17 Stats & Facts You Can’t Ignore in Your Website Rebuild Strategy

Planning to redesign your website?

Well, it must be all because you want to altogether upgrade your website up to the next level. In fact, the website credibility judgments are 75% depending upon the overall aesthetics. This clearly indicates that the design and functionality of your website are the two significant factors which have a lot of importance.

Now, when it comes to curating a website redesign strategy, it can’t be an easy feat. There are some crucial aspects that you need to consider which make a lot of sense. You need to keep these things in your mind to assure that you are ending up with a successful website building. In fact, there are some prevalent stats and facts which depict the same. In this piece of writing, you can take a glimpse of all of that.

Read on

1 -Different age groups will react differently to different content, layout, and aesthetic choices. You all are aware of the fact that it is recommended to use smart content for contacts in varied lifecycle stage. However, if you have a target audience of different age groups, you should explore more about how you can customize what’s on your site as per the age group. This is how you can make use of an age-responsive design which is turning heads since 2017.

2 – According to Adobe, it has been noticed that 39% of people will not communicate with a website if images are not loading promptly.  So, make sure that you are accommodating the right images with the right loading speed to give your website a swift touch.

3 – It is a proven fact that the average human attention span has got reduced up to a great extent. It was around 12 seconds in the year 2000 which has declined to just 8 seconds now. So, make sure that you are keeping the loading speed of your website fast enough such that your users don’t have to keep hunting for the information that they need. This is one of the crucial things that you should remember while redesigning your website.

4 – Make sure to include exit intent pop-ups to increase your conversions, even if you think that your users hate them. All that you need to do is just utilize exit intent pop-up rightly; you will end up offering your visitors something really valuable. The way in which companies are using exit intent pop-ups is upgrading with each passing day. So, make sure that you are rightly adapting with that.

5 – Research says that the forms are way too boring to be incorporated into a website. If it is not done properly, they can be the biggest loophole for your website. While you design forms for your website, you must have a clear idea of which fields to include and which information to mainly incorporate.

6 – It is evident that when you design something beautifully, two-thirds of people would consume that better rather than plain content if they are provided with 15 minutes of time.

7 – Studies show that people are too visually driven when it comes to exploring a website. So, don’t present your users a wall of plain text and rather give a strikingly curate website to attract maximum traffic.

8 – It is a proven fact that users form an opinion about any website within just 0.05 seconds. So, you should remember that first impressions are important. Thus, make sure that your website pages are the perfect amalgamation of easily readable content, relevant imagery, and consistent branding information.

9 – The statistics say that 44 % of website visitors would not prefer scrolling a company’s website anymore if there’s no contact information or phone number available. This is all about trust and credibility. People are unlikely to explore a company’s website anymore which they don’t feel can be trusted. Hence, while designing, you must have thorough contact information on your website to ensure that it comes up to be a buzzing one.

10 – It is true 70% of customers can learn about a company through their blogs in spite of the ads. It is the foremost reason why you should consider the blog section as a priority while redesigning a website. Further, 31.1% of internet explorers consider any brand’s blog section to be the second most impactful factor when it comes to making a purchase.

11 – When it comes to internet users, the majority of them use mobile phones. In fact, 52.7% of global internet users explore the internet via their smartphones. And if only the US is considered, 75.1% of internet users use mobile phones to access the internet. No wonder, more and more people are using their phones to surf the internet. So, when it comes to website redesigning, you should consider mobile optimization as one of the integral factors.

12 – Speaking frankly, it is calculated that any website owner have just 10 seconds to leave an impression and interpret to his/her users what they can get out of the website and company. After this time, the audience will not wait and just leave. Therefore, if you think that your website is not capable of expressing its integrity within that time period, you need to consider the elements like value proposition, navigation, and initial content on your main pages.

13 – When you have got a specified group of people as your target audience, people who fit in that geographic location will be having more urge to see what you are offering, especially if you are using their language. Hence, while redesigning your website, you must completely understand your buyer persona and resonate with them. It will definitely fetch you more click-through rates.

14 – 69% of marketers believe that dynamic and personalized content makes their website worthy. Rather, only 5% of them think that they are of low importance. Thus, it probably makes sense to incorporate customized content in your website while redesigning to ensure that you give your audience a tailored experience.

15 – There was a study conducted by Fortune 500 websites. It showed that 63% of them accommodate content above the fold, 50% specify a scrolling content window of some sort, and another 63% make sure to use high-end images that connect with users better with the average loading time by 6.5 seconds.

16 – It seems like the change in a website bounce rate can increase up to 4% when a page takes more than 4 seconds to load. This rate can jump up to 150% if a page takes more than 8 seconds to load. Therefore, while you redesign your website, keep this thing in mind and make your website an easily loadable one.

                                      Source: tytonmedia.com

17 – As per the statistics, they are 22% of marketers who believe that they are efficient enough when it comes to responsive design, 29% of them think they have an average level of experience, according to 23% of them, they haven’t yet accepted this reality well, and the rest of 4% say that they are hopeless.

Summing This Up

Well, these are the most effective stats and facts which ensure that redesigning your website is a strategic approach. Don’t forget to keep these aforementioned things in your mind while you think of renovating your website for the next time and that’s it!

Author Bio:- Maulik Patel is Founder & Director of Click Matix. His passion for helping people in all aspects of online marketing flows through in the expert industry coverage he provides. He is an expert in web marketing, search engine optimization, social media, affiliate marketing, B2B marketing, online advertisement of Google, Yahoo and MSN.

From Visitor to Customer: 5 Website Design Tips to Help You Bridge the Gap

Photo by Jens Kreuter on Unsplash

As increasingly available information makes it easier for businesses, graphic designers, and web developers to create more efficient and striking websites, a large number of professionals are providing ever-more innovative platforms for their clients and customers to use online.

Mastering the essentials of web design can take time, of course, but the benefits of top-tier web design to Google search result placement and customer conversion rates can be truly outstanding: A good website in 2019 doesn’t just look great, its custom design will also turn site visitors into long-term customers.

Here are just 5 website design tips that can help your business achieve stunning results, and why they might just make 2019 a banner year for your company.

1. Hick’s Law

For many web designers, the question of how much content to include on a website is a considerable one: Keep site design too simple, the thinking goes, and a customer may not understand what the website is intended to do or where essential information is located in a site’s architecture. Make a site too complicated, and users may become bogged down by the sheer number and variety of choices that they will encounter.

Web designers often deal with this question by employing Hick’s law, which says that the more decisions a person must grapple with, the longer they will take to make a decision.

Named for the English psychologist W.E. Hick and his studies on the way in which people make choices over a given period of time, the law is now used to determine everything from website design principles to Fortune 500 marketing strategies. By using Hick’s law, you will be making it easy for customers to choose and purchase the products or services that your company provides.

To implement the principles of Hick’s law, try streamlining your site to include only the most relevant information that customers will need to choose a product or service. For a site like Google, whose customers simply want to search for websites, that can mean a minimalistic approach that includes a simple search bar, an easy-to-load graphic, and a plain white background.

For Amazon or eBay, employing Hick’s law means breaking down products into specific categories so that site visitors do not become overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information available to them.

2. Responsive Web Design

As an increasing number of mobile app-based businesses such as Instagram take the online marketplace by storm, more and more business leaders are wondering if they should emphasize the development of a mobile-based app platform over a traditional website.

Of course, there are certainly benefits to both paths, but there are some seriously compelling reasons to move a business forward with responsive web design as a priority.

Photo by Ben Kolde on Unsplash

One such reason is that many customers prefer websites over having mobile apps for every single store. More often than not, the question of whether to shift a company’s focus towards mobile app development or put primary web development effort into creating a dynamic website is largely a question of what goals the company aims to achieve in the long-term.

A business that shares user-generated content or links customers to service providers (Uber being a prime example) may find that a mobile app is an optimum platform for achieving their aims. A site that provides extensive information about products or services such as Amazon might delegate more time to maintain a responsive website that automatically scales elements depending on what platform the user accesses it from. It will display more information on PC, and less on the phone to ensure intuitive navigation and ease of access.

3. Content Placement

It is no secret that great site design draws more views from potential and actual customers and that these views can benefit a company’s Google search rankings. So how exactly does one create content that attracts customers while keeping such information visually appealing?

To answer this question, we can actually draw on aesthetic principles that have been around since well before the great Renaissance artists codified concepts of design beauty that we still use today. These principles can be broken down into three main categories: F-shaped pattern design; Z-shaped pattern design; and the Rule of Thirds.

The F- and Z-patterns central to graphic design are fairly simple concepts and relate to how information in visual design can be connected by the “direction” of elements within a visual composition. In fact, you’ve probably seen these design elements every time you’ve accessed a major website or mobile app: Most news websites use the “F-shape” design element by framing information through a headline, sub-headline, and sidebar to the viewer’s left, letting the eye rest on the strong “F” shape created by the lines of text.

