Tag Archives: Web design

Don’t let 33% of customers fall through the cracks

superb-wordpress-header

Today we continue our Black Friday Bootcamp to show you how to make sure your website is mobile-friendly and fast.

The reason we want a mobile-friendly website is because mobile devices accounted for over one-third of ALL sales transactions in 2015.

The name of the game for Black Friday and holiday shopping is to maximize every single visitor. This means we need to ensure our website is optimized for mobile devices.

In addition, Google reports that 77% of mobile searches occur at home or work, places where desktop computers are likely to be present. And I think it’s safe to assume that people will be shopping from the office for this holiday season.

If you’ve not updated your website in a few years, my guess is that you could use a few tweaks to be mobile friendly.

Step 1 – Check Your Existing Site(s)

The first thing we need to do is head over to Google and run a check on your existing website.

You can do that here: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly

With any luck, your website will already be mobile-friendly and you’ll see the following message per screenshot below. If so, I’ll see you in our next Black Friday Bootcamp article!

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If by any chance you were hit with the following message, there’s a few things we can do to make it mobile friendly.

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Assuming that your website is not mobile – think we can remove this line entirely.

Step 2 – How Did You Create Your Site(s)?

In order for us to fix the mobile-friendly problem, we need to know how your website was built.

How was your website built?

  • Content Management System (CMS) like WordPress, Joomla!, or Drupal
  • Someone else built the website
  • I built the website myself and understand coding

I’ll go over a plan of action for each of the above.

Assuming you used WordPress (the most popular CMS), your road to becoming mobile-friendly is rather easy.

WordPress Mobile Websites

First thing you need to do is make sure your WordPress installation is fully up to date. Contact the Superb Internet’s support guru’s if you need help updating WordPress.

If you wish to update WordPress on your own, login to WordPress for the website you wish to make mobile-friendly.

Once logged in, look under the “Home” link for “Updates.” This will be in the top left corner of your WordPress dashboard.

Once you have located the “Updates” link, click it.

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You will then be taken to a new page where you will be told what updates you need.

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Once you are up-to-date, your website should be mobile-friendly.

You can re-check your website using the Google Mobile check:

https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly

If you still don’t pass, we can install plugins that will fix everything for us.

Generally, updating WordPress should resolve it. But if your website is still not mobile-friendly then your theme is most likely causing the problem. We can perform a work around by installing the following plugins:

And most current theme’s (if not all) are mobile-friendly for WordPress.

Now, if you are using an alternate CMS, you can visit the following links for more help:

You may ask, “What if someone else has built my website?

Website(s) Built By A Web Designer Or Programmer

You’ll need to contact your web designer to see if they are capable of making your existing site mobile-friendly. With that said, there are a few things you need to keep in mind when choosing a web developer for this project:

  1. Make it easy for customers. Show them what they want and make it easy for them to take action.
  2. Design for all devices using responsive design. Tablets, phones, desktops.
  3. Use the same domain, don’t place your mobile site on a sub-domain. This just increases work and confusion.
  4. Ask for references and a portfolio of mobile websites.
  5. Make sure your mobile site loads quickly. 4 seconds or less is the general rule of thumb given to us by Google.

But what if you built the site yourself?

I Built The Website Myself

If you understand HTML coding, congrats! You’ll be able to knock this all out on your own.

The good thing is, Google has a checklist you can go over when designing your website here.

I’ll be back in a day or two and we’ll start doing the fun stuff and I’ll give you a few idea’s so you can organize a plan for Black Friday so your sales don’t evaporate.

Design – 6 Recommendations (Improve Your Website, Part 1) … Plus Some Jokes

 

website ideas

Looking to improve your site? Is it boring, or possibly not as great as you want for user interaction? Are you not getting the number of visitors you want? Let’s figure out how to do that in this three-part series on design, functionality, and traffic.

To conduct this effort to improve your site, we will draw on the thoughts of a couple design experts. First we will look at simplicity. Here are three points we will cover to enhance the ease of your site, courtesy of Jane Friedman:

  • readability & conciseness
  • going easy on the eyes
  • limiting the possibilities.

