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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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When a Good Website Goes Bad. Top 3 Website Mistakes That Destroy Your Credibility

How customers view your website determines how they will view your product. Failing to ensure your website is of the highest quality possible could destroy your credibility.  Below are 3 ways in which you could be damaging your relationship with your customers.

 

Failing to Brand Properly

 

Logos, colors, slogans etc. are all things that play into your company brand.  It's what sets you apart from the competition.  It represents what makes your company unique and memorable to your customers. Your website should match your brand to give your company an overall "polished" appearance.

 

Not User Friendly

 

Unusual fonts, an odd color scheme, and text size will make it difficult for a customer to read the information on your site.  Try to stick to standard fonts.  It's tempting to shrink the font size to squeeze as much information on the page as possible.  But who cares about the content if it is too little to read?

 

Overly Focused on SEO

 

A cluttered website loaded with a bunch of keywords that are there merely for the sake of SEO makes the site seem forced and unnatural.  The customer wants to know that you care about them, not your Google rank.  Focus on providing rich quality content and attract the customers who will keep coming back for more.

 

Our innovative, powerful and easy-to-use Content Management System (CMS) WebWiz@rd, allows you to take the time to ensure your website represents your best work. Pay attention to the details and make sure your customer knows that your company cares about your image.  It goes a long way to building those lasting relationships, that ultimately help ensure the success of your business.

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Why mobile should be your first choice when it comes to your business' website

When it comes to web design, mobile should be your first consideration. Smart phones are everywhere these days. More often than computers, mobile devices have become the first choice for viewing websites. A web design that is mobile friendly can have a profound impact on website traffic. 

 

Being Mobile Friendly Can Help With SEO

 

It's pretty straightforward, websites that are optimized for mobile use receive a higher priority from Google. If your website is not mobile friendly, then you are going to struggle when it comes to search engine optimization. Don't be left behind, ensure that your website is ready for mobile use.

 

Being Mobile Friendly is More Convenient

 

From a customer standpoint, consider how you would feel if a website was not mobile friendly. In the on the go world we live in it's just more convenient to use your phone to look at websites. A website that isn't mobile friendly will have less likelihood of being viewed.

 

Everyone is Doing it

 

Perhaps the strongest argument for mobile friendly websites is the simple fact that everyone uses a smart phone. Why would you not want to have the general populace in mind when considering your website. It just makes sense. 

 

Here at REM Web Solutions, we can explain how mobile first can really give you the advantage in your web design. We service Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge and Guelph and surrounding areas. Please contact us if you have any further questions. 

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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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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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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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Why Should You Keep Your Website Up-To-Date? Here Are Three Reasons

A business website that's a static online brochure is an underused asset that "leaves money on the table" from missed opportunities. These are opportunities lost to more dynamic competing sites. To compete online today, you need a current website that reflects both your changes and those of your customers. Here are three reasons why you should keep your website up-to-date:

  1. Keeping your website up-to-date brings repeat visitors. Repeat visits increase both online and offline sales. Familiarity through repeated exposure to a brand is why companies spend so much money in advertising that repeats the same message again and again. Consumers often make choices based on familiarity with a company and its products. You can get the same effect from repeat visits to your website. However, if nothing changes on your site, there's no reason for coming back. One of the best ways of getting repeat traffic is making regular blog posts, which is easy to do with our WebWiz@rd tool.
  2. Keeping your website up-to-date makes your business competitive. Many consumers do comparison shopping across different websites. They are looking for better deals, attractive goods, and favorable shipping. When you are offering specials and discounts, announce them on your website and make these comparison shoppers your customers. You can increase your sales further by showcasing these products in an attractive photo gallery using our WebWiz@rd tool.
  3. Keeping your website up-to-date allows you to take advantage of current events. A heat wave is an opportunity for air conditioner sales. An impending blizzard increases sales of snow removal tools, flashlights, and batteries. Quickly place these high demand products front and center on your website with our WebWiz@rd tool.

If updating your website is difficult because you rely on a webmaster to make every change no matter how small, our WebWiz@rd content management system will solve this problem. It allows you, an employee, or any non-technical person to make quick changes. This saves both time and money. If this interests you, contact us today.

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How we do it? Part 2

This is a continuation from part one that talked about the creative brief process in our designs.  

 

After our design team, has reviewed the creative brief with our design team the begin the design process.  In a matter of days, the graphic designer provides an exciting look at the website concept and solicits early feedback from our clients.  This early feedback is unique to our process and is instrumental in designing the perfect website.  This feedback loop is repeated up to 4 more times.  To state it concisely, we allow up to 5 rounds of revisions per project. That’s more than any competitor we’re aware of.  We really want to make sure you love it before we build it!

