Sectors we specialize in
A significant part of our company has now specialized in marketing under the name Viv Higher Education.
Viv was founded working on the causes we care about. We continue our commitment to work for impactful nonprofits by offering discounts on our services for NPOs.
- We serve as mediators and liaisons between staff and board members. We identify objectives, gather feedback, and develop processes that garner just the right amount of input at just the right junctures.
- The Viv Toolkit allows us to build faster and create significant savings for our NPO clients
- For custom needs, we create right-sized solutions to work with shoestring or funding-dependent budgets.
- We design hyper-intuitive website backends which allow less-tech-savvy staff to update and organize content.
- We provide documentation and website user guides that improve institutional knowledge and can serve as a precedent for future information capture.
- We create permission systems and submission forms that can selectively allow lower-level employees or volunteers to post.
Content is king, and every industry is taking notes from the publishing industry’s best practices. Our founder, Adam Friedman was the lead web developer at The Boston Herald for three years and helped migrate their systems to Drupal. Our background in publishing is what also made us a strong resource for many nonprofits, as they also often can generate a lot of content.
Commonwealth Magazine: Journal of Massachusetts Civic Life
The Baystate Banner: Boston’s premier urban newspaper since 1965
Exhale Lifestyle: A women’s magazine
We have made no-nonsense websites that create results for lawyers, doctors, property management, construction professionals, and much more. Our “Full Service,” approach is especially critical at times here, where we aren’t always interfacing with professional marketers.
Business and Market Analysis
We conduct our analysis by asking the right questions:
- Who are your customers and how are they finding you?
- What are your goals in growing your business and are there certain clientele who are preferable to target?
- How can we better harness your current resources and how can your website enhance your other outreach methods?
- What are some of the best websites in your sector and what can we learn from those sites?
We take the time to understand your company’s goals and come up with a vision for how the web can help you fulfill and exceed them over time.
Search Engine Optimization
Content is king. No amount of SEO “black magic” will compensate for original, rich content on your special subject-matter. However, in addition to great content, you need to implement a number of specific SEO techniques to crack page one of Google or Bing search results.
You also need to be realistic. If you’re a local jeweler, we can’t get you the #1 spot on a Google search for “diamonds.” Nobody can. Wikipedia and DeBeers already have that covered.
On the other hand, we may be able to get you into the top five for “diamonds in Cambridge, MA.”
We can analyze your market and discuss realistic goals for search traffic and develop a plan for reaching these goals. We build all of our websites with simple “White-Hat” SEO in mind. If you hire our team for writing services, we can also:
- Help develop keywords
- Write SEO-friendly headlines and subheadlines
- Weave your keywords into your text gracefully
- Help you generate inbound links that matter
- Inspire you with fresh article concepts based on your distinct sector expertise
Where an advertisement is a continuous cost, smart SEO practices — all free — will keep paying dividends for years.
Social Networking Advising
In the 1980s and 90s, the mall replaced the town green as the locus of social gathering. In the 2000s and 2010s, Facebook is the new social center. If you don’t have a presence on Facebook, you’re not only missing the new word-of-mouth marketing reality; you’re missing 20% of all page traffic in the U.S. [source: Hitwise via ZDNet]. Setting up a Facebook page is easy, and with our software add-ons, you can simultaneously push out Facebook, Twitter, and RSS status updates without ever leaving your website’s control panel.
We also advise you not to underestimate other social networks, like LinkedIn, Twitter, and enthusiast niches powered by Huddler and Ning.
These tools can help strengthen your relationships with your existing customers. How can we convince them to further talk you up within their networks? Hit the right note with your existing base, and you can see exponential referral traffic straight from their address books.
AdWords Online Advertising
For the minimal up-front investment required, online advertising is now a simple cost effective accessory to any website deployment. We’ll show you how to leverage Google AdWords and Microsoft AdCenter to reach your target audience based on keywords. Often, the same analysis used for SEO will translate seamlessly into a keywords-based ad campaign, and the tools offered by Google and Microsoft, who control over 95% of the keyword-based ad market share, frequently inspire new keyword approaches you might not have thought about.
Logo and Branding
In the past three years, about one-half of our website solutions have included the design of a logo and identity. Once we have taken the time to get to know your business and researched other designs in your sector, we start brainstorming with intensity. We pour lots of coffee, come up with troves of potential imagery, take a nap or two… and then start paring things back down. We eliminate the clichés and hone in on a mark that is distinctive and original.
We often explore multiple logo types (wordmarks, lettermarks, brandmarks and emblems).
We take pride in distilling your brand into a mark that looks just as good in 15-foot letters on top of company headquarters as it does one-sixteenth of an inch tall on company stationery.
In general, we develop between four and six logo concepts and then refine your favorite until you are completely satisfied. A couple of our favorite designs can be found in Pastor Law Office and Newton Pediatrics.
“A great trademark is appropriate, dynamic, distinctive, memorable and unique.”
– Primo Angeli
Email Newsletter Design
Ever feel like you don’t do as much to keep in touch with your customers as you would like? Let us help you. Email design can be tricky and coding a proper HTML email has unique challenges. We can help you:
- Overcome an impersonal tone
- Develop the right hook to avoid the trash bin
- Get around SPAM filters
- Format HTML images, fonts, and layout to display properly with different email clients (i.e., Outlook, Gmail, MSN/Hotmail, Yahoo, AOL)
- Conduct post-email analysis
- Design a series of email newsletter templates that you can re-use for years to come
Marketing Collateral Design
Now that emails are the communication norm, paper communications can make an even bigger impact. Need a new business card and letterhead to go with your new identity? Yes, we do that too. Need brochures, flyers, and other branded print products? Coming right up.
