Voltage Creative

Web Development & Design | Online Marketing

Minimalism. Beauty fueled from functionality.

minimal_blog post size

A common misconception of minimalism is that it takes no time at all to design, or that slapping an asset or two on a white background with a thin font makes it minimalism. But the truth is, while limited assets, color palette and overall distractions contribute to a minimalist design, there’s far more to think about when mastering the art of minimalist design.

One of the most important parts of minimalism is functionality. In the world of web, functionality is everything. Minimalism is often mistaken for being just a pleasure to look at, but the best sites that truly define what minimalist design is, lend to a far better user experience compared to a site littered with fancy decorative additions. Functionality can make or break a site within seconds. It’s similar to going to a store and not being able to navigate yourself to the product or service you’re looking for. If it takes you forever to find what you’re looking for, you’re likely to not come back. The same goes for successful minimalism in web design.

Balance and contrast are two more important aspects on successful minimalist design. If you have to remember one word, remember “grid.” The grid is essential, as it’s helps with the balance of the design in it’s entirety. Also, contrast can make all the difference when used for eye-catching areas on a page. It’s far more eye-catching than it would be on a site with a plethora of colors.

So remember, minimalism is more than a few elements on a page; it’s about using balance, contrast and depth through simplicity while focusing on the essence of the concept. Then, clearly communicate that concept to the user through an aesthetically beautiful and effortlessly functional site design.

The Future Of Mobile Technology: Listen Live Today At 1pm CST

Tech CircuitThis week’s edition of Tech Circuit on The KMBZ Business Channel will feature experts that are driving the future of mobile and mobile technology: Engage Mobile Solutions, Sporting Innovations, and FitBark. Kansas City area listeners can tune in on 1660 am radio, or listen live by clicking here.

Because of popular demand, Tech Circuit will air every other Wednesday at 1pm (it used to be monthly). It is the only radio program in Kansas City that provides original news in the Kansas City tech scene. Each week they will feature a unique topic related to new tech updates or what is trending in the Kansas City area. It is hosted by Krista Klaus, and regulars co-hosts of the program include:

  • Keith Krieger, technology education director JCCC
  • Results Technology Executive VP Patrick Murphy
  • Voltage Creative, digital marketing strategist Corey Morris

This edition will air at 1pm today on AM 1660 radio. To listen live via smartphone, click here.

Facebook Says Goodbye To Free Advertising

In the digital marketing world, we’re all constantly trying to get more attention, gain more fans, and increase our social media footprint. Facebook, the largest consumer data vault in the world, is a crucial element to any digital marketing strategy for your business. In the past, sharing your “40% Off Christmas Decor” sale or newest product promo video on Facebook helped increase traffic to your website and brought in new customers. Sadly, those days are numbered.

Last Friday, Facebook announced that it will change the rankings of posts made by marketers to reduce the number that appear in News Feeds. For businesses, this means they will see less of their <free> promotional content being shared with their fans. 

Why did this happen?

Facebook conducted a survey for hundreds of thousands of people to learn more about their opinion on the content in their News Feeds. They responded that they would like more stories in their feed from friends and less promotional content. Facebook says this change will increase relevancy and quality of stories that people see in their News Feeds.

What should businesses do?

Facebook still cares about your business and wants you to share content! Keep posting consistently, and target your posts if you want to reach a specific group of people through Facebook’s Post Targeting and Privacy settings. Make sure your post includes an image and relevant text, and create posts that are meaningful and will attract engagement. But, because of Facebook’s new algorithm change, if your post is solely to get people to buy a specific product, download an app, or in any way promote something, you’ll want to pay for it through ads if you want it to be seen. Facebook says that targeting users based on geographic location or interests are a better way to reach customers, and that advertising offers better results tracking than page posts.

Want my opinion?

Overall, I understand the importance of hiding “spammy” posts on a consumers feed and appreciate that Facebook wants our News Feed to have more relevant content, but shouldn’t it be up to the consumer to decide what they want to see? As an online marketer for businesses, we’ve spent time and money trying to grow our base of followers, only now to have our posts be seen significantly less. As a consumer, I hope that I won’t be missing out on content I deem important. There’s a reason I followed a business in the first place, so I hope their content will still be shared.  I would like to see Facebook better educate consumers on adding Interest Lists and notifications, or go back to when posts/pages naturally fell off your feed if you did not show interest in them through your actions.

In the end, because of this change some businesses might focus more on other social platforms, but realistically, no business can afford to ignore Facebook. I’m eager to see what will come of this change.

 

The Importance of a Good Password

money_hack$mOnEy!, is the primary importance of a good password. Don’t think your small three page WordPress site is valuable enough to secure with a proper password? Think again! WordPress is the most popular content management platform on the planet. As such, it’s also the most frequently hacked platform. The primary reason for being hacked? Not because WordPress is an insecure system but because of bad, easy to guess passwords.

Why is money is the primary importance for a good password? To keep your money in your pockets, bank accounts, etc and out of the hands of hackers. When a hacker gains access to your site, the first thing they tend to do is setup backdoors to ensure unfettered access to your site – even if you decide to change your password.

Backdoors are often used by other hackers that scan the internet for compromised sites to continue their nefarious activity. This activity includes scanning for other compromised sites, sending spam and “phishing” emails, installing malware, defacing websites and other such criminal activity. Do you have an eCommerce site? You better have a strong password! Hackers can install any number of ways to capture your customer information, including credit card numbers and other data. This can potentially cost you millions of dollars in liability.

