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How Do Designers Make Unique Looking Websites?

Unless you have gone ahead and used one of those ready-made templates where you simply add in your own information, then you may be wondering how designers make unique looking websites. Well, aside from the knowledge and experience side of things, there are several other ways in which a good designer can take your brief and turn it into something that is indeed absolutely unique.

First, a designer should be able to look at your website, or ideas, and view it as a unique problem that needs to be solved. In all honesty, this has to be one of the most important points to be made because if a designer starts to view two websites in the same way, then it can lead to an amount of crossover in the design that may not be best for either website.

It can become all too easy for the web designer to fall into the trap of feeling very comfortable in what they are creating because it is the fourth construction company website that they have made in the last 12 months. Ultimately, ideas can be regurgitated, which is also not good, and there can be less of a creative flow that can ultimately hamper the final design of the website.

The best way to get around this is indeed to view each website as being a one-off problem that has to be resolved. If this is the approach that is taken, then solutions will also flow more easily, which is not exactly a bad thing.

Starting from Nothing.

A good designer will listen to your brief and then start from absolutely nothing with the design. That means it is built from the ground up because taking an existing website and then personalizing it is going to lead to that crossover issue that we mentioned earlier.

If a website is constructed from point zero, then the chances of it being unique in every way is only going to be increased. It creates a certain freshness about it all and that can only be a good thing for the client.

Research is Everything.

To get a unique looking website, there has to be an amount of research undertaken to ultimately get the rough outline of the website which can then be added to as the project progresses. A designer going into a project blindly is increasing the chances of making mistakes, and that should clearly be avoided.

The designer should carry out research into the company they are working for, the market they are in, the competition, the color schemes that work well for the branding, and the key mistakes that need to be avoided. Failure to do any of this is only going to result in a relatively botched attempt to produce something that is satisfactory to the client. If you do not prepare, then you will more than likely fall back to previous designs and use them as your inspiration which can, as a result, lead to a number of parts effectively being copied.

But then, there is a point that should also be made in that you are going to find it very difficult to have something that is indeed completely unique. There will always be minor aspects that are effectively borrowed from elsewhere, but it is the overall scheme of things and the way in which they are all put together that is the key.

A designer is going to be aware of this, but they will not allow it to cloud their thinking. Instead, they will accept those aspects and continue working towards the brief in order to ultimately produce something that is unique for that client.

Even though having a template where you just add your own text is tempting, it can affect the way in which people view you as a company. Having something that is functional and delivers on what you need is the most important thing of all. So what if something is not 100% unique. If it provides to you what you need in your website, then that is key and if the designer has been able to achieve your brief and produce something that works and represents your brand, then the overall project should then be viewed as being a success.

Bullying for conversions is seriously wrong

Bullying for Conversions is Seriously Wrong.

Believe it or not, but there are some websites out there that will effectively attempt to bully their users into doing whatever it is that they want. The drive to beat the competition and get that all important conversion will always lead to some companies, or individuals, being willing to do anything that they believe that they can get away with to get to that desired end result.

However, when you look at some of these approaches in more detail, what you see is that it basically equates to online bullying.

One of the main approaches that is used is what is known as manipulinks, and the name is pretty descriptive. This is where websites attempt to make the user feel bad about something so they are hit by this guilty feeling and are then compelled to take a different course of action. As you can imagine, this can be rather effective and will undoubtedly work with a percentage of people, but you must agree that it is hardly fair and should never sit well on your shoulders.

To give you a good example of what we mean, think about those screens that pop up out of nowhere when you are attempting to leave a website. With that pop up, you will now see a line that says something such as ‘no I don’t want a great deal’ whereas before it would just say something along the lines of ‘exit’ or ‘leave’.

That is a blatant attempt to manipulate people via design, and you can already see why some people would then feel tempted to enter their email, sign up to a newsletter, or even go through with a purchase that they were thinking about leaving behind.

The pop up is hardly new. Actually, it has been pushing conversions since pretty much the origins of the Internet but adding in these new lines of text is certainly something that is relatively recent in origin. They have always been a source of irritation for individuals, but it could be argued that this irritation has just been taken to a new level.

But then, you may be wondering why people don’t just click away and pass it off as an annoyance. Well, it comes down to the marketing component as there is a tendency to make sure that the message hits home hard. There are even examples where it makes the person feel as if they are saying that they don’t want to help some cause, or don’t want to save money. It goes against what the person actually feels or thinks, so it the triggers a different reaction or it will simply not sit well with them.

So, who is to blame for the rise in the usage of these links that seek to merely manipulate individuals? Well, even though some will blame web designers, the blame lies at the hands of those that focus more on marketing. The origins can even angle towards those websites that push the hard sell where conversions, and not much else, are all that matters.

Playing with emotions is hardly new in marketing, but this is certainly an aggressive slant that should be tackled or who knows where it is all going to end up? What starts with a pop up can easily evolve into more aggressive text on websites, bullying style videos and images that attack the senses and the morals of the people that visit the websites. You can even see e-commerce websites using something similar when people abandon their shopping cart, and that is a line that just should not be crossed. If your marketing message is not able to convert people using normal means, then there is an issue with your marketing and nothing else.

If you operate in a tough environment, then choose the moral high ground with all of this, and look at ways in which you can use current marketing and design approaches to get people to do what you want them to do. There are a multitude of clever tricks and tips that can achieve this without you going down a path that just feels awkward and unsettling to so many people. Create a better marketing and design plan, and don’t be afraid to change things around if you aren’t getting the kind of results that you were hoping for. This is better than smashing the emotions of people and at least you will be able to sleep more easily at night.

 

Just What is the Cost of Bad Design?

cost of bad designIt is understandable for you to be excited about getting your new website out there for the world to see, but this is certainly a case where patience is indeed a virtue.

To stress this point, we can look at the actual cost of bad design. Now, we aren’t saying that we will be looking at exact figures, but this is more about discussing the negative impact that poor design can have on not only your website but also the way in which you are perceived.

Bad Design from a Technical Point of View.

Getting your designer to just throw something out there without too much thought or care for the end product is just not something that you want to be doing. It’s important to remember that your website is the key form of advertising that you will be doing online, so you should want to take some care over it so it represents what you are doing in the best light possible.

If you put pressure on a designer to just produce something that is barely functional, then you run the risk of encountering a website that has not been adequately tested. This can mean that there is code contained within it that is just not going to work smoothly leading to broken links and even worse if you are not careful.

There can be bugs and additional performance issues that have a negative impact on the way in which the website works. This will hardly be something that will then appeal to the visitors who will be expecting something smooth and functional without having to screw their eyes up wondering what on earth they are trying to look at.

Also, additional pressure to get a design completed will lead to poor choice of colors or fonts. There could potentially be a mix of images at various sizes and resolutions that are difficult to comprehend.

It is a real mess. But it gets worse.

Bad Design from a Business Point of View.

We have only really hinted at the mess it can make from a technical point of view, but you are probably more concerned about the business aspect. Well, as you might expect, it’s bad news.

It has been shown that bad design leads to you effectively bleeding business. Visitors to your website see the poor design and are instantly put off. They view you as just not being too concerned with the fabric of your website, and this is then translated into the fabric of everything else that you do.

It does not inspire confidence in what you offer, and trust can be gone in an instant. This break in trust is especially true when they know that your competition has a plush website that works and delivers everything that they would expect.

Think of it this way. Poor design often means that things are all over the place. Nobody knows where to look or what message you are trying to portray. Think about how you would react if you walked into a real store expecting something that is functional and able to provide you with the product or service you need, only to be encountered with boxes all over the place and broken windows.

What would you think? The chances are you would walk away.

Also, if you do rush out a new website, there is a pretty good chance that you will end up spending more money and more time trying to rectify everything later on. Is it not worth you spending that time correctly from the outset than trying to repair a giant hole in the future? By then, the damage has mainly been done, so it’s not exactly worth taking that chance, is it?

Finally, and this should come as no surprise, your sales will drop accordingly. As we said, nobody is going to feel excited about buying from you if their first impressions are poor thanks to the bad design.

It is known that a healthy percentage of buyers will make their decision from the moment they set eyes on the website. If your shop front looks as if it has been looted, then people will run away and spend their money elsewhere. All of this just comes from your reluctance to give your designer the correct amount of time to do their job correctly.

Overall, what we are really saying is that this is a problem with planning. A problem with arranging your time and setting out to have a website designed well in advance. This allows for the correct research and development to take place before everything is revealed to the world. Things will work smoothly, and your visitors will love what they see, leading to a boost in your sales!

Simplifying Your Website Could Be the Best Decision Ever

By studying a range of websites, it makes it easier for you to begin to come to terms with things that are categorically wrong with so many. Often, a website can look as if it’s too crowded as if somebody has tried to put far too much information on the one page, and what is the result? A website that can be extremely off-putting.

Now, this isn’t to say that this approach will not always work for everyone, far from it. However, you need to really put some thought into all of this. After all, what do you prefer as an individual when you go to the website of any company? Do you prefer being able to land on there and feel stressed out as you simply have no idea where to look? Of course not, and who would?

That’s why the title of this blog is ‘Simplifying Your Website Could Be the Best Decision Ever’ because that statement does indeed speak the truth. In fact, it is now even more important than ever before thanks to the use of smartphones and tablets. Gone are the days where your only concern was how your website looked on a 17inch monitor and it has been replaced by something far smaller.

In other words, if your website is crowded, then how can you expect those individuals surfing it on their iPhone or whatever to then make sense of it all?

So, what could be your way forward? Well, there are several key points that are worth considering that may very well help you out of this rather difficult situation.

Use a Call to Action.

