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Archive for ‘Website Design’

January 29th, 2015

Six Essential Web Design Trends for 2015

Screen Shot 2015-01-29 at 5.56.22 PM

If  you have a website, you’re competing for eyeballs, and the competition is getting fierce.

It’s not enough anymore to throw up a website and stuff it with content. People are judging your product or service based on the design of your site, and your ability to make them feel.

Trendsetting company Airbnb, was just named Inc. Magazine’s 2014 Company of the Year. This is largely due to their disruptive business model and a shift to the sharing economy, but it surely has to do with their impeccable web interface and friendly, trustworthy web impression.

Two of the three founders of the company are graduates of the Rhode Island School of Design, and design has always been at the forefront of their business.  Viewers of their site feel as if they have joined into a community and feel welcomed, inspired and safe. Users are forming endless impressions based on what they see on the web, so spending time upgrading and revising design in 2015 is definitely a worthwhile undertaking.

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With all that in mind, we thought we’d take a look at some of the best web design and track some of the top trends for 2015. Here goes:

Trend #1: Implementation of Responsive Design

Responsive design offers ease of viewing web content across multiple platforms by eliminating resizing and excessive scrolling.

At this point, responsive design is likely already used on your site, as this has become the norm. But if not, this is the first and most essential change you can make to your site for all around functionality and user experience. Responsive web design provides an optimal viewing experience and incorporates easy navigation across multiple devices including mobile and tablets. Users no longer want to pan, scroll, and resize to find links and buttons. Ease the process by utilizing responsive design.

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Trend #2: A Growing Focus on Quality Content

Content focused sites generally go hand in hand with the responsive design approach to websites. Designing a layout that is focused on content allows users to access information in a functional matter by placing content into individualized areas of the page using “break points.” These processes allow users to view content easily based on the device they are using, making it essential for mobile compatible viewing.

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Trend #3: A Renaissance for Typography

Type kits and free resources including Google Fonts are making elegant, exciting typography accessible to smaller businesses and those on a budget. Good typography has impact, and designers working on a tighter budget can greatly benefit from the increased resources available to them, allowing them to streamline their theme. WordPress designers are going to get more flexibility here as well.

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Trend #4: Important Content Below the Fold

Mobile web integration is a no brainer. But one of the easiest ways to make sites mobile friendly is to incorporate downward scrolling rather than breaking each page down into clickable links.

Making site information easily digestible is paramount, and the more a user can take in on a single page the better. This is not a call to stuff all information on a single page, but rather an opportunity to simplify and streamline the most important messages into a single, flowing space.

Early in web design, it was approached as essential to place all-important content “above the fold” or on the first page of viewing, but users are now accustomed to single page design that incorporates downward scrolling.

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Trend #5: Engagement Through Storytelling

Each new facet of web design is essentially a piece of engaging interactive storytelling. A story is the overall theme of the website and how it portrays the brand. Storytelling incorporates design, functionality, creativity, and choices such as font, layout, and navigation. Each of these decisions should be made to complement the next, and should have purpose and be infused with the vibe and energy that the brand hopes to invoke in the user.

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Trend #6: Using Storytelling as Marketing Tool

Storytelling is the latest trend in content marketing, and could prove to be an entirely new approach to the way ideas are presented to an audience. Rather than pushing products and services, companies are finding ways to connect with potential customers through social networks and media forms that are already integrated into the lifestyle and interests of the audience.

Content marketing in its basic form involves providing media and publishing content that is relevant to the audience, to build a trusted following through sharing of stories, information and tips.

Incorporating storytelling into content marketing is a way to meet the audience at the intersection of their interests and their needs. Real people and real stories have greater impact on potential customers than over-fluffed branding packages and marketing schemes. Storytelling allows potential customers to see who is really utilizing a product or service, and therefore established greater credibility for the brand.

These emerging web trends of 2015 are certainly here to stay, and large companies, small businesses, and non-profits can all benefit from incorporating these new design elements into their web platforms. Making content easily digestible and authentic to the audience will help your business to really take off in 2015.

About the Authors:

Michael Rolph is an Internet executive focused on the creation and growth of startup, social-good and small organizations. He is the Founder & CEO at Wheel Media, a national design, technology and content marketing agency.

