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Why Do I Need a Web Designer? Comparing Custom Website Design vs. Templates

Entrepreneurs and business owners understand the importance of having a website. However, many ask themselves where they should begin. How do they compete while providing the best return on investment? Regardless, there are advantages and disadvantages to both custom website design vs. using templates.

 

The debate over using a custom website design or a template is very common. Obviously, there is no one-size-fits-all right answer. You must evaluate the advantages and disadvantages for each, and choose what is best for you. Here are some elements to consider.

 

Budget - We have all seen the commercials offering to get your business website designed for $1 or even free with a hosting plan. You can then build your website using a predefined layout and options. Initially, this looks much cheaper than custom website design. However, if you need changes, the cost to add functionality and usability can end up costing more in the long run.

 

Branding - When you choose a free or low-cost template design, it is common to expect restrictions, co-branding, or advertising conditions. Your website's main purposes are building your image and growing awareness. Custom website design gives you full control to highlight your company, products, and services.

 

User Experience - Website usability is extremely important. Visitors, leads, and customers must be able to easily navigate your site and find the information and products they need. Templates, while sometimes visually appealing, often miss the mark on usability. The user of your website must be able to easily learn their way around and achieve their goals.

 

Scalability - Templated website design is intended as a one-size-fits-all solution. While elements and plug-ins are often available, they can cause slower website reaction times. On a low traffic website, there is rarely a problem. However, a better option is forecasting future visitor growth and needed functionality.

 

What haven’t we covered yet that is important to you? If you would like to talk about the advantages and disadvantages of custom website design vs. templates, or need more information, please contact us.

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What’s Wrong with Using Design Templates?

3 Things That Can Go Wrong

 

Should you use a pre-made website design template? A drag-and-drop website editor sure seems to make things easier. However, easier does not mean better. Here are three things that can go wrong when using design templates.

 

It Leads to Poor Branding

 

Using a pre-made template will reflect very poorly on your brand and is a disaster for your marketing efforts. Some templates have literally been used by dozens of thousands of people. The more popular they become, the more recognizable they are. If you want to stand out, you need to have a unique website.

 

You Are Stuck in a Box

 

With design templates, you are stuck in a box. Most templates have extremely limited design features, with a built-in menu, header, and widget structure. If you want to, for example, create a slideshow menu, sidebar, or header, you will have to upgrade to a more expensive template -- which will still be quite limited.

 

You Can't Improve Customer Experience

 

Ideally, you want to be able to streamline your visitors’ experience on your site. For example, if you want to direct them to a landing page, you need to be able to customize your site in such a way that gives them cues to go there. You will need to constantly tweak your site so that the user experience improves. If you are using a pre-made template, you will be extremely limited in your ability to do so. You also need to make sure that your website is mobile friendly, something that many templates lack.

 

We service Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge and Guelph and the surrounding areas. Visit our site at remwebsolutions.com or call us at 519 884-4111 to arrange a demonstration of what we can do for your business to set you apart from your competition.

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Does Your Website Help Your Business? 5 Signs Your Website Needs Work

You have a business in either Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge, or Guelph, and tried your hand at web design. Unfortunately, the website hasn't brought in new customers or increased sales. What went wrong? There's more to web design than merely building a website. Its design should reflect the fact that people will use it. You want their experience to be pleasant and convenient. For troubleshooting purposes, here are 5 signs your website needs work:

 

Your Website Loads Slowly

 

People have busy lives and they don't have the time to wait for slow loading web pages. The one advantage that print media has over many websites is that it only takes a second to turn a page. Too many web pages take longer than 5 or even 10 seconds to load. While some people will wait for a single slow loading page, they won't have any inclination to explore multiple slow loading pages. Two important factors affecting web page speed are its design and the server that hosts the website.

 

Your Website Isn't Search Engine Optimized

 

To get search engine traffic, your web pages should use keywords in the content, and in their titles. Keywords also help in your image descriptions. The URL of every page should contain legible words, some of which are keywords. You should also work in different but related keywords into your content.

 

Your Web Design Has Navigation Issues

 

Your navigation system should follow standard conventions so that people can navigate effortlessly without having to think too much. Place navigation links along the top and/or sides of each page. People should know exactly where they are and be only one click away from the home page. The navigation should be logical and make sense.

 

Your Web Design Doesn't Quickly Tell the Visitor What You're About

 

The visitor should know within a few seconds of landing on your website, what your business is about. Sometimes the name of your business makes this apparent. If not, your home page should have a simple statement near the top of the page that draws the eye. Don't leave this to a logo or picture.

 

Your Web Design Uses Harsh Colors and Difficult Font

 

A red background with blue font creates instant eyestrain. White or yellow font on black backgrounds also make for difficult viewing. There are many bad color combinations. Fortunately, you need only use black or gray font on a white background. Although there are other workable combinations, the conservative black/gray font on a white background will always work. Make sure the font type and size is easily legible.

