4 Key Terms to add to your web development glossary

If you started a web development project and picked a dev team, it would be a good idea to familiarise yourself with some of the most common terms used in the industry. Although you are not going to build the website yourself, having a better understanding of the terms used will allow you to ask more questions and get involved in the process. We are going to tell you more about the key terms you should know if you want to speak the language of your team.

Web Design vs. Web Development

Let’s start with the basics and be aware of the difference between web developers and web designers. The design team is responsible for the look and feel of your website, while the development team takes care of the functionality and they build the site. There are a lot of elements to consider in the whole process, for example, the design could include colours, logo design, images and overall layout. When you have a basic understanding of who does what you could easily ask questions or make suggestions to the right people.

Responsive Design

Things have changed a lot in the last couple of years and responsive design is not an extra, but it is a must. People are making most of their browsing through mobile phones and devices, so if you would like to keep them on your website, you would need to optimise it. Alternatively, users would not spend time trying to navigate or resize the screen, but just leave your site and move on.

UI/ UX

Both UI and UX are essential for the quality of your website. To give you a better understanding, we should explain what each of these phrases means. UI stands for user interface and represents the means of communication your website provides, for example, specific call-to-action buttons, sections or layout. The UX – user experience, on the other hand, is the act of engagement with these instruments, for instance, if people are clicking on certain buttons, watch videos, make comments and make use of the functionality.

CMS

Adding a content management system (CMS) to your website would make your life a lot easier. The opportunity of adding new content or make small changes would be so much simpler when using a CMS. Moreover, it will also reduce ongoing costs as you would not pay for small changes and amends. Some of the most popular CMS are WordPress, Drupal, Magento, etc.

Wrap-up

There are so many things you could add to your glossary and learn about, but at the end of the day, you do not need to know everything if you have the right team – you can familiarise with the basics and make sure you know everyone’s responsibilities. If you do not have a development team in place yet, we would love to help you! Our fantastic team recently helped Connect Insolvency and their brand new website and branding, so give us a call and find out what we could do for you!

Is Your Website Your Best Online Marketing Tool?

There are many ways you can promote your business online, and yes, I would definitely say that your website could be your best online marketing tool. But is it? Well, it depends. If your website is aligned with your current marketing strategy, if it is up to date, responsive and SEO optimized, with the right and well-targeted content, I’d say that your website is your best online marketing tool indeed.

 

 

What I am trying to say is: Your website should be your primary online marketing tool because having a website makes your business credible and trustworthy and this is the foundation of success. Social media platforms do help your business and outreach, but to maximise your chances of success, you need a website, and it better be a good one. I do not know of any successful business that does not have a good website, and building a website is not as simple as setting up social media profiles, but it is worth it because it shows your audience that you take your business seriously.

Social media, business listings and other marketing activities like Google ads and similar should be the supporting efforts that help you reach your target audience, but it is your website that will eventually convert them into customers. Your social media profiles and your posts are the voice of your business while your website is its face and its words because it gives your potential customers an opportunity to hear your message, learn more about your services, what you offer and how you can help their business.

A modern website with a minimal look, hamburger menu and a homepage video like Belfund is a great option, but if you prefer a classic-looking website with simple navigation like Connect Insolvency  –  that’s perfectly fine too, as long as your content is clear and well-written.

Having a website and social media is a great start, but if you want to put more effort into online marketing, I have a present for you 🙂 . Here is a list of 99 online marketing tools that will help you promote your business online.

If you’d like to discuss your online marketing strategy, please feel free to contact me, I’d be happy to chat and find the best strategy to promote your business online.

How psychology affects your website

Psychology is everywhere and the sooner you realise that the better you’ll become at whatever you do for a living – sell, manage (people, company, etc..) or design websites. In this article, I’ll talk about how psychology affects your website visitors and how important it is for your website success.

