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Web Design Blog, Tips, Articles & Advice
1
May

Web designers: what to ask you, clients, before you start

Posted in Web Development  by admin

Modern web designers need to realize that even when it comes to site design, marketing comes first. Very few organizations maintain a presence online purely for informational purposes. With e-commerce and online sales growing, any website should base its construction with marketing as its primary focus. Here are some key points that any designer should clarify before starting work on the new design:

Frustrations

When you revamp an existing website, it is because there is something about it that requires attention. Find out what the three most pressing issues they have with the existing site. Not only will that prevent you from repeating the mistakes, but it will also give you a general idea of what the clients expect from the new site.

Inspiration

Often, the decision maker at an organization will already have an idea of what they consider a good looking website. Find out what sites the decision makers like and what elements of those sites they think could work for their own.

Optimization

A lot of websites have contracts with SEO organizations that take care of their content and site optimization. Find out if there are any particular requires from the SEO team. Sometimes, entire sections of a website change because another team comes in later and asks for changes in the name of SEO.

Competition

Lastly, find out from the client what features, elements, components or design elements of competitor sites they find useful. This together with the frustrations listed above should paint a clear picture of what the client wants in their design.

4
Apr

Four mistakes to avoid on your website audit

Posted in Web Development  by admin

Ranking on search is unpredictable. Even with enough inbound links, a small change in the algorithm can move a page from the first page to the third. One of the ways to ensure that the site has done everything to ensure good ranking is to conduct an audit of the website. However, there are some common mistakes that people make when doing a website audit. Here are the four most common that you should avoid:

Crawl

The first mistake many make is not conducting a complete crawl of the website. Often we make changes without thinking about the implications of those changes. Without a complete scan of the website, there is no way to know what repercussions might result from the changes. There is a lot of free software available that can do complete crawls.

Robots

There is a robots.txt file that indicates which files and folders a spider should crawl. Check that file to make sure that nothing important accidently falls into the Disallow section. This is one such example of where a complete crawl of the website will illustrate unintended consequences. It is also important to make sure that all unnecessary content is not visible to the search engine.

On-page

On-page ranking factors do not hold the same weight as inbound links. However, making sure the on page factors meet certain criteria ensures that the page does not fall below a certain standard. Some of those include a minimum word count, value of content to the user, optimized images, keywords, titles, etc.

31
Mar

Client-side scripting languages

Posted in Web Development  by admin

When it comes to web development, there are several layers of development languages. The two primary building blocks are HTML and CSS. Then there are server side scripting languages like PHP, Python etc. These power the dynamic web sites that we come across on the web every day. Another category is client-side scripting languages. These languages download along with the HTML and CSS, and execute locally. It is still a static page, like HTML/CSS, with additional interactivity. These are the most popular client-side scripting languages used today:

JavaScript

When you load a webpage and see animation, games or some form of interactivity, it is most likely to be JavaScript at work. After HTML and CSS, it is the most common scripting language you will see in use. The language works even without an internet connection, as long as the application supports local execution. Even complicated sites use JavaScript for applications thanks to the JavaScript engines of Chrome and Firefox. JavaScript is also popular due to the vast selection of libraries.

ActionScript

ActionScript is the scripting language used for Adobe Flash. There is something to be said for how far Flash spread, that even in its dying days, ActionScript remains one of the most used client-side scripting languages.

For a long time, there was a choice between the two. However, with the end of Adobe Flash in sight, JavaScript will be the predominant client-side scripting language.

10
Feb

Handling customer requests

Posted in social media marketing  by admin

Whether you manage a website, app, service, there are always customer requests. Even with the differences in all of the business categories, the requests from customers can fall into one of two categories: deep or wide. Let us look at the two types, what they are, along with examples:

Deep

“Deep” customer requests refer to increasing the functionality or utility of a product feature. We can also look at it as “improve A also to do B and C.” There are a few a benefits to fulfilling these customer requests. The first is retention. The more customers that use feature A, the higher the retention will be when they see the improvements. It also promotes vendor lock-in. The only downside is a loss of focus. Successful companies have a laser focus on the main features of their products and losing that focus can have consequences.

