An effective website is a regularly maintained website.

You have a website - fantastic!  But don't walk away just yet!

For a website to be effective you need to keep it up to date, keep it interesting and keep it relevant.

You can do this by utilsing these marketing techniques ;

  • Having a Blog linked to your website and adding regular updates.
  • Having a Facebook page to add interesting events, products or customer feedback.
  • Having a YouTube account and linking your uploaded videos to Facebook & Blogs.
  • Having a Twitter feed to keep tweeters updated on your posts.

imagesYour website is your most effective marketing tool. It's your backstop, it's your billboard, it's your flashing neon sign working 24 hours to ensure that your info is available - even when you're not.

If you don't currently have one of the suggested marketing techniques running through your website, contact us to have a Blog page added, and a link to your Facebook page or Twitter feed to get your business profile, products and services out there for added brand recognition.

Having a Facebook page is still an effective method of free marketing, but remember that as a free resource, you will have very little control over it. This system has been evolving towards being a user-pays resource with increased limitations as changes are implemented without warning, and posts are no longer visible to all unless paid for.

Having your own website is still the #1 best online tool you could have, and using free media sites such as Facebook and Twitter to direct them back to your website is the way to go. Better yet is to have a newsletter system - such as our ActiveMail customised newsletter system - so you can transfer the interest from other marketing methods into a subscriber list that you can send relevant news and information too, at your own convenience.

It is often a surprise to me when companies come to me for updates for websites that they have not themselves visited in quite some time. I would recommend as a minimum, to be checking and updating your website every fortnight. Keep in mind that if you have something such as a regular blog or "recent news" feed on your site, this gives people a reason to keep coming back to your site to see what's new - especially if they can see that your posts or updates are fairly regular.

If you simply don't have the time to do updates to your site, contact us to utilise our Website Copywriting service, where we can write some keyword-rich, relevant content for both your customers to view, and for search engines to recognise that your site is being maintained, so they will keep coming back to index your site, resulting in increased rankings.

To get a major boost in site rankings - contact us about our Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) Service.

It's hard to keep up your enthusiasm but if you put the same passion into your website as your do into your business, that will reflect in your website content and your website will start working for you - bringing in contacts and queries and more work. The more you get into the habit of making small updates and adding images, the easier it will be, and if the content is interesting enough then your customers may refer other people to your site to see what you do, resulting in increased brand exposure! Remember to add testimonials and images, which are great for most of those web surfers who will just be quickly skimming your site.

Contact Us at Activate if you would like any updates or changes made to your site, or any features added that will make it easier for you to manage your content.

Keep up the maintenance!

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Posted in Branding

Koru Clinic

New website design & creation for http://www.koruskin.co.nz

Christchurch clinic offering facial peels and body treatments among many other therapeutic beauty treatments done by medical staff and trained professionals.

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Posted in Website Design

QR codes : what, why and how

QR Codes are not a new technology, but they are frequently proving their worth as a quick-link to direct a person to a specific website page, promotion or event. The technology is now being included in later models of smartphones and is easily downloadable for most other phones.

QRcodeScan

QR Codes are becoming a far more utilised tool for marketing, especially with our generation Y's (born 1977-1994) who are technology-wise, expect instantaneous results, and are immune to most traditional marketing as they have been exposed to it since early childhood. Marketing to Generation Y needs to be fast and effective and actually offer a good benefit worthy of their time. This is what makes QR Codes, when used correctly, a subtle advantage.

QR Codes can be included with all other marketing, printed on posters and business cards, and even included on car signage, building exteriors and all printed media. A British film company recently marketed a new movie using a billboard with only the QR Code printed on it, generating curiosity of passers-by and directing a wide audience to their website.

QRcodeKids

QR Codes are best described as a two-dimensional barcode which, when scanned by smartphone application, open up a specific webpage. Although this is a great use of directing people to your website, the most effective use of QR Codes are in targeted marketing campaigns, giving the viewer a real incentive to use them.

For example if you were printing posters to a music event, and the incentive was to "scan the QR Code to get discount tickets", then the QR code would direct the user to a webpage that is only accessible through the code.

Another example would be : "scan the QR Code to receive today's special discount" where the user can save a mobile-voucher for later use. This is the kind of instant-gratification marketing that is proving effective to a growing technology-savvy market, appealing to smartphone users through providing a simple yet effective way of accessing a company, product, service, discount or promotion.

