5 things to consider when choosing your web host

November 28th, 2017

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. It’s important to choose a reputable web host. So before you start, I recommend that you do a Google search for the top 10 best web-hosts in your country.

You’ll probably 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 or so. However, you might not know what to look for, so here are 5 things to consider when choosing your web host. Read the rest of this entry »

New WordPress features with 4.9 upgrade

November 17th, 2017

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 the rest of this entry »

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

November 11th, 2017

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 the rest of this entry »

Why you need website security and how you can get it

July 20th, 2017

Have you been noticing when you visit certain websites, they have the little “i” in a circle symbol next to the web address, or a padlock with a line through it?

Have you noticed other websites with the green padlock symbol?

In January 2017, Google started adding the “not secure” icon to indicate when you are visiting a website that is not hosted on a secure web server. If you click on the icon, you’ll see a list of items in the drop down that may compromise your security or you may get a warning not to enter sensitive information such as passwords or bank info.

On the other hand, if a website is hosted on a secure web server, Google will indicate that it is secure using the green padlock symbol. You may have noticed the green padlock symbol when you visit bank or government websites, or eCommerce websites that take online payments.

How can you tell if your own website is secure?

Read the rest of this entry »

One reason why you need a mobile friendly website

July 3rd, 2017
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 the rest of this entry »

Why you should not rely solely on Facebook

April 7th, 2017

…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 the rest of this entry »

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

January 19th, 2017

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 the rest of this entry »

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

January 8th, 2017

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 the rest of this entry »

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

January 1st, 2017

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 the rest of this entry »

WordPress 4.7

December 28th, 2016

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 the rest of this entry »