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This is a headshot of Brad Anderson.

It's easy enough to set up your own website by using a template. However, the main disadvantage of doing this is that your website is going to look like everyone else's. There are many things you can do in a customized website that you can't do in a template. The changes you want might be small or subtle but they can add up to make a big difference in your website. A DIY website, on the other hand, isn't going to have the aesthetic appeal people look for in a website.

 

Here are some of the problems you'll find in a DIY website:

  1. It's Boring: Nowadays, people have such a short attention span that they aren't going to stay on a website that looks boring to them. If there's nothing catchy about the headlines, the images or the content, they're going to move on soon enough.
  2. It Gets Less Traffic: Not only does a DIY website fail to keep visitors interested, it may fail to get visitors at all. The main aim of a website is to get as much traffic as possible. The more people that come to your website, the greater the chances of converting them into customers. But if the people are not even finding your website in the first place, then you're not going to achieve your aim.
  3. It's Not Intuitive: Some viewers report that DIY websites tend to be less intuitive than customized websites. This is because when you make a website yourself, you may not have a very good idea of what tabs to use and what information to put under them.
  4. It Lacks Information: Maybe you set up a website and put as much information that you thought was needed on it. But a viewer might think that it's too little or too much. The idea is to provide just the right amount; a website designer with experience will understand what that means.
  5. It's Not Balanced: Balance is an aesthetic term which may be hard for a layperson to understand. But the fact is that when you see something which seems balanced, you recognize its aesthetic appeal. A DIY website may look like the images and content are randomly placed instead.

Contact us for more great reasons why you should get a customized website and not a DIY one.

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This is a headshot of Brad Anderson.

Your company's website is a key component of your marketing. It's critical that your website be responsive and mobile-friendly. One-third of people access the Internet using their mobile phones as their primary device, and Google's algorithm places mobile-friendly sites higher in mobile search rankings. The following tips will help you optimize several key areas of your website for mobile devices.

 

Home Screen

 

Your mobile homepage should clearly and quickly direct users to the content they're looking for. Calls to action should be clear and easy to navigate. Keep the most frequently-used tasks on the front page. Secondary tasks can be accessed through the site's menus.

 

Menus

 

­Include the most important items and functions in the top-level menu. Use nested menus that are simple to navigate. Don't make your users scroll through too many drop-down menus to find what they need. Make sure that it's simple to return to the home page. Allow users to return to the starting page by clicking the company logo; most users automatically expect this.  

 

Search

 

Keep your site's search function at the top of the screen, where it's easy to locate and easy to access. Incorporate hints and autocomplete functions wherever possible. This will guide your users to the best search results, and will also cut down on the number of keystrokes needed. Filters will help narrow search results to what is most relevant.

 

Forms and Data Entry

 

Mobile users don't like long, complicated forms. While it's important to collect information about your leads, forms on your mobile site should be as short as possible. If your site has a shopping cart, a long checkout process is a big factor in cart abandonment. On a landing page, the shorter your form, the more likely your users are to convert. Forms are another great place to make use of autocomplete functions to decrease keystrokes.

 

Contact us to learn more about mobile optimization and the services we offer.

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This is a headshot of Brad Anderson.

Many online services will allow you to build your webpage within minutes. But there are five basic mistakes to avoid, especially for startups.

 

Forgetting to Think About Your Visitors

 

Majority of website visitors have the same request or issue, and only a minority search for other information. Your website should correspond to this majority and present the most requested issue very prominently on the starting page, like the most recent news or the running campaign. It is not what you want to tell, but what your visitors want to know.

 

No Video

 

Video is the first and most clicked item on any webpage. It is also the number one marketing or campaigning tool on the Internet for startups, and it is very easy to share to social media too. Posting on a website is much more difficult and less effective. From a self build photo slideshow to a professional campaigning clip, anything is better than no video at all.

 

Not Mobile-Friendly

 

More and more people are going online using smartphones. So, does your webpage look good on a mobile device? Do you offer a mobile-compatible payment system? People are used to paying online with one click systems, and these systems are available and affordable.

 

One Top Level Domain is Not Enough

 

You should reserve at least two top level domains, the .com and the country top level domain. The country top level domain is important because it can become very problematic if someone else reserves this domain and redirect it to their business. Top level domains are cheap, so don't miss to reserve both of them.

 

No Search Engine Optimization

 

Google is the number one gateway to surf the Internet. If you want to be highly ranked in its search engine results, your webpage must be optimized for this. Even free website construction kits usually offer a routing to create the tags and descriptions for SEO. This is a must. Spare some time for this and if you can, some budget.

 

Hope these tips are helpful for you. Please contact us to get started. 

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This is a headshot of Brad Anderson.

Pay attention next time you're outside, watch the people. Yes...  Be a voyeur...  How many people do you see that aren't heads down staring into a mobile device?  Not many.

