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  • 11 Common Mistakes That Rookie Website Designers Make

    young website designer

    Please understand that we never want to belittle the effort of others. For many businesses, the lower costs that come with using a website developer who is not already experienced, or a DIY approach, are the only option for building their first website. But some common mistakes can kill the effectiveness of your website and decrease your chance of online success.

    Armed with our checklist, you can avoid the most common website design mistakes that will cause a loss to revenue for your business.

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  • 8 Rules for Designing Call-to-Action Bars

    A call-to-action (CTA) bar is a widget area on your page, typically in a color that stands out from the rest of the design and invites visitors to take an action. Using anchor text in your call to action can increase your conversion rate by as much as 121 percent. Call to actions matter, and the way you deliver them matters.

    You already know that UX is extremely important – the user experience is everything if you want visitors to stay on your site. Figuring out the best way to present even a CTA bar can mean the difference between strong conversions and weak ones. If you aren’t quite sure how to utilize a CTA bar, here are eight rules you can follow to make sure yours is as effective as possible.

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  • Building A Website – 4 Keys To An Effective Homepage

    home page

    You might have heard the phrase, “first impressions are lasting impressions.” This is true for businesses as well as their websites. Your homepage should look professional to promote trust. When a potential customer visits your website, they should be able to immediately identify the products and services you offer. Many websites lack in providing their users with clear information about their products and offerings. If you follow these four tips for an effective homepage, you will be on your way to generating more potential customers from your existing traffic.

    1. Relevant Images

    Never underestimate the power of relevant images. Many people are visual-oriented - i.e., they tend to attract more towards visuals like pictures, graphics and colors - and gain more information by seeing rather than reading. Too much text on a page can send the user away because lines of text don’t just look boring – they are boring. Happy smiling people or world-class photos of your products and services can bring more life to your website and make visitors want to reach out to you.

    2. Contact Info

    telephone informationPlacing your contact information like telephone number, email and physical address in the top right corner of your homepage is always appreciated by users. That top corner always catches the eye first, and most users are looking for contact information on websites. We've seen many times that simply adding a phone number to a website in a prominent location will increase calls from customers.

    3. Navigation Links

    User-friendly navigation is an art in itself and plays a key role in an effective homepage. Links to contact us, business hours, testimonials, return and other policies, and FAQ pages should always be easy to find on the home page. Your navigation should easily lead prospects into your sales funnel.

    4. Sign-Up Section

    sign up buttonPlace your sign-up section amongst the tabs in the top right portion of your web page to encourage your visitors to get involved! Depending on your offer, the sign-up could be a request for more information, an option to schedule services, or the option to buy now. Good call-to-actions help to give users a next step to take and will help to decrease your bounce rate. We'll talk more about the effective use of call-to-action elements in upcoming articles in this series.

    Previous Article- Identifying Your Target Audience

    Next Article-  What Is A "Bounce"?

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  • Building A Website – Website Architecture (Site Map)

    sitemapsWhat Is A Site Map? 

    A site map (or sitemap) is a file that contains information about the organization of your website and its entire relative links. In other words, it lists the pages on your website and how they connect.

    Site maps can be used for planning your website design. For this use, there is no specific format that must be used. It could be a graphics file, a spreadsheet, or even a hand-drawn illustration. Using a sitemap in the design phase is a good idea and can help with planning navigation menus and other elements that will appear on all pages.

    Initially, we planned to detail how to use a site map to plan your website architecture in this post, but we found a great resource at https://www.protofuse.com/blog/details/how-to-design-structure-website-with-sitemapping/. Please take a look to learn more about the steps involved.

    Most commonly, the term site map refers to files that can be viewed by humans or web crawlers to determine what pages exist on a website. Not all websites need a site map, but it is a good idea to have one as your business grows and your website increases in size and content. You need to create two separate site maps; an XML file that is designed for the search engine spiders and an HTML file that is easy for humans to read.

    Do You Need A Site Map?

    You will not typically need site maps if all your web pages are linked to the main navigation. But if you have a sub-navigation menu, they are very helpful to visitors and spiders, facilitating quick retrieval of information. You definitely need a site map if:

    • You have a large website
    • Your large archive of content pages are not linked to one another
    • Your website is new and has few external links
    • Rich media content, such as Google News, is utilized on your site

    Creating Site Maps

    The dual purpose of site maps requires that you create two site maps. Site maps provide search engine spiders and human visitors convenient access to your web pages. The purpose is the same, but the method of access is different for spiders and visitors. There are different methods for this, and some facilitate maps that are both search engine- and user-friendly.

    For Search Spiders

    .xml File: An .xml document should be present in the root directory of your website containing links to all your web pages. 

