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It’s Not About Us – It’s For Them! The Perfect About Us Page

Written by Ival on December 6th, 2012. Posted in Website Design

My favorite webpage is usually titled “About Us.” Now the main thing to remember is that you may think it’s all “About You” [your business], but really it should be titled “For Them” – because it’s one of the key ways you can communicate your brand and increase trust between yourself and your potential customers.

By nature I’m a nosy creature and there’s nothing that makes me lose interest in a website more than a dull, lifeless About Us page. I’m sure you’ve seen them – a scant paragraph of text something along the lines of:

“We are a widget business based in Any County. We produce lots of different widgets to fit all budgets.”

As a customer I want to know

1. Who you are? – a personal and chatty note from the owner works well here and a photo added is even better. Brief staff biogs are often helpful too as it immediately reassure your customer that they are handing their cash over to a professional organization who employ people rather than a hobbyist in a back bedroom. If you are a solopreneur, then just make sure you include the personal note with some tasty biographical information included.

2. What’s Your Mission? – Are you “in it” for something more than making money [if I've hit the nail on the head there, then best not mention that]. Customers love to know why you do what you do – did you create a product to solve a problem? Did you set your business up as a result of a personal experience you had? Do you have strong ethics or have a passion for helping others? If you support any charities or do voluntary work, then think about adding it to your About Us page.

3. What’s Your History? Consider adding the history of your company here. Can you demonstrate an “impression of increase” to your customers. Such as, “I began working from my kitchen table, now I have an office and employ staff” or “I started with just one service, now I offer 3 different ones.”

3. Blow Your Own Trumpet! Have you won or been nominated for any awards? If so, here’s the place to dust off your decorations and place them on this page for all to see. Place a link to your media/press page here too.

4. Do you a special offer or a freebie for customers? Think about highlighting it on this page [include links] and make the most of the extra traffic an “About Us page” generates.

5. Remember to use images, especially photos to illustrate the page. Perhaps of a best selling product? Your office? Include your logo too if it works.

6. Sign off with some kind of “call to action” to encourage interaction.

7. Make sure you also include some contact details, however brief. Make it easy for a customer to reach you as this builds your credibility and increases trust.

Seen any cool “About Us” pages? Let me know below!

When It Comes to Web Design, One Thing’s For Sure: Nothing Stays the Same

Written by Ival on December 6th, 2012. Posted in Website Design

With the web constantly evolving there are important components to consider before your redo your website and invest valuable time and money.

Simplicity. In recent years, simplicity was hardly what was on the mind of many businesses with websites. The more graphics, banners, ads, Flash movies and other bells and whistles, the better. Not so today! Now it’s about simplicity in design, helping your visitors get from point A to B in the quickest, easiest manner possible. The fewer page elements, the better. Ideally you want to bring your visitor from point A to B in three easy steps. You don’t want your visitor to get lost in all the confusion, you want to help them stay focused on the goal! Think clean, minimalist, and intuitive.

Responsive to the needs of your target audience. More and more people are accessing the internet from Smartphone’s, tablets and laptops – it’s not the dinosaur ages anymore, when the only way anyone could go online was from a desktop computer! The fact is, over the next few years it’s likely that even more devices will make it possible to access the internet on the go, and your website should be designed in a way that makes it accessible to these platforms. Sure it takes more time and ability to meet all of these demands, however reponsiveness is necessary.

Typography. Because the primary focus is content, what could be better than content that really stands out? Big, bold headlines that cannot be ignored. The web fonts available today allow web designers to indulge themselves. From big and beautiful to contemporary, sleek and just plain good-looking, content can be a beautiful thing today. Google fonts has created a seemless integration through code that can be embedded in your website to insure all browsers can see your styling.

Of course the most important thing is to deliver what your user wants in terms of information, services, products, etc. This isn’t something you can guess. You need to take the time to understand your target market and what their needs are. However, with so many choices today and the rushed world we live in, people want what they want now, and the easiest way to get straight to it in the least amount of time is the best. When looking for a web designer to create a memorable online presence for your company, be sure to keep simplicity and responsiveness in mind!

Five Ways to Build the Most Mobile Friendly Website

Written by Ival on December 6th, 2012. Posted in Website Design

A few years ago sites could have got away without having a mobile version of their site but not anymore. Mobile websites have gone from being an attractive extra to an absolute necessity – and it isn’t enough just having one. With the commercial and economic opportunities available to online businesses via mobile phones it is crucial that the mobile site is designed to optimise the mobile user experience. Non mobile friendly sites are losing out on an increasingly large amount of business as more and more people buy though mobile devices.

