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We live in a cell phone era, ever connected and constantly evolving. This mentality allows access to unlimited information at the click of a button. But that has major implications for those supplying the information. It’s a competitive platform and it’s all too easy to swipe right these days. The window of time to captivate the audience on the other end of a tiny cellular screen is impossibly small, 3 seconds of time to be exact. But all is not lost. With the right knowledge and tools, your site can effectively do it all – share information, leave an impression and ultimately grow a business. M Agency is here to offer these five key points to help you navigate your presence in the World Wide Web.

Mobile responsive websites matter

1. Lessen the load time
Find ways to minimize load time. If a page takes more than 3 seconds to load, you will lose more than half of the audience. Page load time along with responsive web design (our next point) are basic criteria in determining where your site will sit on a search engine. Be sure to update, yes the information, but also the website itself to ensure the quickest response time. As technology progresses and your site evolves and engages more readers, tune ups will be needed. Stay plugged in to your own site from an outside view as well to address any issues or delay immediately. One failed upload could mean a lost line of clientele.

2. Responsive websites beat “mobile version”
A successful site is one that can optimize its performance by recognizing the device being used. Is it a desktop or laptop? A tablet? A cell phone? Studies show that almost half of today’s web visits are being conducted over a mobile device. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t another half of requests coming from larger devices with a wider viewing capacity. Master them all in one execution with a responsive web design. A successful website will seem in-tune with contradicting colors and boxing that can be more evident in a confined space than might be on a full computer screen. When tables turn, that same site is intentional with white space and margins, and how things align when they are expanded. Responsive web design and marketing gurus have the ability to see from all angles. With these resources, your site will take device size into account and serve appropriate images and text. It will keep you on Google’s radar!

3. Designate a calling order
Once you’ve mastered a responsive web design, you’ll want to visualize the order of importance and impact. Configure the design intentionally across device sizes with strong layout, headlines, images and colors. If your page is fast to load, then the 3-second window to make an impression will be a reason for guests to stay and return. Follow the first glimpse of aesthetic design with calls to actions through content and visuals. Consider what your mobile users are looking for and improve their experience.

Take a moment to reflect on your M – your driving force. What is the intention of your business? Why is this person visiting your page? If you are a hospital, your reason for being is obvious, so a website would want to clearly provide contact information and easy-to-follow directions. If you are a small start-up business, the goal might be to define services offered but also to establish introductions and your presence in the community. For M Agency, as a marketing firm, we are proud that a good half of our site is dedicated to our clients, testimonials and examples of our work with the people that continue to fuel our “M”.

Mobile phone users are always connected

4. Don’t neglect older technology
Not every consumer is reaching out on the latest version of the iPhone. Keep those people in mind and while you’re exploring all the new web features and apps available, be sure not to override the most important information. Fancy moving text or a large video file on a home page can easily clog an old browser. That doesn’t mean to rule out trendy gadgets for your site but find the balance, be sure the main message is available and keep in mind possible restraints.

5. Think outside of the box while working inside of the box
Obviously being creative with minimal space is a must. Find clever ways of incorporating a logo, a mission statement, or a moving image. Sure you want the purpose of your business and time to be clear but then find a unique means of helping your website stand out in the sea of others. Think of interactive outlets. Give them a reason to remember you by engineering an effective work of art. Pinpoint your style. Give your logo and branding a theme that can flow through each page and give the site a cohesiveness that is desired of a mobile site.

It’s a wild world out there and the fittest survive and thrive. We want to see that success for you and your site. If you want a keen eye on your web presence and direct help from the inside, here are a few of websites that we have recently designed and launched:

Evergreen Personal Injury Counsel

Weisman Design Group

Galvin Flying


Source:

Microsoft Dropping the Browser Brand of Internet Explorer in Order to Compete is Great News for Website Designers

By: Trang Nguyen | MPS Blogger

Internet Explorer is like the last kid to be picked in gym class when it comes to Internet browsers. For years now, it has taken a back seat to Safari, Firefox, and Chrome to just name a few. If you really think about it, when was the last time you used Internet Explorer by choice? So it was no surprise when Microsoft recently announced that it would be dropping the Internet Explorer brand and moving in a different direction for its next browser release.