    Robots.txt File: After placing your .xml file, you should make it accessible to search spiders by referencing it in your robots.txt file and adding a line for your site map URL.

    Alternatively, you can use Google Search Console to let Googlebot know that your website has a site map available.

    For Visitors

    Link your site map in your primary navigation tabs as well as your additional pages. Provide a short paragraph for overview at the top of your site map page. The layout should represent hierarchical divisions, and the site map should utilize textual links. Don’t clutter your site map page with irrelevant images that will distract your visitors.

    Previous Article- Creating Effective Calls To Action

    Next Article- What Are Wireframes?

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  • Building A Website – Website Content

    Writer Typing

    The main reason for people to visit your website is your web content. But many web designers and developers forget this significant fact in their race to design the best-looking and most user-friendly of web pages. An okay-looking web page with good content is bound to get lower bounce rates than a pretty web page with poorly-written content. While designing your website, pay attention to its content, because that’s what will make visitors stay.

    Types Of Web Content

    Web content is not just limited to the quality of text for articles or your blogs. It also includes graphic displays such as pictures and videos.

    Text Web Content

    Text web content refers to the text that is present inside your paragraph blocks. The best kind of web content is specifically written for your website and is highly relevant to it. Copying content from another website is not only unethical; it also takes away the essence of your website and can get your website penalized by the search engines. It is a good practice to use additional internal links within your text so that readers are able to get more information out of the content and aid in understanding the material.

    Multimedia Web Content

    To simply describe multimedia web content, it is any type of content that is not text but includes any other audiovisual elements. This includes:

    Images

    Make sure that the images on your website are crisp and professional-looking. They are a great way to pique the interest of the visitors and almost all websites use images in their content. Images should be optimized for both the physical size and the file size. For best practices with search engine optimization, be sure to set an ALT tag for every image.

    Also note that you should never use an image found in web searches or on other websites unless you have correctly licensed the image for use. Great-looking stock photos are easy to find and fairly inexpensive at sources like http://www.bigstockphoto.com.

    Sounds

    Sounds are embedded in web pages so that visitors hear them when they click a certain link, icon or tab. But be careful with sounds; they are controversial if they play with no prompt from the user. Always provide sounds as an option rather than an automatic feature to prevent alienating your users.

    Videos

    Videos include your commercials, demo videos or even certain tutorials that you have uploaded for the benefit of your visitors. It's always best to create a channel at a provider like YouTube or Vimeo and place your videos there. This prevents your website from using excessive bandwidth and becoming slow. The videos can then be embedded on your website, offering a seamless presentation that will work across multiple devices.

    Shareable Content

    Another important consideration when building your page content is how it will look if a user decides to share it on social media channels. There are a number of special tags that come into play, as well as image size, which is important for the best presentation. We found a Social Media Optimizer that can be useful in checking your website pages.

    Previous Article- What Are Wireframes?

    Next Article- Cross-Browser Compatibility

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  • Building A Website – What Are Wireframes?

    Website WireframeWebsite wireframes are guides that help you visualize a web page. They portray the structure of a web page without using any graphics or text. A good website wireframe shows the entire structural layout of the website, including where pages link to. Wireframes range from quite simple to hugely complex, but they serve as a great way to start off the design of your website. Complex wireframes include huge amounts of details, while the simplest ones can be drawn by hand on a napkin!

    What To Include In A Wireframe

    Effective wireframes leave out all visual elements and utilize boxes and lines instead to represent pictures and text. Follow these tips to make your first wireframe:

    • Configure placement of headings and subheadings
    • Choose a simple structural layout
    • Include calls to action
    • Add blocks of text
    • Place boxes for graphical details

    Steps For Building A Wireframe

    In order to build a simple wireframe, follow these simple steps, and you will be ready in no time.

       1. Use a rectangle to represent the visible portion of your website, or the whole web page, however it suits you. It is a good

            practice to start with the visible portion, and then you can add elements to it for expansion.

       2. Draw the layout by sketching the number of columns that would be on your page.

       3. For the header graphic, add a box over the columns where you want to place it.

       4. Use the word ‘Headline’ where your H1 heading will be.

       5. Use ‘Subhead’ where your subheadings (H2, H3, etc.) will be placed.

       6. Add boxes wherever you want to add images or any other graphical details.

       7. If you want to have tabs on your website, draw boxes and just write ‘navigation’ over them.

       8. Add other elements that you want on your page, such as a call to action. Don’t write the actual content, just draw a box and

            write ‘CTA’ inside it.

    These steps can be used to draw your wireframe on paper as well as through computer software like https://www.gliffy.com/.

