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6 Simple Tips for a Great Small Business Website

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Launching a new website for your small business is exciting. You’re marketing your start-up to the online world to spread word of your offerings and want to ensure the first impression you give is no less than great. That means, having a professional web design that is clean, modern looking and easy to navigate. Your web visitors want to find the information they’re looking for quickly and without difficulty. To make certain your small business website is a success, be sure to follow these simple steps:

Be Mobile

First and foremost, having a mobile friendly web design is the first step in creating a successful website for your small business. You want a responsive design that scales to size in either portrait or landscape viewing mode, regardless of whether it is viewed on a desktop, tablet or smartphone. The fact is, people are searching on the go daily, using different devices to access info as needed. When web visitors have to pinch and swipe and perform all kinds of finger tricks and squint in an effort to find your business phone number, it’s annoying and irritating. Prevent your web visitors from leaving your site immediately by having a responsive web design.

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Your Business Facebook Page: Do’s and Don’ts

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With nearly 1.79 billion active users, the Facebook community doesn’t appear to be getting any smaller. The amount of traffic the site generates alone, ends up being reason enough to create a Facebook page for your business. Not only do you get out in front of a greater audience, you can do so for free.

We know, we know – but what of Facebook Ads? Advertising on the giant social network is definitely a worthy investment for those operating in a business to consumer market. With targeting features, a lower cost-per-click average than Google AdWords and the ability to include eye-catching graphics, Facebook advertising is definitely something every small business owner should consider.

But that’s not what we’re here to talk about today. Today we’re focusing on the basics of what your Facebook Business page should and should not do.

Bringing it back to basics we’ve listed below 5 Do’s and 5 Don’ts for your businesses’ FB page.

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How Typography Affects Your Web Design and Conversions

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Typography isn’t typically what business owners think about when having a website designed. Generally, they’re thinking about what key lines of business they want to highlight, what words will be used to describe product offerings, what graphics will be paired alongside descriptions to properly reflect the brand and image they want to project online.

But, this commonly overlooked element of your website’s design is crucial when it comes to retaining your web visitor’s attention and comprehension. Typography plays a huge role in the overall feel and personality of your brand, your message and how all of this is received when web visitors view your web design.

So, what is typography?

Typography isn’t simply the words on the page but rather the way the words are presented. It goes beyond font choice even and involves typeface choice, line length, leading, kerning, tracking – all of which probably sounds like mumbo jumbo to you but to your web designer, matters immensely.

Let me explain:

Typeface: Typeface and fonts are different. A typeface refers to a group of letters, numbers and characters that share the same design or style. For example, Arial and Garamond are common typefaces. Think of typefaces as font families.

Font: Now a font, is a specific style of typeface with a specified width, size and weight. As an example, Arial is a typeface, whereas Arial 10pt bold is a font. Note the latter’s specifications.

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How Mobile Web Design is Changing the Way We Shop

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It’s easy to spend money these days – far too easy. You can just tap your debit or visa card, tap your phone, tap a mouse and presto you’ve paid for an item. Granted, it wasn’t always this way. To make things easier for consumers, tech companies armed with brilliant UX designers honed in on removing barriers during the purchasing process to well, make it easier for us to shop.

Facebook just last week introduced “Marketplace,” an addition to its iPhone and Android app that facilitates buying and selling within your local community – a kind of Craigslist/Kijiji built right into Facebook. Interestingly, Marketplace’s debut has been made on the mobile version of the app, rather then on desktop. Although, it is set to release on desktop in the next few months – Marketplace appears to be responding to the fact, that shopping on your phone is the new norm. 

Read more: How Mobile Web Design is Changing the Way We Shop

What Makes Things Go Viral?

Jonah Berger, a marketing professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School asked the very same question – why do some things catch on and go viral, while others are left in the shadows? In his pursuit to answer the question, he penned the must-read marketing book, “Contagious: Why Things Catch On?

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The book explains the science of social transmission, why people share ideas, stories, their recommendations and opinions of brands and products, with their own personal networks. What incites people to talk about something, such that word of mouth spreads the message much farther and wider than a simple ad.

By taking a look at brands, ideas, content and products that have successfully gone viral, Berger identifies six qualities shared by these contagious campaigns.  Using the acronym STEPPS – he explains how Social currency, Triggers, Emotion, Publicity, Practical value and Stories combine to create infectious material that people just have to talk about.

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Set Up Your Email Marketing for Success

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Email marketing is not dead. Were it not an effective strategy, our inboxes wouldn’t be inundated daily with emails from the various businesses we have agreed to receive emails from. We want to stay in the know about deals, be the first to hear of sales, or learn of new and interesting industry trends and niche topics. Yet, despite our desire to be the first to know, we also get easily annoyed when our inboxes are full of crap.

So, how do you as a small business owner set up your email marketing for success rather than having your mail chucked into the trash folder? Well, first off – you want to provide valuable knowledge and make your message count by standing out from the rest. It is possible.

