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"Half of Small Businesses Don't Have a Website"

That is not a joke headline. It blows my mind, but last year, an Ad-ology study found, 46 percent of small businesses surveyed said they did not have a website.

What are they waiting for?

Granted, the number of small businesses with websites took a jump in the past two years, from 33 percent to 45 percent, a Discover study showed. How many more small businesses will join them this year? It's unclear.

In the Discover study, 46 percent of respondents said it's a myth that every company needs a website. And they're right--companies that don't want to be successful certainly shouldn't spend the time and money to develop a company site. So every company doesn't need one.

Yes, you can still be found in online phone directories and on Google maps and such, without a company site. But is that impressing prospects? Does your company have LinkedIn or Facebook page, without a company site to link to? I'm doubtful.

It's possible many of these skeptics plan to cave in and put up a website this year. A VistaPrint Small Business Survey last year showed 32 percent of small-business owners surveyed said they would work on Web development if they had more time or more money to devote to it. Perhaps as business improves, we'll see more sites sprout.

The no-website attitude reminds me of a prospective copywriting client I interviewed recently. He was dying to hire me to write content for his website--as soon as he landed his first client. How would he do that without the site to sell the company's services? He wouldn't--I've never heard back from him.

If you're on the fence about having a website, I have one question for you: How many big, successful companies don't have a website? I'm betting none. That's because a company website is just a basic, must-have marketing tool for the 21st Century.

Even better, online it's a level playing field for small business. You can make your company look just as good as bigger competitors, for very little money. Why would you pass up that chance?

by Carol Tice, Entrepreneur Magazine

{PPC} Pay Per Click Advertising

At Authentic Graphic Designs our Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising and management enables you to achieve a reliable presence on the front pages of the three major search engines.

Through a single contract with us, we place you on Google Adwords, Yahoo Advertising, and Microsoft adCenter (Bing). We place your small business advertisement within the search results pages when people are looking for your service.

We help businesses owners take their PPC to the next level, using our experience and research to avoid inefficient campaigns that cost more than they yield. You can eliminate search engine marketing from your daily tasks, while receiving more calls than ever through these programs.

What is Pay-Per-Click Advertising?

Pay-Per-Click is the term for search engine advertisement. It can provide an instant boost to your business, generating website visits and leads if the campaign is planned and implemented correctly.

However, a poorly planned PPC campaign can hurt your bottom line by forcing you to pay for clicks that don't result in sales. In order for the campaign to be successful, it must incorporate the following:

  • Use of proper keywords to target your potential customers
  • Knowledge of Google, Yahoo! and Bing advertising tools
    • Budget strategy and management to maximize the effectiveness of the campaign

    Otherwise, your ads may not reach people when they are looking for the service you provide. Or, the PPC ads may lead to many site visits, but not customers, costing you tremendously.

    Graphic Design & Website Design Services

    Layout Artist

    A layout artist deals with the structure and layout out of images and text in a pleasing format for printed media. This can include magazine work, brochures, flyers, books, cd booklets, posters, and that kind of thing. For something like a magazine, color, typeface, text formatting, graphic layout and more must be considered. Is the typeface chosen good for long term reading, or will the eyes get tired? Does that title typeface fit the feel of the rest of the article? Are the photos arranged in such a way that is pleasing to the eye, and directs the reader in the right flow or direction? These are just some of the questions a layout artist must ask themselves.

    Software that often is used for this kind of graphic design job is a layout program such as QuarkXPress, Adobe PageMaker, Adobe InDesign. They also may interact with a vector program such as Adobe Illustrator, Macromedia Freehand, and or a photo editing program such as Adobe Photoshop.

    Brand Identity Designer

    Brand identity design is concerned with the visual aspects of a company or organization's brand or identity. A brand identity design is the visual element that represents how a company wants to be seen; it is the company's visual identity, and is how a company illustrates its 'image.' A company's brand identity can be represented in terms of design through a unique logo, or signage, and is then often integrated throughout all the elements of a company's materials such as business cards, stationary, packaging, media advertising, promotions, and more.

    Brand identity design is also what helps consumers remember the company, and often what brings them back. The right brand identity design can be one of the company's strongest marketing tools as it translates the values, and strategic vision of a company into a consistent image that consumers become familiar with. A brand identity design, like a logo, is a tangible concept that gives the company a visual identity. This is important, as imagery is often what attracts 'visual' thinkers who aren't drawn in by words and numbers alone.

    An effective brand design is also never static; instead a company's brand should evolve as the company evolves. This may mean modernizing the visual image from time to time in terms of logo, tagline, typography, color palette, design, etc., but still staying close to the heart of the brand and what it stands for.

    In order to maintain consistency in their values and company goals, but also evolve with trends in design, many organizations will hire an in house brand identity designer, or work with a brand identity design firm or advertising agency to come up with appropriate brand designs for the image they are trying to convey. The job of the brand designer is to provide new or innovative ways to combine words and images to express the key message of a company, and the goal of the brand designer is to show consumers that the company is concerned about how it looks.

    Brand design is a creative and pragmatic approach that focuses on the needs of the client in areas such as identity, marketing communications, environment, product branding, packaging, and website design. A brand designer uses design and strategic thinking to help companies to find an appropriate brand identity that will help them prosper in competitive marketplace, and the ongoing task of a brand designer is to make sure the brand remains fresh and effective.

    Logo Designer

    A logo is a sketched or graphically designed symbol, set in a specific typeface or font, and arranged in a unique way, with distinct colors, shapes, and designs to represent a company, product, organization, agency, or service. A logo, however, is more than just a graphic symbol. A logo is a brand identity image, or a tag of a company or product. A logo is a tangible concept that provides a company with a visual image, and that fosters recognition by consumers.

