How to Improve Your Website’s Usability 

It is necessary for you to ensure you achieve the best in your site usability. Nowadays many people rely on sites to run their online businesses. It will be easy for you to reach out to your potential customers if you can develop a website which will make it easy for people to access your services. If you don’t know how to create a website with great usability, you can as well hire a professional for the services. Some of the ways you can improve the usability of your site include the following:

1. Reduce page loading times
People get put off if they can wait for several minutes before your website can load. There are different approaches you can use for you to improve your sites loading speed. For example, you can utilize tools which optimize images so that your site can load fast and make other people enjoy using it.

2. Maintain consistency across the site
It is necessary to use the same fonts and colors in all your pages so that users can know they are still on your site. Even if different pages will cover various topics, it is necessary for you to consider using the same colors and fonts so that people will know they are accessing information from your reliable source.

3. Make your 
site responsive
Majority of internet users rely on mobile devices. There are also others who rely on computers to access the internet. For you to serve the needs of all visitors of your site, you should ensure you make your site responsive so that it can easily fit on the screens of different devices. A responsive website tends to rank high in search engines which are necessary for the success of your online business.

4. Use a familiar navigation layout
If users of your site become frustrated, they can choose to leave your website and visit others with great user experience and navigations. You should always take into consideration the simplicity of your navigation when creating the site. Try to adopt navigations which are easy to apply so that you can quickly relay information to visitors of your site. Find out if you’re making these mistakes on your navigation.

5. Use sub headings and headings in your content
The use of headings and subheadings makes it easy for you to achieve great success in your site usability. It becomes easy for users of our website to quickly point out the information you are trying to rely on your site. The different headings help readers to access information when they are scanning through your site.

 

 

Web Design Trends for 2017

 

There are several web design trends which have taken the web design business to another level in 2017. Web developers keep coming up with new ideas which make the development of websites stand out. Changes in technology also play a great role when it comes to design trends. For example, many people nowadays utilize mobile devices for them to access the internet and other services offered online. Web developers are moving more towards websites which are highly responsive so that they can cater for the needs of both desktop users as well as mobile device users.

Some of the web design trends for 2017 include the following:

Brands 
prefer mobile design as their first approach
Search engines prefer mobile as their first design. More and more companies which rely on search engines to run their online operation have shifted to mobile as their first approach so that they can take advantage of the mobile platforms. It is convenient for people to access the internet via mobile devices hence brands are moving towards the mobile devices so that they can improve their outreach to customers.

Responsive web design is on the increase
Responsive web design has been around for some time, but in 2017 many web developers are implementing it because it is the best way to assure clients the best experience. For example, the web developers will like to reach out to as many people as possible online. The use of the responsive web design solves a lot of issues for them.

Watch for more on Responsive Design:

Increase in the utilization of rapid prototyping tools
Through utilization of prototyping tools, it is easy for developers to simulate a design on the small scale so that they can know any drawbacks it may have and correct them before full implementation. It is among the best ways to come up with the best websites which have been utilized in 2017.

Animations advance in web development
Sites are looking for the means to engage their readers more. The use of animation has increased in 2017 as a way of trying to increase the outreach of websites to their target audience. Web developers are going crazy in creating animations which explain concepts to internet users in a transparent manner.

Video becomes king
Videos are attention grabbing, and they relay information within a short period. The use of videos has increased in 2017 which makes it easy to capture the attention of website users online. It is a trend which has strengthened its popularity in 2017.

 

 

4 Quick Website Improvements You Can Do Now

Studies conducted recently by a credible institution revealed that many people nowadays prefer to buy products or seek services via an online platform. This means that you should not sit down and relax once you have built a solid website because users are demanding more. You need to make improvements to make your websites more efficient to better user experience. So the big question is; what quick improvements can you make on your website to create a more efficient and user-friendly experience? In this article, we are going to give you tips on quick website improvements you can do now.

1. Loading speed
If there is one thing that annoys visitors is clicking a website only to realize that it takes forever to load. No one likes to wait for long period and tolerance for delay is getting shorter and shorter every single day as technology advances. Even a small improvement in your website loading speed can make a huge difference when it comes to persuading the visitor to take action. Work closely with your server company and your website developer to improve your website pages loading times. This will help you retain and also attract many new customers to your website.

