10 Web Design Tips to Drive Sales

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Ranking high in the search engine results pages is a clear indication that your optimization efforts are working. The same goes for an uptick in traffic to your website. And if you see robust sales, then you can say without any reservation that your online business is on the right track to success.

However, not all webmasters with high SERP rankings and considerable traffic are enjoying substantial sales. Some may not even be selling anything off at all.

While great rankings and traffic are primary ingredients for a successful business online, having both is not a guarantee of one. If you have both, but sales are weak to non-existent, perhaps you might want to look at other possible reasons, like your web design practices.

Some people may not realize it, but web design plays a role in achieving conversions. SEO might get people to see and click the link to your website in the SERPs, but once they’re there, it’s your web design that will be crucial to getting visitors to stay and, hopefully, give you the conversions you need.

Conversely, a website’s design can also drive people away, especially when it doesn’t give visitors the best user experience.

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Tips for giving your web design a more professional look

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If you’re putting up a website for your personal gratification, then you can be as whimsical about its design as you want. It’s an entirely different story if it’s for business.

With a business website, you’re dealing with customers, potential clients, and suppliers, among other people.  Your website design has to be completely professional in every aspect. After all, your website is the face of your business online. You would want the people you do (and want to do) business with to see your website with its best foot forward.

Here are some tips that would give your web design a more professional look.

Keep things simple.

Sure, a visually stunning website is going to draw in people. Some web designers, however, tend to go over the top and run wild with the use of colors, borders, and drop shadows, among other things. More often than not, the result is a cramped and cluttered website that gives visitors a visual overload.

These days, people typically prefer simplicity in web design. Instead of overwhelming flashy elements, try to retain a lot of whitespace. Doing so gives your content and the rest of your website’s design elements plenty of breathing room. It would make your site easier on the eyes as well.

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10 Free Web Design Tools You Have To Try

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The tools that web designers use today are simply amazing. With the tools that they pay top dollar for, professional web designers never fail to come up with websites that are as highly functional as they are visually stunning. Indeed, the top web design tools in the world today are worth every penny as far as highly skilled and experienced web designers are concerned.

Impressive as these high-end web design tools are, it’s a fact that there are still tons of free ones available out there that are just waiting to be used. While it’s true that they don’t hold a candle to the paid ones in terms of features and capabilities, these free web design tools can still be useful, particularly to people who are still starting to learn the basics of website design as well as those who don’t plan to make a career of it but want to be able to build one.

Good for you if you’re one of the countless web designers who have all the topnotch web design tools at their disposal. But if you’re new to web design or only doing it as a hobby, you sure can use some of the many free web design tools that you can find online today. Here are some of them.

1. Google Web Designer

Not a coder? No problem! There exists a tool called Google Web Designer, and just like most of the tools from Google, it’s definitely free. If you’re planning to build HTML5 creative websites, then you have to try Google Web Designer, a professional-grade HTML5 authoring tool.

Featuring a clear and interactive interface, Google Web Designer makes creating animations easier. You can also do quick prototyping on it.

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7 Principles of Design and How to Apply Them to Your Website's Design

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When it comes to hosting a website, the functionality should always be at the core of your decision-making process. After all, if your website doesn’t function properly, your website’s users will never be able to find the information they need or be able to complete their intended eCommerce transactions.

But in today’s digital environment, “function” means a whole lot more than how the skeleton of your website operates. As it turns out, more and more website administrators are growing to appreciate the role that proper principles of design can play in creating a fully-fledged website. From balance to contrast to unity and more, there are a wide variety of basic design principles that can and should implement into your website today.

In all, there are 7 principles of design that you should remain mindful of as your graphically and functionally layout your website. Derived from traditional art and graphic design domains, these 7 design principles hold the key to unlocking a user experience that is both functionally precise and optimally accessible to all users:

Principle #1 – Balance

The first of several website design principles that you should consider implementing is balance. In graphic design terms, “balance” refers to the practice of arranging visual element such that no one element overpowers or draws attention away from the other elements. There are several different types of balance (including symmetrical, radial, asymmetrical) each of which can be ascertained through an analysis of a completed composition.