    Previous Article- Website Architecture (Site Map)

    Next Article- Website Content

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  • Building A Website- Cross-Browser Compatibility

    responsive websites

    When you have everything in place on your website and are ready to go live, there are several things that need to be checked before you launch. One of those is cross-browser compatibility.

    There are many options for users to surf websites, including different operating systems, different devices, and different types of browsers. It is your responsibility to ensure that your website is compatible with all major browsers available today, as you don’t want to lose any of your visitors just because your website does not work well on their browser.

    The most commonly-used browsers over the past year can be seen at http://gs.statcounter.com/.  As you'll see, Google Chrome has the majority of market share, but others like Safari share a decent bit of traffic. Your target audience could also impact what browsers are most commonly used to view your website.

    Tips For Ensuring Cross-Browser Compatibility 

    Make sure that your web developer follows the following tips for cross-browser compatibility.

    1. Define Valid Doctype

    The Doctype tells the browser the type of rules you use in your code. If not specified, the browser will start the guessing game, which will not end well for your website. Different browsers will make different guesses.

    2. CSS Reset

    All browsers behave according to their default CSS rules. In order to have the same behavior on all browsers, you need to define consistent CSS rules. CSS resets force browsers to reset their default rules to null. These tools are quite readily available, and you can easily find one online.

    3. Conditional Comments

    Conditional comments are used to help overcome display issues with early versions of Internet Explorer. Internet Explorer has long been the bane of website developers, with its inconsistent display model. It is a recommended practice to use conditional comments to take care of these issues with the browser. Through these conditional comments, you will be able to link different style sheets with different browsers.

    4. CSS Frameworks

    CSS Frameworks are style sheets that offer easier and more convenient methods of web designing, as they are mostly cross-browser compatible. Additionally, they will generally contain a grid to allow for responsive design.

    5. Validate

    Utilize the W3C Validation Service to make sure that your versions of XHTML and HTML are error-free. Debugging errors shown in the validator will address many common display issues so that you can work to have a perfect website.

    6. Testing

    Now, when you have assured cross-browser compatibility, it is time for testing. Test your website in different browsers to see that it works on all of them.

    Alternately, you can use a testing tool like browserstack.com. This can be a lot easier than trying to assemble every operating system, device, and screen resolution. Browserstack and similar tools allow you to check against almost every possible combination, including mobile devices like iOS and Android.

    Previous Article-Website Content

    Next Article- The Importance Of Having A Mobile-Friendly Website

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  • Building A Website- The Importance Of Having A Mobile-Friendly Website

    woman on mobile phone

    In 2020, mobile internet users made up 50.81% of total internet users. With the increase in smartphones, more and more people are shifting towards mobile internet usage and accessing online content through their mobile devices.  If you don’t make your website mobile-friendly, chances are you will be missing out on quite a large number of visitors and potential customers.

    Benefits Of Mobile Websites

     

    1. Bounce Rate Reduction

    Content optimization is not the same for mobile and desktop. If you don’t optimize your website, your bounce rate is going to shoot through the roof because visitors will just leave after seeing that you don’t have a mobile website. But if you provide them with an engaging mobile experience, visitors viewing your website on their phone will have a good experience and engage with your content.

    2. Increased Conversions

    If you use the same version of your website for your mobile and desktop, it decreases the chance that you will have conversions from mobile users. Mobile users lack patience and they would rather switch to another brand rather than trying to figure out how to navigate a website that is not responsive on their phones.

    3. Improved Brand Engagement

    People are more oriented and loyal to your brand if you offer a good mobile experience for your customers and visitors. If your mobile website is difficult to navigate, you might lose your customers to competitors.

    4. Mobile Traffic

    Over half of all searches at Google originate on mobile devices. There are over a billion mobile phone users and it is worthwhile to tap into this pool of potential customers.

    5. Different User Needs

    The web and browsing objectives of mobile phone users are different from desktop or laptop users. This translates into their need of retrieving information in a quick and convenient manner. It has been shown that mobile users are more likely to shop and buy online as compared to desktop users. To allow users to make decisions on the fly, customize and optimize your website in such a way that mobile users can get easy access to all information and relevant links.

    Previous Article- Cross-Browser Compatibility

    Next Article- Marketing Your Website – Advertising A Website In Traditional Media

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  • How to Improve Your Site's UX in One Day

    The user experience is one of the most important things to focus on if you want to grab — and keep — your site visitors’ attention. In the modern digital economy, a website is one of the most powerful tools you have to promote your business. The last thing you want is a site that is cumbersome to the user or doesn't hit all the right marks. You have one opportunity to reach the person who lands on your page.