2. Attractive call-to-action
Call-to-actions are very important because they help the user to navigate easily on your website to get where they want. When coming up with a call to action, there are various things that you need to consider. First, it needs to be attractive and compelling. You also need to consider the color because different colors evoke different messages. Before choosing a color for your call to action, you need to carefully think about the message that you want to communicate to the user. The second significant thing to consider is the actual words to use for your call-to-action click buttons. The word should be able to entice your target audience to do something that you want them to do. This means that your words should be time sensitive, bold and action-oriented.

3. Fresh content
Just the way a store changes its display every month, you need to make sure that your website is frequently updated with fresh content that is relevant, informative and up to date. People always avoid websites that have the same old content every time they look. By updating your content frequently, your visitors will always look forward to visiting your website to see what new happenings you have posted.

4. Be consistent
Your main aim should be to give your audience a good user experience. This can only be achieved if your website is consistent. This means that everything within your site should match including the design elements, photo choices, illustration among many others. Drastic design changes from one page to another can lead to confusion, or overwhelm your user causing them to lose interest in your site altogether.

Tips for Writing Great Homepage Content

Are you wondering why you hardly get any views despite the fact that you have done your best to ensure that your homepage looks professional? Is your website experiencing high bounce rate? If yes then the reason lies in the content that you have posted on your site. The first impression is critical, and that is why it is crucial to ensure that your homepage not only looks professional but also contain quality information that the visitor is looking for. In this article, we are going to give you tips on how to write a good copy of your homepage.

1. Know your audience
The mistake that many people make when writing content for their homepage is not having the proper understanding of their target audience. The only way to capture the imagination of your readers is by knowing them well. You must conduct your own research to know your target audience that you want to address. Your audience needs to shake their heads because you are addressing something that they are relating with. Whenever you are writing copy for your homepage, put yourself in the shoes of your ideal readers then write something that is relevant, informative, persuasive and charming.

2. Use familiar words
Using familiar words is a significant factor that many website owners don’t consider when writing content for their homepage. Most people usually strive to sound as professional as possible to impress their audience. However, that strategy often fails. That is because many web users are not interested in complicated words; instead, they are more interested to see simple words that are familiar. Don’t try to sound so fancy, scientific or unique when writing content for your homepage, instead use simple words that your audience is familiar with. Use care words that your target audience can understand and relate with.

3. Put relevant information first
Writing homepage content is different from writing an essay. An article usually starts with a brief description of what you are planning to discuss, the main body, and then a conclusion. Most important points should be written in conclusion. Web pages, on the other hand, do the opposite. Most crucial information that you want to put across should always come first. The most important thing that most visitors are usually interested to know when they visit your website is what you offer. Once they know exactly what you do, they might then want to learn more about the type of products or services that you offer. Visitors want to know what you do and what you will do for them. Make sure that you put relevant information first when writing content for your homepage.

Web Design Principles All Designers Should Know

If you have ever, at any point in your life, searched in google, “web design principles,” then you’re most likely somewhat familiar with this type of thinking: “Wow! Designing websites are so easy nowadays! We have high-tech browsers, incredibly fast internet speeds, and much more. Now we don’t have to deal with the limitations that designers in the past had to struggle with.”

This could be true from the perspective of a person who is already quite at ease with the basics of web design. However, this is not absolute. Now, if terms such as “Super Google Web Fonts” and “A responsive grid system designed by CSS” seem foreign to your brain, then there is still very much to learn. Here’s a couple basic web-design principles that all designers should probably know.

The ultrabasic grid systems 
Since forever, in the times of the first century, it can be seen that the ancient codex used a grid system strikingly similar to those of ours today. In fact, the grid system determines how we read. Of course, hundreds upon hundreds of different types of grid systems have been invented, re-invented, altered, and much more. The fact is, they all stay the same, pretty much. So, try thinking of it like this: the way images and text are positioned in books, magazines, and newspapers have all been almost directly transferred to the outlays of the internet. Sometimes, people get the not-so-bright idea that you can be ‘creative’ and avoid using a grid of this type. Unfortunately, those happen to be the websites that are never even read.

Fortunately for us, there are thousands of pre-made systems of grids that we can use and borrow for our benefit. They are all responsive, and of course, easily compatible with the most popular languages of coding.