(A symmetrically balance web page is shown here, which is divided down the middle)

Source: https://spyrestudios.com/wp-content/uploads/03-adham-dannaway-website-symmetrical-portfolio.jpg

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Things To Avoid When Choosing A Web Design Company

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Are you thinking about creating a website for your business? If you are, then you’re on the right track. A website is still your top option for establishing your brand and a solid presence online. You don’t even have to worry if you have no web design skills whatsoever. With so many DIY templatised services out there, you can certainly create your own website from the ground up.

Still, hiring a web design company is the way to go if you want a website to look, feel, and function in the best possible way. After all, professional web designers do have the skills, experience, and an extensive knowledge of web design trends that might work best for the website you want to build.

Then again, you have to be careful when choosing a web design company. You would want to pick the right one, or you’ll find the entire process extremely stressful from beginning to end, and beyond. Here are some of the things you will want to avoid when shopping for a web design company.

Rates that are too low

We’re fortunate to live in a time where intense competition drives prices down. With so many web designers fighting for their piece of the market, it’s not uncommon for them to charge lower rates for their services to get a leg up on their competition. And if you have a limited budget for your project, intense competition for your business will indeed be your best friend.

However, you have to be on the lookout for web design companies that offer rates that appear to be too low. Chances are, that cheap price tag will only cover the most bare-bones web design they can make. And if you ask to add more features, they will likely charge you more. In the end, you’ll be shelling out more money than you initially intended.

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9 Ways Bad Localization Can Ruin The UX

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A lot of businesses nowadays are turning to localization to improve their user experience and reach foreign audiences. After all, who wouldn't want to go global? But there is another side to this coin, namely bad localization and what it can lead to.

In order to be informed about all of the pitfalls of bad localization, read this article till the end and take note of what you can do in order to avoid these mistakes.

1. Using Unreliable Sources To Find Your Translator

The first mistake businesses make is going to the wrong places to look for their potential translator. Take Fiverr, for example. Not all the translators there possess the necessary knowledge and skills to provide you with an accurate translation. In fact, only the top translators may or may not be experts in the sphere.

The primary reason for business owners to head over to such places instead of opting for a professional writing service is money. They hope to save some bucks by hiring a translator that charges less. But in reality, they will only lose money when they will have to hire more and more translators to correct the past mistakes the customers are complaining about.

2. Not Taking Into Account The Peculiarities

Unfortunately, this is a problem that has its roots way back from the strategy planning stage. When you decide to go global, you must study the markets you want to expand to. And if you don't see the alarming differences between your current market and the ones you want to target, you are set for failure.

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The Importance of Fold in Web Design

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For those who have been working in the field of web design for some time now, you have probably encountered the phrase “above the fold” more times than you care to remember. If you’re writing content for websites and blogs, you have likely received instructions to put specific keywords above the fold many times as well.

It’s easy to think that “above the fold” is a new thing considering that it seems to be an integral part of what web designers and content writers do. Some even use the concept to improve your SEO through web design. The funny thing is, the concept of “above the fold” has been around for decades.

“Above the fold” came from print

If you take a closer look at any of the newsstands you pass by on your way to work, you will notice that the newspapers on display are folded a certain way, with only the upper half bearing the headline and a big photograph visible. That upper half is what is known as “above the fold,” and the headline and the photo there are meant to attract the attention of people, then pique their interest to make them buy the newspaper.

Eventually, the concept made the jump to websites, and putting the most important and attention-grabbing things above the fold has been a common practice among web designers since.

The “fold“ on a web page

Unlike newspapers, a web page doesn’t have a physical “fold.” The closest thing a web page has to a fold is the scroll bar. The part of the page that visitors immediately see as soon as they get there is what’s considered above the fold. The moment they scroll down, they’ll be going below the fold.

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7 Valuable Web Design Lessons You Need to Know

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Web design has indeed come a long way. From producing text-only websites at the beginning of the World Wide Web in the early 90s, web design has undergone (and is still undergoing) an evolution where just about everything—from jaw-dropping graphics to live video—can be incorporated into a website with ease.

Today, the world of web design solutions is more exciting and vibrant than ever, and it’s only bound to get more demanding and competitive as more and more people join the industry.

