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Web Design

  • Your landing page is your first chance to introduce your business to potential clients. It’s the way you’re going to make your first impression on a lot of new users, and it’s always important to keep your home page clean, concise, and compelling.

    We’ve told you before about a number of landing page tips and tricks, as well as the pitfalls you want to avoid. But the real truth is, just as no two businesses are exactly the same, no two landing pages are going to work exactly the same way. While we believe in best practices, there are some surprising factors that can lead to higher conversion rates for your site.

    Hubspot proved that maxim recently in an excellent blog post, compiling the conversion results from a series of A/B site testing on different landing pages. You’d be surprised what a difference a single minor tweak can make!

    Here are some of the most surprising takeaways from those tests, along with a few ideas of how you can start making the most of your landing page:

    A Successful Call-to-Action is All About Placement and Phrasing

  • 5 Essential Elements for Your Web Page (Source: pexels.com - used as royalty free image)

    “My website is working! Why change it?”

    We hear this all the time, whether we’re networking with a Chicago business owner or just talking shop at the bar at the end of the day (yep, we really do talk about digital marketing in our free time, too… it’s what we do).

    We understand being resistant to change, and we get it – not everyone is a technical wonk. But if your website isn’t optimized for today’s digital landscape, then it’s not working; in fact, it may well be doing more harm than good.

    But where to start updating and refining your website? Start by making sure that your site includes all five of these essential elements. If you’re missing one, it may be high time to start the conversation about getting your website back on track!

    About Us

  • Looking to refresh your website? Starting a new business and ready to set up your online “forever home?”

    Well, by even considering these questions, you’re off to a great start… and likely miles ahead of some of your competitors.

    Having a functional, accessible website is one of the most important things you can do to secure future business. More importantly, having a sound strategy in place when implementing a new design can:

    • increase your chances of securing leads
    • help solidify your existing customer base

    Need some inspiration to get started? Consider these five essential areas when preparing to launch a new website…

    1. Efficient Backend Engine

    A foundational part of website design, coding dictates how your site will function. In essence, this is the infrastructure of your site. It’s your building material, your foundation – and so, it’s critical that you make great coding a top priority as you prepare to build your site.

    With that said, it’s important to consider what goes into constructing a functional, efficient site today. The web development process may have changed a bit since the last time you worked on a website.

  • App of the Week - Adobe Apps for Android

    Looking to design on the go? Want to put a professional spin on that selfie before you shoot it off to your contact list?

    With the suite of apps that Adobe recently released for Android devices, you have more design and publishing options at your fingertips than ever before.

    For anyone looking to do some serious layout and wireframe work for web, mobile, or print platforms, there’s Adobe Comp CC, built from the ground up with the mobile user in mind. Layer designs, lines, and shapes, experiment with color, and choose your favorite font – all without ever cracking open a laptop.

  • App of the Week - Camelizer Browser Extension (Source: camelcamelcamel.com)

    Ever noticed how much prices can change on your favorite e-commerce sites? Wouldn’t it be great to know exactly when prices are at their lowest, so you can jump on the bargains while they last?  

    For all of the curious online window shoppers who need a little push to seal the deal, or for budget-conscious sleuths always hunting down a sale, Camelizer is here to help.

    A browser extension available for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari, Camelizer takes stock of historical pricing data from camelcamelcamel.com, camelbuy.com, and camelegg.com, allowing you to look at pricing trends on just about any product without you having to so much as open a new window.

  • App of the Week - FotoJet (Source: fotojet.com)

    There are more online options for would-be graphic designers than ever before. From Adobe’s powerful suite of industry standards (now available on mobile!) to social media-specific tools like Pablo, there are countless options available for pros and novices alike.

    One of the standouts in the crowded design sphere? FotoJet, a powerful tool that bills itself as “an all-in-one free online tool for graphic design, photo collage and photo editing.”

    Starting from scratch or using pre-made templates, users can put FotoJet to work for projects ranging from Facebook cover photos to cards to flyers. What advantages does it offer? How does it stack up to competitors in the field?

