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Tag Archives: web design

SGU Now Offering Free Services to New Businesses

 

Attention new small business owners: SGU wants to help you!free IT services

We understand that in these hard economic times, it’s difficult to make your mark as a new business – especially when you’re struggling to establish a technological base. That’s where we come in.  To help give new businesses a boost, we’re offering our technology services …drum roll please…FREE!  SGU will survey the technological infrastructure for your business free of charge – assessing what you have and what you need in order to help your business take flight.

Why are we giving you something for nothing?  

Miles Ramboyong, the founder of SGU, is personally invested in the challenges that new businesses may face: “The odds against small business success are what drive me to succeed and help others to do so. Startups need to be as efficient and productive as possible, as saving time and money go hand in hand. Technology is a tool to help them succeed – it’s a key component in the efficiency of every aspect of a business, starting with the accounting system…I’m rooting for the underdog. As a business owner myself, I want businesses to succeed.”

What will you get?

Our offer means you can take advantage of our free assessment in 1 of 3 areas: Help Desk and Network Support, Audio/Video Installation and Integration, or Web Design.

  1. Help Desk and Network Support: It is important for new companies to have a strong communication platform: this includes hosted email exchange, data sharing and file storage. The internet configuration – usage of a modem, router, server, firewalls, and other devices – will also be vital to doing business. We’d like to  come in with solutions to these network design challenges to help you start off with a solid infrastructure.
  2. Audio/Video Installation and Integration: Conference or Board room setup contains various A/V elements such as TV placement and installation, video conferencing specifications, shades, lighting, and other design components. SGU can examine equipment and configuration to ensure your space is optimized.
  3. Web Design: SGU will create complimentary home page mockups for new businesses. Collecting information – including website goals, style preferences, target market, and overall functionality – will establish the focus needed to produce an effective website and drive revenue.

Where do I apply?

If you are a new business owner, visionary, and/or entrepreneur with a strong business plan, click here to contact us, and simply complete the form.  You may also email us directly at info@sguconsulting.com.  In addition to your business concept, please tell us about your role in the company, a little bit about your business plan, and the technology challenges that you’re currently facing. This way, we can more quickly determine how we can help.  We look forward to working with you and  helping you make your way towards success.

 

Mobile Web Design: 3 Reasons and 3 Methods To Go Mobile

 

By Kalyn Oyer
Artwork by Danielle Adams

As the age of smartphones triumphs, the website has long lost its singular format of the computer screen.  Now, websites are being accessed frequently on mobile devices, and you need to make sure that your site is keeping up!  Here are 3 reasons why you should make sure your website has a compatible mobile web design and 3 methods on how to make it happen!

The Mobile Era

3 Reasons:

1)  Mobile searches and purchases are skyrocketing!  If you aren’t doing everything possible to snag those potential customers, you are losing customers…and not just a few.

  • Mobile search queries have grown 5X in the past two years.
  • 95% of smartphone users have searched for local information and 61% call a business after searching.
  • 90% of smartphone searches result in purchasing, visiting a business, etc.
  • 74% of smartphone shoppers make a purchase.
  • Mobile customers will likely account for $163 billion in sales worldwide by 2015.

If those statistics (from International Data Corporation) can’t convince you to go mobile, some of these other facts will!

2)  Smartphone traffic will enhance your website’s overall traffic.  It’s as simple as realizing that the more options you make available, the more available your options are!  And those options are being made available to more potential customers.

3)  Putting it off is only giving your competitors a leg up!  It is super trendy to go mobile right now.  Even though you think you might be able to wait it out, what are you waiting for?  Mobile users are only going to increase, and while you’re waiting, your competitors are getting one step ahead of you.  So, take the leap now and don’t get left behind!

Now that you know why you should go mobile, here’s a few tips from SGU Consulting on how to mobilize your website.  Because, if you do it, you should do it right!

3 Methods:

1)  Once you have made the decision to optimize your website for mobile, you need to understand the behavior of mobile users.  The actions of mobile users are different from desktop users, when it pertains to your website.  You have to take into account what people will be using the mobile site for and organize it intelligently.  An example, from the design perspective, is to incorporate large buttons and simplicity.  You want to make sure the site is not discouraging to users who are viewing it on a mobile device.  If someone accesses your website on a small, mobile screen and is forced to continuously scroll, zoom‐in, etc., they will take their business elsewhere.

