Thursday, February 14, 2019

Week 4 - Part 2


Two websites I use and visit frequently are https://www.buffiniandcompany.com and https://www.thredup.com/.  I would say the number one reason these websites are effective is because they offer value to the user.  Buffini and company offers many tools and resources to its members and ThredUp offers excellent name brand clothing and accessories for hugely discounted prices. 

From the moment I enter the Buffini and Company website I can see many principles of good design.  This website offers a professional presence, is well organized and easy to use. It’s clear what kind of business it is, who they are as a business and what they offer. The toolbar is accessible consistently on the left side of every page, the business logo is on the top left as well as at the very bottom, and there are good quality and informative photos with additional links to more great information. It really is jam packed with great videos and resources all very well organized. There are links to Facebook, Instagram, twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Pinterest, so I can easily get more information and interact with the business on multiple platforms. There is also an easy to locate company info page and “contact us” link with a physical address, business hours, and a contact telephone number.

ThredUp also has a well-designed and highly functional webpage. It’s an easy-to-use website with a good filtering system, so I can really narrow down what I am looking for.  I like that the site is straight forward, not bogged down with too many options, yet really makes it convenient to quickly see if they have what you’re looking for. There are plenty of good photos which are organized in different categories.  The logo is at the top left corner of every page, there is a search box in the top right side of every page, and the closing information is at the bottom of the page. 

I tend to visit the Buffini and Company website on a regular basis because there are may tips and tools that I enjoy using.  The website is regularly updated with relevant information to my business and the service offerings are always being added to.  I also regularly visit the ThredUp website because the products are constantly changing every day by the 10’s of thousands. When I do visit the site, I tend to get sucked in to spending more time than I should and probably buying more than I planned.  


I think both websites are really great. I cannot find anything on either website that needs improvement. Perhaps as the weeks go on and I learn more I will have to revisit and re-evaluate these websites.  I hope my business website emulates these, specifically the Buffini website, once I finish with it.

Week 4 - Part 1

Problem Examples:

The Penny Juice webpage has a few issues that can create potential problems for visitors. First, it’s lacking in contrast as the entire page is full of bright colors, none standing out more than any other. Also, although the logo is at the top of the page, it is not in the background so the new page content goes behind it as the visitor navigates down the page. The headlines are all centered with multiple different types and sizes of font, not easy on the eyes and they are too far from the text body.  

To improve the overall appearance of the website it would help by increasing contrast in the color scheme of the webpage, putting the logo in the background, and selecting a decorative yet uniform font for the headlines that stands out clearly from the text body and situated close enough to the text body. 

This site is too busy, there is a ton of information on the landing page.  I’m not sure what the business is and I didn’t see a logo. There are many small pictures, a lot of small font and at least 6 different colors of fonts. There are also many different drop-down menus that each have long lists of options.

It would help to simplify the landing page by only using one or two good quality pictures, streamlining the verbiage, and sticking to one or two font colors. This website needs serious organization on the main page as well as each subsequent page. A lot of the information on the home page can be moved to different pages, and each of the pages need to be organized as well. 

Excellent Examples:

This website is an excellent example of a well-designed and user-friendly website. It is aesthetically pleasing with the black and white contrasting homepage, crisp photos and legible font.  The selection options are clearly posted and the site is easy to navigate which may create further interest in additional products and accessories by the viewer. 

The National Park Service has a very nice website, great photos and easy to navigate. As soon as I got to the page it was very clear what website I was on. The logo is in the top left of the webpage, but also at the bottom so they do a good job with using branding in their page. The menu tab is clearly located in the top left corner with a simple and organized drop-down selection. The color scheme is contrasting and complementary with greens, blues, greys, black, and white. The font is in both black and white, easy to read, and contrasts well with the background. There are multiple tabs aesthetically pleasing to the eye that are a call to action, engaging the visitor.  The page is organized in a way that I want to continue to reading and learning more about the organization because it’s user friendly, interesting and informative.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Week 3 - Part 2 - Five Business Examples of Social Media

Business: Team Bjorkman Real Estate
Their website is https://teambjorkman.com. At the bottom of the webpage are the icons for Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. When I clicked the links, Facebook had a message, “sorry this content isn’t available right now”.  Instagram and Twitter are both up and running with frequent and recent real estate posts. The most recent Twitter post is from February 1stand the most recent Instagram post was from 1 day ago, Feb. 9th. Team Bjorkman Real Estate seems to have a great social media presence. Their consistent postings of photos and informational real estate videos and holiday greetings help to keep them and their business at the front of followers’ minds.

Business:RESULTS real estate group.
Their website is https://www.roryposin.com. The social media links on their website are Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, as well as Yelp and Zillow. Each of these pages are regularly updated. The most recent Instagram post was 5 days ago, Facebook post was February 5th, Twitter was February 5th. RESULTS Real Estate Group has a very professional and consistent presence on social media.  I really like their photos, videos and other postings and would like to create a similar presence for my business.

Business: The Shelhamer Real Estate Group
Their website is https://www.shelhamergroup.com/. The social media they are visibly using on their website are Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Yelp, Zillow and YouTube. Check the links and see if they look like they are well used or hardly used at all. There are four informational YouTube videos from 2 years ago. Last Facebook post was from 2 years ago.   The last Twitter was 11 hours ago and the previous to that was March from 2018.

Business: Charles Dunn Real Estate Services. 
Their website is https://charlesdunn.com. The social media links on their website are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram. The last post on Facebook was October 24, 2018. Prior to that it looks as though the posts were consistently made about every 3-5 days.  This similar trend is found on Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram, with the most recent Twitter post October 25th, the most recent LinkedIn post was  3 months ago, and a most recent post on Instagram was October 25th.  Charles Dunn is a large commercial real estate company and although all there postings are very professional and relevant to the services they offer, it does seem odd that all their social media pages have stopped updates.