Over the years, web designers have found themselves in all sorts of situations—creative and otherwise—that have provided them valuable lessons that they now use as a guide as they continue to traverse the career path they have chosen for themselves. Here are seven valuable web design lessons that veteran and newbie web designers alike might find useful.

1. Be adaptive.

As mentioned above, web design is constantly evolving, and web designers must be capable of adapting to those changes if they want to survive in the industry.

One example of a significant change that web designers have no choice but to adapt to is the rise of mobile technology. Before the advent of smartphones and tablets, web designers only had to worry about designing for desktop. Now, with mobile users outnumbering desktop users, web designers are compelled to create mobile versions of existing websites or at least make them responsive.

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Website and UX Stats That Could Shape Your Website’s Success

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Having a good website is a critical part of any business strategy these days, when people are most commonly using Google and other search engines to find the products and services that they need.

However, the definition of a ‘good website’ has so many different interpretations, so sometimes it is just easier to look at plain facts and plan around those. Facts such as the ones shown in this infographic 15 Website and UX Statistics of 2019 will help you to make some important decisions around your website improvements or serve as a reminder of why it is important to spend time on certain areas.

For example, 94% of people won’t trust an outdated website, so it is really important that you spend time to check that your website is up to date. If you have information that is incorrect on your website then people will doubt the capability of your business.

Another stat that might be useful for you to know is that 70% of small businesses miss call-to-actions. If that sounds like something that your website is guilty of, then isn’t it time that you changed that? Adding some powerful CTAs like newsletter sign up forms and other ways to get your visitors to contact your business can have a big impact on your website’s success.

Finally, it takes just 0.05 seconds to form a design opinion, so you really don’t get much time to impress people with your website. Therefore, getting across a strong first impression is definitely worth putting in the effort for. A well-designed, attractive website will certainly help to convince customers that your business is professional and can take care of them, either providing a top quality service or product.

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Maximizing Website Uptime During Breaks

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Running an online business can be a very complicated process. The key to having success when selling services or products online is having a fast and reliable website. The modern consumer has a very short attention span, which is why you need to make sure your website loads fast.

Over 75 percent of online consumers claim they will avoid buying from a website again if it does not perform up to their standards. Instead of letting a slow website cost lead to you missing out on potential sales, you need to find a way to increase the reliability of your domain.

While most online business owners have no problem keeping their website functional when they can continuously monitor it, they don’t have a strategy to deal with issues when they are on a break. Read below to find out about some of the things that can be done to make a website fast and reliable even when you are on a break.

Optimizing the Site With Cloud-Based Infrastructure

When developing a new website, most business owners choose to use a .net framework. With this framework, you will be able to develop and deploy your website in a hurry. Learning about the various components of a .NET architecture will help you see where improvements can be made to the overall infrastructure of a website.  

When spikes in website traffic occur, you have to find a way to keep your site up and running efficiently. One of the best ways to do this is by using additional cloud-based infrastructure components. Instead of storing important information on physical servers, you can use the cloud. By doing this, you can reduce the chance that your servers will crash due to maintenance during your absence.

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Still time to get legal and avoid high non-compliance fines

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You may be aware that the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) became effective on 25th May, but you still have a grace period to ensure your website is completely compliant.

For websites, the most fundamental area the new GDPR affects is your privacy policy. You need to have one, and it needs to be updated to be legal - in line with the GDPR.

Although the privacy policy is thought of as a legal necessity, it doesn’t necessarily get the attention it deserves. Ensuring you have a comprehensive privacy policy, especially complying with the new rules under the GDPR, helps ensure your business is well regarded, as well as being strictly legal. It demonstrates care for your customers, and that is always good business sense.

We know getting it right can be a daunting task which leaves you reaching for your lawyers’ phone number. There is no need to panic though, as we have the perfect solution for you.

Free Privacy Policies Covering the GDPR

You don’t need to spend a fortune using a solicitor to draw up a new privacy policy. You can make use of our connection with the legal templates experts at Legalo to benefit from FREE customisable templates, including privacy policies, cookies policies, terms of use and more to ensure that your business is compliant with the GDPR.