 

It's not just teenagers busily capturing Pokemon characters on their tablets or regaling their friends with the latest gossip in their relationships on the new iPhone.  It's everyone.  Professionals of all types, interests, wants and needs.  Potential customers in a virtual storefront completely saturated by every retailer and service provider in the world.  With a plethora of options for users available with only a click, the way you display and differentiate your services is a critical factor for every business. 

 

It's wonderful that you've got a gorgeous, fully functional website for users to browse in all the glory that a 1080p monitor can provide on their desktops.  Congratulations.  Now remember those masses of people enchanted by the glowing light of their mobile electronics?  That's a huge portion of your customer base. 

 

Ease of access.  That's what we want.  We're looking for an item to fill a need and the first company that can deliver it hassle free is likely to win our bid.  If your website loads too slowly, doesn't display correctly or doesn't function as expected, the consumer is likely to move on to the next outfit that serves their purposes. Just that quickly you've lost a potential buyer.  More times than not, user testing shows that you've lost the buyer for more than just that one incidence, most users won't bother returning to your website.

 

Responsive, mobile friendly websites are not only in the best interest of your business from a user perspective, but now the major search engines starting with Google, have started taking into account whether or not your website will display and function correctly into their search results.  Your site could actually be penalized and dropped in the search results if it is determined your website doesn't work within mobile standards.  Considering the January 2019 data of mobile versus desktop browsing from Statcounter, mobile devices make up 51.09% of all web traffic, while desktop browsing sits at 48.91%. Over 50% of your potential customers are looking for your services on their cell phones or tablets, and studies say that trend is heading upward.

 

Your customer facing website is your new storefront window, it's your chance to make a first and long lasting impression about your brand.  REM Web Solutions professionals can answer questions and help you create an incredible mobile experience for your customers. Mobile first technology is the key to another entire avenue to show customers why your brand is the one they should choose. Contact us and make sure they can access it the way they want to.  

 

 

 

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This is a headshot of Brad Anderson.

Today, there are plenty of videos that offer guidance on building websites, which makes the majority believe that this task is a walk in the park. The fact that you may spend less time building a site in the case of the DIY option does not suggest that this is the best solution for your business. Entrepreneurs who value their establishments will not hesitate when investing in them and for that reason, such individuals will rarely opt for DIY websites. Here are some of the reasons why you should avoid DIY websites.

 

Susceptibility to Hacking Risks

 

Although the decision for opting for a DIY website may not require significant financial investment the risk exposure of this option on your enterprise is quite high. The success of your business operations dramatically depends on the choices you make now, and DIY websites are not the best option in this case. Since DIY sites are susceptible to hacking such an attack will cause you to lose essential details relating to your organization, which will threaten future operations.

 

Custom websites may cost you some amount of money, but the long-term value of such sites is incomparable to the DIY option because the former version will act as a security measure against hacking.

 

Elimination of Technical Knowledge

 

Building a DIY website does not require any expertise, and that is part of the reasons why some individuals will opt for the same. The challenge is that lack of technical knowledge when building a DIY website implies that you will not have insight into such aspects as site performance optimization, analytics and security features, search engine optimization, anti-spam, among others.

 

Building an ideal website for your company requires technical knowledge for you to leverage its potential, which becomes an opportunity cost if you opt for DIY sites.

 

Customization Challenges

 

If your business website is not serving the needs of your daily company operations through the features available, you should consider consulting an expert. DIY websites do not have custom features that address the requirements of specific firms, and that is a setback for entrepreneurs who opt for such sites.

 

IT experts can build a custom website, which suggests that it will be in line with your business activities and that will eventually promote efficiency and overall success. If you need more information on the disadvantages of DIY websites, contact us today!

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This is a headshot of Ryan Covert.

 

It's 2019 at the time of this writing. Fortnite has taken the gaming world by storm over the past year or so. Every parent has been begged and pleaded with by their children to purchase a modern console gaming system so that they can become sweaty try hards.

 

Then it happens. Those same children are watching YouTube personalities and streamers alike who push PC hardware as the next-level in the Fortnite madness. The begging and pleading is revived. This time, those same parents don't know where to start and may not have the funds to dump into a high-level gaming PC.

 

Socket 775 To The Rescue

 

As of June 2019, I have successfully built four Fortnite-worthy gaming PCs using hardware dated as far back as 12 years old. It wasn't difficult, but finding DDR2 RAM for older PCs is tricky, and I will throw in some more "modern" suggestions at the end of this blog for those having the same problem.

