Dos and Don’ts of Good Web Design and Content for Digital Marketing

Owning and operating a website for your business is only one small step in the digital marketing process. There is a lot of planning and continuous work that needs to go into the website to keep it functioning at an optimal pace for your brand. Therefore, knowing the dos and don’ts of good web design and content are vital.

Web Design Do’s and Don’ts

Since all websites begin with the designing process, it’s essential to know what your team should be doing and what they should be avoiding to create a tool that genuinely benefits your business.

The Don’ts

1. Avoid Using Too Many Typefaces and Colors

With well over 1.7 billion websites online today, web designers are always looking for ways to make their sites stand out from the crowd. While using different typefaces and colors is a great way to help create page hierarchy, you want to avoid using too many of each. Less fonts brings more design consistency and less clutter. Pick 2 or 3 of each and use them wisely.

2. Don’t Make Promotion the Main Focus

While your brand wants to bring in more business, setting your website up as one giant promotion isn’t the way to do it. Consumers want answers to their pain points, not to be sold to. Provide them with answers and quality content, and you’ll begin earning their trust.

3. Don’t AutoPlay Music or Videos

Videos and music have their place online, and it isn’t on your homepage set to autoplay. People don’t want these things blaring from their speakers unknowingly. Yes, you can include both on your pages, however, include a play button and let your readers choose if they want to listen in.

4. Minimize Pop-Ups

Pop-ups are a great last-second reminder to visitors to sign up for your newsletters; however, they can quickly become a nuisance. It is especially true as more and more people turn to their mobile devices for surfing the web. Those pop-ups become difficult to maneuver around or even close, leading visitors to find their information elsewhere.

5. Minimize Dependency on Stock Images

As enticing as premade images are, internet users are sick of seeing the same stock images everywhere. It’s not to say you can’t use them, there is just a time and a place for them. The more original your imagery, the more your brand personality will stand out amongst competitors.

The Do’s

1. Have an Easy-to-Use Navigation System?

Navigation plays a bigger role in web design and a users’ ability to access content. Keep your navigation menu simple and clearly labeled so that users can find what they need, quickly.

2. Design Your Pages to Be Scannable

Readers want answers, so they are going to scan your page to see if you’re answering their questions before they really want any other details. Make sure your content is actionable and clearly state the problem you’ll be addressing early on to encourage visitors to do a more in-depth read.

3. Make Your Website Design Responsive

Having a responsive web design allows visitors to view your pages no matter what type of device they are using. With more users searching the internet on their mobile devices, having a responsive design is more crucial than ever.

responsive vs non-responsive website

4. Use Clear Calls-to-Action Buttons (CTAs)

You’ve provided visitors with information, great. Now you need to guide them on what they should be doing next. Having standout CTAs helps guide them through the funnel process so that they don’t go searching your competitors for more.

5. Balance of Space Between Images and Copy

Having adequate space between your images and text plays a vital role in user engagement. While some designers fear excessive amounts of white space, having just enough to break up large walls of text or images helps give your reader’s eye’s a break. Think of this whitespace as a period in a sentence. It allows your readers to take a moment’s break before they are encouraged to move forward.

Content Writing Do’s and Don’ts

When the hard work of designing your website is done, that doesn’t mean the work is complete. A massive part of web design is creating quality content consistently to help draw in visitors regularly. Content is a vital piece of the digital marketing process, so here are a few tips to keep in mind from our web design team in Austin.

The Don’ts

1. Avoid Overselling

As with web design, content is about the reader, not necessarily your goal to sell so many products. While your CTAs can suggest your services or product, let your content be about providing information to the reader.

2. Don’t Use Poor Anchor Text

Anchor text is used to link to more information, and it’s essential that you choose the right text to link to in order to entice a reader to click on it. Simply stating, “click here!” won’t cut it anymore. Instead, you need to be using quality anchor text that is descriptive enough to encourage readers to click if they want more information on that topic.

example good anchor link tags
Image example taken from Yoast

The Do’s

1. Set the Right Messaging for Your Brand

Simply put, your brand’s messaging will help define who you as a brand are. It’s your style of communication, it’s how your clientele will come to know you and so much more. We aren’t talking your brand’s slogan here. Successful brand messaging will tell your readers who you are and what kind of personality your brand represents.

2. Keep Content Writing Simplified

Keep your content short, sweet and to the point! Now, that doesn’t mean you have to limit your content to 500 words. However, you want to keep your content concise. If you can get your message across in 3-5 sentences, then don’t spend 6 paragraphs explaining it. Doing this will keep your content easily digestible for readers who are notorious for having short attention spans.

