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This is a headshot of Shauna Ramsaroop.

Woman using a computer in a home office

 

2021 is a new year with new rules and unfortunately some of the rules aren’t helping our businesses. With COVID-19 still looming among us a lot of companies have been forced to adapt to a new normal such as online ordering, curbside pickup, virtual meetings, webinars, events and so much more. In our region we have lost many small/medium size businesses in 2020 and there are plenty continuing to struggle.

 

Our goal is to do our best to help you persevere. Having a well designed and developed website could be the key to helping you through the surge of online interactions. REM Web Solutions may be able to help you out, with tools such as our newsletter and blog modules you can reach your clientele keeping them informed of product/service offerings, discounts and things happening/changing in your business.

 

In addition to communicating, our media collections help highlight your work, the product and eCommerce modules allow you to showcase and/or sell online. If you’re not selling products you can make use of our events module that allow your clients to register and pay for online seminars, classes etc.

 

As your business adapts, we’re here to support you through the changes. If we don’t have an REM standard solution for you, our team of designers and developers are equipped to build custom functionality to help you achieve your business needs.

 

If you have any questions about how we can help feel free to reach out; we’re a chatty bunch and would love to hear from you!

 

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This is a headshot of Shauna Ramsaroop.

Laptop, tablet and phone on a table showing REM's home page.

 

A great home page layout makes the web page more interesting to look at because the viewer’s eyes will want to dance around in the page. It’s definitely easy to get lost on a home page and we want your viewers to enjoy the experience.

 

Just Breathe

People underestimate how important it is to give your layout white-space. By giving your users/viewers time to digest each section while clearly separating them at the same time, allows them to really take it all in; here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • White-space emphasizes how impressive a photo is and gives it intrigue.
  • Use the right amount of white-space:
    • Too much: the user will have to scroll through or “get stuck at” empty space.
    • Too little: the user might start feeling claustrophobic if things are squished together.
  • Our website as an example, the Home Banner:
    • On the left-side is a big photo that showcases one of our clients’ website on a laptop, smartphone and tablet. There’s a good amount of space between it and REM’s logo. Never over-crowd logos, they need space all around!
    • Notice how the white space makes it really easy to read the headline, which is the 1st heading.

 

Layouts

Make your layouts dynamic, symmetrical and appropriately proportional. This will show that you as a company are structured, organized and thoughtful. Your layout will determine the home page’s information hierarchy. Here are some ways to accomplish this:

  • Vary your layout throughout; use columns to put multiple items in a row.
  • Use a grid. In our website’s case (and in most of our clients’ website’s case), the grid is based on 12 columns. Notice how we use 3 columns in some areas such as the buttons below the banner, the featured portfolio and the blog teaser.
  • Maximize the use of your browser’s/device’s screen size, while still having proper white-space. Using our website as the example, notice how the angled grey background, large photos and Google Map take up the full width of the browser.

 

Headings

We often talk about headings, especially when it comes to having AODA compliant websites. On the home page, it keeps your viewers engaged and when sized correctly the end result is a sequential experience that your viewers will subtly perceive. Some things to keep in mind:

  • Heading 1: biggest, stands out and as I’ve mentioned, the very first thing at the top that clearly states what we provide: web design and development. Important and useful for SEO.
  • Use the correct sequence for SEO and AODA purposes (For more information, read this blog post about “AODA – Colour Contrast and Headings”)
  • Headings in a home page are very useful for separating sections.

 

For our website, the headings start off the following areas:

  • “We Provide Web Design & Development” introduces the website and attracts, using big imagery.
  • “We build exceptional websites…” some vital text for SEO and to give users more of an idea of who we are, who we serve and what we do.
  • “Some of our Featured Work” with highlighted projects.
  • “Blog” teasers of our blog posts.

 

As you can see in our three-part series there is a lot that goes into designing your home page – it’s the most important page and we truly want to make sure that we support you and guide you through the process. It is a lot to stay on top of, and our designers are here to help organize and guide you through the process.

 

We want you to succeed; we sincerely love it when you do! So, if you’re looking to change up your existing website or looking to design a new one, feel free to reach out to us! We’re here to help.

 

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This is a headshot of Shauna Ramsaroop.

