Featured Projects

Southshore Environmental

Visit site I was honored when Nick France Design was recommended to Southshore Environmental to redesign their corporate website. Their project was a natural fit for me as I have 11 years in the power generation industry designing and maintaining websites. After speaking to the principle owner of Southshore and fully understanding the scope of the project, I knew it would be a win-win.

We produced a clean, professional website with all new copy that really sells the professional skills and services of Southshore Environmental.

JMBC Baseball

Visit site I first met Julius Matos, former Major League player and then NY Yankee Minor League hitting instructor, at his JMBC baseball camp which I had enrolled my son in. I was very impressed with the entire opperation and after speaking with Julius about JMBC Baseball, it became evident he was in need of a website and some marketing material.

We put together a marketing mix consisting of a website, print material and social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter. Our relationship continues and we are mutual clients today.

Pure Arctic

Visit site Ready to sell its pure salmon oil and liquid omega-3 fish oil, Pure Arctic, LLC. approached us in need of a full-scale eCommerce system and marketing plan.

With a clinical study showing a partial rescue for Rett syndrom patients, this Norway company expanding to the U.S. needed a way to reach the Rett Syndrome community.

We developed the website and through content marketing, search and social media, we developed a widespread community.

Don’t spill all your candy in the lobby

Posted under Content Marketing,Design,Marketing by NickFranceDesign on Monday 12 August 2013 at 7:18 pm

Don’t spill all your candy in the lobby

Don’t spill all your candy in the lobby is, for those that have worked with me over the years, a phrase I use quite often. Some time ago, a LinkedIn group for marketers, posed this question; “What is your best marketing advice?” I replied with “Don’t spill all your candy in the lobby.” I replied this way because in my view this is a fundamental mistake many make when marketing a product or service. They spill all their candy, not only in the lobby, but some spill it in the street on the way to the theater. And quite frankly it drives me crazy to witness this, and it makes me even crazier to be dragged into this bad behavior by a colleague or client. But it happens, and when it does happen, I go into my spiel about spilling your candy.

If committing this bad behavior is a fundamental marketing mistake, then adhering to this philosophy is sort of like a “Marketing 101” no brainer – at least it is for me and I’ve managed to convert many along the way, over the years. Let me explain what I mean about all this candy spilling business. I used to design newspaper ads, primarily, quite a few years ago. One day, I was complaining about the excessive amount of copy I had to deal with and the lack of white space afforded me in this tiny two-column inch ad. Imagine that, a designer complaining about copy. A media buyer, we’ll call him Don, because that was his name, was listening to my rant. I was saying that so much information was being divulged in the ad, it left nothing to the imagination. This, to me, was a colossal mistake.

By leaving nothing to the imagination, or more specifically, providing all the information about the product, the potential buyer had absolutely no reason to call the number in the ad. He or she could make the decision to buy or not from the ad alone, leaving a sales professional out of the equation. Why would you want an ad to close your deal when your sales department is eminently more qualified? This was a big mistake, in my view. That was the job of the ad, wasn’t it? I mean the ad’s job was to provide just enough information to evoke the call to action in the ad. In those days, the web was not an option, so we had operators standing by to take your call. Well, sales professionals anyway.

That’s when Don said, “Don’t spill all your candy in the lobby.” I knew exactly what Don was saying the second those words were uttered from his lips. Don was a smart guy and he and I shared a lot of the same beliefs when it came to marketing. Perhaps that’s why I thought he was so smart, but Don knew exactly why providing every possible fact and figure about your product or service in your ad, direct mail-piece, email blast, Facebook post – you name it, is not in your best interest. Each component has a job. In those days it was that ad’s job to make the phones ring. Today, it’s likely to make you visit a website or send that email, perhaps it’s to share content or comment on it, but rest assured there’s a specific call to action that must be carried out and that should be the only focus.