3. Provide Answers

Visitors come to you in search of answers—make sure you are providing them! The point of good content is to provide information to your target audience. So, make sure you are doing just that.

4. Use Headers/Sub-headers, Lists and Bullet Points

Breaking up paragraphs with headers, lists, and bullet points help to make your content easy to navigate and scan through. Using these helps to eliminate those intimidating walls of text, which should be avoided at all costs.

5. Write to Humans and Not to Spiders

As crucial as search engine optimization (SEO) is, it is crucial that you are writing for the reader, not for Google’s bots. Language needs to be natural for readers to latch on and want to continue reading.

6. Adopt A Writing Style Guide

A style guide is a set of standards that a brand adopts for their written communications and applies to everything from which tense to use, punctuation and grammar use and so much more. Without a standard writing style guide, a brand’s communications will take on a very uniform look and feel, which leads to sloppy work in the long run.

Digital Marketing is All About Quality Design

Web design and good content go hand in hand. So, it’s essential to make sure you understand the best practices for each.

If you are looking for help taking your website and content to the next level, our web design team at JS-Interactive can help! Contact us today to discuss which services best suit your needs, and let’s make your website shine bright!

12 Principles of Great Web Design

Your website is your public face, not just to your neighborhood, but across the globe. Make your site count with effective web design. We have 12 principles of great web design your business can’t live without.

1. The Beauty of Simplicity

A few short years ago, Google completed a study that found website users do not like visual complexity. If there is too much going on in your web design, visitors may quickly become overwhelmed and click out of your site. Simplicity is the way to go when creating a website that means business, so go easy on sidebars that clutter the page and stick with simpler templates that are easier to read and navigate.

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2. Make it Pretty – To a Point

Yes, you want a website that is aesthetically pleasing. However, when your design gets in the way of educating prospective customers about your product or service, your design becomes a distraction rather than an enticement. Give layouts your artistic touch, but always keep your focus on what your potential customer came to your site for in the first place – a solution to their problem.

3. Be a Bit Negative

When you create the perfect blend of content and white space, you have a winning combination that is more likely to win over website visitors. Keep in mind white space doesn’t have to be “white,” but you need to have some text-free space on your pages to keep readers focused on the important things you want to say in the center of that space.

4. Got Mobile?

Consider that more than half of all websites today are opened on a phone or other device. Is your website ready for the challenge? Whether you use a website layout that adjusts to different screen sizes (mobile responsive) or create a mobile version of your site, your user experience needs to be similar across the board.

mobile web design practices

5. The Need for Speed

There is no way around it – users and search engines love fast websites. To keep visitors on your site and to increase your conversion rate, you need to bring your speed up to par. Today’s consumer doesn’t want to wait even a few seconds for a website page to load. If you have delays, you likely will see few click-throughs as visitors grow bored or become impatient with your site and switch to a competitor.

6. Let Your Brand Personality Shine

When you incorporate your brand personality into your website, you immediately give it familiarity and credibility. A website with your distinct stamp of personalization engages your visitors and allows them to relate to your business on a more personal level. When people identify with your brand, they are more apt to purchase your products. From your unique logo to your consistent color scheme a branded website is an effective website.

7. Create a Crack-Free Funnel

A sales funnel is the journey your customer goes on that begins with discovering your business and ends with making a purchase. Your website needs to provide a clear sales funnel that walks potential customers through the process, so they are more likely to make it all the way through to the end. If there are cracks in your sales funnel, your prospective customers can slip through them. Seal up the cracks and give customers a smooth process from beginning to end.

8. Provide Social Proof

People like to conform and if they perceive there is information on a website that others are paying attention to, they are more likely to pay attention to it also. When you can utilize social proof that others like your website, you can win over more customers. Don’t be shy about broadcasting social media shares or testimonials from previous customers.

9. Dazzle Search Engines

Ranking is important – there is no way around it. In addition to SEO, you need to make your site friendly to search engines so you can achieve that higher spot. There are a number of steps you can take to become more search-friendly, from high-quality meta tags to backlinks. Make sure your code is pristine and your load speed is as fast as it can be.

10. Keep ‘Em Focused

There are numerous ways to focus your reader’s attention to your CTAs and other pertinent information on your website. First, use arrows to point visitors in the right direction. Too straightforward? How about using photos of people to do the directing work for you – just make sure their faces are pointed towards the information you want to be highlighted.

11. Limit Choices, Increase Sales

It’s a dynamic known as Hick’s Law. The more choices a customer has, the less likely they are to make a purchase. Limit the number of choices on your website to make it easier for customers to find the perfect product for their needs. You might be surprised just how effective this simple tactic can be.

