March 2018 | Digital8

5 Super Simple Tips For Getting More Website Leads In 2018

So you need more customers. Welcome to the life of every small business owner. Generating consistent new business is critical to building a brand that stands the test of time, or even just generating enough pocket money to take the family to Moreton Island on the weekend. The problem is there is so much different info out there that most business owners don’t know where to start. The mystery of SEO? Google Adwords? Can social media help you? What about email marketing? Display? Superliminal shouting from your window?

This article features some of the more simple but overlooked tips when it comes to generating more website leads for your website.

Tip 1 – Identifying Your Customer Personas

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The answer depends on your market. So the first thing you need to do is figure out who you are trying to sell to. You probably have this information in your head, but documenting your personas allows you to make key business critical decisions around marketing, web design, copywriting and anything that your customer experiences pre and post purchase. Operating without defining means that you are going to be either too neutral, or run the risk of sending uninspiring messages to your clients. The more you learn about and document your personas, the more you can refine your messages, improving the customer experience.

Learn how to identify your customer personas in a 30 minute video chat consultation with Growth Hacker Joe McCord

Tip 2 – Optimise Everything on the Site for SEO

It’s tempting to just optimise a few pages like your home page and key services pages, but if you are a business like ours that have a handful of core services it’s important to ensure that they are all optimised, even if they aren’t already ranking well. If your web pages aren’t all optimised, then the day will come where your site is strong enough to rank for something surprising and you won’t get the full benefit of ranking. For example, we just noticed we started ranking and receiving an increase in leads for social media marketing keywords for the first time. If we had have just focused on web design and not gone to the effort to at least create a basically optimised page for social media, we would never know.

Receive tailored tips for optimising your website by booking a free virtual consultation with one of our SEO specialists

Tip 3 – Search for the Keywords You Want to Rank For

One of the easiest and most basic things I see SEO specialists often overlook is simply searching Google for keywords they want to rank for.

Some things to look out for:

  • Active Google Adwords means it’s a keyword that is valuable enough for businesses to try to rank for.
  • Are there a lot of direct competitors here? If the first page is full of actual local competitors then chances are it’s a tough niche to crack.
  • Yellow Pages, True Local and other directories ranking? The presence of directories and general information sites for keywords valuable to you is a strong indication that it’s a weak niche and it should be easier to target.
  • Are you ranking already? If you’re already on page 1 you are in a great position because it means you will be able to make big wins by improving a position at a time, rather than the monumental undertaking that means getting there.
  • Is Google showing map results? This means you have to create a Google My Business account and complete it. This is a really easy way to start generating traffic.

Tip 4 – Don’t Do Things Just Because You Think You Should

This is something I tell people all the time. There are millions of Facebook business pages out there sitting there not being updated because someone told the business owner they needed Facebook and the owner couldn’t or wouldn’t actually use it. Resources are one thing to consider. If you don’t have the time or resources to properly run a Facebook page then don’t do it. Focus your time and money on something you can actually wield properly. Use your finite resources wisely.

Tip 5 – Forms Work; Use Them

There are still far too many websites being designed without forms. Users expect to be able to fill out a form to enquire when they find you so not having forms on your site is a huge no no. In fact not having forms on every page that you expect a user to be able to convert on is a problem. Each services page or landing page that you use to sell your proposition to people should havee a form on it to assist with conversation rate optimisation.

If you want more tips arrange a free digital marketing consultation with the author our GM, growth hacker Joe McCord.

3 Government Grants For Small Queensland Businesses

3 Government Grants For Small Queensland Businesses


Whether you’re starting a business or have already been in the field for a while, funding can be a pain – especially for small businesses. So luckily the Queensland Government provides grants for a multitude of different things, making the process a bit easier for the small business owner. We’ve compiled a small list of options that might be worthwhile looking into.

Small Business Digital Grants Program

The Small Business Digital Grants Program supports small businesses by giving them the opportunity to apply for grants for digital technologies and services – such as new hardware, or the employment of a digital agency for the training of staff. The aim of the program is to ensure that small businesses have access to technology and services to help them enhance performance through digital capabilities.


This grant program can fund up to $10,000 worth of hardware, software and services for the digital advances of your business, with a minimum of $1,000. The company applying to the grant will have to show that their purchased technology or service is helping them become more competitive within their field and is helping them to employ more staff.

The grant program is currently in its fourth cycle and the deadline for application to this cycle is set for April 11th, at 5pm.

Accelerate Small Business Grants Program

The Accelerate Small Business Grants Program is set up to assist small businesses with high-growth and employment goals, that lack the funding to ascertain this themselves. The grant allows small businesses to hire a business mentor or coach to get targeted assistance for a 6 to 12-month period.


