Posts Tagged ‘seattle web expert’

Rory Martin Supports IslandWood Outdoor Learning Center

RoryMartin is pleased to announce our support of nonprofit, IslandWood Outdoor Learning Center on Bainbridge Island, in it’s cause to inspire environmental and community stewardship.  IslandWood’s methods  use technology, scientific inquiry and the arts to inspire Puget Sound-area students and their families to connect with nature and the outdoors.  There are a wide range of programs and community events offered for kids, their families, and individuals alike.

IslandWood came about when, in 1997, over 1000 acres of land were put up for sale on the south end of Bainbridge Island.  Since studies done around that time showed that half of Puget Sound’s students did not receive any overnight, outdoor education programs, local residence Debbi and Paul Brainerd proposed the idea of a children’s outdoor education center, that would offer a School Overnight Program.  IslandWood is a unique way to blend technology and nature, offering hands-on learning to Puget Sounders of all ages.

The School Overnight Programs have been a success, allowing 4th, 5th, and 6th graders to do things like listen for owls in the night, and study 150 year old trees from the top down.   In addition, IslandWood partners with the University of Washington to provide Graduate Programs that work towards building a community of knowledgeable and committed educators through experiential and multicultural education.

To help IslandWood reach its of connecting families with the ecosystem they live in, RoryMartin.com has donated to this unique experience.  “We’re really excited to be able to help IslandWood continue their nature conservancy programs.  We believe these programs will help families gain a better understanding of the natural beauty the Puget Sound has to offer and will help us become more conscious about saving our environment,” says owner, Rory Martin.  To donate to the IslandWood programs, click here.

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Create an Eye-Catching Site with Innovative Web Design

At RoryMartin.com, we put a lot of time and effort into web design and development, because we recognize the importance of the website as your introduction to the world. With people using the web for everything nowadays – research, communication, shopping, networking – a website must work hard to attract and keep an audience.

The perfect website should be unique, yet recognizable

This means that the site should be different enough from its competitors to be memorable and exciting, but that traditional features which appear on many sites should be in obvious and expected places. Have you noticed that Login buttons on social media sites are almost always in the top right? People will naturally gravitate to that area to log in or sign up to your site, and if it’s not there, they will become frustrated at having to search for it.

The perfect website should be easy to navigate

Web users expect to be able to achieve most things on-line in two or three clicks. If they search ‘Comedy nights’ and your website comes up, but listings aren’t immediately available in two clicks (or less!) they will quickly head somewhere else – and this is bad news for your Bounce Rate. A good website should also be completely navigable from within the site; this means that a user should never have to click their browser’s back button! These are the kinds of issues which usually asrise during the testing process, and are quickly resolved.

The perfect website should be eye-catching, but not overwhelming

When you want your website to stand out, it can be tempting to make the headers even bigger, use lots of different fonts and throw photos at it like confetti. Users who arrive at a site like this quite literally will not know where to look! At RoryMartin.com, we like to keep things slick and simple.

Against this background, a different header font or announcement photo will have a greater impact on audience attention.

The perfect website should be clear about its purpose

Do you design stained glass windows, wash windows, install double-glazing, or sell glass paints? When a web user can reach your site by searching very common terms, it pays to have a tagline which makes the purpose of your site clear. This might increase the bounce rate of visitors to the site, but it will also prevent people associating your site (and services) with being a waste of time!

The perfect website should be up-to-date

Most sites will have a copyright notice in their footer. If people are going to trust your site, then this copyright certainly needs to be up-to-date! Another way of appearing up to date is to have a regularly scheduled blog, or social media accounts displayed on the page, which are updated every day, or near enough. This immediately lets people know that someone is on the other end of this website, and that it’s easy to get in touch with them.

At RoryMartin.com, we put a lot of time and energy into web design and development, in order to build amazing sites that mirror your business strategy. Talk to one of our Seattle web design experts today about what we can do for you.

