Category: Design

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Webstite Design For New Businesses
New businesses are creating an online presence for their company on a daily basis, collectively launching thousands of new business websites. These businesses are all vying for online attention, each using various marketing tools to draw traffic to their sites. According to an October 2014 web survey hosted by Netcraft, there were over 1 billion websites online, with new sites constantly being added daily. With so many businesses promoting and marketing their websites, it’s imperative for any new business to stand out from its competition. Before addressing the digital marketing needs of the company with issues such as fresh SEO content and fast page loads, the website first needs to fulfil its initial job of clearly communicating what the business is and how it is relevant or provides value to its target audience.

Create a Functional Design

The foundation for any thriving online business begins with a thorough, comprehensive website design. Of course, the site should be appealing and attract visitors, but it should also be functional and easy to navigate. And because all businesses grow and develop at different speeds, a business’ website needs the flexibility to do the same so as not to lose traffic or customers over time. This is why quality website design and setup should be a priority for any new business.

Research studies report that over 94 percent of online users cite poor website design as the main reason they distrust certain brands. The goal of any new business is to gain traffic and convert potential customers; therefore, it is imperative that the site is strategically developed, highly functional and customized to the intricacies of the individual business’ consumer needs.

Avoid Templates

Businesses that are just starting out often go the route of using website template designs in an attempt to offset startup expenses and accelerate the site’s launch. While this may seemingly work at the outset, this route could easily interrupt web sales, damage brand reputation and possibly increase the business’ future web design costs.

Website templates are generally cookie cutter programs designed as “one size fits all” and offer very little (if any) customization built into their programs. Website design is an integral part of a business and is not an area where using template themes or designs and generic plugins are advised. These non-customized tools are built for the masses and are more susceptible to viruses and targeted hacks that can harm network systems and interrupt business operations.

Existing templates, widgets and plugins can also become more costly and cumbersome to work with because of the need to constantly keep them updated and current as continuing developments take place. Also, if your site uses plugins or widgets that become discontinued, your new business website can suffer with unpredictable downtime, links or pages that become inoperable, not to mention traffic loss to the site as a result.

Customize for Growth

Businesses should build their web presence based on their desired status rather than their current state. This means customizing the site, its pages and content using the business plan and projected growth figures as a guide. It should also allow you, the website owner, the ability to make minimal changes as required while your business grows and develops over time. To achieve these fine points, it’s important to define a strategic blueprint for your business’ web design and online strategy, employing customizable and scalable solutions in lieu of website templates and one-size-fits-all programs.

In conclusion, a custom built website for your new business is the most cost-effective solution, saving both time and money in the long run. Custom web design will enable the site to easily scale as the new business grows and expands its product and service offering. Creating a unique brand presence online over a template used by thousands, assists with differentiating your brand from competitors and gives your new business the appearance of big brand appeal and credibility.

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A logo that’s uniquely different, super professional or even eccentric is a great way to make a lasting, memorable impression with customers. It’s important that your business has a design or logo that doesn’t look like every other company. To invite potential customers’ attention, the logo needs to stand out in some way. It’s not necessary for it to be elaborate or complicated, but it should both reflect your business and what you want to portray to your target market.

There are several hugely successful businesses that started off with small customer bases and grew into industry leaders. A great portion of that success can be attributed to the company’s branding efforts. That success may be directly related to its branding image, its logo or a catchy tagline. Those businesses most likely used a branding identity approach that showcased its differences and unique qualities, proving there was nothing else like it within the market. Whether that difference was an image that used a piece of fruit with a bite in it, a red dot with circles around it or even an emotional connection by using a 3-word motto motivating you to exercise, each company ensured early on that it was set apart from other businesses like it. Continue reading nt-violetta

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call-to-actionWhen you’re requesting–or writing–content for this holiday season, take some time to think about what you want and to brainstorm topics. Refine your content approach to be something your readers are really interested in hearing. If you’ve heard of a new product that is similar to what your customers are using or if you’ve got a new way to use something, post it. The more innovative your content, the better it’s going to be received by your customers, no matter what time of year, but particularly during the holidays.