    In fact, the average site visitor only takes seven seconds to make up their mind about a site before potentially bouncing away. Creating a site with good UX is one of the quickest ways to improve your bounce rates and keep visitors coming back time and again. Here are six ways to improve your site’s UX in a single day.

    1. Add More White Space

    Creating more space between blocks of text and/or images makes everything easier to read, which can add to the overall function of your site. Stop trying to cram everything onto your landing page. The focus of your landing page should be pretty narrow for the reader.

    we are sofa is a good example of using whitespace

    Adding white space around your text and titles improves reader attention by about 20 percent, and makes your site feel updated and welcoming. A good example of a design with a nice amount of white space is We Were Sofa. Notice how the simple design has plenty of space around images and headlines, which allows site visitors to spot what they are looking for easily.

    2. Speed Up Your Page

    One of the elements that will impact your UX is how fast pages load. Most site visitors will wait just a few seconds for a page to load. A delay of a mere two seconds can send your abandonment rates soaring up to 87 percent, which can truly impact your conversions.

    amazon.com is an example of a website that contains fast page load speeds

    When you think of some of the biggest online retailers, what is one thing they have in common? Amazon and Walmart.com both load at lightning-fast speeds. People are busy. They want their online shopping experience to be quick and easy.

    3. Add an FAQ Page

    An FAQ page can help with any anxiety a consumer might have about purchasing your product and expand on information not covered in your product description page. If you’re hearing the same questions from customers over and over again, it’s smart to go ahead and create an FAQ page. This simple step allows consumers to find answers themselves, instead of having to wait on a reply.

    glass.com is a good example of a website that contains a well written FAQ page

    An FAQ also shows you are willing to be transparent, which can add a lot of credibility to your site. Glass.com has an excellent example of an FAQ page. This FAQ outlines everything from fees to ways to get discounts.

    4. Try Out Different Call-to-Action Buttons

    You already know the right call to action can entice visitors to convert into customers, but before you unveil your CTA, you should first try some A/B/C testing with different versions of it to see what is most effective with your target audience.

    For example, try varying the color, size and wording of the buttons. Once you figure out what works best with your audience, you can easily add highly effective CTAs in a single day, driving visitors to the place you want them to reach on your website.

    5. Make Your Site Responsive

    In 2015, mobile traffic grew globally by 74 percent, which means creating a responsive site is now essential for reaching all those people browsing the Internet on their phones or tablets. There are several steps you can take in a single day to create a more responsive site. First, you should check out how your site looks on tablets, iOS devices and Android phones.

    Do the images adjust to these smaller screen sizes? Is the text legible? Can you still navigate through the site with the menus? It is important to understand how your site adapts to each size of screen.

    If your site is running on WordPress, you can try a few plugins that will help with mobile responsiveness. When choosing the size of headers and other elements on the page, use percentages rather than pixels to allow the design to adapt easily. When in doubt, pull in a professional designer to help you fix any unresponsive features so you don’t miss out on traffic from anywhere.

    6. Readability

    The average site visitor is juggling a lot of different responsibilities. For example, a parent probably put in at least eight hours at the office, ran errands at lunch, went and picked the kids up from school and threw food in the slow cooker for later. Then, there were sports practices, homework or possibly a school event to attend. By the time they got home, they barely had time to eat, clean up the dishes and collapse onto the couch for a few minutes of Internet surfing.

    People’s brains are overloaded with an avalanche of information. They want to be able to quickly skim over information and get only the main points of what they need. It is vital to make your pages readable. You can do this with clear headers and text broken into short paragraphs. Bullet points make for “skimmable” reading material as well. Keep it short, to the point and easy to skim, and your readers will thank you.

    Making your site more user-friendly doesn’t have to involve a lot of complicated coding. A few simple fixes can make a world of difference in the UX of your website. The goal is to get visitors to stay and keep them coming back, so think about why you stay on the websites you visit and how your target audience lines up.

    Lexie Lu

    Guest Blog Author: Lexie Lu

    Lexie Lu is a freelance UX designer and blogger. She keeps up with the latest web design trends and always has a cup in close proximity. She writes on Design Roast and can be followed on Twitter @lexieludesigner.

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  • Marketing Your Website - The Importance Of Using Analytical Tools

    website traffic

    You create a beautiful website for your business, optimize it for search engines, market it through social media, and start receiving visitors. But wait! Do you even know where your visitors are coming from? Are they interested in what you have to offer, or are they just passing their time? How many of them are actually going to purchase your product or service?