Visuals
The visual hierarchy. Yes, people have an order to their reading. It is a highly known fact that in almost all cultures, people tend to prefer reading left to right. Furthermore, it is also a known fact that within these methods, there is a pretty complex set of rules that people sub-consciously use when reading. This is very true, especially on the internet, when people are more-so scanning pages, as opposed to reading them thoroughly. Believe me; people want to be able to scan through chunks of text easily and quickly. This way they can access the important bits of information easier and skip the stuff they don’t care about all that very much.

Please use fonts that are “web-safe.” Back in the olden times, a very sparse selection of fonts was allowed on the web. Today, the selection is increasing at a faster rate. If you tried to use a font that just wasn’t available, the visitor on the web-site would just end up seeing a bunch of random meaningless symbols that didn’t add up to anything at all. It is highly advisable that you check online first to make sure that the font you want to use is completely safe online and will work with the look of your website.

 

Tips for A Powerful Call-to-Action

A call to action provides several things, such as a good direction for all of your users, a way of measuring the amount of success on your site, and of course, a strong focus on your site. So, how does one go about creating an effective call to action?

Here are a variety of methods that can help you achieve this:

1. You should probably focus on the type of value your specific call to action provides for your users. Before a visitor feels willing to participate in a call to action, they should have to quickly recognize the importance of the topic. Now, this is why Infomercials are so helpful. Before Infomercials attempt to make people respond immediately, they identify the specific problem. Then, they offer a solution to that problem. You must also explain the possible benefits of responding to the call to action. What will the visitor get out of it? What are the visitor’s benefits? What are they gaining from it?

2. Now it is time to start addressing the users specific questions that they may have about the “call to action” that you are presenting. What you must understand is that completing a “call to action” is typically a notion of trust from the behalf of the visitor. Why? They are showing that they trust you because they are giving you personal information — and money, of course. You are receiving their payment in this process. However, after they’ve completed the call to action, they will have plenty of questions to ask you. They will have concerns, if you will — that should be properly answered before they go on any further, and make commitments to your service.

3. You should definitely limit the amount of particular “calls to actions” on your website. You want a number to abide by. Why? It is essential to focus the actions you will be making. If you use too many of these calls to actions, you’ll find that the customer is easily overwhelmed. That is not something you want. There are plenty of studies that show that if the buyer sees too many available options, they may just end up not buying anything at all. So, when you limit a number of options that the customer will have to make, we can subsidize the amount of effort the customer must mentally make. It is far safer to guide the customer, step by step. Now, this type of efficiency can apply to almost everything on your website!

4. It is highly advisable that you consider the way you are physically positioning your “call to action.” This is a pretty important leading factor. It is recommended that you place your “call to action” somewhere high on the page, in plain sight of the user, preferably near the central area, or column. However, you should be very careful. There are many things that people do unknowingly that can take the focus away from the “call to action,” like adding in human faces close by, among other things. A face can strongly take away focus from the “call to action.” Check out some great ideas here!

5. You should have a call to action on every page! Don’t just place them on your homepage. Try placing them everywhere. At least, every page on your website should contain a few call to actions!

Looking for more? Check out this video!

3 Ways to Make Your Website Stand Out

Competing to get the attention of the customer is growing fast as many businesses take advantage of huge market offered on the online platform. With so much competition online, many businesses are striving to look for ways to make their website to stand out from others. Any website owner will tell you that creating a successful website on the internet is not easy as it used to be because of increased competition. It is no longer enough to only just provide the list of services or product that you sell and about us section in your site. You need to do more. If you are wondering what you need to do to make your website stand out, then today you are in the right place because, in this article, we are going to give you three ways to make your website stand out.

1. Full mobile functionality
Nowadays, more and more people are using their mobile devices to access the internet to look for services or product that they desire. This means that if your website is not mobile friendly, then you will lose a lot of money because customers cannot be able to access your website. Your target audience should be able to get the product or services that you are offering from the comfort of their own home when using their mobile. Full mobile functionality is about making sure that people can easily navigate and take action when using their mobile phones.