Create better, results-oriented calls to action. Whether you want your readers to download an ebook or to buy a piece of software, you need to make an innovative call to action that entices them to respond. Offer incentives to your writers, if possible, providing a small bonus for the writer who pens the most often clicked call to action.

 

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Online-Forms-that-EngageTo your website visitors, online forms are like optional extra credit in school. If they are already passing a class, most people don’t want to spend time completing extra work. That extra credit only becomes attractive when they need the points to pass the class. Your visitors won’t look at your forms with interest unless it promises to help them achieve something of value to them. If they can find the information they need through your blog or the products they need through your store, they have little incentive to spend time filling out an optional form.

The solution is not to give up on forms altogether but to create engaging online forms that have value to your visitors. You start by being upfront about what they will receive in exchange for the information asked for in the form.

For instance, you may tell visitors that they can obtain more in-depth information not featured on your blog or website content if they sign up for your newsletter or that they can get discounts on future purchases by signing up for occasional email messages. Think about what benefit a visitor may gain from a specific form, and make sure they understand that benefit. Then place the form in a convenient location on your website and follow these additional tips:

1. Only ask for the information you really need.
The more information a visitor must provide, the less likely they are to fill out an online form. Forms with a lot of fields look complicated and require a larger investment of time. Simplerforms are faster to fill out, so your visitors are more likely to consider the time investment worth the payoff they receive at the end.

2. Use terms that everyone can understand.
If your website is dedicated to a specific industry, don’t use industry lingo. You want to ensure that everyone inclined to fill out your form will understand what information you are requesting. When something is unclear, visitors will abandon the form before it is complete.

3. Design your forms to limit frustration over errors.
Have you ever gotten to the end of a long form only to be presented with a message that there were errors on the page? Going back to fix the error can double the time it takes to complete the form. This is often caused by not using dashes or other small mistakes. If you simplify your forms by accepting data in whatever manner your visitors want to enter it, you can eliminate this frustration and ensure your visitors stick around long enough to fully complete the process.

4. Customize your online forms to your user.
Use your analytics to determine what country most of your visitors come from, and then put that country at the top of your location dropdown list. Small things like that can simplify the form process so that more of your visitors make it to the end of the form.

Notice that these tips are aimed at making your online forms fast and easy to complete. The promise of something valuable on the other end will get many to start the form, but these tips are what will ensure they finish the form.

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Behind the Scenes
Web design and development is an art and a science. The art comes into play of course on the areas of the site that you can see and that are part of the overall look and feel of the site.

While search engine algorithms have changed dramatically over the years and can see and interpret a great deal, they are still limited in the way in which they crawl over the site and the data that it contains.

Your website doesn’t look the same to the search engine as it does to you. While the mantra lately is that it must be a good experience for the user and that the only thing that counts is the user experience, believe us when we tell you that isn’t the case at all. Web design and development requires a level of skill in algorithms and in proper coding methodology in order to ensure that the search engines can see what they need to see to allow your site to be crawled by search engines fully.

One perfect example in point is this– a website that was one of the top wiki websites online was having a lot of trouble ranking in Google. A well rounded site designer, who also did SEO, reviewed the site and used a spider simulator on it. He and found that the code was incorrectly executed and that the search engines could not read the header information on any of the pages, although they displayed correctly to the user. In this case the user experience was a good one, but the website could not get their pages well crawled or showing in search because of a code error.

The website design that you use must be well structured and reasonably well coded without errors. It’s an invisible portion of the site that has to be right in order to ensure that what the human visitor sees is pleasing to the eye and directs them to the places that are important. That same website design however, must also send the search engines to the right areas. The code, the alt tags, the descriptions must all be in order so that the search engines can see what is most important about the site. Both elements are a necessity for the site to be crawled and ranked for the website owner.

