Recent blog posts - WebSubstance - Page 7

A Few Reasons to Update Your Portrait


Some companies invest in professional portrait services or other photography services, and that's a good idea. Not having this kind of photography on a web site can create a poor impression. But there's another issue: companies can end up using these images long past their expiration dates.

Here are some of the best reasons for having professional and up-to-date images on your site.

Changes in Your Image

Simply put, people change their appearances over time. Taking a look at old portraits, you might notice that you're wearing different and possibly outdated clothing. Any improvements you made to hairstyles or other aspects of how you look won't be reflected in the old pictures. And at the end of the day, these pictures probably just don’t look like you.

Having updated pictures does a few things for your site -- it gives a more consistent impression of who you are now, and it can also make you look more professional online.

Changes in Photography Trends

Photography equipment and technique also has changed quickly over the last few decades. Even ten years ago, the technology that was used wasn’t consistent with what's being done today.

Old portraits can often look washed out, poorly lit, or otherwise less attractive for a web site. It’s a combination of when the pictures were taken, and how they were taken. But it’s fixable.

Want Better Than the Originals?

Getting the best photos on a page takes thought. Maybe the originals are okay, but you want something that really wows the crowds. Are your pictures and profile images enough? Are they welcoming and accommodating? Do they look attractive and professional?

It's also a good idea to look at other visual aspects like skin-tone and eye tone.. Getting the right photo retouch in post processing will give you the right skin tone, and make your eyes sparkle like diamonds in the sky. 

Working with WebSubstance

At WebSubstance, part of what we offer is professional photography services that bring professionalism to a site. We can help you to update old pictures or create a brand-new photo archive for landing pages and more. We work closely with our clients, using techniques in postproduction to optimize photos and make them look natural and friendly, as well as modern. We take the time to review your portraits and get your feedback, to get you just the right results.

Photography is one of the extras that we bring to the table as a web design company. When you get a brand-new web site, you don't just want average photography, you want what's good. Let us help you build your site visually to create a better impression.

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The Reader’s Eye


One of the big principles that researchers are looking at in the technology world involves how people perceive things, how they receive images to the brain and how they process different kinds of information. Groundbreaking research is showing us much more about how the human brain works, and that's playing out in many different fields.

Print Versus Digital Reading

One important aspect of layout and design for the web is based on differences in how people read and take in electronic pages versus print pages.

This article in Scientific American goes into detail about how reading is different online and on paper. There is the issue of how to take in information, where lots of people prefer the printed page, but there's also the issue of composition -- how to more effectively reach readers on the web and offer them accessible information. For example, the article shows how on-screen reading is “more mentally and physically taxing” but it doesn’t say much about how to alleviate some of this burden with white space, good text and image layout, etc. That’s what experienced designers have learned on their own, over time.

Sophisticated Scientific Models

At the vanguard of this kind of science, some pioneers have gone beyond simple evaluation and started to explore models like ‘hierarchical temporal memory’ or HTM that actually show how our neocortex works. These are becoming a critical part of artificial intelligence models, and they're also helping the rest of us to understand just why it is that we might respond to different cues on different web sites and pages in a similar way.

Web Design with WebSubstance

At WebSubstance, our professionals understand the ways that the most effective web sites reach viewers. We will help you build web sites that are effective and responsive to a customer’s needs. We are experienced in providing the right kind of composition and layout, and complementing the core of a web site with available extras that will make your customer’s experience even better.

Rely on a web shop that is a leader in its field, and has done the research on digital media. We’ll make the decision-making process easy, and walk you through the major aspects of building a web site that works. Our customer service approach is to truly assist our clients in taking the hassles and headaches out of comprehensive web design. Let us be an effective partner in transferring your dreams and visions into an actual working site that accomplishes the goals and objectives of your business.

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What Do You Have to Sell?


No matter what kind of company you are working for, or who you represent, everyone creating a web site has something they want to sell.

Sometimes it's a set of physical products -- the manufacturer, distributor or retailer will have fancy new gear that they want to show off to a target audience. Other times, the question of what's being sold is more abstract -- there's a set of objectives, a particular kind of messaging, or a core concept that a company wants to put forward. Service companies do this all the time -- they try to characterize what they do for their clientele and make that a centerpiece of their web site.

