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Photo of purple gold fish jumping out of small crowded fishbowl into a big empty fish bowl.

Little Things Can Make a Big Difference

Last Monday I attended an event put together by the Kansas City –  American Marketing Association featuring a couple of speakers from PurpleGoldfish.com. Each speaker presented some snippets from the Purple Goldfish Business Strategy Book Series. What caught my attention the most, as a website designer, was a section on how, “Differentiation is Key”. Most designers challenge themselves to make everything they touch stand out. Yes, sometimes we are asked to add on to something already started, but starting with a blank page is why I show up in the mornings. Getting our retailers to share with us how their business is different from their competition, can be a challenge for writing content. Instead, we normally get requests from retailers to duplicate something their competitor just rolled out. I imagine this happens because a customer threatened to take their business elsewhere because they have “__________”. Ouch. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could be a fly on the wall of your competitor’s business and hear customers tell them what you do that they like? Maybe instead of copying your competitor,…


For almost 2 years now, I’ve occasionally heard the word “Gutenberg” mentioned at WordPress MeetUps and Events. When I saw a session at WordCamp last spring on the schedule about Gutenberg, I made sure to attend. What was talked about during this session, we were told, was mostly speculation. However, we were given a few links and videos to watch, which is what I want to share. If you are a retailer who has a website, this is my guess of what’s going through your head about now, “Why should I care about Gutenberg?” Well, Gutenberg is going to be used in the WordPress update 5.0 sometime in 2018. “Why should I care about WordPress?” If your store has a website, you might want to know if your website will be affected by Gutenberg. It’s also good to know that the chances of your website using WordPress is 1 out of 4. Do you have a WordPress site? If your not sure go to BuiltWith.com put in your domain name then hit “Lookup”. If you see “WordPress” in the list…

Word cloud of food words

Some Tips for Your Store to be Easily Found Online

At WordCamp 2018 I attended a session presented by Alyssa Murfey about how to use Google Trends to create a strategic content strategy. “Why do I need a content strategy,” a storeowner may ask? So your customers can find your store’s information easily online. Alyssa has worked with Wendy’s and Tropicana with the same goals in mind. Her approach works well when trying to communicate with the public: leave breadcrumbs behind and customers will think they found you by themselves. She has found a few items to keep in mind that work well together, knowledge of search and social trends, and a general knowledge of popular traffic patterns on your website. Alyssa showed us a free tool to help gain this knowledge about search queries that I hadn’t heard of: Google Trends Type in a subject, find out what words people use related to your subject when doing a search, when and where. For example I typed in “grocery” and found people are searching the term “Convenience store” in Utah during the past day. They are also looking up “camping grocery list”…

Mobile First graphic

Mobile First

The more I learn about SEO (Search Engine Optimization) the more I like this guy Michael Black. Some of his advice is hard to swallow like the one about not using sliders. However I’m learning Mike’s advice is backed by data and easy to understand. He’s also into WordPress, so when he speaks at WordCamp, I try to attend. Here’s some info you should be aware of about your website: MOBILE FIRST: Google is/has changed over to ranking your site solely based on how it performs on a smart phone. Any content you may have on a website that is only desktop friendly will not be considered when your customers search for your business. Which means your business listing will not be toward the top or even on the first page. If you wonder how many of your customers find you by doing a search, look at your Google Analytics Monthly Report under Referral Channels/Organic Search. Most likely you’ll see about half of your customers do a search to find you. If your site is not responsive, fix that as…

No sliders using graphic symbol

Reconsidering Sliders

I’m reading this article, “Keeping Your Credibility While Changing Your Mind” article because I have changed my mind about sliders. I feel a little bad since I do believe a small group of people may consider my opinion when it comes to web design, which I am grateful for. Even though I am not a politician, I hope you might consider these five points on why I’m reconsidering the value of sliders on a website home page, especially if you are thinking about switching platforms, or starting a new site. “My thinking has evolved.” My last blog post signing the praises of sliders dates back to the fall season of 2015, three years ago. I don’t need to remind you how fast tech changes on the web. Back then; we finally had these new responsive templates to work with after talking about how important responsive layouts are going to be until we were blue in the face. These new templates had one ginormous image taking up 70% of the layout. In order to not scare retailers into deciding on one…


Website navigation – did anyone bring a compass?

Test!!!! Being lost on a website is almost as frustrating as being lost in a car. I used to blame the traffic sign companies until Google Maps came around. Now I find myself on the same side with the sign companies as a web designer, trying to show others how to get around in a website. Our grocery store navbars are pretty simple if you don’t have a custom website, and this blog post is not suggesting they will change anytime soon. However, I work on the awginc.com website, and that navigation could use some help when/if it gets redesigned. This article I found, “11 WAYS TO DESIGN THE PERFECT SITE NAVIGATION” by Saijo George on webdesignerdepot.com, has several website navigation examples I like. These examples below are mostly the same as this article, I just replaced the authors descriptions and added my opinions with a grocery perspective. SISTRIX Sistrix, an SEO company based in Germany, uses a nice clean design for their website. They use only 4 drop down menus despite featuring tons of content. When viewing each dropdown…

line drawing of ear

Listen Up

The holidays are coming, which means more time spent with friends and family and being more social. The ratio of performing artists vs. non-performing artists is high in my family so I usually feel I have to compete to get a word in during Thanksgiving. Somewhere between the turkey and my cousin’s (pre-rehearsed) quartet performance of “Somewhere over the rainbow” in operatic style is where my opportunity normally lies. This year, I’m going to try something new, I’m going to try to focus more on listening. The reward for listening to someone has many benefits, however, sometimes you may find in the end it’s the speaker who is most grateful. Listening doesn’t mean you never get to speak. Actually, it’s you who sometimes needs to start. Just asking a simple question can unlock a treasure trove of information. A few years ago, I was talking to my Great Aunt at a family reunion. This gathering happened to be on D-day so I asked her, “Where were you during the Pearl Harbor Attack?” I thought she would have been old enough…

email icon with crown

Email is Still King

My name plate may say “Web Designer” however give me a little time and I can design a mean little custom email that gets hits on your website. You would think emails would eventually phase out over time, but they are getting stronger, even among your millennial customers. Adobe (think Adobe Acrobat .pdf files) who develops WAY more tools than Photoshop put together a survey about emails last August. About a 1000 white-collar workers took the survey about consumer emails. It seems this is a pretty popular topic. I first found this article from (I know) a monthly email I get from webdesignerdepot.com, more or less. After reading the article: “Adobe Reveals the Secrets of Email”, I noticed a link to an article on the Adobe website: “Consumers are still email obsessed, but they’re finding more balance”. THEN I found a rather dry overview of the survey results and a SlideShare in LinkedIn. So out of these three resources, I tried to pick out the topics our retailers might be interested in, then I’m sprinkling in personal comments on how…

Screenshot example of Monthly Google Analytic Report

How to Read your Monthly Analytic Report about your Website Traffic

If I am the person you call to make changes on your website, you might have noticed a new report in your email the past few months. The report is sent the first week of each month. We now send out monthly reports about your website traffic. Look for an email with the subject: “(Your store name) Website Report”. If you can’t find one you might also try looking in your spam folder or search for “From” noreply-analytics@google.com. Attached to this email you should find an attached .pdf file: “Analytics All Web Site Data (your store name) Website Report (beginning and end dates).pdf”. If you can’t find this report and would like to see it, shoot me a email with the address of where it should be sent or your phone # so I can give you a call. Here are some guidelines to help you read this report: Q: What is a “Session”? A (from Google): A session is a group of user interactions with your website that take place within a given time frame. For example a single…