Website Design

Quality web design boosts sales but also of utmost importance is choosing the right CMS and developing a site that’s truly SEO friendly.

The primary objective of any website is to boost sales. Even when the product is an idea, as is often the case with non-profit sites, selling that idea is of utmost importance. That’s why business owners are faced with the issue of how to create a site that will truly provide a positive impact on their sales volumes. When it comes to website design best practices, it pays to heed the advice of an industry professional, as browsers are constantly in a state of flux, and what’s most important today may not be as relevant tomorrow. Assuming that’s really the case, what are the top factors business owners should insist on for their websites today?

While that may sound obvious, far too many websites are clumsily designed, making them less than attractive to users. What makes a site user-friendly? Most importantly, the site must load quickly. Site visitors quickly lose interest and move on to a competitor’s site if your site doesn’t load quickly. To check how fast a site loads, access it from a remote computer. If its load time is sluggish, discuss the issue with those who understands the intricacies of optimizing content to ensure your site doesn’t fail to provide the speed users demand.

While this is related to the first comments, it’s important to understand that once users access your page, they want to move quickly from one area of the page to another when looking for specific information. If the menus are not well organized or easily found, potential clients will move on to friendlier territory. The way users navigate is constantly evolving as they move from one type of device to another, so there is no simple way to make sure everyone can navigate easily on laptops, smartphones, or tablets. We will develop a strategy to make sure all users can easily access different areas of your site regardless of the device they are using.

Google, Yahoo, Bing and other search engines are in the business to make money. That means they promote sites that meet their demands. If your site is to rank well on Google, for example, you must follow practices the search engine demands. The algorithms used by all search engines are highly complex, but their goals are to provide links to sites users will benefit from. When users don’t find what they need quickly when using one search engine, they’ll quickly go to another one. Google doesn’t want that to happen since their revenue depends on users continuing to use their search engine. To put it more bluntly, your bottom line is far less important to the search engines than their own is so, if your site doesn’t provide what the search engine wants, your ranking will quickly drop. Working closely with a web design expert keeps your site up-to-date with the demands of Google and the other search engines.

Content management systems (CMSs) allow designers and site owners to control the site’s content. A custom WordPress design, for example, allows a site designer as well as the site owner to quickly address issues with any site. That means when Google changes its algorithms, your site can quickly be modified to meet those demands, minimizing the chances of any negative consequences to your bottom line. Before making any decision on a CMS for your site, discuss the pros and cons of different options with a site design expert. While it’s not always easy to select a CMS, it’s vitally important. Work with your website design professional to determine not only your site’s current needs, but it’s expected needs in the future. It’s far easier to take a little time to choose the best site today rather than having to migrate to a new CMS at some point in the future.

Search engine optimization is not a simple process, which means your site must have the capability to quickly deal with issues that come up. Since your site’s success is directly related to your bottom line, it’s important to use coding that’s efficient and meets the requirements of all the major search engines. That’s not something an average business owner can accomplish on their own. Staying on top of SEO requirements is a skill that’s developed over time and is always changing. That’s why collaborating with an SEO expert is always important.

Today’s site visitors are just as likely to be using an iPhone as they are to be using a desktop computer. That simply means site owners need to work closely with a design expert who understands the current trends and incorporates strategies for optimizing an iPhone user’s experience as well as taking advantage of other platforms. It’s also vital that every site owner recognizes the importance of social media sites and take advantage of the opportunities Facebook and other social media sites offer. Developing an seo-friendly website design can quickly boost revenues. Obviously, these elements are important to discuss with your web design specialist, but there are other considerations you may wish to explore as well. Since each business is unique, it’s important to create a site that suites your specific needs rather than relying on cookie-cutter approaches often promoted online. To generate the highest return on your investment, work closely with a design professional.

Our philosophy on web design is a three-legged stool:

  1. Website design “look & feel”
  2. Solid usability
  3. SEO-friendliness

If your website is not ranking well, then what good is it doing your business? Further, if people are visiting your website, but those visits are not converting to leads, what purpose does your website serve? Therefore, we don’t design websites solely to satisfy search engine bots. We also build websites that are pleasing to the eyes, clutter-free, and most importantly, turn prospects into customers. After all, the purpose of your business’s website is as a sales- and lead-generation tool, if not a face and image to present to the world.

We are living in a Post-PC world. Building websites is harder than ever because not only do we have to think about multiple platforms and browsers, we now have to think about how it will display on multiple devices from desktop to iPhone to Android to tablet.

Why you’re shooting your business in the foot if you’re not using responsive web design

I’m only on a desktop from 8am – 4pm. I’m on mobile from 7am – midnight.

Does that businesswoman’s statement describe you too? How much time per day do you spend on your smartphone or tablet? The world is going mobile. For people in developing countries, it may be the only form of internet access they have. In most of the developed world, it’s their means of staying connected and finding out information 24-7 (or at least 17-7; you have to sleep sometime). What kind of experience are all these mobile users having when they come to your site? Can they find what they’re looking for quickly and easily? Or is it a “shrink, shrink, scroll over, scroll down, scroll over, shrink” experience?
Having a smooth mobile experience is especially important for the following sites: Local stores and information that people might be searching for on the go

This is likely the top category of mobile searches. You’re out and about and you have a craving for Italian food. Where’s the best place in your area? You look for it on mobile. If one Italian place has a site where it’s easy to see the menu and how to get there, and on the other place’s site you’re pushing and scrolling for three minutes just to figure out where the place is located – which restaurant stands a better chance? If you don’t get them, you lose them. News sites Any type of site where people skim headlines and articles as they’re commuting, waiting for their partners to finish shopping, waiting to pick up their kids at school or an after-school activity… A site that requires in-depth reading and analysis will much more likely be viewed on a desktop. But if you have a light-reading, browseable site, there’s a good chance people may be trying to visit it on mobile. Sites where you want visitors to be impressed and complete a transaction later Mobile searchers tend towards informational and navigational queries and activities, shares Rand Fishkin. They’re looking to find out information – where, what, when and how. They’re not usually looking to make a purchase or commitment right now. BUT – if you want them to come back later on a desktop and make that transaction, you better impress them when they first find you on mobile. Give them a positive, memorable experience; give them the right information clearly and easily. They’ll be back.

How do you know how critical mobile design is for your site?

Take a look at your Google Analytics. If you have a decent number of visitors coming from mobile devices but a) the bounce rate is significantly higher than on desktops OR b) they’re mainly new visitors and not returning visitors, that can be a warning sign that mobile visitors would like to frequent your site, but they’re getting turned off by the design. It’s not 100%, because they could be coming back later via desktop, but it is an indicator of how well you’re taking advantage of your mobile potential.

Choose the right type of mobile design for you:

Responsive design

The trend in mobile design is to create responsive sites. Whenever a visitor comes to your site, the site detects the size of his device and shows him all the information on your site in a way that is pleasing to the eye and easy to navigate.

Adaptive design

Another strategy in design is to figure out what a mobile visitor is likely to be looking for, and make that the most easily accessible (and sometimes only) information on your mobile site. For a restaurant, the mobile visitor will likely be looking for the menu and contact details/reservation form. She’s much less likely to be interested in your “About Us” page. So adaptive design might take away the About Us page from the mobile site, and make the menu and reservation form VERY easy to see when you view the site.

You can get an idea of which method might work the best for you by checking your analytics to see what pages are most viewed by mobile visitors. Is there an obvious trend in the most viewed pages? Or are mobile visitors all over the place on your site?

Whichever method you choose, make sure your pages are light, load fast, and don’t have annoying pop-ups or overlays that are hard to close on a mobile device. If a visitor spends a minute trying to X out of your pop-up, they might just hit the back button. Bye-bye.

Mobile is ballooning. Even if you don’t feel the need for a mobile responsive site yet, don’t close your eyes to mobile. Keep your finger on the pulse of your traffic – so you don’t miss the mobile opportunity. And if mobile is where it’s at for your industry, jump on the bandwagon before it leaves you in the dust.

”Responsive web design” is a fashionable term right now. Many are using it without giving much thought to what it means. By definition, it’s more of a philosophy than a buzzword. It’s a fancy way of saying, “User-friendly web design across multiple devices.” (Haven’t trademarked that, but perhaps I should.)

So whether you call it responsive web design or adaptive web design, the “prime directive” (with apologies to Star Trek), is to use open-source web standards like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, to deliver a consistent web (or screen) experience to your end users.

Consider this:

Right now, more than 20% of all U.S. Internet traffic came from a mobile device. Yet, only 25% of small businesses have a mobile website. This represents a huge opportunity for your business to be on the leading edge.

Thinking Outside the Screen

In a recent study by Google, “The New Multi-screen World: Understanding Cross-Platform Consumer Behavior,” research showed that 90% of people move between devices to accomplish a goal, whether that’s on smartphones, PCs, tablets or TV. Google’s study set out to learn not just how much of our media consumption happens on screens, but also how consumers use these multiple devices together, and what that means for the way that businesses connect with consumers. Below is an infographic from Google’s study.

Google found that nine out of ten people use multiple screens sequentially and that smartphones are by far the most common starting point for sequential activity. So completing a task like booking a flight online or managing personal finances doesn’t just happen in one sitting on one device. In fact, 98% of sequential screeners move between devices in the same day to complete a task.

So what does this all mean for businesses? It’s important to understand both the sequential and simultaneous multi-screening habits of your users. Sequential screeners will start interacting with you on one device and then pick up where they left off on another, so making experiences seamless between devices is crucial.

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