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8 Common Website Blunders Costing You Money

Posted Wed, March 27, 2013 by Julie Short

Search around the web and you’ll find a lot of non-functional, ineffective websites. You don’t want to put a site out there that will do more harm than good. Avoid common pitfalls of web design by understanding the most basic mistakes a designer can make.  

1. Too much flash
Flash was once used in cutting edge design, but now it’s mainly just a headache. Flash isn’t functional on most mobile devices. Designers are replacing Flash with JavaScript, CSS and HTML to relay dynamic content. Modern web design shouldn’t include elaborate hover effects and animation on content-based websites. Your design strategy should be less about impressing people and more about enabling people to access your website’s content effectively.

2. Text is hard to read
If you’re still relying on fonts like Times New Roman or Tahoma, your web design won’t stand out. Customized typography is abundantly available. There are many specialized fonts that will help your design pop and make content easier for visitors to read. There’s a fine line though. Choosing a font that’s too bizarre could make reading difficult. Use a sans-serif font. This font type is often best for readability. Text should be scannable. Utilize subheads, highlighted keywords and short paragraphs. Also, give users the option to resize the text if they need to.    

3. Too much clutter
Everything is best in moderation. Including too much content can drive traffic away from a site and increase the bounce rate. Readers will tire of excessive information and probably stop reading. Keep content concise and relevant. Avoid including large chunks of information. Bulleted lists can help you break up information. Also, too many links congested in one area are ineffective.

4. Unattractive screen resolution and contrast
If a site’s overall color scheme hurts a user’s eyes, the content will be ineffective. What looks best from a design perspective isn’t always the most functional. There has to be an adequate amount of contrast for text to be readable. The optimized layout for websites is 1024 x 768 pixels. In modern design, users should never have to scroll horizontally to view a page. It’s difficult to design around every resolution and device people will access your site on, but use analytics tool to determine what people are using most often to view the site when planning an update.

5. Site doesn’t function on mobile.
Mobile functionality is necessary for every site. Is your site responsive and adjusts to a mobile screen? A complicated website design won’t translate well onto mobile. The existence of mobile shouldn’t deter you from designing cool things for computer users, but you need to have a mobile site. It’s an easy fix and will allow mobile users to access a simpler, more concise site viewable on smaller devices.

6. No clear direction
An effective website is easy to use. Common website navigation issues can be avoided with some effort. Provide your visitors direction. Assume your visitor is going to make mistakes and won’t understand jargon. Put yourself in the user’s shoes and look at how the site functions objectively. Organize content in a subtle way that provides a roadmap for visitors to easily discover what they’re looking for. Links shouldn’t be too small and should change color once they’re clicked on for easier user navigation.

7. Changing archived page URLs
Some change URLs of outdated pages when they are moved off the main page into archives. This can make it difficult to maximize good search engine placement because page links to your site become broken. When a site’s created, it should allow content to be moved into archives without having to change the URL. If URLs change every few days, promoting your content will be nearly impossible.

8. Image overload
Many of the mistakes designers make revolve around excessiveness. Finding the right balance between imagery and type can be difficult, but it’s crucial. Talented designers often want to overload users with cool imagery, but in most cases simple designs are more effective. Don’t give the reasonable user a chance to be confused or annoyed by elements on the site. Animations can be cool, but often slow page loading. Use animations sparingly and tastefully. Never underestimate the power of whitespace in web design.

Posted in : Websites | 
Tags : website mistakes

Your Business Needs a Mobile App and Here's 5 Reasons Why

Posted Mon, March 25, 2013 by Julie Short

40 billion apps have been downloaded since Apple’s iOS App Store launched. 20 billion of those were downloaded in 2012. Over 1 million apps have been submitted to iOS App Store. There are several potential payoffs for businesses that choose to adapt to their mobile audience. 

Bank of the West and Harris Interactive conducted an online national survey on how small businesses were embracing technology in 2012. Among small business owners who use mobile technology, 2 out of 3 (68%) agree that it has increased efficiency for their businesses, and 3 out of 5 (61%) say it serves functions in their businesses that cannot be completed as efficiently through other means.

Developing an app is another channel to connect with your customer and an additional resource to influence purchasing decisions. There are some exceptions, but most businesses can find benefits in developing a mobile application by providing customers amenities they desire. 

Your customer wants a 24/7 resource
There are around 1 billion smartphone users in the world and 115 million in the US alone. The mobile web grew faster than many could imagine in the last few years. Information on the go evolved to the average customer’s norm. Mobile is the latest frontier. If a customer wants information on a business or product, they want it NOW. More and more customers avoid calling for information and the average business can’t employ workers to provide information 24/7 anyways.