  • 40% of mobile users have turned to a competitor’s site after a bad mobile experience.  This means almost half of your customers may be lost to competitors if you do not make your mobile web design easy to view and navigate.

2)  Keep it Simple.  Users are visiting your mobile website trying to get information quickly.  Think about why they are going to your site and design accordingly.  An example – mobile users may want to call you, so make sure your phone number is prominent and offers a Click-to-Call feature.

Also, employ your images wisely.  Don’t slow your homepage down with tons of useless images.  Eliminate any pictures or graphics that are not essential, and use smaller versions.

3)  Give SGU Consulting a call!  We are here to help you out and create your mobile web design for you.  We can modify a theme that is best suited to your particular business and customize it to your preferences.  Also, we have insight into what works for mobile and can not only create a unique layout but also a functional one!

 

 

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Sink or Swim: How to Make a Successful Website

 

By Kalyn Oyer
Artwork by Danielle Adams

When it comes to websites, there are the sharks and the guppies.  The question is: what do you have to do to make sure that you are a shark in the website waters? 

There are lots of ways to make your business stand out, and one of the most important factors in today’s tech-driven world is your website.  You want to make sure your website draws people in, keeps their attention, and includes a call to action to seek your services or purchase your product. 

So how can you ensure that your website does all of those things?  SGU will give you some ideas to keep in mind to make sure your website stays afloat. 

The essentials on how to make a successful website…

how to make a successful website


DRAWING PEOPLE IN:

1) Custom Design > Template

We know that there are thousands of available website templates floating around on the Internet.  Some are cheap and even free, but what are you really getting when you choose to use a template?  If you read our last web design blog you might recall the answer: less effective search engine optimization (SEO) and a look that will categorize you as just another fish in the pond.  What you want is a custom-built site that will set you apart from your competitors.

2) Simple > Cluttered

Less is more when it comes to website design.  You want your home page to make a good first impression on prospective clients, and the more congested your site is, the more likely it is for your viewers to click away immediately.  Two things you should keep in mind are your user interface and the fold.  In other words, who is your business targeted toward and is all your important information toward the top of the page or above the “fold”?

It is imperative to create an image of your ideal visitor and have them in mind when developing your design.  Be sure you offer everything on your site they might want to discover, and display the information simply and clearly.  Make sure your navigation area is easy to find and consistent throughout your entire website (in both the header and the footer).

It needs to be obvious where the user should click in terms of your primary navigation, as well as for links.

The fold on your website is the place where most browsers begin to scroll.  It is important to put your main menu above the fold with all the links to the main sections of your sites.  Features to include above the fold are your logo (which you should link back to your homepage), as well something like: Home | About Us| Products |Contact.  Leave it as simple as that and let the links lead you to more detailed information.
 

KEEPING ATTENTION:

Once you have drawn people onto your website, you then want to keep them there.  A nice design that is simple and easy to navigate will draw them in, but now you want your potential customers to stay on your site!  This is when your content comes into play.

1) Inform, Don’t Oversell

When writing the copy for your website, it is critical to provide helpful, knowledgeable information about your company, products, and services.  It is important to sell your company, but do not oversell.  Your customers want to know how you can help them, not why they should help you.

2) Make It Relevant

People are curious.  They want to know who is behind your company and how they can relate to a personal interest story.  Include information about how your background pertains to your business and expertise.  The “about” page can help establish a more personal connection.  You want to create a connection and have your clients relate to you on another level, rather than just becoming a faceless organization.

CALL TO ACTION:

Now that your viewers know a little bit more about you and how you can help them, they will be more likely to take the important step and purchase your product or services.  Here are some tools your website should feature to help them take the plunge.

1) Contact Information 

If someone is interested in your services but cannot find a simple contact page with a quick way to get in touch and employ you, they will go to the competition.  You want to provide more than one method of contact.  You should include an email, contact form, phone number, and mailing address (if possible).  People will see a phone number and physical address as an added sign of stability.

