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January 29, 2014

Creating Animated Pins for Pinterest

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Pinterest continues to be one of the fastest growing social networks and if your services or products are very visual it can be a great internet marketing tool.

It is ever evolving and recently launched the support of animated gif pins, giving marketers another dimension to play with.

animate-pins

Creating an animated pin is an easy process.

  1. Start by putting together a collection of photographs. make sure all the photos have the same dimensions.
  2. Upload the photos to http://gifmaker.me/ making sure the order you upload them matches the order you would like to see them.
  3. Adjust the canvas size to match your photos and set the animation speed at a level that suits the nature of the animation.
  4. Click CREATE and download your animated gif.
  5. Upload to Pinterest. The animated Gif will have a small button automatically added. This allows visitors to click and watch your animation.

Here is the animated GIF of this tutorial on Pinterest. If you click it you will see the button

output_u2FwKl

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November 8, 2013

Tips and Tricks for Small Business Websites

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We have just created a new board on Pinterest for Small Business owners. The Board “Small Business on the Web” offers tips and tricks to help small business owners get the most out of their web site, everything from directory to submit their site to or ways to overcome blogging block. We will be adding many more tips to this board and welcome you to follow along.

small business on the web

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January 24, 2013

How much does a website cost?

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how much does a website cost

How much does a website cost?¬† If you are visiting this page looking for a definitive answer then I am going to disappoint because pricing a website can be a complicated process but it is a question on every potential client’s mind. The cost of a web site is a little bit like the cost of¬† a house, the¬† bigger and more complex the heftier the price tag.¬† So lets break things down a bit to give you an insight as to where the costs lie and walk through some client scenarios.

Lets first consider the type of company quoting your project. A design agency with a portfolio full of fortune 500 companies and a trendy studio in a skyscraper in down town Chicago is going to charge more …well.. because they have to to cover their costs. If you are large company with mega$$ they may be a good fit. An offshore, say,¬† Indian based web design company, may give you an unbelievably cheap quote but how comfortable are you doing business that way?

A good approach to selecting a company to quote your project is to take a good look at their portfolio and services and if their offerings match what you are after, they are worth a call. Also don’t be afraid to check out any testimonials.

Any decent web design company will lead you through a discovery process (ours is free) to understand what it is you want to accomplish with your web presence. Come prepared to talk about your marketing objectives, the type of functionality you’d like on your site ( e.g shopping cart, content management, video integration, social media, blogging capabilities etc.), who your customers are, who you competition is and what makes you unique. The more information you can provide at this stage the better, as the information¬† will be used to create a comprehensive proposal which will outline the best plan of action to achieve your goals and a realistic price.

Whatever the goals of the project, the cost to create it can generally be broken down into the following categories

Design

  • A captivating design to engage you site visitors
  • Home page and inner pages of the site
  • email template design
  • Imagery selection
  • Navigation design
  • Definition of branding assets e.g color palette, typefaces
  • Working from a predefined brand style guide

Programming

  • Converting your design to a form which can be understood by web browsers
  • Integrating all content
  • Building and integrating functionality e.g¬† shopping carts, databases
  • Integrating with a Content Management System (CMS) e.g WordPress
  • Integrating 3rd party application e.g newsletter management, Google analytics
  • Mobile version of site
  • Browser compatibility testing

Launch

  • Domain registration/configuration
  • Hosting setup
  • Email setup
  • Upload to server
  • SSL certificate
  • uploading data ( e.g for e commerce)

Marketing

  • Search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Submission to basic search engines
  • More extensive search engine, directory, portal submission e.g Targeting Local directories
  • Social media profiles e.g Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest
  • Email campaigns
  • Paid Advertising Campaigns e.g Google Adwords
  • RSS subscription

Now not every project is going to require all aspects of these categories so lets take a look at a few client scenarios

Client A: Online Brochure Website

A small interior design business requires a simple online brochure type website to market their services. They would like to set up a Facebook page, an email management tool so they can send out a newsletter and a Pinterst account to pin photographs of their design work. They serve a local area and would like to rank well for anyone carrying out a local search for an interior designer- they are not interested in paid advertising although this may change depending upon the site traffic. They already have an offline brand image but require a domain name. The site will be between 10 and 12 pages in total.

Project Estimate

Design: 12 hrs
Programing: 18 hrs
Launch: 4 hrs
Marketing: 10 hrs

Total: 44 hrs = $4,400

Client B: Content Management Website

A company offering summer camps wants a web site they can manage themselves. The would like to upload photographs of camp events and allow parents to register their children Рthey already have an online application to allow this through a 3rd party but this need to be integrated seamlessly into the site. They would also like to be able to write a blog. They have a Facebook profile already set up but this to be linked to the site.  Most of their customers are by word of mouth but they would like a basic SEO and search engine submission.  They have a comprehensive offline style guide and already have a domain name. The site will be approximately 25 pages.

Project Estimate

Design: 24 hrs
Programming: 50 hrs
Launch: 8 hrs
Marketing: 5hrs

Total: 87 hrs = $8,700

Client C: E commerce Website

A small business want to launch an online store to sell their products. They also want the ability for their clients to sign up for an e-newsletter which will offer monthly promotions. They need assistance in selecting a provider for these email blasts and a custom template designed for the newsletter.They already have a merchant account set up and are interested in paid advertising to generate traffic. They have a logo and all copy for the website ready.

