two women around a computer working on website design features

Top 5 Website Features You Need to Promote Your Company

Starting a website can be intimidating — There are so many elements to incorporate and platforms you can use to launch your web presence. Where to start? Before you shell out thousands of dollars to design a custom website, start with the basics. Think about your branding, your company goals, and your mission. How are you going to translate that to a website? Check out these five basic website features that every site should have (and might be missing).

guy on a computer working on website design features

1. A beneficial menu.
Arguably one of the most important things about your website is your navigation. It’s important for people to be able to travel on your website organically (by clicking on links), therefore, you should make it as easy as possible. Your menu should be focused on helping the people who are visiting your website find the information they need. It should be straight-forward and easy to digest.

2. A well fleshed-out about me.
Skip the jargon and talk about what your company really does! It’s important for people that are coming to your page to be able to understand exactly what you do, even if it’s incredibly complicated. Try to summarize what your company offers to consumers in one or two sentences with simple language. Make sure to talk about where you’re located, how long you’ve been in business, how many people are involved in your organization and your overall goals.

3. A clear contact page.
Help people get in contact with you! This is arguably one of the most important aspects of your website because you want people to be able to get in contact with you easily for questions and business opportunities. Make sure to put your preferred form of contact information as well as all other methods of reaching out to you. Phone, email, fax, and physical location are some of the ways people can reach out, but don’t be afraid to think outside the box and include a contact form or your social media links.

4. Social media links!
Speaking of social media links… Help people that come to your website find you on other platforms! Similar to having a clear contact page, including links to your social media allows users to find you on multiple platforms. It makes it easier for people to keep up to date with your business and furthers the relationship past a simple website visit. If people follow you on social media, you are more likely to stay at the forefront of their mind, and therefore, hopefully, make more sales and connections.

5. FAQ page/search bar.
This is especially helpful if you work in a confusing industry or have a lot of competition. It will help visitors answer their questions faster, and it will make them feel more confident and comfortable working with your organization. The search bar function is only important if it actually works and benefits the user. If a search function isn’t necessary for your website, invest in creating an FAQ page. Make sure to include actual questions people may have, and don’t just rehash your about me.

Looking for help to take your website to the next level? Contact Cabedge today! Our team of website designers and content strategists can help you flesh out your design and make sure you’re catering to your consumers needs.

style guide amongst other books

6 Reasons Your Company Needs a Style Guide

You’ve licensed your company. You’ve worked with your first clients. You’ve got your name out to friends and family. Now what? Now, it’s time for a style guide. Style guides are utilized by organizations that want to keep a consistent brand and portray a consistent image to the public. Style guides incorporate branding information like fonts, colors, and image size and placement requirements, but they also include tone that should be used in copy, regulatory information and basically anything else than an employee or branding agency should know in order to replicate the brand.

Your style guide should be easily referenced in case graphic designers or team members are replaced. Someone should be able to pick up your style guide and be able to recreate your brand exactly how it was envisioned. Let’s get into the top six reasons your organization needs a style guide today.

style guide card that says less is more

1. Consistency.
The number one reason for any organization to create and utilize a style guide is to cultivate consistency in a brand. Because everything is listed right there in the style guide and, ideally, it is available to everyone that will be promoting the brand to an audience, there’s no reason for colors or fonts to be misused. The style guide outlines the exact way the brand should be used, which ensures consistency from everyone that is creating promotional content.

2. Save time and money.
Keeping a style guide means that your company can save time. It means new employees won’t have to constantly ask someone if the Oxford comma is used, what color blue is in the logo, and how the font should be aligned. With an easy to reference guide that answers most questions I new hire will have about the brand, the style guide almost serves as a training manual. If your company is copy heavy and you have a style guide that outlines all controversial writing rules (like when to use a dash and how to use commas) it can save on the time an editor will have to spend on the information on the second round. If you’re saving on the editor’s time, you are in turn saving money. It’s a win-win situation!

3. Answer questions before people can ask them.
Similar to saving both new and older employees’ time, a style guide also answers questions before someone even has a chance to ask them. When employees have a resource document to refer to, it means asking fewer questions and wasting fewer people’s time. A style guide should also anticipate most people’s questions, so having one available means telling employees to refer to it before taking the question up the chain of command.

