In the early days of brilliant web design, Flash was all the rage. Now, with content and optimization being king, having a flash-based website or just using flash elements on your website is becoming a thing of the past. True, there are some that still think it’s worthy because of the “excitement” it seems to bring. So if you still are on the fence about it, here are some things to consider…
- Flash can make your pages load slower and slow loads can make visitors leave before they get to see what you’re all about.
- Flash pages are not indexed properly by search engines so it’s bad for SEO (search engine optimization).
- There are no linking or bookmarking capabilities for flash pages.
- There is limited or no viewing capabilities on mobile devices which is huge considering that is where people do most of their information access these days.
Hmmm… not really making a great case for flash, right? Well, here’s a bit of a silver lining. Creative things can be done with images and templates to give the look of flash elements on a website without compromising function.
Do you want to jazz up your website but don’t want to lose your audience in a “flash?” Contact us today for a consultation!
Whether you are starting your website from scratch or doing a redesign or upgrade, an important element to consider is what the other guys are doing. Yes, that’s right… your competition. It’s important to know what you are up against when you enter or re-enter the playing field.
First, start with the obvious… the aesthetics of the website. Take off your company hat for a moment and pretend you are a prospective customer. Looking at your competitor’s website through that lens will give you perspective on what works and how you can do it your way… and possibly better.
Okay, put your company hat back on and look at the overall digital presence of your competitors. How they use video, blogs, and social media to spread their marketing message. We mentioned a few posts ago about a handy little tool from our friends at Hubspot called Marketing Grader that will allow you to analyze how your website presence stacks up to the others in your marketplace.
As you are browsing through the websites of your competitors you will most likely see a lot of things you like and want to implement. But DO NOT copy! That’s the worst thing you can do! As I said above, do it your way… but do it better. That will make you stand out above the rest.
How does your website measure up to the competition? Is it time for an upgrade? Let us help!
(Sign up for your free website audit here)
In our last installment of this series we discussed happy homepages and how the digital “front door” should invite people in an get them to stay awhile. It is important to carry the concepts of the happy homepage throughout your entire website. According to Hubspot, most websites have a 30-60% bounce rate… meaning that a large majority of web traffic entering your website leaves without navigating to any other pages. And many times they may never come back. Why? Because, believe it or not, most people judge a company’s credibility by the looks of their website.
We talked about the aesthetic elements you should have on your homepage, but now we’ll take them a step further to apply to your entire website.
Colors - Just like with your homepage, your color scheme should match your brand and be consistent throughout the website. You definitely should use color to make things stand out, but be careful not to go overboard. You make too much “stand out” and nothing stands out. It just looks gawdy.
Text - Keep your text font and size consistent. Not too big and not too small. Titles, subtitles, and body text should be the same on every page. Same goes for tabs and links in the navigation and sidebars. Make sure the font is legible. There’s nothing worse than a “creative” font that nobody can read.
Layout - Just as with the homepage, the whole website should be easy for visitors to get around. Clear navigation. Avoid too much white space. Avoid too much “clutter.”
Gadgets, Media, and Other Stuff - Nothing “clutters” a website more than too many unnecessary elements. Flash backgrounds and automatic pop-ups, and music playing certainly gets attention but more often than not is flat out annoying. A few well-placed (and appropriately size) images, a video (not on autoplay) should be more than sufficient.
Keeping design elements and content style consistent is key in driving and keeping traffic. How is your website looking these days? Let us take a look at it! Sign up for your free website audit here.
We are starting a new series on “What Makes A Website.” Over the next few weeks, we’ll explore the elements that are must-haves on your website and the do’s (and don’ts) to make it great.
An obvious first place to start… the Homepage. The first page of your website that everyone sees when they land on your URL. It is, in essence, a “dashboard” for visitors to get to know your business at first glance. The window to your company’s soul. The warm welcome everyone will receive.
So, what makes a happy homepage? Here are some tips…
When people land on your website, they should immediately be able to figure out who you are and what you do
Branding – Your logo, company name, and slogan/tagline (if applicable) should be prominently placed. At the top of your site is usually best and images/text not too big or too small. Colors should match and not be too overbearing.
Images - In general, most people are “visual” in nature. Use images or stock photos to illustrate what your business does. Show as well as tell.
Once someone arrives at your page, what is it you want them to do? What do you want them to know?