12. Don’t be Afraid to be Conventional

While you want your website to stand out from the crowd, you also want your users to find the essential elements easily. This might mean keeping conventions like navigation menus at the top and your contact information at the bottom. It may also lead to more conversions for you if users easily find familiar instructions like “contact us” or “checkout.”

If you are looking for an Austin web designer to help you take your website to the next level, js-interactive.com can help. Contact us today to find out how we can help you help your website shine.

What Are the Signs You Need A Website Redesign?

In the ever changing face of the internet, where the rate of evolution moves consistently at a rapid pace, we continue to hit new tipping points that require solutions to new problems in the way we experience the web. Getting a website makeover addresses one of these problems, and with the big push in technology towards the mobile market for example, a website redesign becomes not just a cosmetic luxury, but an essential to your business. So what are the signs you need a website redesign?

Well…how easy is it to navigate throughout your website to access information? Not just on a standard desktop or laptop, but also on multiple mobile devices? By taking a good analysis of your website, tell us…how well is it achieving what you’d like it to achieve? These are just a few questions to ask when considering a website redesign. So let’s go deeper and dive into a strategic checklist to conclude whether or not your business website needs a redesign.

Is your website mobile friendly?

With sales for mobile devices exceeding your standard desktops, it’s imperative that your customers are capable of viewing your business website on a mobile device. Classic websites are too small in scale and hard to navigate through on the small screens of mobile devices. If your website is not mobile friendly, you increase the chances of users leaving your website, and surfing another that is optimized for a mobile environment. Another important note…if you are optimizing your website for good search visibility, having a ‘mobile responsive’ designed website helps search engines to crawl and index your web pages, making them more likely to show up in relevant search queries. Since a mobile responsive website enables your webpage to adapt to multiple devices, there is SEO value with having the same URL and XHTML page viewed from your browser, when requested from a cellphone, or a laptop.

Does your website look dated?

In a competitive market, it’s important that your website remains current in its look, feel and functionality.  It’s not to your advantage to have clients looking at the same web presence and the same content over and over for several consecutive years. Outdated information and a dated image can convey a message to your online customers. If information is not current with the growth of your business, and if content is dated, it may discourage return visits to your website; in a case where your website lacks mobile responsiveness, it can actually discourage new visits as well and increase the chances of users leaving your website. Evaluate how your website looks, and ask yourself if what’s presented online really captures the essence of your business in a professional way that leaves a good 1st impression for prospective business.

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Do you have the ability to update your own content?

Static websites are a thing of the past, and in today’s market, it’s of great benefit that you have the flexibility to manage your own content without the need of a web developer. Having a content management system in place gives you the ability to update and publish your own content, while reducing the cost associated with maintenance as a result of less dependency on a web developer.

What is your competition looking like lately?

Do an analysis and see what your top competitor’s websites are doing. Evaluate what you see working effectively and what you see as areas that are not working or could use major improvement. Naturally, you will want your website’s presence to rise above and stand apart from the competition.

What is your website content strategy like?

With today’s push to provide creative and unique content, you’ll want to ask yourself …how helpful is your website information? How accessible is it? And how relevant is it based on the product and services you provide? The key to a good content strategy is to build and maintain relationships with your online customers by communicating your business product and services in a variety of creative and effective ways. For example, videos and consistent blogging that provides up-to-date, market-relative, helpful information to your customers. It’s important that your website brings value to them…both new and existing. If a website user visits you once, but doesn’t find your information useful, chances are they won’t return to your website. The key to any effective content strategy is making your website and its information all about YOUR CUSTOMER, and not about you.

What IS currently working on your website?

In your evaluation, take note of what is actually working on your website when planning a redesign. If there are areas of your website that customers visit regularly and if there is content on your site that they find useful …keep those things. Accentuate the positives and build on them for the future.

What’s NOT working for you on your website?

In your evaluation, ask yourself the following questions:

  • How easily can online customers access the relevant content they need?
  • Is your website’s navigational architecture easy to follow? Or is content nested within content, creating confusion to your customers and even to yourself when browsing your site?
  • Is your information current?
  • How long or quickly does it take for your web pages to load?
  • How well is your site positioning in Google and Bing Search Engines?
  • Are you getting good results and qualified leads from your website?

Is your website visible to Search Engines?

If you were to search a product, service or even your company name via Google, Bing or any other major search engine … does your website show up on the 1st page of your search results? If not, then it’s critical that your business consider a redesign to include a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) plan. With the internet now being the 1st place people go to learn more about your business, it’s not hard to understand the significance and the importance for having a good SEO plan in place for your website. At JS Interactive, our certified SEO expert is trained and continuously up-to-date with the latest trends and strategies involved with Google, Bing, etc. and with the constant changes in Google algorithmns, we are constantly at work maintaining and growing your website positioning and performance in all major search engines.

