Your customers very first impression of your business almost always happens online.

A recent study found that 75% of users admit to making their mind up about a company based on their website alone. If your website isn't up to scratch a redesign may be on the cards.

If you fall into any of the 6 reasons below, then maybe a redesign maybe on the horizon for you.

1. Your Website Isn’t User-friendly

You may have seen the term UX - User Experience
User-friendly functionality for your website is very important.
Your website users should be able to find exactly what they’re looking for within a couple of clicks – whether that’s your contact details, pricing or even the search box. The websites menu Navigation should be intuitive.

 

2. Your Website Isn’t Responsive/Mobile-Optimized

This is now a major factor for you website and will also have a positive effect in Search Engine Results.
We are seeing more than 50% of all traffic, of the website we manage, currently comes from mobile and it’s projected to grow by leaps and bounds every year.
Almost half of users say that if they arrive on a business website that isn’t working well on their mobile, they assume that business does not care. Additionally, were we have redesigned a website that was not mobile friendly or not responsive, clicks through to the website & impressions in search engine result have improved, especially for mobile search results. 

Google has been actively removing websites that are not mobile friendly from there mobile searches - http://searchengineland.com/library/google/google-mobile-friendly-update

 

3. You’re Not Hitting Your Goals

Your current website may look great, but it’s not serving its purpose if you’re not seeing the results that you want. If your website exists to generate you new sales leads or maybe expand your customer base, it should be doing that for you.
If calls-to-actions are not converting or your landing pages are getting hits, it’s time to hit the drawing board.
A look into your website’s analytics is a great starting point in planning to make adjustments for a redesign.

 

4. Out of Date Website

Whether it’s the look and feel of your site, broken links, nothing has been updates for more than 18 months – being outdated online is an absolute no-no. Websites, on average, generally last 2 - 3 years before they become out of date.
By this time, new design trends & technologies have arose, while others may have become out of date.
Third party software, like shopping carts, that aren’t up to the most current functionality can annoy customers, stopping them from purchasing your products or delving deeper into your site.

 

5. You’re Website Is Slow

Your website visitors are moving faster than ever before and they expect that quick pace to be present on your website. Nearly half of people will give up on a web page if it takes more than three seconds to load.
This is also a search engine ranking factor, which is being given more authority all the time.

We host all of our websites on a private VPS server, thats tweaked to suit our Joomla! website. Its Fast Secure & up to date.
Quite often we move a website from a large shared hosting company & with a few tweaks we can improve the speed of a Joomla! website by at least 100%

 

6. Your Thinking About A Redesign now

If your thinking about a redesign, then there’s no better time than now.
Whether you’re at the end of a commitment to your current site, unhappy with how your website is working for you, if your searching Google for redesign options, it’s time to get moving in changing and upgrading your website.

 

 

Published in Web Design Blog
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Planning Your Website

What is your website about?

A nice simple question but one that will impact upon everything else you do. Even the biggest of sites can be summarised easily and ideally you can describe what your site is about in one simple sentence.

As you build your site you will be tempted by shiny new widgets or flashy graphics you stumble across which can easily lead to you going off topic or creating a confused site.

The answer to this question is essentially your mission statement and will help you to maintain focus throughout the development process.

Mission statement examples:

“Organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” Google

“To provide a global trading platform where practically anyone can trade practically anything.” eBay

“To build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.” Amazon

Segment, target & position

Segmenting your market

The categories below are not mutually exclusive and you can mix and match to your heart’s content...

  • Demographic: Age, gender, marital status, ethnicity, occupation...
  • Geographic: Country, County, city, town, size of population...
  • Behavioural: Benefits sought, Occasions (e.g. Christmas), usage rate, price sensitivity...
  • Psychographic: Interests, activities, opinions, attitudes...

 

Every market, no matter how small, has multiple segments with one or more unifying characteristics.
The art is to identify those you want to target and then position your site in such as way that they respond to it positively.

  • Tone of voice
  • Where you advertise
  • Navigation
  • Services offered
  • Prices
  • Products Sold
  • Method of Contact
  • Colours used
  • How you advertise
  • Your logo
  • Depth of content
  • Everything!

 

It is likely you will do a lot of this unconsciously and you don’t have to sit down and draw up a business plan General Motors would be proud of, but make sure you always keep your audience in the back of your mind whenever you make a decision.

Market research

Unless you are first to market you will be competing with other websites for people’s eyeballs and loyalty. To avoid reinventing the wheel take advantage of their hard work and have a look at what they have done and sign up to any newsletters / marketing emails they have.

  • How have they structured their website?
  • What tone of voice do they use?
  • What services / extras do they offer?
  • What can you do differently / better?
  • What are their product features / prices?
  • How do they promote themselves (new and existing visitors / customers)?

Note: This isn’t to suggest you should copy any design work or web copy just take inspiration from what is good and fill any gaps you see.

To see how active they are marketing themselves and gaining brand exposure use Google’s web search, news search and blog search. To find out which sites are linking to them use Yahoo’s site explorer http://siteexplorer.search.yahoo.com/

It is also worth looking at their meta-description and meta-keywords. Although they no longer influence the large search engines some sites still add them. From this you can see which keywords they deem to be most important and then use that information on your own site.

