Top 7 Web Design Tips to Help Your Website Load Faster

web design tips

When it comes to business marketing, it is important to ensure these days to have a prominent online presence. And for that, having a website is a must. It can be a great marketing tool for your business. But what’s the use of owning a business website if it has no visitors? For your business to perform properly, you need to ensure that people are attracted to your website on a regular basis. There might be several ways to ensure this. And one of the most important among them is surely how you have designed your website.

The primary aim of a well-planned web design strategy is to create a unique user experience. It must be an experience that’s unparalleled and that will make the visitors return to your website time and again. And for that, it’s essential to have a website that loads fast. But how can you alter your Web design to get the best results in terms of speed of your website?

Here’s a quick look.

Make the Website Lighter

That’s the first thing you need to do. One of the major reasons behind long loading time is a heavy Web page. You have to get rid of all that’s trash. Remember, the smaller a Web page is, the faster it will load. If there are images and videos that are absolutely not relevant to your content, delete them immediately.

Getting rid of something that’s not needed is surely the hardest thing. So, take your time. Find out which components are actually adding value to your website. But ensure that you remove from your Web page everything that’s not necessary or does not add any value to you or to the visitors.

Compress the Web Page

A full size Web page is sure to take a lot of time to load. A compressed website, on the other hand, is faster. Which compression algorithm do you want to use? You can have multiple options, such as:

  • Deflate
  • Gzip

Compressing the Web page ensures that the server does not need to send a lot of data to the page while it’s loading. So, it is going to take shorter time to load.

Split Large Pages into Shorter, Multiple Ones

Why have websites become slower these days? One of the primary reasons is the increase in the size of the Web pages. Are most of the pages of your website too long? Then they are sure to take a bit of time to load. There’s no way you can help it, except one. Just split the long Web pages into multiple pages that are shorter in length.

Doing this will help you get rid of that long scroll bar on the side of the page. Moreover, the attention span of most people these days is pretty short. Having multiple pages with less information on each will help significantly to cater to these people perfectly.

Use Single Code Source for All Web Pages

Have the same script on a number of pages of your website? Just wait before you create separate scripts for each page. Once you use separate scripts, the website will have to read them every time the pages are loaded. That will take a lot of time. Instead, use an external code, that is, you should use a single code source for all the pages. It will ensure that the code remains in the cache. Thus, the time taken for loading the scripts won’t be necessary anymore. This will help the page to load faster. And more so for pages with larger codes.

Keep the Coding Clean for Google

When it comes to coding, you will have to keep it clean. It is essential to write the JavaScript properly. Moreover, you will need to avoid using a lot of external resources. Ensure that the images are not too large. You should pay proper attention to the different attributes of Web design for your page. This is because, Google likes cleaner coding.

By following these steps, you will be able to help your website in terms of SEO. It will rank high with Google’s search engine results for relevant keywords and thus, generate more traffic. It is also important to make the codes smarter to ensure they can be easily read by the search engines. The HTML should also be simple enough. It is also essential to remove the duplicate scripts to make the Web page load faster.

Reduce the Extra White Space

White space is one of the most important components of Web design these days. It can give your website a unique look. It can also form different shapes on it. But are you using too much white space? This can also have a negative impact in terms of the page load time. Remember, the white space also adds up to at least a few bytes in terms of size. Hence, reducing this space means you can cut down on that size. So, it will be less for the server to load. The result: the pages of your website will load faster.

Optimize the Images

When you are creating a website, it is essential to include images there. It helps to enhance user experience. But make sure you use the right format for the image. There might be multiple options, such as:

  • Scaleable Vector Graphics (.SVG)
  • Portable Network Graphics (.PNG)
  • Graphic Interchange Format (.GIF)
  • Weppy (.WEBP)
  • Joint Photographic Experts Group (.JPEG or .JPG)

No matter which format you use, you will need to optimize the image for the web and compress it to ensure that it loads properly and fast.

A web page that takes a long time to load usually results in reduced user interest. It is essential for the Web page to load fast, so that the visitors remain interested in the topic.

