Web Design Blog Posts

Okay, so your business or organization has decided to build a new website – hopefully y,ou’ve gone through the other steps required before actually designing a new website – and you’ve found a few firms, maybe looked at some reviews and had some referrals look at their portfolio. Further, you’ve made that first contact to reach out to them and now comes your big moment. The question then is, how are you going to decide who you will actually hire?

 

This next step can be a difficult one because if you’re interviewing more than one firm, you are going to be handing out a couple of “Noes” in addition to awarding the contract to the firm of your choice.

 

Whether you’ve designed a website before or you’re brand new to this endeavor, we’re going to give you the best questions we’ve heard from clients in the past 20 years of building websites.

 

We’re going to get into the basic questions that everyone should ask and then at the end focus on some specific questions you might ask a designer, even if you already have a relationship with them and you’re looking to redesign your website.

 

First, a couple things you should do before your meeting.  A web designer is not a mind reader – while they are trained in both design/technical skills and hopefully consultation/people skills,  in order for them to provide you with the great solution that you seek, they’re going to ask a lot of questions in order to get information from you that will help them meet your requirements. Here’s how you can help them right up front in the interview process:

Provide every firm with the same information and give them at least a few days to look it over. The information should include:

  1. Basic information about your business and why you want to redesign your website.
  2. URLs of at least 3 competitors
  3. At least 3 websites you like – and WHY you like them.
  4. At least 3 websites you dislike and WHY you do not like them.
  5. A basic time frame within which you expect to see a basic CONCEPT.
  6. A time frame within which you want to LAUNCH the website.

 

After you’ve provided the information outlined above, the next step is the Interview. We’re going to break each question up into two sections. In this section, the questions you will ask are important because they will help you understand the kinds of responses that can help you make a decision in your web designer interview process.

 

Did you have a chance to look over the material I sent to you?  Was there anything in particular that stood out?

 

This is an obvious one because you want to see how much time the web designer has invested in getting ready for the interview. However, if you haven’t paid your web designer anything yet you can’t expect a full in-depth consultation, but they should at least take the time to review the information you sent and have some meaningful questions prepared and ready for you.

 

Who are the people on your team you might see as a good fit for working on this project?

This is an important question because having more than one mind on the project is important to your firm. In deciding who you’ll award the project, you must consider who is available and whether or not they have someone or a team of people in mind who can contribute different ideas and play off each other to give you the best results.

 

Are my project deadlines for concept and completion realistic?

This is important because you want to make sure the web designer is going to be available and is flexible for when you’re ready. Most projects don’t actually begin when they’re intended, but a lot of companies have a hard deadline. Be sure to flush out any particular reasons that could delay your launch.

 

Should I anticipate any expected overages beyond your initial estimate?

We’ve seen a lot of companies quoting projects on an hourly basis. This can be dangerous for a couple of reasons: sometimes the web design firm could be providing extra services to you that are not outlined in the original proposal, and this can result in a lot of additional costs.

 

How do your invoicing and billing work? What type of milestone payments would you be expecting?

You want to know if your web design firm is expecting you to just send in paper checks when things are due. Are they expecting payment over PayPal, which, in our opinion, is not a great idea, or do they have some type of online invoicing system where you can pay with credit cards online, set up payments, view payment history etc.? Evaluate what’s important to you in this step.

 

What is your overall process like, will I have a chance to have an overall view of how you will be getting through the design phase right through the launch and know what to expect?

This is a really important question because, quite honestly, some designers just wing it while other web design firms have a step-by-step process. That process is important so that things aren’t left out or forgotten. It also ensures the client doesn’t get frustrated feeling like there is no movement towards completion.

 

Can you tell me about the types of best practices you employ in your designs? And how do you keep up with the latest design trends?

We’re going to give you some answers below, but we don’t want you to give them to the web design firm verbatim. Instead, let them tell you what’s important. If they don’t give any of these examples below you can follow up with specific questions. Here are some important things your designer should be talking about:

  1. Engaging, eye-catching design that blends best practices with creativity.
  2. Fast loading – under 4 seconds
  3. Optimizing images for speed and resolution
  4. Being mobile friendly
  5. Security – this is a VERY high priority
  6. Calls to action in strategic locations
  7. Consistent font sizes, consistent and complementary colors, etc.
  8. Using technologies that aren’t going away. For example, if they apply a theme or template you happen to not like, how hard is it to change it? Is it something flexible where you can move things around and make it look the way you want or are you going to be stuck with one look and feel?

