About Stuart

This author has not yet filled in any details.
So far Stuart has created 5 blog entries.

Web Design Tips

web design tipsIt may seem hard to believe but the success of your website … and your business … depends on the design of your website.

A well-designed website produced by someone who knows what they are doing can enhance your business and encourage people to buy your product or service.

A poorly designed website designed by someone who fails to understand the fundamentals of web design can drive people away from your business and ultimately destroy your business.

So how do you ensure that your website is well-designed? Here are a few tips.

Know what you are trying to achieve
Have a clear idea of what you want your website to do. Do you want it to entertain? Do you want it to inform? Do you want it to sell a product or service?

A website that is designed to sell a product or service can also inform visitors but it should never try to entertain.

Don’t follow the crowd but stand out from them
Just because every other website you see in your line of business tries to do things in a certain doesn’t mean that they are all doing it the right way.

It is almost certain that many of them have copied from each other without giving any thought to whether what they are copying will be effective or not.

Keep your website focused on the outcomes you want
If your website is designed to sell a product or service everything … and I mean everything … that goes into the design and content should be aimed at just one thing. Everything should be aimed at leading your site visitor from a vague interest to actually buying what you are selling.

If there is anything on your site that distracts from that aim, it should be removed.

Make sure people can actually read the text
Pastel colours in backgrounds and text look cool and you see them everywhere. Don’t be tempted … especially with the text.

Strong contrasting colours … and for text nothing is as strong as black text on a white background … is the only thing that you should be using. Faint text colours are hard to read and if people can’t read your text then they will leave.

“Busy” websites tend to drive people away
Clutter … avoid it at all costs. You might think that a busy web page will impress your potential clients but all it will do is make it harder for them to find the information they need.

White space and just a few images is good and it makes people feel comfortable when they visit your site. People who feel comfortable are more likely to buy what you are selling.

Make life easy for the people who visit your website
Make things easy for the people who visit your website. Don’t make them have to go looking for important information … because they won’t.

Contact details should be on every page on your site. If people have to come to your business or office, then include a map so that they can find you.

Simple, standard fonts make sales
Standard sans-serif fonts … use them even though you may think that they are boring. People have no trouble reading standard sans serif fonts and that’s important. If people have trouble reading the text on your website, then they won’t.

Not everyone has good eyesight
The size of the font that you use on your website is important. Remember, no everyone has the same 20/20 vision that you do and if people struggle to read the text on your website because you have chosen a small font they won’t stick around to buy what you are selling.

Follow these web design tips and you will end up with a business website that won’t win any design awards and it won’t be the coolest website in cyberspace but it will work as a sales machine for your business and that’s more than most websites out there do for their owners.

By |February 2nd, 2016|Websites|Comments Off on Web Design Tips

Let’s Talk Web Hosting

Why do I need web hosting?

Without a web host your business website would not appear on the Internet.

A web host provides disk space for your website and connectivity to the web so that visitors from anywhere in the world can see your website.

Your website is placed on one of your web host’s servers in a data centre that can contain hundreds, and even thousands of servers.

server-farm

Servers racked in a typical data centre used for web hosting

 

What is a server?
A server is basically a very specialized computer that stores your website, and many others as well, and is programmed to display your website on the Internet.

 

What am I paying for?

A web host charges you for the amount of disk space that your website takes up on their servers.

They also charge you for bandwidth – and we’ll talk about bandwidth next time.

And of course they also charge you for providing a service if problems arise and they need to fix the problem.

 

What is bandwidth?

When it comes to the Internet bandwidth is the term for the transfer of data from your website to the computer of someone who is looking at your website.

The more people who look at your website the bandwidth your website will consume. Bandwidth is measured in bytes, kilobytes, megabytes, gigabytes and so on.

Web hosts charge in advance for bandwidth and there is always a minimum amount of bandwidth that you have to pay for even if your website does not use that amount.

 

Will my website always be online?

The Internet is an incredibly fragile system and even though there are many redundancies built in there are times when problems arise and that is why every web host talks about “uptime”

Sometimes the problems that can take your website offline involve issues at the web host’s data centre.

Sometimes the problems that can take your website offline involve issues that are totally beyond your web hosts control.

Your website will also disappear from the Internet if you fail to pay your web hosting accounts. Web hosts are under no obligation or legal requirement to provide a free service.

 

What is uptime?

Uptime is the amount of time that you can reasonably expect your website to be online.

Because of the fragile nature of the Internet there is no guarantee that your website will always be online and that’s why web hosts will guarantee a certain amount of up time but rarely guarantee 100% uptime.

99.9% uptime guarantee sounds impressive but when you do the maths that still leaves quite a large amount of time each year when your website could be down.

 

What is the minimum level of service I need?

There is a wide range of levels of service but these days we would suggest that the minimum level of service is 24/7 phone support.

Email or trouble ticket support is ok but if you run something like an online shop that could be producing income for you at any hour of the day or night then phone support is important.

 

Where should my web host be located?

It is best if your web host is located in the same country as your business. However sometimes there are factors such as cost and uptime guarantees that may make it more economical to host in other countries.

For example, for many years the cost and standard of hosting in Australia made hosting in the US a better choice. That is now changing and we are now recommending to our clients that we set up their websites on an Australian host.

 

This post was compiled from a number of shorter posts on our Facebook page. Follow us on Facebook for more frequent posts about web design, search engine optimisation, web hosting and other relevant information.