Increase branding awareness
What’s important for your customer to know about a business or product? Digital competition is fierce right now. Having an angle helps brand yourself to consumers. When I say angle, I mean a useful reason for your app to exist. Carpe Diem Private Preschool, a private preschool in Dallas, created an app that allows parents to observe their children on a classroom webcam. You can make action-oriented content from your website easy to access on smartphones and foster brand loyalty by going that extra step.  

A unique and helpful mobile experience will help you be competitive
Are you trying to reach the most people possible? Apps often eliminate clicks and extra work on the part of your customer. Making a sale easier on yourself and the customer is what every business wants to accomplish. Your app doesn’t have to be complicated, just efficient and useful. Your app could provide store hours, driving directions, quick pricing, product/services information, menu and exclusive deals to encourage loyal customers. 

Magic Beans, a Boston retailer specializing in toys and baby accessories, launched a mobile app in 2010. Magic Beans launched an app that allowed customers to skip cash registers and check themselves out on their mobile. After checking out, the app recommends two products and additional offers that applied to the customer based upon their purchase. Customers could also scan a product’s information for more information. This app resulted in an 8% sales increase for those who used the app. 

Deliver news and speedy offers to your customers
Smartphones are now an extension of their owner and no longer an accessory. Next time you’re in a public place, just stop and take in the sights around you. Notice how many people are on their mobile or smartphone. The smartphone is your direct communication link to your customer. 

The death of paper coupons is one of the great amenities of an app. If you provide coupons, forgetting them at home will no longer prohibit your customer from shopping with you and you can track which customers are using coupons easier.  

Anyone can have an app
Apps aren’t exclusive to major brands. Small and medium-sized businesses have launched successful apps. A Nashville realtor, Zeitlin & Company, launched an app last year that take’s a user’s location and shows all available listings in their immediate vicinity on a map. Also, the app includes information on each listing, price, local schools, restaurants and grocery stores. With the click of a button, homebuyers have a lot of the information they want when researching a home. 

WebRevelation has extensive experience developing custom web applications so you can go that extra step for your customer to communicate and operate more efficiently. Our apps are nearly maintenance free and extremely scalable. Contact us for more information on a custom web application. 

Posted in : Mobile Apps | 
Tags : mobile app

Predicting the Web of the Future

Posted Wed, March 20, 2013 by Julie Short

Technology trends are moving toward every device being handsfree. At the start of the year, Google unveiled plans for developing voice command and hands free glass technology. Microsoft recently released a video where researchers showed developments they’ve made in gesture technology. More on those developments later in the blog, but that leads me to the main question. Where is web browsing headed and how will these changes impact website design?     

Technology companies and developers are constantly competing to enable us to accomplish more while actually doing less. Here a couple of the different approaches tech giants are taking in web and product development.

Voice Recognition
Google’s hoping to offer speech recognition as a feature on its popular web browser. Google Chrome’s latest beta version added preliminary support for voice commands. In the near future, users should browse the web, compose emails or tweet thoughts by speaking. They’ll eliminate the need to touch your computer’s screen or mouse. The complications with this technology are pretty obvious. Voice recognition technology is not perfect and mistakes are inevitable. This technology won’t make all computers completely hands free because it makes mistakes, but the real-time transcription they’re displaying is fast. Many think this’ll be a timesaver because most people can speak faster than they type. However, unless improvements are made, you have to speak very slowly to be heard clearly by Google’s transcriber. 

Augmented Reality Glasses
This week, the crowd at South by Southwest has been buzzing since Google revealed new details about its Google Glass technology. Google’s latest product, expected to be available for purchase by the end of the year, is described as an augmented-reality headset. This headset resembles a normal pair of glasses with thin glass lenses. Google’s describes it as being able to project images directly into a person’s eye. Google glass should feature apps, access to the web, a camera and voice recognition. The user will able to operate the glasses with voice commands. For example, if a user is in Oklahoma City and hungry, they could say “restaurants nearby” and they’d quickly see the restaurants around inside the glasses. Recently, Google announced that eventually Google Glass could feature prescription lenses. Essentially, if Google Glass catches on, people will wear their computer on their faces everywhere they go.  

Gesture Technology
Microsoft wants to change how we interact with our computers in a very different way. If Microsoft researchers are successful, touchscreens will be a dying trend. Microsoft has been working to expand technology that is utilized in the Xbox Kinect. Kinect allows gamers to actively play through a sensor that reads body motion. Researchers have worked to harness this innovation to read more deliberate hand gestures, such as the movements of a closed fist. This development would allow users to motion a hand in front of a screen and those gestures would register as actual actions made on the computer. 