Pinterest Influences Web Design Trends

Pinterest is big in the social media marketing sphere (Haven’t heard of it?  Click here to read about how businesses can use Pinterest), and it’s making waves in web design as well.  The unique layout Pinterest offers is becoming incredibly popular with businesses who are looking to reinvent themselves online.  In fact, some magazines from publishing giant, Condé Nast, are launching new designs using a grid-style layout, with minimal text and tons of pictures.  Not only are publishing houses looking at this new style, Flickr – the popular photo-sharing website – is set to upgrade and redesign it’s site within the month, to make it look more like Pinterest.

The success of this type of layout could be because Pinterest users say they need to create and curate, organize and compartmentalize ideas in an increasingly scattered digital world.

Companies are working to create sites that feel more like brand lifestyles than sales pitches and corporate information.   Mashable’s Community manager, Meghan Peters says that Pinterest allows users to “experience the web in a way that makes them feel productive and inspired”.  This is one of the bigger roadblocks to creating an engaging corporate experience.   In fact, Flickr has switched to this design style because, ““We see in our first metrics that people consume a lot more photos, they interact so much more with photos in this view.”

In web design and typeography, Pinterest is also inspiring designers – not through its layout, but through mood boards created by other illustrators, graphic designers, typographers, etc.   We’ve been using Jquery plugins that accomplish Pinterest-like layouts for the past couple of years. Our vertical layouts emulate the forward thinking of Pinterests vertical layouts.

What we do at RoryMartin.com is remain technology agnostic. Since we use the latest and greatest technology from the vast world of open source developers we can stay ahead of the times when it comes to making our customers’ users happy.

Pinterest’s success is an example of proving our philosopy; that new information architecture can and should be adopted based on what users tell us they want. In this case – Pinterest users spoke up – and we will continue to listen.

 

Pinterest for Your Business

The new rage in the social media sphere is Pinterest – an online scrapbook where users can pin and share images in an easily customized way.  Users create boards inspired by their favorite topics or brands; using a “pin it” button from their toolbar, they can instantly share their inspirations to their network of friends.  Within moments, other users can pin that image to their board, creating a social network of image sharing and inter-linking.  Some of the best candidates for Pinterest’s vast network of sharing include wedding planners, digital designers, foodies, fashion lovers and interior decorators.

Image courtesy of http://www.verenettawarner.com

Why is this good for a business?  Members use images from the web – and those images are often linked to the websites where the images originated.  But it’s not just all pretty photos – California restaurant chain Tender Greens uses Pinterest to showcase images of chefs at work, and the ways in which they plate catered foods.  Another example – retailers like Raymour & Flanigan or West Elm can show off catalogue shots featuring their designs, and users can talk back by showing those retailers inspirational images for their living spaces.  This gives businesses a chance to have a two-way visual dialogue with their customers.  Some businesses using Pinterest – such as Wedding Republic – have seen a 75% increase in traffic through Pinterest.

Users say they love Pinterest because it’s like getting magazines delivered straight to your desk, without adding clutter or cost.

How do you use Pinterest to promote your business?

Spend the time using the platform.  Like any social media site, you will not see results unless you can put in the time.  It takes constant interaction on any platform to keep your brand relevant.  Also build relationships with “Pinners” who have quality boards, and who post quality images.  Influencers who have a solid relationship with a brand are more likely to talk about that brand.

Keep it simple – cluttered boards are a surefire tactic to keep “Pinners” from NOT clicking on your page.  Mimic Pinterest’s uncluttered design, but be sure to include ONE link back to your site through each pinned photo.  Also, make sure your business is a good match for Pinterest.  If you sell pianos, make sure you can provide aesthetically pleasing imagery to “Pinners” who will use your images.  If you sell power sanders?  It will probably be difficult to see a return on your time investment using Pinterest.  And remember – don’t just promote yourself.  Social networking is about sharing a vast array of ideas.  Pinterest users are savvy when it comes to spotting boards that are too-self serving.  This means you must interact more than just promoting your own products.