Speed Photo via Shutterstock

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Have You Heard of the Flat Lay or Boho Design Trends?

flat lay design (1)

You’ve probably seen Flat Lay designs, even if you haven’t heard the term.  Flat Lay design refers to a shot of items lying flat on a table, floor or other surface, shot from above. You see these kinds of images on eCommerce sites and other websites frequently. The Flat Lay design trend is up 160 percent according to the just-released Creative Trends 2016 report by Shutterstock.

This fascinating report outlines a number of other visual and creative trends that Shutterstock predicts will be popular during 2016.

If you’re looking for design ideas for your website, social media headers, advertisements or other graphics — this is one report you need to check out.

flat lay design boho design

Here’s another insight from the report. Have you heard of the Boho trend?  Boho is short for Boho-chic, which refers to Bohemian or hippie design according to Wikipedia.  Boho refers to swirling, feathery, often flowery patterns and imagery. Think of that old Bohemian style skirt that women wore during the Woodstock era.  (And for those of you younger than that … come on, you’ve seen a picture at least!)

The Creative Trends report covers images, but it also points to cultural and technology trends.  For instance, the choice of images that people make indicates that there’s a lot of interest right now in certain tech phenomena.  Did you know that images of smart watches are up a whopping 900 percent?  And images of drones are up 181 percent.  Those tech phenomena and more are obviously popular subjects of discussion and interest.

The report is based on data gathered by Shutterstock. According to Flo Lau, the Marketing Digital Designer at Shutterstock, that data can be used to predict the popularity of certain design trends in the coming year.  Lau acknowledged that it’s risky to make predictions.  However, based on the considerable data the company has collected, she said Shutterstock expressed confidence that these will be the design trends during 2016, noting:

“Luckily Shutterstock uses data to make our predictions. With information gathered from millions of searches and downloads, our annual Creative Trends infographic shows what’s on the rise around the world. From global trends to local developments, it’s an in-depth look at how the creative world will look in 2016.

Expect to see a mix of opposites this year: the latest technology and the natural world, clean lines and intricate patterns, the old and the new.”

Go here for the infographic, and find the full trends report here.

Flat Lay Design, Boho Design Photos via Shutterstock

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What is Calm Design and How Can You Use it in Your Marketing?

What is Calm Technology Design and How Can You Use it in Your Marketing?

Cisco estimates there will be 11.6 billion mobile-connected devices by 2020 — a number that exceeds the world’s projected population. The mobile Internet of Things (IoT) is spreading consumer attention thin, making it more difficult than ever to break through the noise and reach target audiences. With this many connected devices on the horizon, content marketers must find a way to use mobile to their advantage. There’s an emerging concept within IoT that may hold the answer to regaining some consumers’ attention: calm design technology.

What Is Calm Design Technology?

Calm design technology is a new idea that strives to blend technology seamlessly with everyday life. While modern smartphones, smartwatches, tablets, and connected devices aim to respond to users’ needs, calm design takes responsive design a step further. Calm design is the next generation of connected devices. Its purpose is to connect consumers with their devices and others in a way that lets them live their lives freely — without interruptions, pop-ups, or “smart” technology that makes life more difficult.

The example Amber Case used at InBound 2015 when speaking about calm technology is electricity. Electricity is invisible, working on its own without interrupting our daily lives. We only notice electricity when it stops working. Calm design aims to reach this level of invisibility — not literally, but figuratively. Instead of your Apple TV turning on and asking if you want to download an update, it should simply play movies.

Principles of Calm Design IoT

Technology shouldn’t take up most of our time and attention. It should only require some attention when absolutely necessary. Here are a few principles of calm technology from Calmtech.com:

  1. Technology should require the smallest amount of attention possible. It should communicate without having to “speak,” creating awareness using different senses to keep consumers in their current environment or task without interrupting.
  2. Technology should amplify the best of humanity and machines. Tech design should be for humans first. Machines shouldn’t act like humans or vice versa — good design should amplify the best parts of both.
  3. Technology should solve a problem, and that’s it. The minimum amount of technology possible to resolve an issue should be the only tech we see. Calm tech is slimmer, doing what it needs to do and nothing more.

Calm tech design doesn’t require focused attention to use. It lets users multitask and do other things while the tech quietly does its job. It utilizes the periphery.