2) Search Feature

If you have a large website, providing a search field is very helpful.  This feature allows your potential customer to easily sort through the information you provide to pinpoint exactly what they want or need, which will more readily ensure a purchase.

3) Signup and Subscribe 

If it applies, you want to make it as easy as possible for people to sign up for updates.  If you want to offer subscriptions to an email newsletter, for example, you might set up and manage a mailing list.  You want to be able to collect email addresses of potential prospects.

4) Sitemap

There are two kinds of sitemaps, one for humans and one for the search engines.  A PHP sitemap meant for visitors to your website can be a helpful tool for finding just what they are looking for.  Creating a structured list of all the pages on your website (which is what a site map is) is practical.  A good sitemap will list out every page on your site in an arranged format, which will clearly show the relationship of all your pages.  Organization is key!  

 

Now, you have the basics for creating a website that will swim, not sink!  Follow these tips on how to make a successful website, and it will be sure to stay afloat.  For any other of your website concerns or needs, be sure to contact SGU ConsultingWe can help you become a shark in the sea of guppies!

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Web Development Consulting: Tailored vs. Off-the-Rack Solutions

 

By Shay Davis
Artwork by Danielle Adams 

Business cards, logos, business plans and creating an impact in the business world are all a part of developing a company and a brand. In 2013, people expect companies and professional individuals to have websites that impress possible clients or customers. There are many different types of website-building programs and website designers that can assist you in creating the perfect online presence for your company.

Some website programs offer templates, or pre-programmed solutions, and others are geared for people who are more tech savvy. But should you use a template website or a program (or company) that creates custom websites?  SGU can help you decide which route to take by giving you the facts you need to know.

The point of a good website is to have a place where people can easily find information about your company and services.  Your website needs to get your name out to a huge audience and make a lasting impression so that people are interested in doing business with you.  A company’s credibility increases when they have an impressive website and not one cluttered with ads or an unsuitable color scheme.  An excellent website also needs to have great search engine optimization, or SEO, so that it can be found through an infinite number of other websites in search engines.  With our tips you can begin to develop your clientele and your company with an exceptional website.

Template websites are often easier to use than other website-building platforms. Template websites offer many advantages but also some significant disadvantages:

Advantages

  • Easy to create and maintain
  • Basic web language
  • Little knowledge of coding is needed
  • Time and money conservative
  • Great for startup companies

Disadvantages

  • Not search engine friendly
  • Thousands of other people use the same templates
  • Not easily customizable
  • May have dated coding

Examples of template websites include WordPress and FrontPage.  These programs let you input your information for each page – assembling the site for you by way of the pre-programmed code and design format.  The program creates the site for you, with little knowledge of web design needed on your end.  Template websites are an alternative to learning complex coding and developing a website from scratch (or hiring someone who can). The main drawback of using template website programs is that…well, they look like templates.  You might see your website design coming and going quite a bit in the cyber world.
 

off the rack suit


Custom websites
also have their own set of pros and cons:

Advantages

  • Unique design
  • Search engine friendly
  • Customized for your company and its needs/different from your competition
  • Other people can be hired to take care of the hassle

Disadvantages

  •  Can be pricey to keep up website/staff
  •  More effort and time
  •  Need to know programming language or hire someone who does

Custom websites can do many things that a template website cannot.  The keyword is “custom” – your website should be unique, just like your company!  Dreamweaver and other programs that are used to build a company’s website can stand out among other companies who rely on standard templates available to anyone.  

tailored solution

One element that may hold people back from using custom website programs or web designers is the cost and time that has to be put into making a great finished product.  However, you get what you pay for, and the low cost of templates might deprive you of key elements like search engine optimization (SEO).  Customized sites can be specifically geared for SEO – the designer places your optimized keywords in such a way that you are guaranteed to be found in search engines.  Both webpage copy and webpage elements such as header text and image tags can be customized to help you gain authority in the Google world.  This is a major factor in gaining your website return on investment.