    After spending some serious time fooling around with FotoJet, Geek’s resident graphic design guru Cally Kopplin had a few thoughts:

  • Boost SEO and Increase Traffic by Reviving Old Content

    Your website’s blog should always be updating with new, relevant content. But what about those old articles, the ones you’ve sort of let slip through the cracks over the months? Do they still have value?

    Short answer: Yep!

    Longer answer: With some tweaks, these old posts can be some of the most effective content on your site.

    Think of older posts as veterans with important experience under their belt: They’ve already been indexed by Google and are generating traffic, while also coming in with social shares, proof, and outside links.  This makes a difference, giving these older pieces of content a major leg up over a completely new post, which has to start from scratch and claw its way up in Google rankings.

    The even better news? It doesn’t take that much effort to refresh and revamp your old content. Whether you’re trying to elevate an underachieving blog post or boost a star article’s search rankings from good to great, here are five surefire strategies that will help you dramatically increase your traffic by reviving older content:  

    1.) Refresh and Enrich the Content…

  • 606 Speech

    When Geek took on the website design for 606 Speech, a Chicago speech language therapy resource, we knew that our focus would have to be on clear, direct communication.

    To that end, the 606 Speech site is all about intuitive design, engaging colors, and a fun – yet professional – visual aesthetic.

    Because so much of the group’s business involves working with young children, we saw this build as a chance to get playful with our design. With that in mind, we toyed around with different, out-of-the-ordinary fonts and incorporated bright, eye-grabbing cartoons into the layout, which also features vivid pictures of the 606 team doing what they do best – working side by side with their young clients to fix a variety of speech therapy issues in a supportive atmosphere.

  • Based in Chicago, with services available in San Diego and the San Francisco Bay Area,Cage + Aquarium Productions is a premier event DJ, emcee, and photography service. Cage + Aquarium connects event hosts with industry-leading DJs and photographers. Their expansive roster of DJs offer in-depth music knowledge and hundreds of hours of training on turntables withScratch DJ Academy, while their photographers bring a natural eye for visual storytelling and the skills to realize their clients’ vision. 

  • FourStar Wealth Advisors is a Registered Investment Advisor firm headquartered in Chicago, with advisors located in offices around the country, including Massachusetts and Nevada. FourStar Wealth Advisors takes an independent and client-focused approach to wealth management and financial planning, helping their clients define what is most important to them and then formulating the strategies that are suited for their needs, whether they are accumulating wealth or investing for income, solidifying a retirement plan, or devising a distribution approach that meets their  lifestyle and legacy goals.

    Our Mission 

    FourStar Wealth Advisors is a next generation wealth advisory firm, focused on using new and innovative technologies and finding creative ways to communicate with their clients. FourStar came to Geek Chicago looking for a modern site that spoke to their independence and their commitment to industry-leading innovation. 

  • Do You Have a Trustworthy Website? (Source: pixabay.com - used as royalty free image)

    What makes Facebook less “trustworthy” than LinkedIn in the eyes of small business owners? What makes Squarespace top Weebly or Wix?

    Asking why consumers prefer one thing over another can sometimes feel like asking why someone prefers red to blue, or finds clowns scarier than spiders. It’s just a “feeling,” a “vibe,” or an “impression,” they’ll say. It just seems more trustworthy, and that can’t be quantified!

    And while the whims of an audience might be impossible to ever fully understand, we know that there are all sorts of web design and content marketing best practices your brand can put into place to make a positive first impression on your visitors. And establishing trust is hugely important to establishing a relationship and turning searchers into customers – you might have the best Call-to-Action on the web, but nobody’s going to click it if they find your site untrustworthy.

    Want to increase your leads and conversions by making your site more trustworthy? Here are four website ideas sure to boost your brand in the eyes of your audience:

    1.) Build Confidence With “Social Proof”

  • Gadget of the Week - Sensu Artist Brush & Stylus

    We’ve long known here at Geek that artists are some of the geekiest people around – they’re passionate about their work, full of unique knowledge, and they’re a vital part of any creative team, especially in our field of marketing.

