Summer is finally here! It's a great time of year especially for spending time outdoors; however, it can also be dangerous if you spend too long in the heat.
There are numerous heat-related illnesses that can occur if you don't take the proper precautions. Some of these include:
heat cramps - cramps that normally happen during times of strenuous work. Occurs when you lose large amounts of fluids.
heat exhaustion - when you sweat heavily your body loses large amounts of fluids, this can lead to heat exhaustion. The loss of fluids can affect your brain function causing symptoms such as dizziness, confusion and headaches.
heat stroke - long periods spent in extreme heat can lead to heat stroke. Heat stroke occurs when the body cannot regulate it's temperature by sweating.
As mentioned in previous posts, being in the web business has its advantages as we get to work with pretty much every industry out there! We recently moved to a new house with a pool and, with two small children, we were concerned about the kids having access to the pool while playing in the backyard,
The solution was simple - put up a fence. However, I didn't want to ruin the layout/look of the backyard (I am a designer after all!) so we decided to put a wrought iron fence in. This way, it would have the safety factor, longevity and it looks a lot better than standard chain link.
We just happened to be finishing up a site for a great company called New Trend Fencing. I had a very tight time line to put in the fence so, I called our client Joe Pozeg (the president of New Trend) and not only did he help me out with ensuring it was delivered on time, but he delivered it himself which is quite a task as I live almost 2 hours from their location.
The fence arrived and the quality and look is amazing! Unfortunately, the new website we are developing for New Trend isn't 100% complete yet but stay tuned as it will be launched shortly. If you're looking for a wrought iron/decorative fence or even their patented "Fencerts" don't hesitate to get in touch with New Trend, you won't regret it!
WebWiz@rd provides our clients the ability to add content to their websites on their own, but we occasionally have clients hire us to add their content to their site on their behalf. This request is typically made right after their site is first built. Our clients provide us the written content and any images that they wish to include and we implement the content in an easy-to-read and attractive way.
When I started at REM, almost 3 years ago, and first learned that this was a service that we provided, I questioned why anyone would pay us to complete this work when they have the ability to do the work themselves at no cost. It seemed like a waste of money and a missed opportunity to get completely familiar with the WebWiz@rd tools.
I now understand why some of our clients go this route. Not only do I understand why but in many cases I think that it is a great decision.
Lack of Confidence
Some of our clients know exactly what information they want to add to their site but they don’t feel like they will be able to display the content in a complementary way. Because of this, they would rather have us add the initial content knowing that they can update the content moving forward.
Short On Time
Populating a website from scratch can take quite a bit of time. Some of our clients would rather pay us to add their content since they do not have the time to allocate to this task themselves. They are happy to update the content on their own after the bulk of the work is completed.
Eager To Go Live
Like I mentioned above, populating a site can take time. Most of our clients are very motivated to get their website launched, perhaps they have a deadline that must be met or perhaps they are just excited to show it off! Since REM is 100% comfortable using the WebWiz@rd tools, we are able to add content to a site much faster than most of our new clients. Hiring us to complete this work allows our clients to go “live” sooner rather than later.
When our clients choose to add their initial content to their site on their own, they become very confident using WebWiz@rd. There is an enormous amount of value having this knowledge and comfort with our system. But for some of our clients the appearance of their site, their time and their enthusiasm outweighs the benefit of using WebWiz@rd so heavily right at the beginning of their websites life.
3.0.1 to 3.4.2 a Year of WebWiz@rd 3.X - Part 5 of 5
We're celebrating our first official year of WebWiz@rd 3 here at REM and I thought it would be a great time to share some of my experience and thoughts related to it.
Now for part 5, the Final Few & The Future!
The Final Few
We're down to the last remaining customers, and happily moving them to our latest and greatest platform!
By the time you read this, McCordick Glove and Safety will be moved into WebWiz@rd 3 along with their bilingual database of products, that number in the thousands.
One thing that strikes me as noteworthy about this migration is how future friendly our original design turned out to be when we created the site over 3 years ago! Their customized quoting system, database of product SKUs, search features and French & English content will all be converted with the same consistency of quality that we've seen with our hundreds of other customers. It will take a bit longer due to the quantity of data and pages, but not due to architectural problems in the code.
We strive to keep every websites relevant for the long haul and with McCordick Glove, we fulfilled that obligation once again.
So what is to come, now that most customers have been migrated to our newest platform? Mobile domination, for REM and for REM's customers. We've been building mobile platforms and moving our customers onto them as quickly as we've been asked. Now we won't wait to be asked. We've seen the shift in mobile prevalence and we have a strategy that has been well tested and ready for roll out.
I can't wait to start filling in those details in the year to come!
How to decide where to spend your marketing dollars
I have met with small businesses for many years to talk about how a fresh web design can increase their business. I will often spend time pointing out how easily a website can pay for itself if used properly. However, when I ask most small business owners if they have had much success with their current website, few are able to answer that question.
Why? Because they have no measures in place to keep track of what is working.
You should be tracking all your marketing efforts, whether it costs you money or just effort. By doing so you will be able to better understand at the end of the year (or more often) where you should be prioritizing your budget dollars and effort in regards to marketing your business effectively.
It doesn't matter if you use high tech methods or just a scrap piece of paper, as long as you do it. I recommend creating a spreadsheet that you have handy on your desktop that is broken down by month and by lead type.