Internet-Explorer-600x390There have been numerous rumors swirling that Microsoft would be eliminating Internet Explorer, but the official confirmation has created a lot of buzz. Specifically, from web designers and developers who are excited to see the browser go. Internet Explorer has been a headache inducing program and is stigmatized for being buggy, making coding a website immensely difficult. Broken pages and having to deal with the same issues occurring over and over again are only a few of the issues. It doesn’t seem like the public is very sad to see Internet Explorer kicked to the curb, Microsoft included. There has been so much negative feedback in the past that the company looks to move on.

Although Microsoft is choosing to drop the brand, the process won’t be happening immediately. Some version of Internet Explorer will still be programmed into the new Windows operating system, but the new browser, currently labeled Project Spartan will be the default way for users to gain access to the web. Eventually Internet Explorer will be phased out completely. This new browser, Project Spartan is said to be faster, sleeker and more user friendly, very similar to its competitive counterparts.

Here at Marketing Puget Sound, custom websites are a major aspect of our business. We are excited to see how Project Spartan will affect web development and design when it is released. What are your thoughts on Microsoft cutting the ties?

Source: Hello Giggles  & Site Point
Photo Credit: Beta News

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Why it is Important to Market your Website’s Patient Portal

By: MPS Writer

Patient Portal Marketing | Marketing Puget SoundClients we work with are in healthcare, from chiropractors to dentists and even facial surgeons. As we work to build new websites and redesign old ones for these specific clients, we find that requests for patient portals are becoming more and more common. Patient Portals vary in their functionality, but some allow patients to view their information, request appointments, view test results, make payments and overall have greater access to all of their health information. The concept is to engage people to be more involved and aware of their health.

This is not just a trendy new online feature; it’s actually a law, which states that not only are medical offices required to have a patient portal on their website, but there must be a log in rate of at least 5% by patients or the medical office is charged with a fee. This last requirement is where some healthcare businesses run into problems. Many patients are not even aware that their medical office has on online patient portal, or even how to access to it or what it has to offer, which where our team can help.

There are a number of strategic techniques that MPS can put into play, from the design of collateral to a strategically planned campaign. Each medical practice has a different target audience, so when you are thinking about how to engage activity for your practice’s Patient Portal, always consider the demographics, age, and needs of your audience in order to make the greatest impact.

If you need any ideas or help with getting a higher conversion rate for your Patient Portal, we are here to help! Give us a call today or use our online chat feature to schedule a consultation and learn how Marketing Puget Sound can add a patient portal and improve your business.


Sources: http://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/236857/helping-patients-get-the-most-from-patient-portals.html
photo credit: In The Zone – DSC_5073 via photopin (license)


 

Organization: Cascade Regional Blood Services

Timeframe of Project: April 2014 – May 2014

It’s very possible that you’ve seen their logo, or have actually donated with them. Since 1946, Cascade Regional Blood Services (CRBS) has provided blood to Multicare Health System and Franciscian Health System hospitals and clinics in the Pierce and South King County. Their old website was built in a dated web environment, which had become increasingly difficult for managing & updating content, and left the site vulnerable to hacking.

First Step
When CRBS reached out to us, their website’s links had been directly attacked, and the site wasn’t accessible. Our first item of action was to create a landing page for the homepage. This alerted their users that the site was under construction, but provided essential contact information & hours of operations.

Website Project Scope
A key element that they wanted on their new site was to have it built in a platform that was easy to manage and update it with new content. WordPress Content Management System (CMS) is a great solution for this. We collaborated with their design & marketing team to create a website that would be easy for new donors to obtain information and make appointments, or for returning donors to locate upcoming drives in their neighborhood.

Workflow
Our development team provided a wireframe for the homepage user interface and their Marketing Communications Supervisor pulled the design together. After the design of the website had been finalized and approved by CRBS, we moved forward with developing the site to make it functional and responsive. Their new website built on WordPress CMS went live on May 29th, 2014. Check It Out

Deliverables

  • Temporary landing page
  • Wireframe and design collaboration
  • Custom coded website development
  • Dynamic backend dashboard, easy for updating content as needed.
  • Social Media Integration – Facebook feed.
  • Mobile responsive & cross browser website.