Calm Design and Marketing

When virtually everything in a consumer’s life is connected, distracting notifications and daily interruptions escalate out of control. Customers are nearing a breaking point with marketers, blocking advertisements and leaving websites that have pop-up ads. Instead of contributing to the noise, marketers need to find a way to advertise their brands without interrupting the consumer’s day. Calm design is the answer.

Trying to grab attention with irrelevant ads will only push consumers away and eventually make your brand extinct. Calm design is a new platform — one that enables interaction with customers without interrupting their days. Marketers can join the trend toward calm by understanding how to transform advertisements into meaningful conversations with consumers, adding something of value without taking them away from their current tasks.

How Can Marketers Use Calm Technology Design?

Combining content with calm design is going to lead the movement. Marketers need to change how they communicate with consumers to optimize outreach in the modern world. Instead of relying on the interrupting nature of advertising, content marketers should evolve into what Haydn Sweterlitsch, chief creative officer at HackerAgency, calls the Atmospheric Approach. The Atmospheric Approach doesn’t create content that adds to the noise. Rather, it enables marketers to quietly integrate ads into a customer’s peripheral awareness.

Marketing should theoretically “disappear” while engaging customers, getting a message across without interfering. Real life examples of this are the Roomba, a stoplight, a light-up occupied sign on a bathroom door, and captics technologies. Captics use the sense of touch to communicate, vibrating when users are slouching and telling them to sit up straight without making a sound. Content marketers must gear their efforts toward the same concept.

As IoT, robotics, smart homes, artificial intelligence and mobile devices create a hyper-connected world, consumer attention will become more and more scarce. Marketers need to find creative ways to attract consumer attention without distracting them. Paying strict attention to consumer demands will be more important than ever, so think about what consumers may be doing while viewing your content.

Creating compelling, simple and useful brand messages is the wave of the future. It’s possible to attract attention without interfering through engagement and empowerment. Utilize other senses, not just sound. Integrate touch and sight. Instead of spending money on pop-up advertisements, spread your message quietly. Blatant appeals are a thing of the past, and marketers who cling to them will become extinct. Take control of your future and join the trend toward calm design technology.

Smart Tech Photo via Shutterstock

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Wix Unveils New Innovation: Websites That Design Themselves Using AI

wix adi embargo 2

You’ve heard of artificial intelligence — AI — the machine-learning process that can drive cars, answer questions and beat humans at chess? According to an announcement released today from website builder Wix, you can now add web design to that list.

Wix has developed the world’s first website-building platform that uses artificial intelligence — what Wix refers to as “Artificial Design Intelligence” (ADI) — to create a site automatically for you, right in front of your eyes.

“Wix ADI is specifically designed to eliminate the most significant challenges of building a website — time, design and content creation,” the announcement says.

Given that small business owners typically have little time to develop a site themselves or adequate budget to afford a web designer to do it for them, the new Wix feature may come as welcome news.

Commenting on today’s announcement, Nir Zohar, Wix president and COO, told Small Business Trends in a telephone interview that, “Two of the key things business owners struggle with are the site’s design and content. They ask questions, such as, ‘How do I build the right content for my site?’, ‘What’s the right layout?’, or ‘What pages do I need?’”

Zohar said that, for ten years, Wix has used technology to solve web design problems, and Artificial Design Intelligence is no different.

“Our team worked hard for two years to create the first-ever artificial design intelligence,” he said. “We drew on our vast knowledge base of how people build websites, which informed the development of ADI.”

How Wix Artificial Design Intelligence Works

Wix combined data from the experiences of more than 86 million users to create algorithms that ensure each site’s design will be, in its words, “stunning” and “complete.”

Wix Artificial Design Intelligence starts by asking the user five questions:

  • What will the website be used for?
  • Do you need any special features or capabilities? (an online store, appointment booking capability or a blog.)
  • What is the name of your business?
  • Where is the business located?
  • What design style do you want?

“You answer those five questions, press a button and Wix automatically creates the site for you within minutes,” Zohar said. “Each is custom-made, designed as if by a pro and absolutely unique. There are billions of different options, so your site will not look anything like the next guy’s.”

Once the user answers the questions, Artificial Design Intelligence produces what Wix calls “structures” consisting of text, images, site and page titles — all the building blocks needed to make a finished site. Then, it then goes through a filtering process to remove things that wouldn’t make sense to a human and, after that, chooses color schemes and design styles from which the user can select.

