Blog June 2014

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The Key Ingredients to Launching a Successful Website

Posted On: June 17, 2014

The Key Ingredients to Launching a Successful Website

What makes a website great? It’s all about the user experience. Think about the kinds of sites that you enjoy visiting. What makes you come back again and again? Apply those features to the site you want to create for your own business and you’re sure to hit a home run.

1) Appearance

 This is by far the most important element of launching an effective website. If you’re promoting your business, you need an attractive platform on which to sell your services.

 In our experience, less is more. Try to avoid pages that are too “busy” and text heavy. Instead, opt for a feeling of space with paragraphs that are short and well-aligned. Keep tabs and headers to a minimum as best you can; 5 or 6 tabs usually do the trick.

 Most importantly, come up with eye-catching visuals to draw in your users. It’s easier to peruse images than to go through long blocks of text any day. Pictures are worth 1000 words, especially when they’re on a website.

 2) Content

 So how will you fill these pages? As we mentioned previously, less is more, so try to keep the language on your site as snappy and conversational as you can. People have shrinking attention spans these days so try to condense as much information you can into smoothly flowing copy.

 Think about the key messages you want to deliver to your audiences:

 What specific kinds of services are you selling?

  • What makes you stand out from your competition?
  • How will clients benefit from your expertise?

 Organize your tabs and pages so that you can promote each service individually. That way, the reader can easily digest the information, rather than reading too much at once.

 Of course, be sure to create an About page that succinctly sums up everything you bring to the plate.

 Testimonials are a great way to plug your services without feeling like you have to pat yourself on the back. Let your clients speak for themselves to exhibit the excellent work you do. And in their words of praise, be sure to include the positive end results they experienced as a result of working with you.

 Always have a Contact page on your website so people can get in touch with you easily. Make sure your contact information is visible on every page, even it’s a simple email address or a mobile phone number.

 If you have a Facebook page or a Twitter or Instagram account, include those links on your home page so people can connect with you on social media.

3) Functionality & Usability

 Again, you want your website visitors to have a favorable user experience. Functionality and usability play a large part.

 Think about what you want to accomplish with your website. Will you be selling a product? A live event? Perhaps you want to create a “shopping cart” or enable PayPal services. In the case of making requests, such as a hotel reservation, the creation of an online form might be in order. Contact forms are a popular feature on websites since they allow users to provide their own contact information, as well include any additional feedback/questions they have.

 These days, users expect interactivity and two-way communication. Activating a comments section on articles or blog posts is a great way to converse with your readers and build more traffic.

 As for usability, it is important to have seamless navigation on your website. Organizing tabs/headers (as previously mentioned) is an effective way to keep your site structured. You’ll also want to make sure readers can link back to each individual page for easy reference. The more organized your content, the better accessibility you can offer to your readers. Make sure information is easy to find; including a search function on your site is extremely helpful.

 4) Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is an essential part of designing a great website because the right metadata will help people find your business on search engines such as Google and Bing. At Webdugout, we work with our clients to help them include relevant information and descriptions to make their business easy to locate online – and more importantly – place them at the top of search results. Displayed content and back-end coding will always remain readable and relevant on search engines.

Call Webdugout today at (631 )761-7600 for a free website evaluation.

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2014 Top Mistakes To Avoid When Designing A Website

Posted On: June 02, 2014

Top Mistakes to Avoid When Designing a Website

 1)   Mystery Meat” Navigation - We’ve said it before, and we’re going to say it again. When you’re designing a website, you must stick to simple navigation. Visitors must be able to find everything they need with an easy-to-use, obvious navigational bar.  People love to be spoon-fed information so make sure your tab titles are as straightforward as possible.

2)   A Cluttered Home Page – When visitors come to your site, you want them to feel welcome and stay there. To accomplish that, you need to create a spacious home page with just the right amount of information to keep them flipping the page. Don’t overdo it with too many details or photos; that’s what the individual web pages are for.

3)   Website Has an Unclear Purpose – What do you want visitors to get out of your site? Are you promoting yourself? Your business? Multiple services? Are you an informational resource? Define your purpose, encourage a call to action wherever necessary, and establish what you have to offer to your customers right off the bat.

4)   Unorganized Content Layout – A clean look and feel and easy navigation is certainly essential, but you have to make sure the content is organized and makes sense to the reader. How your content is structured will determine if your website (and business) is a success or a failure.  To hold a reader’s attention, the content has to flow, remain succinct, and contain enough points out interest for people to scan information relevant to their needs.

5)   Old or Outdated Content – You launch your website. All is well. You’re done, right? Not by a long shot. Once you create a website, you have to continue to feed the beast. Updating your site with fresh content every few weeks will keep people coming back. Changes can be quick and simple – you can update a photo, replace a testimonial, jazz up a few lines of text. Anything that let’s your users know that you’re making an effort to keep your content up-to-date. And if you don’t, you run the risk of some of your information becoming stale and outdated.  

6)    Over-glitzing – Many times, people will aim for the flash to keep people on a web page. Sure, catchy designs are a plus, but frankly, we’d prefer informational, accessible content to glitz and theme music any day. Remember, less is more, and always keep in mind the reasons why people are visiting your website. They don’t really want a song and dance; they’re there because they require information of some sort. While some may think your site looks good, they won’t necessarily remember what your service or product is all about.

7)   Going Live Without Testing – This is a big no-no in the web world. It’s like starting the baseball season without any spring training. You have to warm up. Therefore, before launching any site, it is critical to test it out first:

  • Is the navigation working?
  • Are your links correct?
  • Are the photos/videos loading quickly enough?
  • Will your readers encounter any Flash issues?
  • Will your website function properly on a mobile device?

In short, make sure your car is working properly before it leaves the shop – pilot it to a few test users and have them offer feedback on what is and isn’t working. That will resolve any initial problems and help you secure a successful launch. 

Call Webdugout today at (631)761-7600 for a free website evaluation.  We will carefully analyze your website and provide you with valuable information. 

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