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design & marketing blog

Marketing, design, and technical resources for making your digital and print communications more effective.

Smaller Logo, Bigger Brand

May 25th, 2018

There is a tendency to want a logo displayed as large as possible in marketing collateral. While it might be tempting to think the bigger the logo the bigger impression you’ll make,  in fact the opposite is true.

Our minds are subconsciously conditioned to give more prestige and credibility to brands the smaller their logo is displayed.  There are always exceptions, but almost all the best known brands display their logo quite small. If you want to add more emphasis to a logo (or any layout element for that matter) keep the logo smaller and add more white space (also called negative space) around it.

Take a look at almost any Fortune 100 company’s website to see this principle in action:

So, if you want your branding to communicate more prestige and credibility, quit trying so hard and tap into the subconscious consensus that smaller logos mean bigger brands.

Choosing a Domain Name | .Com vs .Other

May 3rd, 2018

Choosing the best domain name for your website is a daunting task. Actually thinking of a great domain name is not hard, finding a great name, or even a good-enough name, that’s not taken is the hard part.

Choose .com instead of .net, .co, .biz, etc., (.other)

never use a .net domain as your primary business domain”

The most important criteria when choosing a domain is to select a .com domain if possible. The reason a company considers a .other domain is often because someone else is already using the .com version of the domain. Usability studies have proven that when someone hears or reads a domain name, by the time they type it in their web browser they’re most likely going to type .com anyway. If you do choose to go with a .other be aware that a signfiant portion of the cost and effort you put into your website will benefit the .com version, not yours.

Sometimes people see that their .com is not currently developed and assume that since there is no site on the .com the .other is a viable option. In these cases it’s even more important not to choose the .other. A domain squatter dreams about a company investing a ton of money into developing and marketing a .other website for which the squatter owns the .com. It raises the value of the .com significantly and it’s very easy to squeeze the .other domain holder into paying an exorbitant price for the .com when the squatter puts up a porn site.

This means that even if the perfect domain name is not available (such as mycompanyname.net or myexactkeywords.net) you’ll be far better off to select a .com even if it’s not as desirable of phrase.

A note about .org domains. If your organization is a nonprofit it’s generally best practice to have your primary website on a .org domain. However, never do so unless you can also buy the .com for the same reasons mentioned above. It’s easy to set your .com version to redirect to your .org website.

.Com Provides Credibility to your Organization

The .com domain extension is the preeminent domain extension of the internet. It is the most recognizable of any domain extension and it is used by almost all Fortune 500 companies. It’s the Cadillac of domain extensions and it’s human nature to give more credibility so someone driving a Cadillac than a Geo Metro.

It is more effective to build a brand using a .com domain.  Studies have shown that people remember .com domains better than others (even .org and .gov). A .com domain is going to give you more bang for your marketing buck.

For more insight on this topic see Forbes “8 Smart Tips For Choosing A Winning Domain Name.”

 

Why would hackers care enough to attack your website?

March 14th, 2018

WordFence’s blog posted an excellent article addressing the fallacy that many website owners have that their website isn’t significant enough for hackers to care about and therefore they don’t need to implement all best practice security and disaster recovery measures.

A quick summary of the reasons why attackers make the effort to attack many smaller and seemingly “insignificant” websites include:

  • If offers server resources they can use to run other malicious schemes
  • It’s connected to the internet and likely has a good reputation (i.e. is not a suspicious platform for malicious activity).
  • It may contain user data
  • It probably has traffic coming to it
  • The site is important to you and therefore there is a chance for the criminal to collect a ransom
  • Many websites of smaller businesses and organizations are not implementing proper security and therefore the cost of acquisition to the criminal is low.

Please read the entire article at WordFence.com.

WCAG and Section 508 Website Accessibility

January 1st, 2018

Web accessibility refers to providing websites that are usable by individuals with disabilities. Approximately 10% of the population has a disability that affects computer use. Website accessibility primarily addresses disabilities related to vision, motor skills, mobility, hearing, and seizures.

Web accessibility is on track to potentially revolutionize how businesses and organizations provide online assets both internally and to the public, and is something every organization should be aware of regarding both their Internet and intranet applications.

Modern commercial building construction is required by law to include accessibility features such as wheelchair ramps, lower height drinking fountains, and minimum clearance specs for restrooms. If they do not provide these features they will exclude a portion of the population who is disabled from the ability to equally access and utilize the services housed in those buildings. In addition, they may open themselves up to legal action and may be fined by the Department of Justice (DOJ) or sued by private parties under the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and/or other laws that pertain to accessibility.

In the same manner that the commercial construction industry was changed by the requirements of the ADA the digital workspace is being transformed now.

Web Accessibility Laws

Until recently, the standards for web accessibility were not clearly defined and the DOJ did not actively enforce standards. There has been a significant shift in both the refinement of web accessibility standards and the active enforcement of such standards by the DOJ. Because of the DOJ’s active enforcement, private litigation has increased.

The current standards to which organizations are being held accountable are WCAG 2.0 AA. You may have heard of Section 508 web accessibility standards, which were less comprehensive than WCAG. WCAG 2.0 AA standards are being adopted as Section 508 requirements.

Accessibility standards and enforcement of those standards is still a developing area; however there is no doubt that any business or organization website should take measures now to ensure their website is accessible according to WCAG 2.0 AA.

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