Category Archives: Web Design

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Building Trust with an “About Us”

Posted on October 25, 2013 in Web Design by cmblogger

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When you’re redesigning your website, don’t neglect a critical part of the entire site experience: the “about us” page. It’s a great opportunity to let customers know not only who you are and what your company is about, but to build the essential human element into any online interaction. Whether you sell airplane parts or children’s toys, make no mistake. Consumers make buying decisions based on emotions first, not facts. Credibility and trust, therefore, are everything.

In creating an “about us” page, don’t skimp on quality content. Avoid the cliches of your industry, and tell a compelling story instead. Why did your company come about? Who are the people who make up your team? Paint a picture with vivid writing rather than just using canned verbiage. This is an opportunity for creating memorable details about your products, your employees and your company. It’s a way to distinguish yourself from your competitors.

Photographs are helpful too, in that they show the faces behind the names. Everyone likes to look at people, not just things in photographs. No matter what you sell, personalizing your product by letting consumers see “behind the curtain” of your operation establishes you as a brand of real people. You’re no longer just another sales pitch. It’s sincere, and it’s effective. In a world where straight talk and plain dealing sometimes go by the wayside, don’t forget that these nevertheless remain universals of any successful business.

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Good Web Design Enhances Credibility

Posted on October 18, 2013 in Web Design by cmblogger

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According to a recent report from Stanford University’s Persuasive Technology Lab, 46.1% of people say that a website’s design is the “number one criterion for discerning the credibility of the company.” The silver lining to this rather serious news? Great web design doesn’t have to be fancy-or expensive.

Its central goal should be to convey your company’s most important qualities, those that separate you from all other competitors and define you as a trustworthy brand that consumers can’t afford to be without. Retain current website traffic and attract new site visitors with easy, intuitive navigation, well organized content, and a consistent, concise message throughout that focuses on the unique benefits provided by your products and services. And the rest? Ensure your site loads quickly, remains compatible with a variety of browsers and has a hosting service that’s entirely reliable-and you’ll be good to go.

Need more statistics to convince you? According to KissMetrics Research, 40% of consumers will simply walk away from a website that requires more than 3 seconds to load properly, and at least 50% of potential sales disappear when a customer can’t figure out how to navigate pages effectively. In contrast, 60% of consumers report feeling positive about a website when they read any custom content found on a website. Quality visuals, appealing colors and well considered layouts also encourage your visitors to stay longer and browse.

With Internet users growing increasingly sophisticated and familiar with the very best cyber design the marketplace has to offer, the takeaway is…you can’t afford not to have a great website as we go into 2014.

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Going Mobile:The Stats Are In

Posted on October 11, 2013 in Web Design by cmblogger

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For any digital marketing campaign this fall, a mobile friendly site is no longer a nice option, but an essential must have. Did you know your consumers are using more than 232 unique screen resolutions today among their tablets, smartphones and desktop browsers? With well over 21% of web traffic to e-retailers coming from tablets and smartphones, smart companies have websites that are optimized for just about anything.

Still on the fence? Consider the other statistics. More than 67% of shoppers say they prefer to make purchases from websites that are mobile friendly, understandable when you consider that more than 91% of Americans have a device next to them twenty four hours a day that allows them to access the Internet. With more than $108 per average online retail transaction using their smartphone or tablet, your mobile consumer is ready to spend with your company-if they can access your site.

The risks of a mobile friendly redesign? Ensure your website does not extend the time necessary to download all your image elements onto a particular device. Streamlining is the key, so make your content equally accessible across a variety of browsers. While the user experience can be different from device to device, it should be efficient across the board.

With the reduced maintenance problems and increased visibility within the marketplace, a device friendly website makes sense, regardless of your industry. No matter what you sell, the move to mobile will increase your conversions and boost your online brand for 2014.

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Effective Content Provides Emotional Benefits

Posted on October 4, 2013 in Uncategorized, Web Design by cmblogger

A little Website Love

Photo Credit:
andreyutzu

In deciding on the content for your new website, it’s easy to focus on what undoubtedly you know the most about: your company’s goods and services. And yet, when it comes to creating hard working content that really gets conversions, the answer lies in addressing what any consumer wants, quite naturally, to talk about instead: themselves.

Effective copy focuses on the benefits of your services, not the services themselves. What problems confront your typical consumer-and how does your product solve them? Only by demonstrating you first understand their personal challenges and have a way for them to overcome them will you generate the kind of solid return on your website design that you deserve.

