Perth Web Design https://www.perth-web-design.com.au Perth Web Design create websites and market them on Google. Mon, 12 Feb 2018 04:09:32 +0000 en-AU hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.4 Weekly Live Websites – 9th Feb https://www.perth-web-design.com.au/weekly-live-websites-9th-feb/ Mon, 12 Feb 2018 02:15:00 +0000 https://www.perth-web-design.com.au/?p=248 Weekly Live Websites – 9th Feb   PaperTanks Website: https://papertanks.com.au   Hotties 2U Website: https://www.hotties2u.com.au   Hello Grief Website: http://www.hellogrief.com.au  

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Weekly Live Websites – 9th Feb

 

PaperTanks

Website: https://papertanks.com.au

 

Hotties 2U

Website: https://www.hotties2u.com.au

 

twdc

Hello Grief

Website: http://www.hellogrief.com.au

 

twdc

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SEO and Web Design For a One-Page Site https://www.perth-web-design.com.au/seo-and-web-design-for-a-one-page-site/ Fri, 22 Dec 2017 01:15:37 +0000 https://www.perth-web-design.com.au/seo-and-web-design-for-a-one-page-site/ One-page websites take a minimalistic approach by eliminating the complexity that a multi-page site would have. Instead of clicking through to different pages, users simply scroll or up down to ...

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One-page websites take a minimalistic approach by eliminating the complexity that a multi-page site would have. Instead of clicking through to different pages, users simply scroll or up down to access the page’s content. The linear design provides an intuitive browsing experience and lets companies better control the user journey.

Other advantages that one-page websites have over their multi-page counterparts include:

  • Lower development costs: There are plenty of tools available you can use to build your own one-page site. And even if you hire a web development agency, the costs will be considerably cheaper compared to a multi-page site.
  • Optimised mobile design: Scrolling is already natural behaviour for mobile users. Single page websites are also easier to adapt to mobile as most designs are responsive out of the box.
  • Potential for higher conversions: Single page designs make it possible to control the entire user journey. Companies can then optimise for more conversions whether that be more free trial downloads or newsletter sign-ups.

One-page sites are certainly appealing but there is one drawback to consider—SEO.

The advantage of a full fledged site is that you can cast a much wider net by optimising individual pages for your target keywords. In contrast, a single page website is rather limited in terms of SEO as there is only one page to optimise for.

This isn’t to say that one-page sites can’t rank well. They certainly can but it requires a different approach to get them ranking for your target keywords. The following looks at how to rank a one-page site in Google.

Create Clearly Defined Sections

Even with a one-page design, you still need some sort of structure to organise your content. Create clearly defined sections with relevant headings to make it easier for users to navigate. Optimise each section for your target keywords to improve the overall relevancy of your page. Use a tool like Google’s Keyword Planner to identify potential keywords then group them thematically for each section.

For example, your headings might look like:

  • Flower Delivery Services
  • Flower Delivery Pricing
  • What Our Customers Say
  • Our Locations
  • Contact Us

On-page optimisation is essential to ranking in the search results as Google looks at the presence of keywords to determine what a page is about. But be careful not to excessively spam your page with keywords as doing so could lead to an algorithm penalty.

Employ DIV Tags to Paginate Sections

With multi-page sites you’re able to optimise entire pages around individual keywords. But you don’t have that same luxury with one-page sites.

One of the best practices for one-page sites is to create separate each content section with DIV tags. While these tags won’t directly improve search rankings, it helps to keep the code organised and can also be used to create anchor links.

Give each section a DIV ID:

<div id=“flower-delivery-services”>…content</div>

<div id=“flower-delivery-pricing”>…content</div>

<div id=“what-our-customers-say”>…content</div>

<div id=“our-locations”>…content</div>

<div id=“contact-us”>…content</div>

Remember to optimise each DIV ID for your keywords. Then create a relevant H1 tag for each section using your main keywords. These tags provide more context of what your page is about and indicate a separation in your content.

Setup Anchor Links

Each section of your one-page site should have a DIV ID. The next step is to create your anchor links which are useful for two reasons—Users can use them to navigate to specific sections of a webpage and Google can follow them when crawling a website.

Here are examples from each of the DIV IDs we created in the previous step:

<a href =“#flower-delivery-services”>Flower Delivery Services</a>

<a href =“#flower-delivery-pricing”>Flower Delivery Pricing</a>

<a href =“#what-our-customers-say”>What Our Customers Say</a>

<a href =“#our-locations”>Our Locations</a>

<a href =“#contact-us”>Contact Us</a>

In the header of your site, you can link to those sections. Here’s an example of how Beautiful Interactions links to different parts of its site on the navigation menu:

Build Links

Links continue to carry a great deal of weight in terms of rankings. If you don’t have any links from relevant sites, you stand little chance of competing against those sites that do. Data from Moz found a strong correlation between the number of links a page has and its rankings:

The key takeaway from the study is that external links from unique sites are necessary to rank high. But you might be wondering how link building would work for a one-page site. In addition to linking directly to your homepage, you can also create links back to the relevant sections of your site.

We already looked at using DIV tags to create sections. A link back to a relevant section of your site would look like:

<a href =“http://yoursite.com/#flower-delivery-services”>Flower Delivery Services</a>

Be sure to double check that your DIV tags are setup properly and that the links work. When you build links you can direct visitors to a relevant section on the page such as to your pricing or contact details.

Links are essential as they act like votes to your site but relevance is also important here. Simply spamming your site with low quality links is likely to result in a ranking penalty. Instead, focus your efforts on building links from relevant sources through outreach campaigns. Social media can also be an effective way to build links back to your site.

Check for Crawling Errors

Google’s algorithm has become increasingly sophisticated over the years. If your site consists of a single page that utilises code for an endless scrolling effect, Google is likely able to process it.

Here is what Matt Cutts says about one-page websites:

 

This part of the video is particularly important to note:

“In general, I would run a test first. I wouldn’t bet your SEO legacy on this one single page working well if the javascript or CSS is really obscure or maybe you’ve forgotten and blocked that out in robots.txt. But if you run the test, and you’re pretty happy with it, I don’t necessarily see a problem with that.”

Before finalising a one-page site design, you want to be absolutely certain that it works well especially if you are using any obscure code in your script. Double check your robots.txt file too as the last thing you want is to inadvertently block Google’s web crawlers from indexing your site.

You’ll also want to double check that there are no crawling errors. Login to your Google Search Console account. Then click on Crawl on the left side and click on Crawl Errors. If there are no errors you’ll see the following:

Visit Google’s page on crawling errors to learn more about the different errors and how to fix them.

Final Thoughts

If you have a limited product range and don’t rely on search engines for traffic, a single page design can be perfect for showcasing your offer. The design is also advantageous for several reasons as it offers lower maintenance costs and offers a unique browsing experience that can drive more conversions.

But even with the advantages there are also a number of disadvantages to consider as well.

The first major downside is that the keywords you can optimise for are rather limited. Second, the more content you add the less practical a one-page site becomes. If you have hundreds of products, attempting to display all of them on a single page isn’t very efficient. It could even affect conversions as data from Google found that 79% of shoppers who are dissatisfied with site performance indicate they’re less likely to return.

With that said, one-page sites can still be a valuable asset for your business and can rank for important keywords when properly optimised.

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Landing Page Testing: What to Test to Drive More Conversions https://www.perth-web-design.com.au/landing-page-testing-what-to-test-to-drive-more-conversions/ Fri, 22 Dec 2017 01:15:37 +0000 https://www.perth-web-design.com.au/landing-page-testing-what-to-test-to-drive-more-conversions/ Sometimes you can’t explain it. It may appear suddenly or during an encounter with another individual. It’s that uncomfortable feeling we get in our gut that something isn’t right. It ...

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Sometimes you can’t explain it.

It may appear suddenly or during an encounter with another individual. It’s that uncomfortable feeling we get in our gut that something isn’t right. It may turn out to be something seemingly minor but often trusting our instincts can work in our favour. We might get a feeling that there’s going to be traffic so we take a detour and later discover there was a huge accident on the highway.

“Go your gut” then is excellent advice except when it isn’t. There are times when it makes sense to follow your intuition and other times when it doesn’t. Optimizing landing pages is an example of the latter.

Landing pages are pages on your website that visitors “land” on. They’re typically designed with a single objective in mind such as getting visitors to purchase a product, download a free trial, or contact the company for more information. No matter how well designed your landing pages are, they can always be improved to drive even more conversions.

This is where A/B testing comes in.

