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Your Company Profile + Our Microsite = A Winning Online Presence

When you consider all the iconic duos that the world has come to know and love, it’s easy to see why they say the best things come in pairs. Think peanut butter and jam… snakes and ladders… Sylvester and Tweety… fingers and smartphones, to name a few.

Because we’re always creatively innovating, Coffee has come up with a fresh, winning combination of our own. One that’s good for YOUR business – the company profile and microsite merger!

As the name suggests, a microsite is a miniature website made up of a single, dynamic webpage, with multi-dimensional functionalities. It is simple, cost-efficient and a visually appealing platform with which to deliver snack-sized, but relevant, information about a business, product or service.

When we marry one with your company profile, it becomes a powerful tool with which to market your business online.

Our company profile microsites help you to establish an online presence fast, so that prospective clients and investors can find you in the digital space. You can include titbits of information related to your company history, products and services, vision and mission, track record and what differentiates you in the market – all the info that helps people decide that you’re a good entity to do business with.

We can also incorporate SEO and mobile-friendly functionality, making your business easier to find, and contactable on the go! Sure, the name may have ‘micro’ in it, but the rewards of our microsites are macro in nature!

If you already have an existing company profile that you feel is bang on the money… great! You’re halfway there. We can make that into a website. Let’s get started! Give us a call or drop us a mail to set up a meeting for a chat about how we can help you!

Shopify vs WooCommerce – We Have Our Winner

So you want to sell online? Smart move! With the amount of e-shoppers in SA growing as fast as a line for free coffee at Starbucks, an e-commerce platform for your business is becoming one of the best ways to attract new customers, trade round the clock and keep that cash rolling in. Ka-ching!

But where to start? First things first. You need a functional online store. One that is aesthetically pleasing, but also provides shoppers with all the nifty bells and whistles that make online shopping a joy.

Two of the most popular e-commerce solutions for achieving this are Shopify and WooCommerce. But which to choose? Well…

Shopify is a basic, subscription-based service that hosts your online shop for you. Whether you’re experienced in the e-commerce space or just bringing an offline store online to grow your business, the easy-to-use service has a range of tools you’ll need to create a successful online shop.

WooCommerce (or Woo-Hoo-Commerce as we like to call it!) is a plugin that requires hosting and a working WordPress installation to run. WooCommerce lets you modify your store freely and is entirely flexible when it comes to customisations. There’s also the bonus of adding any functionality imaginable to your website with the help of more than 50,000 WordPress plugins. Score!

At Coffee, our Web Developers are kinda famous for creating every web miracle known to man and womankind. They understand that with great power comes great responsibility. This is why we choose to use a platform that allows us to whip up web wonders (try saying that 5 times fast) without restriction – WooCommerce.

Here are 3 reasons why WooCommerce is the obvious choice for Coffee Creative Studios and its clients.

1. Designs that Dazzle

You’re a business like no other, so your online store should be too. Using WordPress we can create for you a one of a kind design that reflects your business’s style and personality to a T. From your colour scheme and typography, to layouts, visuals and other areas that affect the aesthetics of your site – everything is 100% original. It also means that of the 644 million active websites, you will be the only one with your theme, making your brand instantly identifiable to online shoppers.

2. Cool to Customise

At Coffee, we’re always down with the latest and greatest trends in the web development space. Why? Because we want our clients to stay current and have the best online platform possible. With WooCommerce we can custom build you the online store that does everything you want it to. From hosting unlimited products and incorporating discount codes, to SEO, social media integration and more – we know what it takes to execute successful design, web development and maintenance.

3. Bang On the Money

WooCommerce is the more budget-friendly of the two. Shopify charges set monthly fees, but WooComerce on the other hand is a subscription-free service that has many free plugins available, although you do have to pay for some. What makes WooCommerce great is you don’t have to pay for features you may not even need.

If that isn’t enough, Shopify also charges a transaction fee for each sale made via your online and WooCommerce does not.

Now that you know who our clear winner is for building those web wonders, pop into our studio for cuppa and let’s chat about building that online store of your dreams.

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2018 Is Looking Bright!

2017 was quite a year! Donald Trump was elected the 45th president of the United States, 90’s fashion made a comeback, Beyoncé popped twins, 140 million hours were watched on Netflix every day, Greenery was the Pantone colour of the year, and Salt Bae caused a stir on social media as he flamboyantly sprinkled salt on carved steaks.