It then puts together sections and compiles pages, to complete the site. Users can make changes, edits and additions, to further customize the design. This site, JessKellyTrainer.com, was created using ADI.

jess kelly training wix artificial design intelligence

Also, instead of Wix ADI developing the site for the user, it can show the person how to do it, step-by-step, the announcement says.

Wix Artificial Design Intelligence Features

Each Wix ADI-designed website is unique. The Wix algorithm selects from billions of combinations to create a one-of-a-kind site, exclusive to the user. Also, because ADI uses artificial intelligence, it learns as it goes, customizing the site based on what it knows about the user’s needs and business category.

ADI gathers content from across the web. Rather than relying on the user to gather content — which is often where the website design process bogs down — ADI takes care of it, drawing from sources all across the web, including social channels. Users can choose to add the content, or not.

Users can customize their sites. As mentioned above, once ADI completes the site design, users can change themes, edit text, add photos and more. Wix offers an extensive image library from which users can select.

ADI emphasizes aesthetic appeal. Wix wants each site to have a “stunning” (there’s that word again) design that changes based on the business’s needs, and it depends on ADI to make that happen.

Conclusion

Although professional web designers may take exception, Wix Artificial Design Intelligence may be the answer to many a small business owner’s needs due to its ability to self-design a site that, according to the company, is aesthetically pleasing and content rich.

When you think about it, that’s all the qualities a website needs to be useful in helping a business meet its sales and marketing goals.

Wix is rolling ADI out gradually and it will be available to all its customers within a few months, says the announcement.

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Why Your Company Should Be Using Responsive Design

using responsive design

Is your website or e-commerce site using responsive design? If not, now’s the time to make a change.

An increasing amount of Internet traffic is coming from mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones. Not only are users doing social networking, checking and sending email, and surfing the web on mobiles; they are also making more purchases from these devices.

However, conventional web designs rarely account for the small screen sizes and different ways people use mobile devices. Responsive design corrects for these issues. It makes websites more functional and attractive whether visitors access them on desktops, tablets, or smartphones.

Benefits of Responsive Design

Adding responsive design to an e-commerce site is a wise investment for businesses of any size and in every industry. When a site readily accommodates any screen size, the benefits are:

  • Increased traffic — When customers are on the go, they often pull up websites they can view quickly and easily to obtain the information they need. Responsive sites make this possible, which results in visitors that come more often and stick around longer. 
  • Improved customer satisfaction — Websites that don’t incorporate responsive design often appear clunky and disproportionately small. Text may be hard to read and links difficult to click. With responsive design, reading and navigating a site becomes a snap, which instills confidence in potential customers. 
  • Higher conversion rates — Website visitors are often looking for a way to distinguish you from your competition and purchase your product. The easier you are to locate, learn about, and place items in a shopping cart, the more likely your site will convert visitors to customers.

How Responsive Design Works and Why it’s Important

Modern websites need to accommodate users of a variety of devices, says Google. Although traditional websites may appear on mobile screens, they often do so at such small sizes that users must manually expand content to find what they need.

If you have responsive design, your website becomes capable of automatically retracting and expanding according to the screen size of the computer, tablet, or smartphone being used.  See image above for examples.

According to recent analytics, the average website received 40 percent of its traffic from mobile users in 2013. This number had doubled since the year before.  It seems only likely to increase into the future. With more than 60 percent of mobile users in the United States currently carrying smartphones, these devices are fast becoming the primary method of Internet usage.

Considerations for Implementing Responsive Design

As companies make the transition from traditional to responsive websites, they often do so over several stages. Stages go from (1) contemplation, to (2) implementation, to (3) evaluation. Along the way, they use several considerations to guide their decisions:

  • Determining value propositions — When companies take the time to clearly define a compelling reason for audiences to visit their websites and become their customers, they end up with designs that better what they need.  What is the customer looking for? What value does the customer get?  Everything from your product to your service to your website functionality — all should work in conjunction with that value proposition.
  • Considering a mobile website — Depending on the complexity and types of features on your site, it may not work well on mobile devices, even with responsive design. Should this be the case, a separate mobile website offers a useful alternative. Customers can choose which version of the site they prefer, which enables them to customize their experience.
  • Examining competitors’ sites — Although each company’s website should be unique, look at competitor websites. This is a smart way to understand what mobile customers might expect. You may also discover ideas for functions and features that would work well on your own site. 
  • Selecting a design — When it comes to responsive design, simple is best. Many modern responsive websites incorporate larger, high-quality images along with minimal text. They use features such as cards to organize information. Regardless of the design, it should work with the functionality of the new website.

