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The Don’ts of Web Design

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When an average person thinks of websites, they equate it sales immediately. They think a flashy logo or a huge banner will do the trick. A good web designer will tell you that will not bring in sales. There are website elements you need to need to be aware of.

To be able to effectively attract customers, you should not include these features in your website:

  • Do NOT place boxes everywhere.

    Imagine a website with a home screen that filled with boxes of different sizes. In those boxes are different images. Surely, that’s one disorganized page and it will give its readers a headache. There should be a certain structure to follow. Perhaps, you can group similar items in one page. Do not overcrowded a page and give the images some space to breathe.

  • Do NOT put too many irrelevant ads.

    Yes, you need some money to run a website, but if your website contains 70% ads and 30% content, you are heading the wrong direction. Making advertisements a priority is a terrible idea. No one would want to visit a website that has more ads than content. What makes people come back to a website is CONTENT. Your website visitors will be pleased if you teach them, provide guides, and upload tutorials.

  • Do NOT use 7+ colors.

    You are making a website, not a rainbow. Please do not overwhelm your website visitors by showing them a variety of colors. Your preferred of colors should not clash. Find the right color palette that fits your website. If you are not great at choosing colors, consult a web designer. You should only use 5 colors at most.

  • Do NOT write blog posts that are 1,000+ words long.

    No one wants to subscribe to a blog that contains lengthy posts. It would be boring to read an 2000-word article that has no paragraph breaks. Posts should be at least 500 words and if you go beyond, please make sure to group your ideas by using bullets. Break your content by writing shorter paragraphs. If it something really long, then, do a series of posts! That way you will also give your readers a reason to come back to your website.

  • Do NOT just post about random things.

    Speaking of blog, do not just talk about what you ate or that you just woke up. Every post should have a purpose. If you have a personal blog, talk about a book you just read, a movie that you recently watched, a road trip, a career change, or a future project. If you are just going fill your posts with LOLs and emojis, post on social media.

  • Do not fill a page with keywords.

    Google will know and you will be penalized for stuffing keywords into a page. What you write should make sense. Just go with the flow and do not try to fill one page with 40+ keywords. Only add them as you see fit.

  • Do NOT make your website visitors find something.

    If your navigation is not clear, then, you are building a website the wrong way. There should be a structure and important elements like a search bar, contact details, and sign up button should be visible. This is not a game of hide and seek. Your website visitors should not be looking around for the phone numbers. Imagine if you need to go through 15 different pages just to buy an item. Online shopping should make life easier!

  • Do NOT make your website visitors wait.

    People don’t have the patience to wait for your website to load. 10 seconds is the limit for website visitors to wait for content to load according to NNGroup research. After that, they will become frustrated and leave your website.

8 Website Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make

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When you are starting your business, chances are you have a budget in mind. You will surely allot a portion of it in building a website for your business. There are free website builders that will help you start a simple website on your own. If you are not adept in web designing, you could be committing some serious mistakes. Instead of driving sales, you will repel potential customers.

Here’s a list of what to avoid:

  • When navigation is not a priority

    When you do create your own website, please make sure visitors can find their way to the areas of your website. When potential clients browse, they won’t put in a lot of time trying to figure out where is this or where is that. If they can’t find what they want, they will leave and find a better website that has an easier navigation.

  • The purpose is not clear to you

    Building a website without knowing why will just lead to failure. You have to know if your goal is to gain exposure for your business or if you wish to sell your products online. Not all websites are the same. Each website has its own purpose and you have to know how to use it accordingly.

  • Thinking that any website is good rather than having none

    A website is a must nowadays, but if you are on a tight budget, you can still have an online presence without a website. Make sure that your name and contact numbers can be found in different business listings, social media sites, or online Yellow Pages. When your business starts to gain popularity, it is time to make a simple, professional, and nice looking website.

  • Trying to stand out

    When you dare to be different than the other websites, it won’t do you or your business any good. Create a website that is similar to most websites. Like any other common website, clicking on the company logo should bring you to the homepage. Contact Us and About pages are extremely important. It will provide the essential information of your business. You see, even online, people prefer comfort over style.

