Consider These Aspects of A Website Before Designing Yours

If you have chosen to design and develop your own website without outside assistance, there are several keys you should take into account prior to jumping right in. The worst thing you could do, when it comes to building a website, is to realize you don’t enjoy the design and feel of the website and then be forced to rebuild from square one. To avoid the heavy complications when the website is rushed, here are a few tips to help you throughout the process.

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 are 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 opt for a formal tone; if retailers are your main clientele, a more informal design may be necessary.

How Will People 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, and in turn, increase your website’s traffic. If you notice your website is not garnering much traffic, there is likely an issue in your SEO or social media integration that should be fixed immediately to avoid 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.

How Your Website can Create Efficiencies in Your Business

It’s no secret that every business intends to please their customers all the while keeping costs down and efficiency high. For decades, companies have run into issues achieving this goal, however, with the lucrativity of the internet, it is becoming easier and easier to pinpoint issues with your business and make the proper adjustments.

Not only can businesses address internal points of contention causing issues, but they can also address external areas as well. Prior to the internet, you would have to look up the name of the business you’re trying to contact in Yellow Pages, call them, and then be put on hold until a representative can speak to you, however, now there are much easier ways to communicate with businesses.

Listen to Customer Reviews: With Windy City Web Designs’ new Reputation Management Program, you will easily be able to take in their thoughts, complaints, compliments, etc. and use those insights to properly adjust your business model and website. Online consumers base their decision of whether your business is reputable or not within the first three reviews of your business they see.

Some business owners will think to themselves, “Well, why should I risk having reviews posted without my knowledge to gain a few more customers when those reviews very well could be destroying my reputation?”

Despite what appears to be a great deal of awareness in posing this question, it is important to remember that having no reviews is just as bad as having tons of one-star reviews. Our Reputation Management Program will increase the reviews you get overall as well customer visits to your website. In addition to this, our Reputation Management Program will automatically filter out the negative reviews and prevent those from being posted to websites and review centers. Not only will this service boost your reputation, but so will your ability to quickly respond to any and all reviews posted about your business.

Availability of Information: Now that websites can be accessed at any time of the day by anyone in the world, information that your business needs to be visible can be seen hundreds, or even thousands of times by unique visitors, all the while keeping the information shared with each customer consistent with the last. Similar to communication, the efficiency offered through setting up a website to display information is absurd compared to how it used to be made available.

Adjust to Customer Wants and Needs Quickly: In order to survive in the world of business, you must be able to quickly adapt to what your customers want and need. With a custom website, you can quickly completely adjust your business model to a more efficient and better-working one to support your client base. If you would like, some websites can also be designed with the capacity to keep your entire system (client information, products, prices, etc.) available to your employees. By making one change to this, you can completely alter the way your business runs and will easily adjust to satisfy your customers.

The best way to ensure your business is running at its most efficient rate is through the use of a website. Having a resource available for all clients and future customers plays a crucial role in developing your business into a well-respected company. If you are looking for more information regarding Windy City Web Designs’ Reputation Management Program or would like to get started setting up your website, contact us at Windy City Web Designs today!

Responsive Web Design vs Adaptive Web Design

When it comes to the ideal website, it can be difficult determining which type of design is best for your business’s needs, especially when it comes to responsive or adaptive design. In order to help you better understand, we are breaking down the differences between responsive web design and adaptive web design.

Responsive Design 

With a responsive web design, you can rest assured that your website is fully functional at any display size, no matter the device being used. This means that your website will be very user-friendly and will automatically adjust to the screen on the user’s device.

A responsive design is the most popular type of design that web designers use and is preferred by the majority of businesses. Responsive design requires less technical work than having an adaptive layout, while still allowing the website to be fully compatible with any resolution. This responsive design hot-switch is imperative now that a large portion of web-users are on their phones or tablets which are constantly being updated with larger screens and higher resolutions.

Adaptive Design

Simply put, adaptive design layouts are designed for specific resolutions. Every browsing window size is different and is dependent upon the size of the device being used. Despite the seemingly large issues presented with this, an adaptive design layout will check the resolution of your browsing screen and load the webpage the necessary way in order to be properly displayed for that specific resolution.

While a responsive layout generally performs better than adaptive, designers admit that in specific cases where there is some complex web applications and fields that need to be fine-tuned, adaptive design is better than responsive for that particular website. Whether you are using a mobile device or a desktop, with the ability to fine-tune and customize your site layout at any resolution, you can be sure that things like your embedded app or order form are displayed correctly.

Mobile-friendly websites are imperative in today’s world, so regardless of which design you choose, as long as you are allowing for a more positive user-friendly experience every time someone visits your website. For more information on which type of design is best for you and your specific needs, contact Windy City Web Designs.

