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How to Choose a Domain Name

Your domain name is your online identity. Sure, you could use the WordPress or Squarespace domain that comes with your free website. But your domain name is the first impression visitors have of you and your business. In this sense, it’s not just an extension of your brand, but also provides helpful information to anyone searching you out. Oh, and speaking of searches, your domain name has the ability to positively impact SEO. So, if you’re concerned about how to choose a domain name for your website, you’re not alone. After all, it is a pretty important decision.

Tips for Choosing a Domain Name

Coming up with a kick-butt domain isn’t an exact science, but there are certainly a few best practices for choosing a domain name that will make a big difference. The best way to choose a domain name is to go slowly and consider the following before settling on your new web address.

Pronunciation

You can have the most thoughtfully designed site that’s perfectly optimized for conversions and search engines alike. It might even contain the world’s most engaging content. But the likelihood of a new user visiting your site drops dramatically if the site is difficult for them to find.

Confirm that your domain name is easy to pronounce by sharing it, in writing, with at least ten different people. Ensure each of them can pronounce it out loud, correctly, on the first try. If there are any sticking points, go back to the drawing board.

Spelling

In general, creativity is viewed as a huge plus, especially when learning how to pick a catchy domain name. But choosing a domain name for your business might not be the time for thinking outside the box. You want people to recall your domain name quickly and type it accurately. Here are a few faux pas that can stand in the way:

Funny Spellings – Sorry, but a domain name isn’t the place for cre8tive spellings. Using an uncommon (or made-up) spelling makes it incredibly difficult for users to find your website.

Homophones – Words with a single pronunciation but more than one spelling should be avoided in domain names. How will a user know whether you mean “new” or “knew” when they hear your domain name spoken aloud?

Numbers and Hyphens – In the same vein, avoid hyphens and numbers in your domain name, as they are confusing when it comes time to type it into a web browser.

Commonly Misspelled Words – Words that are difficult to spell can cause just as much trouble as made-up spellings or homophones. For the sake of ease, avoid using the most commonly misspelled words in your domain name.

To ensure it’s easy to spell, do another experiment. Say your domain name out loud to at least ten different people and ask them to jot down what you said. Did they spell it right? If not, you still have work to do.

Keywords

Want to know how to choose a good domain name for your business? Keyword research! Including words in your domain that relate to your business makes it easier for users to understand what your website is about. It also makes it easier for customers to find you.

Consider using keywords that describe the services you offer or products you sell. Bonus: this can also boost SEO. If you choose to use keywords, they’ll be most beneficial at the beginning of your domain name as opposed to the middle or end.

The Future

Before you settle on a domain name, think about your long-term goals. Do you dream of turning your small dog-walking business into a well-known doggy daycare and boarding facility? Then a domain name focused on dog walking might not be the way to go. Sure, the keyword is relevant now, but it could hurt you way more down the road than it will benefit you today.

Extension

Of course .com is by far the most well-known domain extension. However, since it’s been around for so long, the availability of affordable .com domain names shrinks every day.

In good news, there are several new domain extensions available. Think: .shop, .club, .photos, and .pet. If you decide to go this route, don’t just choose the first extension that pops up. Consider how to choose a domain name extension that will add clarity and context to your website. Dig into your options. You may find that there is an extension that works perfectly for your niche.

Research

Okay, now that you know how to choose great a domain name, it’s time for some due diligence. There are several factors unrelated to the name itself that will impact the viability of any given domain.

Trademarks and Copyrights –Be sure no part of your domain name is trademarked, copyrighted, or in use by another company.

For instance: even if the domain OldNavy.net is available, you probably shouldn’t use it to blog about your grandfather’s experience as a Naval Officer during the Korean War. Not only could this confuse those shopping for cargo pants and puffer vests, but you don’t want the headache of a legal battle arising from copyright or trademark infringement.

Cost– This is an important factor when picking a domain and choosing a domain name extension.  Your ideal domain name could cost a pretty penny. If you’re on a budget, brainstorm additional variations of your domain name and compare costs before making your final decision.