Janine Neutra has worked in digital marketing since 2000, where she managed search and social media marketing for a national nonprofit organization. She’s now Sr. Director of Online Marketing for a National Marketing Company helping small businesses and startups create programs that get results.

Image Credit [David Joyce, SEO Face, Wired, Open Public, Free Range, Future of Car Sharing]

 

Archive for ‘Website Design’

January 7th, 2014

How to Reach 10K Website Visits per Month [INFOGRAPHIC]

Image- Zero to 10K visits per month

In the technology driven world, websites have become the magical tool that give companies  the ability to connect and interact with consumers and provide a sneak peak into the company’s value’s and services. It’s important that a company utilizes this opportunity to create an experience for its clients to evoke the sense of loyalty in them.

Our friends at WhoIsHostingThis have created an infographic with a checklist that will help you develop a marketing strategy that creates a bond between you and your consumer.

Here are the key points from the infographic:

  • The first step before asking others to know you is to know yourself. Choose your niche that you have to offer to your customers.
  • Know your market to understand your company’s potential.
  • Evaluate your competition. Use a backlink tool to get a closer look at the links to the competition. Good tools include: Open Site Explorer, Ahrefs, Majestic SEO.
  • Your domain is an important tool for generating marketing buzz. Build your domain around popular words that are short and memorable.
  • Pay attention to monthly search volume to understand the topic’s popularity.
  • The more competitive a keyword is, the harder it may be to rank higher for the phrase.
  • Focus on conversion related keywords.
  • People spend 80% of their time above the fold. To keep the readers engaged, utilize an attention grabbing headline, a image or video for explanation, benefits, and finally a call to action.
  • Evoke emotion! Emotion is a key aspect of virality. When your content makes readers “feel” something, there are more likely to share it.
  • Use multiple analytical tools and use the data to make improvements.
  • Create and maintain a social media presence by actively building your fan base, posting in a timely manner, and providing reader friendly content.
  • Have an inbound-marketing strategy to guide and track your progress.

Here is the full infographic:

Infographic on increasing website traffic

 


Click here

Archive for ‘Website Design’

July 25th, 2012

How to Improve Your Website Conversion Rate by Using A/B Testing.


(Courtesy of Mil8)

Although there are many ways you can test changes to your website, none of them are as simple and as effective as A/B Testing. It’s important to remember, however, that A/B testing – even with all its positive features – will not always be suitable to use. In fact, the first step in ensuring its success is to determine if it is the right testing method to use for the kind of problem or situation you are dealing with.

What Is A/B Testing Anyway?

It’s important that you have a correct understanding of what A/B testing can and cannot do, and that means understanding its definition thoroughly.

  • A/B testing involves testing two elements.

The first one is your “control” or the element that currently exists in your website. The second element involves the new change that you want to introduce in your website.

  • A/B testing must be conducted under the same circumstances.

Say you have a website for kids. Running tests to determine the success rate of Element A from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. is a good idea because that’s the time when kids are likely to be home. It would not, however, be a good idea to conduct the same tests for Element B from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. because your target market – grade school students – is still likely in school at that time.

The best way to go about this is to test A and B on the same time slot but on different weekdays. You can also do the same on different days of the weekend.

  • Use the right and best metric tools to determine the results.

You can’t rely on guesswork or your “instincts” to determine how effective A is over B or vice versa. You need quantifiable results, and you can get that from metric or conversion tools. Naturally, which tools you should use would be determined by the type of conversion you are interested in.

The most commonly used conversion rate is sales.

  • Element A brought in 100 visitors and 10 of those made a purchase. That means Element A has a 10% conversion rate.
  • Element B brought in 100 visitors but only 5 of those made a purchase. That gives Element B a lower conversion rate at 5%.

Sales conversion rates can also be made more specific or detailed if you don’t just base it on the total number of visits your website received. You can also base it on the number of visits Element A drew in per hour.

There are also other types of conversion rates that may be ideal to use.

  • Newsletter sign-ups or subscriptions
  • Leads or getting contact information from prospective clients
  • Amount of revenue generated by affiliate links
  • Amount of revenue generated by click ads
  • Amount of time spent on a particular page

When Is A/B Testing Ideal to Use?