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How to: Make your own online small business a success

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Running a small business is hard enough nowadays without the added element of maintaining an online business. While there are a lot of advantages to running an online business, it’s becoming more challenging as more businesses go digital. It’s important now more than ever to have a strong strategy for standing out as a small business online. With big names like Amazon taking over the online space, you need to know how to use your smaller size to your advantage. Keep reading for tips and tricks for online small business success.

Why Take Your Business Online?

The first thing to understand is why it’s valuable to take your business online. As a small business, you save a lot of money in added resources by going digital. Not only do you not need a full-time staff to perform daily tasks, but you don’t have to worry about reaching people outside of your geographic area. Online businesses don’t have business hours or holidays off.

It’s also important to note that more shoppers are spending money online than ever before. In just a few years, e-commerce and online business have skyrocketed! According to TechCrunch, 79% of Americans shop online! This boom was sparked by convenience and cost, and that’s why so many businesses are jumping onto the online business bandwagon.

Customer Experience

As a small business, you can afford to spend more time on the customer experience. While bigger companies might not value each individual customer, small businesses have the opportunity to really dive deep into every interaction. This is what helps small businesses have an edge over big companies. When shoppers go online for purchases, they still expect a great customer experience. Since you’re unable to interact with customers in person, you need to make up for this with an easy, enjoyable shopping experience.

Much of the shopping experience relies on the checkout process. When shopping online, customers don’t like to jump through hoops just to hit that final submit order button. According to the web design blog Lilo, having the right merchant account can make a huge difference in this process on both the buyer and seller ends. Choosing the right platform and merchant account can ensure a speedy checkout process so you don’t have as many abandoned carts. A report from WalkerInfo.com shows that customer experience will beat out all other platforms by 2020! Get a head start on this trend by investing in customer experience now!

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The secret to brand relevance: Disruptive innovation

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The word “disruptive” is used a lot when it comes to marketing, but it’s a major key to brand relevance and gaining notice. Think about your favorite brands. Things like Apple and Nike seem normal now, but remember when they were first introduced just how innovative they were. That’s why disruptive innovation is such a powerful tool for making a mark in the industry. Here are some tips for being disruptive with your innovations.

Don’t be afraid to take risks.

The thing that holds so many businesses back from disruptive innovation. There’s such thing as a smart risk, and it comes from knowing the market and knowing your product or service. Commit your business to working with a creative team and promoting innovative ideas. Remember that no good ideas start out as perfect, and it’s okay to gamble a little when it comes to risk.

Be available for questions.

One of the biggest reasons visitors will turn away from a website is because they aren’t able to get their questions answered quickly. Offering easy contact solutions and live chat can go a long way in making customers feel heard. Learn more about the best live chat software solutions here to find out the best option for your business.

Focus on one thing and do it well.

If you’re too busy trying to be the best at everything, you’ll be the best at nothing. Look at the largest brands you know. Starbucks is great because it’s known for serving the best cup of coffee. Spotify is great because it’s known to offer the best music selection on the go. These brands focus on what they’re good at and that’s all. Starbucks isn’t trying to break into the tech world because that just wouldn’t make sense. Focus on one success at a time.

Remember to listen to your customers.

Feedback is an important step in creating long-lasting innovative disruption. If you’ve ever noticed a brand step quickly into the consumer spotlight and just as quickly fade from notice, it’s probably from failing to listen to consumers. When promoting a new product or brand, customer communication is key. There will likely be a lot of feedback about new brands immediately, and it is worthwhile to listen to this feedback and adjust the brand as needed. Brands that are willing to adjust to fit their perfect market and that listen to consumer concerns are the brands that stick around for a long time.

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Why small businesses need professional photography for their websites

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When you are building a new website for your business there's a risk of focusing on the design and text while leaving the images as an afterthought. There's a good reason why modern website designs feature large image areas as standard and that's the power of visual content. Photographs have the potential:

to paint a compelling picture of the services you provide,to attract traffic to your website,to encourage engagement and ultimately lead to more sales.

However, this potential can only be fully realised by using high quality images that connect with your customers. 

In this blog post I’ll show you:

why high quality images are crucial to your business in a competitive marketplace,the common mistakes you need to avoid when selecting your images andtips for commissioning images that will really benefit your business. The challenge of getting noticed

Before you can make sales, you need to get people on to your website. Regardless of how good your SEO efforts are, your business will appear in Google surrounded by organic and paid for results offering similar services.  