Mockup of tablet and smartphone showing off REM's home page

 

Now that we have gone over the foundational aspects of a home page, we can dabble a bit into Branding. Your lead Graphic Designer will help you establish the overall look and feel during the design process. It’s the most fun part in my opinion because this is where you truly get to express who you are through emotions that your viewers feel when they view your home page! When we talk about look and feel we are referring to the colours and fonts – one key thing to remember is consistency.

 

Colour Us Simple

Using our website as the example, our primary colours are orange and dark grey. There are shades of much lighter grey throughout to complement the imagery and the primary colours. Notice that orange is used sparingly as it’s a very strong, prominent colour which naturally draws the eye. Hence, it’s only used for important elements such as action buttons that we really want users to click on and to highlight certain headings. The colours are not only on-point with branding, but they’re also AODA compliant.

 

It Feels Like Home

“Feel” aka overall tone is something you do not want to miss when it comes to your home page. It’s important to think about what you are trying to convey. Is your company approachable, friendly, laid-back, corporate, luxurious, natural, etc.? As our website as the example, we convey that:

  • We’re technologically savvy by showing current devices (laptop, smartphone, tablet, monitor). And our website is responsive and looks great on every browser/device.
  • We’re fresh and creative using modern fonts, angled backgrounds and shapes. Our creativity is also shown in the work we’ve done for our clients.
  • We’re reputable; our portfolio shows we’ve worked with well-known companies.

 

Although it sounds quite simple, determining the look and feel for your website and home page is a lot harder than it sounds. Our designers are here to help guide you through the process. As we build our relationship with you throughout the process, we’ll be sure to nail it down.

 

If you’re thinking it may be time for a refresh let us know; we would be happy to give you some ideas!

 

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This is a headshot of Shauna Ramsaroop.

Mockup of a desktop and laptop computers showing REM's home page.

 

Now that you’re part of our REM Team and as you navigate the process, we figured we’d put together a little guide to help you and your designer create a great website together. Over the next few posts, we’ll walk you through things to keep in mind while collaborating with your designer – also useful when updating any content on your own.

 

Purpose

It’s easy to forget when designing your home page to think about what the intent is of your home page. The key word that comes to my mind is engagement. We want to attract the user/viewer to dig deeper into your website. Your home page should ignite excitement and curiosity so that your audience feels encouraged to read and investigate further in regards to who and what your company represents and what services and/or products you offer.

 

Show Off a Little

Your home page is also the spot to impress your potential and current customers, you’ve done incredible work, you have fantastic products so provide some teasers that captivate customers (even existing ones). You’ll notice on the REM Web Solutions home page, we have a “Featured Work” section and this allows us to not only showcase our talent, but help our customers build a vision of what they can get!

 

Manage Expectations

Now that you have provided some teasers of work or products that you carry, you have already established what your customers or potential customers can expect from you. They should know exactly what you do or what you sell right away – even if they have not visited any other page. This is a great way to highlight your professionalism as a business that offers impeccable services or high-quality products as well as provide potential customers with insight on what they can expect while conducting business with you.

 

“All Aboard!”

Your home page should always have key “call-to-actions”; think buttons and callout sections that get your users to go to internal pages and encourage them to do something like contact you (email, phone, visit your office/store, etc.) You want them to browse and learn more about your services or products and book time with you. Your home page is a great way to summarize what you do and help promote further engagement into your website.

 

If you’re still unsure about how to do this, talk to your lead designer or give us a call!

 

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This is a headshot of Brad Anderson.

Person using a laptop and notebook

 

Something I often see from websites as they go through the process of creation and then maintenance is that content often ends up stagnant or untouched for a long time after initial release.

 

Often there isn’t a reason seen by the owner to go back and make updates to certain pages as maybe the information never changes or the content is buried fairly deep in the website. Even for constant or more hidden pages such as these, not only do individuals notice when nothing changes after a while but so do the search engines such as Google.

 

Check Your Content Regularly

It can instead be a good idea to regularly go through your pages and make updates, even just for the sake of bringing an update to the page visually. People will take notice, and arguably more importantly, so will the search engines. It sends an indicator to them that your business is active, and this gives you a sort of priority over businesses deemed to be inactive due to either lack of updates or poor availability of information.

 

Update Some Visuals

There are easy ways to look at this – for example if you decide to make a striking visual change to a webpage, it will be considerably easier and less time consuming for you it mimic these updates on the rest of your pages, rather than trying to reinvent the wheel on a page by page basis. Consistency between your pages in terms of content design also helps give the website a much more professional appearance.