If in doubt, try out a daily theme!  Come up with a theme or slogan and build themed boards around that, using at least 1 product from your homepage.  Be selective, be inspiring, and be creative.

Read the Terms and Conditions – Pinterest is based on pinning images, but make sure the images you’re adding are your own.  There could be ramifications to pinning copyright images.

And above all, remember to interact – Pinterest is built on a concept of networking, and networks all depend on connection.  Ensure you take a little time to build that connection with other Pinterest users.

At RoryMartin.com, we are focused on creating and executing effective social media campaigns for our amazing customers.  We offer a full set of services; whether you need website design and web developmentsearch engine optimization, or social media marketing.  From entrepreneurs to established businesses, we do the work so you don’t have to – making social media simple.

 

Engagement Focused: Sevenly.org

We’ve heard a lot about the hip new startup, Sevenly, that provides users with an easy and efficient way to make a difference in the global community.  What we like about Sevenly is that their web design offers a strong call to action, content that is presented in a way that’s easy for users to digest, and places a focus on how users can give back to their community.  Sevenly CEO, Dale Partridge says, “In today’s world, if you aren’t constantly improving your website… you’re falling behind… We listen to our customers and figure out what they want and what would make the process of supporting our causes easier…”

The site makes sure to include an in-depth explanation of what they do and how they donate their funds.  They also offer cause statistics, and highlight how Sevenly users have contributed to their charity partners.  Sevenly’s users are encouraged to support campaigns by both making donations and promoting the cause through social media.  The new site design is committed to building awareness, finding funding, and building a following.

The design is heavy on imagery, light on text and highly graphic for impact.  It focuses on numbers, statistics and charts to show each user how they’re helping the community.   They also have full Facebook integration, allowing users to comment and share their own stories.

We liked the way the site was focused on user engagement.  As businesses start to use Facebook more, we feel it’s important to remember that Facebook should be a social media tool, but it shouldn’t be the ultimate landing page for clients or users looking to find out more about your brand.  It’s important to have an engaging corporate page, where users can go to ultimately connect with your business.  We give Sevenly’s site an A+.

RoryMartin.com is a Seattle Web Design company that specializes in Seattle Search Engine Optimization and Seattle Social Media Marketing.  To make an impact with your website visit us at RoryMartin.com.

 

Build a Better Website with Tips from Rory Martin

Netcraft reported that as of November 2011, there were approximately 525, 998,433 websites out in Internet-land  – and many of them aren’t perfect.  Think about it:  when you look at your website, what do you see?  Do you see a sleek design?  Is it easy to navigate?  Do you see compelling imagery or a big block of text?  Are you missing the little things like SEO or a Footer?  Are you effectively using Social Media?  Or have you forgotten to actively add that element to your website?

To make your website more “perfect”, you need to think about all the things we’ve just mentioned.  Seattle Web Design and Social Media Marketing company, RoryMartin.com can help you perfect your website with a few tips on designing a better website.

It’s true that content is key when it comes to making an impact on the web, however design is also key.  There are a variety of browsers, processors and monitor sizes, so it’s important to design a site that looks great on all of them.  While you may use Firefox or Chrome, and so you may design for those two browsers, consider the fact that 40% of internet users STILL use Internet Explorer.  Cross-browser compatibility can be a difficult problem to solve, but producing a sleek design without all the extra bells and whistles can save you some time in trying to determine why this or that widget doesn’t work.

Design also plays a big part in your website’s layout and navigation.  Consider this – 60% of the time, users cannot find the information they’re looking for – and much of that is due to poor execution in navigation and UI design.  Making sure your site is simple but well-designed could save your visitors a lot of time and effort trying to find out where you’ve hidden that gem of information they’re looking for.  And where user interface is concerned, users report clicking away from a page that has pop-ups or plays music or video automatically when the webpage has loaded.

