Graphic Illustrations – Why is it a good idea to use them?

Are you planning on building a new website or just looking for an idea to freshen up your existing one?  Colours, fonts, images, and videos are but a few design aspects to address. The tiniest detail could make a significant impact on the message you are sending to your audience. Before you rush into a decision and put a lot of time and resources into a specific style (that might not fit your brand), stop to consider what design technique would best fit your business and brand. Using graphic illustrations is a great technique and here is how they help and contribute to your website design, brand and business.

Storytelling

Graphics and illustrations are an excellent tool for storytelling. Let’s say you are looking to tell your clients about your exciting progress and how you first started the business 15 years ago. Doing that with graphic illustrations would be an excellent choice! People like stories, but it is critical how you tell them if you want to attract the attention of your target audience. It’s not always easy to engage your visitors just by writing your story and adding photos,  especially if you only have access to stock images.
Having illustrations is a much more intriguing and impressive way to take your visitors on a journey with you. An illustration would naturally bring attention to your story and make it easier for the audience to follow through. Graphic illustration could be a friendly and charming way to leave a warm feeling in your visitors, reminding them of their childhood. It is a massive bonus to have your brand associated with happy memories and funny stories from the careless childhood.

Simplifying complex subjects

Have you ever noticed that when trying to tell something difficult, we often draw or try to visualise our thoughts to provide others with a better understanding of the topic? Graphic illustrations are an enormous help in these situations. Using fewer words in a shorter time makes the subject you want to discuss much more engaging and easier to follow. Nowadays, online users don’t spend much time reading and trying to figure out what you want to say. That’s why you need to be sharp and to the point, but also make sure you simplify the subject without missing the essential details.

Unique Design

One of the best reasons for using graphic illustrations is that it can be truly unique to your business. A graphic designer can create personalised illustrations just to fit your brand and these could be your distinct trademark. If you want, you can provoke your potential customers with abstract graphics, which could raise questions and encourage conversations. Also, you can send your brand message with a sophisticated and elegant illustration with a perfect customised colours selection. In the example below, you can spot a great way of utilising the homepage screen and splitting into two parts. Graphic illustrations make this approach very distinctive and easy to navigate. Also, this technique creates subconscious reassurance that your private conversations will stay confidential, which is one of the reasons why Talk Works, a company offering talking therapies and counselling services In Newcastle & Gateshead uses illustrations and not photos on their website.

Summary

There are plenty of styles to consider when using graphic illustrations. If you are already thinking of this exciting design technique, but are not sure what would suit your brand best, get in touch – we love being creative!

The benefits of having a news page on your website

When building a new website, every website owner should carefully consider what pages will be included. Website with over 20 pages could be quite distracting and of course, you want to list all your services, and each of them deserves a separate page. But is the News or Blog page something you should exclude from your website to make it more user-friendly and less distracting?

I would say that the pages like a Blog or News page are actually one of the pages you should add to your list first, and the main reason is the website SEO, but it also adds value to the visitors.

 

 

If you are familiar with how search engines work and what are important factors in SERP rankings, you will know that if you post on your website regularly, it will increase the Google crawling frequency on your website and will lead to better rankings. The reason is simple – search engines tend to favour active websites with regularly updated and fresh content. So, when you rank better for certain keywords, it will lead to an increased number of visits and if your website content is equally great, no doubt your website will become a real lead generation machine.

Now, let’s talk about the value a blog or a news page adds to your visitors. Visitors, like search engines, also like to visit informative websites with fresh content and the News or Blog page is just the right page to give your visitors what they want.

So, use your News or Blog page to share your news and updates with your target audience. Add value to your business too by establishing yourself as an authority in your field through blog writing and you will be rewarded both in terms of better rankings and gaining your visitors’ trust.

 

Both our old clients, like J3 Building Solutions Limited and our new clients like Warm Zones, UK’s leading charity who is dealing with and helping to end fuel poverty, feature this very important page upon our advice.

5 benefits of having live chat on your website

Live chat, as an instant messaging option on your website helps your customers in many ways; and helping your customers, it helps your business in many aspects – from sales and customer service to increasing cost efficiency and business information gathering.