 

The secret to my success has been in the procurement of used Socket 775 motherboards and CPUs that used to fetch top dollar when they were new. Socket 775 motherboards are now in the range of $30-$60 on eBay. A magnificent Core 2 Quad Q9650 CPU, which was considered the cream of the crop in 2008, can now be coupled with those motherboards for a meer $65 on eBay as well. You'll also want a minimum of 6 GB of RAM, but 8 GB of RAM is ideal. You can get by with 4 GB, but your OS will be starved for resources and you will experience in-game hitching or stuttering as your computer continuously fights to balance your operating system's memory requirements with those of the game.

 

Next, you need to find a GPU with enough horsepower to run modern PC games at a decent framerate. While I have managed to run Fortnite at 60 fps on a GeForce GTX 560 ti, I would suggest purchasing a GPU with at least support for the latest nVidia or AMD drivers. I suggest trying to find one of these cards within your budget on eBay, Kijiji, Craig's List, or similar:

 

  • GeForce GTX 760
  • GeForce GTX 960
  • GeForce GTX 1050 ti
  • AMD R9 290X
  • AMD R9 380
  • AMD RX 480
  • AMD RX 570

 

There are many different combinations of these cards, with varying amounts of video RAM typically listed as "GDDR". Generally speaking, the more RAM you have, the better experience you will have. However, in my testing, the older GTX 760 with 2 GB of GDDR3 RAM provides plenty of speed to drive 60 fps gaming on Medium quality settings in Fortnite at resolutions up to 1920x1080. Considering this is running on a 12 year old PC, this is mind blowing.

 

For those interested in doing this themselves, here are some additional links to help you out:

 

  • CPU-Z
    Determine the exact motherboard make and model you're running, along with the type and configuration of RAM you have installed. This helps you determine what upgrades are available for your existing hardware.
     
  • Core i3 based PCs
    These machines are a great example of a complete system (lacking a dedicated graphics card / GPU) that have plenty of power to run modern PC games for thousands of hours of enjoyment. They typically use DDR3 RAM, which is much cheaper than the older DDR2 variant mentioned above due to supply and demand.

 

Feel free to drop your questions in the comments below if you'd like more information.

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This is a headshot of Sean Sanderson.

For me, I think of a design trend as a movement that has gained enough usage that it starts to become recognizable and used. A trend can start slow before gaining momentum or can be influenced and fueled by new technology.

 

For myself, as a designer, I make it a priority to keep current. For me, trends are meant to keep me inspired and thinking in a contemporary way. I don’t choose to completely ignore them but being aware of what they are is very important. I find myself longing to experiment with a new design and try a new trend even if it’s just for a personal project.

 

I believe we are currently in an interesting time with web design. We’ve seen many new web design styles push the boundaries of what we expect the modern web to be. As well as significant advancements in technology that are allowing users to not only ‘surf’ the website but leave with a feeling of an exciting experience. Accessibility is certainly not new but has been making a statement to ensure a more consistent and accessible environment for everybody who uses the web.

 

With so many developments, it’s important to slow it down and take a look at what trends have the ability to stay and what new things we can expect to see in 2019.

Below are 5 of the more notable styles that we can expect to wedge themselves into web design for 2019, and beyond.   

 

Flat Design

 

Starting as a trend, the flat design grew to become a standard. Preferred by many users from a user experience perspective flat design is a minimalist approach that features the use of wide-open white space, colors, and uncomplicated illustrations. Pairing clean fonts and minimal content seem to work very well with flat design.

 

Minimalism

 

Web design is always moving in a “less is more” mentality. The most time-honored web design trend, minimalism has always been my favorite style as hard as it can be to pull off properly. With fewer components on a website, the less the user has to process. Clients are more and more opting towards a simpler layout with greater amounts of white space. Using white space to separate the different sections on your pages helps improve readability and makes it easier for users to digest important information.

 

Animated GIFS

 

Can you remember a time when the dancing Ooga Chaka baby was a thing? Animated GIFs can definitely capture the limited attention span of most users. They are great at conveying ideas while being intriguing and captivating. Animated icons are becoming more and more popular and the use of animation/movement isn’t something that will be die off as long the rise of UX is still a thing.

 

Organic Shapes

 

Traditionally set up in grids, some websites have moved away from the cookie-cutter horizontal and vertical dividers and designers are turning towards natural shapes and smooth lines. Geometric shapes can give a feeling of accessibility and comfort. Organic shapes are irregular, uneven and imperfect. They can provide emphasis to make content stand out and give a personal touch.

 

Website Accessibility

 

Last but not least, accessibility. This is not a trend, its an evolution and progress of the web that can’t be ignored in 2019. Designing ( and building ) websites for people with disabilities and ensuring they can use them easily shouldn’t be something web designers and developers simply choose to do anymore. The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines are quickly becoming more enforced and it’s going to be increasingly important to make sure your website is up to par.

