10 Practices for Great Website Design

10 Practices for Great Website Design

A website can be put together quickly these days, but to have a converting site is another matter.
Web design is an important decision as it not only impacts conversion but also trust.

“After a bad experience, 88% of consumers are unlikely to return to a website.” Quicksprout

We’ve put together ten website design principles that will get you on the road to a winning and great website design.

1. Customer-Focused Web Design

When designing a new website, it is crucial to keep your customers’ needs in view. Provide valuable content to genuinely solve their needs and optimise all customer touchpoints and preferences. Conversely, if the website is not intuitive to navigate, it will reduce customer satisfaction. Your users are likely to bounce off your site and look for another company to solve their needs. It is a good idea to set up a small test that involves finding information on your website. Get a few of your friends to complete the tasks and evaluate how difficult it was to achieve.
Minimise confusion by clearly answering the questions that your customer might have and by providing an easy-to-use layout.

2. An Easy-to-Understand Website Purpose

Creating a website that attracts your target audience in a few seconds is crucial. Not only that, but the purpose of your site must be evident at a glance, or your user will move on. Statistics say you have just seconds to get this information across. Next, ask your friends if they understand what it is you are trying to convey. Perhaps you can give them a couple of quick tasks to achieve on the site to test its effectiveness.

3. Clear Calls to Action

Your website aims to provide a valuable product or service to make your customers’ life easier. So, it is essential to help them find the information they need quickly. Discover the primary purposes your user requires on your site. Is it to find your contact details or to buy a product, or to evaluate your services? Having an intuitive design with clear calls to action will help them navigate your sales funnel to purchase more quickly. Provide your contact details clearly in intuitive locations. Also, by keeping the significant areas of your design consistent across all pages, you are aiding your clients to buy from you.

4. Useful and Consistent Content

An essential part of marketing is making sure that your website has the highest professional quality content. It needs to have a consistent tone throughout the whole site and other collateral of your business so that it helps to convey the general atmosphere and purpose of your business. Most of all, it needs to give the type of information that is foremost on your customers’ minds. Content that will solve their needs. Don’t be afraid to hire a great content creator to help shape the information needed into easy to read, error-free and well-written pieces.

5. Eye-catching Design

Your design is the first thing your users will see. It needs to convey the intended feel of your business and provide up-to-date functionality that your users would expect. Your colour choices and elements will all leave an overall impression of your company. Do you want to look slick and professional, colourful, and artistic, elegant and minimalist? Start your design firstly with your users in mind and follow through so that all details reflect the impression you want to impart.

6. Mobile and Desktop Friendly

Responsive design is essential today to deliver an optimal display on every device that your users choose. A responsive design scales to fit each different device. You will need to tweak the design for each version. Google Console offers pointers to ensure all your features are optimised for mobile. With the increase in mobile users, Google has developed a mobile-only Index. If your site is not responsive, it will not be listed in this index; hence you will miss out on a significant portion of business. There are several quick online sites to test and verify that your website is mobile-friendly.

7. A Stable Content Management System

When choosing a platform to create your website, the many choices can leave you confused. Some platforms are easy to use but have limited functionality to go with the regular monthly fee. Other sites are free to use but very complex to understand. The average user needs to find a stable, well maintained CMS with an extensive support network to call on. A Content Management System such as WordPress is a well-established platform that enables you to update your content without knowing code. There is a learning curve, but you can easily find guidance with such a lot of support out there. Keeping your platform maintained will ensure your visitors don’t encounter errors or delays that will lose their trust.

8. Website Optimised for Search

Just because you publish a website on the internet doesn’t mean your target market will see your site. Several factors contribute to a well-optimised site that can be found via a browser search. These include ensuring your site is indexed with Google, Bing and other providers. To be crawled, indexed and well ranked by a search engine, you need to optimise your website for technical, on-page and off-page SEO. Some of these areas that need optimisation include- HTTP Header responses, speed, sitemaps, redirects, links, headers, titles and metadata. Again, Google Console is a great tool to show you areas to improve. Because ranking a website is such a competitive area now, it is advisable to learn how to carry out search engine optimisation to have the best chances of ranking well. By keeping track of your conversions from your marketing and SEO efforts, you can discover what is working for you and compare the impact of any changes to your site.

9. Tailor Your Website to Your Marketing Plan

It is essential to start your business with a marketing plan. Part of the plan includes identifying your target market and knowing about this group of people as much as possible. You will be designing your website for these people, so you need to know their likes and needs, where they can be reached online, and the types of marketing they will respond to. By consistently following your plan with strategic marketing, you will ensure your business stays at the top of your customers’ minds.

10. A Web Design Company that Works with You

A friendly and experienced website design company can bring a wealth of knowledge to create and maintain a successful website whilst minimising stress. As you concentrate on building your business, they can keep your site running smoothly and converting visitors. Choose a company that is happy to answer your questions and learn about your goals to avoid any pitfalls in the future.

Conclusion

According to research into website design principles, the success of your site largely depends on your design. However, every website design, whether new or five years old, needs to be a work in progress. So you can chip away at the list provided. But don’t forget to research your customers and their needs first. Then create a plan that serves them. This plan will put you well on your way to a competitive website.

10 Practices for Great Website Design

10 Practices for Great Website Design

A website can be put together quickly these days, but to have a converting site is another matter.
Web design is an important decision as it not only impacts conversion but also trust.

“After a bad experience, 88% of consumers are unlikely to return to a website.” Quicksprout

We’ve put together ten practices that will get you on the road to a winning design.

read more
7 Steps to write a blog post

7 Steps to write a blog post

The purpose of the blog post is to offer useful and relevant content to your users to improve their lives. But how do you start? What are the essential elements? I’ve put together a list of 7 key steps. As this is the first blog post for this site, I thought it would be good to write about what to include in a great blog post and why.

read more

Why content is important for websites

Why content is important for websites

Have you ever considered why content is important for websites? It is the building block to develop reputation and trust. So often I see small business websites with an image on the home page and nothing further. The site may look great, but the user is likely to bounce straight off as there is nothing to help them. They have come there with a need. The job of the web content-creator is to understand their customers' intent and provide the content to resolve that need.

Grab this excellent opportunity to share your knowledge and expertise and provide a solution for your users. Engage and educate your prospective customers with valuable content marketing. Below I've put together seven reasons why content is important for websites. Hopefully, this will help you build a better site and a more robust business.

1. Valuable Content Influences Conversion

Great content is important for websites as it helps influence conversion. According to Intechnic, 57% of marketers have acquired new customers from their blog. That is to say, by setting yourself apart from your competitors and by showcasing your subject matter expertise, you can bring peace of mind to your consumers.

Your web users are searching using keywords to find the business that will solve their problem. There is an opportunity not only to solve their problem but to go above and beyond. Provide better quality information and images with thoroughness, and you will win over your prospects with the value.

2. Content is Important for Websites to Generate Leads

If you can solve a consumer need by showcasing professional and concise content on your website, you are ahead of the game. By answering their problem with great content, your website user is more likely to remember your brand. When your brand is on the mind of your consumers, you stand out above your competition. If your content is showing up all over the internet, you increase your chances for more sales. When your prospects need your product or service, they will remember the company with excellent user experience and content.

3. SEO Value of Content

The SEO value of content is undeniable today as the leading Search Engine—Google, rates websites based on the quality, relevance, and uniqueness of website content. Search is carried out via typing keywords in a search engine. By creating more articles, video and imagery, you provide more opportunities for different keywords to be used and found.

Besides these reasons adding fresh content is in itself a ranking factor. Another ranking factor is Backlinks or links from a highly rated site to your site. If you create a significant and unique content piece, others might find it valuable enough to link to on your web page. Consequently, this can help to increase your domain rank and ability to be found in search.

4. Writing Evergreen Content for Business Websites

Evergreen content is the type that never grows old. If you have a few pieces of evergreen content, you can extend the lifespan of your articles. Consequently, this can allow more customers to find you. Bringing users continually back to your site increases the likelihood of backlinks to your pages and indeed business.

5. Shareable Content

Fresh content can be shared widely from one interested person to an exponential number of people via social media. As this type of marketing is free (except for the time and expertise to create the content), it is an invaluable and cost-effective way to generate leads. Certain types of content are more popular than others. In particular, Infographics, How-to's and Checklists are some of the most sought-after pieces of content you can create if well researched.

