Design Tips: Preparing Your Website for QR Code Marketing
November 17th, 2010 8:16 AM
QR Codes are quickly becoming an important part of a digital marketing toolkit. But where are those QR codes taking your customers? The information you provide a mobile user is important, but so is the way you deliver the information. Traditional websites are not the optimum choice, but with some tweaks to your web design or a QR Code-specific landing page, your QR Code marketing can be very effective.
QR codes are two dimensional bar codes that are frequently used in print advertising or product packaging to provide mobile users with more information about a product or service. A consumer scans the code with their smartphone using QR code reader software (included on most smart phones and available for free via download) and is able to view videos, a mobile website or special offers and/or coupons on their phone.
By now most American consumers have seen a QR code. You may already be familiar with QR codes and how to use them. You may be one of the estimated 70 million American smartphone owners who regularly scan these codes with your phone to get product details or special offers on the go.
Whether you are putting QR codes on brochures, business cards or product manuals, its important provide users a source of information that is optimized for a mobile device. Here are some tips to prepare your website or other content for QR Code marketing:
Microsites or Landing Pages
Manufacturers of mobile devices market their ability to display full websites in a mobile browser. But with small screens and touch screen interfaces, these devices are better suited for optimized, mobile websites. Your microsite or landing page can be as simple as formatting the text and images on the page so that they are easily viewed on a mobile device. For example, use a larger font, bigger form fields for use with a touch interface and include email addresses and phone numbers so users can contact you directly from the phone. Optimize images so they load quickly over a 3G data connection.
Video is a great way to communicate information to mobile users. While Flash is the defacto standard for web video, most mobile devices cannot view video encoded in Flash. One exception is videos that are uploaded to YouTube. YouTube saves videos in multiple formats so that mobile users can view them as well. If you are not using YouTube to share videos, make sure the video you share via QR Code is formatted in mobile-friendly way. Here are some technical encoding details to give your video provider:
If you are going to share documents, presentations or other information for customers to download, make sure it's formatted for mobile devices. Not every mobile device can view Word or Powerpoint files, but they can all view PDF files. Convert your documents to PDF format and use the optimization tools in Acrobat, Preview or other PDF viewer to reduce the file size for online delivery. If you really want to make mobile users happy, reformat your documents so they are easily viewed on a small screen without having to zoom and scroll around the document.
No matter what you want to share as part of your QR code marketing, a little planning can ensure mobile users utilize, and appreciate, the information you provide. Contact us to learn more about QR code marketing and how to prepare your website for a QR Code campaign.
Design Tips: The One Sentence Website
July 20th, 2010 7:30 AM
If your website had one page with one sentence, what would it be?
The answer to that question clarifies your online purpose. It tells us what you see as the most important thing about your organization. And it persuades you to really think about what that is.
At Williams Web, our one sentence website would read, "We provide effective web solutions that are affordable, easily managed and quickly deployed." Each page of our website is designed to reinforce that sentence.
As websites grow over time, they become a resource to customers and a tool for lead generation. They provide more support materials, sign up forms and special offers. They start to drift away from the original focus and try to accomplish as many tasks as possible, providing solutions to every need that arises. This is the nature of websites, but this kind of "purpose sprawl" can sometimes make a once well defined site seem a bit schizophrenic.
Whether your website was launched today or three years ago, it's a worthwhile exercise to ask yourself the question, "what if I only had one sentence?" Write down your answer and keep it somewhere you can find it. Every so often, take a look at your website and make sure it is still serving your original purpose. If you start wondering exactly what your website is supposed to accomplish, give us call. Maybe it's time for a "one sentence" conversation.
Design Tips: Chattanooga Web Design - No Black Box Required
April 17th, 2010 8:30 AM
For more than a decade Williams Web has been committed to web design and online marketing processes that are as open as they are effective - allowing our clients access to our work in progress, and soliciting their input along the way. This open web design and online marketing approach provides our clients with three distinct benefits:
Unfortunately, this level of openness is not always the case with web designers - some keep things locked inside the "black box" believing that the customer should not see their progress or know how they do their work. While this may give the appearance of some mythical, unattainable expertise, the truth is it's just weird. Web design and online marketing are like any other project - they are just a series of steps, performed by people with the right skills to attain a desired objective.
Williams Web uses a web-based project management system to monitor all of our client projects. And we give our clients access to the system during the course of the engagement. Clients see every to-do list, milestone, message and comment about the project and are invited to participate in the discussion. When everyone is engaged and on the same page, information flows more freely, projects are completed more quickly and the end result is more effective.
When considering a partner for web design, online marketing and advertising, search engine optimization or content development, find out how open they are with their processes. Ask how involved you can or should be with the tasks. Make sure the company you select is willing to open up the "black box" and let you see your project as it progresses from beginning to end.