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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


Get the Word Out: Successfully Advertising Your Website

Posted Mon, February 25, 2013 by Julie Short

Once you’ve created a site, you’ve got to focus on raising awareness for it and developing strategies to drive traffic to that site. Starting to promote your site can be as simple as including your website on your employee business cards. That won’t be enough though. 

There are lot of platforms and advertising channels to choose from. Your website advertising should encourage repeat visits and generate leads or sales for your business. You’ve got to maximize the opportunities coming with each first impression. It’s important to understand the features and benefits of each form of digital promotion. Here’s what you need to know about each advertising route before you get started: 

Search Engine Advertising
Whether you want to generate organic traffic (where users find your site in an applicable search engine search) or you have room in the budget for pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, utilizing search engine promotions provides opportunities to reach the broadest audience on the web. In truth, search engines are the biggest driver of quality traffic to websites. Creating search engine interest works best when a level of user interest exists for your brand or keywords related to your brand. Quality and performance of your PPC ads are crucial to long-term success in this method. There are a lot of factors that can determine a PPC ad’s success. Choosing appropriate keywords for the ad is only half the battle. Designating  desirable landing page and excelling in copywriting are crucial elements that can define a campaign’s success. 

Mobile Advertising
Mobile advertising is still growing and changing. As of now, developers are looking for new ways to monetize content that’s been free so far. Analysts predict mobile ads will collect $11.4 billion in revenues by next year. In 2012, mobile ads brought in $9.6 billion. Search ads have been most popular, but display ads are growing and should be more successful. 

Email Advertising
Connecting with existing contacts can give you a real boost when starting any new campaign, especially a new or revamped website. An email advertising campaign, which reaches out to customers or other people you already have an existing relationship with can be an easy win, especially since it hits people where they spend most of their decision-making time, their inbox. 

Social Media Advertising and Self-Promotion
Social Media is a natural avenue to invite people to your new site. Like email, this audience will be made up of contacts who have opted-in to a relationship with a brand. They understand that they are going to be fed links by a business, so links back to a home site will not be a sales turnoff. By leveraging these spaces, in addition to the great content you are offering at the end of the link to your site, will help ensure a successful web site campaign.

Posted in : SEO/SMO/SMM | 
Tags : website advertising


5 Tips to Writing Your Most Popular Blog Post Yet

Posted Wed, February 20, 2013 by Julie Short

Whatever point you’re at blogging wise, whether you’ve just started blogging or you’ve been at it awhile, one popular post can generate a traffic boost to your site and help you land unique leads for your brand. Ideally, a popular post will trigger visitors to explore more content on your site and blog. 

A Headline News Related Topic
If your brand has an angle on something popular going on in the news, write a blog around it. This topic is in the news and already instant web traffic. If you choose a headline with the right keywords, you increase the chances your blog will land in front of unique visitors to your brand. Don’t just reprint the news tho. Fuse your professional opinions and insight into the news of the day and you’ll give readers a spin they’ll be interested in. 

Title
Give your title a lot of thought because it’s key to your article being found and viewed. As I mentioned before, using the right keywords help your blog land in front of people researching the topic. Once you’ve decided on a topic, you’ve got to imagine what phrasings a person might use to find this topic on a search engine and implement those keywords into your blog’s headline. Also, the title is influential because it convinces people to click on your blog. You can’t just fill the title with keywords and wait for the blog hits to appear. The keywords have to appropriately fit into an attractive and intriguing title. 

Imagery
We live in a fast, visual world. Posts that are attractive to the eye and well formatted will influence a reader completing the post or sharing it. Placing applicable images or even a slideshow into the blog will help make your post a visual feast for the reader. 

Post Structure
It’s important your posts are readable. Separate your points so they’re easily readable. If your blog post is one long chunk, readers will often take one look and leave the blog. Utilize bold and italics. Make your points as quickly as possible and try to end the post with a call to action. Give readers a reason to interact with the post, either by telling them what to do next or by encouraging comments or sharing it for you on social media.