Social Media – Social is where it’s at when it comes to today’s digital marketing. It’s a good idea to make sure your domain name – or something very close to it – can be used as a social media handle.

Online Tools

If you need help choosing a domain name, there are several online tools to get you started. While they won’t do all of the work for you, they’ll make choosing a business domain name a little bit easier.

Keyword tools such as Google Keyword Planner can help you come up with a list of keywords related to your business.

Online “brainstorming” tools use keywords you provide to generate relevant domain name ideas. Tools like Lean Domain Search help you learn how to pick a domain name that sets you apart from the rest.

A Hosting Service will be your last stop after choosing a business domain name. Enter your desired domain with a service like GoDaddy or Bluehost to start the process of actually purchasing your domain.

How to Choose A Domain Name with Confidence

One thing’s for sure, a great website starts with a great domain. If you’re overwhelmed by what must be considered when choosing a domain name, you’ll benefit from our years of experience as we help you find one that accurately expresses what your brand is all about. At Hungry Media we specialize in developing websites that help businesses grow. From eye-catching design, to captivating copy, to a top-notch user experience – we can create it from domain down, or simply update your current site. Contact us today. We can’t wait to meet you!

What is MVP
What is MVP?

Technology places the world at our fingertips! New, creative tools that add convenience to our everyday lives hit the market each day. However, it’s not always easy to bring the niggle of a brilliant idea to fruition in a full-fledged business model. That’s where creation of a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) comes into play. What is MVP, you ask? And what does MVP mean for your business?

What is MVP?

An MVP approach includes the most basic version of a product – usually a software product – required to meet the needs of target users. It focuses only on the features that make the product functional. In this sense, an MVP is the structure upon which everything else is built.

Why is an MVP important?

An MVP project is a stepping stone. A viable idea doesn’t necessarily equate to a viable product. The idea can be solid, but there are often several ways to execute it. An MVP allows you to be a bit more methodical about development and launch.

– An Easy Way to Collect Data

It’s easy to make decisions – such as choosing a native vs. hybrid app or which audience to target – without testing. But nothing provides data about the product itself quite like testing on your ideal user with an MVP. Meaning, MVP is the test. By collecting significant data about customer behavior, you’ll be able to validate your hypothesis regarding the viability of your product. Plus, you’ll learn which direction to head when it comes to creating and modifying additional features.

– Helps Gain Understanding of Users’ Needs

You only need to open your app store to see the plethora of products promising to make our lives easier. This is why today’s customers have the ability to be super picky. New products only have a few seconds to capture our attention, lest we move on.

Before going all-in, it’s important to learn what your customers need and how they expect your product to enhance their lives. The feedback users provide about MVP software will help you learn both what resonates with them as well as what is needed to capture their attention.

– Saves Time and Money

Because MVP programming isn’t as intricate as developing a full product, there are fewer barriers to adding new features or even going back to the drawing board, if need be. This results in shorter development cycles and lower cost than launching a full-fledged product.

Developing a final product takes an average of seven months and can cost up to $250K. Imagine spending all of that time and money to fully develop your product only to learn it doesn’t hit the mark with your target audience. At that point you’d begin brainstorming ways to make improvements and paying someone to develop them for you. With MVP development, you can speed up the launch to about six weeks because the developed features are minimal. And as an added bonus, the cost of an MVP startup product is significantly lower – about $15K.

– Provides Information for Investors

Whether you’re going the traditional route, utilizing crowdfunding investment, or anything in between, an investor is more likely to back your product if they know it’s received some positive feedback. Plus, having an MVP gives investors something tangible to experience themselves, before making the decision to support your idea. In short, positive results at the MVP level can help make fundraising for your business a success.

Design an MVP Business Model with Hungry Media

So, what is a minimal viable product for your business, specifically?  MVP software development can be challenging, which is why Hungry Media is here to help! Our unique approach allows us to home in on exactly what you’re looking to accomplish, determine your MVP approach, and flesh out the steps required to achieve your ultimate goal.  

Have an idea for a new app or product? We can’t wait to hear about it. Contact us today to get started!

