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.

Know How to Market your Brand

Most business owners, nowadays, are conscious of the importance of branding their services and products. In spite of this general awareness, very few businesses actually understand how and why to brand. Creating a brand for your business is more than just making a bold statement, rather, it’s all about making your customers feel wanted and respected, reducing redundancies, and being unique, among many others.

  1. By and large the most important step in branding your business is actually defining your company; What do you do? What services do you offer? What types of products are being sold? You must consider all of these and many more items to fully develop the idea of what your brand will be.
  2. Holding respect for all of your customers, no matter their role or services they are purchasing, creates a true sense of professionalism for your brand. Every adult and client wants to feel respected when they are interacting with other people. Therefore, it is imperative to your business that you treat everyone with respect.
  3. When developing a main message or saying, keep it short and simple. In addition to this, try to reduce how often it is used; when a saying is loosely thrown around, its meaning and message behind it are lost, an event no business wants to happen to them. To prevent this from transpiring, create one main message and then many sub-messages to create a cohesive brand.
  4. Finally, make your business unique. Everyone knows the big players in all the markets and what they stand for, so your business must be different. Whether it be the warm, at-home feeling your clients get when they walk into your lobby or the feeling of independence, leverage this to its full potential.

Branding is the most effective way of showing your customers and clients that you are different from your competitors. Make your business really stand out and display what it offers in an immersive and cohesive manner. In today’s market, consumers are looking to offer their business to small businesses rather large corporations. Leverage your status in the community to take full advantage of what your business stands for. If you have any questions or would like to get in touch with a professional, contact us at Windy City Web Designs to get your business going.

How to Create a Fluid Website

Ensuring your website is easy to use is very important when it comes to your customers’ and clients’ experiences using your business. If there are dead landing pages or crucial pages that don’t have anything linking to them, then odds are the customers will be very unhappy with your business and your management.

To avoid the possible issues of having a clunky website, it is important to follow these few steps and finally achieve the fluidity you have been yearning for for years.

  1. Reduce Clutter: In general, always try to keep your website as minimal as it can be. Reduce the unnecessary junk and instead make room for the important details and headings.
  2. Use a Navigation Bar: Nearly every website today has a navigation bar at the top of their webpage, which is great. However, many of these navigation bars are cluttered and have links to far too many web pages. Try to keep the links to about five or six.
  3. Use Links: Use shortened links with text over them (hyperlinks) to reduce the amount of needless clutter and random letters and words on your website.
  4. Contact Us: If your website is advertising products and goods, then it is important that you have a contact us page to let your user/customer know that you can be contacted.
  5. Have a Main Body for Writings: When you are typing articles to be posted, it is important that you have a main body paragraph or paragraphs. With this setup, the viewer can much more easily read and get the information they are looking for without reading unnecessary information.
  6. Utilize Sidebars Appropriately: Again, it is important that your website is clean and the links/categories clear. Using sidebars is another great way to display important information and pages without cluttering up the entire web page.

In many cases, your website is all your customer sees. It is always important you are showing yourself as a clean, mature, company that is easy to use and communicate with. If you ever need help with your website, be sure to contact us at Windy City Web Designs to begin improving your website.

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.

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.

Helpful Tips When Creating Your Website

Creating the ideal website can be an intimidating process. From your logo design, to colors, to your content, your website must have all the right pieces in place in order to be effective. Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind when designing your perfect website:

Tip #1: Hire a professional web designer. Not only are web designers familiar with the right and wrong way to create a website, they are also experts in helping you to come up with the things your website will need in order to help your stand out for all the rest. Be sure to communicate regularly with your designer, as they will customize your site with your vision.

Tip #2: Know your audience. One of the most important things you will need to consider is who your targeted audience is going to be. A lot of the essential pieces in your website, like your content, design, and interior pages, are going to be dependant on who your audience is. For example, if your business is working with professionals, you may wish to have a more formal tone in their design, while certain retailers will require more of an informal design.

Tip #3: Get ideas from other websites. It is a good idea to search other websites that catch your eye, noting the things that you like or don’t like. For example, things like responsive websites, with clean and simple design, are easy for your visitors to use and follow. Simply by giving your designer a few different sites that you like, as well as sites that you don’t like, they can better determine what kind of website may be right for you.

Tip #4: Design the right logo. Something as simple as a logo can help to allow your website’s design to fall into place. With a logo, you will better be able to figure out the colors of your website, which can be a trying task in itself.

For more information and to see how Windy City Web Designs can create the ideal website for you and your business, contact us today!

9 Tips For Designing Your Website

When it comes to designing and creating an effective website, Windy City Web Designs has 9 important tips for you to consider:

  1. Make sure your website looks professional and is visually pleasing to your visitors. This means that it is essential that you use neat layouts, uniformed navigation, keeping your text in colors and sizes that are easy to read and are web friendly.

  2. Make sure the website displays and behaves properly on all major web browsers in various versions: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Opera, Google Chrome and Safari.