QRcodeScanningTo stay on the crest of this fast-moving technology, Contact Us today to have a unique QR Code included in your promoting and marketing, signage and printing.

Click here for more information on our Branding and Marketing expertise.

Click here for more information on our Website design & development skills.

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Posted in Branding

Around NZ Rentals

New website design and development for http://aroundnzrentals.co.nz

Newly launched website utilising a unique booking system and features that allow you to easily see the vehicles' suitability to your needs and book at your convenience.

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Posted in Graphic Design

Effective Website Design

Here is some general information on what makes a website effective. This may be especially helpful for those of you who are using our unique WEP-Com Content Management System, enabling you to create your own pages, galleries, links and more.

So we know that there are infinite options available in how to layout a website, but to have an effective website that users will actually want to spend time viewing, here are a few tips to keep in mind ;

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CLEAR NAVIGATION

Many studies have been conducted on how people use the internet, how they view website pages, and what they choose to click on. Consistent results show that clear navigation makes the difference between an average website and a really good website.

Although you could have a snazzy website that looks like a spinning planet spitting out rocket-shaped pages of information - it would not be effective in that yes, people want to see something new, but in a familiar environment. If it's too strange, if there's no clear navigation to see what page you're currently on, where the links to the other pages are, and indeed what website you're even at - people will click on your website and then 'bounce' right back out again. Your websites' 'bounce rate' then becomes very high, negatively impacting on your website ratings.

KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE TO GIVE PURPOSE TO YOUR WEBSITE

Keep in mind what you are offering so that amongst all the information you are providing about your business, your staff, images, products, services and contact details, ensure there is a very clear and simple path for your customers to take in as few a steps (or clicks) as possible. Understanding why your clients choose to visit your site will help you cater your website to their needs. If they get in touch, always ask for feedback on how your site worked (or did not work) for them.

USE VERY OBVIOUS PAGE NAMES

Some of us like to get a bit fancy, so instead of "home page" we have "home base", or possibly "home portal" or "starbase one" - cool, but in the fast-paced world of website-hopping, it should only take a fraction of a second to recognise a website's page name for what it is. Pausing on a webpage trying to work out what page "home base" is supposed to be, is simply frustrating, and if a whole website is like that then very few viewers would take the time to actually browse your website. Are you using standard terms for your navigation? Can you simplify your terms for easier recognition?

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KEEP NAVIGATION IN THE SAME PLACE

Clear navigation is one thing, but what happens when you navigate away from the main page? Do you get lost in the website pages, not knowing how many pages there are or where it ends - or do you have the reassurance of the same navigation bar, or simple listed text links of all the pages, located in the same place on every page - giving you the peace of mind of knowing where you are at all times. Having the page you're currently on highlighted in addition to fixed navigation on all pages will make navigating through your website much easier.

KEEP IT SIMPLE - THE LESS CLICKS THE BETTER

Websites must cater to the fact that most of us are 'skimmers' rather than 'readers' when it comes to browsing websites and we expect instantaneous results, whether that be clearly knowing what is where on a website, to being able to access pages in one-to-two clicks only. A site can be too clever, to it's detriment.

Example : I can across a site recently that was selling clothing, I was looking for a nice t-shirt for a friend but first I had to click on 'clothing' then choose 'mens' or 'womens', then click on 't-shirts', then select one of the many 'brand options' to get to view the range of t-shirts available in that brand only. When I did not find what I wanted I only had an option to go back to the home page and start again, or use my browsers 'back' button to choose another brand, view the t-shirts, go back, choose the next brand, etc.

 

Yes, it was clever, and it was organised, but it was too time consuming and I left feeling frustrated. What would have worked better would be to simplify the site into a two-click or three-click process, ie. clothing / t-shirts / and a gallery showing the full range, with some some sub-text under each product showing the brand, rather that clicking through to the brand first, thus reducing the number of clicks to access the product/information.

Is there a way you can simplify your current website? How many clicks does it take to get to the product/service you are offering? Can you navigate from anywhere in your site to exactly where you wish to go?

Contact us for any upgrades to your website design and layout, and View Our Portfolio for recent examples of the many successful websites our team has designed & created.

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Posted in Uncategorized

Multi-tasking when it comes to choosing a business, product or service.