Content Management System (CMS)
In the year 1440, there was the Gutenberg Press. 570 years later, there was WordPress.
The millennium is kicking off a global self-publishing revolution. Some of the long-standing web design firms are either falling behind with proprietary, cumbersome in-house publishing software; or have been left behind by requiring their clients to ask them to make changes to their “black box” website. We specialize in and recommend the two most popular open source solutions on the market today: WordPress and Drupal. Within the last five years, both of these community-supported content publishing platforms have stood out from the crowd, offering the ideal blend of robust functionality, high performance, security, and the technological edge of an active developer community. No proprietary online publishing platform can match these communities of thousands of developers.
Why do you need a content management system? Well, who wants to read a month-old newspaper? Visitors will be turned off if your website’s content is stale. With a CMS, you can update your site when and as often as you’d like. Add a new staff profile, update your contact page or events calendar, post the latest article to your news page or blog, and keep users coming back.
Making a change is simple:
- Log into your secure control panel
- Find your page in your “Pages” list and click on it
- Change the text or images in the online editor
- Click “Save”
…and voilà, your changes are live.
Fresh content is your friend. Users love it and so do search engines. Focusing on content is focusing on results. Regular news updates on your homepage will help you climb Google rankings, bringing in new customers and saving big on advertising and marketing costs.
Avoid companies that sell sites that require extensive knowledge or proprietary software to edit. While having to call your designer to make a small change to a site was normal in the late 20th century, CMS have become the standard for excellent web development and currently the best ones are open source.
While there is a small up-front cost to building with these system, it pays itself back many times over.
If you can dream it, we can build it. We pride ourselves on finding creative, efficient, and elegant ways to solve your business puzzles, whether they be internal, external, or unforeseen. Below is a list of functionality we can build into your website. Perhaps this will provide some inspiration as you develop a vision for your own web solution.
- Event calendar
- Chat room
- Document library
- Interactive map
- Multiple-user publishing
- Photo gallery
- Photo Flickr widget
- Social networking functions: sharing, friending, following, etc.
- Twitter widget
- Video playlist/widget
- Email/member signup
- Shopping cart
- Related/Popular items
- Secure donation form with multiple payment methods
- Multimedia portfolio
- Audio playlist/widget
- Contact form
- File browser
- File downloading / virtual goods
- File locker
Mobile and Tablet Development
We’ve seen the future, and it is mobile. Some fun facts:
- Worldwide web traffic from mobile and tablet devices is doubling year over year.
- From 2011 to 2012 alone, mobile visits to the top 500 online retailers soared from 13.4% to 24.6% [source: Branding Brand].
- As of September 2012, 46% of the US population owns a smartphone.
If you do business online, you can no longer afford to leave your mobile- and tablet-based visitors stranded. From 2-inch, to 7-inch, to 24-inch screen widths, we can help. We’ll convert an existing site into one that is mobile-friendly using responsive design techniques and lightweight coding practices. We can also provide buttons and animations that give your site that “app-like” feel. If you are on a desktop, try shrinking the width of your browser window to see one of these solutions in action.
That pretty much sums up good writing on the web. If you require more explanation:
Punchy. Brief. Clear. Succinct. Colorful. Brief. Distinct. And brief.
Good writing for the web is in most cases a compact form of good prose. Editing web copy is even more brutal than ad copy. If a particularly minimalist print ad runs two words, consider paring the web version down to one.
Your website is designed to guide your visitor to a goal (or a series of goals). The goal might be: fill out a sign-up form, add items to a cart and check out, or share a video with Facebook friends. Any text must be read and processed by a user’s brain. If that processing slows down or distracts the user from moving closer to the goal, then the text is actually an obstacle. It is therefore essential that your writing conveys your meaning as quickly as possible. That means every single bit of text — every headline, introductory sentence, and button label — should be instantly recognizable. It must resonate with something familiar to the user.
Viv Web Solutions can play a variety of roles to help you with writing. We can learn the ins and outs of your business and provide great web copy tailored to your brand. Alternatively, you can deliver us your own writing and we can edit it to a shine.
Let’s say you’re shopping for sneakers online. Of the items below, which would you rather purchase?
Don’t skimp on photography. The web is above-all a visual medium. For most websites, good photography is absolutely essential. It is the mark of professionalism. It sets the mood. It entices users to dig deeper.
We have a number of talented photographers in our network that can provide you with impeccable visual elements. We can also source high-quality stock photography as a cost-saving alternative.
Animation and Illustration
In certain cases, you may require a more artistic treatment. Or, you want to add that extra something. Tell us about your specific needs. We can help brainstorm, sketch, and implement.
Web & Domain Hosting
As a full-service web design company, we also offer fully managed and affordable web and domain name hosting to make the deployment and maintenance of your website seamless and hassle-free. You can bring us an existing domain name, or we can register a new one and manage it on your behalf. We offer all of our clients unlimited bandwidth (data transfer), FTP accounts, databases, and generous disk storage. You also get secure access to your own web hosting control panel to manage and customize your web hosting and domain name options. Best of all, ViV web hosting is backed by a 99.9% uptime guarantee.
Viv Web Solutions can set up and manage all of your email accounts at an additional charge ($4 per month). Our email hosting solution includes secure webmail access as well as unlimited inboxes, forwarding addresses, and catch-all accounts. We’ll also help you configure your primary email client (Gmail, Yahoo!, etc) to incorporate sending and receiving from your new email accounts.