Category: Website Design

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.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.

Is Your Web Site Optimized for Tablet Users?

Have you recently marveled at the design of a site or app on your tablet and wondered, “what should I be doing for my business’s tablet audience?”If so, you certainly aren’t alone. Tablet ownership skyrocketed from 10% of US adults to 19% over the most recent holiday season (Pew Internet). The relatively recent and explosive growth of tablet usage has left businesses with not only one, but many screen sizes to contend with on the web development front.Should you create a tablet version of your site? Is it OK to just send tablet users to your desktop site? With these questions in mind, here are four considerations to take to your next web strategy meeting:1. Whatever you do, you can’t ignore tablet users.The tablet market is sizable and growing fast, as mentioned above. On top of that, tablet users in 2011 spent on average about 20% more per purchase than desktop or laptop users (Adobe). Round that out with the fact that tablet owners skew younger and are more affluent (comScore), and you have a group that marketers can’t afford to dismiss.2. You probably don’t have to create a tablet-specific site or app.There are few businesses for which a tablet app is a top priority, and while companies like Time Inc. (People.com), Staples and Yahoo! have created fantastic dedicated tablet versions of their sites, this may not be a viable (or affordable) option for every business. It’s a debatable point, but the sensible approach for many businesses is probably to ensure that the desktop version of your site is tablet-friendly.3. Understand how the tablet experience is different.
  • Navigation – Since tablet users are navigating with their fingers, bigger buttons and easy, intuitive navigation are very important. If your site is even remotely cumbersome on desktop, it will be a royal pain on a tablet.
  • Plugins – To the extent possible, steer clear of plugins like Flash or Java, which are not supported across many tablets. Better yet, utilize HTML5 to deliver video and audio, as well as a streamlined and visually compelling user experience.
  • Multiple Orientations – Tablet users have the option of browsing in portrait or landscape view, so you want to make sure that any essential content is visible in either orientation. Taking it a step further, design your site layout to respond based on the orientation.
4. Utilize responsive web design.Wouldn’t it be great if web sites just adjusted content appropriately for any type of device? Well, responsive web design (RWD) is an approach that achieves just that, suggesting that design and development should respond to a user’s screen size, platform and orientation. It’s a hot topic in development circles, and BostonGlobe.com is a superb example of RWD in action.For any business with a web presence, tablet users are simply too valuable not to be a top priority. Schedule a meeting with your digital team today to discuss how you can optimize your desktop site for this rapidly growing market segment.About the Author: Cory Gaddis is a regular contributor to the 60 Second Marketer and helps Mobilize Worldwide create mobile marketing campaigns for a wide variety of clients.

10 Ways to Increase Customer Engagement on Your Website

Imagine this. The potential customer has found your website. They’re looking, they’re focusing, they’re reaching for their mouse ... but where will they click?Of course, we want them to click on a link within the site and not bounce away from the site. After that, we want to see them click our call-to-action.What are some ways you can improve the chances that a customer will stay on our website?1. Improve readability. Add white space, or change fonts (see 7 Secrets for Choosing the Right Font for Your Webpage). Get rid of clutter. Readers are more likely to stay on a site where it’s easier to see the information.2. Write great headlines. Attracting readers is a big part of the game. But don’t write outrageous headlines that don’t match the content. Readers will learn to distrust your site and will go away.3. Include customer testimonials. These compel the reader to trust your claims, increasing the chance they’ll look around on your site.4. Have videos on the site. A picture’s worth a thousand lines of HTML, as they say.5. Have a blog where employees contribute. Prospects are more likely to trust the people behind the company versus the “company.” Adding the opinion of real people, even customers, can be of more interest to the readers.6. Make your call to action obvious on your landing page. Be sure to include the solutions that you are providing also. The place to click needs to be obvious.7. Put most important information above the fold. Users need to see the crux of your message without having to scroll.8. Make it easy to find information. You’ve been on those sites where it’s just difficult to find what you’re looking for.  If it’s easier for the reader to go back to the original search and try another company, they will.9. Provide access to tools your customers need. Assessment tools, links to useful sites, or calculation tools will keep users coming back, even if they aren’t buying today.10. Have a prominent Search Box. Users need to have an easy way to find just what they are looking for.Look at your site from a consumer’s point of view. What would drive you away? Try some of these tips and watch your bounce rate decrease.Get Posts Like These Delivered to Your In Box Each Morning: If you like what you read today, you can have these blog posts delivered to your in box each morning by clicking marketing blog. Or, you can sign up for our free weekly e-newsletter by clicking marketing newsletter.