Making your website work harder: how to use this time effectively

making the web work harder

Like most of you, I am having the strange experience of working sitting at a repurposed kitchen table. My team are scattered in various living rooms and hallways around London, and we’re making the best of working from home by Zooming and Slacking.

While it’s not quite the same sort of team working as we’re familiar with, everyone is gradually getting used to it.

As for our clients, it seems that colleagues spread far and wide like ours are doing their often impressive level best to keep workflow going. Days are spent online, leading many of us to wonder how to go about making the web work harder. Our personal and working worlds have shrunk, but how can we avoid our businesses doing the same?

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Harrier Partners: new corporate finance logo and web design

corporate finance logo and web design

As somebody who grew up with an accountant for a father, I’ve always been taught the value of money and the reassuring precision of sums that add up. You know where you stand, for good or ill. This exactitude has an echo in the satisfaction of geometry and symmetry.

Not every piece of brand design we work on has to follow rules or be symmetrical – life would be rather dreary if so. However, when working on a corporate finance logo and web design brief, there’s an argument for finding a rather specific balance.

It’s a perspective that has been realised for business consultants Harrier Partners and the branding work we’ve just completed for them.

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Adapting business strategies to challenging times

adapting business strategies

The last few days I’ve had an eerie sense of déja-vu and at first I couldn’t think why. Then, I had a look back and was reminded that exactly a year ago we were amidst the grim days of Theresa May’s home-made Brexit crisis. I remember writing about it at the time and my response to the frustrating, sometimes pointless cancellation of project work.

Perhaps overwhelming wall-to-wall coverage of what was an important matter was worthwhile, but equally it was an issue that was rather out of our hands as citizens. A year later we find ourselves in another media maelstrom, albeit one which is, quite literally in our hands (keep washing them, folks!). I’ve heard from clients this week and, unlike last year, many feel addressing the risks of the coronavirus situation is a business logistics issue rather than a business crisis one. When it comes to very serious situations, my opinion is that as a first recourse, calmer heads should prevail.

But ultimately, if circumstances change and a pivot is necessary, it’s as well be brave, act wisely and adapt your business strategies to the times.

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Why every design project ends up redefining your brand

redefining your brand

Just recently in the studio, we’ve been throwing around a new theory:  that every piece of creative we work on is actually ‘a brand project’.

Our theory is that every time we complete a piece of design it advances a brand in some way. That’s a punchy claim, but the more we started thinking about it, the more it just happens to be true.

Rare is the piece of design that we do that is without any sort of innovation. Equally unusual is collaborating with a brand that has guidelines so exhaustive that every eventuality has been considered. In fact these gradual ways of redefining your brand aren’t a problem but actually, we believe, positive incremental changes that should be embraced.

With a creative brand guardian overviewing the work, these could be seen as investments in the future of the brand.

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Why our latest private guesthouse website opts for a ‘softer sell’

private guesthouse website

We’ve recently completed a private guesthouse website with a bit of a difference. Usually the sales plan adopted by any kind of hotel or hospitality project involves a ‘hard push’, with a focus on the most optimised marketing to a specific audience.

However with the work we’ve done for a rural farm, incorporating newly refurbished accommodation and a wide range of photo shoot locations, the approach has been rather different.

For a start, the property is a private home, with ongoing use by a couple, albeit one that travels year-round. Then there’s the overall ethos of the place, which is charming, easygoing and friendly, amid a quiet local community. This called for a more casual, friendly design brief – with plenty of creativity.

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Pop the FAQ: why you should use ‘questions and answers’ on your website

Everyone’s got a question. Nobody understands everything. If you think your website explains every possible detail about your business and its services I’ll show you someone who reads it differently. Chances are that even if you have covered all the angles, someone vital will miss the part where you explained in detailed bullet-points that very thing they were wondering about.

Voice activated systems such as Siri or Alexa mean these exchange are invariably conducted in a questions and answers format. It’s a prevailing trend that is becoming embedded in the psyche of web users, however they search. So how to address these in a wider context? A good shortcut could be bringing back an old Frequently Asked Questions page – FAQ – in a fresh, customer-focussed way.

With this in mind, here are some thoughts on how best to reimagine this Web 1.0 feature for a new era.

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