 

Everything or ( most things ) have been done in design at one point before. A lot of the new trends are merely recycled ideas from earlier movements in design. That being said they can be revisited and reinvented. From the look and feel, websites will move toward the clean style of flat and minimalistic design. From a UX side of things, companies will need to focus on making their sites engaging and accessible.

 

Ooga Chaka!

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This is a headshot of Matt Stern.

While thinking about my blog, one topic keeps coming to mind. Coaching youth sports. I have

always been very involved in coaching, as my son has played soccer, basketball and baseball.

However, coaching youth is something I have been a part of, for a long time, prior to having

children. I am often asked the question, why I chose to coach different sports. There are

several reasons why I enjoy coaching, some more obvious than others.

 

Firstly, I appreciate the opportunity to be involved in my son's activities. Coaching is like

teaching. Life lessons are always being taught. Learning how to win, how to lose, and how to

be a team player. We learn how to work together for the purpose of one goal. Sometimes I

coach for the love of the game, and the chance to share that love and appreciation with others.

 

An unexpected outcome is sometimes learning ourselves, as coaches. Coaching requires

adaptation, as it's very fluid and always changing. This may require communicating with players

and/or parents, or making adjustments to the way we play as a team, or with other coaches.

Communication is ongoing, whether with participants or parents. Learning to be a more effective

communicator may result. Finally, coaching encourages us to find lifelong friendships, between

teammates and coaches, which can only be seen as positive.

 

As you can see, there are various reasons to coach youth in sports. Learning life lessons,

teaching life lessons, finding lasting friendships but perhaps most importantly, we having the

opportunity to make a difference in our children's lives.

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This is a headshot of Brad Anderson.

Identifying the paths that a consumer will take while navigating on desktops, tablets, and smartphones will help you design a mobile-friendly website. Establish the layout, grid structure, and break-points. It is important to keep a fluid layout rather than relying on three hard breaks because devices are rapidly changing in size and aspect ratio.

 

Grid Layouts

 

Start by creating a base set of grid layouts and standards for titles, subtitles, and navigation and body fonts. This is very important because it helps you create consistency across different layouts, significantly reduces the code complexity, and also has SEO benefits by ensuring the page structure follows SEO best practices from the beginning.

 

Wireframes

 

Use this guide to create interactive and responsive wireframes, giving an idea of how the site will feel and function on each device. Just taking your desktop content and shrinking it down to mobile is not the right approach. Smartphone users are often looking to make a transaction with the shortest amount of time. Tablet users often spend more time on the site than desktop users, so tailoring your content approach per device is critical. After refinement of the user experience, apply the final design to the wireframes to bring the brand to life in the new digital format.

 

QA Testing

 

Build all of the interaction states and tailor those actions per device. Rollovers on desktops must be converted to touching interactions on mobile. Clicking carousels should be swiped-enabled on mobile. Before launch, conduct a QA testing on numerous devices. It's important that you physically test to see how everything feels and reacts on a mobile device. Don't be shy to go back and make changes to create a better experience for your customers. 

 

Make sure that you have an in-depth analytics implementation and watch the user behavior on your website. Take suggestions and keep an open mind and listen to the analytics. For further insight, please contact us.

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This is a headshot of Brad Anderson.

Many business owners are tempted to cut costs by handling web design in-house. However, DIY web design is usually not the best option. Your company's website is an important marketing asset, and building it yourself creates opportunities to make mistakes that can hurt your bottom line. One common mistake of DIY websites is designing a site that is not responsive. Here's why responsive web design is important.

 

Faster Speeds and Improved Search Rankings

 

Users expect web pages to load right away, especially on mobile devices. Also, Google considers page loading speeds when ranking results. By ensuring that your website is responsive, you'll deliver a better experience to your customers, and your site will rank higher in search.

 

Lower Bounce Rates

 

Your site's bounce rate is the number of times users view only a single page and then click away. Users are more likely to engage and explore your website if it's mobile-friendly. If your site isn't responsive, users are more likely to become frustrated and bounce. In fact, if your mobile site loads in under five seconds, the average viewing session is 70% longer than for slower sites.  

 

Higher Conversions

 

Even if your visitors do stick around, they don't want to be redirected to a separate, mobile-friendly site to complete a purchase or subscribe to an e-mail list. A responsive design will lower bounce rates and lead to more conversions.

 

Avoid Duplicate Content

 

In the past, it was common for companies to have two versions of their websites: a desktop site and a mobile site. When you create two website versions, Google may view them as two sites that contain the same content, which can adversely affect SEO. A responsive design eliminates this possibility since the same website can be viewed on any device.

 

For assistance with your website design and development, contact us now.

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Brad Anderson
122
August 22, 2019
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Ryan Covert
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July 26, 2019
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Sean Sanderson
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July 23, 2019
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Matt Stern
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July 16, 2019
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June 28, 2019
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Rob Matlow
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