When designing your own website, the last thing you want to do is copy off of a pre-existing template from DIY website builders like Wix, Weebly, and Squarespace. For creating a new business site, you need to focus on the essentials, such as how to promote your brand towards a client base, how to pick a good theme for your current niche, and of course, how to build a user interface that would best present the value your business delivers through its high-quality products and services.
Although free website builders boast an all-inclusive platform to help simplify content management, you are only given a limited number of custom themes to choose from. The same applies to everything else from their menu layout options to slideshow animations. You might think it's easier to design a functional webpage using their "drag and drop" editor, but your finalized version will look no different than the thousands of small business websites that are already well-established, generating a consistent amount of traffic through ranking high on the SERPs.
As a beginner, you'll have to steer clear of the following mistakes that are surprisingly common in DIY websites:
- Improper formatting of text either from choosing a hard-to-read font or displaying walls of text without spaces in between
- Combining multiple image galleries on the same page from different projects which creates inconsistent aesthetics
- Having a homepage that has many background images but no brief statements explaining what the business does
- Using overcomplicated shopping cart checkout and subscription features that intimidates potential customers
Whereas a website builder provides you with shortcuts for uploading new images and other media, you won't receive feedback on whether or not your website is going to succeed as an introduction to your online business. That's why you should leave it to the professionals instead of attempting to follow a DIY website guide. If you are located in Ontario, why not visit REM Web Solutions, a reputable web design company with a full selection of web projects optimized for desktop and mobile devices.
For more information, you're welcome to contact us and learn about our services.
Data by StatCounter shows that internet usage via mobile devices mobile devices exceeded the use of desktops in late 2016. This difference has continued to increase over time as mobile manufacturers continue to launch more affordable smartphones and tablets.
Traditional web development techniques did not consider mobile devices. If you haven't considered mobile optimization for your site, you are losing business each day. Here is how you can ensure that your website satisfies the needs of mobile users.
1. Make Your Site Responsive
Website responsiveness, in this case, refers to how your site behaves when loaded on devices of different sizes. Mobile users should access your pages in full with minimal scrolling and zooming.
Sites that are 100% responsive rank higher on Google than those that are problematic to mobile users. You also save time when updating one website instead of editing different versions.
2. Join the AMP Project
Web pages with lots of graphics can take considerable time to load, and slow websites put off visitors. AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) is an initiative backed by Google to make pages load quickly on mobile devices.
AMP is a free open source framework. You may want to activate AMP on your site for fast loading and increased conversions.
3. Follow the Google Guideline for Pop-Ups
In as much as users criticize pop-ups, they are useful in conveying bursts of information. Google levies penalties for pop-ups that ruin user-experience.
Pop-ups for mobile can be cumbersome due to the limited display available on the devices. Ensure that pop-ups contain necessary information if you choose to use them. Also, they should be non-obstructive and easy to close.
The Bottom Line
Internet users have drastically changed the way they access the internet. Most of them prefer mobile devices due to their accessibility and convenience.
Don't ignore mobile optimization when developing your site. You will lose prospective customers if your site is slow or thorny to use.
Contact the experts for guidance on more web development practices that resonate with your business goals.
With the rise of content management systems and other website building platforms, it is now easier than ever for businesses and individuals to own a website. These design tools provide templates that can be used to customize a website in just a few minutes. However, the result is not always impressive. Most of these DIY websites look unprofessional and are plagued with issues that affect their performance. In this article, we have rounded up five of the most common mistakes DIY web designers make:
1. Non- Responsive Web Design
When building a website using a simple drag and drop desktop editor, most DIY designers forget that the larger online community surfs the web using mobile devices. This means they end up locking out a lot of users from accessing the website. If you are not conversant with building a mobile-friendly website, then you should consider hiring a professional developer.
2. Using Free Templates
Most programs for DIY web design provide free templates that you can use to create a website in a few clicks. The cheap templates often make your website appear generic and similar to other sites on the web. The aesthetics of such websites are poor and do not resonate to your website's offering. This might be a big blow to your online credibility.
3. Poor Search Engine Optimization
SEO helps websites rank higher on search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing. Most DIY website building platforms offer too little from an SEO perspective. Additionally, it is difficult to incorporate various elements of SEO in your web design unless you have mastered this art. For this reason, it is essential to hire an SEO service to improve your search engine ranking.
4. Poor Branding
Another common mistake of DIY web design is poor branding. Whereas a website's interface should reflect your brand's personality, DIY design tools fail to integrate key branding elements such as logos on your website. These visual cues anchor your web presence across multiple platforms including social media channels. It is therefore essential to work with a professional designer who can reinforce your brand's values and online visibility through cohesive branding.