Client Comments
I want to say thank you for all of your work on this project. You really helped us get from a nightmare situation to a beautiful product easily and painlessly, and we really appreciate that.” – Rachel Young, Marketing Communications Supervisor, Cascade Regional Blood Services.

Updating your website with new content doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Contact Us today learn more about upgrading your website to a WordPress CMS, or call our Tacoma office at 253-503-1227.


In the world of website design, people fall into two categories: those who design websites, and those who use them. Though website visitors are the most important critic, too many designers build visually appealing websites without keeping user functionality in mind.

When we create a custom website design at Marketing Puget Sound, we develop it for the user’s experience.  Our website developers and content writers aim to keep things simple, intentional, and most of all, user friendly.

Our web developers, Ryan and Annika, were asked what they considered most important when creating a custom website design. They agreeably replied, “design with a purpose, and don’t waste the user’s time.” That being said, there are a few considerations that all developers need to think about when building a custom website design.

  • Compatibility
    Users access websites from various browsers on computers, phones, tablets, and other devices. Make sure that your design adapts easily across all platforms.
  • Structure
    The structure of your custom website design needs to be intentional. Keep things well organized and easy to navigate so that users are not spending unnecessary time searching for the information they need.
  • Content
    Content needs to be strategically placed and meaningful. Present the most relevant information on the pages where your visitors are most likely to go, such as the home and parent pages. And don’t forget to SEO treat your content so that your site ranks highly on search engines.
  • Appearance
    Everyone wants a beautiful website design, but don’t let that take priority. Overdone design elements can be distracting, hard to follow, and take away from the message your website is trying to convey.

Remember, people will focus more on a bad experience than on a simple design, so put more effort into your website being functional than being fancy.

If you are looking for a custom website design that is user friendly for your visitors, and pretty easy on the eyes, let our team at Marketing Puget Sound build it for you. Give us a call at (253) 503-1227, we’d be happy to help!


Pumped up and ready to rock 2014, we want to share a piece of our marketing brains and explain what we do for local businesses. In particular, we’d like to chat about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and how this technique will help maximize your business marketing plan for 2014. Maybe you’ve heard of the term, but never fully grasped its what it meant.

SEO is a very efficient resource to improve and promote your website to increase the number of visitors to your site through search engines such as Google. It’s an organic approach to ensure that your website ranks highly on those results page, and so that prospect who are interested in your specific product are able to find you.

Search engines determine what sites are ranked highly by routinely covering websites with crawlers. Crawlers analyze web content, copy the pages, and then index them so that users can search for the most relevant information to them.  SEO helps make your content more accessible to the crawlers and easier for them to read.  The easier your site is to read, the more likely it will be indexed in a way that it will be ranked highly on a web search.

Though SEO is extremely important to the success of a company’s website, there is much more to effective Business Marketing Plans. Marketing Puget Sound is a Tacoma marketing firm with an experienced team that proudly serves the growing business’s of the Pacific Northwest. If you have questions about Search Engine Optimization, tweet us @MPSTacoma!








Blue Mouse Theatre Birthday

The Blue Mouse Theatre, a community-supported movie house in Tacoma’s Proctor District celebrates its 90th birthday today, November 13, 2013. The theatre is recognized as the longest running movie house in the State of Washington. Many upgrades have happened for the theatre since 1923, structurally and technologically. The most recent change is the new website, which was developed and donated by Marketing Puget Sound.

The new website launched the week of the Blue Mouse Theatre’s 90th birthday and features a more modern look, while maintaining the historic integrity of the Blue Mouse Theatre. You may notice a slightly updated logo of the famous mouse. The website is easier to navigate, full of information, and showcased with updated photographs. In the future, people may be able to purchase tickets and gift cards online.

During 90 years of business, the Blue Mouse Theatre has captured the hearts of people from all walks of life. One testament to this support is the theatre’s digital projector. This past year over 1,000 people raised $84,194 to buy a digital projector for the theatre to continue to show new movies. After 2013, 35mm films won’t be made, so the theatre had to either upgrade or close the doors. Other recent upgrades include new carpet and seating.

Our community is lucky to have such a stunning historic theatre run by dedicated people, such as Blue Mouse Manager, Susan Evans. The Blue Mouse Theatre shareholders work hard to ensure the sustainability of this beautiful theatre.