6. Accessibility

Accessibility of your website means that people can shop or compare products on the internet 24/7. Website owners need to ensure there are no barriers that prevent interaction on their site. Barriers can include content functionality such as non-working contact forms or shopping carts, broken links and menus. It could also include a lack of correct information such as opening hours. Also have you considered the needs of those who are sight-impaired or have other disabilities?  With valuable and up-to-date, accessible content, you are in effect, having a permanent window on the street to your services. Accessibility extends the ability of your business to attract leads and customers even while you are sleeping.

7. Differentiate your Product or Service

Content on your website enables you and your brand to showcase your expertise concerning your products or service. If you set yourself apart from your competition, you allow yourself to have an edge. There are many ways to differentiate yourself. You can choose a different tone of voice or look and feel. Perhaps more extensive types of content will be the way forward. Consider including whitepapers, eBooks and case studies and a blog to build a show-stopping business content strategy. By analysing your competition, you can see what their offerings are and do a more thorough job.

Conclusion

As you plan your content marketing, think about the information gaps. Perhaps also consider the platform types available for your budget and product offerings. If you know your users' intent, you then can match the correct variety of content to meet that intent. For example, an eBay shopper wants to know all about the product they are searching. By inserting the competitive keywords into the copy with instructions on how to use the product, you can come up a winner.
Here is a non-exhaustible list of types of content to consider. Let us know how we can help you with your content creation and marketing.

  • Social Media
  • Email Marketing
  • Blog
  • Listicle
  • EBook
  • How to
  • Case Studies
  • Webinar
  • Logo design
  • Graphics
  • video
  • Photography
  • White papers
  • Infographics
10 Practices for Great Website Design

10 Practices for Great Website Design

A website can be put together quickly these days, but to have a converting site is another matter.
Web design is an important decision as it not only impacts conversion but also trust.

“After a bad experience, 88% of consumers are unlikely to return to a website.” Quicksprout

We’ve put together ten practices that will get you on the road to a winning design.

read more
7 Steps to write a blog post

7 Steps to write a blog post

The purpose of the blog post is to offer useful and relevant content to your users to improve their lives. But how do you start? What are the essential elements? I’ve put together a list of 7 key steps. As this is the first blog post for this site, I thought it would be good to write about what to include in a great blog post and why.

read more

Which web host should I choose?

server hosting

Which web host should I choose?

I want to explain web hosting before getting into hosting services. A website needs to be placed on a Web Server to be available on the Internet (or the world wide web). Web hosts are companies that lease Server space and accompanying technology to make your website accessible on the Internet. Choosing a web host need not be difficult, but it does require a little research. As a beginner, price is a factor for choosing web hosting, so we need to consider this in the search for the right provider. But the three main factors to take into count after the price are website security, website speed and hosting support.

Website Speed

Website speed is one of the criteria for a great website. We all know that if a site doesn’t load within a couple of seconds, the majority of users will move on. Your site and business will lose trust. To maintain prominent search engine ranking also requires that a website load fast. So how do you achieve this?

The web hosting company where your website “lives” is responsible for making your website load more quickly. If your site is not performing as you expect, contact your web host company and ask them if there is something that can be changed to improve the website speed. The factors to research when considering a top-notch web hosting company and to assure you get excellent website speed are, firstly, the quality of the server, secondly the cache setup, and thirdly perhaps the size of the disc space.

Website Security

Website security includes a bunch of features such as an SSL certificate, backup and scanning. You can tell if your site has an SSL certificate by looking at the beginning of your domain name. Here it should have a small lock icon and an “s” on the end of the http (e.g. https://www.examplewebsite.com.au). When you hover on the lock icon, you will see it says “verified by such and such company”. Hence that company verifies the domain as a legitimate site. The other security features mentioned above help against hackers and malware that can break your website. Check that the web hosting company you are considering offers these critical features in their hosting package.

Hosting Support

One of the reasons for hosting support is to aid you if your website goes down for any length of time. If your web host company offers 24/7 support, you know you can call them in the middle of the night when you noticed your site is down. Or perhaps you are updating your content yourself, and you added a feature such as a plugin and everything crashed.

