Long Scrolling Website Development

Long Scrolling Website Development

The concept of websites that let you scroll down through extended webpages has been around for many years.  Some users love them and are highly attracted to sites designed in this format.  The use of mobile devices for surfing the internet have added to the popularity of long-scrolling webpages.  The small screen is especially good for scrolling as opposed to using buttons to navigate to a different page.   But long-scrolling or infinite-scrolling alone does not mean that the user is going to stay on your website for an extended time.

Early web design followed the same rules as newspapers:  the most important content was “above the fold,” which means it was always placed at the top of the page and definitely on the landing page.  Today this idea still applies to certain things like blog post teasers, but not necessarily to the average website.  The landing page may still contain the main information and maybe a teaser, but it may not actually contain all of the relevant information a person is looking for.

Consider that when you click on something on a webpage you have made a conscious decision to go to the next page.  With a long-scrolling webpage the user just keeps scrolling and the real decision is when to stop scrolling.  This different type of decision is what makes using long-scrolling webpages a challenge.  When do you decide to stop?

Curiously, endless scrolling webpages do not necessarily cause a higher bounce rate.  When done correctly, long-scrolling pages keep the user entertained.  This keeps the user on your website longer and the longer a person stays the more likely they are to react to your call to action (e.g. purchase something).

So users will keep scrolling as long as the content is interesting to them.  If they notice that the content has become irrelevant to them they are likely to abort and move on.  It is the challenge to the web designer to create continually interesting and pertinent content as the page continues.  Many times this means telling a story.  Alternating back and forth between text, pictures, and videos does make long-scrolling pages more interesting.

A long-scrolling webpage actually gives the user a feeling of control.  Having control over where you are on a website is very important to user satisfaction.  Users move along a scrolling webpage at their own pace.  They can stay on content that interests them for a longer time while scrolling past content that does not interest them.  Needing to scroll down a webpage keeps the user focused and on topic instead of breaking their attention with the need to click around to other pages within the site.  Clicking a link button not only breaks attention it also creates a delay.  If the next page takes too long to load the user is very likely going to move on to another website.

A big challenge for the web designer is how long should the long-scrolling webpage really be.  Too long and the customer can feel overwhelmed.  That is not good and can lead to lost customers.  Unfortunately there is no guideline as to how long to make this type of page.  It will depend on the topic and how you are presenting it.  Be sure to ask for feedback from others.

Color Psychology and Web Design Part 2

Color Psychology and Web Design  Part 2

When you are busy with web design for your company usability and aesthetics are key elements.  The colors you choose to use will affect how people will react to your site.

Remember that perception of color is controlled by our brain and deeply affect our psyche.  Specific colors send us social and culturally set messages.  Over time we learn to associate certain colors with certain feeling and thoughts.  Colors can affect our actions and play an important role in the first impression a website makes on a person.  In our western culture blue and green are relaxing colors evoking positive feelings of calmness and hope.  Red can represent joy, passion, energy and vitality.  Yellow inspires happiness, joy, and friendship but can bring thoughts of caution because of it’s use in traffic lights and signs.

Website development will involve both neutral colors and main colors.  Traditional neutral colors are black, white and gray.  They are usually used for the background while bright colors are used for foreground elements.  Neutral colors are usually dominant because of how much space they take up.  They are very important as they give a reader a break, allowing time to digest the content of the page.

Warm colors such as red, orange, and yellow are strong.  They will attract the reader’s attention and draw them to specific elements.  If you use these colors too often on a single page they will lose their positive potential.  Instead they will evoke negative feelings such as anger or aggression turning the person away from your website.

Combining cool colors such as green and blue shades have a calming effect.  Blues also convey a sense of security and loyalty.   Choosing to use more subtle, delicate hues of colors will not always attract the attention of the reader, but they will convey a quiet sense of balance and harmony.

A call-to-action button consists of multiple elements.  Tests have shown that color plays a central role in attracting attention and action.  In research it was found that a company achieved an increase of 11% clicks through to the checkout area of their website just by changing color of that button.

You want to choose bright warm colors such as orange, yellow and red for you most important buttons to maximize sales.  Green can also work well because people tend to associate green with the green light of a traffic light.  By clicking a green button they will have the feeling of moving forward and doing the right thing.  Dark colors such as black, gray and brown are poor choices for buttons leading to checkout and sales so avoid them completely.