 

Once a concept is approved by the client, the design files get send to our development team where all of the powerful WebWiz@rd components are attached by a dedicated developer. 

 

Every part of the project is tested during implementation by the developer and then double checked by your account manager.  A final check is performed between the completed product and the original agreement.  Once complete, the beautiful new website is held on our staging server and presented to our customer.  We call it a tour.

 

In conjunction with the tour, our technical support team will invite the entire client team in for training.  Training is designed to quickly demonstrate how the new tools work and to make it easy for our clients to make their own content changes in the future.

 

The new website remains on the staging server until the customer is ready show it to the world.  While on the staging server, the customer is free to modify their content, add new pages, transfer existing content from other sites, all while keeping their existing site up and running.

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Websites are more important now than ever before!

If you have just started a small business you have probably went through the traditional checklist of keys for your success such as, having a great product, a great staff, procuring the necessary licenses, and of course having the financial means to operate the next year. If you are really serious about your business taking off, you might have dug deeper and even took the time out to develop a strategic plan for growth, a marketing plan, and launched your social media accounts.

 

Out of all those crucial markers, however, one of the most important to have in 2016 is a great website for your business. Local businesses often overlook at a web site because they feel their customers already know them, but this is an extremely short-sighted view. The internet has expanded customer bases from those in cities like Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge and Guelph, to those in cities across the world. The way people look for products is heavily reliant on searching the internet so if you do not have a web presence, you are invisible to thousands of potential customers.

 

Another outdated belief that people still think of when considering developing a web site is that web design is a timely complicated process. This just simply is not the case anymore thanks to user-friendly web content management system's such as WebWiz@rd, a proprietary CMS designed by us here at REM Web Solutions. Many customers without any web experience in web design have found that managing a website is a simple process that will not occupy as much of their time they thought it would.

 

REM Web Solutions has made web design simple and actually quite fun once you allow yourself to get creative. If you ever are in Kitchener, you should stop by and meet the team yourself to learn more. 

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Why Should You Keep Your Website Up to Date?

A website represents who you are as a brand. For many of your current customers the first things they ever learned about your business was from your website content. Shouldn't your website represent the most relevant information available?

 

There is a lot of discussion online about content strategy and how businesses can leverage content to get new customers. The first place to start when considering content strategy is making sure your website information is consistently made up-to-date. Here are some reasons why this important.

 

Accurate Information Converts

 

Let's imagine last week someone had been researching online for a business like yours. They found your website and then sent you an email asking to make an order. Now, what would have happened if your website reflected an old outdated email address? Sure, your web design might look great, but inaccurate information like this is detrimental for conversions. You would be surprised how often mistakes like this happen. Your website needs to keep accurate phone numbers, fax numbers, office locations, etc. If your office just moved to Kitchener, Ontario you don't want it show your old addresses in Waterloo or Cambridge Guelph. Make sure you send new customers to the right place!

 

Up-to-date Content Is a Positive SEO Signal

 

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is about improving your rankings in search engines like Google. Google wants to display websites for their users that have the best information available. That is fundamentally the goal of any search engine. A website that hasn't had any updates made to it in over a year will likely be stale. Google notices this. Google also notices websites that have regular updates, and favors these over old sites with little content. Freshly updated content is a clear sign of a healthy and growing business. 

 

It Isn't Difficult to Update Content Anymore

 

Gone are the days when business owners needed to learn complex web coding languages. There is a large variety of easy-to-learn web builders and content management systems (CMS). The space is competitive, ranging from cloud based drag-n-drop builders to open source e-commerce platforms. Although there are many options to choose from, each is quite different and excel in different areas. 

 

WebWiz@rd is REM’s proprietary CMS. WebWiz@rd focuses on a wide variety of features that work under one system. This makes it easy for you to cover a wide variety of verticals. After you get a CMS like this you can add a blog to your website, maybe a complex form, or e-commerce. It even includes an advertisement engine that can drive conversions on your website. With intuitive tools like this it is easy to see why you should keep your website up to date.

 

Get Your Message Out There 

 

Having up-to-date content is starting point for any successful content strategy. Your website is live 24/7, so make sure your message is fresh, relevant, and accurate. Accomplishing this has never been more important or easier to do.

So, go ahead and develop a cadence for yourself, and routinely update your website with new accurate material. When you do make sure to track your website activity through analytics. You will see the benefits.

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