A/B testing (also called split testing) means comparing two versions of a landing page, a control and a variation with a slight tweak. The version with the better conversion rate wins and the process starts over again.

 

 

With split testing you get concrete data on what works and what doesn’t. But you also can’t just make a few random changes here and there without a clear strategy in place. Whether you sell products online or offer services, you can benefit with landing page optimisation.

Here we look at what elements to test on your landing pages to get the most out of your efforts.

 

1. Headlines

David Ogilvy famously said, “On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy.”

He understood the importance of a strong headline. On landing pages it’s one of the most important elements in terms of copy. It can mean the difference between visitors staying on to read more about your offer or quickly bouncing out.

Your headline then is a great place to start your testing. Here is how to create more powerful headlines you can test on new variations:

Convey Benefits

Users tend to scan webpages rather than read each individual word. The headline then is the first thing they see right when they land on your pages. To “hook” visitors and keep them on your pages, test headlines that convey a clear benefit that resonates with your audience. Your headline is where you’ll state your value proposition. Here’s an example of how Dropbox conveys their value proposition with a value-centric headline:

 

 

Be Specific

Another effective way to test headlines is to be as specific as possible. Simply saying that your business is the most trusted in town doesn’t really say anything. But saying that over 100,000 people use your services is more specific and makes more of an impression. Here’s an excellent example of a headline that Shopify uses in one of its case studies:

 

 

Be Direct

Often the best headlines are those that are clear and direct. They don’t leave visitors confused about what your business offers. A case study from VWO tested several headlines and the one that clearly described the product led to a 90% increase in conversions over the original:

 

 

Test several variations of your headlines and measure the results.

 

2. Call to Action

A call to action (CTA) is simply a prompt—a button or line of text—that entices visitors to take action whether it be purchasing a product, downloading a free trial or signing up for a newsletter. It’s not uncommon to see a CTA accompanied with a headline.

Here’s an example of a call to action button on Shopify’s homepage:

 

 

When you ask visitors to do something, they have to go through your CTA first. The CTA then is another critical component of landing pages as it guides visitors through the conversion process. Test each of the following aspects of your CTA to drive even more conversions from your A/B tests:

Colour and Shape

As one of the most important elements on your landing page, the CTA needs to stand out from your website design with a contrasting colour to be noticeable. It may seem like a minor detail but in one case study, changing the colour and shape of a CTA button led to a 35.81% increase in conversions:

 

 

Positioning

Data from the Nielsen Norman Group shows that 80% of viewing time is spent above the fold (the upper portion of a website). It makes sense then to include the CTA where it’s clearly visible. But in one case study, conversions were significantly increased when the CTA was moved below the fold as seen in this website design example:

 

 

Copy

Test different variations of the copy used in your CTA. Instead of using a generic CTA like “Click Here”, be as specific as possible and communicate value to your visitors. Here’s another example of how changing the copy to something more relevant resulted in more conversions:

 

 

There’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to improving conversions. Even a slight tweak can result more conversions but you won’t know unless you test it.

 

3. Images

The human brain is incredibly adept at recognizing images.

A team of neuroscientists from MIT found that the brain can process entire images in as little as 13 milliseconds, one of the first studies to demonstrate its rapid processing speed. Images then act as a powerful conversion tool as the right visuals can either engage visitors or cause them to click out.

One example is with stock images. Eye tracking studies show that online users tend to ignore stock photos especially those that are clearly generic.

In one case study, results were compared between a stock photo of a truck driver and another that showed a picture of an actual student:

 

Just this one single change led to a massive 161% increase in conversions, leading to more targeted leads for the company. The case study makes it clear that images can make a huge difference and lead more visitors to take action.

But like the rest of your landing page, you need to put some thought on the visuals you use. They need to have a clear purpose for being there. The company in the example above (160 Driving Academy) offers truck driving classes. The hypothesis then was that an image of an actual student that graduated from the academy would outperform the stock image which would later prove to be correct.

Here’s an example of a landing page from Square that effectively utilises a relevant image:

 

 

Not only are the visuals aesthetically pleasing, but it even shows potential customers what the actual product looks like. In contrast, a random stock image of a transaction would likely not have the same level of engagement as the one used here. So use relevant images and test them on your landing pages to see which resonate better with your audience.

 

4. Social Proof

Social proof is a powerful psychological phenomenon. It refers to our tendency of looking to our immediate environment to guide our own behaviour. This social phenomenon is especially prominent in marketing as brands use social proof as a persuasion tool.

Here’s an early example from McDonald’s:

 

 

The tagline “We have sold over 1 million” is an excellent example of social proof and it’s far more likely to get noticed than a generic tagline. The very same principle that makes social proof effective in traditional outlets also translates well to landing pages.

Here are the different types of social proof you can test:

Testimonials

Testimonials are essentially like reviews. They come from customers who have actually use your product or service. Highlighting testimonials from your customers is an incredibly effective way to transform your landing pages and boost conversions. Here’s an example from Basecamp:

 

 

Client Badges

Showcasing clients that your business has worked with is another effective way to display social proof on your landing pages. It also establishes credibility for your products or services. Here’s an example from Dropbox’s Business page:

 

 

Subscriber Counts

People feel comfortable knowing that they’re not the only ones. Your call to actions can also include specific numbers like customer or even subscriber counts. Here’s an example of how Social Media Examiner uses this tactic to get visitors to subscribe to their newsletter:

 

 

There is no doubt of the effectiveness of social proof but you’ll also want to test them on your landing pages.

 

Conclusion

Landing pages are perhaps the most important pages on your website. As we’ve seen here, even a single change can result in huge conversions for your business. You may have a gut feeling for what should work but often those assumptions may turn out to be wrong. And implementing them without any actual testing could be costly. This is what makes A/B testing so effective but you’ll also want to run each time over a period of time for greater confidence in your data.

 

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User Testing Tools to Optimize Your Website’s Usability https://www.perth-web-design.com.au/user-testing-tools-to-optimize-your-websites-usability-2/ Fri, 22 Dec 2017 01:15:37 +0000 https://www.perth-web-design.com.au/user-testing-tools-to-optimize-your-websites-usability-2/ We live in a world of rapid change. Companies that don’t adapt risk losing market share to their competitors. It’s a constant challenge that organizations face as their industry evolves ...

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We live in a world of rapid change.

Companies that don’t adapt risk losing market share to their competitors. It’s a constant challenge that organizations face as their industry evolves and new technology emerges. One example that immediately comes to mind is BlackBerry, a company that was once at the top of its industry but quickly lost its lead when it failed to notice the shift towards touchscreen devices.

The following chart from Statista shows just how much BlackBerry’s market share shrank over the last decade:

 

 

The story of Blackberry tells an important lesson—companies that remain stagnant risk losing their competitive advantage by failing to adapt. Once the dominant brand in mobile devices is now largely a relic of the past.

So what does this story have to do with websites?

Quite a lot as it turns out.

Websites that remain unchanged start to gradually become outdated—design becomes out of date and performance issues pop up. That doesn’t even consider that online users today have very different expectations when they land on a website.

Here’s an early example of Twitter’s homepage:

 

 

It’s hard to imagine Twitter being as popular as it is today if it had kept the same design. The design now looks more modern with a clean layout and brighter colors. Design matters as data from the Stanford Web Credibility Project found that nearly half of all consumers (46.1%) assess the credibility of a site based on visual cues such as layouts and color schemes.

Another important consideration is a site’s usability.

If users have a poor browsing experience or run into usability issues, they’re likely to bounce out and leave with a negative impression of your brand. Usability is all about the user experience. It refers to the ease at which online users can navigate a site and accomplish what they set out to do.

Here is a straightforward and blunt description of usability from the Nielsen Norman Group:

“If a website is difficult to use, people leave. If the homepage fails to clearly state what a company offers and what users can do on the site, people leave. If users get lost on a website, they leave. If a website’s information is hard to read or doesn’t answer users’ key questions, they leave.”

In other words, websites start to fall apart the harder they are to use. You could have a beautiful design but still have a site that fails to convert visitors. This is why it’s best to look at websites as a constant work in progress that evolves over time. One minor tweak won’t necessarily lead to immediate results but small changes together can really start to add up.

So how do you identify areas to improve on your website?

To answer that question, we compiled a list of the top website user testing tools that reveal what visitors are doing on your website and resources that can uncover hidden opportunities. Addressing any usability issues on your pages will increase engagement and reduce bounce rates.

 

Page Speed

A second goes by.

Then another as you continue staring at a black screen.