Celebrate the Blue Mouse Theatre’s 90th birthday by watching a fun movie, paying for your friend’s $5 ticket to come with you, and snacking on fresh popcorn with the coveted Blue Mouse mug! See the Blue Mouse Theatre’s new website at www.bluemousetheatre.com for more information.

Contact Marketing Puget Sound for information about web development, graphic design, and integrated marketing for your business.

 


When should you update your website?
Websites are your online storefront and they are often the first impression you make with potential customers. If your website isn’t a true reflection of your business, then it is time to update! This is precisely why Marketing Puget Sound is about to launch our brand new website.

What is different about the new Marketing Puget Sound website?
Our new site will be more visually appealing and user-friendly. Information will be easier to find and read. You will also get to know our team better through our fun “About Us” page. We are excited to incorporate pictures from our recent photo-shoot with J. Hobson Photography [link]. Our work portfolio is updated to showcase our absolute best work.

Why is a fresh website good for business?
A professional and beautifully created website will show your customers that you are a legitimate business that is serious about your products and services. These days, most people search online when they are ready to buy something. Your website should show them why your business is the best fit for their needs. If you have a brick and mortar store, a website allows you to be available to customers 24/7.

How do I know my website needs a makeover?
You should consider a new website if:

  • Is not getting the web traffic you want.
  • Takes a long time to load.
  • Is not visually appealing.
  • Doesn’t show your company’s true personality.
  • Lacks professional-grade images.
  • Doesn’t have consistent branding throughout.
  • Is extremely text-heavy and is not appealing to read.
  • Lacks compelling content.
  • Is not user-friendly.
  • Doesn’t have a mobile or responsive site.
  • Has an outdated look and functionality.
stats-for-web-development

Leave a comment below and let us know what you think of our new website!


As far as Internet browsing is concerned, Smartphones and tablets have replaced the desktops and laptops. Recent reports have revealed that in 2012, 30% of total search queries in Google have been made from the handheld devices tablets, i-pods and Smartphones. But if the reports are to be taken into consideration, the infinitesimal 21% is slated to cross 50% within the period of next 2 years. This means, the website owners need to adopt the “mobile first” strategy, quickly.

What do you need to make the mobile website of your business successful? From using a responsive design technique to choosing the best mobile web developer, here are a few tips which will help you stay ahead of the game:

#1. Go for Responsive Web Design
Frankly speaking, your business website will not survive the long race unless the design is done using responsive technique. With the rise of mobile devices, you need to optimize your website to make it fit for viewing on every device with an Internet connection. And responsive web design will help in resizing your website based on the screen resolution of the device used to view it. So, your website will appear just as it is – whether viewed on a 21-inch computer monitor or a 5-inch smartphone.

#2. Opt for Single-column Layouts
The small screen of a mobile device offers limited amount of space. In such small spaces, single-column layouts help in scaling between different resolutions of various sized devices. Single-column also makes it easy to flip between landscape and portrait mode. You can also go with multi-column layouts initially. Just make sure that you use responsive web design technique and change it to a single-column layout.

#3. Set up Collapsible Navigation
Hoe about taking the single-column layout a step extra? Go for collapsible navigation. This can work wonders for your mobile website if you have a lot of content to present. A considerable amount of content often looks clumsy in a small space. Implementation of collapsible navigation allows you to fold modules that can be opened with a tap. Users have the option of opening the module they want to read and keep the other modules hidden.

#4. From ‘Clickable’ to ‘Tappable’
Finger taps on a mobile and mouse clicks on a computer serve the same purpose: interaction. However, the usability dynamics are far from being similar. When the conversion of a regular desktop screen-sized website is carried out, the clickable elements like menus and buttons must be given importance. They should not only be made tappable, but should also be made larger in size so that they can accommodate the press of a finger.

#5. Choosing a Suitable Web Developer
A good mobile web developer should be well-acquainted with the latest trends in the world of mobile web. Do not be in a hurry while choosing the developer. As you contact a developer, tell him what you exactly need and check how much he can understand your requirements. Make sure to check his portfolio and the feedback’s given by his previous clients. If you have not already seen MPS portfolio then your missing out!