  • Struggling to make it exceptionally beautiful

    Look at Google; you will notice that the website is very simple. The colors used are just red, yellow, blue, and green. You don’t need a bunch of different colors to stand out. If your business is an advertising agency, fashion house, or web design studio, go ahead and be unique. If not, just stick to a minimalist design. Your clients will care more about the content than the colorful design.

  • Using .PDF files

    Not all people are tech-savvy. Not all potential clients have a PDF viewer and if they do, they probably won’t have the time to download one. Anything that causes stress, website visitors just simply click away. If you plan to attach any material to your site, use image files instead. Every device can surely view .jpg, .bmp, or .png files.

  • Too much advertisements

    It is not a good idea to allow your website to have numerous ads. Yes, you can earn through ads, but it can get pretty annoying when something pops up in the middle of the page.

  • Too much text

    When you are reading an actual book, words are parts of it. On a website, gigantic blocks of text are a huge mistake. Surely, it will scare visitors and they will hurriedly leave your website.

  • NOT Designed for all devices

    Last, but not the least, make sure that when you create a website, the design should look good both on a mobile phone and a desktop computer. Every device should be able to contact you.

Choosing the Right Domain Name

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What is a great domain name?

 A domain name is an important part of your branding. It is your online identity and it is similar to choosing the right company name. A great domain name can create an impressive first impression. You have to think it through and make sure the name fits your business. What name should you prevent from using? How to choose the right domain name then? Use these tips to help you select the apt domain name.

Unique Branding
Create a domain name that is yours. Do not follow the suit of the popular websites. It should stand out over existing brands. For example, book related websites are: BookDepository.com, BookOutlet.com, Booktopia.com.au. They all contain the word ‘book’. Wordery.com definitely stands out over the generic name of its competitors.

Keep it short
The longer your domain name is the higher the risk of mistyping or misspelling it. The top websites approximately have 6 characters. Look at Yahoo.com, Google.com, Amazon.com. Try to create a website name between 6-14 characters. Keep it simple and concise. The shorter domain name is always a better choice.

Avoid truncated words
Make your domain name easy to type. When you say it, people should be able to spell your domain name correctly. When names are tough to spell, people might mistype your website and you will lose potential customers. The worst thing is that they will get redirected to a totally different website. Your website visitors should be able to type your domain name without difficulty. Refrain from using u instead of you, fave or fav instead favorite, luv instead of love, and so on.

Easy to say
Not only the name has to be easy to spell, it should also be easy to pronounce. You should be able to pass it along effortlessly. If people takes awhile to understand on how to say and spell your website name, you might have to consider other options.

Make it extensible
Consider the long term plan of your business. Do not get tied into a name that will limit your brand. If you use the word ‘book’ in your domain name, make sure you will only cater to books and book related products. If you plan to sell DVDs  and other multimedia products in the future, consider all the possibilities. You can experiment on different names and if you need help in looking for remarkable available domain names, this website will definitely help you.

Check the availability
Since your domain name is a crucial part of your branding, it should also be available in the different social media websites that you will be using. Make sure that the name is available and no other business is using it. It is ideal that your website and your social media usernames are the same so that people can easily find you in all places. You can use this website to check usernames across various platforms. Certain usernames are already taken. Avoid trouble by not using domain names that already have trademarks. This is a serious note that you need to remember in order to avoid law suits and legal issues. It would be a shame to have to use another name after already launching a brand online.

Must Haves for Mobile Commerce Sites

Person Shopping using Mobile Phone

Shopping online at mobile websites

Smart phones and mobile devices are changing our lives. These devices are becoming a substitute for the big and bulky desktop computers. Mobile users are slowly moving away from the conventional ways of online shopping. They prefer to use their mobile phones to buy things they need, schedule appointments, and pretty much everything.

The whole website should be scannable.

Give your website visitors an overview of your entire website. Allow them to freely browse different sections of your online shop. Provide a category list of the products that you are currently selling. Most users do not scroll down while browsing on mobile. They just mostly scan. They do not read things on screen the way they read other printed materials. People browse on their mobile because they already know what to buy. Mobile purchases should be quick and easy.

Homepage should not be too crowded.

Your homepage should provide easy access to everything, but do not put too much photos. Most importantly, there should be a search box. You should highlight the search box so that first time visitors can easily find the products they wish to purchase. If they cannot find a search box, they will abandon the page. It is no more complicated than that! Other than that, you can advertise the latest deals and promotions like a discount coupon, a free shipping deal, or something that can entice them to buy more items.