 

 

Colour Palette

The colour palette you choose for your website will speak directly to your visitor’s emotional self. Depending on your visitors’ personality or even their current mood, they might instantly like or dislike your website. Colours are known to affect our feelings causing us to feel certain emotions when exposed to colours.  I won’t go into much detail on what each colour is associated with and how it makes us feel because there is a great post on this topic.

 

Imagery

You can use one image to tell a whole story, so imagine how important imagery is for the story you want your website to tell. Images breathe life into your website and given that the human eye identifies images in a matter of milliseconds, again, they speak to our subconscious and affect our mood just the same as colours.

 

Anchoring

According to Wikipedia, anchoring or focalism is a phenomenon where an individual relies too heavily on an initial piece of information, which is considered to be the “anchor” when making certain decisions. Knowing this, you can use the whole context to make certain information look more important or your prices more affordable. A good example of anchoring is a new discounted price shown next to the original price which is higher.

 

Typefaces

Typefaces can spark different associations, from fun (Comic Sans) or modern (Sans Serif) to formal and even solemn (Old English). For our client, AG Events, a wedding entertainment company based in Newcastle upon Tyne, we’ve used “a perfectly imperfect hand-drawn font” for certain parts of the website and this font is usually associated with fun, entertainment and playfulness – Playlist Script Font

 

Urgency

Creating a sense of urgency with your visitors can cause them to feel fear of missing a chance to do something good or lose something good. This can be done by adding ‘a limited time offer’ next to the product you want to focus on. The fear of loss or the idea that something they are interested in might not be available in a few days will create a sense of urgency with your customers, which will lead them to buy your product.

 

Community

Humans are social beings and the feeling that they are a part of a community, that they belong somewhere is what they need. According to Maslow, our social needs include love, acceptance, and belonging. Human beings feel a need for emotional relationships, and this need drives their behaviour. To satisfy this need and avoid loneliness, we form relationships with other people – friendships, romantic relationships, social groups or community groups and similar. If people believe that they will become a part of a community, your community, if they become your customers or users, they are more likely to subscribe to your newsletter or register as a member.

 

Social Proof

Social proof is a situation where people copy the behaviour of other people assuming that this is the correct behaviour in a given situation. If your website features testimonials, case studies or an outstanding product/service rating, your visitors are more likely to believe that what you offer is really good and the right thing to do is to become your customer.

 

Wrap up

As I said, psychology is everywhere. We work with people, our employers are people, our customers are people and they all feel the way they feel, they want something, fear something and do so many things driven by their emotions. Given that psychology deals with emotions, it IS everywhere and I really hope this post helps you understand how important it is in web design too.

How to use Google Analytics to create engaging content

Google Analytics is a tool that holds such valuable data which can be analysed and used to improve website performance. It is pretty straightforward and you do not even have to have advanced knowledge of the tool to understand what parts of your website or content are working well and what could be improved. Starting from acquisition (how you’ve acquired users) which happens before they’ve even landed on your website, to their behavior (actions, clicks, etc..) and finally – conversions (or in other words, this tool can help you see if users take a desired action when they visit your website).

Today, we will be focusing on the Behaviour section in Google Analytics and provide some useful tips on how to use the data in this section to create engaging and effective content.

Step 1 – Performance of all pages

If you go to Behaviour – Site Content – All Pages, you will be able to see the number of visits per page, the amount of time spent on each page, the bounce rate, and based on the data shown, you will be able to identify high performing pages of your website.

all pages

Step 2 – Identify and analyse top-performing pages

The top of the list items of the All Pages list are the ones you want to focus on in this step, but you need pay attention to the bounce rate too. The best-performing pages would be the ones towards the top of this list but with the lowest bounce rate. If the top page of this list has the highest bounce rate, it is an indicator that this page needs further improvement in terms of content and layout. Also, do not forget to check the amount of time your visitors spend on the top performing pages because this is also an indicator of what is going well and what can be improved.

By analyzing the top performing pages in this section, you will be able to understand what content your audience finds interesting and valuable and you can use this knowledge to optimize the rest of pages and improve their performance.