Before the launch, make sure to test you mobile website on various devices. And you also need to keep in mind that the website runs with equal ease on every operating system. With all these points kept in mind, you’ll have no problem in getting the mobile website up and ready.


Usability and ease of access are two of the most important aspects of modern web design — although often overlooked by design/development teams.  We, as users, expect the websites we frequent to be quick, intuitive, and allow easy access to the content we’re seeking.  At Marketingpugetsound, user experience starts from the initial client contact, and is adhered to throughout  the web design and development process.   We strive for clean, lean, and semantic HTML markup, and work toward delivering a website that is quick and easy to use.

How to make your website fast(er)
There are many ways to make a fast website, but the first place to start is in the code.  As a web developer, I generally check out page code, just to satisfy my own nerdy sense of curiosity, and I’m frequently stunned at what is passing for website code these days.  Here are a couple of tips to help you make your own site a little quicker:

Tip 1
If you use a content management system, like WordPress, Joomla, or Drupal, make sure to only enable the plugins or modules you’re actually using.  Each one of those plugins is likely making your website just a tad to a bunch slower.

Tip 2
Uploading DSC_3025-42.JPG straight out of your camera and onto your website is a bad idea.  Trim that image a bit!  Most cameras these days shoot pictures at least 2000+ pixels wide by default, and most websites you view on your laptop are around 960-1040 pixels wide.  And if you’ve ever tried to load a gigantic picture on your iphone–well, I think I’d rather watch my beard grow.

Tip 3
Minimize or eliminate your Adobe Flash content.  We’ve all heard the talk, and flash is out for the web.  In many cases, flash is the heaviest thing on your page.  With the advances in CSS, Jquery, and HTML markup, you can achieve much of the same functionality without the added weight of Adobe Flash.

Tip 4
Remember, you don’t have to put everything on one page.  Sure, the home page gets the most views, but remember first impressions are the most important.  If you’ve got the kitchen sink on the home page of your website, its going to take forever to load, and then your users click away.  You don’t want that do you?

How to make your website easier to use
Well, now that you’ve sped up your site, it’s time to make it a little easier on the eyes (and easier to use!). Here are a couple of tips that I suggest right of the bat:

Let your design BREATHE!
Give your content a little breathing room by adding some space between the elements.  The quickest way to get something noticed on your website is to increase the space around it.  A tight, cluttered layout just makes it that much more difficult to sift through everything to find out what’s important.  Save your users that.

Be clear what I can click, and what I can’t

Certain best practices have evolved on the internet, and many still aren’t adhered to.  Give the user feedback where appropriate, don’t make me wonder where I’m at on your website, stick to established convention unless you’re sure it’ll be a better user experience.  If you are a web designer, blow the dust off your copy of Don’t Make Me Think! by Steve Krug.  Even 10 years after it was published, it still applies.  That must mean something!

Write content for human beings, not googlebots

I know everything in your being tells you to stick as many seo keywords and location names as you can into your content, but think about who you’re trying to cater to:

People!
When I read something that sounds like it was written by Siri on my iphone, It makes my head hurt.  Please try to remember that at some point, humans may be reading your content and give them something engaging to consume.

Don’t forget about the Mobile Web!
Remember, more and more people are using your website on their mobile phone or tablet.  Of course it’s best if you can cater your design to them specifically by using Responsive Web Design practices, but maybe you’re not ready for a website redesign yet!  Here are a couple of mobile gotchas and how you can deal with them:

Touchscreen devices don’t “hover”.  That means any navigational elements that require hovering your mouse over them to work are difficult, if not impossible on a mobile phone or tablet.

Most mobile users want quick, easy access to the information they seek.  This goes for websites in general, but is specifically important for mobile users.  When you’re on the bus, and remember that you need to make a dentist appointment, is it easy to get at the telephone number on their website from your phone?

Make user experience first in your web design
The web is a fantastic place, full of possibilities for your business and brand.  Remember to cater to your users, and put the customer first.  Through following best practices, and creating engaging content, you can open up many business opportunities to grow your brand online.  At Marketingpugetsound we’re putting our customers first, and delivering for them the best user experience possible on the web.

Incorporate Cat videos:
Lets not forget about cats. Everyone likes cats.  Here’s how one agency incorporates them into their design process: