Every February I take my family to the San Antonio stock show and rodeo. 1.7 million People attended last year,
We like to see small business succeed and have beautiful websites that sell. With all the terrible advice on the internet it’s time for a few design tips that actually work and will help you get the message you want your customers to receive so they are more inclined to buy what you’re selling.
Would you buy meat from a grocery store that left the bad meat in with the good meat or wasn’t clean? Would you buy a car from a sales lot that had totaled automobiles on the front lot? I wouldn’t and neither would you. Your website is your grocery store; your car lot. You must have an atmosphere that is pleasing to buyers. One that tells that buyer that you are not an amateur, but instead a trained, seasoned professional. Your site is a direct reflection of your product and that is why that having a well designed website can make or break your sales.
The first thing to keep in mind when designing your website, is “surfability”. Take a few minutes a look around at several web pages. What makes them appealing? Were there some that you closed out of immediately? Why? Take notes and do your research. Keep in mind that when a person visits your site they have a goal in mind. They are either seeking information or shopping for a product. Give the person what they want without having to search for it. Be sure that all the information on your site is relevant to your product. Make the buyer think that they need your product to solve their problem.
Your main page serves a very specific purpose. It should be an avenue by which the customer can shop your site. It should be easy to view and load very quickly. This is your first impression and we all know that first impressions can either close the deal or loose the deal. Make it simple. It is best to have links that are easily viewable by the reader that will navigate them to where they want to be. Tables are often a great choice when deciding on a way to design the main page of your site. Your main page should load very quickly, chances are if it takes the page more than ten seconds to load even on a 56k modem, the customer will click away to save time, hoping to find the information or product elsewhere. To increase the loading speed of your main page you should avoid large graphics or excessive graphics. Too many banners or special effects can cause a page to load slowly as well.
To make your web site more appealing to the eyes, you should stick to mild colors. If your site is a content site where the user will be doing a lot of reading, it is best to stick to black and white. Color can be added when using tables, as a way to brighten up the page, but remember to keep the overall look of the page professional and appealing to the audience that will be visiting most often. Since screen resolutions vary among monitors, it is a good idea to set the pixels to a standard 800×600. You may also choose to set the tables in your web page to span a percentage of the page rather than a set number of inches. This will be sure to accommodate all screen sizes. You should remember that a lot of Internet users will not use the same browser as you, and therefore you should be sure that your site looks as good on other browsers as it does your own. You can do this by downloading several browsers through which to look at your page.
Be aware of the fact that the overall look of your website is a way to make money. The appearance of the site, if designed properly, can be an excellent marketing strategy for your product or service.
I believe some people create and publish websites for the sole purpose of tormenting their visitors. Browsing various websites and navigating the Web can often be like trying to read on an airplane while a kid kicks the back of your seat and the baby next to you alternates between screaming, crying and drooling on you. There are some excellent websites out there to be sure, but there are also a lot of dreadful ones too. The latter are the bane of so many people’s existence, especially those who use the Web regularly.
The Net continues to grow in popularity and importance for consumers and businesses alike. Therefore, the quality of sites needs to keep pace. Creating and maintaining high-quality websites is more important now than ever. Higher quality equals more revenue.
The following lists the top ten ways that a website misses the boat and contributes to hair loss and nervous breakdowns. Notice the common thread that runs throughout each of these. Namely, a bad website neglects to consider the site visitor’s experience in some fundamental ways.
Seven year-olds like watching animated cartoons on Saturday morning, business people, professionals and most other adults don’t. Sites that include showy Flash animations as an ‘Intro’, animated gifs on every page, or flying words are really annoying. They take away from the content and distract the visitor from achieving their goals. Unless your site is an entertainment site, try to avoid maddening motion. However, if your product or service can be better demonstrated using Flash, Quick Time, or other multimedia, which is common, offer your visitors the chance to click a link to view it. But don’t force them.
2. Too much scrolling
Once I scroll down a full screen’s worth, my eyes start to blur, I feel slightly lost, my head spins and my interest wanes. Computer monitors really aren’t the best medium for reading. The Net and many sites are so big that it’s important to always provide a clear frame of reference for your visitors at all times while they’re on your site. If a page requires two full screens of scrolling or more, simply split it up into multiple pages.