The Impact on Web Design
There’s one really popular concept in web design right now. Developers keep talking about designing for the future. In the web of the future, all content will be expected to load instantly. Consumers today are less tolerable of delays than ever. Web content will have to be optimized to operate quickly or you’ll lose visitors. All the developments above should expedite Internet searching. Expect to design for evolving app needs and new platforms. Google Glass isn’t even released yet and they’ve already announced that Gmail, the New York Times, Path and Evernote all have functioning apps that will work with Project Glass. 

In a decade, humans and the technology they’re using may be almost indistinguishable. Almost every facet of life will probably be available online. Traditional computer interfaces will disappear and become touchless objects embedded in a room. Users will expect web content to function seamlessly with each new device, whether it features voice recognition or gesture technology. Responsive web design and customer management systems will probably thrive as we understand them now, but continue to improve functionality as platforms and user expectations change. 

What do you think about some of the new technology developments? Are they exciting or daunting innovations? 

Posted in : Tips and Tricks | 
Tags : reality glasses , voice recognition , gesture technology

Importance of Digital Marketing for Manufacturers

Posted Thu, March 14, 2013 by The HVAC Girl

Buyer behaviors and expectations are constantly evolving in this technology revolution. Sales is crucial to your manufacturing business. You might only work a certain amount of hours a day, but your website can be an available salesperson 24/7. The thought, effort and importance placed upon your physical salespersons should be applied to your website as well. Applying your business digitally is crucial to success.

Connecting Effectively with Your Audience
Just as technology is evolving, how we connect to our audience and target market changes all the time. For that reason, you can’t view your website as a finished product. Just the way a product is constantly improved for quality, cost and effectiveness, your website must be a consistent effort to improve how you reach your audience.

Prospects don’t call for information as often as they used to. The average prospect uses the Internet to research products and vendors. If your brand doesn’t already have a direct connection with a customer, the average consumer will turn to a search engine to find what they need. For this reason, it’s key to work with a web developer that builds a site optimized for search engines. Buyers expect to find a site with adequate, relevant information necessary to their purchasing decision. If you don’t meet meet a prospect’s expectations, they’ll just move on to your competitor.

Key Components of Digital Marketing to Buyers
A manufacturers website should effectively market to your economic, technical and user buyers. Economic buyers have veto power and are decision makers in companies involved in B2B sales. Technical buyers screen out vendors and brands to judge products on technical features. User buyers will personally or supervise use of the product. How do buyers interact digitally through the purchasing process? According to an Enquiro Research study, here’s the amount average buyers uses the Internet in the different phases of the purchasing process:

  • 95% of buyers use the Internet for awareness about a company or product.
  • 92% of buyers use the Internet to research a company or product.
  • 70% of technical buyers consult various online influencers during the negotiation phase of a sale.
  • 88.9% of technical buyers surveyed would go online for information during a purchasing decision.

Return on Your Investment
You can view your website as a machine. You should expect it to drive traffic, assist in converting prospects and measure results effectively. Search engine optimization (SEO) will help promote your site on search engines and drive traffic to it. An effective web developer will optimize your site for optimal search engine placement. When consumers search for keywords related to your business, they should be able to find your business.

Website functionality and content will help you retain business. In April 2010, Google started factoring in site speed into its web search ranking. Slow, poorly designed sites lead to a high bounce rate. To engage prospects, provide what they’re searching for. Provide online catalogs, product descriptions, searchable technical content, technical support and contact information. Be the first to easily answer their questions and you have a better chance to win their business.

Your website collects comprehensive analytics that enable you to better serve prospective customers. Your site analytics will measure sales and conversions, as well as how visitors arrived at and used your site. Understanding this information will help you continually work with your web developer to improve your site’s user experience. Find out how your website is marketing your manufacturing business by getting it evaluated.

Posted in : Websites | 
Tags : manufacturer websites

5 Key Elements of a Successful Home Builders Website

Posted Mon, March 11, 2013 by Julie Short

Online competition is tough these days. Just having a website isn’t enough. From Google Analytics, the average home builder’s website received 63.7% of its traffic from search engines. To capitalize on each lead, home builders must maintain a website that meets the expectations of your prospective customers and I’ll give you five important expectations to meet in this blog.

Fund a Website with a Content Management System
A website with a content management system (CMS) allows you to communicate easier and more frequently with visitors. You can’t afford to wait for someone else to update your site or post important, time sensitive information for you. CMS gives you control and enables you to easily edit, add and delete content on your site. Also, CMS encourages collaboration by allowing your staff to create, edit and approve content before it’s published.