Navigation - It should be very easy for visitors to move about your site and gain access to the information they want. Not only that, you should also use the navigation to direct them to the information you want them to have. Basic navigation to website pages should be clear and obvious with menu bars or tabs near the top of the page. Other “call-to-action” items should be well placed to get attention but not overshadow main content.
Search - While you hope your navigation will be enough, sometimes it’s not. You’ll want to have a way to search your site for any information. A simple search box on the page, above the fold, is a simple solution.
Content and Language - The idea is to communicate your company’s objectives, make a great impression, and provide a great user experience. The design and imagery of your site draws them in and make them want to read more. Now, what they read should be dynamic. Give just enough to convey your business message but also leave them wanting more. Give them the reason to click that “Contact Us” or “Request a Demo” or “Learn More” button.
Is your homepage happy? Let us know!
You already know that having great web presence is key to business success. You also are probably aware of how costly it can be for your business if your website is not done well from the beginning. Poor aesthetics, lack of information, and dull content can cost you potential clients… not to mention what you’ll have to shell out to re-do your website all over again. Wouldn’t it be great to get it right the first time?
We think so too and we want to help!
Your Design Online will host a series of workshops to help you create and manage your online presence. We kick things off on Saturday, May 12, 2012 with Website In 1 Day.
Whether you’re starting from scratch with a brand-spanking-new website or you just need to spruce up the one you already have, the Website In 1 Day workshop is for you. It is for business owners who want… or need, rather, a dynamic website but do not have a “dynamic budget” to outsource design and maintenance.
Professional website services can start around $2,000 and go up from there depending on the needs of your business. Take one day with us and we will help you create a professional, aesthetically pleasing, fully-functional, SEO enabled website that you can edit, manage, and maintain yourself. The cost? A mere $600!
And you’re in luck!
Because you stopped by our blog today, you can save $100 on Website In 1 Day if you register by 5pm on May 5th by entering the code 1DAYWEB.
We look forward to seeing you!
Without a doubt, WordPress is the most popular content management system available for nearly all types of websites, and this includes online business sites. There are specialized internet commerce systems, like the Magento or osCommerce, but the fact remains that right now, most online web designers and the persons, professionals and companies they deal with prefer WordPress than any other CMS. For many of its users, WordPress is regarded as extremely reliable and this is just one of the many reasons why they choose to build their online business on it.
On the other hand, reliability is just one of the many reasons why the best platform for your website is WordPress. Having a very good web-hosting plan, for example, makes it even better. Due to the popularity of WordPress, there are many online guides about web hosting that provide reviews and other information as to which WordPress hosts to look into and consider, and which ones are to be avoided. Aside from reliability, there are other reasons why WordPress should be considered as the best CMS to use for your online business:
It is Free. If you didn’t know a thing about open source software, the fact that except for the cost of developing the site, using the WordPress CMS does not cost you anything might even excite you. WordPress came about because a global network of people developed it out of their own interest and during their spare time. Nearly all, if not all WordPress themes and plugins are free, so if the idea of having your own business site for free does not impress you, we don’t know what will.
Great global support. Mainly due to the fact that is a free collaboration of a global community of developers, there is unquestionably a great availability of support. You will never run out of online sites, forums, and review sites that contain huge selections of articles, tutorials, tips and other information about anything that has to do with WordPress. On top of that, expect to receive a lot of help from skilled and more experienced Worpdress users when you are caught up with some difficulty and seek solutions for it. It goes without saying that the experience of being the receiving end of help from a global community of WordPress experts is simply amazing.
It is User-Friendly. For the longest time, having a website means leaving its management and administration completely in the hands of a skilled webmaster. WordPress has helped break down this limitation because it easy navigation and content management features is very easy to use with little help or none at all, from professionals.
There is no doubt that WordPress would remain as the top CMS choice for a lot of online professionals, entrepreneurs, and companies for their online business website. It is free and easy to use, yet stable and is not wanting of support. If you do not know anything about WordPress, start searching and reading information about it online, or consult with a web design and development company that does not only have an impressive portfolio of WordPress-developed sites, but also one that works closely with its clients to create an online business site that is customized to their and their clients’ needs. One such company is YourDesignOnline, an Atlanta-based web design and development company that has worked with many individual entrepreneurs and business companies for their customized WordPress website design and development needs.