Creating a Thesis Statement for a Web Site

Because business strategies are sometimes complex, there are core philosophies that IT people and web designers use to make sure a site is accurate. One of these involves creating a ‘thesis statement,’ a central idea that the web site will flow around. For example, for product sites, there may be a lot more focus on particular images of the newest product line, along with items like technical sidebars on specifications, or brilliantly laid out text blocks showing how these products are the best in their industry. What's at the center of this is a core statement or goal that the designers build from.

Adding Image and Text

When building out from the core idea and plugging in visuals and text, designers take care to keep everything relevant and optimized for a web audience. For example, rather than using generic stock images for a page, smart designers will use images that truly show the values that the client wants. They look at not just what the image should be, but where it should go. The same holds true for all of that messaging that gets added to the pages in various shapes and sizes -- the typography and the layout make a big difference in final results.

Looking from the Customer's Eyes

The best web designers keep assessing pages and sites as they build them, looking at them from the perspective of the end user. They make an attempt to see what others will see when they load up a site. That helps in designing the most effective landing pages, product pages and other parts of the site that help with that vital goal -- to sell what you need to sell.

Working with WebSubstance

At WebSubstance, we’re dedicated to always building sites that provide value for our customers. Our teams are experienced in doing that specific layout and composition that supports an effective site. We're used to doing in-depth analysis, and putting ourselves in the customer’s shoes, to build targeted content that will fit on a page and really welcome and accommodate audiences.

Anyone can build a web site, but it takes a skilled professional to really make the results look good and reach out to people who visit the URL or web address. Ask us about how we can build from that essential core, and help with extras like photography and search engine optimization.

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Does Your ‘Platform’ Make a Difference in Web Design?


When it's time to create a web site, there are lots of decisions to be made. These days, companies and other site creators have a lot of options for creating smoothly styled and user-friendly sites.

User-friendly Web Site Creation

Different strategies offer easy ways to do web design. Planners want intuitive controls on the back end, a logical relationship between the back end and the front end, and transparent ways to monitor the site for traffic and more.

Basically, companies want web surfers to be able to go in and access all parts of the site without having to scroll around or click around in confusion. They want an “intuitive” site that is welcoming and accommodating, even for people who have not grown up around computers. But all of this takes detailed work and dedication. These kinds of web sites don’t write themselves. They rely on professional design objectives and experienced webmasters doing in-depth work to create a good site, the way an architect designs a livable and comfortable home.

Creating the Right Impression

Another issue with web design is the visual impression that a site will make. This is another aspect of the industry where there's fierce competition in terms of offering customers what they want. With new technologies for consistent page creation, web designers are able to really put together sites that look professional and that make a client look good.

Using Web Platforms

Finding the right programming environment for a web site can be challenging. This is where companies often have a hard time figuring out the path toward creating those results that they need.

Skilled vendors, on the other hand, have worked with a variety of ‘platforms.’ They know how to choose the ones that will make the most sense for a particular project, and even more important, how to tailor the chosen resource toward the client’s needs and objectives.

Working with WebSubstance -- Getting Targeted Results

At WebSubstance, our expert designers know how to use a given platform to get the best result. We will help you look through design schematics and listen to your ideas about what you need, not just for landing pages that shine, but for actual site functionality that you can use to keep in touch with customers, streamline sales processes and much more. That’s why we ask about a client’s “three to five year plan” in terms of goals, to match those with what we design.

We understand why platforms offer the tools that they do, and how companies can use them to get superior web sites built. We’ll also help with extras like strategic content writing and other kinds of planning for a site. Let us help to create the best web impressions for reaching an audience and growing a business over time.

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The Impact of Compelling, Original, Quality Content

Across the Internet marketing world, companies of all sizes are trying to figure out what really works on the web.

One thing that’s emerging, as a common philosophy and something that’s also borne out by numbers, is that creating intriguing, substantial web content is a way to get real brand visibility, and keep people coming back, to eventually buy.

The Content Philosophy

More business leaders are experiencing a ‘conversion’ from the days of the average, keyword-stuffed, short SEO post, to a new vision of ‘real pages’ that make sense and that readers connect to.