 

If you require help with your web design, contact us. We design websites that improve business. REM Web Solutions serve Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge, Guelph, and surrounding areas.

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Kan Jam Flying Disc Game

This is a really cool Frisbee game I found on one of my favourite sites vat19.com. With the weather getting nicer everyday, I can’t wait to get out the Frisbee and get right into summer fun. This is a new game I plan on buying to share with my teammates here at REM.

 

The rules are simple:

 

Each team of two players takes turns throwing the included flying disc at the plastic can. Striking the can with an assist from your teammate (harder than it sounds!) gives you one point. A solo strike to the can’s outside wall awards you two points. And gliding the disc directly into the slot on the front results in an instant win!

 

Check out this awesome game as well as other exciting indoor and outdoor games at https://kanjam.ca/.

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Hmmm.... Why Do I Need a Web Designer?

If you're looking to set up a new website for yourself or your business you've likely seen advertising for services that promise you a quick and easy "do it yourself" approach. While some of these services are very good, the reality is that they're built for people who already have some level of knowledge in web design. This is not to say that you can't design a website on your own, you'll just be better served if you have a professional around to get you started. What do we mean? Good question. 

 

Designing a website for today's visitors requires an education in how the new web works. With the increasing use of mobile devices as the primary personal computer, users are now shopping and retrieving all sorts of information from their phones and tablets. A web designer knows that your site will need to be responsive and adapt seamlessly to different viewing devices. 

 

A web designer also knows that you'll need social media integration and sharing strategies involved in the development of your site. Of course, this is not to say that you don't know this information, it is only to illustrate that as we move forward, the topic of designing your own site becomes a bit more complicated.

 

A good approach, given that we've barely scratched the surface of what you'll need to consider when designing a web site for success (think Search Engine Optimization). What this means is you'll work with a professional web designer (like the awesome team we have here at REM) to get your site up and running, and then (our Customer Success Manager) will teach you how to do content updates to the site, yourself (WebWiz@rd is a very easy to use software package). There is much value in working together! 

 

So, Why Do I Need a Web Designer

 

Maybe you do, maybe you don't, but we hope you have a better idea now that you've gotten our input. We look forward to talking to you about the excellent services we can offer at REM Web Solutions.

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15 Shocking Statistics That Show the Effect of Mobile First on Your Business

Is it really that important to have a mobile responsive website? It sure is! Here are some mind-blowing statistics that will change your view on mobile traffic forever (sources: Hubspot, ImpactBND, & Skillcrush).

  1. Eighty percent of internet users own smartphones.
  2. Thirteen percent of adults access the web only via mobile.
  3. Mobile internet usage accounts for two out of every three minutes of all online usage.
  4. Tablet users have the highest add-to-cart rates (important if you have an e-commerce shop).
  5. People are addicted to their smartphones - over half of all smartphone users check their phones immediately upon awakening in the morning.
  6. Sixty-one percent of people won’t return to a site that was difficult to access on mobile. Forty percent will instead visit a competitor’s site.
  7. According to Marketing Land, mobile advertising will account for almost three-quarters of all digital ad spending by 2019.
  8. Ninety-one percent of smartphone owners say that being able to access online content on their phones is extremely important to them.
  9. Forty-eight percent of people ages 18-29 search the web on mobile every day.
  10. Fifty-seven percent of people won’t recommend a business if it has a website that isn’t optimized for mobile.
  11. Eighty-eight percent of people who search for a business on their smartphones contact that business within a day.
  12. Seventy percent of mobile searches lead to some sort of action within an hour.
  13. Seventy percent of smartphone users will immediately delete an email if it isn’t optimized for their device.
  14. Forty-eight percent of millennials only view videos on mobile devices.
  15. Eighty percent of people do online shopping on their phones.

As you can see, mobile first is important and will have a huge effect on your business. Visit our website for more information. 

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What is SEO...and Why Should I Invest in Doing It Properly?

When looking for ways to market your website online, you have almost certainly come across information about SEO, or search engine optimization. However, you might not really have a solid understanding of what it is or why it is important.

 

SEO is not something that you will want to ignore, no matter how small your business is. In a world where so many people use Google to look up anything and everything, making sure that your site can be found on this popular search engine and all of the others is critical.

 

What is SEO?

 

SEO, or search engine optimization, is a pretty simple concept. Basically, it refers to making sure that your website can be easily found on the major search engines. There are things that you can do to make it easier for Google and the other search engines to find and index your site on their search results.

 

Why is SEO so Important?