You need to take every opportunity to make your business stand out from the crowd. Whether it’s your Google business profile or your social media presence. Each point of contact with potential customers can get you noticed and bring traffic to your website. 

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5 things you should research before building your small business website

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You've decided to go it alone and startup on your own or maybe you've been running your business for a while without a website. Either way those first steps towards building your online presence are very important. It is worth taking a little bit of time to research a few things that can impact it's performance first.

After all your first website for your small business is not going to get found on its own initially so there is no immediate rush. It can take a long time before you rank on page one of Google so it’s very important that you give your new website at least a fighting chance. Taking a little time to research some all-important factors that will have an impact on that move up through the page rankings will pay dividends in the long run. That page one position is dependent on many things including:

How many people you are competing with in your sectorThe age of your website … older websites, or domains, that are already established will come before you initially

There is little you can do about these first two points. You can’t eliminate your competition and your website will be new. So, you really must focus on the things that you can do something about that will help your website move as quickly as it can up through the page rankings including:

Choosing your domain name.Researching your keywords.Writing excellent quality content.Sourcing high quality images.Developing a high performing website that loads quickly and has a great user experience … being mobile friendly is a given but make sure that it is also easy to navigate and obvious to your visitors what they need to do to find what they’re looking for.1) Choosing your domain name

Domain names are relatively inexpensive to buy, so if you have already bought yours and after reading this post discover you may not have gone for the best option, don’t worry just source a new one that will work more effectively for you. Before you commit and have your website resolving on a domain name that isn’t really going to help get your business found, it’s worth doing a little bit of research into what is going to work best for your business.

You may well have chosen a quirky name for your business … ‘pink elephant supplies’ or ‘white rabbit services’ for example. Fun and memorable but they give absolutely no indication of what your business does.

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Do your customers trust your small business website?

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Trust is one of the most important things to establish when forging a new relationship with a potential customer. Are you confident that your website conveys that you are a trustworthy organisation? 

Recently you may have heard that Google could be promoting secure websites above those that are not. If you’re wondering what this means or you're not even sure if you know what indicates a secure website then read on. Getting an SSL certificate to create a secure connection to your website could just be a good move. 

What is an SSL certificate?

SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer. A website with an SSL certificate will display [Secure https:// ] in front of the URL, indicating a secure website to visitors. There are varying levels of SSL validation and the industry’s highest standard will turn the address bar green in high-security browsers.  You are probably familiar with seeing them in use on larger websites like your online banking, social media sites like Facebook and Twitter … and just recently on this small business website.

What does an SSL certificate do?

Data sent between your computer and a website with an SSL certificate is encrypted to protect the privacy and online security of the user. In other words, should any information you submit online via the secure website be intercepted by a malicious user they will be unable to read or make use of it.

To put it simply an SSL certificate keeps online interactions private

An SSL certificate is essential for any website that is taking sensitive information such as credit card details. But you may be thinking that your small business website isn’t processing any financial transactions or sensitive information so why would you need to worry? But ask yourself the following questions:

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Small business blog headlines that grab reader attention

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Research says that on average eight out of ten people will read your headline but only two out of ten will go on to read the rest of your article or blog post. So, if you want your content to be read, it’s worth spending some time and effort on that all-important headline. Some copywriters even say that around half the time it takes to write your article should be spent on researching and crafting your headline.

Well if you’ve made it this far then the headline worked and you’ve read the introduction!

Before you start: What are the objectives of your headline?

There are various reasons for having a small business blog, but if readers don’t get past the headline, then your blog content is pointless. Think about how your headline is going to make sure the content you are painstakingly writing gets read and achieves its own objectives of:

Getting found in search results.Attracting visitors to your website.Demonstrating your expertise within your business sector.Giving tips and advice to existing and potential new customers.Providing an easy way to add topical content to your website.Generating material to share on your social media platforms. (I can usually get between 5 and 10 Tweets from each blog post.)

The first two points are probably the most relevant to readers of this blog, so this post will focus on those two objectives. Your headline needs to make sure that your blog post gets found and is then read with a view to impressing your visitor so much that they move on to the rest of your website. That’s quite a tall order.