Nothing is more frustrating than a page that takes too long to load. Slow sites are especially problematic for mobile users as searches are often done on the go. Data found that 53% of visits are likely to be abandoned if pages take longer than 3 to 4 seconds to load. Performance is easily one of the most important aspects of usability and could make or break your site.

PageSpeed Insights

PageSpeed Insights is a tool from Google that analyses the desktop and mobile version of a website, and provides a rating out of 100. The tool even provides detailed suggestions on how to optimise loading times.

 

 

GTMetrix

GTMetrix is another free tool that analyses your site’s performance. Use this tool in conjunction with PageSpeed Insights for a detailed analysis of the issues that could be causing your site to slow down (e.g. poor image optimisation, script errors, etc.).

 

 

There is a strong correlation between page abandonment rates and loading times. If visitors can’t see your pages, they won’t stay long enough to see your offer. According to estimates from Amazon, even a one second delay could cost the company $1.6 billion in online sales a year. If your site has received a poor rating with these tools, it’s time to prioritise loading times. Your users will definitely appreciate it.

 

Mobile

 

More consumers are browsing the web from mobile devices than ever before. In fact, data from comScore shows that traffic from mobile devices has overtaken traffic from desktops:

 

Site speed matters but equally important is having a mobile friendly site.

Mobile-Friendly Test

The Mobile-Friendly Test tool from Google analyses your website to determine if it’s mobile friendly. Simply enter your URL and click the Run Test button. You’ll see the following if your site is mobile friendly:

 

 

But if not, the tool will display the following warning:

 

Mobile Test.png

 

Update: An additional tool for checking how a website performs on both desktop and mobile: https://firstsiteguide.com/

 

Mobile Phone Emulator

Even with a mobile site, you’ll want to test how your site actually looks across different mobile devices. Mobile Phone Emulator works on your desktop and lets you browse your site from a selection of smartphones.

 

 

Mobile users should be able to easily browse your site without having to zoom in or scroll horizontally to read the content. If your site doesn’t meet the mobile requirements, Google recommends implementing a responsive design which dynamically adjusts to fit all screen resolutions. Going responsive also offers a number of SEO benefits as there is only one site for the Googlebots to crawl and index.

 

User Interaction

To really identify the weak points of your website and the places where users are stumbling, you need to collect feedback and observe actual users. This kind of data is incredibly invaluable and useful for making design enhancements. Ultimately, it’s the users who decide how usable your site is.

CrazyEgg

CrazyEgg is a popular heat mapping software that shows how visitors interact with your pages. The tool even shows data for the mobile and desktop versions of your site, so you can see which elements are converting and which ones aren’t. Note that a free trial is available but a paid subscription is required to use the service.

 

 

Peek

Peek is a tool from User Testing that lets you see and hear how a real person interacts with your website. The tool is also free to use and provides valuable insight on ways to improve your site’s usability. Additional videos can be made available but at a price.

 

 

According to Jakob Nielsen from the Nielsen Norman Group, getting feedback from a small group of users is enough to identify a site’s major usability problems. Iterative design—methodology on making refinements—is one of the most effective ways to improve the user experience. Use these tools to identify bottlenecks in your site’s design and fix those issues as you identify them.

 

A/B Testing

Design is often based on assumptions. Even after making changes, how do you know if it’s effective? This is where A/B testing comes in. The idea is to display two versions of a web page to different groups and see which one performs better.

 

 

Visual Website Optimizer

Visual Website Optimizer is a popular tool that offers a simple interface to create and run A/B tests. The tool also offers additional options including multivariate testing, usability testing, conversion tracking, and more. Note that the tool requires a paid subscription but it starts at a reasonable $49 a month.

 

 

Optimizely

Optimizely is another popular A/B testing tool that is similar to Visual Website Optimizer. It comes with a simple interface for creating and testing new layouts. Other features also include multivariate and mobile test. A free 30 day trial is available but a paid subscription is required after that period.

 

 

A/B testing is widely to optimise websites for conversions. Netflix uses split testing extensively to track and optimise important metrics such as streaming hours and retention. A/B testing tools are also an effective way to address usability issues. For example, if analytics data reveals that bounce rates are high on checkout pages, you can run a test on a new layout and compare the results.

 

Conclusion

If you want your visitors to convert on your landing pages, then usability needs to be a priority.

Online users today have much higher expectations. Failing to meet those expectations will result in visitors clicking out in frustration and moving on to another site. Keeping users engaged then starts by optimising the user experience of a website. Examples include improving site speed, implementing a mobile design, collecting user feedback, and conducting split tests.

Here we compiled a collection of user experience tools. Some of the tools are free to use while others require a paid subscription. This list is by no means exhaustive but it will get you on the right track towards improving the usability of your site.

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5 Ways to Use Social Proof in Your Website Design to Boost Conversions https://www.perth-web-design.com.au/5-ways-to-use-social-proof-in-your-website-design-to-boost-conversions-2/ Fri, 22 Dec 2017 01:15:37 +0000 https://www.perth-web-design.com.au/5-ways-to-use-social-proof-in-your-website-design-to-boost-conversions-2/ Human behavior is incredibly malleable. People look to social cues in their immediate environment to guide their own behavior. In the famous elevator experiment, participants were asked to face the ...

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Human behavior is incredibly malleable.

People look to social cues in their immediate environment to guide their own behavior. In the famous elevator experiment, participants were asked to face the opposite direction in an elevator. Meanwhile, unknowing subjects conformed almost immediately.

 

Psychologists have a name for this social phenomenon: conformity. Simply put it means that people change their behavior based on cues they observe in their environment.

Think about the last unfamiliar situation you were put in. Maybe you were attending a wedding in a foreign country or perhaps working at a new job. If you saw others behaving in a certain way, you’re likely to follow suit in fear of looking out of place.

So what does this all have to do with website design?

It’s no secret that design plays a major role in establishing trustworthiness. Just like how people look to their immediate environment to guide their behavior, certain cues on your website such as the presence of social proof from third parties can increase the value of your products or services.

 

What is Social Proof?

Social proof is the tendency for others to change their behavior based on their environment. This phenomenon is particularly prominent in social situations as we have seen from the elevator experiment.

In marketing, social proof is become a powerful persuasive tool.

Certain cues may make consumers more likely to pull out their wallet or think twice about their purchase. An early example of this in commerce comes in 1955 from McDonald’s. After reaching a major milestone of hamburgers sold, McDonald’s began displaying those numbers in its signs:

 

 

Those numbers were clearly visible to anyone driving by.

Highlighting those figures does two things: it instantly establishes credibility and it makes the brand more appealing. After all, if people didn’t love their hamburgers how could they possibly have sold so many? It’s not hard to imagine many people pulling in for a quick bite because of that simple change.

Here are some other real-life examples of social proof that many people encounter on a daily basis:

  • Venues: Bars and nightclubs often intentionally limit entry even if there is plenty of space inside. Doing so creates a line outside which increases the perception of that venue’s popularity to anyone passing by.
  • Product launches: Every year without fail, Apple launches a new iPhone in the fall. The night before there are always huge lines of people waiting in anticipation. This arouses curiosity to onlookers and also gives the impression of a popular product.
  • Country clubs: Country clubs frequently put down names down on waiting lists and are even known to turn people away. This creates a sense of exclusivity which again increases their perceived value among members.

Bottom-line: Social proof matters.

When a visitor first lands on your landing pages, they don’t have any reference points to determine the credibility of your offer. Fortune 500 companies like Apple and McDonald’s normally don’t have this problem as they have spent decades making their brands household names. By using the same principles behind the real-life examples described above, it’s possible to change how your products or services are perceived.

With a few simple changes to your website, you can not only ease any doubts that potential customers might have but also drive more conversions in the process. Here we’ll look at the different types of social proof and how you can implement them in your own website design.

 

1. Product Reviews

Let’s start with perhaps the most prevalent form of social proof online: Product reviews.

Think about the last purchase you made from a website. Did you immediately click the buy button? Chances are you probably read a few reviews first before making a decision. In fact, a survey found that 70% of consumers relied on online reviews for purchasing decisions. That percentage was even higher amongst younger respondents.

Reviews also affect how consumers feel about a business. Key findings from a BrightLocal survey found that 74% of consumers trust local businesses more when they have positive reviews while 60% said negative reviews would make them go elsewhere.

 

 

Reviews are powerful influencers then. It’s why some of the largest online retailers in the world prominently display them on their product pages.

Amazon displays star ratings and customer reviews for each product:

 

 

Scroll further down the page and you’ll see actual customer reviews along with their ratings:

 

These types of reviews are often key deciding factors for shoppers as they contain actual customer feedback.

