Why You Need A New Website This Year

With the “new year, new you” finally off everyone’s radar, we think it’s time to discuss “new year, new website”. While it doesn’t need to be the new year for you to start thinking about a new website, it’s a pretty good reason to explore more possibilities for your business. When we say “new website” it doesn’t necessarily have to be completely new – it could just be re-designed. There are many different reasons as to why you should re-design your website but below, we’re just going to list a few of the most beneficial ones.

To keep up with fast and responsive design

First of all, you need a responsive website if you want to rank in search engines. Also, even if you do have a responsive website at the moment, it may not be tailored to the latest responsive design technology. Not only does responsive design allow your website to fit perfectly onto different screen sizes and types, it also can help improve page speed. Both functionalities of which, Google has made major ranking factors. Therefore if your website it responsive but still rather slow, or fast and not responsive, Google is going to rank you well below the first page.

To boost your SEO

This links into the above point. Re-designing your website can help boost your SEO efforts in a multitude of ways. For starters, if your website is currently not built on a CMS that caters for easy SEO implementation then you could use this as an opportunity to move to a CMS that does. For example, WordPress is a great CMS for those who want to improve their SEO, as many plug-ins and tutorials are available to help you execute basic SEO tasks. Furthermore, re-designing your website in terms of layout could also boost your website’s rankings. By focusing on adding in H1 tags, paragraphs with your chosen keywords and relevant images with alt tags, you could see your business appear higher up in search engines.

To use it as an opportunity to re-brand

If you’ve had the same brand colours and logos for a while they can become quite uninspiring. So why not use 2019 to re-design your entire brand image. This is a great way to put your business back in the spotlight but also a great chance to re-evaluate your business’ messaging and goals. For example, you may have started your freelance business many years ago with the intention of just selling one service – however now you sell many services. Therefore you probably want to re-brand as more of a consultancy service who can cater to different clients’ needs. So you need to change your branding to communicate this more effectively to prospective customers.

To improve user experience

We all know that user experience is paramount when designing any website. How a user clicks through your website and how they get to their final goal is important if you are measuring your online stats and leads. But as time goes on a website that was ideal for users may no longer be so. This is due to changes in trends, user behaviour and ultimately user expectations. Unfortunately for businesses, user’s expectations are changing all the time therefore we must make sure our website’s always change to fulfil their expectations.

So those are the most beneficial reasons why you need a new website this year. However, of course, remember that these are just general tips and that how you should utilise and market your business is very dependent on what industry you are in as well as your target audience.

As always, if you need any further assistance with any social media marketing projects then please don’t hesitate to contact us either here or on LinkedIn or Twitter. Until then, happy marketing!

 

Five Festive Web Design Ideas

Twas a few weeks before Christmas, when all through the 3mil house, not a web designer was stirring, not even with their mouse. The last amends had been made, and final designs were sent off with care, in hopes that positive client feedback would soon be there… With Christmas slowly creeping up on us we thought it would be a great time to talk about how you can make your existing web design a little more festive. So whether you’re a coding extraordinaire or a less technical web design enthusiast we have something for you that can spice up your website this Christmas!

Snow flurries

Nothing quite says Merry Christmas like a subtle snow flurry. Even if you don’t have a white Christmas yourself, at least you can make it snow on your website! If you have a WordPress website, you’re in luck because there are many plug-ins you can use to get a variety of snowy effects. However if you’re using a different CMS you can always code something yourself or scour the internet for a relevant widget.

Christmas colour schemes

Red, greens, golds are all colours that come to mind when we think of Christmas. So why not implement them throughout your website this season to create a more festive feel? You don’t need to use all of the Christmas colours you can think of – just adding a few in more subtly will work just fine. We think the easiest way to do this is to incorporate them into borders, link text and button backgrounds. This way, they can easily be changed back once the festive season is over.

Festive functionalities

This festive web design idea is a little trickier. But if you remember when we spoke about micro-interactions then you’ll able to understand what we mean. So when someone interacts with a common feature on your website like a button – you can could have a some streamers, snow or sparkles burst out from behind it when it is clicked. This is sure to make your visitors feel some festive magic without going too over the top.

Starry light widgets

Similar to snow flurries, but a little less intrusive are starry light widgets. Frame your website with some Christmas lights for a few weeks to spread some festive cheer. Not only will they brighten up your website but also the days of your visitors. Again, if you’re on WordPress there are already some plug-ins for this, if not you may have to code your own.

Pop up presents

Instead of populating your website with pop-up ads, why not populate it with pop-up presents? When a user lands on your page, after a few seconds make a festive window appear. The window could contain anything you like from a festive promotion or money off code to a Christmas cracker joke.

So those are our top five favourite festive web design ideas for Christmas! Which was your favourite? And which one are you going to implement on your website this holiday season?

