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.

How To Improve The Speed Of Your Website

It is a question that has had website owners asking for years, “how can I make my website run faster?” And there actually multiple ways to improve the speed of your website. After ruling out the main reasons why your website would be running slow: the server, the connection, and the client, its time to look at the design aspects. Making sure you have an optimized website will increase the chances of a viewer staying on your website longer. People don’t like waiting for a website to load and will leave if it is taking too long.

Images: The size of an image has a great impact on how fast or slow your website is performing. In order to get a faster website it is a good idea to compress the images that you put on your website and to remember to specify the image dimensions as well. Compressing these images will optimize your site, which will make it run at a faster speed.

Javascript: When running a javascript code on an HTML page it is important to remember where to put the code. Putting it in the wrong spot could increase the chances of your website to start running slower.  All javascript operations should be placed in the footer of your HTML page or just before the ending body tag. Doing this will allow your website to be displayed even if the javascript is still loading.

Using CSS3: Using an external style sheet can keep all of your code organized within your pages and can help your website run faster than if it was all coded in just HTML5.  Keeping all of your CSS code in one document will keep everything condensed and be easier to load for your server.

For more information regarding the speed of your website or if you need help with your website running at a faster speed, contact the professionals at Windy City Web Designs.

Things On Your Website That Are Driving Your Customers Away

Often times, many websites have content, pictures, layout, color schemes and more that can negatively impact your website. The amount of people that are leaving your website, because it is aesthetically unpleasant, could be more than you think. In order to decrease the amount of visitors leaving your website, its important to know why they are leaving in the first place, and try to fix those problems.

Having a non-responsive website can cause visitors to wait for your website to load if they are on a mobile device. When a website doesn’t load or when a customer is waiting for a page to load because it is slow can result in a customer having a bad experience which means they will never want to come back. They will also most likely tell others of the bad experience they had which can cause damage to your company. To improve the speed of your website, make sure images are compressed and try to stay away from content management systems if at all possible because they take longer to load.

Providing quality content that is quick and to the point is what will keep customers coming to your website. Visitors come to your website and want to know what your business is about and what you can provide for them. The content that is on your website should reveal honest facts, whether it is about client testimonials or your customer satisfaction guarantee.

The layout of the overall website is the first thing customers see and it is their first impression of your company. You want to make sure it is a good one by making sure there is an equal amount of information and pictures in order to balance the website as a whole. Color schemes and font sizes and styles are equally important because the font size and style will express to your viewers the tone you are trying to get across to them. Using a more serious font would work well with content whereas a fun font would be ideal for a sales or promotion image on your website.

Windy City Web Designs has certified professionals that can help you increase the number of people who visit your website. We use special strategies in order for your website to succeed. For help to reach your goals and to maximize the number of new and returning customers to your website, contact a member from our web development team today.

What is responsive design and why do I need it?

For companies who are looking for a new website there are many questions to ask yourself as far as style, layout, colors, and number of pages you want or need. One question that you may forget to ask yourself or may not even know to ask is, “Do I need responsive design on my website?” The answer is yes. Responsive web design is a format that your website is created in using CCS and is highly recommended by many web designers and developers. Windy City Web Designs will be able to inform those companies with new websites what it is and why it is so important to create a website in this style.

It is a great idea to incorporate responsive web design when creating a new website because no matter what type of device you are using, it will be always be compatible. Responsive design has the ability to be read on a mobile phone, tablet, laptop or desktop and still looks good no matter what the screen size is or platform. With the alarming number of people who use their phones and tablets over a traditional laptop or desktop computer, it is important to have your website showing up on all devices. Not doing so, could result in a major loss of conversions, potential customers, and even returning customers.

If a customer is trying to access your website on their mobile device and does not have access to it, this can leave the user with an unpleasant and possibly negative experience. Customers don’t want to have to wait for anything to load or have half of the site appear when searching on a mobile device or desktop. This means the odds of them buying your product or service decreases and will most likely give their business to someone else, like your competitor.

Having a responsive website will also be a plus to have if you plan on doing any search engine optimization or internet marketing. It is said that google prefers responsive web design over the alternative because it is easier for google to scan your site and it reduces the chance of any on-page SEO errors. Responsive websites also perform better and are easier to maintain.

Windy City Web Designs creates responsive websites for all of our clients and is the method we recommend to most clients when they ask for our services. Check out our portfolio page to see what our responsive websites look like or contact us to learn more about our responsive website services.

Best Practices For Your Responsive Web Design

When it comes to keeping up with today’s trends, mobile and responsive design is becoming a must. While mobile design may be the first choice for some businesses, responsive design is hitting an all time high with its popularity and implementation. If you are one of those many businesses that have made the decision to go with the times and trends, then here are some helpful hints on how you can keep your responsive design as functional as possible.