Getting found in search results

If your headline contains a phrase that readers are likely to use as a search string, then so much better. At least include some of your keywords.

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Free or low-cost website builders for your small business: The pros and the cons

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I’ve missed a week or two of blog posts, but during that time I’ve had a couple of new customers ask about website builders and free services. I’ve also seen quite a few posts in various Facebook groups that I’m active in from small business owners who have used a free or very low-cost website builder and not had the best experience. Typically:

Second year in the fees have become prohibitiveThe website doesn’t get foundAdjusting and changing the website after the initial setup has been trickySo, with the above in mind, I thought I’d do a bit of my own research.

With the exception of dabbling with Weebly about 5 years ago, I haven’t used any of these website builders myself. It was a frustrating experience and I very quickly moved onto using a CMS. So the opinions here are drawn from articles that I’ve read and comments from users that I've spoken to of their experience with various 'free' or attractive looking very low-cost website builder products and not my own first-hand experience.

There are many ways of getting a small business website live including:Using a drag and drop website builder on an inclusive service - check exactly what is included, but you should be able to get something live without too much technical expertise.Arranging hosting and installing a CMS - a little more skills required and probably best getting a web developer to install and design for you with a view to you managing your own content long term. If you want to have a go yourself you could have a look at Wordpress or possibly Joomla. Some hosting companies provide 'one click' install which can ease the process.Coding from scratch - definitely best left in the hands of a professional

My aim with this post is to summarise what I’ve gleaned about the first option above and to collate a series of useful articles with a view to helping you to decide what route to go down when embarking on your first small business website project.

1 | Wix

This is the free option that I hear the most about and this article here was written August 2016 so is reasonably current at the time of writing.Wix Review: 6 Pros & 6 Cons of Using Wix For WebsitesTo summarise the pros:

Easy solution for DIY website owners.Free plan available so long as you don’t want your own domain name. For example, you will need to use yourwebsite.wix.com and paid for plans are OK for short-term projects.Simple back end interface for you to build your website.Page load speed and security is good.

To summarise the cons:

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What is a hamburger menu

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A hamburger menu is the little menu button, made up of three stacked parallel horizontal lines, that you will find at the top of mobile apps and mobile friendly websites ... usually top left.  It is also referred to as a side menu or navigation drawer.

If you're still unsure the screen shot to the right will show how this website looks on a mobile phone with the hamburger menu in the top left hand corner.

It looks neat and sits tidily at the top of the screen and most users are now familiar with it's use and will know to head there when they want to navigate to other pages of the mobile friendly website.

Should you use a hamburger menu on the desktop version of your website

They are now increasingly appearing on desktop websites in place of the menu bar that we're all used to seeing at the top of our websites. They do look neat and it does demonstrate you and your small business website are keeping up with the times, but here are a couple of reasons why you may want to keep your regular menu bar for the desktop and only deploy the hamburger menu on the mobile version.

1 | Click rates for hamburger menus on mobile apps and websites are low

By using it on the desktop version of your website you are running the same risk. Why would you want to take the chance of reducing clicks through to other valuable pages of your website just because it looks current? 

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So how often should you update your small business blog?

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Since I've missed my self-imposed goal of one blog post a week I thought this was a suitable subject for this week's post.

I've done a fair amount of reading and research in an attempt to find an argument that will allow me to let myself off the hook and post a bit less frequently. I can't find one!

"If your updates are more than a week apart, it's about as effective as not blogging at all." According to Megan Totka writing for Small Business Trends. Admittedly, this article is now a couple of years old but it still holds true (a great example of evergreen content which I'll write about another time) and there is ever increasing evidence that blogging is good for driving traffic to your small business website.

It's a good way to add fresh content to your website for search engine optimisationIt also allows you to demonstrate your knowledge of your sector in a more informal wayIt provides a very easy forum for you to share current news with your customersIt also improves engagement with your audience who will come expect your regular blog posts

The final point is crucial as the frequency with which you post is as important in gaining credibility and nurturing a relationship with your readers as the actual content itself.

Some will advocate quality over quantity and a great post of a good length, supported by accurate statistics and thorough research posted less frequently, say once a month, is better than just throwing a post on your blog for the sake of getting something up there, which is possibly what I'm doing now!

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