Posts Tagged ‘web design’
Wednesday, April 10th, 2013
There comes a time in your web development life when you’ll have to test one or more elements on a web page to determine which one is better or more favorable to your website visitors. Should you use A/B testing or multivariate testing?
The short answer is, it depends.
A/B testing allows you to test one version of a single element against another version of the same element. For instance, if your web page currently has the lead photo on the left side of the page, you can move it to the right side of the page and present both versions of that web page to a sample of your site visitors to see which one gets more views, fewer bounces, and a more generally favorable rating.
Multivariate testing is a little different. It allows you to test multiple elements on your web page at the same time.
For instance, you can test the image on the right and left sides of your page, rewrite your headline, and look at one and two sidebar versions of the web page. You can test each of these elements simultaneously. The downside to multivariate testing is it doesn’t tell you what users think about each element you are testing. It only tells you whether they like one version of a page better than the other. Still, multivariate testing has its uses.
One time when you might use multivariate testing is when you are trying out a new web designer. Have him or her redesign a page on your website. Then, conduct a multivariate test on that version of the web page and your current page. The test will reveal which version of your web page users like better.
Testing is a good way to determine which elements on your web pages are working for you and which ones you should ditch.
Thursday, February 14th, 2013
When building your new small business website, should you build it with HTML from scratch or use a website template? If you decide on a template, should you use an off-the-shelf template or a custom-designed template? A free template or a premium template?
These are all important questions, but there is no one right answer. What’s best for one business might not be best for another.
Templates are difficult because there are so many things that can go wrong – and so many things that can go right. If you design your website from scratch, then you control everything. You are also responsible for everything. Good and bad.
With templates, you have to make sure that they are SEO-friendly, crawlable, and user-friendly. If you design your own website, then you can ensure each of those elements as you build. Plus, if you use an off-the-shelf template, then you have to modify it if you want specific elements that aren’t included. I would almost always recommend some modification, even with a premium template.
Nonetheless, you can often work with a template a lot less expensively. If you see one you like, then it could save you some time on the front end.
It’s always your call, of course. But you’ll need to make sure that your website can be crawled by the search engines, will get indexed and ranked, and will meet your visitors’ needs.
Wednesday, January 30th, 2013
Website design has become a lot more sophisticated in recent years. There are so many websites online now that the competition is getting stiffer by the day. Every edge you can give yourself means one step closer to winning the game. Web design concerns are increasingly more important and you can give yourself that added advantage by paying attention to just a few web design principles.
Here are 3 ways you can improve your web design immediately:
- Brand yourself with colors – Learn to use the hex color graph. Choose 2 to 3 colors you want associated with your brand and design your website with those. People will, in time, associate those colors with your online brand.
- Use graphic content – Instead of just writing text, add some graphics to your website. You’ll be surprised at just how much that will improve user engagement and conversions. There is no substitute for an attractive website.
- Write content for the web – People read print differently than they do online content. Make your paragraphs short and your sentences simple. Also, use bullet points and subheads so that readers can scan your content easily.
Web design is one of the most important aspects of doing business online. Make your website attractive and give users an easy-to-navigate website with visual colors and graphics. You’ll love the response you get from your visitors.
Friday, December 16th, 2011
Many tend to think that branding and logos are one in the same. It is and it isn’t. Branding encompasses so much more than just your logo. Logos are a part of branding to the extent your customers recognize who you are by seeing the logo. But branding is actually who and what your company is about in all things.
The correct definition is from The American Marketing Association AMA, which states that the “name, term, sign, symbol or design, or a combination of them intended to identify the goods and services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of other sellers.”
What this basically means is that it is the building of an image that is specific to your company, that customers will quickly identify as your business. Besides the logo, it will be the customization of your website along with your mission statement, design and colors of the website. An example would be Apple Corporation. The logo is a large part as everyone knows about the big red apple. But it is also more than that if you really look at their website and core values.
You will want a website that will reflect your business and beliefs and will be easily recognized by your customers. For instance, let’s say you sell western riding accessories, your branding would be a western style website with perhaps a horse or a lasso as the logo.
If you already have a website but are not happy with the way it looks, then it’s time to try something different that will pull in more customers and reflect your business better. Your brand must reflect the type of business you have. Otherwise all of your hard work will have been for nothing.
Friday, December 2nd, 2011
It’s wonderful to have small mom and pop stores in local towns. That is what defines the town. Most people will stay loyal to their local shops because that is what helps the community stay alive.