These basic questions can really help you to determine whether or not your company needs a website makeover. To help you better understand some of these questions, you may also want to read why Web Analytics are important »

Purposeful Design: Why Customizing Design to Your Audience Matters

Purposeful design is an aesthetic driven by how it will be perceived and utilized by the user.

It’s a combination of art and psychology, recognizing that every creative element in your design serves a purpose: to help inform and guide the user toward a specific direction or action.

Your Website, promotional emails and other digital creative share this same goal. Although each may play a different role in your marketing strategy, their common purpose is to show customers how your brand will enrich their lives.

What better way to boost your marketing objectives than with a design process that aligns with your goals. Here’s how it works.

THE DESIGN PROCESS

Creativity is the ability to see connections and relationships. In marketing, the design process is actually a problem-solving exercise that helps to connect the right product with the right customer at the right time.

Response-driven design approaches this challenge by combining best marketing practices, strategic thinking and elements of art.

Purposeful design delves deeper. It takes what we know about user experience and online behavior in your market and then builds design features around this. It’s the difference between “production work” and “custom creative.”

PURPOSE DRIVES DESIGN

Consider automotive design. The proportions, shape and placement of your car’s instrument panel are not designed solely based on how they will look.

The automotive stylist must also consider the comfort and safety of the passenger in the design process. For example, by placing the radio’s volume control buttons right on the steering wheel, there’s no need to take your eyes off the road when your jam comes on. It’s considerations like this that give design value.

The same is true for your Website and promotional emails. By incorporating user experience and online behavior into the design process, you can identify and anticipate customer needs—then add design elements that react to those needs. This gives your design value. And value is key to higher conversion rates.

CHANGE IS CONSTANT

Here is one more consideration. The number of ways to access your Website continues to evolve with mobile devices and various browsers. New digital features are constantly being rolled out that impact the way your audience perceives your web presence.

Change is constant. As technology evolves, so does customer experience and online behavior. Applying the principles of purposeful design takes these evolutions into account, helping your Website, emails and other creative remain relevant.

Yes, design aesthetic matters. But ignoring the customer experience in the design process is sort of like preparing a meal simply for the sake of presentation. Let’s not forget, it also has to taste sensational.

To learn how purposeful design can improve your web presence, contact us today!

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Lorena Sarbu Website Design and Web Development

Born in Timisoara, Romania, Lorena Sarbu is a contemporary fashion designer with impeccable style, who infuses her own glamorous and European-inspired personal fashion into beautifully timeless creations.In Lorena’s website redesing it was important to have an image that was  bold, yet clean, sophisticated and capturing the essence of who Lorena Sarbu is, and what she provides. Her beautiful evening gowns can be seen worn among many hollywood, red carpet celebrities today.You can view her stunning collection of evening gowns by visiting her website at: www.lorenasarbu.com

Responsive Design: What is it? And How Can It Benefit You?

With the rapid growth and ongoing evolution in technology, it’s important to stay in the competitors market by remaining in the race of today’s trends. As time moves on, and as mobile devices continue to exceed the sales of your standard desktops, it’s no surprise that everyone’s talking about the importance of responsive design, and keeping their websites both accessible and responsive to their users. If you’re putting thought into a website for 2013, give particular attention to the benefits of responsive design, and how it can prepare you for the future of the web. But let’s not just factor in adaptive websites for mobile viewing, as not only are screen sizes getting smaller, but they are also getting larger. By embracing the state of the web, we have to understand balance that makes it possible for us to build amazing things, and put thought into how people may use and access content based on specific context, and how to take advantage of the diverse capabilities of the different devices that your audience is likely to use.

What Is Responsive Design?
Responsive Design is a web design approach aimed at crafting sites to provide an optimal viewing experience—easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling—across a wide range of devices (from mobile phones to desktop computer monitors).

How Can It Benefit You?
With the internet usage now soaring across a wide variety of screen resolutions, it’s no rocket-science understanding the importance of having a website that adapts to these environments. In a fast-paced culture where we find ourselves always on the go..it’s to your advantage having a website that responds well to mobile devices. This increases user experience, combats high chances for people leaving your website and brings value to your website…not just for your customers, but to search engine ranking as well, since Google endorses what responsive design provides –  one URL and one website rendering across multiple devices.

With the progressive enhancement of the web, and the explosion of mobile devices, designing websites for the mobile screen is now viewed by professionals as a requirement to our customers, not an additional consideration.