Sunday, July 1, 2012

Custom Web Page Design - Relevancy and Importance

If you would like to expand your business by reaching out to your potential clients using a medium that reaches out far and wide, then you would definitely want to consider the benefits of using custom web page design.

The website that you have as a medium for reaching out to your customers can be the deciding factor on whether you are successful in your endeavors or not. The appearance of your custom webpage design will either attract or repel people. A custom made website ensures that you get positive feedback from clients. You get questions about your goods or service and this offers you a great chance to encourage them to make a purchase from you.

Because of the fierce competition rising from the use of the web in enhancing the sales of a business, you have to make sure that you do all that is realistically possible, in reference to your business to ensure that you have an edge over your competition. One of the ways to do this is to have your custom web page design made for you by a professional designer.

It would be unwise to overlook the fact that buyers using the internet for their purchases are faced with a myriad of options to make their choices from. This is especially so, because they do not meet with the providers face to face as in normal buying. If you fail to make a first good impression the chance of getting business are very minimal.

To survive in the website arena you have to go further than having a basic web site. A custom made design is the right way to go. The use of a custom web page design does not only give you a professional image but also helps you build a brand. When you build yourself a brand in the web you find that clients will become familiar with it and therefore make it their first stop when they are looking to purchase something that is within your specialty.

Web Page Design Tips - 3 Ways to Get Color Suggestions For Your Web Pages

When it comes to web page design you'll receive hundreds of different opinions as to what color looks best. What you think will work well together may turn off other people whereas another person's suggestion may not conform to yours. You've probably seen web pages that look really ugly because they have used the wrong combination of colors. For example the background may appear so strong that you can't focus on the content or font or the background coloration is almost the same so you can't read the text.

So how do you choose colors that will appeal to everybody?

3 ways to get color suggestions for your web pages

1. Observe nature

Most people enjoy the range of colors exhibited by their natural surroundings. Incorporate these colors into your web pages so they will appeal to your business. Natural colors such as blue, white, red, yellow, orange, green, etc. or a combination of these work well on web pages. For example you may use a light blue background or gradient blue with black text on a white background. Next time you take a walk in nature take a mental picture of all the color combinations.

2. Surf websites on the net

This is one of the quickest and easiest ways to get color ideas for your own website. Simply surf the net and observe the different color combinations people have used to design their websites. Create a screen shot of the website you prefer and import it into your graphics software. Using the color picker it to find out what the color code is. Use web safe colors so all computer users see the same colors displayed on your computer screen.

3. Use a color picker

If you Google "color picker" you'll get a list of websites which have color picker tools to quickly and easily select different color combinations for your web pages.

Tips for selecting the correct colors

Use contrast

The best contrast is black text on a white background however other color combinations will also work. If you wish to display a product that has bright colors use a light background to make it stand out.

Use at least 3 different color combinations

A web page using 1 or 2 colors may appear very boring. 3 to 5 different color combinations is fine. Using too many colors will cause people to leave because it makes your website look unprofessional. Try to use the same colors throughout your whole website to give it a consistent appearance.

Web Pages Design - The 17 Hot Tips

The importance of web pages design cannot be overstated. Lets look at the most important points you must bear in mind when creating your own website.

  1. One, perhaps two fonts only. Your pages must be easy to read, I use almost nothing but Arial and Tahoma.
  2. Never use fonts that are florid, difficult to read or with lots of serifs. Clarity before cleverness!
  3. Your copy area should be black copy on a white background.
  4. Your main headline (H1 tag) should be, or at the very least contain, your keyword phrase.
  5. Break up your with bullet points or a numbered list.
  6. Embolden your sub headlines. This helps to hold onto the reader attention and again gets over the 'solid mass of type' look.
  7. Your keyword should appear about once in every 100 words. Don't overdo this, it can be unpleasant to read and a real turn off.
  8. Your signature should appear at the foot of every page. Readers want to feel that they are in touch with a real person.
  9. Use photographs and graphics but make sure they are relevant to the subject matter.
  10. Embolden all your links.
  11. Like fonts be careful not to go too crazy when it comes to colours and highlighting. Little often has more impact.
  12. Important items such as opt-in boxes and videos should, if possible, appear above the fold. In other words when someone lands on the page they should be able to see these items without scrolling down. An opt-in box is one of those forms that invites the browser to fill in there name and email address.
  13. You can grab a fee copy of a first class website creating program at Kompozer.
  14. Use underlining and italics but as with everything don't overdo it.
  15. Use testimonials to promote your product or service but be very aware of the latest FTC rules concerning endorsements and testimonials. Even if you do not operate within the USA, if your website is available in America, then the rules apply to you!
  16. Run your page through spell check and make sure that all your links are working - obvious - you would be amazed.
  17. Make your paragraphs no more than two sentences long.
As well as a free website creator avoid spending your hard earned money unnecessarily by getting hold of a free 'how to' guide to help you with your web pages design and indeed the whole process of putting up a website.

