How Frequently Should You Get a Website Redesign?

Out of date fashions are frequently more appealing than out of date websites.
By: State Library of New South Wales

Is vintage ‘in’ when it comes to websites?

We all know when it comes to fashion that styles come and go.  But when it comes to your website should you follow fashion?  Should you change your style just because what you have is out of date?

Indicators that you need a website redesign

The short answer is you should change your website’s design whenever you feel that it’s out of date and not appealing, or when your bounce rate increases or time onsite declines.

Both of these are indications that visitors are not finding your site helpful or it easy to use.  More investigation will help you determine if this is related to content or if this is related to user interface.

Current website design trends

Current trends in web design are towards more simple sites that are easy to navigate on mobile devices.  Sites these days avoid images in carousels and gradients and backgrounds or buttons, elements which slow down a web site’s load time when accessed by phone or tablet.

You may have also observed that many sites have motion which is activated upon scroll of the page or upon touch or hover.  These animations replace long outdated Flash web sites.  However, you need to take care when choosing to use animations on a web site.  They must make sense, and reveal content in a pace and style that fits the user’s needs.  Creating animations just for effect may be cute, but not necessarily suited for your website visitor.  For every web site your guiding question must always be:

quotation-Marks.jpg“Who is visiting my site and what do they want to do here?”

So what if you spent a great deal of money five years ago to create a web site and now you find that it is no longer up to date –what should she do?

What are your options?

If you have a content managed platform web site, you may be able to change your site’s theme thus giving your site a new look and feel.  If you have a static site you may have to have your entire site rewritten.

Bottom line you must budget for a new site every three years or so in order to make sure that your site is fulfilling your business goals and meeting your customers’ needs.

Need a new design for your site? Or need your website completely redone? Contact us at 843.628.6434 to discuss how to go from outdated to current with your website.

PS—Charleston PR is getting a new website design in the coming weeks…we’re a bit like the cobbler’s children who are the last to get new shoes!

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Charleston’s YWCA 44th Martin Luther King Celebration Planning Begun


Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at a Civil Rights March on Washington, D.C.

In January of 2016, citizens of the three county area surrounding Charleston will celebrate the vision, leadership and compelling messages of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The YWCA of Greater Charleston has organized these celebrations for 43 years. Celebrations include worship services taking place in sanctuaries across the Lowcountry, a Tri-County ecumenical service, a panel discussion and the very popular MLK Day Parade. The YWCA also assists with the organization of Mayor Joseph P. Riley, Jr.’s Business and Professional Breakfast which is attended by more than 700 people.

I am happy to be working as a member of theYWCA’s PR team in association with Michael Whack, lead PR consultant to the YWCA, to support the Y’s initiatives and organization of the 2016 celebrations.

In the coming months, I’ll share more about the plans and events which will take place. In the meantime, you may also visit the YWCA’s website and monitor that for additional information.

Photo credit: Wikipedia

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Crisis Preparation: A checklist of advance planning steps

Crisis preparation checklist

How can an organization prepare in advance for a crisis?

In all of life we know that advance preparation makes reality far easier. No one would ever contemplate singing the National Anthem in front of thousands without practicing it. Over and over. And getting coaching.

Crisis survival and your business or organization’s future depend upon your work in advance of a disaster.

Our steps for crisis preparation.

