Category: Design

10 Things You Need to Know about Making a Magazine Ad

The Perfect Formula for Small Business Ads
Putting an ad in a magazine is not something to be done flippantly. It’s a process that takes some creative thinking and skills to execute properly. Check out these 10 things you should do before you submit your small business ad to a magazine.

1. Don’t Pay for Bad Ads
If you don’t plan to build your ad yourself, you need to know how to hire out appropriately. The best way to find out what your ad should look like is to look at your competition’s ad placements. This will show you a general idea of not only how to design your ad, but where to place it. Work with an ad designer that is willing to work with you right back. This means being willing to tweak and adjust an ad to your liking without charging you for a “re-do.” Reputable ad and graphic designers will offer you a few different layouts and help you decide which final copy is right for your advertisement.

2. Understand the Market
Try your best to place your ad in a magazine that relates to your product or service. You’ll notice that anymore, magazines are not composed of an eclectic selection of advertising; rather, the advertisements work very well with the written content. Make sure you’re submitting your ad to the magazine that will generate the most leads. Also, know that about 10% of people who read a magazine will look at your small business ad, so it should never be considered your main or only source of advertising.

3. Headlines that Stand Out
Even if you’ll only draw about 10% of magazine viewers to your page, do your best to engage that percentage. Develop a great headline that entices your readers to become interested in the product or service your small business is trying to sell. Read more to learn about creating headlines that sell.

4. Sub-headlines to Say More
You need to leave the headline space to write something catchy, not lengthy. If you need more room to promote your small business ad, create a sub-headline. You’ll have some more room to flex your text, without taking away from or clouding up the important message in the headline.

5. Individuality
You may only have a page (or even less) to tell your potential clients about your product. Right after the headline, the reader should be able to learn more about what makes your small business design unique. Make sure your ad mentions why your product or service stomps the competition! Do you offer free shipping? Do you have a coupon code? Make sure to let readers know what makes your small business great.

6. Style
Taking the time to create (or paying someone to create) a jaw-dropping, eye-catching ad is great, but don’t go too far. Statistics show that ads that look more like they’re part of the magazine are more likely to be read. Put your focus on the content first, but make sure the style has that kind of technical and professional feel.

7. Call to Action
It should be listed clearly and carefully: the way interested patrons can contact you or get to your website to learn more. This does not mean your ad should leave a viewer hanging, having to go online to learn exactly what it is your selling; ads should never be vague. It simply means that after you’ve described your small business service or product, all the necessary contact/website information is listed. Never use those techniques where you entice people to read a indistinct, yet interesting ad about a product or opportunity, only to fail to deliver any real information about the product. These ads do not generate sales. These sales techniques are best left for the late-night infomercials.

8. Visual Media
When we want to design an ad to submit to a magazine, we often fuss about the placement of a picture, logo or other graphics. The placement of visual media is listed at number eight, because although the rest of the list is not in any particular order of importance, pictures are simply not that important. Just remember that your logo or any photos should be at the top of the ad, not take up the entire page and should not be the focus. Pictures should not take away from the text.

9. Proximity
It is important that you design an ad that can be flawlessly placed in a newspaper or magazine, but be versatile enough to be looked at on a smart phone. People do still have magazine subscriptions, but more people are using their smart phones to flip through virtual pages. Design a small business magazine ad that looks good on a smart phone. Have good image sizes and use your white space efficiently, leaving enough room for a reader’s eye to catch a break.

10. Proper Etiquette
Of course the standard spelling and grammar laws apply to creating a magazine ad for your small business, but don’t forget about proper formatting. Spellings and abbreviations are evolving, but are still not proper for a magazine advertisement. For example, not proper: TXT instead of Text. “At” should never be replaced with the @ symbol, unless specifically listed as an e-mail address.

There you have it: 10 things you need to do before you submit an ad to a magazine. Follow the 10 steps above for making a magazine ad for your small business and get the most out of your purchased ad space.

A Clean Website with a Clear Focus

You may have a lot to tell visitors that come to your website, but you need to know when enough is enough. Putting too much on your small business website can be distracting to your clients. Learn to focus on the important things that your customers will want to know. With well-designed, organized web pages, you should have plenty of room to say what needs to be said, and it will be appropriately placed.

The most important webpage a small business needs to tend to is the homepage. This is the first thing potential customers see. It needs to be fresh, fast-loading and it needs to be relevant. Slow graphic downloads will send people back to the search engines. If content on the home page is dated and is a few years old, it’s time to add some something new. Make a webpage for archiving if you want to keep old news on your website, but don’t have it showcased on the homepage. Out with the old and in with the new. How often should you be putting fresh content on your website? There really isn’t one right answer. If the year on the article doesn’t match the current year, pitch it.

