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!

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!

The SMEs Guide To Beating Forever-Changing Algorithms

A few weeks ago we decided to talk about algorithms and what they mean to SMEs. While this post explained to SMEs what algorithms are and why they are so important, it also raised alot of concerns. How do SMEs tackle these algorithms and use them to their advantage in the world of online marketing? Is there any way to predict search engines’ next moves? And how do you keep up to date with the forever-changing social media algorithms? Well, we’re going to break it down for you in this mini SME guide to beating forever-changing algorithms.

Step 1:

You need to learn what algorithms are and get a basic grounding for them. We may be a little bias, but we suggest you take a look at our most recent post about algorithms here.

Step 2:

Use the knowledge from the above post to ensure that all of your social media accounts and website comply with what you’ve just learnt.

Step 3:

Now that your current online platforms are all adhering to what you understand as pleasing the algorithms, you need to ensure you continue on pleasing them. This actually sounds alot easier than it seems, algorithm updates are not as widely publicised as you think. While many great digital marketing blogs are quick to get the scoop – the best place to find out about algorithm updates are the search engines or social platforms themselves. So wedw recommend setting yourself up with a Google alert for each of the platforms you’re interested in or at least sign up to their newsletters (if they have any).

Step 4:

Basically now what you have to do is just rinse and repeat step two and three to keep up with the algorithm changes. We know it’s a lot of hard work and reading to get through but you’ll come away with a much better understanding of algorithms and how to use them to your SME’s advantage.

Now you have a better understanding of algorithms are you motivated to use them to your SME’s advantage for some serious business results? Of course, remember that these are just general tips and that how you should use marketing strategies 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 of your digital marketing projects then please don’t hesitate to contact us either here or on LinkedIn or Twitter. Until then, happy marketing!

GDPR And Why Your SME Should Care About It

We know we’ve already posted a few articles about buzzwords lately, so today we want to talk about a big one – GDPR. Now, while GDPR isn’t actually a buzzword, we think it’s too important to not talk about here on our blog. If you’re a regular digital marketing whizz, or just read a few industry blogs here and there you would have probably seen an array of articles about GDPR. GDPR stands for General Data Protection Regulation, which is basically a regulation in EU law on data protection and privacy for all individuals within the European Union. However, whilst the regulation was established two years ago, it doesn’t actually become enforceable until later this month.

What is GDPR?

As we said before GDPR stands for General Data Protection Regulation. The regulation was put in place to replace the old 1995 Data Protection Directive to change the way companies and individuals can create, use, share and store information. This information can be anything from personal details to business addresses. Not only will this apply to data control in the EU it will also apply to any data being shared from the EU to other regions.

How can I adhere to the regulations?

One of the best things you can do is ensure that you’re correctly informed about GDPR and how the regulation is going to be put into action in your residing country. As the regulation is spanning across the entire EU it is up to individual countries to decide how GDPR will be put in place. Another, important point to remember is that you also need to ensure you are complying with the country’s GDPR rules that your customers or contacts reside in. If you’re unclear about how different countries will treat the new regulation take a look at the official GDPR website.

The general rule of thumb when it comes to GDPR is to ensure that you are transparent with your customers, clients and audiences about how you are using their data. Always make sure that when they willingly provide you with contact details or other personal data, you tell them exactly how it will be stored and what you will use it for. Additionally, always give them the option to opt-out of having their information stored as and when they want to. Then, once you’ve received an opt-out request, make sure you remove their data from your systems straight away and let them know personally.

When do these regulations come into affect?

The official date in which GDPR will come into affect is the 25th of May 2018.

Why should I care?

In short, if you don’t comply with the new GDPR regulations when they come into effect at the end of May then you and your company are breaking the law. Consequently, if you are caught breaking this law you, your business could be subject to large fines. Additionally by complying with the new regulation your customers and potential customers can see that you care about them and their privacy. By being more transparent about data and data security you will find that your customers trust you more and are more likely to want to work with you and your business.

Now you have a better understanding of GDPR are you feeling more confident about the 25th of May? Of course, remember that these are just general tips and that how you should comply with the new GDPR regulation is very dependent on what industry you are in as well as your geographical location.