3. Long, text-heavy and blocky paragraphs of unbroken text
I really have to be into a topic or desperately need to glean the information to trudge through big chunks of unbroken text online. If I’m just shopping around for a product or service, you’ve lost me if I have to endure this kind of torture. Again, it is harder to read text on the Web than in other mediums such as books. Additionally, Web users are notoriously impatient, so make your content easy to read and non-intimidating. Use titles, sub-titles, small paragraphs, bullets and numbering.
4. No obvious ways to contact the company
If all you supply is an email on your website, your legitimacy may be questioned. Why can’t you answer the phone? Why hide behind an anonymous and cold email address? Make it easy for your existing and potential customers to talk with you.
5. Unchanging or out-dated content
If I start reading content on a site and soon discover that the content was written three years ago, I split. Since there’s so much information out there, my reasoning is there’s got to be comparable information online that’s more current. If you keep your content fresh your site will attract repeat visitors. And repeat visitors are more likely to turn into customers.
6. Long page downloads
It’s amazing that this is still a problem. When I click on to a site and have to sit there waiting for it to appear in my browser, I start sweating, picking my teeth, tapping my toes, rolling my eyes and soon want to throw my computer through my office window. I’m obviously a little impatient, but again, I know there are other sites out there with the same information that will download more quickly, so why wait? I’m gone.
7. “Me, me, me!” instead of “You, you, you”
Generally speaking, no one cares about you, your company or your thoughts. What they do care about is what you can do for them. So sites that show pictures of the company building or tout their deep philosophy on the way business should be conducted really don’t bode well for keeping the interest of site visitors. On the other hand, sites that speak directly to potential customers about how they can solve their problems, make their lives easier, safer, richer or more comfortable have a much better chance of keeping the eyeballs glued.
8. Non-explanatory buttons or links
Here are some examples of buttons that leave me dazed and confused: A wedding site with a button called ‘Blanks’, a boating site with a button named ‘The Lighthouse’, a book site with a button called ‘The Inside Story’, or a Web design site with a button called ‘Tea Time’. They sound like Jeopardy categories. Imagine trying to find your way on a highway where its various signs read ‘Over Here’, ‘Moon Beams’, and ‘Lollypops’. Good luck navigating your way through. It’s the same with navigating websites. Button and link names need to tell the visitor where the link leads to. Make it as easy as possible for a visitor to know where they’re going before they click. However, there are times when naming a link an ambiguous name may pique the curiosity of a user and get them to click on it. But as a general rule, keep your links and buttons as descriptive as possible.
9. Inconsistent navigation
Imagine sitting down at a restaurant and the waiter comes over to you and hands you five different menus, one for the appetizers, one for the soups and salads, one for the entrees, one for the desserts, and one for the drinks. Annoying. Now imagine if each menu had a different format, layout and method for listing the items. Brutal. I really don’t want to work that hard at picking out my dinner, I’m hungry and I just want a meal. Don’t make your visitors work hard either by expecting them to re-learn your navigation system each time they enter another section of your site. They too are hungry; for useful information and they’re even more impatient.
10. Inconsistent look & feel
When the look & feel completely changes from one page to another in a website, I think I am visiting another site, another company, a partner or subsidiary. I get very confused. This screams poor planning and often results from tacking on new sections later after the original site was built. This can lead to design-drift. It may be tempting to stray from the original design; you may have a better design now. But wait till you do a complete next-generation re-design of the entire site before introducing a new look & feel. If not, lots of visitors will be scratching their heads with one hand and possibly clicking away with the other.
Finally, any site that employs a number of these notorious features is particularly painful to experience. When I click to a website that has five different fonts and colors, scrolls down to the core of the Earth, incorporates zinging words and big fat blocks of text, lists no phone number and has content written and dated in 1996, I scream and know deep down inside that pulling my fingernails out wouldn’t be as torturous as having to remain there a minute longer.
It’s been several years since you had someone design your company web site and now it’s outdated. You are losing business to competitors that have quality designed web sites with great layout and navigation. This may be your first company web site and you want to make the most of your money and time.
How do you choose a quality web design company that will understand your companies’ objective for designing or redesigning this web site?
First, you need to answer a few questions.
1. What is your budget and time frame for completing the web design or redesign project?
2. Are you going to be using original content and pictures for building this web site?
3. If this is a website redesign, are you planning on getting updated images and content for this new look and layout or will you need the web design company to supply them for you?
4. Does any one at your company have basic editing skills and will they be able to update the website content or will this be an ongoing job for the web design company you hire?
5. Are you looking for a local web design company?
6. Do you already have an idea of your web design colors, layout, and navigation?
Knowing the answers to these questions, will help you when you locate the right web design company.
Now it’s time to find the right web design company for your needs. Go to Google and search for local web design firms and you will see how many results show. Take “web design orlando” for example: Results 8,860,000. Wow, there are a lot of results for “web design orlando”.
Don’t panic, you will probably find a company that can do the quality web design work you need in the first 50 results. Quality web design firms will have a portfolio of work online that will show an example of their custom web design work. Start at the first web design result on work your way down.
Examine the portfolio to see if there is anything equivalent to the web design layout you are imagining. You will be able to tell immediately if this web design firm is right for your company and its look and feel. Find out how long they have been in the web design industry and compare that to how many quality web sites they have designed in that time.
If this is a redesign, find out how many web site redesigns that have completed and ask to see the web site before and after the redesign.
Find out if they have the staff available to work on your entire web design needs and that they know the programming necessary to complete the job in a timely manner. Ask for references, a top end web design firm will be glad to offer up references on the web design work performed. Most web design references will be glad to talk to you about the quality job your potential web design company did on their web site.
Depending on your web design budget, it may help to several quality web design companies to talk to. You will want to get at least 3 estimates and it never hurts to have more.
Remember, when it comes to your business and your companies exposure on internet, take you time locating a quality web design company. Your future may depend on it.
Psychology behind the colors that can make or break your website’s success.
Did you know that the values associated with colors can have a significant impact on your website’s success? And did you know that you can change your visitor’s feeling, mood and reaction by using different colors on your website?
Some professional web designers do not realize the impact that a single color can have on their project when designing a website for their clients. In reality, the meaning of colors will send the first message of your website to your visitors. You don’t have to be a genius to find out why since it is obvious that the first thing they (visitors) see is the color of your site!
I have studied one hundred visitors to evaluate their patience for uploading a web page. First, I tried a plain black background page and the average waiting time was up to 2.47 seconds. Then I tried a plain white background page and the average wait time for uploading the web page increased to 4.89 Seconds.
The reason is just fear. People are afraid from black and darkness and they feel vulnerable when they see a plain black page. I won’t go in detail about this subject in this article but if you would like to know more you can always visit our site at websitedevelopmenttech.com and get more information about color psychology.
What color should you use when designing your website?
Before answering this question you should do some research about your target audiences and find out about their character, behavior, mood, emotion … etc. I’m not asking you to go and find each individual and interview them to find out their feelings and emotions. All you need to do is find the answer of these two questions:
1. What is the market segmentation that you are targeting?
d. Geographic location
2. Why are they coming to your website?
Let’s take a closer look at these two questions.
A. Market Segmentation:
a. Age: What is the most appropriate color for the age group that your website is targeting.
b. Gender: Men and Women have different taste and they react differently to colors. For example, the color pink is more appealing to women.
c. Culture: Colors mean different things to different cultures around the world. People associate colors to special events in their culture. For example, white is the symbol of purity and virtue in some cultures while in others white is associated with mourning and grief.
d. Geographic Location: Sometimes geographic location can change people’s interpretation of certain colors. For example, people that are living in a desert area tend to be more passionate toward bright colors from yellow to orange vs. people that are living in the mountains.
B. Why are they coming to your website?
a. That is a very important question which determines the mood and feeling of your visitors. For example, people go to a lawyer’s or a doctor’s website because they have a problem and they want to be FIXED. This means they are not really excited or happy about that issue. Although, this may not be the case all the time there are some exceptions such as plastic surgeons, patent attorneys… etc.
As a designer, once you know your target markets then you can decide what color to choose to get the best possible outcome for your site. Sometimes you may end up changing some colors that you thought would be interesting to your visitors.
Remember, no matter how much you know and how hard you try, there is no guarantee that you can make it the first time. That is why it is important to monitor the results of your website and know how visitors are interacting with your site so you can change your mistakes and learn from it.
Contact our San Antonio web design firm for all your web needs. Roughneck Graphics 210.587.7108
“Content is King! If you want a website to generate back-links and have quality content the search engines love, be sure to make it readable by both people and search engines. Search engines are working to give people quality results. Thus, they are looking for sites with quality content. So – by building site content for people, not only are you getting back to basics (information dissemination to people via the Internet), you are creating a site search engines will love. So, build sites for people – and the search engines will come.
When creating a new website or redesigning an existing site, there are four critical rules which should be followed to make the site effective, functional, loved by search engines – and successful.
1. Easy to Read
When building a website, the first thing you need to be sure of is that your website is easy to read. When you write content, remember that most web site visitors don’t read every word of a page – in fact, they only scan pages to find what they want.
Break up Your Content
Break up your pages and use headers between major ideas so people scanning your site can find what they want quickly. Use meaningful headers between each paragraph or major idea – this helps with SEO. Headers should be created with the H1 through H4 tags for SEO. Always use good writing structure. Additionally, avoid long paragraphs that run on. You should break up any long paragraphs.
Color and Fonts
To help readability, use high contrast colors between font and background. Black text against a white background may seem stark, but it is very readable. To make a website easy on the eyes, try an off-white background and a dark gray (almost black) text color.
Things to avoid with content color:
One simple statement covers the font issue:
Simple fonts are the best; the more fancy the font, the harder it is to read.
Since many browsers only have the standard font set, use standard fonts. In reality, there is no “standard”, but there are certain fonts that are installed on most browsers. These include Arial, Verdana, Tahoma and Times New Roman. Your readers will see something different than you see if you use other fonts.
Standard Compliant Browser for Development
When developing and testing your site, use a Standards compliant browser like FireFox. If you develop your site to be standards compliant, it will work in most browsers, including MS Internet Explorer (IE). It is recommended that you test your site using the latest and last browser versions of IE (IE6 and IE7). To run multiple versions of IE on the same machine, TredoSoft.com has a free installer that will install multiple versions of IE. It works great!
Keywords in Content
Of course, when writing content, not only should it be formatted to be readable, but it must also be consumable by not only people, but by search engines. One way to make the subject of the content known to search engines is to use the keywords that people use to search for your site in your content. Be sure to use keywords in your header tags, your first paragraph and throughout your text. The keyword density should be between 4% and 7% – but any more than that could 1) be hard to read and still make sense and 2) be considered spam by search engines and banned. Keywords should also be used in your TITLE tags and your Meta description.
2. Simplify Navigation
The menus and links make up the navigation that the visitor uses to get from page to page in a site. Always plan a site around how people will get from page to page. A visitor to your site should be able to get to what they want within three clicks of their mouse.
Multiple navigation points makes it easy to find things. Repeat the top menu and at the bottom. Also create a left or right menu.
Using links within your text to other areas on your site. You can create links so that they are good for search engine optimization (SEO). There are generally two ways to create links within your text:
Using link text (anchor text) that describes what the link is about is the best way. Search engine web crawlers (programs that automatically index the contents of websites) visit your site, they “read” links. Spiders can index descriptive links into a subject or keyword category. Spiders have nothing to work with when reading a “click here” until it reaches the linked page.
This is Cross Linking – use it as much as possible when it makes sense to do so when writing your content.
3. Consistent Design
At most, one or two layouts should be used in your site design. As a reader browses your site, they should be able to get used to looking in the same place for your navigation, for your sub-navigation and for your content. That’s all there is to say about that.
4. Lower Page Weight is Better
Page weight is the total size of a page on your site in bytes – code, text and images. Your site’s page weight makes a big difference to your viewers. Lighter page weight is better for your readers because the page will download faster. The faster a page downloads, the faster they will get to the content.
What is Means to be Light
How “Heavy” Should a Web Page be?
Certain studies show that 64K is a good maximum webpage size. 64K is a maximum, however it is still, in my opinion, really big! The smaller the page, the better. 25K is good, 15K is even better. There is a balance between design and function. It is a good idea to focus more on function.