Communicate Who You Are and What Services You Provide Immediately
Unique visitors make split-second decisions about your company and products when they first visit your website. If your website is unfinished or poorly designed, then they will assume you approach your homes with the same attitude. Sometimes you have only ten seconds to communicate your company’s value. Let them know why your company is special and why your products are better than your competitors quickly and concisely.

Model Your Website After the Purchasing Cycle
It’s important to understand the process a customer goes through when making a major purchasing decision. Have a site designed and fill it with content deliberately catering to this process. Often, unique visitors will come to your site with zero knowledge of your brand when they’re just starting their research process. They’re looking for a company to fulfill what they need.

  • Discovery- Introduce yourself just as you would a new visitor coming into the office. When unique visitors first arrive, they want to know if your company is worth researching. In its first impression, your website should communicate that your business is trustworthy and excels in its field.
  • Research- Visitors want to know how you build your homes. Different visitors are looking for different specific qualities, but they want to know if quality designs and materials are used in each property.
  • Sourcing- Be sure to include detailed information on each property. Serious shoppers want to see prices, floorplans and visuals of the property. Some builders choose to make visitors request the price on specific home. Keep in mind some customers are unmotivated to wait, especially if your competitors are listing prices.
  • The Sale- Usually the sale will happen offline, but provide information about everything involved in the sale process. Visitors will feel more comfortable and require less explanations during the actual sale.

Keep Content Relevant and Updated Regularly
Content is always better when it’s fresh. Search engines routinely prioritize newer content over the old. A regularly updated website is just another important customer service avenue. New customers visit your site to learn about what you’re offering and return to have questions answered. Simply answer these questions and you increase your chances of retaining business. In the long run, an effective website will save you money. A website can eliminate the need for a 24/7 customer support staff.

Content Should Be Easily Shareable
When providing listings or previews of newly built properties, enable visitors to print, email or share an individual property on social media. Allow your prospects to drive traffic to your website for you. If you offer these sharing options, you could expedite a purchase because other involved parties can view details about a specific listing quickly.

See how you can effectively market your new homes digitally by having your website evaluated.

Posted in : Tips and Tricks | 
Tags : home builder websites

5 Rules of Modern Web Design

Posted Wed, February 27, 2013 by Julie Short

Aristotle once said, “The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.” Your website is an opportunity for your brand to interact with a customer. Strive to maintain a site that represents you in an attractively visual way. For some inspiration and see examples of WebRevelation’s website portfolio. Along with an appealing website, make sure to take into account these 5 rules in creating a modern website.

1. Make design decisions based on data, not assumptions. 
Start the content decision process by asking yourself, “Is this valuable for users?” It’s easy to assume you understand your audience, but a lot of statistical information and case studies are readily available to put you on the right track. Do your research. If you have an old website and access to website analytics, you can learn a lot from those personalized statistics and better understand the ways the new site needs to improve. Also, you can see what the old site was was accomplishing and what content should remain. 

2. Interactive designs are in.  
Effects can add functionality, as well as design appeal. Hover effects can offer more information and make it easier for visitors to know what they’re clicking on clearly and quickly. Also, this effect helps declutter a site’s pages. Choose effects that accompany site themes seamlessly. Don’t be innovative in ways that deviate from other concepts on your site. The whole site and message should blend together cohesively. For example, if the website is for 

3. Test everything. 
Assume every aspect of your design won’t function perfectly on different platforms. Test your website on a computer, tablet and mobile device to be sure. Aim to keep your load times as low as possible to appeal to a wide audience. If your site takes too long, visitors might not stick around through a long wait to see a cool design. Be sure to optimize background images. Often, they’re large files and could slow load times.  

4. DO NOT overlook mobile.
Embrace that we live in a mobile society. This audience is growing every year and will surpass computers in web traffic in a few years. When designing a website, it’s key for designers to consider how the design will translate into a mobile version. While differently formatted, a full and mobile sites should mirror each other in concept. Create a concept with a flexible visual and stylistic language that will apply to a mobile and tablet format. Check out these examples of WebRevelation mobile websites

5. Great content is just as important as a great design. 
A website design is the like the greeter at the front of store. The design welcomes visitors to a site and captures attention. Great content will retain, engage and encourage visitors to return again. Also, appropriately segregate content. Visitors don’t want to go on a treasure hunt for the information they need. Think as a visitor when you separate content. Ask yourself, “Where would I expect to find this topic?” Want more information on this?  Check out What Posting New Content Regularly Does for Your Business 

If you are wondering if your website is MODERN, get your website evaluation!


Posted in : Tips and Tricks | 
Tags : web design , content , mobile

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