The grant is meant for Queensland based businesses that are financially sound, have the potential to experience considerable growth in the next 2 years, and have a clearly defined plan that demonstrates how the mentoring will allow the business to achieve set goals. The program can fund up to $10,000 worth of coaching or mentoring.


The deadline for application to this grant program is set for March 27th, 5pm. After this deadline, the grant program will be replaced with the Business Growth Fund, which funds up to $50,000 – so definitely check that one out!

Small Business Entrepreneur Grants Program

The Small Business Entrepreneur Grants Program is very similar to the Accelerate Program mentioned earlier, the difference between the two being that this grant focusses on starting small businesses. The grant provides funding for advice on organisational issues such as professional business, strategic planning, market research, and legal advice.


The Entrepreneur Grant will fund up to $5,000 worth of advice services, with a minimum funding amount of $1,000. Keep in mind, the grant does not fund projects that have a lower total cost than $2,000. Neither will they cover projects that have an expected timeline exceeding 3 months.


It is currently not possible to apply for the Small Business Entrepreneur Grants Program, as the second round of applications has closed. The opening of the next cycle is yet to be announced.


Are you eligible for one of these Small Business Grants?


       Does your company have fewer than 20 employees at the time of applying?

       Does your company have an Australian Business Number (ABN)?

       Is your company based in Queensland?

       Is your company registered for Goods and Services Tax (GST)? Not applicable to the Small Business Entrepreneur Grant.


If the answer to all these questions is yes, your company might be able to apply for said grants.


Check the Queensland Government websites for detailed information and all the terms and conditions applicable.


Guide To Designing State Of The Art Websites In 2018

With the ever-growing number of websites, design tools and possibilities, it is very likely that you will find yourself drowning in information. Trends and fashions are constantly changing, so your website will have to comply and stay up-to-date in order to be received well. What should you include, what should you leave out, and what will make the visitors of your website have the best possible experience? This guide illustrates the 6 trends that are most apparent in website design for 2018.

Need to kick off a website project but don't know where to start? Try out our briefing template.

1. Moving content

Moving content is the absolute biggest trend in 2018. The rise of animated content has already appeared in previous years, but the trend is continuously growing. The increase of tools that enable designers to easily create animated content, developments enabling browsers and apps to easily read and display moving content, and the seemingly inexhaustible human need for entertainment all contribute to the growth of this trend. Additionally, it is a natural trait for human beings to notice motion, making it an extremely advantageous feature for designers. In 2018, you will find that websites will encompass a variety of moving content, including cinemagraphics, particle backgrounds, integrated animations and micro-interactions.


Cinemagraphics, or rather the use of video or GIF based visuals that appear in a continuous loop, will create an immediate interest in a page or website. If the cinemagraphics are placed and used in the right way – say it is used as a background on full-screen size, with possible other content laid on top of it – it will draw the visitor’s attention to the visuals, without them being consciously aware of it. The visual then aids the delivery of the message that you are trying to get across. Also, not unimportant to note, the use of the right video can result in more sales. Consumers have shown to be 85% more likely to purchase a product after seeing a video featuring that product. So, adding a short but informative video to your website is definitely worth the extra effort.

Particle backgrounds

A good alternative to using a full screen video as a backdrop for your website would be a particle background. Particle backgrounds are dynamic backgrounds that load faster than videos, are generally less distracting, but are still eye-catching. With these features, a particle background sounds more advantageous than a video background, which is why this trend will be something we will see more of this year.

Integrated animations

Not just screen-filling motion-based visuals are a thing. Many designers have started integrating smaller animations in their websites. These animations range from animated illustrations and logos, to animated typography. The animations can be used to steer the attention of the visitor to certain features of the website or to tell a story and represent the personality of the company – the latter can be supported by animated illustrations. Keep in mind, the animations are there to guide your visitor through the website. Just like the particle backgrounds, animated illustrations minimise the website loading time – which minimises the chances of visitors leaving before the website has fully loaded.


Lastly, micro-interactions are a big thing in web design this year. Micro-interactions can best be described as ‘user-focused animations’. These subtle animations are responsive to user actions and are used to enhance the user experience. Additionally, the animations are used to trigger action from the visitor, making them undertake action when and where you want them to. Examples of micro-interactions include drop-down menus and lit-up texts that are triggered once a cursor hovers over the object.

2. Eye-catching typography

Typography has always been a powerful tool in design, as it combines both textual and visual content. Typography is one of the features that has the power to illustrate and generate sentiment, as it is able to provoke emotion and convey messages in whichever way you want them to be conveyed. As a result of device resolutions becoming sharper, visuals become easier on the eye, and fonts become easier to read. This development has opened doors to the wide variety of options in typographical design.

The bigger, the bolder, the better

In 2018 we will see that headers and other textual content will become even bigger than what we have already seen in the past years. Even though this looks like a trend that has developed simply because it was received well, there is actually a more practical reason for it. For SEO, headers are crucial to the proper functioning of the concept, as well as the fact that headers aid the organisation of information from the visitor’s perspective. Therefore, it seems only logical that designers have started playing with the looks of their headers.