In a recently released Google report it was found that 85 percent of New Zealanders regularly multi-task with their purchasing. This means that while we are watching advertising on television, reading a magazine article or talking to a friend about a wonderful product or service, we are also instantaneously looking up that business online via laptop, mobile phone or tablet!

We take from this that it is an excellent idea to expand your business marketing into more than one area while ensuring that your 'home base' is your website. Your website is the place where customers will always refer back to for contact information, prices, and for further information on any products or services that have caught their attention.

Is your website easy to view on a mobile phone? More and more Kiwis are going online via mobile so see us to create a mobile phone-friendly version of your website today.

Doing a quick online search is also the main way that New Zealander's check that your business is legitimate. For example, when looking for a window cleaning service, New Zealanders will most likely google “window cleaning” and their region, and look for a website that shows clear contact details and positive testimonials to assure themselves that your business is legitimate and experienced, rather than just someone’s hobby or quick-cash scheme.

These visits to your website are also judging the quality of your website, which in turn represents the quality of your business; much like the state of the car your drive is commonly viewed as representing your level of professionalism.

An article that comes to mind is one I read long ago, about a plumber who, as a part of maintaining a professional mind-set and appearance, washes his work van every morning before heading to a job, thus ensuring he is doing his best to show his pride in his work through the high maintenance of his vehicle. A simple but shining example of going the extra mile in self-promotion.

 

This attention to detail, and to the importance of creating and maintaining a clean, informative, easy to navigate website are the leading factors that we use to create a website which compliments and enhances your company identity, going that extra mile for you and ensuring your website is the go-to place for anyone who hears about you by word-of-mouth, sees an advert for you in a newspaper or magazine, or hears about you by radio or television advertising.

The recent Google report also mentioned that as we now have such a variety of internet-capable devices at our fingertips, we’re looking at other forms of advertising then going online to search for more information, almost instantaneously. We’re not waiting to look up something later, and we don’t take the time to look in a phone book or catalogue, we’re going online to find what we want, right then and there.

If you have a website that isn’t working for you, if people aren’t finding you online, contacting you through your site or purchasing your products/services online, talk to us about how we can help enhance your website and rankings and really make your online presence work for you. See our SEO Page for more information, or simply browse our website for the service that meets your needs. We are always creating new websites and have a great Portfolio of recent work.

Rather than use the variety of publicly available Content Management Systems (CMS), we use our own system that we have developed with the focused intention of creating a system that is client-friendly, as opposed to the hard to use, programmer-tailored systems that are available today. Contact us for a demo on just how easy it is to use our unique WEP Edit Pro Content Management System, so you can make your own updates and changes to your website at your own convenience.

We also offer additional services such as our ActiveMail Email Marketing System, also nice and easy to use. With your own Newsletter template design you can send out beautiful looking newsletters with confidence, and at your convenience.

As always, feel free to Contact Us for any further information and to discuss your needs.

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Posted in Website Design

Frustrated by Website Service Spam?!

Flooded by emails offering print and website services?

Yeah, us too.

Most of these emails say they have been to your website, analysed it, and can offer to re-design the website, provide an SEO Service and offer additional services.

However, if these emails were for real, if these companies had actually been onto our website in particular, and “analysed it”, they would know that we are a web design company, that we create websites and offer SEO ourselves along with a host of other professional services.

So I must conclude, and feel obliged to warn you, many of these companies are not going to your site first and though they may actually offer these services, they seem to be going about it the wrong way. I don’t know about you but these tactics of sending out bulk spam-like emails are not okay with me.

spamwiches Now I get about 10-12 of these messages every week, offers of SEO and website re-design, as well as ‘photo cutouts’ and print services, and I wanted to assure our blog surfers that we do participate in this type of bothersome marketing.

If you would like a Website created; take a look at our Portfolio Page to see the quality of websites that we produce, then give us a call on 0800 308 8996 or use our Contact Form to send us a message.

We would be happy to come to you to discuss your needs, or you are welcome to come to us for website re-design or a brand new online presence that we can design and build for you.

If you’re out of town be assured we have a lot of experience in designing for companies all around New Zealand and can meet with you via Skype, and alternative communication.

We are a Christchurch-based company, offering great service and transparent prices. If you are looking for quotes on Website Design, Development and Website Hosting, you will be pleased with our competitive pricing and the range of Services we offer, from our ActiveMail Newsletter System, to iPhone and iPad applications and a range of Printed Media.

