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 includes the appearance of the website and how the customers interact 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 of the site’s ease of use.

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 site, or 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 ubiquitous languages such as HTML (Hypertext Markup Language), CSS (Cascading Style Sheets), PHP (recursively known as PHP Hypertext Preprocessor), and CGI (Common Gateway Interface). 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 be attractive at the same time, both the design and development must be sound. Colors, graphics, and content need to reflect the product, brand, or service that you are offering.

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.

What Your Business Is Missing By Not Having A Website

Although there could be a number of reasons why a business would not have a website in this day in age, it is an important part of your business and is a form of marketing that could help you increase the number of customers you already have. We understand that your company may be on a tight budget or you can’t afford it at this time or have been wanting to get a website and it just keeps ending up at the bottom of the list. Even though many businesses may think that a website for their company is a waste of time, it is the complete opposite and will end up saving you money if it is done the right way. “How will it save me money?” you ask. Listed below are reasons why every company, no matter how big or small should have a website.

Windy City Web Designs has professional website designers and developers that can help your company gain credibility. Since people are doing more and more searches not only on their computer, but mobile phones and tablets, odds are they will most likely look for your website if they are a regular customer. Not having a website will result in them visiting the website of your competitor and using their product or service instead of yours. It will provide a professional image for your business and can be used as a very successful marketing tool after the website is created.

A website is always accessible and can keep your customers informed 24 hours a day. It is easier to update information on a website than it is a brochure or informational packet and it is an effective way to inform your customers about upcoming sales, specials, or services you may offer. If you give your customers the option to buy your products online as well, that will give your business the opportunity to increase the number of sales since customers are able to buy at any time.

Having a website is a good way to introduce yourself to your customers if you are a startup business or even a large business. It gives your customers the accessibility of your business from the comfort of their home and can show them that you are a serious business that they can trust. It can open the doors to new possibilities with existing and potentially new customers, which will increase your sales or profitability.

Marketing your business can also be a hassle without a website because you are using other forms of it besides the computer like newspaper ads and print marketing which are probably not even reaching your target audience.  Online marketing such as pay per click, SEO tactics, and blogs are all ways to market your business online and will increase your rankings.

Contact Windy City Web Designs for more information about what we can do to help you get your first website or if you would like a website redesign.

How To Drive More Traffic To Your Business’s Website

It’s easy to say that you have a cool looking website for your business, but if it isn’t effective and doing the job its supposed to be doing, you have invested your time and money for nothing. One way to make sure that this doesn’t happen to your company is to look into an Internet marketing package for your website. Windy City Web Designs provides search engine optimization options that will fit your budget and goals. Here are some ways we can increase the rankings of your website:

1.  Our goal is to make sure all of our clients have high conversion rates. This means your customers are visiting your website and filling out contact forms. We will track the data and use it to our advantage in order to increase your results.

2.   We have content writers on our team that can create original content for your website so it is not duplicate to anyone else’s. This will allow the search engines to find you easier, which can result in higher rankings.

3.  Utilizing SEO techniques such as adding targeted keywords for optimization and using search engine friendly URLs will increase your online visibility so you can attract new and current customers.

4.   Both internal and external link building will improve the traffic to your company’s website. Linking within your website will cause the search engines to pick up on those specific links.

Windy City Web Designs provides design, development, Internet marketing, and ecommerce services in the Chicagoland area including Barrington, Arlington Heights, Crystal Lake and Palatine. Our team can boost your business to the next level with our SEO services. Contact us today to learn more.

How Website Design And Marketing Work Together

Having a professional designer create your website is an important aspect when deciding on either a new website or a redesign. While many think that it is okay to spend less money on the design and make up their loss by having successful marketing, it usually ends up hurting them more than helping.

A great design helps build your company a strong brand identity. Your brand, logo, and now your website all represent who you are as a company and you want your customers or clients to be able to see that. Having a brand that is memorable to your target audience is what you want and you want them to recognize it.

A website that has a great design will increase your marketing efforts by creating a website that will help you stand out from your competitors. Let them know that you are the one and only solution to their needs and give them reasons as to why you are the only company they should be using.

Using colors, fonts, and pictures are what can increase the chances of a customer from staying on your site from 30 seconds to 1-2 minutes. The goal is to increase the sales of your products and the longer a customer or client is on your website the more likely they are to purchase your product or service. According to statistics, 65% of people prefer visual over verbal designs. While creating your new site or redesign it is important to keep this factor in mind.

