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A PICTURE


is worth a thousand words

Today’s Websites are Highly Visual

As Internet speeds and “bandwidth” have improved,  consumers have gotten used to full-screen photos, maps, and videos. Small “thumbnail” sized images or illustrations of products no longer meet consumer needs. They want to SEE IT as if they are there (for travel) or see it as if its in front of them (for products).

Digital cameras (and camera phones) have also gotten better and more flexibleAs camera  resolutions have gotten better, file-size reduction has become important. Large file sizes not only slow down web pages and large images can adversely affect your Google ranking . File sizes can be thoughtfully reduced by reducing image pixel size, cropping, or file compression. 

Though stock photography (even for free) is quite plentiful, astute consumers can recognize stock photography  (a photo of “shaking hands” to denote trust, for example, is now cliche). Wherever possible, use  original photos of facilities, products, and staff (or at least your executives)  on your website. These bit only look like YOU, but it ensures that a competitor (or any another business in your community) does not use the same images.

Not only do we do some incredible photography for websites, but we know how to embed and code the images for maximum SEO impact.

We have designed websites for 20-plus years, and have been doing digital photography for all that time. The tools have gotten better (and simpler) and few folks know how to produce to a competitive and professional standard. And even fewer will go to literally any height to get that perfect image!

Variety of Coding
& Platforms over 20 years


Using the RIGHT TOOL for the task!

The only thing constant in the Internet is CHANGE

We have designed websites for over 20 years, using an ever-evolving set of tools to provide cost-effective and efficient design, updating, and features. And we test tools on our own high-traffic websites before we recommend it to our clients.

We have worked on small websites (a few pages) to large ones with over 100,000 pages of content, and e-commerce websites with catalogs almost that big. Different scales often require different tools.

In the early days we hand-coded our HTML, and over the years used a number of tools to speed coding and development. Over the 20 years, content management and e-commerce tools have evolved a lot.  Let us help you choose the one that is the best not just now but also has the best odds of staying best over the next 10 to 20 years.

Competitive Intelligence


What customers and competitors are up to

Setting the competitive bar correctly

We help you take an insightful peek over the Horizon…

Before commencing a web project, it is important to know what your competitors are up to (both bigger and smaller) , and what your clients (or potential clients) are doing & thinking. YOU do not want your investment and effort to be seen as not competitive, not serious, or worse: as a joke. Nor your abandonment of prudent budgetary concerns. And you wan to design for the clients YOU’D LIKE TO HAVE, not just the your clients right now.

We do a feature comparison, look at what THEY are likely spending, and look for less expensive ways to provide a competitive website. We consider the Pareto Principle, tryin to get 80% of the most-needed features for 20% of their price. Because technology evolves rapidly, some features custom programmed a year ago, may be off-the-shelf for a tiny fraction of that (and  more flexible).

We use a variety of state-of-the-art tools to see what secrets are in their code: tools, keywords, meta-tags, and much, much more…

PLANNING – STRATEGY


For the next 10 years, not 10 months!

Setting it up right ONCE, instead of rebuilding often

  There are a lot of “fads” on the internet, and a lot of looks-like-a-good-idea that just disappear after a few months.  How do you pick the ones that both matter and last? Let our experience guide you!

We have seen many ideas that looked good at the time, but turned out to be poorly thought out, poorly implemented, or just never got to an economic critical mass. Second Life (a tool for creating VR wolds) that ended up going nowhere. ColdFusion (which served dynamic content from a database)  which made websites horribly slow, and was supplanted by Microsoft’s SAP.NET). And, who cannot forget MySpace, the early social media platform that got eclipsed by Facebook.

When a technology is shut down, it’s usually not on your schedule (and often without warning) and forces significant resources  to be focused on replacing the technology.

Also, some tools might be pretty good, but with limitations when they first come out (think of the first iPhone, which ran only ONE APP at a time) and evolved over time. Facebook is another good example (adding  business pages, the thumbs-up. and enabling editing of posts years after launch). Early adopters  can easily miss the major impact of tools, even if you “were there first”. It is important to keep on top of Best Practices for the web, for social media,. and for the tools you use.

FAST IMPLEMENTATION


Develop quickly, evolve in iterations!

Be a fast-moving target

No matter how good your website is, your competitors will copy it and try to surpass it as soon as you launch. They will quickly reverse-engineer your keywords, your coding, and your SEO strategy. BE PREPARED TO IMPROVE.

Implementation typically includes:, content (the words), imagery (photos, diagrams, and logos), site structure and navigation, and any custom coding (including stylesheets, plugins, scripts, etcetera). Allow proper time (but not too much) for writing, review, proofreading, and approvals. Put the subject matter experts (the “SMEs”) in charge of their content (at least, the first draft of it).

Consider the concept of “Minimum Viable Product”, a concept used in “app” development.Your first version is a fully viable website, but with some reduced features or content.  Delay some lower priority features for the next release.

In developing content, consider what are your “Core pages” and largely static, which are “news” / articles, are created over time as your business grows and evolves, and thirdly your “product” pages. Your product pages can launch with the highest-demand items, and can grow to include more and more of your offerings, and incrementally add detail.

As well, once your new website is launched your clients will start giving you feedback, the good ones because they want  you to succeed. Never underestimate the interest of your clients!

SOCIAL MEDIA


Where clients already ARE online!

Social Media helps create and foster Client Relationships

As in the real world, relationships take time and effort, they are reciprocal, and they are rarely “instant”. A client looking for someone to create “viral content”  usually has unrealistic expectations. Social media can grow linearly or exponentially, though in  early stages the two growth paths are not distinguishable.

Start with clear objectives, and start regularly posting good content. Content should include  text along with photos and videos. Don;t have every post be a “selling post”. Be informational (things like industry news) with links to articles in media or industry websites. Good, regular posts create a reason for non-customers to want to follow you. And for customers/clients/friends to want to “share” the content with their network. Some Social Media sites (Instagram, Pinterest) are about the images. Some (YouTube, TikTok) are more interested in Videos.  Some are more interested in information (Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter). Always invest in quality!

Until you get post 100 friends or followers it is hard (if not impossible) to measure effectiveness of your Social Media strategy, but please be patient. Be sure to let your clients know about your social media presences in your other advertising, your letterhead, business cards and on-remises signage. You might even consider Social Media advertising to build your followers more quickly, but keep in mind the “friends” list belongs to the social media website, but a customer list belongs to YOU.

 

If you are looking for experience, depth of experience, good advice, a creative solution, and on-time on-budget implementation, TransCanada FoundLocally Inc is your answer.

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