword, but point half of the ads to one landing page for the product, and half the ads to a different, but still relevant, landing page. Once this is set up, see which page results in more conversions.
If you’re not getting much traction from your first landing page, you can change it, but then also make a second one. I’ve found that was really good, because you work out you’re getting a 70% bounce rate on one, and 90% on the other, and then you can start to alternate and try to work out why you’re getting better rates at different landing pages.
Article courtesy of NETT Magazine
Hacked Websites or just incompetant website designers
Here is a letter sent to us from a recent client.
To all our friends and happy customers,
Last Wednesday our website, hosted in the USA on DotEasy was hacked and taken out by some unscrupulous person(s). The whole site was lost/destroyed. Beware of USA security and cheap hosting sites, it\'s not all it\'s cracked up to be.
Thankfully our good friends at BARKING TOAD had us up and running within hours with a brand new website shell and internet service. Now (online) we\'re based back here in Australia and hopefully the site will be fully functional by the end of the month. The new site is alot of fun and you\'ll be able to design your own work from home \"on line\", if you choose. Colours, fonts and styling possibilities are almost endless but the same care and attention to a quality hand made product will always remain.
Please visit us on Facebook (just search Vintage Signcraft) and \"like\"
us there too. Thank you for passing the word as we really appreciate your support and promotion of local home grown businesses that are dedicated to service and quality..
And thank you Mike and Toni - look to them if you ever need marketing or website support..
Andrew and Lynette
How to create an effective email newsletter
Email newsletters can be a cost-effective communication tool for your business. They allow you to directly reach your customers with relevant and useful information.
They are also a great way to stay in contact with potential customers while promoting your services, products and brand. Here are some tips:
News your subscribers can use
The keyword in newsletter is news. This means if you want your subscribers to actually read your newsletter you need to include information that is interesting and valuable to them.
Since they have subscribed to your newsletter they are obviously interested in gaining more information about your business and your industry. You could include information about the latest industry trends, current news about your business, helpful advice, expert articles or answer customer questions.
Choose a regular date and time for the distribution of the newsletter and stick to it. By being consistent your subscribers will expect the newsletter at a certain time and will be more likely to read it.
It is best to send out a newsletter once a month or every fortnight. However make sure you can commit to the regular distribution of the newsletter before starting.
Keep it short
If you include articles in your newsletter it’s best to keep them short, around 200 words. If the article is longer, place it on your website or blog and hyperlink to it from the newsletter. This is a great way of driving people back to your website and getting your readers to see other material you have written. Use plain language and always check for spelling and grammar mistakes before distribution.
Your newsletter should follow a set format and be visually appealing. If your newsletter looks interesting then your subscribers will be more likely to read it.
You could also include a table of contents at the top of the newsletter and hyperlink each article. This will help readers navigate to the information they are most interested in.
Use your own content
There is no point having a newsletter if you don’t use your own content. People have subscribed to your newsletter because they want to maintain a relationship with your business. This means you should include articles written by your team, updates about your business, and information specific to your industry.
Make it easy to unsubscribe
You should always include an unsubscribe button on the newsletter which is easy to see. Not only is it illegal not to have one, its poor form. If someone has unsubscribed to your newsletter make sure you take him or her off your mailing list straight away.
Don’t spam your subscribers with hundreds of emails that aren’t useful to them. It’s also best to ask people if they want to subscribe to your newsletter first instead of just subscribing anyone without their permission. Your newsletter should also clearly state what the business is that is sending the email.
Include your contact details
Make sure you include all of your contact details including phone, email, blog and social media profiles. It’s a good idea to hyperlink them to make it even easier to contact you. You can also provide links back to your website to increase your website traffic.
Top seven predictions for 2013
1 – Impact of tablets on the digital media landscape will accelerate.
According to the report, smartphone penetration amongst the entire population is predicted to increase from 13% in 2012 to 29% in 2017. In addition to this, smartphone penetration is predicted to rise from 41% in 2012 to 65% in 2017.
2 – Online video advertising market will grow rapidly in Australia.
Frost & Sullivan is predicting the online video advertising market to grow by over 50% in 2013. It was worth $86 million in 2012, and the analyst house is forecasting it to be worth $442 million by 2016.
3 – Online video will take significant market share from the traditional broadcasting market.
The study is predicting that as smartphone penetration rises, so too will the acceptance of the mobile channel to watch online video.
4 – Social media will continue to gain popularity as an advertising medium.
According to the report, nearly 60% of Australian companies that advertise online used Facebook to some extent during 2012. Frost & Sullivan is predicting this to increase further in 2013 and 2014.
5 – Ad exchanges will become a crucial part of the online advertising ecosystem.
Purchasing inventory via ad exchanges (like Google AdWords, or Facebook Ads where you bid on online advertising) is expected to increase in 2013.
6 – integration of mobile advertising with other channels will increase.
The study shows that the mobile advertising market in Australia is forecast to reach $177 million by 2017. This will largely come about due to the integration of mobile advertising with other online and offline products in a single campaign.
7 – Mobile search will grow strongly.
Frost & Sullivan is predicting that Google and Bing will continute to invest significant resources into improving mobile search functionality. It’s also expected that queries for local products like restaraunts and retail stores will become more common types of searches made via a mobile device.
Rival analyst firm IDC has released its predictions for the information and communication technology (ICT) sector in 2013.
The report is forecasting a transformation in how suppliers connect with Australian businesses, how workers connect with large enterprises, and the types of technologies being used.
The top ten predictions for 2013 from IDC are:
· Omni-channel retailing will drive growth in expansionary ICT spending from social local mobile applications
“In 2013 ICT professionals must bridge two big forces. On the one hand, they are faced with a dangerously unbalanced European economy, a stagnant United States, and recent data pointing to the flattening of Chinese growth, which are negatively impacting Australian organisations,”says Matthew Oostveen, research director at IDC Australia.