We were excited to see so many Waking Girl websites represented in the 2015 Best of Northern Nevada contest! Congratulations!! YOU make your business great; thank you for letting us tag along for the ride!
Best place to buy a firearm
Willey Brothers Firearms
Best tanning salon
Best pet boarding
Best doggy daycare
Best selection of local art
Best art gallery
Best independent art gallery
Liberty Fine Art Gallery
Best place to have sex in public
Johnny's Ristorante Italiano
Best toy store
Happy Happy Joy Joy
There's nothing more frustrating than putting together the perfect blog post, and then excitedly sharing it to Facebook only to find that a funky image appears. Maybe it's a distorted version of your logo, or a random image from your footer--whatever it is--it's NOT an image that will beckon folks to read your blog.
So what do we do?
Facebook does its best to pull a relevant image. It looks for the first image that is over 541 pixels wide.
Huh? Pixel-what? Is that like an inch or a mile? Or a magic fairy?
541 pixels is just over 7.5 inches. Don't have a ruler handy? It's about the length of an iPhone 6 (the regular, not the mega).
You said over 541. Does that mean I can just use images that are 3000 pixels wide and hope for the best?
No. Facebook has mass amounts of data to store, so it's going to go for the realistically sized image and will ignore anything that is so big it should be a background image.
Do I have to figure this out every time I want to blog?
No. Figure it out once and use this image every time you blog.
Will people get bored?
Yes. But few business owners have blog-itis, so if you're only blogging once a quarter (or worse--once a year), the consistent visual messaging will be welcomed by your fans.
Can't I just make my logo show up there?
Yes. Plug your logo into a graphic that is 541x541, save, and upload into your blog post.
But I don't want to deal with this every time.
Ok... depending on your website platform, you may be able to upload your logo at the 541 size. Test this out by posting to your mom's timeline before telling your fans.
Anything else I should know?
Facebook has a good memory. It stores stuff. You may need to re-create your blog post if you make a mistake.
And Facebook is fickle. If things don't look right, do a Google search to see if the Facebook Share Image dimensions have changed! Google: Facebook Dimensions.
There I was minding my own Facebook business when suddenly an avalanche of opinions started pouring through my feed. Logo this, logo that, city this, city that--honey, grab the pitchfork, we've got a logo to fight off!
In my decade+ of graphic design experience I had never seen design criticism in such magnitude. A whole city with an opinion! If only Logos were on the ballot in November, the polls would be filled!
I have been watching the Biggest Little City campaign for the last few years with glee, admiration and respect. I had the privilege of attending a luncheon that explained all the details, the passion, the reasoning. It was the ultimate Logo Presentation, and the citizens of Reno who never had a chance to attend--certainly missed out.
So let's go through some of these SUPER GREAT questions/comments that have been surfacing in Reno's great design school, Facebook University, where people go to hone their art and graphic design skills so they can fit in with the Teslas, the Apples and all the other innovative Joneses that are so far ahead I am wondering if Texas wants a second shot at the bid.
It looks like a cattle brand. We don't need no stinkin' cattle brand. We ain't no cow town!
Well when you put it like that! See the image above. All great logos can be turned into cattle brands. The term branding came from cattle branding--it is how a rancher could distinguish his cattle from the neighbor's cattle. Just like when you go to a store and you want to grab your favorite brand, you look for the tag, the label, that signature button. It's usually not super obvious, just tucked inside the collar; but God, you get a sense of pride when you have your favorite brand rubbing up against your body all day. The Reno BRAND is subtle and simple--the way a good brand should be. It works on a subconscious level, tucked into a corner, supporting and identifying whatever wall, sign, shirt, store or project it is attached to. Your psyche spots it as you walk by, and you smile. You're not sure why, but there is something inviting about that building, that event, that business. You want to go in, something is beckoning you! That is why it looks like a cattle brand!
It's too simple.
