4 Things Your New Website Absolutely Has to Have

4 things your new website has to have by HighleyDesigned

I recently launched my new website, highleydesigned.com. It’s a simple site to give people more information about my business and my services. It includes a recent projects page which is like an online portfolio and most importantly it features my blog!

As I was designing my site and working on layouts and themes I realized there are a million things to consider, but I was most concerned about a handful of important features.

  1. Make Sure Your Contact Information is Easy to Find
    This is one of the biggest reasons people come to your website – because they want to learn more about you or get in touch with you! Too often I visit websites that bury their contact info or the only way to get in touch is through an email contact form.Make yourself approachable! Let people know you are happy to take their calls or it’s easy to set up an appointment etc. I recommend a phone number in your header and full contact info in your footer (phone and address). Your contact page should include all of that along with a map so people can see where you’re located and that’s where you can add your fax number, email address and other additional information.

    An email contact form is great to have because it makes it easy to track who’s contacting you via your website, but if someone wants to send you a long message or add attachments it’s often easier for them to send an email from their own account. For this reason I include an email address on my website, but if you find you’re receiving too much spam you can always remove it.

  2. Make Sure Your Site Features Responsive Design
    Responsive design means your website is mobile friendly. The term responsive highlights your site’s ability to respond to any device. Take Facebook for example – it looks different on mobile, tablet and desktop. Amazon is similar, and like Facebook, it’s become so popular they developed a mobile app to make it even more accessible.Google has announced that with its newest algorithm responsive design will play a major part so it’s important your website is mobile friendly. You don’t have to write html code to make sure your site is mobile friendly. Try using a visual editor to design your site like Duda. Duda offers beautiful responsive websites at a great price.
  3. Make Sure Your Site Offers High Quality Content
    When you have a great website the biggest mistake you can make is to fill it with mediocre content, poor copy writing or generic headlines. If you don’t have someone in-house to do your writing, hire someone with experience. A professional can make your website sound as good as it looks.Pay special attention to your site headlines and make sure to avoid cliches. When it comes to your content make sure you portray yourself or your brand as a voice of authority in your industry. You want people to know your an expert in your field that can be trusted. And when it comes to your blog or your site’s original articles – don’t share something that’s been shared a million times unless you can add a fresh perspective. Remember to be original!
  4. Make Sure to Use High Quality Photos
    The photos on your website speak to your brand’s professionalism and can either say “high quality” or “yikes they actually put that on their website!” This may mean spending money on stock photos or hiring a photographer – either way, you’ll be glad you did.Make sure your photos are bright and look cohesive. For example if you have a page with staff photos make sure they are all taken with the same backdrop, or if your site features products make sure they all have a transparent or white background.

 

 

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Not Too Shabby – My First Amateur Photography Attempts

I’ve always loved taking product photos for my clients but recently I began practicing my photography skills on just about anyone that will allow me to take their picture. My sister asked me to take some baby pictures of my nephew, Clark, so I of course agreed. Not only do I love babies but I was excited for the chance to practice my shooting and editing skills. Now I know I’m far from being an expert, but I was really happy with how the pictures turned out so I thought I’d share my favorites. I’ve found a local printer but I would love to know from the other amateur photographers out there, who do you use for your printing services? I know there’s a lot of big names out there but I was skeptical of ordering a bunch of prints online and I want to get my sister the best deal possible. I’d love your feedback!

~ Rachel

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Product Photos 101

Taking product photos can be tough.  No matter how cool your products are, how nice the colors look, or how great the quality is, it can be hard to capture all of that in one photo.  As Keep’em in Stitches continues to grow, I’m constantly taking pictures and working on new ways to capture the craftsmanship, the rich colors, the textures and overall adorableness of Jean’s knitted products.

The biggest thing I’ve learned is LIGHTING.  No matter how great something looks to you, if the lighting isn’t right your photo will not capture that greatness.  I try to take all of my photos in natural light so I don’t need to worry about shadows, glares, dullness, or timing my camera flash.  In fact, taking photos outdoors almost eliminates the need for flash and product shots turn out just the way I want them to.

The other things I’ve learned is CONSISTENCY.  When you’re taking a bunch of pictures of the same product but in different colors or patterns it’s important to stay consistent. You want people to see that the products are made the same way, highlighting the only change to the product which is the color or pattern.

One of the last things I’ve learned is to make sure the camera is fully charged before beginning a shoot!  Nothing is worse than taking great photos and then losing power and having to charge your camera.  In the time it takes to charge you can lose your lighting (if you’re shooting outdoors) and your motivation.  This is a mistake I definitely didn’t make twice.

The best advice I have for any beginners is to practice! I’m still practicing and when shooting new products, textures and patterns it’s important to play around with different settings to see what makes for the best photo.

 

 

Consistency is Key

Consistency is Key – Keep’em in Stitches has 28 different baby burp cloths to choose from so it was super important to keep it simple and consistent, showing off the variety of colors and patterns available.

 

Natural light made this baby boy gift basket look absolutely adorable, capturing all of the amazing colors and textures!

Natural light made this baby boy gift basket look absolutely adorable, capturing all of the amazing colors and textures!  Working outdoors I found a perfect backdrop and the fence provided a classic, rustic feel.