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Website Design and Development

What is Web Design?

Web design is the process of conceptualizing, planning and building a website that delivers a user-friendly experience to your page visitors. Web design and development requires the cohesiveness of many components in order to deliver a high quality website to your visitors. Some of these components include the website layout, graphics, colors, images, text styles and other interactive features.

What is the Role of a Web Design Company?

A web design company serves as an expert in creating web sites that are unique and customizable to the needs of any business. Web design services will utilize their professional expertise to build a website that is distinctive to a particular brand. All the while, the idea is to ensure that your website is easy to navigate; this goal is achieved through the use of a well-designed layout and other interactive features that allow your page visitors to receive all of the relevant information related to your product(s) or service(s).

What are the Benefits of a Simple Web Design?

A simple web design allows your page visitors to absorb the information on your website without being overwhelmed by convoluted content. Here are some tips to help maintain a simple web design:

  • Remove large sections of complex terminology (readers tend to skim past large chunks of text).
  • Create navigation menus to allow visitors to easily get around your website.
  • Utilize imagery and color schemes that match your brand.
  • Implement a call-to-action in key places that make sense within your website design (be careful not to overdo it with too many call-to-actions).
  • Don’t be afraid of white space. Visitors don’t want everything crammed into one section. Spread out your information so that your content is visually appealing. Tall pages with one-column layouts help lessen the clutter to allow your visitors to easily take in the information on your website.

What is Responsive Web Design?

Responsive design is when a website is created with the ability to respond or resize itself depending on the type of device that is being used by the page visitor. In today’s world of varying mobile devices, responsive design is a crucial aspect to any organization’s website. No matter what device your visitor uses to access your web site, a responsive design will make sure everything looks and functions perfectly.

How can you Best Promote your Website?

A high-quality website can only serve its purpose if people have easy access to the website. This is where Search Engine Optimization (SEO) comes into play. There are many SEO techniques that will help improve the visibility of a website on search engines. In addition to these SEO techniques, a web design company will also ensure that your web site is coded in a way that search engines can read.

For those who are looking to learn more about SEO, here are some quick how-to SEO tips that can help improve upon your web design and development skills:

Provide links to outside websites with relevant content.
Partner with other businesses that are willing to put your website link on their websites.
Know the right keywords that are relevant to your business. Make sure these keywords are used throughout your website.
Write unique meta descriptions for your website to help set your content apart from the competition.
Assign keywords to your image descriptions.
Publish unique content (start by creating a blog).

How should a Beginner Approach Web Design?

For those who are unfamiliar with the skills and knowledge required to carry out web design, it is best to contact a web design company for professional assistance with your company’s website. Web design services are complete with experienced web designers who understand today’s trends and analytics that affect the design of the modern website. For these reasons, web design services are your safest bet to ensure that your website is SEO enabled, visually appealing, user-friendly, interactive and easy to navigate.

Web Design Trends For 2019

The rate of progress in website design has been nothing short of phenomenal in the past few years. With faster, affordable technology now in most households, and businesses recognizing that a well-designed, attractive website is a must, web design agencies are constantly picking up new ideas.

The art of designing a website is one that requires several skills. Of course, a good web designer will be able to keep brand messaging to the forefront, but there is more to it than simply looking good and saying the right things. A website needs to be easy for the user to navigate, and simple to understand. It needs to get its message across quickly and effectively.

What tends to happen is that some new ideas are introduced that users like, and others that they don’t. The latter are soon removed and replaced, and the former expanded upon. This is what we mean when we talk about trends. Let’s have a closer look at the website design trends industry insiders expect to see for 2019.

The Right Typeface

Choosing a typeface for a website is no easy task these days, as there are a great many to choose from. However, some are more suited to certain types of business than others. For example, if you are building a site for a modern business – one firmly in the digital age – you need to use a modern typeface.

There is also a trend that many commentators believe will become more prevalent in 2019 web design for outlined type. This gives a very neat image, and hints at a cleaner and unique style. Plus, it works well with colours.

The trend for stylish, clean type is one that will take hold firmly in 2019; it’s easier to read, and makes a point without too much effort.

Monochrome

Look around at new websites and you’ll begin to see many that are utilising the monochrome look to the full. Black and white can have a very bold impact on the reader, and is also easy to read. It is also easy to translate into both modern and retro styles, so it is surprisingly versatile.

