Hiring a creative team vs. an in-house graphic designer?

Are you getting the level of expertise you want for your company? Ever consider the difference between employing an in-house graphic designer compared to outsourcing and hiring an entire team of design and marketing professionals? In-house employment limits your ability to fill all the roles that are necessary to create and implement a professional, successful brand package and to increase the awareness and effectiveness of that brand. One in-house graphic designer incurs hidden costs like:

  1. Equipment and taxes
  2. Space and taxes
  3. Increased insurance costs
  4. Increased management responsibilities and costs
  5. Increased costs and problems associated with employees.

Plus when hiring one in-house graphic designer that is what you get – just one designer – who may or may not be proficient in writing, marketing, packaging, shopping for and saving on production costs etc.

With today’s technology, distance and communication is becoming more and more invisible. Especially when you have a responsive team that is in synch with your company. A single individual can cost a company more than 100k a year when considering salary plus the hidden costs listed above. It is always beneficial to evaluate an annual branding and marketing budget and weigh that against the need for in-house employment vs hiring a team that is dedicated to providing the services you need.

There are many other benefits to hiring a team including:

  1. Redundancy – your project doesn’t get lost or put on pause due to one individuals status.
  2. Higher quality work due to access to professional specialists (such as writers or marketing) vs one individual
  3. Better efficiency
  4. More knowledge. Avoiding known pitfalls can save your company a lot of money
  5. Better pricing on production
  6. Less overhead and less responsibility and possible on-site problems

Selle Design Group specializes in business to business service, and is capable of working with medium and larger companies to fulfill the creative and production role as needed. Our team of designers, marketing experts, writers and production specialists are here to help your company excel at what you do while leaving the details of your brand package and increasing your brand awareness to us.

On-site SEO – Website design and marketing

When you create a website you are telling the world about your business and helping viewers find what they need to know. Today, developing website design has changed in that 70% plus users are now viewing your website from a phone or tablet. Designing to fit this media platform has become more important than designing for a desktop. What else has changed? There are some that say SEO is a thing of the past and that you no longer need to consider SEO. But what is SEO really? It stands for Search Engine Optimization. Selle Design Group considers SEO in a two-pronged approach: on-site SEO and off-site SEO. On-site SEO is like tuning your engine to run the most efficiently it can. The engine is your website and there are many steps you can take to tune your website to be more readily available to web bots that index your website for sites like Google. This involves optimizing many aspects of your website such as language, code, links and coding structure of your website and elements on your website.  There are many steps you can take to help your website appear better than your competitors. The list of to dos can be lengthy and ultimately comes down to what you have time for or what you can budget for. On-site SEO is always worth the time and it is our belief that this is a necessary step to consider when you develop a new website. If your current website has not had a maintenance check, it can be very beneficial to identify and correct weak areas to enhance on-site SEO.

If you would like to talk more about tuning up your website contact us to talk about it.

Rebranding your company: Do I just need a new website?

When you come to decide that you no longer think your branding package represents your company, you have to take careful steps to ensure that you don’t confuse your existing clients. If your brand is associated with a product or good it can be a very difficult project to update your brand and it is often a bad idea. However, you can nudge your logo and brand towards a new look by keeping certain elements consistent with the older brand. If a complete makeover is desired – and this can happen – the best solution is what we call tidal-wave branding. With this method, you get all your marketing material changed over to the new look and you release it all at once. The idea here is to be consistent across the board with your brand and to drive the new look home. Make an event out of it to reinvigorate your customer base and your team. Announce it and make sure you cover EVERY advertising medium. Your website, brochures, business signs, business cards, letter head, social media outlets everything. When you are representing your company to the world it is very important to have your brand be cohesive. Anything floating around with your old logo is not doing you any good so you need to hunt down the existence of everything you can and replace it with your new look. Cohesive branding and increasing brand awareness is something we take very serious at Selle Design Group and if you need help give us a call.

Alpaca Culture Magazine Celebrates its 5th Birthday!

The March edition of Alpaca Culture magazine is currently in the process of shipping across the United States and to many countries around the world. March 2017 marks the 20th issue, and the five-year milestone for Alpaca Culture.

