Archive for the ‘Tips and Tricks’ Category

Website Typography: Tips and Best Practices

4951916342_9678960550_zTypography, the art and technique of arranging type, is a key component of a website’s mood and message. When considering typography, there are several important style elements that will accentuate your brand identity and make your website “pop.”

It may seem obvious to point out, but readability is an absolute must. Your website will be viewed on a variety of screen sizes and devices. Confirm readability by reviewing your website on multiple web browsers and devices.

Once the base font and font size are determined, you can highlight the important points and emphasize messages by varying the font size. A subtle increase in font size can often do the trick. Establish the importance of varying messages by changing the font size accordingly.

Lastly, give each message the space it needs to be noticed. Using negative space allows the reader to pause and absorb content.

When laying out a website typography is always a top of mind component for our designers.  Here are two examples.

Monroe Gallery: Think Film Noir. The art itself derives its emotion through black and white contrast, and multiple shades of grey. The font choice is an extension of the dramatic style — the font becomes part of the artistic statement.

Wine Country Homes: A more traditional typography. The homes are the focus here; the font and layout are intentionally used to frame the gorgeous images with essential information.

Here are three award winning sites which succeed in creative use of topography.

Kartell: The knocked out white headline becomes part of the design.  That is to say, the typography adds to the image of metal figures and lights rather than competing with them.

Font You: A site about fonts delivers its straightforward message without additional graphics.

Plasticbionic: Simple black text on a white backdrop.  The inspirational messages guides the visitor to the images below.

Now take a look at your website.  Are the fonts and styles you have chosen optimizing your design and branding?

About Us

WebSight Design is a bay area web design firm created in 1995. We create and manage websites for large firms as well as businesses of smaller sizes. We also specialize in search engine optimization, social media management, hosting, app development, and more. Contact us today and see what we can do to create your own website.

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5 Internet Marketing Tips for Small Businesses

Internet marketing is constantly evolving and it can be challenging for small businesses to keep up. We’ve compiled 5 approachable marketing tactics that every small business can benefit from.

Internet Marketing

Define Your Online Business Objectives

Set goals, track progress, measure results, and adjust strategies accordingly. Smart business decisions can only be made when you are on top of your website’s performance. Every small business should use Google Analytics, which is a free and easy to use tool. With Google Analytics you can see fundamental web metrics including, but not limited to:

  • Conversions: As defined by you.
  • Acquisition: The platforms, websites, devices, and geographies your visitors are coming from.
  • Traffic: Number of unique and new visits.
  • Landing and exit pages
  • Onsite activity: Where visitors are clicking on any given page and time spent on site.

Optimize for Organic Search

It’s estimated that Google processes over one billion search queries a day. In order to succeed in such a web-centric and competitive marketing environment, it’s critical for your website to return results for organic search. While many factors influence SEO, your website is your most valuable Internet marketing tool in this regard.

If nothing else, make sure your site has a strong foundation with properly optimized page titles, meta descriptions, header tags, and site architecture. When it comes to SEO, the old adage is true, content is king: fresh and relevant content will help drive your SEO goals. Don’t have the time, or can’t make heads and tails of this all? WebSight Design can help your business optimize for organic search results.

Be Active in Social Media

There is no way around it, social media has become a new marketing paradigm. Simply stated, you are not in the game if you’re not participating in social media to some degree. Whether it be Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, choose the platforms that are appropriate for your audience. You do not need to be active on all platforms but give it your all to the ones you are on. Regular engagement is key to an effective social media strategy.

Don’t know what to post? As a general guideline thing of the 80/20 rule. 80% of your posts should be valuable, relevant, sharable content. The other 20% can be the hard sell to your products and services. Remember that blogging is a form of social media – blogging adds fresh content to your websites, adds to your credibility, and improves your SEO.

Know Your Competition  

One of the challenges and therefore, opportunities, about having an online business is that your competition is literally at the fingertips of your customers. The accessibility of the Internet also gives you open access to your competitors.

Know what makes your business unique? Do you compete on the services you offer, price, and/or customer service. What features do your competitors’ websites have that yours lacks? Sign up for your competitors’ newsletters, follow their promotional calendars, and new product offerings. Watch your competitors on social media to gain additional insight into the market. Use Google Alerts to monitor your own online presence and to help you stay current on industry news and trends.