There are, of course, different types of support. Some hosting companies only offer support to experienced developers. In contrast, others are happy to make the changes you require if you don’t understand what is wrong. It’s a good idea to check this detail before signing. Having the support and daily backups factored into the cost of your hosting gives you peace of mind.

 

Conclusion

To sum up, compare web hosting companies in your budget that include a quality server, cache setup, SSL certificate, backup, scanning and 24/7 hosting support. Also, you might consider a product-specific host, such as WordPress hosting. In other words, hosting that understands the ins-and-outs of your site coding. If you are unsure about any of this or want it set up right for you, we would be happy to assist. Ask us about hosting.

10 Practices for Great Website Design

10 Practices for Great Website Design

A website can be put together quickly these days, but to have a converting site is another matter.
Web design is an important decision as it not only impacts conversion but also trust.

“After a bad experience, 88% of consumers are unlikely to return to a website.” Quicksprout

We’ve put together ten practices that will get you on the road to a winning design.

read more
Which web host should I choose?

Which web host should I choose?

Choosing a web host need not be difficult, but it does require a little research. As a beginner, price is a factor for hosting, so we need to consider this in the search for the right provider. The three main factors to take into count after the price is security, speed and support.

read more

5 Basic SEO steps to start your website

5 Basic SEO steps to start your website

In my role as a digital marketer and web developer over the last ten years, I would start to discuss SEO, and be asked, “What is SEO?” So here I will shed some light on the mystique of SEO. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. There are five basic SEO steps that all small business website owners should implement to make sure they get the best website rank in search results. It is not enough to create a website and add the address to your business card. By addressing some basic SEO steps, you can improve your chances of ranking on page one of Google search engine. Hence, your website can become a valuable source of new leads.

Table of Content

1. Keywords and SEO

“If nobody is searching for what you’re writing about,

 you won’t get traffic from Google—no matter how hard you try.” Ahrefs

Before looking for keywords, you firstly need to know what your customers want to know. It is essential to research who your customers are and then what needs they have that correspond to your products or service.

Customers have different intents. Some customers want to find a specific website, while others wish to find informational content on a particular topic. Still, others are looking for transactional content to purchase a particular product. It is critical that you understand the users intent to find the keywords that match this intent. By looking at your Google Analytics data, in particular, the queries your uses are making you can get some ideas. Once you obtain this information, you are ready to investigate the keywords that your potential customers are using to see you.

There are many tools to achieve this. One easy tool is Google auto-complete. As you start to type your keywords into the search box, you will see further suggested words to type that real users have already searched. You can go through the alphabet with each keyword and get new ideas.

Other free tools you can use to find keyword suggestions include: Answer the public, Google Trends, Reddit, Content Explorer, Facebook groups, LinkedIn groups, Podcasts, and even the content section of related books. There are professional tools to aid you in this research and to pinpoint the searched volume of each keyword or phrase.

It is necessary to choose long-tail keywords. Long-tail keywords are phrases containing three or four words or maybe more. These are easier to rank for than just a simple keyword and can hone in on your niche. Once the keywords are discovered—that have ease of ranking and volume of search queries—they need to be assigned to the relevant pages of your website in such a way that the words flow naturally. After this, it’s essential to test your ranking regularly. All site changes will make a difference to the SEO value.

2. Content SEO

The imperative focus of the content on your website is to meet the needs of your consumers. Ensure that your content is updated regularly and provides value to your potential customers. Identify common user problems and focus on genuinely solving these needs. As mentioned above, by looking at your site search data (on Google Analytics), you can see the type of queries and issues your potential customers make. Create content to serve these queries.

Your content must load fast. Consequently, when you add a graphic or image, it must be optimised, so it doesn’t slow down your website. Tinyjpg is an excellent tool for optimising your pictures quickly.

Videos are another content type that can slow down your website if not handled correctly. Videos loaded onto third party sites such as YouTube, Vimeo, or Wistia will perform better than videos directly uploaded to your website.

There are other technical aspects of your website that also need to be optimised to assure your site loads fast. You can do a speed test here to check that your site is loading preferably in less than two seconds. If your website is slow the next place to look would be your hosting to find out if they can optimise your site for speed.