Live chat is convenient for your customers

Whether you own a SaaS product or offer any kind of online or offline service, live chat enables your customers to connect with your agents instantly. If we compare live chat to a customer support ticketing system, it is pretty clear that the main advantage of live chat is instant response. If your customers need an additional explanation on the service they are using or need help with troubleshooting, live chat enables you to provide step by step instructions or share your knowledge base instantly. That way, you build trust and long-lasting relationships with your customers. And let’s be honest, there are some shy people among us, that would rather turn to live chat than to a phone call.

Live chat increases your sales conversion rate

The above described advantage is helpful for your customer service and satisfaction, however, there are many sales benefits of having a live chat option on your website. It hugely contributes to a positive buying experience of your potential customers and thus increases your conversion rate by 20-40%. I am sure all of us faced a situation when we visited a website and suddenly got very interested in the product or service offered. However, we were too lazy or reluctant to write an email and wait for a response. Now a similar scenario – we visit a website, get curious and interested to learn more and there is a live chat button. A friendly agent answers our questions and we are one step closer to buying from them.

Live chat gives you competitive advantage

By adding to your sales and customer service efforts, live chat gives your business a competitive advantage. Whatever service you are offering or whatever industry you are coming from, one thing is sure – you have competitors. The above story about visiting a website, getting curious to learn more but being reluctant to write an email and then going straight to competition with live chat available, is a perfect example of how the latter company used live chat as a competitive advantage.

Live chat helps you save money

And more than that! Isn’t it interesting – live chat is an option that increases efficiency and saves money at the same time? How? With a well-trained customer support agent, you can say goodbye to hundreds of queued calls since such agents can handle multiple chats, which is not the case with phone calls. Additionally, some live chat providers have free packages available, meaning that no initial investment is needed.

Live chat helps you gather important information about your business and website

Do you want to know which are the parts of your product or website that most customers get stuck at? Or you’d simply like to learn from your customer service rating and feedback? This might not be commonly known, but live chat provides real-time info on the landing page of your visitors, it shows you which pages were previously visited what is the current page of your visitor. You can also find out the location and IP address of your visitor. Have you noticed the shy ones – the ones visiting your websites often, but are too shy to start a conversation? Well, invite them to chat manually!

Conclusion

Obviously, live chat option is useful for many aspects of your business. It is affordable, pretty easy to set up and use, but it helps your business in a number of ways. When building a website for an award-winning UK Stag and Hen company, Hen and Stag, we knew that live chat would add hugely to the website’s user experience. And we are now happy to learn that this has turned out to be a perfect feature for their business!

Why you NEED to Install Google Analytics On Your Website

Sir Francis Bacon is often quoted as saying ‘Knowledge is power’ in the case of Google Analytics this has never been truer. We often refer to having a website as only being the first piece of the puzzle on this blog… Then follows search engine optimisation, both on-site and off-site. In some ways adding Google Analytics to your site and then acting on the data that can be extracted from its reports is the final step. Well, the last step in the repeating loop of, Design – Test – Analyze.

Why set up Google Analytics?

Google Analytics can help you understand the performance of your website and once you can do that you can optimise it. Find out how many people are visiting your site on a daily basis, and how many of those are visiting for the first time or are returning. How long are people staying on your site and which page do most people leave your site on. How many people come from links around the web and how many come from social media.

Find out your site’s weaknesses

Which pages are people dropping off your site on? How can they be improved or could they just be deleted? At what stage are customers leaving the ordering process? All these questions can be looked into and improved via Google Analytics.

Learn more about your user’s journey

Use Google Analytics to see your customer’s journey through your website from source to exit. This can help you understand and refine that journey making sure they are funnelled in the correct channel to collect data or sell products.

Create and set goals to measure conversations

You can use Google Analytics to set goals and track conversions on your site. You can track the ordering process to see how long users spend on each step of the process and at which point the exiting the process without completing the transaction. This can help you streamline the process and generate more sales.

 

Example

We’ve recently installed Google Analytics on a North East roofing contractors website, we’ll be going through the data with them to improve the site and the customer journey.

 

 

 

Why Add Google Maps To Your Website?

If you’re going on a long journey, looking at the house you grew up in, finding a friends restaurant recommendation or locating your nearest cash machine… You’ve probably used Google Maps! Google has amassed a mind-bending 20 petabytes of aerial, satellite and street view images that are updated regularly.

How to add it to your site

The good news is… It’s super simple! You can use the Google Maps API or a custom field, both allow you to style it to suit your website. The map is customisable, allowing you to show different overviews and points of interest.

