barely average . blog

A journal mostly about advertising, design and typography.

Kinda Done Here

No one posts here anymore. Go like the barely average design Facebook page. It’s a little less of a ghost town.

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What to Consider When Building a Website

It often happens that a client comes in looking for a redesign, and they don’t really know why they want it. One of the reasons is that it looks old and, that’s decent enough motivation. But, it can’t be the only thing driving the decision. It quite regularly is though.

With new sites, there’s often a service which needs to be marketed, and a website is required as part of the arsenal. Unfortunately, no thought has gone in to what the site needs to do for the business, beyond looking good.

I generally start to probe around, making suggestions on marketing goals, usability, calls-to-action, etc. and the penny does usually drop on the client’s end, but, that’s my doing and really should be the client’s.

Brian Cray wrote a wonderful article on his blog last month that I just stumbled across. The title is self-explanatory and it’s something I’ve been wanting to write about it. However, he’s done a fantastic job covering the subject, so I’ll just link to him instead.

Guidelines for Highly Effective Websites
Be strategic when you decide to launch (or redesign) a Website. Don’t just throw something together or you’ll end up with what you started—nothing. Always start with a purpose—the most compelling reason for your Website to exist. It must be compelling or you’ll die a silent and painful death on the Internet.

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Content Creation and SEO

The new barely average design website went live last week. So far, the reaction’s been really great. Clients and friends have gotten in touch, saying how much they like it, etc. But there’s a problem that the new site doesn’t solve — and it’s a big problem.

The Internet is increasingly dominated by the search engines of Google, Yahoo, MSN, etc. No one really gets anywhere new without first looking for it on one of these sites, so, if you’re hoping to be discovered by new prospects, search engine optimisation (SEO) is incredibly important.

Now, there are two ways to do it. One is to just write pages and pages of stuff, hope your sentences use the right word combinations and that people link to you, so your site gains in relevance. It’s the organic way, the honest way, the correct way.

The problem is that very few people actually do it this way, and if you want to place well for competive keywords, like ‘website design’ or ‘html email design,’ you’re kind of bound to overdo things just to compete with the existing over-achievers who dominate the all-important first page of the search results.

This is where SEO gets dodgy and starts to feel cheap. Instead of writing copy that expresses what you’re trying to communicate in a style that reflects you best, one has to think in terms of keywords and then construct sentences around them. One has to think of link titles that may not be useful or are repetitive, but point to a page that you need to rank well. One has to create additional pages that you really could do without. It really kills the flow of writing and it really makes the process horribly unenjoyable.

And that’s what I’m doing right now — unenjoyable work. Thinking of sentences and paragraphs that include the terms; website design, html email design, web development, corporate design, etc. and finding redundant ways to link all these pages together.

All so that Google and its brethren can come round and notice that we use these words and phrases a lot, and deduce that we must be important in these categories.

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Mozilla Add-ons Site Breaks in Chrome v2?

I wonder if I’m the only seeing this. I was using Google Chrome v2 earlier today to browse the Mozilla Add-ons site and noticed that it wasn’t rendering correctly.

I checked the same site in Firefox v3 (and IE 7) and it seemed to looked okay, which got me wondering about why Chrome’s not displaying it correctly.

See for yourself:

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Skype’s brand PDFs. Very well …

Skype’s brand PDFs. Very well put together.

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