Top 3 Web Page Design Tips

Are you thinking of building your first website? Here are the three most important things that you should remember:

First, keep your web page design simple. Save the complicated graphics, animation and effects for later, when you are ready to go full-blast with an online strategy. But if you are still beginning to build your website from scratch, it will work best to have only the mandatory elements in terms of design and functionality. Remember to include your logo, as well as basic navigation links that will tell the user important things about your company, what you do, and how to contact you. When it comes to the aesthetics, crisp and clean always work better than loud and cluttered. Never cramp your web page with too many images either.

Second, your web page design should allow for easy reading. Don't turn off potential customers by making it difficult for them to find information that they need. In terms of the text layout, for example, keep the text area to a comfortable width, and don't let text run from one end of the screen to the other. You also need to manage the length of your text, especially because text length is measured by pixels and not characters. The ideal text length for a web page should be 60 to 70 characters or 500 pixels.

Finally, design your web page in such a way that it becomes an effective source of information for your target market. When planning the design, consider the types of information that users will be looking for, prioritize them, and put the more important ones above the fold. These should be available to users without them having to go through a series of clicks.

A Turn Key Web Page Design Program - How To Select One For Under $70

Choosing a web page design program is an important business decision, unless you have thousands of dollars available to outsource it.. It needs to create an attractive web site, without sucking up too much of your time or emptying your wallet.

Getting the full Adobe Creative Suite costs $1300 and practically requires a college course to learn to use it! While it's the industrys leading software and a powerful set of tools, it's overkill for most small businesses. It's like hunting a mouse with an elephant gun.

When looking at the alternative, there are three solid criteria to work from: Intuitiveness, integration with e-commerce applications and integration with graphical apps. With this latter consideration, it' important to stay focused on the actual graphical manipulations you'll use as a businessperson, rather than as an art student trying to get a job at an ad agency!

Design Dashboard is one particularly good example of an intuitive program (it walks you through, step by step by step through all the major design decisions) with good e-commerce integration (several scripts are already packaged with the software, including advice on how to set them up and how to get the most out of them) and it integrates with one of the best graphics programs on the market for making changes to your web site's header graphics, making buttons or adding special effects to the photographs of people giving you testimonials on your products.

And, best of all, this easy to use web page design program was created by someone who actually uses the web to do their business. It's designed with the small businessperson in mind and is priced very economically - without question one of the best values available.

Small Business Home Web Page Design and Content Tips

There is no magic formula for what amount and what type of content to place on your home page. Generally, minimize clutter - yet you want to communicate the benefits of your product(s) and/or service(s) quickly.

I've changed and tweaked the home pages for my small business websites many times (and continue testing).

The following are some guidelines I've found worked well for conversion - DEPENDING on the scope of your business.

What do I mean by scope of your business?

Your home page content will vary depending on how many products and/or services you offer. If you offer one service, then you can easily set out the key benefits of your service on the home page. If you offer many services and/or products, then your home page should communicate your business' attributes with clear links to your various products and services pages.

Example 1:

Law firm with 6 practice areas (i.e. personal injury, family law, wills and estates, business, real estate, and corporate/commercial litigation).

Large law firms are a good example for a business that offers a diverse set of services. A firm with 6 diverse practice areas is serving a very diverse clientele. The personal injury client is much different than the corporate client. It's not possible for a law firm to set out the benefits of each type of service on its home page without the home page being cluttered with too much information.

What should the firm do? They have 3 options:

  1. Create separate websites for each practice area (this is what I do for my small business where I offer 3 distinct services); or
  2. Set out clear navigation options for visitors to click into the legal service they are looking for, or
  3. Do both 1 and 2 (I don't do both - I explain why below).

Option 1:

This is not for every business, but is a viable option. The key is determining whether you serve distinct customers. If you do, then you might consider separate websites for each service (or batch of services).

Option 2:

The firm's home page should focus on the merits of the firm with accolades, media recognition, testimonials, number of years in business, and of course brief descriptions of the all the legal services offered with links to the individual legal services pages.

Then each individual legal service page must clearly explain how the firm serves the client. You want your business to always clearly explain how your services/products help your customer. Don't assume they'll figure it out. For instance, I offer a free consultation for one of my services.

I have a full page explaining this with a link in my main menu. Yet, many customers who call me ask if they have to pay for a consultation. Repeat your benefits throughout your site.

Another useful technique, especially if you offer services, is explaining the entire service process the customer can expect. This is a good way to communicate all the work you do and all the benefits your customer will enjoy.

Option 3:

You can create separate sites as well as one flagship site for all your products and services. I don't do this because I don't want to confuse my customers.

I offer 3 distinct services. I want my prospective customers to land on the sites that are designed specifically for them. I actually tested this. My second website set out all my services and the conversion was much lower than now. I also find when my sites are dedicated to each service, it's easier to rank well for those sites in the search engines (due to domain name selection and focused content).