People no longer want to sit and wade through reams of information just to get to the reason why they are there in the first place. Instead, people are impatient and just want to get to that destination, so it makes sense for you to provide them with this call to action and make it as bold as possible.

This will actually increase the click-thru rate that you get and will actively encourage more people to do the action that you want them to do. It is actually crazy to think that a number of individuals will often bypass this and feel that they need to sell something over and over again. If that’s you, then stop it.

Reduce the Number of Pages.

Even if you have a lot to say, cut down on the number of pages. By simplifying things, you need to streamline as much as possible, so that’s where the likes of bullet points and bringing things together under common categories will work well.

For example, say you have a number of services. Some people would go ahead and have a different page for each service, but that is like web design suicide now. Instead, it would all go under the one banner of ‘Services’ with a brief summary of each thing all on the one page.

Don’t Get Fancy with Navigation.

There has been a recent trend to have all kinds of fanciful navigation methods, but that’s only going to complicate matters. This is especially true when they have included hidden menus because people will just get fed up trying to find something and go elsewhere.

The best approach is the old tried and trusted menu. People know what to expect, and they know how to work it so you really are onto a winner with this.

Be Careful with Typography.

There are a number of websites that seem to be in some kind of competition to use as many different fonts as possible on the one page. However, that’s just sore on the eyes and the website itself actually looks a mess.

You are best to stick to a rule whereby the fewer the number of fonts, the better it is. In general, try to have just two or three and mix it up by using some in bold, italics, or using h2, h3 and so on. There’s just no need to try to be all artistic like this as it just annoys people and makes your website look far more complicated than it actually is.

Remember the Text Size.

The final thing we will mention is the text size. It must be easy to read, and yet some people will have a font size that is far too small so that when it’s transferred to a smartphone it becomes impossible to ready it.

Increase the font size by a few points and cut back on the number of words instead so it no longer seems as cramped. Be succinct with what you are saying and get your point across as quickly as possible as that will only bode well for your potential conversion rates.

These are just a few things that we feel anybody should look at doing with their website, and it’s up to you as to which ones you need to use in order to make those changes. A simple website is a winning website and surely you want to be a winner?

Your Header Image Will Grab Their Attention

What is the first thing that you see when you land on a website? The answer is their header image and yet it is surprising how many owners of websites kind of forget about the important role that this one image can have in the potential success of their site.

Think of it from this point of view.

If you are walking along a street and are going past shops, what do you see? Well, you will see their shop sign and their shop window.

Now, move this thought across to the Internet. There, the domain name is basically the shop sign and the front page is the shop window. However, as the header image is the first part that you see, then this is the spot that not only has to look good, but it also needs to grab their attention or they will walk on by.

So how do you get the image that is going to be perfect for your header?

Getting Their Attention.

An image has the ability to really compliment the content. An image can be used to really help tell the story or put across a particular feeling about the site, but only if it is done correctly.

Now, this is one spot where size does not always matter as the dimensions will depend on the layout of the rest of the home page and also the look that the designer is trying to achieve. However, there are a number of things that need to be done no matter the size of the image in order to really get their attention when they land on your website.

1. Add some text.

People love to see some text on the header image. It tells them even more information than just the image itself, but you need to make sure that it does relate whether it be a welcome message or just even repeating your name.

2. Be aware of the color of the text.

One thing that is sure to annoy those individuals that land on your website and make them click off is when the color of the text is wrong and nobody can really read it. You would be surprised how often this happens as people can pay little attention to the colors in the image and where the text itself is landing. You might be able to read 80%, but that 20% can be enough to irritate people and they will go no further.

3. Adding a background to text.

Here is another option that is used by some designers and that is using the header image as an overall background for a page with the text then sitting in a block on top of it. This in itself can be a great way of doing things as it creates a sense of uniformity and some will then take it further by adopting this background on each and every page.

Of course, this is going to mean that you need to use an image that is not only relevant to your website and what it is that you do, but also is not going to be overpowering and detract attention from the content. This can be achieved by just reducing the opacity or making it black and white although other options are available.

The Difference it Makes.

When an individual lands on your website, you have very little time to convince them that they have come to the correct place and to then do whatever it is that you want them to do. If the first thing that they see is weak, outdated, pointless or anything else, then you are not making that good first impression.

However, if you can amaze them and provide them with enough information to make them scroll down, then it gives you the opportunity to really sell yourself to them.

Furthermore, a quality header image makes you seem more professional. It makes you appear as if you actually care about your website enough to have spent the time getting this first part correct. When you then tie this in with getting the correct text with the right contrast and color, then you just need to make sure that the rest of your website is up to the standard that they now expect.

What our advice is regarding the header image is to spend some time checking out what other people on their website for inspiration. Look at the sizes, how dominant the image is, what they typically show and how it relates to what they do. All of this will help you to better understand what should be on your own website and reduce the chances of you falling at the first hurdle.

Research and making sure that things are correct are key. Remember, the potential success of your entire website can rest on this.

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