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

10 Web Design Trends For 2018

January is coming to an end, but we still can’t wait to see what this year has to come, not just for us but for the world of web too! Web designs are always changing and with technology advancing it’s no wonder that there are new trends to try out every year. However, it’s important to note that these trends are exactly that – just trends. Some may last only last a year, two years, five years or they could become timeless. Nonetheless we thought it would still be fun to navigate our way through them and tell you what to look out for this year.

Asymmetry

This one is pretty self-explanatory, designs which are heavy on one side more so than the other. The key to nailing this trend is to make sure your design is kept minimalist. Too much clutter on your asymmetric design will make it look clumsy and negatively affect the user experience. Stick to a small amount of text, eye catching CTAs, and simple illustrations to make your website look modern, fresh and bang on trend.

Even more micro-interactions

Micro interactions are a trend that has carried over for a few years. They give the user a spout of satisfaction and create memorable moments on a users journey. A good example of this is the like button on Twitter. When you click it, it looks like a small burst of confetti is released, resulting in not only a fun but friendly interaction.

Fluid design and shapes

Another minimalist trend that is topping the web design charts is fluid shapes and design. Fluid design is exactly what it says on the tin – it creates a website that easily flows in and out of it’s pages. The transitions are seamless and the design is consistent. Many designers have even been taking these trends to another level and actually creating fluid animation backgrounds with lines and shapes. Again, to accomplish this specific aesthetic you need to keep you work minimal.

Bold photographic elements

We all love bold and iconic photographs, so why not include them in your web design? The most successful websites that use this trend, usually use abstract and cutting-edge compositions. Combine this with some slick typography and you have a match made in heaven. The best part about this trend is that you can make it completely your own; take your own photographs, colour them how you like and of course manipulate them to your taste.

Quirky illustrations

We spoke about this trend last year and this year it’s only going to get bigger. Quirky hand-drawn illustrations are a great way to showcase your business’ personality and really drive it’s USP home. Try doodling some yourself or hire an artist to do it for you. Then just scan your images in to your computer, manipulate them in your favourite design software and then implement them into your web design. Easy peasy.

Mobile prioritisation

It should be obvious by now that mobile and responsive web designs are the way forward. In fact, Google and other search engines have even started penalising you if you do not have a responsive website, resulting in low search rank and diminishing traffic. So our advice to anyone who still doesn’t have a responsive website in 2018 is to get one now! The further into 2018 we go, the harder it is going to be to claw back those rankings and users you once had. Changing over from static to responsive is actually far less painless than you think and well worth the investment.

Vibrant colour schemes

Web designers have been known to keep things simple when it comes to colour palettes, however forget what you’ve heard because this year is bringing vibrant colours to the forefront of designers minds. Instead of black, white or grey, think more about orange, blue and yellow. Obviously don’t go too crazy with your colour scheme, there are still some combinations that are a big no. Steer clear of colours that clash or make text unreadable.

Wearable designs

Last week we spoke about how marketing applications could come to wearables this year, so it’s no surprise that web designs could too. Small wearable tech requires small and responsive web designs. While you can’t browse websites on your smart watch yet we’re sure it’s not too far off in the future. So this is a trend to definitely keep in mind.

Virtual and augmented reality

Another advancement in technology that has made its way into the web design and marketing world. Virtual and augmented reality can easily be implemented into your web design through 360 degree videos, virtual reality experiences and 3D interactions. While we say this is easy, we actually mean it’s easy for all of those virtual and augmented reality smartie-pants out there.

User experience

User experience is something that will always be timeless and make or break a website. Making sure that your web design in easily navigable, contains information users require and isn’t overwhelming with path options is harder than you think. Using large experimental navigations, small call to actions and static designs are just a few things that could ruin your website’s user experience. To really harness a solid user experience, keep it simple and think about who your audience are.

So those are just a few web design trends to kick start your 2018. 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 web design or development projects then please don’t hesitate to contact us either here or on LinkedIn or Twitter. Until then, happy designing!

Five Ways Your Website Can Collect Business Leads

When someone builds a website for their business their first objective is usually for the website to make them more money. A website that gives you a good return on investment is a successful one. However, you can’t just have a beautiful website designed and then sit back and wait for the leads to come rolling in. They won’t. You have to put some design elements in place that will help you get those all important conversions. So, here are our top five ways your website can collect business leads.

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