4. Aids in your professionalism.
It might seem silly, but having a style guide takes your organization from one level to another. It might take some time to set up, but once you have it, it will serve your organization for many years to come.

5. Makes it easy for consumers to recognize your organization.
In line with creating consistency for your brand, a style guide makes it easier for consumers to recognize you. If your brand looks the same everywhere it appears, consumers are more likely to recognize it no matter if it’s on the side of a building or on a business card in their hands. Consumers will also be able to recognize key fonts your organization uses as belonging to you if they really stand out (think Coca-Cola, Nike, and Lego).

6. Makes transitions/new hires easier.
When you can hand a document over to a new designer rather than sit down for days on end answering questions, it makes personnel changes easier. While no company ever wants to deal with high-turnover, having a style guide makes it just a little bit easier to undergo personnel changes.

If you’re wanting to create a style but don’t have a good idea of where to start, reach out to Cabedge today. We have experience in creating and managing brand standards, and we’re more than happy to help you start your style guide!

meeting about seo

5 Things to Avoid for Good SEO

Search Engine Optimization feels like this mystical world that needs to be uncovered layer by layer. There’s really not that much to it — create good content and utilize the tools available to you to make sure your content is seen — but still it seems like there are 40 new articles coming out each day about how to best utilize SEO. Today, we are going to talk about what you shouldn’t do. It’s easy to tell you to link-earn, utilize keywords, and share your content, but what about what you’re already doing that you should stop doing right now?

Here are five things you should stop doing in order to improve your SEO today.

seo website design

1. Duplicating content.
Sometimes website creators think the more information the more likely they are to rank for their website. Good idea, but it’s wrong. Google (and other search engines) are sophisticated — they know when information is being duplicated or when there are too many pages on a website and that reflects in the ranking. You might think it’s important to create sub-pages for all the services you provide, but if there’s very little content on those sub-pages, it might be a better idea to keep all your services on one page. Fewer pages that have more information are more likely to rank higher on Google. Additionally, you shouldn’t create ten pages with mostly the same information except for a different title (like if you offer services in different cities). Stick with creating quality content for one page and see how well it ranks.

2. Cut off spammy links. They aren’t benefiting you.
Gaining links/link-building is crucial for good SEO ranking, but having spammy links can actually hinder your chances of changing your ranking. “Spammy” links come about when you outsource your link building or your link gets added to an unprofessional directory. It’s important to find these, and remove them if possible. You can submit a disavow document that tells Google you don’t want to be associated with spammy links, which should help with your ranking.

3. Ignoring extensions and social media.
Having great content and a stellar website is important, but if you’re not utilizing everything at your fingertips, your website ranking will only go so far. For local businesses, Google My Business is essential for high rankings. Adding in all applicable information to this extension helps ensure higher rankings from Google and more clicks from searchers. Additionally, social media is a great way to help your website get ranked. More and more people are using social media search functions to find new products and places to go. Platforms like Yelp are constant resources for locals and tourists when looking for places to go in town, influencers are impacting how consumers choose to spend their hard earned cash, and sharing your content and information on social media helps people see your information more organically. Utilize everything at your fingertips, not just the traditional marketing paths, and you’re ranking are sure to soar to the top.

4. Trying to go too big.
The goal is not to go viral overnight. Viral videos/stars/publicity stunts get a huge moment in the sun, but two weeks later few people remember them. It’s important to work toward consistent growth, which often is smaller than we may hope at the beginning — but it’s consistent. This is important to remember if you’re a local business. If you’re located in Portland with no additional locations and no e-commerce site, it’s important to focus your SEO geographically rather than trying to reach all four corners of the globe. Focus on SEO growth strategically, aiming for consistent growth, and you’ll go up in the search results one by one.

5. Focusing on everything but the content.
At the end of the day, the most important thing you do for your SEO ranking is create good content. It can be frustrating to hear this advice, but it’s the truth. If you don’t have good content, no one is going to stay on your page long enough for its high ranking to matter. Create good content, focus on organic engagement, and the rest will follow.

Are you ready to take the next step with your SEO? Contact Cabedge today. With our team of experts, we will be able to come up with an individualized plan to help improve your SEO today.

typography

7 Tips to Making the Most of Your Typography

Typography can make or break your design. The difference between Arial and Verdana may not seem that important, but at the end of the day, readability, adaptability, and functionality are crucial when it comes to the fonts you choose. Fonts can serve as an extension of your brand personality and elevate your website design to the next level. Check out the 7 tips we have for making the most of the typography in your website design.