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Google to Penalize Mobile Websites with Intrusive Popups

I hate popups. I’m not going to lie. When a stellar headline grabs my attention and I click through to read the article only to be interrupted by a popup requesting my email or trying to bait me to download an app, it makes my blood boil. I have zero patience for those obtrusive windows that block the content I clicked through to see. Especially when I’m viewing web pages on my mobile device and the exit “x” is tinier than a grain of sand.

My own ranting aside, apparently Google agrees with me too! Fortunately, the search engine giant is taking steps to improve the mobile experience for all of us by penalizing mobile websites that employ popups or “interstitials” that prevent users from easily accessing content.

Google disclosed on their Webmaster Central Blog that starting January 10, 2017, “pages where content is not easily accessible to a user on their transition from their mobile search results may not rank as highly.” Bam! It’s a factor in their algorithm now. That means, mobile websites using intrusive popups will now rank lower in mobile search results. Thanks Google!  

Read more: Google to Penalize Mobile Websites with Intrusive Popups

Tell-tale Signs It’s Time for A Website Redesign

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You don’t want your website to be like a mouldy piece of food forgotten about in a Tupperware container at the back of your fridge. Gross, we know. But that’s the point. Your website is the virtual face of your business and it ought to reflect what it is you do. It should temptingly feed your customers the knowledge they’re looking for and cause them to follow through on your calls to action. You want them to stay, not go away because they’re off put by a bad user experience or an outdated look.  

With search engine algorithms updating to factor in things like web design and usability in their rankings, it matters now more than ever that your website is up-to-date and not just rotting away. You want to reach your customers for leads, conversions, clicks and sales and to do this, you’ll want to make sure that the web experience they’re getting is up to speed with the times. Identifying whether or not your site is in need of a total overhaul or just updates can be tricky, but there are a few tell-tale signs to point you in the right direction. Here are five signs indicating it’s time for a website redesign:

You can’t update your own website’s content easily

If it takes an IT person or a phone call to your web developer to get a comma removed or wording edited on your current website, then it’s time for a website redesign. Content Management Systems (CMS) have come a long way and empower even non-techies with the ability to add, edit and maintain content on their own website. Not having a user-friendly website that lets you access the backend of your site comfortably is a key indicator that you need an architectural overhaul.

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5 Ways to Improve Your Website Today

how-to-improve-your-websiteYour website acts as your around the clock salesperson. It vouches for you in the wee hours of the morning and into the late hours of night and you don’t even have to pay it overtime! So long as you have a solid web design and stellar copy to sell your pitch, it ought to be showing off your awesomeness and bringing in leads. But what if this isn’t the case?

Maybe, just maybe there’s some key things that are missing or got overlooked. For example, do your web pages include a clear call to action? Do you possess social proof of your successes to satiate those potential customers that need to hear from others to be convinced? Are you capturing your web visitor’s information so you can follow up later?

Without these vital things in place, you miss the opportunity to connect with your potential customers in a meaningful way that could have been a successful transaction. Let’s fix that! Below are five things you want to think about when assessing your website and correspondingly, five fixes to make what’s missing, right.

Where’s Your Call to Action?

Your call to action directs your web audience on what to do next. What does that mean? It means you need to ask for what you want. Do you want your web visitors to contact you for a free quote or for more information? If the answer is yes, then there should be a button on your website that succinctly asks for this. Do you want your web visitors to sign up for your newsletter? If so, do you have a capture form to gain this information? Do you want your audience to come to your location? Then tell them so!

Without a clear direction to take, your visitors won’t know what to do next and that’s why you need to guide them. We’ve written about creating click worthy calls to action here.

Read more: 5 Ways to Improve Your Website Today

The Best Web Design Blogs On the Net in 2016

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As a web design and development firm, we spend a lot of time on the web. We realize that the net can be a zoo to navigate with content being produced at a staggering rate every second of everyday. Not to mention, every ad, app and social media network also competing to steal our attention.

Deciphering which blogs are must-follows and which can be kicked to the curb can get taxing on one’s patience and one’s eyes when sorting through the riff-raff. But like we said, fortunately for you - our days are spent on the web and thus, we’ve put together a list of the best web design blogs to follow on the net. Whether you’re looking for web design inspiration, free fonts, ideas or CSS tutorials here’s a list of the best web design blogs we’ve found during our online travels:

Smashing Magazine 

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As a blog devoted to professional web designers and developers, Smashing Magazine contains a wealth of resources and information for web design rookies and veterans alike. The site is easy to navigate with articles and tutorials categorized under the main headings of Coding, Design, Mobile, Graphics and UX Design. These top level categories are then broken into subsections like CSS, HTML, and JavaScript for ‘coding’ and User Experience, UI Design and E-Commerce for ‘UX design’. The articles are thorough and provide insight on the latest trends and research conducted in the field of web design.

Read more: The Best Web Design Blogs On the Net in 2016