What are the Advantages

Although it’s hard to find evidence to suggest that it positively impacts on your sites SEO anymore, it is adding more content to your site and increasing the user experience. If your business requires your customers to find your premises, it will aid them to locate you.

Example

Abbey Masterbatch is a leading UK supplier and manufacturer of masterbatch based in Ashton Under Lyne, they have added Google Maps to their website via a custom field. It clearly shows where they are situated and accessible road routes as well as public transport hubs.

 

Summary

If you want people to easily locate your business, adding Google Maps to your site will really help. It allows them to see where you are located and what’s around you. It’s easy to do, and free, so take a look.

Which Navigation Setup Is Right For Your Website?

It’s essential that users can easily navigate your site to find all the interesting content you have created. If users find this a frustrating task, they may leave your site looking for someone else who provides a better experience.

A website that is easy to navigate will extend the time a user spends there and can lead to an increase in sales, enquiries or any other ‘calls to action’ built into your site. The three most often used types of website navigation are side, top and mega. In this post, we’ll take a quick look at how they could benefit your site.

Top Navigation

Often the best set up if you have only a few options to choose from. Users tend to read from left to right then top to bottom, so putting your navigation tabs in a horizontal line will help their eyes naturally adjust to the layout.

Side Navigation

Using a vertical menu is not a great option if you are looking for a simple menu design. This is because the content in the main body of the site can easily distract the user from the menu text. Side navigation menus certainly can work, but they need to be considered with the correct kind design and a minimal number of menu items.

Mega Navigation

If you have lots of pages, mega navigation could be for you! It looks great and helps users navigate your site with ease. On an e-commerce front, if you are selling lots of products in different categories then it’s probably the best solution for you. A mega menu could also potentially help your sites SEO results as you will be adding plenty of links to your site.

We asked Ben Yates from 16 Design, based in Middlesbrough to give us an example of a recent project and why he chose the navigation set up he did.

“I’m a big fan of mega menus! Especially on large corporate sites, however, a recent client I worked with is a commercial builder and construction company based in Newcastle and they wanted a really simple design and navigation style. They didn’t require too many information tabs or pages so I opted for a top navigation bar. It just keeps things simple and easy to use. The client’s main aim for the site was to generate enquiries and inform users of previous work, so it fitted in nicely with the brief.”

In Summary

Prioritise your user’s experience above all else. When choosing your navigation option, you want the user to easily find their way around your site and stay to browse all your products and services. This will increase the chances of converting them into customers and in turn increase your ROI.

Using custom icons for navigation

Using custom icons on your site is a great way to customise your navigation bar and attract the attention of visitors on your site. Custom icons are effective because they appeal to the visual part of our brain. 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, which means incorporating these features on your site means it’s more likely that your content will be memorable to visitors.

Liquidators and Insolvency practitioners, Connect Insolvency, needed an informative website that would also be visually appealing. Check it out here: By using five coloured icons to represent each of the services, it draws attention to the main information points of the website as well as giving the homepage some life. Icons can be used to break content on your page up and make it more readable as well as being more aesthetically pleasing to the human eye. When it comes to designing icons, there are a number of styles and shapes that can be used to create unique images.

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As you can see, hexagons are the choice of shape here. Using this shape compliments the branding of the site and the company’s cubic logo. Geometric shapes, as custom icons, also sit well on a responsive website that is being viewed on a mobile device or tablet.

5 Ways to Declutter your Homepage

Troo Cost

First impressions are key, especially when it comes to the homepage of your website. It’s estimated that judgments on website credibility are 75% based on a website’s overall aesthetics.

A cluttered homepage can be hard to read and can mean it may be the only page that users are visiting before clicking off.

Is your bounce rate alarmingly high? Are you wanting to freshen up your homepage? Sometimes all you need is a good clear out.

Here are 5 ways in which you can declutter your homepage…

Visuals

Visuals are essential to include on your homepage, whether this be a logo, a background or custom icons, they are great for giving first-time visitors an instantaneous feeling of who you are and what you are providing.

84% of all marketing communications are predicted to be visual by 2018.

More and more, we are seeing brands using images and videos to promote their products or services in order to provide potential customers with a new, visual way of experiencing their brand.

Research has suggested that “colored visuals increase people’s willingness to read a piece of content by 80%”.

Think about replacing text/headings with visuals to immediately grab user attention and direct them to certain parts of your website. It will also help to differentiate sections as well as breaking up some of the text on your homepage.