3. Titles Tags & Meta Descriptions

Titles are the first thing you see when you search on a Search Engine such as Google. They also appear on the top tab of your browser when you open a new page. The Title tag is one of the most important of the basic SEO steps. It is crucial that the title includes your keywords and that the description below compliments this with similar keywords. Make sure your Title Tags and Meta Descriptions are all unique for each page. A Title should have fewer than 60 characters. In comparison, a Meta Description should be fewer than 160 characters to ensure they are not cut-off (truncated) at the end.

The primary purpose of a Meta description is to be descriptive and engaging to entice the reader to click through to your page. Once they click through to your site, they should also find that the description matches the content on your webpage.

4. Image Filenames and ALT Tags

Image file names and ALT tags are basic SEO steps that are often overlooked by website owners. Add images to your website that relate to your product or service. The photos will make the site more enjoyable, but the image file names will create opportunities for you to add keywords that will help your site SEO. The process involves naming these beneficial images with meaningful and descriptive keywords. For example, if you are a chiropractor, you might have a photo of a spine to accompany your article on disc bulge. You could title the image “spine-disc-bulge.jpg”. By separating the keywords with dashes as shown you are making the image readable by robots and hence adding value to your SEO.

ALT tags are another area where you can improve your small business SEO. An ALT tag is an alternate text description applied to the image to provide meaning for search engines and also for screen-reader software. It is necessary to describe the picture, so sight-impaired people can understand what they are looking at on your website. If you are selling a product, the product images and ALT text provide further valuable SEO benefit for your small business.

5. Local SEO

Local SEO is vital for your small business if you operate the type of business that needs local traffic, such as a Pizza Store. The first step for local SEO is to register with Google My Business and utilise all the resources that they offer. Make sure to include your contact details, opening times, reviews, images, and web address. It’s also important to ensure your main details – Name, Address, and Phone Number (NAP) are consistent across all your marketing. This is a way of building trust with your audience and improving your SEO.

How many times have you used your mobile phone to find a restaurant open near you only to find the listing details are inaccurate! This has unquestionably frustrated me. Make sure you keep your details up-to-date. Because most of us seek local businesses via our mobile phone, it is also essential to have a mobile-friendly website. You can test your site here to make sure it is mobile-ready.

Another way to be more readily found in your community is to submit your website to local and reputable business directories. The more neighbourhood guides you have, the more backlinks you will have to your website. Backlinks are undoubtedly crucial elements that are used by Search Engines to determine your authority on the internet.

Conclusion

This article is just the beginning of the SEO journey. Still, I have certainly covered off the five basic SEO steps that are critical when you start a new website. To look at more technical aspects of your SEO for your small business, contact us. We can address issues such as, minifying your code and caching to speed up your site, optimising the structure of your site and links, toxic backlinks, schema, and more. Get a free audit to discover what you need to get the best website rank in search results. For more information on SEO, check out our SEO page.

10 Practices for Great Website Design

10 Practices for Great Website Design

A website can be put together quickly these days, but to have a converting site is another matter.
Web design is an important decision as it not only impacts conversion but also trust.

“After a bad experience, 88% of consumers are unlikely to return to a website.” Quicksprout

We’ve put together ten practices that will get you on the road to a winning design.

read more
Which web host should I choose?

Which web host should I choose?

Choosing a web host need not be difficult, but it does require a little research. As a beginner, price is a factor for hosting, so we need to consider this in the search for the right provider. The three main factors to take into count after the price is security, speed and support.

read more

7 Steps to write a blog post

7 Steps to write a blog post

The purpose of the blog post is to offer useful and relevant content to your users to improve their lives. But how do you start? What are the essential elements? I’ve put together a list of 7 key steps on how to start a blog post. As this is the first blog post for this site, I thought it would be good to write about what to put in a business blog post and why.

Blogging requires a few crucial skills—Good content, keyword research, knowledge of content marketing systems, and more, but here I’m just going to list the most integral steps to get you started.

So, answering the question “Why a blog?” A well thought out list of articles added regularly can add significant value to your business marketing and your website. You want as much traffic as possible to come to your site, and the best way to do this is by adding new information aimed at solving your customers’ problems. Not only will your clients be interested, but search engines such as Google will rank your content based on quality and relevance and originality.