Another unseen element of website design are the alt tags. Using images without alt text can be a problem for the search engines too, in that they cannot read what the picture is. This means that the great photo or diagram that you have on your page is invisible in search.

Many websites have real problems with being seen. The content isn’t really indexed and the writing isn’t really designed for the search engines to peruse. A good example is a whole front page done in flash. It looks lovely in many cases, but it’s not readable or usable by the search engines. This means that your lovely site and all of your beautiful sales content isn’t going to be visible to the search engines or able to rank well.

A great coding job, careful attention to details, the right alt text and the right image labeling can make your site far more visible in search, yet it is not part of the visible content of the site. When it comes to website design and development, what you don’t see is often far more important than that which you do see.

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As important as it is to attract visitors your website, keeping them there long enough to make a purchase or subscribe is the ultimate goal. This is where a site’s bounce rate comes in. The bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who go past the first page of your site to investigate further. The longer a guest is at your site and the deeper into the site they go, the more likely a sale will be made.

Decreasing your bounce rate from the average of 40 – 60% to a lower more profitable level can be accomplished by solving a few design flaws that may be present at your site. To reduce bounce rates be certain your site is designed to answer the following questions:

Where am I – Visitors come to a site with a purpose in mind. They read a teaser and want to read the rest of an article or they are looking for a specific product, service or information on a particular subject. Once they have arrived, they want access to what they came for. Be upfront with what your site is about, and don’t make your guests search for what they came for.  All tho your goal may be to reduce your bounce rate and keep visitors on the site longer, you don’t want to make them hunt for something.

What’s over there – Assuming your guests have come with a purpose and found what they are looking for, the next step is to guide them to explore the rest of the site. A cluttered site will turn people away. Your customers shouldn’t have to work to find the way. Keep it simple and easy to maneuver if you want prospective customers to hang around.

Who’s place is this – Be sure to include an about me page with a picture of yourself. People feel more secure doing business with someone they know. Reading a short bio and a few words about your present life will engender their trust.

Where is everybody – Make it easy for you guests to connect with other by adding plugins to social media sites such as the following:

  • Diggit
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Pinterest
  • StumbleUpon
  • Twitter

These plugins reduce your bounce rate by making your guests feel at home and by not making them leave to connect with their friends. They also provide a handy way for your guests to invite (promote) others over for a visit.

How can I learn more – At the bottom of your site provide related content links to enable your guests to put what they have found at your site in context. Below are three of the most popular.

  • LinkWithin – The most low key of these three
  • Nreate – Simplest for site users to work with
  • Outbrain – Presently more popular than the other two

Remember, once visitors arrive, the emphasis switches to keeping them there as long as possible, encouraging them to look around and make them want to come back and recommend that they friends come too.

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small business website designEvery small business needs professional website designed by a professional. That’s a sweeping statement, but it’s also a true statement. Small business website design is not any different from big business web design. The smaller business today, in order to compete on a level playing field needs to look as though they are capable, established, professional and credible–as most of them are–with the bigger businesses. A larger business has more resources, more staff and more money to spend. They can afford to market their services to a scope that evades small business website design and marketing.

Small business website design requires the same elements that makes the big business websites great but on a budget.

Important elements of a small business website design that are  key:

  • Easily to navigate
  • Easy to search and find what you want
  • Enlightening or informative by the use of quality, unique creative content
  • Eye catching and unique–not one of many cookie cutter type sites
  • Instill trust with a look and feel that matches the brand
  • Ability to rank well on search engines to get noticed
  • Easy to update with internal staff
  • Meets the unique small business website needs

Small business website design and marketing is unique in that it needs to provide the smaller business the appearance and appeal of a larger site while still staying honest and ethical about who and what the small business is. This can usually be undertaken effectively by the use of creative content and custom website design by a consulting a professional.

Sometimes small businesses try to do web design on their own to save a few dollars but is easily lost in return on investment. I always say let the professionals do what they do best. I would never redo my electrical breaker box in my house; I leave that to my electrician. Just like he leaves me to do his small business website design and marketing. We both are better off and it’s a lot safer.

