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7 Ways Design Templates Destroy Your Time, Resources and Business Reputation

"In this age, which believes that there is a short cut to everything, the greatest lesson to be learned is that the most difficult way is, in the long run, the easiest." Henry Miller

 

There are lots of website templates available for businesses to use, and programmers craft many of them with style rather than functionality in mind.

 

Website templates offer an affordable, simple solution for organizations with limited funding and time to invest. Modern businesses must have online representation. To meet these needs, most start-ups will turn to website templates.

 

However, Template Limitations Spoil the Final Product

 

How does this happen?

 

  1. Templates aren't flexible. Site owners aren't able to get creative without programming experience.
  2. Templates often hide clunky programming issues below the surface that cause slow loading and other problems.
  3. In order to meet basic business needs (like removing ads, having more freedom to customize, using SEO analytics and other marketing tools and securing a domain name and hosting), you have to pay more or get by without these things.
  4. Even the most beautiful template can look cheap after you've edited it. This is especially true if you choose to change several graphics or fonts. Most non-designers lack the talent to combine and create tastefully on web platforms. Colours look different. Sites display differently on various devices.
  5. Sometimes people recognize your template from other websites. It's hard to create a unique brand identity, (especially crucial for modern businesses) if users recognize your template from another site.
  6. Mobile devices are the most popular tool for browsing online today. Some companies advertise templates as responsive. However, many finished websites still don't look right on every device because they are not mobile friendly.
  7. Lastly, SEO is an important business marketing strategy. There are levels of tailoring that an SEO expert can do below the surface to enhance your online positioning. However, just like templates offer limited customization in visual areas, many won't offer your SEO expert the freedom he or she needs to customize your site for marketing.

Make the right choice now, so you're not forced to later.

 

Contact us today at REM Web Solutions. A custom website is worth the investment. Trust is essential for success in online sales and marketing, and at REM you can trust us to create a stunning, professional, custom designed website that will enhance your online presence. 

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Business Website Advice: How Often Should I Redesign My Website?

The Internet changes rapidly. There are many forces driving this such as the never-ending updates of the major search engines, the rising expectations that consumers have of online businesses, and major changes in how people access the Internet.

 

Styles evolve as well. It's very easy to discern websites that are decades out of date. Even the code used for building websites changes. Much of the old HTML code (HTML tags) commonplace in the 1990s is either deprecated or superseded by more useful forms. Keeping up with this change is important if you want your website to remain relevant and profitable.

 

Exactly how often you should redesign your website will depend on the market you serve. However, few competitive businesses allow more than a few years to go by without some kind of redesign. Here are three indicators that your website needs a redesign:

 

It Isn't Mobile Friendly

 

Most consumers today use their mobile devices for online purchasing and for locating nearby brick and mortar businesses. If they need to buy something, conduct business, or do research, they're not going to wait until they get home to their desktop computers (if they even have one). They also won't put in the effort and time of scrolling through a website meant solely for desktop computers when so many mobile friendly websites are just a few clicks away.

 

The Design Looks Out-Of-Date

 

An antiquated design sends the wrong impression to visitors. It projects obsolescence or amateurism. Visitors may assume the business lacks resources if it can't maintain a current looking website. People also get used to and even expect websites to reflect current design styles. For example, why would someone spend money at a site that's filled with the HTML tables of a 1990s website or the gradients and big glossy purchase buttons of the 2000s?

 

The Design Doesn't Reflect Your Current Success

 

If you still have the same website you first used as a Startup, you are leaving money on the table. Increase your leads and sales by reinvesting some of your profits into a more optimized and professional looking website. There is always room for improvement.

Get more out of your website by giving it a much-needed redesign. For more information or assistance, contact us today.

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Victoria Day 2017

Wishing you a Happy Victoria Day weekend!

 

 

REM will be closed on Monday May 22/17 to enjoy Victoria Day.

We will reopen on Tuesday May 23/17.

Have a safe and happy Victoria Day weekend!

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3 Common DIY Website Mistakes

Tempted to save money by doing your web design yourself? Although skipping the services of a professional web designer may seem like an easy way to cut costs, the truth is that it will probably hurt you in the long run by producing a website that isn’t optimized for the highest possible conversion rate. Here are some common mistakes of DIY websites.

 

Bad Menu Structure

 

Menus are one of the most important parts of your website because they are what allow visitors to navigate your site and land on your important pages. However, a menu has to be optimized in order to work. It needs to be in just the right place, the menu option titles have to be unique, the pages need to be in the right order, the secondary menu needs to be visible but not in-your-face, etc. Your menu also needs to be optimized for mobile devices, where drop-down menus don’t work very well.

 

UX Mistakes

 

You want your visitors to have a pleasant user experience (UX). Common UX mistakes include lists that are split into many pages, a FAQs section where each question opens up on a new page, pop-ups and pop-unders that get in the way of the reader, too many ads, self-playing videos, too many sliders, etc. These are all things that get in the way of being able to navigate your site seamlessly.

