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.

SEO: Successful Marketing Strategies

A successful Internet marketing strategy is just like building anything. It is critical that you start with a solid foundation and a good understanding of how an effective Internet marketing campaign works.

That foundation comes from understanding three basics of Internet marketing:

  1. Search Engine Optimization
  2. Content Marketing
  3. Social Media Marketing

However, simply because you know what each facet does for your website, this isn’t enough to ensure your marketing strategy is going to work. Applying even well-established marketing techniques incorrectly can hurt your rankings, which means in order to maximize the benefits, you also need to understand the shortcomings.

Search Engine Optimization

When people think of marketing and the search engines, SEO, or search engine optimization, is usually the first thing that comes to mind. SEO is used to create a site that the search engines will rank as one of the most relevant pages for a matter of time. Since 95 percent of people who use search engines click on a page that appears on the first page results for the major platforms, such Google, Yahoo, or Bing, you can see why search rank is a huge deal to your business.

Building a solid SEO strategy consists primarily of selecting relevant keywords, and providing valuable content that is related to those keywords. In the past, SEO was driven by factors like keyword placement, keywords density, and even how many times a keyword was used to link to that page, but the search engines quickly discovered that keywords could be easily manipulated.

A page that had nothing to do with a keyword could be ranked in top three, just by optimizing the page. Today, this means that sites who rely solely on keywords are often ignored by the search engines.

It is important that your SEO includes the following:

  1. Relevant keywords.
  2. Valuable and meaningful content that is shared.
  3. website that loads quickly and is user-friendly.
  4. Images and content.

An effective SEO campaign requires dedication and work. If you feel that you need help, be sure to contact a professional firm that specializes in SEO and web design, like Windy City Web Designs. Contact us for more information today!

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.

Need Leads? Using Your Website To Drive Your Business

Your website is perhaps one of the most powerful business tools you will have. But are you utilizing it to your advantage?

While every business has varying needs, and will use their website differently, every business wants to utilize it to their advantage, having the leverage to create more growth, which, in turn, will drive their business.

If you feel that you are need of help and do not know how to generate leads, using your website to drive your business, there are a variety of things you can do to help grow your business significantly:

Start tracking your success. First and foremost, it is critical to ensure you are benchmarking your current state of lead generation, before you begin any performance conversion tracking for your website. Tracking your conversion rates are an essential part of determining what is or isn’t working for your website, better understanding which landing pages are converting, and which ones that may require optimization.

Perform a conversion. Do you know for sure your website has been designed to convert traffic? Many web design companies know how to create modern and appealing websites, but do not excel at ensuring your website converts. It is important to determine if your website converts, seeking the help of an experienced web designer that specializes in websites that convert.

Make your website more personable. Unique content allows you to make visiting your website a memorable and more meaningful experience. Simply by ensuring you are using images, buttons, and product options that are specifically tailored to their interests, you are more likely to convert. Better yet, personalized calls-to-action convert almost 50% more than basic calls-to-action, making personalization a great tool in generating more leads.

Utilize live chats. Live chats are a good practice for websites that are generating commerce sales. Simply by answering pre-purchase questions, your chat operators may better be able to push the consumer towards the sale, making this tool beneficial for every website.

Use pop ups. Driving traffic to your website is not cheap, even if you aren’t utilizing a pay-per-click campaign. Most people are using not only time and effort, but other forms of marketing, such as SEO, social media, and content marketing, which all create a monetary value for you. This is why you want as many leads as possible to make the money you have put into your website worth it. One good tool to do so is by utilizing a pop up with an exit offer. These are helpful in increasing those conversion rates you need, improving your overall return on investments.

Windy City Web Designs wants to help ensure you are generating leads with your website. For more information, or to schedule a consultation, contact us today.

Tips To Write Better Content On Your Website

While many people feel like they need to be a professional writer in order to write engaging and valuable content on your website, this cannot be further from the truth. Yes, your website’s content plays an intricate role in the success of your business, however, you do not have to be a literary scholar, you just need to connect with your audience and deliver the information they are looking for.

Here are some helpful tips to help you write better content on your website:

Ensure your content has purpose. Before writing your website’s content, whether it be for your web pages, blog, or social media page, be sure you know what you are trying to write and what you are trying to convey. This will help you from feeling like you are suffering from “writer’s block,” as well as allow the words to properly set the tone.

Avoid being lengthy. Too many words can deter your visitors. Try to keep to the point, as well as ensure it has a flow and purpose, which will help to keep your readers interested in what you have to say. Also, be sure that your spelling and grammar are correct, as this can turn people off.

Write better titles. While it may be tempting to come up with a clever title, it is best to stick with a tile that is clear and direct. Whether for your blog, or your website’s newsletter, by identifying what the article is about in the title will help your visitor decide if they want to read it or not.

Just write. It is difficult to avoid editing and going back to other parts of what you are writing during the writing process. However, it is always best to let the words flow and just write. By editing along the way and going back, you are disrupting the creative process, putting you at risk of losing your great ideas.

If you would like more information, or to see how our professionals can help with your website’s content, contact Windy City Web Designs today.

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.