web design

Web Design for You

Having a new website built is often an important aspect of developing new business online. Key features of a good web design company are that they offer flexible choices, with the end user in mind throughout. The whole purpose of a website is to generate interest in your products and services, so it is important that the website is designed well in order to reflect the needs of the end user. Web design is always changing and evolving, so choose a good web designer who will listen to your requirements and build to your specification.
SEO for business

How SEO Can Help You

SEO is an important factor to getting your business website seen on search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing. By using a range of SEO techniques and strategies, SEO agencies can help to get your site ranking highly for your chosen keywords in order to get more people visiting your site, and more people buying your services! It is very much a long term project, so do not expect instant results or overnight ranking changes - many people are duped into believing that SEO will quickly change the fortune of their site, not realising that it takes a good few months to start seeing results.
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Why Magento is the King of ECommerce

If you have a business which sells products, and want an online shop, Magento is the website platform for you!  Here’s why:

Opensource = free to use!  Magento is completely opensource and free to use for all users.  It’s free to download and install, and the vibrant community of web developers on there ensures there’s always new ideas and concepts floating around.  Other ecommerce platforms such as Shopify are much more limited in what’s available.

It’s able to grow with your business.  As your business becomes more succesful, you’ll likely want to add more product lines and SKUs.  This is fine on Magento, because you can add as much as you like, you are unrestricted.  Not so with other platforms.  Other platforms set limits on the number of products you can list, and to add extras will cost you ££.  Magento truly allows you to expand as much as you like!

 

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Getting Your Website Indexed by Google

Once you have built a new website, you are likely to want it to be indexed by Google.  This can be a slow process, as the robots Google use to index sites take time to scan all the websites on the internet!  There are some tricks you can do to speed up the process and get your site indexed a little faster.

  1. Manually submit your site to Google.  There are tools Google provide for webmasters such as their URL submission page.  This allows you to submit the HTML site map and the XML sitemap to get your site indexed that bit quicker.
  2. Get links!  If you have a blog, why not post about your new site on there?  This will point to your new site as well as getting Google indexing – search bots tend to crawl blog content more frequently than other websites.
  3. Get visitors to share your content on their social media profiles.  If you get more sharing, it will create backlinks which Google uses to rank your site.
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Making Sure Your Site Looks the Part

When you own a website, you will doubtless want your site to appeal to a wide range of people, be useful and functional as well as looking nice so people enjoy it.  There are things you can do to make sure you give your readers or customers the best experience possible while on your site.

Firstly, check all your web URLs make sense.  You want to avoid having random numbers, letter and symbols in there, as this can look a bit spammy and irrelevant.  It also does your SEO some good to have reasonable URLs which are grammatically correct and feature the keyword for the page.

Next, check your readability on a range of different screen sizes.  Is the font large enough, clear enough?  Does the background make it hard to read?  These should be taken into consideration before launching your site, as the readers will want to be able to understand what you are saying!

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Which Website Platform Is Best For My Business Needs?

Choosing a website platform isn’t particularly tricky – each of the main ones offers slightly different benefits to the user.  Here’s our handy guide to help you understand the world of web platforms.

WordPress

WordPress is the most popular web design platform, mostly because it offers really beautiful looks alongside functionality like no other.  It has millions of plugins to use which add to the user experience and make your website more attractive.  It is easy to customise and we can build custom goods for this platform.  Facilities to add ecommerce elements for basic selling, which makes this a great site for anyone!

Magento

Magento is a powerful ecommerce platform, which can be tricky to build with but creates really great, easy to use shopping sites.  With built in functions for managing stock, invoicing and taking secure payment, it is our first choice for anyone hoping to run a crazy successful online shop.

OpenCart

Similarly to Magento, OpenCart is primarily an ecommerce platform, but a little easier on the developer.  It can create simple yet effective ecommerce shopping sites with some added functionality as you would find in WordPress. A good option for beginner salespeople.

Of course, when you take on a professional agency to design your website, you can be sure that they will choose the best fit for your business – we always advise our clients in order to get the best out of their new site.

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Great Web Design and What It Means for 2017

A good website should follow certain principles to make sure it works well and targets the right audience.  Here are our top things to look for when making a new website in the coming new year:

  1. The website needs to be clear and self explanatory!  In order to make a website user friendly, you should reduce the amount the user needs to think in order to access it.  This means making your intentions, aims, products or whatever services crystal clear from the word go.  Reduce down the amount of clicking around the user needs to do in order to find out about your company.
  2. Allow users to try things out for free.  This is important if your service is online, or you normally get users to fill out forms to register first.  This certainly puts visitors off, if they have to fill out a lengthy form for a service or product they may not even use in future.  Allow them to have a play about with it minus the need to register first – they may be more inclined to buy the full version!
  3. Focus visitor attention span.  Images are more attractive than text, so make sure you feature images on your pages to encourage engagement from the visitor.  Our eyes are designed to instantly see and recognise patterns and motions, which is why advertising videos (although annoying!) grab our attention on a page.
  4. Effective writing.  The web is different from print writing.  Long paragraphs simply won’t be read online – it is important to tailor your writing down to suit the online audience.  Lots of short, snappy content which is quick and easy to read!  Use a scannable layout which breaks the content up into sections, allowing the user to scan through quickly.
  5. Simple is key – often the simplest websites are the most successful! Cut out the uneccessary text and graphics.
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Backlinks: Why Do I Need Them and What Are They?