    So when we discover a tool that helps translate an artist’s precision and skill into the digital realm of tablets and smartphones? We’ve got to share it! That’s where the Sensu Artist Brush & Stylus comes in.

  • Graphic Design Vocabulary For the Rest of Us

    According to AIGA, the Association for Professional Design, graphic design "is the art and practice of planning and projecting ideas and experiences with visual and textual content." As you make your way through the world, you encounter graphic design in grocery stores, on the CTA, and on your television. But, even though graphic design often communicates common ideas, the words associated with this field are foreign to outsiders. 

    Small business owners often have to work with graphic designers, which is why Pagemodo recently published an infographic explaining 28 basic design terms. It's a great place to begin. 

    But, if you're not in the mood for a visual representation, here are some basic graphic design concepts from the infographic. 

    • Wireframe

    • Here'w Why Users Hate Your Website (And What You Can Do About It) (Source: Pexels.com - used as royalty free image

      Look, it's 2016. Every brand has a website. It's not a value-adding proposition anymore, it's a requirement. 

      But what many businesses and individuals don't realize is that their website is actually turning off users, well before they ever get the chance to become paying customers. The fact is, a lot of websites - especially those made with free "build-it-yourself" templates online - kind of stink, and it's costing companies precious business. 

      Well, we're not going to stand for it anymore. We're here to expose the dirty little secrets of web design - and, hopefully, help make your site better along the way. Here are the reasons your website is doing more harm than good - and what you can do to turn it all around:

      1.) It’s Too Slow to Load

    • Search engine optimization, or SEO, is a process your brand can use to position itself highly on search engine ranking pages (also called SERPS).

      In a lot of ways, SEO is one of the most important tools you can use to get future customers to find your business’s information online. It’s also an effective way to keep users coming back for more, and increase the likelihood that your newfound website visitors will be primed and ready to become eager conversions, either right away or at some point down the line.

      In short, SEO really does matter. In 2018 and beyond, it’s an essential strategy for businesses of all sizes to have in place.

      But, then, this beggars another question: What goes into a successful SEO effort today?

      From the jump, it’s important to realize that SEO is a multi-faceted process, and a lot of different elements go into generating search engine success. It’s part art, part science, and part game – and you need to master all three of those buckets if you want to claim your rightful place at the top of the SERP.

      Today, we’re going to focus on one part of the SEO formula that often goes overlooked: The user.

    • How Skimmable Is Your Content? Here's Why It Matters!

      It all seems like we’re busier than ever these days, doesn’t it? Who has time for anything, let alone reading an entire article online?

      Indeed, research suggests that about 55% of pageviews are less than 15 seconds long. Just 15 seconds!

      Now, more than ever, it’s important to make sure that your content is unique, compelling, and skimmable; that is to say, simple to read and grasp quickly, without a lot of effort.

      But what does skimmable content look like now? How can you make sure your readers are getting the most out of your amazing content? Try these five tricks to make sure your content is effortlessly readable, in 15 seconds or less!

      1.) Keep Your Most Important Info “Above the Fold”

    • How to Build Your Forever Website

      In real estate, a lot of buyers dream of their “Forever Home.” It’s a place where they can live… well… forever! It’s a consistent, lifelong investment and source of equity. It’s something that owners can pass on to their children or grandchildren years down the line.

      In short, a Forever Home is about stability and security. And it doesn’t just apply to real estate and families. In fact, your brand can have a Forever Website. And it’s easier to build and maintain than you might think – as long as you think and work strategically.

      Want to create the unique site that’s comfortable, accessible, and, above all, valuable for your brand? Here are four important things to keep in mind as you craft your Forever Site:

      Include a CMS for Your Content

    • How to Create a Call to Action That Really Stands Out

      You’ve got an incredible product. You’re producing high-quality, SEO-focused content on a regular basis. You’ve got a solid social media marketing strategy in place. That’s all well and good.