If you are aiming at a younger customer then this could be a good way to go. Black and white imagery has a very striking impact on the reader, and is surprisingly effective. In a world that is mired in colour, the simple effect of monochrome imagery may help the website stand out.

Even More Video

The move towards video imagery in websites is a major force, and is predicted to become even more prevalent into 2019. Video backgrounds may not be favoured by all users – some find they distract from the text and the point – but they are popular with website owners and designers.

A background that shows off your product doing what it does, or your service being carried out, gives the viewer an immediate idea of what you’re all about. It’s a bit like giving the customer engaging content, but in picture form.

The use of a background that is in video form on your home page is going to be one of the main trends in website design, and we expect video to be used throughout the website pages too.

Asymmetric Design

Think of the standard homepage website design. It is centered, with everything equidistant on the page. This is a neat and clean way of getting the main information across. Now, have a browse; you’ll start to see that many websites now feature offset images alongside the text, perhaps with the image occupying two thirds of the screen, and the text just one.

It may sound confusing, but if done well, it can be very effective – and also memorable. Remember that you want a cleanly designed website, so it is certainly worth checking out the various design houses and their past designs in order to get an idea of what they are capable of.

Great Writing

There was a time when the words on your website meant less than your pictures. Those were the days when consumers visited a site and clicked on the product they want, and that was it. Now, in the age of creative, engaging blogs and social media interaction, visitors and consumers want so much more.

They want to be informed, amused, engaged and educated; they want to have something interesting to read during their lunch break or browsing time. They want to know more about you, and about the product.

If you can write a story about how you turned your passion into a business, or how you dedicated your time to a worthwhile cause, or just tell an interesting story, then do it. If you are not a confident writer, it pays to engage a professional to make the words stand out. Great writing is a 2019 website trend without a doubt.

Animation

As if to confirm that moving images are one of the primary trends in website design this year, we are forecasting the rapid rise of integrated animation, used throughout the website to inform and help the user, as the way forward.

Clever, neat and engaging for the user, animation can take a wide range of forms from the amusing to the practical and informative, and always adds something extra when it is done well. Any competent website designer will have experience in incorporating animated images in the design, and it’s going to be massive this year.

The above are just some of the trends that are being forecast within the website design industry, and you may find many more if you look around. The key to great website design lies in keeping things simple yet engaging, and practical yet fun. More than ever, the consumer wants to feel that they are getting something worthwhile from their website interaction. So, why not have a look at your existing site to see how you can utilize the 2019 trends for improvement?

Digital Marketing Terms to Know

Library

Digital Marketing & Web Development Glossary

You’ve finally decided to take the plunge into digital marketing and immediately you are hit with words and concepts that may seem slightly foreign to you. Fear not, the tech world and the marketing world are working together more and more every day, and digital marketers, like Social Eyes Marketing, have the tools not only to help you succeed online, but to help you understand how you are doing it.

If you are totally new to digital marketing and website development this handy guide may serve to answer some questions and help you understand what those tech people are talking about.

A

A/B Testing –  For digital ad campaigns, an A/B test allows marketers to determine what will help an ad perform more efficiently. A traditional A/B test will run two ads simultaneously and measure their effectiveness and response from the audience to determine what method is better received with a specified target audience.

ALT Attribute/Tag – The ALT text will be displayed inside the image placeholder while the page is loading and it contributed to overall optimization of a site for search engines performance.

Analytics – Statistics gathered about website users and how they interact with the website they are on. Analytics can reveal such information as how they got to your site, how many people are on your site, how long they browse, or any specific actions they may take on your website as well.

 

B

Browser –  The software that users implement to navigate the World Wide Web. Chrome, Internet Explorer, and Firefox are all examples of browsers.

 

C

Call to Action (CTA) –  A call to actions is text or an image within an ad that encourages the user to take action, such as “Call Now,” “Learn More,” or “Sign Up Today.”

Clickthrough Rate (CTR) –  A percentage that relates to the amount of times an ad was seen (impression) and how often it was clicked on.

Content Management System (CMS) – An application that enables the building and on-going modification of website content with a simple to use interface that supports multiple users. WordPress is the CMS Social Eyes uses for all their clients’ sites.

Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) – CSS is the code that developers use to design the look and overall feel of your website. The CSS sets styles for fonts, images, menu, colors and other visual elements.

 

D

Domain – The web address that is entered in to a browser when a user wants to visit a specific site. Our domain is getsocialeyes.com.

Domain Authority – A number based on a 100 point scale that determine how much strength your website has which contributes to how well it will rank on search engine results pages. The higher the domain authority, the higher search engine will rank your site organically.

Display Advertising – In digital advertising, display ads are graphic ads that are shown on a webpage. They can be graphics or video and encourage the user to click on them to learn more.

 

F

Favicon – A small icon image, usually a logo or variation, that appears in the title bar or browser tab, as well as with bookmarks.

Frequency –  The amount of times an ad is shown to the same consumer during an ad campaign.

 

H

Hosting – Hosting refers to the web servers where your website files are stored and maintained in order to be on the World Wide Web.

HTML – Hypertext Markup Language is the code that is used to build web pages. It is more frequently used in conjunction with other code languages, such as CSS and JavaScript.

 

I

Impressions – The number of times an ad is shown to potential customers or clients.

 

K

Keyword –  Specific words and phrases that a consumer or client might be likely to use in searching for products or services. Keywords are specifically chosen by businesses and advertisers to enable their ad to show up in specific search engine results.

 

L

Landing Page –  The web page users “land” on after they click on a display ad or a paid search ad.

 

M

Meta Tag – An HTML tag that stores information about a web page. They provide information about a website and its content to sort websites and display the most relevant information on a search engine result page.

 

N

Navigation – Often navigation refers to simply the menu which contains the links within site, more broadly however it just denotes the way a user can “navigate” the page. Often navigation is also included at the bottom of a webpage as well.

 

O

Organic – Search results that are organic are ones that appear in search engine results naturally based on their determined relevance, as opposed to paid searches, which provide non-organic links via the placement of paid search engine results.

 

P

Page Authority – A number based on a 100 point scale that determine how much strength a page in your website has in relation to how it will rank on search engine results pages. Page authority refers to the specific page, while domain authority refers to the whole site under the domain.

Pay Per Click (PPC) –  Pay Per Click refers to the pricing model for digital advertising where advertisers pay based on the number of clicks a link or ad receives.

 

R

Reach –  The total amount of users who see your ad.

Remarketing –  Showing ads to people who have already visited your site, encouraging them to reconsider your products or services and revisit your page.

Responsive Design – A website with a responsive design will easily adjusts to the screen it is being viewed on no matter what the device the user is on. This is in contrast to adaptive design where there are several different designs to handle the change among devices.

Return on Investment (ROI) – ROI measures the amount of return, or profit, on an investment in relation to the cost of the investment.

 

S

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – Search engine optimization is the process that helps search engine understand the information that is on your website in order to rank your site higher and more relevantly on search engine result pages. This is the process to getting you to the first page of search results and in a place more likely to be seen by potential customers and clients.

SERP – Search engine results page.

Slider – A “slide show” banner of images or videos that is usually placed on the homepage of a website.

Social Advertising – Running a paid ad campaign on a social media platform, such as Facebook or LinkedIn.

 

T

Targeting –  Targeting is a specific way to identify your most likely customer based on their various attributes.

Behavioral Targeting focuses their efforts on identifying consumers based on their previous online behavior, such as searches, websites visited and online purchases.

Geographic Targeting helps you select an audience for your ad campaign based on geographical identifiers like zip codes, regions, cities, states and countries.

Contextual Targeting is about selecting audiences based on the type of content they are viewing based on the text that is on the website they are visiting.

 

W

WordPress – Web-based, open-source content management system designed to make accessing the site easy for all users.