  1. Audit for most probable crisis situations and vulnerabilities: from accidental business interruptions to product recalls to tragedy or HR issues in the workplace.
  2. Create a crisis communications plan: Make certain that your plan takes into consideration and lays out strategies and tactics covering the following critical items.
    1. Who will manage the crisis?
    2. How will the team respond?
    3. What will they communicate?
    4. When will they communicate it?
    5. Why will they communicate?
    6. Who will be the communicator?
    7. When will subject matter experts be used?
    8. When will outside auditors be used?
  3. Draft basic responses (and keep on the ‘shelf’) for each of the crisis situations. In every business or industry there are some highly likely situations. Make sure your plan considers and contemplates responses to those most common.
    1. Daycare example: Staff member abusing a child
    2. Restaurant: Food poisoning
    3. Data breach
  4. Establish a crisis communications team. There is no time in a crisis to figure out who is part of the team. Choose your team and make sure everyone is up to date with contact information for each member. Clarify where you’ll meet: online, in-person, at an ops center.
    1. Identify members and make sure they are aware they are part of the team
    2. Compile team contact information and make certain that all team members have this on hand and readily available
      1. Keep this updated (at least every 3 months)
    3. Establish a manner of communication; in person / face to face or remote (conference call and shared online document creation)
    4. Establish a location of gathering and ensuring all communications tools are present (from wifi to laptops, tablets, or if remote team members, creating permission based network accessible documents, ensuring conference calling / networking capacities are up to date and available)
    5. Outline roles for each member
    6. Make sure crisis communications team has bios/backgrounders on all company leaders and specifics
  5. Identify Subject Matter Experts who will assist the crisis communications team
  6. Drill. Firemen, police and EMTs drill. So should your firm. If you don’t practice, how will you know if your team is ready to manage a situation? How will you know if your carefully planned procedures will work? Don’t take this part for granted. Test it with a drill.
  7. Proactively provide information via the firm’s website about issues likely to be of concern in a crisis. Evidence makes the difference in the courtroom and in the courtroom of public opinion. If you have compliance requirements, demonstrate before a crisis situation that your firm had done all in it’s power to be in compliance and remain there. Having this information publically visible on your website helps develop trust and transparency. As examples:
    1. Daycare: Publish credentials and compliance information
    2. Restaurant: Publish inspection reports and staff who have completed Servsafe courses for example.
  8. Establish social media accounts on appropriate social media channels and monitor across all social media for firm, CEOs, and brand mentions
    1. Create Twitter / media lists and follow local / beat media likely to report on your industry
  9. Get to know (in person if appropriate) media most likely to report on a crisis in your industry. The media are doing their jobs. Not trying to trap you. If they know you and your firm in advance, they will not be strangers to you. Though don’t confuse getting to know them with trying to sway them. There is a huge difference. Understand that they have readers and viewers who want facts. And if they can’t get the facts, they will publish what people are talking about. And we all know that when people don’t have information they talk trash. Don’t let the media publish rumors and trash. Get them the facts when they ask.
  10. Have Google Alerts (real time) for your brand/leaders. Don’t let a crisis sneak up on you. Believe me, the media are monitoring media for stories and grumbles. If they are listening, you better be.

Does this feel like too much to do in advance of a crisis? If it does, call us. 843.628.6434. We can guide you through every step and allow you to sleep better knowing you’ve done your due diligence to prepare for a crisis situation.


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Driwood Moulding Website Launched

After a lot of planning, hard work and development, we are delighted to launch the Driwood Moulding website.

Driwood Ornamental Wood Mouldings and Custom Millwork

Driwood is a legacy company who has been making the most exquisite architecturally correct mouldings, millwork, cornices, doorways, and paneling, cabinetry and custom architectural designs for over 100 years. When we say they are makers, they truly are.

This project could not have come to life without the dedication of a team of people. They say it takes a village, and in this case, it did. With more than 500 products showcased in the site, finding just the right tools to provide filtered searches based on moulding attributes was challenging.

First and foremost we’d like to say thank you to our client, Driwood whose vision it was to create a website where customers could view mouldings, and get quotations, could create an account and save orders and who wanted to be able to share the full history of the firm.

Our full team was composed of graphic designer / Woo Commerce integrations specialist Jeffrey Schierer, account manager Dale Aren, developer Bill Smithem and genius copywriter Jenny Badman. The Driwood videos about the company and their legacy were shot and edited by Meredith Browne of See It All Media. Voice over narration was done by Richard Lubash of 2K Plus who also supported post production. Anna Stein wrote the more than 500 product descriptions with precision and professionalism.

This custom WordPress theme is was a true work of many hands.

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A Crisis Recovery Lesson from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams

Ice Cream Cone Melting Almost Completely On A White Background

A crisis doesn’t always lead to a business meltdown

Lowcountry Local First hosts an annual all-day seminar with great presenters. Termed the Good Business Summit, the event provides insight to business owners about how to make their firms better.