Business: Keyes Real Estate
Their website is http://keyesla.com. The social media there are links to on their website are Facebook, twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Vimeo. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram postings are 2-3 times week last post on both was Jan 30, 2018. Google + was the similar patter with the last update 2 weeks ago. On LinkedIn there is one post from 9 months ago. As with the other real estate businesses I researched, Keyes Real Estate is utilizing all the main social media outlets to get their business in front of people. They post relevant photos and information that attracts the interest of those on these platforms. So they will be at the top of mind when a connection needs the type of services they offer. 

Discovery
First of all, I began my research by looking for some of the most successful real estate companies in Los Angeles county. In doing so, I found that every single one of them have professional and useful websites and all utilize multiple social media platforms.  I am going to return to these businesses’ websites and social media platforms over the course of the next few weeks and work on developing my business platforms to model after a few of these that I really liked. 

Five of the five businesses had links on their website to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  From what I’ve heard, these three platforms are the most popular with the most users and greatest reach to many different target markets.  This is something I will do as well as I build up my professional social media platforms. It is very convenient for prospective clients to have access to all of these in one place.  It’s also a great way to showcase your businesses services and experience with current and past transactions and offerings.

Three of the businesses I researched also had links to their LinkedIn account. This is a great way to promote oneself as a professional and build credibility.  What I like about LinkedIn is it gives us a place to be specific about our skills, experience, accomplishments, and rewards.  I think this platform is a must for a real estate company.

Two of the businesses included links to Yelp and Zillow on their website. This is very helpful because many people who search online for an agent want to see reviews on those two platforms. One business had a link to their Google + and Vimeo.  I don’t know if many people are on Google+, but when I clicked on the Vimeo link there were some great videos that I think definitely added value to the viewer and a professional touch.  Come to think of it, although all these social media sites are an excellent way to stay in front of the market, I think when you do that by adding value to the viewer you leave a lasting impression.



I commented on the following three blog posts:
Mary Goulet https://csit155sp19maryg.blogspot.com
Carlyrose Raketich https://csitcarlyrose.blogspot.com
Peyton Jansma https://csit155-sp19-peytonj.blogspot.com

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Week 3 - Part 1 - Communication Between Business & Customer

Have you ever experienced difficulty communicating with a business? I once purchased a hand-held Dirt Devil so I could more easily vacuum my stairs and clean out my car.  On the box was an illistrated bubble that said “New longer lasting lithium battery!” But even after I fully charged the battery, when unplugged from the wall, the fully charged battery only lasted about 90 seconds! I purchased it at Walmart, but I couldn’t return it there, they would only let me do an even exchange.  I exchanged the vacuum 3 times and the same thing happened every time! It was such a hassle! I still have Dirt Devil #4 because the thought of dealing with contacting Dirt Devil and paying to ship it back to them is an inconvenience.

I believe social media makes it easier to get noticed by a business, especially when you present a problem or complaint about a product or service.  I personally have never communicated with a business through social media. However, I have responded to many of our clients or prospective clients who comment on our posts or sent us private messages inquiring about our services.  A few times I reviewed businesses on their social media pages and I that's a very useful tool when customers give accurate ratings. 

In business, I believe it’s important to respond to every comment a client makes on social media. It’s important for a client to know there is someone on the receiving end of their comment, they are being heard, and will receive a timely and thoughtful response. If it is a positive comment, I would thank them for the comment as well as mention how it was a pleasure to work with them, and add something to personalize the message specific to that client. If someone made a negative comment regarding my business, I would still respond respectfully. I want the client to know that we take our job seriously and it is always our goal to go above and beyond exceeding expectations. Depending on the comment, I might clarify the situation in detail, respectfully and thoroughly, explaining actions taken to fulfill our responsibilities to the client and actions taken that were beyond our responsibility. If something in a transaction went wrong and it was at the fault of our business, we would take full responsibility. 

In responding to a comment on social media, my hope would be that the client, as well as anyone who reads my response will have a greater understanding of the bigger picture.  Since I am in real estate we cannot offer a replacement product or refund, in some businesses this may be appropriate. I believe what makes one’s experience either positive or negative when communicating with a business through social media is the timeliness of a response, whether or not the issue at hand is addressed, and whether or not the company takes responsibility for their part in a situation. 

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Week 2: Part 2 - Blog Comments

I commented on the following blogs:

Week 2: Part 1 - Overview of Social Media

In my opinion, Facebook and Instagram seem to be the social media platforms geared towards personal use.  The reason I think this is because I personally have spent time on Facebook and just about everybody I know, except my parents, are on there. Even though I’m not on Instagram most everyone I talk to, especially younger adults, are. I’ve heard how easy Instagram is to use and that its primarily photos, which many people like to share. 

The nice thing about Instagram that is you can scroll through a lot of different posts quickly without stopping and spending so much time reading individual posts like on Facebook. I believe both Facebook and Instagram can also work well for business marketing because the majority of people are on at least one of these platforms. I definitely think there is an older demographic on Facebook as well as an overall larger number of people on Facebook.  The decision of whether to use one platform over another will be influenced by a business’s target market and also what type of business. 

Both these social media platforms are suitable for reaching a wide range of people on a much lower budget than traditional marketing. While Facebook can have full text, photos and videos I believe Instagram is mostly pictures, possibly videos, and little to no text. Depending on the business one has and how and what they plan to market, either Facebook or Instagram would be a great platform.