Website Update
Website Update

Understand the Importance of Updating Your Website

Website updates might not seem like a big deal on the surface. After all, your website looks nice and it works just fine. Why fix what isn’t broken, right?

Wrong. Well-executed website updates will ensure you’re ahead of the game as inevitable changes in technology, trends, and user expectations occur. Here are a few reasons to update your website, pronto.

8 Reasons to Update Your Website

You’re So Yesterday

Retro isn’t a good thing when it comes to your website. What was “on trend” two years ago is probably out of date today. Whether in terms of navigation, aesthetic, logo, or menu options you’ll want to keep current. Almost all consumers research their purchases online prior to buying, so be sure you are staying as relevant as possible. You may not get the chance to win them back if they leave.

You’re Unrecognizable

Your brand will evolve over time. Showcase that evolution! Even minimal changes to your brand aesthetic or business strategy warrant a website update. This will help maintain a cohesive look and feel, which is super-important for brand awareness and recognition.

You’re Behind the Times

Tech evolves faster than you can say “refresh website!” Regular website updates will help you keep up with new apps, plugins, and integrations. Additionally, updates will maintain your site’s compatibility with the most popular web browsers and mobile technology. It won’t matter what an amazing product you’re selling or how beautiful your website is if it doesn’t function properly. Honestly, the benefits of updating website tech can’t be understated.

You’re Unresponsive

There’s no way around it. If you don’t have a mobile friendly website, you’ve got to get one, stat. And honestly, even if your site was designed with a mobile-first strategy, you still want to make sure it’s up to date in terms of hardware (i.e. the newest mobile devices) and current customer expectations.

You’re Slow

This could be due to the file size of your images, running an old theme, or just coding used on the backend. Regardless of the reason, users will bounce if load time is slow. This should be all the reason you need to make updates for the sake of speed!

You’re Insecure

It’s not like a new website can’t be hacked. But sites that rely on older technology are easier to hack; therefore, the chances of a security breach increase as tech ages. Plus, as a website owner, you want to keep your users’ information safe. Make sure to update your Content Management System (CMS) regularly and confirm your security is compliant with the latest standards.

You’re Not Optimized

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is critical to digital marketing strategies everywhere. SEO includes (but isn’t limited to) maintaining relevant original content, managing and targeting the right keywords, using alt tags and meta descriptions, and including backlinks. The thing is, search engine algorithms change regularly. If you want to rank higher than your competitors, you’ll need to keep up with SEO trends and changes.

You Don’t Share Well

While your website is likely the home base for most of your business, we all know that social media plays a huge role in customers’ lives. Make sure that your content is easily sharable. Including social media “share” buttons will make it simple for your customers or consumers to help spread the word about your business.

How Often Should You Update Your Website Content?

How often should a website be updated? It’s a great question with a terribly non-specific answer (sorry!).

If you implement a plan for continuously updating your SEO, CMS, and hosting solutions, your site is much less likely to require a full refresh. Website aesthetics, however, will probably need to be revised every three to five years to keep up with current trends.

In terms of the little changes – revising and adding content, small branding updates, adding or changing alt tags, etc. – we suggest as often as possible. Monthly is the bare minimum. If you can pull it off, weekly is ideal.

Basically, the more effort you put into small, frequent website updates, the better. Think of it as preventive maintenance to increase the longevity of a valuable asset. Put in the work now, and it will pay off down the road!

Let Hungry Media Help with Your Website Update

Your website is a tool for business success. Hungry Media can help you make the most of it! Our collaborative approach will leave you feeling confident, and your website current. Contact us today to discuss your website being updated or event to simply start from scratch. We can’t wait to hear from you! info@hungrymedia.com

Website Design Company
Website Design Company

Everyone has a website these days. Even the most basic of mom-and-pop shops need some sort of online presence to remain competitive. Now, with some luck, finding a good designer could be as easy as Googling “website design companies near me,” but it’s not usually that simple.

While searching for a custom website design company you’ll find that there have never been more options than there are today. This is good news, as it means you have the luxury of shopping around. But…it also means must shop around to find the best website design company for your business.

