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Choosing The Right Images

Going to put it out there, on more than one occasion I have been given the most dreadful images and expected to include them in a website I’ve been designing. Really, the most beautiful websites can go from fab to drab in about 0.0012 milliseconds when you insert a poorly curated image. So I cannot stress enough the importance of good imagery. Consider your images carefully. As the saying goes, a picture paints a thousand words.

There are so many different things to consider when choosing images, so hopefully this post can give you some really practical advice for choosing images.

Firstly whenever I’m thinking about the images I want for a site, I start by listing what I want to communicate with the images. For example, if you were a tattoo artist, you’d want your images to show off your work obviously but you might also want to communicate that you are creative, that you have great attention to detail, that you’re cool or alternative etc etc. Your images need to be aspirational, you might want to include images of some of your coolest clients. That’s a fairly specific example but hopefully you get where I’m coming from. Some poorly thrown together images are not going to cut it in this particular circumstance. If the images that you used were out of focus or messy, it will communicate that you’re not careful of precise. No one wants to be tattooed by someone who is sloppy and messy!

Once you’ve decided what you want to communicate, you have two options, you can take your own images and edit them yourself/ hire a professional, or you can use stock images. This really depends on if you have a product or service you need to have pictures of or perhaps you’re website is a bit more abstract and you can use less personal stock imagery. I actually think using your own images is best, as it is way more authentic and gives you much more credibility, however saying that if you can’t take good pictures or you don’t have the budget for a professional then stock imagery can be a really good route to take.

Personally my favourite stock imagery site is unsplash.com they’re really great quality, their library is fairly extensive and many featured photographers have very thematic collections, giving your website a good feeling of continuity throughout. The downside to this is that unsplash is no secret and you see the same stock images cropping up across other sites. Another great stock image site is deathtothestockphoto.com this is slightly more underground and they send images directly to your inbox. Definitely worth signing up for, if that’s the route you’re going down.

There are a few other important things you need to consider with your images.They need to be at least 1000 pixels wide but the bigger the better really. If they’re smaller than this then they’ll be too low in resolution for your site and will look low in quality. Thanks to our inbuilt image smusher Skizzar automatically compresses your image making it perfect for websites without loosing quality. Which basically just means it loads quickly! (you’re welcome)

So remember this is probably one of the most important elements of your site! Invest the effort and time to get this right and your whole site will look better. Decide what you want to communicate and take time to make sure your images do that effectively.

Don’t forget to connect with us on our social networks, and in the interest of community spirit if you’ve used a photographer for your branding and you’re particularly happy with how it all turned out then give them a shout out on our Facebook group, the chances are you could help them to pick up additional clients and well, that’s just a nice thing to do really!

 

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Choosing Colours and Typography

Ok, so now we’re getting down to the pretty stuff, and by pretty, I mean pretty important. You know why… because this is how you build a consistent brand. Today we’ll be chatting to you about why these things are important and also give you some tips about how to change fonts and colours throughout your site.

So I’m going to just jump right in and say, if you have loads of different fonts and font sizes throughout your site, it will look messy. On the other hand, have just one font in one size throughout the whole of your website and it will look flat and boring. So it’s about getting the balance right. It’s good to use two or three different fonts and to ensure all headings or all buttons have the same font. Obviously because we’re great, we’ve done the hard work for you and grouped the text into four categories. Body, Headings, Menu Headings and Buttons. You can select fonts for the whole of your site, in one simple step. This means that your website will have continuity right across the board. This will help your site to look really professional and help to build your brand. You should make sure you use these fonts across absolutely all of your branding and mailouts. It will help your users to instantly recognise your brand. You can edit your fonts in the customiser, under site settings.

Not surprisingly then, colour has the same, no scratch that waaaaay more of an impact on your branding. So just like fonts you want to choose a palette of colours that represent what you’re about. Colour has an amazing impact on how people perceive your brand. For example green tones give an impression of being environmentally friendly, healthy etc. Whereas pink might be more fun and light hearted. Take a look at this article about the psychology of colour, if you haven’t already chosen the colours for your brand. You might want to add in a few more colours across your site, that perhaps don’t feature in your logo, or perhaps your logo is simply black or white. In that case I really recommend taking a look at coolors.co which can help you generate a scheme for your site. I love this site, I’ve used it loads and also recommended it to lots of other people and it’s really helpful in coming up with a scheme, you can copy and paste the hex codes onto your site and use them for backgrounds and buttons.

