Viewing entries in
Web designing

Comment

Choosing a Website Generator for your new website

Firstly what is a website generator? I personally hadn’t heard this term until 2015 but website generators are software either on your desktop or in the cloud that helps you to create websites.Some as designed for business owners and some are designed for web designers.

Website generators can be great for people who are a bit tech savvy, enjoy creating things and have a bit of design flair. Does this describe you? Then you are ready to create your own website using a website generator. If this doesn’t sound like you, you can still use these platforms but you might want to get some help. So many clients call me after they have spent hours and hours trying to get their site looking good only to find that there are loads of elements of the site that are still not right.

Lets have a look at some of the main website generators. Some of these I am looking at for the first time.  There are always new platforms emerging and now is a good time, at the start of 2015 to have a look at these.

Comment

Comment

Psychology of colour in web design and branding

Colour can convey so much meaning. The colours you choose for your branding and web design can impact how your customer feel about your brand and how they respond to it. The right colours for your business depends on the industry you are in.  I recently meet with a consultant from Yellow Pages and asked what is the best colour for our advertisment in Yellow Pages. Here is what she shared with me. Have a look below for your industry and remember to keep this in mind when you are developing your brand.

Comment

Comment

Mobile first

Designing for mobile Vs desktop
Which should you tackle first: the design for large desktop screens, or the one for mobile devices?

Starting with smaller screens forces you to create a lean, focused design. All the necessary content is built into the mobile version from the outset.
Starting with mobile doesn’t mean you’ll scale back your desktop site. Instead, that you can make “progressive enhancements” to supplement the large-screen experience.
This type of site development goes hand-in-hand with responsive design too.

The 7 key principles of mobile web design:

  1. Design for mobile based on most popular and/or important content
    What are the majority of visitors looking for on your site? That’s the content you should put front and center in your design. It must be easy to find or use, or your site visitors will move on to someone else.
  2. Everything should be available…
    Even if not everything is visible. In other words, make sure mobile users have access to the majority of your site’s content. It’s frustrating to look for needed information that’s simply not available on the mobile optimized site.
    On the other hand, just because the content is there doesn’t mean it has to be linked to via the main navigation bar.
  3. Limit navigation options
    As noted above, you need to be choosy about the information that you put front and center.
    Too many menu layers, too many clicks, too many choices, you have to simplify if you want your site to be mobile friendly.
    David Moth of E consultancy recommends no more than three layers of menus and a max of five or six menu items.
  4. Buttons matter
    Thumbs aren’t the most accurate pointing device; putting buttons too close together will only lead to frustration.
    Who wants to keep hitting “reload” when the button you’re trying to click is “submit”? avoid tiny fonts and minuscule buttons.
    Instead, use elements that are sized for easy clicking.
  5. Watch your media
    While the aesthetic design of your website is extremely important, media elements can cause mobile browsers to trip up.
    Keep an eye out for overly large image files, bloated fonts that load too many unecessary characters, and videos in formats — like Flash — that won’t play on certain mobile operating systems.
  6. Pop-ups are problematic
    If you’re throwing too many pop-up surveys or sign-up boxes at your mobile visitors, they’re going to get annoyed. It’s frustrating to get rid of pop-ups on a small screen.
    Unless it’s absolutely necessary, avoid them.
  7. Don’t require too much text
    Forms are a pain to fill out when you’re typing with your thumbs. Keep the text input needed to a minimum. No essays, please!

Comment

Comment

Websites from the 1990s that still exist

The World Wide Web is a Enormous resource of information, and it’s unbelievable what sites from nearly 20 years ago are still around today. I’m not talking about the likes of Amazon who have been around as a BRAND since the dawn of the web. I’m talking about sites that have remained frozen in time (at least visually) since they were first unleashed upon the world. And that means animated GIFs, broken links, buttons instructing you to download Netscape Navigator and recommended screen resolutions of at least 800 x 600. Here are four good ones

Heaven's Gate

old2.jpg

Comment

Comment

15 Website Designs For Your Inspiration

It’s always nice to browse some nice and clean websites. It is a good  way to get inspiration for future projects and also to see how designers  are delivering clean designs. Today we gathered some inspiring examples  to show you that clean layouts don’t need to be plain and boring, you  can have colors, textures, illustrated elements and much more.

