You may think you know exactly what a style guide is, but depending on who you’re talking to, you could be completely wrong. Most of us, particularly those of us who have anything to do with maintaining brand identity, assume a style guide refers to a collection of guidelines that govern usage of creative elements and details in digital, print, and media vehicles. And while we’re right about that, there are other types of style guides that are just as important to keeping a consistent brand look and feel.
What's new, what's next, what's best, and how it all fits in to a successful digital marketing strategy… Get inside our head with these helpful resources—from blog posts to best practices guides—written by our team of experts.
We've packed up our Harvard Square office and trucked over to Somerville's Davis Square! Our new home is in the historic Hobbs Building, also home to the iconic Somerville Theatre, and we've taken over the marquee to tell everyone how excited we are about the change. You can now find us on the third floor at 55 Davis Square, and while our address has changed, our phone numbers remain the same. No need to change your speed dial.
Check out our new digs:
For years, the U.S. government has provided billions in grants and loans to the higher education system while leaving questions of its quality to others. Private publications like U.S. News & World Report’s annual college rankings focus largely on factors like faculty quality, acceptance rates, and test scores of incoming students, but do not assess how much students learn and how they thrive financially after they leave a college or university.
Did you know of prospective students who complete applications, only 15% apply on their first visit? And, more than 54% of eventual applicants visit college and university websites five or more times before applying?
It’s great they’re coming back but, if your school is like many, you don’t need prospects. You need more enrolled students.
Baby Boomers make up more than a quarter of the population of the United States. That’s 77 million people who, as they reach retirement age, are seeking information and answers to questions about Medicare insurance plans. The door is wide open for healthcare marketers to capitalize on an incredible growth opportunity. But before they can start marketing to Baby Boomers, healthcare marketers need to understand how this group likes getting information about health-related matters, their online usage behaviors, and how they envision themselves.
The recent announcement that Sweet Briar College will be closing its doors at the end of the academic year has some experts heralding the start of a trend for higher education institutions with dwindling enrollment numbers. While unfortunate, this contraction in the number of small, private colleges and universities across the country is not unexpected.
A redesign project is so much more than churning out a digital product that meets some set of specifications. It’s often a radical re-envisioning of how an organization represents itself on a global medium. Kind of a big deal.
And in any organization, of course, you have people. Could be 5, 50, or 5000. No matter how many there are, they all have a vested interest in that digital representation of themselves. How is it changing? Why is it changing? What about my feelings?
Higher education marketers are constantly trying to get into the brains of prospective college students. In the past, we have discussed the importance of understanding the student lifecycle and the prospective undergraduate customer journey, but sometimes it is just as important to identify who incoming students are as people.
That’s the number of revenue-producing business metrics most college and university web marketing teams use to prove their impact to the school’s bottom-line. Zero. Zilch.
It’s not that they don’t want to prove value. It’s just that colleges’ data systems are byzantine, isolated, and hard to connect. Plus, there aren’t universally accepted goals for a college website. Showing impact is hard.
When we embark on a web project and begin to discuss content planning and organization, one of the terms we often throw around is “taxonomy.” What does that mean, exactly?
My first introduction to the concept of taxonomy came in middle school, when we learned the following mnemonic device for the taxonomic order for biological classification:
King Philip’s Class Ordered Five Green Sandwiches
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus Species
I love that our work affords us access to lots of smart and charismatic leaders. They have great depth of knowledge, are experts in their field, and are fascinating to engage in conversation. Partnering with them is an incredibly enriching experience.
Okay, we have a confession to make: not all of the photography on our blogs are created by us. What? This is madness! Before you go out rioting on the street, let us explain. Having eye-popping, unique visuals can truly make or break posts regardless of the content. Lucky for us, there are a handful of great websites that want to put in the hard work for us. The following are some of the websites that make us look cool.
Around here, we talk a lot about content strategy and how important it is to a successful website redesign. While “content strategy” refers to a much bigger umbrella than copy alone, copy is incredibly important when it comes to communicating your story, your offer, and your value. It works in conjunction with your site’s layout, photography, typography, and other components to offer site visitors an engaging experience that drives them to take action.
Just like your wardrobe keeping up with the coolest new fashion trends, your website should incorporate cutting-edge features that wow your visitors and give them a reason to tell their friends about you. Remember, your website redesign project isn’t actually finished the day you launch, there’s lots to do on day two and beyond, including making small enhancements that keep your design current and innovative. Consider adding some of these hot trends to your website design.
“We need to fix the website” is a common refrain. But why? To what end? And how? A redesign project is no small feat, requiring significant time and resources to pull off. But how can you ensure that the effort will result in an appropriate, sustainable solution that won’t just feel good on day one but also works well on day two and beyond?
Remember the storyline on Seinfeld where George Costanza passes himself off as an architect? It’s a classic, not to mention very entertaining. But really, if George ever did try his hand at architecture, I suspect his buildings would have ended up requiring the help of a firm like Simpson, Gumpertz & Heger (SGH).
Making your website look pretty is an important part of web design, but even a nice looking website can fail if it is not user-friendly. If you are looking to improve the user experience of your website, we’re here to help. Below are 13 common UX mistakes and how users may react to them.
1. Centered Running Text
Just say no to this - almost always impossible to read.
Some of the most important components of our website don’t show up in its visible, designed area. One of those is the uniform resource locator, commonly known as the URL. Simply put, a URL is the “location of a file on the web.” The two components of a URL with which we are typically most concerned are the domain name (e.g. oho.com) and the path (e.g. /work/).
Page views, session duration and bounce rate provide a solid health check for your college or university website. But this is only the beginning. We recommend setting up conversion goals in Google Analytics. A conversion goal typically measures a completed activity such as:
- Campus visit registrations
- Requests for information
- Beginning the application process
We call it a conversion when a user reaches the “thank you” page after submitting a form.
With the launch of each new higher education website, our client asks: What’s a good benchmark? How are we doing compared to other peer schools? Are we doing better than the old site?
We believe typical measures – sessions, page views, time on site and bounce rate – are good starting points for analytics. These show the overall health of your website, but in order to tie success to business goals, you’ll need to dig into conversion goals.