Pagination links should be clickable with your thumb.

Add pagination links to each page of your mobile website. Searching a website without pagination links is like finding a needle in a haystack. These links are helpful when you are browsing for a certain product in a huge pile. These pagination links are necessary for your customers so that they can browse your website conveniently. Your website will also load faster because the pagination links divided the items into pages, and when you have a speedy website, customers are happy. You would be helping your customers if you provide large clickable areas. Give these links some space and do not put the page numbers too close to each other.

Notify customers on restock.

When people are shopping online, it cannot be avoided that some items get out of stock. Most websites do not have an email function for these unavailable items. (Personally, it is such a hassle that I would have to constantly check a website if they have restocked the items that I want.) If you cannot notify via email, at least, tell the customers if the current inventory is low.

Customers can shop as guest.

Mobile e-commerce sites are helpful when customers are doing their last minute shopping. These people just want to buy something and the registration form is a huge barrier to be honest. Do not force them to register or to login. Instead, highlight benefits of registering – like free shipping, detailed package tracking, and exclusive perks – so that they will be more compelled to register. If they had a satisfying shopping experience, they themselves will decide to register and buy more items at your website.

Six Things to Do Before Launching a Website

Website Check

Things to Check on your Website

When you have a website, it looks so easy and simple from the front end view. Behind the professional and stylish appearance, there are a lot things to deal with. One slight mistake can trigger massive consequences. There are several ways to blow things out of proportion. Indeed, it can be very stressful at times. Websites may differ from purpose and design, but generally, there are things you need to double-check before launching your very own website.

  • Proofread Page Content

Take time to read everything. Read your content over and over. Even if you read it numerous times, read it again. Ask people to read it. They might find some mistakes – misspelled words, grammar, and punctuation errors – that you missed. Make sure to break texts into short paragraphs, and the header and alignment formatting are reviewed. When clicked, the company logo should always redirect to the main website page. Check if the company contact details are complete and precise.

  • Check Links

Click on all your links to verify if they redirect to the correct item or page. Make sure these links are obvious and site visitors can recognize them as links. Moreover, the link description should not be ambiguous  and it should have an accurate description depending on the content. For example, the About Us page should not have a link like this: …/wp10d9.html.  A page not found (404) error would definitely discourage site visitors. Make sure there is a designated page that will help website visitors when the error occurs. If not, they would tag your website as unreliable. This link checker might help you if you are unsure of your website links.

  • Functionality Check

This is the most crucial part. Check all the forms – login, registration, comment , check out – if they are working accordingly and the data submitted are correct. Make sure these forms have an appropriate thank you message confirming the data given. Verify that the social media icons are working correctly so that sharing your content to various social media sites can be done without a hitch. Lastly, inspect your third-party and e-commerce software are functioning without complications especially if you are selling items.

  • Cross-Browser Check

Your website should be responsive in all browsers and across all devices. It should work not only on desktop browsers, but on smart phones, and tablets too. Text may be readable on desktop, but too small for mobile users. You can check how mobile friendly your website is by using this link.

  • Test the Visuals

Images, audio files, and videos should be viewable and working properly in all devices. Make sure that the videos are playing properly and its sound is audible. All images should be optimized for the web. Examine if these images have the relevant caption and alt text. Ensure that the file sizes are not too large. More huge images would mean longer time. Thus, it would mean a slower speed for your website.

  • Website Back Up

Before launching, make sure you have a copy of all your data in case of malware attempts against your website. Back up your data regularly so you do not have to constantly worry if something  fails to work properly. All ongoing pages should be saved on a regular basis.

(MORE) Website Blunders to Avoid

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Careful on making these mistakes!

There is nothing more frustrating than finding your way through a convoluted website. Satisfy your customers. Show them that you care for their needs by not driving them away.  Clearly, you would want a smooth transaction online and withdraw from anything annoying. Here are MORE blunders to avoid that may help you in achieving that functional website:

  • Tiny Pagination

Pagination is a type of navigation that provides users access to multiple pages of a certain website. When you search terms on Google, numbers 1 to 10 appear at the bottom of page. A next button is also visible for you to click and to navigate your search results. Same is true on websites that have a lengthy list. In some forum sites, the pagination provided are microscopic and insignificant. Help your users by not wasting their time. These list of pages numbers are necessary!