 

Will I be able to edit my own content? Will you train me on how to edit it or do I have to go through you?

An ideal situation is a website where you can go in and make little changes like edit a text, update things that may change frequently, or add photo galleries to a blog post. However – let’s be realistic – a really professionally designed website designed by professional designers will require a professional designer to make some changes.

 

Is my website going to be completely custom or will you be applying some type of theme?

Things you should know about this: If you’re going with WordPress, for example, a lot of developers will use or buy a theme. This can help speed up design and development, but there’s no guarantee the developer of that theme may be there in the future. Therefore, make sure they are purchasing products and services that are used by a wide variety of people, and is one that offers some type of support for a paid plan. If the website is going to be completely custom, ask them about the technologies they are going to be using and whether those technologies are being used by a wide pool of developers.

 

What is your creative process like?

This is important because you want to make sure you’re kind of feeling the vibe from your web designer. Here, you want to consider the following: Are they esoteric? Are they organized? Do they pour a cup of coffee or a glass of wine? We think talking about this will help you feel like you have a good connection with your web designer.

 

If you provide a design that we’re generally unhappy with, how do you handle it?

This is an interesting question. Some designers become emotionally invested in their project and they have strong feelings about what they designed, while others just want to build something great that the client also loves.

 

After I receive my first concept, how many rounds of revisions will you provide to me and how long will it take between each round of revisions?

This is important because some web designers can go dormant, especially the smaller web design firms or the one person show freelancers – they’ve got a lot going on and are trying to manage everything by themselves. It’s good to get up and right from the start. If they tend to hide during the project you can call them out on it because you asked them in the beginning how long to wait in between changes.

 

What type of quality control or testing process do you have between the time you will design the site and the time you will launch it?

This is really important because when you get your site, you typically want to be happy about it. Customers are going to notice it and you’re going to send people there, and if you’re marketing it, you will want it to be perfect. A lot can happen during the web design: the project code can be broken, spelling and grammar issues may occur, mobile design issues may arise, you name it. We have a four-page checklist of every single post-launch problem we’ve encountered in the last 15 years. I tell clients upfront that though we have an extensive testing process, but things do still slip through the cracks However, we do our due diligence to make sure the website is flawless when launched.

 

Do you host a website or would we have to host it?

Many firms like to host their own website typically because they think it’s cheaper or they found some ad somewhere for $9 a month hosting. The truth is, there a lot of things that can go wrong on a hosting account – we’ve seen people who forget to pay the bill lose the login and are unable to keep track of the account as a result, and hackers get in and use the account for illegal activities, you name it. You may spend a little bit more, but it is better to have your website designer control the account. This gives them complete responsibility and complete control over everything to make sure that your website is running at its best.

 

If I call you with questions after the project what do you consider billable?

Let’s be honest here, companies stay in business by charging for their time. But what you need to consider is, are you going to get a bill for $8.75 every time you send a quick email? Or do they have some sort of formal consultation process where they can block off times and charge you accordingly for the expertise they have acquired to earn a living on?

 

Are there any pieces of my projects which will be handled by outside freelancers or contractors?

Why is this Important? It’s important to ask your web designer which pieces may be handled by outsiders because even though those freelancers are contractors that are probably working with them regularly, it still leaves a level of uncertainty. On the flip side of it, not every company can employ the best of every field, including complex Integrations that may be needed for your project. A company having all of that talent in-house will certainly be a higher price.

 

After we launch, who will be responsible for website changes and how long would they typically take?

Quite honestly, our best clients are those who came from other web designers, who said it took one to two weeks to get any kind of response from them. A 2- to 3-business-day turnaround is typically considered great for a web design firm. A good response will be something like: “We do our best to give a 1- to 2-business-day turnaround, with exceptions if we’re handling some sort of emergency or we have a holiday”.

 

Will you give me all the passwords necessary for my website, including the database file system, FTP, admin login, etc.?

If your web designer doesn’t provide all of these types of access to you, it is a good sign that they are just smashing your website on a host with a ton of other websites and everything’s kind of mashed together. This is not good for you or their other clients.

 

Have you recently fired a client or suggested they go somewhere else? If so, why?