Website and Marketing Evolution: Why You Should Remain Proactive

Computer and Tablet at a Desk internet marketing

We all know what evolution is, but how does it apply to websites and marketing? The answer is simple. At some point, your target audience is going to change. Whether it is, their personal tastes or you are targeting a different group all together. It all comes down to change. If you develop a website and marketing campaign, and never change it, you will lose the interest of your audience.
Look at social media marketing, it is constantly changing and evolving into something different on a daily basis. This change keeps the content and design fresh and up to date. I am not saying that you need to evolve your website and marketing campaigns on a daily basis, but it is something that needs to be done routinely. By evolving your content, you will be able to stay current with themes in your area of business. Other than updating special offers, you need to update the text on your website. For instance, maybe one of your products or services has changed; if you do not update the information for this, you will be misleading your customers. Another thing to consider is that in any field of business, there are always changes in terminology or acronyms used to abbreviate certain names/titles. If you do not stay current with this change in terminology, you have the chance of missing potential customers, because your site does not contain this new keyword. As I mentioned earlier in this series, it is critical to have these keywords, so that search engines can return your website as a possible fit to someone’s search.
Website and marketing evolution is not as hard as you may think, but if you have questions regarding what should be done; contact us…and let us maintain and evolve your website and marketing platforms.

What Is Call-to-Action, and Why It Is Important

Night Sky

Call-to-Action (CTA) is the way we convince individuals to perform an action. This action can lead to an increase in customers/clients. Call-to-Action is an important aspect of internet marketing, because it requires the customer to perform an action. Some key phrases used in CTA are:

  • “Act now”
  • “Signup now”
  • “Get yours now”
  • “Click here”
  • “Download now”
  • “Free Download”
  • “Try it free”
  • “Click here to start your free trial”
  • “Join now”
  • “Order now”
  • “On sale for a limited time, get yours now now”
  • “Buy now”
  • “Signup here”

By using one of these CTA phrases, or one that suits your needs, you will gain a larger customer/client base. This is because you are asking your audience to take action. By asking your audience to do something, you are creating an interaction with the customer. This desirable interaction can sometimes be lost on the internet. By creating this interaction your customers/clients will be inclined to share your website, blog, etc. with others; thus increasing your overall exposure.

How Content Can Make or Break You

Tulips

Now that we have gone over the different platforms that you can use for internet marketing, I will discuss the importance of content creation.

What is content creation?

Content creation is the development of content, which will appeal to your audience and inform them of your products and services. When you think of content, you probably think of the text that is on the page. However, content goes a lot deeper than just those words. Content involves text, visual, and design aspects. The reason all of these fall into the same category, is that they coexist as a single entity. They work together to create an accessible design. Accessibility is the key to successful and functional design.

When it comes to the text component of your website, ads, social media/blogs, and emails, you need to go back and look at who your audience is. Your audience will determine the type of language that you use. Of course, you will want to be technically correct, but you also want to make sure that you are using words that are accessible to your audience. If your audience falls into a highly educated category, and are considered experts, then you can use terminology that is specific to their needs. If you intend on reaching a more general audience you need to be careful of the terminology you use.

I would like to introduce you to a very popular writing concept that is used in all platforms of writing. It is called “plain language”; this is the art of writing with simple terminology that is direct and accessible to any audience. I have mentioned the word “accessibility” many times through this post, and that is because it should be the main focus while creating information that is used in all of the platforms I talked about. Without accessibility, your information will fall short of reaching your intended audience. Also remember to include important keywords while writing your text.  These keywords will allow your audience to have a better chance of finding your information on the internet. As mentioned in previous posts, keywords are the direct component of SEO (search engine optimization). If you write your text with this in mind, then it will be easier to implement SEO for your website.

Like I mentioned earlier, content involves visual and design aspects used in any of these platforms. Visual can include images, video, flash, and infographics. All of these help represent your products and services. It is important that you maintain accessibility in your visual content as well.

You may be wondering how design falls into content, and that is because it involves how you put together all of the content used in any of these platforms. Design involves layout, color and font choices, and organization. With design, you create smooth transitions from one point of importance to the next. Design also allows you to create visually appealing content. You want your content to be exciting, something that will draw in your audience by making them feel like they want to continue reading. A word of caution; do not go overboard! Sometimes simple is the best option, but remember that your goal is to draw in your audience.

Who Is Your Audience, and How Should You Reach Out to Them?

Paper and glass lanterns

Knowing who your audience is will greatly improve the overall success of your internet marketing goals. By identifying the attributes of your audience, you will be able to reach out to the customers you already have and potential customers. Here are the questions you should ask when deciding who your audience is.