Over here, at Coffee Creative Studio, 2017 brought not one, not two, but three engagements, some very exciting new projects and one epic Christmas Party! We began 2017 with a Coffee Bean count of ten and ended the year with twenty-two! We’ve even gone international! Vito Feremans joined us from Belgium, and he’ll be with us for the next six months, or we may just have to keep him here… forever.

So far, 2018 has been incredible and we pretty much hit the ground running after the Christmas break, (hence the very overdue blog post), but it’s totally been worth the madness!

It’s already March and the year, as always, is flying by. As we look ahead, there are many more exciting things to come (including three Coffee babies – yay) and of course, we’ve got some great new projects lined up.

A definite highlight and achievement already this year has been launching The Sharks digital magazine, ‘Sharks Uncaged’ – go and check it out Sharks Uncaged. Blood, sweat and tears (almost) went into creating this publication and we’re insanely proud of our Beans! Our dev team, especially, spent many a late night (and weekend) at the Studio – so major shout-out to them!

As we head into the rest of the year, things are looking bright! We’ve got a bunch of epic e-commerce websites on the go, one of which is for a Chocolatier based in London (what are the chances of chocolate samples making the Atlantic crossing by mail?), we’re about to launch the new Hollywoodbets Dolphins website and we’ll be working on another collaboration with The SPAR Group developing their customer service campaign!

So, you certainly are keeping us busy – and we love it! So whatever your requirements this year, be it website, social media, or design, we’re here to be your preferred creative partner and help you achieve your business goals!

Give us a shout, let’s get together, have a chat and enjoy a good cuppa!

The Importance of a Mobile Responsive and User-Friendly Website.

Did you know that in South Africa, cell phones are taking the place of computers, and more than 60% of South Africans now frequently use their cell phones to browse the internet?

We live in a world where we can shop, bank, book air tickets, get directions from A to B and make dinner reservations all with the simple touch of a button from our cell phones! So, with all this in mind, the fact stands; if you don’t have a mobile responsive and user-friendly website, you’re going to lose business.

Here are some important things to consider about the mobile market and why in this day and age, your business needs to have a responsive website.

1. Mobile Users are Unique

A mobile user has a different goal to your average desktop user, so you need to treat them with a little more TLC. They want their information quickly and in bite size pieces, and generally, they’re also a little less patient than your desktop user.

Additionally, research has shown that if your mobile site takes more than three seconds to load, 57% will abandon their search and 30% will cancel their transaction if the shopping cart isn’t optimised for mobile.

2. Mobile Users are Everywhere

Over a billion people worldwide use their mobiles to browse the internet, and in South Africa, the Smartphone has passed the one-third mark, meaning that between 37% and 45% of our country use these devices to browse the internet.

In essence, mobile users are more mobile; it’s that simple. They, therefore, generate more website traffic than desktop users as it’s easy to visit a site while you’re watching TV, commuting and carrying out other daily activities on your handheld device as opposed to your desktop or even laptop computer.

3. Mobile Boosts Brand Engagement…And Sales

If a user had a positive experience on your website, they’re more likely to return to your site on a desktop at a later stage. Since most people “multi-screen” from desktop and mobile to complete a task, when your site is optimised for user experience, it’ll leave a positive and long lasting impression on the user – which means they’re more likely to keep coming back!

In fact, 80% of shoppers said that their mobile purchases were impulse-driven and that they were more likely to buy from and interact with a brand that offered a positive mobile experience.

From Garage to Greatness

Once upon a time in a garage far, far away (well, not really, just on the other side of the hill in Westville), a couple of ambitious (and crazy) youngsters took on a freelance job. They had no idea at the time that this little job would be the beginning of an epic adventure.

If you’d told us six years ago that we’d be sitting in a super chic office in the middle of Umhlanga with a staff of sixteen, that we would be the creative agency for The Sharks and would have just landed an incredibly exciting project with The SPAR Group, we absolutely would NOT have believed you.

But, here we are, going from strength to strength and still loving what we do!

From working in a leaky garage to an office in La Lucia and then a move to Umhlanga, it’s been a journey of epic proportions that has certainly kept us on our toes! There has been plenty of laughter, tears, late nights, moments of “what the heck are we doing” and of course, copious amounts of coffee.

Over the last six years, we’ve been fortunate enough to work with some really inspiring brands and people, some of which have included well-known names like, FutureLife®, The Dolphins, Belgotex Sport and Fidelity Security and start-ups, including Republik and We Are Food. In addition to awesome clients, we’ve also been surrounded by a great team of staff (who we consider family)!

