Do You Need FAQs?

Maybe you’re debating including an FAQ page on your website. Yes, you might think they’re a touch outdated and possibly even a waste of your time, but they can actually be quite helpful.

Even if you don’t think they’re necessary, I can guarantee that you’ve used them at least once in your life. Right?

Short for Frequently Asked Questions, this page is often overlooked by many. Often hidden away in a footer link, it doesn’t typically get pride of place on the website. But should it?

What is an FAQ Page?

First and foremost, it’s a page where your website users can find information that you deem to be, you guessed it, frequently asked for.

It helps clarify any questions and uncertainties a consumer may have. For example, if you’re an eCommerce store selling bike parts, you might get a lot of customers wanting to know if your standard spring rate is right for them. Having a dedicated FAQ page allows not only allows customers to find this information right away, but also saves you the time of having to answer this over and over again.

This won’t attract your customers in a way a snazzy marketing campaign will, but it could give them the final push they need to purchase your products and keep them coming back!

The Benefits

Now we’ve covered the basics of what an FAQ page is, it’s time to delve down a little more.

Believe it or not, there is quite a strong case for including an FAQ page on your website, even if it means putting in that extra little bit of time laying it out!

Establish Yourself as an Expert

Did you know that by including an FAQ page on your website, you’re also establishing yourself as an expert in your field of business?

Think of it this way, whenever you ask someone a questions, you’re assuming they know the answer right? You’re trusting them to give you a correct and informative answer that you can then base your opinion/decision on.

This is exactly how it works with a customer on your website. The more answers you can give them, the more they trust your knowledge and expertise in your field.

In an online world saturated with competitors, it’s important that you can put yourself ahead of the rest by being a trusted expert. After all, where are you more likely to spend your money, on a website that you know to be reliable, trusted and knowledgeable, or a website without the information you need?

Improves Customer Experience

There is nothing worse than eyeing up a product online, only to have a question about it and nowhere to go.

Yes, you could send the company an email or give them a ring but realistically, are you going to do that? Or are you more likely to go somewhere else, with the information you’re looking for?

Giving your potential customers the quick answers they need keeps them happy and on your website.

With 88% of companies now prioritising customer service in their contact centres, it’s clear to see that this is important.

What better way to improve your customers experience by directly addressing their needs and giving them the information they’re looking for?

Quicker Information = Quicker Purchasing Decision

Following on from the above point, having the information a customer needs to make a purchase, allows for more purchases.

In the 21st Century, you’ll be hard pushed to find a niche that absolutely no one has ever thought about. This means whatever you’re selling, so is someone else.

Did you know that once a customer has made a purchase, they’re 27% more likely to return to your shop? The hard part is getting them to make that first purchase, and keeping potential customers on your website, and not someone else’s.

Giving your customers the information they need straight away, decreases the chances of them shopping around.

Less Admin Time

We’ve all heard the old adage, time is money. And it couldn’t be more correct.

That time that you or a staff member spend answering basic customer questions could be spent on marketing, product design, sales, or anything else!

SEO!

Ah, good old search engine optimisation eh? It may not seem like an obvious way to boost your search engine rankings. But it definitely can be

Especially if you have an eCommerce site, you’re relatively limited to the amount of text on your website. It’s the age old struggle of do you try and force your keywords in and have something that’s cluttered, or do you have a beautifully designed website with small snippets of necessary text that do the job, but does little for SEO?

An FAQ page gives you the perfect opportunity to fit in those ever important keywords, naturally. This then allows search engines to help understand your business, and to index relevant parts of the page.

The more questions and answers you have, the more likely you are to rank highly on Google.

Show a Little Personality

We all like a little personality now and again don’t we? Putting a face to a name, or a personality to a brand can be a clever way to market your business.

It’s obvious that you can do this with your overall website design, however you can also do this with pieces of copy as well.

You could even have a little fun with it, like MacDonald’s.

The Takeaway

Hopefully, I have convinced you that FAQ pages aren’t a thing of the past, and that they can actually be rather helpful for your business.

Whether you’re looking at integrating one from an SEO perspective or you’re sick and tired or answering the same questions over and over again, it can’t hurt.

Navigation and UX

Navigation is so important with web design because it allows the user to know how to use your website. Good navigation would allow the user to instantly see where they need to go to access information. For example, if you were looking for a way to get in touch with a company through their website, there should be very little/no hunting around in order to get that information.

Three clicks

Good navigation can be measured through clicks. Within three clicks, a user should be able to land on any page and find what they need. A great example of this is Abbey Masterbatch as all of the links are displayed in the navigation and you can easily click through the pages to find the relevant information.

Website navigation should be high up on the list of priorities when designing a website. If visitors can’t find your web form, then your site is useless and users will leave. Breadcrumbs, navigation elements and other ways to explore your site should be at the forefront of your mind when designing a website.

Headers

Most websites feature a header as a form of navigation, such as Jesmond Dene House. These are effective because you can clearly see the pages and call-to-actions (CTA’s) as soon as you get onto the page, meaning other pages and links are only a click away. Make sure your logo links back to the homepage as this is a convention that is best followed as it is so widely implemented.

