Is Your Homepage Doing It’s Job?

Did you know that you have 8 seconds to capture your visitors’ attention? Since these seconds are so very important to drawing attention to what your business has to offer, how do you know your website’s homepage is truly doing it’s job?

If you are in doubt, or finding your conversion rates are not ideal, then you may want to look into ways you can give your homepage the update it needs. Windy City Web Designs suggests the following helpful tips to capture your visitors’ attention:

Ensure your navigation is easy to use. Choose a layout that is clutter-free and easy to navigate. Avoid too many images and icons, as well as long texts or banners.

Use images. Use high-quality and informational photos on your landing page. Avoid using too many photos since they can overwhelm the eye and low quality photos in order to maintain a professional appearance.

Include a call to action. Be sure to use “call to action” buttons. Keep in mind, however, that these buttons should not contain more than four words, as should be placed where it can be seen.

Keep content relative and simple. Keep your text simple and up-to-date. Be sure that your content is always current and resourceful to your users. Avoid using too much text as well, which can turn off and tune out users.

Include your contact information. Include your contact information, including your address. This will help your users when looking to contact you or looking for your location. Avoid making this pertinent information hard to find on your homepage.

Whether your homepage needs a little help, or your website needs a major update, contact Windy City Web Designs for help with any of your business’s website design and Internet marketing needs.

Consider These Aspects Of A Website Before Designing Yours

Looking to start 2017 with a new website design? If so, there are several important aspects of your website that you need to consider, especially before meeting with your web designer.

What Is Your Color Palette?

Many people tend to go with basic colors, sticking to blue, white, or green, especially when designing their website themselves. However, when working with an experienced web designer, you may find yourself speaking with a branding specialist who better understands the importance of certain colors, especially as it pertains to your business.

Did You Get Ideas From Your Competitors?

Looking at different websites can be beneficial in deciding what you do and don’t like in a website’s design. You should consider things like images, color palettes, responsiveness, clean design, and how easy the website is to use and follow. Give your designer a few different sites that you like, and sites that you don’t like, so they can help to determine what kind of website you are looking for.

What’s Your Marketing Goal? 

There is nothing more important than knowing who your targeted audience is going to be. From your content, to your web design, all aspects of your website is designed around  who your audience is going to be and what their needs are. Once you figure out who your target audience is, you can start to find out what you are wanting in a website. If your business is working with professionals, you can choose a formal tone, and as for retailers, a more informal design may be necessary.

How People Will Find Your Site?

Once your perfect website has been completed, your next big goal is to direct traffic to your website. With social media integration, you can easily gain more of exposure, in turn, increase your traffic. If you do not have traffic coming to your website, something is going wrong, and you don’t want to risk losing potential customers.

Contact Windy City Web Designs for more information on how we can help drive your business with a new user-friendly website.

Ways To Make Your WordPress Website More Search-Engine Friendly

Are you looking for additional ways to make your WordPress website more search-engine friendly? If you answered yes, then these helpful tips are just what you need:

Regularly post new blogs. Since Google has a bias towards fresh content, giving preference to more recent results, it is important that you are publishing new and meaningful content, regularly.

Review your blog titles. It is important that you take time to review your blog post tiles first before publishing them, especially since your blog post titles are vital to your SEO rankings. Be sure to compare the keywords you used in your keyword list, and make your blog title more keyword rich.

Create meaningful keywords. If SEO is of utmost importance to you, then developing a keywords list is a must. An effective list of keywords and phrases should describe your products and services, including words from search terms that are likely to be used to find your business online.

Use an SEO plugin. A plugin will allow you to set keyword-rich custom titles and Meta descriptions for your posts for the major search engines. Consider using the All in One SEO Pack to make this an easier task.

Avoid spam comments. Often times people will leave spam comments on your blog. And since it counts as content, according to Google, it is important to eliminate comments that do not pertain to your products or services, as this will ruin your keyword relevancy and hurts your rankings.

Utilize social media sharing buttons. With Google, if it recognizes that your blog article is getting a lot of posts and shares on social media, it will then boost your blog’s ranking, making it easier for readers to share your content.

If you need help with your website’s search engine optimization, contact Windy City Web Designs for more information today!

Web Design vs. Web Development

Many people often confuse the terms Web Design and Web Development, using them interchangeably. While they sound alike, and sound like they mean the same thing, their meanings are actually very different from each other.

When making the decision to build or design your website, it is important to know the difference between the two.

What Is Web Design? 