It’s important to know what your web design firm considers a conflict. Do they have a high threshold and are they reasonable or do they have a tendency to just get what they want and kick everyone else to the curb?

 

Questions you DON’T ask but SHOULD use in your evaluation process:

  1. Did they have a clear constructive answer to your questions or did it seem like they kind of made it up as they went along?
  2. When answering questions, did they demonstrate previous success and make reference to similar projects and similar clients who have had similar issues they helped solve?
  3. Did they ask any other meaningful questions apart from the other web design firms you interviewed?

 

Final thoughts

Your web designer is just that – a web designer – they’re not a marketing agency. They’re not a PR firm either. They’re also not a marketing strategist, a HR department, or your legal staff. Their job is to take information about your business and your vision, understand your competitors and who’s coming to your site and develop and design something amazing that caters to that audience and provide the intended result that you have given to them.

 

You can ignore it… but Is your website ready for 2019?

When making the decision to follow trends for 2019 or just keep things the way they are you have to ask yourself is your website and expense or critical sales tool? You’re always reading these new fancy marketing articles telling you to have bells and whistles in order to attract customers away from your competitors.

But what’s the real deal what should website owners in our opinion be thinking about in 2019? Have you ever heard the phrase “the more things change the more they stay the same”?

I think website trends for 2019 will be similar.  we’ll talk about the basics you should always be thinking about any website as well as some True Trends will see for 2019. In 2018 – Users ruled – and in 2019 It will be even truer. My prediction: the biggest trend is having your website actualy match your business and it’s current operations. Read on for more details.

 

Review Your Current Operations.

Do your services and team accurately reflect your website when someone goes to your website are they seen was actually happening in your business?

Have your services changed

Have you made any changes in your staff or team

Have you changed office locations your hours of operations?

Pricing or menu changes?

Do you offer gift certificates or any online payments now

Has your interest introduce any new jargon or language which should be reflected on your website?

Do you have any new reviews that could help new visitors learn what other say about your business

What are your competitors up to have they updated their website what things can you learn from them?

 

Evaluate how your website is being used

Once you review your current operations it’s time to look at your website and see how it being used are people going to the pages you want them to read how long are they staying there are they coming back what are the age or other demographic features of the people coming to your site. Once you take a look at this you can evaluate underperforming areas of your site and make changes to get more response to those areas of the site

 

Agreed free tool to help look at how your website being use is Google Analytics Google analytics can be a beast and itself there are some easy ways to get some basic data and there are a lot of options to hire professionals to help you review what’s going on with your website.

 

in addition to Google analytics there are great tools called heat Maps one tool that we love it when a teen group is mouse flow it will record up to 100 sessions of users coming to your website will tell you how far they scroll down the page what they’re clicking on and what they’re reading this is a great tool website owners should be thinking about every so often.

 

If you’re engaging an SEO actions another obvious choice would be the Google search console in Google my business those tools also provide valuable insights on how visitors are coming to your website through search and through your Google Business Listing.

 

Revamp Your Website

Now that you’ve made a clear path on what your business is doing and looked at how your web sites being used it’s time to close those gaps with revamping both content photos and potentially the structure of your website.  best thing to do is to start with a Content planner make a list of the pages you want to change an outline the content in sections that you want on that page once you’ve decided on the main concepts of that page you can write the text and import the photos which you desire.

 

While you’re editing the content,  it’s also advisable to take a look at the colors and icons reviews on the website if your website is more than 2 years old you want to take a look at it and make sure it’s still fresh and inviting in with today’s times if you want to be viewed as a current business.  we revamp our own website at 1:18 group every 12 to 18 months. although this is expected of us we worked very hard in our business and it’s constantly changing we need a website to reflect those changes.

What are some common elements we see ineffective websites?

people are busy reading can sometimes be a luxury your website needs to be cleanly organized with the pages very easily found through your top menu.

 

A lot of people are mobile now over 60% you have to make sure any features on your website or available on mobile or you’re giving mobile users some way to contact you or alternative method to get that content.

 

Think about your overall design are the headings a pleasant color are they spaced evenly from photos and other text or is it just a blob help people pull out quick and meaningful Concepts as they scroll through the page only use professional photography and make sure there are no copyright strings attached or you can find yourself with a major legal issue issue.

 

How about the colors on your website do they accurately reflect does the website look a little could use some freshening up?