Why Your Website Needs Local Landing Pages

Local landing pages have become an important role in search engine optimization (SEO) for websites today. Simply by developing city specific landing pages on your website, you can increase your visibility, as well as your organic rankings. This is especially beneficial to businesses who are a single-location service area business (SAB).

For example, say you are a landscaper who travels to their clients in a 30-mile radius, in the event that you travel from your home or office in order to serve your customers, your business is considered a single-location service area business (SAB).

Here are some things you should consider when creating your local landing pages:

  1. Identify the cities in which you serve.
  2. Create a unique page of content on your website for each of these cities.
  3. Link to these pages from a top level menu.

It is important that when you create these local landing pages that you are including relevant and helpful content, specific to each location. Here are some ideas to help you develop unique local landing pages:

  1. How long has your business been providing services?
  2. How long have your customers been with your business?
  3. How are your products or services used within the community?
  4. Is your business involved in the community?
  5. Is your product or service in high demand?
  6. How did your business get it’s start? Talk about the people on your team.

If you are interested in adding local landing pages to your website or to see how we can help better your SEO, contact Windy City Web Designs for more information today.

Web Design Tips for Your Small Business

In order for small businesses to stay ahead of the competition, it is best to be on top of how you are marketing your business. This is especially true when it comes to running your website.

If you do not have a website that will attract and hold your customers’ attention, you are in jeopardy of falling behind your competitors and without a website, you are missing an incredible opportunity to engage and connect with your customers.

These web design tips will help your small business be as successful as possible:

Tip#1: Reflect your brand. What are you trying to sell? What do you want your customer’s first impression to be? Be sure to keep your design fresh, simple, and unique. If your site looks similar to others, especially your competition’s, then you risk the chance of being forgotten, instead of making that all-important lasting impression. Your homepage should do all of these things, while appropriately representing your brand and your message you wish to communicate to your customers and visitors.

Tip #2: Include high-quality content. Content rules when it comes to finding your website amongst all the others in the search engines. Quality content and links on your website are key to helping your chances of being found in search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing. Since content does need to be fresh in order to be effective, it is important to keep all your information up-to-date and incorporate content rich items such as blogs on your site.

Tip #3: Use responsive design. In a world where smartphones and tablets rule, it is critical to ensure your website can be easily accessed by these types of devices. It is best to consult with a professional web design firm if you are interested in incorporating responsive design into your website.

Here at Windy City Web Designs, we do everything in our power to create custom, responsive websites for all our clients. Not only do we enoucrage your input for design and layout, but we also explain all of what we are doing, meaning being a computer-wiz is no longer a requirement to become a successful business owner.If you have any questions or would just like to get in touch, contact us today to see how you can get started on a unique solution to fit your business’s needs.

How to Reduce Size of your Website

In today’s day and age full of young, motivated people, they want their information to be presented to them in an instant. They despise the feeling of slowness, and will ultimately go to a lower tier website if their content isn’t loading quick enough. To keep your website afloat amidst all of this chaos, you must ensure your website loads quickly and the important information is no more than one or two clicks away.

To be perfectly clear, this will not teach you how to reduce the size of your font or how to fit more onto one page, rather, the goal of this post is to provide some tips and tricks on how to reduce file sizes on your website, ultimately decreasing page load times and increasing your user’s happiness and your website’s search engine rankings.

The most time-consumptive part of loading a website is loading the images. The internet browser has to make individual requests for each and every image on the website, thus increasing page loading times. There are two ways to reduce the amount of requests internet browsers have to send:

  1. Reduce Images: The most linear way to reduce the amount of requests is by explicitly reducing the amount of images present on your website.
  2. Use Image Sprites: Image sprites is a quick and easy way to reduce the amount of requests the internet browser will have to send, without removing any of your website’s content. To do this, you have to use CSS (cascading style sheets), which will pull the specific part of the image you need to be displayed in a specific location, while other areas can use other locations from the image.

The best way to conceptualize image sprites is by creating a mashup of your four favorite images in your head. Then, place a grid over the image, sectioning off each image into its own little quadrant. From this, you can pull a specific quadrant’s data (we’ll use quadrant 1) and place it anywhere on the website, while quadrants 2, 3, and 4 can all be placed anywhere else on the website. With this method, the internet browser is only requesting one image’s information, but you are getting 4 times that amount! This method’s efficiency increases exponentially as you add more images and more sprites to the website.

If you are having a difficult time developing a website or would like to completely redesign your site to keep up with the modern times, feel free to contact us at Windy City Web Designs to get the ball rolling.

Add Life To Your Website With These Tips

Websites play an intricate role in your business, making it critical that you are ensuring it is doing it’s job. In order for your website to fulfill it’s job properly, you must not only stand out from the competition, but it must offer your visitors with a modern and user-friendly experience.