Jonathan da Costa

Jun Lu

Jun-Lu.jpg

Marianne Restaurant

Sebastien Jondeau

Sin Star Clothing

Synthview

The Escape Committee

Brio

Clae

Dharma Marketing

Doomsday 2013

Focus Lab

Howlt

JH

Don Jon

Comment

Comment

Understanding Meta Tags

shop.jpg

The Meta tags are perhaps some of the most important text on a web page, not just for search engines. Meta tags can have an enormous impact on the user experience, brand awareness and conversion. Mastering these meta tags and using best practice will dramatically improve your website.

Meta tags are HTML tags at the top of the document that are usually read by search engines that crawl the site trying to learn about each page. But there are two very important meta tags that speak to us humans as well, informing and guiding us in very clever ways.

As an example, the meta tags for this page are…

<title>Understanding Meta Tags - boutiquebusinessconsulting</title>

<meta name="description" content="Meta tags are some of the most 
important text on a web page, mastering these tags and using best 
practice will dramatically improve conversions. Learn more."/>

Meta Title

  • The meta title describes the subject of the page.
  • The meta title should ideally be about 65 characters.
  • We see this meta title in the browser tab and as the leading title in search engine results.
  • The meta title is the most important piece of information that search engines read on a given page.

Search engines value meta titles quite highly, so including important keywords in them is really helpful, preferably at the start of the title. For us, a title tag should clearly describe the nature of the page. In addition, the tag can also contain your brand – typically at the end of the tag. If the title is too long, search engines will normally truncate the title, chopping off the last bit.

The meta title is typically also used when sharing the page on social media (Facebook, Twitter etc) – the meta title becomes the heading, so making this interesting and appealing to read is quite important. The same applies to the meta description.

Meta Description

  • The meta description is a snippet of text that is displayed under the title link on a search engine results page.
  • The meta description ideally 155 characters or fewer.
  • The meta description has little if any SEO value but is important for conversions.

Some helpful tips when working with meta descriptions…

  • Don’t overuse or repeat keywords in your meta description, it will make your description look spammy and untrustworthy.
  • Avoid making extravagant claims in your descriptions, it’ll just undermine your credibility (eg. don’t do something like… “boutiquebusinessconsulting will make all of your dreams come true”).
  • Try to Include a call to action or even an incentive to click through to your page (eg. “boutiquebusinessconsulting build great websites – click here to find out more”).
  • Focus on the benefits of your product or service to the visitor – it should be about them (eg. “We custom design websites that help you stand out from your competitors and get sales”).
  • Mention your location if you are a local business (eg. “boutiquebusinessconsulting is a Sydney based web design agency”). This helps searchers instantly connect your business to their need.
  • Establish your credibility (eg. “boutiquebusinessconsulting has been in business for over few years”).

Meta Titles will always be used by search engines, but sometimes your meta description won’t be. Sometimes the search engines will choose text from within the page to use a description to match the search term. The best way to avoid this is to make sure the description reflects (as closely as possible) the content on the page.

Write Compelling Meta Tags

Writing compelling meta descriptions is a great opportunity to “sell the page”. If your descriptions are bland and haven’t been thought through, you’re missing out on the opportunity to convert a searcher into a visitor.

Visitors, when doing a search, are basically skimming or speed reading the search results, trying to make a quick judgement about each page to decide whether to click through or move on. If your descriptions are well written, interesting and even exciting (and also relevant to the actual search term), you’ll have a higher chance of attracting the searcher to your website.

Meta tags don’t have to be perfect at launch, in fact its always a good idea to come back and fine tune the wording. It can be a time consuming job, but it is one part of building a website that (while often overlooked) can really make a big difference.

Comment

Comment

Simple Tips for Improving Your Web Design

Your web design is one of the most important aspects of your online business. Everything in your design is important and in this post I’ll be giving you some simple website design tips to help improve your website, ranging from colours, fonts, images, and how all of this relates to your success and failure.

Have a polished, professional logo - and link it to your home page
Your logo is an important piece of your brand. It is the visual representation of your brand so you need to make sure you have a professionally designed logo that best represents your brand identity. A good idea is to feature your logo in the top left hand corner of each of your pages and also link your logo back to your home page for easy navigation.