Again, look above. The beauty of a simple logo is that it can evolve and function with more complex concepts. Have a white wall? Use the black version of the logo. Have a black wall, use the white version. Want to call it Christmas in Reno--try it in Red and Green*. I'm sure you can recall a few variations of the Nike and Coca-Cola logos. Successful marketing operations rarely go back to the drawing board completely; they just make variations on the theme. Why? We don't want you to have to rebuild a psychological impression every time the seasons, the dimensions of a billboard or the Facebook timeline cover requirements change. By utilizing a simple logo, other concepts can be built around it. Yes, it is simple. Awesome!
It looks like my 7 year old made it.
Your 7 year old should probably go into graphic design immediately.
It's so old I think I've seen this before--when I was a baby.
Hey--no one asked you your age, but since you volunteered--yes, great designers pull from historic elements of a business (or city) to give a timeless appeal to a logo. The logo is a throwback to the original Reno Arch. No one is looking to rewrite Reno's history; the creators understand that Reno's history is part of its greatness. But they also get that Reno's future can be even greater.
Stop? It's a stop sign!!?! OMG!!!!!! PANIC.
An octagon is a respectable shape, and I don't think STOP has it trademarked. It's up for grabs, people! What does an octagon mean to you? Why do you associate that with a STOP sign? And why is that a bad thing in your mind? I just LOVE the psychology behind a good logo! A great logo WILL make you STOP and think, question, evolve. It might even make you want to STOP and stay in Reno for the night, the week--hell, maybe forever. But if you just can't handle the idea of more people stopping in Reno, consider a higher meaning of the octagon which deals with: Regeneration; Totality; Infinity; Rebirth; Transition. Huh. That sounds oddly appropriate.
Why do we need this. The old one is perfectly fine.
I didn't even realize we had an old logo until this discussion came up. Then I saw the old logo and was reminded, "OMG that thing?! WE HAVE A LOGO AND IT IS SO 1997." I'm not going to bash it (much) because the previous logo was designed by committee and through intense government regulations. It fits all the requirements of the Facebook community, and well--that kind of explains it, doesn't it? To stay relevant to my clients I have to update their websites every month. And then we have to do whole website overhauls every year--just to keep up with technology. As businesses grow and they realize that their original image is no longer relevant--we have to also change their logo and branding. Reno is in an exciting place of transition and innovative growth. It's time for all of Reno to not only consider a new logo, but also a new wardrobe, a new career, a new place to dine, a new habit, a new route to work. If you're still comfortable with the old logo, it may be time for some deep spiritual introspection--what else have you been putting up with for the last 15 years? An abusive relationship, a horrible boss, an extra 40 pounds? Rebrand yourself. Tell the people that are bringing you down to STOP; you're getting a new logo, a new look. Hopefully the Facebook Community will be on board with the new you; I know I will!
*provided that is allowed under the confines of the branding guide.
Vote Asian Noodles for Best Vietnamese
Vote Lakeridge Cleaners for best dry cleaners
Julie's Sign Shoppe For Best Local Non-Casino Business
VOTE CLARK REAL ESTATE FOR BEST LOCAL PLACE TO WORK
Vote Patty's Tours Best Day Trip
La Cucina For Best Business Lunch
Johnny's Ristorante Italiano For Best Italian
Vote Tel-Com for Best Kept Secret
Vote The Gandolfo Team for Best Real Estate Agent
Vote Willey Brothers Firearms Best Place to Buy Firearms
Sierra Skin Institute For Best Doctor
Vote Silver Bullet Gun Works for best place for a first date!
CHRISTINE INK FOR BEST CREATIVE WRITER
Deltchev Gymnastics For Best Gym
Creative World For Best Place to Take the Kids
VOTE SHELBY'S BOOK SHOPPE FOR BEST BOOKSTORE!
Vote Protect Your Hunt for Best Weekend Activity!
A Poetic Body For Best Visual Artist
Vote Uncle Vinny's PIzza Best Pizza Parlor
Vote Tropical Carpet & Tile Cleaning for best house cleaning service!