Be user-friendly. Responsive sites must flow and allow for fluid user experience across the board, with any device they may be using, without losing the content and function they experience when using desktops. Since most users rely on their smartphone or tablet to browse or shop on the Internet, it is imperative to ensure that all images, content, and grids are reconfiguring accordingly, or you risk losing your customers.

Be flexible. With responsive design, images need to be flexible. One of the best ways to achieve this is to use adaptive images. This will allow for you to customize the size that works best for mobile users, without subjecting your load speeds.

Think responsive. When creating a layout that is ideal for responsive design, it is important to know what works and doesn’t. By using code such as HTML5, you can ensure you are using a simple layout that will provide the essential elements like fluid grids and flexible images.

Hire a professional. In order to ensure you are getting a responsive design that not only works to your users’ satisfaction, but also gives you the edge on your competitors, it is essential to seek help from a professional web designer.

Windy City Web Designs has been Chicagoland’s leader in designing custom websites that are easy to navigate and attractive, as well as search engine friendly. Contact us to see how we can help you and your business’ website today.

By Bjorn Torling

Reasons To Consider A Responsive Design

Since there was a good reason 2013 was deemed “The Year of Responsive Web Design”, it might be time for you to consider if this could be the best decision you may make this year when it comes to your business. Here are the many advantages to going responsive:

Responds to the user’s behavior. Since responsive web design is just that, responsive, this means that the screen will automatically adjust accordingly for optimal viewing, according to the specific type of device that is being used. Responsive design uses technology like HTML5, which provides for the use of more fluid grids, flexible images, and CSS3, allowing for consistent user experience, which, in turn, will create higher conversion rates.

Increase your search engine optimization. Not only does Google prefer that your website be responsive in order to improve your visibility in the search engines, but by having a website that is responsive will allow you more time to focus on a single SEO strategy, as opposed to one for each type of site you have. Additionally, this prevents the dreaded duplicate content, which happens when managing sites for both desktop and mobile.

Keep ahead of your competition. Since responsive design is still a relatively new trend, by jumping on the opportunity now will keep you ahead of your competitors and keep ahead of the game, especially in this very technologically driven world where there have never been more smartphones and tablets.

Allows for easier monitoring and analysis. Unlike situations in which you have separate desktop friendly and mobile friendly sites, having a responsive website means that this will be the only site you will have to spend your time monitoring. Additionally, site analytic tools, like Google Analytics, are now optimized for handling of mobile devices and reporting of responsive sites.

It is essential to not only provide your users with optimal experience when visiting your website from any device, but most importantly, keep them coming back. Windy City Web Designs is Chicagoland’s leader in web design and Internet marketing solutions. To take your business, and website, to the next level, contact us for a consultation today.

By Bjorn Torling

Understanding The Difference Between Mobile and Responsive Design

When it comes to deciding how to improve your mobile user’s experience, it is essential to consider updating your website in order to make it more mobile-friendly. Not only is this important due to the increase in number of smartphone and tablet usage, but having a mobile-friendly website is a key component in your SEO and digital marketing strategy. Once you have made the ultra-important decision to go mobile-friendly, which type of design do you go with: mobile or responsive?

Mobile Design

Mobile websites, which are typically designed in addition to your desktop website, are an adapted version of your website in order to fit the device the user is using. Some advantages to using a mobile site include things like the easiness for users to navigate, clean visual design, operates at a faster navigation speed, and instant mobile marketability by attracting both new and repeat customers.

Responsive Design

Unlike sites that are produced using mobile design, responsive sites are developed by using a single website that will automatically adjust itself to fit any device that the user is using all based on the screen size and platform. Since responsive web design uses code like HTML5, these sites benefit from more fluid grids, flexible images, and better screen resolution.

When going mobile-friendly with your website, it is important to take into consideration your business’ needs. Things like your budget, timeline, and target audience can all play a factor in which type of design you may require. By consulting with our experienced team of professional designers and Internet marketers at Windy City Web Designs, we can help you decide which solution is right for you and your website.

By Bjorn Torling


Common Website Trends for Successful Content Marketing

Content marketing is number one when it comes to marketing your website, but as website trends have evolved, content marketing has taken on new roles in order to keep up. Content is now incorporating the latest in web design in order to grab consumers’ attention and convert them into sales. Here are some of the latest trends you should be thinking of using when it comes to your business’ web design.

Responsive Web Design- Due to the demands of mobile and tablet technology, responsive web design has become an essential asset when designing a website, especially if your target audience will be using said devices to navigate your webpage. Responsive web design allows for a website to respond to the user’s behavior and make adjustments based on the screen size and platform no matter what device they may be using. This biggest advantage to this type of design is that it allows for the user to easily engage with your website while improving your conversion rate.