Web design is the part of the website referred to as the “front end”, or the customer-facing part. This part of the website is the appearance of the website, and how the customers are interacting with it.

A good web designer will know how to put together all the principles of design in order to create a site that is not only appealing, but modern as well. Designers also understand the importance of usability and how to create a site that customers want to navigate through because it’s easy.

It is important to know the importance of keeping your customers interested in your product or services that you have to offer. If your site is boring, your customers will likely think so too. Be sure to keep your website updated and fresh.

What Is Web Development?

Web development is the part of the website that refers to the back-end of the website, which is the programming and interactions side. A web developer focuses more on how a site works and how the customers get things done on the site.

A good web developer knows how to program and code with programs like HTML, CSS, PHP, and CGI. Web developers also understand how the web forms work, ensuring they are able to keep your site running smoothly and effectively.

Web Design vs. Web Development

Both Web Designers and Web Developers need to work together to achieve one goal, creating an effective and modern website or app that attracts potential customers to your business.

In order for a website to function properly and is attractive, both the design and development must be sound. Colors, graphics, and content need to reflect the product, brand, or service that you are offering.

The jobs of designers and developers are starting to become more blurred, especially since more designers are starting to learn how to hand code, and more developers are paying close attention to design theories.

If you have any questions, or need help with your web design or web development needs, contact the professional designers and developers at Windy City Web Designs.

Is Your Website Doing Its Job?

Designed to draw in visitors and provide them with the information they are looking for, quickly and easily, an effective website needs to be just that…effective. In order to ensure your website is doing its job, there are a few things you need to consider:

Make your logo meaningful and memorable. Your logo can say a lot about your company. It is sometime the first impression people have on your business. Make sure it is sleek and clean and if it has a tagline is easily read and is understandable as to what your business does or represents.

Make sure your navigation is user friendly. Create a navigation bar that is not cluttered and includes drop-down menus which include appropriate individual pages to help increase your SEO.

Make sure your website is clean and modern. Do not overcrowd your website and include too many options and items for people to choose from. Make sure pages do not have visual clutter that would draw the visitor’s eyes away from the most important part of the page. Also, it is critical that your website is modern and easy to use, otherwise, many visitors may find themselves leaving yours for another.

Look like a professional with your content and images. While adding your own content and pictures may seem like a good way to save money, it is important to consider using a professional to ensure your website looks professional, especially when it comes to its content and images. Professionally written content and high quality pictures can draw a user attention and increase there changes of purchasing or signing up.

Be responsive. Since most people access websites from their smartphone or other devices, such as tablets, it is important to ensure your website is responsive. If your website cannot be accessed by a visitors phone, laptop, or tablet, the likeliness of them leaving your website and not returning goes up.

If your website is no longer effective and doing its job, contact Windy City Web Designs for more information today.

Get Your Business Noticed With These Web Design Tips

Not only is it important in today’s competitive business world that you have an up-to-date and modern website, it is as equally important to ensure that your website can easily be converted and is optimized for the search engines.

With some simple web design changes, you can rest assured you are getting your business noticed, keeping you ahead of the competition.

  1. Draw out your plan. In order to give you a better idea of what you want your website to look like, it is always a good idea to draw out your overall site layout offscreen first. This will help you get an idea of where you want specific elements of your website to go, helping you to better understand what may r may not look good or work.
  2. Go responsive. Websites that aren’t responsive aren’t an option anymore. With the use of mobile devices and tablets being at an all time high, it is critical that your website will be easily accessible to your visitors.
  3. Think big when it comes to your fonts. While you don’t want your font to take up the entire screen, it is important to use a larger font size, especially since this will help to grab your visitors’ attention. By ensuring your font size is at a minimum of 18 points, you not only increase the readability of your text, especially on mobile devices, but you can also place focus where it is needed on your website’s content.
  4. Avoid too much clutter. Simply by minimizing the amount of clutter on your website, instead including more space around and between your website’s elements will better help your visitors to be able to navigate your site, providing more of a focus on what your visitors may be looking for.
  5. Create a much simpler navigation. Complicated navigation systems create way too many options, often turning your visitors away. By eliminating sidebars, placing fewer items in your navigation menu, and avoiding the use of too many links, you can draw more attention to your site, as well as ensure you are reducing clutter.

Windy City Web Designs specializes in building search engine friendly websites. For more information or to get started on a customized website design for you business, contact us today.