1. Minimize the amount of fonts you use.
Typically you should limit yourself to 1-3 fonts. If you use any more than that, it starts to look muddled and messy. A pro tip for using more than one font is to use the various fonts in a typeface. A typeface is the kind of typography you are using. A font is the different forms that typeface comes in. For example, Helvetica is a popular typeface. When you make it bold, thin, or italic, you’re using a specific font. It brings dynamic design to your website, without making it feel crowded with too many fonts.

2. Use complimentary fonts.
When you use more than one font, it’s important to pair complementary fonts. Typically, serif and sans-serifs look good together and san-serifs and scripts mix well (as pictured above). When pairing fonts, they should be from different families. Pairing a serif and a serif doesn’t provide enough contrast to make the design look intentional.

3. Choose an easy to read font at any size.
It’s important that the fonts you choose can be read at small and large sizes. Because you might also want to use these fonts on print collateral, you’ve got to make sure they transfer. There’s no guarantee that people will be reading your website in the font size you designed it in — with the power of the digital age, people can adjust the size of the screen to their preferences, therefore you’ve got to make sure the fonts are legible no matter what they are resized to.

4. USE ALL CAPS SPARINGLY.
All caps can be a great stylistic choice (as seen above for Fifty Licks Ice Cream), but only in small doses. All caps can be effective for headlines or labels, but putting an entire paragraph in all caps can make it difficult to read for users.

5. Use text as a design element.
Text can be used to indicate hierarchy throughout the page, it can direct a users attention to specific areas of the page, it can indicate how someone should feel about something. Text can do a lot of things. That’s why it’s important to pick the right text to convey your message across your website. For example, in the image above, the typography is the main design element. Pairing a large text with a smaller text shows hierarchy and situating certain text over the rest of the text makes the message pop. It’s simple yet effective.

6. Don’t just accept the tracking and kerning. Feel free to change it!
Tracking is the space between an entire set of letters/numbers. Kerning is the space between a pair of letters/numbers. Changing the kerning or tracking can transform the display of text. This is more acceptable in header or display text. We don’t recommend playing around with the kerning/tracking of a body of text, it’s too much work. But if you’re working on typography for a logo or header of a website, it’s worth the time to adjust the tracking or kerning or that display text.

7. DO NOT STRETCH A TYPEFACE.
You should never try to manipulate the size or shape of a font. By “manipulating” we mean stretching or shrinking. You can change a font size or switch between bold or thin faces, but when you manually stretch a font, or manipulate a font, you are changing the structure the designer intended for the font. Not only does it make a font look odd, but it compromises the designers original intent.

If you need help choosing typefaces for your website design, reach out to Cabedge. We have a team of designers that are ready to help with your web design needs.

 

 

 

social media icons on a phone

How To Use Social Media as a Business

The early 2000s were a time for social media emergence. Platforms like MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter gained prominence, while YouTube was in its early conception. Then came platforms like Instagram, Vine, Tumblr, Spotify — the list really could go on and on. People have hopped onto these platforms left and right, but brands have been a little more hesitant to join. Typically, when people think about social media, they consider it a place to connect with friends. But more and more people are looking to social media to connect with friends, family, AND brands. In an age when consumers care about brand promises and ethical standpoints, social media is the perfect place to showcase that information — Social media is where brands become more than just a name on a product or service. Whether you’ve been trying to get into the social media sphere or you’ve resisted it for years, you’ll want to hear what we have to say about why you should be on social media and how it can benefit your organization in the long run.

person taking a photo of food

Why Business/Brands Should Be On Social Media

There are a million reasons your organization should be on social media, but here are just a few that should convince you it’s the right move.

1. It’s an easy way to promote your organization and content.
Social media is one of the easiest ways to promote your organization, and it’s usually one of the cheapest, too. With 81 percent of the American population on social media, there’s no denying that it’s a good place to start improving brand reach and impact. The great thing about social media is that you control how much information you are putting out there. While it may depend upon some algorithms (we’re looking at you Instagram), organizations can typically post and promote those posts at a lower cost on social media than through traditional media.

