Build your own website!27/06/2012
From time to time we see business owners who have decided to save a bit of cash by building their company website!
I’m sure that if you could save money by doing your own dental work if you first read a ‘how to’ on Wikipedia or Google and bought secondhand surgical tools on eBay. But you would you really be happy with the results?
Some things are best left to the experts and when I say experts, I’m talking about someone who has spent time at University and even more time in the design business. Someone who understands the importance of your brand, no matter how small the job.
If you want to save money in your business, then cancel the milk and stop buying those muffins and coffees! Your website is the window to your business, your never sleeping sales person.
Your website is often the first point of contact with clients or customers. It needs to represent the very best aspects of your brand, product or service.
So you want a website based on price not experience. You wouldn’t hire a top sales person without first looking at their CV and results with other businesses…. would you?
If you do decide to get a professional to create a great new website, It’s always a good idea to take time to look over a designers previous work and ask many questions about each project. At Fuel Studio, we offer a free 45min consultation to make sure that both parties are equally happy to have a long term working relationship. It’s vital for anyone thinking about engaging the services of a designer, to go a meet them at their place of work. Use your gut to determine if this the the right team for your business, because this is a team effort and you and the designer will need to be able to clearly communicate ideas and expectations.
Just like a great employee, your website is a long term commitment that needs to change and grow with your business, so you need to find a creative partner that understands your business almost as much as you do.
Ok, so we are going to say it’s not a good idea, because we want to build your website…. correct! But only because we have the knowledge and expertise to get the job done and done well. Why business owner who has the time to teach themselves about Branding, web design and PHP coding, has to much time on their hands, time that could be more profitably used doing what they do best…. and I’m guess that it’s not web design!ReadMore
3 tips to getting noticed on Google!16/01/2012
location, location, location!
If your business is like most, it will have a finite geographic target area from where the majority of you business is done. I know, we all like to think that the World is available to us, so why limit your vision to one location. Working on your websites content to target a few local areas can give you the SEO edge over the competition and push you up that golden Google ladder.
Location 1: A good place to start is in your own backyard. Make sure that you business is on Google maps (Link) You will need to have a Google account, so once you set one up, go into your account and spend some time filling out the online form. It’s very important to use the kind of keywords that prospective leads would use to find your business and services on a Google search.
This SEO tip works very well because when ever someone does a local search (i.e. Web Design Boronia) Google uses it’s map feature to list all the local services in that area. This can lift you above all the competition without spending one single Adword dollar.
You could also ask happy customers to leave feedback on the review page. This may push your listing higher within the location list.
Location 2: Geotags! Ok this is a new one on me, but we are currently testing it out and results are positive. It seems to work in the same way as Google maps, by giving search engines your global position. You will probably get better organic rankings for localized search requests. The theory being that a search for ‘web design’ by someone located in Boronia, will show the same kind of results as ‘web design boronia’. You can get your ‘GeoTags’ from this website by typing in your address.
Location 3: Putting a location within a webpage heading is an easy, yet very effective way to tell Google and potential customers that the information on a page is relevant to their local search. As an example: if I want to sell more ‘Widgets‘ to customers in ‘Boronia‘ then I would firstly add content to the page that refers to Widgets in Boronia and then name the page something like ‘Widgets for all your widget needs in Boronia’.
Now when someone in Boronia searches for local widget or Widgets Boronia, Google will put your Widgets page before your competitors page that talks about Widgets in Victoria.
Google is like a monster oil tanker that takes a very long time to change direction, so don’t expect instant results. You should take a snap shot of where you are on Google today. Test and measure times can be as long as 6 weeks to take effect.ReadMore
NEW Australian Mustang and Ford Magazine24/08/2010
Shhh! Just for Avalanche Blog readers, we have a sneak peek at the cover of a new magazine that Fuel Studio is developing in conjunction with Performance Media Works! The new Australian Mustang and Ford magazine full of eye candy for lovers of Mustangs and Fords. It will feature some awesome car modifications, write-ups, event calendars, how-tos, specialist directories, and lots and lots of images for all you enthusiasts.
Australian Mustang and Ford Magazine website in progress.ReadMore
Hollywood voted Orange!18/08/2010
Throughout August’s hazy summer nights, the Alamo Drafthouse and Levi’s® will be taking the Rolling Roadshow to the people under the unified banner of ‘We Are All Workers.’
Rooted by one of the nation’s founding principles, We Are All Workers hits the road with nine seminal screenings proving that everybody’s work is equally important. True to form, each screening will be in the location where the film was shot or set.
Inspired by the spirit of the American worker, the Alamo Drafthouse and Levi’s® have curated an eclectic line up that ranges from the the birth of the oil nation in Paul Thomas Anderson’s THERE WILL BE BLOOD to the futuristic corporate nightmare of Paul Verhoven’s ROBOCOP. Championship contenders are crowned and humbled as Sylvester Stallone embarks on an an epic ROCKY-THON on the Liberty Steps, while Marlon Brando is washed-up ON THE WATERFRONT of the New Jersey docks. Law breakers are saluted as DIRTY HARRY takes to San Francisco’s Washington Square Park, Quentin Tarantino with JACKIE BROWN (schedule permitting), and Chicago’s finest, THE BLUES BROTHERS tear their musical mission from God across the country. Closing out the Roadshow is the the defining immigrant worker story of THE GODFATHER: PART II which will screen from the rooftops and chimney stacks of New York’s Little Italy.