Use of CSS3 and HTML5- These technologies are essential in order to run a successful responsive web design. HTML5 is a programming code that allows for fluid grids, flexible images, and the placement of videos more easily on your website. CSS3, or Cascading Style Sheets, is what designers use to create the look and format the webpage. By using these coding programs, you are ensuring your website is up-to-date.

Social Media- The integration of social media with your website will continue to ensure that your content is out there for users to find you. In a world full of social media buzz, it is imperative that every website owner should be utilizing social media as a part of their Internet marketing strategy.

By implementing these important design techniques within your web design, you are ensuring the success of your business by creating a website that is not only search friendly, but fits the needs of your clients. For help with designing your website or your Internet marketing strategy, contact our team of professional designers and marketers at Windy City Web Designs.

Is Your Small Business Mobile Marketing Ready?

In today’s world, consumers are more reliant on mobile technology to do their shopping. With the holidays around the corner, it is imperative your business is mobile marketing ready. The following tactics are especially beneficial for small businesses that are in the beginning stages of mobile marketing.

1. Determine if mobile marketing is for you. Before deciding to go mobile, it is important to ask yourself if your business is ready? There truly is no sense in developing a mobile app or website accessibility if your users do not have a great mobile experience.

2. Ensure your website is mobile-friendly. If your website is not optimized for mobile technology, users will be less inclined to visit your website in the future.

3. Responsive design is a must. Responsive design will automatically adjust the layout and content of your webpage, allowing users to easily view your website regardless of which device they may be using.

4. Ensure your mobile site is easy to navigate. By using simple apps and calls to action, the user will experience faster load times and easier navigation.

5. Utilize mobile social media. Most mobile users are connected to one form of social media or another. By ensuring your business is social media ready, you will be increasing traffic to your website or app.

6. Mobile websites are not the same as your desktop. To ensure mobile websites operate ideally, they must be built using specific technology and from the ground up. If this is not done correctly, your information, images, or banners will not display correctly and can turn your users away.

7. Use experienced professionals. Some website designers design websites that are not optimized for smaller screens. By using designers, such as Windy City Web Design, that specialize in mobile website design, you can ensure your product or service will be viewed in the most efficient way.

With smartphone users reaching an all time high, it is essential for your business to be mobile marketing ready. By following the advice and direction form Windy City Web Designs, you can rest assured your mobile website will keep your users coming back. Contact us for a professional consultation on any of your mobile marketing needs, or for questions or help with Internet marketing.


Google Launches Much Anticipated Google Helpouts

After several months of waiting, Google has officially announced it’s launch of Google Helpouts. Since it’s original talks back in July and invites to people and businesses in August to advertise their services, Google has been keeping us in the dark.

Google Helpouts is a new program that offers help to users with any “how to” questions they may have via a real-time video.

You might be thinking, how does this work? Just like doing a Google search, when the user enters the topic they are searching for, Google will list results for the available Helpouts. Some Helpouts will charge a fee, while others may be free. Each Helpout will also notify the user of the next available time for their Helpout or allow the user to request a particular time that may work for them.

In addition to the live Helpouts, users can view introductory videos if there requested Helpout is not available immediately. This can help the user understand more about the business that is providing the Helpout. For example, the above photo showcases what a Helpout may look like.

Not only are these Google Helpouts going to benefit the search engines users, but it will help businesses as well. This program will allow the businesses that provide the Helpouts be paid for the use of their video and time.

The advantages to businesses that provide Helpouts are not only the flexibility of scheduling a Helpout at their convenience, but businesses will also be the ones to determine the prices and rate of pay, whether it be by the minute or a fixed rate. The payments will be collected through Google Wallet.

In addition to Google Helpouts being available on your PC, but Google Inc. has also released an app to make it more convenient to use on your mobile device, although it appears to be limited to Android devices for right now.

Currently, there are only a select few brands, such as Sephora, Weight Watchers, and Rosetta Stone that are using Google Helpouts.

Eventually, the number of Helpouts will be available will grow, but for the time being it will start out fairly small. Invitations need to be requested in order for a business to provide Helpouts.

The only foreseeable issues that could arise would be unsatisfactory Helpouts. Google has stated that there will be a money back guarantee on all Helpouts that are not satisfactory, but this means that the user will have to opt out of having their Helpout session recorded, which is of course for quality assurance and customer retention. However, Google has stated that “health-related” Helpouts will not be recorded.

It seems the benefits to Google Helpout outweigh the disadvantages as for right now. As more businesses create their Helpout the more traffic their business is most likely to see, creating a key factor in marketing their business in the future. Contact Windy City Web Designs if you have concerns about your Google ad or have questions in regards to web design or Internet marketing.