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




This is a headshot of Shauna Ramsaroop.

Illustration depicting people analyzing and compiling content on a laptop

 

Now that you understand the basic elements to building a website for your small business, the next step is to zero in on two areas of your website that can be overlooked and shouldn’t be: Content and Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

 

Before we get into the nitty gritty, one thing you must ask yourself before building out your content and making SEO plan is:

 

What is the purpose of your website?

 

Knowing the purpose of your website is crucial, it will help you create content that delivers the message that you intend. Do you want your website to be simple? Do you want your website to be a large eCommerce platform? You need to clearly showcase what your company is all about. This allows you to create a site that isn’t convoluted and filled with nonsensical information. It allows you to present only the information that you need while sticking to your brand.

 


 

Icon depicting text, images and layout for the web

 

Content

What is content? It is anything and everything that you place on your website to inform potential customers about your business. Now that you have decided what you want to receive out of your website, you’ll need to build out content for multiple pages. Each page on your website should have a specific purpose that is directly linked to certain characteristics of your business. Here are some tips to help you craft your content.

 

Know Your Customer

In a previous blog post we discussed how to develop a buyer persona. Understanding the characteristics of your website audience will help shape the way you create and present your content. Remember, you can also have a secondary buyer persona and you don’t want to forget about this group as well. As you draft your content keep in mind who your customer is, detail your content to attract and keep their attention while visiting your website. This will benefit you in the long run and assist your sales process.

 

Use the Inverted Pyramid Model

If you haven’t heard of this yet, the inverted pyramid is a form of presenting information in writing, and it’s been around for decades. It suggests that you provide the most important information first, then as you make your way down the page you provide more specific information to support your message. For more information on the pyramid method take a look at this article.

 

Be Clear

It’s incredibly important that right off the bat you are extremely clear about what your business is all about. In a concise statement let the viewer know exactly what your business offers. If you look at REM’s home page, you’ll notice the first thing that you read is “We Provide Business Web Design & Development.” Our viewers know exactly what services and products we offer.

 

Keep it Simple

Remember, your content shouldn’t be paragraphs of information. The key to creating content is keeping it simple and easy to read. Your website should not act as an encyclopedia of your business, you want to keep it simple and concise. This includes the sentence structure, according to the Technical Communicators Association, a common plain English guideline says a sentence should be an average of 15-20 words. This will help your audience stay engaged with your content.

 

Write for the General Public

Depending on the business that you are in, one thing to keep in mind is that your audience will likely have no idea what you mean when you use industry-specific vernacular. You are the expert in your field, but this does not mean the individual that is viewing your website is. The rule of thumb is to create content for someone at a grade 7-9 reading level.

 

Add Calls to Action

Within your content you should strategically place calls to action, they are best used when they match the information that you are reading about. For example, on REM’s home page we have a “Blog Teaser” you will see teasers of our 3 most recent blog posts and as you scan over them you may see something interesting – there’s a “show all posts” call-to-action button right below the teasers to take you to our blog page. On our Website Design page, there is a call-to-action button that takes you directly to our Contact Us page that gives you all the options to get in touch with us.

 

Imagery

In addition to text, you want to make sure that you’re making use of imagery on your website. Placing pictures on your website assists in presenting your brand as well as informing the viewer about your company’s products and services. When building websites for our clients, our designers typically request images from you to showcase what your business is about. It’s always preferred and better to use your images, however stock photography is always an option.

 


 

Icon depicting data analysis on a web page

 

Search Engine Optimization

Now that we have some general rules to abide by when you start drafting your content, we can’t forget the importance of investing in SEO practices. When REM designs and builds sites, we keep SEO practices in mind and our content management system (CMS) supports SEO updates. Each one of our sites have predetermined titled tags based on the style of your website, there are areas within WebWiz@rd that allow you to add meta tags and descriptions on the website as well as your web pages. Here are a few more tips for you while building and implementing your SEO strategy.

 

Keywords

Thinking strategically about keywords in your page content is a great start. Having them scattered throughout your website is even better if they are placed strategically. When selecting your keywords, you want to make sure your keywords are specific to your business. Another thing to keep in mind is build your list of keywords based on what your potential customers would be searching for. With a keyword dense website, you increase your chances of being ranked higher in search engines.