While developing your web design consider the psychological effects evoked in your target audience by specific colors.  Use color judiciously.  Neutral colors will allow your clients to think while bright colors will call them to action. Used correctly, color will help draw people into your website and help you to keep customers happily buying from you for years to come.

Good web design includes good website navigation

Good web design includes good website navigation

Just looking great isn’t enough.  Good website navigation is a mandatory part of website development.  If navigation is poor your website visitors will never be able to find the content they are looking for, no matter how awesome the web design is.

You might feel that website navigation is minor but it really is a little thing that makes a huge difference.  The user experience is a major issue that can make or break a website.  The best possible user experience is extremely important and must happen no matter what device the person is using to surf the internet.  A poor user experience can lead the person to abandon the website and move on to a competitor’s site.

Simple, quick website navigation leads to a higher percentage of guests becoming repeat visitors and customers.  The more traffic your website gets the higher your rank in searches, and in turn the more traffic your website gets.  Nice circular logic, but very important.

Good website design involves using descriptive navigation.  It utilizes key phrases in order to boost SEO.  The navigation bar is key.  It appears on each page and descriptive labels help Google understand what the website is all about.  It points out the website’s topic.  A great, descriptive navigation bar not only helps Google, it also helps your visitors understand quickly what the site is about so they can decide if they want to stay and dig in further or move on to another website.  This means that “products” or “services” are not what people search for but “blazers” or “emergency dental care” are being searched for regularly.  They are much more effective phrases to use on a navigation bar.

Using the words “videos” or “photos” on a navigation bar only tell your website visitors the format of the content.  Be sure that you use descriptive phrases that tell your visitors the actual topic of your video or photos.  Searchable phrases will get you more customers quickly.

Drop down menus are becoming a thing of the past.  They are difficult for spiders to crawl and decipher for search websites.  Drop down menus can also be annoying to website visitors as they feel as though all they are ever finding are more menu options rather than the item they are looking for.  MegaMenu webpages can be a better idea in website development.  Show your visitors your main items or topics and let one click take them right to it from your home page.  What could be simpler when it comes to website navigation?

Keeping thing simple with reduced numbers of menu items helps everyone.   A person’s short term memory will only hold about 7 items.  The more items on a navigation bar the harder it is for a person to process and remember.  ‘KISS’ is the principle here.

When it comes to thinking about website navigation don’t forget about navigation optimized for handheld devices.  Smartphones are the devices many people are using to find things on the internet so creating webpages that are easy to navigate on these handheld devices has become very important when trying to attract people to your website.

Color Psychology and Web Design Part 1

Color Psychology and Web Design  Part 1

 

Did you know that color is actually a psychological phenomenon?  If you are the average person you think of color as a physical object, but it really isn’t.  Our perception of color is controlled by our brains, not really by our eyes.  Colors are not only perceived in the brain, they also deeply affect our psyche.   In our subconscious we associate specific colors with specific social and cultural messages.

Research has shown that customers are 15% more likely to return to stores using blue color schemes than those that are using orange color schemes.  The decision not to return would not be a consciously, thought out “I will not return to a store that uses an orange color scheme.”  Instead we just take in the colors we saw and melt it into our decision.  This shows how colors can affect our thoughts and feelings, and even change our actions.  How we react to colors is determined by evolutionary traits as well as by our cultural background.  Our real life experiences also play a role in how we react to colors.  Very few people will choose brown as their favorite color because of its association with dirty baby diapers and rotting food.

With time we learn to associate certain colors with certain feelings or thoughts.  It can be quite culture dependent.  An example is how in western countries brides wear white for purity and mourners will wear somber black.  In South Africa red is the color of mourning.  In India brides want to wear bright, colorful clothing for their weddings to help show their happiness.

So you are probably thinking what does color psychology have to do with web design?  Sure you want to make a pleasing website but is it really more important than that?  It takes less than 50 milliseconds for web users to form an opinion about your website and decide whether they will leave or stay.  Color can play a big role in that all important first impression.   Making your website easy to navigate is not enough, color coding will play a major role in the success of your website.  Colors and color combination can have a huge impact on how users will react to your website so you much choose carefully.