Use intuitive navigation
This means make sure that you have primary and secondary navigation for your site. You need to make sure that your primary navigation options are deployed at the top of the site and your secondary navigation options are deployed in the form of a sidebar.

This is important to avoid any confusing navigation layout otherwise people are more likely to quit a page than spend time trying to work it out. Put the less important links for your page at the footer of your site rather than in the primary navigation area.

Get rid of clutter
Many websites place too many images on their sites where it gets to the point that visitors become overloaded with information. When this happens they are more likely to leave the site than stay on it.

If you want to keep visitors on your site you need to make sure that there are no competing calls to action on web pages or visual clutter such as an excessive amount of images and graphics. Basically anything that will divert a visitors’ attention away from your main message on the page.

Another great tip is to keep your paragraphs short. People tend to have short attention spans so make sure your paragraphs are no longer than five to six lines.

Give visitors breathing room
It is important to control the white space on your site by creating enough space between your paragraphs and images. This ensures that the reader has room to breathe and absorb all of the features your site and business has to offer. A great rule to remember here is less is more, which will help to keep readers focused on your content.

Use colour strategically
The colours on your site should be used strategically. Using a mostly neutral colour palette can help your site project an elegant, clean and modern appearance. For example you could also use small dashes of colour on headlines and key graphics to help guide visitors to your most important pieces of content. You need to remember to keep the colours you use consistent with the rest of your marketing materials though.

Invest in good, professional photography
Make sure that you invest in professional photography. If you use generic photos then you are creating a generic impression of your site whereas professional photography creates that important positive first impression that you need.

If you can’t afford to invest in professional photography for the time being then at least invest in some professional looking stock photos because this is better than a generic photo that says nothing about your business.

Choose fonts that are easy to read across devices and browsers
Choosing a font is a very important part of the website design process. When choosing a font you need to consider what it will look like on a tablet or mobile device. This is so important now because so many people are using these devices to browse the net with. The problem is that a font that looks good on a computer monitor might not look so good on a smartphone.

The typeface you choose should be easy to read and no less than 11pt in size. If you are using a fixed width design then use a font size that allows for a maximum of 15-20 words per line. If you use a fluid design then use a font size that allows 15-20 words per line at 900-1000 pixels wide.

Design every page as a landing page
You need to design your website so that the key information you want displayed is on every page. This is because the majority of site visits do not begin on the home page. So every page needs to be designed as if it were a landing page with all of the key information being displayed on that page.

Respect the fold
Your call to action should be featured on the upper portion of your website. Put your business phone number and email address at the top of the page (if you want customers to contact you). With regards to home page images it is best to not go for a full width slider. You can still use a slider or some other images, however, it is best that it only covers two-thirds of the width so you can add in a contact form above the fold.

Use responsive design - that automatically adapts to how the site is being viewed
Make sure that you use a website that has a responsive design. This means that it will automatically adapt to the browser size on whatever device you are using. This is much more efficient than designing a site for each device and it also creates a better user experience, which means visitors are more likely to spend more time on your site.

Forget Flash
Forget using Flash. The ongoing dispute between Adobe and Apple has ensured that using Flash as an internet standard is coming to a close. There are other options that are more user friendly such as HTML5. What is so great about HTML5 is that it’s search engine friendly and has the ability to function on many popular mobile operating systems without a plug-in.

Don’t forget about buttons
Buttons are something that can be overlooked but they shouldn’t be. Many of your typical submit or send buttons look ugly so what you should do is aim to make the buttons so appealing to customers that they can’t help but click on it. Ideally, you should design the buttons in mind so that they change colour, gradient, opacity, or even font style when you hover over them.

Test your design
Test your website design so that you can optimise your website. You want to test various elements of your design so you can determine which is best. You can do things like user testing, A/B, and simple analytics to help you determine what is working well and what isn’t. Testing your web design is so important because it can result in more profits for your business when you hit that winning design.

In Conclusion
There are few simple website design tips you can start implementing today. Web design is one of the most important aspects of your business and can help improve your bottom line by enhancing user experience. If you are someone who is not the most savvy when it comes to website design then it may be wise for you to hire a professional so you can create the best looking website possible.

 

Comment