Archive for the ‘Tools/Services’ Category

Reasons Why You Need a Wedding Website

July 24th, 2013 by Dan

Okay, there are going to be some that agree and some that flat out disagree with this. Honestly, I personally thought it was weird when we got our first request to put a wedding website together for a client but quickly began realizing the benefits. Sure, how much communication and information do your guests need outside of “show up, get tipsy and dance” but think of how much of a hassle phone calls, e-mail, Facebook messages etc. would be just days before your big day. Much much better to have it all in one place for people to reference whenever they’d like. Also, think of how appreciative your wedding party and family members might be to have a little behind-the-scenes look into the planning process. A website with a major focus on blog-like functionality is perfect for any bride-to-be. Here are a few reasons we think you’d be happy to consider having a website for your wedding.

  1. Sure, most people know you enough to have been invited to your wedding, but how many of them know your partner or how you met? Using a website/blog to tell these kinds of stories is going to be fun for you, entertaining for your guests and gives everyone an opportunity to learn a bit more about you TWO as the lovely couple. You each can write a little bio about each other, how you ended up where you are today etc. etc.
  2. Your registry! You’re bound to get a ton of e-mails and questions about your wedding registry. “Where are you registered?” over and over again. Of course you might include information like this in your invitations but in this digital age we live, how many people are likely to be hanging onto that? With your website you can not only provide information on where you are registered but link people directly to it as well!
  3. Regarding that whole “living in the digital age” thing, how convenient would it be for your guests to include directions to your ceremony and reception as well as any pertinent notes like parking information and maps all in one place on your site.
  4. Pictures! There are going to be a ton of these and you probably even have a bunch of you two already. Share those with your guests on your website. Let’s be fair, not EVERYONE you’re inviting, especially your older guests have Facebook but most have access to the internet and can get to your website. Between past photos, engagement photos and what will appear to be the never-ending wedding photos, this is a great place to be sharing them all before and after the big day.
  5. Guests of your partner may not know you and guests of you might not know them but even if that isn’t true, many of your guests probably don’t know your wedding party. Use your website to introduce these folks and let your guests know how important they are to you and your partner. It will make them feel special at the very least!

At the end of the day, we feel a website for any upcoming wedding and bride-to-be is perfect and have included it as one of the examples for our One-Day Website service. The last thing any bride-t0-be needs is a drawn out design process that takes up too much time. With our One-Day Websites you avoid all the hassles and can have a beautiful website up and running in just one day. Learn all about it here!

 

 

Overwhelmed by Social Media? – Start by Blogging

July 9th, 2011 by Dan

We often get the question of where to start as a small business owner looking to address the elephant in the office, social media. Without a doubt, without a plan, social media management as a small business owner can be overwhelming. Although having a plan is a good idea there is no reason to overwhelm yourself with anything elaborate.

Our opinion is to pick a platform that works and that you are familiar with whether it be Twitter, blogging, Facebook or any of the other platforms out there. Regardless of what it is, make sure you are comfortable with the way it works, who is seeing your posts and how they are responding to them. When it comes to the plan, like I said, don’t make it too elaborate. One thing that you will probably read a lot is that you should post at least once a week etc. etc. It is a good idea to keep a regular readership and post on somewhat of a schedule but don’t just post to post; post content that people are going to want to read and will value.

What I like to suggest is to start blogging and to start blogging “in private” first. Blogging in private will allow you to find your voice and get into the “flow of things” before going public with your brilliant prose. Now, why start with blogging? The reason why I like to suggest blogging first is because offers the ultimate flexibility and allows for you to post content while at the same time broadcasting it via links to many of the other platforms such as Twitter and Facebook (through use of plugins or settings in most popular blog platforms). Once you think you are in the flow of things, understand how blogging works and what it is you are going to be talking about, go public and don’t abandon your blog. A blog can be a valuable place for you to share information about your industry, interact with clients and showcase your knowledge as a professional in your industry. Don’t pass up the opportunity to blog.

Recap: Take on blogging in private and see how it goes. If you think you got something, go public. If you are still feeling a bit overwhelmed with blogging jump into Twitter, learn how to use it right and start posting interesting content and interacting with you clients/customers.

Note: Although I wouldn’t consider it the most robust platform, check out Posterous as a blog platform. Anything you post (via e-mail no-less) gets sent to most other popular social media platform. You can see a post about Posterous here.

Taxes: COMPLETE! – Time to evaluate your site analytics

April 16th, 2010 by Dan

Now that your taxes are done (except for those who are the real procrastinators and filed for extension), it is time to focus on bigger and better things. Spring is in the air and it is time for some spring cleaning. Cleaning and shining up your website that is!

When was the last time you looked at your website and evaluated it as if in your customer’s shoes? Have you reviewed your website analytics lately to see who is visiting your website, what they are clicking and how effective your site is at delivering them the information you need them to see?

Evaluating your site analytics is one of the most important ways to better understand your customers and deliver them the information they are looking for. One of our favorites is Google Analytics which does an incredible job of delivering you the most pertinent information about your site and its performance.