 

Search engine optimization is important because a lot of people are using Google and other search engines to look for information, businesses, online shopping and more. Making sure that your site pops up in the search engines -- and eventually helping your site reach higher and higher on the search engine results -- is key to being found by potential customers and to beating out your competition.

 

As you can see, search engine optimization is something that you should put a focus on. Luckily, REM Web Solutions can help you with every step of promoting your site for Google and other major search engines, such as Yahoo and Bing.

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Google Analytics

As I mention in all of my WebWiz@rd training sessions here at REM, it is really important to get a Google Analytics account. Not only for the HTML code that you get to add to your site for better SEO, but the even more important aspect of utilizing it for keyword searches. It’s the keyword relevance that draws in the qualified traffic to your website. So, in order to bring this highly qualified traffic to your site, you need to develop a better understanding of keywords.

 

That’s where Analytics comes into play. Google’s Keyword Tool, with its huge database of keywords in over 50 languages, is a great place to start. You can even enter a phrase that describes your website right in Google to get a sense of traffic. But before you do that, let’s utilize your Google Analytics account to conduct the research.

 

Google Analytics allows us to see all of the relevant data in an easy to read format. It’s almost like having the answers to a test before we write it. The entire “keywords” section is devoted to providing the keywords people used to find our website, how many visits from the keyword, how much revenue that keyword generated, the bounce rate and so much more! This is very informative data to have before you start investing time and effort into organic and paid searches.

 

Remember, we want to bring qualified traffic to your site. SEO experts follow a basic thumb rule for choosing keywords that bring the most relevant, revenue-adding traffic to your website. Here are a few considerations:

 

  • Phrases are better than singular words.
  • Target highly searched terms that have as little competition as possible. However, do not use keywords that have less competition just for this reason alone.
  • Choose keywords that are specific with a narrow focus but you don’t want to be too specific that you start to lose traffic.
  • Localize your keywords by making use of your geographical location (Web Design Kitchener Waterloo).

 

Remember, you will want to get the most of out of your keywords when you begin to optimize. That means including them in obvious places on your web site (Meta Tags) in order to achieve high keyword density, frequency and prominence.

 

Without having a good place to start, choosing keywords can quickly become mind boggling given there can be literally millions of keywords to choose from. Besides, choosing the wrong keywords can be disastrous and set you back months if you are optimizing your site for organic search. For that reason alone, is worth the time and research using Analytics.

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3 Downfalls of Using Design Templates

Web design templates are meant to be quick to set up and easy to maintain.

 

Unfortunately, that means there's no wiggle room to customize the site to your needs. Every business has unique features and complexities, and so should your website. Before you jump into a store-bought web design template, consider these three downfalls of using design templates.

 

1. Lack of Customization

 

Your website should be able to reflect the nuances of your business, making use of every tool and scrapping elements that don't fit your needs. On top of custom functionality, your website should display your custom branding. Colors, logos, photography, and all media elements should showcase your business in a unique way across your site. Cookie-cutter websites don't win business.

 

2. Poor Scalability

 

As your business grows, your website will likely need to grow as well. You may need more pages, a larger portfolio, or wider access for customer logins. Whatever your needs down the road, you shouldn't have to stunt your growth now just for a convenient solution. Custom web design means your site will always fit your needs.

 

3. No SEO Optimization

 

Many prefabricated web design templates are simply a skeleton. SEO is integral to your online presence and web design templates are not built to accommodate it. Don't give yourself more work than you already have. Investing in custom web design means ranking in the top of your clients' search results.

 

Want to build a unique and stable online presence? Contact Us for more on creating custom web design solutions for your business.

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Why You Should Be Using Social Media Tools

Social media is crucial to your business’ marketing success. It can be a great source to bring traffic to your website. But it takes a lot of time and effort to maintain. Thankfully, there are many social media tools out there that can help you. If you’re still wondering what the benefits of social media tools are and how they help your marketing strategy, read on:

 

Save Time

 

Social media tools such as Buffer and Hootsuite help you consolidate your social media postings by being able to post on multiple accounts at once. You’ll no longer have to go from social media platform to the next posting on each one, with these tools you’ll be able to write your post once and post across several platforms.

 

Plan Ahead

 

With social media tools, you’ll be able to get an overview of all your past and future post. This helps you develop a social media calendar tied to your blog calendar, and plan your posts ahead to make sure you’re talking about all your company’s important topics.

 

Analyze Performance

 

Asides from saving time and planning ahead, social media tools will provide helpful analytics, such as your best performing posts, engagement and best time to post. You’ll see which posts people drove the most traffic to your website and what topics you should cover more. By analyzing your posts’ performance, you’ll be a social media rock star in no time.

 

Social media tools are a great asset to drive traffic to your website. But then it’s your website’s job to maintain your audience’s interest. Do you need a great website that gets noticed? Contact us today!

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