So once you start formatting these things across your site you’ll see it really coming together. I think formatting is the biggest difference between a site that looks great and a site that doesn’t. Consider if your headers are all centrally aligned or to the left, are your buttons all a solid colour or transparent? Ya catch my drift, this post is a gentle reminder that the devil is in the detail. It may only take you five minutes to go through your site and check, but it speaks volumes about who you are, what you’re brand is about and erm most importantly how awesome you are!

Hopefully you’ve found this post helpful, remember to check out coolor.co it’s a great site and can help you battle the minefield that is colour schemes! I am really excited to take a look at your site, feel free to share you site on the Facebook group once it’s live!

Also little side note. We really love to feature our clients across our social media and on blog posts, if you’d like to be considered for a feature, you can share your site and a little about yourself with us and we’d love to feature you across our network!

 

 

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Welcome to the Skizzar community

Hello there! Well welcome to Skizzar, I guess if you’re reading this you’re pretty new to the gang, so let me start by just saying a massive thank you for choosing Skizzar to build your website.

We started this whole thing because we wanted it to be really easy to make beautiful, fully customisable sites without all the confusion and stress, or without all the nonsense of free vs premium packages, you see on a lot of other website builders.

We’re hoping that if you’ve chosen to use Skizzar you’re a pretty out of the box and creative thinker. We’ll take a guess that you’ve probably got a great product (or are a really great person) and the thing you want to share with the world is pretty rad. The reason being is that we really value community and we really love to connect our clients together. Which is why we have a Team Skizzar Facebook group, it’s only available to members and it’s a great way for you to connect with other users, get inspirational tips and advice and make some great business contacts. Although our client base is super varied, Skizzar tends to attract really cool people (see that’s why you’re here) so it’s a really awesome group to be a part of. It’s run by me (Emma) and I’ll also be on hand to answer any questions you might have. Of course, you’ll probably want to get started on building your site straight away (this is the fun bit after all.) If you want a bit of help on how to master the basics then visit our help site and if you’ve got any more questions then you can raise a support ticket, by clicking on the support tab on your dashboard.

Remember that Skizzar is fully customisable, but we also have some great templates. Our designers have put them together very thoughtfully so that you can create a beautiful website really easily. I’m so excited to see what you come up with. So why not start by going to the Facebook page and giving us a like, I’ll be sure to add you to the group. Also, make sure you giz us a follow on Instagram where you can enjoy a bit of visual stimulation if you like.  As well as some nonsense Instagram stories from me, which I can’t promise will be at all helpful but might give you a glimpse into the wonderful world of Skizzar.

Thank you for joining us on this marvellous journey through life.

 

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Pay what you want!

So you’ve made your site and it’s probably looking pretty dope by now! You’ll be forgiven for thinking that there’s going to be some hidden charges or you’ll have to have loads of ugly adverts plastered across your site. Well the long and short of it is, there are no hidden costs and no advertising. You just select an amount to pay monthly using our simple and easy to use slider. In short you pay what you want.

When we tell people about this feature there are two very distinct groups of people, those that get it and those that don’t. So if you’re scratching your head wondering how do these guys make any money, the answer is simple. Even when given the choice of how much to pay (anything between £1 and £25 per month) the majority of our clients think that Skizzar and the amazing support we offer are worth paying a little for each month. On average our clients pay around £7 a month which makes us really happy. We’ll always aim to be transparent about this which is why we post monthly updates about how much our clients are choosing to pay over on Twitter.

There are a few reasons we chose to build our business this way, firstly, we’re super passionate about supporting small businesses and individuals that deserve amazing websites but perhaps don’t have the budget to spend a lot of money. Secondly it is the best indicator of how happy our clients are with the service they receive. Most importantly Radiohead did it Circa 2007 with their album ‘In Rainbows’ and it worked out pretty well for them.

So, hopefully that makes things a bit clearer, really we want you to decide how much you pay each month and if you’re really like what we’re doing then why not give this post a share and spread the word.

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So you have a great website…now what? Our top tips to help you drive traffic to your site

So you have a great looking, brand spanking, shiny new website! That’s so awesome! *does a dance*.