Our western culture has come to associate colors with the following feelings and ideas.  Blue is a cool, relaxing color.  It is the color of the sky and water.  It stands for peace, security and trust.  Red represents joy, vitality, passion, and energy.  Red can also represent love and in certain situations it would be associated with aggression and anger.  Yellow is the color of the sun.  It can inspire happiness and joy, friendship, openness and freedom.  Green is the color of life.  It evokes positive feelings including calmness and hope.  Green will also stand for generosity, harmony, security, and growth.  As you are picking the colors you use on your website you may want to refer back to this list.  What do you want web users to associate with your company?

SEO in website development

SEO in website development

SEO, search engine optimization, can seem an impossible task when you are involved in website development but it is one of the most important things for every website.  SEO is the main way to improve your Google search results, and it is not as hard as you may think.

You may have heard about keywords being the cornerstone of SEO but you may have no idea what keywords really are.  They are simply the words or phrases that someone would put into Google when looking for something.  They are search words and phrases.  It is very important for you to take the time to analyze what words and phrases a person might use in order to find your website.  You need terms that characterize your business or organization.  There are several excellent resources that can help you identify the best keywords to use.  Google Keyword Tool, WordTracker, or Word Stream are just a few to investigate.  They can help get you started.

The keywords you choose to use will show up in various places on your website depending on your web design.  The more important places to include your keywords on are in page titles, your URL, meta descriptions, and with the actual page content.

You might be tempted to use your keywords over and over and over again but good content should naturally use the keywords a person might use when searching for your service, product, or organization.  Placing your keywords on a web page too often will actually work against you as Google will catch this and penalize you.  They are suspicious of a website writer putting keywords on a webpage multiple times on purpose as an attempt to push the website higher in the search rankings.  Google wants their website rankings to truly reflect the quality of the website and the usefulness of information it contains.  They do not want artificially created ranking lists due to excess use of keywords.

You need to know who your audience is.  In order to develop an interesting website for the exact people you want to attract you need to know what type of person you are looking to attract.  Then your website can be designed to be interesting to that segment of the population.  Drawing the right people to your website is extremely important because that is the only way you will attract visitors who will turn into customers.  Remember that the word customer here means not only a person who will choose to purchase something from you but also a person who would choose to attend a function you are advertising or make a contribution to your organization.

Knowing who your audience is should help you to be able to generate a list of frequently asked questions (with answers) that can be incorporated into your website.  An FAQ (frequently asked questions) webpage can easily become one of your most visited, especially when it is very helpful for your visitors.  Because your questions are 100% related to the content of your website your answers to FAQs can easily contain SEO keywords to help attract people to your website.

Beginning steps to website development

Beginning steps to website development

Have you ever thought about what you would need to do to create your own website.  Here’s a quick run through of the first few steps in website development.  Use it to help you help your web design company as they create your website.  You may feel that you can do some of the steps yourself.  That’s fine, but then get the help you need to create a polished website.

First, each website project has to start with a plan.  Formulate a general plan of what you need to include.  Sketch a simple diagram of your website’s structure page by page.

Next you need to think about keywords.  To get Google to list your website in peoples’ searches when they are really looking for what you are presenting you need to know which keywords your customers are likely to use when searching.  Use Google Keyword Tool to figure out the most popular keywords that represent your website.  You might want to jump at using the keywords with the highest search volume but it is very hard to compete with existing, established websites already using those terms.  Instead, use keywords with a “higher” volume but not the highest volume.  This will still help send customers your way without getting lost at the end of the search list.

You need a domain name.  You will have to decide if you want a specific domain name for branding or if a domain name that lends itself better to Google search will work best.  If you are interested in the latter you need to choose a domain name that includes the most relevant keyword.

Whether you want to use a Content Management System (CMS) will be up to you.  If you plan on or need to update your website frequently or if you plan on expanding your website on a regular basis you should consider using a CMS.  If your website will be more static you don’t need a CMS.  Also look at WordPress if you will be adding to the site regularly.  WordPress can be used to build a website on a small budget with very nice results.

Web design is not as easy as it may look.  Are you going to use a website template?  Using a ready to use website template can save money if your budget is tight.  But remember that it can suddenly become constricting as your website grows and you cannot find the right template to use within your prechosen set.  Making a website based on a theme with the help of a website developer may save you hassle and produce a better website in the long run.