As always, if you need any help with your own web based projects please don’t hesitate to contact us directly or send us a tweet! Until next time, happy designing!

Why Some Web Design Trends May Not Be Working For Your SME

We’re all guilty of trying to keep up with the latest trends – be it fashion, sports, movies, music or web design. However we all must learn that trends are simple just that. They come and go. While they may look fashionable at the time of creation, they’re not always going to remain that way. Additionally, implementing trends for the sake of appearances can actually do your SME more harm than good.

The trend is irrelevant to your SME

This is the first and biggest reason as to why your chosen web design trend isn’t working. For a website to be successful it has to convey the main messages and goals of the business it is presenting. The message needs to be strong, to the point and completely undeniable. So if you’ve implemented a trend that doesn’t aid that messaging then you are diluting the whole point of your website. In the end your business gets lost in a sea of parallax scrolls, micro-interactions and video backgrounds.

The trend brings no value to user experience

If the web design trend isn’t making it easier for users to navigate your website then it has no function. So if the trend serves no purpose it should at least ignite some kind of feeling with the user for it to be deemed a worthy part of the web design. Web design quirks that bring no value to the user experience are simply redundant. After all, these kind of quirks take up space on your website and can potentially slow it down, or dilute your messaging. The complete opposite of what you need for a successful SME web design.

The trend is hindering your website’s main goal

When you create a website you should always have its goal and purpose in mind. A purpose or a goal are the reasons you create a website in the first place. Therefore using a web design trend that gets in the way of this is seriously damaging to your SME’s sales funnel. For example if you use your website to sell items and a complicated web design trend makes it difficult for users to check out – this is simply makes no business sense.

The trend is so obscure that only web designers know what it is

Our final point is actually one of our favourites. When you’re heavily involved in the web design industry and keep up to date with all the latest trends sometimes it becomes difficult to separate a functional trend from one that is just simply “cool”. Once you use this trend, after all the research you’ve put in to it, most people won’t actually know what it is. When users see somethine on a website they are unsure of or confused by this can create a bad user experience.

So those are our simple reasons as to why some web design trends aren’t working for your SME. However, of course, remember that these are just general tips and that how you should utilise and market your business is very dependent on what industry you are in as well as your target audience.

As always, if you need any further assistance with any social media marketing projects then please don’t hesitate to contact us either here or on LinkedIn or Twitter. Until then, happy marketing!

Getting Creative: How Real Web Designers Find Inspiration

It’s no surprise that many web design professionals struggle to find the right inspiration to get their ideas off the ground. With so much competition out there and original ideas being few and far between sometimes it can seem impossible. However we have a few simple ideas that could help you source some inspiration for your next web design.

Not counting on lightning bolts

One of the biggest mistakes that many web designers make is expecting a lightning bolt of inspiration to strike. This pretty much never happens so don’t rely on it. Some of the most creative web designs come from alot of research, hard work and problem solving. So don’t just sit there and wait for ideas to come to you – go out and find them.

Everyday stories

As cliche as it sounds the best way to find inspiration and get creative is through experiencing everyday life. So many things happen in life, the good and the bad. However all of them have the potential to act as little pieces of inspiration that slot together to create a fantastic web design. Take some time to listen to friends, colleagues and clients. You never know what they could say that may spike a creative thought.

Problem solving

Sometimes problems that arise when creating a web design can be the reason why a web design turns out so well. Problems and obstacles force us to approach the issue in a different or unconventional way. This forces us to solve the problem in a way in which we usually wouldn’t, creating a more original outcome.

Looking at other web designs

One of the easiest ways real web designers find inspiration is by looking at other designers work. However don’t look at work to copy it exactly – just take a few elements from it you really admire. If you’re not sure where to start researching other designers work take a look at some of our favourite web designs. You can also take a look at a few inspirational web design award sites like Awwwards.

Taking a good break

Like we said before, just letting life happen and listening to a few stories can be a good source of inspiration. But sometimes it’s better to stop actively looking and take a break for a while. We’re definitely not telling you to take a break to get inspiration though, we’re telling you to take a break to actually have a break. Taking breaks is a proven way to boost productivity and ensure you come back to your work feeling fresh.

So those are our simple tips and tricks on how real web designers find inspiration. However, of course, remember that these are just general tips and that how you should utilise and market your business is very dependent on what industry you are in as well as your target audience.

As always, if you need any further assistance with any social media marketing projects then please don’t hesitate to contact us either here or on LinkedIn or Twitter. Until then, happy marketing!

Simple Ways To Take Your Web Design To The Next Level

Whether or not a web design is “good” can be completely subjective. What may appeal to one person may not appeal to another. However in the web design industry “good” translates to successful. But what makes a successful website? Is it how much traffic it gains? Is it how many leads it collects? Or is it simply how it works? We believe it’s a combination of all of those things. So how do you use all of this to take your web design to the next level? Well, whilst not all of us can be professional web designers they are a few simple things pretty much anyone can do to improved a website.