    Answering such questions might seem difficult, but it won’t be once you set up a tracking tool within your website. A tracking tool will enable you to track your visitors, their sources, the number of clicks, the number of conversions, etc. Analytics are crucial because they will help you understand why something in your digital marketing strategy works or why something doesn’t.

    For example, you can determine how engaging your latest Twitter or Facebook post was, which landing page is working the best, etc. Since you have invested time and money on your website, it’s important to define goals and use them when measuring web analytics. You can use this valuable information to improve your website and make the necessary changes to correct the particular problem.

    What Will You Determine?

    Website analytics will help you determine five essential pieces of information:

    • The type of people visiting your website - do they belong to your target audience?
    • Their physical location. 
    • The pages they visit and the kind of action they take on pages.
    • The time when your visitors are using your website.
    • The channel through which they reached your website.

    Why Is Analytics Important?

    Website analytics are important because they will provide you with the following capabilities:

    • Set Specific Goals: The goal of having a website is not to just receive visitors, but to have those visitors take specific actions. With analytics, you can set up particular goals and determine how close you are to achieving them. For example, you might want your visitors to go to a booking form, online store, inquiry page or a particular landing page.
    • Improve Your Website and Marketing Campaign: With analytics, you will understand both your website’s and your marketing campaign’s shortcomings. With this information, you can improve upon them. You will get to know how your visitors interact with your website and how they navigate through it. Then you can adjust your website to better guide your visitors. For example, you can place calls-to-action on pages with the most traffic to guide users to a specific page.
    • Enhance Your Visitor’s Experience: Through analytics, you can see what devices visitors are using to access your site. Are they browsing your website using a tablet or smartphone? If so, you may need to optimize your website for mobile devices and make other adjustments to improve your visitors’ experience.
    • Improve Your Marketing Strategy: Since marketing is a critical component of a business, analytics will aid you in determining the weaknesses and strong points of your marketing strategy. For example, you can modify the keywords that visitors use to reach your website, improving your SEO or paid advertising. Or, you can develop tailored content depending upon the visitors’ geographical location.

    Analytics Tools

    There are a number of free tools available to track your website traffic. Two of the most popular are:

    Google Analytics- sign up at https://www.google.com/analytics/

    Statcounter- sign up at http://statcounter.com/

    In most cases, you will simply add a code to your website to enable traffic. Full instructions are provided after you set up a website analytics account.

    Sources
    http://www.professionalacademy.com/blogs-and-advice/why-are-web-analytics-so-important-to-marketers-and-businesses-alike-
    http://lazcreative.com/blog/business/web-analytics-the-importance-of-measurement/
    https://www.yola.com/blog/how-to-use-analytics-and-why-theyre-important/
    https://www.smartdatacollective.com/4-top-advanced-web-analytics-tools-to-get-more-out-of-your-website/

     

    Previous Article-Social Media Marketing

    Next Article-Different Options For Analytics

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  • Marketing Your Website- Map Listings For Your Business

    google maps sample search for website design richmond va

    Adding your business to popular maps like Google Maps is not difficult and can yield great results for your company. Having map listings for your business enables you to reach a wider audience and allows them to quickly locate you whenever they are in need of your products or services. For local searches, Google displays map listings above the organic search results, as we wrote about in this post.

    If you have a retail location like a restaurant or store, Google Maps listings are very important for mobile search. They'll appear when a user searches terms like "restaurant near me" on their phone, and the user can easily call or get directions to your business.

    What happens if your business is not listed on directory maps? Not only will your customers have a hard time locating you, but there will also be a loss in potential customers and sales.

    If you are wondering how to add your business to Google Maps, here’s how.

    Adding A Listing To Google Maps

    Google provides the functionality to add your business location to its maps. It is done through an online tool known as Google My Business, which is a platform for managing your presence on Google Maps.

    • Access the tool by navigating to Google My Business.
    • Click on the tab ‘Manage Now.’
    • Follow the instructions to create your business listing.
    • In some cases, your business might already be listed, and you will just need to claim it. However, if it is not, you can add it to the map by clicking on ‘Add Your Business.’
    • Supply basic information like your business’s name, address, phone number, and website. Remember to choose the correct category for the type of business you own. You'll want to answer as many questions as possible, like your hours. If you have images, upload those too. The goal is to make your listing as complete as possible.
    • As the final step, you will have to verify your business through a PIN code. If your business address is not already verified, Google will mail a postcard with the PIN, and you'll receive that in 1 to 2 weeks. If your address is already verified, you should be able to get the PIN by phone.