 

Keep It Current

Another great practice to increase your ranking is consistently updating your website. After you’ve spent all of this time building content and having it designed nicely, odds are you don’t want to make significant and multiple changes to it. Don’t worry – you don’t have to! Blogging is a great option to identify your website as being refreshed. If you’ve never blogged before, have no fear it’s easy! Blogging is meant to be an informal way of connecting with your audience, teaching them about your products and services and sharing news about your business. Blogging is also another area where you can apply business specific keywords.

 

Linking

Adding links to your website content is also beneficial for your SEO rankings. You can use internal and external links. Internal links are those that you add to your content that link to other pages on your website. External links are those that redirect your viewers to other high-quality websites. Be sure the links that you create on your website have a purpose and are done thoughtfully. For more information on how to achieve proper linking on your website for SEO purposes, I suggest checking this article out.

 

Optimizing Images

As we previously mentioned, imagery on your website is a great form of content to express and provide variety to people visiting your website. However, it is very important that your images are compressed and optimized to render quickly upon your web page loading. If you have large, high-resolution images that you’ve added to your website, they may take longer to load – this can damage your search engine ranking significantly. Another great trick you can apply to your images are adding alternate (aka ALT) tags and captions that are keyword specific.

 


 

Final Thoughts

When you’re working on building a website for your small business, you need to take the time to make sure your website not only depicts your brand, but also your business. You need to make sure it’s user friendly and easy to navigate, concise and informative. Your content should be drafted strategically, easy to read and keyword dense.

 

At REM Web Solutions we have all of the tools to get you moving. It’s what we’re good at and we’ve built the software to prove it. Our CMS WebWiz@rd allows you to add content, images, links and so much more with ease. Our designers work with you to ensure your brand is expressed through the look and feel of the site, they help you create a layout to ensure your content can be easily interpreted. Our developers work tirelessly to ensure your website functions the way that you need it to. Our customer success team will guide you through the entire process by providing training and answering questions throughout your lifetime with us.

 

In addition to these services, REM has a great marketing team that can help you implement all of these tricks and tips in the correct way to ensure you launch a website that not only looks and functions great, but brings you business.

 

If you have any questions at all, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us – we’re here to help!

 

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This is a headshot of Shauna Ramsaroop.

3D Illustration of a computer with office and website-related icons around it

 

It’s been over a year of some businesses struggling to stay alive as a result of the pandemic. This year has taught us how to restructure our teams, building work from home infrastructures, taking every precaution in the book for essential workers that are required to physically be around each other. This year has truly taken a toll on our businesses, unfortunately some were forced to close their doors, but many were able to adapt, and with the inevitable changes that we face moving forward we see new opportunities and new businesses rising from the ashes of COVID-19.

 

As we continue to soldier forward, now more than ever is the perfect time to re-evaluate your business’ online presence. Do you have one? Do you have social media accounts? If you do, are you easy to find? Are you attractive to your target audience? Are you reaching your target audience? These are a lot of questions I know, but having an online presence is the most important thing you can do for your business today and it’s extremely important to make sure you’re doing it right.

 

Websites

I know this sounds strange, since most companies do have websites, but it’s something that we need to bring up, having an updated website is incredibly important these days. Here are a few questions I suggest you ask yourself in regards to your website:

  1. When was the last time you did a redesign on your website?

  2. Is the information that you have on it accurate with the services and products that you have to offer?

  3. Is your site responsive – meaning does your site automatically change based on the device it’s being used on?

  4. Is your contact information up to date?

  5. Do you have links to your active social media accounts on your website?

  6. How are you ranking in terms of Search Engine Optimization?

  7. Is your website AODA compliant? Should it be?

  8. How are you informing your clients of changes on how you do business?

These are all very important questions that you need to be asking about your website, and if you don’t have a website yet, these are most definitely questions that you want to ask when designing your new website.

