Web Development

Top 5 Common Misconceptions About Websites 0

How many pages should my website have?

Which page on my website is the most important?

What elements should I include on my website?

These questions are not only common, but they regularly get answered incorrectly! So this blog post is dedicated to debunking five of the most common misconceptions about websites. We hope it helps you and your business, because that’s just how we roll! Read on to get the REAL truth about good web design.

1. Once Done, Always Done

This has to be one of the biggest myths we need to correct right away! Many people have the idea that once a website is built and published, it’s good forever. This is a dangerous attitude if you want your website to keep your visitors interested and engaged while also ranking well in search results. In reality, websites need to be updated periodically in order to stay up-to-date and be relevant to those visiting.

Your website is more like a magazine than a book. Unlike books, a magazine gets updated and published regularly, sometimes as frequently as weekly! The mission and brand remain the same, but each edition has new stories and images.

If you look at your website like a magazine instead of a book, you’ll be sure to update it regularly with new content and helpful information. This will keep your visitors interested and coming back for more because there will always be something new for them to find.

2. It’s All About The Looks

Yes, web design involves creating a website that looks great, but there’s more to it than cool fonts and pretty colors. Good design takes user experience (UX) into account and creates elements that function smoothly, are easy to interact with, and are helpful to the visitors.

 

The primary function of most websites is to get visitors to buy products or services. This requires a good amount of thought going into the design and layout of your website, as well as the copywriting.

If your customers can’t find the purchase button, or they get lost trying to navigate their way through your website, there’s a huge problem. So in order for your website to showcase good web design, it has to be both attractive and functional.

3. The Homepage Is All That Matters

This one really baffles us. It’s true that your homepage is often the one getting the most visits, but it’s certainly not the only one that matters to your visitors or to Google.

 

Think about how you search for things online. You probably find it by entering a term or phrase and clicking a blog post or service page that pops up in the search results. That’s where you will be taken, and from there you might click over to the homepage, but chances are it isn’t the first page you see. So it’s important to put the same amount of planning and strategy into all of the pages on your website, because first impressions DO count!

4. If It Looks Good On Desktop, It’s Fine

It’s no longer sufficient to build a website that looks good on your desktop and then be done with it. Did you know that in 2017, more than 80% of internet users visited websites from their smartphones rather than a desktop or laptop computer? That number is rising, and is set to keep going up each year as we become more accustomed to accessing the web while we’re on the go. If you haven’t put any thought into how the mobile version of your website looks, you could be disappointing a huge percentage of your visitors. That means you’re losing them.

 

What does it mean to be “Mobile-friendly”? Have a look at your website from your phone. Does it automatically resize to fit your smaller screen? Is the text easy to read? Are the buttons a convenient size to tap? Can you see the full images without interference from other elements on the page?

If you answered no to any of these questions, you should consider taking action to rectify those issues immediately!

5. More Features = A Better Website

That line between “Not enough” and “Too much” is a pretty fine one, we know. Some elements may sound like a fun idea, but if they don’t help your visitors become customers, they’re just getting in the way. Here are some interesting features that might be costing you customers rather than bringing them in:

  • QR codes
  • Special fonts
  • Intrusive pop-ups
  • Animated titles and headings
  • Carousel banners
  • Preloaders

 

If the only reason you’re including an element on your website is because it’s fun, cool, or pretty, chances are your visitors won’t be that impressed. When it comes to good web design, sometimes less is more.

 

There you have it! Those are the Top 5 Common Misconceptions About Websites that we think should be set straight. There are plenty more, but that’s a great start in helping your business make the most of your online presence.

If you’re struggling to keep visitors on your website or aren’t ranking well in search results, the problem may be your website itself. But it doesn’t have to be! There are professional web design teams ready to take the wheel and help you ensure your website is working hard for you, not against you.

How To Tell If Your Website Needs A Redesign 0

What is the first thing that people do when they hear about a new company or product? You guessed it. They google it. Needless to say, your web presence is essential and critical when it comes to attracting new and returning customers. However, what is it that generates traffic and conversion? What tells you if your existing website needs an overhaul? Let’s have a look at the most important factors influencing the need for a redesign of a website.

Looks

They do matter. Time moves on and so do design trends. People can tell at one glance if your website is outdated or not. Your website should look neat, tidy and appealing to the eye. The modern design of a webpage is one of the key factors in having an impact on a customer’s purchasing decision. It suggests that your company is moving with the times and is keeping up with the latest trends and technologies. If you utilise social media, make sure that not just your social media site looks great, but also any thumbnails to links you are sharing. Any titles or descriptions to links should be clear and concise, too.