Just as the ad, or any content for that matter, has an overall job, each element of said content has a job as well. The hero shot needs to get your attention, the headline should make you want to read the copy, and the copy should make you want to take action. Everything has its own mini job leading to the big job of taking action and causing a conversion of some kind. You must treat each element methodically, and systematically, leading up the ultimate purpose of any marketing piece, without trying to cram as much information into each piece. Think of the steps involved and stop trying to make everything be everything to everyone. There are times when being as thorough as possible is the right thing to do, like writing a manual or the documentation section of a website but when you’re marketing your product, especially an ad or an email marketing campaign, or even a Facebook post, please – Don’t spill all your candy in the lobby!


Are we, as Americans, too dependent on the internet?

Posted under Social Media,Technology by NickFranceDesign on Monday 29 July 2013 at 7:14 pm

dependent on the internet

Are we, as Americans, too dependent on the internet? As I think about my own household and our dependence on the internet, I’m struck by how much our internet usage has grown in just a few short years.

I can remember not long ago, all I had connected to the internet was a Mac desktop computer, and that’s it. That was when my kids were younger, and a mobile device consisted of a plain old cell phone with no internet connectivity. Today, all together, we have 5 iPhones, two laptops, an iPad, a Kindle Fire, a Mac Mini desktop computer, a wireless printer that’s connected to the internet, a connected Sony Blu-ray for the living room TV, a Roku for the Master bedroom TV, a Nest thermostat with an iPhone and iPad app, and a Safeguard Security system that I control from an iPhone app. All of that is routed wirelessly from an Apple Airport Extreme base station.  For those keeping count that’s 16 devices in all.

Am I too dependent on the internet?

As for me personally, I rely heavily on all of these devices, but none more than my iPhone. Of course I do banking and pay bills like everyone else on my iPhone. I also do the usual things like keep up with my Facebook friends, tweet, make and watch vine videos, create instagram photos and videos, YouTube — lots of YouTube and much, much more. I’m pretty much a social media freak. I have a Klout rating of 52 and I sometimes bitch that Klout’s screwing me and it should be at least 70 — but in reality I know they’re not.

It has become an integral part of my entertainment line-up as well. I listen to iTunes, Pandora, rdio, lastfm, SiriusXM Radio and East Village Radio all from my iPhone and iPad — I watch Hulu and Netflix on the iPad and Roku as well as the blu-ray player –   I watch all the New York Mets games on my iPad and Roku via MLB.tv. I’m a Prime member at Amazon because I purchase so much stuff from them, the free shipping makes it worth it alone, not to mention the free movies for the Kindle Fire as well as an e-book per month to borrow.

I guess the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree, as they say, because my kids are probably just as bad. While my wife is quite the user herself, though she’ll probably tell you I’m the biggest offender, by a mile.

Am I too dependent on the internet, professionally?

As a web designer and content marketer, my internet and social media use only escalates from there. I use ftp programs and interact with hosting providers. I maintain multiple social media properties for clients on a daily basis such as facebook pages and twitter accounts via HooteSuite. I rely heavily on apps and services like Adobe Creative Cloud, Evernote, and Postwire, to name a few. All of which has me scratching my head at times saying, how the hell did I get to this point, and how did it happen so fast?

To be honest, there’s much I’m leaving out, but as I force myself to think about and write all this down, I’m going to stop here because I’m actually scaring myself and/or fearful I’m beginning to be a bore — actually both.

So in conclusion, let me pose a few questions; am I unique in this regard, or are there others out there just as dependent on the internet and social media as I? Do I/we have too many devices, or is your home the same way? I think I’m somewhat typical of an average American, so lastly, how did we Americans get here, and how did it happen so quickly?

 


Social Media – the Go-to Source for your Customers

Posted under Design by NickFranceDesign on Sunday 7 July 2013 at 12:09 am

Social Media

Social media networking is here to stay. It has become the go-to source for your customers to connect with and soak up information about your brand.

Too often businesses are engaging in social media without a plan, or worst yet, not at all. Social media is part of everyday activity, if you’re not publishing content about your business on a regularly scheduled basis, aligned with a clear strategy, you’re taking a big risk.


