Project Planning: Websites for Small Businesses [video]

Earlier this month I spoke at a conference here in Buffalo, NY focused on helping new and budding small business owners develop their company.

I had a few main goals:

  • Teach about Domain Names (and to own them themselves)
  • Teach about the ways to produce a Website
  • Teach about finding a Professional
  • Teach about what to do after a Website is launched (SEO, PPC, Email, Social)

It’s hard to hold a workshop on creating a website. This talk was meant more to be an outline to set business owners free with knowledge of how to start and tackle that website project with confidence.

The video is about an hour long. Thanks to Neil at Nickel City Graphics for taping me so I could share this.

Here’s the slides: http://slid.es/timbouchard/winning-website

Luminus Media adds visual designer Josh Mullin to the team!

It’s a new year and we’ve got big news!

Luminus Media is proud to announce we have added another member Josh Mullin to our team!

Josh will prove to be an incredible resource coming to Luminus after building a growing web department at a large Buffalo area internet marketing company. His experience with customer communication, design concepting, branding, and building a website department are all strong suits perfect for our company.

Josh will primarily be working on client projects involving customer discovery sessions, branding, and website design.

Luminus Media adds Front End Designer to the Team!

Luminus Media is proud to announce we have added another member Tommy Creenan to our team!

Tommy is a Buffalo homer and a 2012 graduate of Canisius College in the Digital Media Arts field. He is well respected in the local designer/developer community and has loads of talent. We’re excited to have him contributing to our work as well as learning new techniques alongside us in the process.

Tommy will be primarily working on client projects involving front end web design and custom illustration.

Designing for the audience equals designing for success

All designers have been there at some point, you’re in the process of creating this beautiful piece of art that can likely hang on the wall of a museum. The design community is going to be drooling over this wishing they had come up with this magic. The only thing wrong? Your clients needs have been left in the dust.

We need to put our design egos aside and realize that our job is not only to create a pixel perfect design, but create it in a fashion that develops a successful interaction with your audience.

Here are some questions to consider asking yourself before jumping into any design whether it be for web or print.

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Mobile Ready Websites Increase Sales

“Mobile ready websites increase sales”

It’s a bold statement, but one that can be said with more confidence as each day passes in this new smartphone encouraged “instant access” world we live in.

THE MOBILE MARKET TAKES OVER

As of May 2013, 56% of the mobile market is using a Smartphone (iPhone, Droid, etc.) to browse the web on the go. Not far behind, is the new boom in the tablet market, now overtaking the desktop world.

It’s a new reality that as high as 25% of your web traffic is being viewed on a non-desktop device.

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The New Web: Content is King

The world of website standards is constantly changing. With the introduction of new devices literally every year, the browsers that accompany them, and the varying screen sizes, you can never really know how someone will try and access your site.

We’ve mentioned before (as the web world has been noting for the better part of 2 years) that responsive design has taken a front seat in the web production process. Along with that, search engines have been fine tuning their methods for discovering the best relevant pages for search results.

Both of these new standards have made one thing and one thing only the most important part of your website:

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Responsive Design: Raising the Bar

Responsive web design is the new standard. We expect websites to read well on  a variety of devices, from the 27 inch screen of our computer down to the 3 inch screen of our smart phone. In order to standardize how a user experiences the website, developers and designers must work together. When designing a responsive site developers must account for a variety of devices and therefore must tailor the design and layout of the site to each of these devices.

There are two general categories for responsive sites. The first contains basic responsive sites that rely on media queries, a form of screen size detection, and will shift parts of the site around as the screen width grows and shrinks. The second contains the fluid site, which behave exactly as they sound, widths and sizes change fluidly with the window size. Everything slides around and adjusts seamlessly. Fluid designs are a little bit trickier because the designer must define a breakpoint, a size at which an element will stop resizing and will shift its position in the flow of the layout. For instance, a two column layout will become a single column layout, as one column will shift below the other. The best design, though, is one that uses both of these aspects and takes advantage of both media queries and fluidity to render well on all devices.

The easiest way to implement media queries and fluidity is through a framework. There are many different frameworks. The most complete include: Twitter Bootstrap, ZURB Foundation, and Skeleton. There are also many lighter weight options, which only develop a responsive layout, as opposed to offering full styling of the websites design. The next time you browse a website, resize it to see how the elements react and interact.

Domain Assignment: Patience is a Virtue

OK, so you have a brand new website made by a super cool company called Luminus Media. What now? Well, if you are hosting with this super cool company, it’s now time to point to domain to our servers. There’s two ways this happens:

  1. Change Name Servers: This is like hiring a new general manager. It moves ALL domain control to the new server.
  2. Change A Record IP: This is like hiring a new department manager. It only points the part of the domain that you specify. Mainly used for pointing the domain to one location for the website and another for a large email hosting service.

Well we know the gameplan now, so what’s next. Either your domain manager or web company (with login access to your account) will execute one of the above tasks to point your domain to the website hosting server. They will tell you immediately that it has been done.

Here is the fun part that web providers as well as website owners hate, but it needs to be clarified (excuse the following capslock)….

****** DOMAIN NAME CHANGES MAY TAKE 5 MINUTES TO 48 HOURS ******

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Buffalo Rising: “Luminus Media: Young, Creative, and Investing in Downtown”

From Buffalo Rising:

Luminus Media LLC settled into their new location last week in the Pierce Building downtown in Main Street’s 600 block. The company is run by the young dynamic duo of Mike LaDuca, the creative director, and Tim Bouchard, the programming director. The pair works on all things design related and social media including, website design, graphic design, and email marketing. Basically, everything a company could want to effectively and creatively get their brand out to the public.

The company moved from their previous location in the Elmwood Village Creative (257 Elmwood Avenue) in the Horizon Building because they had outgrown the space. “We just needed more space,” said Mike LaDuca, the creative director, “Another big reason for our move was because we wanted a conference room. It worked well, [at the Horizon Building] but we outgrew the space quickly.”

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Luminus Media moving to Main St downtown March 1st 2012!

It’s been a few months in the works but we’re excited to announce that we’ll be moving our studio to the 600 Block downtown across from Shea’s Theater. We’ll be moving into a store front at 657 Main Street in the recently remodelled Pierce Building.

The move will allow us opportunites to provide a better meeting experience for our clients, re-boot our internship program, and expand our workforce in the future.

We’re excited to take these steps to improve our client relations and look to expand to better serve our clients.

Take a look below at some on the plans for the space to be implemented next month: