Web design

The silhouettes of 5 digital customers (women) who are holding shopping bags and standing over a bar code.

Approaching Digital Customers: Optimizing Websites

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The silhouettes of 5 digital customers (women) who are holding shopping bags and standing over a bar code.

Your website needs to be optimized for digital customers.

Digital is the word on the tip of every marketer’s tongue. It engulfs a large percentage of where advertisers spend their money. And more and more resources are being put into it every year. However, what extent are you focusing your digital efforts? Putting content online is no longer enough to gain conversations and traffic. You have to approach digital customers in a specific way.

Account for Multiple Devices

Technology has made the digital landscape a lot more accessible for consumers. From smartphones and tablets to laptops and home computers. We are constantly moving from one device to the next, and marketers need to account for this.

If you don’t know what responsive means, then you are already falling behind. You can’t just build a website to promote your client’s new product or service and think your job is done. Your web developers need to account for every device a person may view your website on.

What may look amazing on a desktop computer, can be completely unviewable on a mobile phone. All customers access the web differently. And if your web page doesn’t account for their preferred method of viewing the web, then you may have already lost them.

Long Load Times Push Digital Customers Away

So, you’ve heard that online videos and fancy animations attract customers. Yes, this is true. However, if you decide to upload this kind of content onto your website, you have to be careful. Too many videos or graphics can make a website sluggish. Even worse, they can make a website crash.

A slow website is a turn off for customers. When digital customers want something, they want it now. So, the faster they can find what they want on your website, the happier they are. This is especially important for websites with video content and e-commerce.

Making Ecommerce Simple

If you are sensing a common theme with digital customers, it’s that they focus on immediacy. So, if anything on your website stalls them, they abandon it. With e-commerce, this is especially true. Some of the best e-commerce websites allow their customers to save their credit card information. It’s called vaulting.

You’ll make the payment process so much easier on the customer’s end. This prevents customers from having to reenter their information for every purchase. It also prevents them from looking elsewhere to spend their money.

An illustration of websites on a mobile phone and tablet, desktop, and laptop.

Building Websites: What is Your Focus?

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An illustration of websites on a mobile phone and tablet, desktop, and laptop.

Where are you focusing your web development efforts – mobile or desktop?

Building a website has evolved. What marketers have to focus on is different than 10 years ago. You have to implement evolving technology and the people who use it. Tablets and mobile phones have changed the way people access and interact with websites. With that in mind, find out what the new generation is using to browse online.

Mobile vs. Desktop Websites

Mobile phones are used to do everything. Today, it has allowed people to access information much faster and from anywhere. So, it goes without saying that more people are using mobile phones and tablets to browse the internet, especially Millennials.

It makes sense that the new generation is using their mobile devices to visit websites, order online, and inquire about information. Millennials grew up on this type of technology. Also, with the rise of mobile apps, it is easier for people to access a company’s content.

Unfortunately, this means that desktop use is on the decline. According to comScore, 20% of people in their 20’s are going mobile-only. They also state that desktop use has declined year-over-year. While this does not mean that every millennial is abandoning their home computer, it does mean that they are relying more on their phones.

Should I Focus on Mobile-Only?

No, mobile should be your focus but it should not replace designing websites for the desktop. When your website appears on a desktop it should still be usable and attract. Users stay on a website longer when they browsing through a desktop.

Another factor is your ad revenue. You lose viewing space when your website is on mobile. That means that there is no space for advertisements. A desktop website is where you will make the most money from advertisement, so make sure that people do not leave your site because the quality is poor.

Remember, the new generation prefers mobile but desktops are still a part of their lives. Plan for what you can realistically build on mobile, and create a functional desktop version afterward.

Should an SMB Design Their Own Website?

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We can all agree that every business, regardless of size, should have a website. That’s simply how the modern business world works. The question is: should your small business (SMB) spend thousands on a professional website when you could make one yourself?   A host of companies are advertising their product/service everywhere, from Hulu commercials to ads during the Super Bowl. And there’s always your nephew who is taking that web design course online, right?

Without sounding inflexible, not getting a professional website is a mistake 99 times out of 100 (and maybe more often). Here are a few reasons:

  • There’s no such thing as a free website – Even making your own site will cost you a good deal of time and money. Services that help you create a site always have monthly or annually fees for everything from domain hosting to personalized email and stock images for your site. Making your own site can cost hundreds of dollars per year, and that’s in addition to the cost in time to create content.
  • First impressions are huge in business – When someone finds your website, he or she will instantly pass judgment on your company based on what is seen. Are you sure you want that perception to be based on an amateur site?
  • Who will perform site maintenance? – Keeping up a site takes much more time than just the initial setup.

When You Decide on a Professional Website

Once you decide to get your site professionally done, consider these things:

  • Budget – How much can you afford to spend? Remember, a site will cost you hundreds a year to do yourself, so don’t set your budget at $500 and think you can get what you want.
  • Audience – Who are your customers? The type of company you run, and the people who use your service or buy your products will determine what your website needs to include.
  • Goals – What is the purpose of your site? “We need one,” isn’t an answer. Are you going to sell products online? Are you collecting leads? Do you want to become an authority site?

Unless your business is a professional web design company, going DIY with your website is probably a bad idea. Even if you are a web designer, sometimes a brand needs a fresh set of eyes and ideas.

Responsive Website Design

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Responsive Website Design: Challenges and Concerns

One of the biggest current challenges for website owners is the rising demand for mobile accessibility. Some websites are receiving a quarter of their traffic from mobile devices. This can be an issue for some websites, as the traditional designs do not support small screens or slower connections. In light of these issues, web owners know they need to design their websites to support mobile usage. This leads to a very big decision. Should the website owner use a website specifically created for mobile use, or, do they create a responsive website design?

There are major differences in these two approaches. A dedicated mobile website is created specifically for mobile devices. Responsive website design gives the same information to every device, whether mobile or desktop. The specific information the device needs, in order to display the information on its own screen, is also sent. As responsive design is a newer idea, it can be expensive to find someone who can do it well. You can easily see proof of this in all the Web pages that appear ridiculously tall and skinny on mobile devices is proof of this. Creating a responsive website is an extremely complicated process, meaning that your average coder is just not able to do it well.

Because of the complexity of the process, many designers do not understand the whole picture or the possible issues that can arise. One issue, for example, is getting photos re-sized for mobile viewing. Telling the device to make it smaller is not the best option, as many details can be lost due to the lower resolution. The screen changes can also make banners and callouts difficult to use. Navigating the website can also present a real challenge to the designer. Many of the functions cannot be changed, meaning that translating the site to a mobile format can require an entirely new navigation system.

Getting professional responsive website design, then, one that will provide a good mobile experience is very difficult and very expensive. There is no way to get around this. If you are looking for a budget responsive website, what you are going to get is budget quality. Are you prepared to pass that along to your viewers?

Is a Mobile Website the Best Option

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Is a Mobile Website the Best Option? Or Should You Use Responsive Design for your Business?

Whether to use a mobile website or employ a responsive design is a big issue for many companies. The fact is companies can’t afford to lose 25% of their potential customers or clients because their site can’t be viewed properly on mobile devices. This leaves business owners with a decision: should they use responsive design or create a separate mobile site? Responsive design can work well when done right, but it can be very detrimental for a company’s business when done poorly. So, is a mobile website the best option? It can be, but there are several factors to consider.

Unfortunately, a dedicated mobile site presents its own set of problems. For example, a mobile site can require an entirely different set of images than the desktop version. This can add a substantial amount of time and effort involved in the production process and, of course, higher expenses that are passed on to the company. This cannot be avoided, however, as a professionally designed mobile site is all about creating a better experience for mobile users. Choosing images that are designed for smaller screens is the smart choice and, in regards to the company’s professional online presence and profile, actually the most cost-effective.

There are those who maintain that Google prefers responsive websites over mobile dedicated ones. This is not exactly true. The truth is, Google favors responsive websites only when they work well. In fact, Google favors sites that provide the best user experience, regardless of whether the site is responsive or a dedicated mobile website.

Another worry is that Google will not recognize that the mobile website and the desktop version are essentially the same website and, thus, they will be penalized for content duplication. They also are concerned that one of these sites might be removed from the ranking list, if it is considered a duplicate. Let’s give the search engine giant a little credit here. Google has different techniques for dealing with the different types of websites. Overall, Google is most concerned with speed, when it comes to mobile sites, and many mobile sites meet their requirements. The emphasis, as should always be the case when it comes to SEO, should be on quality.

Generally, mobile sites have the best conversion rates, as they are usually faster and easier to use. This is because much of the work is actually done on the server and not on the user’s phone. A responsive website typically will take much longer to load on a mobile device than on a desktop. When it comes to mobile sites, speed is more important than modern design. Mobile sites also allow for the additions of features unique to mobile devices, such as click-to-call and location services.

So, as to the question, is a mobile website the best option? Unless you can be sure that you can develop a responsive site affordably, professionally, and that also works with mobile devices, a mobile site still seems to be the way to go.

One-Page Websites Are the Hottest Web Design Trend

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Advantages of One-Page Websites

By one-page websites, we mean sites where all of their content is available on one individual page. Even clicking links for site content doesn’t lead to a separate page internally; instead, it makes you scroll downwards or sideways, leading you directly to the section on the page with the information you’re looking for. This design is fast becoming a trend these days, especially with the advent of mobile browsing, which employs a vertical style of scrolling. The layout is very appealing to readers, since it minimizes the need to load a new page every time and makes for a quicker browsing experience.

Most of the time, these long-scrolling formats are used for sites that showcase this type of vertical content best, like quick-refreshing, “feed-oriented” websites such as Facebook® and Twitter®. But there are a lot of advantages to having this type of layout for your own sites as well: For the most part, its user-friendly interface doesn’t overwhelm the reader. If you’re trying to give out information in an easily consumed manner, this is how to do so.

When you package content this way, it also urges you to update frequently and produce quality entries each time. The long-scrolling format is also excellent for sites that aren’t too image-heavy, as this makes for faster loading on either desktop or 4G or WiFi-dependent devices.

Where does this page link to? You won’t be asking that with this kind of site—everything is right there in front of you and presented in reverse chronological order, making for easy upkeep. Organizing content will be a simpler, more logical process, and visitors will appreciate its appealing and straightforward design as well.

Finally, let’s talk rank: When you only have one page to focus on, your ranking isn’t getting split among your homepage, a products page, a blog, an “About Us” page etc. This means more traffic for your website, and even more so if your site gets a lot of mobile browsers, too.

Admittedly, it’s not right for every website out there, but those that can get away with a single-page, long-scrolling style will find that there are many advantages to it for site owners and readers alike.

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