Design: 35 hrs
Programming: 70 hrs
Launch: 20 hrs
Marketing: 20 hrs

Total: 145 hrs = $14,500

As you can see the price range for a website can vary dramatically depending on what you want it do do and want to achieve.¬† If you would like us to quote on your next website give “The Chicago web Designer” a call at 847 607 8679, we may be a Chicago web design company but we don’t have a trendy studio in the city and don’t charge ridiculous prices!

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January 12, 2012

Pinterest: Frequently asked questions

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One of the hottest social media networks is Pinterest. You have questions we have answers.

What is Pinterest?

Pinterest  is  one of the fastest growing social networking sites. It is a virtual pin board enabling you to share  images  you find online.  You can organize your images onto separate boards according to your interests. For example within my collection I have a board of contemporary art work and a board of free printable.

pinterest boards

Who is using Pinterest and what are they using it for?

The majority of Pinterest users are women aged between 25 and 44. It is primarily used to share DIY, craft, beauty, art, design, home decor, food, fashion, photography and  garden imagery.  If for example a pinner is remodeling a home they may have boards for Kitchens, bathrooms, landscape design, painting techniques etc.

How do I get started?

 

Currently Pinterest is by invitation only but if you email z.feast@indigoimage.com I will send you an invite. You do need either a Facebook or Twitter account to activate your profile but you can unlink from these accounts at any time.

How do I configure a board?

A new Pinterst account come with five empty boards which can be configured however you like. It is also very easy to create new boards as you need them. You can set the title a description, a category, and who is able to pin to the board. New boards can be made during the act of pinning an item.

pinterst board

How do I pin an image to a board?

There are various ways to pin an image to a board but by far the easiest is to install the ” Pin it” button to your browser toolbar. Then whenever you come across something you’d like to share hit the “Pin It” button and follow the prompts. You will be able to add you pin to an existing board or even create a new one and your pin will automatically be added to your Pinterest profile without ever having to visit the site.

Pinterest pin it button

You can also repin images you see on other users boards to your own boards.

What type of things can I pin?

You can pin any image or video you like* but the most successful pins , the ones that get repinned onto other boards, liked, commented on and “go viral”,¬† are¬† those that are interesting, unique and well photographed. In essential “Eye Candy” images are the winners.

(* for a full disclosure on what is permissible see here)

Finding Friends

Because your Pinterest account is already linked to your Twitter or Facebook account it is easy to see which of your friend are already using Pinterest. You can also follow other pinners whose boards interst you…following all of their boards or just an individual board. The more active you are in the community the more followers you will get.

Can Pinterest drive traffic to my website?

When ever an image or video is pinned to a board it is automatically linked to the source site so there is definitely potential for traffic. My personal blog Creative in Chicago receives about 15% of it’s traffic from Pinterest.

Pinterest and seo links

The lastest figures show that Pinterst is used predominantly by women aged 25-44

Follow me on Pinterest!

Follow Me on Pinterest

©: 2012 Chicago web designer

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December 15, 2011

7 ways to increase the visibility of your small business website

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Here is a list of 7 things you, as a small business owner, can do TODAY, to increase the visibility of your web site. The better visibility, the better rankings in the search engines . End result more site visitors.

website visibility

  1. Start a Blog
    Google’s blogger or WordPress.com are both good candidates for the novice blogger. They are easy to setup and require no technical knowledge .¬† Ideally your blog should be integrated into your web site and given the same look/ feel for a seamless branded image (we can definitely help you with this).¬† However having a standalone blog gives you a great platform to test the blogging waters and¬† find your voice.¬† Write regular blog posts relevant to your business expertise or product offering and make sure to create linksto your web site. Here are some articles on blogging which will help you get the most out of your blog.

  2. Comment on blog posts
    Commenting on blog posts is a great way to increase the visibility of your site.  A fitting comment and a relevant  link to your site where applicable can lead to considerable traffic. Tread carefully though and do not spam.
  3. Open a Twitter account
    Twitter is a micro blogging tool, each Tweet, or post can have a maximum of 140 characters.  Spend a little time setting up your profile which can include a picture, an all important link to your web site and a short bio.  Next find some people to follow using the tools offered on the Twitter web site, then tweet away.  The more you interact the more you will get of Twitter.
  4. Create a Facebook Fan Page for your business
    To get started with Facebook you first need to create a personal account. Then visit this page https://www.facebook.com/pages/create.php
    Select a good name and populate the info section of the profile with your business information.¬† You are now free to start sharing your thoughts, ideas, products, links, video and anything else you think is relevant to your business via the Facebook status window. You will need to build up your fan base so include a Facebook “like button” wherever you can e.g In your email signature, on your blog, on your web site.
  5. Get listed on YELP
    Yelp is a local directory allowing users to search for all sorts of  services, everything from hair dressers to website designers.  Once you are a member (free) you can post reviews on any listing.
    See our listing on Yelp
  6. Upload a video to YouTube
    YouTube is the world’s 2nd most popular search engine ( Google is the 1st) so it stands to reason a presence there is worth the time and effort.¬† Creating your free account is easy and uploading a video a breeze.
    See our videos on YouTube How to select a great Domain Name and How to add video to your Internet Marketing Mix
  7. Pin something on Pinterest
    If you have visually appealing images on your website particularly if they relate to your products or services e.g You are a landscaper and have a portfolio of completed landscape projects, Pinterest is a great place to share them. Pinterest is one of the newest and fastest growing social media platforms. It is a virtual pin board allowing you to organize and share all the fabulous images you find on the web.  Boards and images can be  shared and repined .
    Check out our profile on Pinterest
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  • Indigo Image, the chicago web designer, is a Chicago website design and graphic design company with 14+ years experience. Located in the North Shore area of Chicago