 

Is it easy for people to contact you we’ve been talking about this for years but are there buttons in strategic places to get people to contact you?  have you considered installing live chat? is your phone number and location easily found for people who may be mobile or driving and just need a quick answer?

 

Speed

In 2019 your website should load in under 4 seconds.  your website photos and content should be optimized so that it is also under 3 to 4 megabytes.  mobile traffic is reaching an all-time high in those users are not going to click on additional pages on your website if it’s loading slow.

 

Security
Your website absolutely has to have an SSL certificate and get that green padlock at the top of the page. Do you have a WordPress site and or do you have your own a hosting account?  you need to make sure you have a professional keeping an eye on it or you yourself are employing tools and practices would keep your website patched and updated just because your system has locked and password doesn’t mean someone can’t break in.  the analogy I use is you can park your car under a streetlight and lock the doors but someone can still break-in and do damage.

Website Design Trends for 2019

Website Design Trends for 2019

Tying it all together

Indeed for some people a website is an expense for others it’s a critical sales tool that can make or break a sale even companies which rely heavily on referrals can lose sales if a referral comes to a website and they see something they don’t like you have to remember today’s consumer has a lot of options they’re busy and distracted and we need to give them a great streamlined experience.

You can ignore it… but is your website ready for 2019?

When making the decision to either follow website trends for 2019 or just keep things the way they are, you have to ask yourself, “Is my website an expense or a critical sales tool?” You’re probably always reading these new fancy marketing articles telling you you need to have bells and whistles in order to attract customers away from your competitors. Are these stories true? What’s the real deal? What should website owners, in our opinion, be thinking about in 2019?

Have you ever heard the phrase “the more things change the more they stay the same”? At 118GROUP, we believe the biggest website trend for 2019 will be  “to better serve your website visitors”.

We’ll talk about the basics you should always be thinking about concerning any website as well as some True Trends we’ll see for 2019.

 

Review Your Current Operations

Do your services and team members accurately reflect your website? When someone goes to your website, are they seeing what is actually happening in your business?

Have your services changed?

Have you made any changes to your staff or team?

Have you changed office locations or your hours of operations?

Have there been any pricing or menu changes?

Do you now offer gift certificates or any online payments?

Has your interest introduced any new jargon or language which should be reflected on your website?

Do you have any new reviews that could help new visitors learn what other say about your business?

What are your competitors up to; have they updated their website and what things can you learn from them?

 

Evaluate how your website is being used

Once you review your current operations, it’s time to look at your website and see how it’s really being used. Are people going to the pages you want them to read? How long are they staying there? Are they coming back? What are the ages or other demographic features of the people coming to your site? Once you take a look at this, you can evaluate underperforming areas of your site and make changes to get more response to them.

 

A great free tool to help you understand how your website is being used is Google Analytics. Google Analytics can be a beast by itself but there are some other easy ways to get basic data on your website. There are also a lot of options when it comes to hiring professionals to help you review what’s going on with your website.

 

In addition to Google Analytics, there are great tools called Heat Maps. One tool that we really love is mouse flow. It records up to 100 sessions of users coming to your website and will tell you how far they scroll down the page, what they’re clicking on and what they’re reading. This is a great tool that website owners should be thinking about very often.

 

If you’re engaging in SEO actions, another obvious choice would be the Google search console in Google my business. This tool also provides valuable insights on how many visitors are coming to your website through search and through your Google Business Listing.

 

Revamp Your Website

Now that you’ve clearly defined what your business is doing and looked at how your website is being used, it’s time to close those gaps by revamping content photos and potentially the structure of your website. The best way to start is with a Content planner; make a list of the pages you want to change and outline the content in sections that you want on that page. Once you’ve decided on the main concepts of that page, you can write the text and import the photos which you desire.

 

While you’re editing the content, it’s also advisable to take a look at the colors and icons reviews on the website. If your website is more than 2 years old, you need to take a look at it and make sure it’s still fresh and inviting. You need to look like you’re in with today’s times if you want to be viewed as a current business.  We revamp our own website at 1:18 group every 12 to 18 months although this is expected of us; we work very hard in our business and since it’s constantly changing, we need a website to reflect those changes.

 

What are some common elements we see on ineffective websites?

Remember that people are busy and reading can sometimes be a luxury. Your website needs to be cleanly organized with the pages very easily found through your top menu.