Mobile Payments Preferred by 29 Percent over Cash or Credit

Posted under Mobile,Technology by NickFranceDesign on Monday 1 July 2013 at 11:58 pm

mobile payments

Interests in mobile payments are on the rise. A new study by PayPal indicates almost one-third of Americans would prefer to carry only one item with them when they go out, and that would be their SmartPhone, not a wallet. 86 percent of US shoppers wish they didn’t have to carry a wallet at all.

The study also shows that businesses are not keeping up with the desires of their customers for new payment methods. 68 percent of Americans say they have been unable to purchase something because they didn’t have cash on hand while out-and-about. Count me as one of them as this has happens to me a lot! My wallet is just not in the forefront of my mind when I leave the house as my iPhone happens to be. Probably because of all the other things my mobile device does, it gets more attention, these days. Pretty soon I can hear the Capital One slogan as, “What’s in your SmartPhone?” You heard that here first.

Mobile payments soar to new levels

Think that mobile transactions are not significant enough to matter? A recent report by Gartner estimated that global mobile transactions will grow to $235.4 billion this year, and will reach $721 billion by 2017.

mobile payments

Who’s leading when it comes to mobile payments?

When it comes to mobile payments, this PayPal study clearly shows that consumers are ready for a change. With Near Field Communication technology (NFC) and various digital wallet systems vying for the lead, it’s still up for grabs, or is it?. Some of the major players in mobile payments are Google Wallet, Square Wallet, PayPal, Isis, and LevelUp. It’s still unclear at this time which payment system will emerge as the leader. It’s starting to become clearer as this VentureBeat article asserts. PayPal has a leg up on the competition. What is clear is this; businesses need to get on board – and the sooner, the better.


Responsive Web Design; the best option for Mobile Strategy

Posted under Content Marketing,Design,Mobile,SEO,Social Media by NickFranceDesign on Thursday 28 March 2013 at 12:54 am

responsive web design

As mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets increases for accessing the Internet, so does the importance of your website being mobile device-friendly. In fact, if you’re concerned at all about your site’s SEO, and you should be, it’s absolutely imperative that your site is mobile device-friendly and Responsive Web Design is the way to go.

More people conduct business (e-Commerce sales) on a mobile device than a desktop. Mobile-internet use is predicted to overtake desktop-internet use by 2014.  67 percent of users claim they are more likely to purchase from a mobile-friendly website. The debate over a separate mobile site vs. Responsive web design still goes on. Today, I’m going to give you a few reasons why Responsive web design is the better mobile strategy.

For starters, the SEO argument is perhaps the most salient point of all, but certainly not the only one. Google likes Responsive web design. Google even recommends Responsive web design as the industry best practice.  Because Google represents 67 percent of the search market share, I usually stop right there.  But today I won’t, I’ll explain further.

Responsive Web Design Means One URL

Because Responsive web design has one URL and the same HTML code, it’s easier and more efficient for Google to crawl, index, and organize content. A separate mobile site with two sets of code, a different URL, makes Google’s job much more difficult and that doesn’t bode well for your position in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). One Responsive website makes it much easier to share, engage, and link to your content and social media channels – much easier than a separate mobile site.

User Experience and Conversion Rates

Lets say a user is searching your Responsive website for a product on their smartphone during a break at work. He or she can continue the search later at home on their desktop device. They can then find the product and complete the purchase with ease.  That same search and purchase would be way different on two separate websites. They would have to locate the product all over again and make the purchase. Conversion rates would plummet, hurting your bottom line.

Here’s another problem with a separate mobile site; a user shares something from your mobile site with his friend on Facebook who then decides to access it from his desktop, only to find limited content on a pared-down mobile site. How exactly does that help your SEO efforts? It doesn’t! This is considered an unfriendly experience and Google now ranks user-experiences and factors it into your SERPs. Responsive web design provides a positive user-experience across many devices and screen sizes.

Site Management with Responsive Web Design

Having both a mobile website and a desktop website means two sites to manage when it comes to coding, SEO campaigns, and combining the cycle of content, search and social marketing.

