Category: Website Design

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Form Options To Help You Get the Most From Your Business Website

Just about every website has at least one online form. And if you are a business owner chances are you have at least one form on your site as well. But are you getting the most out of your forms? Let's face it .. the little ol' Contact Form is not really something most business owners want to spend too much time on. It would be easier to just put an email link on your site and invite potential clients/customers to email you but we all know that opens up a pandora's box of problems. Every business owner likely has an email inbox that is already overflowing. Inviting people to just email you willy-nilly without any constraints is asking for trouble. That's why when it comes to Contact Forms less is often more. Keep it simple and direct the user to send you just enough information for you to get an idea what they want before you reach out to them. But remember, a Contact Form is not the only type of Form you may need on your website. Forms have endless possibilities and when used correctly and creatively can benefit your business (and your workflow) greatly. Take a look at the example in the image at the top of this blog post. That's a screen shot of a form we did for a client that hosts an annual charity golf tournament. In this instance participants "sign up" for the tournament by entering their team/player information and contact information and T-Shirt size (for a complimentary shirt that all players receive). Seems pretty simple .. but here's what we did that took this form to the next level: We created a database that the form posted to in addition to the normal email that is sent to the form recipient (the tournament director). We then created a page on the website that is hidden and only accessible by the tournament director and planners. This page displays all the entries in the database and updates automatically. This way the director and planners have two resources to use when setting up the tournament .. emails with every team/player entrant and an online list where they can see every entrant at once. Sounds pretty cool, right? But you'd be surprised the number of business owners who have no idea they can access something so simple for their own business and just how easy it…

Why does my business need a website anyway?

Believe it or not that's one of the most frequent questions I get from potential clients (and sometimes even existing clients). A lot of business owners, especially those of a more "mature" age and from a more old-fashioned way of doing business, tend to stay stuck in the "yellow pages" mentality of business promotion. And for good reason, after all, at one time the Yellow Pages were the premier forum for advertising a business. Particularly a small business. Those days are long gone my friend. When a young couple are trying to decide where they are going to eat dinner on "date night" they are no longer digging out the Yellow Pages and flipping through endless pages of Restaurants. They probably will not even consult their town's local "entertainment and nightlife" publication.. you know the ones that you find in racks outside restaurants and bars. Their first stop will be an online search. That search might begin with Google, Bing or Yahoo. Or maybe they'll start with one of the many popular apps like Yelp, Urban Spoon, etc. If you are a restaurant owner without a website they won't find you. That scenario applies to any type business. Online searches are now the norm when looking for a restaurant, plumber, electrician, babysitter, piano teacher, hotel or even a band to book for your nephew's 21st birthday party. Many business owners make the mistake of thinking they can't afford a quality website. A quality website does not have to have a dozen pages, endless graphics and E-Commerce. You simply want to get noticed. Your name and logo, location, services offered and contact information are the building blocks and from there the possibilities are endless. If you are the hands-on type you are in luck. You can take charge and purchase everything you need to design your own site and get online fast .. right here from our website! If that seems like an enormous headache we can take over and design a site for you!! Let's get started getting you noticed!!

First site utilizing WordPress

We are pleased to show off the first site that we have developed using the award winning platform. The Dental Business is one of our longest running clients. Over the years we have done many site redesigns and refreshes as they like to keep their content fresh and up to date. We made the decision to use Wordpress for their latest reboot after much research and sterling testimonials from some very trusted business associates. We hope you love the new site as much as we (and they) do. Feel free to leave us some kudos!! We appreciate your feedback.

More than one way to skin a cat (with apologies to my Scooter)

First of all apologies to my cat of 15 years, Scooter. The title above is obviously in jest .. a saying my parents and grandparents used to use whenever they had a particularly unique or personal way of doing something. My grandparents were all farmers, and if there is anyone who knows how to improvise and figure things out on the fly, it’s a farmer. That sort of goes for web developers too. I’m knee deep in a brand new site for a charity golf tournament. To see my work go here: I have a photo page that is .. well .. full of photos. But at the moment they are in a sort of linear, straight down the page format. Somewhat jumbled in size as well. I did this because honestly I was in a hurry to get the site live and didn’t want to spend hours (days?) formatting a slideshow or gallery. But now the site has been live for about a week and I’m largely unsatisfied with the look of the photo page. What to do? The choices are pretty varied and somewhat predictable. There is the good old standard slideshow. The kind where the user clicks a thumbnail to change the featured picture. Or the kind where the user clicks a “next” button or arrow to change the featured picture. There is the “mouseover” option where there is a page of thumbnails and a simple hover of the mouse enlarges the thumbnail or even changes the feature picture. Also don’t forget a simple fading slideshow. The user doesn’t get much interaction with these, though. I’m not a fan myself. Most of the above shows are formatted using some form of javascript or jquery. There is also Flash to consider but since all indications are that Flash is going away, or at the least deprecating, then I think I will avoid it at this time. So where does that leave me? I think perhaps the easiest one to create and easiest for the average user to navigate is a simple page of thumbnails that are larger in size than a typical slideshow. Large enough to get a good look at the picture but small enough to make you want to see the picture larger or in its original size. A simple guide/hint at the top of the page tells the viewer to click each thumbnail to…

QR Codes .. next big thing or next big bust?