Take a look at of one of our clients TrooCost to see this in action and how custom icons are utilised throughout their homepage.

Scrolling

Scrolling down a homepage is an quick and easy way of seeing who you are as a company, what you do and what services you provide.

By splitting your page into sections, users can scroll from the top to the bottom without having to click around your website to find this key information.

However, remember to try to keep this scrolling down to a minimum so that the user does not lose interest and therefore miss out on important details.

Scrolling is not only beneficial for users accessing your website from a computer or laptop, but will mean it is easily accessible from a portable device, eg. mobile.

Use your phone to open this link to TrooCost to see a clear example of a responsive website design that uses scrolling in an effective and sleek manner.

Logo & Branding

The homepage is the first touchpoint on a brand’s website where users will first see the brand’s logo and form impressions of who the brand are.

This means that it is essential that the position of the logo is thought about and placed in a location on the homepage where it is eye-catching to the user.

Traditionally, the logo is said to be aligned in the left-hand corner as this is the native area to which, those who read from left to right, divert their eyes when first clicking on a website.

Wherever you decide to position your logo, left side, right side or centre, try to limit the amount of information that surrounds it in order to decrease the chances of the logo looking messy and cluttered. Having a logo in it’s own section of the page will give it a more minimal and modern aesthetic.

Hero

A hero image is beneficial for grabbing the attention of the user and highlighting the main focal point of your brand.

Hero images can be anything from a high-resolution image, animation, video coupled with text.

Take a look at the use of a hero image being used on TrooCost. The purple background and the bold title accentuates the interactive button which instantly takes users to a short sign up form where they can enquire into the business. Potential customers therefore do not need to waste time searching through the site to find out what the business offers or how to get involved as it is immediately there as soon as they click on the site.

Navigation

Users of a website want to be able to navigate around a site easily and therefore featuring a distinct menu on your homepage is key.

Navigation menus are typically placed vertically along the top of the homepage so that users can clearly see the different sections of the website.

These menus generally include About pages and Contact pages alongside any services/products the brand offers.

It is important to take into consideration SEO when writing headings for the navigation as you want to make sure that you are using keywords that are concise and to the point to optimise search engine results.

Another factor to note is not to overload on sections and try to reduce them to a few so as to decrease the chances of a user clicking off your homepage without looking through any other of its content.

Five innovative ways to use video on your website

It’s safe to say that video is taking over the Internet. And, with one minute of video reportedly being worth 1.8 million words, it’s easy to see why.

But have you considered using video content on your website?

Video content can be incredibly effective when used on websites. It’s engaging, interesting, and user-friendly.

In fact, reports suggest that 4 times as many customers would prefer to watch a video about a product than read about it. Whilst website visitors who view video content stay on the site for an average of two minutes longer compared to those who don’t view videos at all. And, the longer a potential customer stays on your website, the more likely you are to convert them into a paying customer.

Here are five innovative ways to incorporate video content into your website…

Background Videos

One of the most exciting ways to use video content on your website is to integrate it into the design. One website recently designed for Forklift Solutions, for example, integrated a background video into the home page. Positioned right at the top of the site, the video instantly grabs the audience’s attention and illustrates exactly what the company is all about.

A similar approach has been taken with sites for Drone Services and Prestwick Care and we’re pretty impressed with the results!

Short Explanation Video

A short, engaging explanation video will help your audience to get a better understanding of your business and what you have to offer them. This video should cover the basics about your company, including what products or services you specialise in. Placing this 60 – 90 second video on the homepage of your site will make a great initial impact.

Product Demonstrations

A product or service demonstration video will allow you to effectively demonstrate what your products or services are, how they work, and why your audience should invest in them.

Testimonials & Case Studies

Many websites feature written case studies and testimonials from existing clients or customers. In fact, customer testimonials (89%) and case studies (88%), are the most effective content marketing tactics.

But having customers rave about your product, service, or brand on video helps your company portray its credibility in an even more persuasive, engaging, and impactful way.

Positioning video testimonials throughout your website near the content they relate to will help you to reach out to the right target audience and built stronger connections. At the same time, longer video case studies will allow you to go into more detail about the customer experience.

About Us

A video on the About Us page will give your brand a human face and allow you to engage with your audience in a more direct way. Ensure that your company stands out from the crowd, whilst showing potential customers why working with you is the right choice.