Alphagraphics blog

Category: The New Now

The Importance of Having a Website in the Digital Age of Commerce

It wasn’t too long ago that business websites were reserved for those companies who had bottomless budgets, entire creative teams and immeasurable customers coming through their doors—websites were considered a luxury and everyday mom and pop businesses didn’t even dream of hosting their own online site. Today, however, just about anyone and everyone can build themselves a website and its become an essential piece of commerce, regardless of your business’ size or locale.   In fact, we’ll take it another step further and say that in today’s modern age of digital technology, not having a business website can be detrimental to your business itself and put you well behind your competition. Still, there are those few local businesses or longstanding brick and mortar shops that don’t buy into the need for a business website for one reason or another. Take a look at a few key reasons that might convince you to change your views on business websites if you’re still holding out:   a. About 52 percent of small businesses don’t have a website and of those 48 percent who do, only about 56 percent measure traffic and interactions for their website. If you invest in a website for your small business, you’re putting yourself ahead of 52 percent of other small businesses (including your competition) automatically—and, measuring your online traffic puts you ahead of roughly half of all other business owners who also have a website. (via http://www.forbes.com/)   b. 85 percent of consumers are searching for local businesses online before they’re actually going out and spending money. What this means is that if you’re not listed online or don’t have a business website that people can find, you could potentially be missing out on a massive amount of commerce that originates online. (via http://localsplash.com/)   c. Seven out of ten online users surveyed have clearly stated that they will look at products, reviews, company information and competing companies online before they make a purchase or choose a business. If your business doesn’t have a website, you’re automatically being left out of the conversation. (via http://www.reachlocal.com/)   Now, the above are just a few quantified reasons to invest in a website for your small business—there are thousands of other stats and figures that support the cause for creating a website. But, even more persuasive than all of these facts and figures are the qualitative benefits that come with a website, including:   a. Your website works while you sleep, creating leads, converting prospects into sales, spreading your brand message and giving you a voice even when you don’t have the opportunity to communicate face to face.   b. With so many people using computers and mobile devices before they act, having a website is going to ensure that you’re noticed among the crowd and at least given consideration when it comes down to decision making.   c. A website is the foundation for your entire online marketing campaign—everything can be routed back to a quality website! Whether you’re interested in PPC advertising or you’re doing cross-level marketing with physical materials, being able to use your website as a landing space is invaluable.   d. A small business website is far more than just another space for your business to advertise—it’s a resource for customers to learn everything they need to know about you. From your business hours to your location, services and products offered to your practices and standards, your website is going to be a repository for answers to any questions your potential customers may have.   Again, the list of benefits goes on and on to encompass numerous solutions that will lend themselves to your business. A website can be nearly anything you make it and depending on your business and how you choose to market yourself, your website can be as easy or complicated as it needs to be to get the job done! And, thankfully, in today’s modern age of a necessary Internet presence, it’s easier and more affordable than ever to make sure your business has a reserved spot online. Read article →
May 19 / 2015

The Top Four Most Common Prepress Problems and How To Solve Them

AlphaGraphics is your local marketing communications and printing services partner. The experts at AlphaGraphics deal with thousands of print files on a monthly basis, and we have identified a few ways to help make the preparation process for printing easier on you, and us! This blog post will help you understand some of the printing jargon, common issues with creating print files, and how to solve those issues using Adobe Creative Suite. Don’t worry, if you’re using other programs, just ask, and we can help with those, too! As always, the experts at AlphaGraphics are glad to help you in any way possible, so please don’t hesitate to give us a call about any marketing or printing related questions! Here are the things we will be covering in this article:

  • Fonts
  • Color
  • Images
  • Bleeds
Don't Forget the Font Fonts are typically the most problematic issue — they get corrupted, are incomplete, they can be a mix of Postscript and TrueType, or they can go missing entirely. To ensure that your print job maintains the proper spacing, and the font looks the same as when you submitted the order, you need to embed, outline, or include the fonts. Another font issue can occur when you stylize a font (e.g., Futura) to be “bold” from the Style Menu rather than actually selecting the font file “Futura Bold” (assuming you have the actual font file). There are so many different fonts out there that the likelihood of your printer having the exact font and font version that you used is slim to none. So unless you are ok with having all of the text as Helvetica, embed your fonts.  What’s Your Favorite Color? When designing for print, there is a specific color setting with which a document should be created. This setting is called CMYK, which stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Key (known as Black). This term is used for the four-color printing process, in which layers of color build specific colors in digital presses.} {Oftentimes, we will come across documents that are created in RBG color mode (red, green, blue and used primarily for web). These colors can be converted to CMYK, but colors that aren’t converted will likely look nothing like what the designer had intended. When dealing with specific PMS colors, or Pantone Matching System colors, there are also specific ways to incorporate these into your document.  Spot color is the process in which a very specific color is mixed and printed.  Most often, there are only one or two spot colors per document. To create a document with spot colors, you must create or add a swatch of the PMS color you’re using to ensure the document contains the necessary information for your printer. Make sure if you are creating a spot color project, to set your colors to ‘spot’ and not ‘process’ color. Likewise with process color projects, make sure the settings are ‘process’ and not ‘spot’. Picture This… Images can be problematic if they are low-resolution, defined as RGB, or just flat out missing. Images include any photos, logos, or any non-type components. For best print quality, image resolution should be 300 dpi (dots per inch) in the selected size or higher, in order to keep the photo from appearing blurry or pixilated when printed.  The images in your document should be defined as CMYK or spot color, rather than RGB. Missing images in print documents is another challenge with a somewhat simple solution. If you are using InDesign to create a print document, you must link your images, and then package your document before sending to your printer. To Bleed, or Not to Bleed? Bleeds are a typical but easy enough prepress error to correct fairly quickly. A bleed is when an image, block of color, or other graphic element appears to run off the edge of the sheet, with no appearance of white border. To accommodate a bleed, the artwork is printed on an oversized piece of paper that will later be trimmed to the actual size of the final piece. “Pulling the bleed”, or extending the artwork by 1/8 inch (.125) to ¼ inch (.25) beyond where it will be trimmed, is something frequently overlooked by the designer before the artwork is submitted for press. When you open a new document in InDesign, you can create the document with the bleed amount (.125 inches - .25 inches) in the Document Setup window, along with page size, columns, and margins.  If you forget, you can always adjust the settings for your bleed later. If you’d like to see an interesting video on what bleeds are, check out this awesome and comical video that our friends from AlphaGraphics Atlanta created! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QkrApYhsVRs}   Read article →

The Continual Rise of the QR Code

Think for a moment if you will, when was the last time you walked down the street, and didn’t have your cell phone with you? If you are anything like me, there a couple of things that I always make sure I have prior to heading out, whether heading into the office, to meetings, or simply out and about in my free-time.

Wallet?             Check. Keys?               Check. Cell Phone?      Check.

As cellular phones have evolved over the years, whether in size, morphing from large brick like objects, to what is essentially a miniature computer that fits into your pocket, so too have they opened up the almost endless possibilities as to what they can actually do, (more…)

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The Exploding World of Mobile Marketing

AlphaGraphics explodingMobile Smartphones are always on the cutting edge of technology, paving the way for how we communicate with each other on a daily basis. From these high-tech devices we’re able to do more than just make calls—we can surf the web, check email, send SMS messages and even play games. But can a smartphone also be an effective medium for marketing? (more…) Read article →
August 02 / 2011
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Building Reliable Brand Advocates

Have you ever wondered how small burger joints or mom-and-pop stores still exist in a market run by fast foodAlphaGraphics Brand_Advocates franchises and grocery store chains? While they may not bring in tens of thousands of people every month, what they do have is a loyal customer base that gladly chooses their business over all others. What’s more, the people who leave these small businesses with a smile on their face tend to spread the word to others. Building reliable brand advocates has been a practice of businesses small and large for decades. In fact, this strategic tool is often used by businesses that don’t even know they’re doing it! By simply treating your customers with respect and dignity, your company will make an impression that will result in continued business. (more…) Read article →
July 21 / 2011
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Category The New Now
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