    Benefits Of Adding Your Listing

    There are many advantages of adding your business to Google Maps. Some of them are:

    • It enhances your online presence and could increase your main business website’s ranking in Google’s search results. A higher ranking in search results means more traffic for your website.
    • Your customers and potential customers will be able to find you easily and reach your premises, as well as getting important information like your business hours.
    • It improves customer satisfaction by providing all the important information about your business on a single platform.
    • Your product or services can be reviewed by customers, and potential customers can read them as well. Whenever someone leaves a new review, you'll get an email notification.
    • Google Maps is used heavily on Android and iOS devices, so mobile users will be able to search for your business and its products or services 24/7.

    Sources

     http://www.business2community.com/social-business/add-business-google-maps-01094521

    https://www.google.com/business/benefits/

    https://support.google.com/partners/answer/143059?hl=en

     

    Previous Article- Paid Online Advertising: A Beginner’s Guide

    Next Article- Review Sites Like Yelp

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  • Multiple Locations Does Not Mean Multiple Websites

    Whether you run a huge corporation with locations all over the world, or you started a small business that has expanded into neighboring towns, centralizing all your operations into one website simply makes sense. Not only will you reduce costs in design and web hosting fees, but customers of one location might be interested in other locations.

    Creating a separate website for each location is a bit old school, and designers did use that model once upon a time. But, with modern location tools and the ability to segment websites, it is less troublesome to serve up unique pages for each location while keeping everything on one website. Google is also shifting the way that it looks at keywords, domains and websites so that it is not as necessary as it once was to ensure you use a keyword specific to that location.

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  • Website Basics - DIY Website Builders

    Learn How To Make Websites

    The days when you have to spend months learning code or hire a coder to develop and publish your website are gone. Many DIY website builders are now available that enable an average person to create their own simple website, and do a decent job of it.

    Most of these website builders provide you with the necessary hosting service, building tools, as well as customer support so you can easily create your very own website without having the need to invest a lot of money and time.

    Popular Do-It-Yourself Website Builders

    These days, you have a variety of website builders available at your disposal, most of which offer a slew of free features with an added opportunity to upgrade to paid premium services and subscription plans.

    Since most of these builders are free to try, this gives one a chance to test their features before deciding on the one to use.

    Some of the top website builders include but are not limited to the following:

    1. Wix
    2. Jimdo
    3. Squarespace
    4. Weebly
    5. Shopify (for ecommerce)

    The key features that are common amongst these website builders are:

    • The ease-of-use they provide
    • Flexible designs to suit your preferences
    • A variety of pre-set themes to give you a head start
    • Paid premium features
    • Search engine optimization options to ensure your website is search engine friendly
    • Some level of customer support services
    • A few of them also offer the option to export website files

    Limitations of Website Builders

    Limited Creative Freedom – DIY builders are essentially “closed source” web-based programs, so they all have a limit to the level of customizations you can make.

    Shared Hosting – Most DIY website builders host on shared servers, so you may not have complete control over your content. Also, since you’re sharing server bandwidth and resources with many other websites, your website may suffer from slow loading speeds, with nothing that can be done on your end to fix them.

    Lack of Backup – Most DIY builders, except IM Creator and Weebly, don’t allow full backup of your websites. So, if you wish to take your entire website elsewhere, it’s going to be a difficult task.

    Cost – Even though costs may start low or even be marketed as "free," be aware that just like most other applications, there will typically be additional fees to upgrade services. In some cases, you may spend more in total due to monthly fees than if you had hired a professional web designer.

    Functionality – A DIY website builder might be easy to outgrow. For example, while many might include basic e-commerce abilities you will likely find that these are limited and prevent you from growing your business as-needed.

    DIY website providers can be a good fit for many clients, but always take your time thinking about future needs too, so that you don't get stuck in a system that is not a good fit.

    Previous Article- How Much Time Does It Take To Build Your Own Website?

    Up Next- How To Go About Selecting A Website Design Firm

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  • Website Basics - How Much Time Does It Take To Build Your Own Website?

    A question you ask may when building a website is how long it will take. The simple answer is, “it depends.” To clarify, when we say, “it depends,” we’re talking about how extensive the website is and also whether you hire a professional or try to build the website yourself. Let’s take a look at the website types upon which the timeframe depends, and estimate the time you may spend doing it yourself.

    websites novice versus professional

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  • Website Basics - Options For Building A Website

    building a website

    Depending on the type of business you own or the type of product you wish to launch, you can decide whether you need a full website or simply a landing page. While full websites are best when you are an established business with multiple products and services, a landing page serves only a single purpose and might be more suitable for a start-up venture.