The immediate benefit is that reviews help your visitors feel more confident about their purchase. Reviews can even help your products appear in the search results for unique keywords since customer feedback also gets indexed.

Putting it into practice: The best place to include customer reviews is on your product pages and where they are clearly visible. Most shopping cart software such as Shopify and OsCommerce make it easy to enable reviews. If you currently don’t have any reviews, either ask your customers directly by following up via email or offer an incentive such as loyalty points that shoppers can redeem for discounts.

2. Testimonials

Testimonials are another great way to showcase social proof on your website. They lend credibility to your products or services, and can give potential buyers that extra nudge to take actions. Just like product reviews, testimonials come from actual customers and are typically in the form of a quote.

Here is an example of how FreshBooks uses testimonials on its homepage:

 

 

By showcasing testimonials from actual business owners, FreshBooks is able to establish trust and build credibility with their target audience. Those reading the testimonials can see how others have benefited and what they can expect.

Another example comes Xero which takes it a step further by featuring video testimonials from its customers:

 

 

Each video is several minutes long and showcases how business owners used Xero’s accounting software to streamline their orders and make better business decisions. Both are good examples of testimonials as a form of social proof. Potential customers can turn to these actual cases to guide their own decision.

Another incentive to implement testimonials in your website design is its impact on conversions.

Hotel Institute Montreux in Switzerland began experimenting with its lead generation page. The inclusion of a testimonial from a postgraduate student led to a 50% increase in conversions.

 

 

This case study demonstrates the positive impact that testimonials can have on conversions.

Putting it into practice: Prominently feature testimonials on your most valuable pages such as your homepage, product/service pages, and lead forms. Just like in the examples shown here, you’ll want to include a picture and include their name with the quote. Running A/B split tests will help you better evaluate their impact on conversions.

 

3. Brand Logos

Brand logos are another classic example of social proof and achieve two things: They lend credibility to your business and increase the perceived value of what you offer.

Adding logos to your pages works especially well if those companies are recognized in your industry or if they are household brands. That kind of social proof can go a long way towards making a positive impression with potential prospects and turn them into customers.

A case study on Voices.com showed that the addition of adding brand logos to their homepage had a positive impact on conversion rates:

“Adding proof to the homepage had a significant effect: Voices.com had some impressive “claims to fame” that could really influence prospective customers but that weren’t clearly communicated on the website.”

Several major brands are featured prominently on the homepage of Voices:

 

 

Voices is able to leverage its existing client relationships to establish itself as a company that is both trusted and in demand. This kind of social proof is incredibly powerful especially to visitors who may not have previously heard of or interacted with your brand.

Media mentions also work well if any major publications have featured or reviewed your product. Here’s an example from Animoto’s homepage:

 

 

Just like with testimonials, Including brand logos or media mentions is an effective way to lend credibility to your business.

Putting it into practice: Does your business work with any well known brands or have your products been featured in a major publication? Then consider adding those logos or media mentions to your website such as on the homepage where it is clearly visible.

 

4. Trust Seals

Trust seals provide assurances to visitors as they pay for their purchase.

These icons can typically be found in the footer of most e-commerce sites. Some provides assurances that a transaction is secure online (VeriSign), that a site is free of malware (McAfee Secure), or that the business has been accredited (BBB Online). The purpose of trust seals is to show that a website is legitimate and has been verified by credible third parties.

In a survey from Econsutancy and Toluna, respondents were asked the following question: “If you are shopping from a retailer you don’t know well, how would you decide whether to trust the website?”

Close to half indicated that they would look for trust marks:

 

 

Surprisingly, that answer received the highest response and even beat out professional website design when determining trustworthiness. The inclusion of trust seals then makes shoppers feel more confident about their purchase.

A survey conducted by Baymard Institute found the following seals generate the most trust for online shoppers:

 

 

It’s no secret that good design is a crucial component to making a positive impression. But online shoppers will look for certain cues on a website before completing a transaction. Trust seals help to ease any doubts that new visitors might have and their presence has even been shown to increase conversions.

Putting it into practice: You can’t simply just slap those icons on your website. For example, to get the Norton Secured badge you’ll need to purchase an SSL Certificate and will need to wait for it to verify. Others follow a similar process before you can add them. Once you’re able to get them, add those seals to your checkout page or to the footer of your website.

5. User/Customer Numbers

“Our company has many customers!”

“Join over 100,000 customers today!”

People are easily impressed by numbers.

It helps to explain why the second headline is more catchy and more likely to get noticed. Showing how many people have used or purchased from your business is another effective form of social proof. It’s similar to the example cited earlier of McDonald’s putting the number of hamburgers sold in its signage. It gives the impression of a popular product which in turn entices onlookers to notice.

Showcasing some numbers on your own website can have a similar effect. It shows that people use and trust your brand, thus immediately increasing perceived value to new visitors.

Basecamp offers an excellent example by displaying a trajectory of new accounts at the bottom of the page:

 

 

And here’s how Social Media Examiner uses subscriber numbers to get visitors to sign up for its newsletter:

 

 

Numbers convey popularity and can further lure visitors in. The call to action here clearly highlights the fact that over 600,000 people are subscribed, an impressive number that is sure to convince new readers to follow suit.

Putting it into practice: Valuable statistics can further lend credibility to your brand. Leverage any impressive user or customer numbers on pages you want visitors to take action. This can include signing up for a free trial or subscribing to your newsletter.

 

Conclusion

Your website is often the first point of contact that visitors have with your brand.

A visually appealing website design is key to keeping visitors engaged. But most importantly, you need to establish trust with your audience before you can convince them to pull out their wallets. Adding forms of social proof to your website such as customer reviews, testimonials, and trust icons can ease these doubts and greatly boost your conversions in the process.

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Website Builders vs Hard Coding: Which is Right For Your Business? https://www.perth-web-design.com.au/website-builders-vs-hard-coding-which-is-right-for-your-business-2/ Fri, 22 Dec 2017 01:15:37 +0000 https://www.perth-web-design.com.au/website-builders-vs-hard-coding-which-is-right-for-your-business-2/ The Internet has had a fundamental impact across all major industries. Now, anyone with a web-enabled device can communicate and transact with people from around the world. While the Internet ...

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The Internet has had a fundamental impact across all major industries. Now, anyone with a web-enabled device can communicate and transact with people from around the world. While the Internet has only been around since the 90s, it’s almost impossible to imagine life without it.

Commerce is one major area that the Internet has completely altered. An online presence meant that geographic location was no longer a limiting factor, making it possible for brands to reach a global audience.

But the technology was still in the early stages.

Powerful computers and high-speed connections simply didn’t exist back then. As a result, most websites were comprised of largely text with minimal graphics. There was no such thing as what we know today as page layout—the arrangement of visual elements—which would eventually be one of the major building blocks of web design.

Here’s an early example of Amazon’s design from the 90s:

 

 

And here’s what it looks now:

 

 

Websites today are far more capable and functional.

A lot has changed since the first website went live over two decades ago. What was once a rather novel networking tool has now become an indispensable component for every business.

But a huge caveat at the time was that sites had to be built from the ground up. Business owners who wanted their own website had to either hire web developers or learn how to code it themselves. This presented a number of technical and financial challenges as developing a website was significantly higher. Maintaining a website was also rather time consuming as even making small changes required numerous steps.

Many of these challenges are no longer a problem today. New tools are now readily available that make it possible for any brand to build professional websites without having to write a single line of code. What’s more is that many of these solutions are incredibly affordable.

This is where website builders come in. Not software applications like Adobe Dreamweaver but hosted solutions that offer drop and drop functionality and pre-built templates.

If you use Facebook or any other social network, you’ve likely seen ads like this:

 

 

There is no shortage of website builders but Weebly is one of the more popular ones. It’s an example of a WYSIWYG (an acronym for “what you see is what you get”) editor that lets you build professional looking websites even with zero technical expertise.

 

 

Pricing is also very reasonable at up to $25 a month which includes a number of additional features.

 

 

And there is even the option to build your own e-commerce store if you want to sell online. But before you make the leap, you should understand the distinction between website builders and hard coding.

 

Website Builder Pros and Cons

Website builders are appealing for a number of reasons:

  • Incredibly easy to use: Website builders are built to be as user friendly as possible. Features such as drag and drop allow you to easily arrange visual elements on a page.
  • No coding required: Coding requires years of learning to become proficient, time that you may not necessarily have as a business owner. With website builders you won’t have to learn how to code as the system is already built with an editor. This can save you a great deal of time and frustration especially when you want to go live as soon as possible.
  • Pre-built templates: The average page visit lasts 10 to 20 seconds. A professional website design is crucial to engage your visitors and keep them on your pages longer. But designing a visually appealing site is no easy task. Website builders come with a whole library of pre-built templates to choose from.
  • Step by step wizard: The idea of building an entirely new website can be daunting. Website builders typically include a step by step wizard that walks you through the entire process from selecting a template to uploading photos and entering your business information.