The Z-pattern involves a similar design concept to the F-pattern: By drawing a “line” at an angle across the “frame” of a website from the right side of a top border to the left side of a lower border, a viewer’s eyes will naturally be drawn to new information in the lower right-hand field of their vision. This is why so many sites place important links such as purchase buttons on the lower right-hand side of a website screen.

One of the most important elements of visual design in history, the Rule of Thirds states that the human eye is attracted to visual compositions that are divisible by thirds. Most of us actually encounter this rule at any time we see a great painting or watch a movie.

At its heart, the Rule of Thirds is what enables our vision to feel “at rest” when viewing a piece of visual art. Something about the use of design divisible into three parts connotes a feeling of balance in the viewer, and such divisibility is a powerful tool for web developers and graphic designers to use.

4. Security Measures

One of the most important ways for web designers and company to build trust with potential customers is to use cutting-edge security measures to protect customer and client information. In 2019, companies need to be their customers’ first wall of defense from identity thieves if they want to take their business to the next level.

Source

Indeed, whether customers are simply providing their email addresses for company newsletters or are using credit or debit cards to purchase a product or service, make sure that your site design includes a good security apparatus to protect customers from identity thieves. The right security measures can truly strengthen long-term customer relationships in a way that few other elements of site design can!

5. The Right Colors

If you’ve ever spent time on Instagram, you know that a major component of the effective graphic design is the use of the right colors to convey a company’s core message and philosophy. A business like Playdoh (@playdoh) creates a graphic design twist on an old children’s favorite with their Instagram account by employing strong primary colors evocative of childhood wonder and playfulness.

To convey a sense of strength and teamwork, on the other hand, the Nike Instagram account (@nike) employs simple reds and blues to suggest self-confidence and achievement. When choosing colors to accent your web design, try picking shades that match your company’s or client’s core values. The right color design will really impress customers and take your site to the next level!

For these reasons, striking the right balance with web design can increase customer conversion rates in ways that few other initiatives can. Whether it’s via the implementation of Hick’s law or by striving to protect customer information from identity thieves, good website design is sure to bring more site visitors into the fold of long-term customers and clients. And that is truly web design at its best!

Top Web Design Trends Brands Need To Prepare For In 2019

Website is the first thing your customers and clients want to see. Your website is your first impression on your audience. Your customers create an opinion whether or not they should do business with you after seeing your website. Given that, looking good for your website is very important.

Once your page loads, users form an opinion in just .05 seconds, finds Kinesis Inc. in a study. Now, you know why leading businesses have in-house teams for web designing and development to keep their website updated in terms of content, design and functionality.

Forward-looking businesses are open to making updates based on latest trends in web designing as they do not want their customers to see an outdated website. Despite the fact that creating a website is less complicated these days, building a website that appeal to end users is still an extremely challenging job.

Image Credit: thedrum.com

We are in the first month of 2019. And this year, according to Smart Insights, “Global businesses are expecting to see an average sales growth of 19.5%.” It gives businesses an opportunity to fine-tune their website so it offers a better experience to their customers and brings them maximum gains in such a positive market scenario.

But how do you make sure your website has that appeal to attract and convert in the new year? One simple answer to this question is – by ensuring your website follows the latest, outstanding web design trends. Here are top web design trends every business needs to be prepared for in 2019 –

Mobile Ready Website –

Most of your audiences access your website through their mobile phone. According to a research, mobile devices make up two thirds of web usage. Moreover, mobile devices account for over 2 of every 3 minutes spent online.

If that doesn’t convince you to follow latest web design trends, consider this. As per a report published by KoMarketing, 40% of smart phone and tablet users search products on their device.

So, if your website doesn’t look good on mobile devices such as mobile phones, tablets, iPads, etc., you might be losing your potential customers away. An Adobe report says, “Two-thirds of web visitors would rather read something beautifully designed than something plain.”

So, it is imperative that you have a mobile ready website that looks great on all devices and platforms.

Simple Logo and Minimal Design –

Graphic and web designers have started delivering simple graphics and web layouts. An overuse of images increases the weight of the website, adversely impacting its load speed.

Apparently, load speed is a major contributing factor for a website’s performance on search engines. Slow page speed means that search engines can crawl fewer pages using their allocated crawl budget. Websites with fewer images have higher SEO value, says OnCrawl.com.

Lists and Headings Are Better Than a Descriptive Paragraph –

Believe it or not, a large number of users aren’t interested in reading long, boring, trivial content. You need to present crisp, precise, to-the-point content on your website. The text should offer the right information about you and your products and services.

Large-format content is a key to better SEO results. However, too much content can be confusing for readers. Using text in a more appealing way, such as lists, bullet points, heading (h1, h2, h3…, etc.) tags, etc. can be more effective.

So, 2019 is time to cut-short the text on your website and make it more readable and to-the-point.

Micro Animations –

Introducing micro animations – that move or change color with mouse hovering – makes your website more engaging, usable and readable. When clicked, these animations or buttons take the user to the page linked. They also add to the user interface of your website.

On small mobile screens, these animations make the user experience a lot easier. They guide a user to the page or check out/payment page where you want them to go.

Here are some of the coolest advantages of using micro animations on your website.

SEO-Ready Design –

The design of your website has a direct impact on its ranking and visibility on search engines. A large number of businesses still do not realize that SEO should be taken care since the beginning of web designing process.

Your website is the center of your online business. Search engine crawlers – the bots sent by search engines – also read your website and have an effect on your search engine ranking. The websites that do not follow SEO web design principles lack on the digital marketing front, mentions a blog on Search Engine Land.

Video Background –

Video background adds an outstanding appeal to your website. It, in fact, becomes one of the most striking elements of your website. Visuals speak more than words do. High-definition videos serve that purpose pretty effectively.

According to a blog published on Intechnic.com, videos have a better engagement rate than images. It is a great way to make customers spend more time on your website. The more your visitors stay on your website the better it is for your paid search campaigns and search engine visibility.

Besides, did you know that your website’s hosting plan has a connection with its design and performance? Yes, that’s true. According to HostPresto, choosing the right hosting plan is a fundamental element of a successful website design process.

Behind your slow loading website could be your incapable hosting plan. Your hosting plan should provide you adequate space required to support a website with high-quality graphics and heavy traffic.

Bottom Line

In addition to these, large header lines, AI-based chatbots, color & theme, effective use of gradient, font style and size, easy navigation, plenty of white space, and dynamic scrolling feature are some of trends that leading organization will most likely follow throughout the year.

Users today want flawless, smooth, and faster websites to browse. Since most of your visitors will be accessing your website from their mobile phone, you will need to codify a mobile-friendly website that opens well and looks good on their hand-held device. The main purpose of your website design should be to offer convenience and right information to the reader.

Most Common Website Errors 2019

5 Reasons No One Visits Your Website (and how to change that)

Most Common Website Errors 2019

In the modern day business world, it’s obvious that no company can survive or thrive without a strong web presence. But simply throwing some pretty HTML onto a server isn’t enough to guarantee success, especially in competitive industries that are full of tech-savvy entrepreneurs.

When you start your very first online venture, you might presume that you get to sit back and watch a large audience of consumers rush to your website. But pretty quickly you’ll find that gaining and maintaining a user base is a hard job that requires a great deal of time, effort, and creativity.

This article runs through five of the most common mistakes that website owners make and provides the steps to take to get your online business on the path to success.

1- Think More Like a Customer

Time is a person’s most precious commodity and you need to keep that in mind when designing your business plan and the website that will accompany it. Before you sit down to write a single line of code, think about how you plan to add value to your customers’ daily lives.

Once your focus has been set and vetted by others, go about building a website that supports that vision while keeping the user experience as simple and streamlined as possible. You want customers to be able to navigate your web pages easily and find the information and services they care about as quickly as possible.

One mistake that a lot of websites make is to devote too much real estate to advertisements. This can be tempting, as display ads often serve as a new company’s primary form of income. But if you flood your pages with annoying ads, you’ll end up distracting visitors and risk losing their business altogether.

2 – Optimize Better for Search Engines

Most Common Website Errors 2019

The discussion around search engine optimization (SEO) reached a peak in the past decade, but it still remains a critical topic to consider when building and launching a new website. If your business provides a unique product or service, there’s a good chance the potential customers are using Google and other search engines look for it.

The basics of SEO are all about making the text content on your web pages simple, clear, and searchable. Do not try and trick search engines by creating bulk pages with fake content, as this will actually cause your website to be demoted within search rankings. Instead, do research on what search terms are most relevant to your business and work them in naturally to your branding content.

3 – Find a Reliable Host

Most Common Website Errors 2019

The quickest way to lose customers and visitors is to have a website that is routinely down or delivering poor performance. Today’s internet users expect services to be available around the clock with response times of a second or less. Otherwise they will simply move on to a competitor.

Considering the rush of companies hawking the service, finding a reliable web host is not something to leave to chance or a coin flip. There are actual performance metrics that can be measured across various providers that allow analysis of the results to identify the best value. In a study conducted by Hosting Canada results showed that average loading times across hosts varied from 17500ms down to all the way to 475ms without much variation in price.