Headers are usually contrasting to the rest of the design on-screen so that the eye is instantly drawn to them.

Hamburger Menus

Headers may also feature a hamburger menu as well as the links / CTA’s or maybe in place of this. Background Sounds is a great example of a hamburger menu that also takes elements from the logo. More links can be found through this at the expense of an extra click.

Hamburger menus are a great navigational device because they are subtle and don’t take up too much room. They can also be used to reflect the branding and can be nicely designed to fit in with the rest of the website. It was originally implemented for easier navigation on mobile devices but is also now used a lot on desktop too.

Footers

Footers are also great navigational tools as they feature all of the links within a website. They can also include popular resources, relevant links and social media content and are great for user experience. Fat footers are really good for this because they can contain a lot of information and all website links.

Sticky navigation

Sticky or fixed navigation is a menu that locked in place as you navigate throughout the page. This means that you don’t have to scroll back up to the top to get to another page on the website. ING do this quite well as the navigation menu comes down the page as you scroll.

Final thoughts

Good navigation is essential to UX because users want to know where they are, where they have been and where they are going easily and without clicking around too much.

The Importance of Visual Hierarchy in Web Design

Visual hierarchy describes the order in which the user processes the information throughout a website/ design. It is very important to use visual hierarchy in web design because it is the main strategy of communicating with the user about the purpose and importance of the design. During UX design, you should be asking yourself these questions:

  • What is the purpose of this? (Usefulness)
  • How would I use it? (Usability)
  • Why should I care about using it? (Desirability)

This way, you will be designing with the user in mind and create something that is easily comprehensible as well as appealing.

How to use hierarchy

There is no one way to build a concrete hierarchy in design, however, understanding what you are designing and who for is crucial.

For example, if you are designing something with a lot of text, you should try and section this with headings, bullet points and imagery. This will break up the layout and make the page easier to read as well as nicer to use.

The ‘Z’ pattern

On a homepage layout, the user will most likely read the page in a ‘Z’ formation, going from the top left to right, and then down to the bottom left of the screen, then across to the right. An example of this is the Zero Banking website.

The Z pattern is applicable to a lot of web interfaces as it addresses hierarchy, branding and calls-to-actions. If we can predict where the user’s eye is going, we can place elements in certain positions, to navigate the user to the most relevant points.

Size and scale

Size and scale are obvious tools for hierarchy but not always effective. The most important elements should be standing out the most but this can also be counteractive if used in excess as the design becomes overwhelming or too much effort to understand.

For example, if the design isn’t balanced or has too many elements of different sizes, the user’s eye won’t be directed to the relevant points. This is important for calls-to-action(CTA’s) because if your buttons are too small or unbalanced, they are more likely to be ignored.

The user should never be overpowered by a large focal point, nor compromise usability with content that is too small. Simply Chocolate is a good example of size and scale being used as a hierarchy tool as the user’s attention is drawn the product and the information is scaled according to importance around this.

Colour

Colour is another great tool for building a hierarchy in web design because you can highlight information or imagery with it. Human brains are attracted to contrasting colours, so we will look for the colours that stand out. When designing, colour can be used to pair elements, for example, CTA’s could all be one contrasting colour so the brain sees the relevance between them and their purpose.

Connect Insolvency is a good example of colour hierarchy because the colours not only reinforces the brand but draws the users attention to CTA’s and important elements.

Layout

Layout is one of the easiest way to direct the user’s eye and control your website’s hierarchy. Humans like order and structure, especially when looking for information. Organising your website into columns and rows can be very useful for creating clear and concise design. However, this does not mean your designs can’t be fluid with interesting interface elements.

As long as there is a balance and layout in place, hierarchy should be still understood and clear. Using too many visual elements and not enough structure/layout will flatten your hierarchy and there will be nothing standing out to the user. Calexo achieves hierarchy through layout very well by creating a very visual and fluid design that also has a lot of layout and structure behind it, meaning the information doesn’t get lost.

Spacing

Spacing is incredibly useful for not overwhelming site visitors. There may be an urge when designing to fit a lot of information into one space which will create confusion and therefore distrust for the user.

Allowing white space throughout your design can really help when separating elements and sections within your designs. Through spacing, you can create order and logic which will help create a clear hierarchy for the user.

Wealthsimple are a good example of using spacing as a tool for hierarchy in their website Balance is created through the use of white space, creating a concise and fresh design with great visual hierarchy.

Fonts

Fonts can be used to differentiate information. For example, headings and body text will likely be different fonts / weights/ sizes to highlight the purpose of the information. Headings are often a lot bigger than body text as well as often having heavier weights or being a different font altogether.

This draws the users eye and captions the body text, so the user knows what information they are reading and the purpose of that information. It also means that the main points of the text can be summarised without having to read the body text, which is great for users as they will probably only read text that is relevant to them.

Hotel Capolagala uses a serif font for the headings and a sans-serif font for the body text to create visual hierarchy through fonts. The fonts also balance each other whilst reflecting the brand.

Using these points when designing your website will help you build a visual hierarchy and increase usefulness, usability, and desirability.

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.

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.