 

You can get creative with this too!

Make many different versions of a page and see what you might like best. You can even have special versions you put up for holidays or special sales to draw a little more attention and to really give the appearance of having an active web presence.

 

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This is a headshot of Brad Anderson.

Man browsing a website using a tablet

 

Unless you have been living under several rocks or perhaps a boulder, you are no doubt aware that the world is rapidly changing and we are all adapting to keeping a little more distance socially from each other. While this will no doubt cause massive lifestyle changes for many, it foreshadows the importance of web-driven business and shows that if you can adapt your business to exist in an online environment, it can weather storms such as COVID-19.

 

Sell Products and Offer Services Online

With storefronts closing, depending on your business you may be looking for a way to sell your product or service without needing individuals to visit the store. An eCommerce platform is an option for you if this is the case, and you can use this for both product and service. With a product, it tends to be fairly simple, while with a service you will also need to consider online scheduling services.

 

If you are selling a product, you can take all your products and pricing get them online and set up with a shipping provider to start selling things right away. The real beauty of the online storefront is that it offers no geographical restrictions. Where you may have previously been restricted to your city or surrounding area, the world is now your oyster.

 

If you are offering a service, you can list your prices and services out, and offer online booking through the website. This can take the burden of keeping your own schedule off your shoulders, as now your clients will book themselves into your available timeslots and you can always check what is on the agenda at any time. This can be a freedom that many do not think about before making the jump to eCommerce.

 

Here at REM, we can absolutely assist you with your eCommerce needs. Reach out to us today and we can help get you going!

 

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This is a headshot of Brad Anderson.

Anton Growth Management website on a computer monitor

 

About

Since 2005, AntonGM has been helping companies CONNECT, TRANSFORM, and GROW. Drawing on our 25+ years of cross-industry experience, we specialize in providing dedicated recruitment services and contingent project/program management support to our clients.

 

Our Recruitment Services division is led by Rick Van Looyen and features our unique Dedicated Recruitment Services offering, which provides both turnkey recruitment as well as direct support for your internal recruitment team on an ongoing basis. The recruitment team has experience in the consulting engineering, financial services and insurance, mining, oil and gas, construction, IT, and manufacturing sectors.

 

The Professional Services team, led by Dale Van Looyen, provides advisory and delivery support to ensure successful strategy execution across the IT, telecommunications, government, financial services and insurance verticals. Having partnered with industry leading consultants and niche services firms, we provide extended capabilities including, designing and implementing successful hardware and software asset management strategies; developing project portfolio management frameworks; business policy, process design, and enhancement; enterprise level service management programs; and governance, risk, and compliance strategies.

 

If you are interested in finding out how AntonGM can help your organization CONNECT, TRANSFORM and GROW, please give Dale, our managing Partner of Professional Services, a call at 519-208-9635.

 

Proudly located in Kitchener’s Innovation District, we have demonstrated success providing services to our clients across Canada and around the world.

 

AntonGM's Main Contact Person: Dale Van Looyen, Managing Partner, Professional Services

 

Established: 2005

Location: Kitchener, ON

 

Visit ANTON Growth Management website

 

 

 

Q:

Why did you choose REM?

 

A:

We chose to partner with REM Web Solutions for several key reasons including their depth of experience, client focus, and their robust self-serve management platform. The team at REM have been a pleasure to work with since the very beginning.

 


Q:

What was it like working with REM?

 

A:

Based on their commitment to get to know AntonGM as a company, we have a fresh, creative, and visually appealing website, which we are leveraging as part of our broader marketing and communications strategy.

 

 

We chose to partner with REM Web Solutions for several key reasons including their depth of experience, client focus, and their robust self-serve management platform.

 

-- Dale Van Looyen, Managing Partner, Professional Services

 


 

Learn first-hand how we can help you with your website needs.
Contact us today!

 

Toll Free: 1.866.754.4111

Phone: 519.884.4111

Sales: sales@remwebsolutions.com

Support: support@remwebsolutions.com

 

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This is a headshot of Brad Anderson.

Illustration of person organizing and updating a photo gallery in a website

 

One of the major aspects of keeping your website traffic high is keeping it up-to-date. Depending on the nature of your business, it may be either very easy or very difficult to come up with things to add or edit on your website on a constant basis.

