Web design and marketing news Wysi Berkshire

Keeping small businesses up to date on business online, including web design, web development, web marketing, digital marketing, SEO, and much more

The Benefits Of Flat Design

Luke Wakefield - Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Flat design is back! But what exactly is it and how can it benefit your company?

Companies such as Windows and Google have recently paved the way for a resurgence in flat design - a notion that has been in existence for many years. From websites to app design, more and more companies are leaning towards a clean, effortless approach in a bid to improve the user's experience and the business's success.

Simplicity

Before fancy graphics were a possibility, websites had to be simple - there was no other way. But then technological developments took over and websites started to sing and dance. There was no disputing that they looked great, but content was starting to get lost behind all the performance in many situations.

So flat design started to make a comeback. But by using everything we've learnt about design over the years and mixing it with fresh coding possibilities, the approach is much more attractive and the possibilities are almost unlimited.

Focusing on content

If the past year in web design has taught us anything, it's that we must never lose sight of a website's purpose: to sell. Whether it's a product, a service or simply an idea, a website should always there to display useful content that keeps people coming back. Naturally it should look great as well, but a responsively designed, flat website is far more likely to create a straightforward user experience.

Fast and responsive

Flat design is also making it much easier to achieve truly responsive design. Websites that look good from smartphone to laptop (and everything in between) are essential to success. Flat design makes this much more achievable and what's more, load times of a flat design website are far quicker.

Clear marketing

Successful companies have leaned on crystal clear content marketing for many years, so why should a website be any different? By adopting the flat design approach, your website can be as pure as your marketing.

What's more, flat design can help companies to achieve higher conversion rates on their website. Because of the uncomplicated design, the eye is drawn directly to calls to action buttons and the user is less likely to be distracted from their main reason for being at your website.

If you are considering a redesign for your website this year (and thousands of companies are), just think about the benefits you could reap from a flat design.

Why users are leaving your website and how to fix it!

Bronwyn Murgatroyd - Monday, March 18, 2013

When planning a website, we find that many people tend to forget one key stakeholder; the website visitor. It's easy to design a website that you feel works for you and makes sense to you. But where does that leave your website visitors, your potential clients?

When planning a website, we find that many people tend to forget one key stakeholder; the website visitor. It's easy to design a website that you feel works for you and makes sense to you. But where does that leave your website visitors, your potential clients? Below are some examples of what not to do when designing your website.

Slow loading speed

Slow loading speed is one of the main reasons why vistiors leave a site. If your web pages take a long time to load, you're in trouble especially if you happen to have an ecommerce website.

Solution; optimise your website for all major browsers and devices, ensuing that every page loads quickly.

Bad Navigation

Nothing frustrates a user more than a website that's hard to navigate. Complex or inconsistent navigation can cause users to feel helpless, confused or angry - certainly know the emotions you want potential customers to be feeling.

Solution; Your website navigation should be logical and easy to use. Try grouping navigation elements in a central area. For longer websites why not try adding a sitemap.

Having a bad content structure

Having a bad content structure on your website can destroy your conversion and retention rates. Many sales are lost each day as customers can't find what they are looking for

Solution; Don't have your visitors fish around for the content they're looking for, simply group similar content in a clean, concise manner and consider using bold headings in addition to highlighting certain keywords that visitors may be searching for.

Poor readability

Bad fonts, non-white backgrounds, insufficient white space, colour links, and excessively long paragraphs can alienate visitors from an otherwise high quality and informative website. A bad layout and an overwhelming density of ads per page can aslo decrease readability.

Solution; When it comes to presenting your content, stick to the accepted web conventions

Not sure if your users are leaving your website? Why not speak to us here at Wysi and we can do a FREE website audit.

Why a small business should have a website.

Bronwyn Murgatroyd - Friday, March 01, 2013

Do you have a small business? Are you wondering whether or not you should have a website? The answer is yes, you should. Having an online presence is your business card to the multitude of people who are online searching for the product or service you are offering. Any and every type of business can benefit from having a web presence, and the following are just a few points you should consider when starting your online presence

Do you have a small business? Are you wondering whether or not you should have a website? The answer is yes, you should. Having an online presence is your business card to the multitude of people who are online searching for the product or service you are offering. Any and every type of business can benefit from having a web presence, and the following are just a few points you should consider when starting your online presence

Do you have a CMS?

