Think Before You Act

We found this pretty sweet infographic from Pixaal.  We thought it was totally appropriate! 

SquareHook constantly meets great customers who come to us in need of a new website or web redesign.  Their intentions are to quickly get a site up. YEAH!  But they get stuck on visuals, content, navigation, SEO, and a smattering of other items they may not have even considered. BOO!

These 26 bullets are absolutely important to think about….they can help you more easily forge your new website.  So before you quickly act, stop.  Think about what you’re creating and for who…figure out what your call to action will be, what kind of look you want to achieve, then let a designer know (if you’re going that route) or start outlining how you’re going to create that site yourself.

We have a very knowledgeable staff that is here to help basically 24/7 to get your site how you’d like it.  Contact us for some free advice 801-386-9828.  We’d love to help you figure out your vision!

Meet Our Latest Dodgeball Theme User- Baobing Shaved Ice!

We had a blast putting together the BaoBing Shaved Ice website!  Their logo was a such an inspiration to the look and feel of this site. For such a unique and tasty product-taiwanese shaved ice, we had to make sure their site reflected that uniqueness.

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Our Dodgeball Theme was a great start to present this site.  Dodgeball offers a great way to get pertinent information out there-immediately.  This theme has the contact information and social media links in the first 2 inches of the page, so your client/future customers can contact you-or find you, in their case here. 🙂

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We customized their about us page, to showcase both of the owners.

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This site turned out so playful, and looks incredible on a mobile device!  We are really pleased with how it turned out.  And if you happen to be in Provo, Utah, get over there and try some!  The Green Tea shaved ice is SO amazing!  Take our word for it!

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If you are looking to upgrade your website, or start from scratch, we can help!  We’d love to help you get started today!  All of our themes work great, no matter the style of site you’re looking to build. Contact us, we help our clients, no matter the need!

Web Design Wednesday Website Spotlight-Audio-Grenade

Hey one and all!  At SquareHook we have been pretty busy as of late, getting our E-commerce up and rolled out, and building beautiful website for clients. 

We started a website promotion back in the fall, and we have had some really great reception with it, and have decided to extend it!  With the promotion, we are building out client’s websites for FREE with a hosting subscription.  Clients can customize any one of our dozens of themes, integrate social media, make it completely mobile friendly, and organize their content simply and easily! 

We’d like to spotlight one of our promotional websites every week, so you all can get a glance at what our awesome themes are capable of!

Website Today: Audio Grenade

Our client Chris, came to us hoping to get his vibration speakers out to the masses.  He wanted something appealing to those who enjoy music, but also something clean and professional…enter the ‘Tech Two’ theme. 

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Chris wanted his website to match his logo, and also have that mechanical-feel to match the vibration speakers.   He of course, wanted to incorporate a video, to demonstrate what the Audio Grenade can do.  We added a rotating carousel to show how versatile the use of speaker was.  And we incorporated a blogging feature so he could let people know of the latest and greatest news!

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Both he and SquareHook were very pleased with the way this site turned out! 

To check out any of our beautiful themes, click HERE

Resolve To Give Yourself the Best Website You Can!

Believe it or not, the holidays are over.  Now, everyone has to get back into the swing of regular life once again.  With the new year here, everyone is making resolutions to improve their lives.

Businesses have already made corporate goals to improve their quarterly numbers, social marketing following, and for some-their website.

We stumbled upon a great article from our friends at Fit Marketing.  We could not agree more!  Simplification helps create a more specific target or goal.  Sometimes people get so caught up with the details, they forget about the message they are trying to convey. 

Making sure your website homepage explains what your business does and helps direct visitors to exactly where they are hoping to go IS THE GOAL!  Perhaps, taking another look at your site usability would be a great New Year’s resolution for you and your business!!!