Our team of Coffee Beans are the life and soul of our business, after all, without them, we wouldn’t be where we are today. Their passion and commitment to each job has been phenomenal, and every one of them adds their unique flavour to our Coffee Culture. Thank you, Beans, for being an integral part of this crazy, exciting journey.

So, on our sixth birthday, we want to raise our glasses (and mugs) and toast to each and every one of you, big, small, start-up, and everything in between and thank you, from the bottom of our caffeine racing hearts, for trusting us with your brands and business, and allowing us to walk along side you as we help you achieve your business goals!

Here’s to another six and many more to come!

What Is E-commerce?

Exciting. Economical. Efficient.

Just a few reasons why e-commerce is a growing retail trend in South Africa and around the world.

In fact, according to MoneyWeb “online retail continues to grow at a rapid rate in South Africa, having maintained a growth rate of above 20% since the turn of the century.”

So what exactly is e-commerce and how do you go about making it work for you and your business?

To start, it is important to define what e-commerce is.

E-commerce is defined as a “commercial transaction conducted electronically on the Internet.” So, simply put, online shopping.

E-commerce offers a wide variety of benefits to both customer and seller.

Here are just a few:

For the Customer

  • Around the clock availability
  • Accessible
  • Convenient
  • Offers variety
  • Fast delivery

For the Seller

  • Efficient
  • Reduced costs
  • Local and international reach

Sounds like a win-win right?

And it is, well, rather it can be. But only if you have the right strategy and tools in place to really leverage your brand and reach your desired audience.

To do this you will need to develop a solid, professional, easy-to-use e-commerce website that effectively reaches your target audience.

Here’s how to get started:

  • Choose a company that has experience in developing and setting-up e-commerce sites (Hi there!)
  • Ensure that you discuss and outline all the requirements of your online shopping experience upfront
  • Product display
  • Capturing orders
  • Billing
  • Shipping
  • Start the conversation with your bank (you will need to apply to be an online merchant and this can take some time to finalise)
  • Choose the correct payment portal for your business (your chosen developers should be able to assist with this)
  • Get sufficient training on how to maintain and operate your online store
  • Develop an online strategy to promote and advertise your store
  • Integrate this with your offline processes
  • Partner with an experienced agency who can help you implement your online and offline marketing strategy

Following these steps, we have successfully assisted some great local brands with their e-commerce businesses, including Jitterbug, We Are Food, and Canvas Print Co.

Each of these sites is unique and was developed to suit the specific offering of the brand to help them successfully achieve their business goals.

“Products can’t all be marketed and sold the same way. This understanding is crucial as the first stepping-stone when starting an e-commerce project.  We have to understand the product, its market (how to sell it), and only then, define the scope of the project. We create custom solutions that suit the specific needs of each of our clients, including unique product delivery functionality and pricing structures.

It is great working with our clients and developing exciting solutions that will assist in making their business goals and dreams a reality”- Scott Smith, Head of Development (Coffee Creative Studio).

Looking to start an e-store? Give us a shout and let’s chat about how we can assist you in achieving your e-goals.

“The best website developers in the country! Thanks to you my new website is absolutely stunning. It is definitely something to be proud of. Thanks so much for your hard work and dedication.” – Tamlyn Doig, Jitterbug

Jitterbugs Website Design and Development

We’ll be the first to admit that we’re incredibly lucky to have the clients that we do. We’re even luckier that they trust us to handle a variety of areas within their branding. This year, we took on the complete design and development of a brand new website for Jitterbugs, a personalised sticker and label printing company based in Waterfall.

Their old site was exceptionally static and did not work on mobile devices at all. This meant that it featured poorly on the usability side of things. It also didn’t do the fun, vibrant and energetic brand justice either. Another aspect that needed our attention was that all online sales could only be completed if a visitor was signed up as a member. This was something that presented a barrier to sales, so we got to work to improve things…

Whenever we begin a new site from the ground up, we always ask ourselves what the brand speaks, and what their audience would respond most to. With parents making up the bulk of the brand’s clientele, we needed to create an easy-to-use site that appealed to them. We decided that as an e-commerce site, it was best to break products up into easily distinguished categories, in order make the journey to check out as simple as possible.

