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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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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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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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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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