Small Business Website Design for Your Business

If you’re a small business owner today, your website is quite like your first line of marketing. It is a pivotal component in your brand recognition and your marketing to all of your customers. It may be where you gain most of your business and most of your visibility. Or, conversely, it may not be any of those things, in which case your website isn’t working as hard for you as it should be.

The key may well be in the design that you’re using, the inability to search quickly or the way in which the customer perceives you based on the design that you’re using.

The average website owner balks at the costs that may be involved in a custom website design. An honest web design agency will tell you that their design costs are higher than the costs that might be incurred for a cookie cutter template. The reasons for that difference is that custom website design for the small business can afford you a vast array of benefits not given you by the off-the-rack style website design.

If your small business website is using a design that is seen hundreds if not thousands of places online, your website falls to the ranks of the very small business in the minds of your prospective customers. If your design is fresh and unique and easy to navigate, it is, in the same minds, promoted to the ranking of the capable and efficient larger business without their even reviewing or reading your content.

Custom small business website design provides a unique look and feel that will show the world what you’re all about and what differentiates you from the others. It offers you the same look and feel that the larger businesses have and helps to reinforce your long history. Using testimonials from your customers in combination with a custom website design can provide you with the look and feel of being just a little larger than your competition and give you and your company a decided edge.

Get the look and feel that your company needs to grow online; a professional website that shows off who you are and what you can do.

Never Look Small!

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Responsive Web DesignYour web design and development directly affects the success of your online business. Any company that isn’t utilizing responsive web design will find their online presence struggle through 2014 and may not make it to 2015. This is why it is important to hire a professional South Florida web design company to assist you through the process.

If you are scratching your head at the term responsive web design, you aren’t alone. This website is laid out so it adjusts to fit the viewing area it is displayed in. Since more people are using tablets, smartphones and computers to access the internet, you can’t use a single website to cater to all your potential visitors. The responsive web design will instead adjust the displayed page so it works perfectly for the desired website.

Fluid grids will be an essential part of the process because they are part of the essential framework to the responsive design. Since screen resolutions are changing all the time, you can’t simply target a couple and call it good. Fluid grids take the traditional liquid layout and improve on the idea. Developers aren’t designing the pages based on percentage values or pixels, but instead it is based on proportions. This allows the screen elements to work on a giant screen or on a handheld device.

For this to work, you need to take the proportions of the different page elements and divide the element by the overall context. Using an image editor tends to be the best choice since you can create a high fidelity variation of images. In this case, having 960 pixels across would be your container. Using that, you can create a layout that works. The formula is target / context = size results. So for a 300 pixel resizing, you would divide 300 / 960 = 31.25% for the necessary proportions. It is important to understand that not all values will be neat. With the varying images, never round up. Instead, take it out as many decimal points as possible to give the best appearance possible.

You will find that the fluid grids will be among the most important parts of your overall responsive design. However, in the case of narrow browsers, options like media queries can help. Using media queries to work in the most common pixel dimensions such as 320 pixels, 480 pixels, 600 pixels, 768 pixels and so on will help you to achieve the results you want.

While the process might sound like an expensive and time-consuming one, a South Florida web design company like BMGcreative can do this for you in a short period of time and well within your budget. Assuming your original design is setup to convert easily, as there may be some exceptions where new web design and development might be necessary to work across multiple platforms.

Considering that in 2014, the bulk of your traffic will come from a portable device, you need to be ready with a mobile friendly layout. People on the go utilize websites to locate local businesses and comparatively shop with online vendors. That means slow load times and difficult to read pages have a negative impact on your business. Avoid becoming a statistic of online evolution and make sure you work with a South Florida web design company to make sure your site is responsive.

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Ways to Evaluate Your Web Agency

Since your web agency is going to be responsible for your long term success, it is critical to select and agency that provides exceptional results. To be certain you get real results to propel your website to the next level, you need to keep some important things in mind. Since they will handle everything from your SEO to consulting with you, you can’t risk your reputation with subpar results.