And this is a new poster for The American. George Clooney stars in the title role of this suspense thriller, filmed on location in Italy.ReadMore
World Vision – Our newest family member.19/07/2010
In response to ‘World Visions’ call for 10,000 sponsorships by 16th July, we decided to add another child to our Avalanche family.
The hardest part of the sponsorship process is choosing one child over another, we wish we could have helped them all. With thousands of children to pick from, we refined our search by picking a child who shared the same date of birth as Fuel Studio Solutions (22nd December). By luck only one child shared this date and her name is ‘Angie’.
Angie was born in 2002 and comes from Honduras, her favourite subject at school is Mathematics. We would love to post her photo up on our blog, but for privacy and security reasons ‘World Vision’ don’t allow it. So you’ll have to take my word for it when I tell you how pretty and bright she is.
We plan to keep updating this post with her progress as and when we get information from her village. Sponsoring a ‘World Vision’ child is easy and hugely rewarding for everyone involved.ReadMore
Growing a fertile partnership02/07/2010
Avalanche has been building a great relationship with Plants Australia, a non-profit nursery affiliation headquartered in Knoxfield, Victoria. Plants Australia came to the Avalanche team with a brief to develop their product catalogue, and for more than a year Avalanche has helped them produce an attractive and usable publication design. Avalanche and Plants Australia have developed a complimentary working relationship, combining effective design ideas with an informed perspective regarding product and industry knowledge. The Avalanche team has learnt a great deal about the nursery industry whilst being able to advise and educate Plants Australia on quality Studio.
A number of key principles were brought into play with the catalogue design. Consistency of design and brand prominence were achieved with a consistent look to banner headings as well as judicious placement of rich colour images of product items and clearly defined text denoting product names and prices. High quality images and logical layout of colour highlighted text represent a great improvement upon the design Plants Australia had been using originally.
Plants Australia publishes their sixteen page catalogue five times a year, and the reader notices immediately exactly what horticultural or gardening products are available. Prices are easily recognizable as are product names, aiding the consumer in becoming familiar with stock characteristics and product range; and a seasonal thematic title – such as “Spring”, “Winter, etc – on the front page in large stylized lettering alerts the customer to purchasing opportunities. Brand recognition is reinforced on each page with the brand name signposted at the base of each page, superimposed on a red banner; and on the front of the brochure a clear brand banner is positioned at the top of the page.
The new design aims to give the Plants Australia brand prominence in the market. For brand recognition to work effectively consistency in design is paramount. This has been achieved by applying good design principles, producing an attractive marketing tool in the Plants Australia brochure. Balancing the need to convey relevant information on products with a visually appealing and readable layout was made possible with the joint efforts and complimentary relationship that has been fostered between Avalanche and Plants Australia.ReadMore
So what’s in a name?09/06/2010
So what’s in a name: Getting a good descriptive domain name!
Registering or owning a business name does not entitle you to own the same URL.
A recent example in TheAge.com.au
After a Tennessee police department let its website expire, the site was snatched up by Brian McCrary who uses it to gripe about speed cameras. The site shows a smiling cartoon police badge clutching greenbacks. It also posts gripes from those who’ve been caught speeding.
So remember to keep your Domain registration up to date!
In the great 90′s Domain grab, a whole load of Domains were grabbed by web prospectors or Cyber Squatters as we once called them. This has made it much more of a challenge to find ‘Good’ available domain names, but it’s important to know that you spend less to market and brand descriptive URLs. Remember that you need to appeal to both Humans and Web Robots, so a good web address needs to be memorable, easy to spell, simple to say, hear and read, but most importantly your URL should be descriptive and relevant to your product or service.
Just like any post gold rush, there is always a gem laying around if you know where to look.
“I’m often amazed at some of the domain names that still haven’t been taken and equally frustrated by domains that have, but just sit there with a coming soon notice”.
The key is to do a bit of creative thinking and make a mind map of descriptive terms, and then just test the availability on a domain shopping site. If your a location based business, then narrowing down your search by using the location name i.e. (AvalancheBoronia) will inversely widen up your opportunities.
“Brand creation is a big part of what we do at Fuel Studio Solutions, we go through a long and painstaking process of name creation and then cross referencing with available domain names as well as Business and Trade mark searches. Sometimes we strike gold and sometimes we have to go back to the creative thinking stage”
Sites like www.godaddy.com offer ‘Domain Auctions’ but this can be initially expensive. Look at premium domains – you will pay more initially but thereafter the cost to renew is exactly the same.
Because We Care – Biodegradable Bags07/07/2009
Fact: In each year an estimated amount of 36,700 tons of plastic bags alone end up in Australian landfills, not including those that become part of the litter stream. It’s known that they may take as long as 1000 years to break down.
becausewecare™ has a simple, convenient and environmentally sound answer in the form of a range of plastic like materials – Bioplastics – made from organic plant materials. The basic component is corn starch and you can’t tell the difference between our Bioplastic products and those made from petrochemicals. Better still, in a compost environment they break down within 45 days – about the same time as a dry leaf.
Fuel Studio has worked closely with becausewecare to develop an identity and voice for the company. We’re committed to fostering a cleaner environment for future generations (Andy’s a grandfather after all!) and like they say: “Together we can make a difference”
Logo Design: Andy Warrington | Web Design: Andy WarringtonReadMore
Avalanche has partnered with illustrator Nick Diggory to create a charity website for young Connor Maclean. Connor has an amazing story. Diagnosed with V.A.T.E.R. syndrome and Crohns Disease since birth, he’s undergone over 40 operations in his 10-year life. Still, you’d never know it from that bright smile and positive attitude. This website is really a platform for him to share his story, thoughts and his inspirational zest for life.ReadMore