It may be tempting to make your cloud host selection based on price alone, especially because you can find some companies that will offer free or low-cost solutions. But be sure to question everything you see, because when it comes to hosting providers, additional features always cost extra. There are even detailed guides about how to get more from your customers.

For example, the basic plans for a lot of low-cost providers often comes with limited storage space or bandwidth allowances. Or you might sign up for a host and find out that adding a security certificate will cost you hundreds of dollars per year.

4 – Use Multimedia the Right Way

Most Common Website Errors 2019

Thanks to higher broadband speeds across the globe, website developers have the option to embed graphics, audio, and video while trusting that their customers will be able to stream it easily. This opens a range of opportunities that can help a business grow and attract a new audience.

When it comes to adding videos to a homepage or landing page, make sure they align to your branding strategy without being obtrusive to visitors. Research has found that marketing videos are a good way of introducing a new product or service on a website, as it creates a more memorable experience than text in a press release.

Videos on your website should always tell a story. They open up a creative outlet for you to let customers see inside your business and understand the work you do.

5- Listen to the Smart Metrics

In order to truly evaluate the performance of your website and business, you need to spend time gathering and analyzing the right types of metrics. Obviously sales numbers and profit margins are an easy way to evaluate financial performance, but in terms of web traffic patterns, you will need to dig deeper.

For example, you’ll want to use an analytics tool to capture information about how your customers get to your website and what they do once they are there. A successful conversion means that you’ve attracted a user to a page and convinced them to perform an action, like subscribing to a mailing list or purchasing a product.

Studying analytics data is important both in good times and bad. If you see a sudden spike in your website’s traffic, you will want to look closer to see what caused it and how you can capitalize. On the other hand, if you find that visitors are routinely staying on your website for less than a minute and never coming back, you’ll want to understand why that might be.

Small businesses don’t have the ability to talk to every customer about their needs and desires. Fortunately, analytics can translate this into data and help companies grow faster than ever.

Final Thought

We’ll leave you with this. The world has evolved far beyond the stage where you can draw visitors simply by putting up a website. There are around 1.8 billion of the things out there. If that makes you think you’ll have to be proactive in order to grab some attention, you’re right. Good luck!

Why You Shouldn’t Disregard Parallax Scrolling Yet

Parallax Scrolling for Web Design

Parallax scrolling was all the rage a few years ago, but designers quickly realized it has pros and cons. Parallax scrolling offers a three-dimensional look where some background elements move at a different speed or in a separate direction than other factors in the foreground. Think of a slowed down bit of video footage and then a real-time speed video in the front as just one example.

While using parallaxing for web design still has a few challenges, you shouldn’t disregard it as a viable option for grabbing user attention just yet — here are seven reasons why.

1. Parallaxing Isn’t New

The technique of parallaxing isn’t a new technique itself — Walt Disney used this technique to create movies such as “Bambi” and “Snow White.” Parallaxing appears in Mario Kart, Sonic the Hedgehog and Street Fighter. Think about the way Mario moves at a faster speed while the background scrolls more slowly, and you’ll get a good idea of what parallaxing looks like.

parallax scrolling for web design

Every Last Drop is an example of a website using parallax scrolling to grab user interest. The site educates UK consumers on how much water people use in a typical day. The image starts with a cartoon character sleeping and a night sky in the upper header. As you scroll, the background changes, the sun rises and the character wakes up. The website shares facts along the way about water usage.

2. Parallax Is Fun

Parallax is a lot of fun for users, making your site stand out from the competition and educating consumers in a unique way. However, it doesn’t seem to impact the effectiveness of your site. In one university study, researchers discovered that while participants liked parallax scrolling, they also didn’t find it necessary to use the site.

3. Add Visual Interest

People visit dozens of websites every week, so anything you can do to stand out from those other sites makes your brand more interesting to the user. You don’t have to create an entire animation for your parallax scrolling to be effective, either. Simple changes are sometimes the most powerful.

SK Builders offers a subtle type of parallax scrolling on their landing page that effectively shows the outside of one of their beautiful homes. As the user scrolls, a horizontal collection of images of the inside of that home appear. Because of the parallax scrolling, the larger image fades away more slowly, making the outside of the home still visible as you peruse the inside.

4. Stimulate Users

The animation and sense of depth of parallax scrolling stimulate users and gets them excited about your brand. The stimulation is likely the reason why those in the research group described parallax scrolling used on websites as “fun.”

Think about the message you want for your brand. If your message is that your brand is young and interesting, parallaxing helps underline that image.

5. Grabs Attention

You can use parallax scrolling in many unique ways. The first example we looked at used a changing scene and the second a downward motion with the top image at a slower speed. You can also move images sideways or zoom in and out. So, you can utilize parallax in several ways to grab the attention of those who land on your page.

The Boat does an excellent job of taking a story, animating it and using parallax scrolling to go through the various chapters as the action builds. The animation used is minor but adds to the overall impact of the tale. Using parallax scrolling allows an author or brand to grab the user from the minute they land on their website. The site also uses sound effects to set the scene even further.

6. Leads to Longer Page Views

Your page’s bounce rate should be under 55 percent if you want an average speed, but a lot of factors play into the success of your page, including the time a visitor spends viewing your page before bouncing away.

Parallax grabs the user’s interest and encourages them to stay on your page as they scroll through the storyline. Instead of landing on your page and bouncing immediately away, the user may hang around and see where the next scroll takes them.

7. Encourage Action

Sites continuously look for ways to improve the effectiveness of their calls to action (CTAs). Your business has probably changed your CTA’s wording, color, placement and even the elements surround it. What if you could drive action with parallax scrolling so the CTA is even more effective by the time your site visitor reaches it?

Urban Walks uses multiple layers to create a parallax landing page that features the screen of an iPhone. As you scroll down the page, the background image and the cell phone screen both change, playing several elements at a different speed than the background images. By the time you reach the bottom of the page, you’re ready to download the app to your iPhone.

Show Off Your Professionalism

Parallax scrolling for web design shows your company’s professionalism and attention to detail. While it does take a bit longer to load and has a few other disadvantages, don’t count this design technique out just yet. As Internet speeds increase and screen resolutions improve, users expect entertainment and high-resolution designs. Parallax may be the solution you need to reach those goals.

Blockchain Technology – Coming to a Website Near You

“Blockchain” has become crazy popular in recent years, thanks to the rising value of Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other forms of digital currencies. However, the fundamental technology behind this movement has implications for other parts of the internet beyond just cryptocurrency investments.

User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX) professionals are beginning to realize how blockchain technology stands ready to revolutionize their strategies and best practices. The age of static HTML websites will soon be gone and replacing it will be a brand new architecture for online platforms.

This article describes some of the key changes that blockchain technology will bring about in the web design world.

Support for Cryptocurrencies

In the early days of the internet, making purchases through a website was seen as a risky activity. Then companies like eBay and Amazon came along to streamline the whole process, with help from payment services like Paypal that offered secure methods for entering credit cards online.

Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum represent the next evolution in the development of online retail. These days, a lot of the discussion around digital currencies is focused on their changing investment value, so it’s easy to forget that these systems can be used online for purchasing and exchanging goods.

As a website developer, you need to consider blockchain platforms when designing the next version of your e-commerce website. Digital currencies should be added as payment options on checkout pages and updated automatically with the latest exchange rates. One of the big advantages of using cryptocurrencies on a retail website is the ability to support micropayments for small purchases like access to a news article.

Distributed Data Storage

Most modern websites and mobile applications are built on the same type of architecture. First, there is a database repository or collection that stores individual records. Then an application layer is created to communicate between the back-end data and front-end interface. The actual visual content lives on a web server that transmits to browsers or devices.

Blockchain technology has the potential to radically change this method of web development. One of the key features of digital currencies is that they operate without a central authority, such as a government or a bank. Instead, their financial ledger is kept on a peer-to-peer network with many nodes that run algorithms to maintain its integrity.

This concept of decentralized storage goes far beyond a simple accounting ledger. Data of all sorts can be stored and accessed in a decentralized, private way using blockchain technology. Instead of relying on a single database endpoint, designers will have the ability to spread information across a series of connected nodes that are guaranteed to keep it safe and readily accessible.

Smart Contracts

The secure nature of blockchain technology is being seen as a legitimate way for companies to verify all types of transactions, not just Bitcoin and Ethereum exchanges. The concept is referred to as smart contracts and represents a major leap forward in how trust is managed online.

Web developers should consider implementing smart contracts into their projects to replace any feature or functionality that involves two parties shifting resources or making agreements. For example, blockchain technology can be leveraged with package tracking, account subscriptions, and other time or location-based activities.

With blockchain integrated into a website’s application logic, business users can rest assured that their resources are being managed and transferred appropriately. The key challenge for UI and UX designers is to build a clean interface to present all the moving traffic.

An easy solution for managing smart contract content (especially if you don’t write code and the thought of learning WordPress makes you break out in hives) is to deploy an online website builder, where you can drag-and-drop visual elements and quickly test different iterations of emerging blockchain functions. Long derided as a substandard option for building a website, today’s generation of DIY site builders like Wix and SquareSpace have become quite sophisticated and now power an increasing number of legitimate sites.  