 

Search Engine Optimization

This is one of the most common questions that we are asked about from our clients and prospective clients: “How do I get my website to show up on Google’s first page?” Search engine ranking is one of the most sought-after results and there are things you can do on your website to help increase your ranking such as having a responsive website, blogging, redesigning your content to ensure you have proper heading structures in place, and optimizing images that you have on your website. If you’re looking to boost your ranking, give us a shout – we’re here to help!

 

Social Media Marketing

The concept of social media marketing for businesses has really taken off over the past year. Businesses have turned to social media applications such as Instagram and TikTok to attract potential clients and highlight their products and services. Are you making the most of these applications to help generate business?

 

eCommerce

In a previous blog we touched on some of the eCommerce tools that we have available to you, with the increase of curbside pickup methods, businesses are now required to offer their products available to purchase online and picked up at a specified date and time. We have built solutions to help businesses meet the needs of their customers – allowing them to browse online, request quotes, and make purchases. This functionality has almost become an absolute requirement for the survival of businesses.

 

In conclusion the reality of face-to-face interactions is dwindling and it’s incredibly important that the world can find you online, not only should they be able to find you, but they should be able to KNOW you based on your website, social media, SEO and eCommerce platforms. Having a well-rounded online presence will directly increase your sales and we’re here to help you make sure you’re well prepared to tackle the new normal of business. Aside from our tools, our team is here to support you throughout your journey, make educated recommendations, provide you with industry knowledge to help increase your profits and guide you through your marketing efforts.

 

If you’re an existing client and are looking for suggestions on ways that you can improve your online presence, or if you’re a new business looking for some guidance feel free to reach out to us at support@remwebsolutions.com. We want to help you be the best you can be!

 

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This is a headshot of Shauna Ramsaroop.

Infographic showing the brand triangle: price, quality and customer experience

 

As you continue to lay the foundation of your Unique Selling Proposition another thing to keep in mind is where you fall in the Brand Triangle. What is this unheard-of triangle you ask? Well, it’s what we use to start the conversation of how you define the most valuable selling point of your business, from there you’ll be able to clearly develop marketing tactics that accurately reach your target audience. 

 

When attempting to sell products and services most business owners make the following statements:

  1. We make the best product / created the best solution

  2. Not only is our product/service the best, it is also the best price on the market

  3. We provide the best customer service

This sounds familiar right? Majority of the time these three statements are made by business owners because they truly believe that they are the best at what they do or have. The main problem here is found in the term “majority”. If most people feel this way about what they are selling, this increases your competition in your go to market branding strategies. If everyone is saying the same thing how are we as consumers to decide?

 

This is where the brand triangle comes into play and works by helping you provide clarity to potential consumers as well as internal departments of your business. Up until this point you have likely positioned yourself in the middle of the triangle, in a sea of businesses that believe the exact same thing as you. The secret is to move yourself towards one of the three points of the triangle, which are:

  1. Price

  2. Quality

  3. Customer Experience

This practice can be quite daunting – deciding how you want your target audience to feel about your what you’re selling and understand your market position is a big step and shouldn’t be taken too lightly. Let’s dive into some examples of each position on the brand triangle, hopefully it will help you decide where your business should be!

 

Price

A great example of how a business markets on price being their main selling point is Walmart. If you’re choosing to compete on price, you’re telling everyone that it’s the price of your product/service that makes you great and is why your potential customers to choose you. Walmart has done a fantastic job building out their branding strategy to solely focus on price. For example, if you open a flyer or view commercials, order online via their website, the main advertisements are “Always low prices”, “So. Many. Rollbacks” etc. When choosing to shop at Walmart one is not concerned about the quality of their purchase or the customer experience that they are receiving. People know what they are getting – products for low prices, anything beyond that is a bonus and is normally acceptable by consumers because that is what they are expecting based on the messaging they have received.

 

Quality

If you’re choosing to brand your product based on its quality, you’re offering up information to your target audience solely on how good your product or service is. For example, Apple: can you remember the last time you saw an Apple product go on sale? It’s a rare occasion and when it does happen, the sale is generally a minimal dollar amount off. Apple has positioned themselves as a brand that sells quality products and consumers are willing to pay a high dollar amount for it. Their focus on using the best technology and materials for all product lines and accessories inform their consumers that the quality of their product is the best on the market. You’ll also note that customer experience is not something they brand themselves as having the best of. How often do you walk by an apple store and it’s packed to the max inside with lines out the door? This is because their consumers are willing to give up the customer experience aspect of it, their willing to put aside the hoops they must jump through to get their product, and it works!