With many parents on the go, we figured it made sense to create a site that transcended the device that it was being viewed on. As a result, the new Jitterbugs site is fully responsive across all devices.

We also included a unique product display feature so that you can get a full view of what you plan on ordering. Now, customers can get a real-time preview of their chosen design on their desired product without going to another page to see what the final product would look like.

We added over 300 products and their variations, helping to boost potential sales for the brand by showing customers exactly what can be purchased. The order process was also simplified, with improved navigation to make checkout easier than ever before. Check out was also given a boost with a Google Maps autocomplete solution. Now, customers can select the area they fall into to receive accurate delivery costs associated with that area.

In terms of site longevity and affordability, we implemented a CMS for the client to update herself. This has given the Jitterbugs team a new degree of control through which they can effectively manage and update the site as the need arises. It also enables them to add and remove designs at the click of a button, something they’ll use as they introduce new products and designs all the time!

At first, we were approached by Jitterbugs to make their online store more mobile friendly. We went beyond that, automating many processes for the client, allowing them to save time and increase their production capabilities.

All in all, we’re pretty pleased with the end result, as is the Jitterbugs team. Check out our hard work here, jitterbugs.co.za

At Coffee Creative Studio, we’re no strangers to web development. It’s something we really enjoy and for that reason, we handle every aspect of web creation in-house. If you need a brand new website, or if your current one needs a facelift, why not chat to us today? To see whom we’ve had the pleasure of working with, click here.

This is what Tamlyn Doig, owner of Jitterbugs, had to say.

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When Last Did You Update Your Website?

What do websites and the movie, “How to lose a guy in 10 days” have in common? Wait for it… The “love fern.” Believe it or not, your website (and any relationship) is like a plant that needs to be watered, nurtured, pruned and even re-potted from time to time. If you don’t, well – we all know what happens there. It’s pretty dire and to be honest, it’s costly and best avoided.

Today, it’s no longer enough to have a website that’s up and running, because a presence alone just doesn’t cut it anymore. In fact, we’re firm believers in changing things up every now and then. Much like a logo or a brand identity, your site also needs a fresh new look and some current info to keep it from growing stale. This is for a number of reasons that we’re unpacking below:

Tech changes rapidly

This one’s pretty self-explanatory, but from platforms to plug-ins, and even enhancements, your site will become redundant if it’s left unattended. Sadly, this is something we’ve come to notice in the web realm. Brands are keen to get things going and once a site is up, it’s forgotten and outdated in almost no time at all. Make sure that your in-house web team, or your agency of choice runs regular updates and is always up to speed with new additions to your platform. That way, you won’t have a dinosaur on your hands, because we all know what happened to them…

New trends are always emerging

How boring would life (and websites) be if there weren’t any trends to keep things fresh and exciting? Your website deserves to remain current and relevant with updates that reflect the latest happenings in digital. Now, we’re not saying that you should become a slave to trends; but every now and again, you should refresh your site’s look and content. This will ensure that it delivers something worthy of your brand that’s worth revisiting. If you don’t, you’ll probably find that your traffic and stats are poor. If there’s nothing new to see and do, there’s no reason for anyone to return. Totally harsh, but totally fair.

SEO

That’s “Search Engine Optmisation”, if you’ve been living under a rock. It’s the name of the game for anyone wanting to make sure they’re found speedily on Google (and not on the 5th page either…) By keeping your web content updated fairly regularly with either images or blog posts, you could boost your page ranking organically. This makes regular site updates even more beneficial and essential to your business!

The bottom line: update or die

If you’re one of our clients (shout out to our clients!) you’ll know that whenever we create a site, we have a ritual that we like to observe. We gift each client with a little plant when their sites go live, telling them that their website is just like it. If you neglect it, it’ll be okay for a while but it’ll eventually join the afterlife. Sure, it’s a tad morbid but it’s supposed to serve as a reminder that websites are not meant to go live and be forgotten. As our most important marketing tool, we owe it to ourselves and our businesses to ensure that they’re kept up to date, both with software updates and even content ones.

If your website needs a little TLC, why not contact us? Our dynamic team of web gurus could brew a little magic to give you the online presence you’ve always dreamed of. Chat to us today, we’d love to see how we could help you.

Top Things to Include on a School Website

School website design plays a vital role in your school’s online presence. Like any other business, the aim of an educational website is multi-fold. It needs to provide information for new and current users, while converting browsing visitors. Unlike a commercial website however, school websites often need to cater to a larger audience. Many school sites include portals for students, parents and teachers, in addition to the broader information that can be accessed by anyone who lands on the website.

