Thursday, July 20, 2017

By the Book: Darcy’s 5 Recipes for Making Your Messages Irresistible

A Culinary History of Iowa“Wow, you’re legit now.” It’s a curious comment I’ve heard more than once since I’ve published several non-fiction books of Iowa history focused on farming, small-town life and food. In a lot of people’s minds, a book makes a writer authentic, I guess.

One thing I know for sure: The techniques I applied to write my books (“Culinary History of Iowa: Sweet Corn, Pork Tenderloins, Maid-Rites and More,”) include five basics I use when writing newsletters and magazines for all my VistaComm clients’ projects. These recipes for writing success are:

  1. Focus on the audience first. Any message that revolves around you, rather than your audience, will fall flat. Learn to speak your audience’s language and show how you can meet their needs, whether that’s educating them, entertaining them or solving a problem they face.
  2. Ask the right questions. Writing that works starts with asking targeted questions. Posing the right questions during interviews and background research helps uncover the most compelling information that will resonate with your audience.
  3. Apply effective storytelling techniques. No one likes to be sold, but everyone likes a good story. Storytelling is an art and a skill that takes time to develop. VistaComm’s experienced team knows how to bring your best stories to life.
  4. Add compelling photography. Don’t underestimate the power of intriguing images. Photos and other graphics offer a powerful way to attract your audience’s attention.
  5. Mix in a little marketing flair. Whether it’s a newsletter, online content, magazine articles, advertisements or other communication tools, storytelling combined with an effective marketing message can help you build stronger relationships with clients and prospects and ultimately drives sales.

VistaComm journalist Darcy MaulsbyTake it from a book author—let VistaComm help you put these 5 proven “recipes” to work for you, and you’ll be well on your way to creating authentic, irresistible marketing messages. Now that’s legit.


Editors’s note: Maulsby 15-year VistaComm veteran and has served ag clients across the country. Her books, including a Culinary History of Iowa, Calhoun County, and Dallas County, are available on Amazon.com.

See Full Article Here: By the Book: Darcy’s 5 Recipes for Making Your Messages Irresistible


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Friday, July 14, 2017

What is the Real Lifecycle of a Website?

Does your website have a “final” version?

It shouldn’t.

A website is like a garden: there’s always something to work on. The real lifecycle of a website requires periodic and dedicated pruning, weeding, and cultivating to make it work best. Simple practices like linking relevant articles, updating online catalogs and updating content can help not only your SEO ranking, but show users that you have a dedication to your business and your customers.

Changes shouldn’t be made at random, however. Instead, take the time and follow the simple lifecycle for a website to ensure success.

  1. Analysis – Visit your site like you’re a first-time viewer. What are you there for? Can you easily find the information you need? Does your site load quickly? How does it look? With these questions in mind, decide what updates and improvements you need to make. Create a map of what the website will look like, a list of what needs to be done and steps showing how to get it done.
  2. Content Design and Creation – Prepare your updates. News articles need writing, pictures need taking and pages need designing. If needed, there are professional content developers like VistaComm who can write relevant, industry-specific content for your site.
  3. Implementation – Post your content online, making sure all the pieces fit and support each other. Get your developer or content management system to test all your links, pages and options. Make sure your site loads quickly and your changes look great on all devices. Ensure that there are no issues for visitors to your site.
  4. Optimization –Where do you appear on search results? Search Engine Optimization (SEO) ranking is an ongoing process, with regular changes to requirements and strategies needed to stay relevant. Is any of your content out of date? Do you have new services or products to offer? Websites should be frequently updated to keep them interesting and fresh.

The lifecycle above is just a rough framework and you’ll find yourself jumping around from step to step throughout the process until your site is ready to launch.

But the launch of a website is not the end—it’s just the end of the beginning. Once your website is up and running, the process starts all over again. Where are people going, where are they not going? What needs to be massaged along, what is doing great on its own? All these questions and more should be asked as often as possible to keep your website healthy and growing.

Contact us today

Originally Published Here: What is the Real Lifecycle of a Website?


What is the Real Lifecycle of a Website? posted first on http://vistacomm.blogspot.com/

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Things to Think About When Planning a Website

Are you planning for a new or updated website? Building a new website doesn’t have to be an impossible task. A multitude of website-building tools have made launching and updating a website easier than ever before. But, keep in mind there’s more to a website than putting a few pictures and words up on the Internet. Here’s five things to consider before investing in your digital future.

1. Who should you partner with?

We’re all familiar with the adage ‘you get what you pay for.’ While, you may save some money by hiring a freelancer or even building your site yourself, thinking of your long-term needs up front could save you money down the road. Consider all the steps involved in producing a website: from planning to content to design to development to launch to post-launch support. Do you have the talents and time within your existing staff? Will a freelancer meet your deadlines? Would you benefit from working with a full-service web design firm that can guide you through this process and support you after launch?

2. Know what you want from your users.

It’s vital to have a firm grasp of what you wish to gain from your new website. When planning a website around your users there are key questions you have to ask. Who is your audience? Why are they visiting your site? Why do they come to you? Your site should catalyze your customers to buy a product, ask a question or learn more about your business. Focus your attention on the needs of your customers.

3. Content comes first.

To match your site with an interested audience, search engines index your website content. How much thought have you given to content? How many pages do you need to have? What do your customers need to know about your business? This is about showcasing your brand personality through videos, pictures and well written words. If you don’t have the resources or expertise on staff, it might be worth having your content written professionally.

4. What platform provides the versatility you need?

There is a wide range of content management system (CMS) and hosting options available. Some are free, others require more time, knowledge and investment. For example, a proprietary CMS can only be used and supported by those who built it. These could be barriers if you later choose to move away from the platform or provider. At the same time, it may offer already-built tools that fit well with your needs. Alternatively, open source platforms like WordPress tend to have a large community with many contributors keeping them up-to-date and available to anyone. They can also be leveraged in powerful ways through custom development. Work with someone you trust to have the knowledge and understanding of your needs to develop the best solution for you

5. What’s your post-launch plan?

Launching a website is big accomplishment—but the work doesn’t stop there. A website is an ever-evolving piece of communication that continually grows with new content and tools. Not only are search engines ranking you based on current content, today’s web users expect it. Have a plan for reviewing your website analytics and publishing content regularly post-launch.

 

See case study: Carbon Green BioEnergy

 

Whatever path you choose, remember to take your time, do your research and partner with someone who can grow with your digital needs. Reach out to our team of experts to determine if VistaComm is the best web partner for your organization.

Original Post Here: Things to Think About When Planning a Website


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