Author: Mark Smallman

WordPress Themes: Free, Custom & Premium

There are a huge amount of not only free WordPress themes available; there are also a wide variety of premium themes available as well. These free themes can be found on various sites, however the best source for free themes, has to be the WordPress.org site itself, as all the themes available there have been vetted and tested.

I would urge anyone looking at either the free or premium theme route, to only source their theme from known reputable sources, as there have been many themes released that have contained dangerous and malicious code.

Free WordPress Themes

WordPress themes selection toolFree themes tend to tailor for a wide variety of site styles, where as the premium themes tend to be slightly more targeted towards certain niche markets, such as news, magazines, online shops and professions.
Of course, because these themes are free, they will have already been installed in thousands, or even millions of other sites. So this will mean your site will lack the identity and professionalism your business deserves.

Premium WordPress Themes

The downside of these premium WordPress themes is that they are often packed with ‘features’ and plugins built-in. This makes setting your initial site up, fairly easy as you don’t have to go hunting for plugins to give you the functionality you may need.

Note I said ‘downside’ – no, that’s not a typo.

You see, these built in features are often not optional, so if you buy a premium theme and the functionality does not quite do what you want it to, then you will either have to hire a developer to customize the code, or if you are able to, you can get your own hands dirty and dig into the code yourself. However, do not edit the theme code itself, as any future theme updates will remove any of your custom over-rides.

The result of all the extra features in the theme, means your site could be slow to load, due to ‘code bloat’, meaning it will have un-required code loading with each and every page, resulting in a slower site which means frustration for the site end users.

Then in months or years to come, when you want to switch the theme to match the latest design craze, or a new company branding things will get very tricky. As once you change your theme, you instantly loose all those features that attracted you to the theme in the first place.

So, how-about custom designed themes?

Having a theme designed specially for your business, means we are able to tailor the exact design requirements that you need in your theme, without any of that ‘bloat’. Features are built into the site via plugins. This means that you can carry these on to a new design if required in years to come.
using SublimeText to code WordPress themes A theme that is custom designed, means we can make your theme lean and fast. With no wasted code, or bloated features that don’t quite fit your need.

A well-crafted custom designed theme should require very few updates in its lifetime. Also, since the features are integrated via plugins that are separate from your theme, it means we can alter the functionality of the site without upsetting its overall look and feel. Similarly, should your company brand change, it will be relatively straight-forward to alter the look of your site, without interfering with the functionality.

Although we mainly offer custom designed themes, we do occasionally work with free or premium WordPress themes, if our clients’ requirements or budget dictates it. For a free initial consultation, contact us for a chat. We can go over the site requirements and guide you on which approach would be best suited for your online presence.

Content FAQ

What does Content mean?

In this context, it means anything having to do with words. Whether you need words written for an article or website, or an opinion on an article or manuscript you have written, that is what we do.

Do you do editing?

Yes, that is one of our main tasks here at GraphicAndWeb. We have edited everything from full-length novels right down to advertising slogans.

What can you write for me?

Except for academic papers (because that is illegal) we can write anything you need.

Why can’t I just do it myself?

You can, but do you want to take the time to try and do something that may not be your expertise, when you can just out-source it and take the time saved to grow your business?

Why do I need an Editor?

Every book you have ever loved has had an editor’s opinion. It’s the same reason plays have directors. You need an objective opinion on your work.

How much does it cost to hire you?

Our rates are flexible depending on the project. For instance, if you need a new article for your website on a weekly basis to keep it looking fresh, we can offer bulk discounts.

Graphic Design FAQ

What graphic design services do you offer?

We can create just about anything that can be printed or displayed on a screen. From business cards and stationery, to newsletters and magazines.

Do you offer printing services?

Yes, we have a network of trusted printers available to us. Our printers each have their own specialties, meaning we can select for you the best-equipped printer to produce your finished project on the best-suited material, and for the most cost effective prices. Maximizing your return on investment.

Can you create the artwork for me to get printed?

Of course, we will supply you the print-ready files once your designs are ready. However for price, we find we can often re-sell printing cheaper than the printers would sell it to you directly, this is due to our trade discounts, which we pass on to our clients.

Do you offer logo and branding?

Yes, we can create a logo to best represent your business, which will be instantly recognizable, and is created to be suitable for use on everything from social media, your website, to vehicle graphics. We can also produce brand guidelines for you to pass on to your marketing department.

How about digital publishing?

Absolutely, as well as traditional design for print, we can also produce e-books, digital publications and apps, which can be sold through iTunes and the Google Play store.

