Coulee Creative - Custom Web Design Company in Wisconsin http://couleecreative.com Thu, 17 Apr 2014 12:57:03 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.6 Recent Stories Published on WDL http://couleecreative.com/recent-stories-published-wdl/ http://couleecreative.com/recent-stories-published-wdl/#comments Mon, 07 Apr 2014 17:43:37 +0000 Jared Chelf http://couleecreative.com/?p=2534 As some of you may have noticed we’re now a guest author on Web Design Ledger, a standout blog in the web design industry that reaches well over a million...

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As some of you may have noticed we’re now a guest author on Web Design Ledger, a standout blog in the web design industry that reaches well over a million people each month! We’re honored to be contributing content on WDL and while we’ll continue to publish stories on our blog from time to time, most of our new articles will be published on blogs like WDL where they can receive the most exposure and help the most people.

Our Latest

Below are recent stories published by Jared Chelf on WDL

Why a Responsive Web Design Will Help You Get More Visitors

4 Common Mistakes You are Making on Your Website and How to Fix Them

5 Things Every Great About Page Needs

Why You Must Learn To Optimize a Minimalist Landing Page

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New Website Launched for Harter’s http://couleecreative.com/new-website-launched-harters/ http://couleecreative.com/new-website-launched-harters/#comments Mon, 17 Mar 2014 15:45:39 +0000 Jared Chelf http://couleecreative.com/?p=2526 Harter’s Quick Clean Up has been “talking trash” for over 50 years. While Harter’s is well known and respected throughout Wisconsin their website failed to match their vision. We helped...

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Harter’s Quick Clean Up has been “talking trash” for over 50 years. While Harter’s is well known and respected throughout Wisconsin their website failed to match their vision. We helped them establish a new online presence with a custom website and new strategy that is customer focussed.

VISIT WEBSITE

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Why you need a vertical marketing strategy http://couleecreative.com/marketing-strategy-business/ http://couleecreative.com/marketing-strategy-business/#comments Mon, 10 Feb 2014 17:04:36 +0000 Jared Chelf http://couleecreative.com/?p=2410 When it comes to an effective marketing strategy, your business can’t take things lying down. A vertical strategy involves a tiered, interconnected system, seamlessly integrated into your online presence that...

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When it comes to an effective marketing strategy, your business can’t take things lying down. A vertical strategy involves a tiered, interconnected system, seamlessly integrated into your online presence that combines smart design and content, the latest technology trends and social media metrics to maximize brand immersion, awareness and conversion. Let’s look at tips and technologies that can help you hone the perfect strategy for your brand.

The core of your strategy – Your Website

It’s your online headquarters, your home base, where your presence and identity are established. After you’ve identified your conversion goals, you need to construct or revamp an effective online presence that’s reflective of those goals. Building up your strategy from your website requires full integration of the media outlets and channels you want to cover. It also requires smart, engaging design. Your brand and message should be incorporated into a website that delivers an interactive experience, incorporates social media and provides rich content and images-all of which must be on track with your brand, your vertical marketing strategy and your message.

Integrating technology

Technology evolves constantly, and your marketing strategy needs to take advantage. Are you using the most effective CRM web-based automated data solution for your brand and strategy? 94 percent of adults have a mobile phone in arms reach at all times. Have you integrated cross-device compatibility into your vertical marketing strategy? Have you set a plan for gauging mobile analytics? Are you designing apps? All these different strategies need to tie back into your conversion goals and your upwardly-moving vertical marketing strategy.

Content

Social Media B2B reports that companies with blogs generate 67 percent more leads than companies that don’t. However, splashing articles and posts all over your site won’t provide value if they’re not building on your overall marketing strategy. Your vertical strategy should be interwoven into all your content, and your content must always reflect your overall message.

Social media metrics leverage

You’ve cemented your conversion goals. You’ve invested time getting to know your audience on relevant social media channels, and you’ve amassed the type of following that just seems to scream “success.” But there’s a big difference between gathering data and leveraging it effectively. Are you using visitor frequency rates to target new and returning site visitors? Are you optimizing engagement rates to turn conversations into meaningful actions? How much referral traffic actually leads to conversions? Extracting real data out of your metrics enables you to refine your conversion goals, get more value out of your time and build up your vertical marketing strategy.

Today’s consumers are looking for a pure, relevant message that speaks to them. You can deliver that message by utilizing the newest trends and innovations, connecting with and engaging your target audience on social media platforms and constantly evolving your website. Keep your conversion goals in front of you, and your vertical website strategy will keep building up.