Streamline Content

Landing pages and content “above the fold” is crucial when it comes to PC websites. This importance is magnified on a mobile web page. Do not waste time, effort and most importantly space, putting anything but the most important information on your mobile pages. Removing things like side menus or other content links allows your site to focus on only the most important information, making your site easier to read, quicker to load and generally improving user experience.

When it comes to seeking mobile conversions or sales it is crucial that your site prioritises important information relevant to conversions such as contact details. Overloading your page with irrelevant content will push important content down making it less likely to be found. Users will also become frustrated with having to scroll or delve deeper in to your site to find the content they want.

Optimise layout

An easy way to streamline your content and improve user experience is to optimise your page layout for mobile devices. Simply displaying your standard PC website through a mobile device will negatively affect your users experience and likely lead to a high bounce rate. The text displayed will be too small to read and users will have to navigate a raft of different menus.

Optimise your layout into just one single column with additional content running down the page not across. This allows users to use the far more natural and preferred process of scrolling downwards, avoiding the need to scroll sideways or zoom in and out.

Alter Navigation

With such a small area to work in, navigation becomes an issue on mobile websites. Placing all your navigation at the top of pages moves the valuable content too far down below the fold and with a single column layout it can’t go down the side – where does it go?

The answer is to emphasise your homepage. Only place navigation on your homepage and do so at the top of the page. On other pages place your content at the top with the only navigation links being back to the homepage or the most relevant previous step in the user’s journey. Placing breadcrumb links at the top of the page with navigation links back to the homepage at the bottom, users are able to easily navigate the site without detracting from the valuable content.

If your site’s users want to see content straightaway rather than look to navigate or search for specific content you should place the navigation at the bottom. This way it does not get in the way of reading the content but can still be easily accessed by the user. Placing an anchor link at the top of the page will allow users to reach the navigation quickly and easily.

Minimise text entry

It is not just visually where mobile websites differ from their desktop or laptop partners. Usability is another major issue when creating mobile friendly websites. Typing, even on the best touchscreen keyboards are difficult for users who frequently make errors and can often become frustrated with over-elaborate and time consuming text entry. You can reduce the need for text entry for users by allowing them to store personal and login details on site or ask them to use a numerical PIN instead of a password. Instead of entering text akin to a standard text message allow the users to provide information by choosing between different selections.

Similarly you should be aware of the limitations of touchscreen devices for usability. Links (particularly when in amongst other links) can be difficult to click on. Users will become frustrated at the additional time and cost wasted by accidentally clicking on the wrong link. Therefore you should look to use highly visible and easily clickable square boxes for important calls to action.

Take advantage of inbuilt functionality

Ultimately when designing a website for mobile use, you should look to take advantage of the mobile devices unique properties and utilise their inbuilt functionality

Mobile phones were initially designed to just make phone calls (I know it might seem hard to believe!). Take advantage of this by allowing users to automatically call a number when clicking or tapping a contact phone number.

Similarly phones now have in built map applications. Give user’s a better idea of your location by automatically opening the phone’s map application after the user clicks on your address on site.

Take advantage of social media in regards to your website. Make it easy for a user to share your mobile site socially or share their location via the device’s inbuilt GPS. This can allow users to better interact with each other and find nearby stores or events.

Conclusions

2013 is set to be the year of the mobile. Marketers and webmasters are waking up to the power of mobile devices. The mobile will hold a crucial role in how businesses promote and market their websites online. It is crucial that as mobile devices are increasingly used to access the internet that websites provide users with as clear and smooth a user experience as possible. Following some of the above guidelines will help in ensuring you get the best return from your mobile website.

5 Things That Should Be on the Front Page of Your Website

Written by Ival on December 6th, 2012. Posted in Website Design

The front page of your website is like your face; and people have the tendency to adore expressive faces. Your front page, in effect, should ooze out the summary of your entire being; at least online. Yes, there are common parcels that you have to open up, like good design and soothing colors. Here are 5 potent factors that should strengthen your front page with their presence:

1. The starting point is of course your accreditation. Your business; its nature, a commanding logo and your contact information are simple ways to permeate into the visitors that you are a credible site on work. Credibility is the first key to reputation.

2. Another instant visible reference is the ‘Call to Action’ emblem. There should be clear indications that visitors are invited for participation on some sphere of your site. There may be significant rebates on sign-ups. There should be a clear call for donation if you deal on those lines. It doesn’t pay to shy away. There may be fast action inducements for freebies. Shopping carts are another way to make your site a ‘visit and stay’ type.

3. Ensure that your site is clutter-free and has good uptime. It hurts if the site doesn’t open up time and again. The navigation from front page to others should be quite sleek. Of course, a dedicated site has natural endowments like a good number of dropdowns. You can do wonders even with template sites though, with some effective strategies. If you are providing services that need regulation, make sure that the regulation clearance is quite apparent to the visitor. In whole, your site should speak out its method and demands in clear terms, so that its remembrance quotient gets stronger.

4. It is always great to generate feedbacks. Better still if that section is enumerated on your front page. Give a good section to an impartial endorsement. Probing testimonials sit on visitors’ minds. Do remember to update your sites and work hard on your products and services, so that all connected virtues seem truthful. Take a bright side by drawing the viewer’s attention to a brazen yet steady form of interpretation; whether it is a stunning original image; special graphics or stylized content, it should all come with a difference. Staple your front page with a concise and precise description of your wares. Remember to be truthful, for the inadequacies will soon be caught out. If possible, keep a quick customer care to give you strength.

5. Last but the most significant presence on your front page has to be the social media links. You need to be pro-active on Facebook and LinkedIn; connecting all ends together. This gives the visitor a feeling of importance and accessibility. RSS feeds are other way to generate interest.

Needless to say, the evolutions will punctuate your front page with many other necessities that tone up your presence and visibility schedule. These 5 salient points however should be the basic framework on which you build your castles of success.

Questions Raised For Website Designing

Written by Ival on December 5th, 2012. Posted in Website Design

- The internet has provided a huge opportunity for a lot of businesses and entrepreneurs, in fact it has changed the way the world looks at commerce in general. Having completely put an end to demographic and geographic barriers the internet has enabled business person, website owners to reach out to a vast audience providing them with several benefits. Time has already proved that an online reflection for every business is more lucrative and has become imperative to do well. If it’s your first web experience or you are new to getting a website designed for your business, this article aims at clarifying several doubts that must have crossed your mind.

– To begin with, let’s do a quick run through on how to choose the right Web design company to design and build your website. I would suggest you set aside enough time for this process, go through several websites especially ones of the same field, shortlist ones you found were good and creative. Now contact the website owners and get the contact info of the designer. Go through the designer’s websites and see if you liked their portfolio. Get feedback from companies on their portfolio on how their experiences were. This will help you further cut-down on the no. Of designers you had short listed. Get a quote from these companies and also ask them to give you a descriptive report on what innovations they can suggest for your website. Weigh the options on all the responses you get and choose the best one of the lot. Don’t forget to make sure that they include SEO and maintenance and support in their package.

– Now lets move on to questions about the website itself. One of the most often asked questions is about the platform to be used for designing your website. I would suggest that you use an open source platform, no matter what your requirements are there are several highly dynamic, versatile and flexible software that fall in the open source category. Some examples are Magento, Joomla, WordPress, OS-commerce, etc. Talk with your designer and you will get an idea as to which one would solve your purpose the best. However in general,

o WordPress – Blogging.

o Joomla – E-commerce

o Magento – E-commerce

o TYPO3 – enterprise CMS

o Drupal – CMS.

– The next thing that you would think of being the Content of your Website. Well, this depends entirely on what kind of website you want to be designed, basically you have to choose the contents according to the nature of your business. For starters you could check out:

o What you want to display about your Company?

o Your Products and Services?

o What is it that you want to highlight about your company?

o Other important data that you think your clients would need you to send.

o Pictures and graphics that you think should be included.

– Another thing that you have to remember is that your content especially text has to be unique and should include the necessary keywords for better website visibility.

– Regarding the progress of your website. Different companies offer you different solutions, but all of them will give you access to the progress of your website. They would give you regular reports as well as let you see how your site is coming along. You can also verify and give your suggestions and changes required if any.

– Search Engine Optimization- how does it help your website. This is a technique which will optimize the contents on your website right from the design stage so that your website gets better search engine rankings and brings your website higher up on Search Engine Results Page.

– Content is very important for any kind of website. So you have to ensure that you update, upgrade and give fresh content for your website at regular intervals. This is very good for Search engine Rankings. Now the question is whether you can do it yourself. You will be trained and taught how to do so yourself and in the case of CMS like WordPress it is very easy to learn and does not need any formal training. However if yours is a complex website and you must to hire an in-house team to support your site, you have the choice of outsourcing as they work out cheaper.

– Once your website is complete and set up, you would want to know who gets the rights of the website. You are given complete rights of your website. However the company is permitted to use the.PSD files per the AAWD i.e. The design company can use the image on your website as a representation of their work as well as a live link to your website.