 

Customer Experience

The final position that you can take on brand representation is experience, and this means that you’re there for your consumers. Let’s take a look at a store such as Home Depot as an example. There is an array of products available to you that range from different prices and quality. However, the one thing that sets home depot aside is their customer experience. When you visit a home depot in each department there is at least one individual to assist you, you can ask them questions about what you’re trying to do and they’ll guide you through the process, make recommendations and help you stock up with what you need. They’ll load your cart for you, rent vehicles to make your job easier and much more. You’ll notice that Home Depot and their employees pride themselves on being there to help their customers.

 


 

Once you determine where you fall on the brand triangle, it will help you define your Unique Selling Proposition, and build out your marketing plan. Take the time to identify where on the triangle is best suited for your business, products/services and your customers and start building out messaging. Once this has been completed, please note it is imperative that you stick with this brand, go all in and don’t divert from how you market yourself!

 

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This is a headshot of Shauna Ramsaroop.

Illustration of floating desktop computer with statistics and other things around it

 

I remember the first time I heard SEO I was thoroughly confused, what does it mean? How does it work? As I started my journey of attempting to make sense of Search Engine Optimization, I found myself utterly confused, mainly because I had very little knowledge of key terminology. I wish I had taken a moment to understand the vernacular used as it would have been a great help. That being said, we compiled a list of terminology for your review, when you’re having SEO discussions; I hope you will feel slightly more informed than I did.

 

Please also note, the key terms below and their corresponding descriptions were not created by myself - I wish I was that good! I have compiled this list using the following sources, check them out for more terminology!

 

MOZ - https://moz.com/beginners-guide-to-seo/seo-glossary

 

PATHFINDER SEO - https://pathfinderseo.com/guide/seo-glossary/

 

SearchEngine Journal - https://www.searchenginejournal.com/seo-101/seo-glossary-terms-definitions/#close

 


 

Crawling: The process by which search engines discover your web pages

De-indexed: a page or group of pages that are removed from Google’s index.

Indexing: The storing and organizing of content found during crawling

Intent: what users really want from the words they typed into a search bar

Organic: Earned placement in search results opposed to paid advertisements

Query: Words typed into a search bar.

Ranking: Ordering search results by relevance to the query

Search Engine: is a software program that is designed to carry out web searches

SERP: Is an acronym for “search engine results page” – what you see after a search

Traffic: when users visit your website

White Hat: Search engine optimization practices that comply with Google’s quality guidelines

Black Hat: Search engine optimization practices that violate Google’s quality guidelines

Bots: these are what scour the Internet to find content, a.k.a crawlers or spiders

Cache: a saved version of your web page

Cloaking: showing different content to search engines than you show to human visitors

Engagement: Data that represents how searchers interact with your site from search results

JavaScript: A programming language that adds dynamic elements to static web pages

Navigation: A list of links that help visitors navigate to other pages on your website

Sitemap: A list of URLs on your site that crawlers can use to discover and index our content

Alt text: Alternative text is the text in HTML code that describes the images on web pages

Anchor text: the text with which you link to pages

Header tags: An HTML element used to designate headings on your page

Image compression: Making image file sizes smaller without degrading the image’s quality resulting in a faster speed of page loading

SSL certificate: A “Secure Sockets Layer” used to encrypt data passed between the web server and browser of the searcher.

Click-Through Rate (CTR): The rate (expressed in a percentage) at which users click on an organic search result. This is calculated by dividing the total number of organic clicks by the total number of impressions then multiplying by 100.

