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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.

Launching Your Website is a Key Moment

website launchIt’s not exactly rocket science to know that launching your website is going to prove to be a key moment, but even though this is obvious, it’s still amazing how many people do it wrong.

Now, you are probably sitting there wondering how you can go wrong with this kind of thing. Surely you just put the website live and that’s it?

Well, if you do believe that, then you are one of the many people that have just been missing out on the main point.

In order to get to this point, you need to have jumped through various hoops and got over a range of obstacles before you are in the position to launch your website. Thankfully, there are various tools that will often prove to be rather useful with all of this, so if you are at that point of getting ready to launch your site, then this could be an interesting post.

Now, we are going to also skip past a few of the early stages such as getting the correct domain name and hosting, because those are common sense and you will have already done that. Instead, we are talking about taking things further and to the point where you are ready to unveil your master creation to the world.

After all, you want the great reveal to go well and not to just sink without a trace, don’t you?

The Key Tools to Move Forward.

As we said, we are skipping the hosting and domain name stuff, but we are going to jump right in just after that particular point and start with an SSL Certificate.

An SSL Certificate is going to help encrypt various aspects of your website and users are well aware that it gives them some added security, which is something that they love. You will see the padlock and the domain name starting with https rather than http as a sign that it does indeed have this certificate.

It used to be the case that it cost you money for this certificate, but that changed in late 2015 where it’s now free. As it costs you nothing, there’s no reason for you to not have it and some hosting companies provide it anyway, so you might not even have to do anything extra. However, the confidence it gives your users in visiting your website is well worth double checking.

Monitoring Tools.

If you thought that you put your website live and then that’s it, then think again. Instead, things can go wrong at any point even if it’s not your fault, and yet, you might not even be aware of it and, as a result, will be missing out on potential clients or customers.

That’s why we do recommend that you take full advantage of website monitoring tools that do this automatically and report back to you. They run constantly, so even if you are asleep then you can rest assured that this software is keeping a close eye on things. You will then be made aware of any issues when you log back on and can then take the appropriate action.

Error Tracking.

Even though you may have tested your website to the point of exhaustion, that doesn’t mean that you will have potentially caught all of the bugs and errors. That’s why it may be worth your while investing in error tracking tools that will let you know when users have encountered a problem.

This is important because you want to rectify those errors as quickly as possible since that user may have just decided to go elsewhere thanks to their bad experience. You don’t want that situation to replicate itself time and time again, do you?

There are several tools out there that can do this job, but do just double check how much they charge before signing up.

Web Analytics.

Finally, there are web analytics tools and we strongly recommend that you use them. They are going to provide you with so much information on how people are using your website allowing you to then make the appropriate changes in order to improve usability and reduce bounce rates.

Now, even if you are unsure as to what the different stats are telling you, it will at least put you in the picture of where people are coming from, what they are looking at, how they are getting there, and so many other rather useful snippets of information. It will also make it easier for you to create a marketing plan that will work all because of the details from these tools.

These are just the basic things that we recommend when you are going to be launching your website although there are others such as file storage and the ability to create emailing lists and send out bulk emails to those individuals. However, just launching your website without putting any kind of thought into it is just not an option at all and by doing this, you are just increasing your chances of things becoming a failure.

Consider and Understand the Importance of an SSL Certificate

Your website security is important to you as well as your visitors. In today’s world of cyber-security, adding an SSL Certificate to your website can help protect you, protect your visitors, build trust, and as a little bonus – give you a little SEO rankings bump.

What is an SSL Certificate?

An SSL (Secure Socket Layer) encrypts data to allow secure connections from a web server to a browser. The SSL helps to keep prying eyes from seeing the conversation between you and the website you would be doing business with. In the past, an SSL was commonly needed to protect credit card information, social security numbers, bank accounts, and any other personal sensitive information. It is always expected that any online store, bank, job application, or doctor’s online patient forms have the well-known green lock displayed next the website URL.

