Corona / COVID 19 Web Thoughts

Clients / Friends / Humans:  First, let me take this moment to wish you health and well-being in every way.

Those of you who are our maintenance clients have already heard from us about how we can help you communicate your message.    Dream Warrior is happy to pitch-in during this chaotic and critical time.

Here are some thoughts and recommendations to consider (and we know most of you have already done this):

  • Put a pop-up or popover on your site so you patrons and customers can readily find information.
  • Designate a new and separate  advisory webpage that you can update and change as information changes.  That should be the place where everyone can go to for current information – which will help your internal team as well as clients.
    • Include the latest updates regarding programs / services
    • Include the best local and national resources for information such as WHO and CDC.
    • Put best personal care practices as a service
    • Let them clearly know what you are doing on a schedule and maintenance basis — we are cleaning in this way or here is our refund/exchange policy.
    • Update them on the best way to reach you — phone lines and emails are very busy…explain that.
  • Then pass this information and page everywhere…
    • Post on social media
    • Create a link on menu
    • Include a link in email footers (of course send an email as well)
    • Consider your PPC or retargeting campaigns – how can you adjsut them to best serve your customers.  Do you need to change your ads letting them know of cancellations?  Can you give the options to work with you during this process – alternatives to refunds?

Please call us if we can help:  818.610.3316 x1

As for us, we are keeping safe and helping the best we can.  I am off to New York this weekend to speak at the Arts Reach conference – I expect there will be plenty of seats on the plane.  I will be careful and keep you updated.

LaMae

Dedicated to Servers

Those of you who already work with us know how often we talk about servers and security.  It’s a mainstay of our daily communication and vital to providing to-notch service.  In fact, our excellent server up-time is a result of this prioritization and effort (you know this because I’m afraid we brag a bit).

Our managed service provider featured our story recently.

Read about our AWS servers here.

Missed connections at INTIX Convention at Disneyland

I attended INTIX in Anaheim, California at the Disneyland Hotel Convention Center with my Dream Warrior Group colleagues Nami our CTO and LaMae our Bossy Pants /CEO. INTIX focuses on bringing ticketing companies, CRM providers and the venues that need them, together.

As a digital website agency, Dream Warrior Group was one of the few developers at the event which I thought was strange. Without a developer to connect all the pieces, from website to CRM / Database to ticketing software, you are not selling any tickets online.

Even the keynote speaker Martin Clarkson (link goes to a similar talk not the INTIX keynote) partner of MC LTD mentioned repeatedly the need for integration in the industry around issues of primary versus secondary sellers, adapting to disruptive influence and accommodating new markets (see Beijing pop. 28.5 million) and embracing the technology to get to 2020. The website is the partner to ecommerce (mobile optimized please) but a silent partner only noticed when it goes down.

With the proliferation of sites anyone can build a website but can any website build your ticketing business?
Spoiler alert, I work for a website company that caters to performing arts and live event producers and
shockingly my answer is no.

Here’s my case:

A self-built website is typically not:

1) Search Engine Optimized
2) Designed to get patrons to purchase in a minimum of clicks and scrolls
3) Supported by a team that can make adjustments (including coding) as needed in real time.
4) Easy to use on the back end. The ARTdynamix™ Content Management System is optimized for the user.

So, we spent our week talking to great live-event, ticketing companies and CRM providers that need to connect and also hanging out with anthropomorphic animals. If we didn’t connect at the conference and you have a question reach out at john@dreamwarrior.com or 310-341-3930.

Look for LaMae and Nami in NYC in for Arts Reach March 17-19, 2016

 

To Do’s For A Successful Nonprofit Website

As our work with nonprofit organizations increases, we are frequently sharing information on the same key elements. In this article we will review four of these leading principles; responsive design, user-friendly navigation, colors, and high quality photography.

Part 1 Design Essentials

Responsive Design

Responsive design refers to your site’s ability adjust to fit any screen size, whether the site is being viewed on a desktop, laptop, tablet or smart phone. Responsive design is one of the highest priorities for any website today. The importance of mobile search means that your site must be available in an easily accessible, size appropriate form on mobile devices, and tablets.

If the site isn’t responsive, mobile users will have a hard time viewing and navigating, which can result in Google lowering your ranking in search engines.

Google’s recent updates (search algorithm) indicate ?mobile friendly? prioritization

Intuitive, User-Friendly Navigation

Well-thought-out navigation is crucial. It is imperative that visitors can find what they are seeking. Some of the more common to do’s in navigation is to use familiar, logical names and avoiding long drop down menus. (No more than 7 items).

One reason the role of thought out and simple navigation is so fundamental is to allow for easy monetization on your site. When clients visit your site their primary goal is to take action, so the menu items that monetize your site, such as shows, tickets, and donate should come first.