5 Fatal Flaws of Your Website

Web design tips often focus on what you should do to create a great website, but what about the things you are doing wrong?  Keep reading to find out if your website is an offender in any of these areas:
  1. Your site doesnt not include a “call to action”.    When visitors come to your site they should do something.  Sign up for a newsletter, watch an informational video, submit a contact form so you can follow-up, give feedback about your product or services, and much more.  A call to action is a way to interact with customers and potential customers. Don’t miss this critical piece on your landing and home pages!  See more information in our blog about reducing bounce rates
  2. Your website has images that you don’t have permission to use.  It is illegal to use images without proper permission.  Some images require you to pay for their use and some simply require that you credit the owner properly.  Don’t get slapped with costly fines – do your homework and be legal.  See our previous blog post about proper image use for more information. 
  3. Web pages have overwhelming amount of text and no consistent fonts.  Use a combination of images, video, and text to convey your website message.  Overly verbose text will often go unread.  In addition keep fonts consistent and styles to a minimum.  Use only 1 or 2 nice looking fonts so as not to detract from the main website message. 
  4. You use Flash for video on your pages.  This was a popular web technology years ago because of it’s interactiveness, but it can cause a number of issues.  The technology is not supported on all mobile devices, can slow down the loading of website pages, may have troubles being indexed by popular search browsers, and limits social media sharing.   
  5. Important information is buried and difficult to find.  If you have a current promotion or special don’t make your site visitors click 3, 2, or even 1 times to see it.  Make sure the most important items are not just on your home or landing page but right at the top so they get it in in their first view without having to click or scroll.  
These are just 5 but there are more things that may diminish the quality and usefulness of a site.   If you’ve ever seen other website flaws that drive you crazy please comment and share.

Resizing Website Images: A Picture is Worth a Kiloword

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Your website says a lot about you.  In fact, to most of your current and future customers it is you.  And one way to make sure you stand out from your competition and improve your Google rankings is to use professional-looking photos to tell (and sell) your story.  Great-looking photos immediately communicate professionalism.  And conversely, no matter how sophisticated the site, poor images scream amateur.   

Here are some simple tips that can make a big difference in how you are viewed-

Bigger is Not Better

Most cameras and phones shoot high-resolution images that are not ideal for websites because: larger images = bigger files; bigger files = longer loading times; longer loading times = customers who lose interest and look somewhere else.  To optimize your site, keep file sizes lean. 

You may be able to upload a full-size image and rely on your website provider to resize the image, but don’t.  In that scenario, each time the site is visited the full-size image has to be downloaded then altered based on the visitor’s browser.   Can you say slow?

Do It Yourself

Resizing images is not difficult.  Here are some tips:

1. Start by cropping your image to show just the key subject matter.  Avoid the temptation to “stretch” one side to make it fit a particular area.  Stretched images signal unprofessional work.

2.  Set the full-size length and width.

3.  Optimize image size for the web.  Higher densities of pixels per inch (ppi) matter most when printing but can be lower for the web.   In most cases, you’ll want to resize the image to 72 ppi.  Since screen resolution is 72 ppi, a large 300-ppi image actually looks exactly the same as 72 ppi!

4.  Some resizing tools allow you to adjust file size by simply tweaking the quality of your image from 0 to 100 percent.  If you use this technique, be careful– lowering the image quality too much can leave your pics looking pixilated.

5.  Find your format:

jpg- Compressed file type ideal for photographs or gradients.

gif-  Smaller file format ideal for flat colors including text and large blocks of color, as well as animations.

png- Used for their ability to have a transparent area in the image for things like icons and logos.  This format will also work for quality images, but they tend to be larger than gifs and jpgs.

6.  Pick your program

Photoshop Express

Photoshop (full versions)

Lightroom

Free online tools

Webresizer.com

Picresize.com

Properly executed photos improve your Google rankings, customer satisfaction and your professional appearance.  Make it so!

(written by Ai Mitton.  Ai is the lead Graphic Designer and Professional Photographer for SquareHook.  Check out some of our other blog posts with pics from Red Rock Brewery, Wasatch Brew Pub, and several others to see her amazing work.)