Blinking, flashy graphics all over your homepage as part of your small business website design is also a bad idea. You would see this type of design a decade ago, but like white eye-liner and slap bracelets, it was a fad. It’s distracting to have little blinking gadgets all over your website, enticing visitors to “click here.” Now, more than ever, clean should be the theme of your website. Clean-looking websites are not only going to be well-organized, they also appear safer than the glitzy, disheveled websites of the past. Website bling (if overused) can give a sort of feel to the website that makes it seem unsafe, juvenile or selling a poor product. If the product or service is good, there is no need to bombard your website with flash, jazz and glitter. Less is more.

When your small business website design is complete, it should easily take your customers to what is important: the product. It should do it quickly, effortlessly and cleanly. It can sometimes be difficult when you’re selling a product that might not be very unique and you want that niche that makes your small business website stand out from the rest. You won’t get first place for adding banners, tickets and animations all over your website; find another way to stomp out your competition. Make sure your website is organized and ready for the 2011 business year.

Wow Your Customers with Website Design Techniques

If you’re in the small business realm, you know just how important having a well-designed, consumer-friendly website can be. The hard part is knowing what small business website design techniques are going to get you the most business. It’s one thing to have a great website, but it’s another to have one that works well for small business sales. Let’s look at a few, good methods you can implement into your business to make sure you’re taking care of the customers.

There is an unusual acronym to remember some great ways to keep your customers in mind while constructing/updating your small business website: CRAP

Consistency: Common flow/feel as visitors browse your website

Repetition: Use appropriate repetition of imagery and text throughout

Alignment: A place for everything, and everything in its place. Don’t stick anything on the website for the reason of just “having it on there.”

Proximity: Make sure you group appropriate parts of your website together. Can your clients find what they need, easily?

Color is an important aspect of your small business design. Although consistency is important, choosing the right colors are a must to help you get the sale. Customers shop with their eyes; use colors that complement each other. You want them to be agreeable with the nature of the website, but not overwhelmingly bright or annoying to look at. You also don’t want a bland color palate. Try to pick one bold color, keeping the contrasting colors more neutral.


Many small business websites have advertising space they can control. You really want to make sure that any advertising you have on your website is relevant to your small business. If you sell handbags, your best advertising would also be in accessories, clothing, cosmetics and so on. If you have a family member who has a tree stump removal business, they have no purpose on your website, family or not.

Finally, your patrons want to know what’s in it for them. Save a webpage to talk about you and your business; leave the rest to cater to the shopper. Talk about what they’re going to get when they do business with you. Make sure to mention everything from a detailed description of the product or service, right down to your mission statement, guarantees and return policies.

As much as we may pride ourselves on the time and love we spend on our small businesses, we have to remember that the consumer tends to be a bit more “selfish.” Their concern is a getting a great deal on a product or service on a website that’s easy to use and good-looking. Remember: If you don’t take care of your customers…someone else will.

Make Your Small Business Website Mobile Phone Friendly

If you have a website, the odds are pretty good that someone is viewing it using their mobile phone. That’s why it is so important to make sure your small business website is mobile phone friendly. Here are some tips you can apply to make your web pages look good on various mobile phone screens.

Think Small
When your web pages are big, wordy and filled with images, it makes it hard for mobile phones to load them quickly. Keep your pages short and sweet. Potential clients aren’t likely to stick around and wait very long for your pages to download, so make sure you’ve compressed your website to maximize mobile phone viewing potential. This also means to minimize or completely rid advertisements from your website. When ads are allowed to roam free on your website, people are spending more time dealing with them than looking at your content. Advertising on your small business website will distort the layout of the page; it’s one of the biggest problems with mobile phone internet usage. Remember to keep your visual media to a minimum, as graphics will slow the page load.

Add Shortcuts
Make your website mobile phone friendly by making sure you’re offering viewers shortcuts easily to access the various pages within your website. Have links that get people to the top of the page, the bottom and easily back to the home page to avoid scrolling and shorten the time it takes to navigate to the content they’re looking for.

Finally, test your small business website for mobile readiness by checking it on your own mobile phone. Check it on a few different mobile phones if you can and work on the problem areas that you find. Make a mobile phone ready website part of your small business design as soon as you can, as more phones are hitting the market with great web-surfing technologies. Don’t lose out on potential revenue for your business because your website isn’t ready for the 21st century style to surf the internet.

Free Christmas Graphics Giveaway – Day 25

january calendar

These are free for you to use for personal and business use, except for resale. Make sure to come back everyday for new graphics to download.

This download file comes in 4 sizes: 1024×768, 1280×960, 1600×1200, and ipad (all are in one file).

Quick Tip:

Use this abstract design with the January 2011 calendar on your desktop to help you stay on track.

january calendar