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Use Video On Your Website, It’s The New Content King http://couleecreative.com/videos-became-new-content-king/ http://couleecreative.com/videos-became-new-content-king/#comments Wed, 08 Jan 2014 05:23:20 +0000 Jared Chelf http://couleecreative.com/?p=2357 The written word will always have its place, but the internet landscape has evolved and changed the way we think of information presentation. Website users have come to expect an...

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The written word will always have its place, but the internet landscape has evolved and changed the way we think of information presentation. Website users have come to expect an interactive experience, and videos deliver. Here’s how videos became king of content, and why you need to start incorporating them into your website now.

The Rise of Videos

There was once a time when websites were simple and static. Lines of text, accompanied by basic graphics and illustrations, were the limit. But times have changed, and so has technology. Internet speeds now allow us to stream content with ease. Mobile technology enables us to decide when and where to view anything online.

Technological advancements may have facilitated the rise of videos, but they reign for one simple reason: they are the most engaging, captivating type of media.

Why Videos Matter

You may have heard of a little company out there called YouTube – also known as one of the biggest search engines in the world. The appeal of videos is obvious. Text is one-dimensional. Videos are fully dimensional, powerful and humanizing. Text takes time to read. Videos instantly engage. Excellent text is shared, but a powerful video can go viral.

Why Videos boost SEO

A fear that keeps some businesses from integrating video into their online presence is that videos don’t rank well as content. This is a proven misconception. Videos continue to surge onto the web, and people continue to click on them, for entertainment value and to learn. Search engine results reflect this growing trend. Type a question into a Google search engine box and one of your first results will likely be a demonstration or tutorial video. As long as people see videos as relevant, so will search engines.

Why Videos Sell

Videos helps people understand methods, products and services far better than any written description or instructions. That alone helps drive sales. A video on your page means that more time is spent on that page, which lends that page extra value in the eyes of the viewer and makes him more likely to take interest in the other elements and features you have there. Videos serve multiple functions. They establish a human connection. They inform, demonstrate, promote, engage and provide you with a perfect audience building tool. At the end of the day, videos sell better than any other medium.

You need videos, for your web presence and for your online marketing strategies, to engage today’s consumers and to tell a story about your company and your products that truly resonates with your customer base. Videos are your most powerful sales and communication tool. They can boost your site views, propel your social media marketing to new levels and increase your site’s relevance. Videos are the king of content, and great content not only sells, but is also crucial for the current and continued success of any business.

Need more evidence?  Watch the viral video below and then check out Poo Pourri for yourself!


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Web Design Trends 2014 http://couleecreative.com/web-design-trends-2014/ http://couleecreative.com/web-design-trends-2014/#comments Wed, 20 Nov 2013 14:37:32 +0000 Jared Chelf http://couleecreative.com/?p=2260 2013 has seen a surge in new web design trends, driven by evolving user expectations, cultural shifts and new technologies. Design trends that started out hot this year have either...

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2013 has seen a surge in new web design trends, driven by evolving user expectations, cultural shifts and new technologies. Design trends that started out hot this year have either gained momentum or fallen by the wayside to make way for more relevant design integrations. As the year draws to a close, certain design styles are breaking the mold, moving us away from the old days of information overload and toward cleaner, simper times, while offering users a more engaging and interactive experience.

Read on for a list of 2014 web design trends that are making waves and setting the new standard for today’s, and tomorrow’s, website.

Flat Design

Flat Web Design

With bold lines and simple graphics, and served up without drop shadows or heavy textures geared to resemble a 3D effect, the 2D (flat) look has been gaining in popularity this year and looks to firmly entrench itself as a key trend in 2014.

Flat Design: An In-Depth Look

23 Examples of Flat Web Design

Responsive Layout

Responsive Web Design
The explosion of media devices, equipped with different screen sizes, can translate to either a poorly rendered site on each device or a slew of different site versions written for each individual media device. Responsive design layout solves these problems nicely by detecting different viewing environments and resizing the website layout and images to adapt. An optimized layout that enables continuity between mobile devices spells a breakthrough trend that’s a must-have for every business.

21 Fresh Examples of Responsive Web Design

Responsive Frameworks: Twitter Bootstrap Foundation 5

Mix-and-Match Typography

Custom Webfonts
Easy to read sans-serif fonts have been the web design status-quo for years-until recently. Mixing up fonts that blend together to express the feel of your site, beautify the theme(s) of a web page or even enhance individual elements has emerged as a popular way to stylize and individualize websites.