Be Consistent

While Internet marketing has unique facets, your overarching branding should be consistent both on and offline. The voice, tone, messaging, and creative assets you establish for your brand are integral to a successful and effective brand identity and strategy.

If you have questions on any of the above, please contact us and we’ll be more than happy to help.

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Next Level Microsoft: Goodbye Office & Exchange 2003

bannerIt’s hard to believe that 2003 was over ten years ago. It’s even harder to believe that some people are still using software from over ten years ago. Microsoft 2003 users are in for a big change soon; and a BIG surprise if they haven’t been taking note of all of the chatter about Microsoft ending support for Windows XP, Office 2003 and Exchange Server 2003.

Earlier this month WSD gave our two cents regarding the end of Windows XP and we hope our readers took to heart the urgency of updating the software. As of April 8th, 2014, all support will cease for XP, Office 03, and Exchange 03, leaving those users who continue to use the software vulnerable to security threats, malicious attacks, and compliance issues.

Microsoft is doing their best to provide support and guidance for those making the shift. They’ve sent out plenty of friendly reminders and they now are offering a big promotion for Office 365, their latest software for Office platforms – Word, Excel, Powerpoint, etc. For businesses, if you sign up by the end of March you receive 30% off your invoice for the first three months. For personal use, you can try one month for free. Office 365 is entirely in a cloud – with Office 365 for the home, Office programs can be accessed from up to five PC’s and Macs and 5 mobile devices per household. For Office 365 for business, Office tools can be accessed unlimitedly.

Microsoft Exchange Server 2013 is offered to users three ways: online –  hosted by a service from Microsoft, offline – with the ability to run Exchange on your own servers, and as a part of Office 365. This versatility is wonderful for the range of those who use for Exchange, from home use to corporate accounts.

The versatility and availability of new software is the best gift Microsoft could give to those upgrading from 2003 software. Regardless of the time and energy needed to make the switch, it will dramatically increase your workflow and modernize your every day life.

About WebSight Design

WebSight Design is a bay area web design agency that offers a full range of services such as website design and development, mobile development, search engine optimization, PPC, website hosting, and more. Since 1995 we have built numerous websites for high-profile clients, our largest clients being real estate companies and realtors, as well as small business in the U.S. and around the world. Contact us now.


Google App Misfiled Messages

Gmail_PNG_icon_512x512_px_size_by_ncrowAre you a dedicated Gmail user? Did the important email from your coworker never show up in your inbox? It and many other unexpected emails may be incorrectly placed in Trash, Spam, or other misleading folders.

An issue in Gmail was caused when a bug was found in a Gmail software update on January 15th. The issue was fixed on January 21st, so the week in between dates is when the damage occurred.

Actions such as deleting, reporting spam, starring, archiving, or moving to a folder, were incorrectly applied to a different message than the user implied. The affected users were those accessing Gmail from the Gmail Application in iOS, a mobile browser, and Gmail Offline.

By January 21st the Gmail engineers identified affected users and notified them of the issue. They also provided a list of users whose messages may have been misfiled during the week.

Gmail is sincerely apologetic and has assured users they have performed an internal review and are in the process of implementing to help prevent recurrence.

WSD’s advice to you – check your Spam and Trash folders for the dates above. Do so quickly – spam and Trash folders automatically permanently delete after 30 days. Also, check your inbox for the dates as well to make sure no messages intended for Trash or Spam are still hanging in your omnipotent inbox.

About WebSight Design

WebSight Design is a bay area web design company providing business clients with a range of web site design and development services. We also offer a full range of dedicated and virtual secure website hosting services. We are always quick to respond and value customer relations. Prevention of hacking, spam, and malicious activity on our servers is one of our highest priorities.

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Popular Hacks in 2013 & How to Protect from Hackers

data-security-hacker-password-security-breach-mobile-patch-theftHacking has played as much a role in 2013 as ever before. WSD takes threats to our clients very seriously and we take great care to ensure the highest level of protection from hacking available.

The term hacker typically conjures up an image of a teenager at a cluttered desk, surrounded by cigarette butts and lit by the dim light of four or five computer monitors. We imagine these savvy saboteurs as malevolent punks with nothing better to do than break into our most trusted sites and sell information to the highest bidder.

