Outsourcing Creative & Tech

Outsource creative work? When you consider the costs of hiring a full-time designer for your company, then factor in the overhead to support that employee (like purchasing equipment, office space, management, benefits, insurance, etc etc), outsourcing starts to make financial sense. You might hire an in-house designer for 60-90k a year. With associated overhead, that number can easily double.

Magazines Graphic Design

Now consider the amount of actual creative work your company does in a year. That same amount of money can be used to hire a full service, professional team to accomplish the same amount of work faster – and do it better. With a creative team you have access to creative direction, design, copywriting, programming & tech, production design and project management – a team of professionals who work together to make your brand better.

At the cost of hiring a single employee (mentioned above), you can afford over 850 hours of work with our team. That is 5+ months of work. You get the work you want done when you want it done and it is fully managed by us. Plus, we store your files offsite as a backup (as well as providing them to you).

graphic design illustration

Our team can handle the little things that pop up too. Things like e-mail set up, problem solving, tech support and consulting. You also have access to brand development and strategy. Again, you have a team that will suggest ways to improve your brand, packaging and digital presence.

If you print, we have developed special relationships with or printers and work directly with them to ensure your material is done right. And we may even save you a little money on the costs.

Depending on your demand, it really makes financial sense to outsource your creative work. We have been helping our clients for more than 20 years and our client retention is 90% or better.

Web Design: Above and Beyond

Can a good web design be simply judged by the way it looks? If we are ONLY talking about the design then – yes, that is possible. But websites are created to serve a purpose so they must be functional. And they must produce the desired results (i.e. product, or contact conversion). If you are considering or rebuilding your website, here are a couple things to keep in mind that a website must contain.

web design sandpoint idaho
  1. Great Design
    • A website needs to be attractive, intuitive, easy to disseminate and easy to navigate. This includes all elements: graphics, images, copy and programming. Design is artistic but there is science to design as well. How do you present your products. Where do yo place them. What information does a beer need to know and how clearly is that presented in the purchase corridor. Do you have a purchase corridor? A website is often taking the place of a brick and mortar business and should be treated as such. The design of the website needs to play into the psychology of consumers or those seeking information. How you present your continent and the quality of your content can make a huge difference in use retention and conversions.
  2. Local search engine optimization (SEO)
    • A website must contain SEO optimized copy and a strategic programming protocol to facilitate indexing by search engines. Local SEO is like tuning up your automobile engine. You want to make sure your website is optimized so it can efficiently interact with the internet and, more importantly, the search engines.
  3. Analytics
    • If you are going to the trouble of building a website then you need to use that powerful tool to help you collect data about your demographic and the behavior users display. Analytics can give you powerful insight into your strategy and it can be used to help build a clientele database.

Selle Design Group has created hundreds of websites. We know what works and the pitfalls to avoid for your website to be attractive to users, maintain user retention and maintain a shelf-life so you are redesigning your website every time servers update their system software.

We have a proven SEO protocol that will help your business appear well in organic searches on search engines like Google. When we build your website we employ that protocol to ensure that you website is ready for the competitive marketplace.

Lastly we have helped many companies develop a branding package and then put that brand to work. We know how to effectively employ a website’s analytics to help boost the presence of your website and develop possible strategies to help improve sales or capture more contacts.

Sandpoint web design and graphic design SEO

It has been 6 weeks since we started our test. After our Google account was hacked our placement in organic searches for Sandpoint Web Design and Sandpoint Graphic Design was on page 13 and 14. Whoever hacked our Google account really did a number on us. We found the source of the hack (without help from Google) hidden in a very out of place area. Once detected we removed the hacker and the damage and started a test to see how long it would take us to get back to the top 3 positions on the above searches. We seems to be hitting #1 on the search Sandpoint Web Design and hovering at #1 or #2 for Sandpoint Graphic design. 6 weeks to achieve this goal and we couldn’t be happier. We have a time tested protocol for SEO and placing well organically in rankings.

In larger and more competitive markets this is a more time-consuming task and results may take up to 6 months. We have found that to be a fairly normal turn-around time to start moving up the ranks in Google placements.

Remember building a nice looking website is only half the battle. Getting found and getting placed well consistently is equally if not more important. Looking good is one thing but looking good on a deserted island isn’t doing anyone any good. Our SEO protocol for websites will enhance your potential of being found. Call us today to discuss your website.`

Sandpoint Website Design

It has been one week since we fixed a compromise in our Google Search console that had us placing on page 12 for a search of “Sandpoint Website Design” and “Sandpoint Web Design.” This compromise happened about six months ago and we had no time to try and fix the problem as it was not really a top priority for us. We had a major project to help a company build a cohesive brand package and launch their business while maintaining our current client base. It was all we could handle at the time. And it was covid.

But it is a priority now. And we decided to log the process and results.

The compromise was discovered in a very deeply hidden plug-in in the Google search console. After repairing the compromise, we performed our basic on-site SEO protocol to refresh our website to see how far up the Google search list we could place for the key phrases mentioned above. Again it has been one week and we are placing at position 6 for “Sandpoint Website Design” and position 5 for “Sandpoint Web Design.”

One week! We couldn’t be happier. Our goal is to place consistently in the top three positions for all our target key phrases but we are focusing on these for now.

So why did we experience this problem? We monitor our websites on our servers daily and have many programs in place to alert us if an attempt to compromise any of our websites. We thought we had been compromised but our server and our website was spotless.