Try putting pages on your web host server as you build your site so you can test it as you go. For pages online, you can test the page weight at www.quasarcr.com/pageweight/ to be sure you are on track.
Ways to make pages lighter:
Visitors to your website should be able to find what they are looking for within about three clicks. Search engines should be able to navigate easily through your site. Making a site easy to read with consistent page design, and easy to navigate will make it easy to find information. When people can find information, they are more likely to refer your site or link to it – which is exactly what you want to encourage. You will be on the way to building a readable and hopefully successful website that is loved by search engines if you follow these principals.
Having people visit your website is extremely important, especially if your livelihood depends on a high volume of cyber visitors. Internet marketing can be tricky, but it is an important tactic to employ to increase your website traffic. Here is how you can do it.
Search Engine Marketing will help increase website traffic by bringing more people to your website while using search engines to look for products or information relevant to your site. This includes usingsearch engine optimization (SEO), a term that gets thrown around a lot with regards to increasing site traffic. SEO will employ tactics like using keywords pertinent to your website to help search engines discover your page.
Pay-per-click ads (PPC) are another form of search engine marketing, but does cost money. PPC only costs you when people click and follow your ads to your website. You can also use pay for inclusion listing to help increase traffic.
Use e-mail marketing, which is not SPAM. SPAM is the unsolicited sending of e-mails to people, and the CAN-SPAM act will penalize those who do SPAM. Instead, e-mail marketing is sending e-mails to patrons of your website, after receiving their permission to do so. Once permission has been received, send e-mails regularly to those on your list. Keeping in touch will keep people up to speed, and hopefully keep bringing them back to your website.
Bringing people to your website is a tough business, but it can be done. It is important to the life of a site that it has an audience. You might consider hiring professionals who offer web design and internet marketing to help attract more traffic to your site. At Roughneck Graphics, we can help you with your internet marketing needs and make sure that your site gets seen. We also offer graphic design, brand design, and web design services. Contact us to learn more about our San Antonio based web design firm.
Mind mapping is a problem solving and brainstorming technique that has been used successfully for centuries as a way to graphically represent ideas and problems. Now, this proven technique is available at your fingertips.
iBlueSky, from Tenero Software, allows users to create dynamic mind maps right from their iPhone. Using classical mind mapping techniques to create links between thoughts and ideas, iBlueSky is a great way to supplement your businesses or personal problem-solving approach.
For more ways to help your business, call your San Antonio web design professional at (210) 587-7108.Roughneck Graphics specializes in internet marketing and brand design. Find out how a professional web design company can help your business attract new customers.
Whether you’re starting or establishing your business, setting up your web page often takes valuable time away from other matters—namely, your business.
Most business owners solve this problem by throwing some money toward their cousin’s high school kid, who is happy to do the job on the cheap. Hiring a professional web design and internet marketing business to help with your web site may be more expensive than trying to do it yourself, but it will be worth every penny.
The Operative Word is “Professional”
Much the same way you are a professional at what you do, professional web designers are, well, professionals. They follow the latest trends in design and technology and know all the ins and outs of setting up a web site that allows you to put your best foot forward on the internet.
Customized Specifically For You
There’s a very strong possibility that pre-generated web page templates lack a certain function that you need. Hiring a professional web design company allows you to address everything you want your website to do and everything you don’t want it to do.
Brand Design Integration
Professional web designers and internet marketers know how to create and integrate your brand across multiple platforms, so your branding and message will be consistent from your web page to your Facebook page to your Twitter. Cohesive brand design is another way to put your best foot forward and come across as the professional you are.
Search Engine Optimization
Professional internet marketers are also skilled at building web pages that are optimized for search engine algorithms, which helps to drive traffic to your website from sites like Google and Bing.
Hiring a professional web design company for your professional web site is a no-brainer. They may be your favorite cousin’s high schooler, but hiring a professional has benefits beyond those outlined above.
For more information about our web design, internet marketing and brand design services, give us a call at (210) 587-7108. Roughneck Graphicsspecializes in helping businesses look great on the internet and increase traffic; find out what professionals can do for your business! Call us at our San Antonio web design company.