2. SEO friendly
While some may say that this concept is relatively old, there is no doubt that search engine optimization is still a very important marketing tool that can make your website to stand out from others. Make sure that you have explored all possible keywords that your audience will use to search for the services or products that you are selling. Search engine optimization not only helps you to rank high major search engines, but it also helps to improve user experience

3. Compelling content and easy layout
When creating a website, it is very important to always keep the user in mind. Put yourself in the customer shoes then ask yourself what you should do to make the website stand out. When laying out various web pages, it is essential to ensure that it follows layout that is easy to read. It is also imperative to ensure that your website is full of content that is of high quality and well researched. The content that you post on your website should grab the attention of your users from the start to the end.

What Color Palette Should You Pick For Your Brand

Do you know color only can make your website distinct? Yes, this is true. The color of your site conveys the overall feel and mood of the site. It also plays a significant role in helping the internet users recognize your brand quickly and can, in turn, lead to increased sales. So choosing the right color combination for your site is quite important. However, it may not be accessible to many people who are new to web designing. You can be confused about what colors to choose, and this is normal. In this article, I will take you through some tips to help you choose the right color scheme of your site and make it as appealing as possible to your prospects and customers.

1. Choose a natural palette of colors
Choosing natural colors rather than their artificial counterparts is a good idea for any site. You should combine them in such a way that they bring about the emotional response you would like from your customers. Avoid using unnatural colors like bright red or green as they can cause eye fatigue and thus chase away your site’s visitors.

2. You should create a strong contrast between the page’s text and its background
The best and the most used combination is black text on white background. However, there other good color combinations you can use as well. Besides white color for your background, you can use dark blue, black and gray. But this situation changes when you want to promote a product. In this case, it’s good to use desaturated colors.

3. Choose 3 different colors and use them consistently throughout your site
To create a good experience for your site’s visitors, using chromatic harmony is highly advised. You can also select 4 to 5 colors, but if they exceed that, they will create inconsistency on the site and also be an eye sore to your site’s visitors. This can make them avoid some parts of your site.

4. Consider people with visual disabilities
While designing your site, you should understand that you will have different kinds of people visiting your site. The response to colors will depend on factors like age, gender, and cultural background.
The elderly like sites with restrained and sober colors while youngsters will find bright and vivid colors more pleasing. Men also tend to prefer orange and blue to yellow and red while women yellow to orange and red to blue. Don’t assume all women like pink color and thus apply it to your women products website.

These are some tips to help you choose a good color combination of your site. Most importantly, keep it simple. Don’t use many colors thinking that they will please your visitors. Understand your target customers and choose their favorite colors.

Here are some more tips and theory behind choosing colors:

Steps to Planning Your First Website

While organisations progress further using the newest web technologies and dynamic content, many people remain in the dark about how best to plan their very first website. To take an HTML course as the first step would be a mistake. The best way to plan a website is using a paper and pen, somewhere nice like the beach or in a hammock. This article is designed to step you through the planning phase and introduce you to the additional steps leading up to publishing your website. You will need paper, pen, some creativity, and a common sense approach to what you are trying to accomplish by having a website.

NOTE: If your website is to be used for a business purpose, we must assume that you have done your research and competitively positioned yourself within a specific marketplace. A quick search on the internet will reveal many articles which discuss this in greater depth.

Step 1: Purpose There is nothing more important than understanding the purpose of your website. Without purpose, you will struggle in the following steps, and the final outcome will be less than satisfactory to be competitive online. Take some time to consider the following questions, documenting your responses so that you may refine these later.

  • In ten words or less, what is your sole purpose for publishing a website?
  • List the key products or services that your website going to provide.
  • Who is your audience? Who do you hope will visit your website?

Step 2: Navigation This is another time when people jump into HTML and start coding. Don’t be unwise, there is more planning to do!

A website contains a number of web pages. Each web page has a purpose for existing. The most important web page is your home page, located at the site root where most people will enter.

On paper, document a list of high-level web pages that your site will contain (high-level pages are usually the ones that have links on the home page). Leave a couple of lines between each page title, and when you are happy with your list, revisit each item and describe its purpose in one or two sentences. Include your home page as the first item. Additional information about its role is included later in this article.

An example part-list is shown below, for a business which seeks to sell its products online (a site of this kind would contain dynamic content):

Home page

  • Our Products. The key entry point for the full product catalogue, with product categories and individual product pages.
  • Shopping Cart. Allows a customer to review the items they have chosen, and make an online payment.
  • Using This Site. Tips and hints about how to use the site easily.
  • Contact Us. Simple, clear instructions for the customer to contact the business.