If you’re like the rest of us though, just because your website is “on”, you’re probably not going to have people flocking to it in their thousands. In fact, when we first launched Skizzar, we were lucky if we had more than 5 visitors in a week, why? Because having a website is like having a business card – it’s useless if you don’t give it to anyone!

So, whether you’ve had your site for years, or whether you’ve got yourself a brand new Skizzar website, we thought we’d share with you some of the tricks of the trade that have worked for us and seen us grow to over 7000 visitors per week in just over 18 months.


Tell people about your website

OK, this sounds really really obvious. But if you don’t tell people, they won’t know your site is even there. So tell as many people as you can, especially while it is still fresh, because it’s easy for people to get excited about it. So here are some good ways to let people know you’re here and you’ve got an ace website:

  • Put it out on your socials. Ask people for their comments, get people to share it or to tell you what their favourite part of your site is.
  • Put it out on your socials again! Yep, don’t be polite – this is your super awesome new website, and you don’t want people to miss it. Write a post like this “just incase you missed it, here is our amazing new website…”. Do this a few days in a row, then give it a few days and do it again…really milk it, but don’t spam people, because you’ll start to annoy them.
  • Add your website link to your existing online content. Chances are, you have some pictures up on facebook, or maybe videos on youtube, or perhaps even some images on pinterest, or maybe you have a linkedin profile or a google plus account…well, make sure your web address is on all of these – literally, if you can write somewhere then write your web address.
  • Get creative! Depending on what your business is will depend on how you go about being creative, but whenever you do a job, or have a meeting, make sure that person has a link to your site.
  • Get other people to talk about your site. This is the most powerful tip, if someone else is chatting about your site, then it’s speaks far louder than if you are talking about it yourself. So if you offer a service, and you do a good job…or maybe even a job for free, ask someone to write a review about you (on their social networks) AND LINK TO YOUR SITE. Never under estimate the value of someone else talking about you!

Start a blog (or a news section)

Google LOVES new content…so that’s reason enough to have a blog or news section on your site. But more than that, if you publish a post, you can go back to step 1 and give people a good reason to visit or, hopefully, revisit your site.

The key to a good blog is regularity, with regular posting comes regular visitors, so set a day that you will commit to posting and stick to it! It’s sometimes helpful to schedule posts, this way you can write up several ahead of time so you have a headstart and then publish them (or set them to automatically publish) when the day comes around.

Here’s a short video over on our help site on how to add a blog to your Skizzar website if you haven’t already done it.

Put interesting content on your website that people will only find on there

Here is a pretty simple truth for you: If all you have on your site is content that people can find elsewhere, then why would they come to your site?

Ok, perhaps it’s nice to have all of your information collated in one place, however, it’s also good to try and think about something you can add to your site that visitors will only find there. For example, add a video that can only be seen on your site (for example, you can set a youtube or vimeo video to private and still use the link to embed it on your site), or add a track that people can only find by going to your website, or a promotional code, or even just simple testimonials, essentially you’re giving reason for people to come to your site to see something they can’t find elsewhere.

Use Multimedia / Multi-socials

If you’re anything like me, large chunks of text are not really appealing – I like pictures, moving pictures (also known as videos) and basically anything that is mildly interactive. I’m sure i’m not alone…right guys?? guys??

Anyway, there are some great platforms out there which you can use as an alternative to just writing a status about your site. Now is a really good time to jump on the following ways of promoting your site:

  • Instagram stories (or just instagram)
  • Snapchat
  • Youtube streaming
  • Facebook live

All of these are great tools you could utilise to promote your new site and your business in general. My advise, as ever, is to be creative, but also to make sure what you produce is a good quality – it’s worth getting a decent camera for your snaps, making sure the lighting is right for your vids and making sure you have good sound for your live streams – the difference will really make your business stand out against your competitors and drive a good flow of traffic to your site.

Check your on-site SEO and make targeted changes to your content

Right, lets get serious for a minute and talk about everybody’s favourite internet buzz word…SEO. You could spend the rest of your days reading up on SEO tips and tricks, but here is what it comes down to – if your site content is relevant to what you do, and the site is popular and it’s accessible then you will rank highly.