Next we will consider how to make your site impressive. The advice for that section draws on three tips from Search Engine People. Not only will impressiveness help with conversions, but it will increase the amount of time people spend on your site and enhance your repeat visitor numbers. In that section, we will review the following five subjects:

  • layout
  • color scheme
  • calls to action.

Finally, we will examine fun facts about website conversions that you may not know. These facts will help you understand how to improve your site and have better things to talk about at cocktail parties and trade shows. The first one is directly below.

Fun Fact About Website Conversions #1: Did you know that every time a website makes a conversion, an angel gets one wing? Just one, which is a little awkward and embarrassing. That’s why it’s crucially important you get conversions in pairs. Otherwise, angel decision-makers and other angelic notables will grow increasingly resentful of you as they walk around lopsided.

Simplicity & Web Design

It may sound obvious, but preventing confusion should be your top consideration when you look at your site. Confusion is on a spectrum. Most sites leave us unable to find what we want from time to time, but best to minimize those moments. In fact, Jane Friedman suggests treating your site as a billboard. Here are her three recommendations for making your website as easy to use as possible:

  1. Readability & conciseness – When you are looking for something you need on the web, you probably don’t spend a huge amount of time poring through all the details when you first visit a site. If you are like most people, you scan your eyes and skim for the content you need. Keep it short.
  2. Easy on the eyes – White space (or “fuchsia space,” depending on your background color) is not the worst thing in the world. The home page especially must look clean and livable, like there’s room for visitors. Don’t stuff the homepage with everything you are positive everyone must see. Go easy on people when they walk in the door. Excessive content creates what Friedman calls “surf shock.”
  3. Limiting the possibilities – Beyond how the site looks, even if you space everything out visually, you can also err in asking visitors to do too many things at one time. Think of every link and button as a secondary call to action. Are there certain points of focus for your visitors? Deliver only those options. They will appreciate it.

Fun Fact About Website Conversions #2: Did you know that when you get a conversion on a website, it entitles you to one free carousel ride at the Bill Gates’ rainy and bleak Internetastic Dude Ranch in Republic, Washington? While there, you can also visit a real dude ranch, where the sun shines all the time and leprechauns tend to the horses. Gates’ is just a carousel in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by thunderclouds.

Impressive Web Design

OK, now let’s take a quick look at how to dress your site to impress. Here are three pointers from the folks at Search Engine People, who recommend primary focus on user experience (note that we also offer SEO, with a heavy focus on content marketing).

  1. Layout – Layout should pair with content, and your message should dictate the layout. The visitors’ eyes should easily and quickly move from one point of your overall message to the next: greeting statement & who you are; to supporting content (videos, testimonials, whatever); to your call to action.
  2. Color scheme – Make sure your site isn’t colored in too extreme a way, even if that’s true of your logo. The site shouldn’t look “harsh.” You want your background to be lightly colored. All calls to action should be the same color.
  3. Calls to action – Ask visitors to act above the fold (i.e., the page as it looks before you scroll down). Calls to action should be obvious: sizable and located in prime real estate on the page.

Fun Fact About Website Conversions #3: Did you know that website conversion was first invented in 1836 by Francis Pettit Smith, who drew up the plans and then immediately collapsed with the dropsy, perishing moments later. “He was ahead of his time,” says Guy Kawasaki of his hero before submitting to an extended panic attack.

Conclusion

So, that does it for design. To review, use simplicity (with readability & conciseness, going easy on the eyes, and limiting the possibilities) and impressiveness (with layout, color scheme, and calls to action). The future two pieces will be on functionality and traffic. Now go get that carousel ride. Watch out for lightning.

by Kent Roberts

Awesome Interactive Websites

It’s no use making elements small enough to fit the screen yet losing accessibility and interest in the process. For that reason, here are some notable websites I’ve ran into during my research.

Interesting & Inspiring Websites & Blogs

Web Design: Awesome Responsive Websites | Design Inspiration & Tutorials via @pinterest….