You are not restricted to one page for each item listed above. The “Our Products” item, for example, represents a group of pages which make up the product catalogue. Design your navigation so that a customer can get anywhere on your website in 3 clicks or less (a 2 click maximum would be even better).

Finally, ensure that a customer can navigate out of a section of your site easily. This may be achieved through a consistent navigation bar on the left or top of the screen.

Step 3: Content Take a fresh sheet of paper for each page (or group of pages) that you have listed. Write the page title at the top of the page, and note its purpose (from Step 2) below the title. Begin to outline the content of the page in greater depth. For a page entitled “Using This Site”, you should document all the information you think the customer will need when viewing this page. Fill the sheet with notes and thoughts on each page – it will be a great reference for you when developing your website later. You can add more detail later, but the important thing is that you have considered the site structure at this lower level.

Step 4: Design In many ways, the design of your website is as important as the content, although it must not be given absolute priority. Review the purpose of your website. Will the design of your website reflect a focus on visual or informational/textual content? An artist’s website is likely to be more visual, whilst a library website will be designed around the information that it contains. If your website is designed to structure and present a lot of information, then your design will need to be information-oriented.

Before you make more decisions regarding the design of your website, consider the following:

Branding: Every organisation needs some kind of branding. With clear branding, your customer is more likely to remember what you offer and return at a later time (this is known as brand recognition). On a website, your branding can be reinforced through a logo, an image, a slogan, a domain name (e.g. [http://www.gamesthief.com]), or a colour scheme.

Consistency: It is critical that the design you choose is consistent throughout your site. It is unhelpful to see navigation buttons, logos or links jumping to different parts of the screen as you navigate between web pages. Variety can be added to your design while maintaining a set of overarching design principles. For example, on a university website, one faculty may distinguish itself from another through subtle changes to the global template. This may be achieved through the use of colour or by adjusting in some way to make it reflect the faculty to which you have navigated. These kinds of changes must be implemented at the top (we don’t want each faculty doing their own thing).

Set the mood: The overall mood of your site will be defined by its purpose, and should be re-inforced through each visual element. For example, a community site for youth is likely to choose vibrant, contemporary colours and fonts, while a conservation website may apply a nature-oriented mood through imagery and colour.

Accessibility: All websites should be made accessible to all, but a site tailored for the visually impaired is likely to apply a high contrast colour scheme and large text to assist its audience. Consider the special needs your audience may have.

Take some time to work through the following website design elements. Consider how each item may contribute to the site’s purpose outlined in Step 1.

  • Do you require a more visual or information oriented website?
  • How will you brand your site, using a logo, an image, a slogan, a colour scheme etc?
  • What kind of mood are you trying to create?
  • Is your purpose clear?

Do your design elements complement or detract from your overall offering? For an information-oriented site, does the design make it hard for your audience to get the information they need quickly? For a more visual site, is there too much information?

Design your website on paper first, and continue to review this section until you are satisfied with the outcome.

Step 5: The Home Page The home page is the most important part of your entire website. It deserves special attention in both content and design. When a potential customer visits your site for the first time, they may take less than 3 seconds to decide if your website is worthy of their time. It is that part of the website that you first see (without scrolling) that will grab or lose the attention of a potential customer.

For this reason, your home page must be treated as prime real estate. It goes without saying you’ll need to focus your efforts on SEO on your homepage, where all the power flows into your inner pages. For help with that, and you will need it, you’ll have to hire an SEO Company like Oxbow SEO. Don’t hire anyone trying to sell you $99 a month “rank on first page of the Google” kind of package. Good SEO is not cheap, and cheap SEO cost more in the long run, as you could permanently destroy your site’s credibility.

Here are some quick tips for planning the content of your home page.

  • The navigation of the site must be presented clearly, with obvious labels which cannot create any confusion for the viewer.
  • The branding of your business, product or service should be clear and informative (a picture tells a thousand words, so use them wisely).
  • Your home page needs to be visually pleasing.
  • This page must not be slow to load (heavy-laden with large images etc).

Generally speaking, when a page is loading, your eyes flick from left to right along the top of screen, then down, left and up in a quick circular motion. Consider this when placing the information on your home page.