The list below is just an example in which A/B testing has proven to be effective. Other areas not listed here may also benefit from A/B testing, but it ultimately depends on the number of changes you are proposing to introduce. Anything more than one would make multivariate testing more suitable.

Here are other parts of your website that are likely to benefit from this type of test.

  • Types of buttons used for call to action
  • Use of online trust and trade association seals and logos
  • Number of images used
  • Headlines

The sky’s the limit to what you can discover with A/B testing, but it all boils down to figuring out what’s wrong with your website first.

Lastly, most people mistakenly assume that methods such as A/B testing are only good for evaluating your website and all its components. In reality, you can apply this test as well to marketing methods you may be performing “outside” your website. A good example of this would be your email campaign, and most of its elements may be subject to A/B testing as well.

Want to learn more about A/B testing? You can find more information on the Maxymiser guide to AB testing. You might also be interested in “What’s the Difference Between Quantitative and Qualitative Research?” on the 60 Second Marketer blog.

Ruben Corbo is a freelance writer that writes about technology, gaming, music, and online marketing especially topics about A/B split testing and how to run multivariate tests. Ruben is also an avid gamer and music composer for short films and other visual arts.

Archive for ‘Website Design’

May 9th, 2012

10 Essential Tips You Can Use to Convert More of Your Visitors into Customers

Online business is all about conversion. Naturally, if your conversion rate is low, it makes no difference how high you’re ranked on Google. Ultimately, your success or failure will be determined by your conversion rate, which means you should focus as much energy on converting your traffic as you do on getting the traffic to your site in the first place.

Here are some simple techniques that can help you improve your conversion rate.

1. Build trust through quick response
You may have your email address and your phone number listed on your website, but how quickly do you respond to an inquiry from a potential customer? People desire a quick response from a real person. A simple prerecorded voice on the telephone is the surest way to put off a potential buyer. An auto generated email response may be quick, but it lacks the human touch. Try to follow-up in person as quickly as you can.

2. Make contact information easy to access
Sometimes your contact information is tucked away in a remote corner of your website. You should make it easy for visitors to see your contact information. Make the phone number and the email address standout on the first page itself. If possible, have a toll free number on your website. This may be expensive, but it will prove a worthwhile investment in the long-run.

3. People hate hidden charges
Don’t surprise people with add-on or hidden charges. If you have international shipping, then you should display clearly the charges a customer will have to pay for delivery. This helps to build trust and confidence which, in turn, helps improve conversion.

A successful e-commerce site is about more than just driving traffic. It’s also about converting that traffic into customers.

4. Make your pages easy to read
Make sure your information easy-to-read and error-free. Sloppy work does not inspire confidence. If you display that you are sloppy with your website, you cannot expect people to buy from your website.

5. Include an “about us” page

If you don’t have an “about us” page, then you are never going to improve your rate of conversion. You need to inform people all about who you are and what your company does. If possible, give a brief description and history about your online business since this helps to build trust.

6. Make your website visually appealing
If your website does not have a visual appeal, then your conversion rate is always going to be poor. The first page should always have a few images and, if possible, at least one video. Current data suggests that adding a short video introduction to your website can improve your conversion rate significantly.

7. Offer a freebie
Another great tool for raising the conversion rate is to offer a freebie on the website. If you can offer a free downloadable product such an eBook then you can raise your rate of conversion considerably. Some websites offer free utility software or other premiums. No matter what you offer, research indicates that freebies often pay for themselves by improving conversion rates.

8. Make your website accessible on mobile phones
Gartner predicts that by 2013 the number one way people will access the internet will be via a mobile device. Given that, it’s important that you’ve optimized your website to be mobile-ready. (For tips on how to do this, read “How to Build a Mobile Website” on the 60 Second Marketer blog.)

9. Make certain all links are live and working properly
When was the last time you checked the links on your site? It’s important to have live links that work well on your site. Links that are dead will kill your conversion rate. As time consuming as this may be, it’s worth having someone go through each page of your site to test all the links.