When you look at the web agency, it is important they don’t utilize the same formula for everyone they work with. Every company online has their own unique situation and their needs are based on their particular situation. The web agency should take the time to create a comprehensive strategy to provide actual value to your company rather than doing cookie cutter tactics that may only have a minimal impact.

Another critical area look for in your web agency should be key performance indicators, which help to better maintain the success and work towards the goals you set. Working closely with you, they should identify what metrics will be used to help determine the amount of success you have and on a routine basis, they should provide you with a report to give you an assessment of improvement and let you know the techniques that helped to achieve these results.

You should take a moment to also review their website. Pay attention to their top keywords and see where they rank and the layout of their page. If you notice they are struggling and not actually getting the results they have promised you, it might be a good idea to proceed with caution. After all, these are the people you would be entrusting with your own success.

You should even challenge the information they are providing you. Before you sign with the company, ask for proven results and websites they have done business with. Many shady companies will claim to have thousands of results only to have a mediocre track record and by the time you have figured it out, it may have already cost you thousands.

Find out what tools they will be using for your campaign. Most companies utilize some types of tools that will allow them to better optimize your website, track results and to better automate things. While it is fine if they are using tools, it is a good idea to see what they will be using, especially if they plan to install anything on your website. You don’t want any surprises later on.

Above all, it pays to trust your instincts. Watch for areas of concern, such as misspelled words and broken links. If something doesn’t add up, ask them to clarify it or point out the concern. If they sidestep it or become aggressive, just walk away from the situation and find a different company.

Ultimately, your online success is up to you. Make sure you take the time to evaluate any web agency you plan on using, keeping the above tips in mind. That way, you have a better chance of being successful when dealing with them and you should then run into fewer concerns when transforming your website.

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Evaluating Your Marketing Firm and Your Marketing Plan

Most companies have a formal budget that is reserved for marketing. They have an upper level to which they can go. They spend it each month and in all honesty, are probably not entirely sure that the budget is getting a return. If the marketing budget is spent on your website, an SEO team, brochures or articles, it’s hard to measure a real return in some cases, so you’re never quite sure if your marketing firm is working for you.

Any time that we spend money with a  marketing firm, we have to look at that expenditure and ask ourselves how well it working and whether the expense is netting a return. Very few companies actually lay out a plan that allows them to measure whether it is working and how well it is working to determine if the current marketing agency is doing the job or if they need to consider another alternative.

In order to track the worth of your marketing, there has to be a yardstick by which you measure it. What is that yardstick and how do you as a business implement it?

To a large extent the way in which you measure the return will depend on the way in which you are marketing and what you are marketing.

Logically, different types of measurement will apply to your marketing campaigns, those being:

Initiation of Contact. Customer contacts from the marketed area are one logical measurement to determine if the marketing is bearing fruit. If you are using, for example, a phone book advertisement and none of your calls comes from that campaign, it’s reasonable to assume that it is not a workable method.

Visibility-if you’re using a website marketing team and your website is no where to be found in search, does not show up on any keyword term and has no visibility overall in social media, the odds are very good that your particular marketing campaign is not viable.

Creating some bottom lines and benchmarks by which to measure is in the best interests of every company as a means to measure success from a marketing campaign.

When you seek to determine if your marketing firm is working for you, some things that you may want to take into account are these:

Get a starting point for each area of marketing.Determine where you were in search prior to hiring the company and where you are each month. Is there a rise in your visibility?

How frequently did you receive calls prior to hiring the marketing firm that could be linked to your website or your phone ad or other methods that you are using now? Have the number of calls risen dramatically or risen at all?

Once you’ve made the determination that the marketing firm is working for you,(or is not) consider how well it is working and why.

Evaluate what you are spending and how far it will go. Bear in mind that you cannot ask a company to do twice what you want to pay for. Consider the budget, be realistic about what it will do for you and consider expanding on it if you find that the company is giving you a return for what you’ve already spent.

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