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We've written some insightful, entertaining articles that span topics from support to design to content management and beyond!




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Man standing in front of whiteboard

 

So, you have just launched your new website and have had some time to digest things. Now what? The thing about your website is that it should never stop evolving and getting better as time goes on. If you can make an improvement to the site that will benefit your user in some way, this should always be done and can only help your brand or product.

 

Make Your Website User-Friendly

A common first place to start is where you can link within your own website so that users can navigate a little bit easier. It is all well and good to have links in your navigation, but you are going to want to place convenient links and buttons throughout your content as well. A good place to make sure you are sending people frequently is your contact or your products/services pages.

 

Remove the Clutter

Another thing to do is make your website more detailed gradually. This can be tricky as you will want to “hide” your more comprehensive information that can bog a new reader down beneath or behind lighter and more to-the-point content.

 

Improve Usability with Up-to-Date Designs

Layout can be another big source of improvement for a new site. You will have designed the website according to your or your own company’s tastes, and while this can be great, fresh sets of eyes always reveal new improvements or bugs that may have previously been unseen. Over time, listening to feedback and making changes based upon that feedback for user friendliness. Looking to competitor websites to see what they are doing better than your site can also be a good source of insight.

 

Features can be added or improved on your website as time progresses. Maybe you have expanded to 2 locations and now wish to have both locations on the site, with a user interactive map. Maybe you want to start blogging but want a certain interface and setup for it that is a little different from a basic page on your website. Perhaps you want to start allowing people to apply to jobs directly through your website. These are all common improvements you can make to your website over time.

 

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Group of people sitting and shaking hands

 

Once you launch your website, and especially if it is a brand-new site, you are going to need some legwork to do to get your name out there. This can be as involved as advanced marketing and SEO campaigns, or as simple as word-of-mouth advertising to your friends, it all depends on the size of your business, your budget, and your desired outcome.

 

Digital Strategies

Chances are, if you are a big business, you have had a website for many years. This does not mean you do not need to advertise your website! People are going to want to know if you add a new feature, revamp the visual aspects of the website, or make a massive change to some important information. If it is a large website, you will want to rely on your lists of contacts, clients, and subscribers to your newsletters/blogs. A smaller website may have no choice here but to rely on Google AdWords or even word of mouth.

 

Adding the Personal Touch

Word of mouth works great, even in medium to larger sized companies, when it comes to targeting specific big-ticket clients. The word of mouth interaction is much more personal and will result in a higher chance of conversion or purchase. AdWords will often fall on deaf ears, or even worse, become the target of competitor clicks. It’s no secret that it’s easy to VPN in and click those paid advertisements to charge the companies hundreds or thousands in ad dollars for no results. This means there is no protection against malicious attack from competitors, although this is a reality for larger businesses.

 

Usually when it comes to your advertising, your gut feeling is probably where you should go. Branding is very personal, and your style of advertising should reflect that. While it is not our specialty, we may be able to offer insight in this department. Contact us if you need a hand with anything website related!

 

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Thanks to everyone that played Santa’s Workshop Showdown!

 

Thanks to everyone that played Santa’s Workshop Showdown!

 

We hope that everyone had a great holiday with friends and family. We also hope you enjoyed our game as much as we enjoyed making it! Congratulations to Christine D. for winning an XBOX One S! 

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When building a website, figuring out exactly what you want to say and how you want to say it can be one of the biggest challenges. How do you get your point across, while still being visually appealing and getting your points across to your visitor?

 

 

Business man writing on desk

 

Make a List of Pages

A great starting point can simply be making a high-level list of the main subjects you want to talk about on your site, besides the obvious Contact and About pages which tend to have somewhat self-explanatory content. This will give you a list of topics to begin writing about if you do not have existing material to place on the site. If you have an existing website and you are just revamping, this is essentially already done for you in the form of your existing navigation, and you can simply add and trim topics as you see fit.

 

Set the Tone

From here, you will need to gauge the level of professionalism you wish to portray through the writing on your website. Many companies these days have a much more casual way of communicating with clients than more traditional or old school companies, and the language you use on your website should reflect the language you plan on using with your clients at every stage of your interactions. If you have a younger target market, consider utilizing social media such as Instagram or Twitter, and platforms such as Facebook or LinkedIn if you are going for an older audience.

 

Once you have the tone and your subjects, simply begin writing organically about the subjects which you know well. It can be hard to get that first sentence down, but once the words start flowing it will be a lot easier than it seems at first. Move on to the subjects you need a little research on later, as your confidence will have been built up by writing about your mastered subjects.

 

Review and Refine Your Content

The final step is to edit your content. Beyond the basic spellchecking and grammar checking, you will want to make sure that key words you wish to target with search engines are mentioned a variety of times within. You don’t want it to sound unnatural, but just make sure you mention words you think someone may type into a search engine when they look for you.

 

That’s it! Look out for more tips on maintaining your website in the future, and if you need a hand with anything to do with your website reach out to us.

 

Cotact us today

 

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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.

 

Hand holding a smartphone with REM's mobile website on it

 

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.

 

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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.

 

 

Illustration depicting AODA letters with people around it

 

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?

 

The Details

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!

 

Make your website AODA compliant! Visit aodawebsites.ca

AODA Websites logo

 

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Woman looking at a laptop

 

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.

 

Make your website AODA compliant! Visit aodawebsites.ca

AODA Websites logo

 

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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.

 

Navigation Difficulties

 

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.

 

Eventual Neglect

 

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.

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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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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.

 

Way forward

 

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.

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