Check out Laura Bosch Rovira’s Pinterest Board for inspiration. Incidentally Pinterest works out as a neat idea for collecting inspirational websites.

A good responsive is not only the one that will fit into any screen, but will also adapt its content to stay readable, and accessible for the user.

 

WebDesign: Awesome Responsive Websites via @abduzeedo

Responsive web design is undoubtedly a rapidly growing trend right now, the increasing tablet and mobile device usage has been an ingredient in the success of web responsiveness. It would not be surprising to see the majority of popular websites adapt responsive web designs in the near future.

Ryan Boudreaux clears up some of the confusion about what is meant by responsive vs. adaptive web design. While similar in their goal, the approaches are different

 

Users who access your websites through their mobile devices or other display screens shouldn’t be aware of the differences in rendering however they land on your website. What is important to a user is that they can effectively navigate your website on whatever device they happen to be using.
For that reason, the two methods described in this article have been devised for web developers to meet the rendering issues subtly affected by how a user consumes the internet.

Have you noticed any Adaptive or Responsive Webdesigns you would like to share? Link me up in the comments below for a featured mention – Juliana

 

 

Don’t Have a Website For Your Business?

Becoming web-savvy is an essential basic skill. So much so that it’s expected of our children to graduate from schooling with sufficient web understanding that they can represent themselves well later on. You have no excuse to say that kids can pick up technology with far more ease! Here’s three introductions from different fields of web disciplines to help you understand why getting online representation for your business is so important. I’ve picked out fields from web designers to SEO, to Marketing Copyrighters and Information Architecture, on having visibility for yourself online.

You Don’t Have a Website for Your Business – Are You Serious? | Sean Bryant

All businesses should have websites! You Don’t Have a Website for Your Business…Are You Serious? – @OneSmartDollar

Juliana Payson‘s insight:

I find it difficult to understand how any business can keep its doors open today without having some sort of online presence. After reading this article I realize those  businesses exist and I can bet they barely make it work. Who picks up the phone book these days? Without an online representation, and visibility in Google, how are new customers going to find you. Sean Bryant examines some of the reasons that hold business owners back.

 

A corporate website is your digital storefront, and can lure new clients and customers. If you’re not making one of these four deadly mistakes, that is.

Juliana Payson‘s insight:
Laura Click provides us with an easy to understand four step elimination process of what not-to-do with your website. Starting out with the meaning of “bad navigation”, and what that really means translates into user experiences. Bad navigation encompases incoherent url structure, strange image layouts, and non-semantic structuring. Poorly written copy, and Zero personality, are simple mistakes to avoid yet
in an attempt to pretend to be professional and claim a corporate image, sites become devoid of translucency that allows us to trust, then finally failing with no reminders to purchase or “calls-to-action”.

I am a woman of many talents and one of them is information architecture, just in case you didn’t know

Kate explains in easy terms, just what it is she does to help increase conversion rates of your website online. She explains what wire-framing is, and basically does the nitty gritty that Laura Click mentions above when it comes to re-working that bad navigation issue. This is information architecture.

Please do hit me up with Google Plus comments and suggestions for our audience if you have an alternate discipline of web skills that can help business owners get online. – Juliana

 

Hosting Your Own WordPress Development

WordPress is a great platform for managing content, but what if you have a specific idea of functionality other than just information that you want your website to serve? As an example, your idea is to turn your website into the goto community for people comparing their progress or milestone data. You are now extending your content management platform in several aspects.

  1. The data it collects is no longer reliant on what you alone will submit. You need to collect additional fields of information for your website database.
  2. It has some other processing capability, able to compare data and call up information relevant to individual users. Now you’re in the development realm of actual programming and running queries.

WordPress has several plugins that you can adapt to work together to create these kind of Web 2.0 features. An example of the type of interactivity would be creating a booking calendar that reserves consultation time, and also confirms with an automated email to you and your new lead.

