Tag: online

4 tips for boosting sales of your designs online

If you've been hard at work in your spare time creating stunning paper art or impressive poster designs, selling your merchandise online can be a quick way to make extra pennies for your efforts.

However it's not as simple as sticking it on the internet and hoping people hand over their money. In fact there's a fine art to tempting people into buying your wares – especially now the lower barriers to entry mean anyone and everyone can sell their creations online. Luckily this crash course list of advice will get you ready for the fast-paced world of online design retail. 

Here we're focusing on Etsy, but there are other places geared up towards selling designer-maker goods – take a look at our list of great places to sell your design work online for more info. And if you're looking to start from scratch, it's worth reading our in-depth guide to how to succeed as a designer-maker for success stories and advice.

01. Get product photography right

It can be helpful to include something to indicate scale

Images are really important when selling on Etsy – or anywhere else online. It's the only way your customers are able to see what you're selling, so make sure your photos are clear, well-lit and appealing. In particular, make sure your backgrounds are plain and neutral – keep the focus on your products. However, it can help to include something for scale in one of your photos. For example, RockCakes shows her jewellery on a person (above), so prospective customers can see how big it is.

02. Use search terms in product titles

Use the Title field to add extra info for your customers

On Etsy, you need to provide each listing with a title. This is a great place to add keywords and search terms that your buyers will use to find your item.

Some sellers mistake this as a place to title a work with a collection 
or item name – for example, calling a handbag 'the Julia' and leaving out important words that help search engines recognise the item, such as style, colour, material and manufacturing method. When writing your title, be sure to include descriptive words that your customers will use.

03. Experiment to see what sells

These pins from Finest Imaginary are a summertime purchase

Something successful sellers do is focus on their businesses. They are constantly experimenting and figuring out what works for them. This includes trying out new products, as well as new photos and new ways to describe their items.

They also keep an eye on the results. What worked this year may not work next year, and seasonality and larger trends can play a big part in how well a shop does, so never stop experimenting.

04. Set targets for improvement

Abi Overland offers a small but popular range of products on her Etsy site

It's good to set small goals over the course of a week. For example, you could start by opening your shop with one item and then add another item each week. It's also worth signing up for the Etsy Success newsletter, which provides tips from top sellers on the site. Good luck!

This article was originally published in Computer Arts magazine.

Read more:

  • Business tips for selling design goods
  • How to make money on Instagram as a creative
  • 8 golden rules of handmade

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Why Every Business Needs an Online Presence

Why Every Business Needs an Online Presence

Competing for customers in the digital era

Forbes reports that nearly 91% of online adults use search engines to find information on the web and nearly 65% see that search as the most trusted source of information about people and companies. The stakes are high, and it’s more important than ever that your business have an online presence. But, if you’ve already spent money on traditional marketing and haven’t seen much return for your investment, you might be wondering why you should invest in creating a web presence for your business.

You can tell potential customers about your business before Yelp does

Negative online reviews are statistically proven to drive away business. Even a single poor review on the first page of your business search results will drive away as much as a quarter of potential new customers, and three negative reviews could cost you nearly 60% of potential customers. You don’t need to have perfect 5-star reviews, which can be a problem in itself by making the reviews seem dishonest. But having an online presence allows you to control the narrative by featuring reviews from satisfied customers and build trust in your product.

Cost-effective marketing to a huge audience

If you are getting serious about building your online brand you are probably considering hiring some qualified professionals to improve your SEO and your site design. However, creating an online presence doesn’t carry all the overhead costs that more traditional print-based marketing does. You don’t have to pay for postage or copies, and you can reach thousands of potential customers with a few strokes of the keyboard.

A digital marketing team can identify your strengths and weaknesses

Digital marketing harnesses the power of data to show you what techniques are effective and what isn’t. We can see the rate-of-conversion for each campaign and the click-through rate of each category of product. This will allow you to identify what appeals to new customers and who your target demographic is. We can also help you tweak your branding so that you appeal to new kinds of customers and broaden your commercial appeal.

The referral market is changing even for small and local businesses

Particularly small businesses that get most of their clients by word-of-mouth need to adapt to changes in the referral market if they want their business to continue to grow. Customers who hear about you from a friend or notice your business storefront, will still use search engines to get information about businesses, looking up hours and pricing and reviews. With so many customers turning to your website before they set foot in the store, not being online is not an option.

Creating shareable content is a great way to get free advertising

By liking and sharing your content your satisfied customers become brand promoters. By having an online presence, you are creating content that your customers respond to and share on their social networks, which are often filled with like-minded consumers. It also creates a space for customers to engage with you and your business in a digital space that’s already a part of their daily lives. This allows you to provide better customer service and also to better manage your online reviews.