    There are so many corporations, products, services, agencies, and other organizations that use a logo to represent their image that the uniqueness and recognizability of a logo becomes a very important element. A logo is what helps customers remember the company or product, and is often what brings them back. The right logo can be one of the strongest marketing tools as it is a consistent image that consumers become familiar with, and that provides clarity to consumers and suppliers as to what the brand or product is. Examples of good logos are those that can be easily differentiated form other logos, and ones that are easily recognized due to their unique typography or distinctive coloring.

    Companies spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to update and implement their logos, and to keep them fresh and innovative. Many companies will hire in house logo designers to design their logos, but most will turn to local graphic design firms or advertising agencies to design their logos for them as that is where most experienced logo designers work.

    The job of a logo designer is to provide a new and innovative way to express the key message of a company through a recognizable image. Logo designers take the information given to them by the client and work, using their own creativity along with marketing strategy to find an appropriate image that their client can use to represent what they are trying to encourage, or sell, or what they are about. Logo designers will often come up with several different designs before going to a client in order to give the client several options to choose from. From there, the logo designer will work with the chosen image, producing alternatives for different contexts, and making sure that the design can be consistent across a variety of media, until they have come up with exactly what they and the client are looking for.

    Flash Designer

    Flash is the newest and trendiest technology currently used in web design. Nearly everyone ranging from beginners to experienced web designers are learning how to create and implement Flash in their websites.

    Flash is a multimedia graphics program written and distributed by Macromedia, and is designed specifically for use on the web. Flash is a tool for creating interactive and animated web sites, and uses vector and raster graphics, which means that the graphics can be scaled to any size without losing clarity or quality. Flash also uses a native language called ActionScript, as well as bidirectional streaming of video and audio.

    As a Flash designer you will be able to create interactive "movies" on the web using Flash technology. You will be able to create and customize dozens of different effects including text, navigation animation, video, and audio, and you will be a part of the massive movement in the web design and development industry into the broader use of this popular product.

    Illustrator

    Illustrators conceptualize and create illustrations that represent an idea or a story through two-dimensional or three-dimensional images. Illustrators may do drawings for printed materials such as books, magazines, and other publications, or for commercial products such as textiles, packaging, wrapping paper, greeting cards, calendars, stationary, and more. Illustrators use many different mediums, from pencil and paint, to digital formatting, to prepare and create their illustrations. As an illustrator, you will consult with clients in order to best determine what illustrations will best meet the story they are trying to tell, or what message they are trying to communicate.

    Photoshop Artist/Photo Editing

    One of the greatest advantages of the digital age is digital photography and photo editing. Digital photography and photo editing allow you to take digital photographs, or digital images and manipulate, crop, color-correct, and otherwise fiddle with them using photo- editing software. There are a few different types of photo-editing software out there, each designed to let you optimize color, contrast, and brightness, or resize and manipulate images.

    Photoshop is one of the newest and trendiest software programs currently used in photo editing. Nearly every professional digital photographer or photo editor, ranging from beginner to very experienced, is using Photoshop to edit and enhance his or her work. Photoshop is a computer photo-editing program that was developed and published by Adobe systems, and is now the market leader for photo editing/photo manipulation work, and also probably the most well known, and widely used piece of software among graphic designers, engineers, interior designers, photographers, and photo editors. With groundbreaking creative tools, like more efficient editing, processing, and file handling, Photoshop provides photo editors with unprecedented possibilities, allowing you to clean up your photo images, and get the best picture in less time.

    Learning to use Photoshop is also becoming easier. There are training courses, and training software available to teach you how to use Photoshop, and its different prescribed tools and techniques. Through training in Photoshop you will learn to manipulate and customize images, and do such things as create compositions of several layers, design graphics with high resolution, manage color at the pixel level, and use scanners, printers, and photo CDs. You will also learn in detail how to scan old photos and slides, and repair damaged photos using Photoshop tools.

    Photo editing, and new photo editing software like Photoshop has helped professional photographers and designers more easily bring their visions to life through advertisements, magazine layouts, billboards, logos, and just about every other multi-media medium. And although photo-editing software was primarily designed for editing images for print, Photoshop and other photo editing software is being used increasingly to produce images for the web, and more recent versions of Photoshop include more specialized tools for this purpose specifically.

    Today Photoshop is becoming even better known and widely used as it delivers a broader scope of tools for photo editors. Having a knowledge of how to use Photoshop can provide proof to others that your skills in photo editing are as up to date as they can be.

    Multimedia Designer

    As a multimedia designer, you will produce sketches, scale models, plans or drawings that will be reviewed by a director or production manager. You may design props, sets and costumes; direct set assistants on design interpretations, and advise on other areas of technical production such as lighting and sound in order to make sure that production sets resemble your designs and meet requirements.

    Photographer

    Photography is more than just capturing an image. Professional photographers need to learn how to use the camera and other photography equipment such as lights, film, lenses, filters, digital technology, as well as their own creative vision, to produce images that communicate the desired message or feeling. Often a substantial amount of time is spent trying to find and capture the right photograph, that is why getting an education, or advanced training in photography can help you to develop the skills necessary to become a photographer and succeed in this highly competitive and creative field.

    Web Designer

    As a web designer, your work could be viewed by thousands of people everyday. Web designers create the pages, layout, and graphics for web pages, and play a key role in the development of a website. Web designers have the task of creating the look and feel of a website by choosing the style, and by designing attractive graphics, images, and other visual elements, and adapting them for the website's pages. Web designers also design and develop the navigation tools of a site. As a web designer, you will make decisions regarding what content is included on a web page, where things are placed, and how the aesthetic and continuity is maintained from one screen to the next. All of this involves skill and training in computer graphics, graphic design, and in the latest in computer and web technology.