Content Management Systems are used by many of today's websites. It allows users to be able to edit the content of their website without having any programming knowledge. If you are paying someone to design your website then make sure it has a CMS. Otherwise, ever time you need to make a change you will have to pay the designer to do it for you.

Use Social Media

Ok so everyone is using social media, but even if you don't have a unique or interesting service, having a social media account such as Facebook which will help you connect with a larger audience as well as have a positive impact on SEO which is very important.

Testimonials

Testimonials are incredibly important for small businesses which, unlike big brands, you cannot count on a strong brand recognition and therefore need to rely on other elements to gain trust from potential new customers. Displaying some good testimonials from clients will show your perspective client that you are trustworthy and have the experience they are looking for, therefore inspiring them to choose you over a competitor.

Imagery

The vast majority of users only briefly scan websites for useful information without actually fully reading a web page, this is where images come into play; great looking pictures of your premises or products will allow visitors to see straight away what's great about your business and further their trust in your company.

Show them you care

First impression are everything. If you, a potential customer, look up a small business on the web and either find no website or one that is quite outdated, would you be inclined to visit the business? Probably not, and neither would others. Having a fresh, updated website gives a small business credibility in the eyes of the consumer, and shows that they care about their customers.

Get the experts in

Creating a website is easy and there are many applications out there which enable you to do it for free yourself. But the results are nearly always poor as well as not being set up properly for users to intuitively find their way around.

At Wysi we provide a different service which offers you the chance to pick a package that suits your budget. You can also access our powerful content management system to adjust your site and add/delete content for all your business needs.

How can you make your website more user friendly?

Bronwyn Murgatroyd - Thursday, June 28, 2012

Usable. Customer-friendly. Call it what you will, ensuring that your website meets your customers needs is the key to success. Here are five quick, easy ways to improve your website:

Step into your customers' shoes

Usable. Customer-friendly. Call it what you will, ensuring that your website meets your customers needs is the key to success. Here are five quick, easy ways to improve your website:

Step into your customers' shoes

Think about the common queries that you get offline - these are most likely the same questions that customers have when they arrive at your website. So make sure the answers are easy to find.

User testing is a great way to find out how customers see your website, and what changes would be most beneficial.   The time taken to ask customers for feedback when you’re in direct contact (phone, face-to-face) will reap dividends – did the site meet their needs?  If not, what was missing?  How could it be improved?  What else would they like to see on the website?  Friends and family are usually very willing to have a play on your site and tell you what worked and what could be improved. Any points that more than two or three people mention are probably worth improving.

Ensure navigation is clear

The main navigation should be consistent throughout the site – and keep your logo (which links to your home page) in the top left where it is prominent.  Limit the number of links in the main menu and make sure page names are descriptive. Link text should be focus on keywords, and reflect the page names of where they go.  Keep link styling consistent – blue and underlined is the standard, making it easy for your customers to scan effectively.  Once clicked, links should change to purple to help visitors retrace their steps.

Make sure content is structured and concise

Headings, bullets and images break up text into manageable chunks.  Use clear, simple language in as few words as possible – keep plenty of white space and avoid clutter.  This makes pages easier and more enjoyable to read, and quicker to scan. Have someone read through the content on your site – they’ll see it with the fresh eyes of your customers, which is something you can’t do.

Check for broken links

Every so often, click each link on each page of your website to ensure that it goes to the correct place.  Error message pages (commonly known as “404” errors, where the page cannot be found) won’t help you inspire confidence in your visitors – “if they can’t ensure that the links work, do I really trust them to install my kitchen?”

Keep your website up-to-date

As well as helping with SEO (how a search engine rates your site when a user types keywords into the search box), it’ll reassure your visitors that you care – and that there really is a person behind your business.




Website maintenance saves time and money.

Bronwyn Murgatroyd - Wednesday, February 22, 2012

When was the last time you changed the content on your website? Has it been days? Weeks? Well, if you are anything like most website owners out there, it's probably been several months or even years since you really made a significant change to your site. In order for a website to work to its full potential it needs to be cared for by regularly adding and updating content...