 

A lot of people – over 60% – are mobile now. You have to make sure any features on your website are available on mobile or that you’re giving mobile users some way to contact you or an alternative method to get your content.

 

Think about your overall design. Are the headings a pleasant color, are they spaced evenly from photos and other text or are they just blobs? Help people pull out quick and meaningful concepts as they scroll through your pages. Only use professional photography and make sure there are no copyright strings attached or else you may find yourself with a major legal issue.

 

How about the colors on your website? Do they accurately reflect your organization? Does the website look a little dated and like it could use some freshening up?

 

Is it easy for people to contact you? We’ve been talking about this for years but are there buttons in strategic places to get people to contact you?  Have you considered installing live chat? Are your phone number and location easy to spot for people who may be mobile or driving and just need a quick answer?

 

Speed

In 2019, your website should load in under 4 seconds. Your website photos and content should be optimized so that they are less than 3 to 4 megabytes. Mobile traffic is reaching an all-time high and most users are not going to click on additional pages if your website is loading slowly.

 

Security


Your website absolutely has to have an SSL certificate with that green padlock at the top of the page. Do you have a WordPress site and do you have your own hosting account? You need to make sure you have a professional keeping an eye on these things. Alternatively, you could employ tools and practices that will keep your website patched and updated. Remember that just because your system is locked with a password, this doesn’t mean someone can’t break in. To illustrate, you can park your car under a streetlight and lock the doors but someone can still break-in and do damage.

 

Tying it all together

Indeed for some people, a website is an expense while for others it’s a critical sales tool that can make or break a sale. Even companies who rely heavily on referrals can lose sales if a referral comes to a website and they see something they don’t like. You have to remember that today’s consumer has a lot of options. They’re busy and distracted and you need to give them a great streamlined experience.

 

Website Trends from 2018

In case you missed it, here’s a quick bulleted list website trends in 2018 which survived and we expect to see in 2019.

 

The “Hero” Image:

The “hero image” is that large banner which appears on the homepage of many websites.

Example of a hero image below (pun intended):

Cape Veterans Outreach Hero Image

Cape Veterans Outreach Hero Image

 

Parallax Effect

According to dictionary.com a Parallax is defined as: the apparent displacement of an observed object due to a change in the position of the observer. If you check out the 118GROUP homepage, scroll down to the bubbles section, and you can see the scroll moving at different speeds which created the effect of distance.

 

 

Google Maps on Contact Pages

You can embed a google map of your location by doing the following:

 

Embed a map or directions

Note: Traffic and other Maps info is sometimes not available in the embedded map.

  1. Open Google Maps.
  2. Go to the directions, map, or Street View image you’d like to embed.
  3. In the top left, click Menu aka Hamburger Icon.
  4. Click Share or embed map.
  5. Click Embed map.
  6. To the left of the text box, pick the size you want by clicking the Down arrow .
  7. Copy the text in the box. Paste it into the HTML of your website or blog.

 

Disallowing Comments on Blog Posts

If you are a blog, magazine, or commentary magazine, there are arguments for keeping blogs. However, many people feel, on a business website you are leaving yourself vulnerable to negativity.

Rounded Edges on Images

cape cod video, video, video near me, video barnstable, videographer

With the ever changing landscape of the internet, a good business website needs to be easily flexible and customizable for the long term. For businesses with long term strategies, a responsive design website is crucial to build and maintain. WordPress is a great platform to do just that.

More than ever, how friendly your website is for mobile devices affects your site’s ranking in search. But more importantly, visitors don’t want to come to a site that’s difficult to navigate from their phones. Mobile users are much less forgiving when it comes to load times and sites that are not able to be navigated quickly. This is why search engines, especially Google, use mobile friendliness as a major factor in ranking search results.

By choosing a responsive design theme on WordPress, you can update the look and feel of the site easily. Meanwhile, your content remains intact. If your business decides to make changes to its offerings, minor or major, it’s easy to add pages and move things around without having to invest in a complete redesign. Best of all, it will adjust to appear correctly on just about any device.

Many content management platforms can undergo major changes. These can cause serious issues with your website’s function and performance. However, if you choose a solid WordPress hosting platform, such as WP Engine, your host will keep on top of updates for you. If there will be any compatibility issues with a new version of WordPress, you can switch to a newer similar theme without causing major interruptions in your site’s usability.