Identify Your Needs

Choosing a web designer can be difficult if you aren’t clear about your needs. So, we suggest you start by identifying what, exactly, you are looking for.  

Purpose of your site. Just like your business has a mission, so must your website. What is the main goal of your site? Generate leads? Build sales? Inform? Entertain? Prioritize the ways in which you want your website to function and go from there.

Growth. Maybe it’s a blog now, but do you have hopes of selling apparel down the road? Are you a small business that needs a basic site at the moment, but plan on sharing how-to videos within a few years? All of this must be considered as a part of today’s design. Think at least five years into the future.

Aesthetic. Your website could be the very first contact a consumer has with your brand. How do you want them to feel? How do you want your site to look? Take the time to develop a general idea of the aesthetic you prefer. This will point your designer in the right direction.

Software Integration. Is there a specific software that your website needs to work with, either today or in the down the road? This is a biggie and should always be communicated with your website design company in advance.

How To Select a Website Designer

Once you’ve established your needs you can start shopping. Ask potential designers about the following as a part of your decision-making process:

Portfolio

With your list of needs in mind, take a look at their previous work. How do those sites look and feel? Do they avoid the most common website design mistakes? What’s the overall style? Are they mobile-friendly? Functional? Easy to use?

What type of experience do they have? The needs of a blog site can vary significantly from the needs of an e-commerce site. You’ll either want a website design company with lots of experience in your niche or a company with a wide variety of experience in many niches.  

References

You’re not just looking for a company that can design a website, but a company with top notch communication and project management skills, too. Request references and contact a few. Ask about their experience with this particular designer. Would they hire them again? What, if any, drawbacks did they encounter?

Cost

The ever-important bottom line. Of course, cost will factor in to choosing the right website designer, especially if you’re a small business on a tight budget. After all is said and done, remember that your website isn’t a purchase. It’s an investment. And just like everything else in life, you get what you pay for.

Does the price include graphic design, copywriting, follow up consultations, revisions, etc.? Ideally, you’ll get a breakdown of the individual costs within your project so that you can make an apples-to-apples price comparison when decision-making time rolls around.

Oh, and don’t forget to ask about payment terms. Will you receive a monthly invoice? Milestone-based invoices? Is there deposit? This is all important information to have before choosing which company to hire.

Completion Time

There’s no right or wrong here. However, it is important that you have a timeline in mind. It’s also important that your designer can adhere to it. After all, finding the best website design company doesn’t matter if they can’t deliver when you need, right?

Maintenance

Your website will change over time. That’s just a fact. One of the most fundamental differences among web design companies is how they choose to handle ongoing maintenance and changes.

Ideally, you’ll be set up to make small changes on your own – like revising copy, swapping images, or adding blog posts. But will your website design company help when it comes to the bigger ticket items? If so, what does that look like? Can you put them on retainer? Do they charge an hourly rate? Is any maintenance included in the initial cost of your website?

A Website Design Company Designed for You

Your website is crucial to the success of your business. You want to work with a website design company that is willing to really listen to you, can create a site that reflects you and your business needs, keeps within your budget, and hits deadlines.

Hungry Media’s approach is one of collaboration and communication. We design and develop user-friendly websites to meet the needs of your growing business. We can’t wait to hear your big idea! Get in touch and let’s start making plans.

Web Design Elements
Web Design Elements

You’ve done it! You’ve made the mental leap and decided to build a new website. Now what?!

Whether you’re building a site for your brand-new business, or your existing site needs an overhaul, the plethora of web design elements to consider can be overwhelming. But don’t worry. We’ve got you!

Web Design Elements to Avoid

Elements of good web page design include the obvious – a beautiful aesthetic, fast load times, a logical layout; however, there is more to effective web design than one might think.

The good news is that you don’t have to be an expert in web design principles and elements to spot a bad design. This is why the best place to start is by reviewing a few “Web Design Don’ts.”

We’re willing to bet you’ve come across at least a few of these elements during your browsing sessions.