Which Custom Fonts are Top Web Designers Using?

Google Web Fonts  Typekit Fonts

Video/Photo Backgrounds

Video Background Website
Capturing the viewer’s attention is the universal goal behind every website. More powerful than multiple graphics or static text, a full-width background photo offers an image that not only represents the business, but that the viewer can instantly connect with. More effective still is the background video trend, which delivers all the pertinent information needed while offering the viewer a dynamic viewing experience.

20 Web Designs with Stunning Video Backgrounds

Video in Web Design

Parallax Scrolling

Parallax Scrolling Website Examples
This scrolling technique, which uses backgrounds that appear to move at different speeds, creates a sensation of movement and depth. This trend offers users a new level of engagement, along with a vivid way to showcase products or other elements, and is set to go mainstream in 2014.

20 Best Websites with Parallax Scrolling

17 Inspiring Examples of Parallax Scrolling Sites

Bold Colors

Bold Flat Web Colors

Gone are the grays and dull monotones that once governed the look of websites. The newest trend is all about hot shades. Bold, bright-and yes, even neon-colors are quickly gaining popularity as the new design norm. With the focus now on simplicity, this translates to a need for finding new ways to emphasize every element, and for that, bold colors always hit the mark.

The Rising Trend of Bright Flat Colors in Web Design

Flat UI Colors

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We’re a nominee for Site of the day at CSS Design Awards, Help us win! http://couleecreative.com/help-us-win-site-day-css-design-awards/ http://couleecreative.com/help-us-win-site-day-css-design-awards/#comments Tue, 12 Nov 2013 04:25:14 +0000 Jared Chelf http://couleecreative.com/?p=2229 We recently redesigned our website and the carpal tunnel seems to have been worth it. CSS Design Awards, one of the premier website award sites, has made us a nominee...

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We recently redesigned our website and the carpal tunnel seems to have been worth it. CSS Design Awards, one of the premier website award sites, has made us a nominee for site of the day and with your help we can win! If you have time we’d be grateful for your vote.

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10 Ways to Make Your Website Search Engine Friendly http://couleecreative.com/10-ways-to-make-your-website-search-engine-friendly/ http://couleecreative.com/10-ways-to-make-your-website-search-engine-friendly/#comments Fri, 01 Nov 2013 09:53:02 +0000 Jared Chelf http://couleecreative.com/?p=131 The main goal of a search engine and its rankings is to provide users with the best possible array of websites and information so that each user can easily find...

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The main goal of a search engine and its rankings is to provide users with the best possible array of websites and information so that each user can easily find what they are looking for. Here are 10 tips to make sure you can rank well in Google, Yahoo and MSN!

1.) Titles

The title of your website should be a few keywords that explain your business. (La Crosse Web Designs is our main title). Search engines take the words in the title into account when deciding where you will rank for a search term (like “La Crosse Web Design”) so it should contain words that you want people to find you on. You should descriptively title all of your internal pages as well.

2.) Content

The majority of your web page content should be text because search engines can read text easier than images, Flash or JavaScript. You want to make sure they can easily read all of your content because it directly relates to how your website will rank for a search term. I’m not suggesting that you shouldn’t use flash or images or JavaScript, just use it sparingly!
Look at our homepage. There is a small bit of JavaScript at the top. It looks nice, its grabs your attention, but it isn’t slowing the load time of the website.

3.) Unique content

Search engines love unique content. Why? Unique content (text that isn’t found anywhere else on the web) gives search engines the opportunity to provide more variety and better choices when displaying search results. They love it so much that when you do the opposite – i.e. duplicate content – your ranking can drop or be black listed.

4.) Updated Content

Updating your content often tells a search engine that you are constantly providing new information to internet users. If the search engine reads something new on your page each time it visits, it starts to read your page more often. Every time it reads your site, you gain trust and authority with the search engine which helps you rank higher!
Frequently updated content can be achieved by having a news section, a blog, a message board, etc.

5.) Loading Times

Flash and JavaScript can really slow down a website’s loading time. You’ve been to those sites – you get to the page and it takes 5 minutes to get anything up on screen and you have to watch an annoying loading animation. Just like you, the search engine doesn’t want to wait around and will leave without reading your site.

6.) Website Architecture

Website architecture is how you set up your website for navigation. How do people get from your homepage to your internal pages? A website’s architecture should be simple to use for your user and for the search engines. Search engines will read all of your pages if each page is easy to get to through internal links.