As one of the most supported hosting platforms around, WordPress isn’t going anywhere. It’s easy to back them up and transfer them from host to host if necessary. There are also a wide array of plugins that can help you do pretty much anything you could ever want to do with your site.

For the long term, businesses are wise to invest in a responsive WordPress website. With the ability to easily create a full featured website that grows with your business, the WordPress platform might just be the right one for your business website.

What should online merchants do when they suspect someone is using a stolen credit card? If you have an online store, you may have gotten an order that looks suspicious. Maybe it’s an order for five of the same item that typically people don’t buy that many of, or some other massive order that isn’t normal.

Other signs of suspicious online shoppers include:

  • Multiple payment cards have been used by the same IP address within a few days
  • The shopper’s billing address is more than a certain number of miles from the shipping address.
  • The shopper’s email address has been flagged in a database of known fraud activity
  • The bank identification number (BIN) of the card shows that the transaction comes from a country with a high-risk of fraud.

So what do you do if you think a transaction was suspicious? Where do you turn?

Read more

When designing a mobile-friendly, responsive website, many web designers are curious as to what dimensions they should build their website within. There are several guidelines to follow when designing your site, especially when it comes to the width of your pages and how well they adjust to various screen sizes.

 

One way to keep your site mobile-friendly is to set what are called “breakpoints” in your website’s CSS file. This helps give your site the ability to adjust to different screen resolutions, especially when it comes to width. The last thing you want your website visitors to see, especially on mobile, is horizontal scroll bars! As a typical rule of thumb, if the user’s screen is small than 480 pixels, this is when the site should display a smartphone layout. If the screen size is between 480 and 1024, you’ll want your site to display the tablet layout. Any resolution higher than that should automatically display the “regular” desktop layout.

 

There are many responsive website templates out there that adjust to various mobile screen sizes. But what if the script to detect the screen resolution doesn’t properly recognize it? This can lead to your site being hard to use or even unusable for some mobile users. This is something that you definitely don’t want to happen. But following these width guidelines should eliminate most major issues.

 

Of course, this means that you’ll be creating CSS rules for every one of those three (or more) layouts. However, this can be a good thing, as you can eliminate higher-resolution photos and JavaScript code using these scripts that won’t serve a purpose on mobile devices. Really, the best design template to use for a mobile friendly website is one that is built on columns and rows that adjust automatically based on how they are being viewed. This is done by using what are called fluid containers, some of which are defined using set widths, and others that automatically adjust to resolution. This way, when new devices are released, you don’t have to create a new script for it.
In the long run, you just want to be sure that your website is adaptable to as many screens as it possibly can be. Testing your website on a wide array of devices is crucial.  But trying to have the same website display on all devices without lots of extra fancy CSS scripts is really the best way to go. The less your website has to work to display correctly, the faster it will load, and therefore, the better it will perform.

Mobile Web design is one of the hottest topics for a good reason. Since more than half of all Internet users access it from their phone, you have to be 100 percent sure that your website is functional on phone screens. Not only that, you have to make sure that your site looks good, as well. It should also be streamlined for easy navigation. But perhaps the most important element of mobile Web design you need to focus on is how fast (or slow) your website pages load.

 

The first thing you want to check is to see just how mobile-friendly your existing website already is. Google has a tool for checking your website’s mobile friendliness. Also, Google has found that visitors are 5 times more likely to “bounce” off of your website if it’s not mobile-friendly. That’s a staggering number. But it’s not surprising considering that more searches than ever start on mobile than on desktop.

 

So what is the first major thing to consider when optimizing for mobile-friendly design? It’s page load time. One of the major elements of mobile Web design that you need to succeed in today’s internet is how instantly something loads. Google says that “nearly half of all visitors will leave a mobile site if the pages don’t load within 3 seconds.” It’s not quite that quickly for desktop users. But when when people are checking things on their phones, it’s understandable that they want a nearly instant response from a website that they’re trying to visit.

 

So what causes slow page load time? Sometimes, the trouble lies in code that may make the site look good on desktops. But on the phone, this presentation isn’t going to be as fantastic. All this extra code does is slow the page load time on a mobile phone. You may also have high-resolution images that look gorgeous on a desktop screen. But on a mobile device? They take too much data to actually load properly within a reasonable amount of time. You’re also sucking up valuable data usage for your users. No one wants to deal with a website that uses up a lot of their monthly high-speed data usage.