In order to be ready to truly build the website you will need content, the main writing on each webpage.  You will need to decide if you can write the content yourself, or if you would be better off hiring someone to write your pages.  Some people struggle incorporating the keywords into their webpages.  If that is you, get help.  You don’t want your webpages to sound funny.

e-commerce websites

Things to think about when creating e-commerce websites

When developing e-commerce websites you need to deliver a pleasant, easy shopping experience to the customer.  No leaving the buyer lost in a maze of pages.  If you do, you risk losing them completely to another online retailer.  Webpages that are bold and attractive with excellent information about each product can keep customers returning over and over again when they need your type of product.  When pages are straightforward and easy to follow clients will respond with purchases.  If you realize that you are receiving the same questions multiple times about products add the information to your webpage so everyone will quickly have the facts they desire.  You will also want to keep your branding and logo prominent to remind people of whose site they are shopping on.

Various companies offer help building e-commerce websites.  You can pick from a variety of templates, then add in all of the products you have for sale.  If you are planning on making your website on your own be sure to look around at your options before you go forward with the work of creating the site.  Be sure you are comfortable with the layouts of the webpages.  Look for the ability to customize so that your website won’t look like someone else’s website.  Think distinctive so that customers won’t mix your business up with another business.  Can you change colors easily and add pictures of your goods without difficulty?  Consider how you will be able to showcase your products.

Once you create your e-commerce website will managing it be quick and easy, or will you struggle to do what you need to?  You must be able to add new items easily.  If it makes sense to group similar items together is this simple to do and do you end up with the group displayed as you would like?  If you want to add more details to an item description, how difficult will that be to do?  It needs to be quick and simple.  How can you run items on sale?

Explore how you will be able to track inventory.  Will it be easy to know how much stock you have available to sell?  You don’t want to receive an order you can’t fill.  Is there a way to automatically remove an item that you have run out of or let the customer know it will be on back order?

You may also be interested in being able to track how many people are visiting your e-commerce websites on a daily or weekly basis.  Find out what is available and how this can be done.

Look at how you will be able to receive payment for your sales.  Many people prefer PayPal for its ease of use, but you may want to offer other options.  Will this be possible?  What if you have a brick and mortar store and your payment methods have to work seamlessly together?  Also explore how you will be able to work with taxes, shipping and handling fees, and currency conversion for foreign buyers.  Even if you are only selling to the U.S. and Canada you will need currency conversion.

Websites

What makes good websites good?

Well-designed websites win this distinction through the judgement of the users of the websites.  Usability of the website is paramount.  Just because a website looks good does not mean it will be easy to use and function well.  A website needs to be pleasing to the eye yet easy to use, engaging and effective.

Each page of a good website needs to have a definite purpose.  A webpage should fulfill a specific need within the website.  Good web design will always meet the needs of the website’s users without including excess fill and fluff.

Always keep in mind whether your website visitors are looking for information, looking to work with your business, or looking just purely for entertainment.  When using the internet people are usually looking to find information quickly.  Be sure your website communicates clearly.  Make information easy to read and understand.  Organize information and use bullet points instead of long paragraphs.

When you want your webpages to be easy to read use Sans Serif fonts such as Arial or Verdana.  They will look contemporary but will not be cluttered by decorative flourishes.  Keep your design simple by only using up to 3 typefaces and only 3 point sizes within your website.

Good websites use carefully thought out color palettes.  Complementary colors help produce harmony and balance.  Be sure your text color is easy to read when placed on your background’s main color or colors.  Bright, vivid colors will add excitement so you should use them sparingly.  Remember to use white space to keep your pages uncluttered and modern looking.

The person who said that a picture is worth a thousand words was right when it comes to website design.  Choose the right pictures for your website that will connect well with your target audience.  Consider using stock photos with high quality instead of poor quality personally taken photos.  The cost will be well worth it.  Use graphics and videos to illustrate your ideas or products.  They can be a much more effective method of communication when compared with written text.

You do not want a messy appearing webpage so use a grid based layout to help arrange page content evenly.  Have sections, columns, and boxes to help keep type lined up.  Make sure pages feel balanced but keep in mind that when people read webpages it has been shown that they will follow an “F” pattern.  This means they will mostly see what is near the top and left side of the screen.  Any items placed on the right side of the screen will have to grab the reader’s attention by being bold, bright, or set apart from the rest in some other way.  Keep the order of importance of items running from left to right and from top to bottom.  Don’t work against the reader’s natural tendencies.