Windy City Web Designs has the most experienced web designers and web developers to create new websites, redesigns, logos, image ads and more. Visit our portfolio page to see some our award winning websites and other work that we have created.

Tips For Turning Your Traffic Into Sales

When it comes to designing your e-commerce website, not only can you be left with a daunting experience, but your customers can be as well. In order to prevent your customers from abandoning their shopping carts, and your website, you can follow these helpful tips to turn your traffic into sales:

Use “My” not “You”- By turning phrases like “start my free trial,” instead of “start your free trial,” you are making your users feel as if it is more personable and all for them, so why not claim it then.

Use phrases- This is especially important on call to action buttons. Instead of using non-descriptive words such as “submit” or “click here,” you can use phrases like “get instant access” or “tell me more” in order to explain what the link can offer the user.

Use orange buttons- It appears that since large e-commerce sites like Amazon and e-Bay started using orange buttons, the popularity of the use of orange buttons on other e-commerce sites has increased, as well its attraction to consumers when making purchases online.

Homepage placement- Since consumers from the Western regions read from the left to the right, by placing calls to action on the right, and images and videos on the left can help to boost your conversions.

Make your offers clear- When offering something for free, it is important to make sure the user understands what you’re offering. By placing “100% free” to your offer, your conversions are guaranteed to see an increase.

Your web design matters- Make sure your web design is consistent with your advertising. Differences between your ads and your website pages can create a disinterest in your site, in turn hurting your conversions.

By simply making some of these changes to your e-commerce site, you not only can boost your conversions, but increase your sales as well. For help with developing your ideal e-commerce website, contact Windy City Web Designs. We are Chicgoland’s leader in providing exceptional and professional web design and Internet marketing strategies.

By Bjorn Torling

Must Have Items For Your E-commerce Site

When building an e-commerce site, it is essential to have features that will allow for the ideal user experience. In order to ensure that this happens, here are some key components you must to consider including in your e-commerce site.

Calls To Action- The main focus of a call to action is to help guide the user to make a decision. Whether this be to find out more about your products or services, or to make a purchase, these are important to include on every page.

Go Mobile- Since more people do their shopping form their smartphones and tablets these days, it is important to have a mobile friendly design in order to provide these users the best possible experience and to keep them from leaving your site frustrated. Responsive web design is perhaps the easiest way to ensure that your website can be viewed across all types of devices without having to develop more than one site for each device.

Post Videos and Reviews- More people rely on visual things like videos and customer reviews to understand how a product works. Additionally providing content like videos and reviews can help increase your rankings amongst the search engines.

Be an Expert- By hosting educational videos or how to tutorials, you will be viewed as an expert in your industry. Another way to show your knowledge and gain trust from your users is to write a blog. Blogging also increases your chances of being viewed and found in search engines.

Go Social- Social media is such a huge way to spread who you are and what you do. By having accounts with Facebook, Google+, and Twitter, you are increasing your marketability and getting your brand out there, and guess what…it’s free!

Easy to Use Shopping Carts- Shopping cart abandonment happens more often than it should. Most of the time the reason is due to the difficulty viewing their items and checking out. From Magento to Shopify, there are so many different types of shopping carts to choose from, all depending on the needs of your business.

It is as equally important to add your contact information and your security certificates to your e-commerce site as well. Since there are so many options when it comes to building an ecommerce site out there, it is important to work with a designer who can help customize what is right for you.

Windy City Web Designs is Chicagoland’s leader in web design and Internet marketing. Contact us to get started on the perfect ecommerce solution that suits you and your business’ needs.

By Bjorn Torling

What Makes A Good Website?

An effective website isn’t just about design. It’s also about being able to find your product, engage your audience, and keep them coming back for more. In order to ensure you have a quality website, here are some basics you must follow.

Content- Content is an essential component when creating a good website. Since your visitors are there to find specific information, relevant content will provide them with the answers they are looking for. It is additionally important to also in order to include relevant keywords in your page titles, meta tags, and headings to increase your rankings in the search engines. It is also useful to update your content to keep people coming back. Remember, without good content, your website is essentially useless.