This video better explains website architecture:

7.) Make a sitemap

A sitemap is like a map of your website. It guides the search engine through all of your website’s pages. It can help search engines read pages that they might not have seen otherwise.
You can create a free one here: www.xml-sitemaps.com/

8.) www and non www URLs

Sometimes websites have two URL’s for the same site. For example, www.couleecreative.com or http://couleecreative.com. Even though the web pages look exactly the same search engines see these as separate websites. As mentioned before, duplicate content can get you in trouble with search engines because they may think you are trying to manipulate the rankings. To remedy this situation you have to create a 301 or 302 redirect.

9.) Create a link network

Create a link network with related businesses and websites. It not only helps your ranking within a search engine and/or drive traffic to your site – it can lead the search engines to read your page more often (because the crawler finds you through another website). This leads to a greater trust and authority which can result in a better ranking.

10.) Don’t try to fool a search engine

Using hidden text, hidden links, keyword stuffing, etc. is manipulating search engine rankings. It’s a waste of your time and it can get you blacklisted from search results. Seriously, don’t do it – search engines are smarter than you think!

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How To Protect Yourself From Getting Hacked http://couleecreative.com/how-to-protect-yourself-from-getting-hacked/ http://couleecreative.com/how-to-protect-yourself-from-getting-hacked/#comments Wed, 21 Aug 2013 17:36:04 +0000 Jared Chelf http://couleecreative.com/?p=1503 We get asked a lot of questions related to technology. While we don’t provide computer support we do build websites that are secure to prevent your customer’s information from being...

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We get asked a lot of questions related to technology. While we don’t provide computer support we do build websites that are secure to prevent your customer’s information from being hijacked.  When shopping on a website make sure “https” is displayed in the address bar indicating the website is using SSL (secure socket layer).  In addition, use strong passwords (uppercase letter, include numbers) and different passwords on multiple sites to reduce risk.  

This infographic from Hot Spot VPN displays the different ways hackers attempt to steal your personal information and how you can protect yourself.

Hacked

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The Science of Productivity http://couleecreative.com/the-science-of-productivity/ http://couleecreative.com/the-science-of-productivity/#comments Thu, 07 Feb 2013 08:50:38 +0000 Jared Chelf http://couleecreative.com/?p=1424 Rather than forcing yourself to stay at work late, watch this short 3 minute video that offers some great insight and practical tips! “In today’s crazy world, productivity is on...

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Rather than forcing yourself to stay at work late, watch this short 3 minute video that offers some great insight and practical tips! “In today’s crazy world, productivity is on the minds of many. So what can science tell us about the human brain and productive work? How do we become more efficient at working, and spend less time working overall?”

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How to rank up quickly with Google http://couleecreative.com/how-to-rank-up-quickly-with-google/ http://couleecreative.com/how-to-rank-up-quickly-with-google/#comments Tue, 05 Feb 2013 17:28:09 +0000 Jared Chelf http://couleecreative.com/?p=1251 It’s often asked of me, “How do I get my website to be #1 in search results?” Now if you’re any bit of a techie, I can tell you all...

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It’s often asked of me, “How do I get my website to be #1 in search results?” Now if you’re any bit of a techie, I can tell you all about how the internet is evolving at a breakneck pace thanks in part to mobile devices, social media and shifts in how we interact online.  But if we cut to the chase, I’m going to have to break it to you that unfortunately there is no magic code that will instantly and effortlessly catapult your website straight to the top (read: you need to work at it). More recently search engines have started to reward websites that are updated frequently and with good quality content.

Posting original, intelligent material on the blog page of your website is perhaps the quickest way to rank up in search engines over your competition.

“Simple! I can do that!” Wait…what’s the catch? For most of us, finding the time to write a blog post or update our website is not as easy as it seems. The truth is that when we’re busy, we simply don’t want to set aside time to come up with something witty yet relevant to our business. Or maybe we don’t fancy ourselves as good writers and publishing a regular blog is a daunting task. I’ve had clients in the past “copy ‘n paste” an entire article and publish it. Sure, it gets content on your blog quickly. But it’s illegal. Oh yeah, and the search engines are smart enough to realize who published the article first. Tsk, tsk.

Perhaps the easiest way to update your blog is to write a short post like I’m currently demonstrating and link to a quality article that someone else spent a good deal of time writing. To illustrate my example, check out this informative article Social Fresh wrote on “How To Use Content From Other Blogs Without Violating Copyright”. You see, the link gives credit to the true author, but all this commentary above is original content. Website = updated.

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