3 Business Tools We Love

What tools do you use to make your business go-round? Today, we are sharing our top {3} favorite.

Slack Logo  Slack

We love Slack. Our team is remote, and we rely heavily on communicating with each other. And I don’t know about you, but our inboxes are already full. Slack allows our team to create channels to keep conversations organized and on topic. These channels are a great way to communicate to everyone that a particular topic involves. And our favorite part is it allows the conversation to be visible & transparent to the entire team.  Another great feature is the direct message option. No need to get everyone involved when you just need to ask a quick question.

Trello LogoTrello

This project management tool allows our team to see the tasks needed to complete a project. Here we create projects, establish & assign tasks, make notes, attach files, and track progress. My personal favorite part is checking off the list. What project management tool do you use?

Harvest App Harvest

We can keep up with everything finances here. Client & project information gets entered and from there, our team can track time & expenses. We can create reports and invoice clients. We absolutely love that all things money is in one place.

Each company has their favorite software to get the job the done. Software that gets chosen relies heavily on the person in the company creating the systems and of course, the budget. What software do you use to work effectively & efficiently with your team? We want to hear from you.

Do You Need a Designer or a Developer?

Most times you need both. We usually get tagged in posts like “Looking for recommendations on a web designer,” or “I need to make a website. Know any web designers?” and well, you get the point. When we get the opportunity to talk with the potential client, 9.9 times out of 10, they need a web designer AND developer. What’s the difference? My favorite analogy of getting a website live is to building a home.

What’s a web designer?

You know Joanna Gaines, the famous interior designer from Fixer Upper on HGTV? If so, you know she designs homes. She puts thought into how the house is going to look & feel when someone enters. She plans out the paint color, the furniture, and the walls in order to create her notorious open-concept living areas. She doesn’t build the homes…she designs them, right?

A web designer is going to set the tone of your website. Your designer will select a color palette, typography, and imagery that coordinates with your branding. Then the layout, including placement of images and text, will be determined all while prioritizing your message and vision for your business. Designers typically work in programs like Photoshop, Illustrator & Sketch and their deliverables are likely to be jpg or pdf format. This is basic web design.

Now, what is a developer?

Remember Joanna’s husband and business partner, Chip? Chip & the crew begin to build what Joanna designed. Whether that is a new front elevation, tearing down or adding a new wall, or putting down a wood floor, in order for Joanna’s designs to become reality, it needs to be built.

A developer builds your website to make it usable and interactive to your customers. The developer uses HTML, CSS, Javascript, PHP, Laravel, React, Ruby on Rails and the list keeps going of the languages that can be used to build a website. Great developers can code in many different languages. And the best of developers will take the design files and make it a reality for clients. Developers typically work in a text editor, terminal, GitHub and much more.

You likely need both. Getting started? Then you need a web designer AND developer. Already have a website, but it needs an update? Don’t be confused by the words “website redesign” to think you only need a designer. You, too, will need both. A redesign only becomes reality once it’s developed.

Why Gulf Coast Pixel?

We not only design and develop, but we specialize in User Experience (UX) design and writing appropriate, lean code. UX considers human-centered design. As UX designers, we research your competition and your clients then create an experience based on industry best practices and audience demographics. We not only use creative thinking, but also critical thinking to establish the site’s flow & functionality based on user patterns. Gulf Coast Pixel’s developers are skilled in many different languages. We choose the best language to suit our clients’ individual and unique needs. We make all efforts to keep your code lean for quick load time while keeping the integrity of functionalities. Not all code is created equal, and neither are developers.

Do your research. Be informed. And know you can always schedule a free consultation with us.

3 Reasons Users Leave Your Site

Have you ever wondered why your conversion rates are low? Your bounce rate is so high? Let’s look at three reasons people might be leaving your site too soon.
1. Load Time

How long does it take your website to load? As you know, we live in a microwave generation. The faster your site, the more satisfied the customer. The average page visit is less than a minute and according to research, many will leave your site if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load. There are a few items that should be a priority to get your page loading quickly.

First, how is your server’s performance? If it is poor performing, it will always load slowly.

Next, are your images optimized? Photography is important to design of the website, and optimization of the images are important to your load time. When your designer & developer optimize your assets, they have your best interest at heart.

Third, is your code dense? It is extremely critical that your developer is skilled at writing code. Excess code will cause your website to be sluggish.

2. Mobile Friendly

According to official Google statements, more than 50 percent of search queries globally now come from mobile devices. Is your website responsive? Meaning is it developed appropriately to be viewed from a mobile device? Google announced in 2015 a new algorithm that ranks your site higher in organic searches if developed to be mobile friendly. Be sure your designer & developer are building your site or web application to be used from all devices.

3. UX Design

Does your site make sense? Is it easy to navigate? Do users know the purpose of your business? If your business is e-commerce, is your check-out simple? Your user experience needs to be simplistic, sensical, and natural to the user. It is essential that your designer & developer use human-centered design principles based on research of habits and needs of the user. Good UX design will create greater user satisfaction and increase the effectiveness and pleasure throughout the interaction with the product.

Gulf Coast Pixel prides itself on providing a better way. We work to be sure your load time is the shortest possible by offering the best server options, optimizing images, and writing appropriate, lean code. Because of the Google algorithm, the value of organic search and the lofty numbers of smart phone use, mobile responsiveness is a top priority for us. And finally, you can be sure UX design is of great concern. Our staff includes UX designers and we are continuously updating our team on industry best practices and current human trends in user experience.

Want to know how your site is performing? Need an update? Schedule a free consultation with Gulf Coast Pixel and discover the value we can add to you & your business.

Here’s a story…

We could go back decades to tell you how Gulf Coast Pixel started, but we’ll give you the quick version.

Alex and I come from long lines of entrepreneurs. We have seen the struggles, the heartache, the joy and the freedom of being business owners. We, too, have the entrepreneurial spirit that generations past have passed down.

I started out as an Elementary school teacher, and taught for our first 5 years of marriage. Then we brought home a beautiful baby girl and then a little sweet baby boy. At that time, I began to reevaluate my career and knew I needed a new direction. Needing a change, a fresh new career, I began looking into growing my skills in the tech industry. I enrolled in Designer Track course with Bloc focusing on UX/UI design. After completion and learning design principles, color theory, user habits and industry best practices, I began taking on clients as a freelancer. At that point, I was designing marketing websites, mobile apps for small businesses and working with a real-estate start-up to design a SaaS web application. I then landed a long-term contract
with a company based in Dallas and has since designed for mobile, web, print, digital marketing, and social media specifically for their products and branding.

Alex spent most of his professional career as a musician. He spent over a decade on and off the road, then about 6 years working in churches as a worship leader. After looking for something challenging to take on and allowing his computer science skills to flourish, he enrolled in the Full Stack Developer Program through the University of Texas. After completion, he began doing contract work for various development firms.

After taking on clients separately and doing contract work for some large technology firms, it only made sense to branch out and start something we could do together!

Gulf Coast Pixel was born!

We have thoroughly enjoyed working together to deliver exactly what our clients need and envision for their projects. At Gulf Coast Pixel, we are setting the tone for what we want our company to be, not just now but also as we grow and expand. It is important to us to get to know our clients through our on-boarding process. We communicate with them via email, phone and face-to-face meetings. Alex and I work personally with our clients to make a plan-of-action for their site or product to go live as soon as possible. We also set benchmarks along the way to be certain that our teams are collaboratively working towards the same goal. It has been our greatest pleasure working with our past and current clients.

We are excited to see what the future hold for Gulf Coast Pixel. And we certainly want you around for the ride!

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