Images

Photos and other graphics are among the most basic web design elements, and they are incredibly important. Done right, images compliment your copy by providing information that makes your message more understandable. To this end, try to avoid these image-related missteps:

Stock photography – It’s usually pretty cheesy, and your visitors will know that it’s stock. Original photos are always best.

Irrelevant images – Photos should provide clarity and add meaning to your text. If your user can’t draw an explicit connection between your image and your text, you’re better off with no image at all.

Non-responsive images – Users view your site on a variety of screen shapes and sizes. For this reason, responsive web design elements are a must. Images, specifically, should re-size to fit the device on which they are viewed.

Fonts

Flat web design elements will make your site easy on the eyes. Simple typography is a great place to start because font is a form of communication in and of itself. Font choice conveys a message before text is even read. As such, you’ll want to avoid the following font-based faux pas:

Cursive – Cursive or handwritten fonts can be difficult to read. When text is difficult to read, users have to work harder to understand each word. This can break their focus on the message you are trying to convey.

Too Many Fonts – Variation in fonts is distracting and takes away from the flat design look most users gravitate towards. A good rule of thumb is to stick with two or three fonts, max.

Extra large or small text – Text should be legible across all devices. Very large or very small font size doesn’t always translate well to various screen sizes. A huge swing in font size can also fall into the “too many fonts” category, above.

Navigation

Confusing navigation is one of the most common web design mistakes we see. We’re all for creativity, but this is not the place for it. Navigation should be as intuitive as possible, i.e. it should work in the way people think. Reinventing the wheel will only frustrate your users, and they’ll be more likely to leave before they’ve seen what you have to offer. To avoid this, skip these navigation no-no’s:

Animated navigation – Anything that flashes, bounces, or scrolls will make navigating your site more challenging than necessary.

Images as navigation buttons – If you opt to use images as a part of your navigation, make sure each image is accompanied by clear, concise text.

Uncommon placement of navigation buttons – Proper placement of navigation options makes your site easier to use. Regardless of how cool it looks, going against the grain here will only lead to confusion.

Pop-ups

We get it. Pop-ups can be necessary, at times. But do your best to eliminate them where possible. This is one of those web design elements that immediately makes users think “advertisement.” Many just close the pop-up instinctively, without even registering its content.

If you must use a pop-up, make sure it is easy to exit. When someone visits your website and can’t find their way out of your pop-up, they leave. Plain and simple.

Prominent Backgrounds

There are many background options that look great on their own, but when combined with content just become too much. Most sites should opt for simple, clean backgrounds. This allows users to focus on your text, graphics, and calls to action.

Background Music

Just don’t. Not only is music incredibly distracting, but you run the risk of deterring visitors who dislike it. If including sound is important for the sake of your business – like if you’re promoting your music – include media players that allow users to start and stop the music at their convenience.

DIY Web Design

You don’t need to be an expert to design a decent website. In fact, there are several tools available to help get started. Surprisingly, one of the most common is photoshop. Web design elements can be laid out with Photoshop and later converted into a functional template. And then, of course, there are the premade templates many hosting services offer. Most templates can help you avoid common elemental web design mistakes, like those discussed above.

Professional Web Design

Of course, we’re here to help if you’d like to take it a step further. Whether you have an awesome idea to get off the ground, a site in need of a makeover, or something in between – reach out! We’d love to discuss your website and share our painless approach to the design process. info@hungrymedia.com

Common Website Mistakes
Common Website Mistakes

It’s easy to view your website as The End Goal. In reality, a website is simply a tool. Don’t get us wrong, it’s an important tool. But it’s still just a tool.

Ultimately you want your site to work for you while providing a positive experience for the end user. So, here’s the million-dollar question: How will your website help you achieve your goals?

In all likelihood, it will serve several purposes. Prioritizing these will go a long way when trying to avoid the most common website mistakes. Once you’ve determined how you’ll leverage your website, you can begin the design process.

Read on to learn which web design mistakes to avoid – and how to avoid them!

Common website design mistake: Unclear purpose
Solution: Begin with the end in mind.