Which Type of Responsive Design is Right for Your Site?

According to DigiTech Web Design, deciding how to include responsive design in your website “depends on multiple factors, including your website’s unique characteristics, staffing capabilities, how much time you have, and your budget.”

These details help businesses choose between one or more of the prevailing responsive design adoption techniques, including:

  • Mobile-first responsive design — Companies designing a new website — or doing a complete overhaul — may want to consider this strategy. It molds the desktop site to its mobile design for a simpler, cleaner look. Mobile-first responsive design works well for companies whose audiences use smartphones and tablets as their primary device.
  • Responsive mobile sites — When a website proves too complex to translate into a responsive version, companies opt instead to build separate mobile sites from scratch. This helps the site retain its unique aesthetics.  It takes into account the separate user experiences of mobile versus desktop users.
  • Responsive retrofitting — When a website already has features conducive to responsive design, programmers change things around on the “back end” to make the site responsive without having to do a complete redesign. This often presents a more affordable option for companies who have a limited budget, or those who have already invested a great deal in web design.
  • Piecemeal responsive design — Websites may offer certain pages that are more appealing to mobile users than other pages. Rather than designing the whole website for the desktop or mobile user, a piecemeal approach treats each page separately. This option can help companies save money, if all they really need isto change a few pages.

Once you’ve decided on an approach, using responsive design will likely pay out dividends in increased traffic, happier customers, and a healthier bottom line.

Will you be a “leader of the pack” among your competitors in incorporating responsive design?

Remix of responsive design illustration by Shutterstock

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Top 7 Mistakes With Mobile Friendly Web Design

033015 google mobile

Unless you’ve been staying away from the Internet these last few weeks, you know that on April 21 Google is going to be rolling out a mobile optimization algorithm (and if you need more information, we’ve covered the announcement here). According to Google’s Zineb Ait Bahajji from the Webmaster Trends team, this is going to be one of the biggest updates we’ve seen from Google to date in terms of how many people will be affected — bigger than Panda and Penguin — although no specific number was given.

While April 21 is the day that’s since been labeled the “Mobile-Pocalypse,” it’s important that small businesses start putting mobile best practices into action immediately. The efforts you’re making now will matter come April 21, and if you wait until just a few days before, it could be too late. Fortunately, Google is making this update very easy for us by telling us exactly what mistakes most businesses are making when it comes to mobile.

The 7 Most Common Mistakes Webmasters Make When Optimizing for Mobile

As discussed above, Google actually created a guide that outlines all of the most common mistakes that they find Webmasters make when they try and get their websites mobile-friendly. And so, without further ado, below are the top seven mistakes straight from the horse’s mouth along with links that take you to a full report for each specific point:

Blocked JavaScript, CSS, and Image Files

If the Googlebots are unable to access JavaScript, CSS, and image files, indexing is going to be harder because the Googlebot is not able to see your site like the average users. This usually occurs if your site’s robots.txt file disallows crawling, which again, poses a problem for indexing and will bring down your rankings:

How to fix it: Use the Fetch as Google feature in Google Webmaster Tools so that you can see how a Googlebot is seeing your content. You should also check your robots.txt in Google Webmaster Tools and test your mobile pages with the Mobile-Friendly Test. All three of these options will help you identify any indexing problems.

Unplayable Content

The last thing Google wants to see is a video that is unavailable to users because that is an annoying experience. Many content types, such as Flash, do not work on all mobile devices and therefore cause unplayable content.

How to fix it: Use HTML5 standard tags for animation and use video embedding that is playable on all devices. Google Web Designer can help make it easy to create animations in HTML 5 so that your content is more widely accessible.

Faulty Redirects

This happens most often if you have separate mobile URLs because it forces you to redirect mobile users on each desktop URL to the right mobile URL. Unfortunately, many companies do this wrong and sendevery mobile user to the desktop homepage, for example, which is incorrect because that isn’t what the mobile user asked for when he/she clicked.