Backlinks are any external links to your website from another.  These are useful because google and other search engines use them as “votes” to signal the quality and relevance of a website to a certain keyword.

It is possible to build up a nice collection of backlinks through publishing high quality content, with interesting and relevant information about your products or brand, which other websites can get excited about and share widely.

Some SEO agencies will use unethical or blackhat techniques to build up a link network for their clients, but this is a risky strategy – if search engines detect that a site has gone from virtually no backlinks to suddenly having thousands, then it is clear that the agency has bought a load of links which may not be high quality or relevant.  It is not simply about numbers when it comes to links!

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What a Successful Website Needs…

With a million different ways to build websites cheaply and quickly online, people are finding it easier than ever to design and build their own sites.  Problem is, they won’t all be super successful right off the bat.  Here are the things we think you’ll need for super success.

  1. Performance: slow websites are awful and customers hate them!  Waiting for a site to load is the death knell for online businesses.
  2. Monitoring: Keep an eye on the health of your site, checking for necessary updates to the backend, security issues and more.
  3. Security: hackers are the worst.  You need to make sure you are protected against cyber attacks, especially if you hold customer details like credit card numbers, addresses and phone numbers!
  4. Backups: automatic backups ensure you always have the most recent backup available if something goes awry.
  5. SEO: having your site fully optimised for SEO purposes is vital to get your site seen, and some online web builders simply don’y have enough built in to help you.
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Getting Ahead After a Google Penalty

If you’ve ever gotten into a Google penalty situation with your website, you’ll know it can seriously affect your website’s rankings on the search engine.  Depending on the type of penalty, you are able to get out of them by making a few small changes to the way you do things.

Panda: Google’s first major algorithm update, back in 2011.  The purpose of this was to get as much of the spammy, poor quality sites around down to the bottom of the pile, allowing decent sites to make headway up the ranks.  By penalising sites for things like keyword stuffing, poor quality backlinks and over optimised anchor text, Google sent out a clear message that these blackhat techniques needed to stop.  In order to get out of a panda penalty, it is vital you check your backlinks and get rid of any crappy ones.  Also remove any irrelevant keyword stuffed areas, duplicate content and links from irrelevant blogs.

Penguin: In 2012, Google did another major update, this time focussing more on the content of sites.  They looked out for duplicate content, spam comments, bad links and relevancy of content.  People were penalised for masses of duplication across sites (sometimes merely accidental, other times deliberate).  Sites which bought links and guest post links on irrelevant blogs and feeds also got into bother.

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Making the Most of the Plugins on WordPress

Most start up websites are ideally created using the highly popular platform of WordPress.  One of the reasons it is so popular is because it has literally millions of plugins available which add amazing functionality to your site.  The problem with there being so many to choose from, is knowing which ones are likely to be useful.  Here are a few of our faves.

  1. Hummingbird: hummingbird essentially allows your site to load way quicker than it would normally.  We all hate waiting for sites to load, and by minifying, compressing and merging your cache, it really helps to make your site lightning quick.
  2. Defender: as WordPress is so popular with users, it is also a popular target for hackers.  Keeping your security up to scratch is important, and the Defender plugin does this tenfold.  Defender basically scans your site for vulnerabilities and lets you know if it finds anything and allows you to fix it all with one click.  You can schedule scans and it even has a free trial.
  3. Jetpack: A whole array of great tools for you here!  Security, performance, content tools and visitor engagement features in one handy plugin.  It has some other cool features like social sharing, related posts and spam-free comments with a lightweight mobile friendly theme option too.
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How to Choose a Good Website Design Agency

Choosing your website designer is surprisingly important, and often a little tricky.  There are hundreds of people out there who claim to build amazing websites, so how can you tell which ones to choose?

  1. They will want to know about you!  If a company are happy to get on and design a website whilst knowing nothing about your company, your goals, aspirations, even what you do, then they won’t do a great job.  It is important for the designers to know all about your organisation so they know how best to build the site.
  2. They have a portfolio to check out – look at the past work of the designer.  Do you like the sites they have done?  Do they have good reviews from past clients testifying to their good work?  If not available to view online, you should certainly ask questions.  They should be singing from the rooftops about their amazing work!
  3. Are you able to get in contact easily?  If your agency or designer is never on the phone or able to reply to emails, then steer clear!  Designing a website is a collaborative effort and requires a lot of back-and-forth between agency and client.  If you are unable to get hold of them easily, then it doesn’t bode well for their communciations!
  4. What is their own site like?  Do they have a rock solid website of their own?  If not, how can they do a decent job on yours?

Now you have some pro tips, go forth and hire an amazing designer (us for example).