Don't bother with spam marketing, contact us - the Creative Team at Activate Design.

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Posted in Graphic Design

Yahoo Mail plagued by hackers and compromised security

 ACTIVATE DESIGN'S SOLUTION TO YOUR YAHOO MAIL FRUSTRATION.

mailguy smltallYahoo Mail fixes another compromise in security this week, and publicly admits there is a problem in the on-going issue of insecure yahoo email accounts getting hacked, passwords stolen, and spam being sent from hacked email accounts to all contacts, spreading malware and causing great annoyance to the thousands who keep receiving these spam emails, not to mention the account holders who receive a stream of return emails querying the emails sent from their account.

This dates back to a serious hack into the yahoo email accounts that occurred in early January, when a hacker uploaded a video to YouTube to show just how easy it is to compromise a Yahoo email account. Yahoo was quick to respond, confirming the flaw had been investigated and fixed.

Later in January a company called ‘Offensive Security’ let Yahoo know that their email service was still vulnerable to attack with flawed security. Yahoo again confirmed that these flaws had been fixed.

It was then discovered that the spam in question, that has been sent from compromised yahoo email accounts, had been circulating for about a month, stealing login details and bypassing Yahoo mail security.

Yahoo has again confirmed that these security breaches have been fixed, but should they be trusted? Are you prepared to use an email service, any email service, that is plagued by attacks and flawed security?

Can I change to a more professional email account? Yes, absolutely. A good point to ponder when choosing to move to a new account provider is the professionalism of having a yahoo account for your business. For example, would a company called ‘City Solicitors’ use an email address that was citysolicitors@yahoo.com? No. Most definitely not. Without realising it, some of these email services are actually undermining your business image and professionalism. So why risk it when ideally you can have an email account that is linked to your domain name?

email carriers

What is an example of a more professional email account? As an example, if you own the domain name, “cityflowers.co.nz”, then your own email address could be something like; orders@cityflowers.co.nz. At Activate we create email accounts that are hosted on our secure New Zealand-based server, allowing you to choose from a variety of email software options to manage your emails. Amongst the most popular software for emails today are Microsoft Outlook, MacMail & Thunderbird.

How much does a domain-name email cost? At Activate Design if you already have a website hosted by us, then email accounts are complimentary, and we can setup up to 15 accounts under one domain name. If you do not yet have a website with us, we can host your email account from just $5.00 +gst per month. Contact us for more information or to get started with a new email account today.

Can I get technical support for my software and security? We provide an online troubleshooting guide for email setups, and beyond that we advise those that rely one technology for their business to have an IT Specialist for your company, or to utilise one of the many IT Specialist call-out technician services available today, to assist with any technical issues such as email setups and keeping software and security updated on your computers.

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Why shift to a new email provider? Another reason to shift to your own, more professional domain email account is that Yahoo mail is not good for business because the spam filters are set so high that legitimate business enquiries are often unable to reach you.

What do I do with my existing Yahoo mail account? With your Yahoo email, Hotmail, or other personal email accounts, you can setup forwarders to go to your new domain email account, until those older accounts are no longer needed and can be closed.

Where do I get a domain name? If you do not yet have a domain name, contact our friendly team at Activate Design where we can register domain names on your behalf, or you are welcome to visit our dedicated hosting website www.activehost.co.nz where you can search for the availability of domain names of your choice, with a variety of suffix available such as .com / .co.nz / .net.nz and more.

Simply follow the link above, enter the domain you would like and click "find" to check if it is available. You can purchase your domain right then and there if you wish, or contact us to purchase it for you.

How do I get a website? These days having an online presence is a must. The internet is now the first place most people will go to find a product or service, and increasingly this is being done on mobile devices such as iPhones and iPads. Take a look at our Portfolio Page for examples of websites we have done recently, and for ideas on what we could design and create for you.

The next step: is to contact us to arrange a meeting, where we can discuss the options available, introduce you to our own uniquely developed Content Management System (CMS); created so that you can manage your own content and add images etc, with our easy to use client-friendly system. We can then provide a quote and proceed at your convenience.

Our team at Activate Design can: launch a new or update your existing online presence with CMS websites, Ecommerce websites, and other professional services like email accounts and our easy-to-use ActiveMail newsletter system, as well as iPhone and iPad applications. Our team consists of experienced graphic designers, developers, copywriters, programmers, SEO specialists, and a great sales team to advise you on expanding your company logo and brand into an online presence you will be proud to stand behind.