There are many other website builders to choose from with similar features and competitive pricing but the general premise is the same: Build beautiful websites without writing any code.

 

 

But there are major disadvantages of course.

Just take a look at some of the largest sites in the world. One thing you’ll notice right away is that none of them use website builders. They’re either coded entirely from the ground up or deploy a CMS (content management system). And there’s a reason for that as website builders have numerous limitations.

Some of these include:

  • Inability to export code: A number of website builders don’t allow users to export the code or even edit the HTML or CSS files. Some website builders also have limited export functionality, making it difficult to migrate to another platform.So if you decide to switch to a CMS, you’ll need to start from scratch again.
  • Limited storage: Even paid options will limit your allotment of bandwidth and storage, which may be fine for sites with only a few pages but can be a huge bottleneck for larger sites. You undoubtedly want your site to grow but limited storage makes it difficult.
  • Restricted features: Most website builders offer different packages that are suitable for personal or business use. But depending on the package you get, certain features might be restricted or even removed entirely unless you upgrade. Some examples include having a limited number of pages you can create.
  • Pre-built templates: One of the advantages of website builders is also a disadvantage. Any pre-built template you choose is likely already used by hundreds, perhaps thousands of other sites. When you want to build a unique brand identity, pre-built templates just won’t cut it.

Another disadvantage is that some website builders even charge transaction fees to sell products online. For example, Weebly charges a 3% fee for each transaction for its Starter and Pro packages. It doesn’t sound like much but those fees can really add up.

 

 

On the other end of the spectrum are hard coded websites.

 

Hard Coded Websites

Hard coding is exactly what it sounds like, hard, coding work.

It involves coding a website with CSS and HTML entirely from the ground up. There is no step by step wizard to build your site or pre-built template to choose from. There isn’t even a “back-end” to log in to. Any and all edits must be made using software like Dreamweaver or a text editor, and then uploaded to the web.

 

 

The advantages of hard coding a website include:

  • More control: Hard coding means that you have complete control over your site. This alone is why many business owners choose this approach over website builders. It gives them the flexibility to modify their websites as their business expands.
  • Simpler code: Websites that are hard coded tend to be bare bones in terms of code. But because there isn’t any extraneous code, pages load faster for all users. Reduced HTML mark-up also helps to make webpages more search engine friendly.
  • More secure: Even website builders are susceptible to hacking. Because the same code is used across all templates, it makes it a more attractive target for hackers. In fact, Weebly was attacked just last year with credentials from more than 43 million accounts stolen in a breach which left millions of accounts vulnerable.
  • Little maintenance: Once a hard coded website is live, you won’t need to install any new updates or make regular backups. This means they can run on cheaper servers, reducing costs in the long run as most website builders require paid subscriptions to use the features.

The obvious caveat here though is that hard coding a website not only requires extensive coding knowledge, but it can also be incredibly time-consuming. Web developers have the technical know-how to build and maintain websites. But as a business owner, you have orders to fulfill and customers to manage. You simply don’t have the time to hard code your own site.

The question now is should you go with a website builder or hard code one yourself?

It depends.

If all you want is a simple website with only a few pages and have limited technical expertise, then website builders may be the perfect option for your business. But if you are looking for more features and functionality, you’re better off with a custom solution.

Either approach will ultimately help get your business online but there are tradeoffs to consider.

 

 

While it’s next to impossible to get something that matches all three criteria, there’s another solution that offers a good compromise between website builders and hard coding: content management systems.

 

Content Management System Overview

Content management systems (CMS) are applications that streamline content creation on the web. Just like website builders, they provide an intuitive interface for users. Although there is a higher learning curve, building a fully functional site is possible even with minimal technical experience.

WordPress is perhaps the most popular CMS, powering 27.5% of the top 10 million websites. That percentage is even higher when you look at the market share of the top million websites:

 

 

WordPress is an open source software meaning that it is freely available for download. It’s also backed by a large development community so it is constantly receiving new features and security updates. What’s more is that you can have a fully functional site for just the cost of a domain name and hosting.

Here is what makes WordPress such a popular platform and why it might be a better choice for your business.

 

Ease of Use

WordPress comes with an intuitive interface that makes it easy to add or edit your content. Simply write your content and click on the Publish content for it to go live. No need to use any coding or FTP programs to get your content on the web.

 

 

Flexibility

WordPress is primarily a blogging platform. But as a CMS, it’s built to be flexible and can power anything from personal blogs to university websites. There are even ways to transform any WordPress site into an e-commerce store which is something that WooCommerce offers.

 

 

Professional Themes

The WordPress theme directory includes tons of themes you can download and install right from the dashboard. And if you still can’t find a design that you’re completely satisfied with, there are plenty of paid options available. Or you can hire WordPress developers to build a custom theme for your business.

 

 

Plugins

What makes WordPress so versatile is that new functionality can be added with plugins. Want to add social sharing buttons to your site or add a contact form on your homepage? You can easily download and install an appropriate plugin from the dashboard.

 

 

WordPress can be as simple or complex as you want it to be.

The obvious downside is that it’s not as straightforward as website builders. There’s also a slight learning curve and you’ll need to dig into the code to make tweaks to your themes. Not to mention that you’ll also need to install security updates as they get released. But getting over the initial hurdles means greater control and flexibility, options you’ll definitely want as your business expands.

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How to Prepare Your Local Business Site For a Mobile First Web https://www.perth-web-design.com.au/how-to-prepare-your-local-business-site-for-a-mobile-first-web/ Fri, 22 Dec 2017 01:15:37 +0000 https://www.perth-web-design.com.au/how-to-prepare-your-local-business-site-for-a-mobile-first-web/ Mobile isn’t a trend. Its growing dominance means that it’s the present and future. Smartphones are now so ubiquitous that you would be hard pressed to find someone without one. ...

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Mobile isn’t a trend.

Its growing dominance means that it’s the present and future. Smartphones are now so ubiquitous that you would be hard pressed to find someone without one. New data from comScore shows that total time spent online is now dominated by mobile devices.

 

 

Given this shift towards mobile, Google’s announcement of its mobile-first indexing system is not at all surprising. Previously, desktop results would be shown to users across all devices. The problem though is that mobile users may be shown a different version than what they were expecting. The new indexing system then would prioritise a website’s mobile version over its desktop version when ranking the site in search.

Here is what Google says about the new changes to the index:

“Although our search index will continue to be a single index of websites and apps, our algorithms will eventually primarily use the mobile version of a site’s content to rank pages from that site, to understand structured data, and to show snippets from those pages in our results.”

The writing on the wall has been quite clear for some now: Google is increasingly shifting towards a mobile web. If your website doesn’t have a mobile version or at least a responsive design, you can expect to see lower rankings in the search results.

Another reason why mobile matters is due to sales.

According to data from Google, 67% of mobile users indicated they were more likely to purchase a product or service if the site was optimised for mobile. And 61% said they were more likely to leave a site if they couldn’t find what they were looking for right away.

As more people use mobile devices to browse and connect online, a new trend is emerging: Mobile first design. Businesses that are able to make the transition stand to benefit greatly. Here we take a closer look at what mobile first web design is and how to get started with your own local business website.

 

What is Mobile First Design?

For years it made sense for businesses to design their websites for the desktop. Mobile was generally built as an afterthought and not given much consideration. Browsing the web on a mobile device was simply not practical and network speeds made the experience even more frustrating.

But that quickly changed.

Mobile usage began seeing widespread adoption with the introduction of the smartphone and began steadily growing since 2009. Now, data from comScore reveals that the number of global users is higher on mobile devices than on desktops.

 

 

Figures from StatCounter also confirm that web browsing on smartphones and tablets has risen to 51.3% compared to desktop’s 48.7%. Given these figures it makes sense to prioritise a mobile first design, an idea that was proposed nearly 8 years ago by Luke Wroblewski and has since gained in popularity.

 

 

What mobile first does is prioritise mobile development. Certain design elements that work on desktops don’t always translate to its mobile counterpart. One obvious example is the use of Flash which doesn’t display properly on most mobile devices. Other instances (e.g. multi level menus, auto playing videos, etc.) can lead to a poor browsing experience for mobile users or make the site difficult to navigate.

