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.

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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.

Improving the User Experience With Simple Solutions

Your website needs to be aesthetically pleasing and highly functional, but can it solve users problems too? Of course it can!

It’s important to value the user experience of your website. Here are some surprising and not so surprising facts and statistics about user experience.

  • Judgments on website credibility are 75% based on a website’s overall aesthetics
  • First impressions are 94% design-related
  • 88% of online consumers are less likely to return to a site after a bad experience

So you’ve hooked them in with the fantastic design, now to solve some user problems with simple solutions.

  • Enquiry Form – Users need to contact the page. These can be simple boxes or more elaborate data collecting or lead generation devices. 
  • Newsletter Subscription – Help customers to stay up to date with your products and services. 
  • Maps – Help the user locate and find you. 
  • Download Information – This North East Building Surveyor lets users download a PDF with parking instructions. Although this could be used for a wide variety of documents, this is a fantastic way of improving the user experience and solving a simple user problem… Where do I park on arrival?In summary, the user will respond favourably to beautiful design and solutions to their problems. How do I contact the site? Where is this business based? How will I find them? All these questions can easily be answered with simple onsite solutions. It’s important to consider your user’s website journey, what could they use help with? What questions might they like answered? What problems might they need to be solved? You can then implement a simple solution to improve their user experience.

Eye Catching Animation Increases User Experience

Eye Catching Animation

Eye-catching, subtlety animated icons improve the user experience and can increase click through and conversion rates. All clients are looking for ROI on their websites, designers & developers have many tools available to achieve this, including a graphically enticing and engaging content.

There is a whole methodology around designing a user experience…

Peter Morville created a useful illustration to visualise some of the aspects of the User Experience

User Experience

We may all rank these factors in differing orders of importance, but they are all important to the User Experience. Animated icons make the page graphically more usable, desirable, valuable and accessible.

These animated icons or logos can be created by a designer or purchased online.

An example of eye-catching animation on a home page was recently used by leading UK web design company Sleeky on a site developed for Norvic Aero Engines.

Specialising in aircraft engine overhauls and ‘Ready to Go Engines’ Norvic’s site is clean and simple. Midway down the home page, two animated icons increase User Experience and add to the attractive design of the site.

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.

Screen Shot 2018-01-12 at 11.45.15.png

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.

4 Ways to Promote Your Business Online

Mini Bees Photography Website Homepage

The digital world has opened up many doors for businesses wanting to promote their products and services. Creating a positive impact online can be done in a number of ways. Here are 4 ways to think about:

  1. Create a Website: Use a website to showcase your business and everything it offers. Having a platform that is unique to your brand is an essential in the world of promotion. Potential customers may create their first impressions of your brand from your website, which means putting some thought into the design and content of your site. Photography business, Mini Bees Photography‘s website is an example of this. One click onto the site’s homepage and you are immediately met with a large high res photograph taken from one of the photoshoots. The photo changes from one to the next, instantly portraying the work of the photographer.
  2. Social Media: Social media platforms have been around for a while now, but the way in which brands are using them is something that is still relatively new. With 3.03 billion active social media users (that’s a lot of potential customers!), it’s vital that your business has a presence on at least one social media platform. Social media pages are now more than simply having a profile. With the shop section on Facebook, businesses can now directly sell to their consumers. Twitter allows businesses and consumers to have instant conversations and get real-time information.
  3. Blog: A blog is a great way to show your consumers what your business is up to and to post any updates. Blogs can also be used to share information that you may think that your consumers could be interested in knowing, such as links to articles, events or any knowledge or expertise. Blogging can give your brand a voice and portray your brand’s values and passions through the content that is posted. This in turn can help to personalise your brand and increase the chances of customers who can relate to your business.
  4. SEO: With the amount of websites that now circulate the Internet and new ones going up everyday, getting your business discovered has become just as important as it’s content. Search engine rankings should be considered by businesses who want their websites to be found by potential customers. Both off-site and on-site SEO strategies can be put into place to maximise the chances of your website moving up the search rankings on Google. For example, targeting your desired audience by incorporating keywords, into your website, that they are likely to search.

The benefits of e-commerce

Great British Barber website homepage

Defined as “the buying and selling of products and services by businesses and consumers through an electronic medium”, e-commerce sites have created opportunities for brands that want to sell exclusively online, as well as helping existing ones to connect with other businesses and customers.

According to research, global online retail sales are growing and are estimated to reach 8.8% of total retail spending in 2018.

There are many benefits to using e-commerce for your business:

1. Sell to anyone and at anytime.
The accessibility of the Internet means that your brand has the potential to reach an audience on a global scale. It also means that consumers can buy from your brand whatever time suits them best, whether this is first thing in the morning or late at night.

2. Search for products instantly.
Products can be grouped into specific categeories and there is the option to filter these categories by customers who are looking for a particular product. This is ideal for those who do not have time to go physically shopping in traditional stores.

3. Online offers, discount codes.
Using an e-commerce store means that brands can advertise online offers which can be used when shopping online. Brands can also partner with companies such as Unidays or Groupon to promote their sites and offer discount codes to their customers.

Great British Barber is an example of one business that we have helped to create an e-commerce site. We integrated the plugin WooCommerce into their WordPress design in order to make selling easy. Customers can navigate around the product descriptions and add them to their basket with a simple click of a button.

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.