 

So now you know the major culprits of slow page load time. How do you fix these issues? One of the best ways to overcome mobile page load issues is to employ a responsive website design that is generally the same on both desktops & laptops and mobile devices. Some website owners employ a different version of their website for mobile and desktop users. This creates a different user experience and perhaps in some niche cases it’s okay to have two separate sites. However, for most people and businesses, a simple responsive website that adjusts from a mobile phone screen to the largest desktop monitor is best.

 

With a simple, streamlined responsive website, you’re only keeping track of a single website. Whether you choose WordPress or a similar Content Management System (CMS) make sure you have a theme that’s both eye-catching and easy on load time. The more scripts and fancy widgets you have on your site will simply hamper people from even finding your site in search! It’s best to have a simpler website that anyone can find on Google, Bing, Yahoo, or whatever their favorite search engine. Otherwise, you might have a website that people only find by typing in the address on a business card.

 

With Google and other search engines making mobile-friendliness a priority, it’s time for you to make sure you have a responsive, quickly loading mobile-friendly website today.

Search Engine Optimization

 

Have you been looking over your website stats and noticing a “high bounce rate”? Simply put bounce rate is when someone comes to a page on your site and that’s all they look at. What is considered a “good bounce rate”? Usually, a rate this high is considered bad. What causes it? There are a variety of reasons that your website is experiencing a high bounce rate.

 

Page Load Time

The first thing to watch when you have a bounce rate north of 70 percent is page load time. Many people won’t stay on the page if it doesn’t load quickly. Make sure that your site loads as quickly as possible. The worst thing is a website nobody waits around to see. It could also be that perhaps your page isn’t loading correctly, especially on mobile. You’ll want to address any mobile loading issues, as well.

 

Time on Page

If you’re a service-based business, it’s possible that visitors could just be grabbing a phone number or email address from your home page and leaving. This could artificially boost your bounce rate and it’s something to watch. You could have good design, but sometimes all people need is the contact info right at the top of the page.

This is when you need to watch your average visitor’s time on page. If it’s a few seconds that’s not good. It means your visitors often aren’t getting what they are looking for with your site at all. If it’s more like 15 to 30 seconds, then it’s likely they’re at least scanning the page. But you still want better than that on average.

If your average visitor time is closer to a minute, however, it means people are actually showing interest. That means you’re doing something right. So how do you capture their attentions even more?

 

Calls to Action and Interactivity

Perhaps, your home page doesn’t have enough calls to action. The best way to keep people on your site is to make it interactive and fun. You want your site to have colorful buttons and good,  relevant images that capture attention. Some sites even gamify their content to entice people to interact.

While gamification of a website isn’t for everyone, think of new and innovative ways to get your target audience to explore more of your site. Of course, the longer you keep visitors interested, the higher chance that you’ll be kept in mind or even contacted right away for your products or services.

Videos are another way to keep people on your site. Many site visitors aren’t fond of autoplay videos, but just having one gives visitors another reason to interact with your site. It needs to be short and sweet and be directed at what problems you’re trying to solve for your visitors.

 

Compelling Website Copy and Design

 

Your website copy and design should flow directly towards converting visitors. The easier you make it for people to know exactly what you do and contact you, the lower your bounce rate will be. Really, as long as your website is effective, your bounce rate will lower accordingly.

If your bounce rate is extremely high, you definitely want to pay attention to what they are missing. Some basic streamlining and better attention grabbing copy, images or features could be all you need to steal the spotlight from your competition.

With the remodeling business growing all the time, it’s becoming harder for home improvement companies to stand out among increasing competition.The number one marketing weapon you can have with any business is a custom website, and it’s especially true for home improvement companies. From roofing contractors to full-service design-build construction companies, custom websites are a necessity in today’s highly competitive home improvement market.

 

Homeowners often get at least three bids from different home improvement companies before starting a remodeling project. So, you want to ensure that you have a custom website that potential customers not only can easily find online, but that will stand out in visitors’ minds when they are making a buying decision.