Navigation

Every website, no matter what you are offering, be it information, services or products, should be user-friendly. It should allow for intuitive navigation regardless of whether a mobile, tablet or laptop is being used. Whatever your potential new customer is looking for, it should be easy to find without any outside help. In addition, make sure to always check your competitors’ websites, not just for their offerings but also their latest website features and functionalities.

Speed and Functionality

Your website should load in a couple of seconds on all devices, otherwise it is likely to be considered too slow. Remember we live in a fast paced world and the majority of online users use their mobile phone for pretty much anything nowadays. The quicker we get the information, place the order, book the flight, etc., the better. Furthermore, make sure that all the content of your website is displayed the right way and all features are working properly. A website that doesn’t function properly will definitely lose you customers and revenue.

Brand Alignment

Does your website display the latest information about your company? This includes pictures of your staff, products and facilities, information on the products and services you offer, your evolving business story, and your values and business strategy. Is it still appealing to the right audience or has your audience and clientele changed? Is your printed marketing material aligned with your website as well? Asking yourself these questions will help make a decision as to whether or not your website needs a refresh.

Conversions

If your business is not producing the expected sales, leads or enquiries, you can use Google Analytics to help you gain insight on the effect your website’s design is having. It will allow you to analyse if, and why, your website might be performing poorly by providing you with data such as how long people stay on your webpage, if a user visits your page and doesn’t visit other pages (for further information check out ‘Bounce Rate’) and how in depth users are checking out your website (for further information check out ‘Behaviour Flow’). Of significant value is Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). If you want to appear in Google Search results, and if you don’t want be listed on page 20, make sure your website has been optimised.

Security

Last but not least whenever you need to leave your personal details, from setting up an account to making a purchase online, we all want to know that our data is secure. Make sure you are using the latest software to guarantee your customers are in safe hands and that the services you are offering are deserving of your trust.

People decide in seconds if they want to explore your website further or switch to the competition. If you want to network, increase your sales, reach a wider audience and just be professional, ensure that you check all of the above points and do so regularly. This way you stay in the game, not just for the short haul, but for the long run.

5 Ways Bad SEO Costs Your Company Money 3

What is worse than an ineffective spend in your business? When that spend causes lasting damage that costs more money to rectify! There is absolutely no doubt that bad SEO costs your company dearly.

These days many companies, of all sizes and types, are hiring SEO agencies to try to improve their rankings on Google. Unfortunately, the people in charge of this task are often doing so with inadequate or even wrong information due to the SEO industry still being relatively young and the public understanding of it so low.

There are things to watch out for so that you aren’t left feeling disappointed after investing in Search Engine Optimization for your business. We’ve put together a short list of 5 Ways Bad SEO Costs Your Company Money.

1. Offers of “Guaranteed Rankings” on Google

This is a huge red flag. If any SEO offers you a guaranteed position on Google, they are WAY overpromising. Rankings are constantly shifting due to the sheer volume of changes that websites make every second of every day.

Search engines update their results pages every time a website changes. A change from your competitors, or other industry-related sites, can make them rank better and force the entire page to reshuffle. This happens repeatedly as websites change constantly.

Therefore, you cannot ever be guaranteed a specific position on Google or any other search engine. So look for experts offering a reasonable and achievable expectation of “improving your SEO ranking,” rather than offering the top spot.

2. Dodgy Backlinks

One of the most effective ways to improve your ranking is to establish quality links between your website and other third-party websites. This is a vital part of any SEO strategy because one of Google’s ranking factors is how many other high-authority sites link to your content. If Google finds other sites that rank well in your industry trusting and referencing your material, you will have favorable results when the search engine places your site in the rankings. These links, called “backlinks”, send traffic to your site.

The trouble with this ranking factor is that many SEO “experts”  have figured out how to manipulate it. Have you noticed advertisements asking if you’d like to buy 10,000 backlinks to your site? It’s possible and has been happening with some SEO agencies in recent years. Google has strict penalties for those caught doing this. You won’t just lose ranking positions, but will be removed from Google search altogether!

Although it isn’t YOUR style to implement these types of practices, as a business owner it is crucial that you beware of the SEO agency that starts building many links to your site overnight. If they are not quality sights that are relative to your business or industry, you may suddenly find yourself being endorsed by rogue sites related to gambling and pornography, simply to rank you higher. Successful outreach requires a well-planned strategy and a reasonable amount of time. Don’t choose an agency that cuts corners to get there, it will result in a catastrophic crash.

3. Ignoring User Experience

When discussing “User Experience” (UX), one must consider a variety of factors that influence how a website looks and “feels” for a visitor. Are there pop-ups for your newsletter, new products and special offers blasting onto the screen every ten seconds? Is your site easy to navigate? How does your website look to a customer?