Whether or not your website is in need of a complete redesign, or just needs to be revitalized a little, there are several things that you can do to your website to add life to it, including the following:

Ensure your website is responsive. More people are viewing the web and looking for your businesses through mobile devices and tablets than they do through computers. When your website isn’t responsive, the likeliness your website will be visited decreases. With a responsive design, your website will detect the phone or tablet, automatically adjusting the screen to fit their specific device, which makes this a more pleasurable experience.

Add valuable content. By adding things such as blogs and forums, the chances you will attract visitors will increase, especially when it is informational and beneficial to your visitors.

Update your images. From outdated images, to larger files that are slowing down your loading speeds, to images that aren’t truly representing your brand, simply by replacing images on your website, you can make your pages more visually appealing, attracting more visitors.

Add Calls To Action. Do you have any calls to action buttons currently on your website? If you said no, then you should seriously consider adding one. These are not only effective in drawing attention to what you are selling, but they an easy way to attract visitors by offering promotions, discounts, or more information about your products or services.

Ensure it is modern. With dated websites being clearly evident today, your visitors may choose modern over outdated, leaving your website for your competition.

Get connected. If your website is not utilizing social media, you are likely missing out on potential visitors, which can mean business. Social media is an effective way to keep in contact with your potential businesses, as well as keep them coming back for more.

If you are interested in learning more about how we can help add life to your website, contact Windy City Web Designs today.

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.

Mobile Search Stats On The Rise: Are You Ready?

The number of people using their mobile phones today to find businesses, services, and products, are at an all-time high. In fact, according to Smart Insights, 80% of Internet users own a smartphone and use it to access the Internet. With mobile search stats on the rise, this makes having both a mobile-friendly website and an effective mobile marketing plan essential to your business and your conversion rates.

Mobile Design

Mobile websites are designed to serve as an adapted version of your desktop website, in order to fit the mobile device that your user is using. There are many advantages to using a mobile site including benefits such as: user-friendly navigation, clean visual design, operates at a faster navigation speed, and instant mobile marketability by attracting both new and repeat customers.

Responsive Design

Responsive websites are developed by using a single website that automatically adjusts itself to fit any device that your user is using, based on the screen size and platform. Responsive web design uses code like HTML5, which provides benefits such as: more fluid grids, flexible images, and better screen resolution.

Mobile Marketing

Due to the increase in number of smartphone and tablet usage, not only is it important to have a mobile-friendly website, but it is as equally important that you have an effective SEO and digital marketing strategy, especially since most of your traffic will be through the use of a mobile device.

According to Marketing Land, by 2019, mobile advertising will represent 72% of all US digital ad spending, making advertising online to desktops a thing of the past, strictly focusing on marketing to mobile devices.

If you are interested in learning more about how Windy City Web Designs can help you optimize for mobile, as well as create a mobile marketing strategy specific for your business, then contact us fir more information today.

Your Website: How To Streamline Your Business

While you may know how to successfully run your business, do you know how to better your business practices by streamlining? If you answered no, here are some helpful tips to help you better streamline your business when it comes your website?

Managing Your Website

In today’s world, it is important that you have a website that helps to market your business, especially when growing your businesses. However, it is as equally important that you are not going without maintaining, caring for, or providing ample attention to your website, updating it regularly.

If this is an issue, it may be a good idea to invest in a managed hosting company to work for your business. Managed hosting gives you are variety of benefits, including: added security, higher speed, automatic updates, zero downtime, expert technical support, as well as backups performed daily.

Monitoring Your Website With Analytics

Google Analytics has become an extremely useful tool in monitoring the impact of your website, providing you with helpful information that can give you a better insight into where customers are coming from, when they are finding you, as well as what content is most relevant and driving traffic.

There are other things that website analytics tools can do to help monitor your website. From the ability to notify you of issues you may have with your site, such as broken links, and providing you with helpful tips to help you increase your traffic, these analytics tools enable you to make your website run more efficiently, allowing you to focus on your marketing efforts in order to help improve your online visibility.

Let Your Website Do The Work

Your website is a great tool, so use it. Your website is your main access point to your clients and customers, which is why it is important that you are offering them with the ability to access information about your products or services, which can keep them from needing to contact you directly for the very same information they can get directly off of your website, preventing them from getting frustrated and leaving, or worse, going to your competitor.

Many web design companies, like Windy City Web Designs, can provide you with effective, reliable, and customized websites, providing you with the tools necessary, including the ability to set up online purchasing and billing.

If you need help with managing or monitoring your website, or are interested in learning more about how your website can help to streamline your business, contact Windy City Web Designs today for more information.