But how can you do that? How can you find out what your visitors need or find valuable in terms of content?

Step 3 – Optimise content and conversions

Search Terms is an incredibly useful section of Google Analytics. You can find it in Behaviour – Site Search – Search Terms and it shows you the words or phrases your visitors typed in search engines that led them to your website.

search terms

This is the answer to the question what your users are looking for, and it gives you a great opportunity to create effective content on the rest of your website pages, but also to further optimise the top performing pages. The info you can find in Search Terms combined with the bounce rate and average time spent on the top performing pages can help you understand what your visitors are looking for, what pages attract the majority of your website organic traffic and how valuable and engaging content these pages offer.

In summary

There are so many opportunities Google Analytics offers. The information this tool holds can answer a lot of your content related questions and so much more. I have done 2 very successful content optimisation projects recently with Rivergreen, North East based property developers and Abbey Masterbatch, a manufacturer and supplier of black, white, colour, additive masterbatch and pigment dispersions. Google Analytics helped me create new and improve the existing content – the results were stunning!

What colours say about your website?

When we think about web design, the initial thoughts could be about the colour scheme. Colours certainly affect our attitude and emotions so make sure you choose them wisely. First of all, you need to know your audience and what message you want to send them. In this post, we will give you some examples of some of the most popular tones in web design and how different companies use them.

Blue

Blue is a great colour option, and it’s one of the most popular choices. Most people like it, no matter what gender or age they are. That makes the blue very universal and a safe bet. Also, this colour is associated with trust, intelligence, and efficiency. Many financial organisations are using it, even the most significant social networks like Facebook and Twitter. Another excellent example is Norvic Aero Engines LTD. Norvic is one of the leading aircraft engine overhaul companies and has a very professional and strong presence.

Green

Another great option is the green which similarly to the blue is perceived very well by most of the people. The green represents the balance, harmony, refreshment and the beginning of something new. The Green colour works really well for environmentally friendly and outdoor products. However, green is also used by so many different websites and companies like BP, TripAdvisor, etc.

Yellow

Yellow speaks for optimism, friendliness, and creativity. This colour could be great if you want to stand out, but be careful as too much yellow and certain shades of it could have a negative effect on your visitors. Some good examples of yellow accents in websites are Thomas Cook, Lipton and The Froth Shop.

Black

The darker colours represent sophistication, glamour, and efficiency. Use black to add a high-end and luxury look to your website. Some great examples are Belfund, Adidas, Luis Vuitton, Mercedes. The Black colour is classy and would always be a good idea, just be careful how much you use to avoid the feeling of heaviness and coldness.

Pink

Pink tones are feminine they bring warmth and tranquillity. The brighter variations of pink are perfect if you are looking to achieve a higher conversion rate. Excellent examples of pink websites are Newcastle Premier Health and Renew life.

Wrap-up

In conclusion, there are plenty of shades and tones to choose from, however, ask yourself what goals and messages you would like to send with your website. In general, the brighter colours will bring your conversion rate up, while the darker tones will add luxury and sophistication.

Top 3 tips for User Experience

Nowadays, websites are so diverse and different from each other, which is fantastic – but some of them could be a bit tricky to figure out. Having a memorable and unique website is necessary as long as it does not diminish the efficiency and usability of it. A good website should have an intuitive layout which enhances the user experience and interaction. We are going to give you some tips on how to improve the usability and user engagement.

1. Flow

Websites should be able to provide information in an easy and straightforward way that doesn’t confuse the users. The Flow is extremely important if you want to retain your visitors and convert them into subscribers. You need to put yourself in your customer’s shoes and ask yourself what you would like to see first and what should be (visually) prioritised. That would help you create a strategy and build your website towards your goals. If you know your potential clients would prefer to speak to you before they make a purchase you, might need to put your phone number near the top of the page. Think about what their second action would be and create that flow which will smoothly lead your users to the right sections and pages. A great example of excellent flow could be the website of Media Borne, a Newcastle Upon Tyne creative visual company. If you visit their interactive website, you will notice that you get the answers to your questions before you even think about them.