High-profile business owners are invited to share lessons and information based on their own experience.

The 2015 Good Business Summit featured a presentation from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams company founder Jeni Britton Bauer.

As reported by The Post and Courier, Bauer frankly and openly discussed the challenges and the recovery process her business went through as a result of listeria contamination. The contamination caused business interruptions at her production facilities as well as massive recalls of products where were produced at contaminated facilities.

According to reporter David Wren, Bauer said,

“What has to change is how businesses view our responsibilities…“Do we rely on their periodics (inspections)? Do we rely on our health inspectors any more?” Absolutely no. Because we know that they are not experts in food safety, they are experts in the law and those are totally different things. The responsibility is on business … to make healthy things, to keep people healthy.”

Following a crisis, do things differently

Bauer is correct. When your business undergoes a crisis, you must do things differently in order to regain confidence from your customers and the public.

Let’s analyze exactly what Bauer did that is helping Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams recover from this disaster.

Steps to crisis recovery

  1. Own the situation. Admit that this event occurred. Convene your firm’s leadership or crisis communications / management team. (If you don’t have a crisis team, you need to put a pin in this and organize a team and a plan.) Make sure everyone on the team knows what their responsibility will be. Don’t try to hide or deny the situation. Help the public and your customers understand what occurred. In the instance of Jeni’s, Bauer could not hide because there were authorities involved, but rather than fight or deny, the went beyond what was called for and took control of the situation. She demonstrated corporate leadership and responsibility by stepping up.
  2. Communicate transparently. Do not try to duck responsibility. Take action. If product needs to be recalled, do it. Jeni’s did and helped preserve their reputation. As quickly as possible, use the firm’s social media channels and website to communicate. Jeni’s CEO communicated at each step along the way.When one searches the Internet for the terms Jeni’s and recall, the first search results are those from the company’s own website. That’s real transparency. Hold a media conference if there are many media seeking information. Media are doing their jobs. They need to tell the public about the situation, and working with them will help you help them keep the facts straight.If legal questions are involved, you must consult your attorney and crisis communications consultant or public relations firm to be clear on the implications of press conferences, social media posts and website posts. Much of this may be clarified in advance as part of your crisis communications plan. You must be sure you are not compounding the crisis by communicating incompletely or with partial facts or allowing a bad situation to continue. You do want to observe privacy laws and be aware that in situations of healthcare, human resources and personnel, some facts may not be disclosed.
  3. Call on subject matter experts to help review, analyze and present a third-party analysis of contributing causes. In Jeni’s case, they called in people to help them analyze their procedures and test.

    John Lowe said in a Jeni’s news release,“In addition to fixing every issue identified by the FDA, we have been working with them throughout this entire process, including having provided a thorough response letter detailing how we have fixed each and every concern identified in their inspection report. We dove in and made darn sure we fixed all of their concerns, and we brought in outside experts to help us find other areas of improvement to create a world class, safe environment for making our ice creams.”

    While you may not care for what the third party may find or disclose, as long as you seek to remedy the flaws in process, procedure and performance, you can make things improve.

  4. Demonstrate that procedures have changed and exactly how you are modifying your operations in response to the crisis. After the subject matter experts disclose their findings, give the public a plan indicating how each negative finding is to be addressed and how your firm will do things differently.Lowe noted that Jeni’s,
    “…instituted test and hold procedures to ensure we are only providing safe ice cream…The ice cream we are producing…comes from an overhauled kitchen, a significantly more trained team working from new ground rules that enable a safer environment (such as not processing fresh fruit in the production kitchen, and not allowing work in our company garden prior to changing into production clothes).”

A crisis situation doesn’t have to mean the end of your business. You can prepare in advance. You can demonstrate change and improvement and go on to a new day as did Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams.

Are you prepared with a crisis management team? Is your social media plan up to date and does it include crisis recovery and communications sections? Is your website within your control so you can easily post and share the firm’s progress during your crisis recovery?
If you don’t have these elements in place. we can help. We can audit and help your business prepare for the types of crisis which might more frequently occur in your industry.
Call us. 843.628.6434. We’re here to help.

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