2. You can personally engage with your audience and provide support.
In 2018, it’s important for brands to engage with their audiences. That’s where social media comes in. This can best be seen with customer service. Social media provides a direct point of contact between brands and consumers that is unlike other forms of communication. Because communications on social media can be direct between brand and consumer, it can make or break customer relations. Many consumers are turning to platforms like Twitter and Instagram to either complain or praise a company for products or services, which allows companies to respond directly either to remedy a problem or build an even stronger relationship. Social media has also proven to be instrumental in crisis communications since information can easily be shared so easily to other consumers.

3. Check up on your competition and stay information about industry trends.
Social media is the perfect place to stay informed about what is going on in your industry. Because information is constantly being updated by users, it’s easy to keep tabs on the competition and industry trends. Social media is also public, as it should be for a brand, so it’s easy to gain insights into exactly how your competition is handling certain aspects of the business like engaging with consumers, promoting sales, sharing imagery, and more.

4. Analyze your engagement and customer base.
As mentioned before, social media is pretty instantaneous. The best thing about social media/online engagement is the availability of analytics at the snap of a finger. Every second (on average) 6,000 tweets are being sent out. That’s 6,000 opportunities a second to have your brand mentioned and engaged with. In a world continuously driven by data and information, social media platforms are offering their own analytics, and information about searches, clicks, and likes can also be found through platforms like Google Analytics. When so much information is so readily available, why not take advantage of it?

social media icons

Tips and Tricks

So, now that we’ve convinced you to dip your toe in the social media pool, how are you going to use it? We urge you to think about what platform will best suite your purposes. Twitter is best used for verbal communication. It’s increasingly a space used for news gathering and engagement. Instagram is great for visual communication, meaning well crafted photos and engaging captions. It’s also a great platform to utilize for influencer partnerships. Facebook is the tried and true social media platform. Some think it’s going to die out soon, but with over 2 billion monthly active users, we don’t think Facebook is going anywhere anytime soon. There are a ton of other platforms organizations can take advantage of to connect with their consumers and promote their products/services, but Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are the big three. Here are some little tips and tricks to make the most of your social media experience:

1. Create a brand personality.
The most important thing to remember when using social media as a business is to have a brand personality. You need to have something that makes you stand out among the saturation. Make sure all your branding is consistent across all platforms, utilize your color scheme, and decide what kind of attitude you want to portray online. Wendy’s and MoonPie have some of the strongest brand personalities on Twitter. They are kind and helpful to their followers, but they also engage in sassy sparring matches with their competition and share hilarious memes that leave consumers compelled to share with their own following. A great brand personality can help engage followers and can build a name for your organization.

2. Create a hashtag.
Creating a hashtag that is specific to your organization is going to be immensely beneficial in the long wrong when you get on platforms like Instagram or Twitter and want to be able to follow the conversations people are having about your product or services. The hashtag is just a way for you to find and follow people that are engaging with your organization.

3. Engage in chats.
Now that you’ve created a hashtag, you can engage in Twitter chats with your consumers. Twitter chats have proven to be very valuable when looking to learn about consumers wants and needs, and they can “generate lively discussions and build deep connections between participants and brands.” The only thing you need to participate is a hashtag! Typically, Twitter chats are set for a specific day and time, and they happen either weekly or monthly.

4. Reach out to people that tag you organically for partnerships.
Influencers, whether you like it or not, are becoming increasingly important in promoting products. Consumers are looking to their peers to recommend products rather than relying on traditional forms of advertising — 71 percent of consumers are more likely to purchase a product or service if it’s talked about on social media. Influencer marketing doesn’t look like it’s going away, so it’s important to be on social media platforms to reach out to the proper influencers to market your products/services.

5. Ask your audience what they want to see from you.
Since it’s so easy to engage with consumers on social media platforms, this is a great way to ask them what they want to see from your organization in the future. You can do polls on Instagram stories, ask questions in Twitter chats, or directly post and ask for feedback on recent product/service releases. Social media gives you the ability to harness the power of your consumers with far fewer marketing dollars than traditional methods.


Social media doesn’t have to be scary. But if you’re serious about getting engagement and growing sales, social media is an important step in that process. If you need help getting your social media off the ground, reach out the Cabedge. We have social media experts ready and willing to help organizations through branding, development, and message creation.