PACIFIC ENERGY ALTERNATIVES FOR MOST ENVIRONMENTALLY CONSCIOUS COMPANY
RENO SMOKE SHOP FOR BEST HEAD SHOP
Vote Happy Happy Joy Joy Best Toy Store
Vote Antique Angel Wedding Chapel for Best Wedding Reception Site
Vote Zeff Pediatric Dentistry Best Dentist
Vote Nails by Ava for Best Nail Technician
dfaltmann for Best New Business
Vote On Command for Best Pet Boarding, Best Doggy Daycare, and Best Pet Groomer
Lahontan Audubon Society For Best Place to Introduce Kids to Nature
Bye Bye Body Pain For Best Pilates Instructor
Fire Horse For Best Muralist
NV AUTO BODY SPARKS FOR BEST PLACE TO GET A CAR REPAIRED
Vote Tahoe Public Art for best special event at Lake Tahoe!
Email forwarding is a tool we use for:
We often set up emails for special purposes like ORDERS. Here's an example:
orders@waking girl.com forwards to >>
the owner@personal email.com
Then, we learn that the accountant also wants to be notified of any orders, so we add:
orders@waking girl.com forwards to >>
the owner@personal email.com AND
And then we want to run some tests, so we add the web designer:
orders@waking girl.com forwards to >>
the owner@personal email.com AND
accountant@personal email.com AND
web designer@personal email.com
We can continue with this list as needed. When tests are completed, we can remove the web designer from the forwarding chain. Or, if a new accountant is hired, the accountant's email address can be replaced.
Email forwarding is an excellent way to work with an organization that has turnover (non-profits, charities, events, etc.). We can easily change out the email forwarder without affecting all of the systems that have been built into the website over time.
What are the problems with email forwarding?
Have further questions or want help with email forwarding?
Are you feeling neglected by your web designer? Feeling like you have to send 5 emails before you get a response? Panic setting in? Please take a look at these helpful tips that will give more insight to the world behind the computer screen and how to snap your fingers and get your web designer's attention--every time.
1) If your web designer is awesome, he/she receives at least 50-200 emails a day. These aren't annoying subscription emails; these are emails that need to be read, handled and responded to. Put concise instructions and a deadline in your subject line. Example: Add new events to Parade.com before July 4
2) Do not use the subject line "website."
3) Avoid small talk in the opening lines. Pretend your web designer will only read the first sentence. Make it count.
4) Praise your web designer with every new request! Tell your web designer that their hard work IS working.
We got 5 new clients today from our website! We want to add 3 fields to our contact form to process new clients faster. So excited this is working so well!!"
See how it sounds when you don't praise?
Why isn't the phone number field in our contact form? That should have been in there from the beginning. Now we have 5 clients with no phone number. We better add Birth date and Country fields, too.
5) Keep emails to ONE or TWO requests. Web designers want to feel productive. If they can handle a task in 5-10 minutes, they'll jump on it. Long lists of requests should be reserved for new projects or scheduled updates.
6) Put content directly into the email instead of attaching documents. If your web designer has to download and open a program just to read your update it will fall to the bottom of the to-do list.
7) If the budget and pricing has not been pre-arranged, include what you're willing to pay for the work. This will give the web designer an immediate incentive and save on the back and forth of negotiations. Example: I can pay $75 for this update.
8) Web designers love your audience and want to please. Use real deadlines like: Website will be shown at Conference on June 17; need updates completed by June 16.
9) Always offer to pay in advance. Web designers will often under-quote a project not realizing the work involved. To feed the family they may let your project drop to the bottom of the list and turn to the pre-paid clients. Clients who pre-pay allow the web designer to focus JUST on them!
10) Don't be picky until it counts. Web designers work with MANY customers; they focus on the emergency projects first. If your website hasn't launched yet because you can't decide between Lato and Roboto fonts, you are not a top priority. The top priority is the guy who is processing $15k+ on his website every month and the credit card processing company just went down, or the gal who is hosting a big event tomorrow and is doing a last-minute Facebook campaign to drive ticket sales. When your website is highly trafficked and bringing in sales, you can be picky!
11) Give 5 star reviews! If your experience is less than 5 stars, tell them gently and give them an opportunity to improve!
12) Always preface with: I'm not sure if I'm asking this the right way but... Web designers get bombarded with questions that do not make technical sense. It is really hard to answer an incorrect question if the client isn't willing to be educated. When a client confesses their lack of computer knowledge, it opens the door for education and will get you lots of free services. Web designers like being experts! And they like to help!! Know-it-alls put web designers in a corner, and their simple requests turn into challenging accusations.