While this stereotype might be an accurate label for some within the hacker subculture, it is far from all-inclusive. Hackers have many different motives for doing what they do. Some, like the infamous “anonymous hackers”, consider themselves “hacktivists,” believing they hack to benefit the greater good. Best known for their endorsement of occupy wall street, these anonymous hackers have violated everyone from Sony to the Westboro Baptist Church in an effort to protest internet censorship and third party control. In these cases, they release user information to the public for free in order to expose what they deem as criminal acts.

Many hackers are not so generous. These profit minded individuals search for exploits within popular networks and sell them to the highest bidder. However, sometimes the highest bidder may be the very company they just exploited. Facebook, for example, claims to offer around $500 to any hacker that finds a compromising security issue (though in the case of this Facebook hacker, they didn’t). With more and more companies offering such rewards, hacking has become equally more appealing. In such an age, WSD aims to be the best possible anti-hacking support in even the worst possible situations – a hacked website certainly falls in the latter category.

The hackers of 2013 have been proud to unveil their latest. Just this past year they have hacked popular sites like Apple, Twitter, Yahoo Japan, and even the United States Government’s organizations such as the U.S. Federal Reserve, the Department of Homeland Security and perhaps the most newsworthy, the NSA–Edward Snowden at the lead. How do they get into these high level organizations? They take advantage of vulnerabilities in low level applications like Messenger or even Microsoft Excel. Through these weak spots, they gain access to and release user information on all levels, from magazine subscribers’ credit card information to top level banking officials’ home addresses; a terrifying prospect indeed.

However, we are far from defenseless. Though hacks are becoming increasingly present in our popular culture and in our day-to-day reality, there are ways to protect one’s-self from attacks. Along with improving passwords and being careful when roaming the web, staying secure can involve extensive review. We at WSD provide website security audits as a service to ensure that our clients’ sites are as secure as possible. We monitor our hosted websites 24/7 so any potential security breach is caught immediately and dealt with efficiently. Most importantly, stay informed and be careful; though the hackers can be powerful, with a little effort and a trusted web development agency we can make their jobs much more difficult.

About WebSight Design

WebSight Design is a bay area web design agency that offers a full range of services such as website design and development, mobile development, search engine optimization, PPC, website hosting, and more. Since 1995 we have built numerous websites for high-profile clients, our largest clients being real estate companies and realtors, as well as small business in the U.S. and around the world. Contact us now.



The End of an Era: Microsoft Ends Support for Windows XP

windowsxpAlas, Microsoft has announced its cease of support for Windows XP and Office 2003. Windows XP was launched in 2001 as Microsoft’s first consumer-oriented operated system. A year after XP’s launch, Microsoft introduced it’s Support Lifecycle policy, which includes 10 years of support (5 years mainstream and 5 years extended) of their product.  With this policy in place, it is time that Microsoft retires support for Windows XP.

Windows XP has been one wild ride in the OS world. With all operating systems, there seems to be the typical list of issues. However, XP’s list was almost never ending with a large focus in compatibility and performance issues. XP had a rocky beginning with a rough competition (Windows 2000 and the still much used, Windows 98), so much that Microsoft had to work to convince users to update. Driver support and performance did not match the previous Windows 95, and gamers in particular, were not making the switch.

Regardless of its rocky start, Windows XP has lasted, becoming the first and only PC operating system that has lasted ten years. Over time, Microsoft made continual improvements, and at its peak, XP was used by more than 80% of desktop users. Nevertheless, all things must come to an end. XP has not kept up with modern developments, the technology is dated, and it is slowly killing developers.

With support ending on April 8, 2014, it is time for users of XP to move on and upgrade to Windows 7. The migration process can be a long and grueling one, so we suggest if you and/or your business runs on XP, to start 8 months ago.. (but really, start now!). Microsofts announcement claims, “…the average enterprise deployment can take 18 to 32 months from business case through full deployment. To ensure you remain on supported versions of Windows and Office, you should begin your planning and application testing immediately to ensure you deploy before end of support.”

What happens if you don’t make the switch? You run the risk of being exposed to security issues, as there will be no new security updates after April 8, 2014. Support will cease; if you do run into a problem, there will be no assistance. Also, new hardware will stop supporting XP and if forced to get new hardware, you will be forced to use the latest Windows OS and Office. It may seem daunting now, but if you wait…you will be sorry.

Here’s to Windows XP…you were around long enough!