Nowadays, it's very easy to set up your own website. You can do this with WordPress which gives you a number of different website templates. You just have to insert your own images and content and voilà—you have your own website. At times, you may not even have to pay for maintaining this website, if you don't mind having a clunky web address.
This is great for someone who is just starting their own website or blog as a hobby. But if you're setting up a website for a business and your aim is to increase the number of visitors to your site in order to get more customers, then a DIY website may not be right for you.
Here are the 5 mistakes people make on DIY websites:
Choosing the Most Popular Template
The fact that the template is popular shows that it is good. But it also shows that your website is going to end up looking like everyone else's.
Using the Images That the Template Comes With
You need to use your own distinct images. You can take the photos yourself or get them from a free website. Just make sure they won't look the same as everyone else's.
Not Providing Enough Information
Sometimes, people just write a few sentences describing their business and post them on their website. You need to provide more well-written information if you want customers to come to your site.
Not Setting up a Blog
If you want people to keep coming to your website, you have to keep adding more information. You have to keep it relevant and fresh.
Not Using Keywords
When people go to search engines, they type in keywords that are relevant to them. So if you want them to find you, you have to use the same keywords. Do some research about the keywords popular in your field and make sure they are used generously on your website (without keyword-stuffing).
Contact us to understand more about the mistakes people make on DIY websites.
Every time a person hears about an interesting product or service, they're not likely to have a computer at hand. After all, when do you usually hear about something interesting? It's generally when you're hanging out with friends, having a beer or a coffee. Sure, there might be times when you get a good recommendation at work but, in general, people are too busy working to look up the website immediately.
So it's important to make sure that people are able to follow up on the recommendations they receive when they're not near a computer. And this means having a mobile-friendly website which will give them all the information they need immediately.
Mobile-Friendly Images and Text
Any website can be made mobile-friendly as long as you use the right images and text. Yes, it may be difficult to fit a panoramic image into a phone. But it's always possible to avoid panoramic images and use close ups instead. Plus, it's a good idea to keep your content brief and to-the-point so that people will be able to read it on a phone as well. As long as you follow these two rules, you should be able to come up with a mobile-friendly website which serves you well.
The Uses of Mobile-Friendly Websites
Think about it from your own point of view. Haven't you often been tempted to look something up when you were with a friend—maybe the exact definition of a word or some information about a book or a movie that you want to recommend to someone? Maybe they told you about a dating site and you wanted to look it up. Or maybe you were trying to get some health information that would be pertinent to you or your friend. Maybe you were just looking for a good place to go to dinner.
Either way, the fact is that a lot of your internet searching nowadays is now done on a mobile phone. There are even people who don't own computers, only mobile phones. So it's a good idea to make sure that your website is mobile-friendly. Contact us for more information.
The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act or AODA was passed into law in 2005 and seeks to prevent barriers to resource access for people with disabilities. While applicable to businesses in Ontario that have one or more employees, requirements and deadlines are specific to a business' size and type.
Generally, AODA is made up of five standards as well as some general requirements. The 5 standards are Customer Service, Information and Communication, Employment, Transportation and Design of Public Spaces. These AODA standards in turn are part of the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation (IASR), which includes the following general requirements: provide training, develop an accessibility policy, create a multi-year accessibility plan updated every five years and consider accessibility in procurement and when utilizing self-service kiosks. To learn more about AODA, click here.
Why You Should Care
So, you've got a website for your business but why should you care about accessibility? Because it's the right thing to do and anyway you are legally required to follow the AODA with enforcement fines of up to $100,000 per day. And this is not to mention that people with disabilities, have approximately $25 billion in spending power across Canada, so it is financially beneficial to decrease barriers to access on your website for people with disabilities. Why would you want to pass up so many potential customers?
Beginning in 2021, all organizational websites for companies with 50 or more employees must conform with accessibility requirements under the AODA. Internet-based mobile apps have requirements under this standard as well. Areas to consider include social media accessibility, contrast and color schemes, screen reader compatibility, simple and clear writing, form validation and error recovery, alternate text for images and typographical layout. To learn more about the specific tools and techniques used to increase website accessibility, check out this collection of articles.
If you need help designing an accessible website or improving the accessibility of your existing site, contact us. We'd be happy to help!
Most people understand the importance of a mobile-friendly website. There are people out there who may not have continuous access to a computer. But everyone carries a smart phone nowadays. So if a website is mobile-friendly, that makes it much easier to reach out to all types of consumers—people who are on the go, people who work with their hands rather than on computers and people who might be a bit wary of technology. In addition to being able to reach a large number of people, there are also other reasons why you should have a mobile-friendly website.
- Company Image: You don't want to seem like the type of company which is stuck in the last century. You want people to know that you are technologically up-to-date. And for this, it helps to create a mobile-friendly website.
- UX/CX: Nowadays, it's considered important to provide a good user/customer experience to your user/customer. And having a mobile-friendly website can help you to smooth out the customer journey from beginning to end.
- Sharing: Nowadays, people get on social media more through their phones than on the computer. If you have a mobile-friendly website, they are more likely to recommend it to their friends via their phones.
- Discretion: If someone is looking at your website while they're at work, anyone peering over their heads will be able to see what they're looking at. In comparison, looking at your mobile is more discreet which helps with products that people might not want others to know they are purchasing.
- Alerts: If you have the type of website which gets more views based on alerts (such as a news website) then it makes more sense to make it mobile-friendly because people carry their mobiles with them wherever they go and can respond to any alerts.
Contact us to learn more about the benefits of mobile-friendly websites.
