Ready or Not, Here I Come

I love business. I love small business owners. I love working with them. I love seeing them succeed.  I love the way smaller businesses try new things, challenge the status quo, work hard for every buck. But I hate it when they make stupid mistakes that make it impossible, and I mean impossible, to buy their product.

At 10 a.m. one day I wanted coffee, so I went to a coffee shop…an independently owned boutique coffee shop in a not so convenient location (actually, a very inconvenient location). But I really wanted to support these owners, so I made the effort, and by effort I mean I had to find an on street parking space, walk a block, cross the street, go in to a store, ‘round the back and up the staircase to find the shop. Not exactly an impulse location. But I gladly did all that to buy from independent owners who had invested so much of themselves in their business.

I ordered two large decaf cappuccinos. The gal working didn’t know how to make them. Nope, couldn’t make the priciest drink on the menu, couldn’t make a coffee drink at a coffee shop. Not her fault really because, as she explained, she hadn’t gotten to decaf cappuccino in her training. And where was her trainer, the shop owner? Not there, of course. So I said wouldn’t it be the same as a regular cappuccino only with decaf coffee? Didn’t matter, she hadn’t learned how to make any type of cappuccino. Okay, cancel the fancy drinks.  How about 2 decafs, black, to go.  No, they didn’t have any decaf coffee ready…could I wait 15 minutes? Well, amazingly enough, I could not wait so they lost my business that day. Not a big deal, less than ten bucks in sales.

The question is, will I return? Maybe, maybe not…would you? The moral of this story: Don’t open the doors unless you are serious about doing business.

Why You Should Care About the 2016 Colors of the Year

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Pantone®, the king of all things color, has announced two colors as the 2016 colors of the year: Rose Quartz and Serenity. This is a big deal in the design world – it’s the first time two colors have been selected. But does this mean anything to you? Maybe not. But the color, or in this case colors, selected definitely influence what you wear, how you decorate and even what your customers’ product choices will be.

“Joined together, Rose Quartz and Serenity demonstrate an inherent balance between a warmer embracing rose tone and the cooler tranquil blue, reflecting connection and wellness as well as a soothing sense of order and peace,” said Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director, Pantone Color Institute®. “The prevalent combination of Rose Quartz and Serenity also challenges traditional perceptions of color association. In many parts of the world we are experiencing a gender blur as it relates to fashion, which has in turn impacted color trends throughout all other areas of design.”

So why should you care? Design conscience customers will see these colors used on everything from fashion to paint colors, pens and pencils to automobiles. These colors, and those that work well with them, will influence food decoration, commercial interior design, home decor and even marketing design.

For retailers, look for these colors when you go to market and make your product selections. Based on the target audience, designers will incorporate the tones in ads, web design and brand identity. And for customers, be ready to add Rose Quartz and Serenity to your wardrobe and home.

Is Your Site Mobile-Friendly?

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Earlier this year, Google announced updates to their SEO ranking algorithm that will have a negative impact on mobile searches for your web site if it is not “mobile-friendly”. The update improves rankings for sites that provide a mobile-friendly experience to searchers using mobile devices, and, by association, penalizes sites that don’t.

Note: this mobile-friendly update only affects mobile search results — i.e., searches from smartphones and tablets — not searches conducted on a desktop or laptop computer.

Before we go into what, if anything, you will need to do, a brief explanation may help you understand why this has become a recent issue.

Until the last few years, websites were specifically built to display well on desktop screens because the majority of users accessed the Internet using desktop devices. But the Internet isn’t just on your computer screen anymore. It’s also on your phone, your tablet, your laptop, and whatever else the future has in store. So when you visit a modern webpage, its design should take our multi-platform world into account, and morph to ideally match the size and shape of the screen you’re viewing it on. Or, in other words, respond to the viewport dimensions of the device being used to view it. This is called responsive web design (RWD), and partially due to advancements in modern browsers and coding, it has quickly become the most common way to tackle the issues that arise when users view your website on multiple devices.

Without going into details of website coding and development, responsive design is a way to build websites that can be easily viewed and used on any type of device and/or size of screen, from the smallest mobile phones up to the widest desktop monitors providing easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling across a wide range of devices.

As explained above, Google’s announcement is based on changes in user technology, browser capabilities, and coding languages. If your site was not built using RWD it is because it wasn’t a factor when it was developed. So, what to do. You have a few options:

1. Do nothing. If Google page rankings are not important to you, or if your site’s visitors do not typically use a smartphone to access your site, you may not want to do anything. Your site will still show up in a Google search run from a desktop computer as it always has.

2. Upgrade if possible. If your site is WordPress-based (or uses another CMS) we can look into the availability of upgrades that will improve it’s responsiveness. Note: if your site was developed before 2011 this is probably not an option for you.

3. Adjust your present site to meet RWD standards. While not always a simple fix, and depending on the age of your web site, it may be possible to adjust to existing code to make your site more responsive.

4. Build a new site. Creating a new site using current coding language and techniques, while not the least expensive option, will ensure that your site will meet all Google SEO requirements. If your site is old and was built with technology that has become outdated this may be your best option.

Each website is different and will have its own unique fix. Please contact us  so we can plan a time to get together,  review your site and help you determine the best, most cost effective, solution. We will continue to monitor this situation and report any updates to you.