Local businesses need SEO

There are a few myths that keep local businesses from improving their SEO. The fight against big brands online can seem unwinnable and not worth the effort, especially if your business model is targeted to a local market. However, small businesses should keep in mind that new customers will be poached by new businesses that are wise to the way people use their smartphones to make spending decisions. Furthermore, there are many ways you can put local SEO to use for your own business, even if you aren’t a big brand.

Prioritize mobile accessibility

More and more customers will pull your business up on their phone at some point, looking to find their way to your brick-and-mortar store, to leave a review, or to make a purchase. Potential customers also use their phones to search for whole categories of services, from things as general as “good brunch places” to things as specific as “eco-friendly screen-printed T-shirts.” If your business website doesn’t work well on smartphones, you risk losing potential clients.

Find a web developer you trust

It’s important to find a web developer you can rely on to deliver good design and content. You have to work together to deliver excellent accessibility and a strong conversion rate. Without a person who is really on your team you may find that they can’t communicate your business vision. Worse, if they aren’t qualified they may charge you for a product they can’t deliver. If you are just starting your search for a new web-developer check out our recommendations for finding a trustworthy professional.

The internet is for everyone

Don’t be intimidated by building your business’s online presence. With the right tools and with professional support you can carve out your niche in the local markets, bringing in new customers and building brand loyalty. If you’re feeling intimidated or don’t know where to begin, reach out to our team here at Build/Create and we will strategize with you about how you can improve your online profile and reach new clients. No business is too small to benefit from the digital era.

The post Why Every Business Needs an Online Presence appeared first on build/create studios.

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Free online tool shows you what your fonts can do

We've all become used to having decent type online these days thanks to web fonts, but if you're a web designer without a background in typography, you might be unaware of some of the lesser-known features of your fonts that can really help bring your website layout to life.

  • Better web typography in 13 simple steps

Now, though, there's a free tool online that makes it easy to unlock your fonts' full potential. It's called Wakamai Fondue and it's designed to answer the question, 'What can my font do?' Geddit?

It's the work of Dutch developer Roel Nieskens, and it's incredibly simple to use. Simply go to the the Wakamai Fondue site, drag a font onto its big circle (or just click the circle to upload a font instead), and it'll tell you all about the font's features that you probably didn't know about.

So, if your favourite font has a whole load of extra glyphs, ornaments and ligatures that you weren't aware of, this is the perfect way to find out about them. And more than that, Wakamai Fondue helps you use all these features online.

How well do you really know your fonts?

As well as a summary of the font's details, its features and character set, Wakamai Fondue also provides you with all the CSS you'll need to take advantage of your font's features in your web projects. 

Simply download the auto-generated stylesheet and you'll be able to unlock a load of layout features that you might not have realised existed.

Wakamai Fondue reveals your fonts’ hidden features and gives you the CSS to use them

It's the perfect way to help pump up your web designs with extra print design flair, and used wisely, these extra features will make your pages not only easier on the eye, but more readable, too. Combine your newly found font features with the wisdom in these typography tutorials and you'll soon be able to take your web layouts to the next level.

Related articles:

  • 5 web typography trends to look out for
  • The rules of responsive web typography
  • 4 top typography tools for web designers

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Cool Trick to Ensure That Your Online Design and Brand Meshes with Your “Brick and Mortar” Brand

Let’s say that you own a business that’s had a relatively successful “offline” experience. Maybe you run two or three retail stores or restaurants, for instance. And now you want to design from scratch (or redesign) a site, so that your online presence “rhymes” well with what you’ve established offline.

For instance, maybe you have a beloved mascot at your store, and you’d like the little guy to pop-up on your site in a way that not only reminds the recurring visitors who you are but also engages visitors who are unfamiliar with you and helps attract new leads. Or maybe you employ a certain kind of color scheme in your stores, and you want to keep that color scheme continuous online. For instance, perhaps you run a bakery, and you bake a lot of pink, orange and red cupcakes; you want the site designer to carry over those colors and include lots of sumptuous and “delicious” shades of red, orange, pink, etc.

Integrating your online and offline “brand presences” is not rocket science, but many business owners make this process much harder than it should be, because they effectively silo the offline and online marketing efforts.