If you spend any time perusing traditional forms of media such as newspapers and magazines you've surely seen QR Codes popping up everywhere. They're even showing up on grocery store shelves and product packaging! QR codes are those square icon looking images that sort of resemble a thumbprint ... a digital squared off thumbprint. QR Codes are simply links. With the proper tool (app) on your mobile device you can scan the image and your device will instantly open a linked file/image/website in your default browser. It's basically adding clickable links to static, real-life objects! So what's the big deal? QR Codes give you instant access to additional information about a product or advertisement. A sort of "Read More" that can be applied almost anywhere to anything. Think of the possibilities of adding these links to your own product advertising, materials, media and packaging. The sky's the limit! Need help implementing a QR Code campaign or strategies? Let us help. Ask us how now!! ~Todd

One page what?

One of the frequent reasons potential clients say they don't have a website is that they "can't afford to pay for all those pages." What they mean is that many website design/development firms charge by the page. Or at the least they charge an upfront fee then more for each page added to the site. To be fair this is pretty common practice and at Todd Day Graphics we have structure that also takes into account the size of the proposed project. So what are you to do if you need a great looking functional website but can't afford 10-12 pages of content? Or maybe you don't even HAVE 10-12 pages of content to offer? The answer: One Page Sites. One Page Websites are trendy this year and for good reason. You can say a lot with a little (the old "less is more" principal) if you do it right. One designer refers to One Page Websites as "digital business cards." That's a great analogy. If you need a great website but don't have a lot to offer in content at the moment, why not let us build you a great looking and great performing One Page Website? Let's get started!! Contact us Here..

Thinking (and working) outside the box .. the moving box that is ..

Things are kind of crazy around here. You see, my wife and I just moved to a brand new home in Charlotte. We're surrounded by a mountain of moving boxes, piles of brown wrapping paper and I can't find anything!! But we are very happy about our move and our new home and our new neighborhood. All this moving got me to thinking about how this related to websites .. sometimes we really, really want a new, fresh look to our site but we dread the process. Changing over to a new site can be a daunting task without the proper support. Just as your favorite serving platter can mysteriously disappear during a home move, so can files and images and databases if precautions aren't taken. We've got lots of experience setting up new sites, transforming old sites and even moving existing sites to new servers and hosts. We can help you make a move that will be "relatively" stress free!! No boxes and clutter included!! Ask Us How We Can Help!

Cross-Browser Compatibility

What exactly does “cross-browser compatibility” mean? Simply put, it means that your web site will look exactly the same in any browser. And while this may come as a surprise to many new designers, anyone who has ever pulled their hair out over the many bugs inherit in older versions of Internet Explorer knows how frustrating it can be to make sure everything parses the same in all browsers. Think about it, how many times have you designed your “best site ever” and previewed it til your blue in the face, then check it on someone else’s computer a few days later and it looks blown apart … elements out of order, colors wrong, fonts wrong … it’s happened to all new web designers at some point! And if the person who sees the bad version happens to be your client, you can run into big trouble down the road! So how do we accomplish this goal? Two main ways. First, by being absolutely sure that your web sites are standards compliant and secondly by using the tools available to you both in your software and online to check for compatibility issues. I use Adobe Dreamweaver almost exclusively in building my sites. That’s not to say I don’t sometimes tinker with other programs and/or do preliminary layouts in notepad or notepad++ …….. but when the final version is being built, I am going to always be in Dreamweaver. One of the nicest things about Dreamweaver, and all of the Adobe Creative Suite software, is the array of troubleshooting tools built in. Dreamweaver has a button in the main toolbar which will allow you to check the browser compatibility of your site as it’s being developed. If a problem is detected, clicking a link will take you to the Adobe web design forums/help pages where solutions can be found. Remember, when you are finishing your site’s build and previewing  … check it in as many browsers as you can. Download the latest versions of Firefox, Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Opera and Safari and go through every page in each browser. Look for font problems, color problems, divs that aren’t in the right place and images that aren’t floating correctly. Most of the time, a review and tweak of your CSS file will correct any problems. Always use someone else’s computer if possible, to preview your site on a test server before…