At some point you may find that generic plugins just don’t work well enough to tailor to your exact needs or those of your client. You’ve probably found work-arounds with different plugins that give you what you need but sacrifice the upgradabilty of the WordPress platform due to odd Javascript conflicts. I’ve also found when you’ve added so many plugins, the back-end of the website can start to get heavy and clunky to operate. Today I’m going to take a look at the best recent insights into tinkering with your own hosted WordPress plugin development.

Starting with a tutorial series with 1st Web Designer:

In the first part of our WordPress Plugin Development Course for Designers we learned about the importance of WordPress plugins for designers and its base structure. Today we are going to talk about the core WordPress functions…

I included part 2 of the series because it gets into the nitty gritty of the coding and is far easier to follow than the wordpress codex.

 

I spend a lot of time building WordPress plugins. Here are some of my thoughts as they related to building WordPress plugins for both fun and profit.

Juliana Payson‘s insight:

Thank you Tom! He mentions he doesn’t build themes because that is more to do with the layout of the site. Functionality, the software part of your website is something that users will often pick and choose regardless of the theme.

 

I’ve written a few plugins for jQuery and WordPress over the past few years, but mostly for specific projects or my own personal use. The first time I released a plugin (Hashgrid for WordPress) for…

Juliana Payson‘s insight:

As Morgan states, don’t go with free hosting plans in case you lose all your hard work. He’s learned from experience the value of legacy code storage and peer support in places like GitHub.

If coding is not your thing, take a look at the approaches mentioned by Morgan and Tom. You’ll realize that to undertake such a project means you need to start defining exactly what you want your site functionality to do. If you can define your problem, you’ve completed the biggest communication hurdle between coder and procuring an interactive WordPress website.

This is something I personally would love to learn more about, but never have the time code myself. I could potentially be a client of a WordPress Developer. If you can send over tips on what would make me a better client, please do hit me up with Google Plus comments and suggestions for our audience to learn from.

 

Websites You Need To Stop Building

I was stopped dead in my tracks this morning killing myself laughing over some viralling content from The Oatmeal. This website is exactly what it’s labelled on the tin, daily breakfast for webmasters full of comic relief for those who manage websites. If you haven’t heard of it before, I seriously recommend you check it out, I can relate to nearly everything Matthew Inman posts.

 

Stop building websites like this. If you’re developing an online business idea, please check in on this post and make sure your idea hasn’t been overcooked already.
Matthew Inman sums it up in a friendly satirical way better than I could have even tried in breaking this sort of news to my own clients.
If you’re starting your week with the blues because you hate Mondays, here’s some stomach churning relief along the theme of post St. Patricks day weekend:

 

Frustrated by stupid client criticism, Irish graphic designers Mark Shanley and Paddy Treacy decided to turn their

Juliana Payson‘s insight:

My Monday has been Dell, I mean Hell, just trying to stop myself laughing. How many of these have you experienced? For sure I’ve experienced the elephant in the room when one client asked me to turn the image of the iPhone so that it showed more of his “App”.

Anyway, moving away from client criticism and back onto ourselves because after all – I don’t want to alienate start-up business ideas for their innocent remarks. I thought I’d include one more on the list of websites to take a look at today:

 

Web Pages That Suck is a web resource where you can learn good web design by looking at bad web design. Features include web design checklists and resources on good web design.

Juliana Payson‘s insight:

Unless you’re abnormally gifted, the best way to learn a craft thoroughly is to learn not only its central tenets but also its pitfalls. The owner, and regular guest speaker on web design, Vincent Flanders, admits his site is not meant to be a proponent of good web design. Instead, his site is showing us the cream of the absolute worst design. Most of us probably fit in the bell shaped curve of average because the demands of productivity will balance back the finer art of perfection. I find this site is a fantastic quick reference for ourselves and for clients to demonstrate the obvious mistakes we should not make.

Are you in a sticky Monday situation, of dealing with a website job whilst struggling to negotiate control? I hope this list of websites arms you with some creative ability to diffuse some of that client pressure. Happy Monday!

Do you have examples you’re willing to share, link me up here or on my Google Plus, and I’ll run a future case study – Juliana.