Call-to-Action Buttons

Call-to-action buttons are an important component of your website’s navigation. The purpose of a call-to-action button is to encourage visitors to click to do something (donate, become a member, buy a ticket, make an appointment, subscribe to your blog).

Call-to-action button best practices:

  • Use action-oriented language, such as Donate, Register, Buy Ticket, Download,
  • Sign Up
  • Keep text short – 2 to 3 words max.
  • Choose a contrasting but complimentary color for your button. It should stand out, but not deter from the web design.
  • The most important call to action buttons re-emphasize the monetization path, and are placed visibly above the menu or above the fold in the side bar. If you have more than one call-to-action, create a hierarchy.

Colors

Please remember that you are building the site for your customers based on your branding, and not simply for your enjoyment 🙂

Make sure you select the colors for your site based on sound design and branding principles.

Color best practices:

  • Select one or two colors from your brand that are appealing
  • With the help of your designer, select the appropriate color scheme for your site.

High-quality photography

We are all susceptible to visual communication, and the right imagery can have a powerful impact on our behavior. By using high quality photography on your website, you can grab people’s interest and connect your cause/vision/mission with theirs. If you have a show make sure your ?Hero image? (top image above the fold) communicates the eminence of the show

Photography best practices:

  • Use real photos as much as possible (minimize or eliminate the use of stock photography models)
  • If you don’t have the budget for custom photography and you must use stock photography, stick to images of landscapes, city skylines and objects.
  • Experiment with filters and overlays to create different looks and moods.
  • Avoid pixelated or blurry images at all cost.
  • Always obey the licensing/copyright rules!

Deep Linking for Ticket Sales

According to Techopedia, Deep linking is the process of pointing a visitor to a specific page in a website through the use of that page?s link instead of that homepage.? We all know that it is imperative to make sure your patrons get to the point of ticketing for their specific date and time on the first try. It allows visitors to get the information that they are seeking quickly rather than a list of options that might be distracting.

Deep linking minimizes the click to purchase to increase online sales, helps raise more funds and simplifies the subscription process. For example, if a visitor wants to buy a ticket for a particular show and they search for the title of the show in your area online, they will find a direct link to buy tickets for that specific show instead of clicking on a link to your main page and having to do multiple clicks to find the checkout page. (I?ve heard estimates that you lose 18% of your traffic per click ? that certainly matches our experience)

So, some informal ticketing deep link rules are:

Always link them to a specific event purchase page
When sending email blasts or social media, make sure you link them to a specific appropriate page on your web site (not ticketing site) and then send them to the ticketing deep link.
Include direct links in your email signature regarding any shows you are currently promoting (rather than a link to your main homepage).

As LaMae always says – We are happy that folks get to the web site — they can land on any page they like or find. Then, it’s our job to quickly get them to where they need to be.

 

Don’t think you need a new Performing Arts website? … Think Again

Important meeting with V.I.M.

Disneyland is the happiest place on earth, right? I got to spend 4 days and nights at Disneyland. I had multiple touch points with the brand while?there for a work conference. I spent most of my time in the Disneyland Convention Center. Here the Disney touch was in evidence all around. The convention space was convenient, well designed, easy to navigate and I even got to take a photo with Mickey and Minnie during one of the breaks. It was a great experience all around.

My second touch point was the hotel. I stayed at the Grand Californian, the overflow hotel. The room was nice, quiet but a little worn in ways that I had not seen before at a Disney property. But, there was also turndown service that put mints on my bed so I am still calling it good.

Once the conference was over, I met my wife and went to Disneyland – the happiest place on earth…and everyone on earth was there. We went to a few of our favorite rides but left before we had spent 5 hours there. According to staff it was not close to a maximum capacity day. It was just an uncomfortable experience at a theme park.

If ever there was a need for dynamic pricing for a better patron experience, this was it. I would have paid nearly double to be able to have only half as many people in the park that day.

Even a great entertainment brand has trouble maintaining service levels as the traffic increases.

Which brings me to your website?

We tell clients that after 2 years your site probably needs a refreshed look, feel and functionality. And yes, we sell web services. But, there are a whole host of reasons your website may need an upgrade: Mobile responsiveness is a need not a want. SEO is necessary if you want to be found in this Google-dominated digitalscape we live in. And making sure you are as few clicks away as possible from conversion is just best practice. So, when you think to yourself that my five-year old website is bulletproof ?because it is still functional; check your traffic, conversions and purchase path and then rethink because chances are your status quo can be catapulted.

If you have that hot ticket that everyone wants, you may find that your bulletproof website can?t direct the traffic or optimize conversions.

Re-think your site from you visitor? perspective and it will be a happy place.

-John Olchak