The Santa Clarita Business Radio Show had the pleasure to speak with Jackie with Red Dragon Fly Web Design whom is an Total Web Solution company located here in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Here is a rough transcript of today’s Show – Listen below this post and Enjoy – there is a lot to learn if you are starting out with your On-Line presence or if you are already established and want to take your on-line business or on-line exposure to the next level:
In 1990 I started the graphics department for a defense contractor in the Aerospace industry along with managing three division’s PCs and two mainframes. I realized that my graphics, overhead transparencies and 35mm color slides back then, where being seen by the top heads in Government and at the Pentagon. It’s then I knew that my graphics material was ready for business arena. So I opened a graphics design firm, in the San Francisco Bay Area, called Micro Graphics. My first client was Kellogg’s, the cereal folks. Other clients included Pacific Bell, Fletcher Challenge and A.W. Chesterton. I created 35 mm color slides, overhead transparencies and black and whites copies for reports. I also created newsletters. I designed the Hexcel Travel monthly newsletter and one for Pacific Bell. Now remember Connor, back in the 1990’s graphic’s design was still a mystery it was only available to a select few who had taken the time to learn the complicated software. There was a huge time investment involved and not for the light hearted.
Harvard Graphics and Freelance
Then an interesting thing happened. Do you remember when Harvard Graphics and Freelance Graphic Software was made available to the masses? Soon every Egghead Software and Fry’s Electronics were carrying those packages. Now every Secretary across America, was being asked to create those same slides and overheads that we at Micro Graphics would create, now it was being done in house. The perception changed over time with the introduction of those two software products (Harvard Graphics and Lotus’ Freelance Graphics). So what did I do? I had to adapt to the changing times.
Adapt to the Changing Times
I realized that now companies had the ability to design their own slide decks in house by heaping that task on the secretaries. But what they didn’t have available to them was the output devices. The expensive color printers, plotters and 35 mm color cameras to process lots of jobs in a short amount of time. So I changed my business model and became an Auto-graphic Slide Service Bureau.
C: What is that?
Well I automated the process whereby making it easy for secretaries to e-mail me their designed slide deck, they would fill out a work order indicated what they wanted i.e. color 35mm slides, color overhead transparencies and/or black and white hard-copies for handouts. They would also specify if the job was a rush or normal delivery and whether the files came from an IBM or a Macintosh computer. I would receive the job, prioritize the job (the rush orders took precedence) and process the job and deliver them to the client before their presentation.
Q: What does Red Dragonfly Do?
A: We build websites for small to medium sized businesses. We also do search engine optimization for our clients so that their websites rank high on the search engines. Lastly, we offer on-going website maintenance packages for our clients.
Q: What is search engine optimization?
A: Search Engine Optimization is the process of making your website more popular without using paid online advertising. When I talk about paid advertising, I’m talking about pay-per-click, pay for banner ads, pay for on-line Yellow Page and business directory ads. The operative word being “Pay”. You pay for these services to boost your rankings. Now, we’re not against using paid ads to make your site more popular. But, it should only be used after you have set your site up correctly in the first place. If your site possesses certain attributes, it will rise in popularity on it’s own naturally. That is why they sometimes call this “natural” or “organic” optimization.
Q: How can a business owner make their website better optimized?
A: One thing you can do to be more popular is to know your keywords. Keywords are the search terms people use to find what they’re looking’ for. If you needed to find an optometrist, you would probably type “optometrist”, or “Santa Clarita optometrist” or “Optometrist and your zip code” . Or… you might type:
“eye doctor” , “vision center”, or “prescription glasses” These are all popular search terms people are using to find an optometrist. The point is: people use different search terms to find what you’re selling. So, you’ve got to know what they are. Know your keywords.
Q: What else can you do to optimize your site?
You work those keywords into the content you put on your website. And by content, I mean the words and paragraphs that appear on your pages. One of the things we see all of the time is that people write content for their pages without putting any keywords in there. It’s important that you do because you need to match what’s on your page with the words people are typing to find you. If people are typing “Santa Clarita Optometrist” to find you, you better make sure it is on your page. But you don’t want to over-do it.
Q: Are there any tips you can offer business owners to help them make their websites better?
A: One of the biggest challenges of a business website is how to turn a visitor to your site into a customer. You only have a few seconds to grab the attention of your prospect, and keep it long enough to build your credibility, and make them choose you over your competition. You do it with Effective Website Design.
Your website design determines whether they like you, and whether they want to do business with you. It’s as simple as that. If you can build enough interest, there will be a “Tipping Point” that turns them from visitor into a customer.
Q: What can business owners do to make their websites more effective?
A: One of the first things I do when I sit down with a client is ask, “Do you have a logo”? This is a good starting point to see if the client has created a brand for themselves. What’s a brand? It’s a visual element that communicates what makes you different from your competition. People identify that visual element with you.
For instance, when you think of Aflak, what do you think of? “Aflak!” or the duck right? You might also think of their logo with their particular colors, and fonts. The orange/yellow beak is also a color used in their brand. And of course, the duck. It sets them apart from their competition visually.
Q: What else can people do to have a more effective website?
Another thing that is related to your branding is the kind of photos you use. I like to see professional photos used on a website because it generates better credibility. If you put photos up that are less than professional, it shows. It amazes me the photos some people put up on their website thinking this is going to make someone want to do business with them. Whether they be photos of you, your business, your truck, or your products make sure they are professional quality.
Q: Any other tips?
Another element of effective website design is having a call to action on your web pages. When people browse your website, you ultimately want them to buy your product, or use your service right? You need them to get in touch with you right? So make it easy for them.
Your “Contact Us” page should have a short form to contact you directly from your website by email. Also, if you have a brick and mortar store, you might also put a Google Map on there showing where the business is located.
Q: These are great tips. Anything else business owners can do to get their customers to respond on their websites?
A: The last element is to make it easy for your customers to navigate your site. Nothing causes people to bounce from your site fast than poorly laid out navigation. Make sure you have everything laid out so that your pages on your site are easy to find. Make sure that they have a way of getting back to where they were before.
So, the four design elements we have talked about are:
- Branding. Make sure your business has some kind of branding that sets you apart from your competition.
- Good Quality Photos to give your business a professional image.
- A Call to Action. Get your site visitors to contact you.
- Make it Easy to Navigate
Following just these four elements of website design will make a substantial difference on turning your website visitors into clients.
What a Great Show – Please check out the Audio Broadcast – If you are a local business and want this kind of “FREE” exposure – don’t hesitate to contact me and I’ll get you interviewed and scheduled.