One big part of web design that is often overlooked is the footer.  Often, businesses forget all about the SEO properties and usability of their footer in favor of more visible elements like header images and information.  At RoryMartin.com, we build footers for clients that include copyright information, the company address and contact info, their business tagline and even quick navigation links for the web-user who’s made it to the bottom of your page.   We also recommend links to your social media profiles, because, as users arrive at the bottom of your page and want to know more, the footer can convert your web visitors into Twitter or Facebook followers.

Are you actively using social media?  Is it easy to find your social media links (and maybe even your Twitter stream) on your website?  Web marketing consultant Chris Brogan says, “Social Media puts the ‘public’ into PR and the ‘market’ into marketing.”  Social media is one of the easiest, most direct, and most prominent forms of both public relations and marketing, available to businesses today.  If you’re not using social media, and displaying your information prominently, you’re missing out on a huge target audience.  And, studies have shown that social media builds customer loyalty.

SEO or Search Engine Optimization is probably the biggest key to driving customers to your site.  Using a correct combination of keywords and search terms throughout your website in strategic places will help propel your website to the front page of Google.  Of course, being on the second page of Google’s search isn’t bad either – considering a quarter of all web searches progress to the second page of Google.  But keywords aren’t the whole story:  Though 42% of users click the top ranking link on Google, the text that shows up beneath your link is REALLY the driving factor.  It’s this text – copy pulled directly from your website, that truly drives traffic to each site, while your strategic keywords ensure you’re listed in those search results in the first place.

If you’re looking to update your website, grab the wide world of social media marketing by the horns, or just looking to manage brand communications, our skilled staff of social media marketing and web design experts can help.  Find out more about what we can do for you at www.rorymartin.com.

 

 

Twitter and Facebook Build Customer Loyalty

Twitter Image courtesy of Mashable.comAs a company that specializes in Seattle Search Engine Optimization and Social Media Marketing, the RoryMartin.com team likes to keep you informed about new studies regarding social media.  A recent study, generated by Chadwick Martin Bailey, states that Twitter users who follow brands on Twitter are more likely to buy from and recommend that brand.  The group also produced a previous study correlating Facebook users’ purchases with the brands they “like” on Facebook.

This is good news for businesses who are using social media networks to improve their marketing efforts, especially because Twitter and Facebook  users are some of the most frequent internet users in general.  The study showed just how Twitter users were interacting with brands, reporting that 84% of Twitter users who follow brands do actually read brand tweets, making Twitter an effective form of presenting your company and products.  Even better, approximately 1/4 of users who follow brands on Twitter do tweet about the brand.  1 out of every 4 users in your Twitter audience are likely to be talking about your brand right now.

Twitter is proving itself a very useful forum for customer loyalty.  It’s important to know your audience and to make sure you’re tweeting authentic content, though.  67% of users expect unique content from the brands they follow.  In the decision to follow brands on Twitter, customers cite exclusivity and promotions as some of the top reasons they follow brands. Here are the top five reasons users follow brands:

  • 64%: I am a customer of the company
  • 61%: To be the first to know information about the brand
  • 48%: To receive discounts and promotions
  • 36%: To gain access to exclusive content
  • 28%: To receive content/information to retweet and share with others

If your business is not using Twitter right now, you are missing out on a very valuable marketing method.  The report shows that businesses shoud be tweeting to their customers as a means of building brand loyalty.  Don’t know where to start?  At RoryMartin.com, we help businesses customize their social media marketing plans, provide customized facebook pages, overall website overhauls, web design, and perfectly timed tweets.

We can help you build a Social Media Strategy that reflects your unique brand and meets your business goals. From a one-time site analysis to full search engine optimization strategy and execution, RoryMartin.com makes social media simple.

Make the Most of Linkedin for Your Business

As a web design and web developmentsearch engine optimizationsearch engine marketing and social media marketing firm, we like to keep on top of the trends – and exploring trends on LinkedIn is no exception.  We stumbled across this article that boasts 10 LinkedIn Tips for Professionals, that says:

Despite the hype over Twitter and Facebook, Linkedin offers the greatest opportunity for professionals to make connections that lead to business.