2. Contrast and Colours

Colours are one of the first ideas we have when planning a new web design. To make the right choice, we need to consider many questions, for example how they fit with our logo, what they represent, but also if they would be appealing to our audience. All of these are important, but one of the critical factors would be the user experience and how the colour combination affects your visitors. At the end of the day, you want your users to enjoy the time spent on your website and stay there longer. Think about the readability and contrast between the colours, be aware of different devices and how colour combinations would look on different screens. Drone Services, a drone photography and video company uses colours and contrast very wisely, which delivers excellent user experience.

3. Navigation

The navigation aspect is critical for user experience, and it is always better to make it obvious and have a clear menu on your website. In order to avoid any confusion with your users, make sure your navigation is consistent and doesn’t change throughout the website. If you require quick access to specific pages, a sticky menu could be a good option for you. On the other hand, a mobile navigation might need to be a bit different and showcase some of the most popular options while the rest of them could be hidden in a hamburger menu. That trick would help you to save essential space and improve the readability factor. Also, you could use categories and groups as that would make the navigation clearer. An example of effective navigation for with a lot of content and pages is the website of Building Surveyors. They provide Commercial and Residential services since 2003, and as experts in the industry with so much experience, they have a lot to demonstrate on their website.

Wrap-up

User experience it is crucial for the success of your website and business. We have touched on some of the most important aspects, but there is a lot to be considered when building a website. If you need help with your new project let us know, and we can give you some tips and ideas!

How to evaluate a website proposal

When you have met many web design companies and received their proposals, it’s time to sit down, evaluate the opportunities and make a decision. Every proposal would vary regarding the level of detail, style, and price which could be difficult to compare them side by side. We will give you a list of key points to consider, which will help you to evaluate a proposal from a web design company.

General Criteria and Score

Before we continue, we need to start with setting up a score scale which could be 0 to 5 for example. As zero being the worst and five being the best for the following aspects below.

– Does the proposal addresses any issues and identify your essential requirements? A good clear understanding of your project could save you a lot of time and stress in the future.
– Does the vendor give you specific details and solutions to your business objectives?
– Does the proposal indicate all of the requirements you have requested originally? A detailed, well structure proposal that gives answers to your requests will score higher.

The three general considerations above should give you confidence that the web design company fully understand your requirements and provide you realistic project time frame.

Web Developer Rating

This part could be a bit trickier than the first one. How would you rate the developer technical skills? How would you determine the creativity level of a designer or developer?

The first impression we could get from a web design company it’s their own website. Also, the scale of the projects they have created could build trust and credibility. Another aspect is the proposal or the presentation they have prepared. The effectiveness of their website could give you an indication as well. Try to score these factors, and they will help you with your final decision.

Project Plan and Relevance

– Does the proposal provide details of the steps, process and methodology the vendor is going to use? It’s important the proposal is created in an understandable and clear format so you can evaluate the suggested approach.
– Does the proposal cover all of the essential services to your website, for example, domain, hosting, photography, etc.?
– Does the proposal specify the team for the project? A complete team with the necessary skill set is crucial for a successful project. Make sure you are aware of who the project manager is and coordinate everything with them.

Price

– Are the quote and payment terms within your budget? Compare prices with your initial research and other quotes. Do they differ a lot from each other?
– Does the proposal give you breakdown and details on what’s included? It is essential that the proposal provides a comprehensive breakdown of prices and services. Also, make sure you are aware of the hourly rate of the vendor as that could be important for future interactions with the company.

Wrap-up

In conclusion, evaluating a proposal could be tricky, but if you follow the list above and score the key points accordingly, you will increase your chances of success. One of our recent clients Elite Acoustic carefully evaluated a proposal by Sleeky and trusted us with their new website. Elite Acoustic Solutions is Newcastle based specialist in sound masking products, check out their new website. If you would like to receive a proposal by Sleeky get in touch, we would love to hear from you!

