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Archive for the ‘What is a Website’ Category

What makes a great website?

Thursday, November 7th, 2013

Good web design is a careful balance between technology and aesthetics.  When you visit an eye catching website, what is it that makes it stand out?  Is it the visuals?  Is it the content? Or, the easy navigation?

The following are some important factors to take into consideration when designing or purchasing a website.

Your online image should reflect your offline identity. Ultimately, you want your website to connect the user with the information they are searching for. You want to do this by peaking and keeping their interest.  This is where your company should craft a mission statement and business goals and objectives.  A pretty site does nothing without strategy.  A well designed website should fulfill the business objective, whether it’s to inform or sell.

Your target audience’s interests should be the overarching consideration in determining the style of your site.  Consider Orbitz.com or Expedia.com websites. Their layout and styling focus on the search tool rather than adding flashy elements.Web-Design-Infographic_200x765

Understanding the human thought process is important in designing an idyllic experience on the web.

–    Clean Visual Design: Keep is simple. You’ve heard it over and over. The visual effects play an important role in the communication of content, but only as long as it serves the website’s primary purpose. The aesthetics should support the navigation and interaction functions.  CSS transitions can help us to make website interactions more human.

–    Ease of Use: Start out with a structure that appeals to and works with your audience first. The last thing you want is for visitors to become flummoxed by a confusing website. Simply, make sure people can effortlessly find the information they’re looking for. This is where text structure, search placement and other site elements come into play. If your viewers have to go searching, then your navigation is too complex. Knowing how users move around a web site is useful in keeping their interest and helping them easily find what they’re looking for. Increasing the usage of the successful callouts and eliminating the ineffective ones will increase conversions.

–    Functionality: Whether it’s to inform, entertain or serve as an e-commerce platform, a good website has to serve its purpose. It can be the most strikingly beautiful site you’ve seen in years, but if you can’t find the information quickly, you’re going to leave. Your site on a mobile device should anticipate their need and address it with design and navigation that allows them to easily find whatever it is they need. Make the site intuitive.

–    Speed: About 30% of consumers will start to abandon a website after 5 seconds of loading time.  There are many factors to consider in making a site load faster. Simplify design elements can not only increase the speed, but can be popular aesthetically. It won’t matter how pretty your site is if nobody waits around long enough to read it.

–    SEO:  A gorgeous website doesn’t do much good if no one can find it!  Content is king! This can be augmented through blog posts, static pages, eBooks, YouTube videos and more. Keywords, frequency and relevance are crucial in your SEO efforts. Establish an ongoing content marketing campaign where relevant and timely content is placed on your website, regularly. Google will reward websites with fresh, relevant content.

With the massive increase in mobile usage, responsive web design provides an optimal viewing experience across all devices.  Creating a website version for each resolution and new device would be impractical, given the endless number of resolutions and devices. New devices with new screen sizes are being developed every day, so web design should automatically adjust.  Responsive design is just that, responsive. It’s the concept that design and development should respond to the user’s behavior and environment based on screen size, platform and orientation.

Believe it or not, there is a science to how we view the web. Companies like Google, Barnes & Noble and eBay are all integrating neuroscience discoveries into their web design.  Our eyes will be drawn to certain common elements of web design.

EyeQuant uses algorithms based on eyetracking studies and research to evaluate web sites, claiming they can predict where a viewer’s attention will go when they load a web site. Realeyes uses computer vision to read people’s faces and to measure how they feel.

The significance of a good web design in the modern day is monumental. Be sure you have an expert/s working with your business’ best interest in mind.

7 Essentials to Turn Your Website On

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

7 Essentials to Turn Your Website On

Congratulations! Your business finally has a website. After months of development, your site is online and ready to bring quality leads and new conversions to your business.

Or is it?

There’s a difference between website development and website marketing. Your site might be online but is it engaging and connecting with your audience? Is it being found by search engines and potential customers? Is your site serving a purpose?

In other words, is your website turned on?

Aside from showing off your corporate logo, your website needs to convert. When your website is turned on, it’s a powerful marketing tool that drives results. These seven essentials can help turn a frigid website into an irresistible marketing machine.

Be Engaging

Create and maintain a presence on the Web that accurately represents your brand and resonates with your target audience. The best way to engage your audience is to find your voice and use it well. Here are a couple of ways to create an engaging experience on your website:

  • Update Your Content: Well-written blog posts and informative articles can educate your audience and position your business as the go-to resource in your industry. Fresh content not only ensures your audience is engaged but can help boost your search engine ranking, too.
  • Analyze the Competition: Have you looked at the competition’s digital marketing approach? Learn from your competitors’ marketing hits and misses. Analyze their efforts to make sure you’re keeping up with the industry and constantly innovating.
  • Analyze, Measure and Strategize: Every marketing strategy needs to be based on analysis and measured for results. Your site’s analytics not only provide a baseline reading of its performance but can also show where there is room for improvement and help you measure a campaign’s results.

Be Found

Develop and implement interactive marketing plans that leverage a combination of analysis, analytics, SEO, PPC and targeted local search. If you give search engines the right data, they’ll find your site and index it properly. Here are a few ways to increase your site’s chances of being found:

  • Implement SEO: Look at your analytics, the marketplace and the competition to develop a set of keywords. While working toward organic SEO, you might consider running a pay-per-click campaign for keywords you aren’t ranking for. At Graphtek, we can also use tools such as a grader to uncover the best keywords for your campaign.
  • Use a Grader: Is your call to action the first thing your readers are drawn to? Are small code errors hurting your search engine ranking? Our graphics analyzer and grader can analyze your site and ensure your site is optimized for both your readers and search engines.

Be Connected

Build ongoing relationships by providing “must read” content that seamlessly integrates with your website blog and social media. Regular communication with your clients is the key to successful online marketing. Here are two ways to connect with your customers through your site:

  • Integrate Social Media: It’s a smart idea to link your social media accounts to your website. The trick, though, is to keep readers on your site, not on Facebook or Twitter. Rather than linking to third-party websites, embed your Facebook stream or Twitter feed directly onto your site so your audience stays with you.
  • Make an offer: What action do you want your potential customers to take and what result do you want to get? Put it on your website with a strong offer. One great strategy is to offer something of value, like a free white paper or report, in exchange for an email address or newsletter opt-in. Your offer should always be something that is given in exchange for customer information.

Is your website turned on yet? If you need some help, Graphtek has the magic touch. Learn how we can help turn your website on by contacting us today!

What is a Web Site – Part I (Discovery)

Friday, July 11th, 2008

Designing a website from start to finish can seem like a monumental task.  Knowing the process, having the technical skills and executing each phase effectively is key in the creation of a website.  This is the first in a series of posts to teach you the process Graphtek uses to design a website from beginning to end. First you will learn about the Discovery Phase, followed by the importance of Design. Then you will discover how Development works and finish with the Deployment Phase.

The Discovery Phase is arguably the most important phase of the process. During discovery it is not only the web developer who finds out what the website is going to do, but more often than not (more…)