The videos we put together for anyone who asks are slideshows, and even if you don’t want to go to the expense of getting someone to make these for you, we encourage you to create them yourself. They don’t just have to use static backgrounds, however. There are a number of sites offering short video clips free of charge, including blurred ones which are ideal for this purpose. The good people at Noupe have compiled a list at High-Quality Stock Videos: 20 Free (or Almost Free) Sites to Download which is well worth bookmarking.
Alternatively, you can blur your own video to use as a background in Final Cut Pro or Adobe Premiere.
Expect to see an increasing number of sites using video as a standard background in future. The new sample theme for WordPress, Twenty Seventeen, has a video header which is likely to inspire a lot of designers to go down this path.
Here’s something to consider next time you have your website redesigned. There are at least half a dozen widely used web browsers, and two or three widely used operating systems. My own website had 50 different combinations of browser and operating system visit it just last month, and that’s before we start looking at the different versions of each browser. Now, most experienced designers know full well that the way different browsers interpret the code behind a page is so different that no two representations are going to be alike without fiddling and compromise. However, that’s exactly what the designers do, in attempt to make the page display as identically as possible for every visitor. It costs a lot of money, and involves a lot of tweaks, some of which may later make the whole site fail to display properly. As the client, you’d be upset if you knew how much time was wasted by the designer on this activity.
So why do they aim for this identical display nirvana, without asking? Because client after client in the past has discovered unexpected inconsistencies from browser to browser in their precious signed-off design …and they’ve asked the designer to fix them (without offering to pay for the effort involved). So it just becomes standard practice to fiddle and compromise from the outset, to attempt to make the site look identical in all browsers. The designer would like to give you rounded corners on that panel, but they’d turn out square on one particular browser, and that would be pointed out as a “fault” …so they avoid the round corners in the first place. And on it goes.
If – as a client – you would say up front that you don’t mind the site looking different from browser to browser, so long as it looks good, and functions well, the designer could produce a much better job. But don’t expect them to voluntarily suggest this approach, because they’ll have tried it with many clients in the past, and eventually given up after the 17th managing director in a year said: “the new website didn’t look exactly the same on my old home PC as it did on the one in the office, please fix it”. Read Websites Shouldnt Look The Same Across Different Browsers …Here Is Why on Noupe for a more in-depth explanation.
A fundamental skill requirement has crept into the marketing function over the past few years: the ability to write good prose. Now that everyone’s a publisher, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to avoid having to write material which gets presented to the public directly. There’s always something which is so urgent there’s not time to outsource it to a professional writer, and few small or medium sized companies have in-house copywriting specialists.
Even if you don’t have an aspect of the English language which constantly perplexes you, I’d recommend reading Tools and Resources for Grammar, Copywriting, Spelling and More on Noupe, which will point you in the direction of some brilliant online resources for improving your writing. From conquering “the most feared punctuation on earth” to examples of great headlines and “killer” copywriting words, it’s all here.
This is great. FAQ Pages: Best Practices and Examples on Noupe reminds us all of how important “Frequently Asked Questions” pages are, and how we can use them effectively. And as I’ve mentioned before, many people type questions into search engines (rather unthinkingly). If your website has the actual question there, and not just the answers, guess who comes up top in Google for that question?
A short diversion away from online marketing today, because I found a lovely article about Beautiful Business Card Designs. It seems to me to be so important to have memorable (not to mention legible) business cards, as they’re often the only thing you leave important business contacts with. I’ve had my current business cards for nearly 18 months now and have been very pleased with the impact they’ve made. Now, clearly a jazzy card like this isn’t right for every business, but I do feel sorry for those of you who have terrible, ultra-conservative designs thrust on you by head office, especially as the more “formal” they are, the more minuscule the text seems to get. Even the small print on legal documents can’t compete with some business card designs when it comes to using the most unreadable, tiny print size ever. What is the thinking behind that?