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Posted in Uncategorized

How to transfer your Facebook Followers to a Subscriber List

Legally, there is no way to just take your whole follower list from Facebook and use if for your own marketing purposes. It simply can't be done.

So how do keep in touch with your 'followers' from Facebook, who obviously already like you and are interested in what you have to offer?

FBthumbSmlStep 1.

You need to have an alternate way of sending out information to your interested followers, and the best way to do this is by sending out a regular newsletter.   Due to the fact that Facebook have introduced fees you must pay to ensure your posts reach all your followers (otherwise they are only visiable to a small percentage of followers), and proven that sites such as this can be changable and unpredicable in the way you interact with them, many people are turning to other methods of having an online presence such as ;

Websites : a website is a must-have for business these days.

Contact us to have a custom-designed website created for your company, or to update your existing website to something stylish and modern.

Newsletters : what better way to regularly send out interesting and relevant information to your clients than an online newsletter?!

Some of the benefits of using our ActiveMail email marketing system;

  • This is a user-friendly newsletter system, so easy to use it will make newsletter creation a breeze!
  • We create a template / or templates for you, then you just choose the template you wish to use and easily upload your pictures, fill in the articles with your own words, send yourself a test newsletter if you wish, then send to your subscriber list. Easy.
  • Easily add links into your newsletters yourself.
  • Subscriber lists that are so easy to manage, you can even have multiple lists for ease-of-use. What could be simpler?

 

FBthumbSmlStep 2.

Pay for a post on Facebook so it's guaranteed to go to ALL followers. The sooner the better! With changes in progress all the time, who knows what future posting prices will be?! - get in quick while posting prices are relatively low.   Your post could be an interesting graphic to intice interest, with a link to the subscriber page on your newsletter where they are encouraged to fill in their name and email to enjoy your future newsletters.

I would advise to keep your Facebook page, it is free social media marketing unless you are paying for posts, then you can pay for a post every now and then to encourage subscribing to your newsletter.

Feel free to contact us to discuss your website or newsletter needs, we are happy to advise on the best solution for your business needs. Visit our ActiveMail Email Marketing System page for more information on this innovative newletter system.

Visit our Content Writing page, if you would like to utilise our creative writers for articles in your newsletter, or content for your website.

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Posted in Branding

The trouble with Facebook changability vs reliable Website stability

The advantages of having a website rather than relying on free social media sites such as Facebook, are becoming more and more clear with new information that has come to light this week.

Is the Facebook user audience is on the decline? A report released this week shows that some 61 percent of Facebook users had taken a break from using the site for at least two weeks for a variety of reasons; from taking a break from the screes of gossip, drama, and irrelevant information, to the fact that many people seem to have realised they have been spending too much time on the site, and need to re-think their time allocations. Privacy and security concerns on Social Media sites have also received plenty of media coverage of late.

This shift in user activity may be due to the new charges that were launched in late 2012, where you must pay for the priviledge of having your posts reach all of your followers, or otherwise be satisfied that only a percentage of your randomly chosen followers will be seeing any of your posts at all.

This introduction of charges also had another effect, causing users to realise that websites of this type can change without notice in the form of charges, display and formats, even how they operate. Facebook offers you no control over how you can utilise this marketing tool. It's a take-it or leave-it social media platform with little or no stability.

For those who have spent vast amounts of time setting up their business pages and marketing hot spots on Facebook, it has come as a huge disappointment that free social media sites cannot be relied upon to work as they previously have. We have people just like this come to us and we are able to create a client-friendly, editable website for them, as well as the ability to have a Blog streaming through their site, and a customised Email Marketing Newsletter to reach their target audience.

The time to have your own website is now. Facebook is a free media site that can still offer benefits, but not stability. I would encourage everyone currently advertising on Facebook to invest in their own website where your followers can find your permanent, reliable internet presence when they want it.

I say it is time to action your own website presence now because you want to encourage your Facebook audience to sign-up to your Newsletter, and you want to do this NOW before Facebook change their charges or conditions on the way you can advertise to your followers.

Contact us today to discuss your website needs and how we can conceptualise, design and build a stunning website that will best reflect your style, as well as offering easy-to-use editable features allowing you to control, change and add your own content at your own convenience.

See our Portfolio page for examples of our previous website design projects.

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Posted in Branding