For instance, someone might hire a web designer and give that person only a cursory description of what’s going on in the offline business. The web designer then goes off and creates something that he or she thinks might be appropriate, based on that skeletal sketch of the business. Inevitably, though, he or she will miss nuances that will be very obvious to the owner. Then problems ensue with the design, schedules get pushed, tempers flare, etc.

The simple fix is to identify the critical features of your offline branding and then communicate those in a way that your designer will understand and will be able to replicate.

For instance, maybe you use a certain type of font on your menus or order boards. Or you use a certain kind of language with your customers. Maybe, for instance, your business has a cheeky sense of humor. If that’s the case, you want to identify that sense of humor, give examples, and then make sure that any copywriters you use continue that tones and those themes. That may all sound like advanced common sense, but you’d be surprised by how many “brick and mortar” business owners make this mistake; they just don’t take the time to ensure continuity between what’s worked offline and what needs to happen online.

Likewise, if and when you make changes to your offline branding – copy, design, pricing, etc – you need to make sure that’s integrated quickly and appropriately with your online presence. This means that if you have separate teams dealing with offline and online, you need to make sure that they talk with one and another!

The cool thing is that, when they do talk to one and another, you can experiment in either realm, and the results of those experiments can feed back positively in the other realm. For instance, let’s say you run a promotion online that gets a lot of new leads. Steal that copy, and start to use it in your stores to drive more people in the front door.

For help getting started with your Los Angeles Web Development, please call or email the team here at Connective Web Design today for a consultation.

The post Cool Trick to Ensure That Your Online Design and Brand Meshes with Your “Brick and Mortar” Brand appeared first on Connective Web Design.

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6 steps to the perfect online reading experience

Creating a great reading experience online isn't just down to finding the right web font (although, of course, that is important). There are plenty of other factors to consider, from how the text displays on different devices to where it sits on the page. Follow this step by step guide to make sure you get it right.

If you're after something more in-depth, take a look at our guide to the rules of responsive web typography.

01. Read the content

Meaningful typography starts with one thing: the content. True typographers know this; they’ll always read the book before they start typesetting for it. Unfortunately, it seems that many web designers underestimate the importance of content in a web design process. 

They will often find excuses in the fact that the website doesn’t exist yet, so there’s no content to work with. When that’s the case, use content that is similar. If you’re designing a website about finance and economics, for example, find an article about that and read it.

02. Choose a typeface based on content

Now you have read the content, you’re ready to choose your main typeface. If a website is about technology, but is expected to have medium to long articles, use a typeface that looks a bit modern but is easy to read. If it’s an art gallery portfolio, you can get away with something edgy. 

Don’t use Lorem Ipsum as placeholder text – it’s a strange form of the Latin language that has nothing to do with your website. Use the content from Step 01, in the language that will be used, and then design around that.

03. Start mobile-first

An important step is to design the best reading experience for the screen that’s hardest to design for: mobile. Mobile-first is a fundamentally different approach to web design, in which progressive enhancement is favourable to graceful degradation. 

Don’t design the best reading experience for desktop screens and then adapt for mobile – or, worse, forget about mobile altogether. Choose a combination of font size and line height that works best on smaller screens. Your starting point should be the agreed-on browser default of 16 pixels.

04. Adapt for large screens

Don’t let mobile-first turn into mobile-only. The tools for shaping the best reading experiences for different screens are in place and they should be used. Larger screens are usually further away from readers' eyes so the base font size needs to be larger. 18 pixels is widely considered a good starting point. 

Don’t forget to limit the width of paragraphs –  60 characters per line is recommended for the best reading experience. The line height needs to be looked at again – 1.4 or 1.5 times the font size is usually best.

05. Use a scale

It’s now time to define a range of reusable font sizes based on a scale. The most common way to do that is to use a modular scale. Go to Modular Scale, enter your base font size and choose a scale. It will give you a range of font sizes to choose from. Defining a scale and trying to stick to it adds meaning to font size choices and prevents the chaos that often arises from randomly assigning them instead.

06. Set a baseline grid

The next step is to start thinking about other text elements around the body text you should have designed by now (titles, lists, captions, side comments, and so on). To add meaning behind placing these elements on your website, it’s best to use a baseline grid (if don't understand grid theory, now's the time to swot up on that, too). 

This grid originates from your body text line height. If your line height is 22 pixels, you need a vertical grid based on that. When that is in place, you’re ready to set the sizes and margins of other text elements so they’ll fit inside this grid.

This article was originally published in creative web design magazine Web Designer. Buy issue 271 or subscribe.

Read more:

  • How to make text render perfectly
  • Typography quiz reveals gaps in letter knowledge
  • 3D fonts: 9 top type tips

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