Now, the popularity you can take care of by telling people about it (see my other points), and if you have a Skizzar website then we have taken care of the accessibility by making all Skizzar sites mobile friendly, fast loading and clean coded. So really it is up to you to make sure that the content (that is, text) on your site, is well written and relevant to you and your business.

Here is our tip for content writing. Think of some keywords for you and your business – keywords are words you’d like someone to type into a search engine in order to find your site. Then try and get these keywords in the text on your site. For example, let’s say you are a mechanic called Geoff and you have a website for your garage (called Geoff’s Garage), you may choose keywords like car repairs, car servicing and trusted mechanic. In which case, a sentence like this would be great to have on your site:

“Geoff is a trusted mechanic specialising in car repairs and car servicing”

Try and saturate your website with these keywords…but don’t go overboard, too much and google will think you are trying to cheat the system. Be natural, but make sure your text is focussed and well thought out.

Tell more people…again

By this point you should already have a good flow of people coming to your site – so why not go back to step number one, and tell people to go and take a look at your site. Recycle old blog posts, or videos/pics/statuses that you may have already published – not all marketing content needs to be new content. Take a look at statistics – which statuses have the most likes? Which videos had the most shares? Put them out there again and forget about the ones that didn’t do so well. Be clever by looking at stats and you will save yourself wasting valuable time and effort on campaigns that don’t work for you.

Use ads (they’re not as expensive as you think!)

Ads can be a bit of a daunting topic – but they’re really not that hard. These days, facebook and google have made it really easy, and also really affordable to advertise your content.

Through facebook, you can easily make a previous post into a sponsored post, where you set a weekly budget for yourself, pick a target audience and choose how long you want your ad to run for. My advice on this would be, find a status that has generated a good amount of interest and stick a fiver on it to turn it into an advert for a week – see how it does for your business, if it works, maybe up your amount to £10 the next week. It’s a great way of reaching people outside of your immediate sphere of friends.

Google ads is a slightly different ball game. People will stick google ads on their website, and google will push the adverts that suit the demographic of that website – it’s very clever. Google then pays the website owner per click, giving them an incentive to advertise for you. Similarly to facebook ads, you can set the amount you wish to pay, how long for and also pick your target audience.

In my opinion, I think I prefer facebook ads, but that is by no means a fact. Both provide really great insights so you can see who is clicking, from where and what time, so it’s worth trying both out and seeing which works best for your business. Start small, and then invest in the approach that works for you.

Be social – don’t just post, chat!

Lastly, socialise! Don’t just talk at people, engage with your audience. When they say something good about you, say thanks – say something good about them too! If one of your visitors posts something on their site, share it for them – they will most likely return the favour at a later date.

Join in with conversations about your business, it’s really important that you don’t just use social networks to shout about yourself, your aim should always be to get people shouting about you! So make friends, commit to socialising and do it regularly.

Pick your times

Think about this. You have a great blog to put out there, or you’ve taken the time to shoot an amazing 30 second clip to upload to Instagram. You’ve stayed up all evening working on it, it’s now 1.30 am on a Sunday night…before you post it, think – what will most people be doing right now? Well, since the average person will be up at 7am to get ready for work, most people are probably sleeping – so posting it now will just be a waste of your efforts.

So be mindful of when you post. Good times to post are:
– 8.30am/5.30pm – you’ll catch the commuters on their phones on the train/bus/tube.
– 1pm will generally catch people on a lunch break
– Wednesday evenings are particularly good (at least that’s what we’ve found) as you get that mid-week lull where people want a bit of an inspiring “pick-me-up”…so they naturally turn to their phones for comfort
– Late mornings on a Saturday/Sunday are always good too as you’ll catch the late risers getting a weekend lie-in


So let’s conclude! With these steps, you will sure to see a great flow of traffic to your website. But the key to it all is this – COMMIT, COMMIT, COMMIT! It’s no good just cramming it all in one night, your results will last only a couple of days. If you want a consistent flow of traffic then you yourself need to be consistent, so set aside 20-30 mins a day and do something on your socials, publish a video or write a blog post, it sounds like a lot of effort, but we’ve found that it snowballs, but, as we’ve just said, it takes commitment, patience, and a bit of trial and error.

So go, bring the masses to your site! Tell the world about how great your business is and let us take care of the behind the scenes technical stuff that people with boring, non-Skizzar websites have to think about!

Let us know what works for you, and good luck!

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