  • Who would be interested in the product or service that I offer (who is the primary target)?
  • If I already have customers, who are they?
  • What are the demographics of your intended audience (age, sex, education level, etc.)?
  • What type of category do they fall into (professional, general public, experts, etc.)?

By asking these questions, you will be able to determine the best strategy for appealing to their needs. After determining who your customers are, you need to determine what platforms are going to allow you to reach them.

Choosing Your Platform
I listed several different platforms in my post for the first topic in this series. This will be a review of these platforms, and their benefits.

Email—can work for both incoming and outgoing marketing. In the form of incoming marketing, it will allow the customer/potential customer to contact you. The benefits of this are that you will be able to have a one-on-one connection with the individual. With this connection, you will be able to respond to their personal needs and secure them as a customer. In the form of outgoing marketing, by obtaining lists of email addresses, you can send out mass emails that will be delivered to the individuals who are most likely to need your product or services. The benefit of this is that you do not have to search for possible clients; you can usually just purchase a list of email addresses that fall into your category of business.

Social Media/Blogging—is the most modern way of doing internet marketing. In most cases, social media can help you reach a more diversified audience. It is especially beneficial in targeting a younger audience. In today’s society, Facebook and Twitter both have well over 1 billion users. That is large group of people that you can potentially reach. The average person spends 3+ hours on social media during the day. The potential for gaining customers by using social media has unending potential.

Ads—are not just for print anymore. When we are browsing or searching the internet, we are confronted by ads in almost every empty space. Ads are the most important type of marketing in any market. Ads allow us to highlight our products and services in a way that stands out from the background. Ads are a great way of offering specials, and introducing new products or services. The marketing industry has been about ads, whether they were for print, radio, or television. Now the internet has given businesses the opportunity to reach even more people with the ads that adorn most websites.

Websites—are the root of internet marketing. The goal of all of these other platforms is to draw the customer to your website. Websites allow you to have an in depth description of products and services. Websites may not be the first impression a customer has of your business, but it is probably the most important. Design, content, and functionality are key to having successful website. Before you tackle any other platform, make sure that your website is professional, attractive, and finished.

Search Engine—is usually the way an individual will find your website. To increase your chances of having customers be able to find your business in a search, you should implement SEO (search engine optimization). SEO is a process of optimizing your website so that it will show up in the search results. At least 90% of users will click on website listed on the first page of search results. If you want to get your website seen, you must implement an SEO plan.

Mobile—is an important thing to consider wen developing your website, ads, and social media sites. More than 60% of people who use the internet, do so from a mobile device. This means, that you must make your website, and other platforms you may use optimized for mobile devices.

Internet Marketing 6 Part Series

Desktop Computer on a wooden desk

6 Part Series on Internet Marketing

This 6 part series will cover what you need to know about internet marketing, and how it can benefit your business. Each week I will cover one of these topics:

  1. What is internet marketing, and how does it work?
  2. How to decipher your audience and choose the platforms that will reach them.
  3. How you can get your website seen?
  4. How content can help or hinder you, in reaching your goals.
  5. How, and why, you should implement a solid call to action (CTA) plan for all of your internet marketing ventures.
  6. Website and Marketing evolution; why you should remain proactive.

Conversion Rate Optimization

Typewriter

If you want to increase the traffic to your website, there are three major areas to consider. These areas are part of CRO (conversion rate optimization). CRO is the process of optimizing all aspects of your website that draw somebody in. These include the overall design of your website landing pages, and sponsored search ads.
The most important thing to consider when creating these landing pages and ads is the keywords that you use. These keywords will help individuals find your page.

Conversion Rate Optimization Keywords

Here are some important things to remember when choosing your keywords.

  • Make sure that the keywords are relevant, so that your intended audience will be able to think of these words when searching the internet.
  • Remember to group and organize your keywords. Specific keyword groupings of a relevant nature will increase the chances of your website showing up in a search.

Conversion Rate Optimization Landing Page

The next item to consider is the landing page itself. The landing page is an introduction of what is to come if they continue into a website. This is why the overall design and attractiveness is important. Here are some things to consider when designing your landing page.

  •  Landing pages should always be the highest quality.
  •  Headlines should be concise and compelling.
  •  The content of the landing page should be concise and straight to the point.
  •  Make sure that your content will make sense to your intended audience.
  •  Make sure the design is attractive, but also simple and clean. Try out several pages, until you find out what will work best.  AVOID CLUTTER!!!
  •  Do not request too much information, ask for only what is necessary…keep it user friendly.