To better understand why mobile first make sense, it helps to look at comparisons between graceful degradation and progressive enhancement as depicted here.

 

 

Graceful degradation attempts to solve the problem of rapidly advancing technology. Originally, the term was used to describe the practice of building a site so that newer features could work on modern web browsers. But certain features would be stripped or degrade “gracefully” for users on older browsers. The idea is to serve up enhanced versions and then account for legacy system so the site would still be functional.

In terms of mobile design, graceful degradation means building a full standard site and then scaling back to accommodate smaller screen sizes. The problem with this approach is that loading different features on a site may work great on the desktop version but could lead to slowed performance on mobile devices.

On the other side is progressive enhancement which means designing and developing a website for mobile first. Essentially you start with the core foundation of your site on mobile which can then be “enhanced” to display more robust features for devices with larger screens such as tablets and desktops.

Both take completely different approaches but progressive enhancement works for several reasons:

  • Increases your reach: The percentage of time spent on mobile devices continues to climb with no signs of slowing down. Having a site optimised for mobile is increasingly becoming necessary to compete.
  • Directs your focus: There just isn’t room for any extraneous feature on smaller screens. Starting with mobile first design forces you to focus on the most important parts of your website.
  • Adds new functionality: Starting with a mobile first design lets you incorporate mobile features into your design right from the start. Some examples include location information from GPS, multi-touch input, voice input, etc.

We know that mobile is increasingly important and we also know that Google is preparing serious changes to its search index that will make mobile more of a priority. Now that you’re convinced of the value of mobile first design and its utility, how do you actually go about implementing it?

Here we look at how to prepare your site for a mobile first web.

 

Implement a Responsive Design

Your first priority is to make sure your site is mobile friendly. If your site isn’t optimised for mobile devices, you risk losing potential sales from mobile visitors bouncing out.

First, head over to Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test tool then input your site’s URL in the box and click the Run Test button. If your site is not optimised for mobile devices, you will see the following:

 

Google will even display a screenshot of what visitors see from a mobile device. From this example, users are presented with the desktop version of the site which offers a poor browsing experience due to its small text size and difficult navigation.

One solution is to implement a responsive design which is a grid like structure that dynamically changes to fit all screen sizes and resolutions. This configuration is even recommended by Google.

 

 

Unlike creating a separate mobile site where you have another site to manage, responsive design solves that problem. It provides a better browsing experience across all devices whether users are viewing your site from a smartphone, tablet or desktop. Responsive design also offers a number of SEO advantages, one of which is that the Googlebots are able to efficiently crawl and index more of your site’s content.

But even with a responsive design, your priority is to keep mobile users engaged. Keep the following in mind when designing for mobile:

  • Don’t use Flash: Flash may have been popular in the early days of the Internet. But it is now largely obsolete and iOS (one of the most popular mobile operating systems) isn’t able to display Flash content. Instead, you’ll want to use HTML5 or JavaScript to display animations on your pages.
  • Eliminate pop-ups: Pop-ups may be acceptable on desktop versions of a website but they can be incredibly frustrating on mobile.
  • Prioritise content: Designing for a smaller screen size presents a number of challenges. But taking a mobile first approach forces you to prioritise your content and reconsider any extraneous elements that provide little value.
  • Consider typography: With limited screen space, you need to pay special attention to the typography and font size you use. Your content needs to be easily readable as most mobile users can’t be bothered to zoom in and out on your pages.

 

Simplify Navigation

Traditional websites typically display prominent menus at the top of the page where they are clearly visible. Here’s an example from Target:

 

 

But trying to fit in the same navigation menu on mobile just doesn’t work due to the limited screen space. One solution is to shrink the menu into a drop down list and make it accessible at the top of the screen.

Here’s what Target does on its mobile site:

 

 

Tapping on the icon on the top left expands the menu:

 

 

Helping mobile users navigate your site is a high priority. But it can also be challenging due to the limitations of smaller screen space. Compacting the navigation menu in this manner helps mobile users easily find the right category.

Site structure is another important consideration. Multi level menus with subcategories embedded within categories may work on desktops but it can lead to a frustrating experience on mobile.

 

 

A flat site architecture (pictured on the left) works well on mobile devices as it ensures that pages are accessible within only a few taps. A deep site architecture may work on desktops but it can make navigation difficult and confusing for mobile users.

As you prepare your site for a mobile web, put some time into how you will structure your site. Ideally, you want to keep all pages accessible within a few taps and make your navigation as straightforward as possible.

 

Design For Conversions

The primary purpose of your site is to convert your visitors whether it’s to make a purchase, sign up for a free trial or fill out a lead form. Designing for conversions is a tricky proposition especially on mobile devices where screen space has a higher premium and attention spans are shorter.

HubSpot offers an excellent case study on how a few simple changes resulted in more sales. Analytics data revealed that conversions for one of their landing pages was 20 to 30% lower for mobile users.

The hypothesis was that making their content more easily digestible and straightforward would increase conversion rates. Some changes that were made to the original landing page included shortening the content and formatting the images.

 

 

The signup form was also edited to be more straightforward by removing unessential fields.

 

 

With these changes, HubSpot was able to decrease bounce rates and increase conversion rates on the new mobile landing pages. The key takeaway is that switching to simple layouts not only kept visitors on the page longer but also resulted in more sales.

 

Improve Loading Times

Nothing is more frustrating than landing on a page while it continues to load. Mobile users are typically on the go so they are looking for information right away. They simply don’t have the patience to continue staring at a blank screen.

As shown from this infographic, 1 in 4 visitors will abandon a website if it takes longer than 4 seconds to load:

 

 

Even a one second delay in loading times resulted in huge financial losses for online merchants such as Amazon. Each visitor that leaves is a potential lost sale that your competitors undoubtedly capitalise on. So site performance is one area that simply cannot be overlooked.

Here are ways to boost loading times on your mobile site:

Minify and Compress Code

The idea of minifying is to combine and compress HTML, CSS, and JavaScript code. Doing so helps to keep file sizes even smaller, thus drastically improving loading speeds for your users. If WordPress is your primary CMS, download and install the WP Super Minify plugin.

 

 

Utilize Browser Caching

Browsing caching saves web pages to a temporary storage location. When visitors revisit a page, the browser serves files that are already cached and only downloads updated content. Caching helps to reduce bandwidth and allows pages to load faster. Download and install the W3 Total Cache plugin:

 

 

Optimise Your Images

Images help to add more colour and life to a page. The problem though is that images are rather resource intensive and take the longest to load. This can be problematic for mobile users who may be browsing your site on a slower network. Large and unoptimised images could be negatively affecting the performance of your site. The WP Smush It plugin is particularly effective for compressing and optimising images.

 

 

Follow each of these steps to improve the performance of your mobile site.

 

Local Business Considerations

Even if you are a local business owner, the same principles apply. A report from Google has found that 4 out of 5 consumers use search engines to find local information, many of which are done from mobile devices.

 

 

This means that an individual’s first point of contact with your business may very well be through a mobile device. So in addition to implementing the steps outlined above, you’ll also want to do each of the following:

 

  • Create a Google My Business account: Google My Business makes it easy for customers to find your business online, and helps you manage your listing on search and maps. Be sure to completely fill out your profile and verify your business.
  • Make your NAP visible: NAP refers to Name, Address, and Phone Number. When mobile users are searching for local businesses, they’re mostly looking for contact information. Make sure contact details about your business are clearly visible.
  • Include a call to action (CTA): A CTA is simple an action that you want visitors to take on your pages (e.g. Call today to schedule a consultation). One example could be including your phone number where users can tap to call your business directly from their device.
  • Simply your content: The case study from HubSpot illustrates how a few simple changes can lead to more conversions. You’ll want to take similar measures by making your layouts as simple and straightforward as possible. This also means simplifying your content and clearly communicating your value proposition.

Here’s a good example of a local business website that clearly prioritises mobile:

 

 

The design has a simple layout, there’s a call to action with the phone number, and the navigation menu is easily accessible from the top. Taking a similar approach with your mobile landing pages can produce excellent results for your business.

Final Thoughts

As mobile usage continues to outpace desktop usage, designing for mobile has become a necessity for businesses to compete online. Extensive research has shown that mobile users increasingly prefer sites that are designed for their devices and are more likely to return in the future. That kind of engagement is incredibly invaluable but is only possible with a well thought out mobile design.