A Unique Perspective
Hundreds of millions of blogs exist. You’ve got some steep competition, but the good news is there’s only one you. Try to be authentic to yourself in your writing and set yourself apart from similar blogs. Have fun with your posts. The trick is to get your message across and remain relatable. Special views, facts or quotes invites people to share your blog.. 

Posted in : Blogging | 
Tags : blogging basics


Simple Ways to Reduce Your Websites Bounce Rate

Posted Mon, February 18, 2013 by Julie Short

Analytics programs can track nearly every action taking place on your website. From where people were referred to your site online to how long someone remains on a specific page, you’ve got a lot of tools to determine what your website is accomplishing and what it isn’t. 

The website bounce rate is the number of visitors arriving on your site and exiting it quickly without ever visiting another page. To me, your bounce rate is one of the most important website stats to work on. Keep in mind throughout this article, people will click on your website by mistake and those aren’t the people to worry about. Factor them in when you look at your website stats. Most often, the bounce rate conveys the kind of first impression you’re making. Engaging the visitor right from the start is your goal. 

If your website’s bounce rate is high, you’ve got things to improve. People could leave your page for a variety of reasons. Maybe you don’t have a mobile site and your site isn’t compatible with a smartphone. They might not have seen anything they found interesting. Also, not having regularly updated content could be a factor. Start working with your web developer and team to improve certain aspects of the site and see what is effective. 

Your message should be blatantly obvious.
Often, with first-time visitors you get one shot to impress them or answer their questions. If you can’t or won’t do it easily, they’ll go elsewhere. One of the highest causes of a high bounce rate is visitor confusion. They won’t go on a treasure hunt through your navigation and pages to find the most pertinent information about your company. This doesn’t mean your homepage should be cluttered and packed with all of your information, but certainly the most important and identifying information should be located here. 

Your site’s purpose for existence should be immediately clear in both its design and content. If you’re a home builder, a unique visitor shouldn’t leave your site thinking you’re a residential roofer. People should have an adequate understanding of your company and product from the homepage and that will drive traffic to feature pages. Feature pages are great to supply additional and technical information on the product. The content on your homepage should guide your reader through the experience of your website. Don’t be vague. Be specific and concise in your language. Instead of a “Learn more” tab, be more descriptive. Invite visitors to “See our product’s features” instead. 

Review browser compatibility. 
Sometimes a high bounce rate has nothing to do with your content’s quality. A high bounce rate can indicate your site might not function completely for all of your visitors. People are clicking on portions of your site and unable to view the information they need. Because of the way different websites are designed, they can appear one way in one browser and completely different in another. To determine if this is your issue, try opening your site in Safari, Google Chrome, Firefox and on your smartphone. 

Don’t annoy your visitors.
If people reach your site and are overwhelmed by popup ads, banners or automatically loading chat windows (even if it’s for contacting your support staff), your bounce rate will be high. Before your visitor even had a chance to settle in and determine what they want to know from your site, you’re scaring them away. To determine if this is the issue, the only test is gutting possibly annoying properties from your site and seeing what happens to your bounce rate over a period of time. 

Improve your page load time. 
Your site speed can be a huge factor in your bounce rate. If people can go elsewhere in the time it takes your site to load, you’ve lost them. Sometimes your site speed will be affected by their Internet connection, but it’s always a good idea to make sure your site isn’t the cause of the speed issue. Packing your page with visual elements could be the cause of the problem. 

If you’re having a bounce rate issue, WebRevelation can help. WebRevelation is a full-service custom web design and web application development firm specializing in creating websites that fulfill any specific functionality and that can be easily operated and updated by the client.

Posted in : SEO/SMO/SMM | 
Tags : bounce rate , slow load time


4 Ways to Brand Yourself Online

Posted Wed, February 13, 2013 by Julie Short

The Business Dictionary defines branding as “the process involved in creating a unique name and image for a product in the consumers’ mind, mainly through advertising campaigns with a consistent theme.” 

Your company’s online presence has got to be an effective extension of the branding you’ve already created. Here are 4 tips to improve your branding online. 