Identity Management

Online privacy remains one of the most controversial topics in the world today. The average internet user is frustrated with how websites and mobile applications are tracking their personal data and sharing it with government organizations or advertising partners.

Blockchain technology may very well provide a promising solution to this headache. Digital currencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum operate on anonymous platforms through the use of private and public keys. Each investor gains access to a unique digital wallet that is identified with a string of characters, not their name or social security number. As a result, every transaction on these markets is kept secure and private.

As a web designer, you can consider using the blockchain model with how identity management is handled on your projects. For example, if a user subscribes to a newsletter on a website, that action could be tracked within the digital ledger. From there, the information can be traced by the user to understand if and when advertising groups are able to obtain it. Since identifying information is kept encrypted, it reduces the risk of data breaches or hacks.

Embracing Machine Learning and Automation

You should expect digital inventions and ideas to evolve quickly as blockchain technology becomes more widely adopted across the web. The opportunities are endless, especially when you consider how blockchain systems could partner with machine learning and automation platforms to capitalize on their processing power and innovation potential.

A great example of automation in web design is the rise of online chatbots. These are small utilities that are appearing on more websites where users often have common questions but find it difficult to obtain answers. With a chatbot, a website visitor can write in a text window as if they are interacting with a human being and then receive helpful replies in a matter of milliseconds.

What makes this type of interaction possible? It’s a combination of engineering knowledge, resource power, and a new way of technical thinking. When you treat user questions and complaints as transactions on a blockchain network, you can begin to visualize trends and patterns and identify ways to quickly respond and resolve such events.

The Bottom Line

While the world of web design and development never stays static for long, the evolution of blockchain technology is poised to shake up the industry in a way that it hasn’t been shaken in a while.

We’re anticipating BIG changes on both the front and back end of sites. We’ve just pointed out a few of the possibilities but there are almost certainly going to be more and likely they’ll come from unexpected directions. Stay tuned. It’s going to be a fun ride.

How to Improve Your Landing Page Before the End of the Year

Your landing page is the first impression site visitors have of your business. A landing page has the potential to pull site visitors in and turn them into customers or to drive them away.

Out of the many challenges marketers face, getting landing pages built and testing them ranks in the top five. It’s hard to know exactly what your target audience wants and how to deliver. Figuring out how to improve your landing page in the final quarter of the year is a particular challenge because there are so many other competing things that need completed, such as holiday marketing and the logistics of delivering more orders than normal.

Fortunately, there are some specific steps you can take now to improve your landing page before the end of the year and see an instant improvement in results.

1. Offer Something Unique

Give visitors something they can’t get anywhere else. What unique selling proposition do you offer that your competitors do not? Think about how many websites there are on the Internet. While they might not all be direct competition, they are all competing for attention. You have to stand out from the crowd and the best way to do that is to offer something unusual that your target audience wants.

Snapchat gets a lot of things right, but adding something truly unique pulls site visitors right in. Among their offers, they tout Snapchat original videos. These are shows you can only view on Snapchat. The model of original shows has been quite successful for companies such as Netflix, so Snapchat is getting in on that action, even though they are not competitors at this point with Netflix.

2. Write Headlines that Hook

Your headline on your landing page says a lot about you. People see your headline when they’re searching for a keyword on Google and your site pops up in the search results, for example. Does your headline make them want to click on the link and read more or is it blah and non-descriptive?

The wording of your headlines is of ultimate importance. In one study, researchers looked at the specific wording and tracked which words results in more shares on social media. They found that there were three top phrases in the most shared content:

  • Will make you – 8961 engagements
  • This is why – 4099 engagements
  • Can we guess – 3199 engagements

They studied other wording as well, but these three stood out from the pack with the most social shares, likes and comments.

3. Add a Call to Action (CTA)

The whole purpose of your landing page is to get the reader to take some type of action. In the most recent study we could find, experts estimated that 70 percent of small business websites lacked effective CTA buttons. These numbers may have improved slightly in the last few years as people have learned more about CTAs and why they work, but it is still an area worth upgrading.

There are many elements that go into creating a strong call to action. The best way to improve yours is to make small changes and then do some A/B testing to see what your site visitors prefer. Try different colors, placement, wording and sizes.

 

Halo Overhead Doors does a great job with their CTA buttons. The minute you land on their home page, you see an orange CTA button above the fold. This button invites site visitors to “get started,” and the orange contrasts with the background to make it stand out. At the top right, in the navigation bar are two CTA buttons that read, “Request Estimate” and “Request Service.” These buttons target both potential customers and current customers. Further down the page are additional CTAs to capture other users who want to browse, get ideas for garage doors for their homes or see what others have done to update their homes.

4. Post a Video

Most businesses publish about 18 videos per month on average. Videos are viewed more and more by people online, which is why you’ve seen an influx of them in recent months. Around 55 percent of people say they watch videos online every day. Videos allow you to highlight the story of your business or your unique selling proposition (USP) to site visitors. A video instantly engages consumers.

5. Keep it to One Point

What is your goal for your site visitors? Make your landing page simple and stay on that single point to increase conversions. The fewer places a user can click away and get distracted, the more chance there is that she will instead convert from a visitor to a subscriber or customer.

Bloom has one goal – to get you to order a custom floral arrangement. Everything on their landing page points users to that goal. They show some images of custom arrangements displayed in homes and offer a free design consultation. They then explain the three easy steps you’ll take to get a completed arrangement and how it’s all customized to your tastes and home.

6. Find Your Pain Point

A pain point is a problem the typical customer experiences that you can solve with your product or service. For example, if you offer a meal delivery service, the pain point might be that a working mom has no time to put a healthy meal on the table and finds herself serving fast food one too many days of the week. Your solution is a healthy meal delivery service she can customize to her family’s needs and budget.

Once you find the pain point, you’ll be able to address how you can help consumers get rid of the pain.

Improve Your Landing Page

Start with small changes, test them and see how your site visitors respond. Any small improvements to your landing page help conversion rates. With enough small changes, you’ll see significant results.

image of a video camera

6 Ways to Use Videos on Your Website

Ways to Use Videos on Your Website

You’ve likely noticed that more and more videos appear online each year. Google now offers an option for videos at the top of search results, and many websites feature videos. Brands use them to market on social media as well.

The number of people using videos online is staggering. About 78 percent of people watch online videos each week, and 55 percent state they view online videos on a daily basis. By the year 2020, 80 percent of all online traffic will be video viewing.

With such strong trending toward videos, you’ve probably thought about adding more to your website, but you may not know the different ways you can use video to pull in your site visitors. Here are six strong options.

1. Sell Your Product

If the main goal of your website is to sell a product, then a video is a must. One study showed that 80 percent of people remember a video ad from the past month, and 46 percent took action after watching a video. If you want to show off a product from all angles and show the uses of it, creating a product video should be one of your first steps.

 

Fix Asphalt features a video on their landing page that highlights the asphalt services they offer. They feature processes to fix or complete projects involving asphalt, concrete or pavement maintenance. The video highlights how their service solves a problem.

2. Tell a Story

Does your company have a unique background story? On a given day, in a given minute, about 700,000 Google searches occur, and 100,500 digital words flit by the average person in a day. If you want to stand out, you have to find a unique way to connect with consumers. Telling your own story is one of the best ways to accomplish this goal, and what better way to make it memorable than through a video on your website?

3. Add to the Aesthetics of the Design

It takes the average person just 50 milliseconds to form an opinion about the overall design of your website. Some users form an opinion in only 17 milliseconds. You have the blink of an eye to grab the user’s attention. Present them with something that pleases them visually and makes them want to stick around. Adding a video to your landing page gives readers a break from the text and shows something desirable to the user.

 

Joe’s Garage Coffee uses a looping video to show the process of creating their private label coffee and how it’s superior to that of their competitors. The looping video adds some interest to the background that immediately shows the user what the company is about and why they’re special.

4. Incorporate Embedded Videos

While it might be tempting to add a video to your website and stream it from your server, doing so isn’t always the best choice. Most web designers prefer to embed videos from sources such as YouTube, Vimeo or Wistia. You can upload a unique video specific to your business or use one of the videos on their site with sharing permissions. Using other videos to enhance your message expands your ability.

In particular, if you own a very small business, you may not have the budget to create a video that shows how to install a new furnace filter or any other topic. However, someone else may have already produced that video, and you can simply share it. Just make sure the video you share isn’t from a competitor.

5. Create Product Marketing Videos

Showcasing a product via video allows the user to see the item from all angles and see if it’s for them or not. It’s the next best thing to seeing the product in person. This 360-degree view of a product helps consumers decide if the product meets their needs. It should help cut down on returns and unhappy customers too.

Nine Line Apparel does a good job of highlighting their products in videos. Not only do they show the product, but they show it in use. In the video above, the guy keeps dropping his bottle of beer until the Nine Line hoodie arrives. Suddenly, he has a pocket to hold his beer bottle. It’s presented in a humorous way. However, the other features of the hoodie are also highlighted, such as the thick material and long sleeves.