Navigation- By having a lack of well-structured pages or clear navigation tabs, visitors will more than likely get frustrated and leave your site. Ensure the information on your website is organized by adding things like sub-pages and drop-down bars. Make navigation as easy as possible for your visitors.

Design- Since lots of graphics can be over-stimulating to your Internet connection, and to your visitors, it’s important to remember to keep things simple. Since it is important to ensure your design is eye-catching, it is imperative to use color, animation, and/or pictures, but in moderation.

Credibility- Your visitors have the ability to view you as a professional in your industry. It is important to keep this in mind when you design your website. A professional looking website must include your business’ contact information, as well as who you are, what you do, and what your goal is. Additionally, by writing relevant blogs and using social networking sites, like Facebook and Twitter, can help to not only increase your credibility, but your traffic as well.

Developing an online presence is essential in order to keep up with your industry and your competition. By consulting with a professional web developer, like Windy City Web Designs, you can ensure your website will not only be user-friendly, but search engine friendly as well, taking your business to the next level.

 
By Bjorn Torling

Do You Need A Website Redesign?

Since it’s a new year, it’s time to think about a fresh start. I’m not talking about dieting or exercise, but getting a jump start on your business and becoming the best of the best in this technological based world. Now is as good a time as any to consider a website redesign, especially since your website is your greatest marketing tool. The following are the top reasons why you may need to consider a website makeover in order to keep up with your competition and stay on top.

Are you mobile friendly? In order to meet user’s demands, it is becoming more apparent that website need to be mobile friendly. Since the majority of your website’s visitors will do so from a smartphone or tablet, it is becoming more imperative to incorporate responsive or mobile web design on your website, all the while, still allowing other users the ability to visit from desktops and laptops.

Are you social media ready? Since word of mouth can sometimes be the best marketing for a business, it is imperative to be using a social media marketing strategy. This can easily be accomplished by including things like links to your social media pages, adding social sharing tools that enable your visitors to “like”, “share”, or “pin” your pages and products, and socially connect with others.

Are you user friendly? If your visitors can’t find what they are looking for, they will leave, and worse, wore than likely won’t come back. By having the information they are looking for like your product information, your contact information, and calls-to-action, will allow for maximized user experience and keep your customers satisfied and coming back.

Are you up-to-date? Not only is it important to keep your website fresh and modern, but it is also important to add new features to increase user experience. Things like blogs, e-commerce, and other features can cause an old website to not function properly. If you are looking to add any of these tools, it is essential to look at your website and consider redesign to create a more fluid website.

Are you wanting a new look? If you say yes to this, then a redesign is a must. Whether you are creating a new logo or rebranding your business, a redesign can help to boost your business and give you a second chance.

Redesigning your website can be a difficult task. By working with a professional web design team like Windy City Web Designs, we can ensure that we will create the website of your dreams. Not only will we work with you to create a website that is easy to navigate and attracts your visitors, but is search engine friendly and provides you with higher rankings and conversions as well.

By Bjorn Torling

Calls To Action: Why Your Website Needs To Have Them

When designing a website, the most important goal is to influence your users to do something. Whether this be buying your product, subscribing to your newsletter, or requesting more information, this call to action, or CTA, is essential in running a successful website. Here are few other reasons why your website must have strong and effective calls to action.

It gives your users direction. Once a user has been directed to your website, you must help guide them as to what step they want to take next. Whether it is a free trial offer or a video demo, you are encouraging your visitor to further investigate what you have to offer them.

It measures your user ratings. By comparing the number of visitors to your site to the number of visitors that accept your CTA, you get your conversion rate, which is a tool used to measure your website’s success.

It provides your website with an objective. By adding a call to action, you are adding a better understanding of what your website is about and what you have to offer. The purpose is to generate leads. The only way to do so is by providing relevant content.

Since not all calls to action suit everyone’s business needs. It is important to only use what will be most effective for you. It is also important to remember that it is not necessary to overwhelm your audience with too many calls to action. Some of the most essential calls to action are things like promotional deals or events; email sign-up, social media sharing, and product and services discovery.

Not only are calls to action not only an effective and fundamental part of optimizing your website for conversions, but they play a key role in your content marketing strategy. For help or questions with your CTA or web design solutions, contact Windy City Web Designs. Our team of professional designers, content writers, and marketers will work to ensure your website not only increases your ROI, but provide your website with your optimal conversion rate.

By Bjorn Torling