Ontario AODA Website accessibility compliance crucially aims at making sure every person can use a website. It plays a primary role in the building of websites, and through its application, Ontario AODA aims at achieving universal standards of inclusivity. With increased ease in use of Websites arises additional potential revenue opportunities. Cost benefits also materialize if your website's accessibility is integrated into the development process right from the onset.
Why Make Your Website Accessible?
Accessibility refers to the product design, devices, services, and the experiences for persons with disability, more so visual impairments. Ontario AODA Website accessibility compliance runs in tandem with SEO. Indeed, the most significant benefit of Ontario AODA website accessibility standards is the positive effect on search engines. Accessibility improves functionality, efficiency, and user website experience.
Moral Obligation in Application
Websites form the basis for which people continuously rely on for information and specific services. People with disabilities are not left behind in the use of the web in their daily life. By the use of accessible Websites, this particular group garners a sense of dignity and independence. In effect, receptiveness is likely to make a considerable difference in inclusivity, resulting in more collaboration and innovation.
The Financial Benefits Accruing to Organizations
In regards to people with disability, it makes good business sense to implement accessible websites. The potential increase in site visits translates to broader markets and higher profits. Ontario AODA compliant websites are in line with web standards and to a higher degree receptive to most browsers across multiple devices. Browser receptibility increases the potential lucrative audience accessing your site. Generally, Ontario AODA compliant websites have overall ease of use for everyone through the use of visual design and interactivity.
Web Accessibility Legal Guidelines for Firm's in Ontario
Compliance to website accessibility standards in Ontario is mandatory, with non-compliant firms facing fines and penalties. In Ontario, Organizations are required by law to accommodate people with disabilities by adjusting certain website practices. Firms with 50 employees and above are required to file accessibility compliance reports.
In case your website is not compliant to Ontario AODA accessibility rules, the best time to act is now. Ultimately, building or redesigning your site will be least costly as compared to having to change a finished Website. You as well can do without the inconvenience of responding to formal complaints. Creating accessible sites helps you achieve your objectives while setting you apart as a professional. Contact us for more information.
One thing that many business owners in the Waterloo area work hard to do is budget and allocate resources. Conversely, there is also a desire to invest in things that produce results and a good return on their investment. With so many companies heavily advertising DIY websites, it might seem that web design would be an area that could be done without professional assistance in order to save money. The truth, though, is that DIY website builders often make mistakes that can be quite costly to their bottom line.
No Distinguishing Personality
One of the biggest selling points for DIY website companies is their templates. Many advertise how easy it is to create a site, largely due to drag and drop features that allow for small amounts of customization to a pre-made template. While they may be easy to use, these templates often lack true character and look just like thousands of other sites on the web. The end result is a basic DIY website that doesn't grab attention very well, and that isn't able to be customized to a target audience very easily. On the other hand, having a professionally designed website that is innovative and unique can set your business apart in your space or industry.
A second mistake that many DIY website builders make is creating a site that is difficult or frustrating to navigate. Visitors to your website can become turned off by things like pages that take too long to load, annoying auto play music or videos, or the lack of a quality search tool. For a business owner that is not actively working in the web design industry, there are massive amounts of considerations in the realm of navigation that are simply not thought of. Professional web design companies can help advise and guide you through the ins and outs of a quality customer user experience and quickly identify places that should be modified for easier navigation.
Running a business can be especially time consuming for many people, and those I meet with in the Kitchener area are no different. When a DIY'er first starts out with their web design project, there is usually commitment and excitement, and time allocated. However, as the hours pile up and the demands on other fronts mount, even the most carefully constructed DIY website can become susceptible to neglect. In fact, many DIYers have the misconception that a website is a "set it and forget it" kind of thing, which really is not true. Websites need to be monitored for performance, updated and optimized, and checked regularly for areas of improvement. A professional within the web design field will be able to devote the time needed on a regular basis to ensure your website is always performing well, and working hard for you.
Seeking a professional web design company in the Kitchener, Waterloo or Cambridge Guelph region? We would love the opportunity to work with you! Contact us for additional information on our services.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Every business would love to do a website on their own to cut on overheads and to customize it to their liking. This is not a bad idea if you know how to navigate the murky waters of "look and feel" and the technicalities of, say SEO, CRO and responsiveness, though you know that not everyone is an expert in every area of human endeavor. Here are five reasons why you should let a professional do your website:
There could be pitfalls
While DIY templates can be fun and hassle-free to work with, they might lead you into blocks and barriers initially unforeseen. On a bad day for example a client might call you with claims that your site has refused to load on their phones or that they cannot see where to click to submit the form. Such a situation would be difficult to deal with because of your little UX/UI knowledge base.
Uniqueness is vital
You want to stand out in the crowd. Assuming you intend to get a Webwizard template to do a website to use for your upcoming campaign to launch a new product. You could be in a hurry to catch up with time and might not do the due diligence to pick out a theme you might consider "rarely used" and are likely to come out with just another website.
Optimize for Lead Generation
Think more on conversion than prettiness. Well, templates are very good and convenient to work with if the designer is a little bit more conversion-minded and is ready to put in the extra hours to tweak it to near-perfection. You don't want to end up with a website that looks beautiful but cannot drive sales for your business.
They could encourage slackness
The temptation to do it once and get it done with is always lurking somewhere in the shadows. You may not be in a position to tell, for example, why your site is displaying overlapping content and how to correct that error. Working with templates on your own might get you into this trap.
Consulting a Web Developer comes with numerous advantages. They will, in most cases, be available whenever something on your site is not working right. But the most important benefit is their capabilities in tweaking your site to work optimally on every device and capture the attention of visitors. It is only prudent that before getting to do it on your own, you should think through your decision and seek the counsel and guidance of a professional web developer in order to escape the dangers of template 'Do It Yourself'.
Please contact us.