6. Provide a Vlog

Your website likely has a blog already. Why not make the content a bit more dynamic and add videos to your blog? You can create videos that go with a blog topic or blog posts that are videos. Topics should help solve a problem for your typical customer, so look at questions you receive on a regular basis, and answer them for readers.

The great thing about adding videos is that you can use them on your website and gain traction via social media. YouTube has a massive audience, as does Facebook, so sharing videos on those sites is a great place to start.

Get Creative

Figure out new and exciting ways to implement video on your site so that site visitors see that you have something special to offer. Whether you add videos as part of your looping background or go into detail about the history of your company, each video adds a different element to your site and makes it more interactive for your users.

8 Ways to Speed Up Your Website

8 Steps to a Faster Loading Website and More Money in Your Pocket

Ways to Speed Up Your Website

In the dog-eat-dog, scrappy world of gaining and keeping online traffic, a slow-loading website can crush your chances of making a mark before you even get started. The statistics are frightening. You have about four seconds to get your page loaded in front of a visitor before their itchy mouse finger sends them clicking away to find a faster solution. A single second’s delay yields:

  • 11% fewer page views
  • 16% reduced customer satisfaction
  • 7% drop in conversions

Those numbers are bad enough but the more seconds it takes, the worse they get. For a fighting chance to stay competitive in the game, check out these 8 Steps to a Faster Loading Website and More Money in Your Pocket.

#1. Minify Your Files

When it comes to designing a fast-loading website, being stingy with the actual number of elements is a good way to start the process but, when there are certain things you want to accomplish with your online real estate, you’ll be left with some elements that you simply must include to maintain a professional level of functionality. That’s when it’s time to minify files. This wonky little word is just a techie way to express removing unnecessary formatting, white space, and characters in order to reduce the physical size of files. It sounds complicated and time-consuming, but there are a variety of free online services to help accomplish this. A few to try are Minifier.org or the WordPress plugin WP Rocket.

#2. Choose Asynchronous Loading for Files

The way a browser works is to load a file either synchronously or asynchronously from top to bottom, working its way through the HTML code and any CSS or scripts that arise. Let’s say you have a javascript file near the top of the page. When the browser comes to it, if it is set to render synchronously, the loading of any other files screeches to a halt until the script is completely loaded. With your website set to asynchronous loading at the server level, the browser continues to load other files while still working on the script. You’ve just given it permission to do two things at once.

#3. Find a Fast Server

Some servers are faster than others. That’s an undisputed fact. While there is plenty of advice floating around the internet about how to make client-side tweaks to speed up your website, don’t forget to pay attention to the server side as well. The company you choose for your Domain Name System (DNS) has a lot to do with how quickly a website appears. When you type a name into the URL field of a browser – say widget.com – the server has to match that name with the corresponding IP address, which is simply a sequence of numbers, and go find the right website content to display. Take a look at this DNS speed report to see where your server ranks.

#4. Choose Your Hosting Type Wisely

Note we’re not telling you to choose your web host wisely, though that’s a good idea too. No matter which host you decide on, it’s probably even more important to choose among shared, dedicated, or virtual private server (VPS) hosting. We’ll end the suspense and tell you that for anything but a hobby website, shared hosting is liable to leave you frustrated with your website loading speed. The reason is that a low-cost, shared plan typically piles dozens or even hundreds of website together on a single server and makes them share resources. With either of the other two choices, you have specific amount of resources set aside for you.

#5. Fewer HTTP Requests Means Happier Visitors

Downloading text on a web page takes hardly any time at compared to the other elements dedicated to supporting the page. We’re talking about stuff like images, videos, CSS sheets, and scripts. In fact, Yahoo says that around 80% of the time it takes for a website to appear is taken up by these “extraneous” elements. Every element entails a separate server request, which takes up bandwidth and uses time. By designing your website lean from the start – meaning to only include elements absolutely necessary – you keep server requests down and are able to push your website out to a visitor that much faster.

#6. Consider a Content Delivery Network

The idea of a choosing a Content Delivery Network (CDN) to distribute your website has gained popularity in recent years. You’ll still need your regular ISP but the capability a CDN brings to the table is to store copies of your entire website on various servers around the world and then serve the closest copy to wherever the demand comes from. How much difference does it make? Enough that CDNs are exploding in popularity.

#7. Browser Caching? Yes!

This server setting allows certain web page elements to be stored in a browser’s temporary memory the first time a visitor arrives so that they page can be reloaded faster on return visits. How it works is that files and elements that haven’t changed are called from memory and displayed almost instantly. Dynamic content takes a little longer but at least a visitor has something to look at in the meantime.

#8. Reduce Image Size

Images are a critical part of today’s internet but, unless properly sized, they can slow down loading speed to that of an elephant slogging through quicksand. Luckily, there’s an easy fix. Before you put an image on your website, run it through Photoshop or Pixlr (an online free equivalent) to reduce its file size to under 100 kb if you can. Images that come out of your phone’s camera or off an image repository site are often many megabytes in size. That’s. Simply. Too. Big. Make them smaller.

Final Thoughts

If you get the idea from reading this article that there is an easy one-stop-solution to speeding up your website, you haven’t been paying close enough attention. The process is iterative – make a change, gain a little speed. Make another change, gain a little more speed. The suggestions in this article are a great place to start. If you find yourself confounded by one or more of them, call or chat up your web host’s tech support. That’s what they get paid for. Good luck!   

Web-Based Jobs

14 Web-Based Jobs You Might Be Interested In

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to roll out of bed and instantly be at work without a lengthy commute or hours spent on getting ready? More and more people are working from home these days either remotely for companies or as freelance workers.

According to one survey of 15,000 people, about 43 percent of Americans work at home at least some of the work week. Working from home has a number of advantages, including saving money on your wardrobe, commuting costs and lunches out. At the same time, it can be challenging due to distractions, so make sure you’re prepared for the time commitment before taking on a remote position.

If you’ve already thought it over and you’re sure you want a web-based job you can do from the comfort of your own home office, here are 14 that might interest you.

1. Web Designer

As a web designer, you can either work freelance from your own home office or secure a remote position with a company. Web design has many different facets, and it’s smart to specialize in an area or two, such as user experience (UX) design.

While you don’t technically need a formal education to become a web designer, some knowledge of coding and training in the aesthetics of design will help you build your career.

2. Writer

If you have skill with the written word, look into writing as a full-time career. Many companies hire writers to create content for their websites. You can either collect a number of small business clients or find a company that needs full-time writers.

Degrees in related areas such as education, English and journalism are helpful so that you understand proper grammar and how to put together a story.

3. Cyber Security

As more and more businesses go online and conduct their business there, cybersecurity needs grow. By the year 2024, security analyst jobs are expected to increase by 18 percent.

The majority of work in cybersecurity requires a bachelor’s degree and even some advanced training beyond that. It’s vital that you fully understand how the backend of networks operate and what you need to do to protect companies from external attacks.

4. Medical Coding

You’ve likely heard that you can do medical coding from home. That’s true, but many people start with a local hospital and then work their way into a remote job.

Medical coding pays fairly well, and you can get into it by completing certification. You’ll have to pass a test to show that you know all the codes needed. Be aware that the coding system changes, so you’ll also need to stay up-to-date on training over time.

5. Social Media Marketer

Do you have a knack for social media and a background in marketing? Social media marketing is a position that can be done from home. Similar to writing, smaller companies may require only a part-time marketer, so you may need to work for several companies to reach full-time income status.

Make sure you have a background in marketing and that you understand the details of each social media platform and its typical audience.

6. Virtual Assistant

Are you highly organized? Consider working as a virtual assistant. The work for this type of position is highly varied. You might answer emails for a CEO one day and transcribe a recorded meeting another day. You might have a client who needs you to send out notices to their customers the next week.

You’ll need to be extremely organized and have a wide range of clerical skills to do this type of work.

7. Language Translator

The median pay for interpreters and translators is $47,190 per year. The typical education is a bachelor’s degree, and you’ll of course need to read, write and speak fluently in the languages you’ll translate. Because this type of work isn’t something companies typically need every day, you’ll probably work as a freelancer running your own business.

8. Online Teacher/Tutor

Do you love to teach others? A job as an online teacher or tutor is an excellent option. Be aware that if you plan to teach English to other countries, you’ll likely be required to work hours that make sense in that country. So, if you live in the United States and plan to tutor students in Asia, you’ll need to get up very early in the morning or stay up very late at night to cover your shifts.

Most companies require a teaching degree and/or experience with this kind of work.

9. Phone Support

In today’s economy, consumers expect companies to answer live chat, emails and phone calls 24/7. This demand has created an entire industry for remote workers, which gives you an opportunity.

You don’t need an advanced degree to offer phone support for a company, but you will need good phone manners and a decent speaking voice. If you’re unsure, take some basic voice lessons to help you develop your voice and keep from straining it while talking for long periods of time.