By |January 14th, 2016|Website Hosting|Comments Off on Let’s Talk Web Hosting

Calls to Action

calls to action will increase your bottom line onlineThere are times in the web design business where you get a phone call from a client that leaves you wondering whether or not you somehow managed to wake up in a totally different world to the one you went to sleep in. A world where basic website elements such as calls to action are of no importance.

A couple of months ago we were building a website for a new client and when they were happy with it we made it live.

The next day I got a phone call from a close relative of the client who told me that he needed to talk to me because his relative (our client) really didn’t know much about websites and there was something on every page of the website that needed to be changed.

That was a little surprising but, because I knew that this person had bankrolled the website, I felt that I should listen.

Basically what this person objected to, and wanted changed, was the call to action at the foot of every page. Our client was selling a service so the call to action asked people to call his number to arrange a free quote.

Calls to action are fundamental

Calls to action are fundamental to any website that is selling a product or service … they have been for all the years that Toni and I have been in this business and they will be for years to come. Basically calls to action are a necessary part of a website because, if you don’t ask you don’t get.

When it comes to websites and encouraging people to buy what you’re selling, you have to tell people what to do and if you don’t tell them they leave without doing anything positive.

However, according to the guy who called me, calls to action were a sign of desperation and he wanted me to remove every one of them. And he had the experience to back up his demands … he had built a website.

Yes, one website and that was enough to make him an expert.

I won’t detail our discussion but the calls to action are still there on every page of the website and the website, combined with our client’s Facebook business page, is working very well … as we knew it would.

Actually, over the years, we’ve had a number of people who questioned whether or not they needed a call to action. We’ve been told that calls to action are too aggressive … that people don’t need a call to action to tell them to buy a product or call about a service … people know what to do without those rude and blatant calls to action.

Do they? Any A/B testing where A has a call to action and B does not will quickly show you that without a call to action on every relevant page your website won’t work as effectively as you would want it to.

So no matter what you might think of those directives to buy now or call now be sure to include them because they work.

By |January 3rd, 2016|Websites|Comments Off on Calls to Action

3 Fundamental Rules of Web Design

ClipboardHere are 3 rules of web design that you should ALWAYS remember when you are thinking of designing your website, re-designing your website or making alternations to your website.

Forget any one of them and your website could turn into a waste of time, money and space.

Just because you can doesn’t mean you should
There are lots of things you can do with a website and lots of things you can include in your website.

You can have bright colours, flashing lights, dancing bears, your favourite music from your teenage years and much more but just because you can doesn’t mean you should.

If your website is about selling your products or services how will dancing bears and your favourite music improve your chances of making a sale?

If your website is about business, then your website needs to look professional. It needs to look like a business website.

It needs to send a message to the people who visit your website that they can rely on your business.

Will dancing bears, flashing lights and music do that for you? I think not.

Just because you do doesn’t mean anyone else does
Beauty might be in the eye of the beholder but when it comes to websites the “beauty” perceived by the website owner is seldom what anyone else sees.

You might like pastel colours, unusual fonts and something quite different for the navigation but is that what your site visitors want to find?

Do they want to have to squint to ready your text or struggle with fonts that may look wonderful but are impossible to read?

When it comes to business websites your potential customers want the information clearly displayed in a format that they can understand.

If they can’t find the information that they are looking for then they leave because they know that someone else will give them what they want.

If you’re not in the business of entertaining then don’t try and entertain.
If you have a business website then it’s there to sell your products or your services … and maybe do a little educating as well.

It’s not there to entertain people and the more you try to entertain the fewer sales your website will generate. When people come to a business website they expect information and some way to buy what you’re selling … they don’t want to be entertained and if you try they will perceive that as being a waste of their time.

While most people tend to waste a lot of time online they don’t want to do it when they are trying to do business.

Every item that goes into building your business website should be there for no other reason than to sell your products or services.

Anything that doesn’t do that is a waste of space and will only encourage people to look somewhere else for what they want.

By |December 29th, 2015|Websites|Comments Off on 3 Fundamental Rules of Web Design

Your Website is Not About You

WarningI know, the title of this post clearly sounds as though I have lost my marbles.

How could your website not be about you?

If your website is not about you then who is it about?

Well the simple fact is that I haven’t lost anything and I am definitely not joking when I say that your business website should never be about you.

I know that is undoubtedly hard to accept or believe and if you don’t accept what I have just said then you’re not alone. A great many business website owners, and web designers, out there don’t understand that fundamental fact.

They believe that their website is very definitely about them and they want to tell their customers all they can about themselves … but their potential customers, and your potential customers, don’t care.

All any potential customer cares about when they visit a website is what’s in it for them. What will the product or service that a business website is selling do for them?

They don’t care if you have been in business for five months or 500 years. They don’t care if you are carrying on a family tradition or honouring the memory of someone who was near and dear to you but has now passed away.

They don’t care if you love dogs, drive an exotic sports car and are only seen at the best parties. All they care about is what your product or service will do for them.

Will it improve their life? Will it save them money? Will it solve some problem that they have been struggling with for years?

Can they have it immediately? Will they have to wait for weeks to have it delivered? Does it come in their favourite colour? Will they be the first on their block to own one? Will they be able to return it if it doesn’t work?

Will you really deliver it or are you going to take their money and skip the country with it?

Those are just some of the things that people are interested in when they are visiting your business website.

Is your website going to answer those questions or is it going to tell them over and over again how good you are and how wonderful your product is?

If you don’t answer their questions; if all you want to do is make yourself, or your business, look good then your potential customers are going to leave without buying a thing.

In short, your website needs to stress the benefits of owning your product or using your service.

By |December 27th, 2015|Websites|Comments Off on Your Website is Not About You