Contently, an engine for brand content serving many established blue-chip companies, is pushing this idea, but firms like this one are not alone. They’re joined by some household names in evangelizing about good content and how it works. For example, Contently’s Ritika Puri interviewed Pinterest head of content strategy Tiffani Jones Brown, the idea of high quality content as a “prime mover” of e-commerce is something that emerged as a main theme.

Doing the ROI

Yes, but what will good content really get me? How much does it help?

Those who are reading up on the value of content strategy are finding that it’s not all airy, spun-sugar stuff, but relates to real numbers. Contently also provides articles showing real, concrete ways to get content marketing ROI, for example, assessing the numbers of seconds a reader stays engaged in a first site visit, and how that corresponds to a conversion down the line.

WebSubstance: How We Can Help

Our team at WebSubstance understands the power of getting good content on the page. We can provide our clients with content marketing that works in the specific ways that entrepreneurs are talking about.

Along with comprehensive web design, we can add feature content to your site that represents something “readable” – results that readers want, not just empty stuffed shirts.

Let us become a partner in building your web site from the ground up, not just to get landing pages in place or showcase a corporate logo (although those things are important too) – but to start creating a conversation that, in the parlance of marketing heads around the world, will ‘bring all the customers.’

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Responsive Design -- Why Do You Need It?

Responsive Design -- Why Do You Need It?

Practically speaking, responsive design is one of the biggest buzzwords of the 21st century. Smart marketers, technology vendors and others are all talking about the need for responsive design. But what does this mean?

Responsive design means that a web site is crafted to be able to show up well, and be user-friendly, in different platforms and environments.

A Diverse Landscape

Not too many years ago, it used to be that almost everyone accessing a web site was sitting at a desktop or laptop computer. The interface was always mostly the same -- a 20-inch monitor, a full keyboard and an overall, straightforward way to get on the web. Enter the smart phone -- now, a huge amount of web traffic is done over smart phones and mobile devices, which leads to some pretty severe problems with the user-friendliness of web sites. Smartphone users encounter displays that run off the side or bottom of the screen, menu buttons that are nearly impossible to find, and all kinds of other problems related to the underlying HTML source code, which is too often still built for a desktop or laptop interface.

Designing a Responsive Site

Today's top IT professionals know how to create a site so that it looks good on both a laptop or desktop environment, and a smart phone interface. This involves making specific changes to source code design, so that everything you need is there on your smartphone screen, and you can navigate a site, use controls, or utilize functions like ‘search’ without annoying crashes or other problems. In some ways, responsive design is also like old-fashioned print page layout. No matter whether it’s a newsletter, a landing page, or a set of slides, being responsive means everything fits, that all of the great visuals and great content that everyone put so much work into is there for users to see. Responsive design takes more work, but it pays huge dividends. That vast number of consumers using smart phones means more people are going to gravitate toward user-friendly sites that offer them all of the functionality of the site on any screen. Companies that are virtually unusable through a mobile interface are going to be left in the dust.

Comprehensive Web Services from WebSubstance

At WebSubstance, our teams provide top-to-bottom, full scale web design, and more. We handle responsive design issues, along with all other aspects of planning a sharp-looking and useful site. Along with all of these ‘nuts and bolts’, we deal with registry and DNS issues, while also helping with visual design extras like photography, and search engine optimization. We're a one-stop shop for not just getting up a web site, but designing and crafting a web site that will truly boost visibility for your brand, and help you grow your business. We are assisting our clients in looking forward to the days where web projects are built for diverse interfaces, and accessed from anywhere, not just from behind a desk.

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How SEO Can Help Your Business



Are you looking to increase your presence on the web?  Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a very helpful tool that helps your business reach a larger audience.  Our clients can attest to how SEO has tremendously helped their businesses grow.  We want your business to shine and guarantee that our SEO services will increase your online web traffic!  Contact us to discuss how SEO can either help expand your business, reach a different client base, or simply just be seen on the web.

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Corporate Photography

Contact Us

21800 Town Center Plaza, #266A-281
Sterling, VA 20164
(703) 470-0808
Jenny Le - President