However, if you offer related services or products (or your company name is extremely well-branded), then a central flagship site may be the best approach.

How to decide: Test all options just as I did. Actually, I didn't set out to test - I just built a flagship site, was disappointed with conversion, so decided dedicated websites by service area would be best. I was right.

Other small business home web page design and content ideas

1. Testimonials from past satisfied customers

Of course have a full testimonial page, but also place snippets of the testimonials throughout your home page (I place them in the sidebar which appears on every page of my websites).

2. Contact form

When I added a contact form to my home page (at the top in the sidebar), my number of contact inquiries at least tripled.

3. Your photo if applicable

Another feature that I believe improved my conversion was adding a small photograph of me on every page in the site, including the home page with a welcome message.

4. Easy-to-follow navigation

Make it very easy for your visitors to navigate your website. Check out other websites as a user and see what you find is a good navigation set up and what doesn't work. I place links to my most important pages in the top horizontal navigation menu. I often provide more than one link to key pages.

5. Images

Images work - especially for home pages. This is why I like the slider / slideshow style home page. It's visually pleasing. I like a mix of images and text. Too many images dilutes the effectiveness. I buy images at iStockPhoto. You can get great photos for $1 to $10.

6. Video

I haven't gone big time into video, so I resorted to buying a professionally created set of videos that offer great information for my website visitors. I went against the tide and placed my videos toward the bottom of my home page. I know many high-converting websites place videos front-and-center at the top of the home page. Again, try both layouts and test.

Don't put up lousy videos. If your videos look and sound bad, it could actually hurt your conversion. Either learn to create great videos or hire someone to do it.

7. Media coverage and accolades

If your business has had the good fortune of being featured in the media, be sure to feature that coverage on your home page. You could place the logos of the media outlets that featured you. Or simply set it out in regular text.

I'm talking about all media - newspapers, radio, TV, other websites. My partner was recently interviewed by a prominent radio station. I asked and received the audio of that interview. I got it transcribed and then uploaded the audio interview to my site with the transcription underneath. I place an image of my partner on the page to place a face to the voice.

The same goes for accolades and/or awards your company receives. Be sure to display it prominently.

8. Speaking engagements / presentations

If you've presented at industry seminars, be sure to feature this on your home page (and elsewhere in your sites). If you can, publish on your websites the information your presented.

9. Published Works

If you've been published anywhere, include that information on your websites.

How to beef up your authority?

In addition to the above-listed techniques, a super easy way to beef up your and/or your business' credibility is to set up and teach a free seminar for your customers.

Try to arrange it at a local university or college. Once you teach the course, whether a one-night seminar or multi-day event, you can feature yourself as teacher of that course/seminar. Also, if you booked your seminar/course at a local school, then you can say you taught XYZ course at ABC school.

Other methods include getting published, doing interviews, and presenting at seminars.

A Few Do's and Don'ts of Web Page Design

If you get your web page design wrong, say goodbye to any chances of your website becoming a success. So, it's doubly important that you get it right and not make elementary mistakes when it comes to page design.

So here are a few 'do's and don'ts' that you will need to keep in mind.

Don't: Use a background that makes the text hard to read

It's logical and not hard to get right. If you use the kind of background that make it difficult to read the content, your website will not be able to attract visitors. If visitors can't read what your website wants to say, your website is as good as not being there. So, use the kind of background that enhances the text and not clouds it.

Do: Use text that is readable

If your text is readable, it means your text will be read. What this means is that the visitor shouldn't have to make any sort of effort in reading text. Its size must be appropriate and care should also be taken that the background does not confuse, but enlighten.

Don't: Use meaningless graphics

Stay away from graphics that don't make any sense at all. The graphics should be in conformity with the purpose of the website. If you use irrelevant graphics, you will just confuse the visitor. More importantly, it will have an effect on your website's credibility. Such graphics don't make an impression, but have an opposite effect.

Do: Use Graphics that Enhance website Message

You have designed a website for a particular purpose. So, you will need to ensure that the various graphic elements that you use for the web page design have something to say about the website and its purpose. Use images intelligently to ensure that the message of your website is enhanced. This creates a lasting impression in the minds of the website visitors.

Don't: Use Unclear Navigation

When it comes to website navigation, you must stay away from navigation that is complex and difficult to understand. The use of unnecessary scroll bars and pages that cannot be identified just complicates things for the users.

Do: Use Simple and Clear Navigation

Your navigation buttons must be such that they are easy to use and tell the visitor where to go and which page to click on. More importantly, you should be able to maintain a certain consistency when it comes to the navigation of your website. Keep your website navigation as simple as you can.

These are just a few of the web page design do's and don'ts that one needs to keep in mind for ensuring that the website design is effective and can successfully attract website visitors.