Here is a list of ideas that you could use for your tracking of lead types:
Google Plus Page
Other Search Engines
Radio Ad - (break it down further if you have multiple)
TV Ad - (break it down further if you have multiple)
Magazine Ad (break it down further if you have multiple)
Every time someone calls in, make one of your first questions, "Do you mind if I ask where you heard about us from". Then mark it down on the spreadsheet right after. Notice, how the list above is more specific then just "Social Media" or "Search Engines". You should be as specific as you can.
Once you start gathering data, you will be able to easily see what is actually working for you and allow you to make better decisions on where to spend your funds and your effort.
Taking it one step further, if you can find ways to track which of those leads turned into a paying client/customer it will allow you to make even better decisions. For example, you are likely to see a much higher rate of closed sales opportunities in the "Referral" category then most others. If someone recommends your company you will typically have a much better chance at securing them as a new customer. Therefore, that might be an area where you begin to find ways to give incentives to people for getting you business.
People often assume that they know in their heads what is working for them but when you start tracking it, you might be very surprised.
If you are looking at ways to make your website a more effective lead generation tool please give me a call at 519-884-4111 x 111 to chat.
REM Web Solutions will be closed on July 1, 2014 and opening again on July 2, 2014 to celebrate Canada Day. Enjoy the day with your family and friends.
Rob Matlow at 3:23 PM
Putting the Pen to Paper
In the digital world of websites we sometimes forget how easy it is to explore options and ideas by first sketching them out. Learning to draw wire frames has helped me not only be more creative but to speed up the initial design process.
By spending only a fraction of the time sketching gives me hours in the long run while working on a project. Ideas come more quickly and on the fly so I can spend more time generating solutions.
In the case of Smokin' Tony's I spent some time sketching out ideas for the typography of the main banner image. As you can see below the initial sketch is a little different than the final outcome, however the idea started at the tip of my pen.
Take a look at Our Portfolio for more samples of our work. Many of the designs there started with just a couple ideas putting a pen to paper.
Spotlight on Design - WebWiz@rd Powered Mobile Sites
REM has been busy pumping out successful, mobile websites for our customers. I'm quite proud of the quality of these sites, as they are in keeping with our attentive and careful design philosophy, while remaining highly responsive and useful.
Here are just a few of the mobile websites we have published for our customers in recent past:
Crosby Auto Group - http://m.crosbyauto.ca/mobileIndex.cfm Features: location & directions, direct call access from mobile device, built-in mobile-friendly form for contacting Crosby Auto Group without leaving the user's mobile web browser.
Whitney Commercial Real Estate Services - http://m.whitneyre.com/mobile.cfm Features: Full access to searching properties and finding real estate agents right from the palm of your hand.
If you're looking to make the jump to catering to mobile web visitors (who isn't, right?), please let us know! We'd be happy to help you realize your dreams of cashing in on the mobile craze!
The designers at REM have created hundreds of great designs and wonderful sites. Although every design is great in it's own way I definitely have my favourites.
One of my favourite designs would be Thrive Studios (see the site here). The site itself looks very clean and organized. I feel that this is especially important because of their line of work. Tattoo and piercing studios must keep their place of business extremely clean to help clients feel at ease.
The site itself contains a large amount of information; however, it does not feel overwhelming. Everything is laid out in logical way and is easy to navigate.
My favourite part of the site would have to be the photo galleries for each artist.
Graphic art and fine art exist on completely opposite spectrums. While most fine artists will typically rely upon a specific style (regardless of art medium) it is important for graphic artists/designers to be open and define the style based on the industry and brand associated with a project.
Although we always try and create contemporary designs for our clients we are also careful to not jump on the bandwagon of latest design trends as they can sometimes go out of style fast. So, the key for our design team is to not have a particular style but again, to express our creativity and redefine our style based on each project we do.
That being said, below are some interesting designs we have created over the last year that show the variety of looks, feels and styles we draw upon to make sure every custom design we create is distinct and displays the client's brand in a contemporary and sophisticated way.
The look or style we go with is also somewhat dependant upon the industry/type of business the client is in. For example, for real estate or home builders like Ross Minor Construction, photos are of upmost importance to show the type of work and there had to be a mix of traditional and contemporary feels to appeal to the tastes of their clientele. The overall design keeps a contemporary feel while the simple use of serif fonts lends it a more traditional flavor.
In the case of a new site we just completed for a Bryan Stevanus of Bud Racing, the important aspects of the site were 1) giving people access to the race schedule via a cool countdown clock and 2) acknowledgement of sponsors so the design had to integrate these two important elements prominently into the design.
For a Tattoo/Piercing studio like Thrive display of artwork via photographs was important but a clean, almost sterile look helps accentuate the fact that the studio has high standards as far as health and safety are concerned. Not all tattoo shop websites need to be dark/black and menacing, the target market is too vast nowadays - everyone from teenagers to senior citizens are now sporting ink!
One last design I wanted to mention is the one we created for CAS Marine. In this case we used some soft edges and rounded corners as opposed to straight/hard lines and rectangles to piece together the design. This not only fits in with the fluid nature of water but it also matches up with the flowing aerodynamic construction of the boats they sell.
Again, the style of the websites we design is not dependent upon our personal preferences as designers, it varies based on both the industry and feeling the client needs to convey. This is what makes being a web designer fun, as every project is distinct and different from the last..variety is the spice of life as they say!