Alpaca Culture began in March of 2012 and has steadily risen to be the premier print magazine in the industry. Alpaca Culture continues to expand the boundaries of the alpaca community, providing educational information and lucrative opportunities to farms and fiber mills. “We work continuously to contribute to the betterment of the alpaca world,” Says editor Jared Johnston of Sandpoint, Idaho.

Alpaca Culture magazine is published by Selle Design Group, and is distributed to more than 5,000 individuals each issue, reaching people in 10 different countries. Every issue that Alpaca Culture produces is given the same care and devotion, carefully researched and designed to offer a beautiful and visceral experience.

Here at Selle Design Group, we just want to say, congratulations — ¬keep up the great work!

Check out the new edition in digital format or order a hard copy at www.alpacaculture.com

Keep Your Website Currrent

Keeping you website up-to-date is more important than ever right now. There have been many PHP upgrades over the past few years which means that the server where you website is hosted may be using a more advanced version of PHP than your website is using. This can become a problem when one is trying to communicate with the other and can even cause certain functions of your website to stop working.

We have run into this problem on occasion with e-mail functionality and in other instances with forms and interactive functionality. If you are using open software such as Joomla, WordPress or Drupel it is best to stay current. That means if you are using version 2.5 and version 3 is available you should consider upgrading. The reason these new versions are created is to keep up with the latest version of software being generally used on servers and the internet for communication. Increased functionality is another benefit.

The second area of concern today is using a responsive template. (see Responsive Website Design) Google has begun announcing they will no longer give favorable placement to websites that do not offer a mobile friendly website. Why? Because over 80% of people using the internet have a smart phone or tablet. We are in a post PC world and more and more people are interacting with the internet using these devices. It is imperative to offer these users a reasonably easy and attractive interface experience when they visit your website. If you don’t then the information on your website may not give Google’s users the information they are searching for in a layout where they can access it easily. Google is a company that provides their users access to website that contain accessible information that corresponds with what the Google user is typing into the search bar. If your website cannot offer Google’s users this information then Google will not give you a favorable rating or placement on the search results list. This can translate into loss of web traffic and loss of money.

Creating and maintaining a website that generates a revenue stream takes time and money when it is done right. The web is not just an easy throw a website up and they will come. Like any other marketplace you have to work for your customer base and work hard. You also have to continually invest in your website as you would a storefront or office space. The potential for the internet is still huge but it is imperative to keep current.

Responsive Website Design

Is your website design responsive? That is, does it automatically adjust to display correctly on a tablet or phone? The picture at left demonstrates a responsive website design. As the website gets smaller (right) items are stacked and the menu becomes a drop down menu.

Let’s face it, we are in a post PC world and a majority of people use a tablet or smaller personal device (i.e. phone or ipod) to access their digital information and the internet. Due to space limitations these devices cannot display a full webpage that offers an easy interface and interactivity with users. Often times, users have to perform all sorts of zoom ins and zoom outs just to login or access areas of websites.

Responsive website design offers a more user friendly experience. The layout of the site adjusts to a more simplified version of the website on smaller devices where a user may scroll to see individual elements. This is desired because the user will not experience hard to read text or impossible to click links.

Websites that do not adjust responsively have a couple of problems. When users come across old school websites that are not responsive they may choose not to spend much time there and move on. Also, google recently has been notifying website owners that if their website is not compliant with smaller devices they will adjust your “rank” or where you appear in google searches accordingly. This pretty much means that you will fall in the rankings.

Why is this important. Let’s go back to the numbers. A majority of people use personal electronic devices to access their digital information and the web. That means these devices are more important to market to than desk based computers. All formats are important but most people are using smaller devices. If you are not offering those users an easy-to-use interface you may be loosing traffic and conversions.

If you have a website and it is not responsive please call us to determine what would be the best move forward for your personal or business website.

Considering website design and development

There are many aspects to creating and developing an effective website. The decision to create a website for your business should not be taken lightly or entrusted to the hands of a friend or family member who knows “a little” about how to get your business online. This is, after all, your business and your livelihood.