      But how do you ultimately turn curious visitors into paying customers?

      The answer is a strong call to action. Let’s explore what a call to action does – and how you can maximize your own to start turning visitors into leads:

      What is a Call to Action?

    • How to Optimize Your Email Newsletter for Mobile (Source: Pexels.com - used as royalty free image)

      Mobile isn’t actually the next fantastical frontier for digital marketing anymore; It’s the everyday reality. Optimizing your brand’s marketing efforts for mobile is key, whether your campaign’s focus is on social, SEO, or even email marketing.

      But wait, you may be asking yourself, do that many people really check their inbox on a mobile device? Millions do, and with the rise of new technologies, mobile open rates are still growing constantly. In fact, the percentage of emails opened on mobile devices jumped up more than 500% between 2011 and 2014, from a mere 8% to 53%, according to Forbes. 

      Need another staggering statistic to convince you that mobile optimization is a colossal deal? In a study by BlueHornet, more than 80% of email marketing subscribers report that they will delete an email if it doesn’t look good on their mobile device.

      Email marketing is still one of the most effective marketing techniques at your disposal, and now is the time to expand your audience by reaching their tablets and smartphones.

      Here are five easy ways to optimize your email newsletter for mobile:

      1.) Use Larger Fonts

    • Is Your Site Indexed on Google? Here's Why It Matters

      We’ve talked again and again about the benefits of SEO. Crafting high quality content, perfectly primed to capture the eyes of curious search engine users, is a surefire way to increase your website traffic, bolstering your chances of retaining hot leads and creating conversions.

      But before you post a blog and call it a day, it’s important to ask yourself one key question: Do the search engines you’re trying to target even know that your site exists?

      The internet is a vast repository of information, so a lot of us naturally take for granted that everything we post is automatically filed away and given the same standing as the other content already housed online. This assumption isn’t wrong, per se, but it is a little misguided.

      Having a website that really succeeds with search engines all comes down to understanding just how Google, Bing, and Yahoo actually catalog and present their data. Let’s explore a little bit of the science behind the search, before breaking down the simple steps that will help ensure your website gets the attention it deserves.

      How Do Search Engines Find and Evaluate Content?

Jason Finn

Founder & Chief Geek

Jason has nearly 20 years of consulting experience, predominantly in the technology space. Most recently he was the COO and Director of Technology for Rich Casto & Company, a national training and consulting organization in the real estate industry.
As a consultant for IBM, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, and Envision Consulting Group (now IMS Health), Jason has served clients of all sizes, including Big Pharma, Fortune 500, and Global 1000 companies:

  • Allstate Insurance Company
  • AOL (America Online)
  • Astellas Pharmaceuticals
  • Eli Lilly and Company
  • Ford Motor Credit
  • Wockhardt USA (formerly Morton Grove Pharmaceuticals)
  • Norwich Union
  • PNC Bank
  • Reynolds and Reynolds

Sarunas Budrikas

Creative Director

Sarunas is a web design and development expert with hundreds of successful projects in his portfolio. He is passionate about delivering extraordinary user experiences for every client and consistently goes above and beyond everyone’s expectations. As an SEO expert and strategist, he can optimize your website, or app, to get the most out of it, day in and day out. Sarunas holds a degree in Electrical Engineering from Kaunas Technology University, in Lithuania. Sarunas now lives in Chicago, and calls it home.

Alexandra Olsavsky

Client Experience Specialist

Alex specializes in content generation and social media promotion for Geek | Chicago clients, helping to solidify their presence in the online community. This includes blog writing, graphic design, co-ordination and design of weekly newsletters, and active engagement on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn. Outside of Geek, Alex is a classically-trained soprano who professionally performs around the city of Chicago (most recently with the Chicago Baroque Band, and with the Rolling Stones for their "50 and Counting" tour).