10 Web Design Tips to Drive Sales

Drive_Sales_Web_Design

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

Principles-of-Design
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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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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Website and UX Stats That Could Shape Your Website’s Success

Website_Statistics

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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What is a hamburger menu

Hamburger_Menu

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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5 reasons why your small business website really should be mobile friendly

Responsive_Web_Design
First of all what is a mobile friendly website?

A mobile friendly, or responsive, website will adjust depending on the device that it is accessed from. A non-mobile friendly website won't and visitors will need to zoom in and drag the screen around to be able to read your content.

A high percentage of small business owners still don't have a website and of those that do many are still not mobile friendly or 'responsive'. If you do have an elderly website for your small or local business, listed below are a few reasons why you may want to consider an upgrade to a mobile friendly version.

Of course, if you're taking the plunge for the first time it's a given that it should be mobile friendly.

Since April 2015 Google has promoted mobile friendly websites over those that aren't when searching on a mobile device. Have a think about the products and services that you offer and who might use them. Are your customers likely to be searching on their mobiles when they're out and about or sitting in front of the TV in the evening looking on a tablet.Visitor experience is essential. If having arrived at your website while looking on a mobile device and it's not mobile friendly most visitors will simply move away immediately and go to the next website that is mobile friendly. Possibly your competitor.An up to date, ie mobile friendly, website will improve your credibility. If a customer finds your non-mobile friendly website it will look out of date and possibly may even bring into question wether you are still trading or not.Your business will be seen as up to date and relevant. Quite simply an out of date website will give the same impression of your business and it's services. You want your customers to see you as in touch with what is current and able to deliver accordingly.Non-mobile friendly websites are becoming obsolete. A new website developed in 2016 will automatically be mobile friendly. With new websites being developed all the time, the non-mobile ones are gradually being squeezed out and becoming redundant.

If you want your website to help your business then it really should be mobile friendly. Not sure if yours is or not? Why not get in touch on 01494 537612.

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How to make the most of all your small business website's landing pages

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For a long time, your website's Home page was considered the most important landing page on your website. The one to focus all your efforts and where you were going to create that all important first impression.

To a certain extent, this is still true, but visitors are now spending a lot of time on 'about' pages and may even 'land' at other pages of your website like your 'blog' or 'contact' page especially if you are promoting your blog on social media.

While not neglecting the importance of your Home page it's important to focus on these other pages as landing pages.

Review how they may be perceived by a new visitor to your website:What first impression do they create?Is there a clear call to action?Do they encourage visitors to move to other areas of the site?Include the following to encourage them to move to other pages of your website:Have a clear and prominent message that lets your visitors know exactly what you do as soon as they arrive at the page.Include a contact email address and/or phone number. Consider how your visitors got the site. Is it likely to be from a mobile device? In which case have the phone number easily accessible for direct dial. In fact you should have your contact details on every page!Have one clear call to action ... don't overwhelm with too many. If there are too many choices and buttons to click, you risk causing confusion and your visitors clicking nothing!If you have a great offer or can give away some free information highlight it.  Do you have some information you could give away via free download that could also give you the opportunity to collect data for your mailing list?Include links to other pages of your website from within your individual blog posts to encourage readers to find out more about your business and services.Cut out the jargon. Write for your readers and ultimately your prospective customers. Use language that they will understand and can relate to.

The above are a few simple guidelines, but above all else keep it simple. If you would like some help with developing a new small business website or improving an existing one, please do get in touch.

 

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Optimise your small business website for local search

Local_Search

If you're a small business providing services to a local market, then it's important that your website ranks well. I want to be found for 'web design high wycombe' so there are a few things that I've implemented on this website to achieve that end.  Here are a few simple steps that you can take in an infographic with more detail below:

1) Domain Name

If at all possible, try and use your keywords and/or your main geographical area in your domain name. I've managed 'web design' although not 'High Wycombe'.

2) Contact InformationThe telephone area code must match the town or city where you want to be found and the number must be your permanent business number.Use a legitimate business address, which should also be in the town or city where you want to rank.

Both these two can present a challenge for a small local business which you may be running from home and quite likely using a mobile for most of your business contacts, but it is worth trying to arrange both if possible.

Also make sure you are consistent and use the same address and contact details everywhere you are listed online.

3) Title Tags

Create unique title tags for every page of your site and include your services, keywords and location.

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When a poor visitor experience on your website costs your business money

Website_UX

I recently placed an order for some made to measure curtains with a well known high street and online retailer. I ordered fabric samples, measured up and placed my order. There was a long lead time ... over 2 months. I was very excited when the day finally arrived and the box was handed over.

I'll pause here for a moment to explain the reason for this blog post. I want to demonstrate the importance of communicating accurately with your customers via your website as well as making sure that detailed information is presented in a visually accessible way.

Make it clear, crystal clear, what information you need from your website's visitors in order to fulfil their expectations.