 

Slow Load Times

 

There are many things that will slow down your website, including images and videos that aren’t optimized, ads that are served over a third-party server, and heavy page elements and scripts. Slow load times lead to higher bounce rates and fewer conversions. A professional web designer will be able to optimize your website so that it loads quickly.

 

If you would like to update your existing website, or are looking to create a new site, contact us. Our professional staff can help you create a site that is optimised, engaging and most of all give you the highest possible return on your investment.

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What Are the Biggest Mistakes of DIY Websites?

Creating your own website may seem like a way to save money, but it is harder than you think. If you don't know how to code, this is a long, tedious process to create a professional-looking website. If you know a little about coding a website, you can still miss a few things.

 

Here are the biggest mistakes of DIY websites.

 

Using free web templates

 

Free website templates can make it easy for you to create a generic website quickly. However, these make your website look like every other website out there. It can affect your potential client's perception of whether you are credible and experts in your field.

 

Not user-friendly

 

If your website isn't easy for people to manage or navigate through they won't use it. When people without web design experience create websites, they are often unaware of what an average internet user deems as an easy to use website. 

 

Missing the call-to-action

 

The call-to-action is what drives your website visitor to purchase your product or service. Without it, you'll lose sales.

 

Missing SEO

 

If your website isn't visible to google, it might as well not exist. SEO makes your website viewable to people searching for companies that provide your service or products, but without it, no one will see your website.

 

Didn't think about mobile

 

If your website isn't compatible for mobile viewing, you'll be missing a huge opportunity for reaching potential clients that are browsing on the go. People want a fast-responding website when they use their smart phone, so your website needs to be compatible.

 

Do you know the real value of a professional looking website? You may want to save some money on web design and do it yourself, but it can hurt your potential sales. Your company website is the first impression you give to a potential customer. It should stand out, look professional, and be user-friendly. Contact us today to help you create an outstanding, professional website.

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Photoshop Web Design Work Spaces

At REM, every design is custom and different. We ensure we design each website based on the unique needs and goals of our clients. We use the software, Adobe Photoshop to create our concepts and mock-ups. By using this every day, we have picked up quite a number of tricks that save time and boost our productivity. Having a pre-defined workspace also helps the designers at REM to keep our design files consistent.

 

Creating a workspace that is the most productive for web work is crucial when working on multiple design projects. Below are some steps I take to ensure productivity and quality in our custom web designs.

 

Document Set-Up

This is usually a pretty standard new PS document set at 2000 pixels wide. A blank canvas that has only some pre-defined guides and a set of common used layer groups.

 

Assets

In our world, our assets layer contains all of the styles that we want to pass on to the developer to add into the style sites sheet. These Assets are things like Paragraph and Heading Styles, Callouts, links and buttons.

 

Layers & Groups

Layers are key to organization. A pre-defined set of layers helps boost productivity while designing. My layers are usually set up in order of the design. Header, Logo, Navigation, Banner, Content, Footer, Background.

 

Colour Palette

Having a palette ensures that the colors used are consistent. Sometimes these are supplied through a brand guideline but most times these are created based on the projects existing branding/logo etc.

 

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How do I know if my website needs work?

The world around us is rapidly changing due to the constant shifts in how we consume information. With this in mind, websites have become particularly important as a way of connecting businesses to consumers. As a business owner, you should be in tune to this reality and consider whether or not your website is up to the task of keeping up with this media-driven world. Here are 5 signs your website needs work. 

 

Outdated Design

 

We know you're a business person, not a designer. So, you aren't usually thinking about how your website looks. But design is very important and whether people realize it or not, a poor design affects the way they perceive your business. A good design can go a long way in the world of marketing.

 

Outdated Information

 

When was the last time you made sure the information on your website was up-to-date? If it's been awhile you might want to do something about that. You don't want to mislead your customers with outdated or inaccurate information.

 

Your Website Isn't Mobile Friendly

 

We can't stress this one enough. People spend much more time on their phone than their computers these days and as such it is vitally important that your website is mobile friendly. Don't be left behind in this area!

 

Your Website is Too Slow

 

If your website takes forever to load, then it might be time for a re-design. A slow website can make a big difference in whether a sale is going to you or your competition. 

 

Not User Friendly

 

If your website is hard to use or difficult to navigate then you should consider a re-design. If a potential customer finds your website hard to use, chances are they aren't going to spend a lot of time trying to figure it out. 

 

If any of these signs sound familiar to you, consider getting in touch with us. We'd love to get your website back on track! 

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Keys to a Laser Focused Landing Page That Gets Results

Taking the time to craft an interesting landing page that is compelling enough to encourage someone to take action goes a long way towards creating new relationships thereby gaining customers for your business. A sharp, laser focused page will get you more results than a lengthy page full of details that many potential customers will simply ignore.  Below are a few tips to help take your landing pages to the next level.