When was the last time you changed the content on your website? Has it been days? Weeks? Well, if you are anything like most website owners out there, it's probably been several months or even years since you really made a significant change to your site. In order for a website to work to its full potential it needs to be cared for by regularly adding and updating content.

Keeping your website fresh accomplishes several goals. The obvious one is that it gives your visitors a reason to come back to your site often. Suppose you offered a free article once a month on your site that was of interest to people in your industry. Not only would you increase your repeat visitors, but chances are they would help spread the news to their friends and colleagues, creating a new pool of visitors to your website. Another benefit to updating your website frequently is that it could help increase your search engine ranking. Search engines like to come back to your site and see more and more keyword rich content every time they visit and will reward you accordingly.

If you are serious about increasing the overall value of your website, we offer several ways in which to help you maintain your content and keep it fresh. Below is a detailed description of each of our website maintenance service options to ensure you stay ahead of the curve!

Content Management System (CMS)
If you like the idea of being able to perform website editing yourself, our content management system allows you to quickly and easily maintain your entire site including adding, editing and deleting content and pages. Our content management system is extremely user friendly and comes with an easy to follow online video tutorial as well as personal training from Wysi!

Website Maintenance Contract

If you’re like most business owners, you’re extremely busy. If you don’t have the time or interest in updating your website, performing maintenance and editing, we can help. Whether you need to update web content monthly, quarterly or annually, we have a website maintenance contract for you guaranteed to save time and money. Wysi will put together a website maintenance contract that best suits your needs so you are never overpaying for time that you don’t use. 

Hourly Website Editing

If you have basic needs and only make changes to your site occasionally, our hourly website editing is a perfect fit. This gives you the luxury of having a website maintenance company on staff at your beck and call without the expense of having to pay retainers or monthly fees for time that you may not even use. Your changes will be done quickly and accurately and best of all, you won’t have to worry about it anymore.

Position yourself well – take the necessary steps to properly maintain your website so you can get more visitors and sell more of your products and services. For more information about our maintenance service options, please contact us today!

New Year Resolutions for your website

Bronwyn Murgatroyd - Monday, January 16, 2012

The New Year is a great time to take a long hard look at the importance of your website to your business and how you’re utilising the power of the web to increase profits and revenue streams.

Whether you run an online shop, you’re a painter and decorator looking for new work, you run a recruitment company or you are a property business, there will be a number of people making resolutions, which means your services, and products could be in increased demand...

The New Year is a great time to take a long hard look at the importance of your website to your business and how you’re utilising the power of the web to increase profits and revenue streams.

Whether you run an online shop, you’re a painter and decorator looking for new work, you run a recruitment company or you are a property business, there will be a number of people making resolutions, which means your services, and products could be in increased demand.

This, combined with your own plans for business development and renewal online, can re-invigorate your company and take it forward going into the spring.

Here are 10 resolutions you should make that could help drive your business forward and improve your prospects in 2012.

Resolution 1. Update your website regularly

Show authority in your niche by sharing experiences and success stories on your website. Keep your target audience informed about the latest developments in your industry.

Resolution 2. Invest in SEO

Search engines show websites to searchers by trying to understand their intent based on keywords they use. Visitors searching for information or solutions your business offers use some keywords. Your search needs to show up for these keywords on the first page.

Resolution 3 – Go Local

Local listings help target your services or products to users by specific location. It is perfect for location focus businesses. Local listings have the facility to give reviews and rate businesses. Positive customer reviews are great for your business

Resolution 4 – Understand Visitors with Analytics

An analytics tool will provide you with key information like number of visitors, number of pages viewed, bounce rate, most visited pages, leading sources, traffic and much more. The data provided can be used for better marketing, improving your search engine optimization and improving your website.

Resolution 5 – Get social with facebook

Businesses have a great opportunity to use Facebook along with their website as an effective marketing tool. You can create a platform where your customers can come together, communicate with them, share news, receive feedback and provide customer service.