Decide on a handle and stick with it. 
People shouldn’t have to go on a scavenger hunt to find your Facebook page because you named it differently than your website. For example, if your business is called Okie-Built New Homes and your website references this exact name, all of your profiles won’t be able to match this phrasing. The name is too long for it to be your handle on some social media platforms. Your brand name is usually set in stone, so you’ll have to choose the next closest thing and make sure your brand’s full name is still located on the page. Your Twitter name might have to be @okiehomes, if that’s not already taken, then your name and about us section should contain your company’s full name so your profile easily appears when searched for. 

Be active as much as possible online. 
The more daily content you produce, the more visible your company will be digitally. This could be blogs, quick blurbs about things going on internally or directing people pertinent news going on in your field. This will help you spread your brand further and establish it as an authority in your field. One of the biggest components of branding is getting inside people’s minds. The more exposure you give your brand in front of web users, it increases the likelihood your brand will stick with them. 

Match the design and marketing strategy with the content.
The overall look and feel of your design should match the content you’re putting out there. If you’re a home builder, it would be strange to feature pictures of puppies on in your marketing material. Choose a color palette and stick to it. Colors, moods and images are easily remembered. 

Be deliberate and consistent with your phrasing. 
Make sure your content is designed around your core audience’s perceptions of your field. If you’re blogging for older professionals, newspaper-style blogs might fit for that audience. If you’re writing for people under middle age, try writing more informal, concise messages. Taglines aren’t mandatory for every business, but if you decide to introduce a tagline, don’t change it every other month. Your tagline should reinforce the message you want others to know about your company. 

Posted in : Online Profile Management | 
Tags : branding , marketing strategy


4 Things Your Website Says to Potential Customers

Posted Wed, February 6, 2013 by Julie Short

Your website is your first impression. It’s often your first and sometimes only chance to attract new business online. Having a sleek-looking and functional site design will attractively display your company after a search engine directs them to your site. Your website doesn’t have to be the most intricate ever designed, but it shouldn’t be a treasure hunt for consumers to find out information about your company. Whether it’s good or bad, here are four things your website is telling visitors. 

If your business is trustworthy and professional 
Like I said in the first paragraph, your website is often your first impression with prospects. Prospects are less likely to call to learn more about a business. According to Search Engine Journal, 88.1% of US internet users ages 14+ browsed or did research on products online in 2012. Regularly updated content lets prospects know you’re in business and you’re prepared for their Internet visit. It shows you care. The modern consumer is cautious about what they view online. Internet scams have contributed to this attitude. Your website should be as personable as possible, so prospects feel like you’re a professional company and worth their business.     

Your attention to detail
Just having a website isn’t enough. You might’ve thrown together a basic website just to get started and haven’t chosen to upgrade to something better for a million different reasons. Think about your website like a proposal. You wouldn’t submit a proposal to a client that has errors, is hard to read and lacks the content needed to choose your business. You’ve got a lot on your plate running a business, but your site or lack of a site could be restricting your growth. If your website is old, poorly designed or lacking updated information customers will think that’s how you treat your business. 

Your level of success
If I attempt to visit a company’s website and it doesn’t exist or it’s an absolute mess, I keep searching until I find a business in that field with a website. If these statements apply to your business, you’re inadvertently sending negative messages to prospects. In the mind of the consumer, every successful business has the ability to maintain an easy and functional site.

Your attention to customer service 
Bad, old and plainly designed websites miss out on the opportunity to relate to their customer. You can show them they’re not just a customer number with a personal touch on your website. Home builders can exhibit happy families that end up owning homes they constructed. Manufacturers can highlight how their website utilizes software solutions that reduce data errors and streamlines customer ordering. Be one step ahead of your competition and ensure that your online activity is creating an environment that encourages sales. 

Let WebRevelation take your website woes off your hands. Contact us for more information on how our software technology can easily assist your business in maintaining a more positive digital presence.  

Posted in : Blogging | 
Tags : professional website


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