CMS: Is an acronym for Content Management System. A web-based application that lets people create, upload and manage digital assets

Content: Words, images, videos, or sounds that convey information that is meant to be distributed to and consumed by an audience

CSS: Cascading Style Sheets describe how HTML elements (e.g., colour, fonts) should appear on webpages and adapt when viewed on different devices

Google Analytics: a free web analytics program that can be used to track audience behaviour, traffic acquisition sources, content performance and more

Keyword: A word, words, or phrase that an SEO professional or marketer targets for the purpose of matching and ranking for what users are searching for

Meta Tags: information that appears in the HTML source code of a webpage to describe its contents to search engines.

Responsive Website: A website designed to automatically adapt to a user’s screen size, whether it’s being viewed on a desktop or mobile device

Title Tag: An HTML meta tag that acts as the title of a webpage. This is typically the tag search engines use when displaying search listings. It should include strategic and relevant keywords for that specific page

User Experience (UX): The overall feeling users are left with after interacting with a brand, its online presence, and its product/services

Content is King: An often-used phrase which emphasizes the importance of content to search engine optimization. The search engines value content because it’s proof of your relevance and expertise

Mobile-First Indexing: In 2018, Google started crawling and indexing web pages based on the mobile versions of websites instead of the desktop version

 

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This is a headshot of Shauna Ramsaroop.

Illustration of a superhero brand character

 

Welcome back to our Marketing 101 series! In our last blog we discussed Buyer Personas, what they are, why they are important, how to use them, who benefits from them and we briefly touched on when you can use them. Once you’ve developed your Buyer Persona, the next step is to figure out how to intrigue them – we do this using the Unique Selling Proposition.

 

What is a Unique Selling Proposition?

Your Unique Selling Proposition is what you use to communicate to your target audience. Within this proposition, you will define what you’re selling and why it’s exclusive to your business. In other words: why choose you over another business?

 

What’s your problem?

The key to creating a succinct unique selling proposition is having a clear understanding of who your target audience is. Once you have created your buyer personas, you should be capable of understanding what they want and build a narrative that identifies the problems you’re solving for them. During this process, you should always keep in mind what the specific buying behaviours are of your target market. Using this knowledge will allow you to develop a statement that will persuade a buyer to choose you.

 

What’s in it for them?

Aside from buying behaviours, another piece of the proposition puzzle that should be identified are the benefits. Yes, you have a great product and here are the reasons why your customer should choose you over a competitor. What is it that you offer that sets you aside? Is it customer support? Low prices? Do you have a quicker turnaround time, are you more flexible? Are your products and services versatile? Take a step back and stack yourself up against the competition and clearly define what the customer has to gain by choosing you.

 

Take an oath.

Now that you’ve identified the problem, explained how you’re going to solve it, presented the benefits of choosing your company the final bit of information that you should relay to your potential customers is your commitment to them. Taking ownership and an oath to ensure their satisfaction is crucial. It provides your customer with ease of mind knowing you’re invested in their success.

 

Break it down!

At this point in the process you’ve likely created a paragraph worth of words and this is where things get tricky. For the unique selling proposition to be effective, you’ll need to rework it down to 1-2 sentences. Why? The proposition is meant to act like an “elevator speech” it should be used constantly throughout your marketing campaign. Having a short and concise message allows you to portray your proposition clearly and effectively for potential customers to easily digest.

 

Here are some great examples of unique selling propositions:

 

FedEx Corporation
When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight.

 

Mars, Incorporated
The milk chocolate melts in your mouth, not in your hand.

 

De Beers
A diamond is forever.

 

Ben & Jerry’s
We make the best possible ice cream in the best possible way.

 

Page Eleven Paper Goods
This is not your ordinary datebook.

 

Show it off

Now that you’ve created your unique selling proposition it is imperative that you make use of it anywhere and everywhere. This statement is your brand, it defines your business, your products and services and it is what customers should think of when they hear your business name. From inception during sales, on your website, social media, marketing campaigns etc. you proposition should be front and centre, and why shouldn’t it? You’ve invested blood, sweat and tears (hopefully not too much) creating representation of you and your business – wear it proud!

 

How do we fit in?

When creating your website with REM Web Solutions, our designers will ensure that your unique selling proposition is displayed perfectly on your website. We will also do our very best to illustrate your proposition through the design, by choosing reflective colours, images and much more. Our development team promises to build a site that will reiterate your proposition to your potential customers as they navigate information that is presented to them. Our customer success/support team will tag along throughout your journey with REM helping you apply best practices on how to convey your USP using our standard modules.