How to fix it: The solution here is easy: Use a responsive web design. This will automatically serve the same content for both desktop and smartphone users. You can also check the Smartphone Crawl Errors of your Webmaster Tools and you can simply see if any faulty redirects were detected.

Mobile-Only 404s

Sometimes companies have their websites setup so that users can see a page on a desktop, but when they try to visit that same page on a mobile device there is a 404 error. The key here is to make sure that you have an identical page that can be served on mobile (see number 3 above) and then redirect users to that URL instead of serving a 404 error.

How to fix it: Check the Crawl Errors report in Webmaster Tools and look at the smartphone tab to see if any URLs are 404 errors. Once again, a responsive Web design should also fix this problem.

App Download Interstitials

If your business has a native app, it’s important that you make sure you don’t have any indexing issueswhen promoting that app. In other words, make sure that users can still see the page’s content and not just a large app advertisement. Visit the link above to see a great screenshot.

How to fix it: Use a simple banner to promote your app inline with the page’s content. Google recommends Smart App Banners for Safari to help.

Irrelevant Cross-Links

It makes sense that if you have mobile URLs and separate desktop URLs to try and link to each on the opposite platform. Unfortunately, many companies are linking to URLs that are irrelevant, such as the homepage you would see on a desktop when someone is reading about a product on mobile.

How to fix it: Always check your links to make sure they’re pointing to the most relevant (or identical) pages!

Slow Mobile Pages

This one is pretty self-explanatory. If your pages are loading too slowly this is especially problematic for mobile search because people are usually on the go.

How to fix it: Use Google PageSpeed Insights to see not only what might be causing your pages to load slowly but how to fix the issues.

The Takeaway

In the end, anything you hear from Google should be your first move. If you were unsure how to even begin preparing a mobile presence, start with the tips above and go down the list. Once you’ve fixed some of these common mistakes, you should be able to see clearly other things you can do to enhance your efforts. Do you have any thoughts on some of these tips from Google? Are you ready for the mobile update in April? Let us know in the comments below.


Google Mobile Photo via Shutterstock

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How Social Media is Impacting Web Design

final social media 3

Social media has been everywhere these days. And it is affecting almost every walk of life.

It is often noticed that social media has its impact on the offline world as well. So, it is quite obvious that the world of the Internet would be impacted the most by social media platforms.

For businesses to be successful these days, creating a social media strategy is a must. And for almost everything they do, they need to follow a process that integrates social media in it. Web design is no different when it comes to this. It has experienced a sea of change since the advent of social media on the Internet.

Social Media Impacting Web Design

Social media has been able to exert its impact on Web design to a great extent.

Almost all the companies these days have their presence on social media. And what can be a better platform to let people know about this than the home page of the business website? This is why almost all the websites have the icons of different social media websites. And a click on any of those would lead the website visitor to the company’s social media page. This is becoming imperative for any website these days.

Attractive Design for Social Media Pages and Profiles

The advent of social media has made the Internet more of a live and interactive marketplace than ever before. It’s no more the same drab thing. In addition to creating an attractive website, it is also extremely important to have a prominent social presence. And for that, you need to design how you want to present yourself in front of your potential customers through the social media platforms.

For example, if you want your business to be present on Facebook through a page, it is important to designthe Facebook fan page of your business properly. The same holds true for Twitter and other platforms as well. The profiles that you have on these social media websites need to be designed in such a way that they can grab the attention of the viewers with immediate effect.

Perfect Design Necessary for Ads on Social Media

With social media becoming more and more popular with every passing day, increasing numbers of people are joining these websites. For example, Facebook alone has its number of active users in 2015 at a whopping 1.41 billion. This is driving the companies to use these platforms to reach out to their target audiences. So, they are preparing ads for the social media websites. And the focus is more on design.

The ads are being specially designed for different platforms. The objective is to increase their effectiveness and garner more clicks. The designs of the ads will also play an important role in ensuring that the company is able to gather leads, which should be converted to earn revenues. Moreover, the designers are also required to create different other stuff, such as banner ads, memes, and so on.