So ... back to the curtain story. The courier handed me the box. It felt a little light and I was slightly concerned. Something felt not quite right. I opened the box and drooled over the beautiful fabric and the pinch pleats. I'd been wanting these curtains since I moved in ... over ten years ago. I was allowed to be excited.

I held up one of the curtains. It was nowhere near wide enough. In fact it was about half the width it needed to be. In complete panic (even with the 30% discount these were a big investment for me) I went back to the email confirmation and my tape measure. The curtain width I'd ordered was correct the curtain I'd received was not! 

From the title of this blog post you've probably already worked out that someone made a mistake and in the retailers eyes that was me. In my defence this is the form that I completed when I placed my order.

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Search engine optimisation … is your website getting found?

SEO

SEO, search engine optimisation, page ranking ... it's a huge topic which I won't attempt to cover comprehensively here in a single blog post. So this, the first in a series of posts on SEO, will concentrate on your website's keywords.

When you first start developing your website do some research into what search string you think your potential customers will be typing in to Google to find your site. Think about the services you are offering ... perhaps you are family lawyer. So your keywords could include; family law, divorce, separation, children issues, child maintenance, mediation, resolution along with a reference to your location.

Once you've researched and narrowed down your keywords they now need to be worked into your content. Ideally the keywords need to appear naturally within you main body content twice to five times in every hundred words. However, don't be tempted to compromise the quality of your copy in an attempt to cram the keywords in. Content is king and it's ultimately more important that it reads well.

There are also plenty of other places where you can incorporate your keywords:The first and most obvious place where they are really going to work for you is in your domain name itself. For example, this site, although the domain name is possibly rather long, does include the two most important keywords ... web design.Include the keywords in the other areas of the URL, for example this article appears on the blog pages of the website and the full URL of this menu item is http://webdesignunlimited.co.uk/web-design-blog. So, 'web design' appears again. 'Blog' is also another word that could work for this website as web design customers, may also be searching for information about blogging.Use your keywords in your headings.  They will stand out on the page and instantly convey to your website's visitors what services you are offering as well as optimising your website.Include your keywords in the ALT text of any images that you use. Use the footer area of your site ... keywords can be incorporated here and also provide a useful means of linking to other relevant areas of the website.

These are just a few pointers and should be implemented on your website, but there are many more things that you can do to boost the performance of your site. Check back again soon for more SEO tips.

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What's in a domain name?

Domain_Names

A lot more than you may think. Before you start developing your website for your new startup business spend a bit of time doing some research into your domain name. Your business may be new ... no one will know about it yet and getting found amongst all the competition and established websites out there is going to take a little time. Make sure you choose something that is going to optimise your chances of getting found. Here are a few important points to consider regarding your domain name ... especially if you are going to be one of many small local businesses. The situation is of course different if you are going to be launching a big brand with a promotional budget to match.

So,  you've set up a new business ... ' Go For It'. The first thing you do is research the availability of that domain name and hooray ... goforit.co.uk is available! But before you register it:

Does it say what your business does?Does it say where your business is?Are the words you've used distinctive and unique?

The third point initially, will be very important. Before your website gets found organically for your chosen keywords that are relevant to your products and/or services, people you have met or who have maybe heard about your new business will be searching for the business by it's name and they will probably be using a search string like 'go for it high wycombe'.  Chances are those three, high frequency words, appear on thousands of websites and your new site is not going to get found by it's name alone. So even people who know you and have maybe already done business with you will struggle to find your site unless they know the URL.

So consider using a domain name that includes something specific to what your business does and possibly also references the location. For example, lets say you are offering personal development and coaching, coachinghighwycombe.co.uk would probably serve you better. However, the chances of this combination still being available are probably slim. So, goforitcoaching.co.uk may be a good starting point.

Once you've established the basics of your domain name also bear in mind the following points:

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How to write great text content for your small business website

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There is an art to writing copy for your website. You may enlist the services of a professional copy writer, but chances are, if you’re a small business on a budget, you may decide to tackle it yourself. After all, you know your business better than anyone.

So you have all the facts about your small business and its products and services, but here are a few guidelines, to help you present all that knowledge in its most effective manner. It’s about attracting the right readers who will convert to customers.

Who is your ideal reader or visitor to your website?

First of all who do you want to engage with the text content on your website? Think about who your ideal customer is and what is most likely to appeal to them. You want to stand out from the crowd. You want them to pick you over your competitors. Imagine you are talking to them as you write and that you’re having a conversation with them through the text content on your website.

Have a clear understanding of your message

People like to read about themselves and your website visitors don’t necessarily want to read about how great you think your products or services are. So with that in mind focus on making the benefits of your products and services personal to your reader. Readers like to feel that they can identify with a problem or situation. Show that you understand their needs and demonstrate how your products and services can help to benefit them.

Have the right headline … make your text eye-catching

Yes you need more than a few magic words to seal the deal, but most website visitors are in a hurry. They don’t want to make too much effort to read long pieces of text and the right headline can convey your key message as well as encouraging the visitor to read the rest of your content.

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Downley
High Wycombe
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