Easy navigation around websites is important.  Have a logical page hierarchy.  Provide clickable buttons to move the user around the site.  Be sure a person will be able to find what they need within three clicks from the home page.

Website design for the entrepreneur or the bigger business

Website design for the entrepreneur or the bigger business

Website design is important to your business.  You may think that designing your own website is a great way to save money.  Think again because it is not a good way to save money and could even hurt your business.  Your presence on the internet is too important to experiment and take chances with.  A poorly designed website reflects back on your company badly and will discourage customers from coming to you.   Don’t risk it.

Working with Web Design Gurus is a smart choice.  We make affordable yet highly professional websites for any size company.  Even if you are used to doing everything for your company from marketing to shipping you don’t want to try to be a website designer too. Learning how to write webpage code is a waste of your precious time.  A professionally designed website is a good investment.

You might be thinking that all you need is a simple one page website.  How hard could that be to make?  Even a one page website needs to be well designed so that it includes everything a person may be looking for about your business as he searches the internet.  Your website needs to stand out from the rest no matter how small it is.

Web Design Gurus will make even the simplest of websites look great with up-to-date schemes.  Small does not mean old fashioned.  You want to show the world that you have what it takes to provide the right stuff in your specific business.  A poor looking website will stop your business from reaching its goals.

Once you really start thinking about your website you may realize that you need more than one page.  Or you might not figure this out until you start working with our web designer.  You start with the idea of having a single page website but soon find out that you want to include more than what will fit comfortably on a single page.  That is not a problem for Web Design Gurus.  We will help you develop whatever size website you need.

You want to do what will keep you competitive with your rivals.  This means you need a high quality website design.  We will keep your company branding constantly in mind as we create the perfect website for your business.  Whatever color scheme you need, your logo, and any other items that help indicate your company will be used so that your website will stand out and represent your business.

Search engine optimization is important so that your website will pop to the top of the list when people are looking on the internet for your type of service or product.  Web Design Gurus will include SEO in your website design.

As we are getting close to finishing your website we will be asking you to proof what we have developed and provide feedback.  It is your website so we want to be sure you are entirely satisfied with it.  Change a font, change a picture, make it yours.

Hurry to call Web Design Gurus so we can get started on your new website soon.

Website design LA

The right website design, LA, is important

Your website is very important to the success of your business.  Every business, large or small, needs a website.  A presence on the internet is essential and can lead to many sales you would have never gotten in any other way.  Many people rely on the internet as a way to search out companies to do business with.  You don’t want them to miss you because you weren’t there.

A great website design requires both imagination and reality.  The reality side is probably easier to determine because it will include basics such as name, address, phone number, and most importantly, the products or services your business offers.  Explaining your items for sale starts out relatively straight forward but you need to add in a little imagination.  Be creative.  Let your customer not only know what the specifics of your products or services include but then go beyond and use your imagination to tell them how and when they could use your items or people.  Help your potential customers find new ways of using your business.  Broaden your base.

We pride ourselves in our website design.  For the smaller business a single page or two may be all that is needed, but it is still important for those pages to be made right.  They need to attract the customer, draw them in to your business.  You need to think carefully about exactly what the customer wants to know, plus what you think they should know.  Put this all together and bring the ideas and facts to us.  Be sure that we understand your brand.  We will create visually pleasing pages that contain all the right content.

We are here to help you have a website that is fresh and personalized.  You don’t want rehashed old web pages.  That will not attract customers.  When working on larger websites for larger companies we will strive to keep each page interesting while still carrying the appropriate theme throughout.  Be sure to provide us with anything you routinely use such as specific colors or a logo.

Sometimes you are looking to post a website that is all about information.  The only thing you might be looking for are contributions to a cause or organization.  This is another fine reason to develop a website.  While your provide the content we will give you an exciting set of webpages that will keep the reader engaged and interested.  Innovative styling of the pages can help create a positive impression that will help attract a person to go deeper into the website and keep them reading until they are convinced they should make a donation.

Another issue that needs to be considered as a website is designed for your business is how it will look on a mobile device.  Will it still be readable and usable or do you need to have a separate set of webpages specifically for mobile devices?  This is very important to address with so many people today looking for information on their Smartphone as they are moving through their busy days.  You don’t want to miss an opportunity to grab a customer.