5. Website Security
DIY websites can be vulnerable to hacking and other cyber attacks. If you are building a website, ensure you protect it using SSL certificates and other security add-ons. This will ensure critical user information such as passwords and credit card credentials are always safe.
A website is a critical tool that drives the online success of your business. If you want to realize its full potential, then consider working with a professional website designer. If you would like to know more about web design, contact the experts at REM Web Solutions.
Small business owners are typically very busy running their own organization. However, even for busy small business leaders it would be difficult not to notice that voice-activated searching, both on mobile devices as well as "smart" homes devices, is becoming more and more popular. Those businesses who still think a desktop web presence is enough to garner ample interest in their organization need to take a second look at what is happening around them, or they risk getting left behind by emerging technologies.
Still not Mobile?
Any business in 2019 that does not have a web presence optimized for mobile devices will find themselves among the very few. Lagging behind the vast majority who have caught on that mobile is now the norm, is not a good place for anyone who hopes to succeed above their competitors. If they have not already done so, 2019 is the year for stragglers to commit to optimizing their web presence for mobile.
Millions of individuals now heavily rely on voice commands to drive their activity on traditional devices such as smart phones and tablets. With voice activation of these devices now also very popular by way of Bluetooth-assisted vehicles, potential customers are changing the way they interact with the companies they want to do business with. One simple walk through a big box electronics store also reveals that smart home devices are becoming increasingly popular and are poised to add an entirely new way in which users surf the web.
Voice is the new Mobile
A few years ago mobile web design was a newer concept. Now it is a mainstream concept with voice-activated smart devices coming up from behind -- within a few years, smart home devices may very well take the lead. Businesses who hope to continue to garner attention, must ensure their web presence is optimized for the changing way in which users will interact with the web. Namely, voice searches using natural language rather than cryptic fingertip searches.
If you would like to know how voice and mobile concepts are going to change the future of the world wide web, please contact us!
A lot has been written on the subject of website accessibility, but there's a lot of confusion about it. Put simply, accessibility refers to designing devices, products, or services for people who have disabilities. Designing for accessibility issues gives the ability of potentially everyone, regardless of their condition, to have access your website. Not only is it law in several parts of the world, it's a way to respect the basic rights and dignity of everyone, regardless of their abilities. What things should you look for when trying to improve accessibility on your website?
Ontario's Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) defines several areas addressing accessibility issues with government agencies, organizations, and businesses, including websites. If you are a private or nonprofit organization with 50 or more employees, or a public-sector organization, your website is required to meet the accessibility requirements. The compliance deadline for new websites to comply was January 1st, 2014, and beginning January 1st, 2021, all public websites must meet level AA requirements.
Thankfully, when Ontario codified guidelines into law, they adopted the W3C WCAG 2.0 guidelines. The guidelines are fairly thorough, covering everything from making sure images have alternative text, to making sure that pre-recorded audio and video have captions, to making sure your website can be navigated entirely by keyboard. Since Ontario requires double A compliance, it also requires things such as minimum contrast ratio of text to background, and making sure that artwork on the website doesn't trigger people with photosensitive epilepsy.
If you're looking to upgrade your website while maintaining compliance, contact us. Our experienced staff is always ready to answer any questions you may have or assist you with developing your online presence. Our guiding principle is that you, the customer, come first, and will work to build a compliant website optimized for desktop and mobile use.
The underlying concept of responsive website design is that everyone who comes to your site should have an enjoyable experience, no matter what device they're using. And with so many people browsing from their tablets or cell phones, you have to make the site accessible for large and small screens alike. With so much traffic coming from these sources, it's pretty obvious why everyone sees the value in it.
There are two main schools of thought on this.
The first way, which some people might call old fashioned, is called Browser First. With Browser First design, you'll build your website for everything that's going to be on the largest browser version. Then, as you go down to smaller and smaller sizes, you pair down the less essential elements and push more columns to the center. It's basically starting with a slab of marble and chiseling out a detailed sculpture, i.e, your mobile site.
The other version of thinking about responsive design is called Mobile First. It's more like starting with a slab of clay and adding more and more until you come up with your largest version.
Which is Better?
One involves adding, and the other involves subtracting. Conveniently, they both use the same tools, so it's really more of a philosophical issue. Probably the best argument for the mobile first approach is that most people are using mobile browsing to visit websites. Nowadays, it makes sense to focus on the version that people are going to be using most, especially if you're trying to sell using a web store.
From an aesthetic standpoint, though, it's pretty hard to deny that your browser version is going to be more impressive. Starting with the largest version, you'll make a lot fewer sacrifices for graphics versus your mobile version. You can create a more intriguing or intuitive layout because you won't be restricted by the limitations of the viewing window.
So, if you want to optimize for user experience, the mobile first approach can really work wonders. Contact us to learn more.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.