“Benefits” too can be a murky term. Consider the difference between real benefits and “fake” benefits-and their impact on the consumer. Let’s assume you sell motor oil. Its use results in better engine functioning, and in turn, lower costs for the car owner as a result of needing fewer repairs. In generating the copy for your website, it might seem appropriate to tout “Better Engine Functioning!” as your headline. And yet…consider the emotional impact of selling this motor oil instead as a way to save time and money. In the end, unless you’re a car buff, you’re not going to connect with a phrase like “better engine functioning” on an emotional level. Time and money, on the other hand, are precious commodities we all have feelings about.

Remember, as much as we’d like to assume otherwise, most, if not all of our buying decisions are made from an emotional rather than rational vantage point. Make sure your new website design answers those questions, and ensure your success within the marketplace.

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Testing: Knowing How to Evaluate Your Design

Posted on September 13, 2013 in Web Design by cmblogger

Everyone agrees that A/B testing is useful when it comes to determining what variable works and what doesn’t for a website design. In fact, one company recently demonstrated that this kind of evaluation can lead to an increase in sales of more than 35%. However, when you are getting ready to create your test, make sure you understand how and when to utilize this helpful tool. The wrong kind of testing can lead to faulty information and a design that spells disaster for your customers.

The A/B test is used exclusively to evaluate two different versions of one element of your web page. For example, you would use this test to evaluate whether you received more calls from a phone number printed in yellow at the top of your homepage, or if one printed in black was more successful.

However, when it comes to testing for several different issues, multivariate testing may be a better choice. With multivariate testing of your phone number color, font and placement, for example, you’ll create 8 different versions of the same page, assuming you’re choosing from only two options for each variable. Equal numbers of site visitors should be directed to visit each page in order to get the data you need to make a decision.

Consult your web designer to make sure your testing will answer the questions you’re asking. Armed with the right information, you’ll have a great website, with design choices based on hard data instead of guesswork.

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Web Design Disaster: Lurking Technical Problems That Can Derail SEO

Posted on September 6, 2013 in Web Design by cmblogger

Think of your website as a beautiful looking dinner. Prepared with the right ingredients, what looks great can also be good for you too. But like unrefrigerated chicken, a few technical mistakes can end up making everyone sick.

For example, are you cloaking? As a black hat technique, this term refers to showing the search engines different content than what you’re presenting to your site visitors. It ‘s a way to trick the search engines into giving you a higher site ranking than what you deserve, and naturally, Google doesn’t like it. Unfortunately, quite inadvertently, sometimes coding issues can create exact match anchor text links that don’t show up on a mouseover-and give the appearance of cloaking as well. Have your developers routinely check for any of these technical errors that may end up hiding content from users, while still having it appear for the search engines.

What about 301 redirects? If you’ve recently migrated your website or gone through a redesign, even the most functional 301 redirect plan can sometimes fail. Whether from a coding problem, a faulty database table or other issues, a faulty 301 redirect can send your SEO strategy off a cliff in a hurry. Make sure to to evaluate any old URLs regularly to stay safe.

Whether it’s a dirty sitemap or problematic code, technical problems are never fun. Evaluate your website regularly to ensure you’re not sending the wrong messages to the search engines, and instead are delivering up fresh, healthy signals for the best results.

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Reaching Consumers on the Move: What You Should Know About Mobile

Posted on August 9, 2013 in Web Design by cmblogger

Turn to any blog or magazine writing about what matters in digital marketing in 2013 and you’ll read about the mobility of the modern customer. With smartphones and tablets everywhere, today’s consumer is accessing the web from just about anywhere other than a desk.

And yet, reaching this demographic is still a challenge. Clearly, the same old techniques used with the customer on a desktop browser won’t always work, and yet, the degree of difference between a mobile consumer marketing campaign and a traditional one is still being debated.

Here’s what we know. First, don’t eliminate tried and true strategies for your mobile campaign, just modify them for your mobile customer. Emails, newsletters, and links to infographics are still extremely effective. However, shorter subject headings, mobile friendly graphics, and designs that make it easy for your customer on a cellphone or tablet to access and see what you’re selling is essential.

Consider utilizing location based data as well in your mobile strategy. Using the smartphone or tablet’s GPS device can help you provide targeted information for the right customers who are poised to take advantage of a particular offer or store location. Capture them by taking advantage of the information a mobile device provides you.

