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.
Continuing the idea of what the next 12 months is going to entail for web design and
different aspects of Internet marketing, we are going to look at the kind of future that is predicted for e-commerce websites throughout 2017. This is clearly something that will be of interest to a number of people and we are not just talking about those that are looking at taking the leap into the e-commerce world. Instead, we are also thinking about those currently in the industry and who may wish to take advantage of the changes that are coming.
1. The Use of Chat Bots.
This is something that is really starting to appear and it is predicted that the use of chat bots is going to gain real momentum over the next 12 months. Basically, this means that a bot pops up on the screen and it becomes almost like a personal shopper for the visitor.
By interacting with the bot, it means that the customer is going to be in a better position to find the things that they are looking for and overall it will be making the entire shopping experience a bit more pleasant.
2. An Increase in Live Support.
This is different to the chat bot mentioned above as we are talking about an actual customer service representative rather than a bot. However, the idea is still the same in that the visitor is able to interact with someone from the website. This means they can deal with issues, orders, a whole host of things and that is why more websites are including software such as ZenDesk to make the entire process that bit easier.
This is something that can be easily implemented into your website and it is certainly one thing that you should give some serious consideration to. It has been shown in research that the average sale does increase as a direct result of this live support so the benefits of it do really outweigh the potential costs to you especially as it increases customer satisfaction.
3. Yet Another Increase in Mobile Usage.
Even though you will clearly be aware of the fact that mobile usage is always on the increase, it is known that there will be a huge push for it in 2017 with e-commerce. It is believed that the average person now goes to their smartphone more than 150 times a day and yet it is also understood that as little as 14% of e-commerce retailers are actually taking advantage of this.
With mobile usage, it is anticipated that there will be an increase in the number of websites that allow forms to be filled in automatically or the use of mobile money wallets. These should be incorporated into your e-commerce website as early as possible as the push is really towards helping individuals to have a better all-round experience when it comes to shopping online via their smartphones.
4. Using a Prime Like Experience.
There is no doubt that Amazon really changed the game of shopping online when they introduced their Prime package. The fact that people get faster deliver and better customer service in general has led to a huge number of people signing up each month just to get these rewards.
However, the rest of the online world has been slightly slow in catching up with this and that is one area that is going to change in the forthcoming 12 months.
Expect websites to be looking at ways to speed up delivery times and also the returns procedure to be made a lot easier. This is especially true for apparel websites where the number of returns remains predictably high due to the fact that people need to try on the clothing before they know if they like it. If people are then of the opinion that returning items is easy, then they are more likely to complete purchases in the first place.
5. The Impact of Social Selling.
You know that social media has a huge impact on marketing and advertising, but there is going to be a real push towards social selling in 2017.
This is where websites are going to really link up with the likes of their Instagram page but where people are taken from the images they post directly to the items so they can buy them. Now, you might be sitting thinking that this has already been done, but so many companies have been lagging behind and just hope that people go from a profile to their website. This is what is changing and there are several services out there that will help such as Curalate and Soldsie.
The thing that you have to remember with e-commerce is that this is something that is worth a huge amount of money. The entire time there is a need to keep trying to simplify the sales process and making life so much easier for your visitors. Anything that can improve their shopping experience really should be welcomed with open arms throughout 2017.
Now that we have moved into 2015 it is a good time to go ahead and look at what we can expect to become popular, or absolute must haves for your website. Looking at design features is one thing, but there has been a real movement towards using widgets in websites in recent times. This is a trend that is anticipated to only gain more momentum over the next 12 months, so it is a good idea to check out the top widgets for 2015. Here are our top five.
1. Marketing By Email
It is widely accepted that marketing via an email list is going to give you a far higher return on your investment than pretty much every other form of marketing out there. However, the hard part is staying on top of your email list, including your contacts, but help is at hand with a number of extremely useful widgets.
The most popular ones out there just now come from companies such as MailChimp and Ininbox and they just make life so much easier on the back-end section of your email marketing. Basically, by using one of their widgets you will be able to take advantage of templates for your very own email newsletters, find it easier to manage your contacts, send out emails via automation, and a whole host of other cool features that just makes life easier. Thanks to this widget you should see an upturn in the success of your email marketing.
2. Booking Appointments
If you have a business where appointments need to be booked, then offering this option via your website is certainly something that will be appreciated by your clients. This widget shows the dates and times available and they can then go ahead and arrange it to suit themselves and it is all done in real time.
The idea behind this widget is that it does vastly improve your customer service and it also allows your staff to get on with serving customers rather than being stuck on the phone all of the time. It is also surprising who can utilize this particular widget as it is certainly very helpful when trying to organize your schedule.
3. Analytics And Search Widget
A big thing now is having a better understanding as to how well your website is doing via analytics and there are widgets out there that can provide you with all kinds of up to the minute data. One widget that should be of interest is called eClincher as that not only tells you about your website, but also allows you to deal with all of your social media accounts from one single dashboard.
This is going to make your life a whole lot easier, but we also mentioned a search widget as more and more people want to search for specific information on your website rather than read everything that is on there. Swiftype is one example of a widget that allows you to add a search function to your site and you should see an increase in the time people spend on your site as they explore more of what you have to offer.
Slideshows are making a huge comeback in 2015 and there are a whole host of widgets out there that will allow you to have various shows all over your website. This is a great way to showcase products you sell or work that you have previously done as it is still accepted that we love visuals rather than just a lot of text on a website. However, one cool trick is to make sure that you can link it to photos that you have on image sharing websites or social media and Photosnack is one such widget. This will result in you being able to take photographs on your cell phone and upload to Flickr or Facebook and it will also then appear directly on your website.
5. Floating Social Media Buttons
Everybody already understands the importance of social media for an online business as it does increase awareness of a brand and makes direct marketing so much easier. However, previously it was a case of links to social media accounts being stuck in the corner of a website and the result was that a lot of people did not even see those buttons. Of course this is a bit of a disaster from a marketing point of view, but that has now changed with floating social media buttons.
This widget will have all of those logos linking to the likes of Twitter etc floating on your page as people scroll up and down. It sites at the side so as not to impede them and annoy them, but you will see a real increase in the number of people that then click through and subscribe or join your page.
There are of course a number of seriously cool widgets out there just waiting to be added to your website and the ones that work best for you does depend on what you hope to achieve from your site. However, the one thing that is clear is that we all need to look more at widgets and what they can do as there is no doubt that they do improve the experience that people have on your website.