Why should you switch from Wix to WordPress

According to a WhoIsHostingThis post on WordPress stats, WordPress is the top content management system and 27% of the Internet is powered by it. The next one is Joomla with about 3%. A big difference, isn’t it? Wix takes the 7thplace with and is used by less than 2% of all the websites. There is a good reason (or good reasons) these content management systems are used as they are and today, I’ll be focusing on the advantages of WordPress over Wix.

Flexibility

Being an open source platform, WordPress can be used to create themes or plugins and this can be done by anyone. This is actually the reason there are so many WordPress plugins available. Its flexibility is reflected in the fact that any feature or functionality that might be missing from the basic system can be installed in a few simple steps – all you need to do is find the right plugin and install it.

WordPrss can be used to build all sorts of websites – from personal blog to an ecommerce website. Its enormous customisability is what differs WordPress from Wix, which is pretty limited in terms of customisability.

Cost

A WordPress site can cost from about £45 to several hundred pounds per year. At this price, users get hosting, the domain, a number of plugins, themes. A wix website, with all these included would cost about twice as much.

Of course, there are free versions of both WordPress and Wix, so it is not a question of price, but comes down to the features and plugins included and WordPress has much more to offer when it comes to this.

Website themes

There are several thousand WordPress themes, while Wix offers several hundred themes. And this is not the main advantage WordPress has over Wix – the customisability of themes and editability of the code is what makes WordPress a winner in this case.

Support

WordPress has a community, forums and its own support website, which WordPress users can surf or contact for any questions. Wix, on the other hand, offers a number of documents, manuals and tutorials on the website. If you can not find the answer you are looking for there, you might need to contact their technicians, however, for advanced support questions, Wix offer a premium support package at additional cost.

SEO

Both WordPress and Wix offer SEO optimized websites, however, the websites built on WordPress are better ranked on search engines. Also, WorPress offers a number of SEO plugins and SEO is the main reason Abbey Masterbatch Ltd, masterbatch suppliers offering black, white & additive & colour masterbatch decided to switch from Wix to WordPress, which proved to be a good decision.

Conclusion

Depending on the goals and budget, different content management systems can be a good choice. The above are just a few advantages WordPress has over Wix and this is why we advise our customers to choose WordPress.

Why you need a fast loading website

Given that a fast loading website is a must nowadays, one might think that there are no slow loading websites or that there are just a few. But unfortunately, this is not the case, and you would be surprised to find out how many websites fail on this test. Website loading speed does not affect your online traffic only, it is also very important for your sales and even brand. Here are a few important reasons for having a fast loading website.

 

 

User experience

User experience is not only a perfect arrangement of your website elements, call to action buttons, white space, images, etc..These are important indeed, but what could be more important to user experience than the ability to obtain the information they are looking for quickly?

Visitor engagement

Visitor engagement is an important element of the user journey and we all know that human attention spans are short and are said to be getting even shorter. According to a 2013 blog post by Apica, the human attention span is only 8 seconds. Can you imagine the damage that slow loading speed can do to website user engagement and not to mention online traffic and conversions?

Conversion rate

If a visitor can not visit the website pages due to slow loading speed, I can’t imagine they will sign up for trial, contact you for a quote or do whatever you set as a conversion goal. Consequently, the conversion rate will drop and this can be fixed in a few very simple steps of which I will talk about in another blog post.

SEO

It is no news that loading speed affects website’s SEO rankings. If you run a check on your website’s SEO on any engine on the internet, load speed will be one of the requirements that your website will either meet or not. Search engines, just like people, like speed, they rank fast loading websites better and that’s a fact!

 

I have recently worked with 2 companies, helping them optimize their website speed: Abbey Masterbatch Ltd, major manufacturer and supplier of a range of thermoplastic masterbatch, particularly black, white, colour and additive masterbatch and ACS Installations – the leading specialists in air conditioning installations, repairs and maintenance. If you need help with this, you know where to find me 🙂 .