Resolution 6 – Use Twitter Effectively

Twitter has over 190 million users, generating 65 million tweets a day and handling over 800,000 search queries per day. The best thing is that Twitter can be used online, through your mobile, through desktop applications anywhere, anytime. Things you should do to your twitter account is, create a custom background for your profile and broadcast your offers, success stories and news regularly.

Resolution 7 – Leverage the power of social media

Social media tools empower users and business owners with ways to propagate ideas. The tools provide innumerable opportunities for gaining word of mouth and going viral. Whether it is an interesting link, a presentation, photograph or a video clip use social media to share, promote, comment on, vote and do more.

Resolution 8 – Stop using flash in your website

Growing support for the new version of HTML called HTML5 with support from powerful players on the web including Google, Microsoft and Apple is one factor. The other is the rapid growth of smart devices including mobile phones, tablets and net books to access Internet. You should utilize upcoming web standards like HTML5 and phase out redundant ones like Flash.

Resolution 9 – Make your website Mobile Compatible

More than one third of web users use their mobile devices to access the Internet. Usage of Smart Devices like iPad, iPhone, Google Android, Blackberry is growing rapidly. Making sure your website display well on all these devices is crucial.

Resolution 10 – Use newsletters to stay in touch with customers

Email is still the most widely used communication tool even with the rise of social media. Newsletter campaigns are easy to integrate with your website and provide a measurable success rate. Things you should do are; Add a facility to enable visitors to subscribe to your newsletter on your website and be consistent and regular with your newsletter delivery schedule.

This year make a full use of all these resolutions to ensure you keep up with the competition and importantly achieve your business goals. 2012 promises to be a year full of changing technology and user trends. Gear up for the new challenges ahead by taking the right steps well in advance.

Top 5 Web Design Trends for 2012

Bronwyn Murgatroyd - Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Web design trends come and go. Here at Wysi, we pay close attention to the latest trends in Web Design and are projecting some interesting turns in 2012. While many aspects of web design will remain the same as in 2011, a few of them might get you thinking about redesigning your website...

Web design trends come and go. Here at Wysi, we pay close attention to the latest trends in Web Design and are projecting some interesting turns in 2012. While many aspects of web design will remain the same as in 2011, a few of them might get you thinking about redesigning your website. The following are the web design trends that we expect to see next year:

Trend 1: The Death of Flash, the Rise of HTML5

It's no secret that many designers believe Flash is rapidly becoming a thing of the past. Even Adobe is no longer backing Flash on mobile systems in favor of the rapidly expanding HTML5.We saw more impressive displays of HTML5 in 2011. Expect to see more in 2012 as more and more designers abandon Flash in favor of HTML5.

Trend 2: Social Media Gets Even Bigger

It’s very rare these days to have any marketing meeting without discussing social media. That’s because it’s helping us reach new audiences, speak to customers and prospects and get valuable feedback. According to a recent study by BtoB Magazine, 93% of all B2B marketers are engaged in some form of social media marketing, focusing mostly on the three major platforms (Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter).

This year, there were several major updates to the top social media sites, and I am sure many more will follow in 2012. Twitter just released their new brand pages; which allows companies to have a banner and featured video at the top of their page. Linkedin released their advertising product, allowing users to generate more connections and leads. Google Plus was launched this year as well and it continues to gain momentum with their recently added business pages. In the past year, we’ve also seen social media integrated into search results in Google & Bing. And social media is now officially part of the ranking algorithm – being a strong indicator of authority, trust and trends.

Trend 3: Mobile 

The mobile world is expanding at an increasingly rapid pace. Smartphone’s are gaining functionality every year and the widely popular iPads and tablets are gaining momentum. Consumers are becoming more dependent on mobile sites and apps for instant access to information, deals and product reviews, causing mobile commerce to also increase. In fact, the latest comScore numbers say that 38% of consumers have purchased a product on their phone. That’s pretty impressive, considering most websites aren’t even optimized for mobile devices. A recent survey showed that the mobile advertising market, will more than double in size. So whether you are selling products or not, make sure, your website is optimized for mobile use in 2012!

Trend 4: Typography

More browsers now days support different font types, which means that you will start seeing more websites using fonts creatively: mixing font types and twisting and molding them into works of art. The CSS3 allows using free and commercial typography that will finally help designers get away from those boring Arial, Verdana and Times New Roman fonts.

