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 🙂 .

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!

Getting Online Visibility for your Dental Practice

The Internet, as one of the most powerful mediums, has changed our lives – both personally and professionally. We instinctively turn to Google for any questions we have, whether it is a ‘How to..?’  question, ‘What is Bitcoin?’ or a question related to finding the closest dental practice.

Therefore, it is clear that just having a website is not enough if you want your dental practice to grow. In this article, I will list some important steps for building an impressive online reputation for your dental practice.

Website

As mentioned earlier, your website is a primary source of information for your potential customers. When building a website for your practice, you need to focus on branding, colour scheme and call to action buttons. Also, do not forget to make it mobile-friendly! When building a website for our client Ryton Dental, we chose blue as a dominant colour because it is a relaxing colour, often associated with trust and reliability. These are the primary emotions we wanted to welcome Ryton Dental’s visitors with. We carefully planned the arrangement of call to action buttons and made a perfect mixture of primary and secondary colours to make them visible. After your website is built, keeping it up to date is crucial for your online presence.

 

 

Local Business Listings

Now that you have a website that provokes the right emotions in your visitors, it is important to focus on local marketing. Get listed on online business listing directories, since this is one of the most effective ways to boost your business performance on local search.

Social Media

Set up your social media accounts and link them to your website. Social media like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram help you connect to and build relationships with your patients as they act as great social proof for your dental practice. Don’t forget to be active on social media and post regularly. Share news, publish relevant educational content and simply engage your social media followers.

SEO Optimization

Local Business Listings and Social Media efforts help your website SEO and to successfully complete these SEO efforts, make sure you work on onsite SEO as well. Your website pages, titles, tags, content and overall structure need to be optimized for your target keywords. Use Google Analytics for keyword research and utilize them efficiently through your website pages.

Email marketing 

Email marketing helps you mostly with the existing patients, which is as important is building relationships with the new ones. Use email marketing to remind your patients on their next check-ups or educate them on new medical services, oral health, hygiene techniques and the like. Don’t let them forget you!

Summary

Working together with the Ryton Dental team has been a great experience for us. This was more than just building a website. Instead, we were building an online presence strategy for their business which was a great opportunity for us to utilize our extensive knowledge in web design and digital marketing.

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.

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.

How to use testimonials to add value to your business or brand

Since the advent of social media, the giving and receiving of testimonials for your business or brand have changed somewhat. Gaining feedback from people is now much more transparent and easier than ever before.

What hasn’t changed is the importance of testimonials for your business. Testimonials prove to your customers (and potential clients!) that you can be trusted to provide a great service, or that your product meets the expectations set by your marketing.

Consider the last time you purchased a gadget or piece of clothing, or researched the next film you wanted to watch. Where did that process start? Was it when you clicked ‘Buy Now’? Or was it when you considered which product to go with. If you’re like most other consumers, it probably started with customer reviews. Customer reviews of products are entirely candid: they’re not publishing by the company or fluffed with buzzwords, some are not even spelt correctly. Yet, that rawness has a great deal of value to your business in persuading or educating others about your product or service.

Internet-only superstore Amazon use customer reviews in their marketplace as a metric for comparison between products. Each customer review is given a rating depending on how other users agree or disagree, meaning that the best, most-trusted reviews rise to the top.

Commercial Builders Newcastle

J3 Building Solutions, the premium construction companies Newcastle spread customer testimonials throughout their website alongside the descriptions and photos of what they do and how their service differs from the rest. The testimonials serve to reinforce the truth behind their words on the website.

Sleeky Web Design & Print, a leading provider of web design north east design superb websites for their clients. They use testimonials on their website to tell a story: the story of how their work has impacted the lives of their clients and how their work has made doing business easier for their customers.

Web and Graphic designer Kerri Mark Sharp includes his client testimonials within his portfolio. This allows his work examples to almost ‘speak for themselves’, as readers of the site can see his work, alongside the comments of the happy recipient.

How do you use testimonials within your business? do you print them on your stationery or include them in your website? do you encourage users on social media to leave their feedback for others to see? Let us know in the comments below!

Do you have a success story from using testimonials on your website? if so, we would love to hear from you. Please leave a comment below about your website and we will get back to you.

Auto-Scrolling Image Carousels

Chances are at least 50% of the websites you’ve visited today have featured a scrolling/rotating image slider carousel taking up most of the homepage. The idea is to give a snapshot of a companies offering – products, services, special offers, latest news – but what is the reality? Are carousels a useful tool or a waste of valuable onscreen real estate?

advanceAdvance Flow Pack’s carousel allows users to scroll through their range of wrapping machines at their own pace.

A lot of the time, people will see something on a website and be impressed by the movement or graphics, thus the idea is stuck in their heads and they insist on having a similar feature on their own website. This is not a decision based on effectiveness, rather it’s a shallow way of planning a website.

Various organisations and companies have tested people’s reactions to image carousels and the feedback is not positive – the overall results show that auto scrolling carousels are terrible for business. Often users will look straight past them, as they look like banner adverts, and if they do notice them they become frustrated at the information changing before they’ve had a chance to find what they were looking for.

j3

This banner works as the call to action remains static whilst allowing high quality photos of previous projects of this Newcastle Builders to rotate in the background

So what’s the solution? If a client asks for a banner, you can’t just refuse. Here are the options:

  • Put control in the hands of the user – add navigation options so they can scroll through at their own pace. You get the impact of the large image without the frustration of missing it.
  • Use a static banner to communicate your main point – ideally the banner space should provide users with the ability to find what they’re looking for immediately, make the most of their one second attention span.
  • Don’t overstyle the banners – the more it stands out from the rest of the page, the more it looks like an external advertisment, so keep it relatively simple.
  • Ditch the whole concept of banners and simply start the actual web content at the top of the page.

monarch

This banner is static, and smaller than usual – the user instantly knows their looking at a range of flood protection products.