13) Edit the text for us! Instead of describing the proof reading edits, just go ahead and make them.
How to do it:
Go to the page that you want to edit.
Copy the text.
Paste the text into an email.
Edit the text.
Change subject line to: Please replace text on ABOUT YOU page with text below.
The steps above will make this a 5 minute job instead of a 50 minute brain-numbing English 101 exercise.
14) Ask how your web designer prefers to receive large or mass amounts of files. Waking Girl despises Dropbox, and instead offers an easy upload widget on their website.
15) Give your web designer creative license! A web designer is an artist; they will pour energy and time into your project if it is their artistic work and something they can proudly show in their portfolio!
You've probably got some questions about how to get into your website, who controls your website, and who owns your website. Please review the information below to clarify the jargon and get answers!
Domain, Website, Hosting
There are three pieces to your website: the domain, the website and the hosting. I relate these to a house. The website is the house, the hosting is the property that the house sits on, and the domain is your postal address.
These components work together to bring you your website. Each of these components can be taken apart, moved and matched up with other components to bring you a new website, a new domain, or a new host.
Do I own my domain name? Yes.
Where is my domain name? In Waking Girl's GoDaddy account.
Can I access my domain name? Generally no. For the protection of our clients we cannot give free-for-all access to our account. We may be able to assign access to specific services for unique cases.
Can I move my domain name? Yes. Just set up your own GoDaddy account and email the Username and Email address, and we'll initiate an Account Change.
What will happen if I move my domain name? Services may be disrupted. We charge $100/hour to reinstate any services as a result of a requested domain Account Change.
Do I have to pay for my domain name? Yes. We either include the cost of your domain with your hosting or maintenance plan or charge $15/year for just a domain.
Why is it set up this way?
We started holding onto domain names because:
What would it cost for me to manage my own domain name?
You will need to pay renewal fees to GoDaddy which vary from $10-$15/year. If your domain expires there is a short grace period in which you may retrieve the domain name for an additional $80. Beyond the grace period your domain may be selected to go to auction, at which time the domain could run from $400 to $4000, and up.
WEBSITE: that pretty thing with your logo, text, pictures and buttons!
Do I own my website? Yes.
Where is my website? In one of Waking Girl's Weebly accounts.
Can I access my website? Yes. Use your Weebly log-in credentials to access the website and make edits or see stats. Don't have these? Please contact us and ask for your Weebly log-in info.
Can I move my website? Yes. We can send you a compressed folder of your website files, or we can move your website to a new Weebly account. Just send us an email address that has never been associated with a Weebly account and a request to move your website.
What will happen if I move my website? Services may be disrupted. Many features will only work on the Weebly platform. Ecommerce features and products will not transfer to a new Weebly account.
Do I have to pay for my website? Yes, you have to pay for the initial build of your website. After that--it belongs to you!
Why is it set up this way?
Weebly allows us to build websites quickly and reliably. Weebly allows us to build and still give access to clients to make changes.
What would it cost for me to manage my own website?
It's free! You may also hire another web designer or an intern or your favorite office manager to handle your website updates for you.
HOSTING: the online storage place where your website files live.
Do I own my hosting? No.
Where is my hosting? In Weebly's secure servers.
Can I access my hosting? Yes. Use your Weebly log-in credentials to access the hosting and make edits or see stats. Don't have these? Please email and ask for your Weebly log-in info.
Can I move my hosting? No, but you may move your website to a new Weebly account. Just send us an email address that has never been associated with a Weebly account and a request to move your website.
Can I move my hosting to a traditional server? Not easily. You may attempt to upload your exported website files to a traditional server, but it will require advanced coding to make the website fully functional, and we cannot guarantee all functions will work.
What will happen if I move to a new host? Services may be disrupted. Many features will only work on the Weebly platform. Ecommerce features and products will not transfer to a new Weebly account.
Do I have to pay for my hosting? Yes, Waking Girl charges $14/month for hosting. This fee is included if you're on a Maintenance Plan.
Why is it set up this way?