    In this article, we are going to discuss the best options for building both a landing page and a complete website, depending on your needs. Let’s take a look at two options for each:

    Options for Building a Landing Page 

     

    Leadpages

    If it’s rapid conversions you have in mind, LeadPages was designed specifically for that purpose. It doesn’t just stop at the landing page; you have the option to add premium features like ‘click to subscribe’ buttons, boxes for opt-ins, and a number of tools for building email lists. It begins at $27 per month.

    Unbounce

    This service has quite the reputation when it comes to landing page optimization. They have a powerful platform that is perfect for first-time users attempting to build a landing page website from scratch. It starts at $80 per month.

    Options for Creating a Full Website

     

    WordPress

    WordPress is a free, open-source complete website development tool, and a popular one at that, especially among publishers and bloggers. You can select the free online service and follow the instructions there. Or, for more control, you can download the free software, upload it to the domain, and directly manage your website and hosting.

    Visit wordpress.com to build a free website.

    Get the software at wordpress.org

    Joomla!™

    Joomla too is an open-source website development platform with many options and features to manage your website and your content. You can easily find templates that provide the basic design, and you can then move up from there.

    Download Joomla at joomla.org.

    If you are considering launching a website, assess your needs. If you only have one product or service to sell, go for a landing page. However, if you have multiple services or products, you're going to need a website that can support multiple pages.

    Building a full website is a big task, and you may do best to consult a professional website design company if your budget allows. An experienced website development firm that has worked with many clients will have processes in place to assure your website is built properly, and with the best chance to rank well in search engines.

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  • Website Basics – How To Go About Selecting A Website Design Firm

    failure or success

    Whether you wish to launch your first website or are looking to improve an existing one, finding the right development team is crucial to the project’s success. The good news is that you have numerous options to choose from; the bad news is, the large number of website development firms out there makes it more difficult than ever to find the right match for your project.

    To end up with the right website development firm, ensure you take the following steps before finalizing your decision.

    Check Their Portfolio

    Reviewing previous design and development work is an important step in selecting a service provider. Before you hire a web design and development firm, you need to know their experience and the type and scale of projects they have worked upon before. A portfolio will allow you to get a fair idea of their skills.

    If you have specialized needs, like e-commerce or upgrading a Joomla website to the current version, make doubly sure that the firms you are considering can demonstrate successful completion of similar projects. These more challenging web projects often fail when an inexperienced vendor is selected to do the work.

    Get In Touch

    Preferably via e-mail or web contact form, this will allow you to get everything in writing, even if it is your initial query. You learn a number of things in this step, allowing you to gauge the firm’s responsiveness. The speed and professionalism of the response itself will speak volumes about their capabilities.

    Schedule A Meeting

    Whenever possible, you should try to meet with the website development firms you are considering in person. You'll be working with the staff over a number of weeks or months while your website is in development, and it's a good idea to sit down and make sure that you can communicate easily with the staff.

    In some cases, it may not be practical to meet in person. This is especially true when you need more specialized website work, like migrating an older version of Joomla to current. Firms that specialize in this work may be located in other cities, making it difficult to meet in person. In these cases, you will likely find that the firms you are considering have solutions to provide web conference meetings via Zoom or other platforms.

    Make Sure They Understand Your Business And Business Goals

    After an initial meeting, you will have a fair idea of whether the firm is a good fit for your needs, but do they understand your business? The right firm will ask a lot of questions to ensure they understand your goals. Make sure this step isn’t overlooked; the success of the entire project rests on uncovering your objectives for the project. Professional website development firms should have processes in place to make project discovery easy and productive.

    Request A Written Proposal

    A firm that is interested in working with you will readily be able to give you a close estimate of the costs, neatly broken down for your convenience. If you have any questions regarding the proposal or notice any discrepancies, get in touch with them before accepting it. While there are always unknowns that could affect your final price, the proposal should clearly detail the work to be completed and the cases for and the cost of any overage charges.

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  • What Your B2B Website Says About Your Company

    People often say first impressions are everything. That reality extends to individuals, situations and experiences that are encountered in everyday life. If a person goes to an upscale restaurant for a business meal with a client and deals with slow service and bad-tasting food, they probably won’t be very willing to return there.

    Similarly, if a potential client comes to your B2B website, you can be assured he or she will consciously and unconsciously start judging everything associated with the website, whether it’s the layout, content, color scheme or something else. That’s why it’s so important for your B2B website to say the right things about your company, such as the aspects mentioned below.

    You Have Paid Enough Attention to Design

    A great-looking website quickly inspires confidence in clients because they believe if you have spent an adequate amount of time building a beautiful web presence, it’s likely you have exercised a similar amount of care with the other parts of your business. Take a look at the screenshot below from Social Karma, a French company that offers an audience-profiling platform that gives businesses useful insights.