Often when taking on new design projects we will install Google Analytics on a customer’s existing site for a few weeks or a month to help us determine what visitors are looking for, how they are navigating the site and how we can ultimately redesign the site to make that visitor’s experience more enjoyable.

So, do you have Google Analytics installed? Do you think knowing more about how your customers are using your site can help you better understand why your website is important to your business?

Now is the time to evaluate where your website fits in your business, how your brand and professionalism is portrayed on the internet and what you can do to make your website more effective which effectively translates into more leads and more sales.

Shopify | a simple yet robust e-commerce platform

March 17th, 2010 by Justin

shopify

We recently had the pleasure of working with and using Shopify as the platform behind an e-commerce site we recently developed. We have worked with other shopping carts in the past and did a ton of research recently to find out which company can currently be crowned the cart champion (say that five-times-fast). Shopify came out on top for several reasons, but the biggest one being it’s usability. They make managing a store super easy for just about anybody.

Adding and editing products, pictures, descriptions, updating and tracking inventory, fulfilling orders, marketing…you name it and you’ll come to realize Shopify has made it pretty simple for you to do. Shopify also hosts everything, making updating completely automated. They actually do release new features from time to time, making it even more robust and easy to use.

From a developer standpoint, there was a bit of a learning curve in that Shopify has its own templating language that took some getting use to. In the end, there was no holding back; we were able to do everything our client was hoping for. Shopify is also flexible enough that we did not have to compromise on our design at all, it came out looking exactly as intended.

Shopify is top-notch and anyone looking to start an online store (even a small one) shouldn’t hesitate to check them out. Debut Designs will certainly be working with them on our next e-commerce project.

Shameless Posterous plug

December 21st, 2009 by Dan

posterous-logoWe are all about Posterous at Debut Designs! (no, we aren’t getting paid to say this)

Posterous is a great way for ANYONE to start blogging quickly and easily. The best part about Posterous is that it is just as easy as sending an e-mail. When you open your Posterous account you will be able to make blog posts simply by sending an e-mail to post@posterous.com. Not only will this post go to your Posterous blog but it will also be available on popular social networks that you link to your Posterous account. For example, if you were to send a post via e-mail to post@posterous.com your friends on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc. would also see a link to that post. This type of functionality built into Posterous makes it not only easy to start blogging but also promote your blog on your already established social networks.

Go to http://www.Posterous.com to learn more about the service and get started blogging today. This is by far the simplest and easiest way.

Lastly, implementing Posterous with your existing website can be done through the customizable CSS template. However, a basic knowledge of HTML and CSS would be required to make such customizations.

Manage Your Life (online) Anywhere

December 20th, 2009 by Dan

twitter-for-blackberry

Debut Designs understands the importance of social media applications like Twitter, Facebook etc. Many people who are using the web to communicate and reach out to their customers understands how powerful Twitter and Facebook can really be. On the other hand, many people who are just getting involved on Twitter and Facebook view each as a burden and have a hard time finding time to manage these applications.

A few months ago Debut Design sponsored a social media conference where many “newbies” to social media were in attendance. I noticed a consistent theme among all of these newbies; all were unable to find or take the time to manage their Facebook or Twitter accounts or even their blogs. It occurred to me at that point that instead of finding the time to sit down and manage these accounts it was ten times more effective to leverage mobile technology (cell phones) to manage these accounts.

The recurring theme that I realized when talking to people about using Twitter, Facebook or a blog is that they don’t have the time to sit down and do what needs to be done with each. Quite simply, my response is to take their Twitter, Facebook and blog with them. Smartphones have become more and more popular and Twitter and Facebook applications are available for every major smartphone today.

All of this being said, I encourage anyone who doubts their ability to find the time to manage their Twitter, Facebook or blog to invest in a smartphone this holiday season and start managing their accounts more effectively on the go. Another important note is that beyond the ability to manage these accounts on the go, it is those on-the-go Tweets and Facebook updates that make for interesting online conversation and dynamic.

For some information regarding smartphones, take a look at the Verizon Smartphone Resource Center: https://smartphones.verizonwireless.com/

OR check out the AT&T Smartphones and PDAs available: http://www.wireless.att.com/cell-phone-service/cell-phones/pda-phones-smartphones.jsp

Check out iTookThisOnMyPhone

November 24th, 2009 by Dan

itookthisonmyphone

iTookThisOnMyPhone is an incredibly cool application for your phone that has been long-awaited. The application makes the process of getting your pictures uploaded to your social media pages not only easy but enjoyable. The greatest part about the whole thing is you can setup iTookThisOnMyPhone to upload pictures to social media pages automatically without you doing anything but taking the picture, no extra steps!

Here is a blurb from the iTookThisOnMyPhone website…

You can keep your photos private or share them with friends and family. Easily organize, email, print your photos, or send them to popular social networking sites. With iTookThisOnMyPhone, you can save a lifetime of photos and videos in one safe place.

At this point the best thing for you to do is head over to the iTookThisOnMyPhone website and try it for yourself. Comment back and let us know what you think of it.