Trend 5: Real time analytics will be used more often

With the recent addition of real time analytics to Google Analytics, more companies will realize just how valuable these can be to a company. Although this has been offered in the past, Google sets the standards for many smaller businesses. Now that Google Analytics offers real time data, more and more companies will be using this feature to measure success.

Conclusion

These design trends are just some of the few to keep up with as we move forwards into 2012. This year is unpredictable and nobody can say for sure what to expect. If you are concerned about how the upcoming trends for 2012 might affect your business, we can help! Wysi are specialists in providing web solutions for businesses of all shapes and sizes. But one thing we are absolutely determined to do is make sure YOU get a return on your investment…. At the end of the day a website shouldn’t be a cost – it should be an asset. Let us show you how.

10 Essential Principles for Good Web Design

Bronwyn Murgatroyd - Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Applying the essential principles of good web design discussed below can help improve the performance of your website achieve its objectives.

Essential principles of good web design are important to turn your website into a powerful marketing tool. There is more to good web design than well-crafted content and an attractive web design. Factors such as usability, navigation and correct brand representation are equally important...

Applying the essential principles of good web design discussed below can help improve the performance of your website achieve its objectives.

Essential principles of good web design are important to turn your website into a powerful marketing tool. There is more to good web design than well-crafted content and an attractive web design. Factors such as usability, navigation and correct brand representation are equally important.

1. Correct use of White Space

White space is a general design term used to describe empty space on a web page. Web designers use white space effectively on websites to reduce clutter and improve readability. Use of white space also allows designers to strike a balance between different elements on a web page. In general it is recommended to provide sufficient white space between functional elements on a web page. In addition appropriate line spacing should be provided between text. Line –spacing on websites should be at least 1 and ½ times the font size. Similarly sufficient padding should be included between the text and rest of the elements.

2. Correct positioning of elements

The positioning of elements is important in good web design. A website may consist of many elements such as menu, login box, search field, enquiry form, Newsletter registration box, main body of text, and so on. Website visitors tend to scan the content on a website from left to right starting at the top left and then moving along the page. There are certain areas of the screen that draw more attention than others. In good web design, the positioning of elements should take this into account.

3. The correct visual design

Design is a vast field. Above all it is relative to situation and needs. Web design that is suitable for one company may not be suitable for another. A mock up should be created to start with. A design package like Photoshop is ideal for this. It will be easier to manage changes at this level than when the website has been built.

4. Correct Font

Font or typography is vital to good web design. There are many choices available and the selection should be given due consideration. There are multiple issues to consider. The correct font size, font type or font face, font colour, line spacing and letter spacing are some important issues to consider. Colour and behaviours of links, size and colour of headings, style of bullet points and lists are some other related issues that should also be taken into account.

5. Consistency

Consistency between pages of your website is an important principle in web design. Slight variations in layout or positioning of elements may be necessary to implement e.g. homepage may have a different layout to the rest of the pages. However by and large, the entire website should appear consistent. This is also important for branding. Most websites today use a content management system or a blogging platform, which utilise a template system for displaying content. It is much easier to maintain consistency between pages as the same template can be applied to all pages. Consistency between different elements within the same page is also important e.g. the same font type should be used in all elements of a page.

6. Navigation

No matter how attractive the design of your website is, you are likely to loose customers if they are not able to find their way on your website. There are many ways to improve navigation. Menu should be positioned prominently on the page, above the fold. Top, left or right columns work well. If you have a large website, consider having separate menus relevant to different sections of the website.

In addition to menu, elements like breadcrumb are important as they tell a user where they are currently allowing them to retrace their steps if required. Including a sitemap can also prove to be an important navigational aid for your visitors.

7. Usability

Usability is one of the most important principles in web design. There are many ways to improve the usability of your website. As far as possible each page should be less than two clicks away. Search box should be easily accessible. In order to improve usability, you need to understand the mindset of your target market. You should understand the needs and expectations of users who visit your website. You should then make it as easy as possible for users to get what they want, whether it is buying a product or requesting more information.