We work on the Weebly host because it is integrated with a building platform that allows us to build quickly and reliably. Going back to our home metaphor, Weebly is like the mother of all gated communities, with a pool and club house and 24/7 security services.
What would it cost for me to manage my own website?
Weebly's Pro Service runs $9.83/month, which is payable 6 months in advance. Additional fees may apply for eCommerce and Membership services.
I'm nervous about the whereabouts of my website, but want to keep working with Waking Girl.
For some business owners full control makes the most sense. Full control generally costs you more money, but a restful sleep is well worth it! To move everything into your full control please do the following:
Please understand that additional fees will apply for further maintenance to your website. It does take extra time to access websites and domains outside of the Waking Girl accounts.
I'm tired of Waking Girl and want to work with someone else.
Hey! Thanks for being honest! :) We have a limited number of Weebly accounts and only want very happy clients using our accounts. Please send the information above so we can get you out!
We look forward to assisting you! Let us know how we can help!
Are you feeling like you’re twiddling your thumbs all day waiting for new clients to appear in your email inbox? Ugh! That’s the WORST feeling! Refresh, refresh, refresh and all that’s there is an email from your mom, your kid’s school and pills that promise magic!
Time to step away from the computer and see if you’ve got a viable business! But before you step away, please add this event to your calendar (and keep on reading!):
May 20 from 5pm-7pm: The Breakthrough Network Mixer. This month they're at the Freight House. Don’t get distracted with the whims of Facebook, but please RSVP here,
look for the latest event here.
How to get that loving feeling back for your business at this event:
The Breakthrough Network Mixer is one of Reno’s BEST networking events. Tons of friendly faces, a great kicked-back vibe, and plenty of opportunities to practice your pitch. You can go to this event and feel even worse about your business, or you can use the tips below to make a splash and feel refreshed!
Step 1: Bring a friend or colleague. If you have multiple people in your business, bring them ALL. (For multi-people businesses, EVERYONE should do all of the steps below.)
Step 2: Get crazy on their Facebook event page. Chime in with, "I CAN'T WAIT," and "Will there be clowns?" and any fun thing to show enthusiasm for the event, and give people a reason to say HI to you ("Ohhhh, I saw your funny comment on Facebook!").
Step 3: Show up as a GROUP. In matching shirts (or capes), if possible. Carpool!
Step 4: Set an in-house goal to be achieved at the event. This is just an excuse to introduce yourselves to people. Goal example: shake hands with the most cat-owners. "Hi, my name is Ian. Do you have a cat? .... Sorry, I work for Waking Girl Web Design and we're having a contest to see how many of our designers can talk to the most cat owners. So no cats? ... A nice dog? That might count. So what do you do? Tell me about you!" This question can be adjusted to be STRATEGIC, but not too obvious.
People attend these mixers in the following categories:
Step 5: Be there to HAVE FUN and SUPPORT others!
Step 6: DO NOT BRING ANY BUSINESS CARDS (you can bring a few to put into a raffle, or hide some in your car for security). If someone asks for a card, say "Oh man, they're in my other pants which I left at the pool; [PULL OUT PHONE] oh but text me your name and business, so I've got you! OR, do you have Facebook on your phone? Comment on our page!! Ok, and I'll take YOUR card." Then offer to comment on THEIR Facebook page. Be generous! Facebook LIKES and COMMENTS are FREE for you but extremely valuable for everyone at that mixer.
Step 7: COLLECT BUSINESS CARDS. If someone has a cat or an excuse for a cat, take their card. When you get back to the office the following day, see who collected the most cards. THROW A PARTY. With paperclips and coffee. Sit down on Facebook and go track down all the Biz Cards on Facebook. Give them a howdy shout-out and try to make it specific, so they know they actually talked to you and you're not just passing this off to an assistant (TAKE NOTES ON BACK OF CARD). Don’t mention what you do; mention the conversation and what THEY do. This is not a sales gimmick; this is friend-building!
WHAT'S THE POINT OF THIS?
You send a magical ripple through the business owners of the Reno area that's electric, alive and screams, "We're right here, as we've always been, ready to do business with you, you, you, and you, and your cat."
Business owners who work with or live with your ideal customer are going to feel your electricity and refer you, or tell stories about you, or become part of your friend-building network!