We agreed with Ian Brody’s article, especially the following tips

1. Don’t make your profile look like your resumé.  Brody says that the number one temptation when setting up a LinkedIn profile is to fill in all those prior job slots, but that’s ineffective where LinkedIn is concerned.   The business connections that you’re looking for are going to want to see solution-oriented details.  Add the business name and title, leave out things like,  “managed four people who perform business-related tasks.”   Explain where you went above and beyond the basic job task, improved something, saved money, or where you were excelled and were just plain awesome.

2.  Find Connections – Know your Strategy.  LinkedIn is social, and there are a lot of professional networks on LinkedIn, where you can flex your knowledge and show off your skills – for example, you might find us in the LikeSocialMedia.com group.  Of course, like any social network, it’s best to get a feel for the pulse of the community.  Listen, watch and learn; find out what other pros in your industry are doing and saying and be cautious at first about sharing dissent.  Like anywhere (or any social network) first impressions are lasting impressions.   And Ian Brody notes, “Create a connection strategy to build valuable discussion.”

3. Ian Brody suggests updating your status to remind people what you do, and what you’re currently working on.  If you connect with a lot of people, staying current with status messages can do anything from help you connect with someone who’s looking for YOUR expertise to keeping you up to date on news in your field, to helping you and your brand grow in ways that your clientele are looking for.

What do you think readers?  Have anything to add to Brody’s tips for LinkedIn?


If you’re curious about how to use LinkedIn for your business, contact RoryMartin.com to find a strategy that fits your social networking needs, as well as the social tools that simplify your social media integration.  We offer a comprehensive set of services from website design and web development to search engine optimization and search engine marketing and social media marketing.  If you need creative ideas, easy implementation, and a limited investment into your social media campaign, RoryMartin.com has experts available to assess your needs, provide excellent customer service and innovative marketing tactics before you’ve even signed a contract.

The State of LinkedIn

Have you ever wondered how LinkedIn actually affects your business?  Ever asked yourself why LinkedIn is important to your company’s potential?  At RoryMartin.com, we’ve been researching ways for businesses to use LinkedIn to build a better social media strategy.

The State of LinkedIn 2011

Having your business profile out there on the web WILL help increase your organic search results, so if you’re not optimizing sites like LinkedIn, you’re not fully optimizing your search engine potential.   LinkedIn also helps your business look more complete, and is an established tool for reputation management – especially through customer testimonials.

LinkedIn is also a powerful tool to analyze your company and its connections through your employee network. An article on Mashable notes that, “…it will automatically calculate your company’s median age, top schools, and other companies that they are well-connected to.”  This can be effective for recruiting job candidates, and networking in your industry.  Through LinkedIn you have the ability to post polls, and receive answers, letting your business know what your clients are interested in, and keeping you up to date on industry standards.

If you’re curious about how to use LinkedIn for your business, contact RoryMartin.com to find a strategy that fits your social networking needs, as well as the social tools that simplify your social media integration.  We offer a comprehensive set of services from website design and web development to search engine optimization and search engine marketing and social media marketing.  If you need creative ideas, easy implementation, and a limited investment into your social media campaign, RoryMartin.com has experts available to assess your needs, provide excellent customer service and innovative marketing tactics before you’ve even signed a contract.

 

Deciphering your Bounce Rate

In trying to keep visitors on your site, knowing your bounce rate is half the battle.  It can be difficult to determine how your bounce rate is calculated and which factors affect your bounce rate.  We found this cool infographic from KissMetrics that shows which factors you can work on to retain visitors, and it even shows the industry standard for your industry.  Check it out!

bounce rate infographic

As a Seattle Web Design company that specializes in Seattle Search Engine Optimization and Seattle Social Media Marketing, RoryMartin.com can help you build a Social Media Strategy that reflects your unique brand, draws and keeps visitors on your page.  We help implement exciting content and social tools that will make your business stand out.  From a one-time site analysis to full search engine optimization strategy and execution, RoryMartin.com can help your business grow.

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