 


 

At the end of the day, I’d like to think our Unique Selling Proposition is “Customer Success Comes First” it’s the phrase that makes us who we are and collectively, every day, we are working towards customer satisfaction. If you need some help building out your marketing plan, feel free to contact us and we can help point you in the right direction!

 

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This is a headshot of Shauna Ramsaroop.

Illustration of a woman in front of a large computer screen with online shopping

 

When creating your marketing plan, or any plan for your business, the first question typically asked is “What/Who is your target market?” At a glance it seems like an answer that is quite easily cultivated based on the product or services that you’re selling however it is one of the most critical elements to your business. Buyer personas are developed by building a clearly defined picture of your customer based on their background, demographic, behavioural tendencies, needs and interests. The creation of buyer personas is crucial for the success of your business and we’re here to help break it down for you.

 

This seems like a lot of work! Is it worth it?

Drafting your buyer personas is lot of work, but the return on investment is truly worth your time and effort. Here are just a few examples of how a clearly defined buyer persona is beneficial to your business’ key departments.

 

Sales/Customer Success

Sharing buyer personas with your sales team not only educates them on their target market for lead generation, it gives them leverage to steer their conversations with potential buyers throughout their sales cycle. Understanding who they are speaking with allows them to start building a relationship of trust and comfort with a potential customer. This also holds true when it comes to customer retention, when customer success teams are tasked at renewing contracts having a separate buyer persona for existing customers can be extremely beneficial when crafting communication to solidify extended business contracts.

 

Product/Service Development

Pivot! Pivot! Sorry I couldn’t resist the Ross Gellar reference. More often than not a clear buyer persona leads to revising your product or service offerings, historically this practice was more relevant to start-ups when entering their market for the first time. With the onset of Covid-19 and the continuous rise of technological advancements there are far more barriers of entry that business owners face nowadays. Your buyer personas arm your product/service development teams with a tool that allows them to re-evaluate what you’re selling and make necessary modifications to increase customer satisfaction and sales.

 

Marketing

If it’s anyone that is going to benefit from a clear and thoughtfully articulated buyer persona, it’s going to be your marketing team. Knowing who your customer is, their interests, buying habits, where they are in the world, what they enjoy in life allows your marketing team to craft communication to potential and existing customers strategically. Whether it is building content for your website, creating posts on social media or expanding promotional offers to generate interest – the buyer personas become the foundation for your marketing efforts.

 

I’m in! Now What?

Research… research… and more research. The best way to start building out your buyer personas is to conduct research on individuals or companies that you would classify as being potential customers based on your product/service offerings. These are some great starting points.

 

Customer Interviews

If you have them, use them. Existing customers are a great source of knowledge, and typically are more than happy to chat with you about your products/services. Not only are you giving them an opportunity to provide feedback, but you’re also spending the time with them and building your relationship. Existing customers can provide you with insights on your offerings that you may not cross your mind, especially if you don’t use them on a daily basis yourself.

 

Sales Team

Talk to your sales team, they are on the frontline of the battlefield and are well positioned to provide you with a wealth of knowledge on buyers. They are networking, listening for queues and taking in what customers are looking for. Have a monthly touch base with your sales team to stay on top of trending consumer behaviour, competitive advantages that you can capitalize on. Your sales team is a great resource aside from business development.

 

Scavenge for Data

There is an abundant number of online resources available to you for consumer data. Depending on your market, https://www.statista.com/ is a good resource. Also don’t forget to research your competitors, knowing how they position themselves and define their buyer personas can lead to competitive advantage recognition for your company.

 


 

Now that you know what a Buyer Persona is, give it try! Take some time building one out, use your team for reference and ideas, and do your research. There is a plethora of online templates that you can choose from to help get you started.'

 

If you would like to know more feel free to reach out to our support team at support@remwebsolutions.com and we’ll get you in touch with someone who can educate you on the services that we offer to help boost your marketing efforts as well as share information on how WebWiz@rd can be used to better reach and attract potential buyers.

 

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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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