Web design issues often arise when the purpose of the site isn’t clearly defined in advance. When you begin with the end in mind, you can focus on creating both visual and content hierarchies that guide users in the appropriate direction.

  • Will your customers use your site to purchase products? If so, the goal of your website will be to get them to complete the “check out” process.
  • Will your site be used to gain exposure and build relationships? Then the goal might be to funnel customers to your Instagram page where you communicate with them on a daily basis.
  • Will you utilize your site to help build a customer database? Then your goal could be to gather information about users via a “Contact Us” form.

In short – every area of your website should be designed with your end-goal in mind, whatever it may be.

Common website design mistake: Ineffective architecture
Solution: Design around meaningful content

Designing without consideration for content is one of the biggest website mistakes we see. To avoid this, determine the type of content you want your website to contain, and design around it.

For instance, if your content is mainly text-based, focus on getting users to read it!

It’s fine to design a sleek website that highlights your awesome photos, but this won’t draw users to your text. In fact, it will do the opposite. In this example you’ll want to opt for a design that puts your text front and center while making it easy to read.

Common website design mistake: Conflicting visuals
Solution: Use consistent design elements

Website design issues, such as inconsistency in design elements, can lead to a less enjoyable user experience. While inconsistency might not be noticed consciously, it forces our brains to work just a little bit harder. Maintain consistency to ensure customers know what to expect.

Consistency Within Your Site

Calls to Action – Not only should you keep your call to action buttons the same shape and color on every page, but keep them in the same location, too.

Fonts and Colors – Maintain consistent fonts and colors. For instance, the font and color of all product prices should be the same throughout your entire site.

Consistency with Industry Standards

One of the biggest website design mistakes to avoid is an attempt to reinvent the wheel. We all know to click the top left logo to return to the homepage. We look to the top right of our screens for shopping carts. We’re sure to find Contact Us links at the bottom of the page.

Web design is not the place to set yourself apart. Consumers expect certain actions to be available in specific locations. Changing that up will do nothing but make the user experience more complicated than it needs to be.

Common website design mistake: Confusing navigation
Solution: Help users find their way

Browsing your site should be a positive experience for your users. One of the easiest ways to achieve this is to make navigation a breeze.

Limit Navigation Options

Overloading the navigation will provide too many choices. When consumers are faced with too many choices, they are less likely to make any choice at all. This is a fairly common website design mistake. To avoid it, group the content in your navigation. Shoot for just 3-5 to choose from at a time.

Use Breadcrumbs

This is especially important for sites with lots of content. Don’t make your user restart their ten minute journey just to find the page they viewed thirty seconds earlier. And yes, they could use their “back” button, but they shouldn’t have to.

If users navigate through more than 2-3 pages to reach a final destination, clickable breadcrumbs make it easy to find their way back to parent page(s).

Add a Search Option

Another great option for content-heavy sites is a search bar. It’s simple to include and can help users locate that one page they know they saw last week but can’t seem to find today.

Common website design mistake: Short-term thinking
Solution: Plan for maintenance

Technology advances faster than you can say “Javascript Update.” All it takes a small change in one operating system to render your site obsolete – or at least shut it down while you scramble to resolve the issue.

Think about it like this: you don’t spend money on a new vehicle and call it a day, right? It’s awesome to have that fancy car, but if you don’t change the oil you’ll end up in a fancy car on the side of the road.

Easily avoid some of the most common website design mistakes by planning for maintenance right off the bat. If you aren’t able to maintain the site yourself, consider a maintenance contract with a company like WPMaintainer or WebFx. Just like changing your oil, site maintenance will save you time, money, and aggravation down the road.

Common website design mistake: Unresponsive site
Solution: Be mobile-friendly

A responsive site is a must these days. The majority of users will browse your site on a mobile device. If it’s difficult for customers to actually consume the information on your website they’re less likely to return.

We Can Help!

Whether you’re addressing current web design issues or you’re starting from scratch, you need a website that is effective and user-friendly. Hungry Media can ensure your website is a trusted tool that works for you. Let’s talk! info@hungrymedia.com.