 

One Message

 

Design your landing page so that it contains one message and one message only. This single focus eliminates confusion to the visitor. It makes your point very clear. And it allows for quick decision-making by the potential customer thereby increasing the chances that they will perform the desired action. Whether it be to sign up for email list, view some interesting content, or buying something, honing in on one message leads them down the most direct path towards your desired action.

 

One Action

 

Giving your visitor one action to take weeds out noise and distraction. With only one action available to them they're less likely to perform the wrong action, less likely to leave the page, and much more likely to take the action you desire.

 

Get to The Point

 

Your website visitors won't stick around for long drawn out content. In fact, most of them are scanners. They rarely spend more than a few seconds glancing over the page to determine if a website is worth their time. They will become impatient with unnecessary or irrelevant information. By getting to the point you establish trust and credibility by showing them that you value their time.

 

Overall a great landing page is about establishing the trust necessary to create a long-term relationship with a future customer. Taking the time to get it right goes a long way towards gaining more customers than you can handle. For more information on how our inhouse design team can help you with your landing page, call us at 519 884-4111.

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High Bounce Rate? What You Can Do to Get Them To Your Site and Keep Them There

Visitors who come to your site and leave immediately is disheartening. You've gotten them there but for some reason they're just not interested in sticking around. That is why it is important to closely monitor and manage your bounce rate. Below are a few tips to help get things going in the right direction and keep those customers coming back for more.

 

Where Is the Exit?

 

One of the important things to consider in managing your bounce rate is which door are they exiting through. Did they leave after visiting one of your landing pages? Did they leave after viewing one of your blog posts? Or did they leave as soon as they hit your homepage? Knowing their exit point will help you to figure out what is sending them away.  That way you'll be in a better position to correct what it is that is turning them off.

 

Where Are They Coming From

 

Understanding where these visitors are coming from is another important thing to consider. Are you getting visitors from sources that isn't truly your target market? Or do you have outdated links somewhere that is bringing in the wrong type of traffic? Maybe you are running an ad campaign that needs updating. At any rate, you want to know where they're coming from to help troubleshoot why they're leaving.

 

Why are they Leaving?

 

Finding out exactly why they're leaving isn't always easy. One of the easiest ways to figure this out is to simply ask. You might try running a survey for any new visitor to your website. Before they leave, present them with a short questionnaire asking them why they are leaving. You might not get very many responses, but the few you do receive will help you to narrow down the exact cause of problem.

 

You don't have to suffer with a high bounce rate. The problems are often easily identifiable, and the problem easily corrected.  Getting control of this key metric will help to ensure that you'll not only get them to your site, but that you'll keep them there and keep them coming back for more. For more information on how you can prevent this from happening to your site, please contact us today.

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Five Signs Your Website Is Letting You down and Needs Work

First impressions can mean the difference between a thriving or struggling business. People turned off by what they see or experience won't become customers. This is universal regardless of your location, be it Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge, Guelph, or anywhere else in the world.

 

A run-down building for example, will most certainly turn away customers. While this is, or should be obvious, the same applies to business websites. People won't do business if they feel uncomfortable, and a website that seems "off" will have this effect on your visitors.

 

Here are 5 signs your website needs work:

 

Missing Images

 

A website that has a missing-image icon conveys an impression of neglect. Multiple missing images leave the impression of a ghost town that "tells" people that nobody is home. Visitors aren't likely to purchase from such a site any more than they would from a store with broken windows. Missing images are either caused by missing image files or changed image file locations.

 

Broken Links

 

Broken links are online dead ends that usually lead to a 404 or not found error page. They give the impression of a non-functional website. Like the missing image, either the destination doesn't exist anymore, or its location (address) has changed.

 

Website Doesn't Render Properly on All the Popular Browsers

 

If you've only viewed your website through one or two web browsers, you may be in for a shock after viewing it in other popular web browsers. Parts of the site may not fit together, content or navigation bars may extend beyond the boundaries of a web page, and raw HTML code may show. In addition to making the site look rundown, some people may think the site is hacked or has malware. This can happen when using antiquated code or code that's too cutting-edge.

 

Average Visitor Stays Less Than 20 Seconds

 

When viewing your web stats, a high traffic figure means few if any visitors stay around long. The less time spent on your site, the less likely a visitor will convert into a customer. If most people won't stay longer than a few seconds on your website, something is driving them away. Before doing any more online marketing, you should get to the bottom of this issue.

 

Cookie Cutter Website

 

If too many websites are using the same template or theme as yours, you aren't visually differentiating your business from your competitors. Rather than being an interesting online destination, it will seem like just another generic website.

 

Make the most from your website by giving it a much-needed tune-up. For help with your web design, don't hesitate to get in touch with us.

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