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Blogging for Beginners: Why You Should NOT Overthink Your Blog’s Design https://www.perth-web-design.com.au/blogging-for-beginners-why-you-should-not-overthink-your-blogs-design/ Fri, 22 Dec 2017 01:15:37 +0000 https://www.perth-web-design.com.au/blogging-for-beginners-why-you-should-not-overthink-your-blogs-design/   Publishing quality content is at the heart of content marketing. It helps establish your brand as an industry authority which potentially translates to massive returns for your business. Here ...

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Here is definition that the Content Marketing Institute gives:

 “Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”

 But how does blogging translate to your bottom line?

 A great deal, as it turns out.

 Each post you publish is yet another page for Google to crawl and index. Having more pages in the index increases the chances that someone will discover your content in the search results, driving more organic traffic to your landing pages.

More targeted traffic translates to more leads and sales.

giphy.gif

Each new post also builds your social media presence. Sharing content on your social profiles is a great way to build a following with your target audience and increase brand awareness.

Another benefit of blogging is that it helps establish your brand as an authority. By creating relevant and engaging content, you essentially become the go to source for information.

Perhaps most importantly is how blogging contributes to the bottomline. B2B marketers that blog on a regular basis receive 67% more leads than those that don’t. The content that you publish has the potential to generate measurable results for your business for years to come.

Here is an infographic that outlines some of the many benefits of blogging:

Blogging Infographic.png

So then you get started with your own WordPress site.

You’re eager to share your knowledge with the world and you’re excited about the potential opportunities that your new blog can bring. After following all the steps to install WordPress, this is what you are left with:

New WordPress Site.png

A blank canvas with incredible potential.

But then you think to yourself that you can’t start publishing right away. There are likely tons of sites that use with the default WordPress theme. The largest brands in the world don’t stick with default themes, they have logos and designs that are instantly recognizable. You want your site to be unique to stand out from a sea of competitors.

So then you get to work on tweaking the theme. First you head over to WordPress’ theme depository to see what your options are.

WordPress Themes.png

You take a few moments to browse through the Featured and Popular section and you see quite a few themes that you like. Another added bonus is that you can quickly preview the theme that you might be interested in.

But you still can’t quite find the right theme that’s for you.

So you decide to go with a paid theme. Just like with free WordPress themes, there is no shortage of options available with eye-catching designs that are sure to make a lasting impression. Then you finally see a theme that you like so you decide to purchase and install it on your site.

You love the new theme but the color doesn’t quite reflect your brand. Luckily, you have some HTML experience so you can easily edit those files. You start to dig in and change the colors to something more suitable.

And then you start tweaking the logo.

And the typography.

And the widgets.

And the plugins.

Before you know it, you spent a whole day just on the design aspects of your site. Then the cycle continues to repeat itself. You’re agonizing over miniscule details that ultimately don’t matter in the grand scheme of things when what you should really be doing is writing.

An empty WordPress installation won’t get you anywhere. It’s the content that you publish that brings visitors to your landing pages.

Of course, this isn’t to say that mean design doesn’t matter.

It absolutely does.

Online users form impressions about a site in less than two-tenths of a second, according to an eye-tracking study conducted at Missouri University of Science and Technology. Their findings revealed that over 94% of the factors that influenced a subject’s impression about a web page were related to design elements.

These include the:

  •  Logo
  • Navigation menu
  • Search box
  • Social networking links
  • Site’s main image
  • Written content
  • Bottom of the site

Here is what the heatmap looked like from the eye-tracking software:

 Eye Tracking.jpg

The longer that participants remained on a page, the more favorable their impressions were. The results confirm that professional website design can hold people’s attention for a longer period.

It’s easy to see then why so many businesses fuss about their site’s design. The problem is that overthinking stops forward progress and can cause you to lose sight of the bigger picture. It’s a common trap especially for new bloggers as they want their new blog to be absolutely perfect. But it can be a colossal waste of time and quickly trap you in an endless cycle of constant tweaking that doesn’t lead anywhere.

Here we look at several ways to escape the overthinking trap and finally launch your new blog.

 

Settle For Adequate

Probably not the kind of advice you expected to hear. But it’s one that has proven to be effective in the decision making process.

Take the perfectionist for example. This individual combs through every detail, carefully weighs all the options, then makes a final decision. In certain areas like sports, we look at perfectionists with awe as they hold themselves to a higher standard and strive for excellence. They push past boundaries by setting incredible goals that others would shrink away from.

These individuals are similar to maximizers. They spend enormous amounts of energy to make the best possible decisions. In other words, they overthink and want to avoid bad choices at all costs.

At the other end of the spectrum, you have what are called satisficers, a term first coined by economist Herbert Simon in 1956. These are individuals who are content with “good enough.” Unlike maximizers, they look for and choose adequate solutions that fit their needs. One would think that maximizers are content with their choices but research says otherwise. Maximizers tend to be less happy with their decisions whereas satisficers tend to be more pleased.

Takeaway: Overthinking comes at a cost and it can actually lead to dissatisfaction. For now, settle for an adequate design for your blog. You can always change how your site looks later on.

 

Set a Time Limit

Parkinson’s Law states that “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.”

A seemingly straightforward task that would normally take few hours to complete expands in complexity and takes more to complete if you give yourself longer to complete it. Understanding this principle can go a long way towards increasing productivity and staying on task.

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Here is how you can make Parkinson’s Law to work for you:

  •  Make a list of the tasks you need to complete for your site (e.g. choosing a theme, etc.)
  • Set and enforce a strict time to complete those tasks
  • Work on those tasks and treat the time as a deadline

Taking this approach can help you escape the overthinking trap that many bloggers fall into. By setting a time limit, you are actually using Parkinson’s Law to your advantage. Tasks that would normally have taken several days to complete can be done in much less. It also forces you to settle for an adequate solution instead of agonizing over tiny details that distract from the bigger picture.

Takeaway: Parkinson’s Law states that work expands to fill the allotted time. Use this principle to your advantage by setting and enforcing strict time limits on tasks that relate to your blog.

 

Just Ship It

Steve Jobs famously said, “Real artists ship.”

What he meant was that everyone has bold and daring ideas. But real artists are those that expand on their ideas and ship products out.

Perhaps the biggest reason why people overthink and fail to ship out is fear of failure. Failure elicits powerful emotions: Anger, frustration, disappointment, regret. And these feelings can be incredibly immobilizing. It explains how anxiety about a situation causes even some of the best athletes in the world to choke under pressure.

So perfectionists spend enormous energy tweaking and polishing. The reality though is that new products and services are rarely perfect out of the gate.

Just take a look at how Twitter (originally called Twttr) looked when it first launched:

Twttr.png

The original design was rather rudimentary but the company launched the product anyway. Twitter has since changed its site and product design a great deal, and is one one of the most popular social networks today.

Shipping the first version of your site not only helps combat overthinking but also gives you the benefit of receiving actual feedback from your audience. If certain design aspects of your blog don’t pan out, you can use that data to pivot and change course.

Takeaway: One way to stop overthinking is to simply ship the first version of your blog’s design. Then tweak and optimize as you go with feedback from your audience.

 

Next Steps

Here we look at how to get started with a professional design for your blog.

Choose a minimal theme with a white background

It’s easy to get distracted with choosing a theme. But overthinking this step can trap you in an endless cycle and waste enormous amounts of time. For now you’ll want to choose a theme with an elegant design and a white background.

Here is an example from the WordPress theme depository called OnePress:

If you don’t mind spending a little extra money, ThemeForest offers an excellent selection of elegant and professional WordPress themes that you can choose from. It’s easy to spend a lot of time choosing a theme but settle for an adequate solution for now. You can always change your theme later on.

Use breadcrumbs

Effective web design is much more than aesthetics. Your site also has to be usable for your visitors. Adding breadcrumb navigation is a great way to enhance the usability of your site and is an effective visual aid that shows where visitors are.

Download and install the Breadcrumb NavXT plugin to add breadcrumbs to your site:

What makes the plugin so versatile is that it can be easily customized to suit your needs.

Add a navigation menu

Navigation menus are simply a must as as they allow visitors to quickly navigate to the appropriate section of your website. Menus are typically placed at the top although some sites choose to have them on the right or left side.

Here is an example of a simple navigation menu:

As the number of categories and subcategories on your site grows, you’ll inevitably want a navigation menu to better structure your site.

Optimize your images

Images make your content pop out and far more engaging. But dumping images from your digital camera directly to your blog posts is not recommended. Large images take longer to load which affects the performance of your site.

There are two options: Use photo editing software like Photoshop to optimize your images before uploading to your site or use a plugin Smush to compress and remove the unnecessary data from your images.

Smush.png

Loading times is absolutely important as online users expect pages to load quickly. Be sure that any images you use on your blog posts are optimized.