 

To sum it up:

  • If you want an easy and inexpensive way to get your company website off the ground quickly, then a template website may be right for you.  However, it may not be the best choice when it comes to building a memorable website.  It can be difficult for your website to stand out if it looks like so many other websites out there.
  • If you’re looking for a unique website made specifically for your company, then updating to a custom website design with a more thorough SEO campaign may be the best option.

Whether you decide to use a template website or create a custom website, you can contact SGU to help answer your questions and we would be glad to assist you with any of your web development consulting needs!

 

 

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Your Custom Website: If You Build it, They Will Come

 

You have a great idea for a website and you’rewebprocess 2 ready to distribute it to the cyberworld.  You’ve thought it through, you’ve found a great designer, and you can’t wait to start growing your brainchild.  With all this excitement, you want it to be up as soon as humanly possible.  But just how long is that?  What are the steps?  What can you expect? 

Let us shed some light.  Building a custom website from scratch is all about communication.  And then a lot of weird coding that – unless terms like HTML and MySQL are part of your daily jargon – you will be happy to leave to the professionals.  Want to know the step-by-step process of turning your web vision into a reality?  Here’s the breakdown:

1.  Client (that’s you!) brings in ideas for a new website
2.  Mock-ups are designed in Photoshop to give an idea of the site’s look

  • This is the step where the designer and client agree on the design aspects of the site- which include layout, color, and general style.  When the client signs off on this step, the designer can lock in the style template of the site in order to begin programming.

3.  Mock-ups are translated into code (2-3 weeks)

  • Seems simple, right?  Your developer may tell a slightly different story.  Even the most genius coder is at the mercy of the meticulous requirements of programming languages.  Coding a site just right can take weeks, depending on the functionality requirements for your dream site.  A menu bar alone could take nearly 6 hours to execute!  Is it worth it?  We think so.  The detailed programming is what will make your custom site stand out over any website built from a pre-existing template (like one you could build on iWeb).
  • Content is also added at this stage.  Now that the site has been converted and “sliced” (as we say in the biz), we can drop in the content.  Dummy content used earlier for layout purposes is magically transformed into readable text.

4.  Test the functionality of the site (1 week)

  • This is where we test every page, link, picture, etc. to make sure the site is fully functional.
  • At this stage, the site is still on a demo server, not visible to the public.  We give you access to the demo right along with us, so together we can make your creation the best it can be.

5.  Launch! (4-10 hours)

  • When we’ve all agreed your website is ready to be shared with the world, the files are then uploaded to the live server.  When the upload is complete, you have officially unveiled your new, custom website!

*Note:  After your site is officially live, a post-launch stage is conducted to assure no test content has been left on the site, links are working, contact information is accurate, and that all cross-checks between browsers, operating systems and applications run smoothly.  This stage’s time line ranges, depending on specific programs used and site design.
 

So what’s the grand total of time it takes to create your site?  A minimum of 2 months from the numbers above, but it can take up to 6 or even longer.  The process depends greatly on both parties – client and designer – being communicative and timely with deliverables.  As we all know with technology, there can always be hiccups, but as designers, we guide you through the process and set expectations from inception-to-completion.

Want to get started?  Contact Us today!

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Get Your Name Out There: The Benefits of Social Media For Business

 

We’ve grown up knowing that business and pleasure don’t usually mix, that things like Facebook and Twitter are sites we only browse when at home. Or at least when our boss isn’t nearby. But many companies have found that social media is an integral marketing tool for their business, reaching wider audiences, and connecting with customers on a more personal level. Breaking the barrier between play and work could be just what you need to get out ahead of your competitors and build a loyal following.

Why Social Media Is So Important

socialmedia

Social Media is a quickly growing method of reaching out to consumers, but what exactly about social media makes it such a great vehicle for small businesses?

  • You can connect with a wider audience on the web; since sites like Facebook are open to everyone, you have the opportunity to have all kinds of people click on your page. Plus, it’s an easy and open way for people to see who their friends “like”, creating a virtual word-of-mouth system.
  • It’s a more relaxed and fun way to connect with people. Customers can check you out on their own time without the occasional pressure of consulting you face to face. They will also enjoy learning more about your business in the interactive and engaging social media world.
  • Social media is free to use. Keep in mind that properly maintaining an account on LinkedIn, for example, will take time and effort; you get out of social media what you put into it, but there’s no charge to create an account. If you want to simply create an informational page to lead people to your company’s website, that requires little time and energy to keep up.