10. Legal Transcriptionist

Do you type fast and have accuracy in your finished product? Legal transcription is a good choice for you, and you can do this type of work web-based. Expect about $20 per audio hour, but be aware that it can take you longer than an hour to transcribe an hour’s worth of audio depending on your typing speed and any accents in the recording as well as other factors.

You don’t need any special training for this position, but you’ll be expected to have good grammatical skills.

11. Bookkeeper

If your skills are more in the math realm, take accounting classes and learn to do business bookkeeping. You can complete this work from nearly anywhere. If you work for a local company, you’ll likely need to go into the office sometimes, but you’ll find that much of your work is doable at home. Local community colleges typically offer accounting classes.

12. Life Coach

If you’re skilled at inspiring people to do their best, you may do well as a life coach or personal coach. This type of work requires multiple clients, but you can specialize in areas such as weight loss, academics or personal improvement. All work can be completed online via Skype or messaging. You could also meet clients in your home or at a small local office.

13. Video Editing

There are many opportunities to do this type of work at home. Contact local funeral homes to inquire about their need for a video editor. Most now offer this type of service and may need someone to fill the gap and put in the time it takes to pull all the images and text together as well as add music. You could also freelance and create videos for graduations, birthdays, anniversaries, weddings and other special events.

14. Photographer

Many different types of photography exist nowadays. And, you don’t have to be a wedding or portrait photographer to make money with today’s online marketplace. In fact, you can take pictures of nearly anything imaginable, upload them to stock photo sites and make a living. Another option is to commission with companies such as grocery stores and restaurants to come up with recipes and include images for their readers.

Best Web-Based Jobs

These fourteen ideas cover a wide range of skill types and interests. The best web-based jobs tap into something you’re already passionate about. This allows you to work from home while pursuing that interest. If you don’t see anything on the list that interests you, brainstorm about what you like to do and how you might turn that into a career. With a little creativity and a lot of determination, you’ll work from home before you know it.

Is Your Website Always Considering the Customer Experience?

When customers land on your website, they expect a particular type of experience. The human attention span is short, and people don’t have the patience to figure out complicated navigation or sort through a lot of clutter. As a website owner, you must learn to look at your site through the eyes of your target audience and create an experience that’s both positive and productive.

A customer who has a negative experience on your site is 88 percent less likely to revisit your site in the future. It is worth it to take the time to ensure the customer experience (CX) is the absolute best it can be every time. Here are nine tips to help you do that.

1. Offer More Than Promotions

Site visitors aren’t always looking for product promotion. Sometimes they land on your page seeking resources that meet other needs. Perhaps they want specific information, to be entertained or are just browsing for a few spare minutes. Look at your content through the eyes of the consumer. What is missing that your site visitors might want?

Best Made started as a company building a better ax, but today have a line of sustainable and durable tools. Rather than only offering a link to the latest promotion, Best Made takes the time to look at what their target audience might be interested in and adds entertainment value through elements such as a suggested reading list and outdoor activity themes.

2. Focus on Emotion

When thinking about CX for your site, you must consider the emotions of site visitors — 70 percent of the customer experience is based on how they feel they are treated. If you figure out how to serve up warm and fuzzies, you’ll develop a loyal customer following. Tap into those universal emotions everyone experiences, such as sadness, joy and love.

3. Meet Basic Expectations

One of the first things your site should accomplish is meeting the basic expectations of your target audience. For most people, this means your site has features such as an easy-to-find navigation bar and that they can almost instinctively find the things they want to move through your site.

Does your logo link up to the home page? Is your navigation bar near the top? One of the best ways to ensure your site is meeting these needs is to have outside parties visit and tell you how the structure and even placement of features works for them.

The Amish Outlet Store has the elements customers seek when landing on an eCommerce site. For example, there is a “customer service” option in the nav bar, which speaks to both new and current customers. If a customer has an issue with a purchase, they can easily find help. On the other hand, new customers can ask questions or feel reassured that customer service is a priority for the company.

4. Reward Loyalty

Loyal customers aren’t easy to come by, but they will stick with your company through thick and thin and re-order from you consistently. Studies suggest a loyal customer is worth far more than a new lead — they’re five times as likely to buy again, five times more likely to forgive errors and four times as likely to refer others to your company.

5.      Show Them How Things Work

Take the time to show your site visitors how the products and services you offer work. There are few things in life more frustrating than getting no directions for a new product. Some things aren’t easy to figure out, and a video or illustration on your website does wonders to alleviate this aggravation. Take the time to instruct your customers and offer insider tips.

Fifty Three sells creativity tools, such as digital pencils. One of the best features of this site is the clear indicators of what the Pencil does and how it works. This is accomplished through images, illustrations and with a bit of text mixed in. If someone is on the fence about whether to purchase the product, seeing what it does allows them to decide between buying or not.

6. Focus on Mobile

Increasingly more people access the Internet via their mobile devices these days. If your site doesn’t have a mobile first — or at least a mobile responsive — approach, you risk alienating these users and losing them to a competitor. If a site has a poor mobile design, 57 percent of consumers say they won’t recommend that website.

7. Share What Others Think

Online consumers tend to seek out the opinions of others through reviews and testimonials. You can make this process easier for them by including reviews and testimonials on your site. This keeps them on your page, rather than causing them to hop to another tab and possibly never return.

In fact, 85 percent of consumers read as many as 10 reviews before deciding whether to trust a business. They trust these reviews the same way they trust personal recommendations.

 

Marucci offers testimonials from professional players to highlight why their baseball bats are the best. The site is relatively simple, but as you scroll down, you’ll see direct quotes from players such as Andrew McCutchen. They also offer a series of videos with baseball players highlighting why they love the bats.

8. Add Artificial Intelligence

Can you simplify a process for your site visitors by adding artificial intelligence (AI)? Sometimes this means merely walking the site visitor through registration with a bot that intuitively fills in the blanks. Today, 80 percent of marketers believe AI is going to change the way we market in coming years. Of course, how you utilize AI depends on your industry and the features of your website, but it’s worth researching to improve the overall CX.

9. Go Above for Customer Service

What happens when a site visitor interacts with your customer service model? This is part of the overall experience of the customer, so you want it to be the absolute best experience possible. Make sure you have a strong, positive customer service philosophy in place and that you respond as quickly as possible to customers.

Try to connect with consumers in a variety of ways — live chat, email and toll-free numbers are all excellent places to start. If a customer orders, follow up with a thank you email and touch base from time to time. The added effort will pay off in the form of a better CX overall.

Always Strive for a Better Customer Experience

Customers who have an enjoyable experience on your website are more likely to tell their friends and revisit your site. However, word about both good and bad experiences spread across the Internet at lightning speed. Take the time to ensure your customers are 100 percent happy, and you’ll see the payoff in sales and reduced customer churn.

Knowing your Target Audience

How to Create the Website Your Target Audience Wants to Visit

Knowing your target audience impacts the way you approach the content on your site, but it should also shape every other element as well. Since a mere 22 percent of businesses say they are happy with their conversion rates, focusing on how to convert your audience should be a key component of your website strategy.

The first step to creating a site for your target audience is figuring out how to engage those who land on your website. If you want to truly engage your audience, then the best place to start is making sure you know that audience and what they want from a website.

1. Know Your Target Audience

This should go without saying, but it bears repeating because is such an important element of creating a strong website that converts. Make sure you know who your audience is. Use website analytics, polling and some common knowledge about the age group you’d like to reach. The way you present a site aimed at Generation Z is going to be much different than the way you present a website aimed at Generation X.

Knowing your Target Audience

Gap tends to target its clothing to multiple generations, but it doesn’t overlook the importance of Gen X in its marketing, and it showcases this intent with its website. Gen X is sometimes overlooked by marketers, but they have quite a bit of buying power. They may not be as large as a group as baby boomers or millennials, but they still rank around 60 million. Notice how the images on the site target different generations, such as parents in Gen X as well as millennials.

2. Choose Colors Wisely

There is a psychology to colors that can impact everything from the impression your site makes on a visitor to your conversion rates. Even the gender you are targeting should be considered. If you’re trying to reach women, for example, you’ll want to avoid colors women hate, such as orange and gray. Know what emotions which colors evoke and you’ll be better able to choose design elements that will have maximum impact.

3. Relevant CTAs

Are your call to actions (CTAs) specific to the products you want to introduce to your readers? It is tempting to create a landing page and just leave it for years while you work on social media and other endeavors. However, you should take another look at your CTAs any time you add a new product. Update your CTAs often.

Knowing your Target Audience

HydroWorx does an excellent job of highlighting its new product, the HydroWorx 200, and adding CTA buttons that tie into the new product release. The buttons lead the user to either get additional information or see the product in action. This targets its audience, who is likely made up of baby boomers and want all the details before making a big purchase.

4. Study the Competition

Take the time to really study what your competition is doing, especially if you have the same or similar target audiences. What is your competition doing that you aren’t doing? How can you offer your site visitors more than they do? If they don’t provide any instructional videos, for example, adding some to your site could help draw visitors your way instead of theirs.