On the blog today, we’re taking a look at the elements needed for effective school website design, to learn more about how you can improve your school’s online presence.

What Your School Website Needs to Succeed

Some of the must-have website design and development elements for a powerful school website include the following:

  • Responsive design
    With the rise of smartphones and tablets, responsiveness is more important than ever. Can your website be easily accessed on a smaller screen, across various devices? If not, you may find that your website success will suffer as a result. This is why it is so important to use a professional website designer rather than trying to cut costs and corners with an out-dated, non-responsive site.
  • Effective homepage
    The homepage is easily your most important page. This should be kept simple, but should also be useful. Students, parents and teachers should easily be able to find what they are looking for… specific portals, quick links to important or popular pages, news and events and images are just some ideas of what to include on your homepage. Put yourself in your visitors’ shoes and ask yourself how you can make it as easy as possible for them to use your website.
  • Social media integration
    Don’t assume that social media is only for celebrities, teenagers and businesses. Schools are using social in ways that connect, encourage learning and foster discussion. If your school has a blog, make sure that posts can easily be shared across major platforms through social sharing tools. Display your latest Tweets or Facebook posts on your site and make it easy for prospective students and parents to find you online.
  • Smart navigation
    How easily can visitors find what they need? Navigation allows information to be presented in a logical, simple way. Menus should be simple and concise, with sub-navigation kept to a reasonable number of pages. Ideally, each menu should have no more than 7 links to avoid confusion and overwhelm. Make sure that you have a button for home so that visitors can find their way back easily. Keep portals organised according to your audiences, with separate sections for students, parents and teachers.
  • Streamlined top pages
    Which pages are the most popular? These should be optimised and organised so that they are easy to access and read. Popular pages could include things such as a contact directory, school calendar, list of teachers, alumni, awards, notices or anything else that you want to highlight. You could even put pages like this into a separate menu, titled ‘Important Links’.

Coffee Creative Studio offers a range of professional website design and development solutions for schools, businesses and other enterprises. To find out more about getting started with your school website, contact us today and let us know how we can assist.

5 Reasons to Invest in Professional Website Design

With more tools on the market than ever before, DIY website design is on the rise. While this is good news for personal bloggers who want to create a simple and quick website, it is not always ideal for businesses who want a powerful presence online. It can be tempting to look for cheap or free shortcuts that allow you to get a website up and running. Sadly however, taking the DIY route can be devastating in the long run.

Why is it so crucial to invest in professional website design? Let’s take a look to see what value you can expect from a professionally designed website.

Why Your Business Deserves Professional Website Design

Your business is everything to you. You’ve put in countless time and resources to get where you are today. Your website is the proverbial proof of the pudding, acting as a testament to what you have to offer. Often, your website is the very first introduction that a prospective client will have to your business. When a potential client arrives on your website, it takes a matter of seconds to determine whether they will stay and look further, or leave and never return. Even once that visitor is on your website, poor navigation, annoying pop-up ads and a less-than-appealing design can put them off enough to leave.

Needless to say, web design plays an integral part in getting visitors to click, enquire or make a purchase. But it also plays a vital role in Search Engine Optimisation, overall marketing strategies and even your branding strategies. Some of the reasons that you should be investing in professional website design include the following:

  1. Grow your online presence. Well-designed websites are created according to sound SEO practices, performing better online to drive more traffic. Factors such as navigation, interlinking, image optimisation and smart coding will all influence your online success.
  1. Improve your conversion. As we mentioned before, getting visitors to click through to key landing pages is essential. A high-converting website is almost always designed to attract visitors and keep them on the site.
  1. Create the right impression. That first impression is everything… if you cannot get and keep your visitor’s attention in the first few seconds that they land on your website, you may lose that potential customer forever.
  1. Ensure a faster, better website. Slow, clunky websites that are littered with auto-streaming videos, pop-up (or pop-under) boxes, frustrating Flash elements and clumsy code do not make for an easy browsing experience.
  1. Maintain a powerful brand identity. A website that is beautifully designed is one thing. A beautiful website that cohesively blends into your email, logo, packaging and overall brand strategy is pure gold however.

At Coffee Creative Studio, we create beautiful, smart websites that help your business thrive online. To learn more about our professional website design and development solutions, contact us today or view our portfolio to see our work in action.