10. Drive your visitors to action
When a visitor lands on your page, he or she should feel compelled to take action. Make certain that you use words and phrases that call a visitor to read on and explore the website further. This will improve the rate of conversion as well. (For more on this topic, read “The 14 Most Powerful and Effective Words in Marketing” on the 60 Second Marketer blog.)

These are just some of the ways you can improve their rate of conversion and become successful on the web. Do you have any tips of your own? If so, share them in the comments section below.

Sam Mauzy is a marketer and blogger who has learned much of what he knows by trial and error while improving his own site’s average conversion rate and sharing his knowledge and tips in marketing forums.

Archive for ‘Website Design’

May 8th, 2012

8 DIY Services for Building a Website on a Budget

Your company’s online presence begins and ends with your website. However, hiring a design company can be expensive. Fortunately, with do-it-yourself options, it is easier than ever to create a high-impact website without breaking the bank.

Squarespace is just one of many web development tools that can be used to build a website on a budget.

Check out these 8 services to help you create your website at little to no cost:

  1. Squarespace: Squarespace has subscription prices ranging from $12 to $36 per month with accounts including hosting, the Squarespace content management system, the visual designer tools, and access to widgets/add-ons to incorporate into your site. You can also use your own domain name with all levels of Squarespace accounts. Larger plans give you room for more pages, more bandwidth, more management staff, and access to advanced features like FAQs, SSL, form builders and member registration.
  1. Weebly:  Weebly is an entirely free service that allows you to use your own domain name and choose from more than 100 professional themes, which can then be further customized. Weebly also has gallery/slide show functionality, audio and video players, a custom form builder, and built-in blogging platform.
  1. Jigsy: Jigsy’s plans range from free to $30 per month, and all paid plans will let you host multiple websites from the same account. Jigsy also has a blogging platform, handles e-mail hosting, and utilizes a widget-based system. Widgets are available for features like Google maps integration, RSS feeds, and PayPal/eBay selling. Jigsy also offers tools for easily creating photo galleries and slide shows.
  1. SnapPages: SnapPages is a drag-and-drop website builder and hosted service provider with plans ranging from free to $30 per month. Features for all plans include a blogging platform, customizable themes, photo galleries, calendars, and basic access control through a “friends” list. With the paid plans, you can host your own domain name, add your own custom HTML and JavaScript code, gain access to powerful analytics, and control various SEO options.
  1. Yola: Yola is a website creation service offering free and paid plans from $99 to $499 per year. Yola offers more than 100 themes to choose from and customization options. Other features include analytics and traffic statistics, premium styles and multi-site hosting. Both paid plans include advertising credits on popular ad platforms like Facebook and Google AdWords.
  1. Moonfruit: Moonfruit is a free website host and editor with extremely customizable designs and detailed editing options. A site you build in Moonfruit is designed to render in Flash, HTML, or mobile HTML5, depending on how the user is accessing it. Moonfruit’s basic services are free for one website with up to 15 pages, 20MB of online storage, and 1GB of monthly bandwidth. For those who need more, Moonfruit has packages from $6 to $50 per month. Its Business package is $25 per month, offering 15 websites with unlimited pages, 2500MB of storage, and unlimited bandwidth.
  1. Qapacity: Qapacity is a business-oriented social networking site and a business directory. Instead of adding your website, you add a “service” to Qapacity’s network of businesses, and then build an associated website to promote your service. Qapacity’s basic features are free, including one website with five pages, 16 images, 1GB of storage, and 500GB of monthly bandwidth. Qapacity also offers packages from $12 to $40 per month.
  1. Jimdo: Jimdo is another easy-to-use website designer with integrated e-commerce. Jimdo has three membership tiers: Free, Pro ($5/month), and Business ($15/month). The free membership lets you list up to five items for sale, with Jimdo taking a 10 percent cut. The $15 Business membership lets you list unlimited items and Jimdo takes no cut. The service also optimizes your site for the iPhone and other mobile devices.

The Take-Away: You do need to put something into your site if you expect to get anything in return, but you don’t need to break the bank to create your site or build an online presence. There are great services on the web that will help you do just that. To check out more information, visit Mashable.

Brittney Leigh Smith is a marketing analyst for the 60 Second Marketer.