You’re going to get practice talking about your business and finding your HOOK. What is the thing that GRABS people?! Maybe you thought your services were awesome, but it turns out people are really in love with your testimonials. Maybe you’ve been stuck on pricing, but people just want an easy way to refer mutual clients! Go to the masses and find out!
These events happen every month-ish. If May 20 is a no-go, find out the dates for the next few and put them on the calendar. Best results if you show up AS A GROUP (and then spread out once you get there. No buddies!).
LET ME KNOW IF YOU'RE UP FOR THE CHALLENGE!
Need some help with your strategic pick-up line!? Comment below or ask us on Facebook!
The focus at Waking Girl Web Design is to 1) Wake up your website and 2) Wake up your business. Usually we have to also 3) Wake up your customers. There's nothing like a good old-fashioned menu bar to lull an Internet Junkie to sleep: Home, Services, About Us, Cont--zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. We utilize a navigation structure that is jarring, intriguing and sometimes alarming. Why? Because it wakes people up.
This is wild, tell me more!
Now, nobody will wake up if they don't get to your website, so we also have to 4) Consider the Google gods. Google occasionally relies on a good old-fashioned menu bar, but Google also looks for key words in your links. No one is doing a Google Search for "home services about us contact." No one (ok, except us--the search brought up a broad bit of nothing). What ARE people searching for?
YOUR COMPANY NAME instead of Home
ACTION WORD instead of Services
INTRIGUING WORD instead of About
or YOUR CALL TO ACTION instead of all of the above
and Contact is just fine :) [or Connect, Reach Out, Engage, Talk]
When we first started building websites (in the 1990s) the human brain could handle 4 to 6 choices at a time. We fought hard to keep our websites' navigations in that 6 or fewer framework. Now, our brains have gotten OVERWHELMED with the constant incoming media, and are pleased with 1, 2 or 3 choices.
I talk to clients daily who want to complicate their websites, while the big tech companies are getting sleeker. I was shocked and validated the first time I used Square Cash and had 0 options. All I could do was follow their little maze of forms and buttons. There were no choices. There was only moving forward in their chosen path. And I trusted the process and sent money through their brilliant email-only system seconds later.
The future is now. Customers trust the web more today than ever before. They don't need to read 17 pages to determine if they're going to buy your product or schedule an appointment. They need to see a handful of reviews, and then you have to open the door and make it easy: one intuitive non-choice at a time.
But people have asked for my About page!
Great! Ok, we can still have tons of content, and that can include your pithy bio. Let's create a hidden blog page that runs in the background of your site, spitting out content when it's called on through a Google Search or from the depths of the Inner Virgo of your website.
Hrmm, that seems anti-climactic when you give me what I want. Why does this feel odd?
Because what you really want is not an About Me page. You want an ABOUT YOU page. That's right! The business owner should be asking about the NEW CLIENT, not spouting out hobbies, facts, and degrees.
Wanna know the number one thing that makes someone decide to BUY from you?
Not your service description, not your logo, not your pricing*, and certainly not your About page. It's your ability to listen and validate the needs of your customer base that will make them call you, email you, text you, Facebook you, want you, need you, review you.
So you may have an industry where an About Us page is somehow validating to the customer, but I'm seeing higher conversions on pages that engage the customer and demonstrate that the customer is in the right place, and that you can help them.
But don't they need to know my certifications and history to know that?
No. Your certifications and history just tell us that you went to school and that you may have dabbled in something important once. We don't want your history, we want your NOW. Business trends change every 3 months; we don't care what you did 3 years ago. Are you #validating NOW?
How to demonstrate validation on your website:
Is your customer in pain? Imagine how much more pain they'll be in after reading mountains of information. Make it easy; they're in pain!
Is your customer in panic? Give them the call to action RIGHT THERE and EVERYWHERE.
Is your customer a busy parent? Make it easy to come back to your information later with an email reminder or Facebook notice.
Is your customer a business owner? Give them the prices and a phone number that is answered EVERY time.
Do you want to be notified of new ways to wake up your website, wake up your business? Get on our Like List!
Want a FREE Site Navigation Review? Leave your website URL in the comments below!