How much do you charge?

We have no hard-set prices for graphic design, as every project is so different. Prices will depend on the length of time required for the project, if stock images are required and any other associated costs, such as digital publication and app distribution costs. Talk to us today, we are confident we can offer you great value for our services, ensuring you gain maximum marketing impact and return on investment.

Marketing FAQ

Why do I need social media?

Social media gets your product or business where your customers are… on social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Tumblr Pinterest and Google Plus.

How much time does it require to do it right?

Really depends on your target market.  We suggest regular updates and can work on a social media strategy that works for your budget, for brand awareness and ROI.

Do you do consulting?  I think I can do this on my own…

Yes, we do offer consulting on social media strategy where we give you tips and guidance, and you take it from there!

Do you offer traditional marketing services?

Yes!  We offer traditional marketing services outside of digital marketing. We feel it’s important to think through a marketing situation through all possible vantage points for the most possible success.

What do you charge to do the work for me?

Contact us today to discuss your needs and we will do what we can to help you no matter what your budget.  If we can’t help you, we will do our best to refer you to someone who can.

Web Design FAQ

I need a site where I can edit the content; can you do that?

Absolutely, these sites are referred to as CMS (content management systems), and they are what we create for over 90% of our clients.

What is a blog?

In this context a ‘blog’ is a term given to a category of posts in a website. We can call this category anything that suits your company; we can name it ‘articles’ or ‘news’. Generally this will create a list of your most recent posts, these can be set to show your most recent posts at the top or bottom, or they can also be organized alphabetically. The posts can be used to keep your customers informed of events, news, articles, achievements or offers your business is offering.

Why should I have a blog?

A blog lets you keep your customers informed of news and special promotions. It allows you to interact with your customers and can be used to start a conversation on specific topics relevant to your business or industry sector. It also serves to add new content to your site, and keep it up-to-date which the search engines will reward you with good rankings on your search terms.

But I wouldn’t have time to keep a blog up to date!

No problem, if you are struggling to find the time to generate content for your blog or news section, we can assist by scheduling approved relevant content. Simply get in touch and we can discuss how this can be leveraged to keep your site up-to-date and keep it listed highly with the search engines.

So how much would a dynamic site, with a blog cost?

Web site creation costs can vary greatly, it will come down to how basic or advanced your site needs to be. If you need to sell products or services online, or offer a paid membership system it may increase the costs slightly. Similarly the time required for design and development can vary greatly also.

Call us today, and we will work to find you the best solution for your available budget.

Five Stupid Peter Principle Mistakes Your Competitors Make

You’ve heard of the Peter Principle, right? It holds that within a business or profession, an individual rises and is promoted until they reach their level of incompetence. The sound of this career path resembles a paraphrase of The Little Engine That Could:

I can do this!
I can do this!
I can do this!
I can do this!
… I suck

The key in business – heck, the key to life itself – is to keep doing the things you’re good at, and getting someone else to either teach you or do for you the things you’re not good at. So here are the five frequent mistakes your competitors make and you need to avoid.

  • Over-estimating their expertise – What kind of marks did you get in secondary school English? Or, what sort of comments did you receive on your post-secondary papers? If either were spotty or negative, why do you think that you can now write the Content for your website?
  • Preaching to the Choir – The key to a profitable business practice is growth. Once a business stops attracting new clients, it starts to die because existing clients retire, move on, or eventually literally die. So is the language of your marketing tools friendly to people who may not know much or anything about what you do, or is their language so jargon-heavy with insider references that – bluntly – no one knows what the hell you’re talking about?
  • Living in the Past – Let’s say that you built a marketing tool such as a website back in 2008. It served you perfectly well then, so why won’t it do n  ow? Well, you know what wasn’t around in 2008? There were no iPhones or iPads. That great website in 2008 may be invisible to both those popular devices today.
  • Trusting Only One Pair of Eyes – Let’s just call this one Arrogance. If you have ever read an indie novel or non-fiction book, you may well have run across inconsistencies, grammatical errors or typos that should have been avoided. They are there because the author did not consult a professional editor. Your business needs an editor who will offer an honest, clear assessment.
  • Looking In, Not Out – Do you look at what your competitors are doing? Do you look at what indirect competitors, such as suppliers or practitioners within your industry, are doing? If we asked you to name three marketing trends in your industry, could you name them off the top of your head and be accurate? Knowing What Was is good, knowing What Is proves vital, but knowing What Will Be creates the map of success.