Wide

“Wide” changes can be seen as platform level changes, as opposed to feature level changes. An example would be integrating a product with another. The primary benefit here is that of customer acquisition. Increasing the reach of your product by integrating to another product platform opens co-marketing opportunities. You could also see an increase in revenue, as potential customers might want compatibility with other platforms before they commit.

Newer companies, especially those that are first to market should look to go wide first and then deep. Going wide early helps with early growth, while going deep later will increase customer retention.

31
Jan

How to create a good round-up post

Posted in social media marketing  by admin

Roundups are long form articles that aim to cover all or as many aspects of the subject as possible. These are similar to tech review roundups in that they reference other reviews of the same product. These are now extremely popular; in part due to how well they spread on social media, but mostly due to how well they rank on Google. Here is a step-by-step guide to creating a roundup post:

Step one – Identify every aspect of the subject

This is probably the most time consuming and the longest step of the process. Every possible angle on the subject needs to be addressed. For example, HR managers and potential employees could both be interested in reading an article on interviewing skills.

Step two – Images

Every single significant component of the article should be illustrated with a suitable image. Google considers relevant images an important part of what it considers good content.

In addition, take this one step further by creating an infographic. The right infographic can generate thousands of shares. Several services online provide free templates to use as a starting point.

Step three – Downloads

Successful roundups provide some form of downloadable content at the end. Visitors love downloadable content and this is the best method of getting a signup to a mailing list. The downloadable file should be an extension of the content on the page. Taking the above example of interviewing skills, the download could be a PDF of the most common interview questions along with good answers.

19
Nov

Microsoft Azure Components

Posted in Web Design & Hosting  by admin

webpage4less-novMicrosoft Azure, the cloud computing platform consists of a series of different components that can be used alone but are often used together. Using each of these components as building blocks, any organization can replicate or recreate IT infrastructure online. In this article, we will look at the most used components of Azure.

Compute

This is the bread and butter of Azure. It consists of virtual machines, websites and cloud services. Virtual machines are virtual instances of a server running an operating system. Web sites are code based websites that run from the cloud and have no actual server back-end. Cloud services are similar to websites but are low-admin applications that are maintained by Azure and are ideal for large adoption services.

Data management

This is where the data is stored. Individual SQL servers can be created or they can be done one database at a time. This is also where data can be imported and exported. It is highly unlikely these will be created without front-end websites and VM’s. The limits of the databases will be set at the point of creation and some will not allow any future changes.

Networking

The final of the basic components. This is where the internal and external networking options are selected and set. Virtual networks can be created and resources such as virtual machines and databases can be assigned. This is also where VPN’s (virtual private networks) can be created and set up to connect to on-premise networks.

29
Jun

Small business social media strategy

Posted in social media marketing  by admin

webpage4lessMost small business owners are too busy to run their own social media campaigns. Instead they hand it out to an intern or outsource it. For smaller businesses this can be a mistake. There is no other media that gives a business owner access to its customers like social media.

Know your customer

Social media is all about the customers. Marketing basics dictate that you should think like your customer. This is especially true for social media. Not sure where your customers are? Ask them. Then setup your presence and focus on those specific social media networks. For example, some groups are only active on LinkedIn and so that should be where all your social media attention should be focused.

Time

Social media is easy for a lot of businesses to get into due to the fact that it’s free. You can create facebook pages, accounts, twitter accounts etc all for no cost. However an effective social media campaign does have a cost: time. A proper campaign should be targeted to where your customers are. Remove any profiles on any platform that has no value to you or your customers.

Success

For a lot of people, the total number of followers indicates success. That is not a good metric to go by. Popular brands can have follower figures in the millions while a few hundred for a small business can be considered a success. Look at the quality and engagement with your followers. Their devotion and enthusiasm for the business and its product is the target.

26
Sep

3 Ways to Make Web Design Intuitive

Posted in Web Design & Hosting  by admin

As designers and creative of digital communications, a number of our choices are based on how we understand our target audience.

Almost every element in web design be it text, colors, interactive interface and images is picked based on how we perceive culture too. Yet there is also another aspect: the human eye and how the brain registers what the eyes are catching.

In other words, if you understand visual design principles, this can lead to the creation of effective websites.