Just having a website that looks good is not enough. It is important to have a well designed website that is user friendly and easy to navigate, but that is perhaps fifty percent of the equation.

The first rule of getting customers is: get them in the door. They aren’t going to find you because your website looks good. They are going to find you by searching for your type of business, then clicking through to your website. If your website is not being properly indexed by search engines such as Google and placed in the upper results of a a search result, then your potential clients are going elsewhere.

This is where using a professional is essential. At Selle Design Group, we know how to program your website efficiently keeping your website code “light” and streamlined. We also know how to arrange your code and the language to maximize the effectiveness of your website. This allows index bots from search engines such as Google to easily read and index your website properly. In turn your website will appear higher on the organic search results for the keywords and phrases you want to be found under.

Your design and navigation becomes important once a user clicks on your link in the search results. If your website does not speak to the viewer instantly and easily lead them to what they are looking for, then the viewer might move on to the next result on the search result list. Your site must be appealing and present multiple selections, or features, and a simple, effective navigation to the final destination.

People today want what they want, when they want it. It is our job to make sure that that opportunity is there. If you are considering a new website or a makeover for your existing website design, call us to see how we can make a difference. 208-263-5235.

Don’t drop in ranking! Google mobile-friendly algorithm update

Google announced on the Webmaster blog that they are going to be boosting the effects of the mobile-friendly algorithm they launched back on April 21, 2015. The update is supposed to begin taking place in May of 2016 and it increases the effect of the mobile ranking system initiated in April of 2015 which was nicknamed mobilegeddon.

Basically, this algorithm asses websites and ranks them according to their availability to mobile devices. If you haven’t updated your site to a responsive template or made other adjustments to make your website mobile friendly, Google will reduce your page rank compared to other websites. This could result in loss of views to your website as over 70% of users currently use mobile devices.

Call and talk to us about updating your site affordably. 208-263-5235

Website Design In Open Source

Website design in open source software such as Joomla, WordPress and Drupel is becoming more popular than it has been. There are many versions of open source software and they can be very helpful in creating a multi-functioning website. These platforms offer many plug ins, modules and components that are pre-written to save time and effort but they are not as easy to use as some make them out to be. Since these outlying extensions are built by various programmers, the language can vary and the software they call upon to function can actually conflict with other software or the same software when installed multiple times.

This is why it is still very important to use an experienced website designer and developer to create a website that not only looks good and navigates well, but operates well on the internet. Google and other indexing sites continue to change the way they rate websites and it has been suggested that page speed can be a determining factor. If your pages are loading extremely slow you may be loosing potential viewers. I know when I go to a website and it takes too long to load I am usually moving on down the list to the next website.

Developing your own website is possible but it has been my experience that when someone does try to develop their own website they either spend their entire life for the next two months doing so and they end up with something that they really didn’t want. Your time is important and the old saying of do what you know has never been more true in website world.

Alpaca Culture magazine Volume 3-4

Selle Design Group just put out another edition of Alpaca Culture magazine and this one was bit special to us. The stories combined with the imagery really came out nice and presents a very picturesque view of Peru and the alpaca industry as it exists there. We visited the largest alpaca fiber-producing companies and toured their facilities. We also were escorted through many parts of the country where we saw native people working with alpaca fiber and producing some of the most luxurious garments we have ever seen.

Later in the trip we were able to attend a full on fashion show that feature some of the more prominent designers that are working with alpaca. Set in the courtyard of an old colonial mission it was nothing less than spectacular.

After the whole alpaca fiber experience we were able to take some time to ourselves and se more of the country. The highlight was Cusco, the old Incan capital and the surrounding sacred valley. Of course the gem on top was our visit to Machu Picchu. I have seen many pictures of this awesome place place they fail in comparison to being there. We stayed for two days and on the second day climbed the mountain behind the ancient city called Huayna Picchu. Very steep and the way down was a nail biter. But the struggle and views that followed were worth it – aren’t they always!

Check out the new edition in digital format or order a hard copy at AlpacaCulture.com