Conversion Rate Optimization CTA

The other item you need to consider is the CTA (call to action). The CTA is part of both the landing page and the ads. CTA is important, because it asks the individual to take action. Here are some things to remember when considering the CTA.

  •  Keywords are important to creating good ads. These ads need to ask for a CTA, because this brings the customer further into the website.
  •  When creating the CTA for your landing page, remember that it needs to stand out.
  •  CTAs should be a focal point.
  • CTAs need to be visually appealing.
  • Most importantly, make sure that your CTA on your ad ties into the CTA on your landing page.

If you use these optimization tools, you are guaranteed to increase the traffic to your website.

Characteristics of A Successful Website

small lake in wooded area

How important is a website for a business? The answer is VERY important! Think about it. A website introduces a business to the world wide web in which we live in. We live in a generation where search engines are our “yellow pages.” We no longer browse our phone books when searching for a place to order pizza or to find a landscaper to mow our lawns.  Nope, those days are behind us. In fact, I can’t even remember the last time I opened a phone book. Do they still print those?

Yesterday, I was in desperate need of a sprinkler company to fix a leak in my sprinkler system so of course I did what all social media-lites do; I opened Google in my internet browser and I “googled” sprinkler companies in my area. Guess what happened next? Pages of website results appeared at my fingertips, reminding me how much I love technology! However, when browsing company websites, it does not take long to realize that not all websites are created equally. Some are awful, some are just okay, and some make you want to scream, “Nailed it!”

Inevitably, our experience on a company’s website contributes to the likelihood of us pursuing business with them. This is why it is crucial for companies to take their web design very serious. For most businesses, their websites are the first customer contact they will have. A poorly designed website that is disorganized, confusing, and not easily accessible may lead to your company losing business before any human contact  has even been made.

There are several characteristics that contribute to a successful company website and they can be categorized into five categories; Appearance, Functionality, Usability, Accessibility, and Content. When a company’s web design executes these characteristics properly, then the business has succeeded in making a great first impression to all those who visit their website.

Appearance: Obviously, the appearance of a website is crucial to the success of the website! For a company website, it is very important to make a good first impression on the potential customers that visit their site.

  • The design should look professional, polished, and most of all, unique!
  • The font must be easy-to-read
  • There must be variation in the design that includes relevant images, headers, and  links.

Have you ever visited a website with no variation or  pictures, only pages of wording? I have, and all I have to say about that is if I wanted to read a book, I would have opened my kindle!

taphousewebsite

Functionality: It is important that the website has a focus and that the visitor knows what that focus is.

  • The purpose of the website should be completely obvious and the website should help guide you toward it.
  • Well-organized, visible headers, and internal or external links help the website function successfully.
  • All external and internal links should work! You would think this would be obvious, but I know we have all clicked on a link at some point and have seen the error message, “The page that you are looking for does not exist!”

error-404

Usability: Users, like me, want to be able to actually use a company’s website. How awesome is it when you can actually order a pizza online or set up an appointment right there on their website?!

  • The website should be consistent, organized, and easy to navigate.
  • Visitors should not be confused or have to scroll through the page to find what they are looking for.
  • Of course, the website should also load as quickly as possible!

button-order-pizza

Accessibility: Is it too much to ask that we can access the website from our device of choice? Absolutely not! Sometimes I’m on my laptop, other times I’m using my iPad, and I’m always using my phone! Another side of accessibility is making it easy for all to access despite any hearing and visual impairments.

  • Add text scripts to Podcasts and other forms of audio.
  • Add description to the images in case someone is using a screen-reader.
  • The website must look relatively the same on all major internet browsers.
  • Make it accessible on any device of choice!

responsive_web_design2

Content: This is the most important part because it showcases the company’s purpose, explains the company’s services, and provides the answers that the visitor is searching the web for!

  • The content should appear right when the website is opened.
  • It should be spelled correctly and be written with the proper grammar. How could anyone take a company seriously if they can’t read the information?
  • Content should be short, sweet, and to the point!
  • Content should also highlight the company’s services and attributes.