Here are 3 ways to make web design intuitive:

1: Design for the brain first

In order to learn proper design, it is important to learn design history first. As you will discover, all the great designers followed (or broke) the simple rules. No matter what, it was these basics that helped them to achieve fame in their lives.

It must be said that bold colors and type, placement and contrasts are what catch the eye. Also, very rarely will your target audience read all the text on the site and which is why the first two paragraphs should contain the most important information.

webpage4less

Of course, there are a number of these simple rules that one must take into consideration when designing a website for maximum effect.

2: The Golden Rectangle

Also called the Golden Ratio, it is a seashell-shaped figure that helps you to find the spot where a person’s eyes is most likely to pay attention to. When you understand this principle, then you can use it in website design where you place any important element (UI, call to action, text) right in that area. One excellent example is the New York Times that uses this principle on their website.

3: Master the grid

By definition, the grid is a structure that is made up of a number of intersecting straight or curved guidelines that helps one to structure content. This grid can help the designer organize graphic elements so that the eye and brain can absorb content easily. Using a tool like UXPin, one can organize graphic elements accordingly both in relation to a page as well as other graphic elements on the page. The only issue is that since this isn’t taught properly by graphic design teachers, it can be difficult to grasp.

26
Aug

3 Fonts in 2015 That Web Designers Can Use

Posted in Web Design & Hosting  by admin

Typography continues to dominate web design trends even if we are in 2015. In particular, designers are using typography to create big and eye-catching headers or landing pages. This is for the simple reason that these are the first things that people look at on a webpage.

Here are 3 fonts that can help you do just that as a webdesigner:

1: Mute

Clearly a san serif typeface, this font was made by Manushi Parikh. The use of this font can be both for mobile applications and user interfaces. It can also be used on homepages given that it looks precise and linear and comes across in a friendly manner too. As for the letter, they have a low-stroke contrast while the terminals end on the vertical or horizontal. This font costs about $130.

webpage4less2: Galano Classic

Created by Rene Bieder, this font is inspired by the classic grotesque style of the early 20th century. Classic geometric faces are combined with more modern proportions. The letters themselves have a few interesting details: the uppercase ‘R’ has a long stretched leg while ‘Q’ can be likened to a stylized magnifying glass. This font can be used for big headers but is just as effective with small sizes as well as long text too. The entire family is worth $200.

3: Cereal

Designed by Carlos Fabian Camargo, this family of fonts has been released by Andinistas. In all, this entire pack consists of eight families of fonts that either work in groups or independently. It’s clear that it can be used to create words that depict a warm climate. You can use this font in book covers, logos, posters, home pages or even wedding invitations. It costs about $64 upwards depending on the version you download.

9
Jun

4 Website Performance Tools That Can Help Speed Up Your Site

Posted in Web Design & Hosting  by admin

 photo Screenshot-3-e1407215962448_zps8x9wm7jw.png

Article write by seoscape.org.

It’s vital that your website performs at its best at all times.

Doing this involves measuring several factors. That said, here are 4 tools that can speed up your site:

1: WebPageTest

Being free, it tests the speed of your website. Browsers from locations from around the world test the website. The results throw up plenty of performance diagnosis information that proves to be useful. Apart from this, the tool also makes suggestions for improvement. Remember, the lower the SpeedIndex score, the better your site performs.

2: Google PageSpeed

This tool analyzes your website and gives it a rating on 100 for both mobile and desktop. If there are areas that it considers to be below par, it offers suggestions. Keep in mind where you use this tool in your workflow. It affects build completion time.

3: Chrome Developer Tools Audits

Chrome Developer Tools can assess web performance, thanks to its built-in auditing system. It also has improvements to offer such as unused CSS. The line numbers where you can find offending items are also provided.

Click the ‘Audit’ tab in Chrome Developer Tools. Ensure you check both ‘Network Utilization’ and ‘Web Page Performance’. Now hit ‘Run’ to get a report. Click each item to reveal files and the line numbers too.

4: Google Analytics Performance Anomaly Detection

Once your website is live, you still need to track its performance. Issues can always occur and vary in nature but will affect the speed of the site. For this, the Google Analytics’ Intelligence Events feature comes in handy. It will help you to detect poor performance and generate alerts when problems begin.

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