The ways in which headers and other textual content can be designed, seem to be limitless. We are already seeing an increase in hand-drawn fonts, animated typography, and even typography cut-outs. The latter is one worth mentioning as it combines the aesthetic of photography with the art of typography. Typography cut-outs usually consist of transparent fonts, displaying a photograph or other visual through the font. So, look out for new trends, as designers will be getting more creative in their typographical designs in 2018!

The return of Serif

Whereas in the past years the use of sans serif fonts has been heavily credited, the use of serif fonts is actually making a comeback in 2018. Contrasting sans serif fonts against big headers in a serif font can help emit a sophisticated image. The use of both sans serif and serif fonts on a webpage creates a dynamic user experience, which engages the user by taking advantage of their inherent need for entertainment.

3. Bold and vibrant colours

The time in which black and white colour schemes are a thing is officially coming to an end. The simplicity of black and white colour schemes seems to be losing to the upbeat vibes that saturated colour schemes bring about. Because of technological advances that brought us screens with the ability to reproduce richer colour schemes, vibrant colours will be used more often in web design.

Vibrant, saturated colour schemes

The use of vibrant and clashing colours is a way for web designers to capture the immediate attention of a page visitor and making the website stand out from others. If you are looking for a way to set yourself apart from your competitors, or simply do not want to be ‘one of those’ companies, the use of vibrant and saturated colour schemes can help portray such an image. Combining the use of these colours with the use of asymmetrical aspects within your design provides an opportunity for designers to show their creativity.

The use of these colour schemes can be presented in multiple ways, including backgrounds, fonts, and pop-ups. However, the current use of colour schemes is still rather mild. This trend becomes of real value once it is combined with concepts such as depth, gradients, and double exposure.

Developments in flat design

In the past few years, the use of flat designs seemed to be more preferable than those incorporating dimensional colours and overall depth. In 2018, the use of gradients and minimalistic shadows will allow these designs to show some dimension. These minimalistic shadows and gradient colours can be used to establish some form of visual hierarchy between elements and create an illusion of objects being lifted to make them stand out. The style in which gradients are used this year, can best be described as 2007 WordArt gradients with a modern twist. The iOS app icon design is a good example of how these gradients can help create a so-called ‘semi-flat design’, which will be the new trend in 2018.

4. Fluid shapes and asymmetrical layouts


Human beings are creatures of habit, so patterns and sequences are things that our brains tend to expect. Once these patterns, sequences, or overall expectations are disturbed, it catches our attention – which is the exact purpose of using asymmetry in web design. Previously, asymmetrical designs had to be planned carefully and were kept to a minimum. However, in 2018 you will see that asymmetry will be used in a variety of ways, breaking free from its minimalistic features. Also, the box layouts that everyone has gotten used to – or maybe even tired of – will be disappearing in 2018. Corners are a thing of the past, fluid and asymmetrical shapes are the next thing.

Asymmetrical shapes

The asymmetrical shaping of objects on a web page is a response to a question that web designers have heard countless times: “Can it be less boxy?”. The change from those sharp edges and hard corners to a more rounded appearance has already started in 2017 and will continue in 2018. Creativity is key when it comes to the design of these objects. Diagonal lines, overlapping features, combining line patterns, and blob-designs are just a few examples of what one might expect this year. Also, you could combine these shapes with the previously mentioned bright colour-schemes and shadowing techniques to create an optimal design.

Asymmetrical grid-layouts

The card-based user interfaces that we have become so used to will not necessarily disappear, rather their layout will be changed so it intrigues the viewer. Dynamic layouts with asymmetrical features and diagonal lines are no longer frowned upon. There is no need to worry about whether or not your website will be logical enough, as the visitor of your website is generally trained enough to understand the basic features of a website. The three main features that speak to the user are to use the top navigation object to find other page, scroll to read more, and click the prominent buttons to receive more information. As long as these features do not change, you’re good.

A renewed use of CSS grid layouts is something that we will see in 2018, too. Currently, over 75% of the people use a browser that supports CSS, so it is only natural that the use of new CSS grid layouts is starting to become more popular. Designers are encouraged to be more creative when designing new layouts. Due to constant developments in properties used to create these designs, the designers are no longer confined by complicated coding and general limited capabilities, giving them the opportunity to exhibit their creativity.

5. Minimalism evolving into brutalism

In terms of the overall style of web design this year, extreme minimalism or even brutalism is the way to go. As mentioned before, the change from basic and structured layouts, shapes and colours to distorting visuals and clashing colour schemes is progressing in 2018. The combination of this change and the concepts of minimalism and brutalism, create infinite opportunities for designers.