Tell a story

Websites can be a extremely powerful part of your marketing strategy. Many people still seem to think that marketing is all about boosting sales, and while that is still an important part – there is something even more important. Storytelling. By using your website to tell a story instead of just pumping out information, users become more invested in your business. Think about a good storyteller you know. We’re not talking about Shakespeare or Dickens – we’re talking about your friend you meet up with for a drink, who catches you up with their life while you hang on every word they say. That’s what your website needs to be. You want users to hang on to every images, word and interaction they come across. Take them on a journey that is your business. Be open, honest and transparent about how your business came to be, how you like to work and work you’re personally proud of. By injecting more personality into your website you’ll see how easy it is to bring your businesses true store to life. You’ll also be surprised by how many people it actually interests too!

Use short, precise copy

There’s nothing worst than stumbling across a website that is full of long passages, weak messaging and roundabout rambling. Your copy needs to be strong if it’s going to make anyone stay on your website. After all if nobody knows what you are trying to communicate to them is there even any point in marketing? You need to make your copy as clear and as precise as possible. To do this make sure you make good use of headings and sub headings. Ensure they are to the point, make sense when standing alone and tell the story without being too wordy. If you need some more solid tips on how to write better website copy, we’ve already written an article about that.

Make it dummy proof

Last week when we spoke about web design basics we talked alot about user experience. If you’re new here or you’re new to the web design world, a “good” user experience is basically making your website dummy proof. Don’t even give users the chance to think. Serve them up everything they could want from your website in a easy to find and follow way. For example make sure a contact button or link is always in view. Whether you make your navigation bar sticky, have a phone number constantly in view or have a chat plug-in, you need to make it easy for them. If you’re not sure that your website delivers a great user experience, test it out on your friends and family and see how they navigate through the pages. What is obvious to you, may not be obvious to them. Notice where they have trouble finding certain aspects and think of easier ways to present said aspects.

So those are our top simple tips and tricks on how to take your web design to the next level. However, of course, remember that these are just general tips and that how you should utilise and market your business is very dependent on what industry you are in as well as your target audience.

As always, if you need any further assistance with any social media marketing projects then please don’t hesitate to contact us either here or on LinkedIn or Twitter. Until then, happy marketing!

Basic Web Design Tips Every SME Should Know

When it comes to web design alot of people claim to be experts these days. While this is certainly not true, as a SME there are a few ways you can educate yourself about web design. Of course you can go on to YouTube and watch tutorial after tutorial. However as a SME owner you’re job is not to be a web designer. Your job is to market your business in the best way you can. That’s why we’ve put together these web design tips for SMEs.

First and foremost – user experience

User experience is the most important element when it comes to designing a successful website. But what exactly is user experience or as it’s known in the web design world – UX. UX is basically what your audience are getting out of your website. How do they navigate through your website? Are they finding what they want easily? Is it simple to understand? In short, you want to make your website as easy to look through as possible. This way people won’t get frustrated when they land on your page. A great user experience keeps users on your website and this is what you want. For more detail on how to optimise your website for user experience check out this old post.

Think about your brand aesthetics

Now onto what everyone thinks is the most important part of a web design – how your website looks. While, this is not as important as how your website works, it is important for branding. Before you can even think about what your website should look like you need to think about your brands look and feel. What do you want people to think about when they think of your business? How do you want people to feel when they land on your website? Whatever you decide from these thoughts you have to make sure this is communicated consistently across your website. Nobody likes to look at a website that is several different clashing colours or full of various fonts and different sized headings. Make it uniformed. After all if your branding isn’t consistent and professional why would your website visitors think your business is?

What are you trying to achieve?

Or should we say what do you want users to do when they land on your page? Whether you want them to purchase a item, fill out a contact form or subscribe to a newsletter – your website needs to guide them to this. Make it simple for users to do what you want them to do. Put call-to-actions in easy to see places like in your navigation bar, or get them to remain static while the user scrolls. Don’t give users the opportunity to think – put what they need and what you want in right front of them.

Pass your thoughts on to a professional

While it would be nice if everyone could design and develop their own websites it’s still important to hire professionals when needed. Professional web designers not only have the technical ability to use web design software they also know how to think about the strategy behind a website. This means they will be able to help you improve your website’s UX, ensure harmonious branding and guide users to your goals.

So those are our web design tips that we think all SMEs should know. However, of course, remember that these are just general tips and that how you should utilise and market your business is very dependent on what industry you are in as well as your target audience.

As always, if you need any further assistance with any social media marketing projects then please don’t hesitate to contact us either here or on LinkedIn or Twitter. Until then, happy marketing!