For example, the products on an online shop are divided into several pages. Pagination helps on making your website load faster because not a lot of items are displayed all at once. Thus, your users are satisfied because they can conveniently browse your website.

  • Complicated Sign Up Forms

Certainly, you have visited Facebook during the 24 hours. I am sure you noticed that if you need to create a profile, you just need to fill in a few text boxes. You only need a name, an email, a password, birthday, and gender. Viola! You can now access the whole of Facebook.

Time to ditch long and boring forms! You are providing a hindrance for people to access your website. Keep the forms short and brief. In some online shops, you can even buy items without registering. There is no need to ask for heaps of information because you might end up saying goodbye to potential clients.

  • Too Many Animations

Do not bombard your main page with moving images. Viewers of your website will not know where to look first. Focus on specific products that you want to display first. Utilize the use of pagination. It is exceptionally hard to direct customers to a particular product and also, numerous shifting images can be truly irritating.

  • Bizarre Font Styles

Reading a lengthy text with unconventional typefaces can be frustrating. (Oh, hello eye strain!) Typography is the central part of designing. Do not make reading a painful task to do. Make your website easy to read and to navigate. If possible, use San Serif typefaces.

  • Not Mobile Responsive

People are always on the go. They probably will not leave their mobile phones behind.  It would be a huge loss if you ignore the effect of mobile users. Choose a website design that is responsive in all platforms, whether your website will be browsed on a desktop computer, a tablet, or a mobile phone.

 

Perfection is hard to attain, but these tips will definitely improve the performance and the conversion rate of your website. When designing your website, always put yourself in the shoes of your viewers. Because if they had good experience on your website, they will patronize it and they will tell their friends about it. You will gain rewards in multitude of ways.

Website Blunders to Avoid

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Avoid these mistakes!

Practical and functional websites make profit. They win the hearts of the customers.  How can you make profit if your website looks awful? Your website should have a clear structure and uncomplicated navigation. The last thing you want to do is to chase away potential customers. Check out this list of mistakes that you should definitely avoid.

  • Broken Links
    In the world of online shopping, broken (or dead) links should be avoided. You will use a potential customer if your website links do not redirect to the desired product. People are always searching for things to buy and the links you provide are important in helping them to get the products they want. You can check for broken links using this free link checker. Avoid the “page not found” error at all cost!
  • Small Font Sizes
    How can you invite people to buy your products when they cannot even read product descriptions clearly? Customers like to search and browse for new items so verify that these texts are readable and the search results are understandable. The longer they are, the harder they are to read.As I have mentioned above, links are important to get to a specific product. Make sure these links are clear and legible. Customers should be able to distinguish the link and the description where it leads to. Same is true with buttons like Shop Now, Add to Cart, etc. Make sure these buttons, links, and search results are large enough for customers to read.
  • Unclear “Contact Us” page
    I can personally relate to this. I am really particular in shopping for books. It should be in this edition, under this publisher, and so on. Rather than rummaging through over a million books, I usually contact the website and have them search for me instead. Some websites do not even have a clear phone number and email address for inquiries. I get the generic website email that probably will not get opened in a few days. I do not mind waiting, but it is not always the case. Usually, customers are impatient. They will find another website that will cater to their needs. Provide contact details that will guarantee a response. Most importantly, do not generate an automated response. It seems very impersonal and it will drive people away.
  • No (or inactive) social media accounts
    This is related to the mistake above. Everyone now has a social media account. Advertise your official accounts together with your contact details. People tend to search for your business and inquire online. Answering questions quickly means good customer service. You give a positive impression that you want to help out customers and you care about them. You create that inviting atmosphere that will surely get loyal customers. Engage with people on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and those people will spread good things about your website in return. You can repost or retweet the positive feedback you got and certainly, it will encourage other people to shop at your website.
  • No search boxes
    Most of the time, customers know what they want. Give them an easy access to that product. Whether you have five or a million products, always provide a way to search and to refine the existing search results. Prevent Choice Paralysis. It is always good to provide your customers many options, but when there’s just too much, customers get confused.

Need more? There is another list here!