Should You Add A Video To Your Website? The Pros And Cons Of Both

Are you thinking about adding a video to your website? While videos can have a variety of useful purposes and benefits, it may not be ideal for every website.

Before you post a video or several to your website, be sure to consider the following pros and cons:

Pros:

  • Videos are appealing to your audience. Many people prefer to watch videos, especially when it comes to avoiding having to read over reading content. If this is the case, when adding videos to your site, you open the potential to widen your audience, bringing in new visitors.
  • Videos can help your product or services to make sense. By explaining your product, services, or concepts with a video, will help your brand make more sense. By having a good amount of “how to” articles and videos showing what to do, you can really benefit from the format.
  • Videos allow you to be more interactive. Simply by showing your face, speaking to your users in a video, you are giving your audience the feeling of being on a more interactive and personable scale, developing and building a relationship with them.

Cons:

  • Videos require work, even before you start. Videos require time and effort, especially if you create a video that you want to appear more professional. From the setting, to the setup, to the script, you are putting in a lot of work, before you even start.
  • Videos take time to edit. Once you are finished creating a video, you are going to end up spending more time on editing in order to make it worth while.
  • Videos aren’t for everything. Not all products or services can be suited for a video. This is where it is best to understand if your business should just stick to a list of resources, detailed researches, and articles for your users.

For more information, or to see how we can help enhance your website, contact Windy City Web Designs.

Ensure Your Website Defines Your Business

Your business’s website can act as a virtual extension of your business. This is why it is important to ensure your website truly defines your business, setting you apart from your competition.

Here are some ways Windy City Web Designs can help ensure your business stands out from the rest:

Ensure your website design is attractive. Your website’s appearance, including your logo, color scheme, images, and fonts, are all setting the tone for who your business is and what it represents, which ultimately attracts your targeted audience.

Ensure your website is consistent. Everything on your website should serve a purpose. Being conscious of brand reinforcement will help strengthen your brand. If you simply try to market to a variety of people, or just anyone, the likeliness you will create a murky brand, making your entire business confusing to your audience.

Ensure you have a web presence. Having a website is the first step to gaining presence, but an advertising or Internet marketing campaign is essential step in the process. Be sure to integrate your social media accounts, which will extend your business messaging to a much larger audience, as well as get involved in community and industry events, which will help to give your business a presence not only online, but in your community.

Ensure your content is relevant. Understanding how your audience perceives your business is key to reaching current clients and potential clients. Helping you to do so is your website’s content. You should understand your business’s strong points and prove your business’s value to customers, only providing content that is relevant and meaningful.

If you are interested in learning more about how Windy City Web Designs can help build your business’s brand, create a custom website, or to get started on an effective Internet marketing campaign, contact us today.

Building Your Own Website Vs. Hiring A Web Design Company

A well laid out website can be helpful to potential clients and customers, building your business and taking it to another level, helping them pick your company over all the competition.

When it comes to making the decision to either build the website yourself, or contact a web design company to do so, it can be a difficult choice. However, once you review the pros and cons, you may find that hiring a professional may be the better choice.

Design

While there are many desktop and online applications that enable you to create websites quickly, some of these programs can be difficult to use or for use on a specific type of website, making them not ideal for your use. And since you are going to be producing a website with consumer-oriented tools, you must possess at least some type of experience in coding and programming.  If you need specific types of features, such as customer management solutions, shopping cart applications, or login abilities, then you might want to hire a professional web developer to do these things for you.

Shopping Carts

If you are planning to sell products online, or need a customer management system, implementing your website can be very time consuming, especially when you will want to ensure that every product has a description. This means that you have to design a new page or database entry for every product you are selling on your website.

Content

Meaningful content on your website not only attracts more visitors, but helps to make your website be found amongst the search engines. This means that writing articles or blogs for your site can require a substantial amount of time out of your daily schedule, which can take away the time necessary to running and growing your business.

Repairs And Maintenance 

A successful website requires more than just a name and great design. Once your website goes live, you will be required to make continuous maintenance checks, as well as updates in order to ensure your website is functioning properly and effectively. While it may be easy to create a website with today’s modern development software tools, these applications are not very useful if your site starts to have many problems.

Cost

The cost of creating a website on your own, compared to hiring a professional may be the major consideration in your decision. And while an experienced and professional website developers and designer may not be the cheapest option, it is a good idea to consider all of the time and effort creating a website requires, especially when an effective website may play an essential role in your business’s success.

For more information and to see how our professional designers at Windy City Web Designs can help create a customized website for your business, contact us today.