 

How To Use Social Media

Getting involved in social media doesn’t automatically mean that you will garner a huge following or that business will be booming the day you start – it takes time and forethought to use social media right. Follow these steps to reap the benefits of social media for business:

  • Set yourself a goal. If you don’t know why you’re on Twitter, no one else will. You may want to build customer loyalty, for example, so one way to do that is tweet about what great benefits returning customers get from you that they can’t get anywhere else.
  • Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. If you’ve got a boring page with a really bland design, would you want to revisit it often or recommend it to colleagues? Probably not. Never forget that you’re entertaining your audience, baiting and hooking them so that they look you up again.
  • Make it all about your customer. No one wants to read about how you love running a dog collar design business; show them why they should love your dog collars. Maybe hold a slogan-writing contest where the winner gets a free bejeweled terrier collar, or anything, as long as it is exciting and engaging. Be creative.

 

What To Keep In Mind

Social media doesn’t lend itself to all kinds of businesses in the same way. A hair salon might see more of the benefits of social media for business than say a taxidermist would. You may decide that social media isn’t right for you and that you can’t spare the time and manpower required to run it. Because it’s free, you can always change your mind about that. It’s never too late to get started.

If you do decide that you want to make a name for your business through social media, there are many different routes to take. You can start by simply creating an informational page on Facebook, or even starting up a blog – this blog you’re reading should be a testament to how fun it can be to keep your customers informed.
 

SGU Consulting knows what it takes to get you started; let us help you reach out to future customers and build up your clientele today!  Call us at 212-380-1333 to see how you can use social media to your advantage.

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Where to Start When Creating Custom Websites

 

websiteIt could be that you’ve just started a company and need a website to promote the great services you provide, or that you hand-craft miniature ceramic tea sets that you’d like to be able to sell to a global market, or even that you want to create a database of all of your favorite recipes so that distant friends and family can access them – the possibilities are endless. All of these options require their own kind of website with different templates and styles, but the designing process starts the same for all of them.

 

Custom Websites:  The Basic Steps to Achieve a Polished Product

You’ve probably got a lot of ideas of what you want for your website as well as plenty of things you know you don’t want, but in order to get results, you must first organize all of these thoughts. The process starts with a series of questions you have to ask yourself.

 

  • First, what is the purpose of the website? Will the website be informational, much like the recipe index website, or are you selling products through it? This is key as different website hosts will be most helpful for different types of sites.  Also, the purpose of your site will help dictate the design.

 

  • Second, who is your target audience? If you are creating a website for a performing arts day camp, a minimalist design probably won’t draw a lot of hits from theater-loving kids and their families.

 

  • Third, what do you want your domain name to be? You want it to be something simple and therefore easy to remember, while also relating to the content of the site. This may take a few tries since your first choice domain name may already be claimed.

 

  • Fourth, what are you waiting for? You’ve got the foundation for a great website – now all you need to do is make it happen. We’re here to make sure it does: at SGU Consulting, we understand how to match creativity with efficiency, so that you get a finished product in as little time as possible.

 

The Support You Need

A lot more goes into making a website than you might originally think, but it’s so much easier to do when you have a good web developer and designer. You want someone who will help organize all of your thoughts while encouraging you to keep those creative juices flowing! A good web developer should listen to your ideas, putting them together as a cohesive unit for real results. One key way to get those real results is to work with clients to produce custom websites instead of relying on a stock template with a fixed price. If your message is unique, or your products are one-of-a-kind, the same should be true for your website.

 

Most importantly, you remain the creator. The ideal web developer should give you the template so that you can build on the website whenever you like; you don’t have to wait for technical support to add a photograph or a tab. As the website’s visionary and creator, the tools should be in your hands because it’s your website. With a content management system, you can be in control without having to know a lot about website design.

 

At SGU Consulting, we aim to help you realize your unique vision. Contact us for a consultation and start making your website idea a reality!

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