Remember, by using media queries, you can make your site appear any way you like on many devices. This allows you to add or omit any elements you like to deliver the best options for each device. To recap, SEO, user experience, maintenance, and the ability to serve content tailored to your users on their choice of devices, makes Responsive web design the best option for your next startup or redesign mobile strategy.


Content, Search and Social

Posted under Content Marketing,Marketing,SEO,Social Media by NickFranceDesign on Tuesday 15 January 2013 at 8:58 pm

google+  content marketingYou all know I’m big on content marketing and for good reason. It has become an integral part of designing and developing websites. Content is woven into search, and social to the point that they are no longer separate disciplines. In fact, one doesn’t work without the other.

Writer and founder of copyblogger.com Brian Clark has coined 2013 as “The year of the online writer.” He encourages writers to claim their Google Authorship in what he calls the biggest shakeup in search since the link. It’s all done with a little code in the website and the writer’s Google + account.

Google has redefined the rules of search and for the better in my opinion. Penguin and Panda has banished the thinly veiled content sites and replaced them with sites rich in quality content that are useful as well as relevant to the user’s search terms. If they’re not, they don’t get the ranking in the SERPs. SEO is no longer keywords and descriptions contained in meta tags. It is a complete strategy that works in concert with content and social. Google + is a big part of SEO, in fact Google + essentially is Google, It’s also a big part of content marketing, and of course it’s social.

Take a moment to get acquainted with these points and assertions by exploring the links above. If you’re a business owner, your business may depend on it. If you’re a writer, marketer or web designer/developer, your career may depend on it.


People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it

Posted under Marketing by NickFranceDesign on Thursday 13 December 2012 at 7:15 pm

Whether we’re marketing our product or creating content, and by-the-way- that’s the same thing, we must think from the inside out to differentiate ourselves from our competition. We must convey what it is we believe and not what we do.

What do I mean? I believe that helping individuals and businesses succeed is the pathway to my success and the single most important thing I can do to enhance my community and surroundings. Watch this extremely inspiring talk from Simon Sinek on “How great leaders inspire action” I believe you’ll see what i mean.


Nick France Design develops eCommerce site for Pure Arctic

Posted under Design by NickFranceDesign on Monday 26 November 2012 at 12:25 am

Nick France Design designs and develops eCommerce website for Pure Arctic, LLC. A Norwegian Fish Oil company expanding into the US market.

This is a pure product with tremendous health benefits and a blessing to children with Rett Syndrome. We are very proud to be involved in this project. Look for more from us about this company in the weeks to come.


Creating influencers and brand advocates

Posted under SEO,Social Media by NickFranceDesign on Monday 25 June 2012 at 4:56 pm

Creating compelling content written in a concise way, with accurate keywords, is good for SEO. Getting users to like, comment, and most importantly, share your content is key to creating influencers and brand advocates. This infographic is a blueprint for getting more likes, comments, and shares.

Creating influencers and brand advocates


Mobile First, Responsive Web Design

Posted under Design,Mobile by NickFranceDesign on Tuesday 27 March 2012 at 11:55 pm

iPhoneIn the past year, mobile first responsive web design has taken off. However, it’s not exactly a household phrase – not yet, anyway. For a forward thinking web shop, trying to sell a client, sitting on a 27-inch iMac, mobile first web design can be a challenge.  So why would one? If you are a forward thinking web shop projecting the user experience into the future and imagining your client’s visitors on a device other than a desktop PC, you should be. Think about the person in a moving car on their iPhone or Android, or perhaps a person on an iPad in a café looking for a product. Perhaps they’re on a device not yet invented. These are all distinct possibilities, and arguably more likely than someone on a fancy desktop PC. So why start there in the first place?

The answer is to design for mobile first and expand the design outward from there. The result is a website designed and optimized for every device a potential visitor may have, making the experience a friendly one, regardless of where and when they visit.

We’re excited about all the possibilities new devices bring to web design. Nick France Design will embrace mobile first responsive design and we’re guessing we’re not the only ones.

For more details on mobile first RWD, read Jason Grigsby’s article on the Cloud Four Blog.


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