    B2B1

    As you scroll through the landing page of the site, you’ll see clear descriptions of the product’s unique selling points, plus a video and screenshots. By the time you get through all that, you’ll almost certainly want to learn more about how the company can help you specifically and have an overall favorable impression before you make contact with representatives there.

    However, even before you start scrolling, several strategic design elements are already apparent, such as the pleasing turquoise-and-white color scheme and the easy-to-read font. If you can’t read French, don’t worry, because there is a language selector in the top right corner of the site.

    Good design matters because it makes websites highly functional. Beyond that, well-designed websites look great so they stick in visitors’ memories and make them say, “Wow!”

    Whether or Not You Have a Defined Purpose

    Business clients could quickly become confused if they go to your website and can’t figure out what your company does. That’s why it’s important to immediately draw attention to associated content that explains what purpose your company has and why people should care. If site visitors are confused about what you do, they’ll also be confused about why it’s worthwhile to do business with you.

    Ideally, the first text or graphic that people see when they come to your B2B website should be related to your company’s purpose. Also, make sure the “About” page is very prominent so people can click on it to learn more. If the “About” page mostly talks about how your company came to be, it may also be advantageous to have a second page titled “What We Do” or something similar.

    If You Are Aiming to Be a Credible Industry Leader

    It takes longer to build B2B relationships than B2C relationships because you have to win over an entire company instead of just one consumer. However, one of the ways you can gain momentum is to show how you want to lead and not just follow what successful B2B companies have done before. B2B clients want to know that by working with your company, they’ll be able to tap into something they couldn’t have otherwise.

    Usually, they’re depending on you because you have intelligence or abilities they need. You can show them particular expertise by mentioning how your company has been profiled by major news sources like the BBC or CNN or talk about how representatives from your company have been invited to speak at notable conferences.

    You could even have a section on your homepage that profiles why the people working at your company have measurable expertise, like the Creaform Engineering site. Look at how the first top link is solely dedicated to expertise.

    B2B2

    After putting your mouse over it, you’ll get a drop-down section dedicated to engineering, simulation and design. After choosing one of those themes, you can look through a significant amount of information that describes why Creaform Engineering is a company of choice and has shown its expertise in numerous ways.

    Your Ability to Demonstrate Consistency

    Consistency is something that can be highlighted on a website in several ways, from the navigation elements to the tone of the content. It’s also a good idea to make sure any images you use on the site support the text and vice versa.

    B2B3

    The website for LOOP Juice does that in a smart way by using text that describes how the company creates cold-pressed juices using “the outcasts of the food industry”. That concept is intriguing in itself, especially since the public’s desire for produce that looks as good as it tastes often means fruits and veggies get wasted.

    The main image on the website displays the juices in an enticing way by showing how colorful they are. However, the graffiti-filled backdrop fits with the idea that the fruits really were cast aside before they were used to make juice. This is a clever way to show consistency while promoting the product and the brand’s story.

    You Care About Making the Site Accessible for Mobile Devices

    If you decide not to include elements of responsive design in your B2B website, that’s a risk that could lead to several bad assumptions about your website. People may think you’re out of touch with modern society since so many individuals use their phones constantly. They may also get the idea you don’t care about which devices your visitors prefer because you’re blatantly bypassing mobile device compatibility by ignoring responsive design.

    If you cannot afford a site that’s built with responsive design so it looks equally fabulous on mobile devices or computers, at least think about building a mobile-friendly version of the site that people will get redirected to if they visit your site on their phones or tablets. Then, at least you’re doing what you can to reduce frustration and cater to a larger segment of potential clients.

    These are just some of the things your site reveals when people visit it. Now, you should feel much more informed about what’s in your power to make your B2B company and its website stand out for all the right reasons.

    Lexie Lu

    Guest Blog Author: Lexie Lu

    Lexie Lu is a freelance UX designer and blogger. She keeps up with the latest web design trends and always has a cup in close proximity. She writes on Design Roast and can be followed on Twitter @lexieludesigner.

     

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  • What's the Difference Between PMS, CMYK and RGB Colors?

    color profilesBefore you reach out to a designer or graphic artist, you need to consider a few things. First, you must know what you want from them, which you can show with a sample image or existing product. Second, what kind of image or content you need regarding color, format and size.

    Format and size are best left to the designer, as they’ll make sure you’re taken care of, provided you offer the right details. The color profile you need for the image, however, should be designated on your end. If you happen to be a graphic artist or designer, then you need to know what each of the profiles is used for.

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Our Before & After Designs

Look at what a difference a website redesign makes!

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- Before and After- morethanglass.com