Interactive Designs

Social media has helped to create a penchant among people for content that is more interactive and interesting. This is where Web design is expected to play an increasingly important role. Web designers need to shape the websites as well as the social media pages of the companies in such a way that they attract more interaction from the potential as well as the existing customers. This will help them understand what their customers are looking for and where they are going wrong.

Using Images for Social Media Communication

Social media has been able to change the way businesses are run. They are the perfect field to interact with the customers, know what they want from you, and help you decide how you should plan your offerings.

The designs should be planned in such a way that they drive the interaction of hundreds of customers on a regular basis. A picture speaks a thousand words and hence, they are among the best components for communication. So, most of the social media platforms need images. This is where a Web designer becomes relevant. Attractive images need to be created. Moreover, the images should also be resized to meet the requirement of different social media platforms.

Increasing Importance of Web Design on Social Media

Is the importance of Web designing going to diminish with the passage of time?

This is a question that’s haunting the online world after the advent of social media. But that is not expected at all. In fact, the importance of Web designing is likely to increase further soon. This is because the companies will need attractive Web design to keep the audience captivated on their social profiles.

Social Media Photo via Shutterstock

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Web Design Tips for Beginners to Drive Traffic to Your Website

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These days, your business needs an online presence. It is an important component in the process of marketing your business to an online audience. The primary objective when building a website is to market your products and services. And for that, it is essential to ensure a maximum number of people visit your website.

The design of a website plays an important role in building a committed audience. You can go for an SEO-friendly Web design to make your website rank high in search engine results. Or, you can just follow a few tips on Web design to increase visits to your website to generate maximum leads and revenue. So how do you get the maximum amount of visitors to your website? Here’s a quick look at some Web design tips for beginners.

Manage the Content Prudently

Even to this day, when it comes to the world of websites, content remains king. But even if you have excellent content, it will be of no use if you can’t use it properly. This is where Web design becomes relevant. It helps to manage content in the most effective manner.

Focus on proper Web design that manages content in an effective way to attract the maximum number of people.

Use a Responsive Design

How important is a responsive design these days?

Well, I was surfing the Internet from my desktop computer and I found a website I liked. I was in a time crunch, but I really wanted to go back to the site and make a purchase. So a few days later, I thought of checking out the website on my phone. To my dismay, I found that the graphics and text of the site were in total disarray.

This is why almost every website these days needs to be responsive. Websites need to appear perfectly on all kinds of devices. Many people these days use Internet-friendly mobile devices. These devices help them to remain connected even while on the go. In fact, mobile traffic has tripled in the last three years. So obviously, it’s important for this audience to be able to see your website properly.

Plan Proper Navigation

Let’s imagine that Steven loves shopping online, and he has some favorite websites he likes to shop from. But one day, he finds that the design of one of these sites has changed. He tries searching for his favorite products, but he cannot find his way through the website easily to locate them. So Steven stops visiting on a regular basis.

This clearly demonstrates the role well-planned navigation plays in increasing and retaining traffic. And it should make one thing abundantly clear – from one page of a website, you should be able to move to other relevant pages of the site with ease. Only then can you expect people to stay on your site for a longer period.

Make Landing Pages Attractive

Just ask yourself, would you buy anything from a shop where the products are kept in a disheveled manner – or, would you go for one that has a well maintained look? Surely, the latter.

The same holds true for a website. You need to design the landing pages of your site properly. The homepage should be dynamic enough to engage visitors in no time at all.

Integrate a Blog on Your Website

Well-written content on a blog offers information and insights to the reader. If the blog content is unique and high quality, you will notice that visitors return to it. You might also have subscribers who follow updates on your blog. How this helps you is:

  • You can add social media buttons to blog posts to ensure that they are shared on different platforms, increasing your reach.
  • Blogs increase website content and this content is essential to generate better organic search results.
  • You can create backlinks to your website pages from the blog posts.

It’s a win-win situation.

Replace Image Files with Text

Do you use images in place of simple text to transfer information? These images may make the appearance of your website better, but they’re probably not  helping much with organic reach. Your website may perform better by replacing those images with text that’s crawled by the engines.

Conclusion

Your website can use design in many ways. It’s up to you to decide the type of design that you want for your website and that will work best for you. Make those decisions wisely to ensure that your website design helps to draw plenty of traffic to your website.