 

For example, a store would have no issues updating their website often with new products or promotions as long as the time was available to make the changes. On the other hand, a website which is more for informational purposes, or perhaps one which only really goes through seasonal/yearly changes would have far less reason to update on a daily or weekly basis. For these businesses, it is actually very important that they come up with things to add and change on their site on a regular basis.

 

Updating your website gives people a reason to want to come visit it again after the first time they see it. This is the obvious factor, but beyond this, you are actually impacting your search engine ranking every time that you make significant edits or additions. Your changes and additions are picked up by search engine crawl bots and indexed to search engines such as Google on a regular basis, and telling these bots that new content is consistently being added and updated has a significant and positive effect on your rankings.

 

Updating your website can be fun and can give you a deeper sense of connection with your business and your customer base as well. It is one more medium for you to reach them, and for them to reach you. If you don’t already, try making even a minor change to your website at least once a week to keep things fresh. You will find over time you will begin adding more, editing more, and using the website more as a tool to reach your clients.

 

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This is a headshot of Brad Anderson.

Illustration of an online storefront

 

I talked briefly in my last article about how an important factor when adding your images to your website can be in having something that is personal to the business, or that will essentially identify the content of the photo as belonging uniquely to your business. This extends to other areas of your website as well, and I am going to get into some of these factors below.

 

As your website is essentially the online storefront or client-facing side of your business (potentially your only one), having the client experience on your website be uniquely “you” is extremely important. If you are Best Buy, how do you make your user experience different from let’s say Amazon, while still keeping the quality of the user experience as high? This is a bit of a rhetorical question, but the answer comes in tweaking UI and layouts without sacrificing any actual functionality versus their competitors. This could be something as simple from a UI perspective as increasing the size on a slider button for price range, or allowing the user to type in a physical number in addition to the slider. Generally speaking, colour and “branding” are the first things to be applied for personalization, but you may find other aspects of your business personality that you can apply to your website.

 

Language is another huge aspect of personalization that should be mentioned. The language and tone you set on your website needs to be not only consistent throughout the pages, but consistent with the tone of your business as a whole. If you are a business with a target customer base of senior citizens, you may want to avoid using harsh or slang language for example. On the other hand, being too stuffy with a target customer base of young people, you may lose them. Keeping the tone in mind is very important for keeping the attention of your reader.

 

Advertising your website through the proper and appropriate channels is another aspect of personalization. You need to put yourself out there, but only in the circles that will care to look at your site in the first place. Advertising on Facebook tends to be more successful for local business versus Twitter, for example.

 

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This is a headshot of Brad Anderson.

Illustration of web page elements floating around in a digital concept background

 

When designing and editing your pages, it can be difficult to keep the page looking aesthetically pleasing while constantly making changes and additions over time.

 

Here are some ideas which can help you keep things looking good, while still being able to add and update the information you need to.

 

Group Content by Action Items

 

When you are laying out your content on your page, it is important to keep the purpose of what you are adding in mind. If you take a look at the Home page of most modern websites, they are going to be organized in such a way that as you scroll down the page, you will be presented with pathways to access other, more specific information through panels or subject matter clusters. As long as you are adding related content to the same “band” or “panel” as you edit, there may not be any additional design required as you can likely find a way to integrate the new information into the existing area seamlessly.

 

If the area is brand new, try taking a look at the other areas of your website and keep in mind things like how certain fonts are being used in certain places, or which colours are showing up where. It will help you to know which fonts and colours to use for your new section. Keep the new content to a “band” or “panel” sized area, and this will make it easier to deal with in the future as well as keeping the new information nicely separated.

 

Find Images that Speak

 

There is nothing quite like a stunning image or video to capture your audience attention. Regardless of the level of professionalism or size of your business, your website is still a combination of art and information. It needs to have the visual appeal in order for your reader to be interested in remaining on the page, with the exception of purely information-based sites such as Wikipedia (though even these take UI design heavily into consideration regardless of image use).

 

As such, try to get the highest possible quality images for your content. I cannot stress enough the difference in quality of a website with crisp, high-res imagery compared to something low-res or appearing pixelated in any way. Beyond this, trying to get images specific to your business, and not just your industry is always a very nice-to-have thing. It sets you apart very distinctly from competitor websites where they may purely rely on stock photography.

 

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