How to view a sites meta-description & keywords:

  • Go to their website
  • In your web browser click on ‘File’ > ‘Source’
  • The meta data is always in between the <head></head> tags online

 

Search results

Conduct a series of searches using your market’s core search terms:

Which sites are ranked highest organically?

Which sites are advertising using PPC?

Are any user feedback / comments ranked highly and what do they say?

Who are the big directories / forums / blogs in your market?

Forums, blogs & niche social networks

Have a look around the social media sites that cater for your target audience and see what people are saying about their current providers, both positive and negative (e.g. “I wish they gave me xyz as well” or “Mine has been so quick in responding to me”).
From this you can see where the gaps are and what people consider to be important.

Choosing a domain name & hosting

Picking a domain name

You’ll find a warehouse’s worth of content online offering advice and guidance about choosing a domain name, but to be frank it’s not that hard. The difficulty lies in finding one that is actually available!

A good domain name should be 3 things:

1. Easy to remember

2. Easy to type

3. Relevant to your service or brand

Ideally it should also still have the .com, co.uk & .net available to prevent you losing traffic and anyone cyber-squatting on one of the big three domain extensions in the UK.

You will find that a lot of descriptive domain names already have the .com taken and possibly the co.uk as well. An alternative to both options described above is to create a name that could not possibly have been taken and build your brand around that. Existing examples include Ning.com, Meebo.com & Flickr.com.

Shared or dedicated hosting?

If you want to start small and build your site or you have limited experience with managing a web hosting account choose shared hosting.
Most shared hosting packages will have more than enough space and traffic allowance to get you going with the added benefit of everything on the server being set up and ready for you (software, databases, email etc).
All you have to do is upload your site’s files and fill the databases with data.
If shared hosting is a rowing boat dedicated servers can be considered the battleship of hosting.
Technically way beyond Shared hosting dedicated servers are the preserve of large and/ or data intensive sites whose owners have an advanced knowledge of the technical/ back end aspects of running a site.
If you choose a hosting package today, that shouldn’t mean you are stuck with it unless you cancel. Your web host should offer a clear no-fuss upgrade path. You will be amazed at how many don’t so if you have ambitions of growth ask about this before you commit to them.

Structure & content

Draw a site map

One of the most frustrating experiences is to hand code your navigation’s menu and copy that across the entire site only to find you need to add another page and link. After updating all the menu’s you find yet another page is required and you have to go back through it all again (and again...).

A little bit of planning up front will become a major time save further down the line so before you dive in to coding your site sit down with a pen and a paper and draw out how each page links to the others. 6

Wire framing

Once you have done this the next step is to ‘wire frame’ your pages. Here you forgo any thoughts about the design (colour, icons, font formatting etc.) and piece together the basic layout and purpose of each page.

Following this process may seem a bit boring and tedious but because you have already visualised how the page elements sit together you can prevent any unnecessary (and painful) changes further down the line where you hit a brick wall and have to come back to start again.

Published in Web Design Blog
%PM, %27 %925 %2011 %21:%Mar

Joomla Training Coming soon

Joomla is an extremely popular content management system that is currently being used by millions of  website owners across the world. A content management system, or CMS, is a sort of template or framework for a website that makes it easier to use, especially for people who do not have a lot of technical knowledge. Joomla is an open source CMS, which means that there is no cost to use the platform. If you are new to Joomla, some Joomla training Warrington tips may come in handy.

First of all, Joomla is essentially a website that combines three factors: content, template, and software. All three of these are needed for an efficient, functional website. Content gets stored with the use of a database, which is easy to access for beginners thanks to Joomla's comprehensive database system. The template of a website is basically all the physical, visual features, such as background, colors, fonts, and overall layout. Joomla is the actual software that combines this layout or template with the content and provides the website that your visitors actually see.

Installing Joomla may differ depending on your hosting company. A lot of hosting companies these days provide an instant install for Joomla. You simply click one button and Joomla is installed automatically. If your web host doesn't offer an instant install option, you can instill install Joomla by copying the file that contains Joomla into the hosting account, creating a database for it, and then running the installation.
Once you know how to install it onto your web hosting site, you can go on to the next portion of Joomla training Warrington.

The first things you should do are adjust the template and settings to your liking and begin to upload content. To set up the visual look of the site the way you want it, the easiest thing to do is use a template. There are a few templates that are already included when you first install Joomla. Some people prefer to use these, but it is easy to find hundreds of free templates at various websites.
You can also hire a developer to build you a Joomla template.

So why does Joomla make use of templates?

The asthetics of a website are very important. This is the overall layout, the look, and the feel of the site that users will interact with. Templates are sort of a one button setup that make your website look great. You can change individual factors in a template to really modify it to your own personal needs.

Joomla training Warrington makes it easy for any business owner to set up a professional site that looks great.

As it is absolutely cost free, anybody is able to take advantage of this great CMS and build an amazing website. Whether you operate a high powered business or just need a simple personal website, Joomla is the easiest way to make it happen.

Take charge of your website now with a Joomla content management system.

 

Published in Web Design Blog