But there is nothing sensitive on my website. Why do I need an SSL?

There are added benefits to an SSL Certificate, as they are becoming more popular in today’s web. Customer experience is vital to any company. By adding an SSL to your website, are you building immediate trust with your potential clients. The moment someone visits a website that is proudly displaying the secure lock next to their URL, the visitor can see that you not only take your site and your security seriously, but you also value theirs.

Google recognizes the need for more vigilant cyber security and have started giving increased SEO rankings to those that are utilizing the tool. Google SEO standards are another can of worms, and this one step may not launch you from page 7 to #1, but using this tool that improves your site security and gives you a little boost in SEO is an easy win-win situation.

Here at Webfoot, we utilize the SSL certificate for many reasons, and we encourage everyone to do the same. We will soon require all clients hosting with Webfoot to have an SSL on their website.

Does SEO Work Instantly?

Does SEO work instantly? This is a question that those with a limited amount of knowledge on the subject tend to ask as well as those that are having a website designed and have heard about this wonderful thing called Search Engine Optimization.

But here’s the thing.

A number of people are being misled in that they are being made to believe that brand new SEO campaigns are going to result in instantaneous results. However, this is not true.

People also make the mistake of believing that just because their website has appeared somewhere on Google that it means SEO is working. Instead, it basically means that Google has sent their spider to the website and indexed it. This is something that is completely different, but those companies that are providing SEO in a shady manner and are best to be avoided.

So, How Long Does it Take?

The answer to this question is like the proverbial ‘how long is a piece of string?’ because if you spend some time conducting research into this, then you will see that people do differ with their opinions. However, if you are willing to keep to the rules, and not everybody does, then in order to rank high up for various keywords can take somewhere in the region of six months.

Now, we know that six months sounds like an eternity, but there is a very good reason for that as we will now explain.

Why it Takes so Long.

There are several things that contribute to the length of time that it takes SEO to show some kind of returns for the work that is carried out. First, you need to grow various aspects of it slowly and in a more organic fashion. This was certainly not always the case in the past, but Google then clamped down on those individuals that sought to break the rules.

Also, if your website is brand new with no history, then it takes even longer to then build up those all important backlinks and the various other aspects that are attributed to a successful SEO campaign. This is because the work that is carried out has nothing to build upon. It has to start from scratch and involves pretty much baby steps to get the absolute core of the campaign correctly established.

If you are involved in things such as keyword stuffing or throwing a huge number of pointless backlinks to your website, then this is going to get you nowhere. Sure, Google might at first rank you higher up than you expected, but that is not something that will last.

In other words, it takes so long because Google have designed their algorithms in such a way that you need to play the long game. You need to be prepared to work at slowly building those quality links and adding more and more content that is seen as being beneficial to your website and those that visit. If you suddenly appear on their radar with a brand new domain and yet you have the same number of links as an established site, then the alarm bells are going to be going off.

So Can You Speed it Up?

We understand that there will be people out there that are frustrated and annoyed at the idea of it taking months for results to be noticed, but you have to remember this one thing. The results that you see after say six months are going to pale into insignificance to the results that you will have in 12 months if you keep the campaign going.

This is because it is an organic thing and because it is organic then you can try to do several things, within the rules, to speed it up.

For this, you can make sure that your campaign covers all of the different aspects of SEO. This means making sure that you have your keywords contained in quality content, meta tags, alt tags, build those quality backlinks, social signals, the list goes on. It makes sense that if you use the different aspects of SEO that actually count for something and do so on a regular basis, then you will grow faster than you otherwise would.

So what’s the point in all of this?

The point is to try and steer you away from those companies or individuals that claim they can achieve these amazing things in a few days when it comes to SEO. They will try to charge you a fortune for this as they attempt to sweep you up in this tidal wave of enthusiasm and the belief that your website is going to become famous overnight.

Don’t fall for it. Patience is indeed a virtue and when the potential future of your website is at risk then surely it is in your best interests to ignore those false promises and look at the long term?

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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