The cleanup of a hacked site can take hours, even days. This cleanup process will inevitably be invoiced to you for the time the developer took tracking down every file created or compromised in the hack(s). This cost could be hundreds, if not thousands of dollars. While we try to prevent security issues as much as possible, there’s only so much a development company can do when a client decides to use “password1” as a password.

One hacked site can mean a server’s IP lands on “black lists”, which can take days to track. This means any sites trying to send email from these servers are blocked from sending emails. This can cost you and others on the same server in terms of lost business and much more. A hacked site can also land on the feared google “safe browsing” list. This will prevent users from accessing your site, again costing you lost business and money.

So, what have we learned? Again – money is the reason for a strong password. Yours, mine and the rest of the world’s and keeping it out of the hands of the hackers.

Why Every Local Business Owner Should Utilize Google My Business

Google My Business

Do you use Google+? It’s ok to admit if you don’t, but even if you don’t use it for personal purposes, it’s crucial your business does. Did you know that 97 percent of your customers search for your business online? Google My Business makes sure your information is out there for your customers to easily find. Here are a few things to think about:

Is your Google My Business page claimed? If not, no problem! Create a gmail account, click Get on Google, authorize your business, then verify through phone. After you are verified you will want to update your page with contact information, address, hours of operation, and pictures.

Does your Google My Business page link to your website and social pages? This makes it simple for customers to learn as much as possible about your business and follow you on their preferred platform.

Is your location new, or not listed on Google maps? Use Google Map Maker to add your business so people can find your location.

Do you want to grow your base of customers? Umm, who wouldn’t? Use Google My Business to share content and engage your customers. Ask for reviews & ratings from your loyal fans and respond to their feedback.

Thinking about then doing these simple steps will provide your local business with the foundation it needs to help current and prospective customers find your business and connect with you. If you have any questions or need help creating your Google My Business page, email Brittany at brittany@voltagecreative.com.


If you’re overwhelmed or don’t have time, Voltage can help with your local business listing optimization by managing your Google+ Local listing, supporting directories, and ensure that it will drive reviews and engagement.

5 Steps To Better Content

Content BMA KC

The online marketing team at Voltage attended the 2014 BMAKC CONFERENCE Connect Through Content: How to Navigate Your Company’s Content Journey. Speakers included industry leaders Robert Rose, Kevin Espinosa, Jeff Rohrs, Tim Thorpe, and Shelly Kramer.

The conference focused on the importance of content and how it brings your customers to you in a way that is real and crucial to the future of your business. We pulled together our top 5 steps to better content:

1. If you can’t describe what you’re doing as a process, you don’t have a clue what you are doing

Do you feel like you’re flying by the seat of your pants? Sometimes we do, too. Create a content calendar to map out your strategy so it is cohesive and works with the overall goal of your business.

2. Your audience is an asset

Think of your social media managers, content managers, and marketing managers as ASSET managers. Your audience are crucial to the growth of your business.

3. Your title is more important than you think

What gets you to read an article or click to a website? Make sure to craft a title that is engaging and include an image that is appealing to the eye. You time spent on the title and content should be split 50/50.

4. Content + SEO + Social are all Intertwined

What good is your content if potential customers can’t find you online? What is the point of posting to your blog if you aren’t sharing it on social platforms for engagement or linking back to your website? Each piece is equally important and you can’t do one without the other.

5. Does your homepage save the world? (Or at least solve problems?)

Did you know prospects view a homepage on average of 8 seconds. Customers are searching for you to solve their problem, so make it easy for them. The homepage should briefly explain what you do and a give a call-to-action.

Is Your Business Safe From Cyber Criminals?

Tech Circuit

In the wake of the White House computer network getting hacked and National Cyber Security Awareness Month, we couldn’t find a better time to talk about cyber security on Tech Circuit KMBZ Business Channel at 1pm today. We will talk with special agent Chris Lamb on code wars, property theft, cyber terrorism, fraud, extortion, and how you can keep your home and business safe from cyber criminals. The panel of experts also included are Keith Krieger, our own Corey Morris, and Burton Kelso. To see a short preview, view our Youtube video.


This edition will air at 1pm today on AM 1660 radio. To listen live via smartphone, click here.

Google Rolls Out New Inbox App

Google Inbox App

 

 

 

 

 

 

On October 22, 2014 Google Announced it would be rolling out with a new app called Inbox that will hopefully go above and beyond our wildest dreams. The app will help you declutter your current gmail account and be able to read what matters most to you.

Read more

Voltage Welcomes Brittany Link

Brittany LinkVoltage is excited to announce a new hire as it welcomes Digital Marketing Analyst, Brittany Link.  Brittany’s experience and perspective immediately adds to the award winning online marketing staff at Voltage as the agency continues to grow in the areas of search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, content marketing, social media marketing (SMM), and email marketing.

Please feel free to help us welcome Brittany to the team and reach out to her via brittany[at]voltagekc.com.  You’ll likely soon start seeing some awesome content on this blog and elsewhere on the interwebs by Brittany.  Also, stay tuned for additional company updates on the blog and in the media in the near future as some exciting things happening here will be announced soon!

Voltage’s Corey Morris Moderating at AAF-KC Advertising 101

Catch Voltage’s Corey Morris at AAF-KC’s Advertising 101 on Friday, October 3. The Advertising 101 event (formerly called “Career Day”) takes place from 8am to 4pm at the Henry W. Bloch Executive Hall for Entrepreneurship & Innovation on the UMKC campus. Read more