Sadly, a lot of those same mom and pop stores are closing simply because they don’t have enough business in today’s world. This is due to more people using the internet for their purchases. For some, it is much easier to sit at home, in front of a computer, and purchase whatever you want and have it shipped, instead of visiting the local stores.
This is why it is more important than ever for those same stores to get a website and add a few products to the site and let people purchase from the site. It not only boosts the business owner’s revenue, but it puts that same business owner in the driver’s seat as far as keeping their doors open.
No one wants to see the quaint little corner market or antique store close. These businesses have been the mainstay for many small communities to stay alive and there is a bit of history and nostalgia associated with local business.
A challenge to all small business owners. Start a website, build your presence on the internet and get your business rolling again. The internet is here to stay and you should just hop right on and take your piece of the pie too.
You don’t even have to be computer savvy to do it. Hire a web designer. That person will get a domain name for you and design you a website according to your specifications. You will be surprised at how easy it is. You can then still retain the old world charm in the store itself, but your pocketbook will thank you.
Wednesday, October 12th, 2011
When you plan your search engine optimization efforts, do you do it for the long term or the short term? Most search marketers do it for the short term.
Short-term SEO can be characterized by a list of do’s and don’ts on your search company’s list of best practices. They are essentially a list of things to do today so that your website ranks next month. But they don’t account for eventual search engine algorithm changes. They are essentially based on a follow-the-crowd mentality.
Long-term SEO is different. It doesn’t concern itself with what everyone else is doing. It just does what makes sense and what will ultimately make sense five years from now.
For instance, a short-term SEO strategy usually leads to broken links and bad website navigation. Long-term SEO, on the other hand, takes into consideration how a user might navigate several hundred web pages on your website before those pages have even been planned. It takes into consideration the taxonomy of web pages and puts together an intelligent web design plan that will make as much sense next decade as it does next week.
So I’ll ask again: Is your SEO strategy a long-term strategy or a short-term strategy? How many times to do you want to build that website?
Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011
Take a look around at some of your favorite websites. Are they pretty? Now look at some of the most successful websites online. What do they have going for them?
Here is a list of successful websites that aren’t all that pretty or do not have a great deal of graphic design work going in their favor:
- Google – It’s pretty simple with a white background and a search box
- Craigslist – Just a page with a bunch of links
- Drudge Report – Still one of the most unattractive websites online
- Yahoo! - Have you seen Yahoo! lately? It’s got a lot going on, but it isn’t particularly attractive.
- Alltop – Guy Kawasaki’s newsstand. Ugly.
- Wikipedia – There are few websites that can boast of the popularity and success of Wikipedia, but boy is it ugly.
- Twitter – Not much to it, right?
The Web is full of ugly but successful websites. It’s also full of beautiful ones that don’t succeed.
The key to a successful website is to offer something people want. Functionality is key. Without it, it doesn’t matter how beautiful your web design is. On the other hand, a beautiful website can keep visitors longer – but it has to be a functional website with something to offer.
Are web graphics necessary? Not ultimately, but they can make a good website a great one.
Wednesday, July 27th, 2011
Is it better to design a website using HTML or a content management system (CMS)?
To be sure, there are pros and cons to either method. Here are a few things to think about when making your decision about whether to design your website using HTML or CMS.
- Security: In terms of security, HTML is superior; however, most CMSs have security plugins or add-ons that you can use to make your site more secure.
- SEO: It’s easier to SEO an HTML website, but most CMSs these days make SEO easier and more effective.
- Control Over Design: You have more control over design elements with HTML.
- Time Management: Designing your website and updating your content can be done much more quickly with a CMS than with an HTML website.
- Upgrades: Constant upgrades to a CMS can be annoying, but they are necessary. HTML updates come much less often.
- Support: Most CMSs have a built in and strong support community.
- Enhancements: Website enhancements are easier with a CMS since most have a library of plugins or add-ons.
- Coding: You don’t have to know any coding languages to use most CMSs, however, they can often be code heavy and slow your page load speed, which affects your SEO.
- Compatibility: HTML has no coding limitations. Virtually any coding language can be made to interact with your website. But if you use a CMS, you might experience difficulties trying to incorporate other languages, depending on your server type and the specs of your CMS.
All things considered, most small businesses can benefit from using a CMS as opposed to coding their website in HTML.