Web Design Photo via Shutterstock

More in: Content Marketing

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What is Responsive Web Design?

responsive web design

Have you asked yourself, “What is responsive Web design?” Responsive Web design is an approach whereby a designer creates a Web page that “responds to” or resizes itself depending on the type of device it is being seen through.  That could be an oversized desktop computer monitor, a laptop, a 10-inch tablet, a 7-inch tablet, or a 4-inch smartphone screen.

Responsive Web design has become one of the hottest trends in 2013.  This is due in part to the  growth of smartphones and other mobile devices. More people are using smaller-screen devices to view Web pages.

In fact, Mashable even dubbed 2013 the Year of Responsive Web Design. Pete Cashmore wrote,  “For those of us who create websites and services, all this leads to a singular conclusion: A million screens have bloomed, and we need to build for all of them.”

What Does Responsive Web Design Look Like?

The purpose of responsive design is to have one site, but with different elements that respond differently when viewed on devices of different sizes.

Let’s take a traditional “fixed” website.  When viewed on a desktop computer, for instance, the website might show  three columns. But when you view that same layout on a smaller tablet, it might force you to scroll horizontally, something users don’t like. Or elements might be hidden from view or look distorted.  The impact is also complicated by the fact that many tablets can be viewed either in portrait orientation, or turned sideways for landscape view.

On a tiny smartphone screen, websites can be even more challenging to see. Large images may “break” the layout. Sites can be slow to load on smartphones if they are graphics heavy.

However, if a site uses responsive design, the tablet version might automatically adjust to display just two columns. That way, the content is readable and easy to navigate. On a smartphone, the content might appear as a single column, perhaps stacked vertically.  Or possibly the  user would have the ability to swipe over to view other columns.  Images will resize instead of distorting the layout or getting cut off.

The point is: with responsive design, the website automatically adjusts based on the device the viewer sees it in.

How Does Responsive Web Design Work?

Responsive sites use fluid grids. All page elements are sized by proportion, rather than pixels. So if you have three columns, you wouldn’t say exactly how wide each should be, but rather how wide they should be in relation to the other columns. Column 1 should take up half the page, column 2 should take up 30%, and column 3 should take up 20%, for instance.

Media such as images is also resized relatively. That way an image can stay within its column or relative design element.

Related Issues

Mouse v. touch: Designing for mobile devices also brings up the issue of mouse versus touch.  On desktop computers the user normally has a mouse to navigate and select items.  On a smartphone or tablet, the user mostly is using fingers and touching the screen.  What may seem easy to select with a mouse, may be hard to select with a finger on a tiny spot on a screen. The Web designer must take “touch” into consideration.

Graphics and download speed: Also, there’s the issue of graphics, ads and download speed. On mobile devices, it may be wise to display fewer graphics than for desktop views so that a site doesn’t take forever to load on a smartphone.  Larger ad sizes may need to be exchanged for smaller ads.

Apps and “mobile versions”:  In the past, you might have thought about creating an app for your website — say an iPad app or an Android app.  Or you would have a mobile version specifically for BlackBerry.

But with so many  different devices today, it’s getting harder to create apps and versions for every device and operating platform. As Smashing Magazine wrote, “When will the madness stop? It won’t, of course.”  A responsive design that is flexible enough to be viewed on multiple devices just makes sense.

Why Small Businesses Need to Switch to Responsive Web Design

More people are using mobile devices. A recent Pew study found that 45% of American adults own a smartphone, and 31% own a tablet computer. As we reported yesterday, smartphone shipments outpace those of regular mobile phones, and tablet growth is surging.

Check your traffic and you might just be shocked at how many visitors are getting to your website  through mobile devices.  (In your Google Analytics, select “Audience” on the left side, then “Mobile” to see what proportion of traffic is from mobile devices. You can even drill down to see which devices are sending the traffic.)

Responsive design templates are everywhere now, for purchase.  If, for instance, you have a WordPress site you can visit a reputable template gallery such as ThemeForest and search for “responsive WordPress themes.”  Purchase one for under $50. Your Web developer can then customize it for your logo and brand.

Editor’s Note:  Here at Small Business Trends, we are working on a new responsive design. Shouldn’t you?

Responsive Design Photo via Shutterstock

More in: Content Marketing, What Is

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