8. Structure

The information on your website should be organised into appropriate sections. A well planned information architecture or structure ensures information is easy to find and it is easy to navigate through the website. Many factors need be taken into account when planning the structure of the website. Users do not like to scroll too much so the content on each page should be limited to a few screen sizes at the most. It helps to divide the content into appropriate sections and categories.

Look at Sony’s example below. Although it is a large website, content is divided into few main sections, making it very easy to use.

9. Use of Contrast

Contrast is equally important in good web design. It makes the content more legible. A high degree of contrast should exist between the content and its background. As a general rule if you are using a dark background, then use light colours for your fonts and images. Similarly on light background websites, dark font colours stand out more.

10. Call to action

One of the main purposes of your website is to improve sales or leads. This can be achieved through effective call to action techniques. Good web design takes this into account. Correct positioning of call to action elements in also important. Call to action are elements on a website that encourage users to perform some action. It can be anything from completing an actual sale, making an enquiry or registering for your newsletter.

Optimisation - That gets you seen

Bronwyn Murgatroyd - Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The days of just 'seo-ing' a website and forgetting about it are long gone, make no mistake. Your competitors will immediately up their ante and Google will bring in another update, and before you know it your precious money has been wasted.

There are many different factors that will determine your website rankings. Your Keywords, content, coding and lots more. But what many people fail to remember is that keeping your ranking is a job within itself, especially in a competitive market!..

The days of just 'seo-ing' a website and forgetting about it are long gone, make no mistake. Your competitors will immediately up their ante and Google will bring in another update, and before you know it your precious money has been wasted.

There are many different factors that will determine your website rankings. Your Keywords, content, coding and lots more. But what many people fail to remember is that keeping your ranking is a job within itself, especially in a competitive market! We have seen time and time again, people have obtained a good search engine ranking and think "That's it jobs done", but really that is half the job. The rest of it is to keep your website ranking and to stay one step ahead of your competitors.

The first thing to look at would be your content. Search engines such as Google love text content, the more of it the better, and the more frequently it is updated the better. The best way to do this is to add a company blog to your website. Within this blog you can write about goings on within your company and general news and announcements that relate to your business sector. This increases your website's page count, the amount of content on your website and can also be useful for people visiting your website.

For further details of how SEO can be integrated into your business, contact our sales team or leave us a message with details of your request on our contact form

Wysi Website M.O.T.

Robert Wakefield - Thursday, January 13, 2011

When browsing the internet day in day out, we always come across websites that really need to be introduced to 2011.  So we came up with an idea: we are conducting free Wysi website M.O.T’s to show you any problems that may exist with your website and how they can be fixed...

When browsing the internet day in day out, we always come across websites that really need to be introduced to 2011.  So we came up with an idea: we are conducting free Wysi website M.O.T’s to show you any problems that may exist with your website and how they can be fixed.

If you’ve received an email from us you’re probably wondering why you haven’t passed your Wysi website M.O.T... Well here are some possible reasons:

1.       Your website is outdated... on average a website has a life span of 2 and half years and it’s extremely important to stay ahead of the competition. Such as following trends and having a strong online presence.

2.       It’s very difficult to find you when searching through search engines...  unfortunately your website was not found when looking on google for your products/services. A potential sale missed out on, actually not just 1 potential sale missed out on, many potential sales missed out on as this will be the case with every online shopper searching for what you’re offering.

3.       Your existing customers don’t know about your special deals and new products... Ok, you might display your deals on your website and your new products/services but thinking about this realistically your customers don’t look at your website every day, week or even month in some cases.   It’s about time we kept them in the loop; besides it’s far easier to sell to existing customers than finding new ones.

4.       You’re missing out on a gold mine opportunity... Right you might have a website but there are so many opportunities open to you to bring in extra revenue online.  You’d be surprised at what you can achieve online these days!

How can you fix the problem?

Best business websites

Wysi are specialists in providing web solutions for businesses of all shapes and sizes.  But one thing we are absolutely determined to do is make sure YOU get a return on your investment... at the end of the day a website shouldn’t be a cost - it should be an asset. Let us show you how.

We strongly advise you to look into this; we are going to be here every step of the way, and we’re not known to disappoint!

We look forward to hearing from you and being of assistance very soon.


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