 

A Custom Website Helps Harness the Power of Local SEO

 

Search engines are your friend, especially when it comes to local search. For years, many contractors have relied on directory listings for leads. Some still do. But in today’s online world, search engine users are looking for a solid website. Home improvement companies without a website, with an outdated website, or with a website that is clunky or difficult to use on mobile devices simply will not capture leads effectively.

 

A custom website should be built with responsive design, earning that it will display well and function properly on virtually any device. Many potential customers use their smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices to do their searches now. You want to have your local listing linking to an effective website that is easy to navigate, easy to find information, and with effective call-to-actions that make it easy to contact you.

 

If you aren’t ranking qwell on local searches, a custom website with the proper SEO (search engine optimization) work done and responsive design will dramatically improve your search rankings. It’s simply a must-have lead generation machine. Companies without websites or ineffective websites simply can’t compete with companies that have well-executed custom websites.

 

Custom Websites Can Show Off Your Projects, Products and Services

 

Having an up-to-date, state-of-the-art website can also be a source of pride for your business. You’ve long been able to have a portfolio of work on a website, but nowadays, you need a custom website that displays your work effectively on every device. Having a custom responsive design website ensures that you show off your past projects as best as you can no matter what device the website visitor chooses to use.

 

Also, custom websites allow you to showcase your services and favorite products with style. Your website is a great way to highlight value-added services, too.  You may even have a blog that talks about recent projects and exciting news about new products or services that you’re offering. Just try not to over-sell.

 

A Custom Website Builds Your Company’s Credibility

 

Businesses that invest a lot of time and energy into their websites show potential customers that they really care about their business. So it’s really no surprise that a new custom website, when properly executed, can lead to a lot of new business out of the gate.

 

The real advantage with building a custom responsive design website is that the back-end is just as flexible as the front-end. What this means is that your website can be always evolving. Every time you want to change something, it doesn’t require your entire website to be rebuilt. You want to have a website that can evolve and grow with your business, not a website that is stuck in the past and that your business outgrows.

 

If you have a website that grows and adapts to the current state of your market and remains effective and relevant, this builds your company’s credibility in a way that no other marketing tool can.

 

Whether you’re a small one-man operation out of a truck to a large full-service construction company, a custom website can work wonders for your business. It will give you a step-up on a great deal of your competition and put you head-to-head with the best in the business. A custom website that is built with responsive design and adapts to your needs is the greatest investment your business can ever make.

Choosing the best web marketing strategy from the many methods and locations that business owners can now advertise their products or services online is important for your success. It’s even more pertinent to plan your strategy when your small business is operating on a shoestring budget with limited resources. Thankfully though, some of today’s best marketing strategies offer free and low cost opportunities to promote your business.

Best Web Marketing Tips for SMBs

You can expect to invest a significant amount of time when focusing on the Internet marketing strategy of your small business. To get the most of this investment, you’ll need to focus on these six tips, below.

1. Clear Call to Action

Including a clear call to action on website pages, blog posts and social media content is a highly effective way of directing customers to the next step. Numerous studies have shown that including a call to action in your content is an effective way to gather leads and convert consumers.

2. Mobile Responsive Design

In the age of digital technology, more people than ever before are using smartphones, smartwatches, tablets, laptops and more to access the internet. In fact, out of all global traffic,15% is from these mobile devices. In addition, Google’s new search algorithm updates are now giving mobile responsive sites a big boost.

3. Capture your Audiences’ Attention Quickly (Stop Annoying your Customer)

Customers in the new age of technology are advertised-to-death. They can smell cheap promotional content from a mile away…and they don’t like it. Capture your audiences’ attention quickly with a great headline and offer valuable content that is simple.

4. Add a Blog

Having a blog is one of the number one ways to draw new customers to your website and rank higher in search engines. Providing a consistent flow of fresh and valuable content offers continuous ways for new readers to find and engage with your site. In addition, Google loves eating fresh valuable content.

5. Have at Least 1 Engaging Social Platform

While this may seem obvious, it is important that you have at least one social media profile that you keep updated and engaging. However, you should not overload yourself by trying to be on every single social media platform. Choosing somewhere between 1 and 3 social media platforms keep updated is a good place to start.
The top 3 platforms are:
Facebook
Twitter
Google+ (This is one super important for Google search engine rankings!)

6. Build an Email List & Use It

This is probably one of the most skipped areas, as well as the one for the most potential. There are numerous ways that you can grow your email database for free, and use it to consistently engage with your customers.