Having too many ads on your website, or a website that takes a really long time to properly load, detracts from your customers’ overall experience. This is a double whammy when it comes to customer conversion or retention. Not only will you risk losing traffic due to your customers’ sheer frustration, but Google actually punishes slow websites and those where it seems visitors are leaving very quickly (high bounce rate). Thus, it is wise to pay close attention to the UX of your website to implement better SEO results.

4. Ignoring basic on-page SEO

“Get the basics right before you move on!” That’s so true when it comes to on-page SEO. You can be investing in huge off-page SEO strategies, but if your SEO ignores all of the on-page elements, you will simply fail to rank your pages.

Things to ask yourself:

  • Do my pages and posts have unique meta descriptions?
  • Have I placed keywords in the alt-tags of my images?
  • Are my posts structured in a way that uses effective header tags?
  • How are the keywords placed throughout the content?

Whether you’re handling SEO yourself, or hiring a specialist to do it for you, these are key elements that must be addressed before moving on to outreach.

5. Failure to understand metrics

Although you may be employing someone to handle your SEO, it is still wise to have some understanding of the analytics available to you. These metrics help you determine which of your keywords are generating traffic to your website and converting visitors to sales/customers.

While it is your SEO specialist’s role to improve these numbers, you have a responsibility to evaluate your site’s performance independently. Otherwise, how will you know if your chosen agency is actually achieving the results you’re paying for?

 

In summary, we want to emphasize that you don’t have to be an SEO expert to protect yourself from these costly mistakes. Good SEO takes time and a specific strategy.  If you understand the basics of what is required, you can go about choosing an agency that will indeed help you invest in SEO wisely.

There are NO GUARANTEES in SEO!

If you are approached by someone offering guaranteed rankings and fast results, offer them a confident “No thank you” and keep looking for a trustworthy professional that will invest his/her time and expertise in providing you optimization that gets results.

Choose an agency with quality testimonials to back up any claims and keep in mind, nothing happens overnight in SEO.

DIY Website Design — Tips and Recommendations 0

Did you know you can build your own website for FREE?  This article briefly explains the process and directs you to five websites that offer this free service.

What Do You Need?

Firstly, it’s a good idea to think about exactly what it is you want to offer through your website.  Do you need to sell products or services?  Do you want to have a blog post facility?  Will you need to be able to accept transactions through your site?  Make a list of websites you have seen that you like the look of and those you find easy to use.  What is it about those sites that you find appealing? Making notes on these things before you start, will help you make decisions in the creative part of the website design.  Trust us, when you get started, there will be a LOT of options presented to you!  By having your likes already in mind, it will help you work through this part of the process a little faster.

Recommendations

We’ve chosen five sites to recommend you visit for DIY website design.  But keep in mind, there are hundreds!  Choose the one that feels right for you!  Our top picks are as follows:

Wix.com is one of the most popular website builders in the world.  It is easy to navigate and customize, including several apps available to build functionality into your site.

Weebly.com offers professional themes and layouts that bring any business or blog to life with style and easy-to-use functions.

Squarespace.com is bold and beautiful in its creativity.  Brands you may be familiar with, all over the world, have utilized Squarespace for their website needs.

Web.com is another one of the easiest-to-use website builders you’ll find.  It is in close competition with Wix.com as being a top choice.

SimpleSite.com is another favorite because of its ease of use.  Clean, clear choices that guide you to building a custom website that suits your business perfectly.

Get Started

Once you have an idea of what you like the most (in the way of layout/feel/voice), then it is time to start creating.  The companies that offer this DIY website creation want to make it as smooth an experience as possible, but you might feel a little overwhelmed at first as you learn how to navigate your chosen site’s program.  Be patient with yourself and with the system.  Iit is wise to write your content in a word processing software then copy and paste into your website builder so as to avoid losing anything in the unfamiliar program.  Write up your pieces in your word processor as discussed before, and bring them over to your website builder one at a time, being sure to proofread as you go.  It’s also a GREAT idea to ask someone else to look over the text for errors in spelling, punctuation and grammar.  This is your business on the line!  You want to make a good first impression with your professional website.

Publish

Once you have everything ready to go, you will publish your website to the internet.  This might feel a little scary, but don’t worry!  You will always be able to edit and change things if/when the need arises.  You are very likely going to have some “bugs” to work out, that is completely normal.  This IS your first website by the way!  Now it’s time to let people know how to find you by advertising on social media, emailing your current customers, and including the site on business cards.

Become familiar with the functions and features you’ve chosen, as you may get phone calls from customers trying to navigate through the site for something in particular.

Then, get ready to watch your website bring you new engagement and productivity!

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