5. Figure Out Your USP

Take the time to figure out your unique selling proposition (USP). What value does your website offer to your target audience? Once you know what your USP is, you can present it with a tagline, video or through the content you share.

De Beers is all about offering diamond jewelry. It is probably best known for its tagline of “a diamond lasts forever.” Its USP is that it offers heirloom-quality diamonds that last forever and are handed down year after year. Knowing its unique identity is what sets it apart and makes it so well known.

6. Understand How They Access Your Site

Take the time to really dig into your site’s analytics and figure out how people are accessing your site. With more and more people accessing the internet on their mobile devices, you may find that a number of your site visitors are doing the same. If 75 percent of your traffic is via mobile devices, you may want to switch to a mobile-first design.

7. Show Your Personality

If you want to really reach your target audience, don’t be afraid to share your personality with them. Take the time to create a company persona and share it with those who visit your site. Storytelling pulls the visitors in as soon as they land on your page.

Take a look at how much personality M&Ms shows on its website. It has animated its candy and brought it to life with a cast of characters and a bit of humor. It offers numerous videos featuring the M&M candies. This is also reflected in the bright colors on its site.

8. Make Your Content Shine

At the end of the day, the reason most people come to your site is to get information. Make sure you provide in-depth and solid information on anything related to your industry. This can include product guides, articles on related topics and instructional videos. This is another area where studying what the competition is doing can come in handy. What information does your target audience want that your competitor isn’t offering?

Create a Website With Your Target Audience in Mind

Take the time to look at your website through the eyes of your target audience. Is there anything missing that you’d like to see if you were a potential customer? How can you improve what is already there? Take the time to survey your customers, too. This will provide you with information you otherwise wouldn’t have.

Creating a website that targets the exact audience you want to reach isn’t an easy process, but the results will make it worth the effort. Pay attention to each aspect of your site, small and large, and your site visitors will respond positively.

How Crawl Speed Affects Your Search Engine Ranking

Crawl Speed and Search Ranking

Internet users don’t want to waste any time typing in your URL and you can’t really blame them. They want a fast and seamless experience and that is why they favor search engines like Google. And to show up there, on the booming avenues of the internet, you need to get your pages crawled and indexed.

In other words, you have to face the technical side of SEO, one that often gets neglected and unsolved. However, this effort is the only way to lay the solid groundwork and elevate your website’s usability, speed, and visibility. So, you must be able to appease the internet deities and delight its users at the same time.

Get your priorities straight

Make no mistake: crawl speed can make or break your internet presence. Although officially not a ranking factor, it has a profound impact on SEO. It affects all other aspects of your strategies and determines their ultimate success. All in all, not having your pages crawled and indexed undermines your SEO aspirations.

It is not an overstatement to say that this can be an utter disaster for websites that update content on the regular basis and want to get it in front of users as soon as possible. Therefore, before pondering your content marketing and social media strategy, you might want to take a look at what is going on “under the hood” of your website.

Make it snappy

First off, note that there is a strong correlation between your web speed and crawl speed.

In case you have a sluggish internet presence, the crawl speed of Google bots can be hampered. Namely, Google has expressed discontent with high-response times for requests made to the website. Its officials admitted that they differentiate between sites that are really slow and those that have normal load times. If it takes two seconds to fetch a single URL, then the number of URLs that bots crawl is severely limited.

This indirectly, yet substantially impedes your ranking. Of course, optimizing on a millisecond level doesn’t change anything. But, if you improve response time by one second you can make a real difference in terms of how quickly Google picks up new content and related updates.

Strengthen the supporting pillars

In the eyes of a Googlebot, a speedy website is a reflection of a healthy server infrastructure. This is to say that it receives a positive signal, one that indicates the possibility of grasping more content over the same number of connections. On the other hand, 5xx errors and connection timeouts serve as red flags that reveal server deficiencies. In the wake of the latter scenario, crawl speed slows down.

In the mobile world, speed plays an even more pivotal role. Google has announced that as of July 2018, it will use mobile site speed as a ranking signal. All pages will be measured in the light of this criterion, regardless of whether they belong to a dedicated or a responsive site. Slow websites will be penalized and fast ones will be awarded better ranking. This seismic shift will be introduced by an algorithm change called “Speed Update”.

So, take action now to brace yourself for the mobile-first digital world. You will have to figure out the exact moment when the tide of change hits your pages. To do that, you can access your server logs and see if there is an increase in crawling activity of Google’s smartphone variant (accompanied by the decrease in the activity of the desktop counterpart).

Full speed ahead

Furthermore, website speed testing is a must.

There are various instruments to do this, so take your pick. Also, make sure to use SEO audit tool to gauge the SEO-friendliness of your pages and uncover any technical issues and errors that could hamper your ranking. Make it easier for your search engines to crawl your pages faster and you will be able to forward your overall optimization strategy.

In the case of mobile pages, you can utilize Search Console to estimate how your pages hold up. To be more precise, a “Smartphone” tab, which you can find under ”Crawl Errors,” allows you to identify any problems that encumber your mobile pages. “Fetch on Google” is another key feature that gives you insights into how Google bots see your website. Use the acquired knowledge to make the necessary adjustments.

Of course, there are some other things you can do to improve crawl speed. The list of solutions goes on and involves activities such as minimizing the downtime, creating an XML sitemap, and taking advantage of robot.txt files. So, go on, explore all avenues, and make an effort to cover all the technical bases.

Get a move on

If you are serious about taking your organic visibility to the next level, you have to enable search engines to efficiently crawl and index your pages. This is a real game-changer in the domain of SEO.

Thus, familiarize yourself with the way crawling process plays out. Realize that Google algorithm chances stem from shifting user preferences and trends such as the explosion smartphone-based online browsing. Make crawling a breeze for bots and let your pages run like clockwork.

You should be able to drive an immense amount of traffic your way and advance by leaps and bounds towards the forefront of the SERPs.

The User Interface (UI) Designer’s Toolbox

Best UI Design Tools

This article will primarily be on the software used specifically within the interface design discipline, focusing on the creation of page layouts, simple interactive prototyping, and design assets.

A modern user interface designer has a number of options in regards to what software or tools that they use. These include classic tools like the whiteboards and sketchbooks to a number of software that can accomplish anything from site-mapping, page layouts or even interaction animations. What software should be used depends on the requirements of the project, and typically a single project uses a wide array of software and tools to convey the UI designer’s thoughts, ideas and research.

Whiteboards and Sketchbooks: The Classics

Oftentimes the classic tools are the most effective. When starting a digital project being able to quickly work through ideas and concepts to allow for a team quickly discover points of discussion and any potential roadblocks to the production process. To create these rapidly evolving and changing definition level items it helps to get all of the project stakeholders together and do a whiteboarding workshop. Whiteboarding is the method of using a whiteboard to rapidly draw up different layouts, organizational structures, and workflows, allowing the team to quickly try out solutions. If the whole team can’t be available or whiteboarding isn’t an option, quickly sketching (pencil and paper) concepts and discussing them with your team in order to ensure you are moving forward with the best possible solution.

The Adobe Creative Suite: The Standard

The software suite that needs no introduction, as if you are reading this post you are certainly familiar with it, The Adobe Creative Suite. Adobe has cornered the market on graphic design software for as long as I have been in the industry. It is the primary focus of most graphic design programs and the name Adobe is ubiquitous in the field of Graphic Design. As interface design was starting out, most designers created their layouts in Photoshop or Illustrator, and while there were several workarounds to make them work these programs were created with specific goals in mind, primarily dealing with the creation of designs for Print mediums. Certainly these softwares still have their uses, namely in the creation of image assets for digital products and I still haven’t found a replacement for Illustrator when it comes to the creation of icons and logos. Adobe XD is Adobe’s attempt at creating an interface design software from the ground up, but it leaves much to be desired, which brings us to…

Sketch And Invision: The New Standard

In my experience drafting UI job descriptions and looking over job postings and seeing what companies are looking for in their UI designers, the new standard for the industry has shifted from the primary focus from the creative suite to an understanding of the combination of Sketch and Invision. These two software, when integrated into a workflow, can quickly produce interactive prototypes without having to develop anything into code, allowing the digital product team to move through iterations quicker and update designs without having to redevelop the codebase. Sketch is a software that was built with interface design in mind, and as such Sketch provides the ability to efficiently layout pages using a combination of the best features from photoshop and illustrator. Invision allows the designer to take those layouts and make them interactive, giving the team and client something to click through, test and quickly iterate on to produce a better quality of work.

What’s Next?

One of the most important aspects of being a successful user interface designer is ensuring that you maintain an understanding of the best tools to create the best assets for your digital project. As the design software landscape evolves, it allows designers to create assets that better convey their ideas to their clients. It is entirely possible that the most useful tools in any UI designer’s toolbox haven’t even been created yet.

Where to Find and How to Choose Web Design Online Courses

Online education is the future of learning. It solves the problem of not having any usable skill and provides unmatched possibilities for everyone wanting to learn something new. Web design is among the most popular skills learned online, as thousands of people around the world earn a certificate in this area every week using a membership software.