1. What do my clients want to know?

Firstly, ask yourself, what burning questions do your customers want answered in a business blog? To do this, you need to know who is your target audience. Subsequently, it’s a good idea to create a persona document to focus on this question. The persona document is a description of a fictional character representing a composite of a segment of your market. Once you have the answer, then start researching a topic that this fictional character would find engaging and informing about the subject matter of your business.

2. Choose a blog format type

Secondly, decide what format your article will take. Choose from the most popular types of blog posts that generate traffic such as; a List Article, How-To, Expert Roundup, Case Study, Interview, Product Comparison, or a Downloadable Checklist. You can find out more about these types of articles in this excellent blog post— Elegant Themes.

3. Add images to your blog post

Next, you want to add at least one image or graphic to the blog to generate interest. We are always fascinated by faces, and this is an excellent reason to add positive imagery of successful people. Images with people attract attention but having an attractive image that adds explanation to the article will also make a difference. You could photograph this yourself or purchase one from a stock library, or create a great graphic to explain your subject. Canva is an excellent free site to create simple graphics.

Be sure to add alternate (ALT)text to the image, describing what it is. ALT text can also serve as a keyword to help your SEO ranking.

4. The perfect blog title

The perfect blog title is integral to gain your target audience’s attention so they will click and read the article. So how do you design a great title? Firstly this will depend on the format type you have chosen.

If you have selected a ‘List-Type’, then start with the number of items in the list. This works well to catch the user’s eye. Next, describe your article using your primary keywords.

When researching keywords think about what people would type to search for a product or service that your business sells. If your blog-post is an ‘Expert-Roundup’, start with the number of experts and think about what question they will discuss. The ‘How-To Article’ starts with How-to and is followed by a succinct description of what it is you are teaching. (E.g. How to build a bookshelf.) The ‘Case Study’ often starts with the problem solved for the client—”How this I.T. startup drove revenue in a crowded market”.

Keep the length of the title short. Aim to have no more than 7 or 8 words or less than 50-60 characters to avoid truncation (cutting off the end) in search results.

5. Headings

In all blog posts, as well as webpages, it’s essential to make sure you only have one main heading (H1 tag) followed by subheadings (H2 tag). This is best practice for S.E.O.(search engine optimisation) and ensures your page is hierarchically structured and easily understood by robots and real people alike. Use your primary and secondary keywords in your heading if possible to add meaning.

6. Structure the blog post and use keywords

It is paramount for your opening paragraph to be enticing and captivating so your reader will read more. Also, try to add some primary and secondary keywords that your article will discuss in this first couple of sentences. You know yourself that if the intro of any item doesn’t grab your attention in a second or two, then you don’t have the time to read on.

Make sure to add the human touch and authentic elements of your story, which will strike up more interest. Of course, it’s essential to give thought to the rest of the article and finish up with an excellent summary. Keep in mind the number of words in your post. Stats suggest that blogs with around 1600-2000 words tend to rank better.

7. Call to action

One of the most important steps to write a blog post is your call to action. Your article needs to finish off with a clear call to action to enable your readers to buy from you. Consider what it is you wish your reader to do next? —Read another article, contact you, fill in a form, leave a comment, or share. Once you have decided this, make sure it comes after the blog post and is a clear and straightforward action.

Conclusion

So that’s it—7 easy steps on how to start a blog post, building an interesting article which can attract attention to your products and services and solve your clients needs. Happy blogging! If you need assistance with any or all of the steps above get in touch here.

10 Practices for Great Website Design

10 Practices for Great Website Design

A website can be put together quickly these days, but to have a converting site is another matter.
Web design is an important decision as it not only impacts conversion but also trust.

“After a bad experience, 88% of consumers are unlikely to return to a website.” Quicksprout

We’ve put together ten practices that will get you on the road to a winning design.

read more
7 Steps to write a blog post

7 Steps to write a blog post

The purpose of the blog post is to offer useful and relevant content to your users to improve their lives. But how do you start? What are the essential elements? I’ve put together a list of 7 key steps. As this is the first blog post for this site, I thought it would be good to write about what to include in a great blog post and why.

read more