Don’t overthink your logo design

A good logo is one that that makes your business memorable. Some of the largest brands in the world including Amazon, Coca Cola, McDonald’s, and Nike all have logos that are instantly recognizable. While you certainly want a well designed logo to make a lasting impression with your visitors, it’s also important not to overthink this aspect of your website. Instead, opt for a simple logo that reflects your business.

 

Conclusion

It’s easy to get lost in the details.

But each second you spend on your site’s design is time that could have been spent more productively on producing content for your blog. The reality though is that constant tweaking gives a false sense of accomplishment and focusing on these details (e.g. themes, colors, etc.) can make you lose sight of the bigger picture. Follow the steps as outlined here to escape the overthinking trap and to get started with a professional design for your blog.

The post Blogging for Beginners: Why You Should NOT Overthink Your Blog’s Design appeared first on Perth Web Design.

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5 Steps to Optimize Your Websites User Experience (UX) https://www.perth-web-design.com.au/5-steps-to-optimize-your-websites-user-experience-ux/ Fri, 22 Dec 2017 01:15:37 +0000 https://www.perth-web-design.com.au/5-steps-to-optimize-your-websites-user-experience-ux/ If your site has high bounce rates or low conversion rates, it can often be attributed to poorly designed pages. But there is another key piece that many tend to ...

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If your site has high bounce rates or low conversion rates, it can often be attributed to poorly designed pages.

But there is another key piece that many tend to overlook: User experience (UX) design.

Image result for web design + meme

 UX design is the process of enhancing the experience that users have with a product. While web design focuses on the more visual aspects of a site, UX design takes it a step further. It entails optimizing different aspects of a site to create a better experience. 

If engagement is low to your site and conversions are not up to par, it may be time to conduct a usability review. Doing so helps to uncover areas of improvement and ultimately drives profitable action. Here’s a quick rundown on on how to optimize your WordPress site’s user experience in 6 Steps

1. Identify Business Objectives

Identifying business objectives is the first step to reviewing your website’s user experience.

Goals have a large impact on the overall design and user experience of your site. For example, an e-commerce store is going to have a completely different series of steps for users to follow than a site that sells information products. Visitors expect to be able to easily complete their online purchase or find the information they are looking for.

This is why usability matters. If the design of your site is not conducive to your business objectives, then engagement will suffer as a result.

2. Dive Into Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a widely used tool that sheds key insight that can be used to optimize the usability of your site. Understanding how visitors are navigating your site can help uncover potential issues.

If visitors are abandoning their shopping carts or clicking through to unexpected pages, it could be an indication of poor navigation structure. Behavior Flow can be viewed in the Reporting tab under Behavior:

By looking at this data, we can see which pages visitors are landing on and the pages they visit next. This information can be used to identify the main user flow to optimize (e.g. Visitors landing on the homepage and clicking to a product and bouncing).

3. Define a User Flow

User flow refers to the navigation path that users follow on a website. It includes a series of steps that users take to complete an action such as a purchase.

A typical user flow might look like the following for a travel website:

user-flow

Designing an effective user flow drives profitable action. It means that users are able to easily navigate through the site from the moment they land on a page to when they complete a purchase. This is why defining your business objectives is such an important step.

Start by creating a user flow that is conducive to your goals and what you want users to do. Is it adding an item to their shopping cart? Or signing up for a free trial of a service your business offers?

4. Identify and Address Issues

Visitors leave websites for numerous reasons. If your site fails to meet their expectations in any way, they will not hesitate to click the back button. Issues from slow loading pages to irrelevant content have negative effects on engagement and conversions.

Of course, how user friendly your site is also another factor.

In conjunction with a user flow, use the data in the Behavior Flow report in Google Analytics to identify any potential issues such as navigation problems. Then take steps to optimize each page of the user flow which is based on the user goals.

Examples include:

  • Removing irrelevant links
  • Adding a breadcrumb navigation
  • Adding in internal links to guide visitors
  • Removing distracting elements (e.g. sidebar widgets)
  • Adding clear call to action buttons on landing pages
  • Reducing the number of steps users have to take

Each of these can greatly improve the usability of your site and ultimately increase conversions. Be sure to monitor your analytics data to see how any changes you make affect engagement and sales.

5. Get Real User Data

Image result for fake data

No one is more familiar with your site than you.

You know exactly where everything is and how to navigate the site.

But not everything is as clear-cut for new visitors.

Looking at analytics data can already reveal a lot in terms of how visitors interact with your pages. If users are navigating back and forth between pages, it indicates poor navigation structure. Or if bounce rates are high, it indicates that engagement is low.

Optimizing each page of the user flow is necessary to keep visitors on your pages. But how exactly would you know what to do?

This is where getting feedback from real users can be invaluable.

Services such as UserTesting are available where you can see exactly how users navigate your site, allowing you to see parts of your site need improvement. This kind of feedback is particularly useful when determining any website design changes to implement.

Another option is to hire a UX expert to conduct a more comprehensive usability review of your site. But be prepared to budget more.

Conclusion

Conducting a usability review of your site provides valuable insight that can be used to drive more conversions to your business. Follow the steps as outlined here to review and optimize your website’s UX design. But be sure to also monitor your analytics data to measure the effect of website design changes you make.

The post 5 Steps to Optimize Your Websites User Experience (UX) appeared first on Perth Web Design.

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5 Ways to Design Awesome Testimonial Pages https://www.perth-web-design.com.au/5-ways-to-design-awesome-testimonial-pages/ Fri, 22 Dec 2017 01:15:37 +0000 https://www.perth-web-design.com.au/5-ways-to-design-awesome-testimonial-pages/ Think about the last purchase you made online.  Did you read any reviews?  Chances are that you did.  The Internet makes it easy to quickly search for product reviews prior ...

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Think about the last purchase you made online.

 Did you read any reviews?

 Chances are that you did.

 The Internet makes it easy to quickly search for product reviews prior to completing a purchase. If you see that a product has been highly rated, you are far more likely to follow through. But seeing a product with an overwhelming number of one star ratings is likely to make you reconsider.

Consumers even turn to reviews when searching for local businesses. Data from a BrightLocal Survey found that 91% of consumers read online reviews to assess the credibility of a business.

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Reviews are a form of social proof and are incredibly influential for the following reasons:

  • Increases credibility
  • Drives more sales
  • Generates interest

Social proof can be that extra push that prospects need to complete their purchase. Incorporating social proof into your own site’s web design in the form of reviews and testimonials can drive more conversions. Here we look at several real-life examples of companies with well designed testimonial pages.

1. Xero – Use Imagery to Highlight Reviews

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Xero does a great job of highlighting testimonials right on the homepage from actual business owners that use the company’s products. Hovering over each image reveals a short review from that individual. Clicking on the button below takes visitors to another page where they can read even more customer stories across different industries. Visitors to the page can immediately see how Xero’s products benefit them.

2. mHelpDesk – Implement Video Reviews

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mHelpDesk has an incredibly effective testimonial page. Each review comes from actual customers and also includes a short video that details their experience with the company. The videos may not exactly be production quality, but it helps to add more authenticity to the testimonial. Displayed below the videos are awards and badges of recognition.

3. Dropbox – Use Numbers to Boost Credibility

Dropbox.png

Dropbox offers another excellent example of a testimonial page that effectively leverages social proof with the headline “Join the 200,000 companies that use Dropbox Business”. And below that are logos from different companies that use their services along with video testimonials. The fact that more than 200,000 companies use Dropbox boosts credibility.

4. FocusLab – Use Clear Visuals

FocusLab takes a different approach to the typical testimonial page that usually lists out reviews with some pictures. The company offers visual branding solutions so it makes sense for them to focus on the creative side of their work. Clicking on the rectangular elements on the testimonial page takes visitors to a full case study that details exactly what kind of work was done for each project.

5. Shopify – Highlight Success Stories

Shopify highlights numerous success stories on their testimonial page from business owners who have opened their own online store. Clicking on the links takes visitors to in-depth interviews where businesses detail their experience and share some of their best marketing tips with Shopify. Anyone reading through these interviews can get more insight into how they can start their own successful business.

Conclusion

Testimonials are an extremely effective form of social proof that can boost sales.

 People are more inclined to make a purchase if others have had a positive experience. Adding customer reviews to a testimonial page on your site is a great way to build trust with prospects and drive more conversions to your business.

 Whether you sell products or services, adding social proof to your site can greatly benefit your business. Look at some of the examples shown here for inspiration. Each one does a great job of highlighting reviews and case studies while maintaining a visually pleasing design.

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