  3. Be sure to optimize each page with include page titles and headings, using bullet points and shorter sentences, including relevant keywords on all pages.

  4. Do not auto-play music or videos.  Users overwhelmingly prefer to start these actions on their own.  If they are forced on them, more often than not, they will leave your site.

  5. Be sure that the contact phone number is in the header of all pages on the website. If you have multiple locations, each with a different phone number, have a clear ‘Contact Us’ section that is accessible from any page.

  6. Don’t overload the pages with heavy graphics and videos. These can cause some user’s browsers to operate slowly, or potentially crash.

  7. Be sure that all hyperlinks (both internal and external) are clearly visible and that they function correctly.

  8. Since 1/3 of internet traffic is now done on a mobile device, it is critical that your website is mobile-friendly. It is important to offer those visitors a version of your site that works within the phone, fits the phone screen and allows for easy tapping of phone numbers and maps. Also be sure you use code that detects when a visitor is coming to your site from a phone and automatically directs them to that version.

  9. Contact Windy City Web Designs today to get started on building or improving your website.

How Web Designers Drive Your Business

Small businesses often find themselves as the owners of under performing and unattractive websites. This is likely due to their small budgets, or hiring a web designer that lacks the expertise and knowledge to create an effective website.

It is a web designer’s job to drive the direction of your website, so while it is important to leave it to the professionals, it is critical that you find a web designer that can drive your website and business.

Find A Professional Web Designer

One thing to consider when looking to hire a web designer is their experience and education in web design. Ensure they have had plenty of time to learning the craft that you could not have, as well as a designer who has patience and communicates well.

Power Of Design & Your Business Strategy 

Once you’ve become comfortable with your web designer and have developed an understanding of your goals, then it is time to start implementing your business strategy in your design. Designers have much more creativity than your average business professional, which allows them to create something new and revolutionary, helping your website stand out from the rest.

Make Sure Your Website Makes A Good First Impression 

Everyone knows that a first impression is everything. You want to ensure your website users have an overall positive experience, which will make them want to purchase your goods or services, as well as come back time and time again. If they feel it is a bad design, you are going to lose potential customers.

Leave It To The Professional

Since web designers know what works and doesn’t work, be sure to trust them. However, if you are not happy or experiencing issues, be sure to communicate with them. It is also important to know that an effective and well designed website cannot be created in a half hour. Be sure to always keep your designer involved and have them do your web design work.

For more information about how our web designers can drive your business, visit Windy City Web Designs.

Things To Consider When Creating A Website

Creating a website can be a challenging task. That is why we here at Windy City Web Designs have a few tips for you, which will help to make creating a successful and functional website a bit easier and less stressful.

Create A Domain Name

First and foremost, you will need to create a web-housing plan and a domain name for your business. Your domain name should be your website name, making it easier for people to find your website when searching fro you through the major search engines.

Content Management System

CMS stands for Content Management System, which is the essential core function of visually presenting information on your website. We strongly suggest using WordPress, since it is both user-friendly and intuitive in nature. An added bonus, it is free to use!

Decide On A Theme

Web development has been growing for quite sometime. Everyone has their own type of website, those who have a theme and then those who don’t. For places that don’t have a theme those are the ones who makes things from scratch. As for the ones who do use a theme they start with a web browsing functionality and the design is taken into account.  The theme is defined as a set of files that contains everything for a website, from images, to colors, to fonts and styles.

What To Say

It is important to have an “About Us” section on your website, as it gives you the opportunity to speak directly to your audience, explaining what your brand represents and what your services are. Include certifications and awards as well, as these will help you to stand out from your competitors. Also include contact information, which will make it easier for your clients and to contact and find you.

Hire A Professional

When in doubt, consult with Windy City Web Designs. Not only can we help to create an effective, user-friendly website, but we can also ensure your clients are finding you, increasing your web presence.

Importance Of A Professional Website

Professional websites have become an intricate part in the success of today’s businesses. From selling your brand, to convenience, to high quality service, a website can do so much for you, your business, and your customers.

It Allows You To Showcase Your Brand

From medical practices, to retail, to service industries, no matter what type of business you run, a website is a great place to showcase your brand’s products or services. By including an image gallery, portfolio, testimonials, and blogs, you can demonstrate what makes your business unique, as well as why your products or services are the best compared to your competitors.

It Provides A Variety Of Conveniences

Providing essential information to your customers takes time. However, with a website, you can better provide the necessary information to your customers, all at their fingertips. With a website, your products and services are available to your customers indefinitely, which saves you time and money, as well as making it more convenient for your customers.

It Provides For A Better Customer Experience

Maybe you sell environmentally friendly products and would like to share tips on how to recycle, or perhaps you’re an accountant and want to give your clients advice on how to simplify their bookkeeping practices. By including a FAQ page, adding articles or uploading newsletters, you can not only answer all your customers’ questions, but you can provide them with critical and essential information, keeping them informed and up-to-date. What better way to provide them with value added service than by sharing information on your website.

If you are interested in the perfect website for your business’s needs, contact Windy City Web Designs today to get started.