We tested the search on other search engines and noticed that we only were being affected on Google. That narrowed the problem down and we started looking at Google services and accounts. Our amazing programmer extraordinaire narrowed it down to Google Search Console and a reported rare compromise that was affecting search results. Once we found the problem fixing it was easy.

But now we had to climb back up the search results list. Everyone wants to be number one on the list so we have a few competitors to contend with. This was the perfect setting to test our SEO protocol. We believe in a well rounded approach that is both on-site but uses various other outlets and techniques that we feel performs well. So far the results speak for themselves.

If you have a problem being indexed on Google or if your website just isn’t appearing in results there are a few factors that may be negatively affecting your websites performance. We may be able to help with your SEO but it can be an involved process.

Search Engine Optimization – SEO

As the digital world becomes more interlinked and complicated, algorithms have to adapt continually to index websites (and really companies as a whole) to determine which businesses they will present to their customers. SEO, in a nutshell, is optimizing your presence – not only on your website but through the use of other outlets – to represent what your company is about. And not just for people who you want to sell a product or services to.

You must also satisfy the search engines people use to find your business. Google, for example, is one such company. They have to painstakingly index thousands of websites to determine which websites will satisfy a search result entered into their search console. They are simply a company and their job (at least in the search console) is to present a user with current and pertinent search result that will satisfy the searcher. If they chose companies that searchers do not like, they will not be very successful.

With increased interconnectivity, the job becomes more and more complicated and the algorithms adapt. Google does not make it’s algorithm public so we are left with educated guesses at how the algorithm works and what parameters must be met to place high on search results.

The algorithm is not static. It is updated to account for misinterpretation of businesses. It must always try to present searchers with the best pertinent results it can. If someone is giving you bad leads then they aren’t doing a very good job and you may move on to another user such as Bing.

At Selle Design Group we are always thinking about SEO (really an outdated term) and how it applies to the websites we help build and manage.

We recently discover a compromise in our google account in an older plug in that allowed a user to affect our performance on Google search results. On all other search engines we were ranking consistently in the top three spots. Due to many variables we did not take immediate action as our company was deeply involved in an intensive project to launch a new project and we could no longer take new clients. As this was a fairly large undertaking, our full attention was on the new client and maintaining our existing clients. At the time, we were not actively seeking to improve our companies presence in the local market, which is fairly small, and most of our work is with businesses outside our local area anyway.

Recently we have turned our attention back to this problem. We discovered the source of the compromise in google search console and eliminated eliminated it. But we aren’t going to stop there.

We are going to take full advantage of this predicament to test our knowledge of the Google algorithm and our SEO protocol. As of today, our placement in local search results for SANDPOINT WEBSITE DESIGNER on Google places us on page 12. We are going to implement our SEO protocol in the next couple of months to see if:

  1. we can climb to the top three positions for this search in our local market on Google and
  2. record how long this process takes.

We are very excited to have a situation like this that will test our protocol and to – hopefully – verify it. We will adjust our protocol as we monitor our progress and will post to this blog as we make progress.

So here we go.

Post Covid 19 Marketing

As America and the rest of the world gets vaccinated, life will eventually return to the way things were before this pandemic hit. But not all things will return to normal. Over the past year, we have all learned that with today’s tech, we don’t need to rely on location as much as we thought we did to perform work and to acquire goods and services that we need. They can be ordered or performed across the internet through various apps. Selle Design Group has been working this way for years – most of our clientele is not regional.

Will physical marking be completely replaced by digital? Probably not. We are communal beings and interaction will always have its place. But a digital presence has never been more important than over the past year. Selle Design Group has been working with many clients to upgrade their web presence and how they are reaching people. The need to replace lost income from offerings like tourism have given way to virtual experiences and then to some sort of income stream like a store.

The story has always been important but more so today than ever. People want to experience. They want to know where their products come from. Purchases are reflecting more and more conscious decisions towards quality rather than low price. But quality has to be backed by the story of origin and the explanation of why quality products are better than their cheaper counterparts.

Developing your story and creating your brand can be difficult tasks. Some will simply throw together what they can in hopes of hitting the mark. But using professionals who can help you develop your story, your talking points, your theme and your entire branding package can increase your quality of presence to those you really want to reach. And in doing so may help you achieve the sales you are looking for.

Website design, development and maintenance

We have been experiencing a lot of clean up work for clients who had an initial build completed and the final result was less than desirable. It appears that many website “developers” are using basic templates and build methods that are not savvy to ongoing updates and possible plug-in expiration problems.

Using an out-of-the-box template is a quick way to get a website built, but it can be problematic after time. Templates are built on set language and often use multiple plugins. The language of these templates and plugins can fall out of date as the platform they are built on or the server where the websites is hosted update versions of PHP.

There are constant updates to open source platforms to keep them current in response to known hacks or functionality with known server issues. Usually a briefly and well-coded template is less susceptible to potential compromise. Using heavy coded plugins and templates not only complicates reliability and compatibility, it can slow your website down as well.

Talk to us about a custom template that will provide a longer shelf life between updates to your website. Your website will live longer, function better and will cost less over time.

Back at office

It has been a while since we were all at the office. We are mostly working remotely but are meeting with people at our office by appointment. We ask that when you visit to please wear a mask to protect our employees from any potential exposure to Covid-19. Hope to see you all soon.

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.