Mobile doesn’t have to mean a sea change from the marketing you’re already doing. Shifting your existing strategy into one that provides the maximum ease and convenience for your mobile customer is the key element in developing a successful strategy.

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Test for Conversions on Low Traffic Websites

Posted on August 2, 2013 in Web Design by cmblogger

For many small businesses without SEO optimization, it’s a hard truth. Your site traffic numbers, particularly for businesses catering to a small local clientele, may be not be in the thousands. In fact, they may be in the hundreds, or worse, even the tens. If that’s the case for you-then quantifying your conversion rate will be all the more essential in determining what changes you’ll have to make to get more customers, stat.

For a low traffic website, this can be a challenge. With a website that gets huge numbers, obviously multivariate testing is effective. But with only a few site visitors per day, getting the answers you need can be a long, slow process. Speed up your results by testing for one variable at a time.

Next, beef up your website’s user experience. With more internal links, stronger content and compelling page headlines, you can improve engagement and lengthen the time each potential customer spends on your pages. This will improve conversion numbers, fast.

Finally, take a look at what the visitors you have are doing once they get to your website. Consider asking them directly if they found what they were looking for with the help of a review service, or a chat function. Their feedback can provide insights you may have missed previously. You can also employ a mouse movement capture function to record exactly how consumers behave on your website. Where do they go? What do they click on? This information is invaluable in creating content that works for you.

With testing, content changes and ultimately, the help of your consumers, a low traffic website can increase its conversion rate. Remember, feedback is your friend when it comes to successful online marketing.

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Capture More Prospects with a Better B2B Landing Page

Posted on July 26, 2013 in Web Design by cmblogger

Along with hard hitting PPC, social media and SEO campaigns, your digital B2B marketing plan must include landing pages that work intuitively to capture your prospects, from a customer’s initial click to their completion of a “contact us” form. While this last element may seem easy, you’d be amazed how many businesses overlook the benefits a well thought out landing page can provide in nurturing sales leads.

First, make sure your landing page is linked seamlessly to whatever you’re sending out. Whether they started with a drip marketing email, an invitation on a social media site to get more information or a paid search ad, make sure what your customers find on your landing page fits with what they initially clicked on-and that they can get there with a minimum of hassle.

Think of your landing page and the “teaser” that led there as part of the same overall design. The message your customers find on your landing page should expand upon and reinforce the initial selling proposition you alluded to. Use your landing page to close the deal, in other words, that began somewhere else.

Make it easy for your clients by asking only for the bare minimum necessary from them to get to the next level. If they’ve already given you an email on an initial inquiry, don’t ask them to fill it in again on the landing page-prepopulate the form if possible. And like a first date, you might spook new clients with too many questions. Get more information later.

Remember, a landing page brings leads directly to the door, so to speak. Using smart, cohesive visuals and strong copy, you can turn those prospects into sales, today.

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Important Design Terms for Any Website

Posted on July 12, 2013 in Web Design by cmblogger

With any design project, it’s easy to get intimidated by the creatives when they talk about your new kitchen or your new website, especially when they toss around unfamiliar terms with the authority that comes from doing hundreds of them a year. But like a well thought out new kitchen, a great website must reflect its owners tastes, habits and preferences to justify the expense in creating it.

Here are some useful terms to help you communicate with your design team so that you can get exactly what you want during the process:

Analogous Colors: This refers to the colors next to one another on a color wheel. Used together, they’re generally complementary to one another and pleasing to the eye.

Dots Per Inch: DPIs refer to the resolution of a printed digital image. More dots per inch=greater image resolution, fewer dots per inch= less image detail.

EPS: This file format contains both texts and graphics.

GIF: Steve Wilhite, the man who first created the Graphics Interchange Format, says a “GIF” is pronounced with a soft “g” and never in a “jiffy”. The term refers to a small moving image, photographic or animated.

HTML: The computer language programmers use to create your images, content and links for the web. Imagine it like the actual two by fours, nuts and bolts used for a construction project.

JPEG: Refers to an image file used with photographs for maximum clarity.

Kerning: Knowing this phrase will impress your friends-and the design team. It refers to the space between individual letters in any copy. Not to be confused with Leading, the space between the typed lines of copy.

Visual Hierarchy: The way in which your content is prioritized by the actual design. Your company’s phone number and logo, for example, would probably come first in the visual hierarchy of your page, with their bright colors and large size.