Minimalism incorporates clean, basic, and practical features whilst maintaining a certain flair. Examples of this style would be the Google home page, or the ‘less’ WordPress theme. However, these examples are not exciting enough for the trends of 2018. Alike the trends on colour schemes, typography and shaping, minimalism will evolve into something a bit more extreme. Having said so, this does not mean the design will have to be complicated. Incorporating said features like animations, illustrations and photography into minimalistic designs improves the user experience without going overboard. When it comes to overall design, simple will never be wrong are the words to live by.



In web design, brutalism has been described as minimalism on steroids. It focuses on the main features of a web page and leaves the designers with full freedom on what to do with them. The primary idea behind brutalism in design is to stimulate creativity. The style – or rather concept – does not seem to bother with practicality and has a rather rough appearance. Brutalism in web design is a response to the standardisation and lack of creativity in design trends over the past years. The concept can be connected to the asymmetrical trend in web design, as design patterns are intentionally disrupted in order to redirect user attention to the elements you want them to see. It is the opposite of organised, it defies convention, and is impossible to fully describe in words.

Brutalism is a concept that you will recognise once you see it. It mostly consists of a crowded design that incorporates crammed text, is lacking symmetry and distinct hierarchy, fuses overlapping objects, and does not necessarily incorporate navigation for the web page.

6. Mobile priority

It almost seems unnecessary to mention that your web design should be responsive in order to maximise mobile user experience. However, it is one of those things that is so logical, it is likely to get overlooked. Because mobile web browsing has officially overtaken desktop usage, it is imperative that your website is fit for use on a mobile device. Rather than an additional feature, the creation of a responsive design fit for mobile devices should be a core element in the process of creating a webpage. In order to do so, the mobile design of your website might need some adjustments in comparison to the desktop version. Even better, you might want to consider adjusting your desktop version to incorporate visuals that are also fit for mobile design.


In the end, making sure that your website stays up-to-date with current trends is important for the overall image of your business. However, keep in mind that it is impossible to incorporate all these trends into the same design. Combining some of them might be a good idea, but try not to overdo it. Less is more.



5 Tips to Writing A Brief for Your Creative Agency

One of the more frustrating things we have to contend with here at Digital8 is the inconsistent way in which we receive client briefs. Some are vague, some are overly verbose. Some are technical and some are ELI5 applicable. 

When we get vague briefs that are more like goals, we usually then develop our own internal briefs. These are then approved by the client and converted into a scope. An example might be “I want a world-class website that gets more leads. I am a lawyer.” 

We would then do the thinking as to how this is best accomplished because, quite frankly, we are good at it and definitely better at web design than the average lawyer.

That being said, this doesn’t suit most clients for whom the purchase of a brand new mobile app or website is a big ticket item intended to move the needle. You will want what you want. You will want control. So, below are 5 tips for writing great briefs.

Web Development Brief

1. Leave room for creativity

As I alluded to before, web developers and digital marketers are almost surely going to know more about how to build a state-of-the-art website and get leads. 

Therefore, it’s not a great idea to dictate to them in too much detail when it comes to things like design concepts and lead gen tactics. 

Focus your brief on details that the web developer is unlikely to have context on, like the nuances of your internal systems, brand voice and personal preferences of key stakeholders. 

A very important piece of information to provide is information on your customer personas. Let us know who it is that you plan to sell to.

2. Keep it succinct

It is very tempting to write in verbose technical language but at the end of the day someone has to read it and you will most likely be paying for that time. The longer and harder to read your document is, the more it will cost you. 

If you’re lucky enough to have an agency that doesn’t charge you in that manner at least consider that their time is valuable to them. If you can say something in 50 words instead of 200, please do so.

Web Design Idea

3. Be thorough

You need to include all the possible things that if missed in the brief will cause major blockers down the track. Don’t assume that just because you’re dealing with a professional agency that they will be aware of every minor detail. 

While this is true of most things, we’ve had situations where clients have had unrealistic expectations in this regard. For example, if you want your website leads to automatically feed into your CRM, now is the time to raise this.

4. Use visual assistance

Some people like to read, some like to see pictures. Tick both boxes by ensuring you sketch things up and use diagrams where called for. A 10-page written document is great, but breaking it up and giving a visual representation of your words adds immense value to your document.

5. Don’t be precious

Web developers have likely seen dozens if not hundreds of briefs and know what a good one looks like. If you receive criticism or are asked to explain further, just accept it. 

If you have a specific idea for how you think your new website should function and your brisbane website developer disagrees and has their own idea, really consider what you think you know and listen to them. 

You don’t want to be the person who had a terrible idea but wouldn’t listen. If you have a website development agency or developer who is honest with you in that way, they are worth their weight in gold.

Not sure what to include in a brief for your creative agency? No worries! Let’s sit down for a kick-off meeting where we’ll go over everything with you. Contact us now!