In today’s article, we’re going to talk about everything related to online courses of web design, including types, sources, and selection. With an average salary of web designer of $49,000, the occupation becomes more and more popular.

Hope this guide will be helpful to you to make a great choice of a course and begin your journey in this exciting field.

How Getting Online Education Affects My Employment Chances?

The web has courses for everyone, whether you are a beginner or an experienced designer. They cover all areas of the field, including responsive design, UX, web design essentials, and lots more. However, there are still lots of traditional schools and universities that teach web design.

Naturally, those wondering whether to choose online education begin questioning the credibility of this option. If you’re wondering, too, here is the list of advantages of taking an online course:

  • You don’t have to put your life on hold to attend school
  • Online courses provide a comparable quality of education
  • Many online courses provide certificates recognized by most employers
  • Taking an online course is a much more affordable option
  • You don’t have to quit your job to pursue a degree online
  • You can learn anywhere with an Internet connection

“Because of these reasons, thousands of people choose to learn online,” says Bruce Wilkins, an online educator from A-writer. While getting traditional education remains a great option in terms of increasing your chances of employment, online education can have the same effect.

You just have to choose a known, proven course that provides relevant knowledge. Need some help with that? Read further.

How to Choose Online Web Design Courses

To make a final selection of a course, you should consider the following factors:

  • Credibility of the source
  • Cost
  • Learning Method

Each of them is equally important; for example, your budget determines whether you seek paid or free courses while credibility of the source may affect the chance of employment. Also, your preferred learning style such as visual has a significant effect on knowledge retention, so choose a course with appropriate materials.

Here’s a list of well-known websites with online web design courses for every budget and skill. All of them have 4+ stars rating given by learners.

Course Title: Make a Website

Source: CodeAcademy

Cost: Free (pro versions available)

In-Demand Skills: yes

Certificate: yes

CodeAcademy is a well-known US-based online learning platform that provides web design knowledge for both beginners and experts. It has both free and paid courses (average price of a paid course is $199). The skills provided by CodeAcademy are relevant and updated, so you can be sure that you’ll do well on your first job.

Course Title: Responsive Web Design Fundamentals

Source: Class Central

Cost: Free

In-Demand Skills: yes

Certificate: yes

Class Central is another popular source of knowledge related to web design and development. This class in particular is taught by a web developer from Google, and it great for those starting their way in responsive web design. It is totally free and self-paced, and uses a lot of visuals to represent the information.

Course Title: Web Design for Everybody (Basics of Web Development and Coding) Specialization

Source: Coursera

Cost: Free

In-Demand Skills: yes

Certificate: yes

Created by the University of Michigan, this course offers a self-paced, customized approach to learning web design. It requires no previous experience in web design and 2-4 hours/week to complete. After completing the course, you’ll know the basics of web design; also, you’ll be able to create a responsive website that uses a wide range of tools to make it as user-friendly as possible.

Course Title: Diploma in Web Design

Source: Alison

Cost: Free

In-Demand Skills: yes

Certificate: diploma

This course is designed for both beginner and intermediate web designers and provides a comprehensive approach to learning. The skills taught in Diploma in Web Design include HTML, Adobe Dreamweaver, CSS, and other basics. By the end of the course, you’ll be able to create a website, add content, use background styles, CSS, fonts, and use Adobe Dreamweaver to create a site with Flash, JavaScript, and HTML.  If you score 80 percent or higher in each course assessments, you’ll able to purchase an official certificate.

Takeaways

Choosing a great web design course requires some consideration; for example, it’s better to choose a well-known platform that provides an approach that fits your learning style and good feedback from learners.

In this article, only free courses were provided so you can make a good start without burning a hole in your pocket while still being able to purchase an official certificate to provide to potential employers.

Hope you’ll make a great choice!

UX Design Tips for E-Commerce

Top 7 UX Design Tips for E-Commerce Product Pages

A product page that conveys a purpose and benefit of a store item, and smoothly take a user through all the features and demos, and to the checkout page is considered an ideal user experience (UX) design. The web design UX focuses the removal of every possible hurdle that may stop a user from taking action and the addition of a feature that adds comfort to the user in reading, clicking, entering detail, or paying for the order.

Pursuing a UX design is not restricted to the layout or appearance of the product page, in fact, it is about enhancing the web design usability and understanding for the end users. Like, easing the users in scanning the content, viewing the images with a focus, comparing prices with product features, expediting the checkout process, and lots of more.

Optimizing the UX design for higher conversion is crucial as the developer, designer, or the merchant has to put himself in the shoes of a common user and examine the areas that have to be improved. Following are some of the UX design tips that may give you a checklist to expeditiously review product pages and adopt relevant strategies to enhance the ease and usability for a layman.

1. Set a Competitive Price and Justify It

Price of a product is a major driving force of a purchase decision. The internet users are browsing the internet and compare product prices along with features at different online stores. They roughly draft a cost versus benefit analysis of the product in your store. To facilitate them in knowing the best value for money, clarify the price you charge and justify it with the features you have in hand.

The price clarification means showing direct and indirect charges. For example, you display a white color T-shirt at $10, but secretly increase the price when a user selects a black color. Avoiding tricking people to select a product at a low price and quote a higher one when they convert or about to convert.

2. Add Quality Images with Zooming Features

The online stores have virtual shelves that can never provide a real-life experience to the users to examine a product from each and every corner. But, professional photography and zooming features have the power to provide a somewhat similar experience. Add high-quality product images from various angles, and allow the users to zoom in or out a specific part of the image as well.

Try experimenting different product zooming options. In addition to quick-view and zoom-in feature, a 360-degree view is also an emerging trend in enhancing the user experience. It demands to capture multiple product images and sorting them in a series so that a user can go through every detail of the store item.  

3. Acquire and Display Customer reviews

Acquiring reviews from your happy customers is a tangible and long-term asset to your product pages. It is an effective strategy for gaining trust and credibility in the eyes of your potential buyers. The users are more likely to read what your existing customers have found about your products and services.

According to a survey published by MarketingLand, about 90% of the customers have agreed that the online reviews are highly influential in making a purchase decision. So, don’t miss on your losing your potential customers who only need to hear from a few fellow customers.

4. Publish Scannable Product Descriptions

Reading content on the screen is a completely different thing than reading text on a hard paper. In fact, the screen readers scan the content rather than reading it word by word. Unlike the novel and short stories, people are here to absorb the information of their interest and skip the rest of the text.

Compose the product content that is simple, clear, and crisp that caters to the exact needs of your targeted users. Incorporate story-telling in a way that keeps the users engaged rather than making them cross the tab and switch to another one.

A product page shall begin with a short summary and leads to highlight the core features. Let the readers know about the product at first instance. Make the introduction attractive to compel them to scroll down the page and review the features one by one.

5. Consider Simplifying the Checkout Process

Checkout is the conversion borderline. A successful checkout means an accomplished sale. The UX design needs to be improved in a way that smoothly takes the users all the way through the product description to the cart pages and the checkout page. A minor difficulty in filling the details or understanding an option may result in cart abandonment.

For smooth checkout experience, you can simplify the entire process with different strategies like allowing one-page checkout that removes the multiple steps of entering shipping, billing, and personal details all at once.

Additionally, you can modify the design with stick checkout that carries forward transaction details as the user goes through the multiple steps. The permission of guest user checkout is also a way forward to improve the user experience. Make the user registration voluntary and observe the difference in conversions.

6. Display Relevant and Bought Together Products

Do not limit your customers to view a single product on a landing page. A Majority of buyers are willing to select more relevant products from the same store. It helps them save the shipping charges and time in browsing multiple stores. By displaying relevant products or frequently bought together items, you can facilitate users in adding more products to cart and checkout for all of them at once.

With the help of widgets, plug-ins, and modules, you can automate the display of similar products in a small block right on the product page. It will surely help you to cross-sell and up-sell products that ultimately boost the revenues.

7. Show Product Availability or Stock Top-up duration

A user covers a long journey in reaching the ‘add to cart’ page but feels disappointed when finds that the required product is not available in stock. To save them from the hassle, display the stock availability in numbers and minimum items they can order. This will allow them to quickly add a required number of items to cart. Avoid cart abandonment right on the product page.  

The addition of out-of-stock notification tool is also a way forward in informing the users about the expected inventory top-up period. With the help of such a tool, users can get email notifications about inventory top-ups so that they can return and buy the products that were out of stock on their last visit.

Final Thoughts

The above-discussed UX design tips may help you quickly restore a viable user experience that contributes towards higher conversions. But, this is not the end. UX design is an open concept that welcomes the addition of every feature and functionality that aims to reduce the user stress in buying a product or service. Be creative in coining new ways of improving UX in addition to the ones mentioned above, and take the lead in your niche.

Asad Ali is an experienced Digital marketing expert having more than 7 years of experience in eCommerce industry. He is currently working for GO-Gulf Dubai web design company. As leading executive for GO-Gulf, he has specialized in search engine optimization, user experience & conversion optimization. You can reach him on LinkedIn.